US centric academia, US centric food, US centric music, US centric porn, US centric clothes, US centric social justice… Oh goodness, it gets so tiring. Studying the practice of therapy, sociology, anthropology, or anything slightly related to “culture” in the US is such a dissociative experience. You have to not only adapt to US supremacy within your own neurobiology to place all the psychotherapeutic learning you’re embodying, but also erase a whole part of the fact that you belong to an entirely different land where therapy practice, people’s inner narratives, attachment styles and cultural propaganda that manifests in the psyche, are performed within a completely different sensibility. Who is going to understand, in your foreign classroom the nuances of an intercaste parent-child relationship living in suburban Kerala and that they aren’t necessarily “enmeshed” because they live together well into their 40s? The term enmeshment itself is studied from a western-centric lens and it guides the narrative of so much that we consume. Yet, this place defines how much bread I can earn, how much value other people see in me, in my home country, as someone educated in its narratives.
But then, the most disarming is to sit in a classroom with other Indian immigrant students and friends, who have conditioned themselves to be so US centric, growing up millennial in India, that the experience of dissociation isn’t even visible to them. And then those of us that practice therapy/mental health of any form in the US, long after our studies have finished, gain greater and greater distance from a whole part of our identities that we have sold to the US. It’s so subconscious and it’s so prevalent.