The entirety of the animal kingdom is flesh and bones; science lets us know that our DNA is 95% alike. So then, what makes us different? Our need for social support and the ability to be ‘human’ of course!
Humans are social beings (yes, even those of us who don't like to socialise as much), we relate to one another and delight in each other’s company. However, influenced by human history, we tend to categorise human beings into groups like castes, races, genders, classes, etc, even to this day. These stigmatised groups can be prone to exclusion, privileges, and discrimination.
Being excluded from society can have negative effects culturally, economically and personally. It can affect one’s mental health in an adverse manner. Since mental health is a fundamental right for all, it is essential for therapists to be aware, compassionate and inclusive. Not implementing inclusion in therapy practice can be detrimental to one’s need to feel heard and understood.
What Does “Inclusivity” Really Mean?
Inclusion means accepting and working in harmony with everyone. This comes irrespective of the social, economic or cultural groups people belong to. In other words, inclusivity embraces the idea of society accepting every individual, regardless of their race, gender, sexuality, or spiritual belief to be offered equal opportunities. Living in an inclusive society helps people feel like they belong and are an active part of society.
Adhering to our psychological needs, social inclusion includes respecting every human being and not singling them out or discriminating against them. In mental healthcare, inclusivity means the opportunity for everyone to access and avail of it whenever needed. It means offering mental healthcare to everyone without judgement, discrimination or bias due to their background. It helps to make healthcare more accessible and available for everyone.
Inclusivity Is the Heartbeat of a Healthy Society
Inclusivity (bearing up to its name) makes one feel acknowledged and “included”. But what other benefits are there in living in an inclusive society you wonder?
Social inclusion improves the overall health of people. It enhances productivity, motivation, and wellbeing. Inclusivity makes it easier for people to avail social support as well. It helps people represent their cultures and unique personalities while being respected and accepted for who they are.
Especially in therapy, therapists are dedicated to helping clients feel more comfortable, valued, respected and validated. A therapist who is inclusive offers personalised healthcare to clients, keeping in mind their backgrounds and the aspects that play into their lifestyles. And that’s why several people who go to therapy feel accepted and truly heard.
How To Be Accepting and Socially Inclusive
While we’ve talked about what inclusion is and why it’s so important, it is essential to put theory into practice. Exercising inclusive habits within our society comes in the form of small, mindful actions we take in our day-to-day lives. Here are some of them.
Be aware and fight peer discrimination
The first step to promoting social inclusion is creating awareness and understanding the need for it. It comes from educating ourselves and building sensitivity in society. Especially as a therapist, it is important to be educated and aware of various backgrounds, ethnicities, and genders, and attempt to create awareness as well. Therapy is a very personal experience where these various aspects can play a role. So understanding and sensitivity to these are essential!
If you are looking to educate yourself about mental health or inclusivity, you can check out some information here.
Be kind and encourage others to do so as well!
When we relearn to be kind and mindful, we give space for others to flourish in comfort. We are social beings and will reach greater heights when we walk together, supporting and being there for one another.
We can achieve a world that looks beyond what one is wearing, beyond what one identifies as and a world where nobody needs to fit into a box. We can do this when we learn, unlearn, and relearn.
Have compassion and be understanding.
Compassion is one of the strongest elements of an inclusive society. Such an attitude helps us feel supported, acknowledged, and valued. Going the extra mile to help someone is a selfless and commendable deed, one that benefits everyone. And what better a society to live in than a compassionate one, right?
Being compassionate also helps therapists to empathise and truly understand where their clients are coming from. It helps them tackle concerns that clients bring up in therapy in a personal and comforting way. It makes clients feel validated and helps them find the safe space that therapy aspires to offer.
Inclusion Promotes A Therapeutic Process
With great power comes great responsibility! While inclusion empowers us, it is also our responsibility to consistently take steps to shape a welcoming and positive community. Every change and improvement in society comes from an individual.
The mark of a healthy society is also the presence and accessibility of experienced therapists. It is equally important for them to be active listeners and non-judgemental. They should welcome every individual, and aid them in their well-being journey.
Therapy allows individuals to find a space to feel validated and heard. It allows them to process their feelings and find relief from concerns. At the same time, it provides the expertise of the therapists to find insights and unravel suppressed emotions. Overall, it can help people to function optimally and feel good about themselves.
If you are someone who is looking for a safe and inclusive space, we encourage you to connect with our compassionate and experienced therapists. Book a therapy session with us or get to know more about our therapists!
Stay mindful, and be inclusive. ?
Written by Nishtha Agarwal,
Reviewed & Edited by Brencia Daphnie for Heart It Out