Who Decides Women’s Best Interests? Examining patient-provider power relations in counselling on long-acting reversible contraception

By Tracy Morison

Image by Pexels

Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) is widely accepted in most public health and family planning approaches. However, power imbalances between healthcare providers and patients make many women feel as though they are coerced into taking LARC. There is little research that considers the nature and quality of patient-provider interactions, including issues of power and women’s agency, as most scholarship in the field focuses on access. Concerns about the potential for coercion, lack of patient-centeredness, or uncritical LARC promotion are therefore under-explored, especially among ‘high-risk’ women who experience poor health and social outcomes. This study takes a much-needed look at how providers’ perspectives influence their recommendations to patients and the changes that must be implemented to help patients regain autonomy over their reproductive choices.

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Fat Pain is Not Your Profundity

By Rachel Fox

Photo by AllGo – An App For Plus Size People on Unsplash

Rachel Fox explores how doctor-writer narratives often depict fat people in dehumanising and hurtful ways, and argues they need to be reframed with empathy.

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Reframing Online Sperm Donation through the lens of Reproductive Justice

By Francesca Taylor

When I first started my PhD- an exploration of recipient experiences of online, unregulated sperm donation- I became fixated on trying to understand why people would choose this route to parenthood. Most of the things I’d read about online sperm donation were fairly sensationalist news articles which portrayed a ‘black market’ and an online ‘underworld’ where people were going to search for and donate sperm. I felt that in order to design a study where I could encourage people to tell their stories free from stigma and shame, I needed to first have some idea of the context of donor insemination in the UK, including who was choosing online sperm donation and their reasons for doing so. Why weren’t people choosing, for example, donor insemination at a fertility clinic? What were the benefits and drawbacks of online sperm donation? How did the social, cultural, and economic context of donor insemination in the UK inform what was happening online?

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How Dance, Gestalt and Idiographic Research Contribute to Critical Health Psychology

By Natalia Braun

Illustration used with permission: Karina Braun, Autumn Brush

Truth is in the eye of the beholder .

Ruth Hubbard.

Earlier this year, there was a paper published about the research that explored the influence of dance on embodied self-awareness and well-being (Braun & Kotera, 2021). The findings of this study provided evidence for dance as a booster of health, the way for coping with and prevention of stress, depression and loneliness, and enabler of individual and community transformations. This study was conducted applying the qualitative research method of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Often, research methods remain in the shadow when reporting about research. In this blog, I would like to shed more light on IPA that is a particularly useful method in exploring individual embodied experience with health and its impairment, and is rooted in idiography, phenomenology and hermeneutics (Smith et al., 2009).

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In between feminist and critical health psychology: Finding myself, fitting in, and flailing

By Andrea LaMarre

Photo by Alex Hamilton. Karamatura Track in the Waitakere Ranges

This blog post has been adapted from one of Andrea’s presentation at ISCHP’s 12 Biennial Conference in September 2021. Andrea was one of the recipients of the emerging researcher award.

When I consider the question of what a feminist health psychology is, I can’t help but think of myself, wandering between disciplines and literatures, trying to find a place where I feel at home. I think about a young Andrea who, despite having embodied so many privileges, felt like her emotions were too much for everyone. I think about how shrinking myself and trying to please everyone have been strategies I’ve adopted to fit into societal ideas about who I should be. I think about how in graduate school, I began to embrace a louder, more outspoken feminism that encourages emotion, sensation, and commitment to filter through and drive what I do. I think about the theorists and scholars who taught me that being critical, and being feminist, might mean seeping outside of boundaries—corporeally, theoretically, methodologically.

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Pro-social purpose & serving wider society: Research & practice to address climate change

By Kiran K Bains, November 2019

Greta Thunberg recently tweeted:

Climate change and social isolation and loneliness pose serious threats to human health, and particularly in the case of the former, to our survival and that of our planet. These issues are an ever-present and growing reality for those who already experience greater vulnerability and marginalisation due to age, poverty, racial inequality, sexuality, gender identity and disability [1, 2]. However, for those with greater privilege in the West, climate change in particular may generally be an abstract reality, with adverse consequences for lived experience only just beginning to be felt.

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Critical texts for those new to critical psychology

~Britta Wigginton (b.wigginton@uq.edu.au)

The field of critical psychology can seem overwhelming.

I speak from personal experience. I completed my PhD in a department that was entirely positivist (‘scientific’), with the exception of my supervisor who encouraged me, despite being in the first month of my PhD, to attend the 2011 ISCHP conference in Adelaide. For me, critical psychology has been as much a professional as it has a personal (re)education into the world.

critical psychology reading list

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What does ‘critical’ mean?

Charlotte Paddison_Photo_HeadCharlotte Paddison reflects on what it means to be ‘critical’ in the context of health psychology.  Is this about being dismissive?  About being negative?  No, not at all!

Lecturing is great.  And not least of all because you get all sorts of interesting questions from students.   Recently, I was asked what does being ‘critical’ mean?

Being ‘critical’ can mean different things to different people, in different contexts.  The Oxford dictionary describes it as “expressing adverse or disapproving comments or judgements” and “involving an analysis of the merits and faults of a work.”  Neither of these quite fit the bill for describing critical perspectives in the context of health psychology. Continue reading

Is there such a thing as mixed epistemology research?

Is there such a thing as mixed epistemology research?  ~Gareth Treharne (gtreharne@psy.otago.ac.nz)

Mixed methods research is a well-established feature of many fields of social science research, including health psychology (shameless plug: see Treharne & Riggs, 2014). That’s not to say that all social science researchers (or readers) value mixed methods research – indeed, the notion of mixing methods might be hotly debated by some critical health psychologists and lead them to ask questions such as:

By mixed methods, do you only mean a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods? Surely we should be more interested in innovative mixtures of qualitative methods?

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Welcome Note From The Chair

Chris Stephens Chair of ISCHP
Chris Stephens
Chair of ISCHP

Chris Stephens, Massey University, NZ – C.V.Stephens@massey.ac.nz

The 2015 meeting of ISCHP  in Grahamstown was very successful with a rich and varied programme of relevant events, visits and presentations, including three inspiring and engaged keynote speakers. Once again, many participants commented on the inclusive nature of ISCHP meetings, with many saying that this has been the best conference they have ever attended.

As the new elected chair of ISCHP I have been reflecting since on the development of the society and our future.  I have been fortunate to have been able to attend all of the ISCHP biennial meetings since the society was founded in Birmingham in 2001. At that meeting we elected Michael Murray, who had boldly initiated the first international meeting in St Johns in Canada, as our first innovative Chair. Kerry Chamberlain followed, and continues as ‘perpetual past chair’. Kerry’s contribution is notable for his visible ongoing commitment and dedication to the aims and functioning of the society. Wendy Stainton Rogers has also been an outstanding immediate past chair, fostering that sense of inclusion by actively encouraging the involvement of students and researchers from more difficult to reach places such as Eastern Europe and South Africa. Her sense of justice and ethical practice has been inspiring, and the hilarious social events that she led are memorable.

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