The Association of Black Psychologists

ABPsi promotes social justice, cultural psychology, racial/ethnic identity and multicultural competencies, and addresses challenges facing the black community

Cheryl N. Grills, PhD
President, Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi)

The Association of Black Psychologists sees its mission and destiny as the liberation of the African mind, empowerment of the African character, and enlivenment and illumination of the African spirit. ABPsi, as the first national ethnic psychological association, led the field of psychology in the area of cultural competence — social justice, cultural psychology, racial/ethnic identity and multicultural competencies. ABPsi publishes a quarterly newsletter Psych Discourse, and the peer-reviewed Journal of Black Psychology. The Association is organized to operate exclusively for charitable and educational purposes, including but not limited to promoting and advancing the profession of African psychology, influencing and affecting social change; and developing programs to assist in solving problems of black communities and other ethnic groups. 

Black psychologists have redefined the approach to the provision of mental health services to people of African ancestry and have developed an authentic African-centered/black psychology that is consistent with and predictable from African and African-American cultural wisdom traditions. ABPsi has created an intellectual discipline with a paradigm and episteme, and a body of theories about behavior that is grounded in those traditions of African peoples. More recently, ABPsi has begun the process of certifying practitioners in African-centered psychology through a licensing, certification and proficiency program.

By working in partnership with our members internationally, The ABPsi is poised to extend its support to service providers and consumers alike in addressing the challenges facing our community-at-large, e.g., developing effective culturally based; group mentoring programs for youth; a framework for a self-help model of community healing; culturally grounded solutions for mental and behavioral issues; advocating against the “War on Drugs”; addressing incarceration and re-entry challenges for African-Americans; and speaking out against the death penalty. ABPsi is also actively collaborating with psychologists of African ancestry throughout the world, and developing policy statements and critical alliances with elected officials, national organizations, government agencies, community-based organizations, academic groups and other interested parties.

Current ABPsi Initiatives

The ABPsi is committed to vision, mission, service and action. In support of our commitment important initiatives, signature programs and critical alliances have been established. A few of these are highlighted below. 

The Pen or Pencil Program

ABPsi plays a central role in the national Pen or Pencil mentoring partnership and demonstration grant with The National CARES Movement and The National Alliance of Faith and Justice. We are in 14 cities across the nation delivering culturally based community and school group mentoring that includes a research evaluation component.

Emotional Emancipation Circles

ABPsi and the Community Healing Network (CHN) are working together to establish a global network of Emotional Emancipation (EE) Circles — self-help groups focused on emotional emancipation, healing and wellness for black people. In partnership with CHN, ABPsi developed the framework and model for implementation of “Emotional Emancipation Circles” (EECs). EECs are designed to help people of African ancestry in the US, and throughout the diaspora, defy the lie of the myth of black inferiority.

War on the “War on Drugs”

The Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW) has launched a national Drug Policy Reform Initiative to end the war on drugs and the derivative policing and criminal justice policies and practices that have disproportionately and adversely impacted black communities. Along with other national black organizations, ABPsi has joined IBW’s national campaign to create a safe, humane and just system to address the issues of drug use and addiction in our society.

Culturally Grounded Mental/Behavioral Health Solutions

ABPsi collaborated with the African-American Health Institute (AAHI) to develop a blueprint for providing culturally grounded solutions for mental and behavioral issues in the African-American population, created by people in our community. The report results were shared from the historic initiative commissioned by the California Department of Mental Health and funded by the Mental Health Services Act, Prop 63.

African Centered Reentry (ACRE) program

ABPsi continues its commitment to the California Institution for Women to test a culturally tailored approach to re-entry to redress recidivism for AA women, and has trained over 500 women in one component of the ACRE model (Choice Theory training).

International Collaborations

ABPsi, as an organization, presented at the Caribbean Psychology Conference did an invited focal session at the International Conference of Psychology held in South Africa on the subject of African Centered Psychology and the Association’s history, mission and trajectory of work. ABPsi also sent a delegation to Cuba to explore African cultural retentions, and continued its relationship with the Psychology Department at the University of Ghana.

The Journal of Black Psychology

The association’s signature journal continues to be a well-respected, highly referenced resource to the scholarly and practitioner community, with current circulation and readership total average of 8,185; a five year 2011 impact factor of 1.47; and an extensive institutional geographic reach, including 16 percent from the US, 21 percent from Africa, 27 percent from Europe, 14 percent from South America, and 13 percent from Asia/Southeast and Southwest Asia.