Drop the disorder? – Towards a more informed & respectful response to emotional distress
A group for therapeutic and support professionals & other interested parties to discuss issues around the ‘biomedical’ model of mental distress. Feelings and thoughts about the language of ‘disorder’ , diagnosis, medicalisation and medication all welcome here.
“The relevant question in psychiatry shouldn’t be what’s wrong with you but what happened to you?” (Eleanor Longden)
Yesterday Sue and I repeated the trauma workshop with another lovely bunch of counsellors.
We looked at Judith Herman’s three stage model of working with trauma. Its a model i’ve found invaluable in my work, and it is always a pleasure to teach and share it with others. Sue’s afternoon on using art in trauma work was a creative and powerful session. Sue showed us how art can be used whilst still working very much with the three stage approach.
Thanks to Sue and thanks to all participants – you really made it a memorable day.
This one day Continuing Professional Development (CPD) event is for everyone who is interested in the current debates around mental health. It aims to attract psychologists, counsellors, psychotherapists, mental health support professionals as well as managers and individuals with a personal interest.
Facilitated by Dr Lucy Johnstone & Jo Watson and featuring spoken word artists Jasmine Gardosi & Jo McFarlane. It is a chance to discuss the critical questions of the day around the biomedical model in mental health.
Lucy Johnstone will summarise current debates and controversies about psychiatric diagnosis. It is increasingly acknowledged, even within the mental health establishment, that categories like ‘schizophrenia’, ‘bipolar disorder’ and ‘personality disorder’ lack validity. The false assumption that distress is best ￼understood as disease can have very serious consequences for the individual, their identity, and their path to recovery. Lucy will present alternatives to diagnosis which can help clients to make sense of experiences of distress, however extreme, and which are based on working together to explore personal meaning. There will opportunities for debate and practice-based exercises.
Dr Lucy Johnstone 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, (including ‘Users and Abusers of Psychiatry, 2nd edn 2000) articles and chapters on topics such as psychiatric diagnosis, formulation, the psychological effects of ECT, and the role of trauma in breakdown.
Lucy was a contributor to the British Psychological Society’s response to the proposed DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) revisions. She is currently convening a group of leading UK clinical psychologists and mental health experts who are working to develop an evidence-based and conceptually coherent alternative to the current diagnostic systems.
Her new book, A Straight-Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Diagnosis, is available via the link below
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1906254664/ https://www.madinamerica.com/author/ljohnstone/ Twitter – @ClinpsychLucy
￼Jo Watson is a psychotherapist, trainer and supervisor with a professional history in the rape crisis movement of the 1990’s. She has works therapeutically for the last 20 years with people who have experienced trauma. Jo actively challenges the bio-medical model of mental health inside and outside of work and links distress and mental ill health to psycho-social causes. (trauma, oppression, lack of positive attachment etc) Jo believes that in many cases the identification with a ‘diagnosis’ is damaging and counterproductive to a satisfactory healing process and that alternative understandings should be offered.
“For me at the very core of the therapeutic process is the telling of personal stories, the naming and acknowledgment of experience. It is, fundamentally a process of making sense of distress in a relationship that feels affirming, safe and containing. Why then are many counsellors and therapists seemingly accepting the movement towards labels and diagnosis that too often negate the experiences that clients have had. What impact is this having on therapeutic practice, on us as professionals and on the clients we work with? Surely this is a discussion that we need to have.” Jo
https://www.facebook.com/JWpsychotherapy/ Twitter – @JWpsychotherapy
(Jasmine Gardosi is the current Midlands Slam Champion & Birmingham Poet Laureate finalist 2014/15) http://www.jasminegardosi.com
Jasmine will be performing a spoken word piece about the issues being discussed.
The Ark is a bright, contemporary venue that is minutes from junction 2 of the M42 and a 2 minute walk away from Alvechurch train station. There is ample car parking space and is fully accessible for disabled participants.
