Paul Atkinson speaking at “Psychologists and the Benefits System: Time to get off the Fence” Friday, Oct 7th in Manchester
Yes actually, we are all in the DWP’s chain gang together. And we need to break out together.
Since June 2015, an alliance of mental health activists, campaigners opposed to workfare and psy practitioners have been campaigning side by side to protest against the psycho-compulsion of the DWP’s work cure policies. Of course, it’s benefit claimants who are suffering the brunt of it. But we psychs are not only implicated in our profession’s collusion with work cure, state therapy and neoliberal trajectories more generally, our own working environments are corralling us into unethical and alienating regimes of therapeutic practice which erode psychological meaning in favour of utilitarian ideological agendas.
From the perspective of an independent psychotherapist, and against the background of successful recuperation of psychology and psychotherapy for post-welfare-state politics, I want to talk about my experience of being involved in ‘work cure’ campaigning and offer the conference some suggestions on how psychs could be working with mental health activists and campaigners to create radical and radicalising networks of alternative mutual support – as well as protesting against the inhumanity and violence of a fatally-wounded neoliberal consensus.
Two videos on the psycho-compulsion campaign: