“What’s the point of getting better if everyone you know and love is still sick?” ~Mishara Winston
Mishara Winston, LCSW, believes that healing is the byproduct of communal joy. A hundred episodes ago, this Black queer woman redefined for us what it meant to be an adventure therapist. Three years later, she’s back to share her leveled-up vision. Mishara’s one of my most favorite people and most favorite interviews. It’s exciting to catch up with this genius spirit as she continues her professional and personal transformation.
To reverse-engineer her evolution, Mishara dug into the bone-deep knowledge of her ancestors. She pulled back layers of formal education, returning to ancestral muscle memory. What did the village elders know, the medicine women, the spiritual guides? It’s a healing birthright she says everyone can tap back into provided we return to the self-awareness, self-accountability, and self-compassion present in our collective circles. Mishara wants everyone to return to their campfires, to reclaim their latent talent as a healer.
But how to extend that ancient healing outward in modern times, to folks who have neither the money to seek out trauma care for themselves nor the trust to extend to well-credentialed strangers? That’s where the warm embrace of a community comes in. Yes, there’s still a place for individual therapy in Mishara’s world, but she challenges all of us to think more expansively than that. “What can we do alongside that so that the whole community, the whole hood, and the whole family has access to mental wellness skills at their level?”
Mishara aims to expand the experience of and access to wellness through her model for quality communal care. To that end, she’s calling foolishness on the harmful practice of forcing people who are not white to conform to institutional whiteness even though BIPOC folks have their own rich traditions of mental health healing. This Euro-centric psychology model has also fueled the mental health industrial complex’s relentless prioritization of profit over people on both sides of the therapeutic equation. It’s yet another throughline that connects colonialism to capitalism and one that begs the question if health is about restoring, to what standard are we returning non-white, non-CIS, non-straight individuals?
Good question, right? Mishara agrees; that’s why she’s asking – and returning all people to the healing wisdom and communal joy of modern campfires.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
CWH053 – Eat Snacks, Take Naps
Mishara Winston, LCSW. As Black Queer Woman, Mishara reminds BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ people and folks of faith our ancestors were already mental health experts- before colonial trauma. Collaboratively she creates whole hood, whole city, whole society healing models as sustainable and affordable alternatives to individual only therapy. Playfully & creatively Mishara stewards communal mental wellness, education and support groups with gifted healing expert folk like you.
CONNECT WITH MISHARA WINSTON
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