15 Apr
20:00 - 21:30
Studium Generale | Lecture

The Person in Psychiatry: An Ecohumanist, Enactive Approach to Psychiatry

Many people suffer from psychiatric disorders and mental distress. Yet much is still unclear –regarding both how to understand these problems and how best to treat them. One of the main difficulties is articulating the relationship between the wide array of factors that may cause or contribute to psychiatric disorders. 

Taking an enactive, ecohumanist approach, Sanneke de Haan argues that taking people’s experiences seriously requires us to look at their developmental history and the role of the specific sociocultural practices they take part in, and finally to take account of people’s existential (self)understanding. 

Instead of assuming an individualistic approach, a focus on the person in psychiatry reveals the need to take their context – broadly understood – into account. This is in line with holistic, personalised approaches to treatment. It also implies that psychiatry may need to become more societally and/or politically engaged.

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About Sanneke de Haan

Sanneke de Haan is Socrates Professor of Psychiatry and Philosophy at Erasmus University Rotterdam, and as such part of the Erasmus School of Philosophy, the Psychiatry Department, and the Department of Medical Ethics, Philosophy and History of Medicine of the Erasmus Medical Centre. 

She is also Assistant Professor Clinical Bioethics & Ethics of Healthcare at the Ethics Institute of Utrecht University.

Thanks to a VENI-grant by NWO, De Haan has conducted a research project ‘Is it me or my disorder?’ on self-illness ambiguity in patients with recurrent depressions and on relational authenticity in psychiatry at Tilburg University (2017-2023). She was also part of Jernny Slatman's VICI-project ‘Mind the body: re-thinking embodiment in healthcare’ (2017-2023).

From 2015 to 2017, she was a postdoctoral fellow at The Berlin School of Mind and Brain (Humboldt University), where she investigated the logic and limits of neuro-reductionism in psychiatry, as well as alternative views.

From 2011 to 2014, Sanneke de Haan conducted research at the Department of Psychiatry of the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam. She investigated the changed experiences of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder patients following their treatment with Deep Brain Stimulation.

From 2007 to 2011, Sanneke worked as a Marie Curie Fellow of the EU Research Training Network DISCOS (Disorders and Coherence of the Embodied Self), at the section Phenomenological Psychopathology and Psychotherapy, at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Heidelberg

De Haan's background is in philosophy (PhD (magna cum laude) at the University of Heidelberg; Research MA (cum laude) & BA (cum laude) at the University of Amsterdam) and existential humanistic counselling (BA (cum laude) at the University for Humanistics in Utrecht).

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