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Madness Explained: The New Psychology of Psychosis

Format Seminar/Presentation
Presenters Prof. Richard Bentall
Description It is being increasingly recognised that conventional approaches to understanding severe mental illness have failed. The imminent publication of DSM-V has provoked a storm of criticism of diagnostic concepts such as 'schizophrenia', which appear to have almost no scientific value. Whereas once this criticism emanated exclusively from within psychology, genetic and pharmacological researchers are now urging a radical reappraisal of our assumptions about the nature of severe mental illness.

In this workshop Prof. Richard Bentall will review the limitations of conventional approaches, explain why adult psychiatry now appears to be on the cusp of a paradigm-shift, and try and sketch out a new approach which is more scientifically grounded but which also has important implications for the care of people suffering from psychosis.

1. The origins of modern misunderstandings about madness
Psychiatry seems to be on the edge of a paradigm shift. There is little evidence that outcomes for people suffering from severe mental illness have improved over the last one hundred years, and increasing recognition that research into the causes of psychosis has not led to tangible therapeutic innovation. A major impediment to understanding psychosis is the categorical system of classification enshrined in the DSM and ICD. Prof. Richard Bentall will discuss the origins of modern diagnostic concepts in adult psychiatry, show that current diagnostic systems have little or no utility either for clinical purposes or research, and discuss alternatives, focusing on symptom-based approaches.

2. Genes and environment in the causation of psychotic experiences
Past researchers have attributed the lion's share of the aetiology of psychosis to genes, based on heritability estimates for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder of > 80%. Environmental influences have therefore been estimated to be small. Prof. Richard Bentall will show that this assumption, which is harmful to parents and carers, is based on a misunderstanding of the concept of heritability, and will discuss recent research showing that a wide range of environmental factors are causal in psychosis.

3. The psychology of hallucinations
Prof. Richard Bentall will discuss recent research that has led to tangible progress in understanding the psychological and neuro-cognitive mechanisms responsible for hallucinatory experiences. Recent studies have helped explain why early life adversity, particularly childhood trauma, increases the risk of auditory hallucinations.

4. The psychology of paranoid beliefs
Persecutory delusions are a common feature of psychosis, and have been the subject of considerable research in recent years. In order to understand these beliefs it is necessary to understand their dynamic evolution in the lifetime of the individual. Studies which emphasise the role of self-esteem in paranoia will be reviewed in detail.

5. The psychology of mania
Mania remains one of the least well understood phenomenon in severe mental illness. Although it is widely believed that mania is the opposite of depression, this appears not to be the case. Psychological and neurobiological models of mania will be reviewed, focusing in particular on theories which link the propensity to mania to abnormal responsivity to reward stimuli.

6. Clinical implications
The clinical implications of the new psychology of psychosis will be discussed, specifically focusing on (a) assessment and formulation; (b) engaging with the psychotic patient; (c) specific cognitive-behavioural interventions; and (d) alternatives to conventional therapeutic approaches which emphasize 'liberation' (living with psychosis) rather than 'cure'.
About the presenter(s) Prof. Richard Bentall is a well known UK author, researcher and clinical psychologist. His works have included the books, Madness Explained, which won the 2004 BPS book prize, and Doctoring the Mind, in which he exposed the deficiencies in current diagnostic systems and biological treatments of mental illness. He corrects several unsubstantiated assumptions about 'chemical imbalances' and the 'disease or medical model', and discusses the evidence that positions psychology and the central profession in mental health.
CPD Hours
Tell me more
12 hours
[APS Institute CPD]
Location VIC Metro, Australia
Venue Rendezvous Grand Hotel
328 Flinders Street, Melbourne

Please contact the event organiser to confirm if this venue is wheelchair accessible
Start/End Date 23 Nov 2012 to 24 Nov 2012
Time 9-4.30pm on both days
Cost Includes catering: APS member $350, APS Student $280, non APS $490
Organiser Brisbane Area Branch
Contact Name Phillip Stacey
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