As a culturally responsive practice, we integrate cultural diversity and anti-racism into mental health care. We seek to serve marginalized populations by valuing diversity, working towards understanding differences, acknowledging systemic racism, and recognizing our own inherent biases.
At Medens Health, we’re not shy about acknowledging an ugly truth: our society – including the mental health system – was built to uphold a system of oppression and rooted in the degradation of indigenous people, people of color, women, LGBTQ+ people, and other minorities. These vulnerable populations have historically been marginalized, underserved, and traumatized by the mental health system. We accept this uncomfortable truth and are committed to being part of the solution.
We value diversity, seek to understand differences, and develop services and supports to meet the unique needs of each community. Our staff and trainees include individuals of different backgrounds to match the community in which we serve, including African American, Russian, Chinese, Latinx, Turkish, and LGBTQ+.
Because we open our doors to anyone requiring mental health care, we don’t service a specific race, culture, or community. We offer support for clients of all backgrounds and income levels. This means that our practitioners work with multiple diverse communities across Arizona, California, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, and Washington.
A large part of a therapist’s job is to create a safe relationship that allows for vulnerability. A person of color cannot feel safe with a “color blind” therapist who doesn’t recognize that the structures of society and government dehumanize, marginalize, and discriminate against people of color.
A therapist who has not been trained in anti-racist practices can do harm by:
Without placing the challenges of racism, xenophobia, intergenerational trauma, and living in fear in context, therapists can’t effectively treat clients of color and will almost certainly perpetuate the trauma that their clients have experienced as a result of racism.
Instead of being “color blind,” our clinicians and trainees recognize their inherent biases. We train them to actively process their racial identity and be aware of their own feelings surrounding race. This helps them name the interactions occurring between themselves and their clients and process them in a way that does not put guilt, shame, or denial onto the client.
This allows them to effectively hold space for clients of color. An anti-racist therapist can validate the feelings of fear, anger, sadness, and insecurity that minority clients feel from living in a racist society. Such a therapist can help the client separate these normal reactions from actual mental illness and guide them in shifting any blame or guilt from themselves.
As an anti-racist and culturally aware mental health center, part of our responsibility is to ensure that our clinicians and trainees think about the different cultures and races that are within the community we serve. The most important responsibility we have, however, is to educate them to recognize and process their own biases, stereotypes, and racial identity in a way that allows them to best serve those populations who have been wronged by the mental health system in the past. Together, we hope to build trust and lift up these historically marginalized communities.