A buffet lunch and refreshments are provided (All hours are valid CPD hours for BACP and UKCP (CPD Certificates will be issued)
Slide show of the event
Poem by Sally Fox that was performed by Jo McFarlane
No Apology in Pathology
They never say sorry when they get it wrong
even though you told them all along.
You didn’t quite agree
But technically that isn’t disagreeing
Twelve psychiatrists later
and a decade lost to medication and side effects…
Finally I am listened to,
having evidenced with detailed mood charts
It feels like respect
But instead, a new diagnosis is given
It’s not so much mood as behaviour driven.
Personality Disorder! and Borderline at that!
“What about Bipolar? Do they overlap?”
They can co-exist
But there’s the matter of your manias…
They’re not quite long enough, She said
So I’m a borderline Bipolar
“Can I come off my meds?”
A solemn expression followed by:
I wouldn’t recommend it
“Well I really want to. Can’t we at least try it?”
Epilim was the first to go
and signs of mania started to show:
Elation caused by the drug’s withdrawal.
We slowed down the process
to a gentler regime.
Next to go was Lamotrigine –
a cautious and careful wean.
Two years later I’m mood-stabiliser free
and I’ve completed three years in DBT
In remission and recovery
Everyone’s so proud of me
But, that damn label is still stuck to me.
There really is no apology in pathology
“A Disorder for Everyone !”
exploring the culture of psychiatric diagnosis 15/10/16 The Ark Alvechurch
The day was skilfully woven together by Jo Watson who introduced the event with some wise words and then invited Jo McFarlane to speak. This included some of Jo’s life as well as some of hers and her partner Sally Fox heartfelt poetry.
From there, Jo then introduced The main speaker, Lucy Johnstone, a clinical psychologist. Lucy Johnstone’s very informative input formed the bulk of the day as we all listened to her extensive experience and enormous effort in her approach to challenging main stream psychiatric diagnosis.
After the delicious lunch that was provided for us, Lucy continued with a workshop further exploring the days theme.
The day was rounded up with Jasmine Gardosi, an exceptional talent with the spoken word, reading a poem written by Jo Watson and the combination of Jo’s powerful and moving poem read by the talented Jasmine brought the day to an impressive end.
The feel of the day was relaxed, very informative, well managed and by close, I am sure we all took plenty home to help expand our awareness and understanding around the days topic.
A quote from the day that stood out for me was from Lucy Johnstone quoting survivor Beth Filson, which made a very salient point and I fully agree, when we are given the opportunity;
“healing happens with the re-storying of our lives”
A one Day CPD event – for Counsellors, Psychotherapists & Mental Health Professionals (including afternoon session on using art therapy)
Dates – Saturday 21st May ’16 and repeated… Saturday 18th June ’16
Time – 9.30am – 4.30pm
Trainers – Jo Watson & Sue Akehurst
Venue – Alvechurch, Birmingham (full address and directions sent out after booking)
Price – £85 (reductions & free places available)
To book – Contact Jo firstname.lastname@example.org 07769158565
All hours are valid CPD hours for BACP and UKCP (CPD Certificates will be issued)
This course is inspired by the work of Judith Herman and aimed at counsellors, psychotherapists and mental health professionals who wish to increase their awareness of working with clients who have experienced trauma and learn person centred creative techniques, to integrate safely and effectively into their therapeutic practice.
The morning session (Jo)
This session will introduce Herman’s 3 stage model of working with trauma was introduced to jo almost 20 years ago when she undertook a course delivered by Women and Girls Network (WAGN) London, in collaboration with Rape Crisis Federation of Wales and England and the London Open College Network.
“The course… ‘Working Therapeutically With Women Who Have Experienced Violence’ was monumental in my growth as a therapist and I have been using this model of working with trauma ever since on a daily basis. I later went on to deliver the same training with WAGN to Rape Crisis Federation member groups nationally. Judith Herman’s work is integrated into all the training on trauma that I have delivered over the last 10-15 years for various organisations that provide therapeutic services for people who have experienced trauma.” jo
Work by Babette Rothschild and will also be introduced as well as the theory around post trauma identity.
