Social Justice in psychotherapy
I believe that it is meaningful that I inform you about the kind of work I offer and I how I choose to identify myself in this context. I have been working with Narrative Therapy ideas since 2010. This is the therapy that best fits my identity as a professional and that best speaks about my values as well. Narrative therapy aims to create a working environment where the clients know there is room for their experiences, knowledge, and skills in the therapy and that their presentation of self is given considerable weight in the conversation. Through seeing clients as experts in their own lives, the therapist tries to understand the problem based on the clients’ personal experiences and how clients view problems as affecting them. During the conversation, the therapist will hopefully use each client’s personal definitions of what the problem is and use this to move the conversation forward towards helping clients expand a vision of their dreams and hopes. We focus on client’s strengths when discussing problems, creating a context for therapy to move in a positive direction. All individuals, couples and families have the ability to overcome problems and achieve more fulfilling stories for the future.
Collaboration with the clients, with the therapist enabling clients to choose where the conversation will go, therefore gives clients more authority in shaping the therapy conversation and in turn more authority in their lives.
I first learned about this theory in my graduate studies in SDSU. However, I was not new to the ideas of the theory and to its roots in postmodernism and emphasizing the importance that context and culture that surround us have in our identity and our behaviors. My background in Hispanic Literature that I studied in Tijuana, Baja California, provided me with a strong foundations of critical theory, postmodern thought, social justice through writing and the often unbalances of power of women in society.
My understanding of this this and my way of being as a narrative therapist comes natural to me. I have been in living in San Diego since 2005. Growing up in the border region provided me with a wide understanding of disparities that many communities face, especially communities that experience immigration and communities of refuges, women and undeserved communities. Migration is a choice. but is often a choice that is embedded with oppression and not having better alternatives. I believe that growing in this border region and seeing the “border crossing” as part of my day to day life for a long time, has make me more aware of my own privileges and the needs of others. Has therefore, reinforced my personal commitment to social justice and to make my work intentional an act of resistance.
Therefore, my connection with the kind of therapy I provide comes from a personal commitment to take power differentials in consideration whenever I am encountering injustice. Thinking and making questions with these basis, is what makes sense to me in terms of promoting justice through therapeutic conversations, and ultimately, to create change.
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