Therapeutic reparations are about providing therapy to black, brown 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 does not have to be a factor. Harmful, racist, and oppressive things have happened to some people at work and school, and they lead to therapy. It’s heavy; it’s traumatic they have to be so vulnerable. And then, as a doctor, 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 also let me charge you for that.” it just doesn’t feel right.
A therapist named Tamara Turner and her colleague came up with the idea for therapeutic repairs, and I borrowed the idea and wanted to adapt it for my clients. It happened in June of last year, and it started in a place that felt very, very heavy. We were living a pandemic in the middle of a racial uprising. Being a queer black therapist, I felt like I was doing a lot but not enough. I said to myself: “What else can I do?” I felt it was unfair to talk to black, brown and indigenous people about racist trauma and oppression and demand that they pay for it. It also didn’t feel fair that she wasn’t paid to be a queer black woman. So when I came up with that idea, I knew it was a way to make my work even more impactful and meaningful by removing a huge barrier, cost, to therapy for black, brown, and indigenous people. I created a fund for people to donate for therapy repairs. The money I receive allows me to offer free or discounted sessions to my black, brown and indigenous clients.
Therapy repairs are not a gift or black, brown, and indigenous people asking for donations. It is about the fact that throughout the history of this country there has been inequity. Therapeutic repairs soften some of the shit that happens to the people of this country every day. The therapy repairs maybe take a weight off someone’s back. It’s not, “Oh, I’m going to do this because I feel sorry for you. Let me do it because I recognize that I have a privilege and I feel bad about it. “We all have privileges, and the goal of therapeutic reparations is to recognize the oppression that black, brown and indigenous people have endured and continue to endure, and to take a small step toward healing and atonement.
Therapy repairs are a great way to get people who have never been to therapy into therapy and people who can’t even afford to think about therapy. On top of that, it’s also about ensuring that color therapists are fully compensated. Those two things go hand in hand.