“Wow, you really know what you’re doing.”
That’s an unbelievable statement Kiara Imani heard from her white colleague, Helen at the talent agency, where she worked as a legal assistant. The woman was visibly surprised when she was told by Kiara that she was a graduate of the University of Virginia Law School.
“I shouldn’t be shocked, but I am,” Helen said.
This is just one example of the many microaggressions Kiara faced in a predominantly white workplace during the years she worked there. Day after day, she said, she felt an underlying sense of prejudice and racism while she was in the office.
“I needed someone to help me navigate these feelings that I was having,” she shares, seeking help from a therapist to sort through past trauma caused at work. And it was the best decision of her life.
During her session, Chiara told ESSENCE that her therapy was more than coping with work.
“While talking to my therapist, I was explaining that I had a really rough day at work and felt like crying in the office.” I didn’t cry because I didn’t cry, she kind of stopped me and asked a question, it made me really emotional because it was something I had always accepted as truth.
Kiara said that moment really examined her past experiences and how they manifested themselves in ways she could never have imagined.
“When I was little, I remember my mother sitting in the front seat in the car and repeating, ‘Don’t cry, Anna.’ Don’t cry, Anna. I’m trying not to. Crying is bad.This is a microtrauma.”
psychology today Microtraumas are described as small, subtle emotional wounds that can lead to severe emotional distress over time.
“When my therapist connected those dots to me, I realized how important it was for my treatment to move forward.
As with many Black families, mental health conversations do not always include psychotherapy as a treatment option. It turns out that black people who report feeling . Another part said that discussing one’s problems with an outsider (i.e., a therapist) could be viewed as airing one’s “dirty laundry.”
Chiara thought so herself, but unraveling her traumas and microtraumas with a therapist allowed her to “examine, reject, and rewrite the core beliefs that guided her in her previous life.” .
On her journey into mental health, she compiled what she learned into a book “Therapy isn’t just for white people.” Described as a series of personal stories about race, gender and identity, Kiara said she took ownership of wellness and was challenged to answer the questions. Why is it hard to be a black woman in America?
In the book, she recounts her experiences with Helen (her name has been changed to remain anonymous) and many other very personal moments that shaped her into the woman she is today.
While writing the book, Chiara said drastic changes needed to be made to protect mental health just before the pandemic hit.
“I went home thinking I was going to go home alone on this journey of self-discovery,” Chiara told ESSENCE. I was forced to break away from the hustle and bustle of sitting in the office, waking up, going to work, coming home, and going to sleep.”
After making the decision to leave the corporate sector in 2020, Chiara could not be happier to pursue her passion as a full-time entrepreneur.
“I’m really walking towards my purpose, and I know it’s because I’ve been kind to myself,” she said. It’s all about being believed to be. That’s what really matters.”
https://www.essence.com/news/money-career/kiara-imani-therapy-black-women-mental-health/ This attorney tells how a small corporate trauma kicked her out and why she hasn’t looked back since