Decolonize Your Practice!
Change your practice from the inside out so that you create a truly affirming and welcoming space that benefits and transforms the lives of your clients and your community.
The program for mental health professionals seeking to incorporate anti-oppressive, social justice oriented, and liberatory values in their practices.
Perhaps you want a practice that is truly responsive to clients of historically marginalized identities...
You have attended all the trainings on anti-oppression, you have a peer consultation group for accountability, a book club on anti-racism, and/or you intentionally take all the CEUs on cultural “competence”, but this all this knowledge doesn't necessarily translate into better outcomes for clients of underrepresented communities.
Your agency has hired a DEI consultant (and don’t even get me started with J.E.D.I.), but checking all these boxes still feels like it is not enough.
Chances are, YOU KNOW about social justice and you've tried to bring that to your practice with either little to no success… or you're wondering if the way in which you've incorporated social justice is actually serving your clients and your community.
Maybe you already have incorporated anti-oppressive practices but need accountability and guidance...
Are stuck. You want to know how to be an accomplice but don't want to put the emotional burden on colleagues and friends of who hold historically marginalized identities.
Are holding back and you're not asking all the questions you'd like to ask because you don't want to offend friends and peers of historically underrepresented communities.
Are concerned that you have not unlearned enough from your white and western education (yes, even if you're BIPoC or a member of another marginalized group).
Are afraid of messing up in session while providing an intervention, but definitely don’t want to ask for feedback from your clients or coworkers of underrepresented identities.
Are frustrated at the things cultural "competency" trainings do not address.
Are worried you're not being effective with a client who is outside your comfort zone (let's be honest, we're talking about a client who doesn't look like you, but who could benefit from your amazing approach and experience!)
Are aware that you don't know what you don't know when it comes to decolonizing each and every part of your therapy practice, and you want to know more.
There is not one formula to decolonize your practice...
The truth is, I cannot give you one set of instructions to decolonize your practice, the list of steps does not exist. But I will help you find what works for you and your practice.
With the support of a caring community of like-minded clinicians, you'll be witnessed, held accountable, and encouraged to choose the first steps that make the most sense to you and your practice.
Build your own blueprint or rinse a repeat process to decolonize your practice in a way that works for you.
When you join the program:
You'll focus on the areas of your practice that make the most sense to start decolonizing, to have a truly welcoming and affirming space that benefits your clients and your community.
You'll develop a plan tailored to your practice and yourself.
You'll be able to continue working on your plan beyond this program.
And this is what will happen:
Hold yourself accountable with ease and lean into discomfort supported by a group of professional peers in a similar journey.
Find your community of fellow clinicians committed to bringing anti-oppressive, liberation, and social justice values to your practices.
Have a positive impact in your clients' lives, your community, yourself, and beyond the therapy room.
I will be supporting you along the way:
Hi, I’m Silvana (she/her/ella), I'm a coach and consultant dedicated to supporting other mental health practitioners in their journeys of decolonization and liberation. Through Decolonize Your Practice, I help fellow colleagues decolonize their practices in an embodied way so that they can serve their clients and community in a practice centered on anti-oppression, liberation, and decolonization.
Why do I do this? Because the mental health field has been white and western dominated for far too long and it does not center the experiences of people who do not conform to the imposed cultural norm (western, white, patriarchal, cis, het, able bodied, neurotypical, thin, young, college educated, and I could go on and on).
And centering the experiences of a privileged few harms privileged and underprivileged clients alike.
This is what you'll do next...
Apply here. I'll let you know if the program is right for you within 24 hours.
Receive an email with a payment link.
Get access to the DYP forum.
Work on some engagement prompts prior to every meeting so that you show up prepared to do the work.
Show up to our meetings fully motivated and engaged! Or not... we'll hold space for whatever is coming up for you 🖤
This will be the format of our meetings...
The program consists of 2 small cohorts: one for BIPOC clinicians, and one for white identified clinicians, so that this is an embodied brave space to be challenged and held accountable, but also to be vulnerable and learn.
We'll have weekly 90-minute meetings (10am-11:30am PT / 1pm-2:30pm ET) for 9 weeks; on Wednesday for BIPOC clinicians and on Thursday for white clinicians.
