09 October 2020 | by Black History Month
The Association of Black Psychologists (UKABPsi) was formed as a national organisation, by over 200 black psychologists who held positions in various academic public industrial and government programmes.
They pledged "to address the exploitation of the black community by those elements of society, who maintain traditional patterns of operation, or who are unable to create meaningful alternative modes of affirmative action”.
It's not an accident that the National Association of Black psychologists was formed in San Francisco.
In 1968, the seeds of discontent had been sown, specifically the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the proliferation of black caucuses.
The former representing the end of the dream. The latter heralding in an era of new hope.
Prior to 1968 Black psychologists were virtually unknown.
UKABPsi is part of a growing international body with chapters within the African continent and throughout the diaspora.
The aim of UKABPsi is to promote psychology based on African-centred thinking and wisdoms, as the approach to the liberation and restoration needed within the black community.
The mission of UKABPsi is to become a hub for Black psychologists (and allied professionals) to find a space where they can develop their understanding of the contributions made by African-centred psychology to design and provide the culturally-relevant practice needed in order to serve an underserved black community and develop Black Psychology and African Centred Approaches:
It is duly recognised that in the UK psychological theories and approaches are dominated by European thought and practices which ignore, marginalise or downgrade other world views and perspectives.
UKABPsi seeks to provide a space where alternatives which incorporate broader more diverse lenses by which to consider the human-condition, as we seek to support the psychological and mental well-being of the black community.
Black Psychology is a scientific field that focuses on how people of African descent know and experience the world. The field, largely emerged as a result of the lack of understanding of the psychology of Black people under traditional, western notions of psychology.
In practice, Black psychology exists as both an academic and applied discipline, which focuses on furthering the well-being of people of African descent through more accurate knowledge.
Based on different definitional systems, developments in Black psychology tend to utilise a range of approaches.
Overall, the field has contributed to developing African Centred models of research, therapy, and well-being, identifying inaccuracies in current psychological frameworks, furthering understandings specific to individuals of African descent and Black communities, and advocating for increased equity and appreciation of Black excellence.
UKABPsi is committed to community engagement and the programmes that are offered e.g. Emotional Emancipation Circles are designed to be facilitated by the community for the community.
UKABPsi is developing its response to black students and academics who are finding it difficult to find a home within UK mainstream systems.
As a strengths-based organisation our role is to ensure that we uplift and hold practitioners who too often feel at odds or unwelcomed in isolated spaces and therefore struggle to work optimally which impacts them and their community. UKABPsi provides space for restoration and revival, ensuring the support needed both intellectually and emotionally are accessible.
UKABPsi are hosting two events during Black History Month, firstly an Audience with Rameri Moukam and Dr Shubulade Smith, two stalwarts in the black mental health arena, and then a student panel event to examine the challenges and opportunities for black students in the UK.
Thanks to Dr Michele Perry Springer (President) and Malcolm Phillips (Treasurer) of UKABPsi for this contribution.