Mental Health without the Pathology

1-day workshop | Saturday 16th March 2024 | James Barnes | Exeter

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James says:

“The concept of 'mental health awareness' has almost become second language in the western world. While this has brought much needed attention to people's psychological struggles, I believe it remains firmly rooted in the 'medical model', which, by definition, is designed to look for 'broken' or 'pathological' parts of us in need of medical 'fixing.'"

But is this the best way to describe and treat people's psychological struggles? For many other, non-pathologising approaches, the answer is no….but we don't hear much about them. Medically based mental health services certainly do have their place. But the medical model’s narrow view as applied across the board, not only limits the full picture of the human experience, but is also rooted in potentially harmful and outdated social and political structures.”

Join James as he addresses the problems with mainstream approaches and explores various models that seek to remedy the problem. The day will explore a range of perspectives and approaches that have different, but largely compatible ways of approaching mental distress that together provide viable alternatives to the current medical mental health model.

Learning Objectives

Attendees will gain a general understanding of the assumptions behind the mainstream mental health model and its practise – and the problems with such assumptions. The day will present a wide view of ’non-pathological’ alternatives to the current mental health system & mental health treatment.

Delegates will be shown how to recognise and articulate the strengths and weaknesses of each, and feel confident in speaking about them.

Topics we will explore:

The day will be structured into five topics:

· Capitalism, Psychiatry and the Medicalisation of Distress: The Current Mental Health System

· Trauma, Social Injustice and Alienation: The interpersonal and social nature of the problem

· Shifting Perspectives: How different contexts including feminism, neurodiversity and relational psychotherapy can challenge the established system.

· A different conversation: How The Power Threat Meaning Framework & Open dialogue can help to offer an alternative to the DSM mindset.

· What now? Putting this into practice. Each of these themes will be explored with a wide lens in order to give an overview of the ‘non-pathologising’ space and the reasons for its need in current times.



Who is this workshop for?

To gain a general understanding of the assumptions behind the mainstream mental health model and its practise – and the problems with such assumptions. To gain a wide view of ’non-pathological’ alternatives the current mental health system & mental health treatment. To be able to recognise and articulate the strengths and weaknesses of each, and feel confident in speaking about them.

Trainee counsellors Qualified counsellors and psychotherapists Any audiences/groups/organisations particularly connected to the topic

Meet the tutor

James Barnes has worked in mental health for the last 20 years and has been a psychotherapist for the last 6. He has a background in philosophy and relational psychoanalysis, and teaches, supervises and writes. He has been working on a de-pathologised, relational alternative to mainstream thinking about psychological and emotional distress.

Course Venues:   Exeter   |   Poole   

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