Date of Origin

A draft of this anti-oppression statement was created on Sunday, April 22, 2023.


Clayre Sessoms (she/her/hers)

Email: info[at]clayresessoms[dot]com


It is important that we make a collective effort to recognize and challenge oppressive behaviours when they occur. While the use of an anti-oppression statement will not guarantee an environment free of oppressive behaviours, it does set the groundwork for a culture that is committed to addressing these issues.

In this document, I’ve outlined my understanding of oppression, intersectionality, and allyship, as well as my commitment to creating an LGBTQ2S-affirming counselling practice that seeks to dismantle systems of oppression. By acknowledging the existence and impact of oppressive behaviours, and by striving to hold myself accountable in addressing them, I hope to create a more inclusive and supportive space for all individuals seeking mental health support.

This anti-oppression statement is a living document, and I recognize that my understanding of these issues will continue to evolve over time. I welcome feedback and suggestions on how to improve this statement and my practice in general. If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Together, let us work towards creating a more just, equitable, and compassionate world.

Personal Understanding of Oppression

I understand oppression as any behaviour that harms, marginalizes, silences or threatens a group or an individual. It is supported by cultural dominance or institutional force and manifests in various forms, such as interruption, murder, physical abuse, seemingly harmless humour, threats of violence, unwanted touching or rape, and verbal abuse. Some forms of oppression are more extreme and irreparable than others. It’s important to recognize that microaggressive behaviours—gatekeeping, profiling, stares, stereotyping, and unconscious negative preconceived notions—can be just as traumatizing over time.

Oppression is a systematic phenomenon operating through power and privilege. An individual experiencing discrimination while in a position of power isn’t necessarily oppressed, as society grants them the expectation and capacity for recourse. Those who are oppressed experience discrimination within a context of culturally imposed powerlessness, leading to situations where they don’t see their own oppression and creating a culture of stigma, shame, and acceptance.

My examination of oppression is rooted in the understanding that individuals have intersecting identities and are capable of both experiencing oppression and perpetuating the oppression of others. This concept, sometimes called intersectionality, has significant implications for anti-oppression work. For example, white women experiencing oppression on the basis of gender have a different experience than black women who experience harm based on both gender and race. If I fail to account for the latter’s intersection of identities, I might wrongfully conclude that the police and prison system are effective tools for rehabilitating gendered violence. However, these systems perpetuate the destruction of racial minorities, including persons of colour, indigenous persons, and recent immigrants.

If only part of an individual’s identity is acknowledged, they may experience erasure, preventing them from bringing their full selves to a therapeutic space, an individual therapy session, or a group session. If I don’t recognize and respect all aspects of a person’s identity and what they can bring to our work together, I end up replicating systems of marginalization. This often occurs when I make assumptions about others’ lived experiences and the assumed ways they experience power or powerlessness.

Oppression in Counselling and Art Therapy

As a counsellor and art therapist within capitalism, I recognize oppression even within my own counselling practice. I can recognize the imbalance of power between therapist and client, but I cannot easily escape the larger economic forces that compel me to sell my labour for survival. Every interaction between therapist and client has an effect, whether positive or negative, on our survival. Although I operate with peer supervision rather than a management team and strive to minimize the presence of hierarchical structures in this oppression-informed setting, an inescapable baseline of powerlessness may magnify other forms of oppression experienced within my work.

My business pushes back against the mechanization of labour, ranked labour, managerial coercion, and competition between workers by operating transparently, basing all decision-making on informed consensus, paying all labour equally, and refusing tip-based compensation. This structure expands access to knowledge and power while breaking down internal divisions. In spite of this, I experience many power dynamics typical of therapeutic environments, and some of the dynamics I diligently work to eliminate may be replaced by others unique to my therapeutic space structure.

I know that capitalist systems of power and privilege will never be absent. For this reason, the continual naming and acknowledgement of existing and shifting power structures is essential to my work. If you would like to speak about this, please contact me.

Creating a Welcoming Therapeutic Space

In my effort to create a welcoming therapeutic space, I seek to encourage meaningful anti-oppression discussions normally avoided because of fear, lack of representation, or shame. This LGBTQ2S-affirming counseling practice, I believe, is key to the liberation of all parties as self-advococating individuals able to build a movement capable of contesting oppressive behaviour and working together towards equality and equity.

