Selling Sickness 2013

first road test

I (LT) just gave a workshop about “Selling Sickness, 2013” at the annual meeting of the Association for Women in Psychology (AWP), held this weekend in sunny Salt Lake City, Utah. A lively group turned up to hear about the philosophy and planning of the event, to examine the program, Call for Action, Booktivism and “Popcorn Showcase” items, and to discuss how “Selling Sickness, 2013” represented a partnership model of academic/advocate activism that could inspire others.

The keynote at AWP had been given by Ouyporn Khuankaew, a Thai Buddhist feminist activist. Its focus was “how feminist activists can collaboratively work together in crossing borders (of culture, location, language, race, class, sexuality, religion, etc.) through the partnership model.” I was enormously moved to realize that Kim and I had enacted this model as if we had been working from a blueprint.

  • lengthy deep listening, not just talking
  • sharing and working together, not just helping and giving
  • being a witness to suffering, not just trying to fix
  • asking questions not offering solutions
  • connecting with others, not working in splendid isolation
  • approaching each topic with an open mnd (a beggar’s bowl), accepting any possibility for learning

It’s a bit of a shock to think that we had engaged for 18 months in a spiritual practice, but I know that what we accomplished was important and any lens that gives us new understanding is worthwhile.
Trying to turn the tanker of disease-mongering, as we often said to each other, will require a fresh approach and a fresh toolkit, and in talking about it this morning in Salt Lake City, I began to think that what we could now call our “partnership model” might just be the right ticket!

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