Shammi Kohli and Pretish Raja-Helm met during their psychotherapy training at the minster centre in 2012. Through our training and now with our own private practices, as second generation British Asians with rich intersectional identities, we are very much aware the need to nurture and facilitate inclusion within the therapeutic field. Culture, faith, colour, social background, sexuality, gender, disability and neurodiversity (to name a few) all have a real impact on individuals’ lived experience and we believe that these should be recognised in the therapeutic alliance.
We set up Aashna because we recognise the struggle diverse groups face in finding therapy that meets their needs, as well as the challenge practitioners from diverse backgrounds, face in trying to reach and support their communities. Aashna is a unique therapeutic space, offering individuals from all backgrounds the opportunity to come together to nurture our voices and support each other to facilitate change.
Aashna Co-Founders – Pretish & Shammi
Our ethos is to honour diversity, difference and community in all its forms and our mission will be to inspire diverse groups to access therapy in support of wellbeing.
Our aims at Aashna are:
To make therapy more accessible for individuals from diverse backgrounds who struggle to find therapy.
To inspire diverse groups to access therapy and support their psychological health.
To bring together practitioners of all backgrounds and orientations to support each other in our work.
To build a community that supports the counselling and psychotherapy field by proactively working with diverse groups
Aashna’s creative team is an emergent collaboration of Aashna’s founders Pretish and Shammi with psychotherapist, clinical supervisor and educator Shoshi Asheri and Aashna therapist Jamie Crabb. The seeds were planted in 2018 in the formation of Aashna’s home group. Together with an intimate group of psychotherapists, we attempted to embody our talk and question the notion that:
“In the space between our distinct difference, and our shared humanity, there is a relational field that is both treacherous and charged with healing opportunities. If we learn to inhabit this field, we may create a home for our differences and a sense of belonging to our otherness (Shoshi Asheri).”
Sitting with the discomfort of our differences, we made our less told stories more visible, and in the spirit of ‘deep democracy’ paid attention to our unconscious communication and invited each other to give voice to the unspeakable and the politically incorrect. We grappled with the power inequality between us and looked for guidance from the emergent relational field that we co-created. We experimented with and experienced, individually and collectively, love as both a challenge and a force of change.
Understanding the implication of this experiment on our therapeutic work in the consulting room and in the community led to the formation of the creative team. This is where we continue to hold, question and apply the spirit and ethos of Aashna into action.
Let’s Get Uncomfortable encounters and resources
South Asian Therapists Gatherings
Supporting South Asian Gallery in Manchester
The Aashna Village Community Gatherings
Developing sensitivity to intersectionality in the therapeutic field consultancy
Intergenerational LGBTQ+ Gathering
Care Experience Gathering
Aashna Village support of local community projects
Aashna Monthly Newsletter
Your journey is
important to us
Working as a therapist is unique to the individual. We hope to encourage that individuality in all our therapists. We are interested in each of our therapist's ideas and professional interests and will endeavor to both facilitate and support your work.
Warm, friendly and welcoming; we hope that this is the essence that Aashna will offer you.
Our aim is to create a community where we can support each other as practitioners. A community of like-minded therapists who seek to bring these fundamental issues of culture and diversity into the forefront of their practice – practitioners who embrace difference and diversity in all its forms.
At our regular Aashna Village gatherings, we share food and a relational deep-dive exploration of a theme of intersectionality in our lives and work. A beautiful co-created ritual and journey of mutual community development.
We aim to actively encourage and facilitate each other’s growth by hosting the Aashna village gatherings, provide complementary and/or affordable CPD, workshops and seminars that educate, develop and challenge our thinking and our work.
If you as a practitioner have a particular interest, specialty, or passion about certain issues and would like to lead or facilitate your own workshops or seminars we will hope to support you through the practice.
We believe in the collaborative process and a communal atmosphere and value your ideas and input.
To learn more about joining the Aashna community explore our Rooms, Residents and Members offers.