Presented by Dr Liam Gilligan

The Power-Threat-Meaning Framework is a Division of Clinical Psychology –funded project to develop a conceptual alternative to the psychiatric diagnostic model, aiming to challenge the assumption that the best way to understand psychological and emotional distress is through the lens of a medical illness.

The Power-Threat-Meaning framework argues that emotional distress and behaviour typically seen as psychiatric ‘symptoms’ are understandable when understood within the context of a persons life, their living circumstances, trauma, abuse, injury, inequality and the political, cultural and social norms we are expected to live within.

It demands that instead of asking ‘What’s wrong with you?’, we should instead be asking ‘What’s happened to you?’


Participants will learn about the Power-Threat-Meaning framework, will explore the ideas underlying it, look at ways in which these principles are starting to be used, and will think about how to apply these ideas in their own practice. Liam is keen for this to be an opportunity to critically examine the framework through the lens of Adlerian theory and will invite participants on the day to do so. The aim of the day is to stimulate thoughts and discussion, and not necessarily agreement with the ideas presented.

The day will include open discussion and debate, case examples and opportunities to apply this framework to clinical cases.

Hot water is available for drinks but please bring your own tea/coffee/milk.  Please bring a packed lunch.


Dr Liam Gilligan is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist who works with children, young people and their families in the National Health Service. He also works as an honorary lecturer on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of East Anglia, as an Expert Witness in the Family Courts, and improving outcomes for complex children in the care system with BERRI Ltd. He is also an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and works for the Division of Clinical Psychology as a committee member of the Faculty for Children, Young People and their Families.

Liam is interested in complex mental health difficulties across the lifespan, wanting to explore ideas around how we come to understand and make sense of mental distress, mental illness and the constructs of psychiatric diagnosis.

He was fortunate enough to train with Dr Lucy Johnstone, one of the authors of the Power-Threat-Meaning framework, and now provides training on the Power-Threat-Meaning framework with the aim of introducing these ideas to others, in order to open up debate about them and challenge their usefulness.

Course Details

Day Saturday
Time 9.45-17.00
Weeks/Term 1 day
Start Date 18/03/2023
Cost £80
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