Seminar 2 Format

Please note the second seminar is now full. Should you wish to be put on the waiting list for this seminar please email .

9.30 Registration (with tea and coffee available)
10.00 Bill Fulford, welcome and introduction to the collaboration between the Centre for Values Based Practice, St Catherine’s College and the Leeds University initiative on co-production. Pamela Fisher, summary of key points arising from seminar one. Housekeeping and scene setting

10.30 Presentation by Sarah Carr and Peter Ryan of the University of Middlesex. Sarah is an Associate Professor of Mental Health Research, Middlesex University and an independent mental health and social care consultant and researcher. Sarah is Co-Chair of the National Survivor User Network (NSUN) and uses her lived experience of mental distress and service use in all her work. Peter Ryan is an expert in mental health. He is currently establishing a research centre for co-production in collaboration with Sarah Carr at the University of Middlesex.

11.15 Café style discussion based on presentation
11.45 Facilitated feedback, questions and discussion of arising themes
12.15 LUNCH
1.00 Presentation by Ruth Allen followed by questions and comments

Ruth is Director of Social Work for South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust and a Research Fellow at St George’s University of London. She is Chair of the national Social Care Strategic Network for mental health which promotes effective social work leadership in mental health and former Chair of the Mental Health Faculty of the College of Social Work.

Presentation by Philip Houghton, Gemma Stacey and James Shutt
Philip Houghton is a clinical psychologist with a particular interest in the impact of power on individuals and systems, both within and outside of the mental health systems.
Gemma is the Academic lead of the Critical Values Based Management Centre, University of Nottingham. Philip is a Clinical Psychologist and Practice Leader of the Critical Values Based Management Centre, Nottinghamshire Healthcare Foundation Trust.
James Shutt is the service manager of POhWER. Coming from an advocacy and voluntary sector perspective, he is interested in the lived experiences of people with mental disabilities.

2.00 Identification and discussion of key points arising from presentations and discussions

2.30 Round table discussion introduced by presentation (10 mins) by Ms Keeble.  Ms Keeble uses mental health services. She is a founder member of the ‘Bristol co-production group’ which has grown from its original brief to produce many collaborations, including the partnership teaching of mental health nursing students

3.30 Summary of key points and emerging focus for research applications and outputs

4.00 Additional Networking opportunity


First Seminar Recap

Many thanks to all of you who participated in the first seminar of the ESRC series Re-imagining professionalism in mental health: towards co-production on 5 January 2016 at the University of Leeds.

Thanks so much for the lively and interesting discussions which generated so many ideas and raised such intriguing questions.  I’d initially been worried that the conversation might dry up prematurely – but there was definitely no danger of that!

I think we all realise all too well that establishing co-production (as authentic power-sharing) in mental health will not be achieved over night. The challenges are considerable but, although daunted, I’m feeling enthusiastic and determined.  Last week’s conversations definitely energised my commitment.

Here are just a few observations from the first seminar.

Albert Dzur started off the day’s proceedings with an exposition of his theory of Democratic Professionalism (DP). DP requires a fundamental shift in power relations between ‘service users’ and ‘service providers’, and may be allied to a participatory (rather than representative) form of citizenship. Experts by experience, for example, are demanding that professional practices in mental health be opened up to democratic deliberation.

In their talks both Albert and Michael Guthrie emphasised the importance of role models, but a key challenge seems to be how to embed democratic professionalism into organisational cultures. After Michael’s and Annie Dransfield’s talks, we started to ask some interesting questions about what should constitute professionalism and whether the definition should be expanded to include service users, informal carers and peer support workers. On the other hand, it was mooted that we should perhaps dispense with the term ‘professional’ and talk instead about appropriate behaviour and judgement.

At one point there was an interesting discussion on whether co-production is aided or hindered by regulation. If it is regulated from above, does it then cease to be about democratic power-sharing? On the other hand, how can it become established without being endorsed by policy-makers and managers? I’m sure this is a point we’ll return to…

Scott Bell led a workshop which again generated lots of interest. He emphasised that co-productive relationships should be about mutuality and reciprocity. Scott pointed out that this is not reflected in the term ‘user-led’ which arguably places all the responsibility for recovery on the service user. Others pointed out that terms such as ‘service user’ need re-thinking as they perpetuate the arguably oppressive binary between service user and service provider. A model of ‘recovery together’ was suggested as an alternative.

