Every African descent person should have therapy. I repeat every African descent person should have therapy.
We’re not talking about the stereotypical scene of a suitably quiet and all knowing therapist asking you “and how does that make you feel”
No, we’re talking about therapy as an act of revolution. An act as revolutionary as going on a march, and being visible; as revolutionary as armed struggle.
Ok, we can hear the sounds of disbelief but stick with us.
The African family is fighting many battles on many different fronts; none more so than the battle within ourselves. The raging, on-going battle, for the heart and minds of the African family. A battle that is concerned with whether we want to be truly independent or we settle for third class status.
Do we believe that that we have a right and a responsibility to ensure that the world knows who and what we are; or do we accept the status of inferiority that others have labelled us with and have actively sought to reinforce that point.
So people consider this, the African heritage presence in Britain is an estimated population of 3 million. This is a figure greater than most Caribbean nations; and with comparable economic worth. Despite these numbers and economics and the fact that African heritage people have been in Britain longer than most Caribbean nations have been flag independent few would suggest that there is a recognisable self-determining consciousness within Britain (some may argue their isn’t much of one in the Caribbean either, but that’s another story).
Or put another way there isn’t a great deal of awareness about doing things for us and building our own institutions. That’s not to say it isn’t happening there are a number of organisations seeking to increase awareness and foster self-development; the Nation Afrikans Peoples Parliament and the Organisation of Black Unity to name but two. But what we don’t have is a mass awareness of people engaged in institution building.
Why is that so
The ironic voice in us that sometimes manifests itself would say that some believe there is no need for Africans to engage in their own institution building because the British society provides all that we need. As a matter of fact, in much the same way that they provided for our needs back on the Caribbean plantations, and the missionary schools on the continent. So we didn’t have to bother ourselves with thinking what was best for us. They kindly took care of all of that.
Onlookers not Participants
One of our other voices would however quote Baba Asa Hilliard III when he says ‘it is unnatural for a person or a people to function while unconscious or partially conscious’.
You see fully functioning people take an active interest in their lives and the lives of those around them. Why, because they want the best for themselves and others. Why, because they believe they are entitled to the best but also appreciate that they have to take responsibility for achieving those things.
Fully functional persons or a people have a natural desire to engage in the human quest for sovereign powers. That is the desire to speak one’s own truth in the world and to be heard.
Unconscious or semi-conscious people are by their very nature not fully aware of their environment, so cannot make decisions for themselves.
The battle for the African heart and mind is like any other battle; it will have onlookers and participants. Unfortunately to many of us are the former rather than the latter.
This is not an attack for attack sake. This is a discussion that we hope you will engage with. It is only through the serious engagement of our issues and the willingness to be vulnerable (thanks brother Tunde) can we start to make sense of this nonsense. And that brothers and sister is where therapy comes in.
So why, therapy?
Therapy is about expressing one’s feelings and to develop insight into how a brother or sister may be feeling. That insight leads to greater self-knowledge. That may involve talking as in traditional western approaches but can also be so many other ways. Through the use of drama, poetry, movement, reading or making a dress, watching a movie. All of these activities can be therapeutic and aid a person in increasing their self-knowledge.
Remember, there was a time we use to keep ourselves well without the need for pills and professionals and all these things were part of our ‘medicine cabinet’ (except for the last one, although we are still uncovering some of the wonders of our heritage, so you never know J)
Pattigift Therapy in keeping with the wisdom of our elders identifies knowledge of self as a foundation to individual and collective emancipation and thus begins to re-establish the long held right to define oneself
So for us the use of therapy helps to enable individuals, and thus communities to begin to stand on their own cultural ground and start to view reality from that perspective. Now that is revolutionary