Birmingham Anxiety and Trauma Therapy's Statement of Solidarity
July 9, 2020
Birmingham Anxiety & Trauma Therapy (BATT) stands in solidarity with our Black therapists, community, and patients.
Now is the time for us, as a society, to stand in solidarity and listen to our Black leaders, colleagues, friends, neighbors, and family members. We must not expect our Black Americans to comfort our discomfort, nor should we expect them to answer our questions when we have had more access to historical, cultural, and educational resources than ever before. For those familiar with racism and its insidious and detrimental effects, BATT sees you, hears you, and stands with you. We know this is still not enough, and it will never be until White supremacy and institutionalized racism is dismantled. We commit to continuing this fight for true justice. We have a long way to go, but we must continue.
Inherent in the therapist identity (for psychologists, counselors, social workers, and marriage & family therapists) is striking a balance between individual counseling and social advocacy. As therapists, we desire to address patients’ immediate concerns. As social justice advocates our ultimate goal is to challenge the status quo that perpetuates world-wide inequities. At BATT, we believe individual patient concerns and social advocacy are intricately intertwined. Because we specialize in trauma, we are acutely aware of how the past informs the present in both positive and negative ways. Note that epigenetic/physical signs of trauma in current patients can be traced back to traumatic incidents that occurred four generations ago (Yehuda, et. al, 2005-2020 publications), and this area of study supports what Black Americans have been saying for generations: Systemic violence against the Black community affects Black individuals in palpable, observable ways.
BATT is committed to speaking up regarding the direct impact systemic violence has on mental well-being. We desire to use our influence in mental health circles to speak up about health disparities and unequal treatment in the Black community and to raise awareness about the negative effects of the current system on overall well-being. We are committed to focusing on beneficial empowerment and strengths-based approaches. We recognize that there are unique challenges toward liberation that the Black community experiences – challenges that are rooted in the history of slavery and other forms of White supremacy in our society and continue in the current day in both subtle and overt ways.
Our advocacy identity should be evident across all of the roles we hold (e.g., mental health professionals, educators, supervisors, researchers, leaders, and citizens). Therefore, we at BATT are committed to increasing our self-awareness and other-awareness, and to be diligent in recognizing and addressing issues of power and oppression in our practice and our community. Please Contact us today so we may help you in any way possible! We stand in solidarity with you, we are here for you, and you matter.
For more information, please refer to:
- American Association of Marriage & Family Therapists (AAMFT): Statement on MFT Responsibility to Counter Racism www.blog.aamft.org
- American Counseling Association (ACA): Social Justice Counseling Competencies, 2020 statement
- American Psychological Association (APA): Hailes, H. P., Ceccolini, C. J., Gutowski, E., & Liang, B. (2020). Ethical guidelines for social justice in psychology. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice.
- National Association of Social Workers (NASW): On Black Death: A Social Work Call to Action www.nasw-michigan.org/news/510204