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Meet an Ayana Therapist

Our ethos here at AYANA which means "Mirror" in Bengali, is to reflect the wide and beautiful array of all the identities that make up our society. This week, we’d like to introduce you to one of our therapists who will be working with Ayana Therapy users in the near future. Julius Jessup Peterson is a psychotherapist based in Decatur, Georgia. We invited Julius to answer some questions about their personal background and role as a therapist with Ayana Therapy.

1. Why did you become a therapist?

As an adolescent and adult, I observed the violence that is inflicted upon marginalized bodies when spiritual leaders attempt to act outside of the scope of their training and provide counsel to people with needs beyond their grasp. I saw how their limited understanding as well as their internalized white supremacy hurt multiple generations of families. As an active participant in my own healing, I have devoted my life to helping others reclaim their own power, and fight for their healing.

2. What do you want your potential clients to know about your unique approach to the therapeutic process?

There are many individuals who are facing multiple forms of violence through relationships with toxic individuals and toxic systems. In my work, I stress that real love does not require one to give up their freedom for the sake of belonging. It’s in the power of our ability to use our voice and to think and feel for ourselves that we find the power to stand alone and stand with others. The ability to do both is what real freedom and real love requires.

Everyone has the answers that they need in their hearts; in their bodies. As clinicians, our job is to ask questions, express observations, and be a witness to the unfolding of answers that existed long before our clients entered the doors of our office.

3. Do you feel that it is important to share aspects of your identity with your client?

Self-disclosure is like seasoning, a little bit goes a long way and too much can lead to a hot mess. I think that each moment is sacred, and that when a clinician shares a part of their story, it has to be done for the right reasons and at the right time. It is important that clinicians pursue their own healing outside of the therapeutic alliance, so that their wounds are not bleeding on those seeking their care.

4. What would you say to someone who has given up on searching for a therapist because they’re having trouble finding someone who understands them due to their race, sexual orientation or history?

You deserve to be in a space and to receive support from someone who values your story, respects your reality, and does not attempt to impose anything on you that does not fit who you are and where you came from. Continue to ask questions, your healing is more important than any bias or any fragility that you may encounter from a provider who can’t look past their own limitations.

5. What advice do you have for folks managing anxiety and depression while obeying physical distancing ordinances?

Family is a verb, and a way of being. In this time of isolation, go where the love is. Use technology and the platforms that are available to you. Write a letter, call those who know you and love you. No one person can remain an island in the shift that is upon us. With all the suffering and death around us, this request can be challenging for many. Our lives are not falling apart, but we are changing and this change is an opportunity for each life to be healed in different ways.

We would like to sincerely thank Julius for their thoughtful words! Therapists like Julius are paving the way for a generation of self-healers who accept themselves and strive for growth in their everyday lives. We hope that you join Julius on this journey with Ayana Therapy.


What You Should Know Now

Check out the following links for information pertinent to Mental health issues during the Coronavirus pandemic.

1.Half Of Americans Suffering Mental Health Issues During Coronavirus, New Poll Shows

2.KFF Health Tracking Poll - Early April 2020: The Impact Of Coronavirus On Life In America

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