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Dec 11, 2018

In this episode I meet a controversial clinical psychologist who thinks that mainstream mental health services are bad for us.

Dr Lucy Johnstone has worked for many years on the frontline of adult mental health services - helping those who may have been diagnosed with conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or clinical depression. It's a staggering fact that roughly a quarter of British adults have been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder at some point in their lives. But Dr Johnstone thinks that these diagnoses are totally wrong - invalid and unhelpful.  Giving someone a psychiatric diagnosis, she argues, is the first step drawing them into a system which treats them as if their problems are symptoms of a physical illness. But that, she argues, is wrong.

I interviewed Dr Johnstone at her home in Bristol, where we discussed her wide-ranging critique of psychiatry & her new initiative - the Power Threat Meaning Framework - the basis for a radically different approach to mental health which abandons diagnosis altogether and promises to treat individuals as  ‘people with problems, rather than patients with illnesses’. She has said it’s the culmination of her life’s work.

Explore the Power Threat Meaning Framework here

See Lucy's latest book A Straight Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Diagnosis, and also Users and Abusers of Psychiatry

Also mentioned in the interview: 

Joanna Moncrieff's book The Myth of the Chemical Cure

Robert Whitaker's book Anatomy of an Epidemic


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