The Midlands PsychologyGroup
for a social materialist psychology

The group first met in 2003 in response to a feeling among its founding members that the workplace no longer offered opportunities to think honestly about theory and practice in psychology, whether academic or clinical/counselling.

There seemed to be no time to get together with others to discuss and reflect upon what we were doing, and trying to do, in our work, and the dominance of business practices in the management of both the NHS and the universities meant that when people did get together, it was to compete rather than co-operate. In these circumstances, discussion seemed to be limited either to issues to do with professional survival or to grandstanding and point-scoring in order to develop or maintain a grip on one’s corner of the market.

Those of us who have persevered with the group (and indeed most of those who, for one reason or another, dropped out) shared at the outset a discomfort with the individualism of, in particular, orthodox clinical and counselling psychology, as well as with what seems to us a misplaced professional certainty about much of what we do.

What we wanted, then, was to find space and time outside the work context where we could discuss, debate, consider and share information in a constructive and mutually supportive atmosphere. Inevitably this meant meeting in the evening and, for some, travelling quite long distances (in practice, taking it in turns to shuttle between the East and the West Midlands).

The aim of the group is to promote a psychology that seeks to clarify the relationship between experience and the structures and workings of the wider social and material environment

The group seeks to achieve this aim in a number of ways, which include:-

  • The publication of articles in professional journals and in general circulation newspapers and other media
  • The organization of seminars and conferences
  • The conduct of research and other activities

These activites will be directed at exploring some of the implications of a social materialist approach for the theories and practices that constitute:-

  • mainstream academic psychology
  • clinical, community and applied psychology
  • wider issues of social policy.
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