Portland Psychotherapy is committed to making this organization a welcoming place where diversity is celebrated, and all people feel welcomed and comfortable. We seek to remediate disparities in society and contribute to a more equitable, just, and inclusive society in our local community and internationally. We seek to be a part of dismantling the practices of white supremacy which are pervasive in this country. Dismantling systemic racism and oppression is a long-term project and we intend to be part of the movement by making necessary changes in our society.
Below we outline our various practices and intentions to support these aspirations:
Our Scientific Research
As an organization that conducts scientific research, we acknowledge that most of psychology has focused on the experience of white, relatively wealthy, college educated, and Western populations and therefore neglects the perspectives of the majority of people on this planet. Furthermore, we acknowledge that scientific research, including in the area of psychology, has a history of exploiting BIPOC individuals by not providing them with informed consent, adequate renumeration, safeguards to their wellbeing, or returning the benefits of scientific advances to these communities. This has resulted in historic harms as well as a limited and biased perspectives that have contributed to furthering inequities and devaluing experiences and perspectives not represented in scientific research. As scientific researchers we will:
- Develop study designs and recruitment strategies that work to incorporate the perspectives of under-represented voices in our research.
- Acknowledge the limitations of science and that science is but one way of knowing in this world. While our aim is to use science to develop more compassionate and effective interventions to address the problems of human suffering, we also seek to be humble in its application to individuals, particularly those who identify with groups that tend to be less represented in research.
- Aim to pursue lines of scientific research that do not just benefit dominant identities and cultural groups, but rather that can contribute to the advancement and decreased suffering of all.
- Seek to influence scientific societies we are members of to be more equitable, just, and inclusive. We do this in part by speaking up in those contexts about the ways in which scientific research has failed and continues to fail to adequately represent the perspective of most humans, especially those from BIPOC communities.
- Seek to be involved in scientific traditions, especially contextual behavioral science (CBS), that develop strategies and interventions shown to decrease stigma, prejudice, and other forms of “othering.” See CBS resources section below for more information.
Our Educational and Training Services
As an organization that provides training to mental health providers, we strive to foster inclusion, diversity, and equity in the larger mental health community. In our educational efforts, we will:
- Host trainings for the community focused specifically on issues related to diversity, racism, inclusion, and equity.
- Ask all presenters to address issues related to race and diversity in their presentations.
- We provide scholarships at all training events for people who work with or identify with under-represented or marginalized groups in society, particularly BIPOC populations.
- When hiring outside trainers for educational events we host, we seek out those with lived diverse experiences in an effort to provide a platform for the voices and wisdom of those in under-represented or marginalized groups.
Our Clinical Services
We acknowledge the massive healthcare disparities that persist in our country, including in the area of mental health. In our efforts to help ameliorate those inequalities, we do the following with regards to our clinical services:
- We provide services for medicaid and Oregon Health Plan, so that we can serve people who otherwise might not have access to care.
- We set aside a portion of our organizational budget to provide low fee services. In addition to having dedicated therapists who primarily or exclusively offer low fee services, we support all clinical staff in setting aside some portion of their work to offering low fee services.
- We partner with community organizations that can help us maximize the impact of our low fee services by reaching those most affected by the disparities in health outcomes related to race and other aspects of identity.
- We seek to hire a diverse group of mental health providers so as to better serve and represent the community we are a part of.
- We seek to educate ourselves on best practices for working across cultural lines and for addressing the impacts of systemic racism and other forms of oppression.
Our Management and Operations
We acknowledge that Portland is the traditional land of the Multnomah, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Tumwater, Tualatin Kalapuya, Wasco, Molalla, Cowlitz and Watlala bands of the Chinook and many other nations who made their homes along the Columbia River. While Portland is one of the least diverse cities in America, Portland is home to the 6th largest urban Native American /American Indian population in the country. We also acknowledge that where our building stands has been an historically Black neighborhood and that gentrification as well as overtly racist practices and policies have contributed to the inability of many of those Black residents to remain in their neighborhood and homes.
We also acknowledge that we are currently a largely White organization, and that White, middle and upper-class, American values and concepts will repeatedly create blind spots and biases that we need to continually strive to overcome. In order to become more diverse and just, and therefore also a stronger and more effective organization, we will:
- Prioritize diversity of perspective, experience, and background in our hiring processes so as to better represent the variety of views, backgrounds, and experiences in society.
- Support staff in continually learning about themselves and their biases, privilege, and the impact of our cultural and racial backgrounds in influencing how we work. All staff (clinical, research, and administrative) have dedicated funding they can use to further their education and training on topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Continue formed workgroups to identify concrete ways our organization can be more effectively anti-racist at all levels of our operations. We encourage all staff (clinical, research, and administrative) to participate in these workgroups and trainings to help us all become more aware of ways that we contribute to the maintenance of white supremacy and identify ways we can be a part of its dismantling.
- Educate our staff about our anti-racist stance and policies inside our organization and set clear expectations that we are fostering an anti-racist culture within our organization.
- Educate staff about the history of racism in Portland, specifically in the neighborhood where we practice.
- Recognize that this work will not stop until principles of equity, fairness, and inclusion are lived values in our society. Therefore, we are committing to a continual process of self-reflection, growth, education, and standing up for anti-racist values within our local and extended communities.