The Liberation Institute Mental Health in San Francisco & Portland Thu, 28 Sep 2023 12:59:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Liberation Institute 32 32 Trivia Night at Liberation Institute Thu, 28 Sep 2023 12:34:02 +0000 Date: Friday, October 6

Time: 6:30 PM

Location: Liberation Institute

Event Details:

Join us for an evening of intellectual fun and camaraderie at Liberation Institute’s Trivia Night! Test your knowledge and support a great cause—all while having a blast with friends and fellow trivia enthusiasts.

Event Highlights:

  • Trivia Time: Put your thinking caps on and get ready for some challenging questions that cover a wide range of topics. It’s your chance to shine and demonstrate your knowledge.
  • Hosted at Capitola Coffee Street: Our trivia night takes place at the delightful Capitola Coffee Street, a charming venue that provides the perfect backdrop for an engaging evening.
  • Team Play: Gather your friends and form teams of up to 6 people. Teamwork and collaboration are encouraged as you work together to answer trivia questions and win fabulous prizes.
  • Grand Prize: Compete for the top spot and a chance to win the $25 grand prize. The thrill of victory awaits the sharpest minds!
  • Free Entry: It’s not just about the competition; it’s about coming together as a community. Entry is absolutely free, so don’t miss out on the chance to join the fun.
  • Benefitting Liberation Institute: By participating in this event, you’re supporting Liberation Institute, a local non-profit mental health clinic dedicated to making a positive impact on our community’s well-being.

Event Contact:

For more information about the Trivia Night or to RSVP, visit us on Instagram at @capitolacoffeeppx.

Mark your calendar and bring your A-game to Liberation Institute’s Trivia Night. It’s an evening of friendly competition, learning, and giving back to the community. We can’t wait to see you there!

Recovery’s Remedy: A Monthly Gathering for Addiction Support Thu, 28 Sep 2023 12:25:29 +0000 Addiction can be a formidable adversary, but the journey to recovery is not one that you have to face alone. “Recovery’s Remedy” offers a monthly gathering where you can find the support and camaraderie you need to take those important steps towards healing. Let’s delve into the details of this vital support group.

Time: Monthly gathering for addiction support, held on the first Tuesday of each month.

Contact: To RSVP, please email Elizabeth at

Location: You can find us at The Rhizome.

Who this group is for: “Recovery’s Remedy” is a supportive community designed for individuals seeking addiction support. Whether you are on the path to recovery or supporting a loved one, you are welcome to join this gathering.

How many times this group will run for: This group meets on a monthly basis, offering consistent and reliable support for those navigating the challenges of addiction and recovery.

“Recovery’s Remedy” serves as a beacon of hope and support for those on the journey to recovery. The focus here is on creating a safe and welcoming space where you will find the support you need. To join this monthly gathering and take steps towards healing and recovery, simply reach out to Elizabeth at to RSVP. You don’t have to face addiction alone, and “Recovery’s Remedy” is here to remind you of that.

Nourished by Stillness: A Mindful Inquiry Group Thu, 28 Sep 2023 12:21:21 +0000 Led by the experienced facilitator Maggie, “Nourished by Stillness” provides a space for individuals to explore the transformative power of mindfulness and inquiry. In the heart of the Liberation Office on Stark St., you’ll find solace and support as you embark on this journey of self-discovery and inner peace. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Maggie at to learn more and reserve your spot in this enriching exploration of stillness and mindfulness.

Time: Tuesdays 5:30-7pm

Facilitators: Maggie

Facilitators Bio:

  • Maggie: Our dedicated facilitator, Maggie, brings a wealth of experience in mindfulness and inquiry practices. Her commitment to this transformative journey makes her the ideal guide for this group.

Supervisor name: Elizabeth Hoke LMFT T1440

Contact: For more information and to reserve your spot, please email Maggie at

Location: You can find us at the Liberation Office on Stark St.

Who this group is for: “Nourished by Stillness” is open to all people of all levels of experience who are interested in mindfulness and inquiry practices. Whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or new to the world of mindfulness, you are welcome to join.

How many weeks this group will run for: This group offers an ongoing, drop-in format, allowing you to participate as you’re able. The flexibility of this format ensures that you can integrate mindfulness and inquiry into your life at your own pace.

