Better BME representation in clinical psychology

Anything that does not fit into the above categories, but is related to psychology, including discussion of public and media perceptions of psychology, satire related to psychology, etc.

Re: Better BME representation in clinical psychology

Postby workingmama » Mon Apr 04, 2016 12:00 pm

kalli wrote: Therefore a lot of our families believe that doing psychology is a waste of time and you won't get a job.


Speaking as a white western woman, I can share with you that my own family and my partner's family feel the same way! :(
I take your point though, thank you, and I can say that I had forgotten that entirely as one of the reasons for low representation.
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Re: Better BME representation in clinical psychology

Postby Hopeful2016 » Tue May 31, 2016 3:51 pm

kalli wrote:I just wanted to add a point that I believe as an ethnic minority myself who is trying to get into clinical psychology. That the reason their are so few BME is not just due to prejudice. But also due to the cultures we come from. Psychology is still a new science in the west and in most BME countries psychology isn't established clinically. Therefore a lot of our families believe that doing psychology is a waste of time and you won't get a job, my own family didn't want me to study psychology, they have said why do you want to help mad people. So it's also up to us as ethnic minorities to defy these negative stereotypes in our own communities, a lot of people from my country believe that either mental illness only exist in the west or that their is a spiritual cause and you need to stay away from those people.


I second this. I am also an ethnic minority (south Asian) who is trying to get on to dclinpsy course. Many people from my extended family were unaware of the subject of Psychology until I expressed an interest in it.
I have a few years of experience in the field of mental health and like Kalli, until this very day I get comments like "she's working with mental people" followed by a snigger and insensitive comments :roll: .

From my personal experience, working in the field of psychology is perceived as time wasting and an unprivileged career. However, all this negativity around mental health has in fact fuelled my passion for staying within this field and (hopefully) one day making a change within the south Asian community! I understand that my extended family is not a representation of all south Asians' attitudes towards mental health/psychology, but I know that a lot of work needs to be done in this field to change attitudes. I will be a happy bunny if, through the route of clin psy or any other route, I am able to make even the tiniest bit of difference :D
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Re: Better BME representation in clinical psychology

Postby workingmama » Fri Jun 03, 2016 8:27 am

Hopeful2016 wrote:From my personal experience, working in the field of psychology is perceived as time wasting and an unprivileged career. However, all this negativity around mental health has in fact fuelled my passion for staying within this field and (hopefully) one day making a change within the south Asian community! I understand that my family/extended family is not a representation of all south Asians' attitudes towards mental health/psychology, but I know that a lot of work needs to be done in this field to change attitudes. I will be a happy bunny if, through the route of clin psy or any other route, I am able to make even the tiniest bit of difference. :D


What an uplifting post. I hope very much that you get the opportunity to do this the clinpsy route (or any other), and would be very glad if you would stay in touch with respect to letting me/us know what changes you make (even very tiny ones), and if anything strikes you as you travel along that could be changed by all of us in our practice.

x
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Re: Better BME representation in clinical psychology

Postby Hopeful2016 » Tue Jun 07, 2016 4:31 pm

workingmama wrote:
Hopeful2016 wrote:From my personal experience, working in the field of psychology is perceived as time wasting and an unprivileged career. However, all this negativity around mental health has in fact fuelled my passion for staying within this field and (hopefully) one day making a change within the south Asian community! I understand that my family/extended family is not a representation of all south Asians' attitudes towards mental health/psychology, but I know that a lot of work needs to be done in this field to change attitudes. I will be a happy bunny if, through the route of clin psy or any other route, I am able to make even the tiniest bit of difference. :D


What an uplifting post. I hope very much that you get the opportunity to do this the clinpsy route (or any other), and would be very glad if you would stay in touch with respect to letting me/us know what changes you make (even very tiny ones), and if anything strikes you as you travel along that could be changed by all of us in our practice.

x


Aww, thank you Workingmama :) I have had ideas about local community awareness sessions, but as a young female and no professional qualification in mental health, I don't think I will be taken seriously- however even if I wanted to I don't have the time as I am currently juggling a fair few things about (self-care and all that!! :D).

I most definitely will keep you posted about any changes I make. Thank you for the encouragement x
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Re: Better BME representation in clinical psychology

Postby confuseddotcom » Tue Mar 07, 2017 11:02 am

Hopeful2016 wrote:
I second this. I am also an ethnic minority (south Asian) who is trying to get on to dclinpsy course. Many people from my extended family were unaware of the subject of Psychology until I expressed an interest in it.
I have a few years of experience in the field of mental health and like Kalli, until this very day I get comments like "she's working with mental people" followed by a snigger and insensitive comments :roll: .

