Power, Interest and Psychology: developing David Smail’s ideas

Event Details

Power, Interest and Psychology: developing David Smail’s ideas

Time: November 12, 2015 at 9am to November 13, 2015 at 5pm
Location: Novotel Birmingham Centre
Website or Map: http://www.kc-jones.co.uk/dav…
Event Type: two-day, conference
Organized By: Glenn Williams (posted on behalf of Dave Harper)
Latest Activity: Sep 1, 2015

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Event Description

Posted on behalf of Dave Harper:

This interdisciplinary conference will explore the connections between psychology, sociology, epidemiology and related fields, with a particular emphasis upon mental health. The conference will address questions such as: what does ‘austerity’ have to do with poor mental health? When psychotherapy is offered, just what is occurring, and how does it work? How can practitioners understand and work with the meanings of clinical distress across the age range? And how might psychology contribute to efforts to improve the everyday lives of us all?


High profile speakers from beyond psychology include Professor Richard Wilkinson (author with Kate Pickett of ‘The Spirit Level’); Professor Gary Thomas (author, ‘Education: a very short introduction’); Dr. Mark Fisher (author, ‘Capitalist Realism’); and Dr. Lisa McKenzie (author, ‘Getting By: estates, class and culture in austerity Britain’).


From within psychology, well-known speakers include Professor Dave Pilgrim (author, ‘Understanding Mental Health’); Professor Mary Boyle (author, ‘Schizophrenia: a scientific delusion?’); Dr. Lucy Johnstone (author, ‘Users and Abusers of Psychiatry’) and Dr. Dave Harper (co-author, ‘Psychology, Mental Health and Distress’).


Inspired by the work of David Smail (1938-2014), this conference is much more than a celebration of his achievements. More vitally, it is a demonstration of the continuing relevance both of his ideas and of the traditions upon which they draw.


David Smail’s last book, ‘Power, Interest and Psychology’, was published in 2005. His other books include ‘How To Survive Without Psychotherapy’

(1996), ‘The Origins of Unhappiness’ (1993), ‘Taking Care’ (1987) and ‘Illusion and Reality: the meaning of anxiety’ (1984). David was appointed head of clinical psychology services in Nottingham in 1969, a post he held until his retirement in 1998. He was also Special Professor in Clinical Psychology at the University of Nottingham.


In addition to his influential, books David authored more than 50 journal articles and book chapters. His writings, which were consistently informed by his clinical practice, place distress firmly in its material context and recognise how feelings, thoughts and behaviour are shaped by economic and social circumstances. David proposed that to understand why we are unhappy, rather than insight, we must cultivate ‘outsight’ into the world around us. This perspective - which encourages personal modesty, appreciation of luck, compassion, and recognition of our common humanity – is today more relevant than ever.


Special rates are available for members of the British Psychological Society and the BPS Division of Clinical Psychology. For more details, and to book a place, please go to:



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