Embracing Transitions Support Group Thu, 28 Sep 2023 12:19:01 +0000 Amidst life’s ever-changing currents, we sometimes find ourselves at profound crossroads, facing transformative shifts. In today’s fast-paced world, these pivotal moments often slip by unnoticed. “Embracing Transitions” is here to change that. This therapeutic group draws inspiration from age-old rites of passage to offer a sanctuary for those navigating or bracing for significant life changes. Let’s delve into the details of this transformative journey.

Facilitators: Simone and Maggie

Facilitators Bio:

  • Simone: Simone is a seasoned yoga and meditation teacher, experiential educator, and rite of passage guide. Her extensive background in somatics and eco-psychology uniquely equips her to guide individuals through transformative journeys.
  • Maggie: Maggie brings a wealth of experience in Council Facilitation and Voice Dialogue parts work. With two years of immersive experience in a Buddhist monastery and ongoing study in the Diamond Approach inquiry method, she offers profound spiritual and psychological insights to the group.

Supervisor name: Elizabeth Hoke LMFT T1440

Contact: To register, simply email


  • Separation Phase: Join us online on Thursdays from 6:30 to 8 pm.
  • Ceremony Phase: Immerse yourself in an in-person experience at Corbett, OR, on 10/19, 10/26, 11/2, and Sunday, 11/5, from 12-5 pm, with an optional potluck.
  • Return Phase: We reconvene online on Thursdays from 6:30 to 8 pm on 11/9 and 11/16.

Who this group is for: “Embracing Transitions” is for individuals who have recently experienced or are about to undergo significant life events, such as a change in career or retirement, the loss of a loved one, the ending or beginning of a relationship, a significant shift in personal identity or spiritual beliefs, becoming a parent or experiencing an “empty nest,” major health changes or diagnosis, or discovering a newfound sense of purpose. This group is designed to provide a supportive and transformative space during these pivotal moments.

How many weeks this group will run for: The program spans 6 weeks, ensuring participants have ample time to navigate and honor life’s transformative transitions.

Becoming a Home for our Selves: An Introduction to Voice Dialogue Facilitation Thu, 28 Sep 2023 12:05:06 +0000 I am very honored to be joining the Liberation Institute this Fall along with my wife Maggie. In this piece, I’d like to share about a way of working that we have both trained in –Voice Dialogue–and why we love it so much. 

Truly, this practice has tenderized our hearts and minds, taught us a level of self-acceptance and self-love that we had not known before, and invites us to use every challenge in life as a way to deepen in understanding and forgiveness. And in addition to being a healing process, this practice can also be extremely beautiful–and honestly even quite fun. -Eric Rode 

An Example 

First, let’s give an example that we can work with together through this article. 

CLIENT: [Sighing, her shoulders collapsed] I work so hard all day. When I get home from work, I really want to do things that, like, matter–I mean I want to work on my music, meditate, read, exercise, cook a healthy meal–and–I really want to find a partner! I’m still alone at thirty six… But after work, almost every day, I end up just smoking some pot, eating just whatever is around, and then watching a bunch of TV. 

“I did this amazing psychedelic journey a few months ago when I felt so much love–I mean at one point I can only say I felt the upwelling of this pure, sacred compassion flow through me…I’m not, like religious, but it felt like deep kind of Motherly love was in my heart…and I felt so inspired…I was sure that after that experience I would just want to share my love in the world everyday through my music and through my relationships…but I’m totally failing and just falling back into the same old patterns. I feel like I’m making no real progress at all. 

What is Voice Dialogue? 

The way we practice it, Voice Dialogue is a present-moment-focused, somatically based way of contacting, understanding and integrating the many internal “selves” that make up each of us.

Through the process, we learn that we identify with some of our inner selves, and reject others. When we are feeling “stuck” in addiction, depression, anxiety, obsession, and so forth, it signifies that we are either rejecting an aspect of our inner experience, thus preventing it from unfolding naturally into true understanding, or that we are totally identified with an inner self, and as a result being thrown off balance. 

In the above example, as a Voice Dialogue facilitator I can identify at least four voices that are asking to be understood, and I am throwing in some initial hypotheses about them: 

The Pusher: This self is used to working very hard at its day job. When the client gets home, her Pusher wants to continue to work and make the most of her time. ❖ As her facilitator, it seems to me that this Pusher has been around for a 

long time, running the show. I wonder if perhaps she (the Pusher) fears wasting her time or not making progress, and maybe she learned in youth that anything truly valuable must be worked hard for–in other words, that true value is dependent on doing something. I wonder if the Pusher has turned the music, the meditation, etc., which began as inspirations, into simply more work projects–more shoulds. 

