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"Madness Explained: The New Psychology of Psychosis"

Format Workshop
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 withing psychology, genetic & pharmacological researchers are now urging a radical reappraisal of our assumptions about the nature of severe mental illness. In this workshop I 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. I 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 & 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. I 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:
I will discuss recent research that has led to tangible progress in understanding the psychological and neuro-cognitive mechansims 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 elusions 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 of 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 emphasise 'liberation' (living with psychosis) rather than 'cure'.
About the presenter(s) Professor Richard Bentall is and acclaimed UK author, clinical psychologist and researcher
Location WA Metro, Australia
Venue "Sandpiper Room", Goodearth Hotel
195 Adelaide Terrace, PERTH WA 6004

Please contact the event organiser to confirm if this venue is wheelchair accessible
Start/End Date 26 Nov 2012 to 27 Nov 2012
Time Day 1: 9am registration; Day 1 & 2: 9:30am start - 4:30pm finish
Cost APS Member - $410; APS Country Member - $340; APS Student Member - $290; Non APS Member - $495; APS Committee Member $340
Notes Discounted accommodation rates available to workshop participants. Contact Function Sales Co-orinator: email for rates or phone (08) 9492 7784
Organiser Perth Branch (WA)
Contact Name Beverley ABLE
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