Psychology in the Real World

Published work, conference presentations and media

Various resources used in the groups can be found on pages describing the groups and in The Resources and Other Articles Section. Please feel free to download and use these and anything else you find on the website. The aim of the website is to help people to set up groups.


Holmes, G. & Hudson, M. (2003) Coming off Medication. OpenMind, 123, 14-15.

Holmes, G. & Newnes, C. (2004)
Thinking about community psychology and poverty. Clinical Psychology, 38,19-22.

Holmes, G. (2006) Toxic Mental Environments. Clinical Psychology Forum
, 164, 39-43.

Holmes, G. (2006)
Some thoughts on ‘Psychology in the Real World: Understanding yourself and others’. Journal of Critical Psychology, Counselling and Psychotherapy, 6, 99-106.

Clare, J (2006) ‘Psychology in the Real World’: A participant’s response. Journal of Critical Psychology, Counselling and Psychotherapy
, 6, 107-109..

Howard, R. & Holmes, G. (2007) Reflections on a specialist groupwork placement. Clinical Psychology Forum
, 179, 11-14.

Holmes, G. & Gahan, L. (2007) The Psychology in the Real World
Understanding Yourself and Others Course: An attempt to have an impact on stigma and social inclusion. Groupwork, 16(3), 9-25.

Holmes, G., Hudson, M., The Living with Medication Group & May, R. (2008)
Coping with Coming Off. Openmind, 150, 12-13.

Holmes, G. (2008) Walk and Talk. Openmind
, 153, 12-13.

Holmes, G. (2010)
The potential for community-based groupwork to counter the effects of stigma. Journal of Critical Psychology, Counselling and Psychotherapy, 10, 127-140.

X, Elisabeth (2010)
Reflections on Psychology in the Real World groups. Journal of Critical Psychology, Counselling and Psychotherapy, 10, 140-147.

Evans, N., Gilpin, L., Holmes, G., Rafique, Z. & Yates, I. (2010) Power and status in groups. Therapy Today
, 21, 26-29.

Holmes, G. & Evans, N. (2011)
Walk and Talk. 1st International Conference on the Multi Dimensions of Well Being. University of Central England. See

Cartmell, J., Evans, N., Moloney, P., Rafique, Z. (2014) Toxic Mental Environments 2013: A social action therapy project. Journal of Critical Psychology, Counselling and Psychotherapy, 14, 100-107.

Concepts from the work of David Smail discussed by members of Walk and Talk. Journal of Critical Psychology, Counselling and Psychotherapy, (March 2015)


Holmes, G (2010) Psychology in the Real World: Community-based groupwork. PCCS Books: Llangaron
describes the groups and philosophies that underly them, as well as operating as a ‘How To’ book in terms of helping people to set up and run their own groups. The book has been positively reviewed in many journals; the following review appeared in The Psychologist in 2011:

This lively and thoughtful book describes the community based groups and courses that clinical psychologist Guy Holmes and colleagues have developed over the last ten years. Founded upon the central of insight of community psychology - that personal distress owes most to the kind of world in which people live – these projects have brought mental health service users and lay people together with the aims of helping them to better understand their toxic mental environments, to combat stigma and to seek stronger representation in the health services, and beyond. The author sets out the clinical framework for these groups by way of an accessible and entertaining discussion of the relevant scientific and philosophical literature. All of it interwoven with a refreshingly candid discussion of the practicalities, rewards and challenges involved.

So much more than just another group work ‘cookbook’, this volume will be invaluable to mental health service users, health and social care professionals and local people who are interested in putting community psychology ideas into practice, and to anyone who has ever asked themselves about the causes of unhappiness in our society.

Many of the groups were also influenced by two other books Guy co-edited: This is Madness and This is Madness Too.

Newnes, C., Holmes, G., & Dunn, C. (1999). This is Madness: A Critical Look at Psychiatry and the Future of Mental Health Services. PCCS Books: Llangaron.

Newnes, C., Holmes, G., & Dunn, C. (2001).
This is Madness Too: Critical Perspectives on Mental Health Services. PCCS Books: Llangaron.

