What was TeenScreen?

Introduction

The TeenScreen National Centre for Mental Health Checkups at Columbia University was a national mental health and suicide risk screening initiative for middle- and high-school age adolescents.

On 15 November 2012, according to its website, the programme was terminated. The organisation operated as a centre in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department at Columbia University, in New York City.

The programme was developed at Columbia University in 1999, and launched nationally in 2003. Screening was voluntary and offered through doctors’ offices, schools, clinics, juvenile justice facilities, and other youth-serving organisations and settings. As of August 2011, the programme had more than 2,000 active screening sites across 46 states in the United States, and in other countries including Australia, Brazil, India and New Zealand.

Screening Programme

Organisation

The programme was developed by a team of researchers at Columbia University, led by David Shaffer. The goal was to make researched and validated screening questionnaires available for voluntary identification of possible mental disorders and suicide risk in middle and high school students. The questionnaire they developed is known as the Columbia Suicide Screen, which entered into use in 1999, an early version of what is now the Columbia Health Screen. In 2003, the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, created under the administration of George W. Bush, identified the TeenScreen program as a “model” programme and recommended adolescent mental health screening become common practice.

The organisation launched an initiative to provide voluntary mental health screening to all US teens in 2003. The following year, TeenScreen was included in the national Suicide Prevention Resource Centre’s (SPRC) list of evidence-based suicide prevention programmes. In 2007, it was included as an evidence-based programme in the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programmes and Practices. In 2009, the organisation launched the TeenScreen Primary Care initiative to increase mental health screening by paediatricians and other primary care providers, the same year the US Preventive Services Task Force recommended annual adolescent mental health screening as part of routine primary care, and the Institute of Medicine recommended expansion of prevention and early identification programmes.

As of 2011, the programme was led by executive director Laurie Flynn, deputy executive director Leslie McGuire and scientific advisor Mark Olfson, M.D., alongside a National Advisory Council of healthcare professionals, educators and advocates.

As of 15 November 2012, TeenScreen has been terminated, will no longer train or register new programmes, and will cease all operations by the end of the year.

Mission and Locations

The mission of the TeenScreen National Centre was to expand and improve the early identification of mental health problems in youth. In particular, TeenScreen aimed to find young people at risk of suicide or developing mental health disorders so they could be referred for a comprehensive mental health evaluation by a health professional. The programme focuses on providing screening to young people in the 11-18 age range. From 2003 until 2012, the programme was offered nationally in schools, clinics, doctors’ offices and in youth service environments such as shelters and juvenile justice settings. As of August 2011, more than 2,000 primary care providers, schools and community-based sites in 46 states offered adolescent mental health screening through the TeenScreen National Centre. In addition, the screening was also being provided in other countries including Australia, Brazil, India, New Zealand and Scotland.

Screening Process

TeenScreen provided materials, training and technical help through its TeenScreen Primary Care and Schools and Communities programmes for primary care providers, schools and youth-serving organisations that provided mental health screening to adolescents. A toolkit was provided, including researched and validated questionnaires, instructions for administering, scoring and interpreting the screening responses. Primary care programme materials included information on primary care referrals for clinical evaluation. In the school and community setting, the screening process was voluntary and required active parental consent and participant assent prior to screening sessions.

The validated questionnaires included items about depression, thoughts of suicide and attempts, anxiety, and substance use. The screening questionnaires typically took up to ten minutes for an adolescent to complete. Once the responses to the questionnaire had been reviewed, any adolescent identified as being at possible risk for suicide or other mental health concerns would then assessed by a health or mental health professional. The result of this assessment determined whether the adolescent could be referred for mental health services. If this was the case, parents were involved and provided with help locating the appropriate mental health services.

Research, Endorsements and Responses

Recommendations and Research

Mental health screening has been endorsed by the former US Surgeon General David Satcher, who launched a “Call to Action” in 1999 encouraging the development and implementation of safe, effective school-based programmes offering intervention, help and support to young people with mental health issues. TeenScreen is included as an evidence-based programme in the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices as a scientifically tested and reviewed intervention. In addition, the US Preventive Services Task Force recommended in 2009 that mental health screening for teenagers be integrated into routine primary care appointments.

Studies have been conducted on the effectiveness and impact of mental health screening for young people. In a 2004 systematic evidence review, the US Preventive Services Task Force found that there were no studies that addressed whether screening as part of primary care reduced morbidity and mortality, nor any information of the potential risks of screening. In a later review, published in 2009, the task force found that there was evidence supporting the efficacy of screening tools in identifying teenagers at risk of suicide or mental health disorders.

A team of researchers from Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute completed a randomised controlled clinical trial on the impact of suicide screening on high school students in New York State from 2002-2004. The study found that students who were given a questionnaire about suicide were no more likely to report suicidal thoughts after the survey than students in the control group who had not been questioned. Neither was there any greater risk for “high risk” students. A subsequent study by the researchers, in 2009, found that screening appeared to increase the likelihood that adolescents would receive treatment if they were at risk for mental health disorders or suicide.

A study published in 2011, involving 2,500 high school students, examined the value of routine mental health screening in school to identify adolescents at-risk for mental illness, and to connect those adolescents with recommended follow-up care. The research, conducted between 2005 and 2009 at six public high schools in suburban Wisconsin, found that nearly three out of four high school students identified as being at-risk for having a mental health problem were not in treatment at the time of screening. Of those students identified as at-risk, a significant majority (76.3%) completed at least one visit with a mental health provider within 90 days of screening. More than half (56.3%) received minimally adequate treatment, defined as having three or more visits with a provider, or any number of visits if termination was agreed to by the provider.

A separate study published in 2011, found that mental health screening was effective at connecting African-American middle school students from a predominantly low-income area with school-based mental health services. Researchers have also found evidence to support the addition of mental health screenings for adolescents while undergoing routine physical examinations.

Acceptance and Critical Responses

Recommendations endorsing adolescent mental health screening have been issued by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF). The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends assessment of mental health at primary care visits and suggests the use of validating screening instruments. These add to statements and recommendations to screen adolescents for mental illness from the American Medical Association (AMA), the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the National Association of Paediatric Nurse Practitioners. TeenScreen has been endorsed by a number of organizations, including the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, and federal and state commissions such as the New Freedom Commission.

There is opposition to mental health screening programmes in general and TeenScreen in particular, from civil liberties, parental rights, and politically conservative groups. Much of the opposition is led by groups who claim that the organization is funded by the pharmaceutical industry; however, in 2011, an inquiry launched by Senator Charles E. Grassley into the funding of health advocacy groups by pharmaceutical, medical-device, and insurance companies demonstrated to Senator Grassley’s satisfaction that TeenScreen does not receive funding from the pharmaceutical industry. Senator Grassley sent a letter to TeenScreen and 33 other organisations like the American Cancer Society asking about their financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. TeenScreen replied saying they did not accept money from medical companies.

In 2005, TeenScreen was criticised following media coverage of a suit filed a local screening programme in Indiana by the parents of a teenager who had taken part in screening. The suit alleged that the screening had taken place without parents’ permissions. The complaint led to a change in how parental consent was handled by TeenScreen sites. In 2006, the programme’s policy was amended so that active rather than passive consent was required from parents before screening adolescents in a school setting.

This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TeenScreen >; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA.

What is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration?

