Therapy repair is about providing a therapy for Blacks, Browns and Indigenous people, since racial trauma is inherent in the Black, Brown and Indigenous experience in this country. I want to provide a safer space for people where cost should not be a factor. Some people have experienced harmful, racist and oppressive things that happen to them at work and school, and lead them to therapy. It’s heavy; it is traumatic; they have to be so vulnerable. So, as a clinician, be like, “You have to talk about these things that you have no control over, that are systemic, that are still a pain in our country, and then leave me also charged for that” – just don’t don’t be well.
A therapist named Tamara Turner and her colleague had the idea of therapy repairs, and I borrowed the idea and wanted to adapt it for my clients. It happened in June last year, and it started to be in a place that felt really, really heavy. We were going through a pandemic in the midst of a racial revolt. Being a black and weird therapist, I seemed to do so much but not do enough. I said, “What else can I do?” I felt unfair to talk to Blacks, Browns, and Indigenous people about racist trauma and oppression and force them to pay for it. Also she didn’t feel fair about not being paid for it as a weird black woman. So when this idea came to my mind, I knew it was a way to make my work even more impactful and meaningful by eliminating a huge barrier – cost – to therapy for Blacks, Browns and Natives. I have created a fund for people to donate for therapy repairs. The money I receive allows me to provide free or discounted sessions to my Black, Brown and Indigenous clients.
Therapy repairs are not a booklet or Blacks, Browns and Indigenous people ask for donations. It is about the fact that throughout the history of this country, there has been iniquity. Therapy repair softens a part of the shit that happens every day to people in this country. Therapy repairs may have taken a toll on someone’s back. It’s not, “Oh, I’ll do this because I’m sorry for you. Let me do it because I recognize I have a privilege, and I feel bad about it.” Not at all. We all have privileges, and the reparation point of therapy is to recognize the oppression that Black, Brown, and Indigenous people have immediately and continue to endure, and to provide a small step toward healing and atonement.
Therapy repair is a great way to get people who have never been to therapy therapy and people who can’t even afford to think about therapy. In addition to this, it is also a matter of ensuring that color therapists are fully compensated. These two things go together.