Project

The Power Threat Meaning framework

Goal: I'm working, with a group of psychologists and service user/survivors, on a major Division of Clinical Psychology project to outline a conceptual alternative to psychiatric diagnosis. We will be doing a presentation at the DCP Annual Conference in January 2017, and hope it will be launched early in 2017.

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Project log

David Harper
added a research item
Conventional psychiatric approaches view distressing unusual beliefs (e.g., delusions, paranoia, etc.) as an un-understandable symptom of underlying disorders like psychosis or personality disorder, likely caused by a biological vulnerability. But a more humane approach sees them as responses to adverse events in a person’s life. In this chapter, we briefly critique mainstream psychiatric approaches and outline an alternative approach informed by the Power Threat Meaning Framework and drawing on a range of theoretical perspectives. We conclude with a brief review of interventions consistent with this approach.
David Harper
added 2 research items
The Power Threat Meaning Framework (PTMF), published by the British Psychological Society (BPS) in 2018, is an attempt to address the question of how we might understand problems in living other than by using psychiatric diagnostic systems. How might we best conceptualize emotional distress and behavior which might concern or trouble others? We describe the context within which the PTMF was developed and explain some of its key elements before giving an overview of the articles in this special issue.
Advocates of a biomedical approach have argued that: it provides an evidence-based approach to classifying and understanding the causes of problems; adopting a biomedical understanding will reduce stigma; and biomedical interventions are effective and evidence-based. This article reviews the literature and finds not only that there is little or no evidence for these assumptions but that, in fact, the research evidence points to the need for the kind of alternative approach proposed by the PTMF. Alternative causal models which recognize the role of psychosocial adversities are described and alternative approaches to diagnostic classification and destigmatisation programs are suggested and innovative attempts to redesign services in a manner consistent with the PTMF approach are described. The article concludes by discussing implications for policy-level change.
David Harper
added a research item
Introduction for a special issue of the Journal of Constructivist Psychology on the Power Threat Meaning Framework
David Harper
added a research item
This article describes how the narrative construct is used in the Power Threat Meaning Framework to refer to personal narratives, cultural narratives and as a meta-theoretical language, synthesizing a range of different theoretical perspectives. It identifies ways in which this approach to narrative may differ from its use in a number of therapeutic traditions. Focusing on medicalization and drawing on the concepts of ideological power, framing, filtering and gatekeeping, it discusses the processes which facilitate the dominance of a medical frame in the public conversation about mental health, proposing that such dominance is an example of hermeneutical injustice. The article concludes, firstly, by suggesting some practices which therapists and other professionals could use to broaden and contextualize therapy conversations and, secondly, by making some proposals for how the public conversation about mental health could be re-balanced.
Lucy Johnstone
added an update
The Power Threat Meaning Framework was launched on Jan 12th in London. Follow this link for the Main document (online only); the shorter Overview document (the Framework itself); FAQs; a suggested Guided Discussion for self-help or clinical use;a 2 page overview; and the slides from the launch https://www.bps.org.uk/news-and-policy/introducing-power-threat-meaning-framework A video of the main talks from the launch will be available shortly. Hard copies of the Overview can be ordered from membernetworkservices@bps.org.uk (you do not have to be a BPS member.)
The Framework has generated a great deal of discussion and a number of blogs have been published. Hostility on Twitter has been extremely unpleasant at times (see #PTMFramework) and two of the project authors are taking a temporary break because of it. Not all of the blogs engaged to any degree, or at all, with the actual content of the Framework. Among those that did are these:
There was also an article in The Independent
Outside social media and in the real world, we have many enthusiastic responses from clinicians, researchers, service users/survivors, managers, voluntary sector workers and others, both in the UK and beyond, and the Framework has already been introduced into the syllabus on several nursing, SW and clinical psychology courses.
Thanks for your interest and I will keep you updated.
 
Lucy Johnstone
added an update
This is the link to the website for the launch. All 200 tickets sold out within 36 hours, so I am sorry if anyone was unable to secure one. I am optimistic that more will be available in due course. Keep your eye on the website.
 
Lucy Johnstone
added an update
We have just received confirmation that the launch date of this project will be January 12th, 2018, in London. There will be free places for 200 attenders. Tickets are not yet on sale, but watch this space.
 
Lucy Johnstone
added an update
Lucy Johnstone
added a project goal
I'm working, with a group of psychologists and service user/survivors, on a major Division of Clinical Psychology project to outline a conceptual alternative to psychiatric diagnosis. We will be doing a presentation at the DCP Annual Conference in January 2017, and hope it will be launched early in 2017.