Introduction

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is a branch of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

It is charged with improving the quality and availability of treatment and rehabilitative services in order to reduce illness, death, disability, and the cost to society resulting from substance abuse and mental illnesses. The Administrator of SAMHSA reports directly to the Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services. SAMHSA’s headquarters building is located outside of Rockville, Maryland.

Brief History

SAMHSA was established in 1992 by Congress as part of a reorganisation stemming from the abolition of Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration (ADAMHA). ADAMHA had been established in 1973, combining the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The 1992 ADAMHA Reorganisation Act consolidated the treatment functions that were previously scattered amongst the NIMH, NIAAA, and NIDA into SAMHSA, established as an agency of the Public Health Service (PHS). NIMH, NIAAA, and NIDA continued with their research functions as agencies within the National Institutes of Health.

Congress directed SAMHSA to target effectively substance abuse and mental health services to the people most in need and to translate research in these areas more effectively and rapidly into the general health care system.

Charles Curie was SAMHSA’s Director until his resignation in May 2006. In December 2006 Terry Cline was appointed as SAMHSA’s Director. Dr. Cline served through August 2008. Rear Admiral Eric Broderick served as the Acting Director upon Dr. Cline’s departure, until the arrival of the succeeding Administrator, Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. in November 2009. She resigned in August 2015 and Kana Enomoto, M.A. served as Acting Director of SAMHSA until Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz was appointed as the inaugural Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse. The title was changed by Section 6001 of the 21st Century Cures Act.

Organisation

SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on American’s communities.

Four SAMHSA offices, called Centres, administer competitive, formula, and block grant programs and data collection activities:

  • The Centre for Mental Health Services (CMHS) focuses on prevention and treatment of mental disorders.
  • The Centre for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) seeks to reduce the abuse of illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.
  • The Centre for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) supports effective substance abuse treatment and recovery services.
  • The Centre for Behavioural Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ) collects, analyses, and publishes behaviour health data.

The Centres give grant and contracts to US states, territories, tribes, communities, and local organisations. They support the provision of quality behavioural-health services such as addiction-prevention, treatment, and recovery-support services through competitive Programmes of Regional and National Significance grants. Several staff offices support the Centres:

  • Office of the Administrator.
  • Office of Policy, Planning, and Innovation.
  • Office of Behavioural Health Equity.
  • Office of Financial Resources.
  • Office of Management, Technology, and Operations.
  • Office of Communications.
  • Office of Tribal Affairs and Policy.

Centre for Mental Health Services

The Centre for Mental Health Services (CMHS) is a unit of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) within the US Department of Health and Human Services. This US government agency describes its role as:

The Center for Mental Health Services leads federal efforts to promote the prevention and treatment of mental disorders. Congress created CMHS to bring new hope to adults who have serious mental illness and children with emotional disorders.

As of March 2016, the director of CMHS is Paolo del Vecchio.

CMHS is the driving force behind the largest US children’s mental health initiative to date, which is focused on creating and sustaining systems of care. This initiative provides grants (now cooperative agreements) to States, political subdivisions of States, territories, Indian Tribes and tribal organisations to improve and expand their Systems Of Care to meet the needs of the focus population – children and adolescents with serious emotional, behavioural, or mental disorders. The Children’s Mental Health Initiative is the largest Federal commitment to children’s mental health to date, and through FY 2006, it has provided over $950 million to support SOC development in 126 communities.

Centre for Substance Abuse Prevention

The Centre for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) aims to reduce the use of illegal substances and the abuse of legal ones.

CSAP promotes self-esteem and cultural pride as a way to reduce the attractiveness of drugs, advocates raising taxes as a way to discourage drinking alcohol by young people, develops alcohol and drug curricula, and funds research on alcohol and drug abuse prevention. CSAP encourages the use of ‘evidence-based programmes’ for drug and alcohol prevention. Evidence-based programmes are programmes that have been rigorously and scientifically evaluated to show effectiveness in reducing or preventing drug use.

Brief History and Legal Definition

CSAP was established in 1992 from the previous Office of Substance Abuse Prevention by the law called the ADAMHA Reorganisation Act. Defining regulations include those of Title 42.

Centre for Substance Abuse Treatment

The Centre for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) was established in October 1992 with a Congressional mandate to expand the availability of effective treatment and recovery services for alcohol and drug problems. CSAT supports a variety of activities aimed at fulfilling its mission:

To improve the lives of individuals and families affected by alcohol and drug abuse by ensuring access to clinically sound, cost-effective addiction treatment that reduces the health and social costs to our communities and the nation.

CSAT works with States and community-based groups to improve and expand existing substance abuse treatment services under the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant Programme. CSAT also supports SAMHSA’s free treatment referral service to link people with the community-based substance abuse services they need. Because no single treatment approach is effective for all persons, CSAT supports the nation’s effort to provide multiple treatment modalities, evaluate treatment effectiveness, and use evaluation results to enhance treatment and recovery approaches.

Centre for Behavioural Health Statistics and Quality

The Centre for Behavioural Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ) conducts data collection and research on ‘behavioural health statistics’ relating to mental health, addiction, substance use, and related epidemiology. CBHSQ is headed by a Director. Subunits of CBHSQ include:

  • Office of Programme Analysis and Coordination.
  • Division of Surveillance and Data Collection.
  • Division of Evaluation, Analysis and Quality.

Regional Offices

CMS has its headquarters outside of Rockville, Maryland with 10 regional offices located throughout the US:

  • Region I – Boston, Massachusetts:
    • Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.
  • Region II – New York, New York:
    • New York State, New Jersey, US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
  • Region III – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
    • Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
  • Region IV – Atlanta, Georgia:
    • Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
  • Region V – Chicago, Illinois:
    • Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.
  • Region VI – Dallas, Texas:
    • Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
  • Region VII – Kansas City, Missouri:
    • Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.
  • Region VIII – Denver, Colorado:
    • Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.
  • Region IX – San Francisco, California:
    • Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Marina Islands.
  • Region X – Seattle, Washington:
    • Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

Strategic Direction

In 2010, SAMHSA identified 8 Strategic Initiatives to focus the Agency’s work. Below are the 8 areas and goals associated with each category:

  • Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness – Create prevention-prepared communities in which individuals, families, schools, workplaces, and communities take action to promote emotional health; and, to prevent and reduce mental illness, substance (including tobacco) abuse, and, suicide, across the lifespan
  • Trauma and Justice – Reduce the pervasive, harmful, and costly public-health impacts of violence and trauma by integrating trauma-informed approaches throughout health and behavioural healthcare systems; also, to divert people with substance-abuse and mental disorders away from criminal-/juvenile-justice systems, and into trauma-informed treatment and recovery.
  • Military Families – Active, Guard, Reserve, and Veteran – Support of our service men & women, and their families and communities, by leading efforts to ensure needed behavioural health services are accessible to them, and successful outcomes.
  • Health Reform – Broaden health coverage and the use of evidence-based practices to increase access to appropriate and high quality care; also, to reduce existing disparities between: the availability of substance abuse and mental disorders; and, those for other medical conditions.
  • Housing and Homelessness – To provide housing for, and to reduce the barriers to accessing recovery-sustaining programmes for, homeless persons with mental and substance abuse disorders (and their families)
  • Health Information Technology for Behavioural Health Providers – To ensure that the behavioural-health provider network – including prevention specialists and consumer providers – fully participate with the general healthcare delivery system, in the adoption of health information technology.
  • Data, Outcomes, and Quality – Demonstrating Results – Realise an integrated data strategy that informs policy, measures program impact, and results in improved quality of services and outcomes for individuals, families, and communities.
  • Public Awareness and Support – Increase understanding of mental and substance abuse prevention & treatment services, to achieve the full potential of prevention, and, to help people recognise and seek assistance for these health conditions with the same urgency as any other health condition.
  • Their budget for the Fiscal Year 2010 was about $3.6 billion. It was re-authorized for FY2011. Most recently, the FY 2016 Budget requests $3.7 billion for SAMHSA, an increase of $45 million above FY 2015.

