Looking for suggestions on future life plans

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Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture
Looking for suggestions on future life plans

I'll be retiring from my current job on the ferry system in early 2016.  It's my intention at that point to return to college, get a second degree in psychology(I already have a B.L.A.)and work towards the idea(possibly also going to graduate school)of becoming a poltically radical, pro-working class version of a "life coach"-using various methods to help working people and those thrown out of work by the system not only cope on a day-to-day basis, but find a way to develop resistance skills and greater consciousness.

This might involve inventing a whole new academic discipline, but I'm not sure.

What I'm looking for here is information on schools of psychology or therapy that are associated with class-conscious politics and with helping working-class people as opposed to the usual middle to upper-middle class types that conventional psychotherapy tends to concern itself with, and as opposed to those therapeutic methods that are mainly about teaching people to accept "normality" and the idea of knowing their place in the machine.

Any thoughts on this that anyone has would be useful.



That's wonderful, Ken. Early congrats on your pending retirement from the ferry. I'll bet you're looking forward to it. 

I know little about psychology and so am unable to offer you the positive direction you're looking for. Except that I might say that you should avoid any and all political psychology pertaining to war and the John Foster Dulles school of thought on psychology in general. And that shouldn't be difficult for you, we know. Best of luck.


You may want to look toward courses in education - particularly adult education - rather than psychology. I suspect that mainstream psych is pretty much all based on the capitalist concept of brain-wiring and social dynamics - on a system of expectatiosn and assumptions that are, not to put too fine a point on it, wrong.

Also, rather than concentrating on academic cedentials, which take far too many detours and and far too much time, you might consider self-help groups (such as those for depression, addiction or chronic pain management) as a starting point, to learn by observation how people tick. This, you can do right away. 


I suggest getting involved in online communities in all fields related, accessing online journals, and local organizations relating to these areas. There's a lot of new research on the brain in relation to emotions / actions that's shaping new modes of therapy which are far more successful in moving clients / patients toward healing and independence than the old methodologies.

Assuming Harper is getting rid of health care, perhaps look to Alberta to get an idea of what's to come in terms of job availability in the future. Since Klein, there's been a shift in resources, accessibility, treatment options to the determent of patients. It's as if the government weighed the cost of effective treatment against the odds of success and determined pilling them up is cheaper. Besides which, pharmaceutical zombies don't squawk as much. Many of the "psychotherapists" here are MD's and paid under the Health Care system. Whatever way you go, and however you shape yourself (I like your ideas) , anticipate the future in regards to a pay check.


Uncle John

There is a lot of activism you can do for people abused by the psychiatric system without having to make a new science. I sure could have used an activist/advocate when I was being abused. One thing they do is isolate you and deny you necessary human contact. That makes you feel like you are the only person in the world with the condition, when that is clearly not true.

Economic determinism is valid. People in a poor economic situation are going to have poor mental health and poor physical health. So advocating for an end to poverty, full employment, more workers' control, etc, if successful, should have the effect of making people feel less miserable, oppressed, depressed, etc.

You definitely have my moral support! Just keep doing what you are doing...


As absentia suggests, a Master's in adult education might be worth looking into.

Refuge Refuge's picture

Here's an idea if you can't find anything. Take the traditional route but come at it from the critical point of view. I took traditional education and worked in traditional places before my job now but how I work with the people I work with is 99% based on what I saw and said I will never do that, analyzed why then came up with a different way to do things.

Learn the most not from your schooling but the people you plan to work with. I learned more from the children I work with than anyone or anywhere else.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

That's good advice. thanks, Refuge.


well there is psychology and social psychology which deals with groups, but I would suggest going to the adult education stream, or even social work that focuses on anti oppressive practice.


Look At McMaster University Social Work program and their Master/PhD programs for its focus. And OISE @ UofT!