Fully Human: Soul, Psyche, Skin

Fully Human: Soul, Psyche, Skin

Exploring Race in Psychology

Exploring Race in Psychology

The Tavistock Institute is partnering with the British Psychological Society (BPS) to co-sponsor a 2-day online Group Relations event in December for the psychology professions.

This is the first of its kind initiative, and as a testimony to the commitment of the BPS, Roman Raczka, Chair of the BPS Division of Clinical Psychology said:

In recognition of the importance of the “Fully Human: Soul Psyche Skin” Group Relations workshop to explore experiences of ‘Race’ in psychology, the Division of Clinical Psychology have offered a significant financial subsidy to reduce the attendance costs to a very affordable rate to ensure as many people as possible will be able to attend and explore these issues.”

Anatomy, which treats the Body, and Psychology, which treats of the Soul” was attributed to Steven Blankaart in 1694. How many psychologists today would say that they are treating the Soul?

More interestingly in our increasingly digital world, what does it mean to be fully human? This is a question that can trigger us to be deeply curious about the world we live in, why we are here and what we ought to be doing in it. These are questions of the mind, body and spirit – and yet we seem to live in a world that constantly asks us to break ourselves into pieces in order to function in it. And whilst the economic paradigm seems to be shifting, simultaneously, we seem to be under pressure to give even more of our fractured selves to the workplace, to family and to a host of other social roles.

This social demand and mental compartmentalisation are stressful – and people are feeling it and seeking help in unprecedented ways and numbers. Covid-19 and the resulting social isolation of lockdowns, redundancies and deaths have further compounded this stress. In the face of the mounting stress and the collective surfacing of the historic and enduring trauma racial disparities affecting those beings living in black and white bodies, can we collectively inquire, what does it mean to be fully human?

A particularly intriguing phenomenon that occurred during the Covid-19 context, is the issue of race and social systems. None of this is or was new, but somehow it captured a wave of response and the whole world seemed to be stating that “Black Lives Matter” in a chorus and unison that had not been seen since the Civil Rights movements of the 1960’s America. Somehow it became global, from Moscow to Bolivia, London and New York, people took to the streets to declare that systemic and structural racism should stop. So this triggers the question, how do black and white and all the shades in between find and share what it means to be fully human?

Group Relations Conferences offer a way of working together to understand the forces that affect complex social issues and their impact on authority relations. There are no lecturers or keynote speakers. Everyone comes with who they are, willing to have conversations and experiences together in a temporary organisation, in order to learn from experience about the subject.

Our primary task in this BPS working conference asks a broader question that we believe is relevant and pertinent to every psychologist in the UK and all their clients and employers, indeed to the BPS itself: What does it mean to be fully human? And how do we locate issues of race alongside the ideas of Psyche and Soul?

The working conference is an open call to all clinical psychologists, university faculty members, students at all stages of their courses and psychologists of all hues and varieties and divisions: sport, organisational, coaching, health, forensic, experimental etc. The invitation is to come and study together, sharing our feelings and thoughts as we collaboratively learn from our own experiences.

Perhaps we can add to the conversation about what it means to be fully human?

This 2-day online event takes place online from Thursday – Friday, 2 – 3 December 2021, from 9.00 – 17.00 (UCT & GMT). Please pass the information on around your networks.

The cost is:

  • Members – Pre-qualified: £30
  • DCP Members: £40
  • BPS Members: £65
  • Non-BPS Members: £80

For more information and to register and if you have any questions: enquiries@bps.org.uk

Leslie Brissett
Conference Director and Group Relations Programme Director
The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations in London

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