Controversy

In February 2004, the administration was accused of requiring the name change of an Oregon mental health conference from “Suicide Prevention Among Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender Individuals” to “Suicide Prevention in Vulnerable Populations.”

In 2002, then-President George W. Bush established the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. The resulting report was intended to provide the foundation for the federal government’s Mental Health Services programmes. However, many experts and advocates were highly critical of its report, Achieving the Promise: Transforming Mental Health Care in America.

This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Substance_Abuse_and_Mental_Health_Services_Administration >; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA.

What is the Abraham Low Self-Helps Systems?

Introduction

Abraham Low Self-Help Systems (ALSHS) is a non-profit organisation formed from the merger of Recovery International and the Abraham Low Institute.

ALSHS facilitates the estimated 600 worldwide Recovery International meetings and all projects formerly run by the Abraham Low Institute including the Power to Change programme. The organisation is named after Abraham Low, founder of the mental health self-help organisation now known as Recovery International.

Brief History

Recovery, Inc., often referred to simply as Recovery, was officially formed 07 November 1937, by neuropsychiatrist Abraham Low in Chicago, Illinois. Low created the organisation to facilitate peer support self-help groups for former mental patients and later allowed for participation of those who had not been hospitalised, but with a desire to improve their mental health. During the organisation’s annual meeting in June 2007 it was announced that Recovery, Inc. would thereafter be known as Recovery International. As of 2008 there were over 600 weekly Recovery International meetings held throughout North America, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Israel and India.

The Abraham Low Institute was founded in 1989 to develop programmes, in addition to Recovery, based on Low’s self-help principles. The Institute awarded grants to further scholarly research on Low’s work, provided research resources for people interested in Low’s methods, and developed the Power to Change programme and The Relatives Project.

On 01 January 2008 Recovery International merged with The Abraham Low Institute and provisionally renamed the new organisation Recovery International / The Abraham Low Institute (RI/TALI). Celinda Jungheim, a community volunteer from Los Angeles, was elected as president of the Board of Directors. Abraham Low Self-Help Systems was incorporated on 01 January 2009, completing the merger of Recovery International and The Abraham Low Institute. Abraham Low Self-Help Systems is now the provider of Recovery International community, phone and online meetings and The Power to Change programme, which was a programme of The Abraham Low Institute.

The Relatives Project

The Relatives Project, found in 1993, provides support for family and friends of people who have mental and emotional problems. The Relatives Project teaches coping skills and stress management through meetings similar to those held in Recovery International groups, but using literature written by Abraham Low specifically for the families of his patients. Relatives are taught to maintain empathy and unconditional positive regard for their ill relative, while reframing their domestic environment to provide an empowering atmosphere for all members. The Relatives Project groups are open to adults and teenagers, and allow professionals to observe but only to participate if it is in support of a family member’s mental health. Mental health becomes a shared goal for a family, and all family members share in responsibility to achieve it.

Power to Change

Power to Change is a cognitive-behavioural peer-to-peer programme based on Low’s self-help principles. Power to Change primarily teaches at-risk students and ex-prisoners principles of Low’s Self-Help system in peer-to-peer groups. Power to Change groups generally consist of 8-12 members, meeting weekly, who learn the principles of the Low Self-Help System by describing their personal experience of disturbing events and commenting on each other’s experiences using a highly structured format.

Specifically, Power to Change consists of five components:

  • A peer-to-peer process intended to provide a safe environment for members to disclose their experiences to a supportive group,
  • A meeting structure intended to keep discussion on topic,
  • A four-part format to help members frame their experiences as useful examples, and
  • Group feedback utilising a set of tools (principles of Abraham Low’s therapeutic technique).

The four-part example consists of an objective description an event; a report of the feelings, sensations, thoughts, and impulses experienced in the members mind and body; how the member used the Power to Change tools to manage the experience; and a self-endorsement to remind the member of the progress made and to reward their effort. The Power to Change groups use much of the language suggested in the Recovery International programme, such as identifying “temper” and avoiding judgment of right and wrong.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has provided grants for Power to Change since 2003. The most recent grant was awarded in November 2008, and will provide funding until November 2010.

Chicago Public Schools

In 2007 Urban Networks Associates (UNA) conducted an evaluation of Power to Change as it was implemented in seventeen secondary and middle schools in the Chicago Public School system. In each school 12-24 group sessions were held and facilitated by either staff from the Abraham Low Institute or by a local facilitator trained by the Abraham Low Institute. Participating students showed significant improvement in prosocial behaviour as measured by pre-testing and post-testing of emotional intelligence, specifically increasing self-restraint and decreasing violent behaviours. Although statistically significant, the effect sizes of changes were low or medium.

UNA’s SEM evaluation of the Power to Change logic model, the required steps and conditions for the program to be effective, found it fit the data collected well. To improve the effectiveness of the program UNA recommended improving communication with and training of local facilitators, encouraging students to develop plans to apply programme tools outside of the group, updating the literature used to make it more age appropriate for the young students, adding activities to encourage confidentiality of what was said in group meetings and developing more interactive activities to teach programme concepts. UNA also suggested asking for a commitment from participating schools to guarantee facilities were always available and that students would not be prohibited from attending group sessions.

This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Low_Self-Help_Systems >; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA.

What is Recovery International?

Introduction

Recovery International (formerly Recovery, Inc., often referred to simply as Recovery or RI) is a mental health self-help organisation founded in 1937 by neuropsychiatrist Abraham Low in Chicago, Illinois.

Recovery’s programme is based on self-control, self-confidence, and increasing one’s determination to act. Recovery deals with a range of people, all of whom have difficulty coping with everyday problems, whether or not they have a history of psychiatric hospitalisation. It is non-profit, secular, and although it uses methods devised by Low, most groups are currently led by experienced non-professionals.

Brief History

In 1937, Abraham Low, a neuropsychiatrist, was on the faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and participants in Recovery were limited to those who had been hospitalised in the Psychiatric Institute at the University. At that time, Recovery Inc. was an entity of the Neuropsychiatric Institute at the University of Illinois Research and Education Hospital. The original thirty-seven founding members had recovered their mental health after receiving insulin shock treatments at the Institute.

Low began the groups as part of an attempt to improve the patient’s care following discharge from his hospital. In the early years of the organisation he encouraged members to advocate for improvements in social policies regarding state mental health regulations. Following backlash from the medical community to these efforts, Low disbanded the group in 1941. His patients, however, asked to be trained to teach Recovery’s methods to others and in 1942 Low began to teach members to lead groups in their homes.