About Sue ..
Sue is an experienced counsellor & supervisor working within the person centred tradition. She has considerable experience of working with adults and young people. Sue has worked in education and health for over 30 years, qualifying as a counsellor in 1998, she has a broad experience of working with people of all ages and from many different backgrounds.
Sue is particularly interested in working creatively from a person centred perspective and provides training in this area to empower other therapists and supporters to access the creative practitioner in themselves!
Afternoon Session (Sue)
The afternoon session will offer participants a chance to work with a highly experienced therapist who uses a creative and art based approach in her person centred work
Sue Akehurst will facilitate a experiential arts based creative experience which will translate directly to empowering and expressive therapeutic work with your clients.
When words just aren’t enough
“The session will enable you to feel more at ease using art to help clients express and integrate their whole story and the traumatic memories. You’ll have the opportunity to experience some embodied ways of working with themes of safeness and resourcing alongside the processes of expression and symbolisation. We’ll be playfully serious and seriously playful!” Sue
On Tuesday 17th May (7.30pm -9.30pm) Dr Robin Gutteridge will be joining one of my Continued Professional Development groups to deliver a 2 hour workshop on working with sexual issues.
This interactive workshop will help practitioners build confidence in exploring and managing boundaries around sexual aspects of client work. Using guided activities, scenarios and group discussion we will begin to explore language, possible tensions between personal and professional values, ethical issues and ways to manage boundaries of privacy, safety and responsibility.
As well as practical strategies, the session is intended to help participants gather useful ideas for continuing reflection andgreater awareness of their own professional development needs
Robin is a Reader in Applied Social Psychology and Innovation at the University of Wolverhampton. Her work for the Faculty of Education Health and Wellbeing involves building effective enterprise and knowledge exchange partnerships between the University, industry, employers, service users and carers in the health and care sectors.
Originally a physiotherapist, Robin is a Chartered Psychologist and an experienced teacher, researcher and mentor. She has an MA in Gerontology and was awarded a PhD for her research into long-lasting marriage. Her research interests encompass a range of topics related to health and wellbeing and service development. Robin is particularly interested in the way people use their social relationships to meet their identity development needs and as a resource for coping. In her spare time, Robin practices as a clinical supervisor, counsellor and psychosexual therapist with individuals and couples.
HURRAY! – Jez Tromans is returning to repeat this little gem of a course for those of you who didn’t get the chance to attend last time. Date to be announced soon (watch this space)
You may be a fantastic therapist but are you marketing effectively?
What does your web presence say about you? Is it congruent with who you are?
Is your website (or lack of) a professional reflection of your business and services?
If a prospective new client searched on-line for you by either business name or your personal name, would you feel happy with what their findings would tell them?
Is your on-line brand working for you twenty-four-seven, with a resulting flow of new enquiries?
When you send an email, are you promoting hotmail, yahoo, google or your own business name?
If your target clients were to search Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any of the main directory sites, would they find you or one of your competitors?
Where do you appear in the main search engines for both local and national searches?
If word-of-mouth is key to you securing new clients, are you fully leveraging the internet to amplify your word-of-mouth marketing?
Do you blog? Should you blog?
Does your on-line marketing strategy capitalise on youtube, vimeo, instagram and the numerous other sources of free leads?
Are you targeting your specific on-line niche?
This CPD event will explore how to take action towards better leveraged on-line branding and marketing whilst being mindful of the current ethical concerns for counsellors.
It is a one-off bespoke day, encompassing both one-to-one and group work, structured in response to an assessment of participants current levels of awareness and their current on-line results.
