Social Power and Psychological Distress
A social materialist approach to clinical psychology
 
Introduction

Hardly any of the 'symptoms' of psychological distress may correctly be seen as medical matters. The so-called psychiatric 'disorders' are nothing to do with faulty biology, nor indeed are they the outcome of individual moral weakness or other personal failing. They are the creation of the social world in which we live, and that world is structured by power.
    Social power may be defined as the means of obtaining security or advantage, and it will be exercised within any given society in a variety of forms: coercive (force), economic (money power) and ideological (the control of meaning). Power is the dynamic which keeps the social world in motion. It may be used for good or for ill.
    One cannot hope to understand the phenomena of psychological distress, nor begin to think what can be done about them, without an analysis of how power is distributed and exercised within society. Such an understanding is the focus of this web-site.
    There are three principal strands to the site: literature and links in a) psychology and psychiatry and b) more general socio-economic analysis (click below) and reference to my own work (click links on left).



 
Psychology and Psychiatry         Anatomy of Power

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Books

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Unpublished talks

An environmental
approach to distress


Power, Responsibility
and Freedom

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For a formal statement of the principles of a social materialist psychology of distress, see the draft manifesto of the Midlands Psychology Group