The #TherapistsConnect Podcast

Series 2 - Episode 2 - Dr Dwight Turner

November 23, 2020 #TherapistsConnect Season 2 Episode 3
The #TherapistsConnect Podcast
Series 2 - Episode 2 - Dr Dwight Turner
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of the #TherapistsConnect Podcast, Dr Peter Blundell (Twitter: @drpeterblundell) interviews Dr Dwight Turner (Twitter : @Dturner300) about his life and work.

https://www.dwightturnercounselling.co.uk/  

Dwight is a psychotherapist and supervisor in London. He is a senior lecturer at the University of Brighton and he "casts an intersectional lens on privilege, supremacy, otherness and social justice". He has a book coming out in 2021 called 'Intersections of Privilege and Otherness in Counselling and Psychotherapy: Mockingbird'.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Intersections-Privilege-Otherness-Counselling-Psychotherapy/dp/0367426773

Opening:

Welcome to the Therapists Connect podcast. Dr. Peter Blundell, interviews, therapists about their work and experiences in the therapists community.

Peter Blundell:

Hello and welcome to this episode of the Therapists Connect podcast. My name is Dr. Peter Blundell. And today I'm looking forward to interviewing Dr. Dwight Turner. Dwight is a psychotherapist and supervisor in private practice. He's also a part-time lecturer at the University of Brighton, lecturing on their postgraduate diploma and MSc courses in counselling and psychotherapy. He's an avid writer, and we're going to be talking about some of his work and research during the interview today. Good afternoon, Hi, afternoon. Nice to see you.

Dwight Turner:

And you and you. How are you? I'm really well, thank you. Yeah, really, really good. Well done with the Therapists Connect sort of hashtag and everything that is done with that. It seems like it's really taken off, all that.

Peter Blundell:

Thank you. Yeah, I really appreciate that. Yeah, it has I mean, it's very strange, because it wasn't really even a fully formed idea, really, when it started. It was , it was a very quick, not very thought through tweet, really, if I'm completely honest. And it just seems to have grown really, I'm, I'm really pleased that we've kind of managed to turn it into something. I think that this this is quite beneficial for people, particularly the SCoPEd debates and things like that, you know, start some conversations around around different topics. And I mean, it's an absolute pleasure to do it as well. I mean, even the podcasts, like just speaking to so many different therapists, finding out what they do, and all of that kind of thing. It's an absolute pleasure.

Dwight Turner:

Cool, cool. Well, thank you for inviting me as well as much appreciated - very kind of you.

Peter Blundell:

No, not at all. Thank you for doing it. I really appreciate it myself. I mean, obviously, the first question is, which I've asked kind of everybody that I've interviewed, and I think I think people find this generally very interesting, even the therapists, is kind of what was your journey to becoming a therapist? And how did that, how did that come about?

Dwight Turner:

Sure, sure. It's always, it's one of those odd questions where, you know, I know very few people who grew up wanting to be a therapist went to school and university and studied psychology and become a psychotherapist! Mine was, you know, I trained - when did I start, when I was about 29. But I was already in therapy at that point. So a difficult relationship I was in ended badly for myself. I didn't really handle it that well. So I ended up seeking out some therapy, just so I could learn a bit more about myself, how I function in relationship with other people. It was actually through that I actually decided to do like a foundation course, at the Centre for Counselling and Psychotherapy Education in London, just supposed to be a one year self development course. Okay, I'll do that I'll feel better about myself. And I'll get on with the rest of my life and see where I end up at that point. Problem with that was two things. One, I never went to university. So I left school; I went to school, went to college, messed around a lot, and then ended up in the military. And because I didn't go to University, one of the things that really drew me in was the academic portion of the course that I was on, even though it was an experiential course, I actually quite enjoyed the sections where they had something a bit more structured and academic. I thought, I thought, why don't I see if I can study to become a psychotherapist. So more fool me, I found the money, spent the next four years training to become a therapist. And really enjoyed myself, really enjoy exploring my inner world, be it through creativity, through dreams through interactions, my own therapy, all those sorts of things. And, you know, at some point, I'm still quite ambivalent until the middle of the course, the end of the second year. And at some point, I decided, actually, you know what, let's see if I can make this a career. Let's see if I can actually make this something I do for a living and take it serious. And then I decided to turn it around and become a therapist. And I've been quite lucky, since then, I've worked in mental health, for services led groups that were attached to the Maudsley Hospital in South East London for a while, I've worked with short term counselling services in southeast London around Elephant and Castle, around there. But predominantly I've been working in private practice, and also lecturing at the CCPE. And now I'm very fortunate to actually have a job at University of Brighton, down here on the South Coast with some glorious days.

