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Psychiatry - Thinking Outside the Box

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1.30 pm

Coffee & Registration

2.00 pm

The Annual General Meeting of the Section of Psychiatry

2.05 pm

Presidential Address by Dr Ahmed Huda, Consultant Psychiatrist, Pennine Care NHS FT

Why psychiatry needs (a better) critical psychiatry

Learning points:

  • Psychiatry like all medical specialties has a lot of hidden assumptions and values underlying its knowledge base and practices which are unquestioned
  • Critical psychiatry asks useful questions to bring these hidden assumptions and values to light which then allows us to interrogate them. Examples include as on what basis do we regard these problems as “mental illness” and on what basis do we detain people and force them to have medication?  Critical psychiatry’s scepticism towards psychiatric interventions makes them more likely to quickly detect problems and side effects with them than other psychiatrists.
  • Critical psychiatry’s answers to these questions have often been shown to be false but they do not seem able to acknowledge this and come up with better answers. Their scepticism towards psychiatric interventions and the role of science often veers into nihilism and impractality.

2.45 pm

The Lure of Madness: A critical rescue of continental philosophy of psychiatry

Dr Alastair Morgan, Senior Lecturer Mental Health, Division of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, University of Manchester

Synopsis: The talk will introduce some of the main themes of my book Continental Philosophy of Psychiatry. The Lure of Madness. The talk introduces the core topics of the book and outlines a European tradition of philosophy of psychiatry that runs from 1910 to 1980. I will consider some key thinkers and practitioners within this tradition and outline an important psychiatric tradition that is open to difference, creativity and plural voices. I conclude with some reflection on key contemporary debates in philosophy of psychiatry and why a critical rescue of the continental tradition may help us when thinking about these debates.

Learning objectives:

  • To give attendees an understanding of the European tradition of philosophy of psychiatry in the period from 1910-1980.
  • To provoke debate and reflection on the concept of the psychopathological and its relation to the norm
  • To outline a different European critical psychiatry, one that is not tied to the dismissal of the concept of mental illness, but open to the creative possibilities of building a different psychiatry.

3.25 pm


3.45 pm

Subjectivism and paternalism, the Scylla and Charybdis of the recovery model of mental healthcare

Professor Tim Thornton, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Mental Health, University of Central Lancashire

Talk synopsis:

In this talk I will suggest a model of the Recovery approach to mental health that fits the constraint of being a genuine contrast to others.

  1. A recovery model has a focus on health or wellbeing rather than absence of pathology.
  2. Patient values necessarily help fix the endpoint / aim of healthcare. Health / wellbeing is defined in an essentially value-laden way.

This fits the existing application to Recovery of Amartya Sen’s ‘capabilities’ approach to welfare economics. But both that approach but also some intuitive examples highlight a dilemma of how to avoid both a shallow subjectivism or the very paternalism that Recovery is supposed to oppose. I will suggest the same dilemma applies to Values Based Practice and (if there is time) philosophical approaches to autonomy. I will thus suggest two different ways that narratives - often stressed in the Recovery literature – can help.

4.25 pm

Meeting close

*Venue directions:

MANDEC is built on the roof of the Dental Hospital and has its OWN ENTRANCE in Bridgeford Street. PLEASE NOTE: Access is NOT available through the Dental Hospital Patient Entrance – the MANDEC entrance door is to the left of this.  On entering the building take the lift or stairs to the 3rd floor.


Please note: Booth Street West car park is chargeable.  Access is from HIGHER CAMBRIDGE STREET. SATNAV postcode M15 6AR. The entrance road to the multi storey car park is opposite the Trinity High School and behind the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

For further information regarding Manchester University Campus parking see link


This event is free for MMS members. For non-members, please find a list of tickets for this event below.

Ticket Price
Any non-member £50.00

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