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  • Kai Dunn

Queering Therapy

"Queering is an ever-emergent process of becoming, one that is flexible and fluid in response to context, and in resistance to norms. When we queer something, we question and disrupt taken-for-granted practices and we can imagine new possibilities" -Julie Tilsen, from Queering Your Therapy Practice: Queer Theory, Narrative Therapy, and Imagining New Identities


I love queer as a verb, a daily practice of challenging normativity, questioning taken-for-granted understandings and practices, imagining and creating new ways of being in any realm. For many of us, the undoing of everything we've been told to be and everything we’ve been taught to believe is one of the most beautiful and powerful aspects of being queer. Learning that love and relationships and gender can exist outside the artificial norms society forces on us invites us to reimagine any aspect of life. It invites curiosity and expansiveness.


Queering therapy means engaging in an ongoing process of critical curiosity; it allows us to deconstruct prevailing discourses and question the embedded assumptions that limit people's ways of being in the world. My queerness helps me embrace complexity, stay curious, and reject rigidity. It engages me in paradigm-shifting, spiritual, political, justice work to find ways to reclaim our divinity and reconnect with our humanity–loving and imagining and resting and dreaming and being, reclaiming our spirit from a violent, spiritually devoid system. Queering means we ask questions about things we don't usually investigate and understand our individual stories in relationship to the larger stories in which they are situated. It allows room for the nuances and contradictions we live with, creates space for us to show up in our wholeness and complexity, and have agency in how we want to navigate our particular challenges, whether moving through a significant life transition, healing from the impacts of abuse, or working with our burnout and depression. Rather than the neoliberal, hyper-individualistic approach to mental health, which pathologizes and locates the problem within us, we can access greater power and agency over the problems in our lives when we put ourselves in relationship with those problems. When we see our personal experiences are situated within familial, historical, social, cultural, and political contexts, and draw upon our own values, understandings, preferences, and hopes, we can identity not only the effects that a problem has on us, but the ways in which we can have an effect on that problem. 


The practice of queering creates spaciousness and opens new possibilities. As Ocean Vuong said, "Being queer saved my life. Often we see queerness as deprivation. But when I look at my life, I saw that queerness demanded an alternative innovation from me. I had to make alternative routes; it made me curious; it made me ask, 'Is this enough for me?''

Here's to our healing and growing, our expansiveness and innovation, our curiosity and creation.

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