Know Justice, Know Peace

2020: Not Done With Us Yet

Look at this: future universities will have entire specializations in the study of the 2020s.

Turbulent times with great disparity in who is affected are likely to lead to social unrest. Medically, financially, socially, emotionally, and legally, marginalized groups have been dealt an incredibly disproportionate blow by the events of this year.

The killing of George Floyd was a tipping point. We all have a choice now. Will you contribute to peace? How are you using your voice?

How can I contribute to peace?

By contributing to justice. By combating injustice. By helping when you can help. By educating yourself. By understanding the context in which we all–not just any one of us–live. By helping others to understand as well.

Reverend Belita Mitchell (First Church of the Brethren in Harrisburg) on peace-building in 2014.  First video in a series*.
“How are justice and peace related in your thinking or your experience?” (5:00)

If you are someone in a dominant social group, there is no need to burn or break anything to make yourself heard. Authorities and media attend well to peaceful protests from White people.

2020 Minneapolis Anabaptists

In fact, you don’t even need to take to the streets. Just speaking up when you hear unjust or racist words spoken is incredibly helpful. (Here is a very helpful and practical list of ways to speak up against bigotry in many settings.)

When we truly know justice, we will truly know peace. ❤️

*Additional installments of this series can be found here:

Belita Mitchell

Are You Old Enough to Remember the Idealism?

I’ve heard that a number of you played roles in or watched Godspell as a musical number at your youth groups or summer camps. I never did. But I did see the movie as a child and we had the vinyl album at home, which I’m pretty sure I wore out memorizing the songs.

At the time this movie came out it was considered very hippie and almost heretical, though by today’s standards it may seem pretty tame.

Have you ever really listened to the words, though? Do you get them?

When wilt thou save the people,
Oh, God of Mercy, when?
The people, Lord, the people,
Not thrones and crowns but men!
Flowers of thy heart, O God, are they.
Let them not pass, like weeds, away.
Their heritage a sunless day,
God save the people!
Shall crime bring crime forever,
Strength aiding still the strong?
Is it thy will, O Father,
That men shall toil for wrong?
‘NO!’ say thy mountains,
‘NO!’ say thy skies.
Man’s clouded sun shall brightly rise,
And songs be heard instead of sighs.
God save the people!
When wilt thou save the people,
Oh, God of Mercy, when?
The people, Lord, the people,
Not thrones and crowns but men!
God save the people, for thine they are,
Thy children, as thy…

 

❤️

 

Black Moms Are Grieving; Are You Listening?

A widespread crisis is a risk to all, but it will always have worse effects on those who are in any marginalized group. Tynisa Walker has a son who is 15 and autistic. She fears for him daily, but especially now that there is unrest. She is pleading for his life.

Maya Richardson has some good mental health recommendations for Black people, especially Black youth who may be newly exposed to the threats and dangers of living in this society:

If you are White and you don’t know where to start with understanding race issues in America, you can start here: Someone Said I Did A Racism; Now What? A Guide

You might also consider watching When They See Us, currently available on Netflix.

❤️

Hands Antiracism 3

Honoring 60 Years of Black Activism

Lancaster Black History Month Celebration!

Greensboro4

Choosing What Kind of Therapy to Seek

We receive a lot of mixed messages about what it means to “talk to someone” when experiencing distress. Does it mean going to a hospital? The ER? Inpatient? Outpatient? Is it mostly for people who are suicidal or experiencing hallucinations? Is it really just for rich people who don’t have survival stress? Where should you even start looking?

Call me biased, but I truly believe that in fact most people could really use some kind of therapy at some point in their lives!

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) has a useful graphic (below) to help figure out which path might be the most useful for you to pursue, based on your own preferences and needs.

To be clear, this is primarily about psychology / counseling, which most therapy falls under, rather than psychiatry, despite how therapy is portrayed in most movies and TV shows. (To better understand the general difference between seeing a psychologist versus seeing a psychiatrist, ADAA has a useful explainer here.)

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Did you find an approach that sounds like it might work for you? I hope so!

Intersectional Life Counseling and Therapy offers nearly all of these options: in-person sessions (individual and groups when available, and even outdoors!) as well as teletherapy sessions by video. (We do not offer text-based interventions.) See the chart below to compare them!

Compare Session options:

In Office Sessions Video Session Hiking (In Season)
Standard Rates

Discounts Apply

Pre-pay required

X

Open Path (limited means) Availability

Client Location Lancaster Service Area Outside of Lancaster Service Area (PA only) Lancaster Service Area
Intake Process Set up in-office intake assessment session via phone or email. Intake determines acceptance for therapy or referral. Set up video intake assessment session via phone or email. Intake determines acceptance for therapy or referral. Set up in-office intake assessment session via phone or email. Intake session MUST BE IN OFFICE.

