Cultural and Systemic Oppression

The term cultural and systemic oppression refers to the mistreatment of people of a specific group that is supported and enforced by society and its institutions. It can be formal or implicit, and appears in many forms, including racism and sexism. Oppression of any kind, especially over an extended period of time, can deeply affect your mental health and your sense of self. Working with a therapist who is well-versed in these constructs can help you better recognize when they are influencing your life, and how to better manage that influence. Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s cultural and systemic oppression specialists today.

Meet the specialists

I consider myself a strong activist and work hard to understand how issues of oppression impact the problems presented in therapy. I understand how racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and any form of bigotry both on an institutional level and personal level, create huge amounts of stress in different populations. I taught for over a decade in a masters level course around understanding issues of oppression and internal biases and how they impact therapy.

— Deann Acton, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Austin, TX
 

Our approach brings in consideration of our clients’ cultures and unpacks societal factors and forces of systemic oppression. We use a values-forward style that curiously explores your environment and context, and considers how issues of social justice and (in)equity may be contributing to your distress.

— Kindman & Co. Therapy Practice, Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

Humans are brilliant learners, absorbing messages from our environments — families, society, culture — these external influences shape our identities based on creed, gender, colour, etc., which then shape our realities. Knowing who we are requires understanding these influences, and how it has influenced our lenses and behaviours. Only then, can we be empowered to feel in control of our lives.

— I-Ching Grace Hung, Psychologist in San Francisco, CA
 

The historical system of oppression (white supremacy) that our society operates under impacts all of us regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, ability, body size, etc. Our seek therapists seek to understand dynamics of power, privilege, and oppression that have shaped our clients identities and lived experiences & work towards helping you heal the wounds from racial stress and racial trauma (microaggressions, racism, violence, & discrimination).

— Aguirre Center for Inclusive Psychotherapy, Psychologist in Atlanta, GA

Facing daily sociocultural pressures can be incredibly painful. Regardless of what brought them to therapy, many of my patients have a social identity that has impacted their mental health in some way. My goal is to help you harness resources, both in your environment and within yourself, that can help you navigate persistent and oppressive social forces. No matter how you identify, my door is always open.

— Saira Malhotra, Therapist in Greenwood Village, CO
 

I am no stranger to the deep wounds systemic and cultural oppression has inflicted on communities and individuals. My international work, experience with marginalized populations has given me great insight. I understand the deep rooted systems at work and believe in activism in therapy. We will work together to dispel stories of hate so you can reclaim your culture, your identity and your confidence. You were born beautiful and unaffected by these systems. Now its time to kick them out!

— Maile Grace, Therapist in Denver, CO

Humans are brilliant learners, absorbing messages from our environments — families, society, culture. These external influences shape our identities based on creed, gender, colour, etc., which then shape our realities. To know who we are requires understanding these influences, and how it has shaped who we are. By doing so, we can tease out who we are at our “core,” from what we’ve been taught. Let’s sift through these layers to find your true self.

— I-Ching Grace Hung, Psychologist in San Francisco, CA
 

As a Women's Studies major at the University of Minnesota in the early 90's, my knowledge of and interest in oppression of all sorts grew enormously. It was truly one of the most valuable aspects of my education. That interest has only increased since the 2016 election. From that time on, our political and social climate has felt surreal. Unfortunately, it seems the progress we've made since the 1960's has been crumbling before our eyes. Ultimately I'm an optimist though, and I still have hope.

— Molly Nicholson, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Minneapolis, MN

Humans are brilliant learners, absorbing messages from our environments — families, society, culture, whether these messages are positive or negative. These external influences shape our identities based on creed, gender, colour, etc., which then shape our realities. Knowing who we are requires understanding these influences and how it has influenced our lenses and behaviours. Only with this deeper insight, can we feel empowered to regain control of our lives.

— I-Ching Grace Hung, Psychologist in San Francisco, CA
 

My dissertation investigated body image across diverse populations including WOC. In particular I am interested in how WOC use their bodies as a commodity in order to compensate for systemic-level oppression and white-cis-heteronormative dynamics. Clinically, I work from a holistic, relational, empowerment focused and intersectional feminist perspective. I recognize that areas of oppression are linked and cumulative. I strive to use my privileges to help others create clarity and

— Olivia Carollo, Clinical Psychologist in Chicago, IL

The need for social justice comes from the heavy emotional and physical toll that cultural and systemic oppression takes on us. Many of us carry the symptoms of oppression. It is in our bodies and spirits and shows up in work and in our relationships. I work with clients by teaching somatic techniques that help create inner support as well as strategize for ways to develop nourishing practices and cultivate interpersonal and community supports.

— Jamila Dawson, Sex Therapist in Los Angeles, CA
 

Humans are brilliant learners, absorbing messages from our environments — families, society, culture — these external influences shape our identities based on creed, gender, colour, etc., which then shape our realities. Knowing who we are requires understanding these influences, and how it has influenced our lenses and behaviours. Only then, can we be empowered to feel in control of our lives. Let’s sift through these layers to find your true self.

— I-Ching Grace Hung, Psychologist in San Francisco, CA

As an adolescent and adult, I observed the violence that is inflicted upon marginalized bodies when spiritual leaders attempt to act outside of the scope of their training and provide counsel to people with needs beyond their grasp. I saw how their limited understanding as well as their internalized white supremacy hurt multiple generations of families. As an active participant in my own healing, I have devoted my life to helping others reclaim their own power, and fight for their healing.

— Julius Peterson, Clinical Social Worker in Decatur, GA
 

In my graduate education, I have both taken and taught classes on racism and systemic oppression. In my clinical practice, I see systemic oppression to be more then race; it also includes gender, sexuality, ethical non-monogamy, ability, citizenship, etc. Much of my experience working with cultural oppression include the manifestations of anxiety and depression.

— Ajay Dheer, Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern in Beaverton, OR

Clinically, I work from a holistic, relational, empowerment focused and intersectional feminist perspective. I recognize that areas of oppression are linked and cumulative. In response, I work to help clients navigate these complex dynamics and improve their quality of life. As a cis-white, able-bodied female, it is my job to do the background work and create a space where clients can explore, learn and understand themselves better. You are the expert of your life.

— Olivia Carollo, Clinical Psychologist in Chicago, IL
 

I believe that being targeted for cultural and systemic oppression can create or amplify experiences of trauma, depression, and anxiety. I believe that intersectional oppression can amplify this more. My approach to therapy includes looking at a client's cultural identities and including these perspectives in addressing any presenting therapeutic concerns. It is important to me to listen to a client's experience of these identities, and provide empathy, support, and strategizing as needed.

— Caera Gramore, Mental Health Practitioner in Arlington, WA

Facing daily sociocultural pressures can be incredibly painful. Regardless of what brought them to therapy, many of my patients have a social identity that has impacted their mental health in some way. My goal is to help you harness resources, both in your environment and within yourself, that can help you navigate persistent and oppressive social forces. No matter how you identify, my door is always open.

— Saira Malhotra, Therapist in Greenwood Village, CO
 

Facing daily sociocultural pressures can be incredibly painful. Regardless of what brought them to therapy, many of my patients have a social identity that has impacted their mental health in some way. My goal is to help you harness resources, both in your environment and within yourself, that can help you navigate persistent and oppressive social forces. I specifically have experience working with those who identify as LGBTQ+, people of color, or second-generation Americans.

— Saira Malhotra, Therapist in Greenwood Village, CO