For too long, says therapist Ken Hardy, Black Americans have been living in a wall-less prison where they must adjust the way they live and act to accommodate the white mainstream.

In this highlight from his Networker Symposium keynote, Hardy makes a call to therapists everywhere: even if you don’t interact with clients of color much in your job, make allyship a part of your larger life’s work.

In his Networker article, Hardy talks about growing up in the wall-less prison, the professional hurdles he encountered as a Black man in a predominantly white profession, and the clash with a white supervisor that ultimately served as the turning point in his career.

“Increasingly,” he writes, “my work has become centered on issues like the anatomy of racial rage, learned voicelessness, and an array of other invisible wounds of racial oppression… I’ve come to see my mission as being not only a therapeutic healer doling out help in one-hour appointment slots, but also an activist and a bridge-builder.”

Kenneth V. Hardy

Kenneth V. Hardy, PhD, is director of the Eikenberg Institute for Relationships and professor of marriage and family therapy at Drexel University.