A hopeful workshop on radical change with Prof Peter Kinderman

Peter Kinderman, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool, former President of the British Psychological Society, and author of ‘A Manifesto for Mental Health’, argues for radical change in how we think about mental health.
Peter points out that we are being harmed by our current pathologizing, bio-medical, approach and that we need wholesale change, not only in how we understand mental health problems but also in how we design and commission mental health services.
Peter rejects the ‘disease model’; which sees emotional distress merely as a symptom of biological illness, and instead argues that mental health problems are fundamentally social and psychological issues – the products of how we understand and respond to the world. Instead of thinking about diagnosing and treating ‘abnormality’, Peter argues we should replace ‘diagnoses’ with straightforward descriptions of our problems, and shift away from the use of medication towards psychological and social solutions.
Peter argues that we should, as a recent report to the United Nations General Assembly has made clear; “… abandon the predominant medical model that seeks to cure individuals by targeting ‘disorders’ [and] address the ‘power imbalance’ rather than ‘chemical imbalance’.”
This would mean addressing and preventing the root causes of distress, avoiding both diagnosis and the use of medication as much as possible, and instead a greater reliance on psychological formulation, systemic interventions and working with and within the education system… all of which demands political support.


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