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
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).
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
group seeks to achieve this aim in a number of ways, which include:-
publication of articles in professional journals and in general circulation
newspapers and other media
organization of seminars and conferences
conduct of research and other activities
activites will be directed at exploring some of the implications of
a social materialist approach for the theories and practices that constitute:-
community and applied psychology
issues of social policy.