"A Disorder for Everyone!" - Challenging the culture of psychiatric diagnosis and exploring trauma informed alternatives, Temple of Peace, Friday, 01. February 2019

"A Disorder for Everyone!" - Challenging the culture of psychiatric diagnosis and exploring trauma informed alternatives in association with Gofal

AD4E is coming to Cardiff!  This will be our 14th event!
We are delighted to be supported by Gofal
Contributors include Dr Lucy Johnstone, Dr Jacqui Dillon, Pete Sanders, Dr Akima Thomas, Jo Watson & Nollaig McSweeney and Gofal

Who Attends?
This day is for anyone who is interested in and concerned about the current debates in 'mental health.'
 It provides a space to explore the critical questions of the day around the biomedical model and the narrative of 'diagnosis and disorder!'
Attendees  from past AD4E events have included people who identify as the following :-
people with lived experience of emotional distress, supporters of people with lived experience, survivors, psychologists, journalists, activists, counsellors, service users, service refusers, psychotherapists, mental health support professionals, psychiatrists, managers and individuals with a general personal interest. 

About the day
The event features not just professionals but people from a diverse range of backgrounds who have an  essential contribution to make to the debate.
Lucy Johnstone presents the 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 assumption that distress is best understood as disease can have very serious consequences for the individual, their identity, and their path to recovery. In the morning Lucy will present alternatives to diagnosis which can help people to make sense of experiences of distress, however extreme, and which are based on working together to explore personal meaning.  In the afternoon Lucy will introduce participants to the Power Threat Meaning Framework

Check out the trailer for the Power Threat Meaning Framework Launch  

About Lucy

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 ***** 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 Division of Clinical Psychology 'Position Statement on Classification' 2013. 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. 
Lucy's book is available here:  A Straight-Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Diagnosis, 
& check out Lucy's articles for Mad in america here: 
Twitter - @ClinpsychLucy
Read Lucy & Jo's article in BACP's Therapy Today (April '17) 
030 to 033 Just listen to their stories TT_Apr17.pdf

About Jo 
Jo Watson is a psychotherapist, trainer and activist who started out in the survivor and rape crisis movements of the 1990's. She has worked therapeutically for the last 20 years with people who have experienced trauma. Jo actively challenges the biomedical model in mental health both inside and outside of her work and links emotional distress 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 routes to understanding distress should be offered.
Jo founded the facebook group 'Drop The Disorder!' in September 2016 as a place where the issues surrounding the biomedical model can be discussed. Jo is organising and promoting "A Disorder For Everyone!" which is presently making its way around the UK!

Twitter - @dropthedisorder  
AD4E website:  
Read about how the event came about in Jo's  Mad in America' blog!

About Nollaig

Nollaig McSweeney qualified as a mental health nurse in the UK in 1997 and worked in acute psychiatry for quite some time before she realised that the so-called ‘science’ behind it was highly questionable. This insight was largely sparked by reading Rosenhan’s 1973 study – On Being Sane in Insane Places. Nollaig is a valued member and contributor of "Drop the disorder' facebook group and is an activist for change.

About Jacqui

Dr Jacqui Dillon is a writer, activist, international speaker and trainer.
She has personal and professional experience, awareness and skills in working with trauma and abuse, dissociation, ‘psychosis’, hearing voices, healing and recovery. 
Jacqui has lectured and published worldwide and is a skilled facilitator in complex learning environments and has a track record of creating and sustaining user centred initiatives and of affecting change at all levels. Jacqui is also a voice hearer.

Jacqui on "Why did I go Mad?" - BBC2 Horizon

2nd May, 2017, BBC 2 9PM, See: 

Check out more about Jacqui via her website here

About Akima

Dr Akima Thomas is a feminist activist and comes from a background in nursing and social work. Founder and Clinical Director of Women and Girls Network a holistic therapeutic service working with women and girls surviving gendered violence. Akima has pioneered working from a trauma informed approach and has developed a strengths based non pathologising clinical model; the Holistic Empowerment Recovery Model (HER) integrating healing of mind body and spirit. More recently Akima has researched women’s healing journey chronicling their strategies of resistance rebellion and resilience to ensure survival.

About Pete

Pete Sanders spent over 35 years practising as a counsellor, educator and clinical supervisor. During that time he was the course leader on three BACP recognised courses, was centrally involved in establishing and running the BACP Trainer Accreditation Scheme. He has written, co-written and edited numerous books, chapters and papers on many aspects of counselling, psychotherapy and mental health. He has given keynote addresses at several UK and European conferences and continues to have active interest in developing person-centred theory, the politics of counselling and psychotherapy, and the demedicalisation of distress. He is a pre-therapy/contact work trainer and trustee of the Soteria Network UK.
'Does diagnosis have any useful place in counselling and psychotherapy?'
Record numbers of citizens are being diagnosed with depression and a burgeoning list of mental ‘illnesses’ and treated with chemicals. Until counselling and psychotherapy deal with the elephant  in the room – medicalisation and associated apparatus like diagnosis – it will always be part of the problem, destined to forever be ambulance chasing instead of truly helping alleviate the distress of ordinary people. Can counselling/psychotherapy save itself? Let’s see if we can come up with a plan.

Pete's books

What people have said about the event...
"The whole day has been a transformative experience. I have always been uncomfortable with labels but felt I had to go along with it. Now I feel empowered to offer the people I work with the option at least to explore alternative ways of understanding their pain." (Participant Birmingham)
"I feel like I am at the beginning of an exciting and liberating journey. Thank you Lucy" (Participant on Birmingham )
"I've been told I am ill for the best part of 20 years and given the 'meds' to go along with it. This has never felt right, now I know it isn't right." (participant Bristol)
"A Disorder for Everyone is not your average event. I have learnt that I need to unlearn! I am re-evaluating everything!" (Participant Birmingham)
"Everything about today has been validating, I really needed this course!"  (participant Edinburgh)
"Lucy's straight forward, common sense approach was just what I needed at the moment. Her message is simple: Listen to people, to their stories and help them make their own sense about their lives" (Participant Birmingham course)
"I have no idea what to make of it all,  but I feel like i'm at the start of a mini personal revolution!" (Participant London)
"I arrived today with two 'illnesses', I'm leaving with the knowledge that all my pain and distress makes total sense." (Participant Liverpool)
"Inspirational, exciting but most of all hopeful"  (Participant Brighton)

Check our Counsellor Cath Norris talking about her experience of AD4E
Professor Peter Kinderman's thoughts about the events
The musical slideshow of our Manchester event!
A review written by participant Monica Glover about our Birmingham event in April 2018
For in depth reviews please check out the website

Temple of Peace
CF10 3AP

Making this event as accessible as possible to people who are unable to afford the fee / full fee is a key consideration for us.  As a result we have been as efficient as possible and do not provided lunch or programmes etc. It is a 'no paper' event and all resouces and presentations are made available via the website via passwords afterwards.
 We hope you support the decision to run the event cost effectively for this reason.

AD4E London   -  Amnesty International, 8th June 2017

AD4E Birmingham April 2018


Our events feature numerous contributors and we cannot guarentee that every speaker booked will attend. If an advertised speaker cannot attend we will do our best to replace them with someone equally spectacular!  :)

Friday, 01. February 2019, Temple of Peace, "A Disorder for Everyone!" - Challenging the culture of psychiatric diagnosis and exploring trauma informed alternatives

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