Donation-based Community Yoga Class to Benefit National Recovery Month at Serenity Yoga, South Hadley, MA  Sunday, September 17th

 

Teacher:  Heather Monson
Date: Sunday September 17th 2:00-3:30pm
Cost: Donation 
Serenity Yoga is partnering with the Trini Foundation to offer a donation-based community yoga class led by Serenity Yoga instructor Heather Monson.

September is National Recovery Month and during the month of September, yoga studios around the country are coming together to increase awareness and understanding surrounding substance abuse and celebrating those in recovery.
The class will be a mix of classic Ashtanga poses from the Primary series with some more gentle variations and poses, making it a class that all can attend. Suggested donation is $10.
The Trini Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to bringing the life-changing practice of yoga to those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Their mission is to provide yoga as a tool to aide in the recovery process and help those who are suffering maintain long-term sobriety.

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It’s a Party!


OUT MetroWest is an incredibly important organization in the greater Boston area that serves LGBTQ+ youth. I’m on the host committee for their annual gala event; it takes place Saturday, September 23 and I would love to see you there! 

The fourth annual Come Out & Celebrate gala will honor Dr. Asa Sevelius, principal of the Heath School in Brookline, MA. Dr. Sevelius is the first out transgender principal in Massachusetts and amongst the very few out trans school leaders nationwide. 

Tickets to the event are available here: 

Come Out & Celebrate

Child and Adolescent Transgender Center for Health at the Boston Medical Center: A resource to know about!

As part of the Department of Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center, CATCH provides support and care to children, adolescents, and young adults who identify as transgender, gender non-conforming, or are gender exploring and looking for additional support. First time patients can expect their initial visit to last between 60-90 minutes. During this visit, medical history, gender history, and patient and family goals will be reviewed, followed by a discussion around gender affirming care options offered at the clinic. Individual treatment plans are created based on individual patient and family goals. Additionally, all first time patients will undergo a complete psychological assessment.

CATCH aims to see new patients within 4-6 weeks. To schedule an appointment, please call 617.414.4841.

Offered services include:

  • Education around gender identify and development
  • Individual and family therapeutic support
  • Access to hormone blockers, including injection and implant available onsite
  • Gender-affirming medication therapy, including hormones (estrogen and testosterone)
  • Transition to adult care and other services through the Center for Transgender Medication and Surgery (factoring in where the patient is in terms of medication and process, pubertal status, and age.)

https://www.bmc.org/center-transgender-medicine-and-surgery/clinical-services/child-and-adolescent-transgender-center

Foucault, and stuff (this is a piece I wrote for a newsletter on social justice informed practice)

When clients come into my office for psychotherapy, they are usually focused inward, potentially seeking a diagnosis, and often asking “what’s wrong with me?” Yes, the majority of my clients are working through gender dysphoria or pursuing recovery from an eating disorder, and while these are indeed conditions I can diagnose, much of the work I do with folks is about exploring the ways in which structural oppression related to their sexual orientation, gender expression or race is causing distress, both directly and in its internalized forms. In other words, we shift from asking “what’s wrong with me?” to “why do I think something’s wrong with me?”

From a social justice perspective, one of the most insidious ways oppression in the form of patriarchy, misogyny, class bias and racism (among others) does its work is through internalization. When people internalize these structures of power and disempowerment, the self hatred and self doubt that ensue wreak all kinds of havoc in terms of beliefs that impact behavior and emotional experience, which then often leads to the development of some form of psychopathology. I vividly recall a professor at the Smith College School for Social Work stating: “The greater the oppression, the greater the depression” and I have seen this to be true over and over again in the lives of the people who walk through my office doors.

There was a time (and in some cases, that time is now) when people in my chosen profession, social work, were largely tools of oppressive structures. In the words of Michel Foucault: “The judges of normality are present everywhere. We are in the society of the teacher-judge, the doctor-judge, the educator-judge, the social worker-judge.” For example, as the majority of my clients are transgender or gender non-conforming people, many require authorization from me for their insurance companies that they are “trans enough” to receive gender affirming hormone therapies or surgeries. Many of these folks also experience profound depression and/or anxiety: how would you feel if your fate, your ability to live a life as yourself, was in the hands of an ostensible expert, deemed more expert than you about your own self-hood by virtue of their social position and capital?

