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Attending “Race, Culture and Psychological Therapies” Conference in Manchester

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008 @ 7:03 pm
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Posted in  Training/CPD

I came back today mostly inspired and left with a lot of ‘food for thought’ from attending this conference. Due to the subject matter, the audience was very diverse and interesting (I met African, Asian, other European delegates) and the presentations were particularly engaging and relevant to my research topic. A summary of the content of the conference and the full programme can be found in this weblink.

I found myself processing many issues that come up in my PhD and making relevant notes. Each presentation offered different insights and although i have attended such conference before and am pretty familiar with the topics, i learnt and thought new things, it was not just repetition of what i already know. the presentations proceeded as follows:
1. Asian Culture and Psychotherapy: Implications for East and West:  This presentation was given by Prof Wen Shing Tseng who is psychiatry from Hawai. I was impressed by his humility and the comprehensive content he offered.I have his notes with quotes and diagrams i can use in my Thesis

2. Race, Culture and Psychological Work – the Ongoing Challenge: this was offered by Colin Lago from Sheffield and it was very engaging again due to his special humour and sensitivity towards the subject matter

3. Why we need cross-cultural psychotherapy: by Dr. Inga Britt Krause, a Danish psychotherapist working at Tavistock Clinic in London. she showed a video of a ‘possessed’ teenager in india and how the community used rituals and spiritual ways to relieve her pain. The video and discussion that followed were very rich

4. Issues for a White Therapist working cross cultural difference – a sustemic perspective: by Phillip Messant (social worker and family therapist).  The presentations gave nme insights not only around the challenges of ‘whiteness’ in a multicultural setting with clients but also in terms of the dynamics taking place between co-workers, as a parallel process, not always very visible

5. Working with Unfamiliar Languages and Cultures in the Context of Talking Therapy: the speaker, Professor Rachel Tribe, a very passionate counselling psychologist at the University of East London! She gave an interactive presentation about the issues involved in working with interpreters, it opened up very fruitful dialogue. It also reminded me of my work with refugees and asylum seekers in the past; also the matters that arise when i speak with some friends who are interpreting but do not get any support. I thought to contact the interpreting service in Manchester and offer some supervision for their workers, if there is such need

During the whole day, i was reflecting upon my recent interview about counselling in Greece with S.P. and the document i have been writing about it. I realised that when it is to deliver training in a different culture, some values and practices may appear incompatible in the new cultural context. In terms of Greece in particular, i have been thinking that it is a culture at the threshold of East and West. The litearture is talking about this clear distinction but, what happens when a culture in in-between? this, in combination with an extremely rich indigenous heritage can make things more complicated. I can see that there may be a ‘new model’ to be developed drawn from my interview data and need to work more on it and possibly publish something as it feels very timely for the developments in this field

Another positive outcome from attending this event is the networking opportunities. I had the chance to briefly discuss some ideas for future collaborations with people that have similar interests (like for example Mr Hanif Bobat or Zenobia from London). I am looking forward to taking initiatives forward!

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