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Sunday 11.30am at OccupyLSX: Back to Work – Diagnosing the Emotional State of the Nation


When: 11.30am Sunday 15 January

Where: Tent City University at Occupy London Stock Exchange by St Paul’s

First of four Sunday discussions called PsychoPolitics: Occupy the Madness organised by Occupy London Welfare and Well-Being on the connections between the political and the psychological – with speakers. 

How do we live together, work together, protest together, run Occupy together? How do we live with the emotional distress, anxiety and madness we all share? How do we live creatively with the unconscious and the ‘irrational’? What do the politics of mental health say to us about the organisation of power and inequality in our society? If the personal is political, what does this mean for those of us who want to build Occupy, community and bottom-up democracy?

  1. Back to work: diagnosing the emotional state of the nation

Speakers Andrew Samuels & Hugh Middleton will start the discussion

Andrew Samuels is a Jungian analyst and writer, academic and currently chair of UKCP, the largest umbrella organisation of psychotherapists in UK. He has written (eg The Political Psyche) and campaigned extensively for a political critique of power in psychotherapy and its provision.

He will talk about how NICE guidelines and current government initiatives on improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT) create the passive ‘client’, always already working class.

Hugh Middleton is a member of the Critical Psychiatry Network (www.criticalpsychiatry.co.uk)

They explain their approach in these terms:

“Critical psychiatry is deeply sceptical about the reductionist claims of neuroscience to explain psychosis and other forms of emotional distress. It follows that we are sceptical about the claims of the pharmaceutical industry for the role psychotropic drugs in the ‘treatment’ of psychiatric conditions… We attach greater importance to dealing with social factors, such as unemployment, bad housing, poverty, stigma and social isolation… which we find more appropriate in a multi-cultural society characterised by deep inequalities.”

Hugh works at University of Nottingham School of Sociology and Social Policy, and is an honorary consultant psychiatrist for Notts Healthcare NHS Trust.

He will speak on the way NICE guidelines distort research evidence to construct ‘depression’ as a manageable mental health category, with politically driven treatment strategies.



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