Spaces of encounter are inherently conflictual. While I see potential value in the creation of safe spaces, designed to maximize the comfort and security of a marginalized group, I know that the homogeneity required of safe spaces is incompatible with the radical inclusivity of encounters. This isn’t to say, however, that I am resigned to passivity. As an occupant of this space, I have an obligation to act as an ally to those targeted by violence and harassment. This means naming and challenging oppressive behaviours that occur inside and outside of my counselling practice.

I recognize that systems of power and privilege that define mainstream society also permeate the LGBTQ2S-focused milieu from which my work arises. These dynamics are expressed in various interlocking systems of oppression, such as racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, ageism, ableism, speciesism, etc., which prevent equal access to resources and safety, disrupt healthy communities and movement building, and severely, often irreparably, harm my allies, my friends, my loved ones, and myself.

Within both my education and my profession, a history of oppressive behaviours has caused harm to marginalized queer identities, the work of addressing LGBTQ2S-focused mental health, and the reputation within the radical milieu of inclusivity. Assumptions of horizontality serve to obscure the patterns of power and privilege experienced internally. A lack of clear policy disempowers participants from raising their voices or seeking support from my profession in the face of disrespect, crossed boundaries, and harassment. Over the course of my education, these dynamics have caused oppressive behaviours to persist and have isolated marginalized persons.

It isn’t my expectation that the use of this anti-oppression statement will erase this history or ensure a future unburdened by oppressive social relations. I understand that anti-oppression work must be ongoing, with commitment represented not only in written statements but also in the living culture of my work, my practice, and my profession. I hope that this statement will provide a foundation that inspires change and welcomes LGBTQ2S persons and allies to draw from it for the same purpose.

Understanding Anti-Oppression: Accountability and Allyship

As a counsellor and an art therapist, my goal is to create an atmosphere of accountability where we can evaluate and change the ways my counselling practice responds to oppressive behaviours. Accountability is crucial to interrupting oppression, as our internalization of discriminatory assumptions and hurtful patterns of behaviour can make us unwitting collaborators of oppression if left unchecked.

Being an ally involves dismantling systems of oppression through advocacy for and support of the oppressed. Effective allies seek to add their voices to the struggle for liberation, rather than speaking on behalf of those whose voices are being systematically silenced. I acknowledge my position of power and actively work to address my own oppressive behaviours, as well as the systematic oppression that surrounds me.

To promote accountability, we must engage in critical thought about how our behaviour, both individually and collectively, plays into larger systems of power. We should ask ourselves questions such as:

  • What systems of power might be present in our relationships?
  • Am I speaking with authority? If so, is it necessary? Why?
  • Would I feel differently in someone else’s shoes? If so, why?

As a counsellor, I must ask additional questions, such as:

  • Is my counselling practice supportive during meetings and in my work?
  • Does my private practice reflect the identities present in our community? If not, how might this impact my perspectives and priorities?
  • Do my policies or their application create a double standard for access, respect, or participation? If so, why and for whom?

When responding to oppressive behaviour, it is important to avoid ignoring or denying the behaviour, justifying or excusing it, prioritizing the feelings of the individual responsible over those harmed, insulting or shaming the individual responsible, or alienating or expelling the individual responsible without dialogue or opportunity for reconciliation.

In my efforts to promote change-oriented approaches to oppression, I believe in the importance of restorative justice. When someone’s oppressive behaviour is identified and brought to their attention, they have been “called out.” Responding to being called out can be difficult, but it’s our responsibility to respond in a way that promotes healing for those harmed while cultivating empathy and personal growth for ourselves. It’s essential to listen patiently and attentively to the perspectives of marginalized individuals and their allies, take responsibility by apologizing or making amends, and engage in further self-education and reflection.

Individual responses to being called out for oppressive behaviour to avoid include acting dismissive or trivializing the significance of oppression, acting defensive or insisting on a mitigating context, redirecting blame, arguing over the details, and acting hurt or guilty in a manner that distracts from the harm caused.

Although it’s not easy, being held accountable is necessary to interrupt oppression. Through self-reflection and education, we can work towards being effective allies and promoting change-oriented approaches to oppression.


As a psychotherapist and an expressive arts professional deeply committed to anti-oppression work, I understand the harm caused by oppressive behaviour and am dedicated to creating a safe and welcoming therapeutic space. When I or others engage in a pattern of oppressive behaviour, directed either at each other or towards others in our greater community, my goal is to address those behaviours through appropriate collective mechanisms, including direct feedback, outside mediation, and/or re-evaluation of participation in this counselling practice and space. I acknowledge that any process for confronting oppression must be guided, when possible, by the affected individual(s) and primarily concerned with their needs for dignity, healing, and safety. If the needs of those affected cannot be met through mediation, reconciliation, and accountability, or if the responsible person does not sufficiently participate in these processes, then expulsion of the oppressor may be the only recourse.

