Rich People Just Care Less.

Image From today’s New York Times

While Mr. Keltner’s research finds that the poor, compared with the wealthy, have keenly attuned interpersonal attention in all directions, in general, those with the most power in society seem to pay particularly little attention to those with the least power. To be sure, high-status people do attend to those of equal rank — but not as well as those low of status do.

This has profound implications for societal behavior and government policy. Tuning in to the needs and feelings of another person is a prerequisite to empathy, which in turn can lead to understanding, concern and, if the circumstances are right, compassionate action.

What does this have to do with counselling?

Google “counselling for return to work.” The first link is to the notorious “Counselling the jobless back to work,”  an unreferenced glorification of the loathed and horrendously expensive and ineffective Work Programme. The opinions of  fraud-ridden G4S and A4E are provided with no context at all. But then, this is another therapy today piece that sees unemployed people as “a huge opportunity.”

The links after that are to workplace welfare schemes, many of which are no doubt very good. And then there’s one provided by ATOS. The list of suicides and deaths connected to ATOS is into the tens of thousands.

Imagine if people who were unemployed and needed counselling were treated in the same manner as people who visited a prestige counselling service. The agencies that offer a low-fee service are often better supervised than the individuals who pitch their services at people who can afford £100+ an hour but they’re mostly staffed by students.