What we're about
This network seeks to reflect the many who are committed,
passionate and actively engaged in addressing, the psychological needs
of Black and Asian people in Britain. This in turn
will give others permission and inspiration to look at their mental
heath in ways that they have not done before.
For the public
We are here to help you gain easy access to information and people to
help you gain peak mental fitness for yourself, family, and the good
of the community.
We are here to help you share your passion and expertise with the public
and bring you together with other therapists for mutual support and
For the community
We believe that if the traumas, not just on a personal level but on
a community and cultural level can be addressed, healed, benefited and
learned from then our whole community can benefit and change and the
place of our community can progress. Therefore we are committed to providing
all the services needed, raising public awareness and gathering the
momentum of all those who are interested.
the particular aims of this site are to:
- To be the place for the Black and Asian public
to connect with ideas and people that support their psychological
health and mental fitness
- To change the perception of psychological services
in the Black and Asian community
- Promote and develop effective ways of engaging
therapeutically with Black and Asian people
- Influence the training curriculum of trainee
- Provide the latest thinking in working with Black
and Asian people
- To be the centre of great ideas that engage Black
and Asian people to gain increased mental fitness
Some of the issues this site
is aiming to address.
Access to, and availability of, counselling
and psychotherapy has improved significantly over the last five years,
but people who defined themselves as
Black and other ethnic minorities still do not use this service in similar
proportions to other members of our society or like say Black people
in the United States.
Research done by psychotherapist Vernon De Maynard
draws out some of the themes and quotes as spoken by Asian and Black
counsellors and psychotherapists in the UK. His research, in effect,
looks at the obstacles to engaging with therapeutic services and is
outlined below. Black and Asian Therapists Online aims
to remove these obstacles and get Black and Asian people engaged with
the many who are committed, passionate and actively engaged in addressing,
the psychological needs of Black and Asian people in Britain.
experiences of mental health system
Isolation and alienation
Shame/Guilt hidden behind culture
of mental health system
- The real and negative experiences that people
from this background have in the current medical system (mental health
and otherwise) in terms of treatment and attitude
- The lack of resources to fully explore and understand
the 'problem' or illness these clients present with
- Lack of trust in a process that is seen as ‘white
- Disbelief that White middle class counsellor
- I need someone who has experienced racism, understands
the politics of racism and to whom I don’t have to explain the
- 'You want to be able to talk to someone who
knows where you are coming from'
- 'When help is sought the therapist may not understand
the cultural / family connections and therefore the help is not felt
- 'A large majority of therapists are white who
neither understand Asian culture nor (in case of Asians) their language.
For any form of psychological therapy it is very important for a rapport
to be established between the therapist and the client. How can this
happen when the client knows that he/she will not be understood? Some
of my clients travel long distances to see me because I am one of
the rare Asian counsellors. Many of them narrate their unsatisfactory
experiences with white counsellors'
- 'going to see a counsellor who in most cases
is Caucasian; fear of stereotyping and a deep seated belief that the
counsellor would not be able to empathize or understand the problem'
- 'large part of it may be that minority groups
do not feel part of the mainstream and would shun many aspects of
- 'The cultural (Caribbean at least) norm of not
'chatting your business' to anyone outside the family'
- 'Brought up with a belief that one doesn't take
personal problems outside the family - hence people often talk to
a family member and if there is lack of these then suffer in silence'
- 'Often people from the Asian community believe
that suffering is part of their life and they have to live with it.
''In case of couple disharmony, BME people fear that advice will be
given to break the relationships instead of mending it'
- 'Practitioners all to quick to shout ’mentally
- 'Mental health illness is a taboo issue anyway
and not enough is known about symptoms of depression, etc which can
be cured with help'
- 'In some cultures it is a stigma about involving
a total outsider in their personal or family problems'
- 'People in the counselling world make out that
they are bothered whilst doing very little to change the training
which is euro-centric and does not challenge any ‘isms’
within its own trainees/trainers in a formal way.'
'If more BME people are to enter counselling then we need measures
to ensure that access is not for the lucky few who can afford it,
and that the training is inclusive for the whole of the training period
i.e. that EO / Diversity are not an ‘add on’ to the main
training programme. To spend four years in training where ‘YOU’
is not recognised is difficult'
Vernon De Maynard concludes, 'where all ‘isms’
are not challenged as part of the programme then who is to say that
the counsellors produced at the end of the training are qualified to
work within a diverse culture' It is clearly a summary of the reason
why therapists think that Black and Asian people don't use counselling
and psychotherapy. Vernon De Maynard adds another dimension, and that
is that many Black people actually blame 'the system' for their mental
state, therefore see no reason to evaluation their own contributions
to the persistent of that mental state. Its not them that's at fault
its every body else, and until Black people start to consider the possibility
that their negativity rubs off on their kids and that they too need
to do some work on themselves will there be any change in the perception
of themselves in the world.
MA, Dip, IATE. UKCP registered Integrative Arts Psychotherapist
©2009 Black and Asian Therapists Online