Discovering Community Psychology is a brand new podcast hoping to make community psychology ideas and practice more accessible. In our first mini series we will be having conversations with numerous psychological professionals, activists and community leaders about their work within and alongside communities, highlighting the variety and impact of this collaborative and transformative approach.
Episode 13 - Jan Bostock
Since qualifying as a Clinical Psychologist over 30 years ago, Jan Bostock, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, has worked with adults in primary and secondary care mental health settings, and has used Community Psychology principles to inform her practice in the NHS. In the episode, we hear about the beginnings of Jan’s work with a Community Psychology remit in Nottingham Psychology Services led by Professor David Smail, and her move to the Northumberland Public Health Service from 2000 to 2010. Since then she has managed and developed psychological services in CNTW NHS Foundation Trust and recently retired as Associate Director for Community Services in Newcastle and Gateshead. She continues to apply Community Psychology ideas, to work with Lived Experience Practitioners and peer supporters, and to promote collective, fair and compassionate leadership in organisations, aiming to take account of people’s social and economic status, and experiences of justice and equity.
In her current work, Jan reflects that the most overwhelming challenge is living in a society of structural inequality and injustice, where privileged economic interests are put before the value of many people’s lives and even their survival. That has been starkly illustrated in COVID, the motives of the government have been to promote opportunities for profit among businesses and people who are already wealthy, and to fail to support public services and the people who work and use those services.
Jan can be found here Twitter: @JaybeBostock and is an active member within Community Psychology networks and Psychologists for Social Change.
Episode 12 - Rachel McKail, Katy Dawe and Shakira Henry
This week we welcome Rachel McKail from MAC-UK and Katy Dawe and Shakira Henry from Art Against Knives (AAK). AAK are a London based organisation that intervene early to help young people to embed creative spaces in London’s most isolated communities, co-designed with young people, that build on their strengths and create opportunity.
Rachel is a Clinical Psychologist, who is MAC-UKs lead for the Trusted Relationships project, which is in partnership with AAK. Rachel reflects that within Clinical Psychology we talk a lot about social inequality, prevention and co-production and wonders if sometimes as a profession we find it hard to say we don’t really know what we are doing with this work. Rachel says that to do community work as Clinical Psychologists, we need to work alongside the incredible people who’ve been doing this work for decades and who are already pushing for change.
Rachel explains that Community Psychology is very important to her, and that the best part of her job is working with AAK, who she says inject so much energy, love and care into the work that they do. Rachel describes that at AAK, co-production is weaved into the fabric of everything they do and that she learns so much from working with them.
Shakira has worked at AAK for five years, she has had various different roles with the charity and is currently a Programme Manager. Shakira describes AAK as a hardworking collective and a phenomenal charity who do what they say on the tin: keeping young people at the forefront of everything that they do. Shakira says that working alongside MAC-UK has enabled spaces for the team to learn, enhance their understanding and develop.
Katy is the founder of the charity AAK, established in 2010 in response to the stabbing of her best friend Oliver Hemsley. Katy described that when listening to young people and their communities to understand what could be done, it became very clear that nobody was asking young people; just making decisions for them. So the charity was built on the value co-production. From the start, young people were put in the lead of the intervention, investing in their ideas and supporting them in driving their own solutions. Katy recently left the charity having run it for 10 years and the charity has welcomed a new CEO Dr Sally Zlotowitz who joined us on the Discovering Community podcast earlier this year.
In this week’s episode Rachel, Katy and Shakira talk about their work together through the Trusted Relationships Programme. A 4-year partnership between AAK, MAC-UK, 0a Local Authority, to reduce the risk of criminal and sexual exploitation. Using AAK’s model of creative spaces to establish trusted relationships with young people, and utilising these to connect then with the systems around them at a pace, and in a space that works for them. Championing systems to do things differently, MAC-UK’s role is to support the embedding of psychologically informed environments, co-production and the MAC-UK INTEGRATE model.
AAK and MAC-UK came together, when AAK decided to take a community-based approach in Barnet recognising the need there. AAK began spending time with young people, hanging out, painting their nails and getting to know a group of young women from one estate. Those young women told AAK that they wanted to open a nail shop and helped shape the values of AAK today.
