Psychosis: Recovery and Discovery

Presentation Slides

Presentation Summary

This presentation occurred during the 2022 South Southwest MHTTC First Episode Psychosis Conference on June 1st. Dr. Eleanor Longden was the keynote speaker for this session.

Presentation Summary: Although traditionally understood as a medical condition, an increasing amount of evidence shows powerful links between painful events in people’s lives (particularly, but not exclusively, childhood abuse) and the likelihood of experiencing psychosis. This lecture drew on the presenter’s own lived experience of trauma and psychosis, as well as recent research and clinical findings, to explore how a greater emphasis on trauma-focused care may help to promote healing and recovery within mental health services.

About the Speaker


Dr. Eleanor Longden (she/her/hers)

Postdoctoral Service User Research Manager

Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

Dr. Eleanor Longden is a Postdoctoral Service User Research Manager at the Psychosis Research Unit at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH), honorary research fellow at the University of Manchester, and co-director of GMMH’s Complex Trauma and Resilience Research Unit. Throughout her career, Dr Longden has drawn on her own experiences of recovery from trauma and psychosis to promote person-centered approaches to complex mental health problems that emphasize the lived experience and expertise of service-users. Her research focuses on the relationship between dissociation, trauma, and voice-hearing, and she has lectured and published internationally on these issues, including numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, contributions to the British Psychological Society’s landmark reports Understanding Psychosis & Schizophrenia and The Power Threat Meaning Framework, and reviewing materials for the World Health Organizations’ Quality Rights Initiative. Her 2013 TED talk on voice-hearing was named by the Guardian newspaper as one of the ‘20 Online Talks That Could Change Your Life’ and in its first year online was viewed 2.5m times and translated into 33 languages. In 2015, Dr Longden received a commendation for her work from the Deputy Prime Minister’s Mental Health Hero Awards. Along with Dr Charlie Heriot-Maitland, she is co-author of the forthcoming book Relating to Voices Using Compassion Focused Therapy: A Self-Help Companion.


Positionality Statement: I am a Postdoctoral Service User Research Manager employed by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), predominantly working with colleagues who share my own identity as White British, cisgender, and college educated. My work is mainly focused on designing and conducting studies and, while I have experience of peer-support, am not clinically qualified and lack any formal therapeutic expertise. I am strongly influenced by my own lived experience of trauma and mental distress, which has led me to favour approaches to understanding and treating psychosis which emphasizes the impact of psychosocial factors in the origins of peoples’ difficulties. This includes, for example, the effects of interpersonal violence, such as abuse and assault, as well as systemic injustices, such as economic inequality and identity-based discrimination. However, working with research participants, fellow survivors, and/or professional colleagues has encouraged me to be more considerate of alternative understandingsfor psychosis; for example, by recognising the high value manyservice-users place in biomedical models,by developing more nuanced definitions ofwhat constitutes ‘trauma’ or ‘adversity’, and by expanding my awareness of more culturally diverse explanationsfor people’s experiences, including religious or spiritual frameworks.I receive speaking fees from both government and private sector organisations for the provision of lectures and trainingand my research is currently funded by a Development and Skills Enhancement Award from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR). I am also a co-applicant on two projects funded by grants from the NIHR’s Health Technology Assessment Programme; however, the views expressed in my presentation are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the NHS, the NIHR, or the Department of Health and Social Care.

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