RadPsyNews #3

February 1994

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Issue #3 Contents

  1. Thanks for Writing!
  2. Los Angeles-Bound?
  3. Or Santa Fe-Bound?
  4. European Double-Header
  5. UnConventional Conventions?
  6. What About Our Own?
  7. New Member Questions (John Lawrence)
  8. Now We Need Answers (Dennis Fox)
  9. Musings from a Radio Show Host (Nancy Norvell)
  10. Conscious Choice (Ron Bassman)
  11. Calls for Papers
    1. Race & Identity In The U. S.
    2. Law & Mental Health Policy
    3. Mental Health: Alternative Views
  12. Help Prevent Editorial Burnout!
  13. Reading Suggestions (Submitted by members)

Thanks for Writing!

Most of this newsletter consists of submissions from you. Thanks!

We could still use a steadier supply of short Member Announcements. These don't have to be very elaborate. Just tell us what you're up to, what you're getting (and not getting) published, what you've been doing politically on and off the job. Are you going to conferences other members might be interested in?

Los Angeles-Bound?

If you're going to the APA Convention in August, let us know if you're presenting anything that might interest the rest of us.

There hasn't been much response to the idea of being listed in the schedule as a nonaffiliated group, but at least we can still arrange an informal get-together. Let Dennis know if you'll be in LA.

Or Santa Fe-Bound?

Since many of us are in the American Psychology-Law Society (APA's Division 41), we may have enough RadPsy members at the AP-LS Santa Fe convention March 10-12 to plan a time to meet.

In addition to doing a bit of shmoozing, perhaps we can discuss AP-LS policies concerning paper acceptances, a topic I'm again reminded of with the rejection of my own symposium. Frequent complaints about the narrowness of mainstream psychology-law topics and rejection of anything "different" continue to be ignored. Perhaps it's time we figured out what to do about the problem. As I tell my students (with apologies to Mother Jones):

Don't Grumble--Organize!


European Double-Header

Travelers across the Atlantic can get to two interesting conferences in July.

First, as reported in the last RadPsyNews, Psychology Politics Resistance meets July 1-2 in Manchester, England. Contact Steve Reicher or Ian Parker for information.

Second, the International Society for Political Psychology meets July 12-15 in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. The theme is Polities in Transition: Political and Psychological Aspects. Isaac Prilleltensky will present a paper with Lev Gonick, a political scientist from Wilfrid Laurier, called Polities Change, Oppression Remains: On the Psychology And Politics Of Oppression.

Isaac and Lev's paper is related to a chapter they've written called "The Discourse Of Oppression In The Social Sciences: Past, Present, And Future," which will appear later this year in Human Diversity: Perspectives on People In Context (Tricket, E., Watts, R., & Birmna, D., Eds: Jossey Bass). The book contains sections on oppression, cultural diversity, empowerment, feminism, and anti-racism.

UnConventional Conventions?

Academic conventions are often isolating experiences. What can we do to get more out of them? What good conference experiences have you had?

What About Our Own?

When will we be ready for a RadPsyNet Conference? Should we get together for a summer or fall weekend?

New Member Questions.
Now We Need Answers.

What can we offer John and others facing similar issues? How can the Network help?

John's letter reminds me of advice given by a professor at Michigan State when I returned to graduate school in 1982 after a decade away. "Leave," he said. "You're an activist, and they're going to try to turn you into a scientist. You can't be both."

Perhaps he was right. Radical views can sometimes be tolerated, but actual activism is often another story. Of course, a willingness to mimic academic norms such as doing quantitative research (a willingness I've lacked) goes a long way.

John asked how I managed to get tenure, perhaps thinking I had some encouraging advice. I hated to tell him I don't have tenure yet. I'm not even in a psychology department, but in an interdisciplinary legal studies program where my critique of society and of psychology adds a certain flair. But when my activist side annoys too many people--colleagues, students, administrators--I realize that even outside the discipline tenure is not a sure thing.

