Church Street Counseling Center
Facilitators: Jennie Beuhler, AMFT and Connor Benefield, AMFT
Consultant: Natalie Bell, LMFT
This group is intended for white-identified people who want to be better allies, accomplices, and co-conspirators for racial justice, and who are interested in doing the internal work of processing difficult emotions that come up around race (some may call this White Fragility). The goal of this group is to increase awareness of and work through some of these emotional experiences that can come up and get in the way of our ability to stay engaged and fully present during interactions across race and privilege. To do this we will practice building our capacity to be with challenging emotions. Our hope in creating a group just for white-identified people is to provide a space where we can build awareness of our white conditioning and fragility, and practice taking responsibility for behaviors that come from our white conditioning without the risk of harming people of color.
There are three things we are looking for in participants:
- Self-identify as white
- Already have some familiarity with topics of white privilege and systemic and historical racism. For example, you may have seen 13th, or read The New Jim Crow, Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, White Fragility, or A People’s History of the United States. Maybe you listen to podcasts like CodeSwitch, Uncivil, Hoodrat to Headwrap, or Nice White Parents.
- Participants have noticed an emotional experience getting in the way of their ability to show up for racial justice in the way that they would like to. Here are just a few examples of those kind of experiences:
- Hearing a person of color’s experience of racism as a personal attack
- Finding yourself keeping silent during conversations around race, not wanting to say the wrong thing
- Having a fear of being seen as racist
- Experiencing shame or anger when others raise the topic of whiteness
- Not being able to tolerate expressions of anger by Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC)
- Feeling apathetic or incapable of communicating your thoughts and feelings when you witness, hear about, or experience racial injustice
- $40 Intake fee - pays fees for consultant Natalie Bell, LMFT
- Sliding Scale - goes toward paying consultant Natalie Bell, LMFT any extra to be donated to The Okra Project
We will be collecting a $40 fee for the intake session which will go toward the full fee of our consultant. This fee will be waived if during the intake session it becomes clear that the group will not be the right fit for the client at the moment. Participants in the group will be charged between $15-50 per session (approx. $120-400 for 8 sessions) based on a sliding scale that is determined by the client’s monthly income after taxes. The cost of the first 4 sessions will be due at intake, and the rest will be due at the group’s midpoint, on February 5th.
All of the fees collected will be split between paying consultant Natalie Bell, LMFT and being donated to The Okra Project, which supports the dismantling of white supremacy and actively works towards racial justice by providing COVID-19 relief, access to food and mental health services, and supporting businesses of Black Trans people in New York.
This group will meet Thursday evenings from 6-8pm on Zoom and will run for eight consecutive weekly sessions starting January 7, 2021. It will be a closed group with a maximum of 8 members.
To determine whether or not a potential client is a good fit for the group we will conduct an intake session with each client. In this session we will explore not only their psychological history, but also their experience around understanding their whiteness. Members who have met the criteria above will be accepted to the group, and the intake fee will be waived for those who are not determined to be a good fit for the group.
This group will be co-facilitated by two Associate Marriage and Family Therapists and is offered through the Integral Counseling Center at Church Street. Connor Benefield (they/them) is a white, trans, queer, abled, triple Libra from Michigan with a deep personal interest in racial justice and dismantling white supremacy. They are a MA graduate in Integral Counseling Psychology at CIIS, an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist Registration Applicant at the Church St clinic, and are supervised by Debbie Stone, LMFT 83534. Jennie Beuhler (she/her) graduated with a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from CIIS and is a Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, AMFT 122020, at Grateful Heart Holistic Therapy Center. She is supervised by Anna Benassi, LMFT 96595. She identifies as a cisgender, heterosexual, white woman who is dedicated to supporting the movement towards an anti-racist society.
We will be taking several steps to ensure accountability of both the white-identified therapists and the white-identified group members in their goal of supporting racial justice. First, the therapists are seeking the support of a therapist of color to support in the role of consultant, offering feedback and guidance. Throughout the course of the group, clients will be invited to reflect and build on their own personal and active practice as anti-racist allies, accomplices, and co-conspirators in their lives outside of the group. Lastly, while keeping the confidentiality of individual members of the group, the facilitators will present their experience to fellow colleagues at Church Street Integral Counseling Center as a way to continue the dialogue on how white therapists can support racial justice work.
To learn more and set up an intake session to see if this group is a right fit for you click the link below.