POWER THREAT MEANING FRAMEWORK

The Power Threat Meaning Framework is an alternative to more traditional models based on psychiatric diagnosis.

Developed by Psychologists Dr Lucy Johnstone and Prof Mary Boyle, it integrates evidence about the role of various kinds of power in people’s lives, the kinds of threat that misuse of power pose to us and the ways we have learnt to respond to those threats.

In traditional mental health practice, threat responses are sometimes called ‘symptoms’. The PTMF instead looks at how we make sense of these experiences and how messages from wider society can increase our feelings of shame, self-blame, isolation, fear and guilt. 

Whilst psychiatric labels obscure people's stories, the PTMF provides a compassionate way of formulating alternative narratives which draw on all aspects of our lives. It offers a trauma-informed understanding of distress which highlights how our responses to it makes sense, and can be seen as an attempt to survive very difficult circumstances.

You can read the story of my mother, Andrea, as told from a PTMF perspective, in 'Personal Narrative'.

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