Black Therapists Ireland

In a previous post, I shared an article highlighting the challenges clients from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds face accessing culturally responsive psychotherapy and mental health services. This is an issue I continue to hear about from clients enquiring for supports here in Ireland.

I had the privilege of discussing this issue recently with psychotherapist Ejiro Ogbevoen (MIACP) who has set up a website called Black Therapists Ireland which aims to create a directory of Black therapists, working in Ireland while hopefully helping to dissolve stigma around mental health, particularly in our Black communities.

This article from Shamim Malekmian in the Dublin InQuirer featured Ejiro and describes the background of the service interestingly highlighting some of the structural issues present in Ireland in terms of promoting diversity within the profession of counselling & psychotherapy.

The HSE launched the Second National Intercultural Health Strategy (2018-2023) outlining goals such as

  • Enhancing accessibility of services to service users from diverse ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds.
  • Addressing health issues experienced by service users from diverse ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds.

In terms of mental health this strikes me as very challenging when counselling is on the ineligible list of jobs for work permits, issued by the Department of Business and Enterprise. In a situation like this Black Therapists Ireland strikes me as a very important initiative which could potentially expand to provide a comprehensive service like the Muslim Counselling & Psychotherapy Network in the UK.

Mental Health & the effects of the COVID 19 Pandemic.

As the impact of the global pandemic takes effect in Ireland its ramifications in terms of mental health will gradually emerge.  This is becoming evident now as the initial disbelief and distraction subsides and the consequences of Covid 19 in Ireland becomes more tangible.

Talk Therapy Dublin took part in an online conference discussing the above organised by Akidwa on behalf of migrant women particularly those in direct provision.

This discussion highlighted how Covid 19 is really hitting vulnerable minorities with disturbing outcomes, something the death rate from care homes really highlights in a painful way.

In the past I mentioned research from Trinity College which looked at the impact of economic recession & mental health

It is clear that many life events (which can bring distress under normal circumstances) are being complicated by the fact we are in this “new normal”. Births, deaths, weddings, health conditions, exams, new job roles and even retirement are being complicated by the uncertainty and limitations now present in our day to day lives.

Social distancing, self isolation and serious employment worries bring a risk of mental health concerns and also challenge our ability to provide face to face counselling.

We will continue to provide a counselling service all through this crisis utilising video and phone options if necessary. Especially for those self isolating or in contact with vulnerable people.

We are also on hand to support front line workers with the challenges they may face and will be waiving normal fees in this regard.

If we can be of any assistance please make contact.

COVID 19 – Pandemic Resources & Information

  • Mind the Frontline – new mental health resource for all frontline healthcare staff run by a group of Dublin Psychiatrists.
  • Some advice on sleep and keeping an eye on sleep hygiene during the disruption caused by the COVID 19 outbreak – This is an area we can help with and Talk Therapy Dublin can use different approaches including CBT-I to help clients whose sleep is being severely affected
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Is psychotherapy failing people of colour?

Some clients from minority backgrounds often report seeking help from support services (including mental health services) that unfortunately echo the bias & unconscious prejudice of that society as a whole.

Over the past four years I have had numerous clients from different ethnic & cultural backgrounds contact me describing issues with support services in Ireland. Some of these issues include

  • The repeated denial of the client’s experience as a person of color in an Irish context.
  • Assumptions about women from other cultures.
  • Unintentional microaggressions emerging in the actual therapy sessions that made clients drop out.
  • Misunderstandings around the way certain clients expressed themselves.
  • The failure to understand individuals who come from a collectivist culture as opposed to an individualistic one and what this means for the concept of self, family etc.

All of this highlights the often western focused theory & research with respects to aspects to psychology & psychotherapy. It may also indicate a lack of training & experience in relation to some practitioners with respect to working with diversity & multicultural issues.

This affects many areas aside from ethnicity like gender, class, age, disability and other areas of difference. This article from the Guardian explores the issue from a UK psychotherapy perspective.

More information on this topic and our multicultural counselling service is available on the Talk Therapy Dublin website here

What training is involved to deliver the talking therapies?

Many clients are often confused as to whether they are talking to a psychologist, counsellor or psychiatrist when reaching out for support. Training is extensive for each but also very different.

Phrases like “I need an assessment” or specific queries linked to a psychiatric diagnosis using terms like “personality disorder, psychosis or serotonin inhibitors can form part of this dialogue.

Often many of these clients just want to talk and have not given much thought to the different disciplines. This article from the Irish Times looks at the different trainings and some of the differences between a psychologist a psychotherapist & a psychiatrist.

Talk Therapy Dublin is a counselling & psychotherapy service but can provide referrals and links to allied professionals like Psychology, Mental Health OT & Psychiatry. Please make contact if we can be of any help.

MDMA & Psychotherapy for treatment of PTSD

Since, sharing an article a number of years ago I have been receiving some enquiries for MDMA assisted therapy linked to treatment of PTSD here in Ireland.

It is worth noting that this is NOT available as a treatment option in Ireland and all the article described was good outcomes in small clinical trials in the USA.

MDMA is still a class A illegal drug and while promising results were noted more research is required by the international research community. It would also require specialist training of therapists to deliver this form of treatment so is likely a long way off actual use in practice.

There are other trauma focused therapies available to clients (such as EMDR and Sensorimotor therapies) and specialized practitioners as well as therapists with additional training in these models are available for clients in Ireland.

This 2019 article gives some information on the current situation with MDMA assisted therapy for PTSD, as does this article from John Hopkins University.

Please make contact with us if you require any more information on the above.