Dr Jeune Guishard-Pine OBE

Dr Jeune Guishland-Pine OBE is that rarest of people a Black female Psychologist, working with children and families in both the statutory and voluntary sectors since 1980 and specifically as a psychologist since 1988, with a cumulative experience base of 30 years of working with children and families in the school setting. She is also the wife of Musician Courtney Pine.

She is co-author of Understanding Looked After Children: An Introduction to Psychology for Foster Care (2007), Jessica Kingsley Publishers and editor of Psychology, Race Equality and Working with Children (2010), Trentham Books. She is also co-editor of Supporting the Mental Health Needs of Children in Care:  Evidence for Practice (in press), Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Guishard-Pine set up Bespoke Psychology in 2012. For those interested in finding out more about her research, in her unpublished PhD Research Beyond Father Absence: An Investigation into Black Fathering and Child Outcomes in Britain – in education (Dedicated to the greatness of five black fathers from across the globe: Muhammad Ali, Ruben Carter, Neville Lawrence, Nelson Mandela and Bob Marley) has some interesting findings in the conclusion highlighting the importance of decoloning history and the positive presentation of people with African heritage:

The model of nigrescence highlights the view of ‘self’ from an Afrocentric perspective which includes the collective view of self; arguably a notion that is allied to the collective identity of oppressed peoples. Consequently the understanding of the psychology of black people i.e. Americanised-Africans and Europeanised-Africans must be African-based. The proper understanding of black self-concept must be based on African associations and incorporate African-based analyses and conceptions in this regard. From this series of Studies, we can clearly see the importance of the African self-concept and its psychological basis for the self-concept of African/Caribbean children.

It is both vital and important that the African/Caribbean communitiesdevelop a means to express their authentic experience in this country, and an accurate workable theory is woven in to the discipline of ‘Black Psychology’. It is very difficult if not important, to understand the lifestyles of black people using traditional theories developed by white psychology to explain (in the main) white people.  Although research conducted by African-American psychologists have suggested that when these traditional theories are applied to the lives of black people many incorrect, weakness-dominated and inferiority-orientated conclusions come about. This was not generally the findings from this very early study of black family life and its impact on children in the British context. In fact, there were very few findings to conclude the inferiority’ of African/Caribbean children and/or their families. 

Jeune Guishard-Pine Merits

  • Winner of Men and Women of Merit Award, 2003
  • NHS Excellence in Teamwork Award 2004
  • Winner British Psychological Society Award for Promoting Equality of Opportunity 2004
  • OBE for services to families 2011
  • Winner Skills for Care and Development/Skills for Health Excellence out of Adversity Award 2011

In 2010 Guishard-Pine spoke to The Psycologist Society in their article, One on one… with Jeune Guishard-Pine, on being a Black female Psychology she says:

One thing that organised psychology could do better

It’s about time we had a network within the BPS that is devoted to ethnicity and culture. I set up the Association of Psychology and Culture (UK) with the aim of establishing a database of all research, published and unpublished, on the social science of UK ethnic minority people. It’s simply too huge a remit for a single person to manage, although my forthcoming book considers how we can inform and enhance the work that applied psychologists are doing with a range of ethnic groups in the UK. Alternatively, having a special feature for every Black History Month (October in the UK) in The Psychologist would be a useful start.

One inspiration

My mother worked full time (I am the last of 13). I only really understood her true value when as a full-time working mother myself, my vacuum cleaner broke down one day and I had to sweep the house from top to bottom.   I realised then just how much my mum had contributed physically, mentally, emotionally and financially so that our family could survive. I felt ashamed about how much I had been taking for granted domestically.

One book

Howitt and Owusu-Bempah’s 1994 book The Racism of Psychology: Time for a Change.

One thing that you would change about psychologists

Psychologists should make an effort to link to more diverse social groups. I think too many of us rarely in our personal lives encounter a similar range of people to those we work with.

One vital aspect of psychology in foster care

To notice how easy it is for all of us ‘helping’ the child to mimic the flaws in the child’s birth family.

One great thing about jazz

My husband, Professor Courtney Pine CBE, is pretty amazing! Oh, and his music’s not too bad either! Seriously, to hear great jazz is to hear outstanding musicianship. Jazz musicians are creating music instantaneously rather than writing and rewriting it over
a period of months.

One alternative career path

I would have liked to stick with music/events management from my early days of managing jazz bands if we didn’t end up having six children! Life on the road is no good for children.

One great thing psychology has achieved

I’m really proud of the role that psychology continues to play
in the debates and practice about how one’s sense of self develops – and recovers – from traumas. The various theories both transcend and elevate the role of race and culture in the development of self.

One challenge you think psychologists face

To truly believe in something. I think the politics of human organisations force too many psychologists to blow like the wind in terms of the values about the work we are doing, especially psychologists who are ambitious in status terms.

One role for black fathers

In promoting the self-pride that will strengthen the child’s defences from the violence of racism.

One hope for ‘black psychology’ in the UK

There is a definite need for a renaissance. I think once many of us associated with the black psychology movement got bogged down with balancing family life and the daily struggle of surviving public institutions, we no longer had the energy or the physical time to keep the momentum going. If we can achieve just one major publication every year, that would be a major boost to the movement.

Online only Questions & Answers

One hero/heroine from psychology past or present
Wade Nobles, from people who I hold on a pedestal. Actually I couldn’t really ask for a better boss than the one I have now – thanks Jenny.

One regret
That I still feel that I am not judged on what I say and do.

One nugget of advice for aspiring psychologists
I think it would have to be to keep your mind open to the unlimited possibilities of human behaviour.

One problem that psychology should deal with
I was listening to Radio 5 on the 40th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act and the announcer said that the prediction is that women will not achieve equal pay to men until about 2067. My arithmetic tells me that it will take nearly 100 years to achieve a level of equality between men and women in what is a very advanced society indeed. I am intrigued to know what research is coming out of organisational and social psychology to explain and/or justify this issue.

One cultural recommendation

As a family we’re all huge fans of film. We’ve got a huge black film catalogue but I’ve got pretty eclectic tastes really… I would recommend either Godfather II or The Towering Inferno from the mainstream; and any Coen Brothers as great Indie stuff.

One moment that changed the course of your career
It has to be doing the tour of the law library wing at the University of Hull and seeing row after row of the Old English Law Reports, which made me switch to psychology.

One hope for the future of psychology
Well, maybe not for psychology as such, but I would love to see a President of the BPS that is from one of the visible racial minority groups in the UK.

One proud moment
Personally: a family photo session to commemorate 20 years together as a couple. Professionally: being criticised for being outspoken about the lack of black trainee psychologists – complacency is not an option.

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