The Chiller: Though this self shows up most every day, the client is rejecting, or partially disowning its presence. But when she is exhausted after a long day, this self comes up and just wants to take the pressure off, to enjoy. 

❖ I am inclined to believe that the chiller is not an enemy, but actually holds an important gift for the client which she is so far not open to embracing. I might ask the Chiller: What is so nourishing about smoking pot and watching TV? Are you able to come out at work at all, or is relaxation basically impermissible at work due to the Pusher’s control? What did you think about that psychedelic experience? 

The Inner Critic: This voice makes our client’s work at understanding the Pusher and the Chiller a lot more difficult. Our Inner Critics are often at the center of keeping us in our old patterns; kept constantly under their evaluation as if they are unforgiving parent, it is hard for us to take risks and try something new . This voice is constantly telling the client how she is failing the Pusher’s demands–for instance, it says to her “Gosh, you really have totally failed to integrate what you learned on that psychedelic journey.” 

❖ As a facilitator I hypothesize that this voice is quite dominant, and creates a lot of the exhaustion which makes the client collapse entirely into the Chiller’s zone each night. 

The Compassionate “Loving Mother”: It seems that on her psychedelic journey, the client touched into a very beautiful and more disowned self–the archetype of the Mother who responds to the pains of the world with an abundance of love, inspiration, and beauty. 

❖ What keeps this self relegated to far off in the heavens, and what conditions in that psychedelic experience has allowed it to come forth? How might it be hard for the client to be open to this upwelling of compassion when she is so identified with working hard (Pusher) and being hard on herself (Critic)? 

Cultivating Understanding Rather than Attempting to Fix 

In Voice Dialogue we do not attempt to “fix” our selves. 

That might seem simple, but it’s pretty radical. How much of the day do we usually spend trying to manipulate our inner and outer worlds? 

Rather than try to fix, Voice Dialogue aims at broadening our understanding of what is happening in our inner world. When we cultivate this Center Presence which can hold all the tensions of opposites inside ourselves, we spontaneously move toward health, vitality, connection, and wisdom. This can be difficult and even frightening initially, because most of us lack the trust that in letting go of control our being will naturally find a state of balance–we think we need to control and manipulate our inner world. All of this is part of the beauty and challenge of the practice of Voice Dialogue. 

A Brief Glimpse of the Process 

Listening for Selves

First, the client comes in and shares what they are going through–this can include what is happening in their inner-world, in their relationships, work, or dreams–anything. As the client shares, the facilitator will be listening with a gentle ear for the different inner selves who are alive within the client–very often, there will be a conflict in the client between two selves who have opposite views on what is important and what the client should do. 

After talking some more and understanding the situation, the facilitator and the client decide on an inner-self they would like to hear from. When they are ready to facilitate a self, the facilitator asks the client to physically move over to either side in order to find a spot in the room where this self can be–this makes it a lot easier for the client to truly move into becoming and expressing as this self. This can sound a little strange or artificial, but we have found people quickly get the hang of it, and embodying different parts can become quite natural. If it feels unnatural, then this is itself super interesting information for us to work with–for instance we might ask who inside of us holds the belief that we are not “theatrical” types? Truly though, this is not theater nor performance, this is just letting ourselves consciously be the various selves who already inhabit our being. 

Exploring one Primary Self 

So, with this client in our example, we would probably start with the self that is most primary–the Pusher. We would allow the Pusher the space to speak in an uninhibited way. As she does, we are learning about why she thinks work is so important, where she learned that, what she wants to get out of her time after work, etc. This isn’t just mind-based talk therapy–we are not just witnessing the content of what she says, but actually spending time with self and getting to feel her energy. 

The Center: Separation from the Self 

After that conversation feels complete, the facilitator will ask the client to move back to what the founders of voice dialogue called “the aware ego process.” Since this is just a little clunky sounding, Maggie and I like to call this aspect of our being the Center. This is the place that can embrace all of the selves, and that can make conscious choices through holding all the conflicting desires and opinions. 

The Center is the essence of Voice Dialogue. The more we can learn how to embrace the selves and not be caught up in them, the freer we are and the more contact we have with what’s really true, and not just a conditioned belief of one of our selves which we invariably picked up from someone else. 

