How does therapy fit into the concept of social justice? When we think of social justice and activism, we usually think of petitions and protests. But in a world where social injustice can have adverse effects on mental health, it seems clear that therapy has a role to play in addressing these issues. But how far along are we, really?
Therapy has historically not been a facilitative space for marginalised people, and has also contributed to this oppression. For example, homosexuality was only removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1973 where it had been pathologised, and queer activism played a significant role in mental health narratives evolving, creating space for marginalised identities. The Holmes Commission (APsaA, 2023) has found that systemic racism is enacted in public in psychoanalytic institutions, but those enactments were not publicly processed, leading to the formation of toxic factions instead of generative enclaves within institutional communities. Access to therapy is a very real issue and the onus of offering a sliding scale still falls on the individual practitioner, rather than seeing it as systemic. This tells us that the issues within psychotherapy hold intersectional complexities and the role of therapy in activism is a multilayered issue that needs discussion. How can we explore the symbiotic relationship between mental health and activism?
This event will seek to decipher what exactly this role looks like and what sort of social change can be achieved through therapy and the role of activism in therapeutic evolution. The event will take the form of a discussion between experts in psychotherapy with interests in the relationship between therapy, activism and marginalised identities.
This event features Dr Marisa De Andrade, Dr Mariya Levitanus and doctoral student Rhea Gandhi.
This is a free event, which means we overbook to allow for no-shows and to avoid empty seats. While we generally do not have to turn people away, this does mean we cannot guarantee everyone a place. Admission is on a first come, first served basis. Free tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/intersectionality-therapy-and-change-activism-tickets-721989840047
This event will take place at the MacLaren Stuart Room, University of Edinburgh Law School, Old College. AccessAble link: https://www.accessable.co.uk/venues/old-college-north
Image credit: Corridor. Mental Health Unit. NHS Trust, UK. Hedley Finn, The King's Fund, Wellcome Collection.