Conversations about Race: What's Different This Time?

Over the past few weeks, I've been feeling emotionally depleted from the attention the need for systemic change for black communities was getting.

I am intentional when I say “the attention”, because this is not a new issue by any means; rather, it is the way that we are starting to pay attention to it that is new.

I realized that as a bi-racial woman (my father is Trinidadian and my mother was Irish and German), I had trouble pinpointing where my heavy sadness was coming from, because I have always worked to be educated on these issues and have experienced micro-aggressions in their varying forms throughout my life.

I asked myself, “What’s different this time?”

After attending my first protest ever, I realized that my heaviness was coming from not being a part of something outside of my own emotions. Including myself in the chants, the tears, the systemic conversations for change, and feeling like an entity within the community and our country aside from a sad person, has been invigorating.

As I’m sure many of us are experiencing, I am taking the opportunity within sessions to conceptualize these systemic issues as psycho-education for my clients. As we take on the task of providing education via conversations that use historical and empirical data within the session, we can also take this opportunity to provide our clients with books, movies, articles, and podcasts to further this reflection outside of the session.

Although we are doing work on the ground level every single day, based on my experience I encourage my fellow therapists to engage outside of the work with our clients if you have the emotional resources to do so, as it can definitely be a form of therapy for ourselves.

Sophia Nazzaro, LMFT, shown left in the above image, works in Lowell MA, using a multicultural lens to facilitate individuals, couples, and families in identifying systemic processes that impact the way clients understand themselves, the relationships they participate in, and the communities they’re apart of.

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