The organization separated from the Psychiatric Institute in 1942, operating out of private offices in Chicago. New membership at this time was drawn largely from patients in Low’s private psychiatry practice. During the first years following its separation Low remained in close contact with all Recovery groups and received regular reports from group leaders. As the membership and number of meetings grew, it made this level of cooperation with the groups untenable. In 1952, Low allowed expansion of Recovery outside of Illinois, giving control of local groups to former patients who had become group leaders. Following Low’s death in 1954, Recovery transitioned completely from a professionally run treatment adjunct, to a peer-run self-help group.

Effective 01 January 2007 Recovery, Inc. formally changed its name to Recovery International. On 02 January 2008 Recovery International merged with The Abraham Low Institute and provisionally renamed the new organisation Recovery International / The Abraham Low Institute (RI/TALI). On 01 January 2009, Abraham Low Self-Help Systems was incorporated to umbrella several new programmes, and the group continues operations as Recovery International and Abraham Low Self-Help Systems in various states and internationally.

Fundamental Concepts

Symptoms

The causes and classification of mental illnesses are considered irrelevant in the Recovery method. Recovery members are simply viewed as people who have developed disturbing symptom-reactions leading to ill-controlled behaviour. Symptoms are threatening sensations; including feelings, impulses, and obsessive thoughts. The phrase, “symptomatic idiom” describes the mental association of danger with symptoms.

The symptomatic idiom implies that there is an impending catastrophe of physical collapse, mental collapse, or permanent handicap. In the first instance, for example, a person may consider heart palpitations as signalling that sudden death is imminent, or that a painful headache is caused by a brain tumour; phobias, compulsions, and ruminations would eventually cause a mental collapse. The fear of permanent handicap insists that there is no cure or relief for one’s mental illness and that recovery is impossible.

Temper

Temper is a combination of a feeling and a judgement about oneself or others. The feeling is related to one of the two types of temper, fear or anger. The judgment is that one has been wronged by another, or that one has done something wrong. “Fearful temper” arises from thoughts that one has made a mistake (has done something wrong) which in turn causes feelings such as fear, shame and inadequacy. “Angry temper” results from the belief that one has been wronged which in turn creates feelings of indignation and impatience. There is a two-way relationship between temper and symptoms. Symptoms induce emotions such as fear and anger, which in turn induce temper, which increases the intensity of the symptoms.

“Temperamental lingo” describes language related to judgments of right and wrong, and the use of defeatist language when discussing symptoms. When discussing symptoms, temperamental lingo includes the use of adjectives such as “intolerable,” “uncontrollable,” “unbearable,” and similar language that places an emphasis on the dangerous and fatalistic implications of feelings, impulses, or thoughts.

Will

Free will is fundamental to Recovery’s method. The subconscious, as it is known in psychoanalysis, as well as viewpoints emphasizing unconscious motivations, drives, and instincts are considered to be self-defeating. Recovery considers adults as capable of behaving based on deliberate plans, settled decisions, reasoned conclusions and firm determinations. Will gives adults the ability to accept or reject thoughts and impulses. Recovery members achieve mental health by training their Wills to reject self-defeating thoughts and impulses, countering them with self-endorsing thoughts and wellness-promoting actions.

External and Internal Environment

Recovery distinguishes between the External Environment, the realities of a situation, and the Internal Environment, one’s own subjective feelings, thoughts, impulses, and sensations. Two components of the Internal Environment, thoughts and impulses, can be directly controlled by Will. Control of thoughts and impulses allows indirect control over sensations and feelings. For instance, thoughts of insecurity and anxiousness can be replaced with thoughts of security. Similarly, a feeling of fear can be disposed by removing the associated belief of danger (symptomatic idiom). While the Internal Environment can be changed with cognitive reframing, changing one’s External Environment may or may not be possible.

Nervousness

Recovery focuses on treating former mental patients, sometimes referred to as post-psychotic persons, as well as psychoneurotic persons. The latter group is most often referred to as “nervous” or “nervous patients”. Recovery members may refer to themselves as “nervous patients” regardless of whether they are being treated by a physician or other professional. Sociologist Edward Sagarin described this as a compromise between the term neurotic and the more colloquial phrase “nervous breakdown”.

Common Techniques

Recovery encourages members to cognitively reframe their experiences using several techniques. Spotting, reframing defeatist language, self-endorsement and creating Examples are the most commonly cited in scholarly reviews of Recovery.

Spotting

Spotting is an introspective relabelling of thoughts and symptoms. When a thought arises related to angry temper, fearful temper, or associating danger with a symptom it must be spotted and reframed. Members practice spotting and reacting appropriately to the distressing thought or symptom.

Reframing Language

Recovery developed its own language for labelling psychiatric symptoms and responding to them. This language is centred around two concepts, “authority” and “sabotage.” It is suggested that members rely on the authority of a physician’s diagnosis with respect to their symptoms. For instance, if a member self-diagnoses a headache as being caused by a brain tumour, but a physician has diagnosed it otherwise, then the member is said to be sabotaging the physician’s authority. This is similarly true for the member’s prognosis, if a member despairs that their condition is hopeless, but a physician has found the prognosis to be good, this is also sabotage of the physician’s authority. Using the physician’s perspective to reframe defeatist thoughts is intended to help members recognise that they have not lost control, and their situation can be coped with.

Self-Endorsement

Members practice self-endorsement of every effort made to use a Recovery method, no matter how small and regardless of the outcome. In this way, similar subsequent efforts will require less work and are more likely to be successful. Similarly members are taught to change their behaviour in “part acts” (small steps), to simply “move their muscles” to complete tasks, however small, to eventually complete larger overwhelming tasks.

Creating Examples

The Example format was created by Low as a means to allow Recovery to function as a stand-alone lay self-help group that would not require professional supervision. Members create Examples by following a four-part outline, each part requiring a description.

  • Details of an event that caused distress.
  • The symptoms and discomfort that the event aroused.
  • How Recovery principles were utilised to cope with the event.
  • How the member would have behaved in response to the event before joining Recovery.

Examples are a formalised way to practice the Recovery programme. A successful outcome is not required to create an Example, as all attempts at practicing Recovery methods are endorsed.

Meetings

1937 to 1952

During the first fifteen years of Recovery, Low required members to attend classes and meetings for at least six months at a cost of ten dollars per month, not including the membership dues of two dollars per year. Members would meet at least three days a week and on Wednesdays take part in panel discussions as panellists or audience members held at a private home. Panel discussions would consist of three to four panellists with considerable experience in Recovery discussing a topic from Low’s literature, focusing on spotting and conquering symptoms. Dr. Low would address the audience at the end of each panel discussion summing up the discussion and correcting any misinformation given about Recovery. Every Thursday Low would conduct a group psychotherapy class for Recovery members.

No meetings were held between Saturday and Wednesday. Commonly, novice members would have a “setback,” a relapse of psychiatric symptoms, during this time. As setbacks were considered unavoidable, the novice members were assigned to a more experienced member to call or visit should they need assistance. If the assistance provided by the experienced member was not helpful, they could contact a chairperson in their area (a member who functioned like the physician’s deputy), and if that was still not satisfactory they could contact the physician, Dr. Low.

