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AD4E Guest Speakers & Facilitators

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On behalf of the AD4E team, our thanks to the following individuals, who have spoken at and/or supported one or more of the AD4E events. If you are interested in contributing at one of the next AD4E events, please get in touch.

Here’s to challenging the culture of psychiatric diagnosis…

Jo Watson, Dr Lucy Johnstone, Nollaig McSweeney and Dr Jacqui Dillon.

Professor John Read

Dr John Read is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of East London. John worked for nearly 20 years as a Clinical Psychologist and manager of mental health services in the UK and the USA, before joining the University of Auckland, New Zealand, in 1994, where he worked until 2013. He has published over 130 papers in research journals, primarily on the relationship between adverse life events (e.g child abuse/neglect, poverty etc.) and psychosis. [more]

Paula Joan Caplan PhD

Paula J. Caplan is a clinical and research psychologist, expert witness, activist, advocate, award winning playwright and filmmaker, screenwriter, lyricist, actor, and director. She received her A.B. with honours from Radcliffe College of Harvard University and her Ph. D. in psychology from Duke University. She is currently Associate at the DuBois Institute, and she spent two years as a Fellow in the Women and Public Policy Program of Harvard Kennedy School, both at Harvard University. [more]

Clare Shaw

Described by the Arvon Foundation as “one of the country’s most dynamic young poets”, Clare Shaw has two collections from Bloodaxe: Straight Ahead (2006), which attracted a Forward Prize Highly Commended for Best Single Poem; and Head On (2012), which is, according to the Times Literary Supplement: “fierce … memorable and visceral”. Her third collection will be published by Bloodaxe in 2018. [more]

Dr Akima Thomas

Dr Akima Thomas is a feminist activist and comes from a background in nursing and social work. Founder and Clinical Director of Women and Girls Network a holistic therapeutic service working with women and girls surviving gendered violence. Akima has pioneered working from a trauma informed approach and has developed a strengths based non pathologising clinical model; the Holistic Empowerment Recovery Model (HER) integrating healing of mind body and spirit. [more]

Matthias Schwannauer

Matthias Schwannauer, MA, MSc, DPsych, PhD, CPsychol, AFBPsS, Professor of Clinical Psychology, graduated in clinical and applied psychology from the University of Marburg in 1998. He currently leads the research centre of Applied Developmental Psychology at Edinburgh University. [more]

Anne Cooke

Anne Cooke is Clinical Director of the Doctoral Programme in Clinical Psychology at the Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology, Canterbury Christ Church University. For many years she worked as a consultant clinical psychologist in the NHS, leading psychology services in psychiatric hospitals and mental health teams. She is the current British Psychological Society Practitioner of the Year. [more]

T.O. Walker

T.O Walker has worked in mental health on and off for 17 years. She has also used mental health services on and off for 22 years. She has had different diagnoses assigned or suggested to her but has found it much more useful and empowering to frame any struggles in terms of the context of her life. [more]

Shazia Ali

Shazia Ali is black feminist activist a teacher, a peer support worker culture changer, trauma survivor and a co-founder of wellbeing cafe. She co- facilitates workshops around mental health and structural inequalities ‘seldom heard’ communities. Her background is in equalities and women and low pay. She has BA honours in Gender studies and PGCE.

Shazia Ali

Shazia Ali

Johann Hari

Johann Hari is the author of two New York Times best-selling books. His first, ‘Chasing the Scream: the First and Last Days of the War on Drugs’, is currently being adapted into a major Hollywood feature film, and into a non-fiction documentary series. His most recent book, ‘Lost Connections: Uncovering The Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions’ is being translated into 17 languages and has been praised by a very broad range of people, from Hillary Clinton to Tucker Carlson, from Elton John to Naomi Klein. [more]

Professor Peter Kinderman

Professor Peter Kinderman is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool and Vice President of the British Psychological Society. His research interests are in psychological processes underpinning well being and mental health. He has published widely on the role of psychological factors as mediators between biological, social and circumstantial factors in mental health and well being, and has received significant research grant funding – most recently from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), to lead a three-year evidence synthesis programme for the ‘What Works Centre for Well being’, exploring the effectiveness of policies aimed at improving community well being and from the National Institute for Health Research to investigate the effectiveness of human rights training in dementia care. [more]

Dr James Davies

Dr James Davies graduated from the University of Oxford in 2006 with a PhD in social and medical anthropology. He is now a Reader in social anthropology and mental health at the University of Roehampton.

James is also a psychotherapist, who started working for the NHS in 2004. He is the co-founder of the Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry (CEP), which is secretariat to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence. [more]

Michelle Springer-Benjamin

Michelle Springer-Benjamin – Womanist Activist. Currently working in the VAWG sector as a Training Manager. Worked for the NSPCC as a Senior Training Consultant. Professional journey includes qualifications in social work, counselling, coaching. Loves ritual and ceremony that reminds us as women of who we truly are and our divine femininity. [more]

Eleanor Hope

Eleanor Hope – Life Coach, trainer, speaker and activist. Background in Community Development and mental health, NHS & BAME communities and Peer Support facilitator. Workshop facilitator on structural inequalities and marginalised communities, Diversity and Wellbeing. Contributor to the Equality Act 2010 in Mental Health edited by Hari Sewell Founder and director of Hope Matters, a coaching and training personal development social enterprise.

Eleanor Hope

Eleanor Hope

Professor Richard Bentall

Professor Richard Bentall is Professor of Clinical Psychology at Liverpool University and has previously held chairs at Manchester University and Bangor University. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Fellow of the British Academy. He graduated with a BSc and then a PhD in experimental psychology at the University College of North Wales (now Bangor University) and then completed his clinical training at Liverpool University. He also holds an MA in philosophy applied to health care awarded by University College Swansea (now Swansea University). His research interests have mainly focused on psychosis. [more]

Dr Joanna Moncrieff

Dr Joanna Moncrieff is a Reader in Critical and Social Psychiatry at University College London, and works as a consultant in community psychiatry in North East London Foundation Trust. She has researched and written about theories of drug action, the subjective experience of taking psychiatric drugs, decision making, the history of drug treatment and the history, politics and philosophy of psychiatry more generally. [more]

Pete Sanders

Pete Sanders spent over 35 years practising as a counsellor, educator and clinical supervisor. During that time he was the course leader on three BACP recognised courses, was centrally involved in establishing and running the BACP Trainer Accreditation Scheme. He has written, co-written and edited numerous books, chapters and papers on many aspects of counselling, psychotherapy and mental health. [more]

Jo McFarlane

Jo McFarlane is a poet who has lived in Edinburgh all her life and studied languages and philosophy, then a postgraduate degree in Community Education at the University of Edinburgh. She has worked in various voluntary sector roles, mainly in the field of advocacy, and has published several collections of poetry, articles and essays. The themes she writes about include creativity, volunteering, spirituality, social justice, diversity, mental health and childhood trauma – drawing on her own experience of these – as well as comic verse and observational pieces on everything under the moon. [more]

Dolly Sen

Dolly Sen is an award-winning writer, artist, performer and filmmaker. She has had 10 books published, been nominated twice for a Dadafest Literary Award (2006 & 2007), and won several awards for her poetry. Her subversive blogs around art, disability and humour have a huge international following. Since 2004 she has exhibited and performed internationally. Her most recent projects have been a digitally commissioned work for Short Circuit and the Brighton Digital Festival, where she gave an ordinary website a psychotic episode and changed its programming forever, and the creation of the popular Madvent Calender for Christmas 2014. [more]

Laura Delano

Laura Delano is an ex-psychiatric patient and the Co-founder and Executive Director of Inner Compass Initiative (ICI), a U.S.-based non-profit organisation that provides information to facilitate more informed choices regarding all things “mental health” and resources to support people who wish to leave, bypass, or build community beyond the mental health system. [more]

Sally Fox

Sally Fox uses visual arts and the written word to explore and communicate her experience of mental distress and using services. She has performed and exhibited widely and her work has been published in The British Journal of Psychiatry and several poetry anthologies.  Her areas of interest include the therapeutic process and relationship, trauma and attachment, art therapy and art journaling, LGBT identities, and the effect of labelling – in particular, Borderline Personality Disorder – all of which she has devised and facilitated groups and events around. [more]

