Proposal submitted by Dick Blackwell agreed at 2018 AGM
'This union declares itself resolutely opposed to the government’s policy and programme of ‘Austerity’.
Despite claims that ‘We’re all in it together’ it is patently clear that we are not, and it is in fact ‘class war’ by another name. The poor are made to suffer for the excesses of the rich. We take this position both as a union of workers whose stock in trade is the understanding of psycho-social processes and psychological motivations, and as members of the wider trade union movement which we encourage to be more vigorous and outspoken in its opposition.
Most particularly, we oppose the programme ‘Workfare’ in which an attempt has been made to co-opt psychotherapy and counselling into the process of scapegoating the unemployed by claiming their unemployment is their own psychological problem, and sending people for therapy which they do not want under the threat of sanction if they do not comply. This ‘psycho-compulsion' is one of the many meaningless compulsions of the Workfare programme, all of which we regard as an attack on the poor and vulnerable in an attempt to scapegoat them for the problems created by the neoliberal economic model and its implementation by this government. It is moreover serving as a way of disciplining the whole workforce: Taking away the welfare safety net makes everyone in employment who does not have significant reserves to fall back on that much more vulnerable and anxious about opening their mouths, joining a trade union or in any other way attempting to assert their rights and protest about their conditions.
Psychocompulsion constitutes an abuse of therapy and places therapists in a highly problematic and indeed compromised position where they are being required to function as agents of oppressive government policy. We further call on all psychotherapists and counsellors and all agencies employing psychotherapists or counsellors, and members of all other trade unions to offer support and encouragement for therapists who refuse to collaborate with the Workfare programme in any way.