1952 to Present

At the meetings, members share examples from their lives that caused nervous symptoms, the thoughts that occurred just beforehand, how they spotted them and reacted to them. Other members offer alternative ways of looking at the situation and suggest how to better handle similar symptoms in the future. Meetings range in size from 6 to 30 members and follow a rigid schedule to ensure adherence to Recovery methods. Each meeting has a leader in a permanent position; leadership duties do not rotate from meeting to meeting. Each meeting is split into five parts. Members introduce themselves by first name only, as is practiced in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Impact of Pandemic (2020-2021)

Due to COVID-19, more than 300 community meetings were closed, and many new telephone and online meetings were added. This gives people access to more meetings at various times during the week, regardless of geography.

Reading of Recovery Literature

The beginning of a meeting is generally reserved for reading from Recovery literature. Members take turns reading sections of a chapter or article. Group leaders will often call on new members during this period, or members who are hesitant to volunteer. After finishing a paragraph a group leader will often ask a member if they experienced any symptoms while reading the literature and will endorse them for the efforts to continue reading despite feelings of discomfort or fear of making mistakes.

Presentation of Examples

Only members who have read Mental Health Through Will Training are allowed to participate in this portion of the meeting. Those participating form a “panel” although they are usually seated face-to-face around a table. The group leader reminds the members that examples should be constructed around day-to-day events as Recovery is a non-professional organisation and cannot help people with major problems. This statement is qualified, however, with Low’s opinion that the majority of a nervous patient’s problems are related to “trivial” incidents. Rather than being a limitation of Recovery’s programme, this is intended to be a novel treatment approach. A day-today trivial event may generalise to other problems experienced by the member. Discussion of trivialities is less threatening than complex problems, making a discussion of coping mechanisms possible.

A survey of groups in Chicago in 1971 and 1977 found that most examples presented were stories of successful application of the Recovery method, less than 10% represented “problem examples” where the application was not successful.

Group participation

After an Example has been given, the meeting is opened for “group spotting”. During this period other members of the panel are allowed to comment on the Example based on Recovery principles. This group leader usually makes the first comments, and if there are no volunteers to continue, he or she may call on panel members to provide commentary. Comments not based on Recovery’s concepts or not related to the example are stopped by the group leader. Comments are either classed as positive, praise for application of a Recovery method, or negative, related to an instance where a method was not applied. An Example rarely passes without mention of additional Recovery techniques that could be applied to it. This serves as a constant reminder that Recovery’s method can never be practiced perfectly; members can always learn from experience and benefit from group practice.

For example, a person may experience “lowered feelings” (depression) because they are aiming for a perfect performance. Trying to be perfect or trying to appear perfect leads one to feel down if one makes even the slightest mistake. All improvements, no matter how small, are acknowledged and members are encouraged to endorse themselves for their efforts – not for their successes. Longstanding members are encouraged to share their success with the Recovery methods to help newcomers. Low saw the sharing of successes by veteran members as an essential component of meetings, as it demonstrates that distressing sensations can be endured, impulses can be controlled, and obsessions can be checked.

Question and Answer

Following the panel presentation, about fifteen minutes are set aside for a question and answer period. Any member may ask a question of the panel during this time, newcomers are especially encouraged to participate. Discussion, however, must be limited to the Examples given and related Recovery concepts. Discussion questioning Recovery’s method is not allowed. Discussion of psychological theories outside of Recovery is similarly discouraged. In a case where a member brings up a disagreement between his physician and a Recovery concept, he or she is told that the panel is not qualified to provide an answer not related to the Examples presented. Members are expected to follow the advice of their professional; Recovery is not intended as a substitute for psychiatric services, but a self-directed programme that can be used as an adjunct to professional treatment, or alone when professional treatment is not available.

Mutual Aid Meeting

The formal meeting ends with the question and answer period, and an informal “mutual-aid” gathering usually follows. During this time refreshments are usually served. Members may speak freely with one another and discuss problems or ask for advice, although there is an attempt to keep the discussion within the bounds of Recovery concepts. By convention, discussion of problems are limited to five minutes in an attempt to discourage self-pity and complaining.

Organisational Structure

From 1952 to 2008, Recovery was run from its office in Chicago by a twelve-member Board of Directors, a number of committees, organisation officers, and a full-time paid administrative staff. The Board of Directors was elected at Recovery’s annual meeting and served for a period of three years. Authority from the Board of Directors was passed to Area Leaders then to Assistant Area Leaders, District Leaders, and lastly to Group Leaders. Leaders are trained to run Recovery meetings, but are not considered experts or authorities. Policies and practices of Recovery were made by the Board of Directors.

Family Participation

In the early years of Recovery, an event was held on Saturday afternoons at Recovery’s office in Chicago for Recovery members as well as their relatives and friends. Later, family and friends of members were allowed to attend meetings, although not to participate. In 1943 Low published a book, Lectures to Relatives of Former Patients to help assist them with the recovery effort; this information was later reprinted in Peace Versus Power in the Family: Domestic Discord and Emotional Distress in 1967.

Effectiveness

In 1945, Abraham Low found the average member improved considerably after the first or second week in the programme as it existed at that time. However, members were required to lose their major symptoms within two months of membership and class attendance. If they did not, this was taken as an indication that the member was still sabotaging the physician’s efforts.

A 1984 study found that following participation in Recovery, former mental patients reported no more anxiety about their mental health than the general public. Members rated their life satisfaction levels as high, or higher, than the general public. Members who had participated two years or more reported the highest levels of satisfaction with their health. Members who participated for less than two years tended to still be taking medication and living below the poverty level with smaller social networks.

A 1988 study found that participation in Recovery decreased members’ symptoms of mental illness and the amount of psychiatric treatment needed. About half of the members had been hospitalised before joining. Following participation, less than 8% had been hospitalised. Members’ scores of neurotic distress decreased, and scores of psychological well-being for longstanding members were no different from members of a control group in the same community. Long-term members were being treated with less psychiatric medication and psychotherapy than newer members.

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What is the Paranoia Network?

Introduction

The Paranoia Network, founded in November 2003, is a self-help user-run organisation in Sheffield, England, for people who have paranoid or delusional beliefs.

Background

In contrast to mainstream psychiatry, that tends to see such beliefs as signs of psychopathology, the Paranoia Network promotes a philosophy of living with unusual and compelling beliefs, without necessarily pathologising them as signs of mental illness. It was partly inspired by the Hearing Voices Network’s approach to auditory hallucinations.

What would otherwise seem to be a relatively minor disagreement over theory is complicated by the fact that people diagnosed as delusional can often be detained under mental health law and treated without their consent. Therefore, many of the criticisms of the diagnosis or definition have important ethical and political implications, which often leads to heated public debate.

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What is the Hearing Voices Network?

Introduction

Hearing Voices Networks, closely related to the Hearing Voices Movement, are peer-focused national organisations for people who hear voices (commonly referred in western culture as auditory hallucinations) and supporting family members, activists and mental health practitioners. Members may or may not have a psychiatric diagnosis.

Networks promote an alternative approach, where voices are not necessarily seen as signs of mental illness. Networks regard hearing voices as a meaningful and understandable, although unusual, human variation. In themselves voices are not seen as the problem. Rather it is the relationship the person has with their voices that is regarded as the main issue.

Development

Twenty-nine national Hearing Voices Networks have been established worldwide. There are also regional networks in Australia (Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and southwest Australia), Quebec, UK (Greater London, southwest England) and the United States. The National and Regional Networks are affiliated to the international umbrella organisation known as INTERVOICE (The International Network for Training Education and Research into Hearing Voices) and often referred to as the Hearing Voices Movement. Within these international networks, the combined experience of voice-hearers and professionals have overseen the development of ways of working with people who hear voices that draw on the value of peer support and which help people to live peacefully and positively with their experiences.

