Write & Heal


Publications And Books

List of Publications:

Published in 1991 an autobiographical account of discovering Isha's black heritage co-authored with her sister Thelma Perkins.


Mckenzie-Mavinga I. Linking Social History and the Therapeutic Process: In Research and practice on Black Issues. Counselling & Psychotherapy Research. 3(2) June 2003, 103-106, British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy.

Mckenzie-Mavinga I. (2003) Creative writing as healing in black women’s groups, in Counselling in Intercultural Settings Ch 1. Ed Aisha Dupont-Joshua, Routledge

Mckenzie-Mavinga I. Finding a Voice –Understanding black issues in the therapeutic process) Association for University and college counselling. (May 2004) British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy

Mckenzie-Mavinga I. Addressing black Issues in Counsellor
Training (July 2004) CPJ British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy

Mckenzie-Mavinga I Understanding black issues in Postgraduate Counsellor Training. Counselling & Psychotherapy Research. December 2005;5(4)295-300 British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy.

Mckenzie-Mavinga A Space to Contemplate. (2005)Understanding black issues in Counsellor Training and The therapeutic Process. (Trainers booklet)

Doctoral Thesis: Mckenzie-Mavinga ( 2005) A Study of black issues in Counsellor Training. Metanoia Institute, Middlesex University & British Museum.

Mckenzie-Mavinga (July 2006 Vol 6 NO3) Is Counselling Colour Blind. Healthcare Counselling and Psychotherapy: Journal,British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Understanding Black Issues in the Therapeutic Process.International Journal of Psychotherapy. Vol 11,No3,November 2007

Book – Mckenzie-Mavinga, I.(April 2009)Black issues in the Therapeutic Process. London: Palgrave Publishers

Reflection on being a minority at a psychotherapy conference Click on the pdf icon


Training for Multi-cultural Therapy- The Course Curriculum in Lago.C. (2011) The Handbook of Transcultural Counselling and Psychotherapy
Open University Press

Recent Publications

Ground breaking new book by Dr. Isha Mckenzie-Mavinga.

To Read more and pre-order click here

Should the therapeutic process adapt to suit race and ethnic diversity? This book examines issues that are specific to counselling people of African and Caribbean heritage. Exploring the hurt of racism and inherited effects of slavery, it provides ‘therapeutic tasks’ to offer practical advice for all students, trainees and practitioners.


A Can of Worms
Feeling it in our Bones
A Black Empathic Approach
Healing Ancestral Baggage
Black Western Archetypes
Cultural Schizophrenia
Breaking the Bonds
Wounded Warrior
Therapeutic Style and Approach
Going All The Way




Isha opens her introduction to this book by quoting from a poem by LeRoy Clarke, a Trinidadian artist and poet. She explains that the poem depicts the pace, patience and humility that is needed to understand black issues in the therapeutic process. I have always appreciated Isha as a fellow traveller on the very long and painful road towards equality, absence of discrimination and removal of abuses of power between individuals and groups, particularly between those deemed ‘black’ and ‘white’. There is no doubt that that she has been subject to the pace of the journey, has had to be patient and has demonstrated extraordinary humility in her ongoing development as a colleague deeply devoted to the optimum delivery of sensitive, informed and humane psychotherapeutic practice.

In her original doctoral thesis Isha noted how her own sense of fear and concerns for survival had been frequently raised during the research process and, in reflection, noted:

  The importance (from survival to compassion) of her ongoing commitment to development and therapeutic growth, (this process facilitating her own capacity to work openly and acceptantly with a wide range of trainees),

  The considerable challenge/s of facilitating groups of black and white counselling/psychotherapy trainees to explore these issues, particularly when strong emotions and issues (such as pain, defensiveness, aggression, projections, silence, allegations and fears of racism, etc.) are released in the group,

  The value of having located ‘compassion’ for the many points of view and persons expressing those within this subject.

This book, then, represents the author’s accumulated experience of many years counselling, counsellor training and research. Indeed, this text is based upon Isha’s doctoral research and it constitutes a material outcome of and for concerns that have been deeply personal to her own experience in the world, and which, through teaching and the research process, have found wider resonance and validation in the experiences of others, both black and white.

