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Real Talk Illustration by Katty Maurey

Real Talk

Therapy is supposed to be a space for healing. And yet, years of seeing white therapists only brought Minelle Mahtani more pain.

The velvet paisley couch was stiff and unyielding. I sat wedged in the middle of it with my parents flanking me. My mother fidgeted with her wedding rings, my father fumed. I myself said nothing. I had already said everything I could say.

The therapist didn’t say a word, either. I remember thinking it was a lot of money to spend on silence.

Therapy—the idea of sitting down, talking to someone, sharing your story with unconditional regard and respect, and receiving sage guidance in return—had always been a foreign concept to me. Growing up with an Indian father and Iranian mother, whose families both eschewed the idea of therapy, it was never part of our culture’s consciousness. We would watch shows like Frasier and cock a brow in incredulity: Is that how white folks spend their money? Haram.

But when my parents split up when I ...

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