Inclusivity in therapy is one of the most important elements you can have. As a mental health professional, you need to make sure your patients feel comfortable, safe, open, and willing to share their experiences and struggles with you. Unfortunately, discrimination and oppression have been present in the world of therapy for many years, which created an environment where patients did not feel safe, understood, or able to receive help. This oppression perpetuated the mental health struggles that exist in many communities. Finding solutions for these problems begins with inclusivity. Here’s how to make your therapeutic practice more inclusive.
Create a Safe, Welcoming Space
Start by creating a safe, welcoming space for your patients. It’s easier for people to discuss their mental health and any struggles they may be facing when they are in a comfortable environment. Make sure the furniture in your office is suitable for all patients and allows them to relax during their appointments. Another part of a safe, welcoming space is the energy in a room. You will need to create a positive, welcoming energy within yourself to ensure that patients trust you and are willing to open up to you. Make sure your body language is warm and open, and use inclusive language when speaking to patients. Create a space and energy that is inclusive of all ethnicities and genders and is welcoming to LGBTQIA+ clients as well.
When it comes to a career in therapy or related mental health professions, you never stop learning. Therefore, it’s imperative that you continue to educate yourself. As a mental health professional, it’s essential to understand concepts that may impact your patients, such as oppression, sexism, racism, homophobia, or transphobia. You must also have a thorough understanding of any diagnoses your patients may have, such as depression, ADHD, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, addiction, and many others. Staying open and educated will allow you to give your patients the best possible help and care necessary to live their best, healthiest lives.
Lastly, remaining mindful will help make your therapeutic practice more inclusive. Of course, mindfulness is a broad term, but generally speaking, it means to be conscious and aware. There are many things you need to be mindful of in a therapeutic practice. You need to be aware of how your patient is feeling and how you are communicating with them. Being conscious of how your patient responds to different approaches will help you find the best form of action for their individual experience.
Now that you’ve reviewed how to make your therapeutic practice more inclusive, you can begin implementing these strategies today. Create a safe, welcoming space, educate yourself, and remain mindful to give your patients the healthiest, most inclusive therapy they can receive.