Follow Friday: 4 Indigenous Mental Health Professionals to Follow
With the constant barrage of crises the world has faced in the past couple of years, and the impacts these experiences have had on our individual relationships, we all need someone to talk to. Maintaining wholistic wellness requires that we identify our emotions and work to process and release in a healthy way. As we are all affected, we cannot always depend on our loved ones to bare the weight of our emotions on top of their own. Seeking professional support is a great way to actively work toward personal healing and growth. Finding a healthcare professional who understands a bit of where you come from can be especially helpful in ensuring communication runs smoothly in these interactions. We've highlighted four Indigenous Mental Health Professionals who use their online platform to discuss and promote emotional wellbeing. Check them out:
Sonia Fregoso is a Xicana Therapist and Grief and Loss Specialist. Her holistic approach is BIPOC centered, liberation centered, grief centered, queer affirming and kink affirming. Sonia integrates tarot into her practice and posts regularly about tarot, grief, spiritual practices, her journey, and her therapy practice.
Sonia emphasizes the importance of inner child work in her own spiritual and healing journey. She shares about her connection with her ancestors, and the usefulness of building a relationship with one’s ancestors in finding the path to healing.
Her Self-Care Sundays highlight different ways we can integrate healing practices into daily life, with step by step easy methods for connecting with the self. She talks Therapy for Therapists because being a therapist is not easy. An advocate for self-care, she notes that the stories listened to in sessions can feel like a mirror and be triggering and on her page she welcomes communication and healing work between therapists through organized group sessions.
Follow Sonia on Instagram.
Natasha Crow is a Somatic Therapist. Armed with ancestral wisdom, Natasha has a strong passion for her work in advocacy and support for marginalized communities experiencing cultural disparities in mental health.
Natasha uses a person-centered approach and invites us to pay attention to our feelings by naming them and recognizing where they land in the body. She reminds us that making small changes in our lives on a daily basis can change your outlook which can change your life.
She says: "In order to be at peace we must be willing & able to hold ourselves, in all of our complexity, with a complete embrace that excludes nothing. This is the most difficult part, because we want so much to reject the “negative” aspects of our humanity. However, True Peace begins with a willingness to accept our entire human selves."
Drawing from her own experiences and cultural background, she shares ways in which we can regulate the nervous system to feel greater holistic health. Her most recent post talks grounding with the rays of the Sun (palms up) as well as the Earth (bare feet), a practice utilizing nature’s energetic fields to help support and regulate the nervous system. Natasha reminds us that we are much more than our cells... we are energy.
Samantha Benn is a Psychotherapist helping humans take up more space. Her work integrates cultural practices to meet individual client needs.
Samantha is a proponent for prioritizing healing for both yourself and the generations to come in your family, explaining that it takes multiple generations to unlearn the habits of their ancestors. She teaches the importance of acknowledging the complexities of our emotions and creating space for multiple emotions at once. Of her work, she says,“I feel honored to do this work and share in people’s most sacred moments of growth.”
Her Instagram videos address an array of topics impacting all of us however paying particular attention to the experiences of those on the margins. Her videos discuss racial disparities in accessing treatment for mental health, honouring ourselves through boundaries and the different ways we can state them, and how to identify emotionally safe/unsafe relationships. Through her work she aims to correct the systemic failures that impact the health of BIPOC people.
A self-proclaimed Hood Feminist, she explains Hood Feminism is centered on the needs of all women first having their basic needs met like access to food, housing, safety, healthcare, etc. It is a disruption of the white feminism and advocates for the wellbeing of all women.
Emily Claire Blackmoon is an Anishinaabe Psychotherapist and registered Social Worker offering decolonial, intersectional, trauma-informed therapy. She explains the importance of therapy as a place to breathe, cry, rage, process, and be heard.
For Emily an Indigenous approach to psychotherapy includes integrating the 7 Grandfather Teachings; of the roles and responsibilities of our lives through the various life stages; and the Medicine Wheel which tells us that we are comprised of spirit, heart, mind and body. With this, we are taught that the healing journey is about recognizing the ways in which we can bring these elements into balance. She asserts that it's ok to feel both your darkness and your light; to be angry, sad or worried, and to balance this with grace, compassion and determination.
Emily shares video content discussing the importance of community and relationship with the land in supporting mental health, recognizing the land as linked to an ancestral source of healing to benefit mental wellness. Emily integrates Indigenous teachings into her uplighting post captions and reminds us that “good mental health is wealth.”
written by Rebekah Elkerton @moccasinmama