Olukemi Amala


Olukemi Amala is a black woman of Nigerian, Yoruba ancestry born in the 1960s in London, England. Since 1985 (age 22), she worked in the field of mental health both in voluntary and paid positions. As a survivor of child abuse, Olukemi believes her interest in mental health was fuelled by her general inquisitiveness about the mind, coupled with her wish to understand her negative thoughts and feelings.

Initially she worked with the youth street homeless then expanded to both youth and adult homeless services. She trained as a social worker and qualified in 1994 specialising in mental health and substance dependency. In 1996 she began her training as an Integrative Psychotherapist at the Metanoia Institute in London. From 2000, she has been a qualified psychotherapist and a member of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy. Since qualifying she has run successful private practices in both London and North East Scotland. She is currently setting-up her private practice, the Amala Centre, in Manchester.

Olukemi has lived with chronic health problems for much of her adult life and has been registered disabled since 2003. This change: able-bodied to physically disabled, offered her a steep and valuable learning experience about impaired oppression in society, living within physical limits, and the resulting psychological challenges and changes this brings.

Olukemi is also bisexual, having had long-term relationships with both women and men. She socialised in women only, queer, and black queer spaces throughout the late 1980 and 90s. She worked at PACE in London as a counsellor at this time. She has been active in various social justice movements since teenage.

In her 30s Olukemi was introduced to Theravada Buddhism which expanded her understanding of the mind and the journey of developing mindfulness. Mindfulness is explained in numerous ways but at its core can be viewed as full undistorted awareness; of the body, of sensations, mental processes, and the phenomena all around us.

Olukemi has experienced oppression within mental health services in her roles as: patient, client and professional. In exploring the psychological, Olukemi’s three areas of focus are:

Firstly her postgraduate studies and research

Secondly, her private practice, the Amala Centre. This service offers psychotherapy, self-development, training & supervision. The focus of sessions is the development and cultivation of critical self-awareness and mindfulness. Working on various psychological levels can offer a more emotionally cohesive interpersonal interaction and healing encounter.

The third area of focus is Olukemi’s debut novel, Under an Emerald Sky; published by Linen Press (2011). Olukemi says, ‘Under an Emerald Sky, is not a sit down and absorb yourself kind of read; it is on the edge, unsettling and disturbing. It is for brave people who are open to being personally challenged…and enjoy a good story too.’ Reality, perception and truth are areas she explores through the multiple twists and turns of her many varied and vivid characters. She offers workshops and readings to support her clinical, supervision and training work.

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