If accepted for therapy may schedule for hiking or in-office sessions as desired.

Insurance Reimburses Depends on insurance plan Depends on insurance plan Depends on insurance plan
EAPs cover (Quest/M&S)

TBD

TBD

Helps you get out of the house!

X

Please contact us today by email or phone to schedule!

 

Choosing What Kind of Therapy to Seek

We receive a lot of mixed messages about what it means to “talk to someone” when experiencing distress. Does it mean going to a hospital? The ER? Inpatient? Outpatient? Is it mostly for people who are suicidal or experiencing hallucinations? Is it really just for rich people who don’t have survival stress? Where should you even start looking?

Call me biased, but I truly believe that in fact most people could really use some kind of therapy at some point in their lives!

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) has a useful graphic (below) to help figure out which path might be the most useful for you to pursue, based on your own preferences and needs.

To be clear, this is primarily about psychology / counseling, which most therapy falls under, rather than psychiatry, despite how therapy is portrayed in most movies and TV shows. (To better understand the general difference between seeing a psychologist versus seeing a psychiatrist, ADAA has a useful explainer here.)

final-therapygu_23840851_3ad732e6e2a37020f3ac49fcaf48f6305f631dcf

Did you find an approach that sounds like it might work for you? I hope so!

Intersectional Life Counseling and Therapy offers nearly all of these options: in-person sessions (individual and groups when available, and even outdoors!) as well as teletherapy sessions by video. (We do not offer text-based interventions.) See the chart below to compare them!

Compare Session options:

In Office Sessions Video Session Hiking Session
Standard Rates

Discounts Apply

Pre-pay required

X

Open Path (limited means) Availability

Client Location Lancaster Service Area Outside of Lancaster Service Area (PA only) Lancaster Service Area
Intake Process Set up in-office intake assessment session via phone or email. Intake determines acceptance for therapy or referral. Set up video intake assessment session via phone or email. Intake determines acceptance for therapy or referral. Set up in-office intake assessment session via phone or email. Intake session MUST BE IN OFFICE.

If accepted for therapy may schedule for hiking or in-office sessions as desired.

Insurance Reimburses Depends on insurance plan Depends on insurance plan Depends on insurance plan
EAPs cover (Quest/M&S)

TBD

TBD

Helps you get out of the house!

X

Please contact us today by email or phone to schedule!

 

Professional Discounts on Video Therapy Sessions, Too!

 

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You may qualify for a discount if you are a health / wellness practitioner, staff / faculty at a college or university, or staff / faculty at public schools. Please ask for a discount application.

For prospective clients in Pennsylvania but outside of the Lancaster service area, video sessions may be an alternative to in-person sessions.

Meeting face-to-face has some definite therapeutic advantages. This includes helping to develop the habit of placing self-care “on the front burner” long enough to leave the house for a session. Also, meeting in person allows for more thorough communication and connection in both directions via non-verbal cues.

But sometimes it may be worth forgoing a little of that advantage in order to access some other type of therapeutic benefit, such as a specialty or a particular therapeutic relationship. For some there may not be a local option for in-person therapy at all. In those cases, remote therapy can be the best choice.

Our video therapy sessions parallel in-person sessions as closely as possible and are conducted using a HIPAA-compliant video platform.

Dr. Liz is a fully PA-licensed Clinical Psychologist with eighteen years of experience doing therapy for those experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, dissociative disorders, and many others.

~For those of limited means of any profession (including students) we also participate in Open Path, which can be used for video sessions.

~Clinical service fees and discounts are the same for video sessions as for in-office sessions.

Please contact us regarding scheduling or with any questions.

 

~Compare therapy session options~

 

Welcoming John G. Smith, Ph.D., D.Min.!

REV. JOHN G. SMITH, PH.D.

Rev_John
Rev. Dr. John G. Smith (he/him) is a seasoned cross-cultural Pastoral Counselor who is extensively trained in Theology and in Sexology, with multiple advanced degrees from institutions in Jamaica, Indiana, and Florida. He works with individuals, couples, and families,  for a broad array of issues from grief and loss, relationships, anxiety, and sexual dysfunction, to conflict resolution.

 

Rev. Dr. John G. Smith (he/him) is a seasoned cross-cultural Pastoral Counselor who is extensively trained in Theology and in Sexology. He holds multiple advanced degrees from institutions including the University of the West Indies in  Jamaica, the Graduate Theological Seminary in Indiana, and the American Academy of Clinical Sexologists in Florida.

