PCCS Books – 30th Anniversary Conference – Putting The Politics (Back) Into Counselling

PCCS Books – 30th Anniversary Conference – Putting The Politics (Back) Into Counselling

When: Thursday, 11th May 2023, 9:00 am

Where: Online with Onlinevents

Ticket price: Ticket Prices are set at £25 / £37.50 / £50. Please select the ticket price that is affordable.

‘Putting The Politics (Back) Into Counselling’

PCCS Books 30th Anniversary Conference 

Thursday 11 MAY - Online

9am – 5pm

It’s 30 years since PCCS Books published its very first book – a short guide to using counselling skills on the telephone. Since then, we have published more than 200 books on counselling theory and practice, critical psychology and mental health. The aim of this conference is to celebrate those 30 years, and all those books, and to pay tribute to our co-founder Pete Sanders, who died in 2022. Inspired by Pete’s vision, PCCS Books has always argued that the professional is political: that politics has a place in the counselling room and counselling has a role in the battles for social justice. This conference will be an opportunity to discuss and debate the challenges that face counsellors and mental health practitioners today – resisting the medicalisation of talking therapies; tackling social injustice; challenging racism in counselling training and practice, and fostering agency and hope in the face of climate change.

Join us online to debate the key professional and political challenges facing counselling in the 21st century.


De-medicalising mental health
with Joanna Moncrieff, Lucy Johnstone and John Read

Politics, class and social justice in counselling
with Mick Cooper and Katy Woodger

Afternoon – 

Decolonising counselling
with Neelam Zahid, Sarah Henry and Delroy Hall

Holding hope in the face of climate crisis
with Nick Totton and Linda Aspey


Tickets are priced to enable a wide audience.

Ticket prices are set at £25 / £37.50 / £50.

Please select the ticket price that is affordable. The ticket prices includes access to the recording of the conference.

Speaker Biographies 

Dr. Lucy Johnstone is a consultant clinical psychologist, author of 'Users and abusers of psychiatry' (3rd edition Routledge 2021) and ‘A straight-talking guide to psychiatric diagnosis’ (PCCS Books, 2nd edition 2022); co-editor of 'Formulation in psychology and psychotherapy: making sense of people's problems' (Routledge, 2nd edition 2013); and co-author of ‘A straight talking introduction to the Power Threat Meaning Framework’, 2020, PCCS Books) along with a number of other chapters and articles taking a critical perspective on mental health theory and practice. She is the former Programme Director of the Bristol Clinical Psychology Doctorate in the UK and has worked in Adult Mental Health settings for many years, most recently in a service in South Wales. Lucy was lead author, along with Professor Mary Boyle, for the ‘Power Threat Meaning Framework’ (2018), which outlines a conceptual alternative to psychiatric diagnosis and has attracted national and international attention.

Joanna Moncrieff is a Professor of Critical and Social Psychiatry at University College London, and works as a consultant psychiatrist in the NHS in London. She researchers and writes about the over-use and misrepresentation of psychiatric drugs and about the history, politics and philosophy of psychiatry more generally. She is currently leading UK government-funded research on reducing and discontinuing antipsychotic drug treatment (the RADAR study). She is author of numerous papers and her books include A Straight Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Drugs Second edition (PCCS Books, 2020), The Bitterest Pills: The Troubling Story of Antipsychotic Drugs (2013) and The Myth of the Chemical Cure (2009) (Palgrave Macmillan). Website | https://joannamoncrieff.com Twitter | @joannamoncrieff

Dr. John Read worked in the UK and USA for 20 years as a Clinical Psychologist and manager of mental health services. He joined the University of Auckland, New Zealand in 1994, where he became Director of the Clinical Psychology doctoral training programme. He held the same position at the University of Liverpool when he returned to the UK in 2013. He is currently Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of East London and Chair of the Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal. He is the author of over 150 research papers, co-editor (with Jacqui Dillon) of Models of Madness: Psychological, social and biological approaches to psychosis (Routledge, 2013) and founding editor of the research journal Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches.

Mick Cooper is an internationally recognised author, trainer, and consultant in the field of humanistic, existential, and pluralistic therapies. He is a Chartered Psychologist, and Professor of Counselling Psychology at the University of Roehampton. Mick has facilitated workshops and lectures around the world, including New Zealand, Lithuania, and Florida. Mick's latest of many books explores the contribution that counselling and psychotherapy theory and practice can make to wider social progress and justice. Psychology at the Heart of Social Change: Towards a Progressive Vision for Society is published by Bristol University Press, 2023.

