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Toward a New Vocabulary for Mental Illness & Addiction

Mudtown Records
Event organized by Mudtown Records

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Free Roundtable Event

The terms “mental illness” and “addiction” are already outdated terms in the mental health field, largely being replaced by ostensibly more neutral terms like “mental disorder” and “substance use.” Despite this, advocates claim that a more experience-centred approach is required, using language that is articulated and determined, in whole or in part, by experts-by-experience and peers (the “mentally ill” and “addicts”), rather than a vocabulary seemingly self imposed by a psychiatric superstructure. Clinicians, researchers, and institutions have responded in turn with treatment, evidence, and programs supportive of integrative experience-based modelling, such as those articulated by the Maastricht Model for Hearing Voices, Norway’s Stangehjelpa non-disease model, the Finnish school of Open Dialogue, and the British Psychological Society’s call for a paradigm shift in diagnosis, just to name a few. And so, the question falls to the community: how do we speak about human psychological and emotional suffering in a way that does not alienate us from one another, causing further agony?

This is the one in a series of community dialogues facilitated by organizer Josh Richardson.

Josh Richardson is a philosophy graduate and mental health clinician. He concentrated on philosophy of psychiatry and psychopathology during post-graduate studies at the University of Guelph, gaining his clinical experience in outpatient mental health. His clinical concentration is now in substance use.