From my personal experience, working in the field of psychology is perceived as time wasting and an unprivileged career. However, all this negativity around mental health has in fact fuelled my passion for staying within this field and (hopefully) one day making a change within the south Asian community! I understand that my extended family is not a representation of all south Asians' attitudes towards mental health/psychology, but I know that a lot of work needs to be done in this field to change attitudes. I will be a happy bunny if, through the route of clin psy or any other route, I am able to make even the tiniest bit of difference :D


I totally agree. I don't think you can attribute the lack of BME applicants just to a 'racist' system. There are many other factors at play. For example, culturally, other careers are more popular and show a 'higher status' so are pushed upon children from a young age. Also, as previously stated, Psychology doesn't tend to be on our radar unless we're specifically drawn to it. Finally, there is also the stigma attached to mental health in cultures such as mine and that of others. We're brought up seeing the benefits and need for doctors, dentists, teachers. But since mental health is a taboo subject hardly spoken of, as are the careers attached to this. There are many angles to approach this subject and to change the current situation.

So whilst the lack of BME applicants can be a concern, it can also give an insight into some of the attitudes towards psychology as a career and also the stigmas attached to mental health as whole in some families. That insight then can maybe be drawn upon when it comes to working on engaging the underrepresented groups in the clinical psychology path.
Last edited by confuseddotcom on Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:57 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Better BME representation in clinical psychology

Postby Spatch » Tue Mar 07, 2017 12:54 pm

As someone from a BME background at a mid career level, there are additional things I have noticed. One of the challenges beyond underrepresentation is the question of "visibility", and the issues that people need to look out for.

For example, in some services I did get allocated more male/ BME cases due to my background and gender; is that me being pigeonholed or a service being responsive to need? Does one take on roles at the BPS/DCP level or focus more visibility within ones employing organisation? Do I have to be "better" to demonstrate some broader ideological principle or to somehow fly a flag for a particular group? Why does having a different skin colour or cultural heritage automatically make someone an expert in something beyond their own experience, and isn't it dangerous to think otherwise?

I don't make a big deal of my background when writing because I would rather go for a universal audience rather than be tagged as a "Asian voice" (as if that phrase has any real meaning) but is that a case of me not helping BME visibility and marginalising an important attribute. Similarly, I was recently faced with two projects and I only had time to prioritise one. The first was writing for a textbook on inpatient work for a broad audience, where I would be contributing a much needed psychological perspective. The other was for a more low key self help book I am trying to put together about managing Asian family conflict using CBT/systemic principles. Now I felt the former would have greater impact, so I chose that, but did it mean I didn't do something that would have added to BME visibility or specific impact?

Obviously a lot of things to consider as you go through the path and sadly few clear answers.
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Re: Better BME representation in clinical psychology

Postby arias » Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:35 pm

Hey,

I've only ever read the posts on this forum and have yet to feel the need to post a reply. I found this post very interesting though as someone who is bi-racial, working class, queer, and with a neurodevelopmental disorder and is currently applying for AP roles but am facing a lot of problems. Personally, I think Spatch and LLoop have voiced most of my own observations and thoughts on the matter of racial diversity. On visibility specifically, I think this is something that is very important as I, like LLoop, have felt a little dismayed to find every single interview panel I have come across for AP roles has all been panelled by white middle-class British people. The only times this isn't the case is when there is a service-user panel as well. This is in London!

I think careers in clinical psychology has not been shown to be very accessible and highly competitive in general throughout my undergraduate course. This is not just to BAME individuals but to anyone on the course. However this, paired with systematic racism and prejudice towards individuals of colour, makes it a daunting career path to go down if you aren't white British. Due to our society having a long history of racist beliefs of the mental abilities of people of other races I think this is something that has deeply become engrained in education and even the minds of some people of colour. I've experienced this both personally and second-hand. If you are from a different ethnic group and you are trying to get into CP, you better look, act and talk like middle-class white people do otherwise you are perceived as not being 'intelligent' or 'professional'. And this is why I have a white-person voice I use during interviews. :)

All jokes aside, It is definitely a multi-faceted issue in which race and SES (and thus education) are intertwined. I do think that talking about it is important though as it's not an issue I often see talked about freely (because most of my peers who are embarking down the same career path are white and don't relate).
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Re: Better BME representation in clinical psychology

Postby LLoop » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:44 pm

Arias, I was successful in gaining a position on the Doctorate this year. Don’t give up hope x
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Re: Better BME representation in clinical psychology

Postby arias » Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:52 am

LLoop wrote:Arias, I was successful in gaining a position on the Doctorate this year. Don’t give up hope x



Congratulations! I actually have thankfully received a couple of job offers since this post, which is great. :D
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