The Wellcome Trust-funded Conference ‘Other Psychotherapies – across time, space, and cultures’ brings contemporary Western expertise into dialogue with psychotherapeutic approaches from ‘other’ spatially, historically or otherwise ‘distant’ cultures. The Conference Committee invites abstracts of up to 300 words for 20-minute presentations, to be submitted by no later than 31 August 2016.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Dr Chiara Thumiger, Classics and Ancient History, University of Warwick: ‘Therapies of the word in ancient medicine’
  • Dr Jennifer Lea, Geography, University of Exeter: ‘Building “A Mindful Nation”? The use of mindfulness meditation in educational, health and criminal justice settings’
  • Dr Claudia Lang, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich: ‘Theory and practice in Ayurvedic psychotherapy’
  • Dr Elizabeth Roxburgh, Psychology, University of Northampton: ‘Anomalous experiences and mental health’

University of Glasgow Organizing Committee:

Papers should address one or more of the conference’s four themes:

  1. Ancient Approaches to Psychotherapy

This strand explores ancient and medieval approaches by illuminating thinkers and philosophical and/or medical theories from the Egyptian and Babylonian world, the Graeco-Roman antiquity, the Chinese and medieval Islamic and Jewish traditions. It foregrounds various ancient practices used in ‘the cure of the soul’, investigating the extent to which modern psychiatric practices draw upon such wisdom traditions. Other key aims will be to distinguish diverse conceptions of selfhood required or developed in psychotherapeutic settings, and to consider the borders between religion, medicine, and philosophy.

  1. Geographies of Psychotherapy

We invite papers that wish to examine the development of psychological ideas and practices and their transformative effect over a range of (global) spaces, sites and places. Although not limited to such themes, we encourage critical debates into the uneven development of psychological practices over time and space, the changing spatialities of caring practices, embodied practices of healing, and writing psychotherapeutic geographies.

  1. Postcolonial/Indigenous Psychotherapies

The emergence of different, competing schools of Western psychotherapy has been accompanied by rapid development in the capacity to share knowledge globally. Western psychotherapies are juxtaposed with forms of healing based on markedly different epistemic and philosophical underpinnings. This theme considers whether indigenous forms of healing in LMICs can be viewed as de facto psychotherapies. Attention will focus on the dynamics of power in post-colonial contexts and how this has influenced the perceived credibility of western vs indigenous forms of therapeutic/healing interaction.

  1. Subcultural Psychotherapies

We invite critical engagement with the propensity to see subcultural participation (bodybuilding, gaming, body modification, BDSM, Goth, Emo, etc.) as cause or predictor of psychopathology. While remaining open to subcultural pathogenesis, we encourage exploration of subculture’s therapeutic/salutogenic dimensions, including the recovery/survivor movement, popular/mass culture, new religious movements, and anomalous experiences such as mediumship and therianthropy.

Abstract submission

Abstracts (.doc, .docx, .rtf) should be emailed by no later than 31 August 2016 along with a short biography (100 words or less). Abstracts will be considered by the conference organizing committee, and notifications will be communicated by no later than 30 September 2016.

Journal Issue

There will be an opportunity for a selection of papers presented at the conference to be developed into a thematic issue of the international peer-reviewed journal Transcultural Psychiatry that will be entitled ‘Other Psychotherapies – across time, space, and cultures’.


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