As you will find throughout the pages of this site, I am a huge believer in the power of relationships. I am who I am because of the people who have loved me, believed in me, and challenged me to lean into the uncomfortable work of growth. Keep scrolling if you would like to know a little more about me.
I grew up in a small Indigenous community in rural Alaska. As a young child I was immersed in a rich community, surrounded by wise elders, and raised with a set of collective values that centered taking care of each other over individual pursuits. My home town is no stranger to hardship, trauma, and suffering. The lack of resources, combined with the impacts of colonization, intergenerational trauma, and poverty, has led to a slew of mental health challenges. Tragically, this includes the highest rate of suicide in the United States. After losing multiple close friends in high school, I was left full of grief and motivated to make sense of it all. This eventually led into an education in psychology and a career in mental health. The new relationships, communities, and self-awareness built on my journey to becoming a therapist have been more healing and meaningful than I could have ever predicted.
On the next page you will find details about my collaborative and relational approach, belief that all humans are worthy of love and are doing their best to survive the traumas they have been faced with, love of storytelling, and fundamental value towards authentically facing the suffering inherent within human existence. All of these values are deeply rooted in the community and culture I come from.
When I am not in my therapist chair, you can likely find me with my partner, friends, and dog Sisu. You can also find me cooking, weightlifting, in the mountains, or watching super hero movies. I love humor and flirting with the line between deeply meaningful conversation and the deeply sarcastic bullshit.
Growing up in rural Alaska provided me a unique perspective and a fire inside my heart to fight for Indigenous rights, sovereignty, and people. Yet, it was not until beginning my doctoral internship at CSU that I began truly unpacking my own privileges, being held accountable for the impacts I was having, and paying attention to the larger intersecting oppressive systems.
As a straight, white, cis gender man who experiences the many privileges of living in a society built around white body supremacy, I consider it my responsibility to advocate for people holding historically marginalized identities and to take an actively anti-racist stance. My commitment to diversity has to be more than words on a webpage. It is a life-long commitment towards cultural humility, self-reflection, social action, and the direct confrontation of ongoing injustices both within and outside of the workplace.
I am committed to creating accessible and affirming therapeutic spaces for people who hold historically marginalized identities. I am equally committed to the continued examination of the intersections of trauma, mental health, and systems of oppression. The task of decolonizing mental healthcare requires a daily vigilance to hold myself, my communities, and the larger systems accountable. For those of you who hold shared privileged identities with me, I offer a space to lean into the uncomfortable work of awareness and action, with the goal of fostering accountability over shame.
"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced." -James Baldwin
“Radical empathy, on the other hand, means putting in the work to educate oneself and to listen with a humble heart to understand another's experience from their perspective, not as we imagine we would feel. Radical empathy is not about you and what you think you would do in a situation you have never been in and perhaps never will. It is the kindred connection from a place of deep knowing that opens your spirit to the pain of another as they perceive it… The price of privilege is the moral duty to act when one sees another person treated unfairly.”
Mental Health and Professional Credentials
Copyright © 2021 Bridger Counseling - All Rights Reserved.
John Bridger (formally Herman), PhD
Powered by GoDaddy