Black Therapy Matters

by Adeola Russell in London, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 13th September 2019 we successfully raised £2,423 with 72 supporters in 48 days

There are too few BME psychotherapists in London. BME psychotherapy students face significant barriers to qualification.

by Adeola Russell in London, England, United Kingdom

We need support to raise at least £20,000 towards the joint cost of our psychotherapy training for the 2019/2020 academic year.

Who are we?

We are psychotherapy students based in London. We are Sarah, Adeola and Angela. We are very different in our outlooks and backgrounds but joined in our commitment to our BME communities. We face significant barriers to qualification, not least of which is funding.

We have each successfully completed our foundation year training at a leading Integrative Psychotherapy and Counselling training institution, and will fully qualify as counsellors after 3 more years of study, or as psychotherapists after 4 more years of study.

We face significant barriers to the completion of our training as psychotherapists:

  • The annual cost of the psychotherapy training course, alongside the cost of books, our own required therapy and additional diversity and skills development training is extremely high - in excess of £9000 per person.
  • There are a limited number of bursaries offered by training and psychotherapy associations. Access to a limited subset of government loans is only possible in our final year of study.
  • People of colour of African and Asian heritage are the most visible minority in need of psychotherapy and counselling and the least represented as psychotherapists and counsellors in Britain. (McKenzie-Mavinga (2009))
  • The awareness of an individual’s subjective racial identity and the challenges faced can be disillusioning for many BME trainees.  (Lago and Smith (2010))

What do we need from you?

We have supported each other through our foundation years and are determined to push and pull ourselves through to ultimate qualification as psychotherapists, when we hope to continue our journey, and be of use to our communities.

We would like to raise at least £20,000 towards the joint cost of our training for 2019/2020. Anything you can offer us by spreading the word or donating would be very much appreciated. Any funds raised as surplus will be rolled over towards the cost of our second and future training costs.

The Trainees:

Sarah Colbourne
I worked for over 30 years in the health and fitness industry and owned my own personal training company for 9 years. I set up my gym called Heart and Soul in Ladbroke Grove in 2011. I started a family in 2013 and decided to be a full time, stay at home mother after my husband and I had tried for 7 years with many failed IVF attempts, to have a baby. While on my career break I retrained as a Life Coach and NLP Practitioner.

Mental health and well being has always been at the forefront of my mind - in my work and in my outlook. I started my psychotherapy training to make a difference to my community - I have lived in Ladbroke Grove for over 30 years. I had friends who lost their lives and homes in the Grenfell disaster - a tragedy that has had indescribable impacts across the UK. Called to action, my training has supported my exploration of the fragility of attitudes to race and to consider how my feelings about class has impacted me.

I would like to complete my training and then to offer my services to people who may not necessarily know or be able to engage with 'talking therapy' as a way of dealing with the impact of trauma. What we are doing - what we want to do within our community - this is bigger than us!

Adeola Russell
I am passionate about my community. I started community volunteering as a young Girl Scout - through the Brownies, Girl Guides and Ranger Guide organisations throughout my teens. I have been involved locally, in some capacity for a very long time. I currently volunteer as the team and committee secretary for a London based youth basketball organisation.

I have always lived and worked in London. My employment resume will show that I have worked for local and central government, multi-national organisations in the city, as well as further and higher education institutions in training, management and consultancy roles. However, 4 years ago I experienced an existential crisis and could not continue on my expected career path.

Fast forward to the present, and I would say that my psychotherapy training has given me access to the tools I needed to confront my identity head-on, and put me on a path to greater self-awareness. I realise that my local origins and the range of my life and work experience can form the basis for a therapeutic approach that will bring me back full circle to my community. Ultimately it is a journey I feel compelled to take; but like my trainee sisters, I face cultural and financial barriers.

Angela Nagawa-Anosike

For the past 10 years, I have gathered a vast array of international and local experience as an advocate for the protection of female victims/survivors of violence against women or girls. I support and work alongside individuals within the BME community who have experienced compounded traumas such as domestic and/or sexual violence, stalking and harassment, trafficked victims, women working in prostitution, honour-based violence or are at risk of female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

My interest in understanding wellness and healing led me to psychotherapy and counselling. My foundation year was an incredibly transformative experience and has shifted the way in which I relate to the world. My journey to self-discovery has taken me on an incredibly painful path this past year. I unravelled and familiarised myself with self-introspection as I found my resilience. My trainee sisters have been instrumental throughout this journey to date. They have encouraged me, motivated me and held my pain.

The transition into the first year of my psychotherapy training will require us to go deeper into our process while gaining invaluable skills in relation to supporting others during their pain. Our next year will also require economic resources and we are attempting to gather these individually, however, we are experiencing a variety of barriers in our pursuit.

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