Dear Deborah,

Thank you for the invitation to your project. My name is Pedro, I’m a Portuguese citizen in his mid-thirties, a clinical psychologist with a PhD in anthropology.

I believe the world we live in is made of observers, rather than participants. We live in a world where belief no longer believes itself, whether that belief is diversity or any other important belief that makes us human. I appreciate all invitations made to become a participant in projects  that genuinely promote revisiting our current beliefs on diversity.

In the UK, where I have lived for the past nine years, initially to undertake a masters and PhD in anthropology, then working and studying simultaneously to validade my intial training in clinical psychology (completed in Portugal in 1999) I had a somehow less than easy time for the past years. You will find some details of my migration story in the Facebook page and the blog I have recently created, ‘Chains of Difference’.

I have no desire to expand in detail on what my difficulties in the UK were, suffice to say that if you google the work of Dr Martin Seager, you will see that plenty of migrant psychologists went through a less than easy time in the UK trying to validate their native training in psychology. Things have changed rapidly last year and the organization who gave me a less than easy time in the UK is no longer in charge of regulating the practise profession. I have invited them to join us on Facebook page and blog with no animosity and in all good will.

In my native country, Portugal, where I am now back too, I am drafting a post-doctoral research project on anthropology and psychological intervention with migrants by trying to make use of everything I experienced in the UK. In my Facebook ‘Chains of Difference Project’, I am asking people to expose themselves to some form of difference on the 21/05 (religious, social, cultural etc) and post about it in our Facebook page and/or blog. In spite of the many emails sent, so far I have no institutional support. I have had the occasional support of some of the members which I am very grateful for.

Somehow, I don’t expect to have a lot of contributions. On the one hand, we are not a fancy page/project, my knowledge of technology, Facebook, blogs, etc is scarce, and so are my resources. On the other hand, I strongly believe that even if we did have more resources, contributions would still be scarce because we live in a world of observers rather than participants. Finally, I am not sure if what I’m asking people to do (or even myself) is all that easy. How would you deliberately approach someone on the basis of a difference in order to learn about them? Would that be seen as a genuine attempt of learning about difference or some form of discrimination based on your choice? We live in a world where we seem both contaminated by ignorance and the fear of asking genuine questions about difference and diversity. Perhaps what I have asked people to do is to pursue a paradox for which there is no answer.

Above all, this process is a therapeutic endeavour for me because after experiences of the last year in particular my reaction to someone British is no longer spontaneous. Rationally, I know it’s wrong to judge people. Emotionally, as a human being, due to my experience of the past year, there’s an alarm bell that rings these days every time I meet someone from Britain, even when they have nothing to with my profession. I am trying to heal myself of that alarm bell. I want to be able to sit with someone British again and say to myself, calmly and gently, this person is an individual, not a symbol of a ‘culture’ that was hurtful in my history. I believe it will take me a while, but the participation of ‘Clear’ (a UK disability consultancy) in this project and the support of the Facebook British Diversity Group  is already helping with the healing process.

To heal myself of the alarm bell is a life project. It starts for me now. If it can start for other people, then there was something good and worthy about the past four months.
Thank you for joining us in ‘Chains of Difference’. Herewith follow the links if everyone else decides to join us (latecomers happily admitted).

Happy 21/05.
Saudações, Pedro

Posted via email from The World At Work


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