Practicing Antiracism

WILA’s committment against racism

As protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder continue throughout America, our country appears more divided than it has been in living memory. National demonstrations speak to generations of racism, violence, and systemic inequality. The tensions of this moment are further complicated by the Coronavirus pandemic, which once again starkly exposes our country’s racial health inequities. The common thread here is that it is dangerous to be Black in America.

As therapists who take an oath to do no harm and educators entrusted to train the next generation of mental health professionals, remaining silent is not an option. WILA stands against racism and injustice in all its forms. We remain committed to a mission of serving Los Angeles’ diverse communities and those who could not otherwise afford long-term psychotherapy.

In our work to move WILA from an affirming to an antiracist organization, we have identified actions we must take:

  • Educating our therapists about racial trauma, working from a macro as well as internal lens, and the impact of power dynamics on mental health
  • Providing our therapists the tools to initiate conversations about race and the various forms of otherness so that the burden is not placed upon the patient
  • Critically examining the theories we teach for various forms of racially based pathologization
  • Encouraging faculty to dialogue openly about race and otherness in supervision and seminars
  • Employing non-discriminatory policies in our faculty and trainee selection including continuing to examine why Black clinicians are glaringly underrepresented
  • Making deliberate partnerships with organizations and non-profits committed to bettering the lives of communities of color in Los Angeles

You can join in our commitment to action. Here’s a good place to start: Resources in the Fight for Racial Justice. It includes links to educate yourself, tools to facilitate difficult conversations about racism, organizations deserving of financial support, and information about protesting.

To do this work, we must stay open to our discomfort. The therapeutic process offers us a good model for allyship. Read our most recent blog post about it. We must not be afraid to be affected by what we’re seeing and experiencing. Those who look to us for guidance and healing can only do so if we ourselves are committed to personal growth.

Mental health professionals have an important role to play as our country grapples with the reality of racial injustice. We hope you’ll stand with WILA in our efforts.

Michele Gomes, Psy.D.
Executive Director

Claudia Feldman, Ph.D.
Clinical Director

Molly Cahan, Psy.D.
Chairperson, Board of Directors