Peter Blundell:

Fantastic. So it wasn't, kind of, something that you'd thought through initially that you really wanted to be a therapist, you kind of kind of found it along the way. And I really, I really relate to that. Because when I was doing my training, I did like an introductory course, thinking, like you know, I'll just kind of see what this is like and maybe it improves some inter-personal skills and then kind of opened up this whole world. I was oh my gosh, I didn't know this

Dwight Turner:

So, totally, totally resonate with that. existed. Yeah, it exists. And also it's enormous. And for me, there's a real fascination around exploring, I don't know what's going on in my inner world, what sort of sub personalities might I have that, like form my character, how have I repressed myself over the years, or have been repressed whatever it might be. Yeah. That, that journey of learning about themselves has become a bit of a fascination. And it's never ending ... you know, there are times when I, when I'm in therapy, when I'm not in therapy, and I always even even when I'm not in therapy, I still enjoy looking, you know, sitting on a, in a cafe somewhere writing notes in my diary, trying to understand, okay, what's going on with me that particular day, that period of my life? Those sorts of things. I love it. So

Peter Blundell:

it's interested in that and that kind of idea of actually, maybe we might start this idea of a career, or a job or a role or whatever. But actually, when we start that training, actually, as you say, it's just a lifelong journey of exploration of ourselves, as well, yeah

Dwight Turner:

Totally, okay, the CV and whatever else, and that's fine. But what I think I love about that is actually that I can choose what I want to do, so there's going to in it for me, not just for my clients, I'm in it for me as well. So that Yeah, lifelong. At some point, but actually at points I do get

Peter Blundell:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, we need the time away from tired. You know, I do get tired of constantly, navel gazing, whatever else is out in the world, have a, do somethin different, you know, watch mindless movie, whatever else And just take your mind of things, or just sit on a beac somewhere. But even those time are very useful. Just to thin , to let things settle. Because think, one can stir p the unconscious a bit too that as well. Yeah, absolutely. And you mentioned a couple of things about your career, there are a few different kind of roles as a therapist. What would be like the highlights of that career and the things that you've enjoyed the most?

Dwight Turner:

Well, that's a great question. I'm gonna say where I am right now, I love it to bits. Like I said, I work, I teach on the psychodynamic course at the University of Brighton a couple of days a week. And I love that working with the students, running experiential groups in supervision. It's fascinating to do and it's I quite enjoy being in a university environment, for varying reasons - the more superficial ones, like having a library, where I can literally spend ages wandering around trying to pick out books and you know, bless them, they know me, the library of University of Brighton department, and even tease me every now and again about the types of books that I end up taking out, it's always sort of random things... And it's also just things like, you see, I don't mind the whole academic world so much else, I know people struggle with it for varying reasons. As a black man, I've come into it quite late. I find myself in a different position to other people. But I quite like the academic environments and working with colleagues who are on the same sort of journey or level as myself. If that makes sense. So it's not just about teaching it's about... Okay, where are we academically? And where are we... with regards to the wider community, you know, how do we, how does the work that we do inform the wider world, in some way?

Peter Blundell:

No, I kind of agree with that. And I love working in academia. And I find it absolutely fascinating. And I think sometimes maybe it's about the environment that we're in and the colleagues that we're with, and the communities that we've got really, and I get it, I feel quite lucky in, in the world that I've got around me. Changing the topic slightly a little bit, but I'm just wondering kind of how you define your kind of therapeutic approach. And is that, has that kind of changed over time? Or is that something, is it kind of the same as it's always been since you kind of entered the therapy world?

