Being a Black man and entering the therapy field was a significant step for me. Let's go back to my first therapy session, which was crucial in shaping who I am now as a therapist. I was in a vulnerable situation in a modest room with just two seats, a desk, and a box of Kleenex. I had no idea this session would make me aware of a severe issue: racism in therapy.
Why was this such a massive issue to me now? Well, as a child, I believed that discussing mental health was a show of weakness. My culture taught us that treatment was only necessary for weak individuals. It was taboo to seek treatment, especially among Black people. But despite these outdated notions, I decided to confront them. I accepted the therapy offered as part of my study because I was motivated to complete my counselling education and earn my certification as a therapist.
I got to know Holly, my therapist, in that session. She was a poised, quiet white woman. We discussed topics like what I like doing. I expressed my enthusiasm for psychology studies and its impact on my life. Holly then made a comment that genuinely shocked me. She informed me that she perceived my aggressiveness. "Wait, what?" I exclaimed. I wasn't trying to be violent; I was speaking passionately, as is customary in my culture. Later, when I discussed this incident in class, I recognized it was a racist act, and it affected me. I was informed by the counselling coordinator that Holly didn't want to work with me and that I would receive a refund for the following appointment.
This encounter taught me how racism can infiltrate therapy. Things like these might make Black individuals feel that counselling is solely for white people. But what's this? This was not going to deter me. Instead, it inspired me to take critical action and offer more compassionate and respectful treatment that truly understood people's cultures and feelings.
I was born in the UK but have Ghanaian ancestry, and in Ghana, people occasionally believe that evil spirits cause mental illnesses. That caused many individuals to suffer silently. When I was going through difficulties, I was afraid that if I asked for help, people would think I was "crazy." However, I later altered my mind and discovered several significant lessons along the way:
Anyone who wishes to change should seek therapy: You don't have to be gravely ill to receive treatment. Anyone who needs assistance in life is eligible.
The issue is that Black people don't always receive the support they need from the UK's mental health system. Some information is somewhat unexpected:
Studies also reveal that persons of color frequently do not receive the necessary mental health care. They may even encounter racism in treatment since they struggle to locate therapists who understand them.
Still, there is hope! My preferred form of treatment aims to resolve these issues. No matter who they are, it wants to make sure that everyone receives the assistance they require. Therapists may help Black and other oppressed persons feel better and stronger by comprehending the difficulties they experience.
When I reflect on my experience, which involved dealing with racism in treatment and focusing on therapy that truly cares about culture, I can see how being tolerant, kind, and interested in other cultures can transform situations. We can improve mental health services for all people. I can help, if you're ready. I wish to provide you with a secure setting where you may reconcile your past and rediscover joy.
I utilize my expertise and personal experiences in my kind of therapy to support you in becoming who you are. I've got your back whether you're struggling with stress, unhappiness, or just want to be happier. We'll collaborate to comprehend what's happening in your life and come up with solutions to improve it. I'm here to make you feel wonderful because you deserve it.
So let's talk if you're ready to go toward feeling better. I'll be there for you every step of the way while we work things out together. You can do this.