Counsellor Feature: Tanu Discusses Identity and Authenticity
At Peak Resilience we tailor our therapeutic approaches to each person's individual needs. We practice from an intersectional feminist framework and we all believe in caring for ourselves first so we can sustainably and ethically care for the amazing clients we work with.
Counsellors at Peak Resilience are also diverse in experiences, backgrounds and cultural heritages. Tanu Gamble shares how her experience as a First Nations person informs her counselling perspective, and how this can be beneficial for clients of all backgrounds:
I am a First Nations person who grew up in a few Indigenous communities, with a strong sense of place and belonging. I identify as a person who is able to navigate both Indigenous ways of being and Western ways of being.
I have a Western education (Master of Education in Counselling Psychology), but I like to think that my counselling practice can't help but be informed by my identity and how I learned how to exist as a First Nations person.
I have personally experienced and worked with many people who struggle with their own sense of belonging and place in this world. Issues and concerns surrounding identity are a source of tension for most Indigenous people (not all, but many). Identity struggles exist because we live in a social context that has racialized and discriminatory practices embedded in the systems that organize our society.
In my years of work in research, I collaborated with many Indigenous people, from all across the country, sometimes with different areas of focus. But when you really get down into it, the issues for our people are strikingly similar:
There is pain, suffering and sadness, and sometimes this is because people don't feel like they belong anywhere.
For me, identity is relational.
I believe we need to be given the opportunity to practice integrating what we feel on the inside with what is reflected to us from the outside: it's a practice of authenticity that requires risk. By building a safe, non-judgemental space in counselling, practicing authenticity becomes less risky. When people are able to practice authenticity in counselling, they clarifying their true identity and end usually feel more at peace.
By practicing authenticity myself, I hope to help clients feel safe to do the same.
I know people enter the counselling room already possessing what they need, we just need to uncover it and find ways to make it real.