Dwight Turner:

Mm, mmm, well, my qualification that's actually like a transpersonal integrative psychotherapy, so that involves using creative techniques to understand unconscious processes things like sandplay work, visualisations, music, using metaphor, dream work, those sorts of things. And understanding that actually, we all have a deeper sort of connection to soul, nature and the religious or the spiritual side of one's character, and how these inform our everyday living, our everyday lives, in everyday life. And I think so I started out there, but I've always been very drawn to the work of Jung for example, the later isoteric works, and I've worked my way backwards, I think, in some ways, and, you know, in taking on the job that I have right now, to answer your point that my work has changed an awful lot since I started out. And I think that's the wonder of being an integrative psychotherapist, there is that that idea that the integration is not just for the client, it's also for the therapist. It's something that I'm going to learn about. My work as a therapist through the work with my clients and that process is an ongoing, it's constantly ongoing. So I guess, for me how I practice in the early days is, I don't know if it's vastly different, but it has changed. Its developed, if anything it's probably broadened, certainly in the range of clients and sometimes get clients who have got more pre personal early life issues, to those who perhaps are perhaps at a different stage of life where they're looking to actually reintegrate aspects of themselves and their issues and more transpersonal perhaps. So I think my work is broadened out over the years. And I suppose just makes it ever more fascinating.

Peter Blundell:

Absolutely. And one of the things you mentioned, there was dreams and dream work. And I know that that's a particular area that you've written about, and I'm quite interested in what, what is it about that type of work that, that you enjoy?

Dwight Turner:

It's the metaphorical meaning that we, that we, that comes out of dreams and how that informs who we are, in a way, it's not just I know, it can just be, Freud was right, in some ways, it can just be processing of material at the end of one's day, if one's had a bad day, and we have an existential dream or something like that. But, you know, I have often had dreams, and clients have had dreams whereby actually, there's a deeper meaning there's something more archetypal, that actually took a lot longer to understand, to uncover for those individuals, including myself, I've had a number of dreams whereby I followed the dreams, as much as the logical - if I can say that - conclusion, and actually, it's meant an awful lot for me, it's taking me on trips around the world. or I've dreams whereby, you know, a certain successful part of my life has played itself out in the dreamscape. One of the - I have this bizarre thing, for example, whereby if I dream about rugby it's normally - because I used to play rugby at school - so there's that part of it, I used to be a winger, so I used to love scoring tries and that sort of thing. So if I have a dream where I'm scoring a try, then there's something, there's a positive sub interest coming my direction, so maybe there's a success or something's gone right or I've integrated something and I know I can spot those dreams now. That, that took a while to work out what was going on because I've never played rugby for England in my life, and yet there I was on the field at Twickenham; these things can come up every now and again.

Peter Blundell:

It's really interesting with dreams because I wouldn't consider myself as somebody who dreams a lot. So when I do have, or remember them I should say. So when I do remember a dream, it is really kind of like, gosh, what is going on? It's not something I normally experience. So they're very kind of vivid, very visible, and I like to kind of pick them apart. But generally, it's not something that I have quite a lot. So needless to say when it happens, it's something that really is quite prominent, really. And do you dream, do you dream a lot or, or kind of foster that, that that kind of dreamscape and

Dwight Turner:

well, I never used to... strange thing, when I started the foundation year course, probably used to dream once or twice a year or something daft like that, it wasn't very often, bit like yourself, those were dreams that meant something because they would stay with me, I'd always remember them, stuff like that. But I remember - it's quite vivid, still quite vivid. It's about a strange moment on my course, at the end of my second year, when I gone through, yeah some dream works, some group work and I went through a very difficult period actually almost quit the course, I had a moment where I thought you know what, I'm not sure I can do this. I just had this wonderfully strange idea of moving to Copenhagen and living over there and finding a job. Don't ask me how that came about, I can't even remember, it was a bit bizarre and random to be honest. And it's really sort of a way of avoiding staying with a moment in time where actually I need to drop into something. And what actually happened was I went through a period of, of low mood, depression, whatever you want to call it. And at that point, my dream world came alive. So I was literally dreaming almost every night, writing things down, taking them off to therapy and in some ways it hasn't really stopped since then. That was like 17/18 years ago. So I do write down an awful lot of dreams. There are times when I actually just think, what I'd like is a night's sleep! I don't want to have to get up at 2 in the morning and write things down. But, so I probably have hundreds if not thousands of dreams written down that somebody, long after I've gone, will have to transcribe and try and understand - lesson - it's not my job! So I value them, is my sense, I value what they're trying to tell me

Peter Blundell:

That's what I was thinking then when you were talking - almost the idea of not just like how I experienced them a lot of the time actually, 'is it telling me something?' but it sounds like you actually use dreams as well to kind of guide you or make decisions or, you know, inform lots of different, different things.

