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Division of Counselling Psychology: Black Psychology and African Spirituality - The Origins of Therapeutic Practice

23 January 2021 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
See Pricing Tab for further details.
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This one-day conference has been organised by the Division of Counselling Psychology Culture & Difference within and across Ethnic Minorities co-leads.

The conference will look at themes around “Black Psychology and African Spirituality: The Origin of Therapeutic Practice”. We have a line-up of prominent speakers in their professional fields as well as experts by experience sharing knowledge and best practice.

We continue to challenge the perspectives of post-colonialism, contesting the various lenses narrating history and the impact on diverse communities. This event showcases the appreciation of, and for the interplay between Black Psychology and African Spirituality and its relevance across psychology and mental health.

Thank you to the guest speakers for their time and for sharing with us their knowledge and expertise facilitating the much-needed dialogue on the origins of therapeutic practice.

Please note, this webinar will not be recorded. To avoid disappointment please only book a place if you are able to attend the live webinar.



Start End Session
10:00 10:10 Introduction
CDEM Co-Leads
10:10 10:50 Fixing The Village: Do We Know How?
Dr. Michele Perry-Springer

If it takes a village to raise a child then what do we do when the village has been pillaged, plundered and left to decay? If it takes a village what do we do when the villagers are ill, depressed, anxious, tired and operating a sub-optimal level?

The events of 2020, Covid-19 and full-frontal anti-black racism, have brought into sharp focus the disparities faced by people of African heritage in all spheres of society, this news while not new to those with the lived experience, has been somewhat of an awakening to White Britons who generally benefit from the status quo.

Although, there has been wide-spread protests and a plethora of national debates, what the African-Heritage community knows, is that the noise will die down and we will be left as usual to respond to our issues in our way, that’s how it has always been and that’s how it will always be. But how? How should we respond? What should we do?

In this presentation I intend to bring an offering; that the restoration of our African Self is the way forward because it offers a roadmap to the well-being of African-Heritage people, and in the way of Sankofa we have to take from the past and bring forward to the present to help us face our future. In other words, it is imperative that in order to restore we have to remember. I will argue that our ancient forbearers knew that we would one day need these tools to heal and if we listen carefully, we will hear the drum…the drum…the drum…

10:50 11:30 Listening With Both Ears
Willelmina Joseph-Loewenthal

My presentation is that of a Black woman who began using secondary mental health services in 2001. It will take you through the journey of my experiences of psychological therapies as it paralleled my recovery journey. The journey that began with a burning question – ‘Why me?’ Or ‘What have I done to deserve this?

I won’t be taking any academic stand points; this is not because I am unable to draw upon current research, it is because I wish you to draw your own conclusions. My presentation is based predominantly on my lived experience as a user of secondary mental health services in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea; my membership of the Oremi Centre and my observations as a Peer Recovery Trainer at the Central and North West London NHS Trust Recovery & Wellbeing College.

Each part of the presentation will follow the same pattern: examining the nature of the therapy, the cultural backgrounds and genders of my therapists, the environment in which the therapy took place, and benefits and difficulties that were exposed as a consequence.

The final part of the presentation will look at how I used the learning from my therapy and how this has led me on another quest. This time one of learning, of immersing myself in the historical, cultural and spiritual roots of my people and how this has changed me.

11:30 11:40 Screen Break
11:40 12:20 ‘Sakhu’ Illuminating the Human Spirit in Mental Health Services
Malcolm Phillips

My presentation will outline the concept of Sakhu as first introduced by Dr Na’im Akbar (1985) and refined by Dr. Wade Nobes (2013). I will explore how an understanding of African and Caribbean people from such an African worldview allows for a positive reframing and illumination of our therapeutic engagement and creates the potential for recovery and growth.

Though out my presentation I will draw on examples from my work where I have attempted to incorporate an understanding of African Spirituality (or Sahku) into practice in our mental health services in individual and group work.

12:20 13:00 Mentalism in African Indigenous Spiritual Philosophy
Verona Spence-Adofo

The presentation explores the relevance of the principle of Mentalism in African Spiritual Philosophy and its connection to the wellbeing of the Person. It investigates how this principle expresses itself across various Traditions to produce positive psychosomatic effects for adherents in its practice.

It delves into the Universal laws of Tehuti and how it is utilised in ritual practice to shape and manage one's reality and holistic health. It explores how it provides motivation, purpose and a firm foundation for emotional and physical health. It identifies various recent scientific discoveries that are affirming these principles to further our understandings of life and our very existence.

It posits African Indigenous Spirituality as a necessary component of the field of Psychology, to broaden its knowledge-base of various healing modalities that can be utilised for psychological and emotional wellbeing.

13:00 13:30 Lunch Break
13:30 14:10 What have we been moved by and how does this enrich our being?
Dr. Lorraine Gordon
14:10 14:50 Plenary Session
14:50 15:00 Event Close
CDEM Co-Leads



Verona Spence-Adofo

Lorraine Gordon

Willelmina Joseph

Malcolm Phillips

Michelle Perry-Springer







Registration Type Price (inc. VAT)
Concession £40.00
DCoP Member £55.00
BPS Member £65.00
Affiliate Subscriber £80.00
E-Subscriber £80.00
Non-Member of the BPS £85.00

Concessionary rates apply to student members of the Society, to retired members on Rule 21, to graduate members registered under Rule 15(ii), and Members who are registered under Rule 22. Rule 15(ii) applies if you are a Graduate Member and a postgraduate student/trainee. Rule 22 grants a reduction in membership fees for people who are finding it difficult to pay the full amount, e.g. through unemployment or temporary hardship.

Please note, this webinar will not be recorded. To avoid disappointment please only book a place if you are able to attend the live webinar.


Registration is now open.

All rates listed include VAT.

Have a query?

Contact [email protected]

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