Chapter 4 sets out to provide a space for the reader to recognize and also reflect upon the ‘taken for granted’, or doxa. Here law and policy is not simply a matter of rules to be followed; instead the author asks the reader to look beyond any superficial acceptance of the legal and policy framework and question its very existence. This chapter especially asks that this questioning needs also to done by specialist professionals who might otherwise not allow themselves this opportunity. How do practitioners, as the author asks, come to be doing what they are doing and thinking what they are thinking. Arguing that professional practice is a result of the societal context in which they exist and in which they are educated, the author debates the social construction of normal behaviour. In turn he questions society’s way of coping with abnormal behaviour, especially where psychological ‘abnormality’ demands that help is provided even when not asked for. Picking up on the turmoil surrounding the reform of legislation in England and Wales, the author discusses in more detail the debate around underpinning principles of statutory mental health care and in particular the reason in England and Wales why the Government did not accept the reciprocity principle. Ideological uncertainty is a central theme for approved mental health practice to which this book returns.
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