Chat With Us

Pastoral Power Beyond Psychology's Marginalization: Resisting the Discourses of the Psy-Complex

Pastoral Power Beyond Psychology's Marginalization: Resisting the Discourses of the Psy-Complex

by Dr. Philip Browning Helsel

In times of massive economic inequity, why do so many Americans consider themselves mentally ill? Exploring the psychological effects of debt, foreclosure, and unemployment, this book shows how our mental health categories are poorly equipped to explain the stresses of the current economy. Philip Browning Helsel provides concrete advice to ministers and counselors wishing to help those struggling with the stress of being a member of the modern working class. ‘Pastoral power’ is the ability to help people define and resist the suffering that results from an unjust economic system. Helsel argues that psychological labels can reduce people to ‘problem-identities’ and make them feel internally responsible for their emotional problems. Drawing from the counter-conducts of pastoral power described by Michel Foucault, and highlighting the testimonies of the consumer/survivor/ex-patient movement, this book helps communities resist social class oppression while questioning the oversimplification of mental health pathology.

View a guide of selected resources (PDF) on this topic available through the Libraries.

Dr. Philip Browning Helsel

School of Theology and Ministry

View sample pages

Find this item

For further information about research in this area please visit the Subject Librarian portal.

Recent Highlights

The Art of Anatheism
Edited by Richard Kearney & Matthew Clemente
Grand Challenges for Social Work and Society
Edited by Rowena Fong & James Lubben & Richard Barth
The Technology Fallacy: How People Are the Real Key to Digital Transformation
by Gerald C. Kane & Anh Nguyen Phillips, Jonathan R. Copulsky, & Garth R. Andrus
Various Articles
by Joseph F. Quinn, Ph.D
A Lily Blooms in Winter
by Alston Conley
The History and Philosophy of Science: A Reader
by Daniel McKaughan & Holly VandeWall