Keith Tudor


Keynote Speech

“The Person, Education, and Politics in Person-Centred Psychology”


This keynote speech will aim to strike some key notes on the theme of the conference, that is, person, paideia (education), and politeia (politics). Taking inspiration from Pericles’s funeral oration that we need to start by acknowledging the ancestors, and the Māori whakataukī (proverb) ka mua ka muri which suggests that we need to walk backwards into the future, this speech draws on a critical appreciation of our person-centred heritage to assure the future.

Despite the centrality of the person to person-centred psychology, the concept of the person is under-theorised. Expanding on Schmid’s identification of two strands in Rogers’ thinking about the person (the individualistic and the relational), I will explore the contextual person, that is a person who is inevitably embedded in a number of contexts, not least their culture.

Rogers was one of the very few founders of an approach to psychology to articulate his approach to education, yet many person-centred educators appear unaware of this or the personal, psychological, and political implications of promoting the freedom to learn. I will revisit the radicalism of Rogers’ ideas about education, including that of educating or training therapists, and compare this to the operational evidence of training manifested in neo-liberal institutions of education.

Finally, I will consider two aspects of person-centred politics. Firstly, and internally, I will offer a critique of the proliferation of so-called tribes within person-centred psychotherapy and counselling (and, more broadly, the person-centred approach), to the detriment of our integrity. Following on from this, I will consider how person-centred psychology can represent itself externally with more coherence and confidence – for the betterment of people, education, and the political world.
Short Bio
The professional background is in social work (probation, field and hospital social work, and psychiatric social work) and psychotherapy (voluntary sector youth counselling, and private pratice). Dr. Tudor completed training in gestalt therapy and transactional analysis, in addition to which he has studied person-centred psychology extensively. With his partner, Louise Embleton Tudor, he founded the organisation, Temenos, in Sheffield, which was – and is – committed to person-centred education and training, and which they directed for 17 years. He also designed and ran the first postgraduate person-centred psychotherapy & counselling training programme in the UK, which was also validated as a Master’s degree (by Middlesex University). Dr. Tudor is a Certified Transactional Analyst and a Teaching and Supervising Transactional Analyst, a Teaching Member of the International Transactional Analysis Association, and an Associate Member of Waka Oranga. He is also the series editor of “Advancing Theory in Therapy” (Routledge, UK), the editor of Psychotherapy and Politics International (Wiley-Blackwell, UK), and, for six years, was the co-editor of Ata: Journal of Psychotherapy Aotearoa New Zealand. He is the author of over 250 peer-reviewed publications, including 15 books, the last of which are: Psychotherapy: A Critical Examination (PCCS Books, 2018), Pluralism in Psychotherapy: Critical Reflections from a Post-regulation Landscape (Resource Books, 2017), and Conscience and Critic: The Selected Works of Keith Tudor (Routledge, 2017).

All session
by Keith Tudor

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