Jakayla obtained her MSW degree from the University of Central Florida.
Separated or Related?
Determining if each part of who we are is separate or related has been questioned. The Oxford Languages and Google definition of relate is "to make or show connection between.” The Merriam Webster definition of separate is “to set or keep apart; to make a distinction between."
From my experiences and perception, I believe all three parts are connected. Each part relates to another in some way. However, when working with clients it may be best in some instances to focus on one part alone. Again, this is why partnering with the client and allowing them to educate us is important.
One area of who we are as humans can directly or indirectly influence another. For example, our culture can influence our mental health. Similarly, our mental health can influence our spirituality. These are just two examples, the intercorrelation (fancy word for playing off each other) is endless.
Due to this correlation and as I’ve said before, it is important that we allow the client to inform us of where they are in the healing process and where they would like to be. Finding balance between our mental health, culture, and spirituality promotes holistic health. To find balance we begin to understand how all three show up in our lives. After understanding, we accept this understanding and allow it motivate us to change or continue living it out in peace.
Acknowledging and honoring each part creates space for us to show up as our true selves. Partnering with clients to identify and/or further understand themselves in each area can promote a strengths perspective. As clients notice ways their mental health, culture and spirituality overlap they may begin to grow and develop therapeutically, this can promote healing on their journey.
When to separate, When to connect
In the instance that a client would like to focus on one part of their culture and simply educate us on that part of themselves, we would want to remain in that space with them. If the client decides to share how culture has influenced their perception of mental health, we want to consider this for the healing process.
There may be times that a client is not sure where to start but they know they would like to move forward. We want to slowly develop rapport and trust with the client in each separate area before tying them all together in an assessment or treatment strategy.
From a strengths-based perspective, as a client begins to understand the best parts of themselves, it can be beneficial to notice how all three parts work together to make them the unique person that they are. Highlighting and reviewing this with the client can be therapeutic and healing for them. It is this understanding that we want the client to leave the session and the therapeutic process with.
This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2020 Jakayla