Dwight Turner:

Yeah, sometimes it's simply that there are emotions I'm not aware of, or not expressing that come out through the dreamscape. But there are other moments where actually there's a message that comes through that I need to, to understand. And, you know, I used to dream, when I was doing my doctorate, for example, I used, exploring my own experience ...., one of the, one of the techniques I use, or one of the ways to collect data that I use was, was actually understanding my dreams. How did my dreams actually represent me as an outsider, they were invaluable to pinpoint different situations that I went through and understand that part of myself.

Peter Blundell:

It's really interested in talking about kind of that method of kind of capturing those and looking at them. I know you've written a paper recently, haven't you, in terms of, or got one published, which is looking at your own dreams but understanding systemic racism and the impact on the unconscious of the dreamer, which I thought was really interesting, because you talk in that paper about kind of going beyond like the physical and the cognitive ideas and looking at the kind of the more more deeper level. And what was that like to kind of write that paper and explore that as a topic?

Dwight Turner:

The reason why it's a good question, because, it's a very difficult thing to do. It's not, you know, I, I don't always use my personal process in article writing, because sometimes it's easier for me, psychologically, not to do so. On that particular paper, though, it was such a visceral experience. And during, or being, the experience that there is in the paper actually gave me such a real indication of just what I internalise what I've had to go through in an environment, which is not my own, which I have to find a way to negotiate, and how those processes then become internalised. And that's what the what the paper sort of talks about that actually, yeah, like you said, it's not just the physical and, and then the bodily sort of impact of racism, that, that that, that people actually people of difference hold. It's more of a sense, it's as much the sense that actually it's a deeper psychological trauma, that plays itself out, way deep down in the unconscious, that it's not recognised, and actually it's very difficult to, I'm gonna use the word decolonize, one's own psyche, if that makes sense. So it wasn't an easy paper to write is one way of looking at that. But it felt it was necessary, especially when it came out. It came out at around the same time as the whole George Floyd incident. Even though it was written way before.

Peter Blundell:

Yeah. And I think it's a really powerful paper. And it's really, I believe, it's really well written because I think it really does explore to a deep level kind of your experiences in that process, as well as the descriptions of the dream itself, but also your relationships, relationships and broader issues as well. So it's, it's it was really interesting. And I learned a lot I think reading through that was really good.

Dwight Turner:

Well, thank you, it tried to represent that sort of internal and external struggle, in a way, if you're living in an environment in which there is systemic racism, then it's very difficult not to take that inwards in some ways. And there's that there's going to be a psychological, metaphorical level where that material sits. And I think we need to do more work in exploring that. And I hear there are theorists who actually do that now. That means the more work and understanding actually what are those, Yeah, how do we internalise that that sort of material?

Peter Blundell:

Absolutely. And I think that paper did a really good job of that. okay, so we talked a little bit earlier about some of that kind of highlights of your kind of career. Has there, have there been any challenges that you faced? Or what maybe I should say, what are the challenges that you faced

Dwight Turner:

the challenges? Oh, this Oh, I love this question. Because it's, you know, for me... training. I worked full time when I was training, I didn't you know, I know this is a very sort of white middle class, female profession. And, you know, there are a lot, not all, but a lot of people who have the money to actuallym sort of don't have to struggle financially around, around doing the course. So for me, one of the struggles was having to work full time and balance in a part time counselling psychotherapy course in alongside that. I remember, I was literally like working nine to five and I'd rush off one night a week to therapy. Another night a week was my course night for three and a half hours and get home really late, another night with my placement, somewhere across London and always travelling around town, I was always on the train all the time and alongside that, to make the money to pay my bills and survive life and so on, and also pay for my courses, these courses they're not cheap. So for me, it was one of the struggles was, was it worthwhile struggling in. But it was it was a difficult struggle - actually just 'okay, how do I survive in life and also keep going with this course?' And again, at that point people helped me out, parents helped me out, I was lucky to get certain jobs along the way that paid enough money to pay different parts of the course. So there are ways of doing it, and I value those greatly. But it's not an easy process. In some ways, those struggles... they made me or helped make me a therapist, if that makes sense, I don't think they played all, the whole role. But they did help. But it was tiring. And I remember getting to the very end, for example, and the last night of the course. Yeah, they had a little party as you do at these things. And I'm sitting on the stairs, talking to a maintenance guy from my course, sitting there feeling quite melancholic. So I've been through this whole journey, over several years, and actually it wasn't really a celebration, it's just really one of exhaustion.

