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 11 - Annie Mitchell & 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)
Episode 7 - Simon Stuart, Masuma Rahim, Nick Hartley, Aayesha Mulla and Will Curvis
Today we bring you a collective of Clinical Psychologists driven by community psychology values and brought together through this shared passion and desire for change: Dr Will Curvis a Clinical Psychologist who works part time on the DClinPsy at Lancaster University and part time in neuro-rehabilitation (Twitter: @WillCurvis); Dr Nick Hartley a Clinical Psychologist working in Newcastle (Twitter: @NickHartley); Dr Simon Stuart a Clinical Psychologist working in the NHS predominantly with people with experiences of complex trauma. He has also been involved in digital service development (Twitter: @soothron); Dr Masuma Rahim a Clinical Psychologist working in an inpatient neuro-rehabilitation setting. She is also the Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity at the Association of Clinical Psychologists (ACP) in the UK (Twitter: @MasumaRahim); Dr Aayesha Mulla is a Clinical Psychologist working in the NHS in Paediatrics (Twitter: @she_who). They all share their experiences of NHS and Community Psychology work, innovation and their collaborative creations. They tell us the individual stories that brought them to this work, recognising the role that Psychologists play in parity of access to services and people accessing help at the right time.
Connecting originally through Twitter, with a shared experience of not feeling there was a workable space to explore the crossover between social, community and clinical aspects of work, they felt driven to think about alternative ways of working. Recognising this need and beginning to share ideas, they came together with other Psychologists from across the UK and harnessing their energy collectively.. ‘Beyond the Therapy Room’ was born!
Alongside other Psychologists Dr Abdullah Mia and Dr Ste Weatherhead, the group developed the first Beyond the Therapy Conference. The ethos of the first conference was how Clinical Psychologists could work towards society being more inclusive and looking beyond more traditional models of services. They also share their experiences of how the conference grew into the Psychology Fringe Festival which aims to bring Clinical Psychology together with the community, to inspire and explore something new through performances and events with local artists and performers.
The group reflect on what they’ve learnt through Beyond the Therapy Room and the Psychology Fringe Festival, moments that have stayed with them and how the experience has changed them and their practice.
Some useful links to check out:
The BTTR & Psychology Fringe Website: https://www.psychologyfringe.com/beyond-the-therapy-room
Some Beyond the therapy room videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxegpZRlKVIuK9cykfpmwQw/videos
An article talking about The Fringe: https://www.bps.org.uk/blogs/stephen-weatherhead/psychology-fringe
Episode 6 - Carl Walker
A conversation with Carl Walker, a community psychologist who developed the Community Psychology MA at University of Brighton. He is on the BPS Community Psychology Committee, and he is also an active researcher exploring community activism, debt, social inequalities and mental health.
Carl talks about his journey to Community Psychology and his dissatisfaction with how we conceptualise distress by focusing on symptoms, rather than broader social inequalities. Carl discovered a new way of working when Prof Katherine Johnson asked him to develop a community psychology module. Carl speaks about what Community Psychology means to him. Firstly, as a mechanism for psychologists to become political in order to engage in social change. And secondly it means not just paying lip service to the idea that others have different forms of expertise, you need to really live it and believe it.
This approach is evident in all his work and activism. Carl speaks with us about his work to share these ideas further; Carl, Sally Zlotowitz & Anna Zoli have edited a book offering examples and ideas of how to incorporate Community Psychology ideas into practice. He highlights the value of projects that make small steps towards change and encourages other to keep ‘chipping away’.