Working with the Unseen – How to reach the people who don’t find therapy

A Conference in London: Saturday, 21st January 2017

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UnseenDeveloping models for working with marginalised people who rarely have access to therapy through the usual channels requires considerable thought, flexibility and cultural sensitivity. This conference is about how as a professional community we can extend our practice to people who may never otherwise encounter a psychotherapist or counsellor, whose needs are rarely noticed and who do not ask for help. How do we offer a service to those who are not within the system, are not aware of what therapy can offer or who have fallen through the net?

The pathways to those people are often hard to find, and require exploration. How, for example, do we work with refugees in detention centres, Gypsy Roma and Irish Traveller women on site, the isolated elderly, survivors of institutional abuse, the homeless? We will explore the routes through community organisations and NGOs, drop-in centres or the homes of those people, considering what kind of therapies are relevant and useful, building trust within communities and developing our ability to make a difference outside the comfort-zone of the consulting room. We will also consider some challenging questions: Is psychotherapy a desired intervention by some of the most marginalised groups within society? Are psychotherapists sufficiently equipped to offer an appropriate service?

Miltos will present how community psychology can form a bridge between psychotherapy and social justice:

10.00   Dr Miltiades Hadjiosif

Community psychology: A bridge for psychotherapy and social justice
Community psychology is a recently re-invigorated branch of applied psychology that challenges psychology’s heretofore claims to political neutrality. Community psychologists work in diverse settings and are sensitised by a social justice agenda that seeks to promote equality and highlight the detrimental effects of structural inequality, oppression and persecution on mental health. In this brief introduction Miltiades Hadjiosif will bring forth examples of Foucauldian deconstruction to illustrate the importance of discourse in maintaining regimes of oppression. We will then consider how the ‘Politics of Affect’ constitute a dangerous terrain that threatens to derail the healing power of psychotherapy. In conclusion, he will draw our attention to two important and uncomfortable questions that might be useful to bear in mind for the remainder of this day. Firstly, is psychotherapy a desired intervention by some of the most marginalised groups within society? And secondly, are psychotherapists sufficiently equipped to attend to global inequalities as they manifest at a local level?


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