Facing psychological coercion and manipulation has become a daily part of claiming benefits

Politics and Insights


Authors: Felicity Callard and Robert Stearn. Republished here with thanks.

Curing unemployment is a growth market for psychologists. Job Centres are becoming medical centres, claimants are becoming patients, and unemployment is being redefined as a psychological disorder.

Made-up ailments such as “psychological resistance to work” and “entrenched worklessness” feature in ministerial speeches and lucrative Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) contracts, without attracting a murmur of protest from professional psychologists.

Psychological explanations for unemployment – the failings of the maladjusted jobseeker – isolate, blame, and stigmatise unemployed people. They reinforce myths about “cultures of worklessness”; they obscure the realities of the UK labour market and the political choices that underpin it. The same is true of psychological prescriptions for treating unemployment.


People claiming benefits are already subject to psycho-interventions through mandatory courses designed to promote “employability” and “job readiness”. And as we show in a new…

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One thought on “Facing psychological coercion and manipulation has become a daily part of claiming benefits

  1. Ive had my Job Coach trying to be a Phsychiatrist on me???,,,who do they think they are. Trying to get me to go to Counselling courses at the B***Y Jobcentre or something. Im already having Counselling and WILL NOT be stopping it to go to their pathetic little courses!!!!!!!!!!!. HOW DARE THEY!!!!.

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