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Compassionate Mental Health is part of a growing worldwide movement calling for a more integrative approach to mental health – one that relies less on diagnosis and prescription drugs, and more on empowering the person and engaging their social networks. At the heart of the project is a belief that it is possible to begin to heal oneself and others through the power of community, connection, self care and solidarity.
In our next Gathering – Uncharted: Freeing Up the Future – we are once again bringing together people who are interested in new ways of approaching mental illness. Our key message remains that a mental health crisis can become a meaningful turning point and catalyst for change. We believe a culture of compassion and collaboration must replace our existing model of over medicalisation, coercion and restraint.
There is a crisis in mental health services in the UK. It’s time to act
Almost 7000 mental health nurses were lost from 2009 to 2018. Meanwhile, the number of doctors in specialist psychiatric training fell by 20%, and beds available for patients with serious mental health issues fell by over 8000.
That’s why we’re holding a one-day conference in September this year to take a closer look at the mental health crisis – what’s driving it, how government decisions have let it worsen over time, and what action we can take to set things right.
Click here to see our new video on the mental health crisis and the action we are demanding from government.
Psychoanalysis, Values and Webs of Power investigates tensions between professional norms and civic obligations, between ‘value neutrality” in clinical practice and the reasoned embrace of social values, between personal ethical stances and the demands of the institutional and cultural milieus we inhabit. Psychoanalysis, in its many forms, can aid us in navigating, or at least illuminating, these vexing and often unrecognized influences, yet at the same time, psychoanalysts themselves must operate within those webs of power, be they cultural, social, institutional, or political. What values matter, or should matter, in psychoanalysis? How can one preserve a degree of meaningful autonomy in institutional settings? When do values interfere with analytical work with clients or in scholarly enterprises?
Psychoanalysis, Values and Webs of Power includes an extraordinary line-up of speakers and panelists, with psychoanalysts, historians, philosophers and cultural theorists coming together to debate these crucial issues.
Trauma-related physical and emotional self-injury / self harm and suicidal ideation are functional. Self harm and suicidal ideation are ways of communicating what can not be verbalised because there are no words for it. It is a creative response to unbearable thoughts and feelings. They are a means to cope with intolerable levels of anxiety and depression, a way of self-soothing, a way of trying to stay alive, an expression of self-loathing, a distraction from other kinds of pain, and or to recover from periods of dissociation or absence from the self.
This two day interactive professional development training was developed to further your understanding and knowledge about working therapeutically with your client’s experiences of self harm and suicidal ideation. The training oﬀers insight and support for how you might feel impacted, attending to your own anxieties, fears and dysregulation while working with this client group.
In this training we will explore the contributing factors which lead to self harm and suicidal ideation. We will explore the protective, submissive, self loathing, and perpetrator introject elements. An introduction to psycho education, relevant to this client groups, will support you when you take your new learning back to your clients.
The training will support you in helping clients to develop a language of words, rather than ‘blood tears’, to speak of their experiences. We will explore how compassion and empathy can change the domino effect of thoughts and feelings becoming too overwhelming. We will explore the cycle of guilt and shame and how to link this to neglect and hurt in a client’s primary attachment.
We will learn to differentiate between self harm and a clear wish to die of suicide. The training will make space to discuss advanced directives for people who are regularly accessing A&E due to their self harm and suicidal ideation.
By participating in this professional development training, attendees will:
1. Understand emotional and physical self harm and suicidal ideation as coping strategies to help manage unmanageable feelings and thoughts.
2. Get to know diﬀerent ways of fostering curiosity and compassion, and how to help clients ﬁnd words for their experiences.
3. Develop supportive ways of working with these extreme forms of self regulation.
4. Have an opportunity to explore your own personal responses to self harm and suicidal ideation.
5. Learn how to regulate your own levels of anxiety and how to increase your own self care when working with this client group.
Live observation and practice Live observation and practice makes this diﬀerent from other training.
The workshop is highly practical. There will be a maximum of 30 participants. Delegates will get the chance to observe and practice skills (with a professional actor playing our very credible client attending therapy). We discuss moment–to–moment decisions about the direction therapy should take – unpacking the therapeutic process with real-time demonstration and practice of skills. Plus, other diverse clinical material will be used to illustrate diﬀerent presentations, real-world challenges & therapy pitfalls.
This workshop is led by Theres Fickl Trainer, Counsellor MBACP (Accred) and Supervisor
Theres specialises in helping people make sense of their experiences and she teaches diﬀerent ways of coping with life’s changes and challenges. Theres has 15 years of experience as a qualiﬁed counsellor and professional trainer in private practice. She is an accredited member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) since 2005, and holds a Certiﬁcate in Training Practice with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) since 2006.