Jasmine Gardosi

Jasmine Gardosi is the current Cheltenham Poetry Festival Slam Champion, Mix It Up Midlands Slam Champion 2015 and one of the winners of the International Pangaea Poetry Slam 2015. She has appeared on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb and was shortlisted for Birmingham Poet Laureate 2016/18. A former BBC Arts Young Creative, she has worked as a Poet in Residence for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and is collaborating with Autin Dance Theatre on a sexual health show combining dance and spoken word. [more]

Dr Jessica Taylor

Dr Jessica Taylor is the founder of VictimFocus, an international research, teaching and consultancy organisation with the sole aim of challenging the victim blaming and pathologisation of women and girls subjected to violence and abuse. She is a feminist psychologist with a PhD in forensic psychology. Jessica is a Senior Lecturer in Forensic and Criminal Psychology. [more]

Dr Sue Cunliffe

Dr Sue Cunliffe was a qualified paediatrician until 2005, when at the age of 38 her life was destroyed by negligent psychiatric care. She had existed in a coercive abusive marriage for 18 years before becoming emotionally overwhelmed. The psychiatric care system in Worcester labelled her as a drug resistant depressive and by June 2005 they had rendered her brain damaged by 21 electroconvulsive shocks. [more]


Marion Brown has recently retired from private practice (2011-2018) as a Registered Human Givens psychotherapist. She has a background in family business and small business management – and developed a special interest in ‘stress’ and interpersonal conflict – and the distress that can arise from this. [more]


Emmy van Deurzen is a philosopher and counselling psychologist who has been an existential psychotherapist for 45 years and who has founded and directed a number of training organizations. She is the Principal of the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling at the Existential Academy in London, and a visiting professor with Middlesex University. [more]

Sue Irwin

Sue Irwin is a keen gardener and linguist, mum to three children, friend and sister. She also sees herself as a survivor of childhood abuse and the UK’s mental health system, where she spent 18 years as a service user. Following this she worked as a paid Peer Support Worker within the NHS resigning after 12 months and shortly after her resignation wrote an article explaining her reasons for leaving. [more]

Sami Timimi

Sami Timimi is a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and Director of Medical Education in the National Health Service in Lincolnshire and a Visiting Professor of Child Psychiatry and Mental Health Improvement at the University of Lincoln, UK. Sami writes from a critical psychiatry perspective on topics relating to mental health and childhood and has published over a hundred and thirty articles and tens of chapters on many subjects including childhood, psychotherapy, behavioural disorders and cross-cultural psychiatry. [more]

Stevie Lewis

Stevie Lewis was diagnosed with a depression that she didn’t have and given an antidepressant she didn’t need. After she endured years of withdrawal, Stevie embarked upon a journey raising awareness of antidepressant dependence, culminating in petitioning the Welsh Government, to show the extent to which people become dependent on and suffer withdrawal from antidepressants, benzodiazepines, Z drugs (hypnotics), and opioids. [more]

James Moore

James Moore is someone with experience of prescribed drug dependence who went on to create a popular podcast called Let’s Talk Withdrawal, which aimed to share both expert views and the lived experience of those who have taken and withdrawn from a range of psychiatric drugs. Since July 2017, James has hosted and produced the Mad in America podcast, which interviews leading figures in the field of psychiatry, psychology and those with lived experience of the psychiatric system. James has been campaigning for the UK introduction of “Tapering Strips” to help patients withdraw safely from their medication – launching a petition which has gathered more than 8,000 signatures to date. [more]

Lisa Thompson

Lisa Thompson is Chief Executive of the Rape and Sexual Violence Project (RSVP) having worked for them since 1999. RSVP is Birmingham and Solihull’s rape crisis charity, they are national award winners and 2018 marked their 40th year. They provide children and adults of all genders with hope and confidence after sexual trauma. [more]

Jamie-Lee Tipping

Jamie-Lee Tipping is a course leader on a counselling degree at a nationally recognised university. He is a qualified integrative counsellor who has been practising for 8 years. Jamie-Lee’s background is working as a Clinical Lead in the welfare sector, where he established a successful national counselling service which offers one to one and group support for job seekers experiencing emotional distress. [more]

