Forum for European Philosophy Consilience panel discussion. Date: Tuesday 7 May 2013
Venue: The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House.
Speakers: Professor Matthew Broome, Dr Bonnie Evans, Professor Tim Thornton. Chair: Dr Kristina Musholt
How should we think of mental disorders?
Can psychiatry be reduced to neuroscience, or is there something irreducibly mental in mental illness?
Matthew Broome is associate clinical professor of psychiatry and consultant psychiatrist in early intervention in the Division of Mental Health and Wellbeing at the University of Warwick Medical School.
Bonnie Evans is a researcher in the Centre for the Humanities and Health at King’s College London.
Tim Thornton is professor of philosophy and mental health at the University of Central Lancashire.
Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #LSEphilosophy
For me this event raised more questions than answers.
Professor Tim Thornton set the stage and introduced The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry which is the most comprehensive reference resource for this area ever published. (100 years of research)
Philosophy has much to offer psychiatry, not least regarding ethical issues, but also issues regarding the mind, identity, values, and volition. This has become only more important as we have witnessed the growth and power of the pharmaceutical industry, accompanied by developments in the neurosciences. However, too few practicing psychiatrists are familiar with the literature in this area.
He spoke of a general approach vs person centered approach, the need to balance the thin line between the pathology of illness, that mental healthcare carries contentious issues of coercion and compulsion and the challenge of getting all international views heard.
Mental health issues are deeply philosophical
‘Psychiatrists are interested in what should be a taxonomy of mental illness – they are searching for a paradigm shift asking conceptual questions which philosophers would provide some of the answers.’
‘evidence based medicine is essentially a general broad approach of gathering good quality evidence; psychiatry is simpler, person specific there is a need to balance the two virtues (breadth and person specific) this is an empirical and conceptual challenge.’
Dr Bonnie Evans then gave a presentation about the concept of autism, and how it has changed over the years. In 1961 the Ministry of health wanted to find out how many children has mental disorders and Bonnie presented the then (crude) classifications (behaviors and characteristics) that were used with a picture of a mental hospital in 1957 with the caption: ‘imbeciles with mental deficiency.’ Autism was later defined as ‘Lack of contact with reality’ citing the 1964 work of Victor Lotter she went on to say 1970’s hospitals closing down coincided with the rise in educational classifications of autism and the rise in speech therapists and Bonnie mentioned the Autism spectrum, touching briefly on the higher functioning of Aspergers ….
I find myself wanting to connect Bonnie with Nadine Honeybone Founder of The Autism Directory which is a charitable organisation based in the UK. It aims to pull together useful resources and information concerning autism in the UK, and signpost it from the directory, to help autism families get the help they need.
Dr Matthew Broome described the attitudes and bias in psychiatry and posed the question ‘why shouldn’t medicine encapsulate psychiatry?’
His research interests include the prodrome of psychosis, functional and structural neuroimaging, cognitive mechanisms in delusion formation, psychopathology, and the philosophy of psychiatry and of cognitive neuroscience. Clinical interests include prodromal, early, and refractory psychotic illness, neuropsychiatry, and student mental health.
Q: Colorblindness A: ‘who is to say whether this or in fact deafness is a disorder?’ (paraphrase Professor Tim)
I posed the following Question: Why is it that people of your caliber are not behind NLP?
‘Mind body spirit is about the whole person that is what I am missing from this debate. Robert Holden, the Happiness project his new book is about loveability, you (Matthew) mention the pain pleasure principle, once somebody does (practices) mindfulness, or kindness growth and contribution (their mental health challenges are eased) often they have solved a lot of their problems. The NHS IAPT programme is committed to CBT – I know a lot of people in the Personal Development world who practice phobia cures, Milton Erikson, NLP, NAC is actually in my experience getting better results. I work with people who have criminality caused by mental health. Serious mental illness is not well funded.
Matthew replied its not widely part of the curriculum therefore not experienced it. He agreed CBT is the NHS commitment (evidence based)
Notes: Neuro-Associative Conditioning or NAC was developed by Anthony Robbins, author of “Unlimited Power”, “Awaken the Giant Within” and the “Personal Power” tape series, from the foundations of Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP which was developed by Richard Bandler and Dr. John Grinder in their effort to model communication strategies of effective therapists. Anthony Robbins taught neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and Ericksonian Hypnosis after training with NLP co-founder John Grinder
NLP is a series of tools and techniques to help a person become more in control of their emotions and behaviour. It is a very cognitive form of therapy and as such it is useful for improving your attitude and perspective.
In the late 1960s Richard Bandler was a computer science undergraduate at the University of California with an interest in psychotherapy. He noticed how ineffective most therapists were, but noticed that there were a few who got results. These were Virginia Satir and Fritz Perls. He and colleague John Grinder closely studied them, and realised that the supposed “intuition” both used in their work had a structure. From this study of the conscious and unconscious behaviour of the therapist Neuro-Linguistic Programming grew.
Later, Bandler and Grinder studied the hypnotist Milton H Erickson. Combining his approach with that of Satir and Perls produced a highly effective therapeutic model – which was the first fruit of the fledgling Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
Hypnotherapy is simply hypnosis but for therapeutic benefits. When you are relaxed in hypnosis the conscious mind “gets out of the way” so it isn’t filtering information quite as much as it usually does. This mean that suggestions about things you know you would like to change or improve (such as stopping smoking) are much more readily accepted.
”Mans Mind, Once Stretched To A New Idea, Never Goes Back To Its Original Dimension” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” ~ David Brinkley
My conclusion: Matthew had me thinking about the pain pleasure principle and an excellent article I read from Minesh Bhindi click here: Why Reading Personal or Spiritual Development Education Can Ruin Your Ability To Create Wealth
For me, Minesh’s wise analysis provides a clear understanding of why it is important to follow your own dream (inside out design of life) then to let go of the outcome.
Paradigm shift: To learn more on the inside out nature of reality review the current work of Jamie Smart and Michael Neill who build on the late Sydney Banks principles. Philosopher and author Sydney Banks has found something so profound that it is dramatically impacting our world. Psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, teachers, police officers, and countless other individuals are experiencing powerful insights and beautiful changes in their lives, simply from reading or hearing his words about the nature of thought.
‘’It’s never the thing that’s the problem, it’s the way you look at the thing.’’
If you give someone a diagnosis they will live that diagnosis as their identity.
Medication has its place and is sometimes essential, although all too often what could have been a short term measure turns into a reliance and another addiction on top of addiction. I believe that medicating for a ‘situation depression’ can be eliminated if you catch people before they get to the ‘black’ depths of not being able to function.
I think the whole person (mind body spirit) treatment is missing from this debate and more joined up collaboration across psychiatry, psychology and philosophy is needed.
My grateful thanks to Matthew Broome for connecting at the end of the event and offering to continue the dialogue.