Call us: 1587 400 7300
e-mail: info@albertablacktherapistnetwork.com

About

The Alberta Black Therapists Network (ABTN) is made up by a group of Black licensed and regulated professionals from various interdisciplinary backgrounds working in the field of mental health and addictions.  The network was formed out of need- in response to the health inequalities,in particular in mental health experienced by black Canadians, the ABTN  understands that it will take anti black racism,anti- oppressive and systematic changes to improve the mental wellbeing for Black Canadians. We believe in the psychological well being of our community, and the society as a whole. Through networking, continued training, and use of evidence-based approaches, and understanding racialized  trauma, anti- racist  and culturally empowered  lens, we strive to ensure the highest quality of therapeutic  services are provided to our communities. We aim to increase emotional wellness and the application of self care skills such as self-awareness, self-confidence, positive thinking, goal setting, responsible decision making, and healthy relationships. At the core, we  normalize lived experiences,engage in psycho-education to reduce barriers to psychological health and decrease stigma against seeking additional support when needed.

The therapists on the network are professionals who have completed at least a Master’s-level Counselling program, and they are regulated by regulatory bodies such as the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA),the College of Alberta Psychologists (CAP), Alberta College of Social Workers ( ACSW),Canadian Professional Counsellors Association (CPCA) and Professional Association of Christian Counsellors and Psychotherapists (PACCP).

It is not surprising that our story began with a single meeting and a conversation over food. We met for the very first time to celebrate Black history month in February of 2020 and since then, it has grown to be more than just a meeting.

 An adage that best describes why and how we came about is “ when you come up with an idea, it’s because there is already a need for it.” This stands true to the origin of  ABTN. The health inequalities experienced by Black Canadians have long been researched  extensively and these include black Canadians being twice as likely to be mis-diagnosed,and have two times the delay in accessing psychological support.  In addition to the inequalities of Mental Health, clinicians often expressed that they feel as though they were the “only” black therapist within their organizations, hence missing their tribe; a space where they can  connect and  work with other black professionals.

The clinicians who seldom serve black clients echoed that their clients either intentionally sought them or they expressed a sigh of relief when they finally met them due to being misunderstood in the past by clinicians who could not understand their experiences especially when those experiences involved racism and/or racial trauma.

As founders of ATBN, we are all resilient immigrants who came from countries that did not treat mental health as a societal problem, but an individual shameful one that was at the back burner of their agenda. Therefore, it is crucial that participants of our services see practitioners who look like them, those whom they can trust to understand and connect with them.

Cognizant of these challenges to mental health, the ABTN was formed. The organization began as a network of Therapists from various interdisciplinary backgrounds working in both mental health and addictions.

ABTN understands that it will take and understanding of radicalized  trauma  and an anti black racism, anti-oppressive and systematic changes to improve the mental wellbeing for Black Canadians. At ABTN we understand that the stigma around mental health conditions is still pervasive in our society. For many Black communities, discussing mental health can be a difficult subject.

We are also aware that black Canadians have been, and continue to be, negatively affected by prejudice and discrimination in the health care system. Conscious or unconscious bias from providers and lack of cultural awareness can result in misdiagnosis, inadequate treatment and mistrust of mental health professionals. These disparities can create a distrust in mental health professionals, which can prevent many from seeking or continuing treatment.

Our Mission

To have a healing centered approach for counselling services for the black community with an anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and decolonizing lens that focuses on resilience and considers individual wellness needs within the context of their religious and cultural beliefs.

Our Vision

To Empower the Black Community through increased access to mental health and addiction services. We believe that as the community heals, we also heal and as the community thrives, we also thrive.

Our Commitment

To reduce inequalities of access and barriers to mental health and addictions services and create a framework for black communities to be empowered to engage in available services for the continuous improvement and betterment of their health, wellbeing and overall experience.
Everyone regards to be treated with dignity and respect.Every person requires equal opportunities to accessing health.

Services Offered

  • Therapeutic services: Individual, Couples, Family

  • Psycho-educational presentations

  • In- School presentations

  • Organizational consultation services

  • Individual consultation services

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Board Members

Dr Miriam Sekandi

Dr Miriam Sekandi

Chair

Dr Miriam Sekandi is the CEO of the Break Free Zone Brand. She is a trauma-informed educator, workshop facilitator and healing coach. She supports individuals, families and / or professional groups with addressing ancestral, generational and childhood trauma. Miriam moved from Uganda to Canada in 2006 to pursue graduate Studies at the University of Alberta where she graduated with an MA in Human Ecology (2008) and a PhD in Secondary Education (2018). She is a professional development junkie and lifelong learner. Miriam currently holds the position of President with the ABTN Board.

Sitandekile Ndlovu

Sitandekile Ndlovu

Vice-Chair

Sitandekile is a Registered Social Worker with (ACSW) with over 15 years in the non-profit sector working with women and children facing family violence. Prior to migrating to Canada from Zimbabwe in 2001 she worked for the Ministry of Home Affairs and various organizations where she developed a passion to work with families in need. She had a keen interest in working with immigrant women who have experienced abuse as well as cultural based family violence. Sitandekile employs a trauma informed, client centered and culturally sensitive practice to her work. Furthermore, she is a strong advocate for a coordinated and collaborative response to domestic violence, human trafficking and child protection. She holds the position of Vice-President on the ABTN Board.

Teresa Ohawa

Teresa Ohawa

Secretary

Teresa Ohawa is the owner and operator of Arion Aire, the first female, black owned HVAC company operating in Edmonton, Alberta. Teresa moved to Canada from Kenya to pursue her education in Business. Before devoting her work fulltime to Arion Aire, Teresa worked as a Jr Accountant. In addition, she volunteers with Women Building Futures(WBF) and Girls Exploring Trades & Technology as a speaker and mentor. She is the Secretary on the ABTN Board.

Admire Dube

Admire Dube

Treasurer

Admire Dube is an insurance broker in the city of Calgary. He was born in Zimbabwe and attained his Economics degree at Concordia University in Montreal. Admire has a passion to foster economic and financial independence in the black community. He works tirelessly with his clients to ensure they gain financial literacy they need to have a healthy relationship with money. He holds the position of Treasure with the ABTN Board.

Chakanaka Zinyemba

Chakanaka Zinyemba

Member at Large