Professor Richard Bentall and Dr Duncan Douglas addressed the CPJA annual Conference ” Cure or Contain? Challenging the Medical Model “

At the Annual CPJA Conference on the 14 th October, Chair Andy Cottom said of GP s and Psychiatrists in general, ” why does no one ask me what am I feeling instead of what s wrong with me ? ”  This summed up the short-comings of the medical -model which the two speakers , Richard Bentall and Duncan Douglas , a psychologist and a psychiatrist, challenged.

The Newly appointed Professor of Clinical Psychology at Sheffield University , and well-known researcher, Richard Bentall stressed the importance of trauma therapy at the Annual CPJA Conference in London on 14th October. Addressing the meeting of psychoanalytic /psychodynamic psychotherapists , he said that the more severe the trauma, the more likelihood of experiencing a mental illness.

Challenging the traditional view of psychiatry that mental illness is a brain disorder, he emphasised the importance of social, environmental and psychological factors in triggering mental illness. Professor Bentall said research shows there is no specific gene that causes mental disorder but only that there is a general risk of psychosis in the general population. He blamed the media and fake news for pedalling such ideas . By outlining research to support his thesis and pointing out the flaws in the research cited by proponents of the medical model of psychiatry , he made a compelling case .

He cited a list of precipitating factors for mental ill health such as : – migration, childhood poverty , abuse and trauma , urban living, bullying inequality and parent communication deviance ( vague speech from carer to child ) and explained why this was the case.

Asking why bad things continue to happen later in adulthood to those vulnerable to these socio/psychological factors, he said that research has shown that there are specific associations between specific kinds of adversity . Certain kinds of symptoms had been explored such as in the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey which looked at paranoid symptoms and auditory/visual hallucinations, ( Bentall et al 2007 ) They found that people who experienced rape or childhood sexual abuse and trauma, tended to develop hallucinations whereas those experiencing residential and institutional care such as prisoners, tended to exhibit symptoms of paranoia .

Summing up , he said that ” the evidence is rock solid for environmental factors ” and that ” if you want to make the world a mentally healthy place , you ve got to change the world ”

Dr Duncan , a leading member of Critical Psychiatry and a psychologist and psychiatrist, outlined the history of mental illness , emphasising that by reducing mental problems to brain disorders had led to coercion and abuse of patient rights . Bio-medical interventions had been counterproductive and he went on to show that Randomised Controlled Trials , the so -called ” gold standard ” failed to address their own inbuilt  biases . He continued to show how such studies ignored the negative outcomes, preferring to publish those that over-emphasised the effectiveness of treatment.

Challenging the type of research  supported by  Professor David Clark, Oxford University and Professor Layard from the LSE , Dr Duncan said that they were very influential in gaining the ” political clout” that led to the Government’s IAPT programme. He  called IAPT the  ” political explanation of psychological quackery ” . Furthermore , he demonstrated how this research overstated the effectiveness of treatment and called for wider measures within the research because at present it shows that 50% of IAPT clients do not get better and relapse rates in short-term therapy are high whilst control data over the longer-term therapy are hard to collect .

“We need to be honest about the aims of therapy ” he told the audience, and citing the work of Rosemary  Rizq ( the speaker at last year s conference ) who has written  that IAPT amounts  to ” a perversion of care ” ,  he retorted ,  ” saying IAPT is a marvellous treatment has to stop .”  Both speakers  called for the collaboration between psychotherapists and clinical psychologists to work together to challenge this dominant medical-model schema .

Rhoda Dorndorf

October 17th 2017

Who is my Jung? Conference at British Library 11 November 2017

Tickets for the  ‘Who is my Jung’ conference at the British Library on 11th November can be booked here as the hall is filling.

The conference offers a unique chance to experience a full range of contemporary Jungian viewpoints. This is because, unusually, the speakers are drawn from all five of the member groups in London of the International Association for Analytical Psychology. Such events do not happen very often. The member groups follow differing tracks within the Jungian field, though, of course, there is overlap.

If you click here you’ll see that the range of themes is relevant and exciting. The conference offers more than a reprise of the basic concepts and tenets of analytical psychology.  Who knows when such a chance will come again?

BAPPS Autumn Conference 11 November 2017: Dr Maggie Turp

Saturday 11th November, 2017


 Dr Maggie Turp

A capacity for self-care is grounded in the care we receive in early life and sustained, or not sustained, through our on-going relationships, both personal and professional. Without a well-functioning capacity for self-care, we are vulnerable to internal and external pressures to take on too much and leave too little time for processing and recovery. Our capacity to support supervisees in their self-care is likewise compromised. In order to better understand the capacity for self-care and the pressures that assail it, the presentation will draw on infant observation extracts and case study examples. There will be opportunities for discussion in large and small groups throughout the day and participants will be invited to share their experience, whether personal or professional, with due regard to confidentiality and appropriate disguise of potentially identifying details.

Workshop topics include: elements involved in self-care; parental care and the internalisation of a self-caring capacity; finding a balance between caution and adventurousness; knowing our limits: the protective function of the psychic skin boundary; finding a balance between emotional and physical self-care; the role of the external and internal supervisor.

Non Members: £85 / Early Bird: £75;  BAPPS Members:  £75 / Early Bird: £60;   Early Bird deadline bookings to be made by 22nd  September 2017

Full details are available here                                      Enquiries to: