Photo-stories from the Psychosis Therapy Project
Generously supported by Richard and Siobhán Coward Foundation.
Arts projects have proved to be hugely valuable to both the PTP caseload and its practitioners. This proposal brought photography within psychotherapy for those experiencing psychosis.
This project was for those interested in storytelling using photography. It was open to practitioners and service users associated with the Psychosis Therapy Project, with a focus on young people from racialised communities.
The therapy we offer is long-term, giving clients time and space to articulate distressing experiences and cultivate robust and enduring solutions. The offering of virtual arts projects at a time when face-to-face had been paused, with clients already very isolated pre-COVID has been hugely valuable. This proposal offered further support for this vulnerable community.
Art therapists and practitioners who volunteered to work within the team gained valuable insights into ways of understanding and working with these individuals.
This project was for those interested in storytelling using photography. It was open to practitioners and service users associated with the Psychosis Therapy Project.
The first PTP story is: ‘Lockdown’
A disposable stills film camera (point and shoot with flash) was sent (week 0) to those patients wanting to participate. These were delivered and returned once exposed, to the service-users’ analyst in pre-paid, pre-addressed envelopes (week 2). Once processed, prints and negatives were returned to the client. The scanned images were retained by the organisers.
The anonymised images were selected by PTP clinical practitioners and this became the visual narrative. This sequence was passed to another practitioner who wrote a short essay to accompany the images. This poetic use of language was incorporated into the presentation (week 6).
The images were also printed and mounted to be displayed at the Islington Mind Hub. A simple slideshow design integrating text, voiceover and images was produced (week 7) for a virtual ‘open’ private view for all to be arranged and the sequence was posted on the PTP and MIND websites (week 8).
A closed supervised discussion group discussed clinical and ethical outcomes.
PTP-Usemi Arts, generously supported by the Richard and Siobhán Coward Foundation, are pleased to announce a photographic exhibition.
13 April 2022, 1-3PM
48 Despard Road
Are you interested in storytelling with photography?
PTP-Usemi is running a project on photo stories from lockdown.
The project is open to young people aged 18-25 and gives them the opportunity to tell their own stories of life during lockdown.
With cameras and technical assistance supplied by our sponsor, your photographs will form part of these exhibitions:
Locked Down: A Picture of Mental Health
To register please contact email@example.com.
PTP-Usemi Arts generously sponsored by the Richard and Siobhán Coward Foundation.
The Psychosis Therapy Project hosted a virtual Art Residency on the theme of HOME during the month of July 2020.
10 PTP artists took up the challenge of producing art work on what HOME evokes in them. Here is the final exhibition celebrating their creations!
All artwork is posted with the artists' permission.
We're delighted to have been awarded a grant from the UnLtd Inclusive Recovery Fund!
The Inclusive Recovery Fund was a £4.75 million fund to help social entrepreneurs in England, designed to help social entrepreneurs deliver their important services and grow their impact while adapting to the challenges the Coronavirus crisis has presented.
The Inclusive Recovery Fund was a partnership between UnLtd, the foundation for social entrepreneurs, and Comic Relief, announced in the autumn as part of a £10 million matched funding bid. It was supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport as part of the Government's £750 million support package for charities.
The fund offered grants between £10,000 and £500,000 to asset or mission-locked ventures, with an emphasis on ventures with ideas to accelerate their growth, build resilience and create a deep and lasting impact.
It aimed in particular to support leaders with lived experience. Leaders with direct first-hand experience of the social problems, who are activating these experiences to inform, shape and lead their social ventures to directly benefit the communities they share those experiences with.
Longer-term, social entrepreneurs are likely to need significant ongoing support to face the challenges of a post-COVID future, so this partnership will allow UnLtd to develop an inclusive, ongoing support offer that will help social entrepreneurs to build their resilience post this fund and long into the years to come.
PTP Directors Dorothée Bonnigal-Katz and Earl Pennycooke (USEMI Director) spoke at this important event.
The international online conference, which took place on 16-17 January 2021, focused on free psychoanalytic clinics and the social mission of psychoanalysis.
Last year's Lambeth & Southwark Mind sell-out event 'Can Psychoanalysis Treat Psychosis?' marked the launch of the South London branch of the Psychosis Therapy Project.
This year, we celebrated the legacy of R.D. Laing and Antipsychiatry with a screening of Robert Mullan's 2017 film MAD TO BE NORMAL starring David Tennant, followed by a Q&A with two Antipsychiatry Legends: Haya Oakley and Paul Zeal.
Both worked closely with "Ronnie" for over three decades. They will share their impression of the film as well as their unique experience and insider's view of the heyday of the Antipsychiatry movement.
We're in the news!
This article originally appeared in the South London Press on 17/10/16.
Lambeth and Southwark Mind have teamed up with local news teams South London Press and London Weekly News to launch the Change Is Possible mental health campaign.
