ENSO Seminar Series

An enactive approach to psychiatry

Sanneke de Haan

Tilburg University
Jan. 10, 2019, 10 a.m. UTC // Jan. 10, 2019, 10 a.m. in UTC
I will apply insights from enactivism to address the 'integration problem' in psychiatry: the difficulty of integrating the heterogeneous factors that may cause or contribute to psychiatric problems, ranging from traumatic experiences, dysfunctional neurotransmitters, existential worries, economical deprivation, social exclusion, and genetic bad luck. In practice, many mental health care professionals work holistically in a pragmatic and eclectic way. Such pragmatic approaches often function well enough. Yet an overarching framework provides orientation, treatment rationale, a shared language for communication with all those involved, and the means to explain treatment decisions to health insurers and to society at large. It also helps to relate findings from different areas and types of research. In this talk, I introduce an enactive framework that supports a holistic psychiatric practice by offering an integrative account of how the diverse aspects of psychiatric disorders relate. I first give a short overview of the four main dimensions of psychiatric disorders that a model needs to take into account, and of the currently available models. I then discuss the enactive notion of sense-making and the need to distinguish between basic and existential sense-making. Subsequently, I discuss how this enactive outlook can help explicate the relation between the four dimensions. I end with a short overview of some implications of this enactive approach for causality and treatment.

Link to join/watch the seminar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KF9zhPDNKA0