Pamela Fisher

Job Opportunity in London for Open Dialogue UK

From the Open Dialogue UK website:

We are now looking for more administrative support, primarily to help us meet our objective of opening a centre in London for training and practice in 2016. This is an exciting opportunity to be a part of the development of a centre which will in time offer training and therapeutic work in a variety of approaches, including Open Dialogue, Hearing Voices, psychotherapeutic work for people experiencing psychosis, and Intentional Peer Support. As well as this we will be running events in the evenings at the centre including debates/dialogues, film screenings, performance arts, and other creative/social gatherings, related to therapeutic practice, but also wider social/political issues. Our hope is that the centre will also provide vocational opportunities on a voluntary and paid basis for people with lived experience of mental distress/extreme states who are interested in contributing to the development of the centre and learning new skills, and we welcome interest from people with such experience for this administrative role.

Initially we are looking to involve someone with administrative skills on a temporary basis, with a view to this becoming a permanent position once the centre opens. There is flexibility in terms of the basis on which the work would initially be undertaken (employed, self-employed) as well as the hours involved (full-time/part-time). Amongst the administrative skills required are the ability to use Microsoft Office, edit content on our (WordPress website), monitor email accounts, research issues related to the development of the centre, etc. Training will be given where necessary.

If you are interested in this administrative role, please complete the form on this page on our website by 14th February 2016, or contact us if you have any questions.”



Open Dialogue UK 2016 Conference – London – 2nd February

Not long until this event in London. We hope to see some of  you there.

Our 2016 conference brings together many of the leading developers of Open Dialogue internationally. Keynote speakers will be Jaakko Seikkula, one of the founders of the approach and Volkmar Aderhold and Petra Hohn, who have been leading the development of the approach in Germany and also in the Parachute Project in NYC. We are delighted to also welcome three key members of the Parachute Project team from New York, as well as members of the Peer supported Open Dialogue project in the UK.  As well as addressing the key themes of openness and democracy, the conference will provide a unique opportunity to get an overview of the current state of development relating to Open Dialogue nationally and internationally. There will also be a panel of leading clinicians/experts from a variety of backgrounds in the UK who will be reflecting on the presentations: James Davies, Peter Kinderman, Anne Cooke, Sarah Carr, Sami Timimi, Jacqui Dillon, Julie Repper and Rachel Waddingham.

We are now delighted to confirm that there will be three additional presentations from those developing the Open Dialogue approach internationally. Iseult Twamley, who is leading a project in West Cork, Ireland, Rafaella Pocobello, one of the co-ordinators of a project covering 8 districts in Italy, and Amy Morgan, from Advocates in Massachusetts, USA, will all be giving brief presentations on how they are developing Open Dialogue within their service.

We have a range of price points for these seminars, in the hope that everyone who wishes to attend will be able to, including group discounts:

  • Organisation Rate: £125
  • Organisation Group Rate: £112.50
  • Independent Practitioner Rate: £85
  • Student/Carer Rate: £35
  • Service User/Benefits Rate: £25

Group rates for 5 or more people

For further details of the conference and to book places please visit our website by clicking here.


Bob Sapey on Language in Healthcare

Bob Sapey, a participant at the first seminar, kindly provided this fascinating piece on language in healthcare.

It is possible that in replacing undesirable labels, we risk creating new ones that become signifiers of the devaluation we were trying to combat, but this is insufficient reason for not acting to better the impact of our language in the present as unequal power relationships may be maintained by our language.

In the field of social work the term ‘service user’ came into use following the implementation of the 1990 NHS & Community Care Act in April 1993. In that new world of social welfare based upon notions of consumers rather than clients and in which community care was portrayed as a desirable service with choice rather than the state controlled safety net of the National Assistance Act, new labels were required and by the end of that decade ‘service user’ had emerged.

However positive the intentions of this change, it did not take long for the term to assume negative connotations; I recall a student on placement in a CMHT in 2000 telling me that in the canteen culture of this team, the term had come to mean the people who used up services and caused shortages, much as the term ‘bed blocking’ blames older patients for political and professional failures to adequately resource and manage health and care services.

