Manchester Medical Society

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Philosophy and Psychiatry

  • Date: Wednesday 28th February 2018 from 2.00-5.00 pm (Coffee & Registration from 1.30 pm)
  • Venue: Manchester Dental Education Centre (MANDEC), Higher Cambridge Street, Manchester, M15 6FH
  • Members £0
  • Non Members £25-60
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MANDEC directions

1.30 pm
Coffee and Registration

2.00 pm
Self-esteem and psychiatric experience: A phenomenological perspective
Dr Anna Bortolan, Irish Research Council Post-doctoral Fellow, School of Philosophy, University College Dublin

The presentation will explore how philosophical and, in particular, phenomenological research on affectivity can contribute to our understanding of self-esteem and its alterations in psychiatric experience.  Moving from the acknowledgement that affectivity is cardinal to the structure of self-esteem, in the first part of the talk Dr Bortolan will suggest that the categories around which existing  affective taxonomies revolve do not provide a theoretical framework within which the structure of self-esteem can be exhaustively accounted for.  She will then move to argue that self-esteem may be best understood through the phenomenological notion of  “mood” or “existential feeling”, and will highlight how such an account may enhance our comprehension of the role played by disturbances of self-esteem in certain forms of psychiatric illness.

Learning objectives

  1. To acquire an understanding of some of the notions and theories developed in the field of phenomenology of emotion.
  2. To appreciate how these notions and theories could contribute to an account of the structure of self-esteem.
  3. To consider the implications that such a phenomenologically informed account of self-esteem could have for the understanding of certain forms of psychiatric experience.

2.45 pm
Dr Rachel V Cooper, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, Lancaster University
“Understanding the DSM-5: Continuity and change”

When one looks at the sets of diagnostic criteria, the DSM-5 is strikingly similar to the DSM-IV. I argue that at this level the DSM has become ‘locked-in’ and difficult to change. At the same time, at the structural, or conceptual, level there have been radical changes, for example, in the definition of ‘mental disorder’, the role of theory and of values, and in the abandonment of the multiaxial approach to diagnosis. The way that the DSM-5 was constructed means that the overall conceptual framework of the classification only barely constrains the sets of diagnostic criteria that it contains.

Learning objectives

  1.  To understand the reasons why classification systems, such as the DSM, can become ‘locked in’.
  2.  To appreciate the major conceptual changes that have been introduced in the DSM-5.
  3.  To understand how it is that the conceptual framework of the DSM and the diagnostic criteria it contains can be only loosely connected.

3.30 pm

4.00 pm
Presidential Address of Dr Alistair Stewart, Consultant Psychiatrist, Pennine Care Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
“A common unfeeling language”

For most of our patients, finding a way to express painful, distressing or frightening feelings is an essential first step towards overcoming them and reaching solace.  The right words, those that give a true measure of what is felt, may be hard to find, and as Robert Hobson said, part of our task is to develop with our patients a “common feeling language”.  This work is never over, partly because each new person has to find their own words.  Both our “technical” language for describing emotions, and common parlance about feelings, are inadequate, the first because it is too abstract, the second because it is riddled with hollowed-out clichés.  Dr Stewart will give some examples and offer some ways out.

5.00 pm