Peter Blundell:

It's really difficult, isn't it? And I mean, I could have had a similar experience myself when I was when I was training. And I just think about the students that I know now in terms of trying to well, learn, personal development, placement, assignments, all of that, and trying to survive and earn money at the same time in your regular job or your other job. And all of those demands, I mean, can't really express how challenging that can be. And you know, over the course of years, basically, because you're trying to get through qualifying, and sometimes those still continue after you've qualified.

Dwight Turner:

Yeah, well, yeah, it wasn't like I wasn't incurring debts along the way. For example, I'm still working quite hard. It's one of the things I can talk to students about even now there's that 'How do you, you know, self care, even from an early stage getting used to self care?' And how do we look after ourselves as we go through this difficult, onerous process, which is great, it's worthwhile, you learn an awful lot, but when do we take time out, you know? We're recording this during the summer of COVID, with people under lockdown and there's additional stress attached to that. But then when people are still studying and still training to become psychotherapists alongside that, alongside doing their placements so that I, I can't imagine the levels of stress that some students are probably going through at this very moment in time.

Peter Blundell:

And I think that idea of self care, which is to me sometimes it can be dismissed a little bit people say, oh a relaxing bath, and, you know, light some candles and things like that, which can be can be very relaxing to some people, but also, it's about what's meaningful to you, isn't it and what you need to do to care for yourself, you know, whatever that might be,

Dwight Turner:

yeah, totally agree, it could be anything, like you said, it would be a bath or whatever else, for me what do I care to reveal, before I give way too much, and, but well, people who know me anyway... I love comic books. So for me, if I'm, if I want to sit down and switch off I'll go to an old Marvel comic book or something like that, or watch something in the movies, and just switch off for a couple of hours. Something like that just takes me away from all the stresses and strains of being a therapist, or even when I was training. I used to have all these things I love. Yeah, yeah. Everything from the X-Men to to the Fantastic Four to the Avengers, and anything in between. So

Peter Blundell:

we can, we can have a whole other conversation about that, because I saw I saw your tweet about watchmen the other day, which is fantastic TV series. It was absolutely amazing.

Dwight Turner:

It was, it's so. So that's where my love of metaphor, my love of writing sort of comes in, in an interesting way. Because I don't know about yourself, but I grew up with the graphic novel, which is a graphic novel by Alan Moore, back in the 1980s. It is probably my favourite all time graphic novel. The Watchman, so seeing it as a TV show just brought back lots of memories. And it was so well done. So So, but things like that. I always loved to write, even when I was a kid trying to create stories and stuff. So being given the gift, I call it that, of writing academically now as an adult - I love it to bits and that all comes out of that that whole world of graphic novels and comic books and the connections

Peter Blundell:

I've seen you kind of tweet about this as well but like your routine for writing as well, you really write do write a lot don't use part of your kind of, well weekly I suppose or daily, I'm not sure, kind of routine where you kind of set yourself aside some time to kind of do that.

