We aim to use psychological knowledge, galvanise psychologists and support others to campaign for a more equitable and psychologically healthier society
In our first blog post, we outlined our vision for a more equitable and psychologically healthier society. Here, we are going to talk about how PSC has been working towards this.
First of all, who are we? Psychologists for Social Change, PSC for ease, is a network of applied psychologists, researchers, citizens, academics, therapists and students, and anyone else who is interested in applying psychology to policy and campaigning for progressive social change.
The group formed in London in 2014, originally as ‘Psychologists Against Austerity’, after a meeting of like-minded community psychologists. We now have groups across the UK - in Northern Ireland, Wales, and northern England. In 2017, we changed the name to Psychologists for Social Change, so it could become the umbrella group from which we could run different campaigns, with Psychologists Against Austerity being the first. Psychologists Against Austerity is still a campaign in its own right and people use both names depending on what fits best. Although PSC initially came out of a meeting of community psychologists, not all of its members define themselves as community psychologists. However, the values of PSC very much align with community psychology – namely social justice, stewardship, and community.
You can read more about the development of the group from an article that some of us wrote for Critical and Radical Social Work: An International Journal which is available here
So, what do we do?
We draw on two resources – knowledge and people – to bring psychologically-informed discussions into the mainstream. The knowledge part involves illuminating the wealth of evidence and research from all areas of psychology, sociology, and other social sciences that can be used to inform what a more equitable and psychologically healthier society might look like. We use this knowledge to inform campaigns that aim to influence social, economic, and other political policy as well as public debate.
In terms of people, we think it is the duty of psychologists to use their skills, privilege, and resources to this end. To encourage this, we have developed training for Clinical Psychology trainees and provided supervision for policy placements.
Using both these resources, we support progressive social change. Over the last four years, this has included:
Anyone can get involved
Anyone can join their local PSC group – you can learn about them online and find out about the next meeting. If you can’t attend the meeting, join the mailing list (scroll down to the bottom of the homepage) and you will receive emails about upcoming events, marches, and writing opportunities. There is also information on the website about how to set up your own group, should you not have one nearby.
We are often invited to contribute to book chapters or respond to journalists’ requests; these can all be done from a computer at home. Please join the mailing list and respond to requests as they come in. If you are on social media, follow our Facebook or Twitter groups for actions as they emerge. This might be writing a letter, signing a petition or encouraging you to have a conversation with a work colleague about a relevant issue over the next week.