Let’s Talk About Race
An interview with Stevon Lewis, LMFT on Race, Ethnicity, Culture, Privilege and Bias. Curt and Katie talk with Stevon about how white therapists and therapists of color can (and should) open up conversations on these important topics, looking at why it is so hard and why it is critical we do so anyway.
It’s time to reimagine therapy and what it means to be a therapist. We are human beings who can now present ourselves as whole people, with authenticity, purpose, and connection. Especially now, when therapists must develop a personal brand to market their practices.
To support you as a whole person and a therapist, your hosts, Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy talk about how to approach the role of therapist in the modern age.
Interview with Stevon Lewis, LMFT
Stevon Lewis is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist practicing in Torrance, CA. He earned Bachelors of Arts degrees in Psychology and Afro-Ethnic Studies from California State University, Fullerton. He also has a Master’s of Science degree in Counseling with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from California State University, Long Beach. Stevon began his therapy career in 2007 as a therapist at a community mental health agency in Long Beach working with the families of adolescents involved with the juvenile justice system. Currently, Stevon is the Director of Counseling Services at Woodbury University, a small private university in Burbank, CA. There he oversees the psychotherapy for all students, supervises two licensed clinicians, two associates, and provides consultation to faculty and staff.
Stevon has a private practice in Torrance where he works with adults struggling with Impostor Syndrome, depression, anxiety and stress, and couples experiencing difficulty in their relationships as a result of poor communication and unmet expectations.
In addition, he is the Past President of the Long Beach-South Bay Chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.
You can learn more about Stevon at: http://www.stevonlewis.com.
In this episode we talk about:
- Barriers that therapists of color face that white therapists do not
- How the curriculums of our clinical programs are based on white norms (and thoughts on what we should put in these curriculums to address this bias)
- The different perspectives that are missed when we rely on these white norms
- The othering of people of color in these programs
- How race and ethnicity come into the room
- How to obtain the information that you need, seeing the world from other perspectives
- The bias that can come up and turn into microaggressions
- How to seek knowledge without putting the responsibility of teaching on the people of color around you
- The value of curiosity and Google, cultural humility
- Ideas for productive conversations about culture, race, ethnicity
- How to identify what you are responsible for
- The impact of historical trauma, racial injustice, and slavery on the conversations now
- A deeper look at bias and the impact of individual and societal bias on our interactions
- The pain of shame, defensiveness, and perceived divisiveness that might hinder our progress
- The importance of white people talking about race, and of white allies
- How to identify if your program is pushing you to be white-normed
- Ideas to translate the lessons to apply to you as an individual and calling out “this isn’t going to work for me”
- Encouraging the conversations about how we are perceived by society and how that can impact the relationship in the room
- The idea that we can have feelings about the clients we see – the need to be conscious about it and releasing guilt about negative or neutral feelings about our clients
Our Generous Sponsor:
Thanks again to our sponsor, Grief Education!
How often do you avoid talking about death and bereavement with your clients? Don’t worry you’re not the only one. The fact is, every client will be impacted by grief at some point. You can be great at supporting them through it! Grief Education offers online classes where you’ll learn what current, validated research tells us about these experiences and you’ll practice talking about grief and death so you’ll be confident talking about it with your clients. Visit http://www.GriefEducation.com to learn more and register for classes.
We’ve pulled together any resources mentioned in this episode and put together some handy-dandy links:
Who we are:
Curt Widhalm is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice in the Los Angeles area. He is a Board Member at Large for the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, a Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, Adjunct Faculty at Pepperdine University, and a loving husband and father. He is 1/2 great person, 1/2 provocateur, and 1/2 geek, in that order. He dabbles in the dark art of making “dad jokes” and usually has a half-empty cup of coffee somewhere nearby. Learn more about Curt at http://www.curtwidhalm.com.
Katie Vernoy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, coach, and consultant. As a helping professional for two decades, she’s navigated the ups and downs of our unique line of work. She’s run her own solo therapy practice, designed innovative clinical programs, built and managed large, thriving teams of service providers, and consulted hundreds of helping professionals on how to build meaningful AND sustainable practices. In her spare time, Katie is secretly siphoning off Curt’s youthful energy, so that she can take over the world. Learn more about Katie at http://www.katievernoy.com.
A Quick Note:
Our opinions are our own. We are only speaking for ourselves – except when we speak for each other, or over each other. We’re working on it.
Our guests are also only speaking for themselves and have their own opinions. We aren’t trying to take their voice, and no one speaks for us either. Mostly because they don’t want to, but hey.
Stay in Touch:
Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/
Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano http://www.crystalmangano.com/