Jenny Taper

Jenny Taper is a counsellor, supervisor and tutor. With over 10 years experience of working with young people, adults, couples, families and groups. She has worked in schools, family centres, employment support services and private practice. The majority of clients she has worked with have experienced trauma and abuse with many also being in receipt of a psychiatric diagnosis. [more]

Dave Traxson

Dave Traxson has been a practising educational psychologist for thirty-five years specialising in ‘positive behaviour management’ and has witnessed the relentless rise of pharmaceutical interventions to control children’s’ social behaviour which he finds systemically and ethically questionable. Dave says that the increased use of these psychiatric drugs, which are often designed for adult populations, with younger and younger children raises major Safeguarding concerns. He started campaigning against this situation after some distressing personal casework experiences. [more]

Mica Gray

Mica Gray is an aspiring clinical psychologist and poet. Her academic background is in Philosophy, Psychology and Neuroscience. She has lived experience of psychosis and is interested in non-medical explanations for psychotic experiences. Her poetry has been published in the anthology ‘the colour of madness’ exploring BAME mental health experiences in the UK and in the radical mental health magazine ‘Asylum’. She is also the author of the poetry collection ‘When Daisies Talk’ which explores the themes of race, psychosis, depression, womanhood and spirituality.

Richard Wilkinson

Richard is now Professor Emeritus of Social Epidemiology at the University of Nottingham Medical School, Honorary Professor at University College London and Visiting Professor at the University of York. He wrote The Spirit Level with Kate Pickett, a best seller now available in 24 languages. It won the 2011 Political Studies Association Publication of the Year Award and the 2010 Bristol Festival of Ideas Prize. He co-founded The Equality Trust (with support from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust). In 2013 Richard received Solidar’s Silver Rose Award and received Community Access Unlimited’s ‘Humanitarian of the Year’ Award. In 2014 the Irish Cancer Society awarded him the Charles Cully Memorial medal. [more]

Ewan Hilton

Ewan Hilton is Chief Executive of Platfform the mental health and social change charity. He has worked in the third sector in Wales since moving to Cardiff in 1989. Starting as a volunteer in a small homelessness and housing advice centre he was worked with young people leaving care, in hostels, supported housing projects and housing associations. He joined a mental health charity called Gofal in 2007 and has recently transformed it into Platfform. [more]

AD4E Video & Photogragphy

Daniel Sketchley

Daniel (19), from Birmingham, is a Film Production student at the University of Gloucestershire. His work at the ‘A Disorder For Everyone’ events involves filming and editing footage of the various speakers and activities for promotional use online. If interested in having your own event filmed by him, feel free to get in touch at

Daniel Sketchley

Daniel Sketchley

Nathan Filer

Nathan Filer is a qualified mental health nurse, award-winning author and journalist. The Shock of the Fall, his novel about the life of a young man grieving the loss of his brother, was a Sunday Times bestseller and has been translated into thirty languages. He has written for the Guardian, New York Times and Huffington Post, and has contributed to numerous radio programmes and podcasts. [more]

Viv Gordon

Viv Gordon is a theatre maker and arts activist. She writes and performs shows that creatively articulate trauma narratives based on her lived experience as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, connecting the personal with wider, socio-political themes and perspectives. Viv’s work is a campaign to forge survivor voice, visibility and community and agitate for change. [more]

Robert Whitaker

Robert Whitaker is an American journalist and author who has won numerous awards as a journalist covering medicine and science, including the George Polk Award for Medical Writing and a National Association for Science Writers’ Award for best magazine article. [more]

Ruth Jackson

Rooted in the North East of England, Ruth Jackson works mostly in the third sector. Recent projects include working with Hartlepool and East Durham Mind to co-design and secure funding for a completely non-medicalised mental health and wellbeing initiative, maximising the skills and experience of peers and those with lived experience and using mutual aid models to grow capacity through COVID-19. [more]

Mitzy Sky

Mitzy Sky shares her journey through writing, spoken-word- storytelling, and videography. She’s consciously unlearning messages that she unconsciously learned that hindered her from living wholeheartedly. She is a contributor in the anthology Imagining Monsters. Her writing has been published on the Good Men Project, Mad in America and Inner-City News websites. [more]