At least John asked a few questions I could answer: Here in the Newsletter we've got a list of books to read. And we do have an organization of radical psychologists, or at least the beginnings of one. John's one of our new members now. He and we can try together to figure out how to provide better answers in the future.

John Lawrence

I am a graduate student finishing my Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Miami. Over the course of my graduate career, I have led a dual existence as both a graduate student and an activist. I have been contemplating my future career and have been trying to think of ways I can work as a psychological researcher promoting radical social change. Unfortunately, I have not come up with many ideas, and I have not found anywhere to turn for suggestions. Disappointingly, the faculty in our department seem unaware of core social issues, such as how social institutions such as the legal system perpetuate elite rule, no less how they are related to psychology. I have felt isolated and am concerned that I will have to choose between psychology and social justice.

My psychological research in graduate school has been on the role of affect in behavioral regulation. As an activist, I have helped organize protests and educational events, and have written some articles for left political journals. Though I find the psychological research interesting, I don't think it is socially relevant enough to make a career out of it, and I don't think I have the intellectual breadth necessary to continue to write in two unrelated fields.

Like you advocate in your article ["Psychological Jurisprudence and Radical Social Change"], I have anarchist egalitarian values along the lines of those espoused by Chomsky and Bookchin. I would like a career working to promote such values. I have done some cursory thinking on how psychological research could go beyond the liberal agenda you refer to in your article, but am unsure how to go about getting a job doing such research. For example, I think Herman and Chomsky's model of thought control in a democratic society postulates hypotheses which can be tested at a psychological level. I was wondering if you have any suggestions on how I can create a career as a psychologist "advocating a radical psychology of the left." Do you know of any post-docs I could apply for doing research with a radical agenda? I think it would be advantageous for me to start off collaborating with someone because I can benefit from further research training, and it would help me break my isolation from other radical psychologists.

I am also concerned that it would be very difficult for me to find and maintain a job while advocating a radical agenda. The social norms in academia are against taking controversial stands. For example, I was talking to a historian who was denied tenure because he vocally protested the Vietnam War. How have you gotten around this? Did you have to focus on politically neutral research before getting tenure? In addition, it seems like there are structural impediments to conducting research with radical implications. For example, in our department there is an emphasis on generating grant money. Does research with a radical agenda get funded? Have you had to cope with this problem?

What books, journals, or articles would you recommend on radical psychology? Is there an organization of radical psychologists? Are there radical proponents in peace or community psychology? Are you aware of any clinical research going on with a "left" perspective? Can you recommend other people who you think it would be useful for me to contact?

Musings from a Radio Show Host

Nancy Norvell

I have taken on a new endeavor: hosting a monthly 30 minute show called "Health Choices" on our local community radio station (WMNF.88.5). This member-supported station (7,000 paying listeners, many unpaying listeners) brings a true variety of music, news, commentary to the airways of Tampa Bay.

Joining the gang at this non-commerical, listener-sponsored community radio has been a treat. Is it a radical station? Perhaps, by mainstream definitions, as this station offers so many interesting alternatives. With my handy program guide, I can tune in Monday ams for Dr. Gary Null talking about alternative nutrition, or tune in Saturday for the Women's Show (described by its producer as an "eclectic feminist/womanist radio magazine").

In general, this radio station suits my varied musical interests with other weekly shows including "Bop City Blues," "The Sixties Show" and "The Freak Show" (featuring 60s music and "highlighting the sounds of San Francisco"). There are plenty of shows I tune out because they aren't of particular interest (very alternative music, electronic music, polka) but what clearly is appealing is the radio's efforts toward diversity.

Could I do my show on another station? Probably. It's fairly maintream mental health issues (NO CALL IN!!!!) or at least what I consider "mainstream" (substance abuse in women, self-esteem in children, single parenting, violence against women). I bring on a guest in the area and interview her for the show.