In situations where individuals participate in this counselling practice or interact with this space but are unwilling or unable to take responsibility for their behaviour, transformation is not possible, and they will cease to be welcome. Unless an individual is particularly hostile or engaged in extremely problematic behaviour, this will normally be preceded by a conversation explaining the nature of the space, the commitment to anti-oppression work, and any resulting expectations. My intention is not to exclude anyone from this space without giving them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and work on their relationship to power, privilege, and their role in oppression.

When oppression has been identified, it triggers an immediate response. This could take the form of a priority agenda item at an already scheduled meeting or a dedicated meeting with the sole focus of understanding and identifying the harm that has occurred. I aim to avoid burying the response to oppression within business-as-usual or diverting it into one-on-one conversations, as both of these approaches can further marginalize and preclude strong and lasting positive outcomes. Instead, I seek to empower those who name oppression by providing space to articulate personal and shared experiences. By centring those who have experienced oppression in the process, I hope to restore agency where it has been taken away.

In addition to strategies for responding to oppression after it has occurred, I am committed to developing tools, such as agreements and meetings, that nurture a counselling practice where oppression is infrequent or can be interrupted quickly.

I recognize that the ideal resolution, in which an individual takes full responsibility for their actions and is able to meet the needs of those they have hurt, is not always possible. As a small LGBTQ2S-affirming private practice with limited mediation resources, I cannot invest unlimited time and effort into every relationship, and in some situations, I may decide that working with an abusive individual is beyond my capacity.

The frequency of people moving and travelling between communities has weakened the ability of communities to seek accountability from those with a history of oppressive behaviour. Although I recognize that the current model of accountability used by many activists is deeply flawed and often fails in its aim to address patterns of abuse and privilege, I believe that it is important that our stance towards the policies and processes of other communities be one of respect and affirmation. My LGBTQ2S-focused counselling practice is not a space that is welcoming to individuals who are seeking to avoid accountability for their behaviour. If someone participates as a client, intern, therapist, or volunteer and has a background of abusive behaviour and is required by a survivor, community, or accountability process to reveal their background to those that they work with, then that person is expected to honour those requirements.


