Liberating the Mind or Governing the Soul? Psychotherapeutic Education, Children’s Rights and the Disciplinary State

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Abstract

This article draws on theoretical contributions from Michel Foucault, Nikolas Rose and from within the new sociology of childhood to open up for critical analysis and debate contemporary policy and practice initiatives involving the introduction of formal psychotherapeutic education programmes in schools. While the primary focus is the UK, the article also makes reference to wider European and international contexts. A children’s rights perspective is taken in considering the potential im- plications of such initiatives for children and young people. Specifically, the article challenges the assumption that formal psychotherapeutic education programmes are an unequivocal ‘good’ and it explores the possibility that they may undermine rather than promote children’s agency, hence their ‘emotional wellbeing’. It is concluded that intensified surveillance of children’s emotional lives is both related to, and contributes towards, wider governance practices of the late modern neo-liberal disciplinary state.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-399
JournalEducation Inquiry
Volume2
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011

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