Understanding People & Diagnoses

May 28 - May 31, 2020

Why do people say and do the things they do? This program demystifies everyday struggles and psychiatric diagnoses.

This program emphasizes the importance of trying to understand others from an empathic, compassionate stance based on each person’s history and experience. Participants will learn to make sense of people’s experience and behaviour, including others they find frustrating and difficult. Ways of being and behaving that seem perplexing or mysterious will become clear and obvious. We will also examine the full range of psychiatric diagnoses, what each of them means, and what is actually going on for the person who might receive a given diagnosis.

In this program we will also briefly explore various approaches used to understand differences between people. Participants will gain perspective on the overarching issues and pitfalls of trying to categorize people into types or diagnoses. We will examine the methods that we rely on for categorization and diagnosis, from diagnostic interviews to taking the meridian pulses for the five elements, with consideration of their validity and reliability.

This program’s main themes are:

  • Learning to make sense of people’s experience and behaviour
  • Exploration of underlying reasons and meaning for “symptoms”
  • The central role of intrusive feelings, and avoidance of them, in people’s difficulties
  • Introduction to psychiatric diagnosis (DSM-5 & ICD-10-CM)
  • Deeper exploration of specific diagnoses of interest to participants

This program is suited to anyone who is curious about developing a deeper understanding of themselves and others. It will be particularly valuable for helping professionals, including students and Haven interns, who need to know what psychiatric diagnoses mean. The program will include a combination of instruction, interaction, and experiential work to improve understanding of oneself and others.



This program does not require approval by the registrar of the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) of the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.   As such, the registrar did not review this program.

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