I find podcasts a great way to learn and so I have been using my long commute to work to sit back and listen to some great stuff. Podcasts are little radio style shows or interviews that bring you viewpoints you may not find on mainstream radio. It has enabled me to access talk shows about psychology, philosophy, religion and even research methodology. I have an android phone and I use the app ‘pocket casts’ to manage all the various podcasts I subscribe to. If you have an iphone try ‘down cast’. These handy little apps enable you to search for categories, trending podcasts and top ranking podcasts which will get you started. You can download when you have wifi and then listen to the podcast anywhere at any time. Its easy so if you are thinking that it all sounds too techie by miles – give it a go!
I wanted to alert you to a couple of my favourite podcasts. Favourites because they have been relevant to my work in the violence and abuse field. Firstly there is the excellent ‘onbeing’ series hosted by American journalist Krista Tippett. I have really enjoyed a number of episodes of the show as Tippett interviews some excellent people. Its something about her style of interviewing – she digs for the deeper motivations people have for doing the work they do. But its also the choice of people. NPR, the broadcaster hosting the show says ‘On Being takes up the big questions of meaning with scientists and theologians, artists and teachers’ and I think that is an apt description. The big questions tend to touch on the spiritual and the content is always full of humanity. There are plenty of people discussing their work in tackling social inequalities and racism features significantly. Its hard to chose which podcast to recommend but I think it has to be the interview with Brene Brown – the courage to be vulnerable. Throughout I kept thinking about men who abuse their partners. How different our world would be if everyone and men in particular found the courage to be vulnerable. But I have also passed this recommendation to women survivors struggling with a powerfully debilitating desire to keep control. Brown talks about the research she did into what makes for a wholehearted life and the discovery that wholeheartedness was linked to a capacity to be vulnerable. You can access the show online too:
The second podcast that proved a stimulating listen came from another American show (what is it with americans and me?) called ‘Shrinkrap radio’. This show is hosted by ‘Dr Dave’ a psychology professor and it focuses on psychological theories and experiences. Mindfulness junkies will find plenty of content and anyone wanting to know about therapeutic approaches will also be happy. I tend to be quite picky so there is quite alot that drives me mad – despite being a therapist I do switch off when it gets too earnest. But the podcast with Peter Kinderman caught my attention. Kinderman critiques the ‘disease model’ of mental health, setting out some excellent arguments for dispensing with the practice of handing out diagnostic labels (e.g. bordeline personality disorder). Practitioners in the violence and abuse field are not immune from being seduced into accepting diagnostic labels at face value. A listen to Kinderman’s arguments might even lead you to read his book on the same subject. Shrinkrap is also available online and the episode is here: