How much evidence is required for a paradigm shift?

Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica

‘Commentary on “Does social defeat mediate the association
between childhood trauma and psychosis?”:

How much evidence is required for a paradigm shift?’

 

Psychosis Journal Cover

Editorial: Voices in a Positive Light

 

Psychosis Journal Cover

 

What does it mean to think of voices ‘in a positive light’?

 

For the contributors to this first special issue of Psychosis, it means challenging any model that understands voice-hearing solely as the meaning-less symptom of an underlying disease, deficit, or dysfunction. Mainstream biomedical psychiatry’s account of auditory verbal hallucinations we regard as phenomenologically impoverished, actively disempowering, over-invested in unsupportable distinctions between ‘normal’ and ‘pathological’ voices, and ill-equipped to investigate or make sense of what is now known about the link between voice-hearing and people’s life experiences. As a result, its efforts to midwife recovery from the impairment that can be caused by some voices are at best incomplete and, at worse, actively harmful. Without downplaying the need for further investigation and critique of these dominant models, our goal in this special issue is to foreground positive approaches both to the experience of hearing voices and to the way this is conceptualised and researched.

 

 

 

Psychosis Journal Cover

Hearing Voices Peer Support Groups: A Powerful Alternative for People in Distress

Psychosis Journal CoverABSTRACT:

Hearing voices peer support groups offer a powerful alternative to mainstream psychiatric approaches for understanding and coping with states typically diagnosed as “hallucination”.  In this jointly authored first-person account, we distill what we have learned from 10 years of facilitating and training others to facilitate these groups and what enables them to work most effectively in the long term. Having witnessed the transformative power of these groups for people long considered unreachable as well as for those who receive some benefit from standard psychiatric treatment, we describe effects that cannot easily be quantified or studied within traditional research paradigms. We explain the structure and function of hearing voices peer support groups and the importance of training facilitators to acquire the skills necessary to ensure that groups operate safely, democratically, and in keeping with the theories and principles of the Hearing Voices Network.  The greater use of first-person experience as evidence in deciding what works or doesn’t work for people in extreme distress is advocated; randomized designs or statistically significant findings cannot constitute the only bases for clinical evaluations.

 

Just Saying It As It Is: Names matter; Language Matters; Truth Matters

Clinical language has colonised experiences of mental distress and alienation. Consequently, many accounts of healing and recovery seem to be about a decolonising process, a reclaiming of experience (Dillon and May, 2002). These counter narratives, which offer diverse representations of survival in adversity (hooks, 1993), follow in a long tradition of protest literature (Hornstein, 2002). From slavery abolitionists and suffragettes, to feminists and black and gay civil rights activists, who have repudiated dominant, oppressive ideologies via the language of discrimination, to challenge injustice. Many of us within mental health activism have argued that it is crucial to decolonise the medicalised language of human experience in order to contest the dominant paradigm of the biomedical model of madness and distress. After all, fighting for the rights of those labelled mentally ill, is the last great civil rights movement (Dillon et al, 2013).

Just Saying It As It Is: Names matter; Language Matters; Truth Matters

 

 

Clinical language has colonised experiences of mental distress and alienation. Consequently, many accounts of healing and recovery seem to be about a decolonising process, a reclaiming of experience (Dillon and May, 2002). These counter narratives, which offer diverse representations of survival in adversity (hooks, 1993), follow in a long tradition of protest literature (Hornstein, 2002). From slavery abolitionists and suffragettes, to feminists and black and gay civil rights activists, who have repudiated dominant, oppressive ideologies via the language of discrimination, to challenge injustice. Many of us within mental health activism have argued that it is crucial to decolonise the medicalised language of human experience in order to contest the dominant paradigm of the biomedical model of madness and distress. After all, fighting for the rights of those labelled mentally ill, is the last great civil rights movement (Dillon et al, 2013).