Extracts from reviews of This is Madness:
This collection of critical essays on psychiatry is almost a who's who of the new anti-psychiatry movement. Jan Wallcraft, Openmind. The editors of This is Madness have achieved a rare blend for a book comprising different and disparate authors . . . Where the book really hits the target is in its highly successful attempt to merge user views with the opinions and views of mental health professionals . . . I will be recommending it to my students.
 Steve Baldwin, Changes, Vol. 17. This is Madness is clearly written and avoids jargon; it will be accessible to a wide variety of readers within and without the mental health system. It will be especially useful to persons involved in efforts to reform community mental health systems and to those developing psychosocial supports and services as an alternative to biomedical, coercive treatment and "care". This is Madness would also make an excellent reader for students at all levels in courses concerned with community mental health, combining critique of the psychiatric system on many levels with concrete exploration of the kinds of meaningful alternatives which can hope to be empowering and supportive of recovery in more than name. Michael McCubbin, Ethical Human Sciences and Services, Vol. 3.
This is Madness Too has also been positively reviewed:
Another excellent book from this trio, following up This is Madness . . . Together the essays present the case for a root and branch overhaul of the mental heath system . . . Go buy it, wherever you stand on these issues. This is serious, evidence-based stuff, not simply polemic. It may change minds as well as fuel the efforts of the converted. Catherine Jackson, Mental Health Today.
More information on This is Madness Too

Holmes, G. (2013) Toxic Mental Environments and other Psychology in the Real World groups. In S. Coles, S. Keenan & B. Diamond, Madness Contested: Power and Practice. Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books.

Conference presentations

As well as regularly meeting with people across the U.K. to help them set up similar groups, group facilitators have been asked to give presentations at many conferences:

Holmes, G. & Hudson, M. (2002) Coming off medication. National MIND Conference, Cardiff.

Holmes, G. & Newnes, C. (2004) Thinking about Community Psychology. National Community Psychology Conference, Birmingham.

Holmes, G. (2005) Helping People Come Off Neuroleptics. National MIND Conference: Coping With Coming Off, London.

Holmes, G. (2008) Psychology in the Real World: Community based groupwork. Beyond Cognitivism: West Midlands Community Psychology Conference. Birmingham.

Holmes, G. (2008) Psychology in the Real World: Toxic Mental Environments. Psychosis in Context Conference. Nottingham.

Holmes, G. & Evans, N (2009) The variety of outcomes of community-based groupwork
. Network for Change 21st Anniversary Conference. Leicester.

Holmes, G. & Evans, N (2009) Community-based groupwork in the ‘modern’ NHS
. Division of Clinical Psychology Psychosis and Complex Mental Health Faculty Annual Conference. London.

Coakley, C, Evans, N, Holmes, G & Upton, J (2010) Walk and Talk
. Service User Involvement Celebration Conference. Newport.

Holmes, G. & Evans, N. (2011) Walk and Talk. 1
st International Conference on the Multi-Dimensions of Well-Being. University of Central England.

Holmes, G. & Evans, N. (2012) Medication Groups. Medication Conference, York.


Radio 4’s All in the Mind did a programme about Walk and
Talk which was broadcast on 29/06/2010. The recording was made whilst on the walk and gives a good idea of what
Walk and Talk is like. It can be accessed on

Ramblings- with Clare Balding

On Monday 27th January 2014 Clare Balding joined us on to make a follow-up programme she made for BBC radio 4's Ramblings programme. She joined us on a walk with ex-members of the walking group run by Tony and Pat for many years, people who have come on
Walk and Talk, and other members of local walking groups. The Ramblings programme aired on Thursday 6th March and saturday 8th March. Click link below to listen to programme.

Ramblings Programme BBC radio 4

walk and talk, Shrewsbury

Well-being 2011 Conference pictures

Well-being Conference Birmingham 2011

Nicki Evans

Guy Holmes
Nicki Evans
Nicki Evans, Guy Holmes, Psychology in the Real World