Peter Kinderman

Peter Kinderman

Lead Educator and Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool.
@peterkinderman
www.liv.ac.uk/psychology-health-and-society/staff/peter-kinderman

Location Liverpool

Activity

  • @TonyMo Well... that is a VERY interesting thought! One I've thought about a lot... I think the answer (to the question of how productive mindful meditation differs from unhelpful rumination) is whether I'm able to be flexible and purposeful in where I focus my attention. If I'm able to choose - to decide where to focus my attention, to bring my attention back...

  • Yes. Perhaps. It's been a while... and I definitely need to re-vamp the course - a complete re-write (apart from everything else, we all look a lot older than our videos now!).

  • "How many therapists does it take to change a light bulb?"
    "Two. One to change the bulb, and one to hold the penis... I mean father... I mean ladder!"

  • @ValH Interesting points. Yes; I think a lot has changed. Positively, we've become much easier in talking about mental health issues, and that's great. But I think the default conceptual model - that being anxious or depressed are things we can talk about without shame (good), but are still thought of as symptoms of an underlying illness, a flaw in the brain...

  • I'd like to be neutral here... but I'm actually a little bit pleased !

  • Good! ;-)

  • @ValH I understand that. I am putting forward a vision for how things should (in my opinion) be organised, not a view on what things look like now. I understand that substantial change would be required, and - in all honesty - I'm not sure I'll live to see that!
    Also... is the NHS being protected now? I know that local authorities are under-resourced (as...

  • @Lyn(mr)williams I'm a scientist, and I completely accept the idea that my brain is a physical organ of the body, subject to all the laws of nature. But... there are differences between the hardware (the physical organs of the brain that do the business of learning) and the software - the ways in which that physical substrate is exposed to the almost infinite...

  • Well... thank you... there are plenty more like this on FutureLearn and elsewhere... and keep reading. If (for example) you look at Jo Moncrieff's blogs (https://joannamoncrieff.com/2014/05/01/the-chemical-imbalance-theory-of-depression-still-promoted-but-still-unfounded/) you'll find she discusses mental health, but also spins off into philosophy and theories...

  • @shyamolikundu Hmm... that doesn't always seem to be the case. About one person in five (20% of the population) now take psychiatric drugs. That's worrying... and not just for me: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prescribed-medicines-review-report

  • @ElleH Ah... yes... so do I. And I think Joanna Moncrieff and other critics of traditional psychiatry would agree. The point is that these drugs do have effects - sometimes harmful, often beneficial - that for millenia (with plant products, now supplemented by manufactured chemicals) people have used to change their mood, or give them peace, or offer them new...

  • Hi, good question! Well, very briefly, I believe that both the science (including developmental neuroscience) and the implications in terms of services and policy tend to support the idea of ‘neurodiversity’ - the idea that such personal differences are just that; differences- rather than illnesses or conditions to be contrasted with ‘normality’. Of course, we...

  • Well, thank you!

  • Oh dear! I’m sorry about that. I’ve tried to be clear about both the different ways in which clinicians and researchers interpret the evidence, and what my views are. But, the truth is, we haven’t got a single agreed position. It’s a disputed, conflicted, maybe confusing, area.

  • Absolutely! I’m proud to be one of the authors of the PTMF : https://www.bps.org.uk/power-threat-meaning-framework/introduction-ptmf

  • Well; that’s true - always check!
    But… as a quick way to find general information…

  • Thank you!

  • @NicoleS This, too, is an important issue. One aspect of a "medical" approach to mental health issues is that it might (or might not) alleviate some of that blame / guilt. That is, instead of thinking "I shouldn't..." or "she shouldn't..." (for example; "I shouldn't neglect my children..." or "She should be more assertive...") we can say "I'm depressed, and so...

  • @StephenNewton Hmm... While I'd agree that all emotions reflect chemical *activity* in the brain, the idea that these represent "imbalances" is problematic for me. To fall in love is (for me, at least) as much of a biological event as is becoming depressed. And if it's rational to be depressed (I find the current political situation in the UK and in the world...

  • @StephenNewton I agree; it's a balance for each individual, and I certainly wouldn't argue with anyone who finds medication helpful. I merely think that we need to acknowledge that many people find medication helpful and can't be doing with therapy, some people find a combination helpful, some people benefit from psychological therapy alone (even for very...

