Counseling is inherently a vulnerable endeavor where we take the risk to let someone else into our lives and our relationships for the purposes of helping us grow, change, and connect with others. Because of this, it is vital that the counseling relationship be a place of safety, acceptance, and openness where you can be yourself.
Identity and life experiences matter. We are who we are in large part because of the way we are seen or not seen and treated or mistreated by loved ones, by our culture, and by society based on our identities– whether it be our race, gender and gender expression, sexual/affectional orientation, relationship structure, ethnicity or national origin, neurodivergence, religious/non-religious affiliation, physical ability, and/or class. Many of us, like me (white, cis, hetero) are generally treated well, given automatic respect, are listened to, seen, and empowered in the spaces where we live and work. Others of us are more often unseen, unheard, uncared for, oppressed and marginalized because of some aspect of our identity, and this can have a profound negative impact on our growth, sense of self, relationships, and overall emotional and physical health.
Therefore, in an effort to create safety, trust, and respect in our work together, my commitment to you is to practice cultural humility, openness and appreciation of your experience(s), and acceptance of you and your worth as a human being. I invite you to share your cultural experiences around identity and how they affect you and your relationships, and I also honor that you may not want/need to share any of this.
I will strive to be continuously aware of my own blind-spots/biases and how they may show up in our work together. And I welcome and invite your feedback if you ever feel disrespected, unseen, or in some way dismissed. I will do my best to respond openly and non-defensively, make an effort to repair, and stay engaged in conversation with you so that you feel safe, valued, and affirmed in our work together.