Purpose

The principal roles of Hearing Voices Networks are as follows:

  • To support and develop local Hearing Voices Support Groups.
  • Raise awareness of the hearing voices approach.
  • To campaign for human rights and social justice for people who hear voices.
  • To provide information, advice and support to people who hear voices, their family, friends.
  • To provide training and education for mental health services and practitioners.

Description and Philosophy

The first hearing voices network was founded in the Netherlands in 1987 by the Dutch psychiatrist Marius Romme, the science journalist, Sandra Escher and voice hearer, Patsy Hage. This was followed by the founding of the UK network in 1988 based in Manchester, England. Subsequently Networks have been established in 29 countries over the world, including Australia (2005), Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Canada, Denmark (2005), England (1988), Finland (1996), France (2011), Hungary (2013), Germany (1998), Greece, Ireland (2005), Italy, Japan, Kenya, Palestine, Malaysia, New Zealand (2007), Netherlands (1987), Norway, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Uganda, USA (2010) and Wales (2001). The first 15 years of the development of the global networks is outlined by Adam James in his book Raising Our Voices (2001).

These networks provide support to voice hearers specifically through the establishment of local hearing voices support groups, where people who hear voices are afforded the opportunity in a non-medical setting to share their experiences, coping mechanisms and explanatory frameworks. These groups are run in different ways and some are exclusive to individuals who hear voices, whilst others are supported by mental health workers.

National networks have developed considerably over the years and host websites, publish newsletters, guides to the voice hearing experience and workbooks where individuals can record and explore their own experiences with voice hearing.

Dutch psychiatrist Marius Romme, the co-author of Accepting Voices, has provided an intellectual basis for these group. He advocates a view that the hearing of voices is not necessarily an indication of mental illness, and that patients should be encouraged to explore their voices and negotiate with them.

Hearing Voices Groups

The development of peer support groups for voice-hearers, known as “hearing voices groups” (HVGs), are an essential part of the work of Hearing Voices Networks throughout the world. For instance there are over 180 groups in England, 60 in Australia and growing numbers of groups in the USA. The groups are based in a range of settings including community centres, libraries, pubs, churches, child and adolescent mental health services, prisons and inpatient units.

Hearing Voices Groups are based on an ethos of self-help, mutual respect and empathy. They provide a safe space for people to share their experiences and support one another. They are peer support groups, involving social support and belonging, not therapy or treatment. Hearing Voices Groups are intended to help people to understand and come to terms with their voices and begin to recover their lives.

Members are encouraged to talk about their experiences, to learn what the voices mean for them and how to gain control over their experiences. In voices groups, people are enabled to choose the way they want to manage their experiences. Voices groups assist people to access information and resources so they can make their own choices. Furthermore, voices groups allow people to explore the relationship between their life history and their experience of hearing voices, should they want to do so.

Studies have found that after attending hearing voices groups, members’ hospital bed use decreased. There was also a trend for less formal admissions. People used far more coping strategies and were able to talk to far more people about their voices after attending groups. Learning coping strategies was something people valued about groups and one of the common topics was to explore and experiment with different coping strategies. After attending groups, self-esteem increased. User empowerment also increased. Feeling more empowered is one of the aims of groups particularly valued by voice hearers and may be associated, not only with the voices themselves, but also with other aspects of recovery and getting better. People’s relationships with the voices were mostly improved. They heard the voices less frequently. The voices were perceived as less powerful (omnipotent) relative to them. People felt much better able to cope with their voices, and there were trends towards people feeling less controlled by their voices and feeling less alone. Perhaps most importantly, evaluations show that people improved in relation to what they had identified as their own goals for the group.

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What is the European Federation of Psychology Students’ Associations?

Introduction

The European Federation of Psychology Students’ Associations (EFPSA) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental student organisation that consists of psychology student associations from across Europe. EFPSA currently consists of 33 Member Organisations and two Observer Organisations, each represented by a Member Representative, who collectively form the legislative body of the Federation.

The work of the Federation is perpetuated through the work of the Member Representatives (MRs), the Executive Board (EB) and the Board of Management (BM). EFPSA provides psychology students with diverse opportunities for scientific- and self-development through its Events and Services. Additionally, EFPSA also aims to contribute to a positive impact in society through a variety of campaigns while representing the interest and needs of psychology students on a European level.

Brief History

EFPSA was founded in April 1987 at the University of Lisbon, Portugal where European psychology students from all over Europe had been invited to a meeting. Psychology students from eight European countries formed the European Federation of Psychology Students’ Associations (EFPSA).

The basic outlines of this Federation were transformed into formal statutes during the second meeting in Liege, Belgium in April 1988. At the same time, EFPSA initiated its first project, the EUROPSYCHO-Database on education and exchange. In January 1989, EFPSA was registered as an international association according to the Belgian law.

During the third General Assembly in April 1989 in Lund, Sweden, the Federation developed its initial structure with the first meeting of the Executive Board (EB) being held for the first time in that same year. In July 1991, EFPSA started a collaboration with the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations (EFPA) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, after which EFPSA became an official affiliate member of EFPA in 2001.

After EFPSA’s participation in the first European Student Conference (which brought together about 500 students from a number of disciplines) in Liege (Belgium) in November 1990, a lot of new contacts were made, especially with Eastern European countries. During the fifth General Assembly in April 1991 in Geneva (Switzerland) EFPSA grew to 11 member countries, and the first delegation from Eastern Europe was welcomed. In this year the idea of permanent working groups (called “task forces”) came into being to enable more efficient work on projects such as EUROPSYCHO, ERASMUS, etc. Over the years leading up to new millennium, more Events in the form of Summer Schools and seminars and, of course, the Congress were organised under the guidance of EFPSA. In 2006, EFPSA developed its Corporate Visual Identity and became recognised with its representative logo and orange colour.

Structure

The structure of EFPSA was developed at the third General Assembly in April 1989 in Lund (Sweden). At this time, members of the Executive Board also covered the functions that Member Representatives do now. There were no Board of Management positions, only a President. Since then, EFPSA has grown in size and had to implement some significant structural changes, creating a new form of Executive Board. In 2003, the concept of National Representatives (nowadays known as Member Representatives) was introduced. These formed the new decision-making body from each of the associations which were members of EFPSA. Furthermore, the Board of Management as a separate body within the Executive Board was formed due to the need for leadership on strategic decisions, as well as monitoring the efficiency of the whole organisation.

Events

EFPSA currently organises eleven annual and one biennial event:

  • The Congress;
  • European Summer School (ESS);
  • EFPSA Academy;
  • Train the Trainers (TtT) Summer School;
  • Train Advanced Trainers (TAT);
  • Trainers’ Meeting (TRAM);
  • Trainers’ Conference (TRaC);
  • EFPSA Day; and
  • The Joint Executive Board & Member Representatives Meeting and Board of Management Meetings are the annual events, while the Conference is the biennial event.

