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A Therapist's Guide to Psychiatric Medication - what do we need to know to facilitate meaningful discussion with our clients?

16 December 2021 9:45 am - 1:30 pm
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The information Services Division (ISD), Scotland, released figures in 2019 showing that the use of psychiatric medications, in particular antipsychotics, antidepressants, and drugs used to treat ADHD have all been steadily increasing over the last decade.

In fact there had been a 48% rise in the use of antidepressant medication.

These medications as a group were also disproportionately used by women and by those living within the most deprived areas of the country. This understandably sparked concerns that as a nation we are becoming dependent on psychiatric medication to deal with mental health difficulties, as well as failing to address social and economic aspects of these societal difficulties.

The Scottish Govt similarly released figures during consultation for a Short Life Working Group at the beginning of this year indicating that in 2019/20 a third of Scottish adults are currently in receipt of a prescriptions for either benzodiazepines, z-drugs (sleeping pills), gabapentinoids (neuropathic painkillers, some of which are also used to treat anxiety), opioids, or antidepressants. Deprivation was again associated with the frequency of prescriptions of all five categories. 

As Clinical Psychologists and other therapists, we often have relatively little knowledge of psychiatric medications – detailed information of the effects of different types of medication on the brain, understanding range and dose, the effects of polypharmacy approaches, repercussions of long term use, how to use them alongside therapy, and safe ways to decrease usage with an understanding of the likely side effects. This often prevents us from thinking in a meaningful way with our clients about their psychiatric medications.

09:45 Introduction
09:55 Presentation by John Read  
10:45 Presentation by Joanna Moncrieff 
11:35 EbE – story and reflections  
12:30 Questions and Panel discussion 
13:15 Closing comments  



Dr John Read is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of East London. He has published over 180 research papers, on topics including the negative effects of bio-genetic causal explanations on prejudice, the experiences of recipients of anti-psychotic and anti-depressant medication, electroconvulsive therapy, and the role of the pharmaceutical industry.

Dr Joanna Moncrieff , is professor of critical and social psychiatry at University College London and works as a consultant in community psychiatry in London. She has researched and written about theories of drug action, drug efficacy, the subjective experience of taking psychiatric drugs; decision-making; the history of drug treatment; and the history, politics, and philosophy of psychiatry more generally.

These two clinicians and experts will use the session to talk about different types of psychiatric drugs and their effects on their brain, the difference between a disease-based and a drug-based model of care, as well as exploring the distinction between the long-denied withdrawal effects of psychiatric medications and ‘relapse’.

Mary Tweedle is an Expery By Experience.  Mary has lived experience of mental ill health and recovery and has been treated and supported by General Adult Mental Health Services for over 15 years. Originally studying for degrees in Physics at university, and after time out to focus on her health, she joined NHS Lothian at the end of 2015 as a Peer Support worker at the medium secure forensic unit, The Orchard Clinic. Here she helped build the first Peer Support Service within a medium secure forensic unit in the UK.

In her role she uses her own lived experience to help others in their recovery from life changing periods of mental ill health. As part of the multi-disciplinary team she helps maintain the recovery focused ethos of the clinic within the complexities of working in a forensic setting. Mary will talk through her personal journey with psychiatric medication and reflections on this.

The panel will then have a chance to take audience questions as we consider helpful ways forward in equipping therapists with the tools we need to talk to our clients about treatment incorporating psychiatric medications.


Registration is available online only.

In order to register for the event, you will need to sign in using your log in details. If you are not a returning customer, you will need to create a free account.

Joining instructions will be sent the day prior to the event, these will be sent to your BPS registered email address.

Free DCP Members (Limited to 200 places)
£10.00 BPS Members
£10.00 Non-members


Have a query?

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