The author’s own valuing of creativity is wonderfully demonstrated in her use of chapter titles, selected extracts of poetry, images, and therapeutic examples. This use of creativity is exemplified in her approach to the original research, which I had the privilege to read, and in her work on ‘black issues’ with students and staff on the counselling courses she is involved with. It is further evidenced in the suggestions of methods for counselling and psychotherapy trainers to employ in conducting similar ‘awareness’ raising work.

The term ‘black issues’ is usefully defined early in the text and conceptualised within the more frequent attention that has been given, historically, to issues of ‘race’, racism, culture and so on. It is a term that has long been used by Isha and I believe it has now entered the lexicon of trainers and trainees, practitioners and theorists alike as a most useful encapsulating concept within which to explore these complex dynamic phenomena.

This work truly complements other recent research work conducted in this field by colleagues such as:

  • Duncan Lawrence, who in 2003 published the results of his survey into race and cultural issues on counselling courses,
  • Val Watson, who surveyed the experiences of black students of counselling and psychotherapy courses, (2004),
  • Aileen Alleyne, who researched the complexities of introjection and black identity wounding, (2005),
  • Harbrinder Dhillon Stevens, who explored anti-oppressive practice in psychotherapy, (2004),
  • And Sara Razzaq Bains, who studied the multiple impacts of racism within family and collegial settings. (2008).

Isha’s work has already impacted significantly upon the professional training and research fields. A national ‘straw poll’ of counselling/psychotherapy courses conducted last year by one of the major professional bodies revealed that the majority of courses found tackling the issues that are explored in this book extremely challenging with many recognising that inclusion was, at best, minimal. This text is thus a timely and valuable contribution to the emerging literature on this theme in counselling and psychotherapy and the learning here could also be usefully employed in much other professional training, (e.g. social work, teaching, probation, nursing, etc.)

This book constitutes a most valuable resource to the counselling and psychotherapy field. I trust it will find a wide and appreciative readership.

Colin Lago,


August, 2008.


Book cover image. ‘Iponri’ by George Kelly, http://www.fowokan.com


Poem by Isha Mckenzie-Mavinga 2008 IPONRI

To open Isha's Poem "IPONRI" click on the pdf icon


Click here for 'Past to present ‘In Spite of the Terror’. paper by Isha Mckenzie-Mavinga 2002

A Space To Contemplate


Researched & Written by Isha Mckenzie-Mavinga This booklet presents a synopsis of a Doctoral study carried out with Postgraduate Counsellor trainees.  It offers a contribution to the development of appropriate mental health resources for black users of psychological support. It includes examples of therapist’s, trainers and student’s experiences and understanding of black issues with examples of workshop exercises to support counsellor training.

Cost 9.99 per copy

To purchase a copy or copies click the Buy Now button below

After clicking on the Buy Now button you will arrive at PayPal. You can either pay by PayPal or by credit/debit card. At the reciept page look for the link "Return to Talk" click on the link, and you will be redirected to the download page. Right mouse button click on the image and save the publication to your desktop or a place were you can find it.


Training for Multicultural Therapy-the course curriculum. Isha Mckenzie-Mavinga: in The Handbook of Transcultural Counseling & Psychotherapy. Ed Colin Lago (2011) Open University Press

This chapter discusses how recent initiatives and trends within the field of counselling and psychotherapy might influence future training and affect clients' experiences of counseling. Future challenges for counseling training are proposed, indicating changes that could meet the needs of black and minority ethnic (BME) clients.

Click here for the link to the above book

Mckenzie-Mavinga. I. (2013) Black Issues in the Therapeutic Process : A multicultural heuristic study. in Ed:Sofie Bager-Charleson: SAGE Publications Ltd
Doing Practice-based Research in Therapy: A Reflexive Approach  

This chapter presents a study on black issues in counsellor training and practice. For some cultural and ethnic groups availability of services is influenced by how appropriate services are to their needs and well-being; for example, services for African, Caribbean and Asian communities must take into account their family origins and their experience of being black in Britain. In this context ‘availability’ means the use of appropriate models that contradict institutional racism and the impact of racism. Acknowledgement of the personal development processes specific to these groups is therefore an important therapeutic tool. The chapter is based on a study carried out with both black and white trainee counsellors, addressing both counsellor and client experiences.

Click here for the link to the above book 


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