My work, as a social justice oriented feminist relational psychotherapist, is kaleidoscopic. I work to support my clients in identifying the ways in which they’ve internalized oppressive structures. We work together to identify the ways they’re policing themselves and warping their sense of self through these lenses, and then we work to dismantle the problematic internalized beliefs that are setting them up for emotional distress and behavioral dysregulation. In other words, I sincerely look forward to a day when I become obsolete.

My way or the highway.

I am a serious fan of perspectives. I had a high school history teacher who was fond of saying that “truth is increasing complexity”, and in both my personal and professional lives, I have found this to be, well, true.

When a client presents me with a truth, about themselves, about an experience, we work to increase complexity. Are you sure that’s true? Has it always been true? What else might be true? What do others in your life believe to be true? Often, in this way, we are able to triangulate, and to move in the direction of deeper knowing, of more true, but also to open space for subjectivity, and breathe some light or humor or next questions into that space.

It is in the spirit of that kind of inquiry that I offer the following blog post by Holly Glenn Whitaker: http://www.hipsobriety.com/home/2015/2/18/why-aa-didnt-work-for-me-my-story-part-1

This is not a prescription. This is not an indictment of AA. It is also not an endorsement of Holly’s sobriety coaching program. It is, however, a perspective. There’s this Buddhist expression, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!” It speaks to the dangers of making something or someone your god, which is easy to do when you feel as though you have been saved, but the reification of any one concept or any one guru or organization can be fraught with peril.

I work with a lot of clients who struggle with substance abuse because when the world offers you its misogyny, its transphobia, its racisim and its fat phobia (amongst others) to internalize, numbness and escape often sound like the loveliest of sirens. I have folks who come to my office who have found a sober life working an AA program, and it’s glorious. I also work with clients who have found that the language of powerlessness and surrender was inaccessible to them in the context of a history of sexual trauma or internalized hatred and disempowerment, and who echo Holly’s statement that in fact, making the choice to let go of alcohol because you can’t use it and be well is profoundly powerful, and profoundly empowering.

You can’t get sober by yourself, but you’re also the only one who can get you sober. The rooms of AA are one available community within which to do that work, but they are not the only one: could this be a truth?

Transgender patients and informed consent: Who decides when transition treatment is appropriate?

“Informed consent is a medical provider laying out your risks and benefits, and the most current information they have about those risks and benefits, and giving you the choice about what to do with your own body. For me this is a basic human right, a matter of bodily autonomy,” Abernathey said.

Source: Transgender patients and informed consent: Who decides when transition treatment is appropriate?

While I subscribe, personally, to the informed consent model of managing hormone therapy (HRT), I am available in instances when a provider requires a therapeutic “gatekeeper” to work with a client before providing HRT, as well as being available to work with folks on the feelings of alienation, depression and/or anxiety that can often emerge when gender dysphoria is present.

One Size does not (fill in the blank).

So, I highly recommend you go read this http://www.danikabrysha.com/blog/dear-danika-food-addiction-stress-management-and-how-im-finally-finding-peace-and-freedom, knowing that the author is someone I choose to follow on social media and in her blog even though I have specifically chosen not to follow the path she has used to address her eating disorder, and our very definitions of eating disorder and recovery diverge. Here’s why:

1. What if her path is right for you or one of my clients? I have found that I don’t stay on the healthy side of the blurry line between OA and restriction very long, and so it’s not my scene, but recovery is individual.

2. If it’s not your scene either, can you engage with her words as an act of empathic connection with someone whose struggles you share? We’re so quick to judge, and it keeps us separate in our own food and body prisons, rather than forging the community and connections we need to feel seen, heard and not totally nuts.

3. It’s worth it purely for her insight into the absolute brain drain (and effort of futility) that is dieting.

4. Because I’m choosing to put my energy into pumping breast milk these days, rather than blogging much, but I still want you to have good things to read.