 

The Work of Experience Based Experts

Judi Chamberlin died in January, 2010 (Hevesi 2010). This chapter consists of a shortened version of Judi’s chapter in the first edition of Models of Madness, followed by a summary on the effectiveness of user led services and an account of the Hearing Voices Movement by Jacqui Dillon, Peter Bullimore and Debra Lampshire

Out Now: New Edition of Bestselling Book – Models of Madness

Models of Madness

Psychological, Social and Biological Approaches to Psychosis

Second Edition

Edited by John Read, University of Liverpool, UK

and Jacqui Dillon, National Chair, Hearing Voices Network, UK

 “Truly, a revolution is occuring in our understanding of severe mental illness…This volume will serve as an inspiration, not only to established clinicians and researchers, but to the young people who will develop better services for people with psychosis in the future.” 

– Prof Richard Bentall, From the Foreword.

 

The publication is very timely given the international debate about this month’s publication of DSM-5, the latest and most controversial version of psychiatry’s diagnostic ‘bible’. Our book documents all the evidence showing that these diagnoses are unscientific and a major cause of the stigma faced by people who receive these labels. It also presents the research demonstrating the urgent need for a fundamental paradigm shift towards evidence-based, effective and humane mental health services.”

– Prof John Read, Lead Editor

Are hallucinations and delusions really symptoms of an illness called ‘schizophrenia’? Are mental health problems really caused by chemical imbalances and genetic predispositions? Are psychiatric drugs as effective and safe as the drug companies claim? Is madness preventable?

This second edition of Models of Madness challenges the simplistic, pessimistic and often damaging theories and treatments of the ‘medical model’ of madness. Psychiatric diagnoses and medications are based on the false premise that human misery and distress are casued by chemical imbalances and genetic predispositions, and ignore the social causes of psychosis and what psychiatrists call ‘schizophrenia’. This edition updates the now extensive body of research showing that hallucinations and delusions etc. are best understood as reactions to adverse life events and that psychological and social approaches to helping are more effective and far safer than psychiatric drugs and electroshock treatment. A new final chapter discusses why such a damaging ideology has come to dominate mental health and, most importantly, how to change that.  

 Models of Madness is divided into three sections:

  1. Section One provides a history of madness, including examples of violence against the ‘mentally ill’, before critiquing the theories and treatments of contemporary biological psychiatry and documenting the corrupting influence of drug companies
  2. Section Two summarises the research showing that hallucinations, delusions etc. are primarily caused by adverse life events (eg. parental loss, bullying, abuse and neglect in childhood, poverty, etc.) and can be understood using psychological models ranging from cognitive to psychodynamic
  3. Section Three presents the evidence for a range of effective psychological and social approaches to treatment, from cognitive and family therapy to primary prevention.

This book brings together thirty-seven contributors from ten countries and a wide range of scientific disciplines. It provides an evidence-based, optimistic antidote to the pessimism of biological psychiatry.

Models of Madness will be essential reading for all involved in mental health, including service users, family members, service managers, policy makers, nurses, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, counsellors, psychoanalysts, social workers, occupational therapists, and art therapists.

Download flyer to receive 20% discount from Routledge!

Models of Madness Flyer

http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415579537/

 

 

Trauma, Dissociation, Attachment & Neuroscience: A new paradigm for understanding severe mental distress

Special Edition: Complex reactions to severe trauma

The paper by Dillon, Johnstone & Longden in this volume (Trauma, Dissociation, Attachment and Neuroscience) brings together evidence from the neuroscience and mental health literature with the hope that this might lead to a paradigm shift in the way that people are seen and helped. Hopefully they are right, and biopsychosocial models worthy of the name may come to dominate practice, rather than models that sometimes masquerade as biopsychosocial but which are basically ‘bio-bio-bio models’, with social and psychological factors reduced to mere events that trigger an underlying genetic illness (Read, Bentall & Fosse, 2009).

JCPCP is a peer-reviewed journal which values personal experience above professional boundaries and doctrinal jargon. It provides a forum for ideas, experience and views of people working in the psychological world and those who use psychotherapy or receive psychiatric services. The journal encourages a critical, reflexive view of psychology and counselling and is a constant challenge to orthodoxy. Our contributors reflect on their work and experiences in therapy, in relationships and in institutions. The journal embraces philosophical, radical and scientific perspectives in its analysis of psychological, psychiatric and psychotherapeutic systems. With a following wind, it will sometimes make you laugh out loud.