Jez Tromans is a Marketing Consultant of over twenty years experience, with a particular interest in helping small businesses to market effectively on-line. He has focused extensively on web based marketing since 1998, consulting for several large PLC companies, along with a countless number of more local-market focused businesses. Jez himself also has the benefit of having ‘grown-up’ around therapy and counselling, affording him a useful perspective on the sensitivity and ethical issues when marketing on-line as a counselling professional.
Jo Watson is a psychotherapist, trainer and supervisor who has worked in private practice for 15 years. Via supervision and consultancy she supports counsellors in both the starting up and effective runnng of their private practice. Jo also facilitates monthly CPD groups for counsellors & psychotherapists many of whom are in private practice.
This training day is a direct response to interest expressed and limited spaces are available.
In February me, Jess and Jasmine delivered third repeat of this lovely little CPD course.
Its been a real pleasure working with Jess and Jass, they have brought such a dynamic energy which really inspired participants.
Its been a few weeks now and i am still receiving feedback about the effects of this course. Therapists are using the creative writing techniques that were taught with their clients (and in one case a group) and are experiencing a positive impact. One therapist told me that she had felt stuck for a while with one client she was working with and these interventions have ‘shifted the stuckness’ and there is movement in the process again. Its so good to hear!
In amongst the learning it also appears (see photos) that much fun was had!
So last month I found myself in the beautiful city of Dubai delivering training on self injury and eating disorders.
Participants included counsellors, teachers, psychologists & pastoral staff from a variety of educational establishments around Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Despite the serious nature of the subjects much fun was had!
The day aimed to both promote awareness and offer creative interventions and ways of working with young people. It also provided a much needed space where professionals were able to share their thoughts and experience of working with young people struggling with these issues.
I’m delighted that participants left feeling more informed about eating disorders and self injury and further empowered to continue the invaluable work with the young people they support.
Much excitement in Alvechurch on Saturday 28th November in the form of a creative and dynamic CPD workshop on using poetry & creative writing in therapy. EXPLORING THE HEALING POWER OF WORDS includes sessions from two dynamic and innovative women poets who I believe the counselling professional can learn a lot from! Jess Davies and Jasmine Gardosi will be presenting in the afternoon. I cannot wait!
The training aims to provide a plethora of ideas to enable you to integrate creative & effective techniques with clients where appropriate. It also aims to excite and inspire participants about the power of working with poetry and creative writing generally. Check out the links below to find out about Jess & Jasmine!
Jess is the host and producer of a monthly spoken work evening, ‘Stirchely Speaks’ as well as the facilitator for a new series of poetry based workshops with Redditch based charity, ‘Indigo Arts’. Jess has also been a feature for ‘I am not a Silent Poet’, a publication that gives voices against issues of abuse. With a background in collaboration, she was also a participating artist with theatre group ‘Unfinished Business’ and ‘Cannon Hill Collective’ (a mac gallery artistic development program). Working alongside various artists for a personal and reflective exploration of individual art practices.
Jasmine is the current Midlands Slam Champion, Birmingham Poet Laureate finalist 2014/2015 and one of the five winners of the Pangaea Poetry Slam 2015. Besides hosting poetry night Opus Club, she is a workshop facilitator and coordinator of West Midlands Poets’ Place and a speaker as TEDxBrum’s 2014 International Women’s Day. Jasmine believes in the multiple powers of spoken words to develop a participants communications skills, self-expression and physical confidence.
Jo is a UKCP registered psychotherapist, supervisor and trainer. Jo first became interested in using poetry and other writing in the therapeutic process in the 1990’s whilst working with survivors of sexual violence at Sandwell Rape Crisis, where she produced a collection of women’s healing poetry called Purple Ribbons. Jo has integrated work with poetry, stories, metaphor and writing exercises into therapeutic processes with individuals, couples and groups. She is particularly passionate about the healing power of words in relation to experiences of abuse and trauma. Jo’s inner-child work also employs the use of pen and paper!