ISPS-US Fourteenth Annual Meeting: What’s in a Name? Emerging Perspectives on the Intersection of “Schizophrenia” and “Recovery”

When: October 4-6, 2013
Where: The Hyatt Regency, New Brunswick, NJ

Keynote Speaker: Debra Lampshire
Experience-based expert, Senior Tutor at the University of Auckland, and Project Manager for Auckland District Health Board in New Zealand

Honorees: Marius Romme, MD, PhD and Sandra Escher, MPhil, PhD
Researchers, authors, founders of the International Hearing Voices Movement

ISPS (the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis) recently changed its name to eliminate the word “schizophrenia,” based on a growing international consensus that the stigmatizing impact of the term far outweighs the limited validity of the construct. Our previous keynoter, Richard Bentall, PhD, has written persuasively that while there is scientific evidence for the existence of certain symptoms, there is no evidence for a unified “disease” called schizophrenia. Even one of the so-called hallmark features of schizophrenia – auditory hallucinations – has been called into question by traumatologists, who cite evidence that hearing voices is a common feature of PTSD and dissociative disorders. Professors Romme and Escher’s research shows that hearing voices is a common occurrence among patients and non-patients. Recovering voice hearer Ron Coleman has suggested that the phenomenon of “negative symptoms” is merely a description of people who are lost in their voice hearing experiences and too distracted or despondent to interact effectively with the outside world. Others have found that “negative symptoms” are the manifestation of profound depression and demoralization, which are also common experiences among those diagnosed with schizophrenia.

What is it that one is recovering from and what does it mean to be in recovery or recovered? Recovery has become a popular buzzword in mental health, but its definition is also controversial. For some it means living with symptoms; for others it means elimination of symptoms. Some use professional treatment including medication and consider themselves recovered because they lead highly functional lives. Others consider dependence on prescriptions and therapists as indicators that one is not yet fully recovered. Given that there are new challenges to ways of thinking about the experiences formerly defined as schizophrenic, it is time to reconsider what recovery from these experiences looks like.

Come, join us, and explore where interventions, research, and training in recovery are headed! Meet up with old friends and make new ones in New Brunswick, New Jersey (accessible by train from NYC and Philadelphia, and close to Newark Airport) to develop an appreciation for and engage in dialogues about the complex dynamics and forces that characterize and challenge recovery from psychosis. We welcome your proposal for papers or panel discussions, and seek contributions from psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists, occupational and art therapists, researchers, physicians, psychotherapists, case managers, rehabilitation specialists, nurses and nurse practitioners, peer counselors, consumers, survivors, students/early career professionals, and family members. Come and share your expertise, knowledge and experience. We are interested in integrative approaches that may include traditional psychotherapy and psychosocial interventions, as well as innovative methods being used to help people recover from psychotic conditions.

Jason Moehringer and I will be co-presenting a paper at the conference entitled “Psychosis, Defense and Recovery from a Psychodynamic Perspective”. Hope to see you there.

One thought on “ISPS-US Fourteenth Annual Meeting: What’s in a Name? Emerging Perspectives on the Intersection of “Schizophrenia” and “Recovery”

  1. Best wishes with the paper. It saddens me that a professional conference is being held at a Hyatt, which is perhaps the most abusive, anti-laborer hotel chain in the U.S. I encourage you (to boycott the conference, but if not, then act in a way) to make the ISPS aware of this and petition for them to never again hold a conference at a Hyatt.

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