A new podcast series ‘What about us?’ hosted by University of Bath clinical psychologists Afsana Faheem and Dr Kate Cooper aims to the lift the lid on some of the structural inequalities evident in clinical psychology.
The podcast initiative, which has been developed in place of previously planned face-to-face events cancelled due to covid-19, sees Afsana and Kate interview clinical psychologists and therapists from around the country talking about their experiences of working with diverse service users.
It builds on research from the two hosts about racism, discrimination and structural inequalities evident in practice - a topic, they suggest, is often ignored within training. As such, they hope the series finds an audience among current but also aspiring future practitioners to help act as a catalyst for change.
It has long been acknowledged that there is a lack of diversity among professional psychiatrists and psychologists; a situation many are actively trying to address. Latest estimates suggest that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals make up just 9.6 per cent of qualified clinical psychologists in England and Wales.
Educating future psychologists
Afsana Faheem explains: “It is imperative that we continue to educate our future psychologists about the challenges people from diverse communities experience within clinical practice. This topic is often superficially covered within clinical training programmes, which is why it is so important for us to open up the narrative within our organisations and embed topics around race and culture within our curriculum.
“We’ve been fortunate to have Clinical Psychologists from diverse groups openly and honestly talk about their personal experiences of working within the profession. They’ve also offered useful advice on positive practice and talked about ways in which we can enhance our cultural competence. We’ve received great feedback from our students and are excited to share the podcasts with the wider audience.”
Dr Kate Cooper adds: “We hope this podcast will start more conversations about race and culture in the Clinical Psychology profession. We want many more individuals from BAME backgrounds to become psychologists and therapists. It's crucial that White British psychologists consider their own experiences of privilege as a first step towards helping in this endeavour - listening to our podcast could help with this! As well as our podcast series, we offer mentoring for aspiring BAME Clinical Psychologists. If you have ideas for other things we could be doing, please get in touch.”
Here are some of the things our students have had to say:
“I found the podcasts extremely interesting and useful. It was great hearing first-hand what the struggles of BAME practitioners are and how they went about tackling them. It was also good to hear about cultural adaptations in real world clinical practice. Cultural competence is an extremely important and relevant topic that should not be swept under the rug, so it was useful hearing about it."
“Cultural lectures were my favourite of the year. Really engaging and interesting, and can’t believe how glossed over this subject has been in my undergrad, considering how interesting it is and how many considerations around culture need to be made! Definitely has opened my eyes to the considerations that need to be made in practice."
Listen and get in touch
To access and listen to the first episodes see 'What about Us' available via Anchor.fm.
If you are working in practice and would like to share your experiences in an upcoming episode, or have ideas for future guests, please email Afsana (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Kate (email@example.com).