Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Successful Ways of Relating

Two types of relating have been on my mind with regard to success...

Last week I was presenting some work on trust and suicidality at the British Sociological Association conference and it led me to thinking about Lisa's ideas on the politics of interdisciplinarity. I feel most comfortable working in the hinterlands between psychology, sociology and philosophy, but as a trained psychologist, I still experience myself as somewhat of a fraud outside of the psychology discipline. My 'outsider' status could be a fertile place of creativity, but the actuality of inhabiting material spaces across disciplines leaves me uncertain. I feel most 'at home' at those events that set themselves up explicitly as interdisciplinary.

But isn't there a problem here? If interdisciplinary-ism becomes a space in its own right, hasn't its project essentially failed? How can interdisciplinary work genuinely mesh and tether the disciplines together, in a way that opens out one field for those in another, if we silo ourselves off in special, private spaces? Working out how to work in a genuinely interdiciplinary way while maintaining connections to our various disciplines seems important. Perhaps because several of us see ourselves as having 'several hats' or 'past lives' where we do/did something different, we will be able to find news ways to straddle disciplines and negotiate the politics involved in these processes.

Credit: Wellcome Library London
Secondly, Michael and I have just been awarded a grant from the Independent Social Research Foundation for a small project on Relatedness and Relationships in Mental Health. The project will bring together psychologists, philosophers (including Lisa), sociologists, a social policy researcher and a psychiatrist to think conceptually about the roles of relating in experiencing and recovering from mental health difficulties.

This work which will run from July 2015-July 2016 will be an excellent platform for the work I am planning for this project around relational success in adversity - especially in mental health and addictions contexts. I hope to be able to develop some of the ideas we will explore here, particularly, around the relational factors that contribute to successful recovery, and the recovery factors that facilitate successful relationships, particularly in a context that privileges individualism and independence.

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