CPD workshops & online courses

                                                                   An artist's depiction of the suffering and trauma from the partition of India: 1947

Decolonising mental health

When psychotherapy/psychology dwells on intra-psychic dysfunction as a psycho pathology, disorders are seen to play out entirely on the individual plane and the onus is on the individual to change. 
Naming the link between personal suffering and social - economic or historical oppression prevents pathologising problems inside a person.  Neglecting the experience of people enduring systemic stress, prejudice or marginalization means that people  feel pressure to imitate, shut down or conform.
It can be a massive relief for people to understand that historical- societal issues impact upon their emotional well being. In fact distinguishing systemic oppression from personal suffering is essential as well as being conscious of how lived realities intersect with social realities. Our therapeutic services need to be socially informed. 

Therapy as liberation. 

 What has been made most profitable in our society: unaccountable exploitation, depletion, competition and control comes with the message that we are only as worthy as our productivity. The system gears us up to 'live to work' rather than 'work to live'.
Well-meaning professionals do feel galvanized to address dynamics of privilege, oppression and austerity as they understand the responsibility of caring for their clients.
While supporting others professionally is deeply rewarding, it brings the risk of burn out, stress or vicarious trauma. This compounded more so when budgets are restrictive, we slip into crisis mode, meeting the crisis with urgency, rescuing other people from their issues and perhaps not taking time to understand our personal needs as well as our boundaries. 
With genuine transparency, we can discover what harmful beliefs we hold that curtail our own secure embodiment and happiness.

 Therapy when it is not used to re adjust us to the harms of a colonial-capitalist system can be a liberation for both therapist and client.  By exercising power -with, rather than power over, our spaces and relationships can transform suffering to awaken trust and belonging.


Beyond diversity training. 

There is a general dissatisfaction with diversity from BAME or IBPOC people of colour. Decoloniality rejects tokensim and ongoing assimilation. It seeks to critically  examine the neutral centre or point from which we are meant to integrate into (inclusivity).
 In doing so it addresses the hegemony of White solutions and interventions based on euro-centric epistemologies and axiologies that locate knowledge in the mind (reason) and secondary, lesser qualities of intelligence; sensations, affect, emotion and desire in the body. 
In addition it challenges the White, Male/hyper masculine, independent, problem- solving, able bodied,  hetero - normative, economically and linguistically privileged world view which is the universal referent from which to study or articulate what is 'different' or who is the 'other'. This prevailing standard:  'one size applies to all',  continues to locate problems with those who have another reality, outside of the norm. It sets up a tension of opposites in our minds and our communities. 
Decoloniality supports us to imagine beyond  either/or thinking, helping us see and be with the complexity of life, embracing paradox, difference and change. Through dialogue and reflection, we can fully hear, acknowledge and validate another's experience. This slows us down to fosters participation from a position of power -with and power -within.
As such, we can explore and express more parts of ourselves; revealing our differences as well as our commonalities.  Personal learning and growth can happen collectively in both consensus and disagreement. Conflict or the dynamic of being opposed, when empathically acknowledged becomes the means for change and collaboration.

Dynamics of oppression are traumatic.

 Dynamics of oppression have history and are rooted in harmful ideologies.. Today they manifest through a culture of objectification, power hoarding, perfectionism and control.
Addressing uncomfortable truths as well as our own vicarious trauma/ trauma histories requires courage and a grounded readiness
I provide a pacing and spacing that supports embodied resourcing and self-compassion throughout. This enables professionals to inhabit their growing edge and be with any challenge . To address justice without replicating oppression, we apply a trauma informed and self compassionate approach 

As a facilitator, I involve all our intelligence's: sensory, kinaesthetic, affective, cognitive and spiritual. The goal is to support participants to engage with dialogue, inquiry and somatic empathy so that learning feels genuine and embodied. The enables people to make sense of their own experiences, ideas, thoughts and feelings.

© Sophia Ansari