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'A DISORDER FOR EVERYONE!' - Exploring the culture of psychiatric diagnosis...

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University College Cork

Brookfield Heath Sciences Complex

College Road



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"A Disorder for Everyone!" - Exploring the culture of psychiatric diagnosis, creating change. (In association with the School of Applied Social Studies, University College Cork)

AD4E is coming to Cork, this will be our 11th event.

Contributors include Dr Lucy Johnstone, Dr Jaqui Dillon, Clare Shaw, Dr Terry Lynch, Mary Maddock, Jo Watson & Nollaig McSweeney

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.

Details of more contributors and workshops will be added in due course

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

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 and Ireland!


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 Jacqui

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 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.

Clare will be delivering the presentation she gave at our Manchester event in December 2017

About Terry

Terry Lynch is an Irish physician, psychotherapist, mental health educator, author, and provider of a recovery-oriented mental health service in Limerick, Ireland.

For nine years (2003-2012), Terry Lynch was a member of three Irish Government-appointed expert mental health groups, including the Expert Group on Mental Health Policy which formulated A Vision for Change, Ireland’s official mental health policy document, published in 2006.

Terry is committed to contributing to the urgently-needed paradigm change in global mental health - from the current fundamentally- flawed medicalization of human pain and distress to an approach that honours the centrality of trauma and its effects within the experiences and behaviours that come to be referred to as “mental illness”.

Details of Terry Lynch’s mental health courses – for mental health practitioners and the public; books; blog; and work are available at www.doctorterrylynch.com

About Mary

Scarred by the myth of the chemical imbalance theory, Mary Maddock was branded with many psychiatric labels - ‘puerperal psychosis’ ,‘hypomania’ and finally ‘bipolar’ which blighted her life for more than two decades. Despite this Mary was inspired by the psychiatric survivor movement, especially MindFreedom International and the likes of Terry Lynch, Peter Breggin and Lucy Johnstone and ultimately rejected all labels, weaned herself off all psychiatric drugs and became an active campaigner in highlighting the deceptive and coercive nature of psychiatry.

In 2003 Mary, along with her husband Jim co founded MindFreedom Ireland which continues to campaign for human rights and humane alternatives.

Mary is also co-author of ‘Soul Survivor - A Personal Encounter with Psychiatry’ and has spoken widely in the media both in Ireland and abroad, including a venture into the lion’s den of the recent World Psychiatric Association Congress in Berlin in October 2017.

Mary is the inspiration behind local support groups ‘Stand By Me’ and ‘ A Little Help from my Friends’, and has also served on the boards of MindFreedom International and ENUSP ( European Network of ex-Users and Psychiatry.)

Mary is a retired music teacher and public musician and advocates for a kinder and more humane society.

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)

For in depth reviews please check out the website


University College Cork

Brookfield Heath Sciences Complex

College Road


Click on the link above to find a map!

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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University College Cork

Brookfield Heath Sciences Complex

College Road



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