  • Ableism: The belief that people with disabilities are inferior to people without disabilities, often resulting in discrimination or oppression.
  • Accessibility: The practice of ensuring that spaces, services, and information are designed and provided in a way that accommodates the needs of individuals with disabilities, allowing them to participate fully and independently.
  • Accountability: Taking responsibility for your actions and ensuring clients’ interests are always put first.
  • Ageism: The belief that people of a certain age are inferior to people of a different age, often resulting in discrimination or oppression.
  • Allyship: A practice of advocating for and supporting members of marginalized groups, often by people who do not share the same marginalized identities.
  • Anti-colonialism: This examines power structures that create and maintain racism, and implements mechanisms to counteract them. It continuously examines historic and modern-day colonialism with the goal of social justice for oppressed peoples.
  • Anti-oppression: Actively challenging and removing oppression perpetuated by power inequalities in society, both systemic oppression and individual expressions of oppression.
  • Anti-racism: An active and consistent process of change to eliminate individual, institutional, and systemic racism as well as the causes of racism, oppression, and injustice. A lens that seeks to address and undermine racism by understanding racism, prejudice, and stereotyping; moving beyond a multicultural lens of recognizing culture and difference to deal with issues of power, justice, and equity; and challenging and eliminating racism at all levels from personal to systemic.
  • Anti-Semitism: Ideological oppression that targets Jewish people. In Europe and the United States, it has functioned to protect the prevailing economic system and the almost exclusively white Christian ruling class by diverting blame for hardship onto Jews.
  • Bias: This is a way of thinking or operating based explicitly or implicitly on a stereotype or fixed image of a group of people.
  • Biphobia: The fear, hatred, or prejudice against people who are bisexual or pansexual.
  • Blending: A term used by some transgender people to describe the process of presenting themselves in a way that allows them to be a member of the gender they identify as, rather than the sex they were assigned at birth. This may involve a combination of factors, including clothing, hairstyle, voice, mannerisms, and body language. The goal of blending is to be perceived by others as one’s authentic gender identity, rather than being misgendered based on physical appearance or societal expectations. Blending can be an important aspect of a transgender person’s experience, as it can impact their safety, comfort, and sense of belonging in social situations.
  • Body-shaming: Criticizing or mocking someone’s body size or shape, often resulting in negative effects on their body image or self-esteem.
  • Cisgender: A term used to describe people whose gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth. For example, a person who was assigned male at birth and identifies as a man is cisgender.
  • Colonialism: This refers to when colonizers steal land and resources from Indigenous peoples and develop a set of laws and public processes designed to violate their human rights, suppress their governance, legal, social, and cultural structures, and force them to conform to the structures of the colonial state.
  • Colonialism (US context): The ongoing system stemming from white supremacist ideology that codified into law the genocide of indigenous peoples, the enslavement of peoples of African descent, and the privileging of white Europeans in what is now the United States. De-facto control of foreign countries that are often called US territories; such examples include Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the US Virgin Islands.
  • Complex Trauma: Trauma resulting from exposure to multiple traumatic events, often within the context of interpersonal relationships, such as ongoing abuse or neglect. Complex trauma can lead to a range of emotional and psychological difficulties, including attachment issues, difficulties with trust, and problems regulating emotions.
  • Culture: This refers to a group’s shared set of beliefs, norms, and values that they develop to adapt to their world.
  • Cultural Humility: This is a life-long process of self-reflection and self-critique that examines a healthcare professional’s assumptions and beliefs before examining the client’s beliefs.
  • Cultural Safety: This refers to a physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually safe environment that recognizes and respects the cultural identities of others without challenge or denial of an individual’s identity or needs.
  • Deadnaming: The act of calling a transgender person by their former name or using their former pronouns, rather than their current name and pronouns.
  • Decolonization: Supporting indigenous sovereignty and land repatriation, abolishing slavery, and dismantling imperialism.
  • Disability: A physical, mental, or sensory impairment that can significantly impact an individual’s ability to participate in certain activities or aspects of life. Disabilities can be visible or invisible, temporary or permanent, and can vary greatly in severity and impact.
  • Discrimination: Consciously or unconsciously treating someone else unfairly or holding them to different standards on the basis of conscious or unconscious prejudiced beliefs, and not on the basis of individual merit. Can manifest in the following ways:
    • Overt discrimination: Granting or denying rights or access to groups and/or individuals.
    • Unequal treatment: Treating someone poorly in comparison to others because of certain characteristics.
    • Systemic discrimination: Institutional policies and practices that result in the exclusion or promotion of certain groups.
  • Epistemic Racism: This refers to positioning the knowledge of one racialized group as superior to another.
  • Equity vs. Equality: Equity means giving everyone what they need to be successful. Equality means treating everyone the same. Equity and equality are two strategies we can use in an effort to produce fairness.
  • Ethnicity: This refers to groups of people who share cultural traits that they characterize as different from those of other groups, and is often understood as sharing a common origin, language, ancestry, spirituality, history, values, traditions, and culture.
  • Feminism: A movement advocating for gender equality and the dismantling of gender-based oppression, often with a focus on the experiences of women.
  • Gender-affirming Care: Medical or mental health care aimed at helping transgender people transition and live as their true gender.
