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ADHD, BPS & Power Threat Meaning Framework

On Sunday, 9th December 2018, we sent the following email to the Chief Executive and Trustees of the British Psychological Society (BPS):

Dear Mr Bajwa and Trustees of the British Psychological Society,

I would like to bring to your attention the harmful manner in which Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is referenced in the document titled ‘Power Threat Meaning Framework’ (PTMFramework).

Lucy Johnstone, lead author, on 30 November 2018 told us on Twitter that all discussions of ADHD had been specifically excluded from the PTM Framework (see attached: ‘Tweets September to 30 November 2018’). But to date, the uncorrected version of the PTM Framework ( i.e. the version containing 16 references to ADHD, all of which are stigmatising and harmful) is still on the British Psychological Society’s website here https://www.bps.org.uk/news-and-policy/introducing-power-threat-meaning-framework

If you are able, please could you provide us with a copy of the amended version of the Framework and ensure that the uncorrected copy is replaced?

If it has not been amended, please could you discuss this matter with the Trustees as to whether or not the Framework meets the requirements of the BPS Royal Charter.

Sadly, we have some doubts as to whether the Framework has been amended as Lucy Johnstone and her fellow authors are adamantly opposed to psychiatric diagnoses as illustrated in one of the attached tweets as well as in the following quote from the 3rd paragraph on page 314 of the PTM Framework:

At the same time as affirming people’s right to describe their difficulties as they wish, we affirm the equally important principle that professionals, researchers, trainers, lecturers, charities, policy-makers and others involved in the mental health field should use language and concepts that have some claim to be descriptively accurate and evidence-based. Because psychiatric diagnosis does not meet these standards, it follows that it can no longer be considered professionally, scientifically or ethically justifiable to present psychiatric diagnoses as if they were valid statements about people and their difficulties. To draw an analogy from psychiatric history, once it becomes clear that terms like ‘wandering womb’ are mistaken, no professional should be offering – let alone imposing – them.

For your information here is some background:

In January 2018, the launch of the Power Threat Meaning Framework was heavily promoted on Twitter under #PTMFramework and as part of the launch it was also advertised as being available on the British Psychological Society’s website. As a result of this we, Adult Attention Deficit Disorder-UK (AADD-UK), became aware of the published document so we downloaded the full version (414 pages) and read it.

There are 16 specific references to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in the framework (see attached document) which are in themselves incorrect and when read in the context of the framework as seen in the quote above.

We’ve given our feedback to the authors many times since the launch of the PTM Framework, but until 30th November 2018 it has been consistently ignored. Please note that while Lucy Johnstone says she won’t engage in a debate about the framework, she is still actively promoting it on Twitter.

We are bringing this to your attention as well as the attention of the trustees not only because Lucy Johnstone directed us to the BPS but also because the presence of the BPS Logo on the Framework lends credence and validity to statements which stigmatise people with ADHD.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I’m very willing to help.

Today, Wednesday, 2nd January 2019 we received the following reply from the Governance Manager at BPS:

Your complaint as set out below has been forwarded to me for attention. I am very sorry to learn of your concerns

I am making enquiries into the matters which you raise and I will be in touch as soon as my enquiries are complete

Kindest regards

Finally, it looks as if some progress is being made by the BPS and we’re hoping this means that at last someone is taking our complaint seriously. We’ll keep you updated and in the meantime our fingers are tightly crossed.

Here is a link to the copy of some tweets we sent to the BPS, Tweets September to 30 November 2018

And here is a link to a list of the statements in the Power Threat Meaning Framework that we sent to the BPS, Quotes from PTMF for Letter

And finally, if anyone is interested in reading more, here is a link to the 414 page version of the Power Threat Meaning Framework: Towards the identification of patterns in emotional distress, unusual experiences and troubled or troubling behaviour, as an alternative to functional psychiatric diagnosis

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