“I’m saying let’s get super-real with ourselves about how we create authority. Our challenge, as culture-makers, is to create leadership and possibilities out of our WORK, our IDEAS, and our material contributions. I’m striving, imperfectly, to rise to that.” – Kelly Diels
Finding ways to effectively communicate about our work as helping professionals can be tricky. We often fall back on clinical copy and professional language. We might feel drawn to trying to sound more like our colleagues instead of allowing ourselves to stand out from the crowd.
When we take the “safe” route in our communication about the healing work we do, what and to whom are we signaling?
Many of us, trained as clinicians, may feel we have learned that it is best to stick to neutrality. Clinical language and customs described in paperwork and web copy read as safe (at least this is what we have been taught).
In truth, neutrality in the face of suffering and inequities is not neutral. Neutrality does not signal safety to populations who routinely experience discrimination and bias.
The question must become: how will the people you serve know that they will be safe and affirmed in your presence with all of their intersecting identities? How do marginalized populations know that you are examining your privilege, your power dynamics and that you are aware of stigma as a helping professional? People need to know that their providers are weight-inclusive, black lives supporting, trans-affirming, etc. to consider your services.
When we do this, we increase the opportunity to convert our healing work and emotional labor into a larger message that errs to the side of inclusivity instead of neutrality. This promotes healing on a larger scale.
As Kelly Diels says, our work and ideas (read: innovation) are contributions we can make to the field. What do you truly want to communicate to the people you most want to support?
How can you do this in a way that makes your services safer for more people? Do you have a statement about your ethics available to your clients? Do you make a statement about inclusion and diversity anywhere for your clientele to see?
We know that our silence does not protect anyone. This is also true for our neutrality.
Let’s rise together.