Art Against Knives: https://www.artagainstknives.com Twitter: @ArtAgainstKnive Instagram: artagainstknives dollisdollsnails nw9nails the_labaak
Creative spaces at AAK on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d08D34qOXK4
Listen in to the ‘One Mic Real Talk’ podcast: https://shows.acast.com/one-mic-real-talk
Find out more about MAC-UK: https://mac-uk.org Twitter: @macukcharity
Episode 11 - Annie Mitchell and Rachel Purtell
Today’s guests are Annie Mitchell & Rachel Purtell. Annie (@annieingarden) is a clinical + community psychologist who when working on the DClin at Exeter used her position to promote service user involvement in research, by engaging people in the shaping of knowledge. Rachel joined the project bringing a radical approach that combined her MA in Disability Studies, looking at the social model of disability, with her experience working in a service user led organisation, which called for accountability from commissioners.
They speak about being radical and creating a culture change by promoting service user involvement in research. They give us 10 awesome tips for working effectively in partnership with others; and encourage us to think critically about power.
‘Help is where you find it’ https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1982-30316-001
A chapter about what can teachers of critical and community psychology learn from their learners: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9781315209319-6/teachers-critical-community-psychology-learn-learners-olivia-fakoussa-gemma-budge-mandeep-singh-kallu-annie-mitchell-rachel-purtell
Knowing How: a guide to getting involved in research, for lay people https://www.invo.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/knowinghow2001.pdf
Overview of involving people in research and why.
Measuring something real and useful in consumer involvement in health and social care research - Purtell - 2011 - International Journal of Consumer Studies - Wiley Online Library
An example of participatory research and democracy https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/casp.2393
Episode 10 - Deanne Bell
Deanne is a senior lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, previously lecturing in community psychology at the University of East London. Deanne poetically describes her journey into community psychology, entering a doctoral programme that combined community, liberaton and ecopsychology. She remembers being blown away reading Frantz Fanon, a black philosopher and psychoanalyst from the global south. This opened her mind to the way that the social world effects people psychologically.
Deanne sees community psychology as a theoretical framework that allows us to bring psychological insight to decolonising the world, breaking the hierarchies produced through racism, classism, heteronormativity, ableism, ageism.
She shares her understanding of participatory action research as a democratic process of knowledge seeking, crucially about transformation. Deanne references the importance of Orlando Fals Borda’s work in the field of PAR.
Deanne talks about her work in Jamaica in 2010 where she collaborated on a platform for people affected by a human rights atrocity to be able to tell their story through a film and an art installation.
Deanne is about to start a project called Transforming Inequalities at Nottingham Trent University where she hopes people will start to name and engage with decoloniality. She reflects on decolonising the curriculum, a movement that emerged in South Africa where students pushed back against classism and the need for decolonisation to be a democratic process.
Deanne explains that liberation psychology is unapologetic about naming oppression as the experience of the majority world. Referencing Ignacio Martin Baro and his emphasis on prioritising the poor, she reflects on a middle class bias in psychology and the need to turn our energy to those who are oppressed.
Deanne talks about collective trauma in the context of the covid-19 pandemic. She reflects on the idea of psychosocial accompaniment and Mary Watkins book on mutual accompaniment for those working in human services. Deanne thinks we’ve actually been living in an anxiety and depression pandemic for some time despite psychotropic and psychotherapeutic attempts to respond to this, highlighting a different approach needed.
Deanne talks about the need to run towards coloniality and reduce pervasive bystanding. Deanne suggests those starting out in their exploration of these ideas “go south” and read the writings of those who first wrote about these ideas such as Paulo Friere, Orlando Fals Border and Maritza Montera. Deanne says the global south is a pivot point for community psychology and we should not start with diluted readings from the global north. She discusses the need to create spaces in organisations such as the NHS for meaningful dialogue remembering trust takes time.
Deanne reflects on some critiques of community psychology in that it has lost contact with psychological worlds and the fact that many people need support to articulate their inner worlds. She closes discussing the idea that we cannot empower each other, that the task is rather reshaping the world to remove the blocks to peoples lives, structurally, systemically and in policies.
Deanne’s PAR project work in Jamaica: https://www.tivolistories.com. See this link for a trailer https://www.tivolistories.com/four-days-in-may.html
Mary Watkins book on psychosocial accompaniment: https://yalebooks.co.uk/display.asp?k=9780300236149
Episode 9 - Abdullah Mia
In this podcast the Discovering Community Psychology group are joined by Abdullah Mia, a Clinical Psychologist working to incorporate community psychology ideas into his work within a medium secure forensic setting. Abdullah speaks about using community psychology ideas within his work in the NHS, viewing the forensic settings he works in as a microcosm, a small community of their own. He recommends reading about first and second order (https://doi.org/10.1177/002188638702300404) change as it mixes with organisational development with what he understands to be community psychology principles.
