Episode #431: Decolonizing Your Practice, feat. Silvana Espinoza Lau

Silvana Espinoza Lau, LMFT joins Allison on today's podcast to share ways in which you can make your practice more accessible & what unconventional ethical therapy can include.

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About Silvana Espinoza Lau, LMFT:

Hi, I’m Silvana (she/her/ella), a psychotherapist, consultant, and embodied liberation educator in my own journey of decolonizing and unlearning all of the "isms" and "phobias" I have also internalized by conditioning and socialization. I support other mental health practitioners in their own journeys of embodied anti-oppression, decolonization, and liberation.

Coming from a family that has been migrating for generations, and being an immigrant WOC myself who is queer and neurodiverse, I have experienced several systems and structures that have at times embraced me and at other times have made me feel like I don’t belong.

Since I became a therapist, I have seen how access to services is not fair and equitable across the board. I have seen how people who hold several systemically marginalized identities feel reluctant to seek care because care is not affirming of their identities and is not understanding of their different cultural experiences. It is unfair that individuals need to adjust to the way the mental health system is set to exist and it is harmful and unethical that the mental health system does not adjust to the different realities, backgrounds, cultures, experiences, voices, and identities of all therapy seekers.

For the last 13 years I have compassionately supported therapy seekers of different underserved and unseen identities to find home, feel rooted, affirm their identities, and reclaim the spaces they deserve. I have also supervised and consulted with other clinicians, so that they can offer this decolonized and liberatory approach to their own clients. But this is not enough for me.​

​​For this reason I coach fellow colleagues, in all stages of their professional development, embrace anti-oppressive, decolonized, and liberatory values in a wholesome and embodied way. And I support fellow colleagues in finding the ways of decolonizing their practices in a way that makes sense to them. So that they can have a practice truly centered on liberation and decolonization. That is why I created Decolonize Your Practice. Because it is my hope that in community and held by peers, you can unlearn all the colonial ideas, scripts, and stories in your brain and body. So that we can hold each other accountable to grow and better serve, affirm, and hold our ever changing communities.

For now, I live in the Pacific Northwest, as a settler in unceded Kalapuya territory of the Champinefu band, trying to find community, trying to understand what it's like to be a WOC in these lands, and trying to find time and spaces to continue affirming and loving my own identities.