– Was Shakespeare right?
Our understanding of madness, as expressed in the paradigmatic form of schizophrenia, has undergone a transformation in recent years. There has been sustained resistance, driven by cognitive psychology research and insights from the trauma and dissociation field, to the broadly accepted view of psychosis and schizophrenia as genetically-driven brain diseases. Against this view of madness as ‘incomprehensible’, comes the position that psychotic symptoms are not only meaningful but that their meaning must be understood for genuine healing to occur. Such a position is consistent with that espoused by Bleuler and Jung in the early 20th century, when the concept of schizophrenia was first proposed. In this lecture series, schizophrenia, delusions and auditory hallucinations (voice hearing) are explored from a trauma/dissociation perspective, after a presentation of the concepts of trauma and dissociation, and their disorders.
Lecture 1: Wednesday, 11 April, 19:00 – 20:30. Understanding trauma and dissociation, along with posttraumatic and dissociative disorders
The term trauma, in common usage, is quite broad, while its formal use in diagnoses such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is quite narrow. Here we argue for a middle ground, exploring the historical use of the term trauma (as ‘wound’) and conceptualizing trauma as a threat to the psychological (not only physical) integrity of the self – distinct from severe stress but related to dissociation. And while the term dissociation has been used in a confusing range of ways, we argue here that dissociation is best considered as a division of personality or identity, and that ‘normal’ dissociation is a misnomer. Posttraumatic and dissociative disorders, including PTSD and dissociative identity disorder (DID) are discussed to illustrate these points.
Lecture 2: Wednesday, 18 April, 19:00 – 20:30. What is psychosis and what is schizophrenia? Historical and contemporary perspectives from the trauma and dissociation field
The term psychosis was originally introduced in the mid-19th century to mean a disease of the whole personality (ironically, originally less ‘biological’ than neuroses, which were then considered diseases of the nerves). In this lecture we will explore the meaning of the term ‘psychosis’ over time, and the diagnosis of schizophrenia – from its creation by Bleuler and Jung in the early 20th century to its current use. Along the way, we will present extensive links between the concepts of trauma, dissociation and schizophrenia, including the so-called ‘1st rank’ or ‘Schneiderian’ symptoms of schizophrenia. The lecture will end with a consideration of how the diagnosis of schizophrenia could be improved.
Lecture 3: Wednesday, 25 April, 19:00 – 20:30. Understanding delusions and hallucinations from a trauma and dissociation perspective
What are delusions and what are hallucinations? The psychological model of delusions as explanations for ‘anomalous’ (‘strange’) experiences is presented, along with evidence that these experiences may be ‘trauma-based’. The close link between delusions and memory is discussed, and the possibility that some delusions may have their genesis in early attachment experiences explored. In contrast, auditory verbal hallucinations (voice hearing) are argued to be much more closely related to dissociation. Voices are explained as dissociative (or ‘disowned’) parts of the personality, frequently generated after trauma, and on a continuum with the dissociative identities of DID. Such a view was already proposed by Jung and Bleuler in the early 20th century. It is argued that, in the current state of the field, voice hearing should not be considered a cardinal symptom of schizophrenia or even psychosis; indeed, its usefulness for the purpose of differential diagnosis (or even diagnosis at all) is questioned.
About the lecturer:
Andrew Moskowitz, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology and Dean of undergraduate programs at Touro College Berlin and President of the European Society for Trauma and Dissociation. He has published widely on the relation between trauma, dissociation and psychosis, and is the lead editor of the award-winning book Psychosis, Trauma and Dissociation (Wiley, 2008), the 2nd edition of which will be published this year.
The entrance to The Lab of Stillpoint Spaces Berlin is directly from the street Hobrechtstraße 66. We kindly ask you to arrive at least 15 minutes before the official beginning of the lecture or discussion. Please, do not ring on any of the doorbells, as our colleagues might be having counselling sessions.
The attendees are presumed to consent to a possible recording on the part of Stillpoint Spaces Berlin.
Whole learning module (Regular price): 40.00€
Whole learning module (Student price): 25.00€
Individual lecture (Regular price): 15.00€
Individual lecture (Student price) 10.00€
Whole learning module (Member of The Lab): 20.00€
Whole learning module (Student Member of The Lab): 12.50€
Individual lecture (Member of The Lab): 7.50€
Individual lecture (Student Member of The Lab): 5.00€
If you would like to become a member of The Lab, you can apply for our membership programme by sending us an email at [email protected]
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More information here: stillpoint-lab.com/work