Reverend John works with individuals, couples, and families, for a broad array of issues from grief and loss, relationships, anxiety, and sexual dysfunction, to conflict resolution for groups.

He brings kindness and acceptance as well as a passion for supporting and working with people in urban settings.

To make an appointment with Rev. John, please call or email us!

About Us

 

 

Someone Said I Did A Racism; Now What? A Guide

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It’s the final day of Black History Month!
The past month has seen a number of high-profile figures being criticized for saying or doing racist things. In most cases that I saw, those in the spotlight made matters even worse by their responses. Have you wondered how you would respond in the same circumstance?
Nobody wants to think of themselves as racist. But the fact is, being raised in a racist society means that some of the time, we will all do or say some racist things, despite meaning well and often without even realizing it.
So what do you do if someone points out that what you have said or done is racist? Here is a guide.
1. First of all, hold that initial impulse to argue. Before you say anything, take a breath and pause for several seconds. If you must speak, say something like, “Okay. I need to think about this.”
2. On the emotional side, contain your defensiveness: Doing or saying a racist thing doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a bigot or a terrible person. Most people doing racist things are not bigots. It does mean that a piece of (very common!) racist conditioning has come up and it’s an opportunity to work on that and heal. If you are a person with a conscience and a heart, it will probably hurt to hear. That means your conscience and your heart are working! But try not to take this criticism as an attack. (This is hard!)
3. Recognize that your intention doesn’t excuse the outcome: If I run over your foot with my truck, it doesn’t matter whether I mean to or not. Your foot is going to be hurt–possibly broken. The same is true of racist acts and words. The vast majority of racism is unintentional, and it is injurious to others just the same.
So it’s okay if you find yourself saying “I didn’t mean to…” But recognize that is only the beginning, and only a tiny piece of the issue. It’s not an apology.
4. Try simply apologizing unconditionally and without a long explanation. It’s okay to say something like “I’m sorry. I see that was ugly.”  If this sounds hard (it is, emotionally speaking), try preparing by reviewing and practicing before this ever comes up, so you won’t be frozen or outraged if it happens. You may also want to review what not to do!
5. Manage your own feelings: This is really the hardest part.
Most of us, if not all, will feel defensive, hurt, attacked, misunderstood, guilty, sad, scared, angry, or some combination of the above. But those feelings are yours to manage, and you are strong enough to hold them.
Remember, the other person is not responsible for making you feel better for having hurt them, or to give you absolution. It’s especially important to let them have their feelings of upsetness without trying to talk them out of it or to burden them with the emotional work of reassuring you about it. That places additional work on them when they are already burdened with the hurt of racism, and it is unfair.
If you need to vent your feelings about this (which is healthy!) find someone else to talk with, preferably a racially conscious White friend or even a counselor. You may also want to journal, cry privately, read, pray, or meditate, just as you would with any other painful or uncomfortable feelings that you are processing.
6. What if they are wrong? Short answer: they’re not. Even though you didn’t mean it that way.
Think about it: if you are a White woman, haven’t you seen men doing sexism even when they didn’t realize it? Or they dismissed it? If you are a White person who is LGBT: haven’t you seen hetero people being homophobic or transphobic and then saying how much they love LGBT folks? Low-income people, haven’t you heard rich people talk about poor people like they really don’t matter at all in the ultimate equation? Yet if you asked them, they would probably say they like people generally, and had nothing against any particular poor person.
The worst judge of an -ism is the person committing it, and racism is no exception.
7. Don’t be discouraged from working on race issues: Pick it back up when you have healed. Think about your motives. Are you working on unlearning racism because it’s the right thing to do, or to get approval and recognition from people in a marginalized group? Work on race issues because you want to improve society, whether or not any specific BIPoC likes you (or you them). Unlearning is a lifelong process.
8. Develop authentic friendships: It is always more emotionally risky for a BIPoC to have a White friend than the other way around. So make yourself available, be friendly and helpful insofar as you are able, but remember that no one owes you friendship, no matter how nice you are to them. To borrow an analogy, friendship is not a vending machine.
For additional thoughts about interracial friendship, visit this thread:

PS: Whatever you do, resist the urge to do a “not all White People,” –no really, do not do a “not all White People.”

 

Our First “From You”: “Belonging to Yourself”

 

 

From time to time, our clients bring in articles, books, essays, or other materials that they have found especially helpful in work we are doing. Since one of the most valuable reviews is from someone who has been there, we’d like to share the helpfulness with others who may need it!

Today’s link is an article by Celeste Scott. It features an aspect of self-parenting: learning to belong to yourself instead of waiting for permission or approval from others.

To learn about other aspects of self-parenting (or self-re-parenting) in adulthood, read more on our blog here.