  • Gender Expression: The way a person outwardly expresses their gender identity through their appearance, behaviour, and other aspects of their presentation.
  • Gender Dysphoria: The distress or discomfort a person feels when their gender identity does not align with the sex they were assigned at birth.
  • Gender Identity: A person’s inner sense of their gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex they were assigned at birth.
  • Genderqueer: A term used by some people who identify as neither male nor female, or as both male and female or as an entirely unique gender construct. 
  • Health Equity: This implies that everyone should have a fair opportunity to attain their full health potential and that no one should be disadvantaged from achieving this potential.
  • Health Inequity: This refers to the presence of systematic disparities in health (or in the major social determinants of health) among groups with different social advantages/disadvantages.
  • Healthcare Inequity: This is the practice of intentionally or unintentionally treating people differently and unfairly because of their race, sex, national origin, disability, or other protected class.
  • Heteronormativity: The assumption that heterosexuality is the norm or default sexual orientation and that relationships between people of the same sex are abnormal or deviant.
  • Homophobia: The fear, hatred, or prejudice against people who are attracted to the same sex.
  • Implicit bias: Any unconsciously held set of associations about a social group, that can result in stereotyping. Implicit biases are the product of learned associations and social conditioning.
  • Inclusive Design: The practice of designing products, environments, and services with the diverse needs of all users in mind, including individuals with disabilities. Inclusive design aims to create accessible and usable spaces for everyone, regardless of their abilities.
  • Indigenous: People who are native to a particular place or region, and who have typically lived there for many generations. It is often used to describe the descendants of the original inhabitants of a particular land, who have maintained their cultural, social, and political identities despite colonization and other forms of outside influence. The term is often used in reference to the native peoples of the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, and other parts of the world that were colonized by European powers.
  • Indigenous Peoples: This refers to the first inhabitants of a geographic area, including those who may identify as First Nations (status and non-status), Métis, and/or Inuit in Canada.
  • Indigenous-specific Racism: This refers to the unique nature of stereotyping, bias, and prejudice about Indigenous peoples in Canada that is rooted in the history of settler colonialism.
  • Intergenerational Trauma: This refers to historic and contemporary trauma that has compounded over time and been passed from one generation to the next.
  • Internalized Oppression: When members of marginalized groups internalize the negative stereotypes and beliefs about their own group, often resulting in them engaging in self-hatred or self-destructive behaviours.
  • Internalized Cissexism: The internalization of societal beliefs and attitudes that prioritize and normalize cisgender identities and expressions over transgender identities and expressions. It is the internalization of prejudice and discrimination against transgender people that can be experienced by individuals who are themselves, cisgender. This can manifest as negative self-talk, internalized shame or disgust about one’s own gender identity or expression, or a desire to conform to societal expectations of gender in order to avoid stigma or rejection. Internalized cissexism can be a result of ongoing exposure to transphobic attitudes and beliefs, and can contribute to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety in cisgender individuals.
  • Internalized Transphobia: A term used to describe when a person who identifies as transgender or gender non-conforming internalizes societal transphobia and begins to believe negative messages about themselves and their gender identity. This can lead to feelings of shame, self-doubt, and self-hatred. People who experience internalized transphobia may also feel pressure to conform to societal expectations about gender in order to feel accepted or valued. It can be a result of living in a society that stigmatizes and discriminates against transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. Addressing and overcoming internalized transphobia is an important part of the journey toward self-acceptance and living authentically as one’s true gender.
  • Interpersonal Racism: Also known as relationship racism, this refers to specific acts of racism that occur between people and may include discriminatory treatment, acts of violence, and micro-aggressions.
  • Intersectionality: The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, gender, and disability, which create overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination and disadvantage. Intersectionality recognizes that individuals with disabilities may also experience other forms of oppression based on their various identities.
  • LGBTQ+: An acronym used to refer to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, and other diverse sexual orientations and gender identities that do not fit within the binary of male and female.
  • Liberation: A framework of action guided by the premise that the only way to end systemic oppression is by dismantling the system itself, as opposed to giving people equitable resources so they can exist under a system that doesn’t naturally benefit them.
  • Microaggression: Everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to people based on their marginalized group membership.
  • Misgendering: The act of incorrectly addressing or referring to a transgender person using pronouns or gendered language that does not align with their gender identity. Misgendering can be harmful and disrespectful, as it invalidates a person’s gender identity and self-identification.
  • Misogyny: The hatred or contempt for women or girls, often resulting in discrimination or oppression.
  • Neurodiversity: The concept that recognizes and embraces the natural variation in human brain functioning and cognitive abilities, including conditions such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and others. Neurodiversity advocates for the acceptance and support of individuals with diverse neurological experiences, rather than focusing on “curing” or “fixing” them.
  • Non-Binary: A term used to describe people whose gender identity does not fit within the binary of male and female. Non-binary people may identify as a combination of male and female, as neither male nor female, or as something completely different.