Dwight Turner:

You're right, it's normally weekly thing. Um, I tried, somebody once said, white about what makes you angry. A colleague of mine said that, so it probably says a lot that I'm probably angry all the time, I just write about something wrong. I'm not really. But I do it because I love it. And I think it's a kind of therapy, to some degree, I choose to make some space for it. So my academic week, my working days are trying to at least two hours a week of writing. And I know, you know, one of the bizarre feelings I learnt in the military years ago was actually how to type. So I can type fairly quickly and I can get my ideas down on page quite, quite swiftly. But I've always got a notebook on me, of some type, I feel a bit like an academic version of I don't know, some writer who sat, you know I think I was Joan Collins, that used to sit in, in cafes and watch the world go by just make notes for herself and these people would turn up in the novels later on. Think is was Jackie Collins, not that like I read those books all the time. But this is it, I just, I love the whole process of writing and coming up with ideas that my intuition work for me. You know, they like the paper you mentioned there about dreams. I will write, I will put a paper down, put a first draft down for a few weeks, just to like let it percolate and let other ideas come into place. And then like I said, when I go back, hopefully with professional eyes, I can say, Okay, this needs to change I've actually, that doesn't quite work. That's not quite what I wanted to say. Or perhaps I've read something else that needs to go in... There's a process that I try and go through I try and follow because I trust it now.

Peter Blundell:

So that's your writing process. Do you have any kind of process in terms of where the ideas come from? Or kind of where, you know, the topics that you want to write about?

Dwight Turner:

Oh, not really well. I think it's really just driven by my intuition? It's not.. I'm not..

Peter Blundell:

It goes where, i goes..

Dwight Turner:

Yeah, totally. And I think one of the, one of the things about Twitter is that there's so much around that's out there right now, which one could write about, is a challenge not to? Because I don't feel I have to say everything about everything. Yeah. And, you know, so I can literally see something and have an idea or read something and another idea will come up, and I'll make a couple of notes. You know, the vast majority of the notes that I make probably won't come to anything, then there re are always those that stay with me that that that just nibble at the edge of my consciousness over a period of time. And then I'm sort of challenged. Okay, what can I write about this? What does it actually mean? What is it trying to say to me, and so ideas come up, at that point. There, it also depends on what I'm reading, there's always something new to read in this game. One of the brilliant things and they often spark ideas, too,

Peter Blundell:

very good, I need to take some inspiration from you, I think

Dwight Turner:

we'll be like, it's always hard to find time around everything else that we do..

Peter Blundell:

that that's the thing, but I feel like this, you know, you do dedicate some time and kind of put it aside. So right, this is what I'm gonna do. And I think, I think I need to take a leaf out of your book You might kind of do this anyway,because you taught, obviously, you teach, so you see a lot of students. But is, and have you got any kind of specific advice or guidance that you might give to somebody who is thinking about entering into the profession or wanting to kind of become a therapist, and that you kind of think is important that they kind of know at the outset?

Dwight Turner:

I suppose there are a few things one, your whole world is going to change. And I don't think there's a way of getting around that, it's yeah, you may resist it, and that's fine. That's part of the process. But if one is going into this, looking to save the world, then it's probably one of, not one of the best reasons to do so. It's more about actually working out who one is you who you are and how you can save yourself and something, whatever might, might come up and understanding that. The second one is this will take up time. There are lots of pressures that come with becoming a psychotherapist, it's not a tick box exercise... the best people that I've come across...and this is also the third part, is also those who perhaps do a bit of work on themselves beforehand. They've ventured into therapy or to do some sort of course or whatever it might be. I'm not worried about what it is. Trying to understand themselves and then decide to go off and become a therapist. Those three things are bits of advice that I would, I would give. It's, and yet it's also you find your group, do the research that you need to, knowing that actually is never gonna be 100 per cent perfect. Because you're never really going to know what the course is like until you're actually on it. (PB - and who you're on it with). Yeah, exactly. If it's not the right people, it can be great to work with that. But it can also be quite traumatic at times as well. So there's that side. And is there any more I can offer in there? Look after yourselves. Yeah. Always. Look after youself, whilst you're on a course like this.

Peter Blundell:

Yeah, good advice, good advice. And thinking maybe about the broader kind of profession as a, as a whole. Do you, what, do you think there is any particular challenges? Or what's the biggest challenge you think that we are kind of facing at the moment as a as a profession in the UK?