In this episode Abdullah shares his journey with community psychology ideas and reflects on his experience of applying these approaches in practice and the importance of working alongside others in order to challenge oppressive structures including the way that clinical psychology can reinforce power differentials by holding onto knowledge as if it is ours. He reflects on the need to remain connected to your values and ideas, but not necessarily your methods. Abdullah explains that within clinical psychology there is a need to speak the language of the people we work alongside in order to build connections. Recognising that your way of doing things may not be the best way, or the way which resonates most with the community you are working with, and being open to doing things differently
Abdullah finishes by sharing some of the challenges of community psychology. One of which is the way in which it draws attention to oppressive practices, without considering the pain and suffering which can come with that. Abdullah speaks to the importance of making sure support systems are in place which allow those in positions of power to grieve for the loss of their sense of self, or their previous ways of working when we highlight how their practice may have contributed to violent trauma.
Here are some links and references from Abdullah that we hope will let you explore more of the topics he was discussing:
Stacey, R.(2001) What Can It Mean to say that the individual is social through and through. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0533316401344005
Bartunek, J.M. & Moch, M.K. (1987). First-Order, Second-Order, and Third-Order Change and Organization Development Interventions: A Cognitive Approach. https://doi.org/10.1177/002188638702300404
Neal, J. W. & Christens, B. D. (2014) Linking the Levels: Network and Relational Perspectives for Community Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10464-014-9654-2
Perkins, D.D. (1995) Speaking truth to power: Empowerment ideology as social intervention and policy. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02506991
Social network analysis https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0038038588022001007
Augusto Boal and Forum Theatre I really like as a way in which we can embody and act changes https://organizingforpower.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/games-theater-of-oppressed.pdf
Episode 8 - Ste Weatherhead, Tammy Reynolds, Saeed Olayiwola and Jamie Barton
In this episode we’re joined by a group of friends who have connected across the Liverpool region, speaking about the many projects they have been involved with and coming together to create change. Dr Ste Weatherhead (@SteWeatherhead) is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist working with the Liverpool Clinical Psychology programme and NeuroTriage CIC (@Neurotriage), who provide outreach support to the people in Liverpool affected by homelessness. Tammy Reynolds (@migettebardot), a disabled person, artist and activist, introduces their art and practice, which they create to interrogate themselves and their audience through their various works. Saeed Olayiwola (@SaeedOlayiwola) Holistic Wellbeing Practitioner and founder of SO Health (@S_O_Health) uses his passion of physical health to support people, communities and workplaces in their physical and emotional wellbeing. Jamie Barton, Researcher with Housing First, a homelessness and housing service in Liverpool, is passionate about the use of storytelling and narratives that can help people make sense of themselves and their lives.
Jamie, Tammy, Saeed and Ste shared the stories that brought them to community working, creating events that were about bringing people together. We got to hear about some of the projects they’ve been involved with, including establishing the Psychology Fringe Festival in 2017, an arts-based festival open to all, exploring topics around mental health and wellbeing. This was an opportunity to bring people together and make space for conversations about individual and community wellbeing. Homelessness No Laughing Matter, at Leaf a café bar in Liverpool (@LEAFonBoldSt https://www.thisisleaf.co.uk), was another event that saw the group come together, where people used the platform to tell their stories. The group reflected on this event, Jamie telling his own story, Tammy’s experiences of comparing, and what it took to create a community feeling: working with people you trust, transparency, honesty, thinking about safety for people and the responsibility for after-care. We heard about the importance of thinking about where we meet people, being gentle and a caution not to colonise community spaces.
We heard about the need to take care of ourselves and each other in doing this work through compassion, listening to and learning from younger people and what can get in the way of wellbeing in an economy-driven world. Jamie describes Rat Park and how this links to addiction research (link - https://www.brucekalexander.com/articles-speeches/rat-park/282-rat-park-versus-the-new-york-times-2 YouTube video -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLx4efEXGYg) and his learning of where connection to land, culture, community and spirituality is dislocated, we see addiction rise (https://www.brucekalexander.com/articles-speeches/283-addiction,-environmental-crisis,-and-global-capitalism), as well suicide rates being lower in first nation communities where elders still told stories and spoke of the histories of their communities (https://reviewboard.ca/upload/project_document/Chandler_and_Lalonde_1998_Paper__1265041839.PDF)