22nd June: Outrageous Reason: Madness and Race in Britain and Empire, 1780-2020


OUTRAGEOUS REASON: MADNESS AND RACE IN BRITAIN AND EMPIRE, 1780–2020   Peter Barham with a foreword by Dwight Turner 

 Book Reading with Peter Barham followed by a discussion between Peter Barham and Marion Gow

Saturday 22nd June 2024, 2:00-4.00pm BST

Online via zoom

The event is free, but please reserve your place - book here.


This powerful and disturbing book draws direct comparisons between the plight and fates of African slaves, dehumanised and discarded to sanitise Britain’s trade in human lives and imperial ambitions, and the systemic ‘othering’ of people designated ‘mad’ throughout Western history. Drawing on contemporary historical records, Peter Barham recounts, often in their own words, the stories of black people incarcerated in the lunatic asylum at Kingston Jamaica, poor white women similarly ejected into the British psychiatric system in the early 20th century for failing to live up to class and gender norms, and most shockingly, black men who have died at the hands of the police and mental health nurses in state custody and psychiatric detention. Endemic racism, greed, cruelty, exploitation and social control are writ large across this account that demands to be read by all those concerned for human rights, mad rights, Black lives and truth-telling about Britain’s shameful colonial past and racist present.


Peter Barham has been working, writing and engaging critically in the mental health field for more than 50 years. His work straddles clinical research, psychoanalysis, practical initiative, historical inquiry, mental health activism and film making. He has a PhD in abnormal psychology from the University of Durham and in modern history from the University of Cambridge. He is a chartered psychologist and was elected a fellow of the British Psychological Society for his ‘outstanding contribution to psychological approaches to the understanding of psychosis’. He is the founder of the Hamlet Trust, which pioneered grassroots mental health reform in Central and Eastern Europe, supported by George Soros’ Open Society Institute. His books include  Schizophrenia and Human Value (1995), first published in 1984, Forgotten Lunatics of the Great War (2004, 2007) and Closing the Asylum: The mental patient in modern society, first published in 1992 and reissued in 2020. 


Marion Gow Psychoanalytic psychotherapist. Member of the Guild of Psychotherapists and UKCP
She has worked both privately and in the voluntary sector including Women’s Aid, Family Welfare Association, The Women’s Therapy Centre, The Guild Clinic as Chair, The Guild training committee. She is a pluralist by persuasion with special interest in Laplanche and all contemporary theories that can assist in interrogating all forms of psychological difficulties including Race Class Gender and Sexuality and all matters critical to understanding oneself and others .
As a psychotherapist, feminist and now older woman she has a critical interest in the social, political, racial and gendered dimensions of the human condition and how they too enigmatically present themselves.

Donations for The Guild of Psychotherapists reduced fee clinic would be welcome

A recording will be available for ticket buyers for a month after the event.

CPD certificates available on request.


For your copy of Outrageous Reason £21.50 p&p inc bit.ly/outrageousreason

Image credit ‘All Hands on Decks’ (2003) by Denzil Forrester 


Organised by the Race and Culture Committee of the Guild of Psychotherapists.

The Race and Culture Committee (RCC) was set up to provide a forum for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic members of The Guild of Psychotherapists to discuss issues of common concern, address ‘racial’ and cultural ques

tions from a psychoanalytic and analytical psychology perspective, and promote anti-racist practice and racial equity within psychotherapy and the wider community. It embodies the values and purposes of The Guild in establishing ‘a pluralistic professional body to foster independence of thought, a spirit of inquiry, and freedom to develop creatively for the benefit of the profession and the public seeking psychological help.'