Liberatory Approaches to Self and Community Care (for Helpers)

May 5, 2023 from 10-2pm PST

$159CAD + taxes and fees

Sliding scale and potential scholarship spots available (please inquire) 

No matter where you work, caring for yourself as a mental healthcare provider (“self-care”) has most likely been brought up as a part of ethical practice. 

The focus on self-care as an integral component to ethical therapy was first highlighted in the feminist code of ethics in 1980. It was a radical concept back then, and has since been misunderstood and corporatised along the way. Self-care has been made to sound suspect, the behaviour of very entitled and privileged people, not socially-just mental health practitioners. 

This 4 hour workshop facilitated by Dr. Laura Brown will clarify self-care from a liberatory, intersectional feminist, womanist, Mujerista and decolonial framework. Laura has advocated for the inclusion of liberatory, intersectional feminist trauma perspectives in every component of her field and was among those who co-created the Feminist Therapy Institute’s Code of Ethics in the 1980s. 

Laura proudly identifies as an Ashenkazic Jew. Her grandparents were refugees from what was then Russia, just before and after the first World War, who moved to the Cleveland area, which was the unceded territory of the Erie, Seneca, and Lenape nations. After growing up in Cleveland, OH, and going to graduate school in Carbondale Illinois, she moved in 1976 to Seattle, the unceded territory of the Duwamish and Muckleshoot nations, where she has lived since.  Laura is a Jeopardy one-time champion, a second-degree black belt in Aikido, the martial art of peace, which she earned at age 68, and has written two books for adult survivors of damaging childhoods, one addressing how to deal with the ageing and death of adults who harmed you, the other addressing how to have healthy-enough relationships. Her career road not travelled is that of a vocalist.

Attendees of this workshop will leave with new perspectives and tools to care for themselves within the context of their intersectional identities, interpersonal relationships and experience with oppressive systems. The goal is to envision more transformative care practices for ourselves and our communities. 

First we’ll acknowledge the underlying contributors of our problem…

  • Many therapists are “wounded healers” who grew up in the context of some kind of disrupted attachment where we learned to care-take our caretakers in order to have some modicum of care for ourselves
  • We internalise narratives of self-care based on our early experiences, and carry these narratives with us (consciously or unconsciously)
  • Our profession teaches us to privilege the needs and concerns of the people we support and to take the stance that we have no needs or concerns, but are rather neutral and emotionally armoured.
  • Your intersectional identities and what our society says about how you should care for yourself and others
  • Internalised forms of colonisation and oppression that have taught most marginalised communities that they are sacrificial, not valuable, and that emotional labour is a devalued labour
  • The capitalist, patriarchal and colonial narratives around self and community care reducing the depth of our self-care discussions and plans 

Then we’ll get curious and creative on how to resist the colonisation and capitalisation of self-care. Some of the ideas of resistance we’ll talk about are:

  • Visualising care for yourself in the context of your unique life circumstances, barriers, privileges, and cultural strategies for healing and resistance
  • Exploring what has prevented you from taking care of yourself, so you can resist these forces more intentionally moving forward
  • Providing language to articulate the lack of depth and substance of various self-care services/ideas
  • Learning how your “negative coping strategies” might actually be serving you, and how to gain power from these strategies while managing their negative side effects

This workshop is for mental health practitioners of all levels in:

  • NGO agencies
  • Healthcare settings
  • Non-profit or Charitable organisations
  • Group private/alternative practice
  • Independent practice

Caring for ourselves is only one part in the pursuit of social justice, but an important one. We invite you to attend this presentation as a way to support yourself, your clients, your colleagues and as a way to dismantle harmful systems. 

Register here.

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