Campus Life, News

Support group aids minority women

The Counseling Center at the University of Miami has been used for group therapy, short-term individual therapy and outreach programs, but now a focused support group could widen the center’s reach even further.

Sisters in Sharing, a drop-in support group for women of color, was founded by Dr. Kisha Bazelais, a licensed psychologist and Dr. Haana Ali, a psychology resident. Open to clients and non-clients of the Counseling Center, the program was organized as a safe space for women of color to discuss topics of interest and offer support to one another.

Ali says that looking back to her own experience in college, a support group to deal with the challenges of being a minority woman in college would have been helpful.

“The group is open to what participants want to discuss,” Ali said. “We’re helping minority students adjust on campus where there’s a majority group, how to process what they’re feeling and to validate what people are experiencing.”

UM students of all ages are encouraged to attend and take part in the discussion. The group is structured so that attendees can drop in on a session, with Bazelais and Ali both available to guide the discussion.

Discussion at each meeting will focus on a theme. Though topics like familial, academic challenges and relationship are universal struggles, Sisters in Sharing also deals with specific areas such as race, culture, sexuality, gender and discrimination.

Chika Gbenoba, a freshman studying psychology, believes this support group is a great idea.

“Just as a place for women of color to come together and relate to one another, it’s so important,” she said. “Maybe it’s a place they can call home.”

Bazelais and Ali, both women of color, have personally experienced challenges of this nature and felt a need to offer a group like this to the UM community, having successfully conducted similar support groups in the past.

“This type of support group can help these women feel less marginalized and better able to cope with concerns related to race and gender, as well as other issues,” Ali said.

Bazelais and Ali say that women of color face unique challenges, particularly in academic settings. Issues of racism, sexism and discrimination can be overwhelming to handle on one’s own.

Ali stresses that the attending the sessions is informal and non-binding, as it is just an opportunity to share and understand the issues that unite these women.

“The hope is that participants will have a better understanding of themselves as racial or cultural beings, be more equipped to manage the unique challenges of being a person of color and develop more support on campus,” Ali said.

November 16, 2014

Reporters

Sirisha Gaddipati


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It was a good day for the Miami Hurricanes basketball team. They moved up to No. 6 in the AP Top 25 ...

Erykah Davenport and Shaneese Bailey made key plays back-to-back late in the game and four players s ...

1. MARLINS: Jeter's Fish trade Gordon. Stanton next?: While others spend -- like the Angels to ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Thursday: ▪ With the first ever early signing period just two we ...

University of Miami coach Mark Richt and Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst sat on a stage poolside at the ...

Seeking a college experience within a diverse community, this graduate found her home away from home ...

Graduating with Comedic Timing ...

The top graduate from UM's School of Education and Human Development shines in the classroom. ...

‘Part-Time Junior’ Sculpts Her Way to a B.F.A. ...

Students in University of Miami’s School of Communication’s Orange Umbrella Student Consultancy garn ...

Hurricanes earn highest ranking since March 2013. ...

Walker IV recorded a career-high 26 points, seven rebounds in the win over Boston U. ...

The University of Miami women's basketball team earned an impressive 65-54 win over No. 20/23 K ...

After its longest break of the season thus far, the University of Miami women's basketball team ...

Miami senior wide receiver Braxton Berrios, a double major in finance and entrepreneurship, was name ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.