Dwight Turner:

I, um, I'd be remiss if I didn't actually talk about, you know, difference, intersectional approaches that are diversions and stuff like that. And I think as a profession in the UK, we as a profession across , well, we haven't done enough to understand how we work with others, and how we got the privilege. And for me, this is one of the major challenges of our profession right now. We I, I was, yeah, the number of therapists who, even with the whole George Floyd murder, will, can't quite put themselves to one side for long enough to see that actually Black Lives do matter and make it all about all lives, and whatever else. So the number of men who can't quite see that, actually, although they see it as a #metoo movement, and they want to say, well, it's not all men, actually, it is all men, and they have a role to play in actually changing the system as well. There are things, as a psychotherapist, there is a huge role to play in understanding what these barriers are, to actually putting oneself to one side for a minute to let minority groups actually have a few minutes of centre stage. And I think that there are psychological barriers, as well as other ones, which are, which are informed by racism, sexism, homophobia, whatever else that actually need deeper and deeper understanding.

Peter Blundell:

Yeah. Sorry, one thing I was just gonna say, and because it kind of reminded me this morning, I've even seen a news article this morning, where an MP - you've probably seen it - is blaming kind of the BAME and Muslim communities for breaking lockdown and causing the increase of COVID in certain parts of the country. And I, I mean, I would have been shocked before that someone would say that, but actually shocked even more so after what has happened over the last few months that that someone would, would, would not have the insight to see what was wrong with that type, of type of statement. And my concern that actually, despite the level of prominence that it's had, naturally, what meaningful impact has it had on certain groups of people. Really, and

Dwight Turner:

I saw the paper, the article and the same, sort of disturbing as it is that a real myopia it's not, you know what? Maybe I'm being a bit too nice. I think that's, we live in an environment, which is actually quite racist. So it then becomes easy to blame the other in that instance. And we've all seen, you know, pictures of Bourneouth beach where they had queues stretching back miles, people who want to go, you know as soon as lockdown was just slightly eased, people ran off to the coast to go and sit in the sun. Of course, there's no social distancing on a beach for that size, that many people on it, but those people, it's difficult then to blame oneself. And I think there is an element of all this why I think there's a link to between the 'isms and 'obias and narcissism. It's, it's to actually have to look at oneself and the role that one plays in systemic violence. Actually, it's very easy to say, well, it's not me. It's not, it's not all, it's not all white people. It's not all men. It's a group over there, but actually, if you're raised in that system, actually, you're imbued with a system, with the systemic racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, ableism, whatever it might be, like anybody else. I had it too. I can't sit here and say that, you know, I was thinking about this the other day, because I go on a lot about about about Twitter and so on, okay. Things I do, like podcasts and whatever else and I was talking to some colleagues around, okay, where are the transcripts because you know, they, they're hard of hearing. So therefore, for them, that access is sort, of sort of denied. And I'm thinking, Okay, how can I make it easy for them to access whatever I'm putting out, which I'm putting out there. So I even went and signed up for, for a free sign language course, I could actually start doing a bit of sign language over the autumn, definitely, that's something that I need to look at to challenge myself in how can I reach difficult to reach communities even as easily as a black man, if that makes sense. It doesn't go away. So whether what that the MP has done is he's not used his, his, his position of privilege and power reflectively to say, Okay, if that's what he thinks, then how can he engage with these groups? If that's the case . If that's what he thinks, then actually, is that even true, across the board? Or is that just a 'get out' clause, by saying it's them over there? You just push them, you just push the ball in somebody else's court, and you're not actually addressing the problem?

Peter Blundell:

Absolutely. Yeah. I'd like to think that actually, the counselling and psychotherapeutic community that we are able to kind of self reflect and look at ourselves. But actually, I think we have just as much difficulty as everybody else, unfortunately I think. Sometimes.

Dwight Turner:

No, I agree. I think I think one of the difficulties about the world that we work in with it, right now, for me, is it I guess, the founding fathers, they very much informed culture, if you like, because that's when you start something new, people are very interested in, in what it has to say, like a musician who perhaps like, what's the best? What's the worst example I can come up with? Someone like Prince or David Bowie, they're not the most mainstream, they were never the most mainstream of artists in the early days, but cultures that have moved in around them if you like, and, and took them on board. And I think, you know, Edward Said talks about this, about intellectuals having a similar sort of role to be able to inform culture as to what it is. Frantz Fanon did this to some degree too. Psychotherapy started out on down that route, I think what we've sort of lost, has been we've become more a sort of reflection of society, as opposed to actually using our skills to reflect back on the society - where it's gone, where it's going, where it's gone wrong, where it's gone right. And what maybe is going on, so that it can then make change. If that makes sense. It's like, we're becoming a bit watered down by culture. Like that's to our detriment. So I think things like the, we can't, which are going on right now. And the rise to prominence of .... and whoever else, that are talking about these issues, that there's a chance there for psychotherapists to do something more positive for our trade, and for the wider community, if we're brave enough to do it.

