NEWSLETTER - Summer 2018
Sarah Knakal, MA, LMFT-Intern join us!
We are very excited to be welcoming Sarah Knakal to our site. Sarah is a recent graduate of the George Fox University Marriage and Family Therapy Program in the Graduate Department of Counseling. Sarah has a love for working with couples and embraces the Emotionally-Focused Therapy theory by Sue Johnson. Whether your seeking individual, couple or family work, Sarah can be a great resource for you.
Social media explodes nearly everyday with some hashtag (#) that has” gone viral,” leaving many of us trying to make sense of it all. It can seem unending, confusing, and one isn’t sure what or which social issue to pay attention to, let alone address. Moreover, some of these issues do not directly impact certain people groups so it can almost seem “unnecessary to get involved,” as I have heard some say.
At the core however, is a common seed: each of the hashtags is a battle-cry from the oppressed toward the oppressors. It’s a gathering together to say here we are, we have endured, and we matter. From #BLACKLIVESMATTER, #LOVEISLOVE, #LOVEWINS, #ENDGUNVIOLENCE, #TAKEAKNEE, #PUERTORICO, to #METOO, #TIMESUP and #NEVERAGAIN, each of these in and of themselves points to a systemic issue – a societal infrastructure and/or norms – that is maintaining pain and marginalization within our American society. Taken together, seen through the lens of their shared common core, it is an overwhelming indictment of our American culture.
Have you ever been asked to move along, after you’ve taken a seat at an outdoor table of a coffee shop? Had people who don’t look like you nervously cross the street to avoid passing you? Have you been called names that are tags for people groups? If you can say no to these questions then you probably live a privileged life.
Many of us cringe at the term ‘privilege’ because it has not been how we view ourselves, or we think it may diminish our own hard work and grit, or it doesn’t feel congruent to what we have personally gone through. Yet if you could answer no to these questions, you’ve enjoyed a welcome to the table of society’s options.
We like to think of ourselves as “better than this,” and many Americans take a very proactive approach to understand how a privileged group may not see and understand what it is like to live outside that privilege. Some people loath the term “privilege” because it seems to put them in a class that they themselves have never determined to be privileged. The poignant truth for all of us is that the very first colonies put into law the rights of “White men” to own land, do business, have education, influence policy and be lawmakers, carrying guns to protect that right (Battalora, 2013). Our infrastructure built from this foundation, limited and controlled by that very privilege that allowed some people power and not allowing others to share in that same privilege.
So what can the average person do? As a psychotherapist working with families and couples, I get asked this from time to time. There is much one can do: become more fully educated about how privilege shapes our communities (who lives where, who gets what jobs, who has Other cross the street when they approach and who does not, just to name a few); wade in to what makes you uncomfortable and look inside yourself to see why it does; have conversations and build relationships with those who don’t look like you, don’t act like you, don’t worship where you worship, those that you usually do not associate with. Become a learner, open to see our society through another’s lens.
Families --white families; families of color have these talks because they must -- need to talk about what privilege is and exercise empathy for our brothers and sisters of color. We must teach our children as we learn ourselves, how to have civil conversations about difficult issues, policies and politicians. The great statesman Kofi Annan said, “If tolerance, respect and equity permeate family life, they will translate into values that shape societies, nations and the world.”
In corporate and political spheres there is a phrase, “We want to be at the table,” which is simply to say we want a voice, we want power and influence in this arena. These hashtags are asking for the same thing by banging on the doors of our social-conscience to have a place at the American table.
These movements heighten our awareness, increase our dialogue, and hopefully open our hearts and minds to consider with empathy how each of us can extend dignity and respect for every person.
Therapy in the Summer??
Sometimes when the sun is finally out in beautiful Oregon and we are savoring the best the Pacific Northwest has to offer, it can seem an unlikely time to seek therapy. Summer however is often an optimal time. Kids are out of school so family therapy is much simpler to logistically navigate; babysitters are more readily available if couples want to do their own work; and reflective time through processing in session then outside of session is seasonally supported with hiking, beach time, hammock time, and building friendships around outdoor living and recreating. If you'd like to come in during this summer and seize the opportunity for change, simply click on Request Appointment (below) or reach out through our Contact Us page. If there is a specific therapist you would like to connect with, simply indicate so in your message.
Happy Summer all!