How do traumatic events in early life affect you in later years? And how can you best heal from them?
Why, without solid scientific justification, has the number of mental disorders risen from 106 in the 1960s, to around 370 today? Who benefits from this?
What does the latest psychological research reveal about the link between meaning in life and emotional wellbeing?
These are just some of the topics the speakers will discuss at The Weekend University this month.
In this series of talks, you’ll learn:
You’ll learn how these insights can benefit your own life, but also your ability to help others, too.
Why, without solid scientific justification, has the number of mental disorders risen from 106 in the 1960s, to around 370 today?
Why has the definition of mental disorder expanded to include ever more domains of human experience?
In the first part of this lecture, Dr James Davies will take us behind the scenes of how the psychiatrist’s bible, the DSM, was actually written – did science drive the construction of new mental disorder categories like ADHD and major depression or were less scientific and more unexpected processes at play? His exclusive interviews with the creators of the DSM reveal the answer.
The second part will address why psychiatry is such big business, and why, on the whole, it may be doing more harm than good. You’ll get insider knowledge on how psychiatry has put riches and medical status above patients’ well-being. The charge sheet is damning; negative drug trials routinely buried; antidepressants that work no better than placebos; research regularly manipulated to produce positive results; doctors, seduced by huge pharmaceutical rewards, creating more disorders and prescribing more pills; and ethical, scientific and treatment flaws unscrupulously concealed by mass-marketing.
You’ll learn the true human cost of an industry that, in the name of helping others, has actually been helping itself.
Dr James Davies graduated from the University of Oxford in 2006 with a DPhil in Social and Medical Anthropology.
He is a Reader in Social Anthropology and Mental Health at the University of Roehampton and a practicing psychotherapist. James has delivered lectures at universities such as Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Oslo, Brown, UCL and Columbia.
He has written for The Times, The New Scientist, The Guardian and Salon, and is author of the bestselling book: Cracked: why psychiatry is doing more harm than good.
James is the co-founder of the Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry, now secretariat to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence. His latest book: ‘Mental Health in Crisis’ will be published later this year.
We live in an era of political, economic and climatic crises.
Any normal individual would be emotionally affected by such events. Therefore, it is not a surprise that some experts claim that we currently face the largest mental health crisis mankind has ever experienced. In fact, almost one in two people will now experience a severe mental health problem at some point during their lifetime.
The first part of this presentation will describe how the current mental health crisis may be caused by socio-economic circumstances that prevent individuals from living a meaningful life. Specifically, it will address how structural community crises, governmental austerity measures, societal existential crisis, educational and academic crises affect our ability to experience meaning in life.
The second part will describe how the current mental health care system is in crisis, and how, instead of helping people, can actually make problems worse. Specifically, it will examine the role played by biomedical lobbies, financial crises, and unfounded psychiatric diagnoses in causing these problems. The sum of these examples suggest that a small group of powerful individuals benefit from current system, whereas many more suffer unnecessarily.
The third section will explore evidence-based ways individuals can live meaningful lives – despite these circumstances. You’ll learn about the latest research on the link between meaning in life and mental health; specifically, how increasing meaning can act as a safeguard against mental health problems, and improve emotional wellbeing.
The lecture will conclude with a vision for an alternative mental health care system; one which focuses on the social context of individuals and empowers them to live meaningful and satisfying lives.
Dr Joel Vos, PhD, CPsychol (www.joelvos.com) is psychologist and philosopher. He is deputy course leader of the professional doctorate in Existential Psychotherapy and Counselling at the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling. He also works as lecturer and chair of the Meaningful Living Research Group at the Metanoia Institute London.
Joel is director of the internet platform Meaning Online and is chair of the successful IMEC International Meaning Conferences London (www.meaning.org.uk) the next of which will be held 12-14 July 2019. Joel has over 70 scientific publications to his name, including the books ‘Meaning in Life: an Evidence-Based Handbook for Practitioners’ (Palgrave McMillan) and ‘Fifty Pictures of Living a Meaningful Life’ (amazon.co.uk). His latest book, ‘Mental Health in Crisis’, will be published later this year.
Do you still need your psychiatric diagnosis? Or should we be asking not: “What is wrong with you?” but rather: “What has happened to you?”
Mental distress is very real. But what we are very rarely told is that the dominant explanations for these experiences – such as that they are ‘symptoms’ of an ‘illness’ caused by a ‘chemical imbalance’ which psychiatric drugs will rectify – has never had any evidence to support it.
This may come as a surprise, since what is referred to as the ‘biomedical model’ of distress has taken such a hold in public consciousness. At the same time, levels of distress seem to be increasing along with a rise in prescriptions.
Something has gone badly wrong.
We now have a range of alternatives to the diagnostic approach. They can be summarised as various ways of listening to people’s stories – stories that often, though not always, involve trauma, abuse, loss, neglect, poverty and discrimination.
The Power Threat Meaning Framework is a recent project developed in partnership with users of mental health services. By drawing on and expanding these ideas, it has the potential to move us beyond the failed diagnostic paradigm once and for all. Please click here for resources, videos and guided discussion on The Power Threat Meaning Framework.
Dr Lucy Johnstone, CPsychol, is a UK clinical psychologist, trainer, speaker and writer, and a long-standing critic of biomedical model psychiatry. She has worked in adult mental health settings for many years, alternating with academic posts. She is the former Programme Director of the Bristol Clinical Psychology Doctorate, a highly regarded course which was based on a critical, politically-aware and service-user informed philosophy, along with an emphasis on personal development.
Lucy has authored a number of books, articles and chapters on topics such as psychiatric diagnosis, formulation, the psychological effects of ECT, and the role of trauma in breakdown. She was a contributor to the Division of Clinical Psychology ‘Position Statement on Classification’ 2013.
Lucy has spent over five years working alongside a team of the UK’s leading psychologists to develop ‘The Power Threat Meaning Framework’, which offers an alternative to more traditional models of psychiatric diagnoses, and a new perspective on why people experience mental distress.
Her latest book: A Straight Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Diagnosis was published in 2014. You can follow Lucy on twitter @ClinpsychLucy.
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