Faith- and values-based services.

When we first began to describe what it was that we saw in the more innovative and inspirational of services (then mainly in homelessness), and so coined the phrase 'a psychologically informed environment' to describe this, many assumed (perhaps understandably) that this referred to services with clinical psychology at their heart.

Some services, of course, did; and it made a very positive difference. Some very good services, however, were motivated not by such specialist knowledge, but rather by a broader empathy, by compassion, and the values that stem from that. Of these, many had their faith as their core belief system.

The first article to suggest the term 'PIE', in a mental health journal, had suggested that :

          There is as yet, at least, no single or particular school of thought or of human understanding that necessarily underpins or informs the thinking in fostering a PIE. There is no one set of beliefs that the staff of a PIE need to sign up to, no overall view of the nature of human nature, or even of the underlying problems of the ‘membership’. So it might be any form of psychological theory that might inform the work of the staff, from psychodynamics to behaviourism, from Gestalt to evolutionary psychology, Transactional Analysis, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming to existential humanism, and all points between and beyond.

          It is perhaps arguable that a meditation space or retreat founded on the more psychologically oriented faiths, such as Buddhism, might qualify. Certainly the York Retreat, that original template for compassionate care, has a good claim to the name.........   But wherever that more psychological thinking can then be translated meaningfully into a carefully considered approach to re-designing and managing the social environment, then we have a PIE. It is these changes in day-to-day running, derived from reflective practice, that mark the development of the PIE. 

In the years since then, we have found many more services being developed with faith and values as their core beliefs. We have to acknowledge that the idea that 'psychology' is a clinical specialism, and 'faith' is 'merely' values-based, simply does not work.

The revised formulation, PIEs 2.0, therefore went out of its way to argue that 'ordinary empathy' and 'emotional intelligence' are the prerequisites; and it is a much broasder 'psychological awareness', rather than any specifc, more theory-based psychology lies at the heart of a PIE.

Further background and links

PIElink pages

The ethics and politics of PIEs : HERE

Social work, social exclusion and values-based practice : HERE

The lasting legacy of Supporting People : HERE

Policies and pragmatism in Housing First and PIEs : HERE


Library items

Social psychiatry and social policy for the 21st Century : HERE

The 'handy' guide to becoming a PIE (2018 remake) : HERE

From Sartre to Sen to Wilkinson : HERE

Joy MacKeith on The development of the Outcomes Star : HERE

Zack Ahmed on Participatory Appraisal ay PHRA : HERE