Alternatives to psychiatric diagnosis

On Monday 25th Feb, I attended the Power Threat Meaning (PTM) Framework workshop in Sydney, which was hosted by the Blue Knot Foundation. The workshop was presented by Lucy Johnstone and John Cromby, two of the authors that produced the document. The PTM Framework provides an alternative to psychiatric diagnosis (typically found in the DSM-IV and ICD-11). The first part of the workshop provided an intensive introduction into the framework which outlined the rationale and core concepts. In the second part, there was opportunity to apply the framework to case examples and consider its relevance in our own work. 

I found the day interesting, inspiring and tense in equal measure, which I suspect reflects how strongly people feel about the medical system of ‘mental illness’ and how we should challenge these ideas. I would guess that the presenters could have spent the entire day answering questions about fundamental issues in understanding distress but I’m glad that they didn’t, I’ve been part of such discussions before and they can often become unhelpful.

On the same day as the workshop, the APS InPsych magazine published an article that I co-wrote with my friend and colleague, Emma Agnew, titled, ‘Moving beyond diagnosis’. In this, we talk about how collaborative formulation, the PTM Framework and community psychology offer us alternative ways of understanding a person’s experience which has implications for how we might respond to their distress. I am excited to see how these alternatives might develop further in Australia and I look forward to discussing these ideas with my colleagues.

You can find a copy of this month’s In Psyc magazine, here.

Upcoming dates for the PTM Framework workshops in Australia are available, here.

You can read some of Lucy Johnstone’s reflections on sharing the PTM Framework in New Zealand, here.

Screenshot 2019-02-26 at 13.18.29

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