Kathryn Ecclestone

author, ‘The dangerous rise of therapeutic education.’
Speaking at


The ‘rise of therapeutic education’ ten years on: a passing fad or still dangerous?

Research for The Dangerous Rise of Therapeutic Education, published in 2008, began in 2006. Itpredicted that preoccupation with mental health problems and general ‘vulnerability’ would come to permeate not only the whole education system but also workplaces. Focusing on developments in universities, this session evaluates the effects of this preoccupation on how we understand the key purposes of education.


Kathryn Ecclestone began her education career as a ‘life and social skills’ instructor in the Youth Opportunities Programme for unemployed 16-19 year olds in BirminghamthenRotherhaminthelate1970s. Shethen taught on Access to Higher Education programmes, BTEC Nationals and teacher training for further and adult education lecturers before moving to higher education in 1993.

Her research explores the ways in preoccupation with mental health, resilience and vulnerability now pervades social policy, everyday and working life, focusing particularly on the effects of a ‘therapeutic ethos’ on teaching/learning relationships, institutional support systems and ideas about what counts as appropriate curriculum knowledge.