People Not Pathology: Programme Outline

Two-Day Conference in Birmingham 2-3 May 2020

Conference Programme Outline

(in progress)

Book Tickets Here

SATURDAY 9.30am – 5pm

9.30 Arrive, register, coffee

10.00 Introductions: housekeeping & overview of the conference

Speakers: 10.30            10.45

11.00 Small groups to propose and prioritise workshop themes

11.40 Break

12.00 Plenary

  • Feedback from small groups and choose themes
  • Intro to facilitation, note taking and feed back method

12.30 First session in theme workshop groups

1.00 – 2.00  Lunch

Speakers: 2.00     2.15

2.30 Theme workshop groups

  • What are the issues and our experience of them?
  • What action are people already taking to campaign for change and/or create the alternatives?
  • What kind of action for change do we want/need?

3.30 Break

4.00 Plenary

  • Feedback from workshops
  • Identifying possibilities for networking and action
  • Plans for Sunday

5.00 End day and plans for evening



SUNDAY 10am – 3pm


10.00 Parallel Workshops

  • Saturday workshop groups – unfinished business
  • Denis Postle’s new movie “The Climate Tsunami” (50mins) and discussion
  • Parallel workshops on various themes to be confirmed

12.00  Break

12.30 Final Plenary

  • Feedback from parallel workshops
  • Plans for next steps
  • Contact lists

1.30 – 3.00   Lunch together at the venue and goodbyes

Book tickets here

Accommodation suggestions

Overview of Conference

Psychotherapy and counselling in the UK is alive and well. The demand for therapy and the supply of therapists have been growing steadily for decades. At the same time, for the last two decades at least the heart and soul of the profession has been under attack from the neoliberal policies of the state and our own professional bodies. It’s time to take a stand and start to turn the tide. How do we stand together to humanise our profession and play our part in transforming neoliberal narratives about mental health into a vision of society organised around people’s needs? We want the conference to be as participatory and “bottom up” as possible, prioritising small group discussion in workshops.

Conference Day 1: The Problem Medical model of mental health and its treatment via CBT and psychotropic drugs; individual responsibility and the denial of the politico-social model of MH; colonisation by short-term evidence-based therapy; IAPT; professional bodies as state regulators of therapy, gatekeepers of training and employability; SCoPEd; DWP use of psychocompulsion; unpaid work by counsellors, psychotherapists, art therapists & group therapists; underpaid, overworked, deskilled gig economy for psy workers.

Conference Day 2: What are we going to do about it? How do we campaign for the social model of MH; what kinds of collective political action will challenge neoliberal attacks on relational therapy; how do we build alliances with service users and support user-led initiatives; campaigning against unpaid work; boycotting DWP psy work; organising our own bottom-up democratic professional organisations; working as therapists in communities; respecting and facilitating the psycommons; open-ended relational therapy for everyone, not just the well off.