Soberful diversity and inclusion consultant Grachelle Sherburne joins the podcast this week to discuss how addiction and sobriety differ for people of colour. She shares her wisdom and insight into improving outcomes for minorities and why her equine-assisted therapy is an essential part of her practice.
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On today’s episode we have a very special guest that I know you’re going to learn so much from. Grachelle Sherburne is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Psychotherapist, Mind Transformational & Business Coach who spent many years as a Co-Occurring Therapist in community mental health, treating those with substance use and mental health disorders. Grachelle also works as a consultant for companies and organizations to close the gap in regards to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), which is how our path’s first crossed.
In recovery and mental health, the professional doing the work needs to be aware of their own biases because they bring that to the table when they’re trying to help somebody. – Grachelle Sherburne
One of the values of Soberful is to be an inclusive place for all people. It’s always been a core value for me and my work and I know that this work is never done. I wanted to make sure to work with someone who was an expert in the field who could help us out with any blind spots that we had and who would make sure to call me out on anything they saw. Grachelle has been the perfect person for that.
People of color have a very different experience to white people with addiction and with accessing resources for substance use disorders. On top of that, there’s also a stigma that sometimes exists in seeking services for recovery and mental health. Being able to be treated by someone that understands your social, economical, and cultural aspects is critical. To put it simply, representation matters.
Privilege doesn’t just show up in accessibility to services, it’s in every aspect from drinking culture straight through. When Grachelle and I started working together, one of the first things she helped me with was my book and the damaging “mommy needs wine” culture. There has been a massive marketing push to associate wine with parenting, even going so far as day drinking festivals where you’re encouraged to bring your kids, but if you take a careful look you’ll realize that that in and of itself is steeped in white privilege.
Where white, middle-class, suburban moms can brand themselves as “fun, non-judgmental moms,” Black moms know they could never do that. In a world where a barbecue in the park results in a 911 call, Black moms have to be constantly vigilant against being seen as a threat to their children’s safety.
That’s the part of privilege that some people have. They can do those things, organise, advertise, where we know we cannot do such activities. – Grachelle Sherburne
When you look at the systems put in place over the years, people of color have been put at a massive disadvantage. From the war on drugs started in the 1980s that put a target on Black men especially, to liquor stores on every corner in Black communities, there are so many social and economic factors that create extra hurdles for them to jump over to reach successful sobriety.
I really wholeheartedly believe in the healing effects of nature and being around animals. – Grachelle Sherburne
Growing up on a farm, around horses, Grachelle learned the power of using your natural surroundings to regulate, calm and cope. Through equine-assisted therapy, she gives her patients a foundation of a happy place they can bring themselves back to, no matter where they are. That’s also why she’s committed to doing equine-assisted psychotherapy with children that are on Medicaid. She knows that through that, they will have a life-changing experience that maybe they never would have had without it.
I really believe in owning your truth and sharing your beliefs and your convictions, even though maybe you’re in business, and it makes you nervous. – Grachelle Sherburne
For Grachelle, it’s her mission to help people have awareness of the gender, income, geographical, and cultural patterns that need to be considered when you’re working with someone that has a substance use disorder because having that awareness is key.
Her goal is to help people see the blind spots they weren’t aware of and provide the education we need to go out into the world and do things differently. She encourages us to stop worrying about cancel culture and instead let people know our convictions and beliefs when it comes to just being a good human being.
When you’re ready to go deeper in this very necessary work, I highly recommend checking out everything Grachelle has to offer. She brings a lot of talents, skills, and experience to the table and we are very lucky to have her as a part of Soberful.
About Grachelle Sherburne
Grachelle Sherburne is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Psychotherapist, Mind Transformational & Business Coach. Grachelle has a private practice, Taking The Reins To Change, where she specializes in TF-CBT and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy with her clients and her horses. Grachelle spent many years as a Co-Occurring Therapist in community mental health, treating those with substance use and mental health disorders. Grachelle also works as a consultant for companies and organizations to close the gap in regards to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Grachelle is committed to improving the lives of those she serves.
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