The problem with traditional psychiatry and a vision for reform

Welcome to open guest lectures with James Davies and Peter Kinderman entitled "The problem with traditional psychiatry and a vision for reform".

James Davis: The Book of Mental Disorders (the DSM) – a work of fact or fiction?

James Davies

Why is psychiatry such big business? Why are so many psychiatric drugs prescribed, and why, without solid scientific justification, has the number of mental disorders risen from 106 in 1952, to around 370 today?

In this talk, Dr James Davies takes 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, major depression and Aspergers? – or were less-scientific and unexpected processes at play? His exclusive interviews with the creators of the DSM reveal the answer.

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 psychotherapy at the University of Roehampton and a practicing psychotherapist. He has written widely in academe and has delivered lectures at the universities of Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Brown, London, Columbia, and The New School (New York). Davies has also written for The Times, The New Scientist, The Guardian and Salon.

Peter Kinderman: "A manifesto for mental health: why we need a whole new approach to mental health and wellbeing"

Peter Kinderman

This talk will introduce a radical new approach to mental health and wellbeing. It will challenge some of our current assumptions about mental health and mental illness, and recommend transformational evolution in how we could deliver care better, more humanely and more scientifically.

Starting from the psychological perspective that our beliefs, emotions and behaviours – including our mental health – are the product of the way we have learned to make sense of the world, it will argue that mental health problems are fundamentally social and psychological issues.

It follows that we should therefore replace ‘diagnoses’ with straightforward descriptions of people’s problems, radically reduce use of medication, and use it pragmatically rather than presenting it as ‘treatment’. Instead, we need understand how each person has learned to make sense of the world, and tailor help to their unique and complex needs. We need to offer care rather than coercion, and establish the social prerequisites for genuine mental health and wellbeing.

Peter Kinderman is professor of Clinical Psychology and the Head of the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society at the University of Liverpool, and an honorary Consultant Clinical Psychologist with Mersey Care NHS Trust.

Kinderman is President-Elect of the British Psychological Society

Published Mar. 8, 2016 8:30 AM - Last modified Mar. 8, 2016 9:01 AM