Jacky Power

Jacky Power is a recovering human, mother, therapist, and spoken-word artist. She has an MSc in addiction psychology and counselling and specialises in social media addiction. Her writing has appeared in Om Yoga magazine, the Riza Press’s ‘The Uncertain Creative’ COVID-19 support platform, the For Women Who Roar storytelling movement and various poetry anthologies. In 2019, she wrote and performed her own one-woman show called Light in Life’s Shadows, which was about embracing the messiness of being human. If you spend more than five minutes with her, it is highly likely that you will be subjected to one of her poems. You have been warned! [more]

Dr. Karen Treisman

Dr Karen Treisman is a clinical psychologist, trainer, international speaker, and expert witness specialising in trauma. She is also an organisational consultant and supports organisations on their trauma- informed journey. Karen is a bestselling author and has written 10 books and produced four sets of therapeutic card decks, including A Therapeutic Treasure Box for Working with Children and Adolescents with Developmental Trauma, Cleo the Crocodile Activity Book for Children who are Afraid to Get Close, and A Treasure Box for Creating Trauma-Informed Organizations. [more]

Jen Yates

Jen Yates is a budding poet having dipped her toe into the creative waters, using her poetry to help explore past painful traumas and early parental bereavement. Following her own trauma therapy journey, Jen started training as a humanistic counsellor in 2012. In her current private practice, based in Warwickshire, she works with a trauma-informed approach to allow clients safe exploration while offering a narrative to their suffering. [more]

Gabor Maté

Gabor Maté (pronunciation: GAH-bor MAH-tay) is a retired physician who, after 20 years of family practice and palliative care experience, worked for over a decade in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side with patients challenged by drug addiction and mental illness. The bestselling author of four books published in twenty-five languages, Gabor is an internationally renowned speaker highly sought after for his expertise on addiction, trauma, childhood development, and the relationship of stress and illness…[more]

Toni Hurford

Toni Hurford is an emerging poet and writer from northeast England. A survivor of the mental health system, she started to write poetry when completing a MA in counselling in 2004. Toni was happy and lucky to find Survivors’ Poetry, who mentored her towards a pamphlet that’s become a book, A Staff of Asklepios, her debut collection, forthcoming with Survivors’ Press. [more]

Dr Brian Levitt

Dr Brian Levitt is a registered clinical and rehabilitation psychologist and a partner at Kaplan and Levitt Psychologists in Hamilton, Mental Health & Social Inclusion Ontario. He works with people who have experienced trauma and loss, many of whom are also struggling with chronic pain. Person-centred theory and applications are an abiding passion, and he has explored these in all aspects of his work across a wide variety of settings. [more]

Matthew Morris

Matthew Morris is the Director of Development for Your Life Our Help (YLOH) and The Mavam Group. He has been working with people experiencing emotional distress since 1982, when he went to work at a Mind drop-in centre in Northampton. Matthew trained as a mental health nurse in Ipswich and qualified in 1990. He has worked in the NHS, the voluntary sector and now as part of an independent organisation. [more]

Joelle Taylor

Joelle Taylor is an award-winning poet, playwright, author and editor who has recently completed touring Europe, Australia, Brazil and South East Asia with her latest collection, Songs My Enemy Taught Me. She is widely anthologised, the author of three full poetry collections and three plays and is currently completing her debut book of short stories, The Night Alphabet. She has featured on radio and television, and founded SLAMbassadors in 2001, the UK’s national youth slam championships, remaining its Artistic Director until 2018…[more]

Vesper Moore

Vesper Moore (They/Them/Theirs) is a mad liberation activist, trainer, writer, and psychiatric survivor. They have been advocating as a part of the psychiatric survivor and mad movement for several years and have been the recipient of many social justice and diversity awards as well as serving as the keynote speaker at several international conferences. Vesper works as the Senior Director of Organizational Equity and Young Adult Supports at the Kiva Centers they focus on advocating for young adult autonomy through the peer-run community the Zia Young Adult Access Center. Vesper as a mad queer indigenous person has made it their life’s mission to rewrite the narrative psychiatry has enforced on our society….[more]