People Not Pathology: Humanising Counselling and Psychotherapy – Two Day Conference in Birmingham

People Not Pathology: 

Humanising Counselling and Psychotherapy

A Two Day Conference  May 2nd &3rd 2020  in Birmingham

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Organised by Psychotherapy and Counselling for Social Responsibility and the Free Psychotherapy Network


Psychotherapy and counselling in the UK is alive and well. The demand for therapy and the supply of therapists have been growing steadily for decades.  At the same time, for the last two decades at least the heart and soul of the profession has been under attack from the neoliberal policies of the state and our own professional bodies.

It’s time to take a stand and start to turn the tide. How do we stand together to humanise our profession and play our part in transforming neoliberal narratives about mental health into a vision of society organised around people’s needs?

We want the conference to be as participatory and “bottom up” as possible, prioritising small group discussion in workshops. Some themes:

Conference Day 1: The Problem

Medical model of mental health and its treatment via CBT and psychotropic drugs; individual responsibility and the denial of the politico-social model of MH; colonisation by short-term evidence-based therapy; IAPT; professional bodies as state regulators of therapy, gatekeepers of training and employability; SCoPEd; DWP use of psycho-compulsion; unpaid work by counsellors, psychotherapists, art therapists & group therapists; underpaid, overworked, deskilled gig economy for psy workers.

Conference Day 2: What are we going to do about it?

How do we campaign for the social model of MH; what kinds of collective political action will challenge neoliberal attacks on relational therapy; how do we build alliances with service users and support user-led initiatives; campaigning against unpaid work; boycotting DWP psy work; organising our own bottom-up democratic professional organisations and trainings; working as therapists in communities; respecting and facilitating the psycommons; open-ended relational therapy for everyone, not just the well off.