As both a coach and a trainee therapist, I really enjoyed Myira Khan’s presentation at the University of East London’s anti-oppressive practice conference on 25 November 2023. While it’s aimed at an audience of therapists, a lot of the content is very much relevant to coaching too.
Anti-oppressive practice, as Myira says, explictly acknowledges structural and systemic inequalities that exist both ‘out there’ and ‘in here’ and supports a relational dynamic of equality.
I also appreciate her deconstruction of ‘working with diversity’, especially the implications that diversity is positioned within the client. It’s as though that the helper is neutral or normative, whose identity is not part of the equation in the helping relationship.
‘Working within diversity’, on the other hand, takes into account two identities, each one unique and influencing the relationship. There’s room for two truths, without competition, without minimising anyone’s lived experience.
To learn more, check out Myira Khan’s website. I’ll be picking up her book, Working Within Diversity: A Reflective Guide to Anti-Oppressive Practice in Counselling and Therapy!