Issues Theres can conﬁdently deliver training in, include:
Psycho-education which can be shared with clients i.e. how the brain works when there is fear and overwhelm; how to bring the brain online again; how memory behaves after trauma; regulating diﬀerent emotional states; perpetrator imprints; anxiety; depression; hurt in the attachment; perpetrator introjects; cycles of overwhelm leading to self harm and suicidal ideation; moving from emotional self harm to compassion; why compassion works; etc; Theres can tailor training workshops for your needs on topics like working with sexual abuse disclosures; post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); dissociative processes including structural dissociation in form of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID); working with self loathing, physical self harm and suicidal feelings; working with perpetrator introjects, obsessions and obsessive compulsive behaviours (OCD); phobias, diﬃculties with sexual intimacy after abuse;
Thank you so much for your interest in joining the Menstrual Mental Health Network (MMHN). We are delighted to have you on board and everyone is welcome here!
The network will provide an opportunity for those of us with a passion for menstrual health to come together, share ideas, learn from each other and collaborate on exciting projects and initiatives. There is lots of fantastic work happening in this space, and through the MMHN network we may be able to harness our efforts to bring about greater positive change by working collectively.
Dissatisfaction with mainstream mental health systems, as well as attempts, from both within and outside, to find different ways to support people in distress, have been well documented over the years. This year’s conference explores critical perspectives from both within and outside mental health systems, considers the struggles, challenges and barriers people have experienced at developing new approaches, and examines what it means to be on the inside and/or outside of different spaces, such as inside/outside service use, inside/outside academia, and inside/outside different knowledges. Innovations in service delivery, in education, and in activism will be explored, set within the wider context of critical debates on contested areas in mental health.
Please find the first conference flyer here
Call for Abstracts
45 minutes’ duration related to the conference theme and outlining its aims and intentions. Please submit (in Word- 250 words max) by 9 September 2018. Please also submit a brief bio (in Word – 150 words max).
Email abstract and bio to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recognition of the prevalence of student mental health and wellbeing issues has led to a culture change in higher education institutions. This conference will bring together HEIs, public and voluntary sector service providers, service users and mental health professionals to share best practices and develop their approach to improving student mental health outcomes.
Pressures brought on by workload, budgeting, relationships and the transition to living independently contribute to an environment in which, according to YouGov’s 2016 survey of British students, more than a quarter (27%) of student’s reported having struggled with mental health issues. The Institute for Public Policy Research’s 2017 survey ‘Not by degrees: Improving student health in UK universities’ revealed that 95% of HEIs had reported an increase in the demand for counselling services. In 2016/17 student suicides have increased to 4.7% per 100,00 of the population according to the Mental Health Foundation.
Universities are developing strategies and employing teams to support students. Improving Student Mental Health Outcomes will examine how policy can be developed to provide support for HEIs and students; reviewing the impact of HE reforms and existing cultures on student experience and mental health.
“A Disorder for Everyone!” – Challenging the culture of psychiatric diagnosis and exploring trauma informed alternatives in association with Platfform. Contributors include Dr Lucy Johnstone, Prof Richard Wilkinson, Ewan Hilton, Pat McArdle, Mica Gray, Sally-Ann, Nathan Flier, Dr Akima Thomas, Michelle Springer-Benjamin, Jo Watson & Nollaig McSweeney.
AD4E is coming to Ipswich! This will be our 20th event!
Speakers confirmed so far include:- Dr Lucy Johnstone, Dr Sami Timimi, Katie Mottram, Dr Akima Thomas, Dr James Davies, Dolly Sen, Sally-Ann, Matthew Morris, Nollaig McSweeney and Jo Watson.
We are delighted to be in association with Your Life Our Help – Ipswich
Have you had, or been a support to someone who is having / has had, a challenging transformative experience which you see as a natural, albeit painful, process of growth towards a fuller, deeper expression of an authentic self and meaningful life? Or do you have a general interest in this area?
Do you have ideas on how these experiences could be better supported in the mental health system?
Come and take part in an inclusive, non-hierarchical ‘Open Space’ (explanation of this process below) innovative event – have your voice heard. Every Attendee will have the opportunity to speak.
#EmergingProud sees the ‘spiritual’ element of the equally important BIO-PSYCHO-SOCIAL-SPIRITUAL aspects of what it means to be wholly human as understanding a crisis as a journey of growth, emergence and transformation, not necessarily as a ‘recovery’ journey, as we never return to the same person we were before the crisis…
We perceive what is sometimes termed as ‘mental illness’ as a natural and necessary process of releasing the pain of trauma, so that our true selves can emerge.
What is needed to provide a ‘safe container’ for this process to occur?
I have invited Dr Lucy Johnstone and and Professor Mary Boyle to join us as we discuss these issues in relation to the document; The Power Threat Meaning Framework, published by The British Psychological Society in January 2018, for which they are lead authors. This document is an ambitious attempt to outline an alternative to the diagnostic model of emotional and psychological distress. Co-produced by a team of professionals and survivors, it explores the role of power and threat in people’s lives, and the way we make meaning out of difficult experiences. The Framework can be used as a way of helping all of us, whether in contact with the mental health system or not, to create more hopeful narratives or stories about our lives and struggles, instead of seeing ourselves as blameworthy, weak, deficient or ‘mentally ill’.