  • I agree with all that you say; that the mind cannot be separated from the brain as if it has an independent existence. All our thoughts and feelings are biological events. But... and this was the point I as trying to make... whereas Kandel uses that fact to argue (in effect) that *therefore* mental health issues such as anxiety and depression must represent...

  • Hmm... I checked it, and it seemed to work for me.

  • Done... I think!

  • Different people find different approaches helpful. While many people find medication and ECT helpful, others don't - and vice-versa. We need to choose the approach that works best for each person, but there is considerable evidence that (at least for many people) purely psychological or social approaches can be as helpful as medical treatments (and may well...

  • Well... we included this scale partly to see whether things changed over the course of the course... I wouldn't read too much into it!

  • Ah! Thank you... I'll check it out!

  • That's fine!

  • I wasn't suggesting you'd read it in one sitting... it's a resource ;-)

  • Thank you!

  • @JoëlleBoehm @PaulC Thank you for these comments. I believe that one reason for the continued disagreement and tension in mental health (and it's very much a disputed field) is because the scientific questions ("to what extent is behaviour X a product of factor Y or factor Z?") are also philosophical or moral ones. And questions of free will, and the...

  • Thank you

  • Thank you... but wait until you've experienced the whole course; it might disappoint!

  • @KatieWhite Hi, I think that's great - understanding the psychology and sociology of our mental health can only be helpful in such an important job. Well done!

  • Hi Natalie, I hope you, your family and those you love are all safe and well. The eyes of the world are on Ukraine, and we are in solidarity with you.

  • I guess a relatively 'inclusive' approach (one favoured by a lot of GPs and psychiatrists) would suggest - as you say - that many illnesses are powerfully influenced by social and psychological factors. Heart disease, diabetes, infectious diseases (famously TB), obesity... they're all strongly influenced by social factors (poor people suffer more). That's the...

  • Thank you. ... any suggestions for revisions or improvements?

  • Good !

  • I don't disagree... but I'd be willing to bet a large sum that Nick regards his model as a biopsychosocial model - it's very much common practice for mainstream psychiatrists to argue (and presumably believe) that their approach meets a definition of 'biopsychosocial', but.... at least in my opinion, there are many very different interpretations of what that...

  • @SamColombinoJr. I absolutely agree. We're all different, and "viva la difference!". And, of course, events in the world impact on our brains and have physical traces... but one question that follows is whether that means that these consequences should best be thought of in terms of 'disorders' and 'mental illnesses'

  • Well... part of the argument I'm trying to develop here is (as I hinted at above) that one part of Kandel's argument (pithily, that we're biological machines) doesn't necessarily lead to the second part - that mental health problems are therefore best seen as illnesses and treated with as such. For me, as a psychologist (and not a doctor) all psychological...

  • @ElaineCollins Ah... Yes... I can see what you mean about my questions being parodic. I guess that's a fair criticism - it's easy for academics to snipe at each other rather than offer respect (and, indeed, rather than focus on the ideas, not the person). But I do think Kandel's ideas - can be challenged. Not because he's factually wrong (he clearly isn't),...

  • Thank you. I have my own opinions, but - as an educator - I like to provide an opportunity to discuss and think about things from multiple perspectives (and then you'll come to the conclusion that I'm right!)

  • Well that's an interesting question.... and perhaps relates back both to the 'Understanding Psychosis' document from the British Psychological Society and the TED talk by Eleanor Longden. The experiences are there... but how we interpret them and make sense of them does (at least in my opinion) make a huge difference.

  • Yes. I haven't met anyone who denies the importance of biological or genetic influences on human thoughts, emotions, behaviours. I guess what we're saying in this (and similar) documents is that ALL human behaviours have to be looked at in this light, not just so-called 'disorders'

  • I'll look into it... right now, most of my emails are about responses to COVID-19

  • The philosopher Epictetus (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epictetus) said something similar, which is often translated in phrases like: "‘it is not events that disturb us, but our interpretation of the events"

  • Yes. Two things here. First, poverty (or perhaps social disadvantage) as the 'cause of the causes' is a powerful idea. When you're wealthy, events (like losing your job) is less of a problem. So the 'cause' of distress may well be buffered. And, also, I like the idea of thinking about the relationship between genetic determinism and choice. Imagine that you...

  • Hi. Well.. the World Health Organisation (https://www.who.int/mental_health/policy/development/en/) certainly believes that that poverty is important. Perhaps it's also helpful to reflect on the fact that RELATIVE poverty and INEQUITY are important. That is, it really seems to matter how unequal societies are. In unequal societies, both mental health and...

