Title: On the Perversity of an Imagined Psychological Solution to very real Social Problems of Unemployment (Work-lessness) and Social Exclusion (Worth-lessness): A Group Analytic Critique
Author: Christopher Scanlon
Abstract: This article explores some ethical and professional implications of social policies that aim to achieve social inclusion through Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) for the un(der)employed (the work-less) and the ‘socially excluded’ (the worth-less) in the UK. A major ethical concern at the heart of this critique is that such policies establish a boundary between domains of inclusion and domains of exclusion that perversely maintain the very problem they are designed
to solve. The article explores how we, as a society, are invited to live in a split world and to hold contradictory conceptualizations about un(der)employment, (workless-ness) and social exclusion (worthlessness). On the one hand we seem to know that these problems are a consequence of the vagaries and vicissitudes of national and international economic policies, yet on the other hand are invited to
believe that these problems are a result of individuals’ psychological failures. In these ways dissembling conversations about an ‘imagined’ psychological depression replaces conversations about the very real socio-political and economic ‘depression’ that underlies it—and ‘psychotherapy’ is in danger of becoming the medium through which this dissembling is operationalized.