One on one... Maria Qureshi

We dip into the Society member database and pick… Maria Qureshi, who is a Clinical Lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire Doctorate in Clinical Psych programme and Clinical Psychologist in West London NHS Trust.

One psychological superpower
Juggling the demands of two jobs whilst finding a work-life balance and making time for self-care requires superhuman capacity. I am nowhere near there yet, but the aspiration and hope lives on.

One book
There are countless literary allies who I turn to and who have contributed to my journey. The one I have picked up time and again this past year has been Audre Lorde’s The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House. This short collection of essays can easily be read in one sitting. Audre Lorde’s words have provided comfort, validation, encouragement and motivation. ‘In our world, divide and conquer must become define and empower’ (p19).

One interesting thing about my job
Constantly learning through connecting with people around me.

One film
Parasite really does live up to the hype. The film provides commentary on class, social mobility, ethics of human behaviour, all whilst being incredibly entertaining, with a gripping storyline and multi-dimensional characters.

One musical
The West End adaptation of Amelie was pure brilliance! They perfectly captured the film’s quirky sense of whimsy.

One podcast
I don’t normally listen to podcasts, but I recently discovered Afua Hirsch’s ‘We Need to Talk About the British Empire’. It charters the tales of the empire from people who have lived through it. It is incredibly powerful and I have learnt a great deal from it.

One nugget of advice for aspiring psychologists
Find your voice, find people who will support you in your journey, don’t be afraid to speak up, and don’t let setbacks make you lose your passion.

One inspiration
Paulo Friere’s concept of praxis has provided inspiration in the way I teach and work with people. Continuously striving to strike a balance between reflexivity and action ensures I am giving enough thought and consideration to every task I face, whilst not losing sight of accountability through tangible action.

One proud moment
Organising the BPS Community Psychology Festival alongside the University of Hertfordshire in 2018 stands out. We had a passionate team of trainees and colleagues who were all motivated to create a diverse and inclusive festival. We held each other accountable, were thoughtful of the needs of people attending and created an event in line with our values. The festival showcased the breadth and depth of what community psychology has to offer.

One thing psychology should do better
The ability to mentalise and hold empathy for those accessing our services is a cornerstone of our work, and yet when it comes to matters of race, many of us turn away, saying they will never know what it is like to inhabit a black or brown body. Yes, that may be true. But some of us will also never know what it is like to inhabit a body plagued by trauma, yet this does not stop us from bearing witness to the pain. Until we learn to sit with our discomfort and use the skills we gain from our training, we will continue to alienate and perpetuate the discrimination of colleagues, service users and communities of people from racially minoritised backgrounds.

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