1997 saw a significant change in the way the Department of Health used the term service user. Whereas prior to this time the Social Services Inspectorate had given advice on how to work with the inherent tensions between disabled people and carers, from this time policy documents always referred to service users and carers, reflecting the new government’s aspirations in terms of consultation and co-production. Policy forced the two groups together and began to establish them as a single group in the minds of professionals; the tensions were meant to have disappeared in the new reality constructed by this government.

Shaping Our Lives, a national service user network that wishes to promote a positive view of service users as active, say that the term can be used to restrict a person’s identity to one of passivity in an unequal relationship. Fundamental to this perspective is that individuals should be free to determine if they consider themselves to be a service user, this is not the role of the service providers.

Some individuals are comfortable with the service user label, while others are not for a range of reasons including simply finding it unnecessary. Many people have argued for other labels that they see as more positive such as survivors of the mental health system, or disabled people, or experts by experience, each of which reflect personal and political experiences. Survivors is a term borne out of experiencing the mental health system as brutal and unhelpful; disabled people reflects an experience of society as unequal and disabling, as having been constructed by non-disabled people for non-disabled people; experts by experience is used to create an equality with experts by profession in situations of co-production.

Language changes as the meaning of words change. I recently co-edited (with Helen Spandler and Jill Anderson) a book called Madness, Distress and the Politics of Disablement. When we first got the contract we were not permitted to have the word Madness in the title (although clearly we made the argument for its inclusion later). It was considered to be demeaning rather than reclaimed. Throughout the book we used the term ‘madness/distress’ in order to accommodate different identities and whilst this might be viewed as grammatically clumsy, it was meaningfully, politically and socially essential.

I think the power of language is probably in the way we use it, rather than in the innate qualities of a word. But because of the way words have been used, they may assume certain meanings of which we need to be aware and wary.

Bob Sapey

I am a member of CCrAMHP (Critical and Creative Approaches to Mental Health Practice) which is a group of people who come together to discuss ideas. The group consists of people who have and do not have experience of mental distress and over the past 5 years this has included art, community, medical, nursing, psychology, social work and teaching professionals, school and university students, and people who were not employed.

Before retirement I worked as a university lecturer and prior to that as a social worker. I have been involved with the disabled people’s movement for over 30 years as a social work activist, a writer and a researcher. In the last 10 years I have had similar relationship with the Hearing Voices Network. My experience of working with disabled people and with voice hearers has predominantly been one of being invited into activities that they control and of sharing my knowledge or skills.


Seminar 2: Enacting co-production

Seminar 2: Enacting co-production is to take place on Wednesday 17th February at St. Catherine’s College, University of Oxford. Speakers include Dr Ruth Allen, Director of Social Work for South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust and a Research Fellow at St George’s University of London, Dr Sarah Carr, Associate Professor of Mental Health Research, Middlesex University, Dr Philip Houghton, Clinical Psychologist and Practice Leader of the Critical Values Based Management Centre, Nottinghamshire Healthcare Foundation Trust, Ms Keeble, founder member of the ‘Bristol co-production group’, Professor Peter Ryan, an expert in mental health, Dr Gemma Stacey, Academic lead of the Critical Values Based Management Centre, University of Nottingham.

Please email to request a place at the seminar.


Co-production in mental health A call for practice examples

The National Development Team for Inclusion  (NDTi) have been funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to demonstrably increase understanding of co-production in mental health.

One of the key aims of the work is develop a practical, evidence-based resource on how co-production can be understood and implemented in mental health.

NDTI are would love to hear about examples of co-production which have worked, but also those that have not worked, from within and outside statutory or mainstream mental health services, including:

• From people who identify as having a mental health problem or as service users/survivors

• User-led organisations (ULOs)

• Non-user led mental health campaigning organisations

• Local authority or NHS commissioners (including Clinical Commissioning Groups)

• NHS Trusts

• Local authorities

• Voluntary and community sector mental health providers

• Specialist voluntary and community sector groups/organisations (such as those supporting BAME or LGB & T people)

You can tell NDTi about your work using here, which can be returned by email to or post to Sheila at NDTi, First Floor, 30-32 Westgate Buildings, Bath BA1 1EF. If you would prefer to speak to someone, please contact Sheila Bancroft on 01225 789135 to arrange a time to do this. Please return the completed template by Friday 15th January 2016.