You'll need around 3-4 extra hours a week for journaling, answering reflection prompts, unlearning (“homework”) in between our calls, and to start working on your Mental Health Liberation Blueprint.
In every group call you'll have:
Check in time, to make sure you are joining the meeting from a grounded place and be able to do uncomfortable, but good work.
Check out time, to make sure that there are no lingering thoughts, feelings, or sensations left unattended.
Weekly 60-minute Q&A for 7 weeks on Tuesdays. At 10am PT / 1pm ET for BIPoC clinicians and 11am PT / 2pm ET for white clinicians.
- Time to process and ponder about what's happening for you so far.
- We'll review the prompts for reflection and answer any questions left unanswered during the main calls.
- We'll help you problem solve if you're feeling stuck.
- You'll create an accountability plan for the following week.
“Ask me ANYTHING” office hours (a.k.a. "no shame" office hours, a.k.a. asynchronous 1:1 coaching):
Send me your questions anonymously (if you want) via google forms. Seriously, you're paying me to answer your questions. Send ALL. Of. Them. Even the ones you feel ashamed to ask! And the questions that make you think "I should know this already"
I'll respond to the whole group: everyone benefits from the answer and the whole group holds space for everybody’s reactions and process.
There is no limit to the number of questions you can send.
One extra meeting on week 9 dedicated to presenting your Mental Health Liberation Blueprint
Be witnessed as you share your vision for your practice (and witness others as they share their vision for their practices).
There's no need for a powerpoint (but you can present one if you want to), I do want to know what amazing changes you'll implement in your practice and want you to have the time and space to show the group what your plan is.
Through this meeting you'll get extra accountability, encouragement, and feedback from the group.
An optional 1:1 60-minute meeting with me.
A mix of business and clinical consultation if you need further individualized support.
Once you enroll, you'll get a link to schedule your optional 1:1 meeting.
You'll get to keep all the meeting recordings and material.
You'll also have access to the Decolonize Your Practice community (as a private forum in this website).
This is what we'll do week by week...
Intros and Foundations of a Liberated Practice:
We'll get to know each other, we'll talk about the foundations of a liberated, anti-oppressive, and decolonized practice.
We'll dive into an experiential embodied mindfulness exercise that we'll practice during the first half of the program. This will help you become more aware of your shame and guilt and also more aware of your curiosity and compassion (yes... those uncomfortable feelings... but otherwise, how could we move on with this work?)
Your Identities and their influence in your practice:
We'll talk about our social locations and how they show up in the therapy room (and elsewhere!).
We're not just reviewing the concept of location of self here. We're reflecting on how you're in touch with your identities, how they show up in your practice, and how they affect your work with clients.
We'll talk about your practice identities. Yes, you heard right, your practice identities (the ethos of your practice, how it has been built, and who are the people who resonate with it vs. the people you want to serve).
Liberation and Decolonization through a mental health lens:
We'll dive into the meaning of key concepts: liberation, decolonization, anti-oppression. Although these are buzzwords in the social justice world, you'll learn to use them thoughtfully and understanding them through a mental health, wellness, and healing lens. You'll work on how to apply these concepts in your practice. and how to avoid falling into virtue signaling.
Areas of Your Practice to Decolonize, part 1:
We'll name and understand the foundational areas of our practices that we can begin decolonizing.
Hint: your business, your treatment, and rapport with clients.
We'll analyze each of these areas and unpack how they have been colonized, so that you can start making the changes you and your clients need.
Areas of Your Practice to Decolonize, part 2:
During the second half of the program, we'll practice embodied radical imagination exercises. This will help you imagine what is possible (your vision for your ideal practice) and not settle for the reality (the mental health system) that someone else created for you.
We'll continue naming and understanding more areas of our practices that we can begin decolonizing.
Why two weeks? To cover all the areas in a thorough way. There are 9 main areas and I want you to have the opportunity to assess ALL OF THEM.
We'll focus on relationships. Not rapport, but how you connect with colleagues, peers, employees, etc to find the toxic power dynamics within those relationships and heal from them.
Going from ideas to plans:
Once you can give yourself permission to envision your ideal practice, we'll go from ideas to individualized plans.
