Counselling for Issues Around Race and Difference

Race. Racism. Discrimination. Judgement. Prejudice. Difference. Diversity. Equality. What is race, what is racism and why do they matter?

One dictionary defines race as ‘a category of humankind that shares certain distinctive physical traits.’ Another describes race as ‘a population within a species that is distinct in some way.’  We generally refer to race in terms of colour or origin: for example, white, black, hispanic, African, Caribbean, Indian or Chinese. Many groups of people who share certain physical and cultural traits might be considered subpopulations within the human race.

Another way of looking at race is to feel there is only one race: the human race. There are arguments to support both viewpoints. We might consider all humans as one race, or we might celebrate difference and diversity. People who hold or express racist views may fear difference and diversity might suffer from a condition known as ‘racism.

How do we address racism in therapy

Talking about racism may be uncomfortable. Racism is a visceral thing felt on emotional, psychological and physical levels. To understand racism we need to understand each other. To stop racism, we need to acknowledge and challenge racism in society. One by one, we might evaluate our own belief systems and open ourselves to the possibility that ideas about race and culture are challengeable. Social influences play a role and education, too, plays a role in how our ideas about race are shaped.

Therapy helps by processing the harm caused by racism, the origins of racist beliefs and the effects that unequal societies have on every person. Being free of prejudice, fear, racism and judgement can be liberating. Anyone affected by racism may benefit from sessions with a therapist. Anyone with difficult or negative ideas about race and culture is welcome to explore these beliefs with a qualified therapist in a careful, non-judgemental setting.

Racism is not just one thing

There are different types of racism though all types of racism share the same core belief that one group of people is superior to another.

Cultural racism is a view that members of another race have a flawed culture. A group of people doing something culturally different from what is valued by the majority may therefore be deemed inferior. Hostile racism is when racist behaviour is overt with a mission of rejecting, subordinating or destroying a cultural identity or race. Passive racism is when a person becomes complicit in racist ideology through inaction. Genetic determinism is an ideology that some races are biologically inferior. Internalised racism is when a person embraces stereotypes and negative attitudes about their own ethnic group and turns these attitudes inwards towards himself or outwards towards his ethnic group.

A group will often have a tribal view that their shared customs, values, religious beliefs and cultural systems are superior to those of another group.

We all carry racist beliefs to some extent

It’s hard to escape racism. Whatever a person’s colour or ethnicity, it’s easy for most of us to believe that a person of another background is inferior or superior to oneself.

Stereotypes are embedded in society, in films, in television, in advertising and in folklore and we are all vulnerable to external ideas about race and culture. While racism is endemic in most societies, we feel racism most when we see the damage it can do to individuals, to entire populations and to society.

The more vulnerable a person is to race-based maltreatment, the more likely a person will be aware of their own difference. A white person in the UK is unlikely to consider what it means to be white, while a black person may be in constant awareness of what it means to be black.

Culturally sensitive therapy helps.

What to expect in couples counselling

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What to expect in counselling

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Individual counselling

Our personal counselling services take place in a supportive, non-judgemental atmosphere.

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Couples counselling

Couples counselling provides space for couples to discuss problems in their relationship and find resolution.

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Our therapists in London

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Counselling, psychotherapy, couples counselling in London since 2006

Client Reviews

One Therapy London

Ameet Magan

Ameet is from London and holds an MSc in Integrative Psychotherapy He has more than a decade’s experience of working in a one-to-one capacity with clients He has also trained in groupwork and has worked since 2016 as a group psychotherapist and clinical practitioner with the NHS in East London Ameet is a warm, grounded and reflective person He works with compassion...


Therapist Amrita Athwal
Amrita Athwal

Amrita works with adults in an integrative way, drawing on various therapeutic approaches tailored to meet the needs of each client She provides a safe space to help clients better understand themselves She offers short term and long term therapy Amrita has experience of working with clients on issues such as trauma, addiction, depression, anxiety, relationship...


Therapist Annie Curran-White
Annie Curran-White

With a Masters degree in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy, Annie offers both short and long term, open-ended therapy to individuals Her experience includes depression, stress and anxiety, bereavement, loss, personal development and trauma Annie has additional, specialist training working with survivors of rape, and adult and childhood sexual...


Therapist Antonella Bonetti
Antonella Bonetti

Antonella is a psychodynamic therapist offering short- and long-term therapy to adults She also sees couples facing issues within their relationship Since obtaining her Master’s degree in Psychodynamic Therapy & Counselling, Antonella has worked in different organisational settings (charities, NHS and university counselling services) helping people from diverse...



Therapist Ava Kinsey
Ava Kinsey

Ava is a qualified psychodynamic psychotherapist and counsellor She works with the NHS both as an adult psychotherapist at a complex trauma unit, and as a perinatal psychotherapist working with mothers and their infants and toddlers Before that, she worked as a psychotherapist in secondary care at the NHS, treating clients who experienced early relational/sexual trauma or...


Therapist Barbara Beyaz
Barbara Beyaz

Barbara brings a warm, non-judgmental, and accepting attitude to her work with clients As an integrative Psychotherapist, she draws from a range of theoretical perspectives which allows her to tailor therapy to the needs of the client Barbara thinks that healing and individual growth happen when difficulties in living are explored with empathy, and the client's unique...


Therapist Barbara Perini
Barbara Perini

Barbara is an accredited member of BACP, holding an MSc in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and adhering to the BACP ethical framework Her approach is open-ended, offering both short-term and long-term therapy Barbara has also trained in Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy (DIT), a short-term (16 sessions), semi-structured individual therapy developed for mood...

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Therapist Ben Brackenbury
Ben Brackenbury

Ben believes that at times we all struggle with the challenges life has to offer and therapy provides a safe, confidential, non-judgemental space to explore this Ben works with individuals to make sense of who they are and how they respond to the world today, and to explore new ways of being Ben is also sensitive to how difficult it might be for a client to talk to a...

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Therapist Ben Marks
Ben Marks

Ben is an experienced psychotherapist who has helped many people through difficult times in their lives He works with clients with a wide range of personal issues around depression, anxiety, bereavement, trauma, abuse, loneliness, stresses within the workplace, low self esteem, relationship and sexual problems including performance anxiety, erectile dysfunction and...

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Therapist Catherine Hammett
Catherine Hammett

Catherine offers a safe, confidential space for clients bringing a wide range of issues to therapy  These include anxiety, low self-esteem, relationship difficulties, anger and work-related stress  Catherine also supports clients experiencing depression, bereavement and life transitions  Among her specialist interests are post-traumatic growth and working with adult...

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