Morning all, it’s a fine crisp Autumn day as we enter the final few months of 2020. I’m not writing a synopsis of the year but I am aware that we are living in historic times. This year we have been forced to think about mortality, society and difference in a way that would not even have been possible in the days before the internet. We have been immersed in world events, been able to educate ourselves about viral science and social science. We have turned our lives upside down and yet also tried to carry on as normal.
Th 1st October marks the start of Black History Month and in my preparations for this blog I was thinking about my own intersections with history. My first stirrings of a social conscience as I became aware of the injustice and horror that was apartheid, my memories of our family vetoing products from companies and countries which supported apartheid. My hearing of the songs of Bob Marley were all interlinked with a general feel that the world could be better, that everyone had a place in it and that everyone could achieve their potential if blockades were not put in their way. The conversations I heard were never about aid or beneficence but about equality, recognition and the abhorrence of injustice. I am luckier than some, not as lucky as many that I was taught to open my mind, to think about the story behind the story and to have a real interest in history. To know that to learn from history is to be able to grow and change and make things better.
I am still learning, I will always be learning about other people’s history and the intersection of colonialism with racism and with capitalism. Nothing is ever clear cut at the top but fear and othering still sadly remains a way that power and division is maintained. I’ve spoken in here before about othering the way that we put, or are trained to put, a barrier between our self and our experiences and another. The more differences we can see between them and us the easier it becomes to think about them and not like us. Race, faith, ability, what trainers we wear, these are all ways that we create others and if someone is not us then we can build hate, distrust, disgust of them. We create stories about them and how their very otherness threatens us. It is through listening to their stories, meeting people on their terms that we instead build empathy bridges, ways of finding out what we have in common in our very difference. We all love, we all have history, we all have hopes and dreams and we all have humanity.
So I celebrate the start of Black History Month and the inclusion of more voices in our understanding of history. Of how our world was shaped right down to our neighbourhood, our neighbours. Since we’re talking about history and it’s most definitely an area where references are everything here’s some links that you might find interesting:
- Some incredible Black British LGBTQ+ heros
- An intense journey through the history of the world in 100 days
- Something that really gets you thinking about the drivers, and people, behind the spice trade (not this one isn’t for the faint of heart, it’s taken me months to finish it) Nathaniel’s Nutmeg by Giles Milton
- and last but definitely not least don’t listen to me, go to the experts and Black History Month UK
Closer to home and much more recent looking at the History of Chrysalis from last week
Exciting news from our Conference Team!
Watch this space for announcements coming soon about international speakers joining us on the 27th November at our third conference and first ever online conference. No need to worry about parking for this one!
And this week I am mainly focusing on personal history and development working closely with the counsellors in their supervision sessions. The wonder of finding out how each counsellor is building the most incredible working relationship with their clients. Counselling is the ultimate empathy bridge it’s not enough to say that you are open to hearing about someone else’s experience you have to truly understand it as if you were there. To properly walk alongside your client. This is why our therapists are all trained in gender diversity, it’s much easier to talk to someone who you don’t have to educate to get the conversation started, and this is why all our therapists are expected to continue to work on their own professional development and why all of us will be paying attention to Black History Month to understand a bit more about what has shaped and influenced our client’s worlds.