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Hi! I'm Silvana.

Safe spaces or Brave spaces?

Published 11 months ago • 2 min read

Reader,

Not too long ago I shared with you my thoughts on safe spaces and brave spaces within community settings.

I mentioned that while my wish is to create a safe environment for people, I cannot guarantee that no harm will ever occur. Why?

  • All of us have grown up with biases that we strive to unlearn throughout our lives.
  • Even with good intentions, well-meaning comments can still cause harm.
  • Our privileged identities prevent us from fully understanding the experiences of people who hold systemically marginalized identities

I can do my best to establish a supportive framework for a group (one example here) and ask you to hold me accountable in regularly reviewing and refining that framework. However, I cannot control everyone’s actions and reactions, so harm may still occur.

But I also shared with you that my focus is on offering decolonized repair:

  • Repair where there is some space to discuss intentions
  • Repair that prioritizes the impact our words, behaviors, or omissions have on others.

Communal repair takes place within an embodied brave space. A space where:

  • I’m curious about people’s intentions and how they affected me
  • I allow myself to be vulnerable, express fear, and share my feelings of hurt and anger
  • I check in with myself (intellectually, emotionally, physically, and energetically) before responding and interacting with others
  • I respect my own pace and honor the way my nervous system and brain function

But an embodied brave space is also a space where the person who caused the rupture is:

  • open to listen to the hurt they caused
  • aware that they may become defensive or triggered, and recognizes that being triggered is not the same as being unsafe
  • willing to be uncomfortable and understands that causing harm does automatically make them a bad person
  • able to apologize AND to explain the corrective action they will take

What does this have to do with decolonizing your practice?

It has everything to do with it! You are at the core of your practice, and how you engage with your clients, either individually or in a group, is an aspect of the practice that we should all decolonize. How we engage in repair and how we acknowledge our role in causing a rupture (with clients, colleagues, friends, etc) should be a behavior that we constantly strive to decolonize.

How are you seek repair when someone has caused a rupture? How do you engage in repair when you have caused a rupture?

Hit reply and let me know. I would love to share your insights with this community!

Thanks for being here,

Silvana @ Decolonize Your Practice

PS.

As some of you may know, my friend Ariana and I have been working on a project that combines our professional and personal interests. Ariana is focused on helping therapists build anti-oppressive private practices, while I'm all about helping therapists incorporate decolonized and liberation focused valued in their practices. And at the intersection we created Radical Practice Podcast, a podcast dedicated to creating strong, healthy, profitable, values-driven, untraditional, and decolonized practices.

We will be launching soon and would love it if you followed us on IG for now. Stay tuned for more announcements!

PPS.

If you are new to this newsletter, you can read previous newsletter posts here.

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Hi! I'm Silvana.

Decolonization and liberation coach for mental health professionals and service providers

I help clinicians, healers, and coaches incorporate decolonized and liberatory values in their practices so that you can have a practice and/or service-based business that is truly affirming and welcoming to clients who hold marginalized identities.

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