Human Rights and Clinical Psychology in the United Kingdom from 1948 to 2018: A Critical Historical Analysis

Prof Doc Thesis

Jones, C. 2019. Human Rights and Clinical Psychology in the United Kingdom from 1948 to 2018: A Critical Historical Analysis. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsJones, C.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Human rights morality and law represent an authoritative way to challenge systems of oppression that can have a deleterious impact on people’s mental health. Clinical psychology and human rights uphold similar underlying principles such as dignity, respect and equality. Clinical psychologists often work with individuals who have experienced, and continue to experience, human rights violations. However, the individualising technologies of the profession continue to be criticised for not challenging abuses of power and the perpetuation of social inequalities.
This research aimed to critically investigate the historical conditions that have given rise to the relationship between clinical psychology and human rights. Documents relating to the professional practice of clinical psychologists in the United Kingdom were analysed using thematic analysis underpinned by critical realism. These findings were incorporated into a three-tiered framework of macro, meso and micro influences.
Analysis showed that the few explicit references to human rights in the documents relating to the practice of clinical psychology were not sustained or developed into later documents. Most often appeals to human rights were vague and there was no discussion about professional obligations to integrate standards in everyday practice, service design or policy. In addition, these standards only upheld a narrow range of human rights which limited the ethical vision of the profession as it was developing. This pattern of engagement with human rights across the history of clinical psychology was explored by reference to transhistorical, global, national and professional pressures. The research concludes by exploring the implications for a renewed clinical psychology more aligned to human rights morality and law.

PublisherUniversity of East London
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OnlineMay 2019
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Deposited21 Nov 2019
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