Counselors and qualitative researchers have the honor of hearing peoples’ stories and thus have a great responsibility to explore and use clinical and research methodologies that are anti-oppressive, liberatory, and healing. Therefore, in 2019 we began a photovoice project alongside seven queer womxn of color (QWoC) that collaboratively explored their experiences of microaggressions in counseling. Through this journey, we recognized that to be fully present with the “co-researchers’” (participants’) narratives and experiences, we needed to remain attuned and grounded. We engaged in what we now call “rituals” before research team meetings to support our work as counselors and anti-oppressive researchers throughout this photovoice project. These intentional, emotional, embodied, and spiritual practices allowed us to be open with ourselves and with the co-researchers during the research process. In this article, we discuss several rituals we created that helped us engage in critical reflexivity, [un]learn extractive research practices, and explore our intentions, thus allowing us to connect with our embodied experiences and co-researchers’ narratives in a deeper and more meaningful way.


anti-oppressive research, participatory action research, ritual work, presence, reflexivity

Author Bio(s)

Ana Guadalupe Reyes, Ph.D., LPC (TX), NCC, CHST (elle/le/they/them) is an Assistant Professor at California State University, Fullerton Department of Counseling. Dr. Reyes has a Master's in Counseling from Marymount University and a Ph.D. in Counseling from the University of North Texas. They are a National Certified Counselor, Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas, and Certified Humanistic Sandtray Therapist. Dr. Reyes is also a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher who practices various forms of energy healing. With over 13 years of experience working with marginalized and racialized communities in multiple settings, Dr. Reyes integrates somatic, liberatory, and holistic approaches into their work as a scholar, educator, advocate, and counselor. In these roles, they practice anti-oppressive and emancipatory approaches to counseling and research. Inspired by these approaches, Dr. Reyes engages in ongoing reflexivity, dialogue, and action with other researchers and clinicians to promote liberatory research approaches in counseling. They have extensive training in various qualitative research methods, including but not limited to phenomenology, photovoice, and heuristic inquiry. Outside of academia and clinical work, Dr. Reyes enjoys spending time in nature, dancing, and practicing community healing. Please direct correspondence to anareyes@fullerton.edu

Alexandria Capraro, M.S., LPC, is currently a fourth-year student at the University of Northern Colorado pursuing her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision, with an emphasis in play therapy. She is a certified dancing mindfulness facilitator specializing in play therapy and creative and animal-assisted interventions. Alex integrates nature based, somatic, and experiential experiences in her work as a counselor and as an educator. Currently, she is a licensed professional counselor in Fort Collins, CO, serving queer youth. Alex sees clients across the lifespan. Alex’s research engages in participatory action research, decolonized and liberatory lenses to seek justice and truth. Alex enjoys connecting with nature and spending time outside with her two dogs. Alex also engages in community-based healing through ecstatic dance and yoga practices. Please direct correspondence to alexandria.capraro@unco.edu.

Mónica Rodríguez Delgado, Ph.D., LPC, NCC, RPT (she/ella) is a licensed professional counselor, counselor educator, and a registered play therapist in the state of Texas. Dr. Rodríguez Delgado has worked in both private and community practices for eight years, providing counseling services to a diverse range of clients in individual, couples, play, activity, group, and family therapy. Her clinical work centers around providing services to marginalized and racialized communities in both English and Spanish. Dr. Rodríguez Delgado’s research endeavors are grounded in political, decolonial, and liberatory frameworks, aiming to dismantle oppressive structures within counseling and academia. Her community, clients, students, mentors, and co-researchers guide her work as an advocate and anti-oppressive counselor/researcher. Outside of the counseling room and academia, Dr. Rodríguez Delgado enjoys growing medicinal plants and working alongside plant partners to provide healing teas, tinctures, and salves. This is her form of reconnecting with her inner wisdom and ancestral practices. Please direct any correspondence to monica@treeoflifecounselingcenter.org

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4363-018X, https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7160-9479, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8698-2337



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