It took me at least a year to make the decision to seek help from psychologists years ago. The recovery journey was challenging and rewarding at the same time. I used to tell myself “I wish I had sought help earlier instead of struggling by myself in a dark place for a long time”. Since I became a provisional psychologist myself, I can empathise deeply with the journey before the initial consultation session, and I can be more patient with people’s ongoing success and frustrations in their unique journeys. Now I strongly believe that it took great courage to say, “I need some help”. Furthermore, I am grateful for those help-seeking experiences and personal struggles which made me who I am today.
Before describing myself as a provisional psychologist, it is more important that I see myself as a human being. This means I have my own limitations and strengths in areas where I can support my clients. My lived experience as a sexual and cultural minority, used in an ethical and professional manner, can help me deepen my empathy and provide unique and professional understanding for those people living under oppression. I cannot wait to listen to, learn from, and finally be able to help my clients navigate the oppression they face almost every moment in their lives. “To be 100% myself” is not something most sexual and cultural minorities can do, which leads to great distress.
An example of oppression can be recognised by people who identify as transgender: being a transgender woman is not an issue by itself at all. It is something every transgender woman can feel proud of. However, a transgender girl might experience anxiety or shame when selecting a restroom to use, as safety concerns like harassment or unsettling stares from strangers could arise.
Here is another example for cultural minorities: An individual who is not a native English speaker and has accumulated over a decade of professional experience in their home country could find themselves being regarded as inexperienced by those who assume that "English fluency" is the norm, and who mistakenly view limited English proficiency as indicative of ignorance.
Moreover, the oppression can be internal as well as external for some people. For instance, sadly we may even internalise society’s oppression and consider ourselves as “inferior” consciously or unconsciously due to our minority status.
It shows great courage and wisdom, rather than weakness for us to realise the oppression we face and seek help when needed. It means we are prepared to take on the challenges in every situation.
Importantly, I believe those challenges can be transformed into learning which makes us to become, and remain, 100% ourselves in our personal as well as professional lives.
Su is a provisional psychologist who is currently offering low-cost therapy and can provide therapy in English, Mandarin and Cantonese. Please click here to learn more about the areas of support offered by Su.
Click the button below to learn more about low-cost therapy and compassionate support with provisional psychologist, (Su) Xufeng Su: