Friday, 24 March 2017

The Inverness Accord

The annual meeting of the British and Irish Group for the Study of Personality Disorder took place in Inverness this year. It was billed as the seventeenth, although some argued that it was actually the eighteenth. The conference is notable for travelling the length and breadth of the British Isles for its venues, and never having been back to the same place twice. Notable venues have included Jersey, the Isle of Man and, most recently, Inverness.

Many papers were given, interesting main speakers – and we had a presentation on the concept of ‘identity’ from an actor, and a cartoonist who captured the main messages from each of the sessions. One presentation worth mentioning was that of Lucy Johnson – if only for revealing the vipers’ nest in the British Psychological Society who are trying to undermine the whole glorious edifice of ‘psychiatric diagnosis’ (they are Lucy herself, Mary Boyle, John Comber, Jacqui Dillon, Dave Harper, Peter Kinderman, Eleanor Langdon, David Pilgrim and John Read). The trouble is, although she was meant to be a conflict-triggering main act, most of us agreed with her – especially about how degrading the general term ‘personality disorder’ is. It’s a name I wouldn’t want to give even to our mad Dalmatian (though he does suffer from several of them).

But as is often the case, the interesting things happened in huddles over coffees, beers and meals. So I’m going to put down some of our wildest ambitions for the field in the next year or so. I won’t ‘out’ my fellow consipratiors, as I expect they are a bit more careful and less excitable than I am, but here are five ideas we hope to push along:
·        A formal training for therapeutic community practitioners: with theoretical, clinical, experiential and assessed elements.
·        A bringing together of national service user and expert-by-experience efforts under a coordinated and well-funded organisation.
·        The agreement across the national commissioners of public sector services in criminal justice, social care, health and education about a cross-agency, cross-sector and interdisciplinary model of human development and what goes wrong with it.
·        Founding an online peer-reviewed, free, journal – to be called something like ‘Journal of Relational Health’.
·        The establishment of an influential ‘umbrella body’ probably constituted as a charitable learned body, with a name something like ‘Institute of Relational Health’.

Let us wait and see: every the optimist, but deeply pessimistic about the way everything else seems to be going...

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