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by Genevieve Kim, MA, LMFT

We are living in times where it does not feel safe to be seen as different, whether it be as a person of color or immigrant. Especially now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you might feel scared to be Asian due to the rise in aggressive racism and xenophobia towards the Asian community. As the daughter of immigrant parents, and as a second generation Korean American, trust me, I get it. The work we put into our own cultural identity formation can shape how we respond to issues concerning ethnicity and race. Through my personal racial and ethnic identity development, and hearing the stories of loved ones of diverse backgrounds, I have found that we need one another to become more healed, whole people.

If you don’t have trustworthy people to process certain experiences such as microaggressions, macroaggressions, prejudice, or racism, Lime Tree Counseling has therapists who have extensive cross-cultural experience who specialize in offering culturally sensitive therapy. Here are some ways to recognize whether it’s right for you:

1. You fear being seen as “different” and need a safe space to process experiences such as microaggressions or xenophobia. You have experiences that catch you off guard, but don’t know how or who to process those experiences with. Or you see what’s happening in the news and don’t have an outlet to discuss how acts of racism are impacting you.

2. You struggle to know how to be in a dominant cultural context. You feel uncertain or tense struggling to fully be yourself when the majority of those around you are of dominant culture, whether it be at work or socially.

3. You don’t know where you belong. You vacillate between your native culture and dominant culture, but can’t quite find your place.

4. You feel isolated and misunderstood. A saying or a gesture in your native culture is completely misinterpreted by another culture leaving you feeling remorseful, confused, and alone.

5. You try to assimilate to dominant culture in an effort to be accepted, but at the cost of losing your ethnic identity. From trying so hard to be accepted by majority culture or being raised in an environment in which you were the minority, you feel disconnected and distant from your native cultural roots and want to get back in touch with them.

6. You have a distaste for dominant culture or other cultures. You carry pain/hurt from wounds caused by those of other cultures either personally or historically.

7. Your adaptability leaves you feeling unknown and questioning why those from dominant culture don’t try to acclimate to you just as much as you do for them. You feel resentful towards those of majority culture for not trying to reciprocate adjusting to your cultural ways of doing and being, so you feel unseen.

8. You wonder how to integrate the different parts that make up your cultural identity. You recognize that there are different aspects to forming your racial and ethnic identity and could use support navigating how to integrate all the parts together.

If you resonate with any of these statements, know that there’s absolutely nothing wrong

with you. The fact that you’re grappling with wanting to do something about it, find a different way of being that makes you feel better, and seek support through this process is a huge step and one that will be meaningful in the end.

In part 2 of this blog, I will address what exactly Culturally Sensitive Therapy is all about and why it matters. Check that one out next week!

Culturally Sensitive Therapy in Pennsylvania

Several counselors on our team at Lime Tree Counseling specialize in offering Culturally-Sensitive Therapy. Please contact us today to set up a free 15-minute phone consultation or your first appointment. We understand how isolating and misunderstood you can feel, and would love to help you feel more whole, connected, and healed again. We are here to help you!

Online Counseling Services

We offer all our therapy services online to residents of Pennsylvania. Our therapists specialize in anxiety therapy, trauma & PTSD treatment, and addictions counseling. Please contact us today and start the journey to feeling better – we want you to live life as you were made to live!