Black Keys on the Piano

Someone recently sent me one of those blast emails with this title. Turns out that it was about some concert at Carnegie Hall, but my mind went directly to the most recent derogatory statements made against primarily Black populated countries such as Haiti and African nations. “Black Keys on the Piano” is the perfect illustration of how integral and necessary these countries are to our world, along with the people living in them or those who are from them. Without their history, we’d have deep depletion of culture and humanity in a far more inferior world.

But the suggestion that this segment of our human population is not worthy of our consideration is severely troubling on its own. Yet this very pretext plays out every day.

Suzanne Slay - Respect Focused Therapy-2.png

Within the realm of therapy, it is noted that the African-American population is vastly underserved by mental health services in this country. Trust is one of the largest barriers to such services, along with the lack of financial resources.

Trust is critical to any therapeutic positive outcome, yet it seems to be undermined so frequently in a myriad of ways. Very often, it is missed without intention or forethought. The purposeful attention to the existence of racism in our society and the permeated value that it has in each of our lives is the only way we have to counter its damaging effects in our current interactions at work or in our personal lives.

This paradoxically means that we need to be able to trust others as well. Our own vulnerability is required to genuinely trust, and our ability to take the step toward trusting those in our midst is required in order to be trusted.

I believe that we owe it to ourselves, our clients, and to our greater global community to rigorously investigate any and all strands of bias or other blockades we hold that impair trust in either direction. To do this takes courage, strength, and untarnished honesty within ourselves to be able to delve deeper and present our most authentic selves in the most trustworthy manner possible.


RFT Book Cover

Respect-Focused Therapy (RFT) is a foundation on which all modalities and techniques used in therapy can be strongly grounded, in order to produce sound, effective outcomes. This approach offers clients the opportunity to gain experiential understanding of being respected, possibly for the first time, from the therapeutic relationship and then be able to heal old wounds by creating more respect for self and others in the therapeutic process.