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Narratives and Mental Health: Fragmentations, Disruptions & Silences


Narratives and Mental Health: Fragmentations, Disruptions & Silences is an interdisciplinary and international conference at the University of Paderborn, Germany, 7-8 December 2017

Mental problems and the promotion of mental health care pose great challenges. Mental problems are idiosyncratic and can manifest themselves in myriads of ways. Nevertheless, the medicalization of psychological and psychiatric care as well as of mental health services has led to approaches, both in treatment and research, that favour quantification and so-called evidence-based procedures. Rather than attending to individual persons and their narratives and ways of expressing themselves, such approaches extrapolate from ¿typical¿, standardized cases. Questionnaires and manuals have become the standard tools for diagnosis and care. Many health care professionals in somatic as well as psychosocial clinical practice, are faced with psychosocial problems in their daily work but they may feel ill-equipped to deal with them. The economy-driven framework in which they treat patients rarely allows a more holistic view.

Theoretical approaches and new disciplines such as Narrative Psychology or Medical Humanities have challenged the existing institutional frames of reference and practices in psychiatry, psychology and medicine. They foreground especially the significance of narrative as a way of sense-making and self-expression and its relationship to identity, remembering and human communication. At the same time, processes of meaning-making and communication are anything but coherent and linear. It might be especially in these conflicting areas that communication becomes meaningful, and practices can be improved.

This conference seeks to explore how mental problems, but also much of ¿healthy¿ mental functioning, manifests itself: in fragmentations, disruptions and silences. It explores these aspects in a variety of contexts: psychotherapy and medical practice; literature, the arts and music; caregiving and interpersonal relationships ¿ thus hoping to offer new vistas for psychological, psychiatric and medical practice and training. In recent years, scholars and practitioners have begun to explore the benefits of artistic forms of expression such as painting, creative writing or music in psychotherapy and medical treatment. There is some recognition that humans are complex beings who cannot be fully grasped by scientific methods alone. Still, the scientific paradigm prevails.

The conference aims at offering a forum for cross- and interdisciplinary debate and therefore invites contributions from scholars and practitioners working in diverse fields: literary and cultural studies; sociology; philosophy; theology; psychoanalysis (or psychology in general); art history (including the history of architecture); film studies; political theory, etc.

Organizers are Jarmila Mildorf, Elisabeth Punzi and Christoph Singer (University of Paderborn, University of Gothenburg)

Date & hour: 12/7/2017

Categories: Psychology

Organizer: University of Paderborn och Göteborgs universitet

Location: University of Paderborn, Tyskland

Page Manager: |Last update: 9/15/2015

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