PROVIDING INCLUSIVE THERAPY
Because it's important
I’m a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) based in Los Angeles. There are common misconceptions around my title–people often assume I solely work with married people or families. The MFT role really just implies that I can work with people that have issues stemming from relationships and, because we are relational beings, that essentially translates to much of the population. With that being said, I tell prospective clients that as many different therapists there are, there are that many different approaches to therapy. My approach was largely informed by my intersectionality, particularly as an adult child of Iranian and Jewish immigrants as well as a college graduate of UC Santa Cruz. For those who don’t know, UCSC can be characterized as a bit of a social justice-hippie-bubble. I recall the classes that had the most impact on me were Psychology and Law as well as Women’s Studies where I began to understand systemic issues in a deeper way. My experiences in this space supported a commitment of advocating for marginalized communities including POC, the queer community, and first generation individuals.
Thereafter I eventually committed to the Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy program at USC which distinguished themselves as supporting change agents in minoritized communities. I decided to marry my natural empathy as both an adult child of divorce and the metaphoric, “Mother,” of many social circles with my passion for advocating for those who are systematically marginalized. After much training, this path has resulted in a trauma-informed, feminist, and inclusive approach to therapy.
I believe that everyone can benefit from inclusive therapy though I realize I may be a bit biased. Having an inclusive approach is powerful in that clients can walk away from a sacred space which embraces and honors their intersectionality rather than pathologizing or “othering,” it. This space often becomes one of the only ones where clients can come as they are and shed a mask that they may feel they may need to otherwise mobilize in defense of the external world. Research tells us that clients benefit from inclusive therapists through opportunities to build stronger rapport, trust, and personalized care which can support better outcomes and improved mental health overall.
I understand that there is a lot of truth to the process of needing to shop around for a suitable therapist. Many people underestimate this piece of their journey, understandably, because by the time they may admit they would like to pursue therapy, they feel that they’re already at their wit’s end. I like to validate that experience because I know it can exacerbate a bit of a pre-existing headache due to barriers in our healthcare system–which can be maddening in and of itself. We can work to accept that and continue seeking out resources from our community nonetheless. I recommend that clients seek out an inclusive therapist because, if they happen to be a person of color, they have undoubtedly experienced some sort of discrimination throughout their lives and the therapy space should be the last place where this occurs. It should also be a space where a client is receiving support more than they ever feel the need to educate their therapist about their culture. The space is designated for the client, and for it to work, I believe that trust and safety must be present at minimum.
Prospective clients can look to directories such as inclusivetherapists.com for a therapist that may be suitable for them. In addition, I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free intro call where prospective clients and I can get a feel for whether we are a good fit. Otherwise, I am happy to help you in this important and potentially life changing journey in support of your mental health.
x Lillian Farzan