The Role of the Mental Health Practitioner in Decolonial Practices | Social Justice & Inclusion Track, Mental Health Institute

NOTE: This event is specifically for Washington State attendees who are part of the behavioral health workforce.


This session is part of the Social Justice & Inclusion track of the Mental Health Institute.


Participants will be exposed to a decolonial perspective advanced by activists from Abya Yala (Latin America). Decolonial key concepts will be explored with an interest in the understanding of the role that healthcare practitioners play in advancing decolonial projects within the context of the mental health care system. Explorations on how, as practitioners, we are influenced by colonial power will be an introductory step to the decolonization of mental health services to construct alternatives of healing. Capitalism, Eurocentrism, Race and Gender, and the control of authority will be discussed.

Contact hours will be available for participants who attend the entire session. The University of Washington is an approved provider of continuing education for DOH licensed social workers, licensed mental health counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists, psychologists, chemical dependency professionals, nurses and physicians under the provisions of: WAC 246-809-610, WAC 246-809-620,WAC 246-811-200, WAC 246-840-210, WAC 246-919-460 and WAC 246-924-240.

Session is 9a-3p PT

See more in the Social Justice Track HERE



marcela polanco, PhD

marcela polanco pictureI was born in unceded and exploited territories of the Muisca indigenous communities. These territories became part of the Nation-State of what we now call Colombia. From the colonial system of social categorization of humanity and identities in modernity, my body is racially marked as a brown cis woman, middle class, heterosexual, able bodied, with no religious affiliations yet educated in the Colombian discriminatory, private, and Catholic schooling system. My ancestry is Southern European by colonization; as well as Muisca, Pijao, and Black (although, I know very little or nothing at all of my non-European ancestry due to the historical genocide since colonial times). I speak two imperial languages, Español Colombiano or Colombian Spanish; and 20 years-old U.S. Immigrant English. During my immigration experience here in the U.S. I came to learn to speak borderland Spanglish/Ingleñol. I live an advantageous urban life—financially unaffected by the pandemic– I live in unceded territories of the Kumeyaay peoples in San Diego, California. I actively participate in, hence sustain Eurocentric capitalist systems. My earnings come from institutional systems of power that are dedicated to the legitimation of the production of knowledge in standard English, through patriarchal science, and racialized professional education. I am part of a profession that abides singularly to Western systems of power that perpetuate relationality within the ideas of marriage, family, and therapy. I hold the MFT license in three states: California, Texas, and Florida. I am part of the faculty team of San Diego State University’s master’s program and Spanglish certificate in the same profession. I profit financially from my scholarly agenda on decoloniality and social justice that seeks to critique the very same racists and capitalist systems that my livelihood depends on. My name is marcela polanco. [lowercase is intentional.]



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Starts: Nov 18, 2022 9:00 am
Ends: Nov 18, 2022 3:00 pm
Registration Deadline
November 18, 2022
Event Type
Webinar/Virtual Training
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