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How much do you charge? The Therapist and Social Inequality: Trauma, Oppression, Privilege and Therapy

How much do you charge? The Therapist and Social Inequality: Trauma, Oppression, Privilege and Therapy

Aim 1. To invite people to think about the affordability of therapy within the context of trauma and social disadvantage.

Aim 2. To invite therapists (working in private practice) to consider their fees from a perspective of inequality and privilege.

In this paper I draw on theory from social work, critical psychology and community psychology, to examine the relationship between complex trauma and social disadvantage. I consider the inadequacy of intensive long-term therapy as a solution in addressing trauma that is in part the result of social inequality. I examine how we, as therapists, must acknowledge the social inequality inherent in trauma, if we are to truly understand the experience of our patients.
I explore how long-term therapy for traumatised patients is largely inaccessible, and how we may consider our own privilege as white-collar health professionals, and the material comforts we enjoy often in contrast to our patients, as well as the privilege that we experience through social status. That is, to understand and acknowledge our class privilege in the therapeutic relationship.
I consider how individual therapy for long-term trauma is ultimately not a solution to a greater, structural problem, and that mentally healthy individuals can only thrive in mentally healthy societies. If we genuinely care about individuals, then we may consider social change a higher ideal than individual treatment. To this end, we are called to participate in collective action.
Lastly, I discuss the importance of addressing the inequalities inherent in trauma on an individual level: by consideration our fees and our earnings.

Speakers: Rebecca Stuart