Psychotherapist Asha Tarry Talks Reconciling Grief for One’s City with Grief for George Floyd

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Asha Tarry is an author, an award-winning community mental health advocate, psychotherapist, and certified life coach. As a treating provider, Asha has 20 years of experience providing evaluations, diagnoses, treatment, and life-enhancing skills to children, adults, families, and couples. A significant portion of Ms. Tarry’s work has been conducted in marginalized communities with survivors of intergenerational trauma, as well as with professionals in search of a fulfilling life. As a writer and speaker for several publications, which once included one of the nation’s largest online medical news outlets in the black community, BlackDoctor.org, Asha has effectively demonstrated anecdotal evidence that therapy works, and that mindfulness is a holistic way of healing oneself on a continuous basis.

 

How can people reconcile grief for their city with grief for George Floyd and the issues his murder highlights? 

AT: It’s troubling to live in and around anything that disrupts normalcy and peace. There are a lot of peaceful means by which activists and laypeople are working to dismantle systemic oppressive systems more often than there are violent protests incited by police and unlawful people. It’s painful and at times scary to watch or listen to, yet for those who are activating powerful actions towards change we are going to have to decide what we can respond to and what we can do with our attention and grief in other ways, including other constructive and therapeutic ways. Resolving uncomfortable feelings with murder on display by people who are perceived or told to citizens that they serve and protect is one we have to examine if it’s true to our experiences. If not, there are ways to work on that– joining social justice groups, voting, writing letters, attending community meetings.  One feeling does not have to replace another feeling. They can co-exist.

 

How can people manage their grief about George Floyd and the systemic treatment of people of color? 

AT: It would help to not think of grief as something we manage, but rather something we experience.  Laws should be respected, but not in lieu of protecting lives. All people should feel safe wherever they are, and this has to start top to bottom so to speak. It has to be modeled by people who are of the age that make decisions for others e.g. parents, to community leaders, to the President of the U.S. The authorities that are feared by everyday people should continue building community relationships that are genuine to the wellbeing of all people, not some people. While I say this, the world will go on, and laws will be enforced, as they should be, but we need language and imagery that condones healing, empathy and care for all people.

 

How can people manage their anxiety during the current news cycle?

AT: Limit their intake, notice how they feel during and after watching the news. For example, one can feel or look for restlessness, nervousness, racing thoughts, difficulty focusing, or obsessive thoughts, compulsion to keep looking at triggering news or videos of violent attacks on people. I advise having several outlets and hobbies to channel that energy such as moving one’s body as in dancing, walking, or jogging to get unwanted energy out of the body. I also advise not watching the news more than 2x a day as most times it doesn’t change. And lastly, keep any excitable t.v. or audio programs to a limit and during the day time. Do not engage in these activities before bedtime.

Asha’s work as a mindfulness practitioner has been utilized by professionals in the United States, Asia, and Europe, with partnerships through Thrive Global, an Arianna Huffington company, to prevent employees from experiencing workplace burnout. The goal of Asha’s work is to enlighten, educate, and create safe spaces for everyone, from children to the elderly to live more emotionally empowered and mentally resilient. Her upcoming book is called Adulting as a Millennial: A Guide to Everything Your Parents Didn’t Teach You.

Visit https://lifecoachasha.com/ for more information.

Follow Asha Tarry on Instagram at @ashatarrymental


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