Radical Openness: Responding to over-control in mental health difficulties

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St Patrick's Mental Health Services (SPMHS) invites GPs and healthcare professionals to our 2021 series of GP Webinars.

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There is growing interest and research into what might underlie certain mental health disorders that are associated with too much control (over-control). People who are over-controlled keep distant from others, are rigid in their patterns and are emotionally inhibited. They often receive a diagnosis of refractory depression, anorexia nervosa, obsessive compulsive personality disorder or avoidant personality disorder, and tend not to respond well to traditional treatments.

Identifying the specific mechanisms that maintain symptoms across disorders is necessary, and over-control represents transdiagnostic and multifaceted constructs that underlie many treatment-resistant forms of psychopathology (Vanderbleek and Gilbert, 2018).

A promising new treatment approach has been developed at SPMHS, which has been very well received by patients. Group Radical Openness (GRO) is a transdiagnostic group therapy intervention for individuals who are over-controlled. GRO is a distinct group therapy approach where the clients become the main agent of change.

The GRO programme focuses on developing insight and awareness into participants’ over-controlled strategies via the group dynamic and common humanity within the group. Difficulties associated with over-control fall under three core themes that are explicitly addressed in GRO; distance in relationships, rigidity and inhibited emotion.

In this one-hour webinar, Dr Violet Johnstone and Dr Cian McDonough, Senior Clinical Psychologists at SPMHS, explore how to understand and recognise over-control, what a GRO programme involves, research into radical openness, and referral pathways.

The presentation will be followed by a short question and answer (Q&A) session. You can submit your questions in advance by emailing communications@stpatsmail.com or ask them during the webinar.

The webinar is recognised for one Continuous Professional Development (CPD) point with the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP). Please note that only those who attend the live webinar are eligible for CPD points.

If you are not a GP but interested in attending other mental health-related events, please visit the SPMHS website to see our upcoming schedule.

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Organiser St Patrick’s Mental Health Services

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About St Patrick’s Mental Health Services

When Jonathan Swift, Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral and noted author, founded St. Patrick’s Hospital over 270 years ago, he did so because he recognised that people with mental health difficulty needed a specialist service to provide care, treatment and a voice.

Today, the hospital is Ireland’s largest, independent, not-for-profit mental health service and aspires to be the recognised leader in:

  •  the provision of quality mental health care
  •  the promotion of mental health awareness
  •  the protection of the rights and integrity of those experiencing mental health difficulties

Now known as St Patrick’s Mental Health Services through its association with Trinity College Dublin, the hospital is driven by the same vision, energy and determination first demonstrated by Dean Swift in 1746.

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