On Saturdays when I do not do my show, sometimes I venture down to the station and the producer lets me choose the music. It's a different life and doesn't seem like a particularly radical hobby. Although I am believing more and more of my choices are radical by others' standards.

Signing off...

Aspiring host and DJ Nancy Norvell

[Note: Nancy Norvell died shortly after writing this column. Info in next issue.]

Conscious Choice

Ron Bassman

Conscious choice articulates our genuine values.

Courage elevates us, allowing the possibilities contained within the discipline of commitment. To be committed to a cause, societal, planetary, universal--or perhaps even an inner journey to define oneself is my mandate for the field of psychology. Does self-definition come first? The struggle, the quest, the search may have to be enough for most of us. But within the demands of the mundane, do we have the capability and/or the desire for the effort? One hears of balance, but the task demands obsession.

Do you want to be a radical?

How much of a radical are you willing to be?

Here I sit among radical seedlings at the Toronto APA session listening to various psychologists, students, and academics, some looking for more than others. Me, by virtue of my own "shocking" hospital experience being radicalized at a young age--twice. It's good to see students looking for more than an indoctrination and a stamped ticket to join the empowered.

My struggle continues to focus on my own development as a human. My doubts make me look at the selfishness required to look within and focus on my own inner development and have less to give to addressing the larger, increasingly more imminent demise that the split in our human propensities may be driving us toward. How should I prioritize my small contributions in working as a therapist guiding others in their personal struggles with the pain of existence?

I have a request to make of our budding network of radical psychologists: Let each of us renew our efforts to live the life of honest self-examination that drew so many of us into the fields of psychology. What once was fertile soil needs re-tilling and loving cultivation. And let us not fool ourselves--we are only radical within the mainstream. Yet we can be radical in affirming respect and reverence for all the potential virtues of being human and the courage required to pursue them.

Calls for Papers

Race & Identity In The U. S.

This is a call for submissions for a new anthology on race and identity in the United States. This anthology will reflect various views on race and identity in the United States. Authors will be from EVERY race, writing about subjects which relate to this topic as they see fit. Writings will include, but will not be limited to, essays, fiction, poetry, nonfiction, biographical and academic works. The intent of publishing this book is two-fold: first, to give an opportunity to writers who have not been published to print their work alongside well-known authors. The second goal is to amalgamate writings into a literate collection of work able to stand on its own and also serve as a catalyst for discussion on how race affects identity in the United States. This anthology is not limited to academic circles. It is intended to be published for the public at large.

It is highly unlikely that monetary compensation can be offered.

All submissions must be hard copy and should be accompanied by something in electronic form, i.e., diskette or sent via electronic mail. Submissions may be of any length. All electronic submissions should be in plain text form or in a popular program format such as WordPerfect for IBM-PCs or Word for Macs. Neither submissions nor diskettes will be returned.

Deadline: April 31, 1994. Later submissions have decreasing chances of being reviewed, but are not automatically excluded. Submissions and questions to:

Re-Cheng Tsang or Jonathan Jaffe

4754 Ravenna Ave NE

Seattle, WA 98105

(206) 524-6098

Email: recheng@u.washington.edu


Law & Mental Health Policy

The Journal of Mental Health Administration is planning a special section on Law and Mental Health Policy, to be published in late 1994. Contributions are invited on topics such as the impact of the law on the delivery or funding of services, the impact of mental health policy on the delivery of services, the delivery of mental health services in the criminal justice, juvenile justice, juvenile delinquency and social service systems, and the interface of the mental health and legal systems.

Deadline: June 1, 1994. Manuscripts should be approximately 15 to 25 pages in length and contain an abstract. Manuscripts are reviewed blindly.