How Does Expressing the Selves Heal?: One Distinction from IFS 

We find that this modality strikes a beautiful balance between giving active expression to one’s selves and their emotions, and learning to not have to act out what the selves want, but to hold them in awareness and calmness. Sometimes it is really helpful to express–to let a judgmental self be witnessed being angry and critical, for example, or to let an afraid child part curl up in fear. Embodying these parts allows us to really feel them, rather than merely talk or think about them. 

Maggie and I both spent two years living and training at a Zen monastery, which was actually where we encountered Voice Dialogue for the first time. It was revolutionary for us to learn how to stop getting swept away in the current of worries, plans, and judgments, and simply abide as silent, loving awareness. 

However, as we sat for hours and days simply watching our thoughts and emotions, and studying ourselves, we noticed that some inner voices were really sticky–we kept seeing them again and again. It was very powerful for us to learn this practice in which we did not simply sit with them, but were able to embody them and express them–for this seemed to allow us to deepen our intimacy and acceptance of them, and recognize the ways in which we were holding these parts at an arm’s length by being our calm Meditator selves. 

In many ways, Voice Dialogue and IFS are extremely similar. One of the main differences is this emphasis on expression. Whereas in IFS the client speaks internally to the inner parts and then reports back to the therapist, in Voice Dialogue we actually get the chance to feel what it is like to be that self. By moving and speaking like the self, we are very often surprised; the part often is different than how we thought it was going to be. And when we move back to the Center, we are able to feel very distinctively how we can separate from this part of ourselves. We have great respect for IFS and draw on many of its principles–and we find there is a unique power to actively embodying parts of ourselves that we have been identified with or that we have disowned. 

How Does Abiding as the Center Heal?

So this active expression of the Selves can cultivate understanding and move stuck energy. But psychologists are rightly wary of catharsis without purpose; these emotional expressions don’t heal by themselves–what is really deeply healing is for these movements of emotion to be witnessed and understood by the calm, connected, compassion Center, who is not dominated by any of the desires, rules, or beliefs of any of the Selves. 

As children, when we had uncomfortable or overwhelming experiences, we needed our parents to hold this space of compassion for us. When, for many of us, our parents weren’t there to hold this space, it was too much for us to hold on our own, so we rejected the experience and in some way blocked it out. Voice Dialogue is a way of truly learning how to parent ourselves–to hold this space within. We learn that this Center has far more capacity to experience the pains and the blisses of life than we thought. When we, from the Center, embrace our experience, it unfolds naturally for us, and the deeper qualities of our soul–strength, joy, peace, compassion, self-value, can express themselves organically. 

This Center is a deep medicine we each need, and indeed we each are. Beyond us as individuals, our world is in such a state of polarization. The more we can find this tension-holding Center space within ourselves, the more we can support our communities, nations, and world in finding balance, reciprocity, and reconciliation. 

What Issues Can it Support? 

Consider checking out Voice Dialogue if you: 

-Want to live less from unconscious habits and start living from a place of freedom, choice, and awareness 

-Are attempting to integrate non-ordinary experiences into daily life (for instance you want to learn how the experiences you have had in meditation or with a psychedelic medicine can be embodied in your day-to-day experience 

-Notice your Inner Critic is often present judging you and attempting to control -Are working with patterns of shame, doubt, self-hatred 

-Are working with anxiety, depression, obsession, fear 

-Are feeling “stuck” in any kind of way, or are experiencing inner conflict of any kind -Are curious how the challenges of relationships can support deeper inner unfoldment

-Notice you often are judging others

-Are in the midst of life transitions or decisions 

-Want to contact a deeper source of motivation and inner-guidance other beyond following what you think you”should” do 

-Are curious about deeper spiritual unfoldment that is usually blocked by the patterned conditioning of these inner selves. 

You might especially like Voice Dialogue if you: 

-Are frustrated with how talk-therapy often keeps people in the head, talking about experiences, rather than experiencing more deeply 

-Want a kind of therapy that engages the body, the heart, and the mind and values all these three centers equally 

-Enjoy working with dreams (Voice Dialogue has a wonderful way of dreamwork) 

Email expressing your interest in Voice Dialogue work to begin this journey today!

Author info:

Eric Rode 
Eric is supervised by Elizabeth Hoke LMFT T1440

Weekly Support Group – Wednesdays at 6PM Fri, 12 May 2023 08:27:11 +0000 Every Wednesday at 6:00pm-7:00pm PST

For anyone looking for a safe space for general support.
Weekly group therapy focused on offering a safe, collaborative space for general support.


