Sliding Into Class
What's a sliding scale?
First, maybe a word on what a sliding scale is not. A sliding scale is not perfect and does not erase all the systemic barriers or privileges of the world. Although we strive to use a sliding scale that provides a detailed practical approach instead of simplistic ideas that those who pay more as helpers, those who can pay the standard rate as normal, or those who pay less as needy, we encourage a reflection upon yourself.
Thinking about class can bring an array of feelings of shame, guilt, neutrality, pride, etc. It's not as simple as how much you make but layered. Race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, immigration status, and other identities/social statuses affect your class experience.
Below are some questions adapted from Collective Liberation and a graph by Alexis J Cunningfold:
Do you have accumulated wealth like stocks, inheritance, or property? Do you have savings? A retirement account? How much? Where did it come from?
Do you have healthcare? Does your health insurance give you greater access to a range of providers, including out-of-network healthcare? Have you had it for most of your adult life? Did you grow up with access to healthcare?
Do you receive any financial support from anyone in your family? Could you if you were in an emergency? If the answer is yes to either of these, what has this made possible in your life?
Did your family receive income-based government assistance such as welfare, Medicaid, section 8 housing, SSI/disability insurance, or unemployment insurance?
Have you ever been able to take a break from paid work? Done an unpaid internship? Was your college education paid for by others?
Do you financially support anyone other than yourself? Who? Did you have to work to support your family as a young person?
Does your current income level or household income allow you to eat from restaurants, travel for pleasure, engage in leisure activities?
As a therapist, I work with people of various class experiences and intersecting identities. I bring this information not to shame anyone but begin to answer perhaps one of the biggest questions I ever receive. Even if I am unable to work with you, I will take the time to help refer you to an affirming therapist/clinic.
These conversations are necessary, and I hope the info helped.