Peter Blundell:

And what opportunities do you think that we have got to do that? What are the things you think that we can do collectively as a community of therapists that can help that?

Dwight Turner:

Well, there, I think there are plenty of organisations around the globe who are choosing to look at Okay, were, I did something with BACP the other day around COVID-19 and BAME over-representation in the stats and figures and how psychotherapy could engage better with these communities. Does that mean that we work closely with community projects and so on? I would argue 'Yes', for example, but I don't feel it has to just be around race, and it can be around other kinds of difference as well. I think how our, our governing structures, engage with difference on on the ground is important, but also how we draw the wealth of material, that's not the right word, what knowledge of what it's like, let me say, on the front line? Can we, you know, we've all done placements where we work for free and I said earlier, there's all sorts of issues around, around whether we should work for free at all. I totally understand this. One of the things I would say that has been useful, though, is actually in that experience of working, for example, myself in, on estates, so I can see that, what those client groups need. If our governing bodies, are willing and able to draw that knowledge out, then actually we can better serve certain communities in a way, makes sense. I think that's something we need to be doing a bit more, we're a bit too removed is my sense

Peter Blundell:

and that sense of actually proactive action rather than performative action, you know retweeting and saying, Oh, yes, I really care about this. But actually, what are you actually physically doing underneath all of that to actually make a difference?

Dwight Turner:

Yeah, totally agree. Yeah. What do you think, I couldn't put it any better. I think that's quite right. Yeah, the retweeting - it's just a button. It takes nothing more than that. What are you actually going to do? And I suppose there's also the layer of - you mentioned performative action - I think that's a really important point to underline in the in, in performative action, then what is, what one's actually saying is actually, we are just as prejudiced as any other organisation. And we're just gonna play a tokenistic role. Then there's another problem which the organisations themselves have to look at - the structures of inequalities in their representation within their groups. If that makes sense.

Peter Blundell:

Yeah, Yeah, absolutely. And I completely agree. Okay, so I'm just kind of coming to my last question, really, which is, kind of what kind of projects you've got plans for the future, I presume you're going to carry on writing because you do that regularly. And teaching. But have you got anything else lined up?

Dwight Turner:

Oh, sure. Well, the book, hopefully, fingers crossed is at the final recording. And I submitted the book to the publishers a couple of weeks back. So hopefully that will go through this process and will come out early next year.

Peter Blundell:

What's that called? That's gonna be

Dwight Turner:

Provisional title is 'Explorations of..."Exploring the intersections of privilege and otherness in counselling and psychotherapy". So what it does is it uses intersectional theory, to understand how privilege and otherness actually work for our clients, for ourselves within the world, within our profession. So it uses lots of creative data that was gathered through my doctorate, and some some other bits and stuff I've gathered along the way as well, before this. But it also gives some definition of how I see things like systemic oppression, from a therapeutic perspective, some of the things we've talked about, you know, what is the therapists role in informing the narrative ound this? I've made one or two, made one or two attempts to address some of these..

Peter Blundell:

Brilliant, sounds interesting. And do we know, we don't know when that will be out yet?

Dwight Turner:

Not yet, not yet, I have to wait. So we'll find out we'll let you know in due course... probably on Twitter.

Peter Blundell:

Yeah! The best way to get information out there. Well, that's fantastic. Brilliant, Thank you so much. It's been, honestly, it's been an absolute pleasure, interviewing you and speaking to you and finding out a little bit more about yourself. Thank you so much for doing this.

Dwight Turner:

Absolute pleasure. Thank you very much for inviting but really great to do this.

Opening:

Brilliant. Thank you. Thank you for listening to the Therapists Connect podcast. Go to www.therapistsconnect.com for more discussions and debates