The Big Question

This book began with some admittedly outlandish imagining of what the future might look like for the way that, as a society, we think about people experiencing distress. We were critical of the ways in which the current practice privileges the biomedical, psychotherapeutic and professional expertise, at the expense of everyday social arenas. And then we provided a range of settings, groups and activities which outlined the way in which everyday people doing everyday things could have tremendous and sustained impact on the mental well-being of the people who encountered the services. However, whenever you start to write something that is critical of contemporary mental health practice, or introduce ways of supporting people during periods of distress that are outside of the more typical biotherapeutic domain, you can sit back, count to ten and wait for someone to ask:

‘What about people in extreme crisis?’

It’s the question designed to sink the airy pretensions of academic dilettantes. How can we replace hard science, professional expertise, biocognitivism and evidence-based practice with the altogether softer social, relational, creative and everyday practices of care which are often barely understood as ‘care’?

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