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15th August 2016

Dear FPN Colleagues,

Here's the latest news from the Network. I hope you are all enjoying the summer.

• Feedback from our Manchester conference in May - "Mind the Gap: Free Psychotherapy in an Unjust World"

The conference was a big success, though not necessarily in the ways we were imagining when we conceived the idea. About 100 people turned up - therapists, mental health charity workers, MH service users, and a range of people interested in the links between psychological well-being and social justice. 

The Manchester FPN group did a great job organising the day - Fiona Goldman, Yasmin Dewan and Ian Parker. Four or five London members attended.

Andy and Nina's fundraiser in April raised £400 and paid for the bulk of the costs, including funding transport from London of a few people on very low incomes.

For a flavour of the conference, here are two links to some feedback from people who attended -  Ruth Passman Head of Equality and Health Inequalities, NHS England and Ian Parker, Manchester FPN group.

• Follow-up from the Conference

One suggestion from the conference came from Julie Gosling and Louise Hunt, mental health activists from Nottingham, who suggested that FPN therapists and "wounded healer" experts by experience could work alongside each other campaigning and building up support networks among people with radical perspectives on psy work and psy services.

Paul Atkinson has been discussing with Julie the idea of a meeting in Nottingham, probably in November, where FPN members and MH activists who are interested in exploring this idea can get together. Let Paul know if you are interested, and we'll circulate the date of the meeting when it's decided.

We had several people from MH charities wanting to work with FPN, mainly to access the possibility of free or very low cost therapy for their clients. It's been hard to respond beyond pointing people to the website and the directory of therapists.

The idea of a second conference has been floated in Sheffield during 2017.

• Next FPN London meeting - Sat 24th September 2016

The next London organising meeting will be on 24th September 11am-1pm at Paul's consulting room - Studio 5, Floor 4, 138-148 Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, E1 5QJ. 07951158508 for contact. Proposed agenda to follow.

Please come and help us with the admin and planning for FPN.
Let Paul know if you are coming.

• News and events

- Work-cure Protest:  FPN members took part in the protest at the New Savoy event in central London last month. The protest was one in a series against the growing use of psychological coercion in the DWP's welfare reforms. So far the main psy professional bodies are continuing to support "work-cure" therapy for benefit claimants with long-term mental health disabilities.  

The campaign to insist that the psy professions disassociate themselves from DWP policies has been organised under the umbrella of the Mental Health Foundation, an ad hoc grouping  of 17 organisations of psy workers, service users/survivors, benefits and workfare campaigners, and trade unionists. FPN is one of them. You can find out more about the campaign here

- Noreen O'Sullivan, involved in mental health politics in Liverpool, wants to form an FPN group in Liverpool, with links to Momentum and their MH campaigning. We'll be staying in touch with her, and supporting her however we can.

- Conference: "Psychologists and the Benefits System - Time to Get off the Fence" Friday October 7th in Manchester. Details of conference and programme here. Book through Eventbrite here. Paul is speaking in the afternoonl - see Paul's blurb here.

- Conference: "Welfare Reform and Psycho-Compulsion" 5th November 2016 Liverpool. This is the follow-up to the Bermondsey Conference in March this year. Details to follow.

- Asylum Magazine conference: "Action and Reaction" 28th June 2017 See details and call for participation here.

- UKCP project for free psychotherapy in London: The new chair of UKCP, Martin Pollecoff, has approached us to talk about his plan for a free psychotherapy service in London. He has good, ambitious ideas about how UKCP members could provide a free service. It is early days, it remains to be seen if anything actually gets going, and the political culture of a UKCP scheme is likely to discourage participation by some FPN people. But the project is definitely worth supporting. If you want to know more, contact Martin at
Copyright © 2016 Free Psychotherapy Network, All rights reserved.

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