We'll review all barriers to a decolonized practice and how to overcome them by incorporating systemic thinking in your practice. You'll list your personal barriers to decolonizing your practice and figure out how to overcome them.
We'll bring everything together: one the one hand, you practice's data (it's challenges and areas for growth), and on the other hand, all your hopes, expectations, intentions, fears, challenges and we'll learn how to hold space for all of this as we move forward.
Moving from plans to actions:
This week is for integration.
You'll decide where to start. Now that you have a plan, you'll move towards action in a thoughtful way.
You'll choose a tangible area and practical steps to begin decolonizing your practice.
You'll decide how to apply the same action plan to other areas of your practice through a cyclical method so you can continue decolonizing your practice beyond this program, as you'll have a formula that you can modify according to what works for you.
Implementing Your Liberation Blueprint:
You'll design your cyclical plan, or your Metal Health Liberation Blueprint. You will learn how this work is cyclical and will give yourself license to include in your plan periods of rest and nurture in between your decolonization work.
You'll prioritize the steps and areas that makes sense in your action plan, you'll create a timeline, and will learn to have designated spaces during the week to continue engaging in decolonizing your practice beyond this program.
Bonus Week 9
Your Mental Health Liberation Blueprint:
You'll present your Mental Health Liberation Blueprint to the group and share your vision to continue engaging in this work in the next 5, 10, 15, 20, 30+ years, both in the therapy room, your community, and your personal life.
You'll witness all group members' plans and be able to give each other feedback.
And these are the results you'll get:
Experiential embodied practices to acknowledge feelings that show up for you during this experience.
Expand your window of tolerance to see your challenges as opportunities for growth and as the foundation of your own liberation work.
Location of Self: identify your and your practice identities.
Have a clear idea of who you and your practice resonates with at an identity level and what you need to change to make people of marginalized identities feel affirmed and welcomed in your practice.
1 week to identify areas to decolonize.
1 week to identify barriers.
Clear roadmap of areas of growth and how to tackle challenges.
Collective use of radical imagination to come up with solutions to barriers.
Collective move towards action.
Get clarity, get unstuck, and get certainty on where to start. Develop your own Mental Health Liberation Blueprint with actionable steps towards a decolonized practice. Get committed to this work!
Cohort A for BIPOC clinicians:
Wednesday 10am-11:30am PT / 1pm-2:30 ET
Week 1: Sep 20th, 2023
Week 2: Sep 27th, 2023
Week 3: Oct 4th, 2023
Week 4: Oct 11th, 2023
Week 5: Oct 18th, 2023
Week 6: Oct 25th, 2023
Week 7: Nov 1st, 2023
Week 8: Nov 8th, 2023
Week 9: Nov 15th, 2023 (bonus)
Bonus calls for cohort A:
Tuesday 10am-11am PT / 1pm-2pm ET
BC 1: Sep 26th, 2023
BC 2: Oct 3rd, 2023
BC 3: Oct 10th, 2023
BC 4: Oct 17th, 2023
BC 5: Oct 24th, 2023
BC 6: Oct 31st, 2023
BC 7: Nov 7th, 2023
Cohort B for white clinicians:
Thursday 10am-11:30am PT / 1pm-2:30pm ET
Week 1: Sep 21st, 2023
Week 2: Sep 28th, 2023
Week 3: Oct 5th, 2023
Week 4: Oct 12th, 2023
Week 5: Oct 19th, 2023
Week 6: Oct 26th, 2023
Week 7: Nov 2nd, 2023
Week 8: Nov 9th, 2023
Week 9: Nov 16th, 2023 (bonus)
Bonus calls for cohort B:
Tuesday 11am-12pm PT / 2pm-3pm ET
BC 1: Sep 26th, 2023
BC 2: Oct 3rd, 2023
BC 3: Oct 10th, 2023
BC 4: Oct 17th, 2023
BC 5: Oct 24th, 2023
BC 6: Oct 31st, 2023
BC 7: Nov 7th, 2023
The entire 8-week program costs $2140
BIPoC clinicians can choose to access the program at $1960
This includes permanent access to the recordings of our meetings, bonus meetings (even if you couldn't attend), all the material you received, and unlimited access to a communal space where you can interact with peers who participated in your and other cohorts.
