The word “Aashna” is an Indian word meaning ‘devoted to love.’ Pretish Raja-Helm and Shammi Kohli set up Aashna in recognition of the struggle diverse groups face in finding therapy that meets their needs, with practitioners from diverse backgrounds reaching and supporting their communities. Aashna’s ethos is “embracing difference and diversity in all its forms” by building a community that supports the counselling and psychotherapy field in proactively understanding and recognising the needs of diverse groups and working with intersectionality.
At its heart, Aashna+ is a social justice project offering accessible psychotherapy, that embraces difference and affirms interconnectedness. Aashna+ aims to develop a communal approach to individual therapy, inspired by the ethos of Aashna and the spirit of the home group. Aashna+ offers the possibility of a longer-term, low-cost service for people diverse in race, culture, social background, religion, sexuality, age, gender, disability, care experience and other diversity, who may otherwise struggle to access therapy. Intertwined in this vision is supporting therapists to develop a practice that is sensitive to difference and the implications of existing power structures within the psychotherapy field and beyond.
Sustaining Aashna+ is paramount to ensure we can continue to support our vision to provide culturally sensitive accessible therapy. Initial funding was raised through the home group, and subsequent funding through Let's Get Uncomfortable project donations and the Aashna+ GoFundMe page has helped sustain Aashna+ into a second year. Furthermore, all involved; clients, therapists, supervisors and the Aashna team are participants in a bigger social experiment and contribute to a ‘communal pot’ reflecting the following Tiers:
Clients are invited to contribute between £1 - £40 and therapists and supervisors earn up to £10. Each contributes according to their means and desire to contribute to the Aashna+ vision.
Clients pay from £50+ upwards. Therapists donate up to 50% to Aashna+ with the client's knowledge. Each contributes according to their means and desire to contribute to the Aashna+ vision with the knowledge that 50% of their payment will go to the communal pot to enable those who can’t afford it to have access to long term therapy.
If an Aashna+ therapist is approached in their private practice by a client they would like to work with under Aashna+, they are invited to donate up to 50% upwards to Aashna + service.
Our Mission is to:
Creatively question and queer existing power structures within the field
Invite the power of all participants involved
Develop a sense of belonging to a shared, communal project
Live the vision that individual psychotherapy needs to be held by a community and can no longer be separate from the urgent need for social change
To inquire about accessing the Aashna+ service email email@example.com.
We invite our friends, family and Aashna community to donate Aashna+ via our GoFundMe page to support therapy to be accessible to our communities.