I wanted to create a ‘Safe and dynamic Space’ in which to have these discussions, and to look at how the PTMF can be applied to this process both practically, and perhaps also be more inclusive of this important perspective. We want to bring to the table discussions about the risks (power and threats) inherent in spirituality, how these can be better recognised, prevented and supported by the framework, and also how the awe-inspiring aspects (meaning) of the spiritual experience can be more welcomed and celebrated.
For people who wish to find out more about the Power Threat Meaning Framework before the day, the summary document available HERE may be useful.
Other PTMF documents, videos and resources are freely available here:
The aim of our day together;
– To consider the question; “How does the Power Threat Meaning Framework relate to those who perceive their experience in transcendent/ transformative, spiritual or spiritual emergency terms, and how could it be used to support this?”
– To trust in the collective wisdom of those who gather, and to let inspiration emerge naturally
– To use the outcomes from the day to inform the possibility of expanding the Power Threat Meaning Framework, if this is deemed appropriate, and/ or to develop ideas for its practical application in this area.
WHAT IS OPEN SPACE?
It is a self-organizing practice of inner discipline and collective activity which releases the inherent creativity and leadership in people. By inviting people to take responsibility for an issue they care about, Open Space establishes a marketplace of inquiry, reflection and learning, bringing out the best in both individuals and the whole gathering.
WHEN TO USE IT:
– Where there is a high degree of diversity
– Where all stakeholders are needed for good decisions to be made
– Where you have no preconceived notion of what the outcomes should be
– Builds energy, commitment and inclusivity
– Participants accept responsibility for what does or doesn’t happen
– Action plans and recommendations emerge from discussions as appropriate
– You create a record of the entire proceedings as you go along which are shared with all Attendees after the event
HOW IT WORKS:
The Law of Two Feet means you take responsibility for what you care about – standing up for that and using your own two feet to move to whatever discussion group you can best contribute to and/or learn from. There is no pressure to act as a discussion Convenor (see below), or to speak at all, you are welcome to just listen if that feels more comfortable for you. You are also welcome to move between discussions if you are drawn to more than one.
THE STEPS IN BRIEF FOR THE EVENT
Dr Lucy Johnstone will kick off the day with an overview of the Power Threat Meaning Framework, giving us a foundation for the rest of the day…
Together we will consider the question; “How does the Power Threat Meaning Framework relate to those who perceive their experience in transcendent/ transformative, spiritual or spiritual emergency terms, and how could it be used to support this?”
- There will be an Agenda wall and areas where diverse conversations will take place will be lettered. You will have free choice to take part in any discussions throughout the day.
- Another wall will be labelled NEWS. This will display the Harvest outcome forms from the discussions
- The Facilitator explains the simple process the group will follow to organize and create a record, where to put things up and find out what is happening (point out lettered discussion spaces
- Opening the marketplace: the Facilitator invites *anyone who cares about a particular issue in relation to the day to step up and write the topic on the Agenda wall so people know where to find them for that discussion –they will be the *Convenor for that discussion throughout the day.
*Please note; if you bring a topic for discussion on the day you will become a Convenor and be expected to write up a synopsis of your group interaction – this will be further explained on the day.
- The Convenors have responsibility for facilitating their session(s) and seeing to it that a Harvest report is made during their discussion and shared on the News Wall at the end of the day.
- All Attendees participate in discussions. Attendees can move between discussions as they desire, but the Convenors stay with their topic of choice. There are no set breaks, the space is free until the gathering circle for organic outcomes to occur.
- At a set time towards the end of the day, the Facilitator will gather all of the Attendees in a circle and the Convenors will be invited to share a synopsis of what came of their discussions.
- All of the News and any agreed outcomes are typed up and circulated to all Attendees after the event as a follow- up.
Are you interested in offering a new perspective on why people experience mental distress and how it can be supported? Why not consider a discussion topic to bring (in relation to the question) and stand up to be a Convenor on the day? This can be instinctual, there are no expectations, pressures or pre-set ideas. The only guidelines are to come to the space with the intention to share from a compassionate heart-space and to be respectful towards each other.
“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”
We look forward to seeing what emerges…
About the venue:
Conway Hall is owned by the charity Conway Hall Ethical Society and was first opened in 1929. The name was chosen in honour of Moncure Daniel Conway (1832 – 1907), anti-slavery advocate, out-spoken supporter of free thought and biographer of Thomas Paine.
What are my transport/parking options for getting to and from the event?
Conway Hall is situated on historic Red Lion Square in Holborn, central London.
Please see public transport info at the bottom of THIS PAGE
Is there disabled access?
All the ground-floor rooms are fully-accessible by wheelchair. Main Hall (street access, step-free)
Hard of Hearing
If you have hearing-loss and wear a hearing aid, the main hall and Brockway Room have induction loops fitted which feed straight from the PA system. Please let the organiser know if you require this.
What time can I arrive?
Registration will be from 9.30am
What can I bring into the event?
Refreshments will be available throughout the day, but please feel free to bring your own snacks / lunch
How can I contact the organiser with any questions?
Email Katie at: email@example.com