European Summer School

The first European Summer School (ESS) took place in Leie, Estonia in 2007. with the topic ‘Cross-Cultural Psychology’ followed by European Summer Schools covering different topics each subsequent year. During this seven-day event students immerse themselves into a programme of intercultural research where they have the opportunity to join one of six research projects led by a PhD supervisor in planning and implementing a 12-month study. Apart from this, the programme is enriched by a variety of lectures given by professionals from relevant areas of psychology. Each year, all lectures and research are set against a theme, chosen to reflect a field of contemporary psychology. Since 2011, all ESS participants completing the training programme and committing to the research project have been invited to join the Junior Researcher Programme, extending the European Summer School from a one-week Event into a fully structured 12-month research programme.

EFPSA Day

EFPSA Day is a promotional event that takes place across Europe at the beginning of December. The first EFPSA Day was held in 2010. The aim of this one-day event is to spread the word about EFPSA all over Europe. Presentations, workshops and other activities connected with EFPSA take place in many universities on the same day in order to make as many students as possible familiar with EFPSA.

Train the Trainers

In 2010, the first Train the Trainers summer school took place in Austria.[9] The Train the Trainers (TtT) summer school is an annual seven-day event featuring experiential and non-formal education aimed at providing its participants with insights and tutoring on a broad set of skills and knowledge about delivering training and information. Upon completion of set requirements, the TtT graduates may be invited to join the EFPSA Trainers’ Pool – a supportive environment for furthering training skills and experiences.

EFPSA Conference

The EFPSA Conference first took place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands in 2013. The EFPSA Conference is a biennial event and places a particular emphasis on its scientific programme. It brings together around 150 students from all over Europe for four days of lectures, workshops and student presentations. During the Conference, there is an open day, which consists of approximately 30 students from the hosting country/region joining the Conference for one day, to get an opportunity to learn, partake in the lectures and network with the participants.

Journal of European Psychology Students

The Journal of European Psychology Students (JEPS) is a double-blind peer-reviewed open access academic journal run entirely by students, covering all aspects of psychology published by the EFPSA and Ubiquity Press since 2009. JEPS brings a legitimate opportunity for psychology students to consider their thesis or research with international scope. Submissions have to be based on research conducted by bachelor or master students who may also be from outside Europe. Authors of selected submissions will receive professional feedback and help in developing their scientific publication. Articles are selected based on quality of research alone, disregarding the perceived importance and originality of a particular paper. Articles are indexed in EBSCOHost. Since 2016, JEPS invites students to submit Registered Reports. The JEPS team also run a blog, the JEPS Bulletin, which has been publishing since November 2010 on a range of issues relevant to psychology students of all levels and varied fields of interest.

Member Organisations

Organisations from all countries recognised by the Council of Europe can become members of EFPSA. Organisations from countries/regions that are not recognised by the Council of Europe can be taken into consideration as Regional Members. As of April 2018, EFPSA has 33 Member Organisations and two Observer Organisations.

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What is the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations?

Introduction

The European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations is the umbrella organisation of national societies in the field of psychology that are located in the European Economic Area.

Refer to the European Federation of Psychology Students’ Associations (EFPSA).

Brief History

The federation was founded in 1981 and the first general assembly was held in Heidelberg. Since then, general assemblies have been held every two years in different European cities. Since 1995, the general assembly is held in conjunction with the biennial European Congress of Psychology.

Aims

The federation is concerned with promoting and improving psychology as a profession and as a discipline, particularly, though not exclusively, in applied settings and with emphasis on the training and research associated with such practice. Its official journal is the European Psychologist. In 2009, the federation launched the EuroPsy register.

Member Associations

As of July 2019 the federation has 39 member associations, which together represent over 350,000 psychologists from all 28 members states of the European Union. In addition, there are 11 organisations registered as associate member associations and 2 that are registered as affiliate member associations.

EuroPsy

One of the major initiatives of the federation was the establishment of the EuroPsy or European Certificate in Psychology. This qualification sets a common standard for education, professional training and competence for psychologists to practice independently across Europe.

Aristotle Prize

The Aristotle Prize, established in 1995, is awarded by EFPA to a psychologist from Europe who has made a distinguished contribution to psychology.

Recipients of the prize have been:

  • 1995: Pieter Drenth.
  • 1997: Paul Baltes.
  • 1999: David Magnusson.
  • 2001: Alan Baddeley.
  • 2003: Lea Pulkkinen.
  • 2005: Rocio Fernandez-Ballesteros.
  • 2007: William Yule.
  • 2009: Claus Bundesen.
  • 2011: H. Marinus Van Ijzendoorn.
  • 2013: Niels Birbaumer.
  • 2015: José Maria Peiro.
  • 2017: CON AMORE – Centre on Autobiographical Memory Research.
  • 2019: Naomi Ellemers.

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What is the British Psychological Society?

Introduction

The British Psychological Society (BPS) is a representative body for psychologists and psychology in the United Kingdom.

Brief History

It was founded on 24 October 1901 at University College London (UCL) as The Psychological Society, the organisation initially admitted only recognised teachers in the field of psychology. The ten founder members were:

  • Robert Armstrong-Jones.
  • Sophie Bryant.
  • W.R. Boyce Gibson.
  • Frank Noel Hales.
  • William McDougall.
  • Frederick Walker Mott.
  • William Halse Rivers Rivers.
  • Alexander Faulkner Shand.
  • William George Smith.
  • James Sully.

Its current name of The British Psychological Society was taken in 1906 to avoid confusion with another group named The Psychological Society. Under the guidance of Charles Myers, membership was opened up to members of the medical profession in 1919. In 1941 the society was incorporated.

Mission

The Society aims to raise standards of training and practice in psychology, raise public awareness of psychology, and increase the influence of psychology practice in society. Specifically it has a number of key aims, as described below.

  • Setting standards of training for psychologists at graduate and undergraduate levels.
  • Providing information about psychology to the public.
  • Providing support to its members via its membership networks and mandatory continuing professional development.
  • Hosting conferences and events.
  • Preparing policy statements.
  • Publishing books, journals, the monthly magazine The Psychologist, the Research Digest blog, including a free fortnightly research update, and various other publications (see below).
  • Setting standards for psychological testing.
  • Maintaining a History of Psychology Centre.

Organisation

The Society is both a learned and a professional body. As such it provides support and advice on research and practice issues. It is also a Registered Charity which imposes certain constraints on what it can and cannot do. For example, it cannot campaign on issues which are seen as party political. The BPS is not the statutory regulation body for Practitioner Psychologists in the UK which is the Health and Care Professions Council.

The Society has a large number of specialist and regional branches throughout the United Kingdom. It holds its Annual Conference, usually in May, in a different town or city each year. In addition, each of the sub-sections hold their own conferences and there is also a range of specialist meetings convened to consider relevant issues.

The Society is also a publishing body publishing a range of specialist journals, books and reports.