In the latest in a series of exclusive interviews for our appeal, reporter Jack Dixon meets psychoanalyst Dorothée Bonnigal-Katz, who has aspirations to launch a pioneering new therapy service for south Londoners in crisis.
Hallucinations, illusions, hearing voices. For most people these things are the stuff of fantasy. But for those living with psychotic conditions, such symptoms can become a part of everyday life.
In these complex cases, the same standard treatments won’t necessarily work for everyone – and mental health practitioners face a constant challenge to find the right form of therapy for each individual.
Communication is key, says Dorothée Bonnigal-Katz, whose pioneering approach to psychosis therapy could soon start to change lives in south London.
“We work with people on the basis of their experience, not their symptoms or behaviour,” she says.
“We focus on what they tell us and take it on board critically and non-judgementally.”
For the last four years, Dorothée has been leading an important psychosis therapy project in north London through Islington Mind.
It aims to promote and develop long-term, individualistic forms of treatment for people with psychotic diagnoses.
Dorothée, 47, and a team of 15 other trained experts, work mainly with paranoid schizophrenics and people who have bipolar disorder.
Crucially, they offer open-ended, talk-based therapies that are carefully designed so as to avoid the pitfalls of labelling and rejection.
Having seen impressive results in Islington, Dorothée is now working with Lambeth and Southwark Mind to explore options for a similar service in south London.
“I think it’s something that would be great because the needs in this area are very high but the provision for this profile of client is quite limited. Psychotherapy is not really something that’s on offer.
“All the people in mental health services in south London that I’ve spoken to are quite open to the idea of our interventions because they find themselves with people who need more than what they are getting at the moment.”
Currently, says Dorothée, there is too strong a focus on medication, and individuals who experience hallucinations and other psychotic symptoms can only expect up to 12 weeks of cognitive behavioural therapy from statutory service providers.
Her approach is to be less restrictive, offering an open-ended number of sessions to help clients feel more comfortable in a therapeutic setting.
“People should have access to therapy for long periods of time because, especially with psychosis, things are very slow and you need a permanence or steadiness in the work that you offer for people to be able to benefit.
“Time-limited work can be helpful in some ways – but it’s just not enough.”
Dorothée says the approach is directly tackling the stigmatisation of mental health issues by not treating the client as a patient who must be cured, but as a unique individual with a whole new perspective on the world.
“We don’t have the sense that, for example, a delusion is a delusion so you shouldn’t talk about it because it’s not reality. On the contrary, we really engage with the client’s view of the world.
“This might not be what people refer to as a ‘normal’ take on things. But actually, if you spend enough time talking to people and listening to them, you find that what is labelled as ‘madness’ or ‘illness’ is in fact a response to an environment and an attempt to make sense of it, which is pretty rational. It is their way of coping with experiences that can be very overwhelming.”
She says the client is the one who is “in the know” and must “guide” the therapist.
“It can be very helpful because people then feel that instead of being judged, rejected, pathologised, labelled and overmedicated, there is some validity that is given to their experience by someone who listens, believes and understands – or attempts to understand.”
Dorothée is originally from Paris and trained as an English teacher before moving to the UK 10 years ago to further her work in the mental health field.
A regular contributor and translator for academic journals, she has written several authoritative books on the subject of psychoanalysis.
She runs a private practice in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, but commutes regularly to London to work on the psychosis therapy project.
Accessing funding to continue the project is a constant challenge, despite its successful results over the last four years.
It has grown, she says, from a session-based service to a flourishing community of users who support each other during their treatment.
“People will come for their session but there is also a time to drop in, so people can come earlier or leave later. They can hang out together and share food – it goes beyond the actual session.
“That element has been very important, I think, in making the project successful.”
A similar psychosis therapy service in south London will require financial support for Lambeth and Southwark Mind. But Dorothée is optimistic looking ahead.
“It’s worked out really well in terms of clinical results. We now have about 16 therapists working in Islington on a regular basis with a caseload of about 30 people. But it’s growing, so it’s really been a very successful project from a therapeutic perspective.
“I really believe in the benefits of talk therapy for people with this profile. I think it would be highly beneficial in south London.
“Of course, we will need to secure some funding so that we can make things happen but in terms of the discussions we have had so far I am actually quite encouraged and things are looking promising.”
PTP Staff spoke at the 2nd Lambeth and Southwark Mind Annual Lecture held in conjunction with BLOCK336
Dorothée Bonnigal-Katz, an author, translator and psychoanalyst and the founder of the Psychosis Therapy Project, reflects on the last four years of establishing this ground-breaking project and on why it is of special value today. Dorothée found that many people experiencing psychosis were rarely deemed eligible for individual talk therapy and were often ill-served by antipsychotic medication and short-term therapies. However, her radical model of specialist treatment, with analysts working one-to-one with people over long periods and through crisis, has had remarkable results. Initially based in Islington, the project is now expanding to South London in the hope of becoming a London-wide service.