L to R: “The Social” Hosts Marci Ien and Lainey Liu; Brandon Hay, founder of the Black Daddies Club and Therapist-in-Training; Legendary Father Twysted Miyake-Mugler, co-founder of the Toronto Kiki Ball Alliance.
I am a Therapist-in-Training with the Gestalt Institute of Toronto. What led me to join OSRP was that it was the only Canadian association for therapists that mentioned anything about collecting race-based data, and this was important for me as a Black man. I am also the founder of the Black Daddies Club (BDC), a grassroots organization based in Toronto that works with Black men, Black fathers and their families. BDC will be celebrating its 16th anniversary in November 2023.
What led me to therapy over six years ago was my separation and divorce, in which I realized I wanted to support myself to heal and reach my higher self (whatever this means). I found myself bouncing around from therapist to therapist trying to locate the right fit. Initially, I was looking for a Black male therapist. However, this was a harder task than I expected – like finding a needle in a haystack. A statistic shared at a Black Male Therapists conference in Chicago that I attended in February 2023 indicated that less than 1% of therapists identify as Black men. I assume that this percentage is lower in Canada, but I cannot confirm this as we do not keep statistics by race in this country.
As I reflect on my own experience as a Black male training to become a Gestalt therapist in Toronto, I have seen only one Black man who was a student at my school over the past five years. I often wonder if this profession is for me because of the lack of representation of other Black men doing this therapeutic work.
I also realize that there is a lack of spaces for Black and racialized therapists or students (of all genders) to connect and learn from each other. Now is a better time than ever to co-create a community for Black and racialized therapists in Canada.
Black Daddies Club will be doing our 16th anniversary event entitled Finding a Partner after 40: A Conversation with Black Folks, at Evergreen Brick Works on Saturday, November 25, 2023. The event will feature Black folks and Black therapists talking about the realities of Black people finding a partner after the age of 40. The BDC event will also be a quarterly networking series, for Black and racialized therapists to connect with and learn from each other, this networking and knowledge sharing series will begin in March 2024 in Toronto, Canada.
You can find out more about the the Black Daddies Club at our website: https://theblackdaddiesclub.com/ or on our instagram @theblackdaddiesclub
Brandon Hay (MES, Business)
Founder of the Black Daddies Club
Therapist-in-Training at the Gestalt Institute of Toronto