Readings on anti-oppressive practice in Mental Health
June 14, 2017 5:25 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for books (though happy to be pointed to articles and websites too) about anti-oppressive, anti-racist, intersectional feminist, trans inclusive (and anything I may have forgotten) practice within mental health settings. Caveats: from the perspective of working within current structures rather than dismantling them, and preferably from a UK perspective (though if something's just plain excellent and fulfils neither of those, please do recommend it).

I've read "Feminist Therapy" by Laura S Brown and thought it was excellent but it has pointed out lots of areas where I know very little - hence why the question is towards the vague and all-inclusive side. I'm happy to be recommended books that are by or aimed at any profession/service user group/carers/general audience, as good insights can come from any direction. I'm also not opposed to the idea that dismantling current structures and starting again would be the most anti-oppressive thing to do, but I feel that doesn't give as much practical help for day to day work within those structures.
posted by Vortisaur to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
CarmenLeah Ascencio, who's a social worker, has a column on Black Girl Dangerous about wellness for queer people of color. The two most relevant columns are Trying Therapy As A Queer Person of Color, Despite All the Reasons Not To and Going To Therapy As A QTPOC, Without Being Harmed, Erased Or Baffled. I also find the American Psychological Association's Guidelines for Psychological Practice With Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People (PDF) to be helpful, especially in terms of citing research (I tend to send that one around when I'm tired of arguing with colleagues about singular "they").
posted by lazuli at 5:50 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]

I'm just now writing up the first stage of my research on how cisgender therapists working with trans clients can do better (as in, pissing about on Metafilter when I need a first draft done by next week). I am based in the UK so am mostly trying to look at working within our existing systems but a lot of research is US-based. Anyway, here are some of the books I'm using:

Feeling queer or queer feelings? Radical approaches to counselling sex, sexualities and genders - edited by Lyndsey Moon
Sexuality and gender for mental health professionals: a practical guide - Christina Richards and Meg Barker
The Palgrave handbook of the psychology of sexuality and gender - edited by Christina Richards and Meg Barker (you'll sense this is quite a small field at this point). This one has a whole section on intersectionality including chapters on disability, race, ethnicity, religion, class, age
Transgender emergence: therapeutic guidelines for working with gender-variant people and their families - Arlene Istar Lev

Lin Fraser is a therapist practicing in San Francisco who at one point headed up the World Professional Association for Transgender Health - this paper on practicing psychodynamically with trans clients is interesting. The WPATH Standards of Care are also cited a lot in the research I'm looking at, though I've not yet sat down and read them - I have seen them critiqued in some papers though so I don't know how anti-oppressive they are, they might just be 'better than the pathologising approach taken by the DSM'.

The British Psychological Society publish guidelines for working therapeutically with sexual and gender minority clients .

While I'm trying to be as intersectional as possible in my approach, I'm obviously focussing on a particular aspect of practice so I've not got much in the way of recommendations on race/ethnicity or other intersecting oppressions, but will be excited to see what others have found useful.
posted by theseldomseenkid at 5:51 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]

Oops, also meant to link Rest for Resistance, a website focusing on QTPoC mental health. A lot of it is about self-care, but there are articles about interacting with the mental-health system, too.
posted by lazuli at 5:53 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]

I don't have a book, but some search terms that might help-- "adverse child experiences" (or ACEs), "trauma-informed care", and "culturally competent care". These are terms that are often used by clinicians in several fields who are taking the issues you list into account and attempting to create treatments and therapies to assist the marginalized. Research on all three topics has been growing in recent years, and discussions about how to implement culturally competent care for different populations are ongoing. The three also intersect, of course.

Not a book, but here’s a link to a SAMHSA packet (PDF) on trauma-informed care that touches on several of the issues you mention.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 6:13 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]

Rhoda Olkin's 1999 book What Psychotherapists Should Know About Disability makes some crucial points on how those of us with disabilities develop coping styles which can be misinterpreted as pathological.
posted by Jesse the K at 6:52 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]

« Older Beans, beans, the musical fruit: the more you eat...   |   Cosmetic Casing for (Now) External Optical Drive Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments