AwareNow: Issue 28: The Mental Edition

Page 31

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH HAESUE JO, MA/LMFT

AN ‘OTHER’ ISSUE

AT THE INTERSECTION OF OTHERING AND MENTAL HEALTH Opposite of ‘belonging’, there is ‘othering’. As opposed to acceptance and inclusion, othering translates to intolerance and exclusion. This can result in marginalization and discrimination with an “us vs. them” mentality. Being othered can cause a number of mental health issues. For help understanding and navigating mental health and issues like othering, there are a number of resources. Today, we look to the world’s leading provider of online therapy, BetterHelp.com. We have the pleasure of speaking with Haesue Jo, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Head of Clinical Operations at BetterHelp. ALLIÉ: Experienced in stress, anxiety, LGBTQIA, family conflicts, trauma and abuse, grief, parenting issues, anger management, self esteem, your specialties include relationship issues, career difficulties and coping with life changes. That’s a lot, Haesue. That said, a lot of people are dealing with a lot of issues. Today, let’s focus on the issue of ‘othering’. I wondered if you could begin by sharing the actual definition, followed by a personal recollection.

HAESUE: To “other” is to treat or view someone, or a group of people, as intrinsically different and alien to oneself. That’s the literal definition if you google it, and based on that - I’ve been othered my entire life, which I imagine many people can relate to. At some carnal, primitive level, we are tribal creatures and gravitate towards those that are like us - there’s familiarity for one thing, and a deep-rooted, long standing idea that “our people” are the ones we stick with. I was one of a few Koreans through high school, I was bullied for being tall (what?), for having hair on my arms,

AN ‘OTHER’ ISSUE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH HAESUE JO

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31 AWARENOW / THE MENTAL EDITION

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