Do you need a payment plan?
You can pay in 2 or 3 installments at no extra cost. Just let me know! Do you need to pay in more installments? Definitely let me know! We can chat about a longer payment plan, also at no extra cost.
I want all mental health professionals to be able to join Decolonize Your Practice!
Deadline to apply:
September 19th, 2023
🔥 Once you apply for the program, you'll be directed to complete a form.
🔥 If the program is right for you, you'll receive an email within 24 hours with a payment link to complete your enrollment.
🔥 If the program is not right for you, I'll let you know right away.
This is for you if:
You are a mental health clinician.
You want to go beyond just understanding the concepts of anti-oppression, liberation, and decolonization and want to apply these concepts in your day to day.
You are ready to make an impact in your community, not just in the lives of your therapy clients.
You would like to explore, process, and unlearn colonization.
You are ready to get out of your comfort zone (but for real).
You know this program is not the end all be all and you will continue unlearning beyond this experience.
You see your work as political and your impact as beyond that of the therapy room.
You are interested in your professional and personal growth, as well as the growth of your community.
You are highly motivated to change the ethos of your practice even if it is already affirming and inclusive.
You want to support historically underrepresented communities, even if your support goes unnoticed.
This is not for you if:
You are a professional in non mental health disciplines.
You want to get CEUs on cultural “competency”.
You want to learn the basics of social justice.
You want a set of rules and instructions on how to incorporate social justice values into your practice (and not do your own discovery of what works for you).
You want to help, but want to be told what to do.
You want to feel safe and comfortable at all times.
You don’t see your work as political, you'd rather be neutral or a blank slate, and just want to practice therapy.
You want a program that helps you only with your professional growth.
You believe there is nothing you should change in your practice to make it more inclusive for historically underrepresented communities.
You consider yourself an effective ally to historically underrepresented/marginalized communities.
How much time should I dedicate to this?
At least three hours a week to complete all the engagement prompts in between calls.
What if I have to miss a call?
All calls will be recorded and yours to keep. If you have any questions about the content of a call you missed, you can ask me and your group through the groups forum (a private space within this site that you will have access to). Or you can ask me via 1:1 asynchronous coaching.
Do I already have to know about social justice, liberation, anti-oppression, and decolonization to sign up?
All you need is to be familiar with the definitions of social justice, liberation, anti-oppression, and decolonization (some info here). The program assumes you are familiar with these concepts and that you either struggle or are eager to incorporate them in your therapy practice. This program will help you put these concepts into practice, will encourage you to get more insights about your relationship to your identities (are you accepting of them?) and your relationship to these concepts (are you embodying them?)
Do I need to be a licensed clinician to enroll in this program?
Not at all! You can be anywhere in the professional spectrum. You could be still in grad school, licensed, retired, teaching, supervising, doing clinical work, admin work, or both. This program is for you as long as you: a) work in mental health, b) want to be an agent of true change, and c) have a basic foundation of social justice and anti-oppression.
Do I need to be in private practice or serving a population in particular?
No and no. You could be working for an agency, group practice, or residential program, etc. and you could still benefit from this program. Likewise, you could be serving BIPOC, “undocumented” immigrants, LGBTQIA2S+, incarcerated populations, unhoused folx, people in palliative care, children in the foster care system, etc. As long as you are serving someone directly or indirectly and are willing to continue your journey as an agent of true change and liberation, then this program is for you.
Then how are you defining practice? And what exactly am I going to decolonize?
Great question! I am defining practice in a very decolonized way. Your practice is not just your brick and mortar or online office, the treatment you provide, and/or the people you serve. Your practice is also all the ways in which you conduct your work/practice/business, the decisions you make and that affect you and your employees, the people you serve, the colleagues you work with, your supervisees, your clients, and your community.
And when I say decolonize, I refer to the ways in which you will unlearn how your normative white/western socialization and conditioning are affecting all the areas of your practice.
Will I get CEUs for this program?