  • Stick with it! I'm sorry about the terminology. I've tried to make it as understandable as possible without 'dumbing down'. I have to say that I've breached the 'readability criteria' for every step, so I KNOW that it's complex. All I can say is.. I've tried my best, and stick with it. There's some perhaps easier material soon.. but also some VERY complex...

  • My personal view is that there are two ways in which there might be a 'genetic component'. As I'll say later in this course, I believe we need to separate out the fact that we're ALL genetically-programmed organisms (so our brains are dependent on genetic blue-prints) from the idea that genetic DIFFERENCES are responsible for differences between us in terms of...

  • Thank you... Please, also, suggest other books that colleagues on the course might also like.

  • Aw... thank you !

  • Thank you! I do like a debate... even an argument! But I would also hate to think I was spoon-feeding or lecturing!

  • Hi. Thanks (everyone) for their comments... just a quick word about 'attitudinal fortitude' or 'resilience'. As you'll see in this course, MY personal stance is a social determinist perspective - so, while I think it's clear that we each differ (one from another) in terms of our psychological response to stress... I think those differences themselves stem from...

  • @OliviaHackshaw Hi. Yes - I think continua models (in the plural, there are almost certainly many different continua on many different dimensions) have a great deal of legitimacy, and evidential support. Yes.

  • How nice - thank you (I'm an academic, so I naturally like hearing that my work has changed someone's thinking).

  • Ah... yes... we talk about that a lot more in Step 2.4 of this course... with a suggestion that Kate Allsopp and I made in the journal "Lancet Psychiatry"... but I won't give it all away yet !

  • @JamesCalhoun I certainly think the fact that our psychiatric diagnoses reflect and change with social values (cowardice or post-traumatic stress; homosexuality; hysteria and women's rights; the recognition of the impact of trauma on our lives and the consequent use of labels like 'personality disorder') is fundamentally important. For me (this is my view, not...

  • Apparently... Oprah Winfrey recently said the same thing (either channeling Jacqui Dillon or perhaps plagiarising her, or most probably simply on the same page at the same time): https://www.cbsnews.com/news/oprah-winfrey-childhood-trauma-ptsd-60-minutes-report/.

  • Yes... but also see my earlier comment. Identifying (measuring, classifying, naming and categorising) problems is clearly helpful. And I'm not at all averse to your idea of "... a spectrum of illness...". But I think it's at least arguable that we can develop systems for describing, measuring, classifying ... and then explaining and intervening... that don't...

  • Ah... good point... yes... but (for me) the idea of 'diagnosis' has shifted (at least in dictionary definitions) to mean to classify something as belonging to the class "illness". Diagnosis is sometimes described simply as labelling, as classifying, as description. But, I think (feel quite strongly), that diagnosis is MORE than that. There are many types of...

  • Just an additional (deliberately) tangential point... I think it's clear that psychiatric diagnoses can be helpful (even very helpful), but also clear that they have their problems. It can be argued that the relatively frequent revisions of DSM and ICD are attempts to improve their helpfulness and avoid their problems. So, we're often in the position of...

  • James Davies's excellent book "Cracked" (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cracked-Psychiatry-Doing-More-Harm/dp/1848315562) covers some of this - with fascinating interviews with key players!

  • Hi, I'm not 100% sure we'll be able to give the kind of practical answers that will address specific personal questions... but... there are a couple of documents that the British Psychological Society has prepared - and that we have made available on the course - which can be (and have been) practically helpful to individuals. I know this is pre-empting...

  • So.. for instance (and linked to the Harvard blog you cite) a representative blog (https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/shared-genes-link-depression-schizophrenia-and-three-other-mental-illnesses-201303015944 ) talks explicitly about "shared" genetic risk factors for a broad range of mental health outcomes.
    Thats important, but it clearly isn't a specific link...

  • Hi,
    There are lots of papers that claim - perhaps even have found - links between genetic variance and mental health outcomes. It doesn't take much of a search - on google or on more sophisticated search engines - to find both individual research studies and eatery news articles or claims by academics (much like myself) suggesting that there is reliable...

  • Yes... And I think it's because there are those multiple factors all adding and subtracting and modifying each other that, overall, you see continua.

  • @OliviaHackshaw Hi. I'm absolutely convinced (on the basis of the evidence) of a continuum (or, rather, multiple continua) model. I'm currently out of the office, but check out Dan Freeman's work on paranoid anxiety.