Psychology, Poverty, and the End of Social Exclusion: Putting Our Practice to Work

Psychology, Poverty, and the End of Social Exclusion: Putting Our Practice to Work

by Laura Smith

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Overview

Laura Smith argues that if there is any segment of society that should be concerned with the impact of classism and poverty, it is those within the “helping professions”—people who have built their careers around understanding and facilitating human emotional well-being. In this groundbreaking book, Smith charts the ebbs and flows of psychology’s consideration of poor clients, and then points to promising new approaches to serving poor communities that go beyond remediation, sympathy, and charity. Including the author’s own experiences as a psychologist in a poor community, this inspiring book:

  • Shows practitioners and educators how to implement considerations of social class and poverty within mental health theory and practice.
  • Addresses poverty from a true social class perspective, beginning with questions of power and oppression in health settings.
  • Presents a view of poverty that emerges from the words of the poor through their participation in interviews and qualitative research.
  • Offers a message of hope that poor clients and psychologists can reinvent their relationship through working together in ways that are liberating for all parties.

Laura Smith is an assistant professor in the department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University.

“Gripping, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful, [this]is an impassioned charge to mental health professionals to advocate in truly helpful ways for America’s poor and working-class citizens . . . beautifully written and structured in a way that provides solid information with digestible doses of in-your-face depictions of poverty . . . Smith’s appeal to the healing profession is a gift. She envisions a class-inclusive society that shares common resources, opportunities, institutions, and hope. Smith’s book is a beautiful, chilling treatise calling for social change, mapping the road that will ultimately lead to that change. . . . This inspired book . . . is not meant to be purchased, perused, and placed on a shelf. It is meant to be lived. Are you in?”
PsycCRITIQUES magazine

“Smith does not invite you to examine the life of the poor; she forces you to do it. And after you do it, you cannot help but question your practice. Whether you are a psychologist, a social worker, a counselor, a nurse, a psychiatrist, a teacher, or a community organizer, you will gain insights about the lives of the people you work with.”
—From the Foreword by Isaac Prilleltensky, Dean, School of Education, University of Miami, Florida

“This groundbreaking book challenges practitioners and educators to rethink dominant understandings of social class and poverty, and it offers concrete strategies for addressing class-based inequities. Psychology, Poverty, and the End of Social Exclusion should be required reading for anyone interested in economic and social justice.”
Heather Bullock, University of California, Santa Cruz

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807771815
Publisher: Teachers College Press
Publication date: 06/06/2013
Series: Multicultural Foundations of Psychology and Counseling Series
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 340 KB

Table of Contents

Foreword Isaac Prilleltensky ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

1 What is Social Class" 5

Setting the Stage: Social Class and Multicultural/Social Justice Competence 6

The Silence Around Social Class 7

Approaches to Social Class Analysis 14

A Framework for Social Class 18

Social Class Membership: A Dimension of Sociocultural Identity 22

2 Classism 24

A Social Justice Framework 24

Looking at Classism Now 27

Putting It All Together: Seeing Classism Within a Social Justice Framework 31

The Implications of Seeing Classism 41

3 Poverty in Psychological Scholarship 44

Poverty Hurts People 45

Foundations of Economic Injustice in Social and Community Psychology 50

Practitioners and the Poor 56

The Causes of the Causes 63

4 In Their Own Words: Qualitative Expressions of Life in Poverty 65

Life Without the Basics 67

Chaos and Crisis 71

Stigma and Exclusion 73

Values and Hopes 77

Reflecting on These Studies 80

5 Psychotherapy and Training in the Context of Poverty: Barriers and Growing Edges 82

Exploring Classist Attitudinal Barriers to Psychotherapeutic Competence 83

Addressing Classism and Poverty Within Psychotherapy and Supervision 89

The Broader Implications of Socially Just Practice and Supervision 100

6 Beyond Psychotherapy: Transforming Mental Health Practice in the Context of Poverty 101

Another Way to Evaluate Interventions: Psychopolitical Validity 102

Transformed Psychotherapeutic Practice: Relational-Cultural Therapy and Mutuality 105

Co-Created Therapeutic Experiences 108

More Different Still: Community Praxis 114

Can You Imagine" 125

7 Parting Thoughts on Poverty, Help, Service, and Action 127

Poverty Is Social Exclusion 127

"Helping" the Poor 132

What Is Researchable Versus What Is Good 139

Advocacy for Economic Justice Is Advocacy for Psychological Well-Being 143

References 147

Index 167

About the Author 178

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