Run A Little Walk A Little

Important lesson learned from Katrina is that mental health providers must “be willing to openly discuss the effect of institutional racism and the role of power and oppression” in the lives of their African American clients.
“Healthy cultural suspicion” African Americans demonstrate towards therapists and counselors who are involved in providing cross-racial treatment. The legacy of mistrust can lead to profound experiences of anger and rage. Clinicians should not take these responses to racism personally.
Health provider lessons:
1) Understand African Americans’ worldview, language, communication style values re: community and interpersonal relationships.
2) Acknowledge the role that religion and spirituality may play in healing
3) Relief-effort coordinators strive to include responders that reflect the survivors’ ethnic, racial, and social backgrounds.  (2 concerns about health providers in Katrina were that there were few persons of color and they were not culturally sensitive)
Concept of Home and Homeplace: For Katrina, the memory of home was kept alive through storytelling for African American. they developed physical, spiritual, and emotional survival skills that fostered multigenerational resilience.
Home or Homeplace is a safe place where African Americans could “strive to be subjects, not objects, where we could be affirmed in our minds and hearts despite poverty, hardship, and deprivation, where we could restore ourselves the dignity denies us on the outside in the public world” . homeplace elicits feelings of empowerment, belonging, commitment, rootedness, ownership, safety, and renewal.
80% of African Americans may never be able to return to their homes. During the disaster the ability to leave was a result of a lack of transportation, money, credit cards, or alternative housing.
Religion, Spirituality, and the role of black churches: spiritual metaphors as way to express survival and psychological resilience. Therapist should ask directly about religious and spiritual beliefs.
Katrina – inability to locate relatives and give them a proper burial. It would help the survivor to pray for those lost and missing.
Red Cross needs to connect with churches, relief centers and shelters to add to aid during a disaster.

ch 33 Working with families who are homeless
Model used to create and refine the way therapists maintain awareness and reduce the negative impact of our social location for helping families who are homeless
1) focus on a creating a respectful, collaborative relationship with families and shelter staff
2) “institutionalized” regular consultations with senior colleagues of color on all aspects of the program and research by making these consultations the first principle of the collaborative family program development model
3) as the supervisor to my student staff, I attempt through the feelings I share and the questions I ask, to create a climate in which we allow ourselves to be deeply affected professionally and personally by our encounters with families in the shelter.
Homeless does not fit into a stereotypical box
Challenges homeless face: Lack most of the material foundations that enable human growth – housing with adequate space, informal networks of social support and child care, safe places for children to play, affordable and reliable transportation, steady income.
Homeless families experience stigmas of: lazy, mentally ill. The policies of homeless shelters represent a major source of stigma in how they are enforced.
children may be parentified to do tasks of an adult to help the family.
therapists should adopt and maintain the collaborative, resilience-oriented stance. And  establish a “re humanizing” relationship for the families strength to reemerge.
Usefulness of shelter-based multiple family group programs: helps create “micro-communities” of support and care within the shelter that extend beyond the group, to help reach many families at once.
Externalize Homelessness: Helps families to separate their fundamental identity format their current conditions and stressors, creating more space to expand on descriptions and activities that reassert their preferred identity and putting the experience of homelessness in its place.
Family Play and Creative Activities: Challenge and coping mobiles and collages, work and housing genogram, family and work goals time line, Letters to or from the Future.

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