Manchester conference workshops – 21/5/16

Several people have offered themes for the conference. Here they are. I have said to everyone that we will be discussing the format of the conference on 9th April and we will get back to them after that:



We’re clinical psychologists working in the NHS – we were involved in organising the Beyond the Therapy Room conference last year, which looked at ways in which psychology could influence wellbeing & social equality on a broader level, beyond 1-1 therapy (also in the process of planning another event later this year).

Just seen your ad for the event in May and have signed up – however we thought we’d just email to see if you’d be interested in having us facilitate a workshop, as there’s a lot of crossover between the aims of your day and what we are passionate about from a BtTR perspective.

One idea we had was related to our clinical roles; we both do a lot of consultation/ indirect work as psychologists in healthcare settings. We wondered if a workshop around improving broader psychological wellbeing outside of 1-1 therapy through work with doctors, nurses, physios, social workers etc might be relevant?

Open to any other suggestions, we’re keen to be involved and will be present as an attendee either way!

Best wishes,
Will & Masuma


Dear Paul,

I have attended the MHRN & allies event last saturday and loved the workshops and break times for connecting with all sorts of people. It was very powerful thanks to the lack of the distancing conference formats.

Saw you are planning a collaborative event in Manchester on May 21. Mind the gap, free psychotherapy in an unjust world. ”We have a social and political perspective on therapy.” reads really exciting (I only know the SMAIL works, the Midlands group manifesto, and there is a wonderful book by Laura Smith: Psychology, Poverty and the End of Social Exclusion. 2010).

I am really interested – kind of parallel to feminist/black feminists (love bell hook) workings – to work on the impact of hiearchical structures of power over IN & AROUND relationships/roles and how the power over affects diverse forms of ‘weak/confused/oppressed’ social selves… and can we develop approaches that expose the normal socio-political power over/silencing (all kind of harms affecting the subordinate) as both real world AND psychological issues (as the psyche is social, intellectual, emotional, moral, dynamic) ?

I would be very interested to integrate the work of Paolo Freire – using group dialogue as well as social (justice) perspectives in (critically) reading people’s worlds – to together investigate how we come to know/belief – and use this to ask – as bell hooks has done – how values and beliefs come to hurt marginalised groups… stuff like this. I’d love to use Icarus Mad Maps: Madness & Oppression: Paths to Personal Transformation and Collective Liberation

Something that can be done in small groups of service users/survivors and family and radical psychotherapists collectively and that combines the exploration and investigation of real pressures of power/dispossession (symbolic and material) with ‘therapeutic learning’. Ehm, I am a bit ignorant what that means ‘therapeutic’… when it no longer means using kinda psychoanalytical models of development and internalisation that I disagree with as being pretty artificial contructs (and i guess CBT manipulation was not even on the table).

Even though there is no specific focus on the social AND POLITICAL, have you heard about the German trialogue? Here is a website with two short video recordings that illustrate the principles of this approach.

There is a lot of transformation of power positions (haha, psychiatrists are near never attending, but psych nurses, followed by few clinical psychologists or social workers) in the Trialogue, as generally service users are the majority, many family members attend, and, important, trialogues are held in NON CLINICAL spaces.

PS Have you contacted Liam MacGabhann? He is so kind and creative, awesome work with service users!

Last but not least: I am on benefits and thus a travel bursary would REALLY help. I just checked and am very sad that cheapest travels seem 82.40 GBP (outbound & return). That is far too much. I can’t check megabus as available earliest 45 days before, so it may be wait and see. Do you think there can be (partial) reimbursement?
With kind wishes,

Ute (Recovery in the Bin et al 😉 )
Ute Maria Kraemer, service user researcher in the making

The Mental Health Trialogue Network Ireland (MHTNI) is an exciting community development initiative in Irish mental health. The aim of this Network is to empower …

Here is fully visible video recording of Trialogue Origins WITH english subs


Hi Paul,

I’ve just confirmed my attendance at our first FPN conference in Manchester, this May, via the registration link, and would be more than happy to run a workshop around the concept of emotional fitness & resilience, if that fits in with the overall theme……maybe even throw in some guided meditation for good measure?!?

Please let me know what you think and I’ll confirm my ideas with Ian and Fiona at next month’s FPN meeting, many thanks!

Best regards,



Hello All,

I hope you’re well.
I am thinking about doing something for the Free Psychotherapy Network conference in Manchest in May.
I have ideas about passivity and engaging compassion.
I did my PhD in Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck with Stephen Frosh on adoption reunion and I’m turning it into a book for Routledge now. My MA was in Counselling and Psychotherapy at University of East London.
Could you please let me know if you need any help with running a workshop or presenting at this conference and if there’s anything I can do?
Apologies if I’m sending this to the wrong people.
Thanks and all best wishes,
Liz Hughes

Hi Paul,Just to say I’ve started writing this paper in case it can be used some time…. Either at conference or for something else.

Thansk and all best wishes,





To imagine psychotherapy is to think about the practice of looking inwards and, according to dictionary definitions, treating mental or emotional problems by psychological means.  Psychotherapy then places the individual at the centre of his or her social world.  If we think about the most common forms of psychotherapy in Western culture today, we find Cognitive Behavioural Therapy designed to modify and solve problems in thinking and behaviour; the Person Centred approach created to facilitate the individual in his or her search for self-actualisation, Existential therapy focusing on personal conflicts with existence and Psychoanalytic approaches, more commonly known as Psychodynamic, a model of depth psychology, performed to interrogate the individual’s unconscious desires, wishes, memories, dreams and so on.  Our cultural preoccupation with the self is heightened under competitive conditions of neoliberalism and privatisation.  But the growing marketization of the individual often seems to go unnoticed within the field psychology, in which notions of the self-organising and self-governing subject are continually reproduced. Suffering is medicalised as our expectations of productive consumer ‘dispersed citizens’ (Couldry 2004) in the global digital age go largely unchallenged.  In this paper I want to draw attention to the political dimensions which shape subjectivities and ask how ideas about psychotherapeutic practises and mental health care can be reimagined through lenses of power and coercion under late capitalism.

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