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What’s in a Name? Emerging Perspectives on the Intersection of “Schizophrenia” and “Recovery”

posted May 21, 2013, 4:00 AM by Mathias Dekeyser
Oct. 4-6, 2013, New Brunswick, New Jersey

(Pre-conference workshops will be offered Sept. 30-Oct. 3 and Oct. 4.)

ISPS 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, 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, and by Romme and Escher, whose 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 buzz word in mental health, but its definition is also controversial. For some this 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. Join us, October 4-6, 2013, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, to develop an appreciation for and engage in dialogues about the complex dynamics and forces that characterize and challenge recovery from psychosis.

The meeting will feature:

Keynoter: Debra Lampshire
Debra Lampshire is an experience-based expert at the University of Auckland and project manager for Auckland District Health Board in New Zealand. She is Chairperson of ISPS New Zealand and a member of the ISPS Executive Committee.

Honorees: Marius Romme, MD, PhD and Sandra Escher, PhD
Dr. Marius Romme is Dutch psychiatrist, best known for his work on hearing voices (auditory hallucinations) and regarded as the founder and principal theorist for the Hearing Voices Movement. He is the Founder and former Chair of Intervoice, the International association for voice hearers.
Dr. Sandra Escher has been involved in the Hearing Voices Movement from the very beginning. She has organized many hearing voices conferences. In 1996 she started her own research with children hearing voices. Her book on children who hear voices was published in 2010. She is a board member of Intervoice.