My home state of Minnesota is hurting. Black communities are hurting. This nation is hurting.
I want to own the responsibility of having the privilege of speaking to child therapists through this blog on a semi routine basis. I want to use this platform to acknowledge the current state of our nation and my home state of Minnesota. I am writing this against the backdrop of days of protesting in Minneapolis and around the country for the senseless murder by police of George Floyd. A father, a partner, a son, an athlete, a musician, and described by his friends and family as a beautiful spirit.
In all of this, I want to fully acknowledge my privilege - to turn off the TV, check out of social media, and not worry about my safety while living my normal life. I can drive my car, go to the store, be out in nature, and a million other things without worrying about my safety just because of the color of my skin.
I am hoping that in all of this trauma, continued racism, unrest, heaviness, and darkness, we also will not let the dialectic of light and hope go unnoticed. Communities are coming together to clean the streets, board up buildings, provide free crisis counseling to those in need, and secure food and supplies for the communities affected. Communities are coming together to grieve. Communities are coming together to heal. There is still much work to be done. It’s messy. It’s uncomfortable. AND let’s not also forget to honor the light.
To therapists of color and especially Black therapists, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for your pain, for your trauma, for your re-traumatization, for the reality of daily life in this country. I am listening. I see you.
To my fellow White therapists being an ally is a verb. Acknowledging and understanding our privilege, attempting to understand racism, prejudice, and the experience of people of color is continuous. It is our job, not the job of our friends, family, peers, and colleagues of color, to educate ourselves, learn, and act. We need to identify how to be stronger allies in dismantling racism and to be actively anti-racist. AND if you haven’t started in this journey you need to dig deep and ask yourself why. The best time to start was years ago, but the second-best time to start is today, right now.
Still don’t know what more you can do? Check out these anti-racism resources or this article. Also if you want to help Minneapolis and surrounding Minnesota communities affected check out this resource list HERE or to donate to Black-led, community-centered organizing efforts in Minneapolis check out a list HERE.
Now, as a therapist who sees children - if you aren’t a member already please consider joining the Facebook group “The Journey of Cultural and Racial Diversity in Play Therapy” run by Kadesha Adelakun, LCSW, RPT-S. It is a wealth and knowledge of resources to help support clients of color. Also, check out these articles HERE and HERE that prove that it is never too early to talk about race and racism with children. I would also encourage you to look through this resource list of 30 children’s books to help support conversations with children about race and racism. Not so sure about how to start this conversation with clients? Check out this guide from Elizabeth McCorvey, MSW, LCSW to stop hesitating and start the difficult conversations.
I would also encourage you if it isn’t something you do on a regular basis – take stock of your playroom and tools you use in tele-play. How many characters of color do you have in your miniature collection? Books featuring characters of color on your shelves? Puppets in your collection? Where are all of these placed in your office? When a client of color comes into your office what would their experience be like?
Also, I know I am nowhere near perfect and these questions to consider and list of resources are nowhere near complete. Drop a comment below with other resources you have or that are helpful to support clients of color within your practice! Let’s continue to show up for our clients, our colleagues, and our communities, continue to be an ally, and continue to promote anti-racism within our practice.
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I'm Ann Meehan, an LPCC, RPT-S, and EMDR Consultant. I help other therapists grow in their passions as play therapists, trauma therapists,and child and adolescent therapists.