One on one....Taide Riley-Hunte

We dip into the Society member database and pick out…Taide Riley-Hunte, who is a Senior Assistant Psychologist at Riley-Hunte’s Psychological Consultancy (RHPC).

One proud moment
Completing my first children’s book, The Little Boy in the Shadows. I love to write and being able to contribute to the growing number of books that feature black characters makes me extremely proud.

One alternative career path
I would have chosen to become a full-time author.

One thing I’m grateful for
The opportunity to experience life in the Caribbean when I moved to Barbados at 11 with my family. Very quickly I became aware that I was no longer a minority. It is hard to explain what this feels like for a child, when for years most of the people in your world – on television, teachers and other professionals – don’t look like you. Another significant experience was making important links between my upbringing in England and my rich African and Caribbean heritage, which was taught proudly by black teachers and educators. When the predominant image of a black person is portrayed negatively, it’s amazing how being faced with these black professionals changes the way you perceive yourself and your entire world view, in terms of your place within that world. This was definitely the most impactful experience of my life and one that I will forever be grateful for.

One thing I love about my job
I love administering cognitive assessments. I find it fascinating being able to see the workings of the mind, through the strategies applied when completing subtests. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle coming together (and I love jigsaws). I also enjoy being part of the feedback session and watching as parents begin to see their child and their difficulties in a new light. The understanding that this brings, and for some, a complete change in their attitude towards their child and their child’s abilities, is truly humbling. I think this is one of the greatest gifts that a cognitive assessor can give to a child or young person who has believed for so long that they are ‘stupid’ and will never succeed.

One wish
I wish there was a Psychometrist profession, in the same way there is in the United States. A profession involving administering psychological assessments. I think it could be so helpful in reducing the number of people on waiting lists for assessments in the NHS, and could potentially bridge a gap between assistant and qualified psychologists, providing jobs for those who don’t want to go on to become professional psychologists or those like me who enjoy the assessment side of psychology.

One thing that needs to change
In the light of Black Lives Matter, Mr George Floyd, and the disproportionate numbers of the ‘BAME’ communities who have succumbed to Covid-19, one thing that needs to change is the commitment of widening the predominantly white psychology profession, to include more people from these communities. This could go some way to addressing the mistrust and trauma that has occurred and has led, in many cases, to an increase in mental health challenges. As a black assistant psychologist, with a degree in psychology, a distinction in my Master’s, and years of experience, albeit largely in the private world (ever tried getting an assistant psychologist position lately? #UnconsciousBias), I have been rejected at the application stage three times already. Still, we as black people constantly hear about the BPS’s intention to create a more diverse profession. Until this is demonstrated in an application process which does not result in 86 per cent of successful applicants being from white backgrounds, then it is hard to see how meaningful progress can be made.

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