From the President
From the President's Desk - June 4, 2020
OCA President’s Statement
It is rare that I am speechless. Those of you who know me, know that I am quite vocal and outspoken as a person. However, the events that have taken place in that last few weeks, in regard to the death of George Floyd, have made me take a step back and reflect on our society and the role of mental health professionals in support of our society.
Like you, I am a counselor, so I had to first respond to the situation in a way that was appropriate and supportive of those that are affected with mental health and substance abuse disorders. As a supervisor, I had to respond to my supervisees and their reactions, feelings, and emotions. It was important that I work to ensure that the professionals I supervise did not become so overwhelmed by what they were hearing that they became ineffective, and potentially traumatized themselves. As an advocate for our profession, I struggled with how we can bring our voices to this divisive time. How can we listen and then work towards healing the broken bonds of empathy within our society?
As an African American woman, I have been in a whirlwind of emotions. I cry for my race and I understand the pain, the wounds and the hopeless, helpless feelings that resonate with many of us. I struggle to express myself in a way that will bet heard. Experience that is emotionally deep, and often dehumanizing, is difficult to put into words that can be heard and understood by those without the experience. But I try.
I have shared my personal story in the hopes of connecting in a deeper, more personal way. In sharing my struggle, I want to encourage you to share yours. Wherever we come from, whatever color we are, we are called upon by this moment. During this time so many of us have said that we are all in this together. As counselors, let us embrace one another during this time. Let us set aside our opinions. Let us set aside our stereotypes. Let us set aside our judgements. Let us embrace each other, remembering that we are working towards common goals. As we do this, we must also remember to take care of ourselves - - so we can assist others. Let’s not forget this. Share your stories, reach out, connect!
For those interested in learning more about the intersection of race and culture, I am including links to booklists that focus on these issues. Educating ourselves is a first step in addressing these issues with clients, friends and family.
New York Magazine: https://nymag.com/strategist/article/anti-racist-reading-list.html
Chicago Public Library: https://chipublib.bibliocommons.com/list/share/204842963/1357692923
Finally, thank you for what you do. Thank you for engaging the struggle to aid our society in becoming more human, more empathetic, and more just. As I pass the baton, thank you for allowing me to serve as your President for this past year.
Martina Moore, Ph.D., LPCC-S, LICDC-CS, CEAP, SAP
President & CEO, Moore Counseling & Mediation Services, Inc.
Coordinator of the Substance Use Disorder Concentration, John Carroll University