We the Marlborough: elucidating users' experience of radical, informal therapeutic practices within a queer community pub

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


The Marlborough Pub is a vibrant social and creative centre of the LGBTQIA+ (and especially trans and nonbinary) community in Brighton, UK. A 2016 MindOut award recognised that something radical is happening here to support mental health among community members who often desire support but are disincentivised from accessing traditional talking therapies. We wanted to understand the lived experience of radical informal therapeutic and peer support practices in this queer community. To do so, we used Husserlian phenomenological analysis of interviews with ten members of the Marlborough community. We generated six themes delineating the kinds of support people experienced. Using extracts and interpretive writing we explore three of those themes here: (1) feeling recognised as you really are, (2) feeling safe to express the true self and (3) engaging in queer listening. The pub community offered a space/place for reciprocity, interconnectedness, embodiment and complex experiences of mental (ill/)health. Empathetic ‘queer’ listening transformed individually held distress into a shared basis for social bonds and community-based political resistance. For practitioners, our findings encourage viewing traumatic distress as a relational injury in which phenomenological work is part of a somatic healing process. We join a radical critique countering both anti-therapeutic neo-liberal psychiatric structures, and the heteronormative assumptions that impact LGBTQIA+ people. Through this, we provide inspiration for new ways to undertake psychotherapeutic and community psychological practice in queer communities, and in other settings where people routinely engage in informal peer support.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Innovative Community and Clinical Psychologies
EditorsCarl Walker, Anna Zoli, Sally Zlotowitz
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic) 9783030711900
ISBN (Print) 9783030711900, 9783030711900, 9783030711894
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • Resilience
  • Peer support
  • Emotional wellbeing
  • Coping
  • Photo Elicitation
  • phenomenology
  • queer studies


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