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Race, Ethnicity & Culture: Therapeutic implications for clinical practice

Leila Lawton

Tuesday, 28 January 2025


In provision of psychological therapies, the diversity in global majority populations requires culturally specific informed and responsive approaches. According to the Mental Health Foundation (2021), a higher percentage of Black, Asian, and other minority ethnic populations are diagnosed with common, severe, and complex mental health disorders. Race(ism) and oppressive practices directly impact mental illness. The COVID-19 global pandemic, the high-profile death of George Floyd, ongoing abhorrent wars tragically expose and highlight the consequences of systemic racism. 

Understanding the importance of clinical anti-racist practice and service implications are imperative for all psychological practitioners. Implementation of the “BAME” Positive Practice Guide audit tool ensures review of race equity in access, engagement and adaptation for the mental health workforce. Staff and services need to be equipped, to demonstrate accountability in culturally congruent and strategic clinical practice to ensure accessibility and improve outcomes for people from racially minoritised populations. Highlighting recommendations from the Positive Practice Guide for global majority communities (Beck et al, 2019) and the NHS Race & Health Observatory report (NCCMH, 2023). 

The event will be equivalent to 2.3/4hrs of CPD.


This workshop will:

• Provide a review of applied definitions of cultural sensitivity and adaptation in mental health clinical practice.

• Centre societal context, race (ism), ethnicity and culture’s roles and interactions with mental health.

• Use case studies to demonstrate use of customised assessment tools-supporting discussions on ethnicity and racism. With reference to elements of the cultural formulation interview.

• Provide an overview of theoretical guidance on cultural modification in transdiagnostic cultural formulation/treatment of specific anxiety and depression disorders.

• Invite attendees to explore their position, purpose and process working on cultural stereotypes and biases in therapy. Guidance on ongoing steps required to become an anti-racist clinician.

Please note: some case studies will be focused on Step 3 presentations and cultural adaptations related to a few specific disorders including depression.

Learning Objectives

You will learn:

A. How to apply culturally adapted frameworks and techniques in formulation and use of psychological interventions. 

B. Application of inclusive assessment techniques & tools, Including elements of the Cultural Formulation Interview.

C. To make effective use of tools and strategies to safely engage in critical self-introspection working towards cultural humility and safety in clinical practice.

D. Tips to apply process and practical steps to refine anti-racist practice at individual & service level.

Training Modalities

Didactic content, Q&A, video/live role play, experiential components, polls.

Key References

Beck, A., & Naz, S. (2019). The need for service change and community outreach work to support trans-cultural cognitive behaviour therapy with Black and Minority Ethnic communities. The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, 12, E1. doi:10.1017/S1754470X18000016

Beck, A., Naz. S., Brooks, M & Jankowska, M. (2019). Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Service User Positive Practice Guide.

Brooks, M. (2019). The importance of using reflective practice when working with refugees, asylum seekers and survivors of torture within IAPT. The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, 12, E16. doi:10.1017/S1754470X19000023

Brooks-Ucheaga, M. (2023). A qualitative exploration of black psychotherapists’ personal experience of racism and the challenges that exist for black therapists who work with clients in therapy who have also experienced racism. A pilot study using interpretive phenomenological analysis. The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, 16, E14. doi:10.1017/S1754470X23000065

Faheem, A. (2023). ‘Not a cure, but helpful’–exploring the suitability of evidence-based psychological interventions to the needs of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. the Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, 16, e4.

Jameel, S., Munivenkatappa, M., Arumugham, S. S., & Thennarasu, K. (2022). Cultural adaptation of cognitive behaviour therapy for depression: a qualitative study exploring views of patients and practitioners from India. the Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, 15, e16.

Lawton, L., McRae, M. and Gordon, L., 2021. Frontline yet at the back of the queue–improving access and adaptations to CBT for Black African and Caribbean communities. the Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, 14.

Mental Health Foundation (2021). Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.

Naeem, F., Sajid, S., Naz, S., & Phiri, P. (2023). Culturally adapted CBT–the evolution of psychotherapy adaptation frameworks and evidence. the Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, 16, e10.

National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health. Ethnic Inequalities in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT): Full report. London: National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health; 2023.

Naz, S., Gregory, R., & Bahu, M. (2019). Addressing issues of race, ethnicity and culture in CBT to support therapists and service managers to deliver culturally competent therapy and reduce inequalities in mental health provision for BAME service users. The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, 12, E22. doi:10.1017/S1754470X19000060

NHS Race & Health Observatory (2023). We deserve better: Ethnic minorities with a learning disability and access to healthcare

Rathod, S., Phiri, P., & Naeem, F. (2019). An evidence-based framework to culturally adapt cognitive behaviour therapy. The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, 12.

About the presenter

Leila Lawton is a Mum of four and Chair of the British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies Equality & Culture group.  She is an accredited Specialist Senior Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist, Clinical Supervisor, Equity Activist and Visiting Lecturer at various universities including IoPPN, University of Exeter & Royal Holloway. 
Leila’s passion for people and inclusive clinical and research practice has been cultivated through 19 years combined experience and expertise in working with culturally diverse groups within primary, secondary care and the third sector. Ranging from Community Mental Health, Learning Disability & Youth Offending Teams, Social Services, Memory Clinics, In-patients wards and NHS Talking Therapies (formerly known as IAPT). 

Leila has co-developed, designed, and delivered Race Identity and Me Culturally Adapted workshops within NHS Talking Therapies.  Her research interests include racial trauma, PTSD & anti-oppressive psychotherapy. Leila is committed to developing solutions through education to address systemic and structural racism.

Who should attend

This workshop is aimed at Psychotherapists, Psychological Therapists, and Counsellors.

Details coming soon

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