Membership Grades and Post-Nominals

In 2019 the BPS had 60,604 members and subscribers, in all fields of psychology, 20,243 of whom were Chartered Members. There are a number of grades of members:

  • Student: (no post-nominal) The grade for students of psychology who do not meet the requirements for the following grades.
  • MBPsS: Member of the British Psychological Society – Awarded to graduates of an undergraduate degree accredited by the society, or have completed an accredited conversion course.
  • AFBPsS: Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society – Associate Fellowship may be awarded to nominees who have satisfied one of the following conditions since first becoming eligible for graduate membership:
    • i) achieved eligibility for full membership of one of the society’s divisions and been successfully engaged in the professional application of a specialised knowledge of psychology for an aggregate of at least two calendar years full-time (or its part-time equivalent); or
    • ii) possess a research qualification in psychology and been engaged in the application, discovery, development or dissemination of psychological knowledge or practice for an aggregate of at least four years full time (or its part time equivalent); or
    • iii) published psychological works or exercised specialised psychological knowledge of a standard not less than in 1 or 2 above.
  • FBPsS: Fellow of the British Psychological Society – Fellowship may be awarded to nominees who have made an outstanding contribution to psychology by satisfying the following criteria:
    • i) been engaged in work of a psychological nature (other than undergraduate training) for a total period of at least 10 years; and
    • ii) possess an advanced knowledge of psychology in at least one of its fields; and
    • iii) made an outstanding contribution to the advancement or dissemination of psychological knowledge or practice either by your own research, teaching, publications or public service, or by organising and developing the work of others.
  • HonFBPsS: Honorary Fellows of the British Psychological Society – Honorary Fellowship is awarded for distinguished service in the field of psychology.

Professional Qualifications

  • CPsychol: Chartered Psychologist – Following the receipt of a royal charter in 1965, the society became the keeper of the Register of Chartered Psychologists.
    • The register was the means by which the Society could regulate the professional practice of psychology.
    • Regulation included the awarding of practising certificates and the conduct of disciplinary proceedings.
    • The register ceased to be when statutory regulation of psychologists began on 01 July 2009.
    • The profession is now regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council.
    • A member of the British Psychological Society (MBPsS) who has achieved chartered status has the right to the letters “CPsychol” after his or her name.
  • CSci: Chartered Scientist – The Society is licensed by the Science Council for the registration of Chartered Scientists.
  • EuroPsy: European Psychologist – The Society is a member of the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations (EFPA), and can award this designation to Chartered Psychologists.

Society Publications

Journals

  • The BPS publishes the following journals:
    • British Journal of Clinical Psychology.
    • British Journal of Developmental Psychology.
    • British Journal of Educational Psychology.
    • British Journal of Health Psychology.
    • British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology.
    • British Journal of Psychology.
    • British Journal of Social Psychology.
    • Journal of Neuropsychology.
    • Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology.
    • Legal and Criminological Psychology.
    • Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice.
    • Counselling Psychology Review.
  • Special Group in Coaching Psychology publications:
    • International Coaching Psychology Review.
    • The Coaching Psychologist.

The Psychologist

The Psychologist is a members’ monthly magazine that has been published since 1988, superseding the BPS Bulletin.

The Research Digest

Since 2003 the BPS has published reports on new psychology research in the form of a free fortnightly email, and since 2005, also in the form of an online blog – both are referred to as the BPS Research Digest. As of 2014, the BPS states that the email has over 32,000 subscribers and the Digest blog attracts hundreds of thousands of page views a month. In 2010 the Research Digest blog won “best psychology blog” in the inaugural Research Blogging Awards. The Research Digest has been written and edited by psychologist Christian Jarrett since its inception.

Books

The Society publishes a series of textbooks in collaboration with Wiley-Blackwell. These cover most of the core areas of psychology.

Member Networks

The British Psychological Society currently has ten divisions and nineteen sections. Divisions and sections differ in that the former are open to practitioners in a certain field of psychology, so professional and qualified psychologists only will be entitled to full membership of a division, whereas the latter are interest groups comprising members of the BPS who are interested in a particular academic aspect of psychology.

Divisions

The divisions include:

  • Division of Academics, Researchers and Teachers in Psychology.
  • Division of Clinical Psychology.
  • Division of Counselling Psychology.
  • Division of Educational and Child Psychology.
  • Division of Forensic Psychology.
  • Division of Health Psychology.
  • Division of Neuropsychology.
  • Division of Occupational Psychology.
  • Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology.
  • Scottish Division of Educational Psychology.

The Division of Clinical Psychology is the largest division within the BPS – it is subdivided into thirteen faculties:

  • Addiction.
  • Children, Young People and their Families.
  • Clinical Health Psychology.
  • Eating Disorders.
  • Forensic Clinical Psychology.
  • HIV and Sexual Health.
  • Holistic Psychology.
  • Leadership and Management.
  • Intellectual Disabilities.
  • Oncology and Palliative Care.
  • Perinatal Psychology.
  • Psychosis and Complex Mental Health.
  • Psychology of Older People.

Statutory Regulation

BPS has been concerned with the question of statutory registration of psychologists since the 1930s. It received its charter in 1965 and an amendment in 1987 which allowed it to maintain a register of psychologists. The UK government announced its intention to widen statutory regulation, to include inter alia psychologists, following a number of scandals arising in the 1990s in the psychotherapy field. The BPS was in favour of statutory regulation, but opposed the proposed regulator, the Health Professions Council (HPC), preferring the idea of a new Psychological Professions Council which would map quite closely onto its own responsibilities. The government resisted this, however, and in June 2009, under the Health Care and Associated Professions (Miscellaneous Amendments) Order, regulation of most of the psychology professions passed to the HCPC, the renamed Health and Care Professions Council.

Society Offices

The Society’s main office is currently in Leicester in the United Kingdom. According to BPS HR department, as of April 2019 there were 113 staff members at the Leicester office, 9 in London. There are also smaller regional offices in Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow. The archives are deposited at the Wellcome Library in the Euston Road, London.

Logo and YouTube

The British Psychological Society’s logo is an image of the Greek mythical figure Psyche, personification of the soul, holding a Victorian oil lamp. The use of her image is a reference to the origins of the word psychology. The lamp symbolises learning and is also a reference to the story of Psyche. Eros was in love with Psyche and would visit her at night, but had forbidden her from finding out his identity. She was persuaded by her jealous sisters to discover his identity by holding a lamp to his face as he slept. Psyche accidentally burnt him with oil from the lamp, and he awoke and flew away.

The Society has its own YouTube channel.

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What is the British Psychotherapy Foundation?

Introduction

The British Psychotherapy Foundation, Bpf, is the successor organisation to three former long-established British psychotherapy providers and clinical training institutions which merged in April 2013.

The original constituents are the British Association of Psychotherapists, BAP (1951), The Lincoln Clinic and Centre for Psychotherapy (1968) and the London Centre for Psychotherapy, LCP, (1976). It is unique in the United Kingdom for providing treatment services for children and adults in all the psychoanalytic modalities, that is of Freudian and Jungian inspiration. It is also unique in providing professional training in those modalities within one institution and is regulated by the British Psychoanalytic Council. It has charitable status. Its current associations are:

  • British Jungian Analytic Association (BJAA), a member society of the International Association for Analytical Psychology;
  • Independent Psychoanalytic Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Association (IPCAPA); and
  • Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Association (PPA).

Brief History

Until it de-merged in 2019, the recently formed, British Psychoanalytic Association has been a fourth constituent of Bpf, (it was integral to the BAP).

Bpf runs MSc and Phd programmes in Psychodynamics of Human Development with Birkbeck, University of London in Jungian and Psychoanalytic modalities. Bpf and the University of Exeter offer a two-year Clinical Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy or Psychodynamic Psychotherapy training in Devon. The Bpf is the owner, (acquired by BAP in 2006) and publisher with John Wiley & Son of the foremost British academic journal in the field since 1984, The British Journal of Psychotherapy.

Notable Members

  • Rosemary Gordon.
  • Carol Topolski.
  • Clare Winnicott.

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