Shelly Holland, Supervised by Crystal Haviland, LPCC7633

Bio: Shelly is a MFT Trainee with Liberation Institute and a graduate student at Alliant International University. She previously worked for a Planned Parenthood clinic in Denver, at biosecurity and neuromodulation start-ups here in the Bay Area, and with environmental education youth groups near her hometown, Half Moon Bay. Shelly studied communication and human sexuality at UC Santa Barbara, and has several years of experience working in human sexuality education groups. When Shelly isn’t exercising her mind, she’s running, rock climbing, and gardening.

Grace Currier, Supervised by Crystal Haviland, LPCC #7633. Supervised by Lynndal Daniels, LMFT #78183

Bio: Grace is a counseling trainee passionate about self-care and community. She is currently a graduate student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary to earn an MA in Clinical Counseling, and she recently graduated with an MA in Religion to study spirituality and healing from religious trauma. Her therapeutic approach is human-centered, trauma-informed, and empowering, and in her free time she enjoys playing video games, embroidery, and taking care of her houseplants.


Weekly Support Group – Tuesdays at 12PM Fri, 12 May 2023 08:27:06 +0000 Every Tuesday from 12:00 PM – 12:50 PM PST

For anyone looking for a safe space for general support.
Weekly group therapy focused on offering a safe, collaborative space for general support.

Facilitators: Shelly Holland, Supervised by Crystal Haviland, LPCC7633

Bio: Shelly is a MFT Trainee with Liberation Institute and a graduate student at Alliant International University. She previously worked for a Planned Parenthood clinic in Denver, at biosecurity and neuromodulation start-ups here in the Bay Area, and with environmental education youth groups near her hometown, Half Moon Bay. Shelly studied communication and human sexuality at UC Santa Barbara, and has several years of experience working in human sexuality education groups. When Shelly isn’t exercising her mind, she’s running, rock climbing, and gardening.

Ari Neubauer, Supervised by Josie Valderrama, Psy.D. #Psy27913

Bio: Ari is an MFT Trainee with lived experience of recovery from prolonged grief. Ari is a grad student at Cal State East Bay, a Peer Counselor at Mental Health Association of San Francisco, and an MFT Trainee here at Liberation Institute. To relax, Ari enjoys video games and improv comedy.

Location: California
Supervisors: Brad Byrum, MA, MBA, LMFT, BC-TMH California MFT #118448
Supervised by Adina M Ascher, LCSW #28900
How long: Drop in group (On-going)

Adult Attachment Styles Wed, 10 May 2023 17:16:56 +0000 According to Attachment Theory, pioneered by John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, the kind of bond we had with our primary caregivers, starting from infancy, creates our attachment style. 

If a parent is distant or unavailable, a child can become anxious about when or how they will get their needs met; they create strategies to constantly try to get attention or love. 

If a child is raised in an environment with no boundaries, or a parent is constantly pressuring them to do more, they can learn to associate intimacy and connection with feeling overwhelmed; they respond by withdrawing. 

Our attachment style stays with us into our adult lives and becomes most apparent in the context of relationships. 

While it is possible to have a shift in attachment, oftentimes anxious and avoidant partners pair up. This leads to a bond that is tumultuous; there is a prevalent push/pull dynamic. 

As you start to become familiar with the different styles of attachment, including your own tendencies, you can learn to navigate relationships with enhanced self-awareness about what your underlying needs are, how to find a partner that would work best for your attachment style, or how to work with a partner whose attachment needs may be different from yours. 

Laurel Kuzins 
Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee 
Supervised by Adina Morguelan Ascher, MSW, PhD, LCSW 28900

Liberation from Addiction Recovery Support Group Mon, 08 May 2023 08:58:00 +0000 Every Sunday at 1:30pm

Our vision is to provide a safe, inclusive space for anyone who is looking to recover from addiction. You are not alone. Please join us as we walk the path of overcoming addiction together..

