A Disorder For Everyone! Edinburgh 28 September 2018

3rd July 2018

Challenging the culture of psychiatric diagnosis and exploring trauma informed alternatives; in association with the Scottish Recovery Network.


 A Disorder for Everyone! is a dynamic & challenging event touring the UK. At each event Dr Lucy Johnstone, Jo Watson and Nollaig McSweeny welcome dynamic and passionate speakers who also challenge the mainstream narrative of ‘diagnosis and disorder’ in favor of non-pathologising, trauma-informed alternatives including an introduction to the Power Threat Meaning Framework.

About the day

The event features not just professionals but people from a diverse range of backgrounds who have an essential contribution to make to the debate. Lucy Johnstone will present some of the current debates and controversies about psychiatric diagnosis:

It is increasingly acknowledged, even within the mental health establishment, that categories like ‘schizophrenia’, ‘bipolar disorder’ and ‘personality disorder’ lack validity. The assumption that distress is best understood as disease can have very serious consequences for the individual, their identity, and their path to recovery.


Lucy will present alternatives to diagnosis which can help people to make sense of experiences of distress, however extreme, and which are based on working together to explore personal meaning. A choice of workshops will be offered in the afternoon as well as a further presentations and some performance from Edinburgh Fringe show ‘We’re All Mad!’.

Contributors joining us for the day include

  • Dr James Davies, author of the bestselling book ‘Cracked: why psychiatry is doing more harm than good’
  • Sally Fox, author of ‘Putting Myself in the Frame: drawing hope from art therapy’; and (co-authored with Jo McFarlane) ‘Stigma & Stones: poems on living with a diagnosis of BPD’
  • Jo Mcfarlane, a poet and author of ‘Skydiving for Beginners: a journey of recovery and hope’
  • Dr Jacqui Dillon a writer, activist, international speaker and trainer.
  • Prof Mathias Schwannauer, psychologist and creator of Edinburgh Fringe show ‘We’re All Mad!’

Who is the event for?

This day is for anyone who is interested in and concerned about the current debates in ‘mental health.’ It provides a space to explore the critical questions of the day around the biomedical model and the narrative of ‘diagnosis and disorder!’

Attendees from past AD4E events have included people who identify as the following: people with lived experience of emotional distress, supporters of people with lived experience, survivors, psychologists, journalists, activists, counsellors, service users, service refusers, psychotherapists, mental health support professionals, psychiatrists, managers and individuals with a general personal interest.

Participants from previous events commented:

I was exasperated with the whole ‘disorder’ thing – it has taken over as the only way to understand distress and there is nothing hopeful about it. This event challenges it all, and, as it turns out – there is hope!

The whole day has been a transformative experience. I have always been uncomfortable with labels but felt I had to go along with it. Now I feel empowered to offer the people I work with the option at least to explore alternative ways of understanding their pain.


The event will take place on Friday 28th September from 9am until 5pm at Norton Park Conference Centre in Edinburgh. To book your ticket and for more information visit the Eventbrite page.

The event offers as many free places as possible to people with lived experience, as well as discounted rates for other groups. If you would like to negotiate a cheaper rate or for group bookings of more than 5 people contact jowatson03@aol.com