From: "Andrew Phelps <>"


Cc: friend

Subject: [S-ACC] Putting the Habits to Work

Sent: Monday, June 26, 2017 8:33 AM



Upgrading our movement involves deeper respect for the concerns relating to the habits of people with lived experience of deep trauma. A recent success I may relate is the decision two weeks ago by the San Jose Evergreen CCD Board of Trustees to put an on-campus Child Development Center (CDC) back in the budget. The CDC at San Jose City College had been defunded in 2009, as a cost-cutting measure, by the college President, a former behavior manager, who claimed the "health and safety" of children was at issue. Our activism - from client/survivors - took up that issue and we played a prominent role in the politics of restoring and developing that arrangement, see for instance,  here.

Transcending the "mental illness" paradigm and working as "people" involves understanding the lived experience of trauma and engaging the fact that our efforts often don't seem to make sense to others. In a conference some years ago, I had such conversation, and - a month or so later, in no way directly related - they had a physical accident in which they were badly injured. I do not have blame for that person (an un-wholesome response), rather I'm saying that that bitter experience indicates how very difficult our practices of trauma work may turn out to be. And that many people do not understand the "client culture" and (here not speaking personally) also find problematic the "paths to safety" that would need to be widely understood for "good psychology" to obtain.

To move our activism to a new "level" would involve a general upgrade to the "make sense to others" meaning of how we work the "habit" concerns of trauma. Some of us spoke to that concern at the U.S. Social Forum in (San Jose, 2015), see for instance  here. The discussion of the "oppression" perspective is complex and lengthy, and we are only slowly bringing the dialogue to that kind of a place. Previous discussions developing issues of labor and ethnic and gender concerns have long histories, and ours is stuck at present, intersectionally speaking, at the level of denial - widespread in psychology and in the general society.

The activist approach to social change under the conditions described above is a work problem. Different individuals and groups work at different aspects, and often have insufficient understanding of what each other is doing. What I have been working at in that context is online as "New Social Roles"  here. And that is now transforming into working the problematic of "culture change" in psychology, about which more may be said, and for which directions in networking may develop.


My best