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‘A Disorder for Everyone!’ - challenging the culture of psychiatric diagnos...

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St George's Conference Centre

60 Great George Street

Leeds, England LS1 3DL

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AD4E is coming to Leeds

Contributors include Dr Lucy Johnstone, Paula J Caplan PhD (via live video link), Dr Jacqui Dillon, Clare Shaw, Dr Akima Thomas, T.O Walker, Jo Watson & Nollaig McSweeney

When you buy your ticket please consider donating a small amount via our "donation" option to support free and cheap places for people who can't afford to pay.

This event is in association with Leeds Survivor-Led Crisis Service, and we thank them for their support

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. 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.

A choice of workshops will be offered in the afternoon as well as a further presentation and other things!

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 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 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 https://www.madinamerica.com/author/ljohnstone/

Twitter - @ClinpsychLucy

Read Lucy & Jo's article in BACP's Therapy Today (April '17)

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 both inside and outside of her work and links emotional distress to psycho-social causes. (Trauma, adversity, 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: www.adisorder4everyone.com

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 Paula

Paula J Caplan PhD is a clinical and research psychologist, expert witness, activist, advocate, awardwinning playwright and filmmaker, screenwriter, lyricist, actor, and director. She received her A.B. with honors from Radcliffe College of Harvard University and her Ph.D. in psychology from Duke University. She is currently Associate at the DuBois Institute, and she spent two years as a Fellow in the Women and Public Policy Program of Harvard Kennedy School, both at Harvard University. She has been a Lecturer at Harvard, teaching Myths of Motherhood; Girls’ and Women’s Psychological Development over the Lifespan; and Psychology of Sex and Gender. She is former Full Professor of Applied Psychology and Head of the Centre for Women’s Studies in Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, where she also headed the School Psychology and Community Psychology programs, and former Lecturer in Women’s Studies and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. She is the author of 11 books, including They Say You're Crazy: How the World's Most Powerful Psychiatrists Decide Who's Normal, and first editor of one Bias in Psychiatric Diagnosis.

Click here to find out more about Paula.

Details of Paula's AD4E talk will be added soon.

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


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 Clare

Clare Shaw has been described by the Arvon Foundation as 'one of the country's most dynamic young poets' and we are delighted that she will be performing her work for us at 'A Disorder For Everyone!' in Manchester.

Clare's poetry often addresses political and personal conflict and it is fuelled by a strong conviction in the transformative and redemptive power of language.

Find out more about Clare in her fab interview for Writers Aloud.

About T.O Walker

T.O Walker has worked in mental health on and off for 17 years. She has also used mental health services on and off for 22 years. She has had different diagnoses assigned or suggested to her but has found it much more useful and empowering to frame any struggles in terms of the context of her life.

T.O Walker is an author and illustrator. She has written a number of articles about mental health, and illustrated a children’s book about self-harm. More recently she has written and illustrated a book based on her own experiences of trauma and dissociation in the context of sexual violence (Not My Shame, Dec 2107 Jessica Kingsley Publishers)

T.O Walker is also the author of a comic about caring for someone after being a psychiatric inpatient, which is due to be published later this year.

About Leed Survivor-Led Crisis Service

Leeds Survivor-Led Crisis Service (LSLCS) is a mental health charity based in Leeds. They provide out-of-hours support to people in acute mental health crisis with the aim of reducing hospital admissions, A&E visits, and use of statutory crisis services. They were founded in 1999 by a group of campaigning mental health service users, who wanted a non-medical, non-diagnostic approach to people in crisis outside of a clinical environment. They work from Dial House – a lovely 18th century house in East Leeds – and provide compassionate, person centred support. Thier survivor-led ethos means that everyone who works and volunteers at LSLCS has had their own experiences of mental health issues.

LSLCS will be running a workshop, details to be added soon.

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, commonsense 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

An article published in Mental Health today before our Brighton event

For in depth reviews please check out the website

AD4E Team Jo, Lucy, Nollaig London 8th June 2017


The event will take place at:-

St George's Conference Centre

60 Great George St



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.

Some snaps of our AD4E London event - Amnesty International, 8th June 2017

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! :)

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St George's Conference Centre

60 Great George Street

Leeds, England LS1 3DL

View Map

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 30 days before event

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