A Word From The Author
I have worked in the human services field for over 20 years. Most of those years were spent delivering direct services to people of all ethnicities at a very vulnerable and troubling time of their lives. What struck me most was that all the information and experience I offered meant little if I could not translate what I knew in a way the person or audience I was trying to help could connect to, based on their own experiences. So I focused on making those connections. And over time, I developed an empathetic, bridge-building, culturally-sensitive communication style that served me well as a presenter, lecturer, and group facilitator.
Bami Soro, which means “Talk to Me” in the Yoruba language of West Africa, represents my attempt to pass along this communication style. Its hallmarks are storytelling and eliciting personal stories on each topic from the participants themselves so that they, not the facilitator, do most of the heavy lifting. It’s the participants who “connect the dots” between their own experiences and each topic that’s up for discussion.
Support group participants and facilitators alike will find Bami Soro entertaining and informative. But its most important value to therapists, counselors and mental health professionals is that it helps those professionals with little or no experience in communicating with Black Americans or people of color begin to develop their own comfortable, confident communication style with clients from these communities. Black counselors will also appreciate having a culturally-directed tool to help guide their group discussions in ways that will make them more therapeutically effective for Black Americans and other people of color. But the fact is there are more young White than Black therapists, counselors, behavioral health and mental health professionals graduating every year, which means it’s impossible for people of color to always work with professionals who look like them. There is no reason why White professionals can’t bridge this gap if they are willing to learn how to communicate effectively with Blacks and other people of color and “meet them where they are”. Bami Soro helps them do that.
“We will have to teach each other how to heal.”
Author, Bami Soro
Producer, Addict Chronicles
Peer Recovery Coach