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In October 2016 Jo Watson hosted the very first `A Disorder for Everyone!' event in Birmingham, with psychologist Dr Lucy Johnstone, to explore (and explode) the culture of psychiatric diagnosis in mental health. To provide a space to continue the debate after the event, Jo also set up the now hugely popular and active Facebook group `Drop the Disorder!'.; Since then, they have delivered events in towns and cities across the UK, bringing together activists, survivors and professionals to debate psychiatric diagnosis. How and why does psychiatric diagnosis hold such power? What harm it can do? What are the alternatives to diagnosis, and how it can be positively challenged?; This book takes the themes, energy and passions of the AD4E events - bringing together many of the event speakers with others who have stories to tell and messages to share in the struggle to challenge diagnosis.; This is an essential book for everyone of us who looks beyond the labels.

Praise for Drop the Disorder!


Anyone who wants to deal with the epidemic of distress and despair in our society should engage deeply with Jo Watson’s work and this massively important book. 

Johann Hari, journalist and writer; author of Lost Connections: why you’re depressed and how to find hope

Drop the Disorder! assembles a group of cutting-edge contributors to shine a light on some of the most contested issues of modern psychiatric practice. Challenging, insightful and often controversial, their perspectives combine rigorous scholarship with the power of lived experience to create a truly innovative and valuable book that functions both as a learning resource and an ardent call to arms. On reaching the end your instinct will almost certainly be to re-read it in order to appreciate its insights for a second time.

Dr Eleanor Longden, Service User Research Manager, Psychosis Research Unit, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

After finishing this brilliant collection of essays, readers will not only agree with the call to ‘Drop the Disorder!’ but also understand, with great clarity, why it is imperative that psychiatry’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) be dumped, as quickly as possible, into the waste bin. The DSM has been used to tell people that they are suffering from ‘diseases’ of the brain, with the psychiatric profession then poised to treat those ‘diseases’. Upon close inspection, which is what this collection of well-written essays provides, readers will see that the DSM is properly seen as a manual promoting what could fairly be called a medical ‘delusion’. As such, Drop the Disorder! provides a clarion call for change.

Robert Whitaker, author of Mad in America and Anatomy of an Epidemic, and founder of

We live in an age when where being diagnosed with ‘mental illness’ is a common occurrence. Psychiatric drugs are everywhere, and words like ‘serotonin’ and ‘dopamine’ have entered everyday language. But do we really have an epidemic of ‘mental illness’, or is it psychiatry that’s gone mad? This book is packed with rich narratives, incisive analysis and powerful critiques of a world where everyday emotions are increasingly seen as disease. If ‘mental illness’ has touched your life in any way, drop what you’re doing and read Drop the Disorder!

Indigo Daya, survivor advocate, blogger, speaker, consumer academic, University of Melbourne and human rights advisor, Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council, Australia.



This is a unique collection of poems written by and for people who have survived our mental health system and the diagnostic process that is used to categorise and treat mental and emotional distress. In October 2016, Jo Watson launched A Disorder for Everyone (AD4E) an international campaign to challenge the culture of psychiatric diagnosis and the labelling of expressions of emotional distress as medical disorders. Since then hundreds of people have attended AD4E events all over the UK, and thousands have joined the campaign Facebook group Drop the Disorder! What began as a shout of protest has become an international roar. Poetry has long been used to give voice to resistance and to drive change in all kinds of social movements, and it is a central aspect of this campaign as well. It has been at the heart of every AD4E event and, more recently, several online poetry events have brought together poets and poetry-lovers from across the globe under the Drop the Disorder! banner. We Are the Change-Makers is a collection of these and other poems that seek to describe the otherwise inexpressible and challenge the power of psychiatry that misrepresents and medicates what it does not understand. 

Dr  Emotional pain needs to named, understood and validated, not medicalised, suppressed and labelled. These poems, written from the heart are beacons of courage for those in search of liberation.

Professor Emmy van Deurzen, Philosopher, Existential Therapist and Author.

Watch the promo clip for We are the Change-Makers..


It  is only in the last two or three decades that the medical model has come to dominate psychological theory and practice. This book considers the evidence that points us towards freeing ourselves from this creeping medicalisation and recognising the influence of our environments and circumstances on our psychological wellbeing. Contributors from a range of modalities illustrate how to practise in a demedicalised way. Drawing on these examples from the field and perspectives from different theoretical models, the book demonstrates that an approach freed from the medical model provides the ethically axiomatic framework for psychological practice today.

Jo's chapter in the book is on the Power Threat

Meaning Framework



Theoretical Alternatives to the Psychiatric Model of Mental Disorder Labeling is the fourth Volume of the Ethics International Press Critical Psychology and Critical Psychiatry Series. Understanding the current systems of psychology and psychiatry is profoundly important. So is exploring alternatives. The Critical Psychology and Critical Psychiatry Series presents solicited chapters from international experts on a wide variety of underexplored subjects. This is a series for mental health researchers, teachers, and practitioners, for parents and interested lay readers, and for anyone trying to make sense of anxiety, depression, and other emotional difficulties. Theoretical Alternatives recognizes and appreciates those who have contributed to the abundance of literature critiquing the American Psychiatric Association s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the biomedical model of mental health, and the practice of psychiatric diagnosing. It intends to move past that discourse, and present macro and system-level alternatives to DSM and the ICD diagnosing (the World Health Organization s International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems), in the form of conceptually developed frameworks, taxonomies, and models to guide clinical work and theory.

Jo's chapter in this book is on the Power Threat Meaning Framework and the pathologising of eating problems.


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