Inquiries and manuscripts to:

Bruce Lubotsky Levin, Editor

Journal of Mental Health Administration

University of South Florida

Florida Mental Health Institute

13301 Bruce B. Downs Blvd.

Tampa, FL 33612-3899

(813) 974-4406

Email: levin@fmhi.usf.edu

Mental Health: Alternative Views

Isaac Prilleltensky is an associate editor of the Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, providing "alternative views on mental health issues with a very progressive tendency." The journal promotes the integration of socioeconomic, ecological, material and political factors in mental health. One of the two issues each year is on a special topic, with recent issues on work, community and mental health; cultural diversity; and women's mental health. Issues planned this year and next include primary prevention and self-help. Contact Isaac for information.

Help Prevent Editorial Burnout!

Help write, edit, lay out, and distribute the Newsletter.

Help maintain the mailing list.

Submit Graphics.


Reading Suggestions

[1997 Note! See our Books and Reviews Site]

 Here's the response to our call for a Radical Psychologist's Top Ten List of Things to Read. The list (a bit longer than ten!) reflects lots of different takes on what "radical" means, what radical psychology might be, and what might just be interesting for people with a critical bent or for teachers who want to stimulate discussion. These books are sure to give our students (and us) food for thought.

Any volunteers to take on the project of expanding the list and organizing it into categories? Getting down to a short list may not be the best approach to this, though it would be an interesting exercise to come up with an ideal course curriculum. (Dennis Fox has two overlapping lists he got together for courses several years ago. They're now outdated, but he'll send copies to anyone who's interested.)

Our list doesn't include the many journal articles we cite in our own work. For places to start, look at the references in articles (here's the shameless plug) by Dennis and Isaac:

Fox, Dennis R. (1985). Psychology, Ideology, Utopia, and the Commons. American Psychologist, 40, 48-58.

(1993). The Autonomy-Community Balance and the Equity-Law Distinction: Anarchy's Task for Psychological Jurisprudence. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 11, 97-109.

(1993). Psychological Jurisprudence and Radical Social Change. American Psychologist, 48, 234-241.

Prilleltensky, I. (1989). Psychology and the Status Quo. American Psychologist. 44, 795-802.

(1990). Enhancing the Social Ethics of Psychology: Toward a Psychology at the Service of Social Change. Canadian Psychology, 31, 310-319.

(1992). Radical Behaviorism and the Social Order. Counseling and Values, 36, 104-111.

Keep those recommendations coming!
When suggesting this list, Dennis Fox mentioned two books to start things off:

Sarason, Seymour B. (1981). Psychology Misdirected. New York: Free Press. [Psychology's ties to the status quo. I used this as a graduate seminar text.]

Wachtel, Paul L. (1983). The Poverty of Affluence: A Psychological Portrait of the American Way of Life. New York: Free Press. [Americans and materialism]

To these he'd add these additional psychology works:

Fromm, Erich. (1955). The Sane Society. New York: Holt, Rinehart, Winston.

Joffe, Justin M., & Albee, George (Eds.). (1981). Prevention Through Political Action and Social Change. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England.

Kelman, Herb C. (1969). A Time to Speak: On Human Values and Social Research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Kohn, Alfie. (1986). No Contest: The Case Against Competition. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin. [A social psychologist's case; good for undergraduates.]

Prilleltensky, Isaac. (1994). The Morals and Politics of Psychology: Psychological Discourse and the Status Quo. Albany: SUNY Press. [Sure to be great! Isaac's work all in one place]

Sarason, Seymour. B. (1982). Psychology and Social Action. New York: Praeger.

And he'd also put in a plug for these non-psychology books:

Hyde, Lewis. (1983). The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property. New York: Vintage Books. [The most fascinating book I read in graduate school. I gave copies as presents. Some psychology, some anthropology, some myths and more. And then poets!]

Roberts, Alan. (1979). The Self-Managing Environment. London: Allison & Busby. [Anarchy!]

Sakolsky, Ron, & Koehnline, James (Eds.). (1993). Gone to Croatan: Origins of North American Dropout Culture. New York: Autonomedia Press. [Radical historians examine the long history of dissidents dropping out of mainstream America. Stuff you've never heard of, and will long remember.]