Facilitators: Kelsey Jenson, MFT Trainee & Clay David, MFT Trainee
Bio: CLAY PAUL DAVID: Golden Gate University I am not a recent college graduate but a seasoned professional whose wide-ranging career has spanned many callings linked by a dedication to service. I have served as director, professor, manager, mentor, coach, and counselor in the arenas of arts education and production, enrichment for adults with disabilities, community development and fundraising, and support for those in recovery from substance abuse. My personal and professional journey has led me to focus now on counseling, as the culmination of a lifelong commitment to service, mentoring and nurturance. I am also a member of the alcohol and substance abuse recovery community, I am grateful for the clean and sober resilience I have gained from nurturing residential, inpatient, outpatient, and relapse-prevention programs. I continue to provide ongoing post-treatment sober support for recovering post-traumatic stress disorder victims in groups across California who resorted to self-medicating. I have taught, counseled, and coached diverse student populations, ranging across all socio-economic backgrounds, nationalities, cultural individualities, gender identities and sexual orientations, working with disabled students, young teens from an on-campus middle and high school, and non-English speakers. As a professor, counselor, coach, and mentor, I have sought to foster and advocate for self-expression and cultural competence with sensitivity and humility. I believe my own life challenges and broad exposure to differing personalities and communities, grappling with substance abuse and family-related problems, have engendered an empathetic nature, supportive skillset, and sense of dedication to those who struggle with their families. I feel that long-term recovery can be both a liberating and an integrative force; helps bring meanings into conscious awareness and enables integration with waking life identity.

KELSEY JENSON: As a longtime member of the 12 step community, I understand first-hand the challenges and gifts of a clean and sober life. I am passionate about creating a community of support as individuals seek a life free from the bondage of addiction. In counseling, I have focused my attention on treating trauma, disordered eating, and addiction to provide comprehensive support across all areas of life. By working in collaboration with clients, I hope to support individuals as they create a life of meaning based on their own needs and values. Is it our goal to provide a safe and supportive space for you as you navigate the road of recovery, leveraging the strength of one another to support you along the way.

Supervisor Name: Josie Valderrama, Psy.D. License # Psy27913
Location: California
Who this group is for: Anyone looking to live life sober and clean from addiction
How many weeks will the group run for: Drop in group (On-going)

Cultural Dimensionality In Couple-Directed Therapy Wed, 03 May 2023 09:11:34 +0000 It is important to listen to the cultural influences that shape the life of the couple in couple’s therapy. Cultural differences can significantly impact the way individuals communicate, express emotions, and perceive relationships. It is important for the therapist to have a basic understanding of the cultural background of the couple to avoid misunderstandings and misinterpretations.

By understanding the cultural influences that shape the couple’s lives, the therapist can develop a more accurate and nuanced understanding of their experiences.

By demonstrating a willingness to understand and respect the cultural influences that shape the couple’s lives, the therapist can build rapport and trust with the couple. This can facilitate the therapeutic process and help the couple feel more comfortable and open to discussing their issues. Cultural differences can also impact power dynamics in relationships. For example, in some cultures, gender roles may be more rigidly defined, which can create power imbalances in relationships. By understanding these dynamics, the therapist can help the couple identify and address potential power imbalances that may be impacting their relationship.

The definitions of “couple” and “family” have undergone significant changes in recent years, reflecting broader societal shifts and changes in cultural norms. These changes have been driven by various social discourses that challenge traditional notions of what constitutes a family or a couple, and that seek to recognize and include individuals and groups that have historically been marginalized or excluded.

In the past, the concept of a family was typically defined as a nuclear family consisting of a heterosexual couple and their biological or adopted children.

This definition excluded many other forms of family structures, such as same-sex couples, blended families, single-parent families, and families with non-biological or non-adoptive caregivers.

However, over the years, this narrow definition of family has been challenged and expanded by various social discourses, such as feminism, LGBTQ+ rights, and anti-racism movements. Similarly, the definition of a couple has also undergone significant changes, moving beyond the traditional notion of a heterosexual couple in a monogamous relationship.

Today, couples can be same-sex or opposite-sex, married or unmarried, monogamous, or non monogamous, and may include individuals of different races, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds. These changes have been driven by social discourses that promote equality, diversity, and inclusion.

Despite these changes, various social discourses continue to marginalize and exclude certain members of society. For example, there is still a significant stigma attached to non-monogamous relationships, and same-sex couples may face discrimination and prejudice in some parts of the world.

Additionally, families headed by immigrants, people of color, and low-income households may face economic and social challenges that make it difficult for them to access resources and opportunities available to other families.

Listening to the cultural influences that shape the life of the couple in couple’s therapy is essential to ensure that the therapist has a more accurate and nuanced understanding of the couple’s experiences, can build rapport and trust with the couple, can address potential power imbalances and biases, and can facilitate the therapeutic process.

There is still much work to be done to promote equality, diversity, and inclusion for all individuals and families.

by Clay David, MFA
Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee
Supervised by Brad Byrum, MA, MBA, LMFT, BC-TMH
California Marriage & Family Therapist #118448