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What psychological therapists should know about prescribed psychiatric drugs

15 October 2021 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm
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This online event is looking at working with clients who are taking or withdrawing from prescribed drugs.

In this event we aim to discuss the issue of increasing numbers of prescriptions of psychiatric drugs, including benzodiazepines, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and stimulants. While these drugs may help some people in the short term, there is growing evidence that many patients report persistent withdrawal and other negative effects. The event will particularly focus on antidepressants and implications for therapeutic practice.

The event is based on the “Guidance for Psychological Therapists - Enabling conversations with clients taking or withdrawing from prescribed psychiatric drugs”. The guidance was funded and steered by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), the British Psychological Society (BPS) and the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), in conjunction with the APPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence Secretariat (all members of the Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry (CEP)), and the National Survivor User Network (NSUN). It is endorsed by the main non-modality specific professional bodies, including the National Counselling Society (NCS), for use by their members and relevant training organisations.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Introduce therapists to the broader context for the prescription of psychiatric drugs in the UK today in terms of levels, outcomes, and risks of dependence
  • Summarise the main effects, adverse consequences, possible withdrawal strategies and reactions from psychiatric drugs using antidepressants as an example
  • Support therapists in deepening their knowledge and offering practical strategies for working with clients taking or withdrawing from prescribed psychiatric drugs



14:00 Introduction, Professor John Read

14:15 The evidence about antidepressants, Professor Joanna Moncrieff & Dr Mark Horowitz

15:00 Q&A

15:15 Break

15:30 The implications for therapeutic practice, Dr Anne Guy

16:15 Q&A

16:30 End


Professor John Read

John Read is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of East London. He has published over 180 research papers, primarily on the relationship between adverse life events and psychosis. He also researches 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.

John is Chair of the International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal [https://iipdw.org] , and on the Board of the Hearing Voices Network, England [ http://www.hearing-voices.org] He was the BPS representative on the expert advisory panel for the 2019 Public Health England’s ‘Report of the review of the evidence for dependence on, and withdrawal from, prescribed medicines’. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/prescribed-medicines-an-evidence-review

Dr Anne Guy

Dr Anne Guy, UKCP (Reg), MBACP (Accred) is a psychotherapist in private practice, having previously worked as lecturer at the University of Roehampton. She is a member of the Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry, the secretariat co-ordinator for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence and an associate member of the Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal.

She is the lead editor for the “Guidance for Psychological Therapists: Enabling Conversations with Clients Taking or Withdrawing from Psychiatric Drugs” created in collaboration with leading UK therapy organisations and academics.

She has co-authored articles on patients and therapists’ experiences of psychiatric drugs and reports for the APPG describing current and potential service models for supporting prescribed drug dependence in the UK. She chairs the Withdrawal Services Working Group convened to define patients’ needs and sits on the NHS Advisory Group for the NHSE&I programme considering the implementation of PHE’s recommendations for action on prescribed drug dependence.

Professor Joanna Moncrief

Joanna Moncrieff is a Professor of Critical and Social Psychiatry at University College London, and works as a consultant psychiatrist at the North East London Foundation Trust. She has been writing about the over-use and misrepresentation of psychiatric drugs since the 1990s and she has also researched and written about the history, politics and philosophy of psychiatry more generally. She is currently leading UK government-funded research on reducing and discontinuing antipsychotic drug treatment (the RADAR study), and collaborating on a study to support antidepressant discontinuation. In the 1990s she co-founded the Critical Psychiatry Network to link up with other, like-minded psychiatrists. She is author of numerous papers and her books include A Straight Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Drugs Second edition (PCCS Books), published in September 2020, as well as The Bitterest Pills: The Troubling Story of Antipsychotic Drugs (2013) and The Myth of the Chemical Cure (2009) (Palgrave Macmillan).

Dr Mark Horowitz

Dr Mark Horowitz MBBS PhD is a training psychiatrist, with a PhD from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London in the neurobiology of antidepressant action. He is currently a clinical research fellow at UCL, working on the RADAR trial. He co-authored the recent Royal College of Psychiatry guidance on Stopping Antidepressants, and has written several papers about safe approaches to tapering psychiatric medications including publications in The Lancet Psychiatry, JAMA Psychiatry and the British Journal of Psychiatry. He has an interest in rational psychopharmacology and deprescribing psychiatric medication. He has experienced the difficulty of coming off psychiatric medications first hand which has informed much of his work.


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.

BPS Members Free
Non-Members £10.00
BACP Members *Free - please use code BACPDISC in the promotional code box on the basket page
UKCP Members *Free - please use code UKCPDISC in the promotional code box on the basket page
NCS Members *Free - please use code NCSDISC in the promotional code box on the basket page

*Membership will be verified with the relevant organisation. 

Have a query?

Contact [email protected]


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