  • Oppression: The use of power or privilege by a socially, politically, economically, and culturally dominant group to disempower, marginalize, silence, or otherwise subordinate one social group or category, often in order to further empower and/or privilege the oppressor. Oppressed groups may consist of people who share a historically marginalized identity like people of colour, or individuals of a certain religion or gender.
  • Passing: An outdated term (blending is used now) that refers to the ability, capacity, or perception of a transgender person to be sensed as their true gender by others.
  • Prejudice: A preconceived opinion of another person that is unreasonable and not based in actual experience. It can be directed at people who experience oppression as well as at people who hold relative amounts of privilege.
  • Privilege: A set of unearned benefits or advantages given to people who fit into a specific social group, often resulting in them being favoured or given advantages over others who do not share the same identity.
  • Race: This refers to a socially constructed way to categorize people based on physical characteristics such as skin tone, hair texture, and facial features.
  • Racism: A system of power and oppression that creates advantages for people who are considered to be “white” and disadvantages for people who are considered to be “non-white.” Racism is perpetuated through individual actions, societal structures, cultural messages, and institutional policies and practices. It can manifest in different forms such as racial discrimination, microaggressions, hate crimes, racial slurs, or stereotypes. Racism often leads to marginalization, disempowerment, and the denial of basic human rights for people who are considered to be “non-white.”
  • Reasonable Accommodation: Modifications or adjustments made to environments, policies, or practices to ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access and opportunities to participate in activities, education, employment, and other aspects of life.
  • Resilience: The ability to adapt and recover from adversity or difficult experiences, including trauma. Resilience can be developed and strengthened over time through supportive relationships, healthy coping strategies, and personal growth.
  • Self-advocacy: The practice of individuals with disabilities speaking up for their own rights, needs, and interests. Self-advocacy is an essential aspect of disability rights and empowerment, as it enables individuals with disabilities to have agency and control over their own lives.
  • Sexism: Discrimination or prejudice based on a person’s gender, typically against women and girls. Sexism can take many forms, such as gender-based violence, unequal pay and opportunities in the workplace, and gender stereotypes that limit and harm individuals based on their gender. Like other forms of oppression, sexism is perpetuated by power imbalances and systemic inequalities in society.
  • Stigmatization: The act of labelling, stereotyping, or discriminating against individuals based on their perceived differences, including disabilities. Stigmatization can lead to social exclusion, marginalization, and negative attitudes toward individuals with disabilities.
  • Transgender: An umbrella term used to describe people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. For example, a person who was assigned male at birth but identifies as a woman is transgender.
  • Transmisogyny: A type of discrimination and prejudice directed towards trans women. It is a form of misogyny that is compounded by transphobia, leading to trans women facing discrimination, harassment, and violence on the basis of their gender identity and expression. Transmisogyny can manifest in many ways, including denial of employment and housing, physical and sexual violence, verbal harassment, and discriminatory treatment in healthcare settings. It is important to recognize and address transmisogyny in order to create a more equitable and just society for all people, regardless of their gender identity or expression.
  • Transition: The process of changing one’s gender expression or physical body to better align with one’s gender identity.
  • Transphobia: A range of negative attitudes, feelings, and actions directed toward transgender people or people who are perceived to transgress traditional gender norms. Transphobia can manifest as discrimination, harassment, violence, or exclusion of transgender people from various social settings such as housing, employment, healthcare, and education. It can also take the form of microaggressions, which are subtle but impactful acts that communicate hostility, disrespect, or ignorance towards transgender individuals. Transphobia can have serious consequences for the mental health and well-being of transgender individuals, contributing to higher rates of depression, anxiety, suicide, and other adverse outcomes.
  • Trauma: A deeply distressing or disturbing experience, often resulting in lasting emotional, mental, or physical effects. Traumas can be caused by a wide range of events, including abuse, accidents, natural disasters, or acts of violence.
  • Trauma Bonding: A strong emotional attachment that can form between a victim and their abuser, often as a result of the cycle of abuse and intermittent reinforcement. Trauma bonding can make it difficult for victims to leave abusive relationships and can contribute to feelings of loyalty or affection towards their abuser.
  • Trauma-Informed Care: An approach to providing care that recognizes and responds to the effects of trauma in individuals. Trauma-informed care aims to create a safe and supportive environment for those who have experienced trauma and to avoid re-traumatizing them.
  • Two-Spirit: A contemporary umbrella term used by some Indigenous peoples to describe individuals who identify as having both a male and a female spirit within them. It is a term that originated from Indigenous cultures in North America and is used to describe gender and sexual diversity. Historically, Two Spirit people held important roles in their communities as healers, spiritual leaders, and mediators. The term Two Spirit has been embraced by many Indigenous people as a way to reclaim traditional understandings of gender and sexuality and to resist the impact of colonization on Indigenous cultures.
  • Vicarious Trauma: The emotional and psychological effects experienced by individuals who are indirectly exposed to trauma through their work with trauma survivors, such as therapists, counselors, or first responders. Vicarious trauma can result in symptoms similar to those experienced by trauma survivors, including emotional distress, burnout, and difficulty in separating work from personal life.


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