Remarkable changes!

There are alternatives to psychiatric diagnosis

First published in: Mental Health Today
By: Dr Lucy Johnstone & Jo Watson. Date: 12th February 2018

There are alternatives to psychiatric diagnosis which can help people to make sense of experiences of distress.

Some remarkable changes are happening in mental health theory and practice, and yet most professionals, let alone service users, have hardly heard of them. ‘A disorder for everyone!’ is the title of a movement making its way round the major cities of the UK as an event, with the aim of bringing these new ideas to everyone.

“A trauma-informed understanding of someone’s distress is likely to focus on the impact of difficult events. What we call ‘symptoms’ are better seen as ‘survival strategies’ – creative ways of coping with emotionally overwhelming events and situations, which helped at the time, but may become a problem in their own right.”

At each event, organiser Jo Watson, psychotherapist, and Lucy Johnstone, clinical psychologist, are joined by speakers and workshop leaders from a range of backgrounds, both professional and lived experience. The day usually starts with performance poetry and ends with a lively panel discussion. In between, attendees are invited to question everything they have been told about psychological and emotional distress, and to come to their own conclusions about what they learn.

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