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Issued: 4 June, 2020

BABCP Anti-Racism Statement

The British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) is the lead organisation for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) in the UK and Ireland.

We are releasing this statement in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, which has highlighted the ongoing and systemic nature of racism in the United States and the rest of the world including the UK and Europe. We wish to be clear that the BABCP is an Anti-Racist organisation and stands against all forms of discrimination and discriminatory practice. We are committed to challenging and eradicating racism. We recognise that as well as being abhorrent, racism in itself has a marked and significant negative impact on the mental health of Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities that our members are part of and that members serve as therapists. We recognise that racism can be both overt, as in the case of the murder of George Floyd and other people of colour, and covert in the form of oppression, aggression and systemic bias. We recognise that systemic racism has contributed to there being fewer Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic therapists, and to therapy being less accessible to BAME communities. We are committed to trying to improve this.

Some of the actions which BABCP have been taking to try to improve the status quo include the work of the Equality & Culture SIG, resources for members including the special issue of our journal highlighting work with BAME communities, the BAME Positive Practice Guide, outreach event and related podcast, and a recent external consultation on our own organisational equality & diversity practices which we are committed to acting upon.

We encourage all members of the BABCP who have been affected by the events of this week to please seek support from your employing organisation, from colleagues and professional networks, and from structures such as clinical supervision. This is especially important if you are working with clients who as part of therapy share their grief, sadness and fear as a result of George Floyd’s death or have lost loved ones as a result of institutional racism.

We encourage our BAME members to seek support at what is likely to be a difficult time in terms of the racism you may be or may have been exposed to in your own lives and workplaces. It is important that you are supported for the sake of your own well-being and mental health as well as to be able to support clients in therapy, in the eventuality that they disclose their own experiences of systemic racism or discrimination. We encourage our white members to seek out opportunities to become allies of anti-racism practice and for learning and reflection on how you can improve the way that you support BAME colleagues and clients. It is vital to ensure that the impact of racism in BAME individuals’ daily lives and globally is mitigated by the supportive responses and understanding of white colleagues. There are several resources including the BAME Positive Practice Guide available on the BABCP website, Journals and CBT Today articles and Twitter account which may be a helpful beginning.

Recently members and service users from BAME communities will also have been disproportionally affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic and we are aware of the cumulative impact of these experiences on the emotional and physical health of communities and individuals. We recognise that inequality is killing people.

We call for an end to inequalities in mental healthcare provision. This can only occur when we end social inequalities and move to a society where racism is a thing of the past. We are committed as an organisation to doing all we can to work towards this.

We are receptive to hearing from anyone about ideas for how we can improve our practices and support. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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