Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Income Typical?

This is a particularly interesting article from Ode Magazine, focusing on the 'Neuro-typical' brain.

Imagine if we did this with cultural distinctions (“People from Holland suffer from altitude deprivation syndrome”) or racial differences (“Eduardo has a pigmentation disorder because his skin isn’t white”). We’d be regarded as racists and nationalists. Yet, with respect to the human brain, this sort of thinking goes on all the time under the aegis of “objective” science.

There is no standard brain, no standard race, religion or standard culture.  And there is no standard class, either, even though the psychotherapy profession functions as one. Imagine if people were only allowed to train as counsellors and psychotherapists if they were white, middle class Christians . . . wouldn't there be uproar from within the profession itself, and from groups and individuals who use the profession?

I'd say that there's no outrage from outside of the profession because, for people on low incomes therapy is seen as an indulgence or something so far beyond cultural expectations that it doesn't come into awareness. Many of those people who do get free or low cost counselling are so grateful (in a different way from a paying customer-client who is paying for something that they can get anywhere) and feel cowed by the formality and intensity of this completely unusual experience that they conform to a role. (This is what research on the counselling of international students, genetic counselling, disabled clients, and all other client group/ therapist research proposes, which is why good therapists are concerned to be non-directive.)

There's no uproar within the profession because there's so small a group of therapists who've experienced meaningful poverty. One in five people in the UK suffers from enduring poverty - Google 'one in five poverty' for pages of stats: how reflective of society is psychotherapy? It's a circular problem - there are so few therapists who've experienced meaningful poverty that it's just not an issue.

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