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Mind-Reading: Mental Health and the Written Word

March 10, 2017 9:30 am
March 10, 2017 5:00 pm
dlr LexIcon, Haigh Terrace, Dún Laoghaire, Dublin, Co. Dublin, Irlanda   View map
01 716 6393

Mind-Reading: Mental Health and the Written Word

DLR Lexicon Library, Dublin, 10th March 2017
Keynote Speakers: Professor Sally Shuttleworth, Professor Fergus Shanahan and
Professor James V. Lucey
Conference organisers: Dr. Melissa Dixon (Oxford), Dr. Elizabeth Barrett (UCD)
Conference Coordinator: Victoria Sewell (UCD)


This one-day programme of talks and workshops seeks to locate and to explore productive interactions between literature and mental health both historically and in the present day. It aims to identify the roles that writing and narrative can play in medical education, patient and self-care, and/or professional development schemes. Bringing together psychologists, psychiatrists, interdisciplinary professionals, GPs, service users, and historians of literature and medicine, we will be asking questions about literature as a point of therapeutic engagement. We will consider the use of literary techniques such as close-reading and textual analysis in medical consultations, and the methods that can be used to increase the well-being and communication skills of medical learners, healthcare providers, patients and family members.


  • 9.30 Arrival and Registration
  • 10.00 – 10.45 Introduction and Keynote Address by Professor James V. Lucey, Trinity College, Dublin – “Listening to patients, telling their stories”.
  • 10.45 – 11.00 Coffee break
  • 11.00 – 12.30 Workshops
    Workshop A: The Book Doctor -Children’s Books Ireland and the Book Doctor Project A session on locating and using literature for young readers
    Workshop B: Poetry of Disquiet: Professor Femi Oyebode, University of Birmingham A session on the use of poetry to illustrate the nature, extent and effects of mood disturbance, including suicidal thinking and acts.
    Workshop C: Lived Experiences, led by the RE: FOCUS group at College of Psychiatry of Ireland, with Dr Anne Jeffers, Consultant in Adult Psychiatry.
    A session on the use of literature in mental health services from the perspective of service users and family members.
  • 12.30 – 13.30 Lunch
  • 13.30 – 14.15 Keynote Address
    Mental and Physical health and literature- Prof Fergus Shanahan, Professor and Chair, Department of Medicine, and Director, APC Microbiome Institute , University College Cork, National University of Ireland – “Mining Medicine from Literature”
  • 14.15-15.40 Workshops
    Workshop D: Bibliotherapy and Reading in the Community- The dlr Libraries’ Healthy Reading Scheme , and the HEAL e- learning project.
    A session on the development of the Dublin City Library Bibliotherapy project- what is is and how to use it. The session will explore using books for practical advice and strategies for dealing with a wide variety of health problems and behavioural issues.
    Workshop E: Diseases of Modern Life: Nineteenth-Century Perspectives
    Dr. Melissa Dickson and Researchers from the ERC-funded Diseases of Modern Life project discuss medical and literary responses in the Victorian age to the perceived problems of stress and overwork, and how they anticipate and re-frame many of the preoccupations of our own era.
    Workshop F: The Shared Experiences of Clinicians and the Development of Resources A session on clinicians’ experiences using literature in practice- clinicians will highlight clinical pearls from their own experience and this interactive workshop will aim to share the tools used by participating clinicians.
    Led by Dr. Elizabeth Barrett, UCD Child and Adolescent Psychiatry , Ms. Caroline Ward, UCD Student
    Counselling Service, Dr. Niamh Geaney, GP and writer, University of Limerick.
  • 15.40 Coffee break
  • 16.00 – 16.45 Keynote Address
    Professor Sally Shuttleworth (University of Oxford): “Literary Texts and Medical Case Studies”
  • 16.45 Feedback Q&A and Closing Remarks
    This workshop is co-hosted by Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University College Dublin; The Lexicon Library; and ‘The Diseases of Modern Life’, an ERC funded project under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme ERC Grant Agreement number 340121 based at St Anne’s College, Oxford.

Click here for Preliminary Programme for the day.