The European Journal of Psychotherapy and Counselling has just published an article by James Sedgwick that raises concerns about the therapy professions’ uncritical acceptance of diversity initiatives. The publication of this paper is a hopeful sign that cracks are appearing in the academic edifice that has shielded activist scholars from any scrutiny and challenge. This is an open access article and can be accessed here. The paper’s abstract is below.
‘There is fundamental confusion and notable omissions within counselling and psychotherapy’s adoption of diversity principles. This prevents the profession from achieving its aims of more respectful and efficacious clinical practice with certain populations. The article argues that uncritical over-reliance on ideas from outside the profession has resulted in a failure to appraise which groups might require specific attention. Unacknowledged confusion between celebratory and critical approaches to diversity is also identified as a source of practical muddle. Putatively radical assertions about understanding minority group experience are shown to actually exclude valuable ways of understanding social disadvantage, which might better enhance our understanding and efficacy. The article concludes by suggesting that the multiple difficulties within the profession’s embrace of diversity can be understood in terms of a refusal to reconsider the theoretical, economic and organisational foundations of our therapeutic work to which questions of diversity pose a serious challenge. A case is made for a more open discussion of the relevant issues accompanied by a call for revised professional organization to support knowledge production.’