Complex Needs to Disordered Personalities: Political Discourses and Practic...
Complex Needs to Disordered Personalities: Political Discourses and Practice Responses
Political and practice-based discourses have increasingly recognised groups of people said to have ‘complex needs’ and who face ‘multiple exclusions’ or ‘multiple disadvantages’. Their difficulties are often characterised by long term unemployment, drug problems, and a range of mental health problems that include personality disorder and histories of trauma.
The appearance of such ideas has emerged alongside, and arguably coalesced with, alternative discourses around responsibilisation, criminalisation, and the immorality of worklessness. These strands of political discourse have suggested that there are individuals who are not ‘strivers’, nor are they are part of ‘hard working families’. Instead their homelessness, their lack of employment and their dependence on welfare has led to labels as ‘shirkers’, or even ‘scroungers’.
Such punitive language has perhaps, for example, encouraged the use of ‘Public Space Protection Orders’ to fine people who sleep rough or who ’beg’ for money – a move criticised by homeless charities for punishing the poor while ignoring the ‘complex needs’ faced by this group of people.
Meanwhile, the UK government’s intention to encourage the availability of psychological treatment services within job centres (announced, for example, in the 2015 budget) was heavily criticised as an inappropriate attempt to reconstruct the social problems of unemployment and exclusion as issues of ‘disordered minds’ that were in need of treatment. The ‘troubled families’ initiative faced criticism that it was simply demonising struggling families and has not found it easy to evidence its impact.
The seminar will explore the psychosocial dynamics that surround policies and practices that are directed at those facing ‘complex needs’. It will address the appropriateness, or otherwise, of such (re)constructions and the types of intervention that the different discourses surrounding these issues have engendered. What type of intervention might be appropriate and what are the dilemmas involved in addressing treatment towards such psychosocial problems?
Rachael Dobson (Kingston University)
Pippa Hockton (Street talk)
Sarah Johnsen (Herriot Watt)
Alan Kilmister (Forum Member, 'Revolving Doors')
Sarah Anderson (University of Glasgow)
Christopher Parker (Northumbria Univesity)
Chris Scanlon (Community Housing Trust)
Paul Anders (Revolving Doors)
Alastair Roy (UCLAN)
For further details: http://aspd-incontext.org/complex-needs/
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