UK Council for Psychotherapy stands in solidarity with the protests against racial injustice taking place across the globe. We acknowledge the pain of Black and other minority ethnic members and staff colleagues as well as clients and service users. The psychological impact of dehumanising injustice and the festering wound of centuries-long racism cannot be overstated.
BAME therapists and trainees have been continuing in their work to support others in emotional and mental distress while carrying their own pain from their own lived experience of racism. Supervisors, educators and trainers may be struggling to find the ways and means to support their students and supervisees. Our BAME students are contemplating the challenges they face to enter and sustain their training, as well as the uncertain future ahead.
We acknowledge the harm that BAME members of our UKCP community have endured not only today but in the past. We will strive continuously to create as safe and inclusive environment as we can for all. We are watching and listening and we are committed to fighting against racism and discrimination wherever and however it exists.
Racism erodes the fabric of society. We want our platform and resources to play a role in the fight to overcome these deep-seated systemic challenges and build a better world for all. We will amplify our campaign to highlight racial disparities in experience of mental health services and mental health outcomes. That includes emphasising how black men showing signs of mental distress are far more likely to be criminalised – as reflected in the massive racial disparities in the police’s use of the Mental Health Act (sectioning).
UKCP (and all the psychological professions) need to do more to reflect the communities we serve. We are part of a coalition with that very aim alongside Place2Be, ACC, BACP, BAATN, BPC, NCS and MCAPN.
We will campaign vigorously for funding for training, and seek ways to break down barriers to accessing and completing our trainings to ensure BAME therapists are entering the profession in greater numbers. Regardless of background, we must ensure all therapists have the cultural competence to meet clients and service users where they are, and we have called on the government to provide support in delivering the training necessary to achieve this.
UKCP has a zero-tolerance policy toward racism and you can read here the procedures and policies we have in place to report, review, and act. We will reflect on how our organisation can be more welcoming to and inclusive of BAME people be they staff, members, or clients and service users.
Anthea Benjamin UKCP psychotherapist and Chair of National Diversity – Power, Position and Privilege Working Group at the Institute of Group Analysis and member of the Ethics Committee within the College for Children and Young People, is calling on the therapy community to take action against racism, read her statement.