Zinn, Howard. (1980). A People's History of the United States. New York: Harper & Row. [Basic history of the U.S. from the perspective of those without power. Great for undergraduates who've only heard the official version.]

Isaac Prilleltensky's list:

Albee, G.W., Bond, L., & Monsey, T. V. C. (1992). Improving Children's Lives: Global Perspectives On Prevention. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Cochrane, R., & Carroll, D. (1991). Psychology and Social Issues. The Falmer Press.

Horton, M., & Freire, P. (1990). We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change. Temple University.

Howitt, D (1991). Concerning Psychology: Psychology Applied to Social Issues. Open University Press.

Lerner, Michael. (1991). Surplus Powerlessness: The Psychodynamics of Everyday Life . . . and the Psychology of Individual and Social Transformation (revised ed). Humanities Press.

Sampson, Edward E. (1993). Celebrating the Other: A Dialogic Account of Human Nature. Westview Press.

Sullivan, Edmund V. (1984). A Critical Psychology. Plenum

From Nancy Norvell:

"As for books/bibliography, I have some esoteric suggestions. For psych graduate students: (READ THE ORIGINALS!)"

William James Varieties of Religous Experience

Carl Rogers On Becoming a Person

Erik Erikson Insight and Responsibility

Thomas Szaz. The Myth of Mental Illness

Carol Gilligan. "Woman's Place In Man's Life Cycle" (article)

Sigmund Freud. Collected Papers. (for non-psychoanalytic types: you still need to see some of the roots)

Harry Stack Sullivan. The Interpersonal Theory of Psychiatry

Timothy Leary. Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality

"The list goes on and on . . . This may seem a bit mundane, but I am frustrated by how little our budding psychologists/theorists/therapists/researchers . . ." [End of Nancy's e-mail message; perhaps we can guess the rest)

Jennifer Pierce's list:

"I had a hard time keeping the number of books down, but I've tried. My readings tend to have a feminist/humanist perspective, so caveat editor. Some of these may seem doofy and simplistic, but when I read these as a student they got me thinking."

Ehrenreich, Barbara & English, Deirdre. (1973). The Sexual Politics of Sickness. Feminist Press. [94 pages, humorous & ghastly illustrations. The social role of medicine in creating the best (most compliant) patient.]

Ehrenreich, Barbara & English, Deirdre. (1978). For Her Own Good: 150 Years of the Expert's Advice to Women. Anchor Books. [Contains sections which deal specifically with psychology within a stunning overview of the claptrap used on women to keep them "happy" as defined by the patriarchal medical establishment, etc.]

Hillman, James & Ventura, Michael. (1978). We've Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy and the World's Getting Worse. Harper Collins. [Covers a lot of territory in a comprehensible manner. Questions the current Western approach, specifically American, for curing people.]

McGovern, Constance M. (1985). Masters of Madness: Social Origins of the American Psychiatric Profession. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England. [Insight into the power struggles of the doctors who were trying to create their own feeding ground. Their ideas reflected the zeitgeist and the priestlike privilege they enjoyed in creating and making diagnoses and prognoses were essentially unchallenged. Currently the AMA is running under the same paradigm spawned by this handful of well-meaning but misguided MDs.]

Modrow, John. (1992). How to Become a Schizophrenic: The Case Against Biological Psychiatry. Everett, WA: Apollyon Press. [First person accounts lucidly written about the incompetence of the profession to recognize the experience the person is undergoing during psychosis.]

Jennifer adds fiction "because I love lit, and think it can convey more of the deep emotional effects of the psychological and psychiatric experience."

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper. [MUST READ. tiny but packs a wallop.]

Kaysen, Susanna. Girl, interrupted.

Millet, Kate. The Looney Bin Trip. Plath, Sylvia. The Bell Jar.


Editor: Dennis Fox

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