1.75 hours

About this course

The Anna Freud Centre is launching a year-long free programme of public seminars on 23rd July and inviting all to join us as we contemplate the future of children and young people’s mental health. The Transformation Seminars is an inaugural series of free lectures open to the public to celebrate the Anna Freud’s Centre’s new building, the Kantor Centre of Excellence (N1 9JH) and ask some of the most eminent names in mental health what would most contribute to a transformation of our approach to mental health. 

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This seminar

Peter Fonagy will kick off the series with a seminar on Transforming Psychological Therapies. This talk will begin by explaining why it is that psychological therapies need radical rethinking. Despite the investment of considerable time and resources in research and treatment development, the painful truth is that outcomes studies show that the effectiveness of psychological therapies has not increased over the last forty years. There are other causes for concern: the validity and usefulness of diagnostic criteria are increasingly under question, leading to fundamental questions about treatment decisions.

Meanwhile, the prevalence of psychological distress, particularly among our children and young people, is the subject of growing public concern: parents and families, clinicians and communities are all too frequently aware of the extent to which the need for help still remains unmet. The problem is complex and multifaceted.

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Peter Fonagy’s talk will set out a new approach to mental disorder, involving a major shift in how we view the role of the social environment in understanding what mental disorder is, how we should treat it, and how we can promote resilience in children and young people. We cannot expect anyone, and especially young and vulnerable people, to maintain their capacity for balanced mentalizing and cooperative social learning and functioning in a relentlessly non-mentalizing social system.

Transforming psychological therapies must involve a new approach to the role played by social systems in either supporting or undermining the well-being of the individuals within them.  


The format of our Transformation Seminars are:

17:00 - 17:15   Registration

17:15 - 18:00   Transformation Lecture

18:00 - 18:30   Q&A

18:30 - 19:00   Drinks and Nibbles