First and foremost Intersectional Therapy, for me as a clinician, is the continual work I do to address the areas of my identity that come with privilege: cis, white, colonizer-settler ancestry, English as my first language. I have been deconstructing aspects of my own privilege and upbringing for decades, but this work is dynamic and a labor of justice I choose to continue throughout my life. I name these privileges and differences I have, in the room with clients and I work from a place of collaboration, not a place of authority or expertise. I practice cultural humility and curiosity around experiences with which I am unfamiliar/are not my own lived experience, and I put in work to educate myself or provide appropriate referrals so my clients are able to receive the best care that they need for the work they want to do.
Intersectional Therapy also describes the way I integrate a trauma-informed and socio-politically engaged approach to mental illness and mental health.
Intersectionality is a term developed by Kimberlé W. Crenshaw in her Critical Race Theory work. Intersectionality describes the fact of our multi-faceted and diverse identities we embody; it describes the “intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination. It is the idea that multiple identities intersect to create a whole that is different from the components.” Our identities are comprised of aspects such as gender, race, class, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, religion, age, ability/disability, as well as the roles in which we serve, and the vibrant expressions of our personhood.
As a trauma-informed clinician who specializes in working with survivors of complex trauma, I see undeniable parallels between the complexities of psychological, emotional, and spiritual/religious abuse in the micro system of family and intimate relationships as well as in the macro system of our workplaces, our schools, our communities, and our society at large. The microaggressions of racism, misogyny, transphobia, queerphobia, bigotry, and other discriminations take their toll psychologically in the form of depression, anxiety, cPTSD, and complex trauma.