No. This program does not offer CEUs because I do not want to subject it to the rules and specifications of a particular board. In this program I wanted to have the freedom to have a bold and loud conversation with you about what it takes to have a practice that does not adhere to western standards, but that truly represents your social justice values and the good you want to do for you community. This is not a Cultural “Competence” or Law and Ethics course.
What is the refund policy?
Because of the nature of the experience (supporting and holding space for a small group of clinicians who are fully engaged and ready to decolonize their practices) the program does not offer refunds. The expectation is that you will be fully committed to being part of a community of like-minded clinicians from beginning to end to hold and support each other in their processes and growth.
Do I need to be a mental health clinician to join?
Yes and no! This program is open to counselors, therapists, social workers, art therapists, psychologists, nurse practitioners, psychiatrists, and all other denominations of mental health providers who have social justice values.
If you are a healer and would like to participate now, just send me and email and let me know! We can chat to see if the current structure of the program would meet your needs.
Or, you can sign up for my newsletter to find out when a coaches and healers integrated edition of this program is launched. I am working thoughtfully at making sure that a future iteration of this program is suited to your needs!
When I signed up for DYP, I wasn’t stuck necessarily, but I knew that I needed to make a commitment to my values around decolonization and racial justice. The price intimidated me, but when I checked in with my heart and my gut, it felt right and I knew I needed to take the risk. I am so glad I did! DYP has shifted my practice toward greater inclusion, liberation, and sensitivity toward the lived experiences of my clients. It has helped me approach the difficult conversations around identity that I have been wanting to have with my clients, but afraid to begin. This has resulted in several of my clients telling me that they have never had their therapist want to share power with them in the way that they experience with me. They have been able to name that, though we don’t share the same identities, they feel safe to explore the sensitive parts of theirs with me. I am so grateful for the opportunity to begin this work in DYP and I look forward to continuing the commitment for as long as I live and practice therapy.
- Nora Harrington
I feel so much more confident in my ability to make changes in my work place and I have learned to question every part of the therapy practice and understand the colonial history behind all of it. I feel inspired to pursue my calling in ways I didn’t previously think possible. I was taught that western therapy is the only way to achieve complete healing. I am now returning to the idea that this is far from the truth and I'm becoming so much more open to explore other modalities of healing.
- Najeeha Khan
Before joining DYP I was feeling lost in how to actively embody anti-racist work in my practice. During and after completing the program, I felt like I was re-energized. I found space for self-acceptance with where I am on my path to decolonizing my practice, and developed a clear direction about what I want to do now and how I want to continue to develop, both personal and professionally. I also felt very seen and supported in the DYP community, and was able to reflect on ways that I can continue to create and engage in community to keep my anti-racist work going without burning out. I am very grateful to DYP and Silvana for this experience and the direction it has given me.
Overall, DYP helped me shift my embodied experience when I would think about doing anti-racist work. Before, I would feel so much pressure and like no matter what I did it was never enough. Now, I still feel the huge importance of this work and that there will always be more work for me to do, but I feel like I can take a breath and make space for myself while doing it, and that has helped me feel even more motivated than ever before.
- Kiilea Saunders Mason
Before DYP I was feeling like I was not knowledgeable enough about decolonizing to start implementing any steps in my practice. But as I went through the program I experienced a loss of the fear to start taking actions to decolonize my practice and life.
The group experience was incredibly supportive and inspiring. I feel I received a thorough foundation of knowledge, experience, resources and inspiration to grow from with decolonizing my practice. It was very validating to hear the words for some of my own experiences of oppression, and to share this within a group of BIPOC peers, which was a first for me. Overall, I feel more connected to my own identities and comfortable with connecting more authentically with my clients. Deeply grateful for you and your work, Silvana. Thank you!
- Jorelle Degen
I needed an increased awareness of race and other social justice issues that were bearing down on me. The main thing I got out of the program was connectedness to others which gave me an awareness that I am not alone. I also appreciated the permission to not have to give every ounce of myself but what I can sustain. The exhaustion I experienced is felt by many as we are striving to thrive within a system that was not built for us. I appreciated the reminder that it’s important to understand that I can only give so much because I am one person and in order to help communities, individuals, and other organizations to heal, I must take care of myself.
- Ashley Motley