Things to Think About Before Encouraging Black Communities to Practice Radical Acceptance
✨Empirical evidence supports that providers who use therapeutic orientations that predominantly rely on: sitting with discomfort, radical acceptance, present moment awareness, and changing internalized perspectives can be HARMFUL to oppressed and marginalized communities.
✨In fact, several studies looking at the physical health correlates of treatment outcomes for black individuals who endorsed symptoms of anxiety and depression revealed the following:
- Health risk disparities, including hypertension (high blood pressure) significantly worsen when therapies such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) were the primary mode of treatment. Interpretations of these findings are similar for those found in domestic abuse cases, in that, for communities where both overt and covert abuse run rampant, practicing acceptance only perpetuates this abuse and the vulnerability of the individuals who are targeted.
- Other studies support that, when medications such as anti-depressants are used as the only form of treatment with no referrals for therapy, it is less likely that side-effects to these medications (which are more prevalent in black communities due to differences in metabolism) will be caught. This typically results in lack of adherence to medication regimens which result in untreated depressive symptoms, mood fluctuations, and bad physical symptoms.
✨This evidence remains even when the individual does not personally perceive or specifically disclose to their provider that they are impacted by systems of discrimination and oppression.
Generally, it is NOT HEALTHY to communicate to oppressed communities that they must learn to passively accept systemic abuse in order to reach peace and happiness, or in order to be successful in reaching their goals and moving towards their values.
More on what types of treatments are more culturally informed in these communities in a future post!