The CFT therapy team has come together to coordinate the following comments in regard to the fight against prejudice.
As therapists, our goal is to have unconditional positive regard for all people. In order to do this, we are focused on bringing into conscious awareness our own internal judgments that were created by our past experiences and influences as well as generational mindsets that have been present in our personal lives. We desire to see all people through the eyes of love, while at the same time, we recognize that there are barriers that hold us back from doing that as well as we would like. We desire to confront those barriers wholeheartedly and invite the clients we see to do the same.
What has happened recently due to the COVID-19 and racial pandemics is tragic. We mourn with those who suffer. We are devastated by the events that brought about such circumstances because we recognize that America has perpetuated systematic dehumanization of our brothers and sisters of color, particularly in the Black community, for many centuries. Dr Anita Phillips in her recent conversation with Christine Cane speaks of how dehumanization has been passed down through the implicit memory or subconscious mind of our ancestors. When dehumanization is part of a culture, it isn’t just about what is being said or done, but the pervasive mindset of the culture. This has to do, in large part, with implicit not explicit racism. The larger problem is the undercurrent mindset that has subconsciously passed down through generations that says that people with black skin are less valuable or less human than people with white skin. (1)
We at the CFT are not OK with this injustice. We observe a bursting forth of weariness and desperation from our Black brothers and sisters, and we fight with them on behalf of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and many more to vie for equal treatment and respect in our country. Amid the strain, something beautiful is happening in our nation because of an awakening of the reality of this systemic problem. We are hopeful as we see so many in our society going deeper in their hearts and minds to challenge themselves in terms of how they perceive others who look or believe or live differently than they do.
We believe that hatred is tied to fear and insecurity. Even those who have hatred in their hearts need someone to see them for their true identity so that they can confront their personal dysfunction and experience a transformation of self.
The things that people do that are so horrible in this world are consequences and evidences of broken souls. Much of their brokenness may be due to what they themselves lived through as children – we all know that abused children are statistically more likely to become abusers themselves. Why? They have broken souls. There is a vital conflict between what they know to be right and what they do. That’s the condition of a broken soul. (2)
It is most healthy for every individual to overcome their personal pain and subconscious biases and grow into loving others from a pure heart; this is in stark contrast to hating based on fear and insecurity. Those who do live out this transformation of goodness and love have high personal character and deep understanding of life’s meaning.
Those who have experienced generational oppression have awareness that many of us do not. CFT seeks to understand our Black brothers and sisters in terms of their struggles and their stories in an effort to allow this generation to truly bring lasting change. This change looks like unity across races and reparation for injustices toward the Black and minority communities.
Allowing ourselves to be challenged and embrace the pain of another can actually change pervasive mindsets. This is an exciting truth. In the words of Dallas Willard, “Attack and withdrawal is the normal characterization of human lives in a fallen world. But these can be replaced by care and identification. The idea of compassion is ‘feeling with,’ so that when I’m with another person, I am feeling how they feel.” (2) It is when we join together as a human family and feel the pain of our brothers and sisters that we can be healed and whole as a society.
We believe that belonging heals. When we belong to one another, we can live out our truest destinies in confidence and clarity. The barriers to belonging are not people. Our struggle is not against people but against the pain that is unprocessed in the human heart and fear-based generational thought causing individuals to live from a place of dysfunction instead of actualization.
The goal is to live in freedom instead of being bound by generational trauma, habits, and mindsets. In his book, It Didn’t Start With You, Mark Wolynn discusses the idea of inherited trauma. Wolynn cites some of the current scientific research helping us to understand the transgenerational effects of trauma. The book explores how the human brain experiences the realities of the traumas lived out in the lives of ancestors three to four generations past. Wolynn offers us a message of hope saying that “traumas do not sleep, even with death, but, rather, continue to look for the fertile ground of resolution in the children of the following generations.” (3) Could this current racial pandemic be an opportunity to bring healing to the generational traumas of our Black brothers and sisters caused by systematic dehumanization? Could this be an opportunity for white Americans to own the generational mindsets started with their ancestors and being lived out in the current culture and truly embrace a process of transformation?
We at the CFT seek to be a part of the current racial awareness awakening in our world through looking at our internal biases and correcting them. We also promise to help others who come to us as they process their anger, fear, and personal traumas, as well as grieving the losses they have endured. Our counselors seek to make individuals of all races, backgrounds, and worldviews feel welcome at our center. We want to be on the forefront of racial reconciliation. That starts by ensuring we are a safe place for the Black community and other minority communities, then by empowering majority communities to move toward repairing connectedness. The CFT commits to supporting racial equity in America and beyond in the best way we know how, by guiding our clients toward wellness through belonging.
We are all one family…the human family. Belonging Heals.
– The Therapy Team at the Center for Family Transformation
- Phillips, A. (2020, June 1). Body Language: A Conversation of Race and Restoration in the Body of Christ. YouTube.com Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1P6AXjXnXc
- Wilder, J. (2020). Renovated: God, Dallas Willard, and the Church that Transforms. Colorado Springs, CO: Tyndale House Publishers.
3. Wolynn, M. (2016). It Didn’t Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle. New York, NY: Penguin Books.