Katy Woodger is a psychotherapist and supervisor in practice since 2009. Katy co-chairs the National Association for Trauma Specialists at the University of Nottingham and is also a member of an advisory board chaired by Sir Keir Starmer, which informs professional responses to sexual violence. Katy is about to complete a PhD at the Open University through the Grand Union doctoral training partnership between the Open University, Brunel University London and the University of Oxford. Katy’s research explores service user experiences of mental health organisations. Katy is a contributor in Counselling, Class and Politics: Undeclared Influences in Therapy (2018) and #MeToo Counsellors and psychotherapists speak about sexual violence and abuse (2020) both published by PCCS Books. 

Sarah Henry is a published author, person-centred counsellor and counselling tutor. She is a contributor the book People Not Pathology: Freeing Therapy From The Medical Model, writing a chapter focused on the overmedicalisation of Black people. Sarah has also presented nationally about the impact of race and ethnicity within the counselling and tutoring relationship. Born in England to a Black British mother and Jamaican father, Sarah's formative experience was a notable dynamic of complementary and clashing norms. Elements of this disparity continue into adulthood and inform her work, both implicitly and explicitly.

Neelam Zahid - I’m an Integrative Counsellor, Psychotherapist and Clinical Supervisor accredited by the BACP and have worked as a therapist since 2003. I previously worked within higher education for over a decade and currently have my own private practice. I’m also the Deputy Course Leader for the Foundation year at the Minster Centre and teach on the Introduction to Counselling Skills Course. In addition to this, I’m currently a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Westminster teaching on the B.Sc. Psychology and Counselling and Introduction to Counselling Skills Course. My areas of interest are intersectionality, difference, and diversity and have contributed to the following publications: The Handbook of Transcultural Counselling and Psychotherapy (2001, eds Colin Lago) and Black Identities + White Therapies: Race, Respect + Diversity (2021, eds Colin Lago and Divine Charura). 

Dr. Delroy Hall - Counsellor, Coach and Trainer with over three decades of experience, Delroy Hall is a trained counsellor, wellbeing practitioner, trainer, and independent scholar. Delroy has given lectures and academic papers nationally and internationally. He has extensive keynote speaker experience and has lectured at Harvard University and Boston College Massachusetts, USA. Delroy has coordinated mental health projects and is currently working with Birmingham Community Health Care Trust (BCHC) facilitating the Inclusive Leadership component on their ‘Inspire Leadership Programme. He is also coordinator for a Black Male Suicide Prevention programme under the auspices Sheffield Health and Social Care (SCHC).Since April 2020, Delroy has hosted live wellbeing sessions on Facebook and now it is shown on LinkedIn, Twitter and soon, YouTube. Delroy is the Chaplain for Sheffield United Football Club. As a former four hundred metre hurdler, ranked No 2 in Great Britain in 1979, Delroy keeps fit and is presently training for various aqua bike events in the UK.

Nick Totton has been a body psychotherapist for forty years, and a supervisor and trainer for nearly as long. He has written a number of books, including Embodied Relating: The Ground of Psychotherapy, Wild Therapy: Rewilding Inner and Outer Worlds, and (forthcoming from PCCS Books) Different Bodies: Deconstructing Normality. He is the founding editor of Psychotherapy and Politics International, and a previous chair of Psychotherapists for Social Responsibility and the Psychotherapists and Counsellors Union. Nick has a daughter and two grandchildren. He lives in Sheffield with his partner and grows vegetables.

Linda Aspey is a leadership coach, facilitator, psychotherapeutic counsellor, BACP Fellow, and activist. She works with people and organisations to support them in engaging and acting on climate, environmental and social crises.

Please Note - We at PCCS Books are sorry to say we have had to take the difficult decision to move this day to a purely online event, previously we had planned an in-person and online conference. The costs associated with hiring a venue and covering speakers’ travel mean that it is very expensive to organise such a day. Unfortunately, we have not been able to sell enough tickets, at the non-subsidised price, to get close enough to covering our costs, so we have been forced to rethink the day. 

Thankfully Onlinevents have very kindly stepped in and agreed to facilitate the conference online on the same date as originally planned.

All our speakers have likewise been very accommodating and agreed to adapt their presentations to an online-only conference.