Ask the Therapist Column

I typically respond to a reader’s question in this column. However, considering the current affairs in the world and in light of the recent (although certainly not new) experiences of violence and death towards Black people in our country, I felt I needed to use this platform to highlight the importance of anti-racist work and uplift the voices and perspectives of Black people. All lives cannot matter until Black Lives matter. It is hard for me to understand how this is even debated; however, if you have even made it this far in reading my column today, I thank you. Especially if you are a White person, it is incredibly uncomfortable (to say the least) to look at the pain of the past and how it has continued to oppress and kill human beings, even today. And although dismantling racism can be a confusing, painful and overwhelming process; be empathic of the centuries of pain and trauma that is and will continue to need to be processed by the Black person and that with each look inward and action outward in the name of equality for all that we can do/have now, is perhaps, one less our children will have to have in the future. 

This is a period in time in which all of the ways we still need to look at our shadowed past as a country, particularly as it is related to Black people and African Americans is coming to the forefront. These times are pivotal in creating change. I hope that all of us are taking the time to consider how we contribute to continued oppression and racism in our country. The issues that are needing to be addressed, including racism and inequality, are very sensitive and delicate topics – as they should be! They are regarding people’s lives and people’s children. It is about addressing the painful and traumatic past that still has a rippling affect through generations today. Initially, I had submitted my column to Stacie addressing “having difficult conversations”. And although this is important wisdom to share, I realized that I was missing a pivotal first step and that is LISTENING. We must educate ourselves and come into conversations with as much perspective, wisdom and understanding as possible so that we do not do more harm. You may not initially agree with everything you see, hear, or explore here but persist. If something triggers a reaction in you, that is the place to start. What you are resistant towards is where the healing and reconciliation needs to take place. Please, go and have conversations and remember that one of the most influential ways you can make a change in our country is to do your inner work. So for today’s column, I am offering a list of resources for you to access so that you can begin the journey towards anti-racism and true equality for all where everyone can feel safe and free in this country. 


Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon 

How To Be Anti-Racist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi 

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibra X. Kendi 

Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad 

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo 

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo PhD

Privilege: Power and Difference by Allan Johnson 

America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America by Jim Wallis 

We Were Eight Years In Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates 

This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins 

Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Films + TV Series: 

13th (Ava DuVernay) – Netflix 

Just Mercy (Destin Daniel Cretton) 

The Hate U Give 

When They See Us (Ava DuVernay) 

BOSS: The Black Experience in Business, PBS Documentary 

Slavery By Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans From the Civil War to World War II, PBS based on book by Douglas Blackmon 


How to Have a Voice and Lean into Conversations on Race by Amanda Kemp 

A Conversation with Black Women on Race, Op-Docs The New York Times 

The Enduring Myth of Black Criminality by Ta-Nehisi Coates via The Atlantic 

How Racism Makes Us Sick by Robin DiAngelo 

Organizations to follow on Social Media: 

Antiracism Center 

The Conscious Kid 

Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) 

United We Dream 

Audre Lorde Project 



Other Articles:

Save the Tears: White Woman’s Guide by Tatiana Mac 

97 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice by Corinne Shuck on Medium 

How to Be an Ally if You Are a Person with Privilege by Frances E. Kendall 

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack by Peggy Macintosh 

How Well-Intentioned White Families Can Perpetuate Racism by Joe Pinsker 

Please know this is just a short and initial list of resources. I hope you will begin the journey with an open mind and an open heart. Words do little to describe the amount of depth that one must go to dismantle their own subconscious racist and oppressive paradigms. It is lifetime work and a daily practice. If you are feeling hopeless and in despair about the current happenings in our world, one of the greatest remedies is TAKING ACTION. Find a way to DO something about the pain in this world, standing up for those who are hurting and doing the work to make real and lasting change so that everyone is truly FREE and EMPOWERED in this life. If you can feel like a meaningful part of the changes we are experiencing, then you will surely find hope in your own heart.

You can submit your “Question to the Therapist” by visiting and send your question through the contact page. Please put “Question to the Therapist” in the subject line.

By: Jackie Paulson is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Registered 500 Hour Yoga Instructor. She has over a decade of experience in the helping field and offers holistic therapies that combine and east meets west approach to therapy.

Jackie specializes in working with adults who may be experiencing a wide array of concerns; including, relationship difficulties, sexuality and intimacy, depression and anxiety, trauma, grief and loss, addiction, and other life transitions and adjustments. Her training in mindfulness based stress reduction, somatic work, existential theory and depth psychology all enhanced the investment of your time in session with her.

Ultimately, Jackie offers a humanistic approach and her overall hope is to empower individuals to seek and connect into their own deep and sacred wisdom that resides within them. Jackie believes that each person has an innate ability to heal themselves and journey through any experience with the right support. You can sit with Jackie in her therapy office located on Historic 4th Street in downtown Sioux City. She accepts BC/BS and other private pay options. 

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