Stereotypical views of black people, racism, lack of knowledge of cultural differences on the part of mental health and wellbeing professionals and daily micro-aggressions, among other factors, affect black women’s mental health and wellbeing in profound ways. Feeling pressured to tone down the black part of our Self, constantly mitigating the unwarranted fear of the black we are met with, being unheard and not seen are some of the issues black women face daily.
To make matters worse, these patterns are often recreated in therapy when we seek professional help. Our concerns relating to race are often minimised and pathologized, making race, a significant factor in the daily lives of black women, a taboo subject in a space that is supposed to support us. Black women often leave counselling, feeling that their deeper issues have not been addressed.
Psychotherapy, also referred to as counselling, can help you process difficult feelings and navigate through life’s challenging situations. It is a process that invites you to discover who you really are, a reflective and sacred space where you can come to understand yourself and explore who you want to become. For black women, in particular, it is imperative to do this work of self-discovery because we live in a world that defines us in very harsh terms.
When you know who you are, you become aware of your strengths and weaknesses, your values and your passion. This self-awareness informs how you live your life and engage in your relationships. Psychotherapy also helps you to develop the courage to live according to your truth. When your therapist hears you, you hear yourself in a way that you likely have not experienced outside of psychotherapy.
As your therapist, I can help you find a quiet, internal space that you can gain your strength from and revisit whenever you need to, both in and outside of therapy. We can work together to mourn the losses in your life so that you can go on living; to help you recover, or discover your sense of aliveness and freedom. Click here to learn more about how I work.
In an excellent article for the Guardian, Anni Fergusson captured some of the things that black women say about their experience :
“Why do I have to change who I am so that people don’t find me intimidating?”
“I can’t embrace who I am fully”
“I need to make sure people are always comfortable with me”
“I am always viewed through the eyes of people’s narrow-minded expectations.”