I hear complaints about the lack of black therapists in the UK and it’s true – but why? I’m a 29 year old aspiring Black British female therapist and I’d like to share parts of my journey to shed some light on this.
I’m of Afro-Caribbean heritage and my family weren’t exactly rejoicing at my announcement to train as a therapist – they thought I was crazy or would eventually become crazy! So no cheerleaders at home and I believe this is where some would stop their journey. I’m at the end of my masters in Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy with Children and Adolescents and I'm the only black person left on my course. Yes, left – there were more.
To pass the first year of my course I needed to complete a Mother and Infant Observation (MIO) starting when a baby is six to ten days old. I was required to do weekly observations in the family’s home for one hour until the baby was one year old, and I had to source the mother myself. I was lucky enough to find a mother-to-be through my relentless Facebook posting but this is where I think some of my fellow black trainees fell off the tight-rope. We shared an anxiety that a white or Asian family would not permit a black person to carry out such a task and finding a black family to participate felt impossible. I understood the intrusive nature of the request but others on my course seemed to know a mum who knew a mum who knew other mums, whilst the black trainees felt at a loss.