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Skip to 0 minutes and 6 secondsSo welcome back. This week, we're going to talk about how we might bring together some of the ideas that we've heard in the preceding weeks. But also I'm going to introduce you to what I think of as a specifically psychological approach to mental health and well being. One of my colleagues Jackie Dylan once said, "don't ask me what's wrong with me, ask me what's happened to me." So for me as a psychologist, what happens to us-- the nurture part of the equation-- is very important. But I don't reject the nature half of the argument, the way in which our brains and our bodies work. That's also very important in determining mental health and well being.

Skip to 0 minutes and 45 secondsBut for me as a practicing clinical psychologist, there's another element as well, the psychological element. And for me, the way in which we make sense of the world, the way in which we understand ourselves, who we are as people, the way we make sense of other people, the way that we react socially, how we think about the future, and how we think about the world in general, this sense making, this framework of understanding of the world is fundamentally important in determining our mental health and well being.

Making sense of things

As a Professor of Clinical Psychology, I have argued for a long time that our mental health is essentially a psychological issue, and that biological, social, and circumstantial factors affect our mental health and well-being by disrupting or disturbing psychological processes. This places psychology at the heart of mental health.

In this video, I briefly introduce this idea - that, fundamentally, our thoughts, our emotions, our behaviour and therefore our mental health, are largely dependent on our understanding of the world, our thoughts about ourselves, other people and the future. This understanding, of course, has itself been and continues to be shaped by our experiences. Essentially, things happen to us, we make sense of those events and respond to them, and there are consequences. We all differ in the ways we respond to events, and there are many reasons for those differences. There are as many different reasons for these different responses as there are people on the planet. Biological factors, social factors, circumstantial factors – our learning as human beings – affect us as those external factors impact on the key psychological processes that help us build up our sense of who we are and the way the world works.

These ideas are central to my resolution of the ‘nature - nurture’ dilemma, and form the content of this week’s material.

Peter Kinderman


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This video is from the free online course:

Psychology and Mental Health: Beyond Nature and Nurture

University of Liverpool

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

  • What makes us tick?
    What makes us tick?
    video

    Peter Kinderman introduces us to the nature vs nurture course and discusses what makes us tick

  • What does the brain actually do?
    What does the brain actually do?
    video

    In the videos and papers this week, we explore the role of biological factors in the development of mental health problems.

  • Life events and mental health
    Life events and mental health
    video

    Peter Kinderman discusses the role of life events and environmental factors in the development of mental health problems.

  • Doing things differently (perhaps...)
    Doing things differently (perhaps...)
    video

    This video introduces why Peter Kinderman suggests psychological science offers robust scientific models of mental health problems and well-being.

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