DFI seeks to integrate social justice, equity, inclusion, and cultural responsiveness into every aspect of our work and program. We know that our clients will come to us with a wide range of experiences, belief systems, identities, and ways of viewing the world. The ability to value, honor and work with differences is a core value and skill for marriage and family therapists. As therapists, teachers, and supervisors, we acknowledge that we inherently occupy positions of power – whether in the therapy room or the classroom. At DFI, we believe that anti-racism and the work of dismantling systems of oppression is a daily practice. We approach this task with openness and humility, knowing that this journey is a life-long process of learning, and no one ever “finishes” this work. For those of us who hold areas of power and privilege based on identity, a large component of that work is choosing to not opt out of seeing and acknowledging that systems of oppression, power and privilege are real, and hold all of us back from realizing our full humanity.
We hold our students, faculty and staff to the professional standard of first, do no harm. An essential aspect of doing no harm is continually building an awareness of our biases, as well as the competence needed to separate personal values should never supersede the values and lived experiences of the client.
The following assumptions, taken from Dismantling Racism, guide our work as an organization committed to diversity, equity, and inclusiveness:
- We live in a toxic culture that affects us all. One dynamic of the culture is that we are discouraged from seeing it. One of our tasks is to learn to see our culture and how it teaches us to make normal that which is not and should never be normal.
- Intention is not the same as impact. We can have good intentions and still have a hurtful or damaging impact.
- We need to be critical and compassionate.
- Social justice benefits everyone.
- We must walk our talk and learn from our mistakes.
- None of this is easy and we do it anyway.