Dr. Lucy Johnstone

Lucy Johnstone (@ClinPsychLucy) is a consultant clinical psychologist, conference speaker, lecturer and trainer, and one of many professionals and service users/survivors who take a critical perspective on mental health theory and practice.

She is author of “Users and Abusers of Psychiatry“, co-editor of “Formulation in Psychology and Psychotherapy: Making Sense of People’s Problems“, and the author of the book which forms the basis of today’s discussion, “A Straight Talking Guide to Psychiatric Diagnosis“.

Lucy also writes a blog at Mad in America where she writes about the advantages of one alternative to psychiatric diagnosis, known as psychological formulation. An approach which allows for the exploration of personal meaning within relational and social contexts.

In today’s episode we discuss why the concept of psychiatric diagnosis is both invalid and unreliable, we weigh up the benefits and consequences of being labelled with a particular disorder, and whether or not the demise of the current classification system, which is acknowledged to be unsatisfactory even by the people who invented it, will lead to more constructive and helpful alternatives.


Related Links

Mad in America – Rethinking psychiatric care

Drop the Disorder Facebook Group – A group for anyone who is interested in challenging traditional approaches to emotional distress

A Disorder 4 Everyone – Exploring the culture of psychiatric diagnosis

Book Recommendations


Image courtesy: Wikimedia


3 replies
  1. Chris
    Chris says:

    Hi Danny – would like to reply to this really interesting interview but when I try to cut and paste my response the boxes for email address and post comment button etc are not visible and no matter how I move up and down the page I can’t access them

  2. Emma
    Emma says:

    Hi Danny, really enjoyed listening to this informative and enlightening discussion, thanks!
    Lucy mentioned a UN report that was released around ?August 2017 that talks about ‘from chemical imbalances to power imbalances’ and a ‘crisis of social obstacles’, and she notes that for decades we have been governed by a reductionist approach. Would you happen to know, or find out, the name of that report? Many thanks


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