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An Open Letter to Our Community

Needham Psychotherapy Associates (NPA) stands with communities of color marginalized by racism, bias, socioeconomic status, and injustice.  It has long been clear that health and wellbeing across the life span, including mental health, is impacted negatively by structural barricades.  Over the course of our history, race and bias have translated into unequal access to jobs, wages, medical care, educational opportunities, housing, and safety.  Generations of persons of color and other marginalized populations have and continue to suffer in the present by violent acts AND by the silence of bystanders. As clinicians, researchers, advocates and human beings, we support dismantling systemic injustice and joining with diverse individuals and communities to address much needed change.

 

Listening, Learning, Action:

We need to listen more, learn more, do more.  Here are steps we are taking to work toward change:

 

Listening:

NPA providers are committed to serving a diverse multi-cultural population of individuals and families seeking mental health support.  In doing so, we are invested in providing culturally competent care to all. To do so, we will adhere to the following:

Using active listening skills and being present, avoiding judgment, and honoring the lived experiences of the individuals and families we work with.

Recognizing, validating and giving voice to the historical, cultural and personal narratives of each individual in the context of the lives that they live.

Being available to engage in hard discussions about privilege, race, culture or systemic inequality whenever appropriate in all our professional relationships.

 

Learning:

NPA providers know that in order to be both the mental health clinicians and the human beings we aspire to be that we each need to learn more about systemic racism, social inequity and injustice.  Individually and as a group we are immersing ourselves in readings, podcasts, videos and presentations.  What are we learning thus far?

We are gaining greater awareness of how to best challenge our own privilege through attitudes and practices as we expand our efforts to serve more persons with racially and culturally diverse backgrounds that are distinct from our own. 

We are expanding efforts to better equip ourselves to be culturally competent clinicians through ongoing training opportunities.

We are exploring the creation of networks with local and national organizations that are involved in social action and that reflect our commitment to eradicating inequity to access to mental health treatment. 

 

Actions:

NPA providers are engaging in both immediate steps and long term action to address change. These actions include:    

Having difficult and uncomfortable conversations about racism, prejudice, bias and structural inequality with our personal and professional networks as well as in our communities.

Taking responsibility for our own microaggressions and bringing attention to unacceptable behaviors in others.

Establishing regular clinical supervision and consultation focused on racial mental health disparities and bias in our practice to support and hold providers accountable in their commitment to change.

Attending and/or supporting those who choose to attend Black Lives Matter and other protests.

Advocating for social change through writings, blogs and presentations.

Using our voices to support the safety and integrity of    others in the moments when we are present to incidents of   racism and discrimination

Donating on a reoccurring basis to support organizations that advocate for marginalized populations and communities of color.

Seeking and archiving resources to stay up to date as a practice and as individuals. 

Continuing to review steps taken, assess our impact, and renew our commitment to ongoing change.