BLAM UK (Black Learning Achievement and mental Health) is a not-for-profit organisation normalizing wellness therapy for the Black community and their latest workshop focuses on healing racial trauma.

Black therapy

Racial trauma is not a new concept. It has been happening for centuries and to different racial groups, however, the events of the last few months which saw the senseless killing of George Floyd which played out over and over again across millions of handheld phones has brought the casual acceptance of the dehumanizing of Black people to a head. While the world wakes up to the prejudices and biases of the Black experience, the damage has already been done.

Psychological studies* have shown that racism, discrimination and microaggressions, which lead to racial trauma, can cause distress and a decline in physical health.

Many within the community are now saying no to the sharing of graphic videos of Black bodies being brutalised. The price for ‘raising awareness’ or attempts to invoke “sympathy” from others is becoming too high. Research has shown that almost a quarter of people who saw the content of violent events developed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Stepping in to offer free therapy is BLAM UK, an organisation committed to improving the racial esteem of the Black British community. BLAM UK now has a virtual racial wellness division called Zuri Therapy. Spearheaded by Ife Thompson, the new online group therapeutic workshop, led by Black therapists in various disciplines aims to help the community heal and deal with racial trauma.

“We want to make therapy more accessible and relevant to the Black community by providing a service that is specific to the Black British experience.”

Group sessions take place over four weeks and participants learn how to build resilience through the use coping mechanisms to deal with racial trauma, as well as: Addressing The effects of Black trauma, Understanding and dealing with racial microaggressions, the duality of being both Black and British and how to use creativity as a therapeutic means of liberating one’s self from the effects of racial trauma via poetry therapy.

A spokesperson for BLAM UK said: “We believe that in order for therapy to be effective, it must address the needs of the cultural and racial group that it is serving. Psychology has traditionally been Eurocentric. We want to make therapy more accessible and relevant to the Black community by providing a service that is specific to the Black British experience. This is best achieved by using Black therapists as they will have a similar cultural background to their clients and will, therefore, have the shared experience of living as a Black person in the UK.”

For more information and to sign up to BLAM UK’s workshop visit their website.

*(Alvarez, Liang, & Neville, 2016)

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