If psychology is seriously to address the despair and anguish that increasingly afflict us all, it needs to develop 'outsight'. It needs to stop looking inside the head of each troubled individual that seeks its help and turn its gaze outwards. The causes of distress are not to be found in faulty or dysfunctional brains, but in the often toxic family circumstances, community settings, the workplace and the wider social world, with all its inequalities, injustices and environmental breakdown. These are the true influences on our wellbeing, argues the Midlands Psychology Group, a collective of counselling, clinical and academic psychologists who continue to find inspiration and guidance from the thinking of David Smail. In this hard-hitting challenge to their own profession, they outline their proposal for a social-materialist psychology - one that is concerned with the influences of our shared, material world and how it shapes everything we think, feel and do. For too long psychology has served the interests of the exploitative economic systems that dictate the lives of so many people in the industrialised world. Instead, it should be placing the values of compassionate solidarity at the heart of all that it does. This book seeks to inspire that shift and equip the profession to question, challenge and even change what it does
1. We are in a mess
2. A brief history of the present
3. The ‘state’ of psychology
4. Does therapy work?
5. The latest technologies of the self
6. Psychology and the construction of consent
7. A social-materialist psychology
8. Doing psychology differently
9. Within and beyond psychology
Appendix 1: the Draft Manifesto for a Social Materialist Psychology of Distress
Appendix 2: Establishing and maintaining a group
This is a delightfully challenging book about why and how psychology has largely failed to fulfil its obvious potential to help us understand and improve our world.
John Read, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of East London
'We are in a mess’ is the starting point for this incisive analysis. In arguing for 'outsight', not just the traditional focus on 'insight', this book shows where psychology has gone wrong and how it can get back on track. The solutions lie not in our heads, but in our lives. The Midlands Psychology Group have synthesised their collective wisdom into a compelling argument.
Lucy Johnstone, clinical psychologist, trainer, speaker, author of The Straight Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Diagnosis and Users and Abusers of Psychiatry and co-author of The Power Threat Meaning Framework
What is clinical psychology getting wrong, and why? An overdue, much-needed and scholarly critique of current thinking and practice in clinical psychology, pointing to useful and exciting ways forward. Every trainee and clinical psychologist should read this book.
Anne Cooke, Clinical Director, Doctoral Programme in Clinical Psychology, Canterbury Christ Church University