National Deaf Therapy (NDT) is committed to decolonizing mental health care through anti-bias and anti-racism work. We infuse ongoing training and resources into all our processes. We can make mental health a safe and accessible option to a broader audience by addressing how the therapeutic space has been colonized.
To truly heal as a collective, we must invest in systems of care that prioritize the well-being of all through an anti-racism and anti-bias lens. As mental health practitioners, we must reduce harm and provide a safe space for everyone to feel seen. At NDT, we do this work by constantly unlearning our personal biases.
National Deaf Therapy (NDT) is a group mental health practice. All NDT therapists are independent contractors. Before joining our team of practitioners, all therapists must sign a contract that includes committing to maintaining anti-bias and anti-racism work. We acknowledge that every person comes to NDT with a unique identity and starting point. Through our commitment, we ensure that everyone is working towards reducing harm in the world through the mental health services we provide.
We have strict requirements for all our therapists. All therapists undergo the following:
Our commitment to training and development ensures that our therapists can provide the best possible care for our clients. If we identify an area of concern, NDT implements a consultation, followed by the mandatory training procedure. This process is outlined in the therapist manual and addressed in weekly staff meetings.
We embrace transparency by openly discussing our process and what we are doing to improve to reduce harm and decolonize our mental health services.
Decolonization requires an understanding and dismantling of how Eurocentric thought and systems have impacted and continue to impact people’s well-being. In a deaf-led mental health service, this includes recognizing the effects of audism – the belief that hearing is inherently superior to being deaf or hard of hearing – on individuals and larger systems. It also means promoting and amplifying Deaf culture, language, and perspectives in all aspects of care.
NDT acknowledges the many factors that contribute to a person’s lived experience and how they impact their therapeutic experience. We not only recognize the challenges faced by Deaf people of color, but also acknowledge the intersections of gender identity, class, sexuality, and ability. Understanding how these intersecting identities can impact access to mental health resources and experiences with therapy.
We are constantly working to identify and disrupt systems of oppression to create a world where marginalized communities have access to culturally sensitive mental health services. To do this requires actively challenging and addressing biases and systems of oppression, including racism, ableism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, and more.
Compassion means acknowledging each individual’s unique experiences and needs and actively seeking to understand and meet those needs. It means creating accessible services and recognizing how systemic oppression can impact one’s mental well-being. By valuing compassion, we hope to create a safe space for all individuals to seek support and healing as we journey toward collective liberation.
Inclusivity is integral to our mission to provide effective mental health support for the deaf community. We embrace all individuals, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability status. Our therapists are committed to continually examining our biases and learning to be better allies. Only then can we truly serve all members of the deaf community with compassion and respect.
We actively seek feedback and continually learn and grow in our understanding of bias and racism, both as individuals and as an organization. By regularly reviewing our policies and procedures and making necessary changes, we hold ourselves accountable to the anti-bias and anti-racism values we have committed. Ultimately, accountability allows us to provide the best possible support to our deaf clients, particularly those from marginalized communities.