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Fri, 12 Mar



Language a Tool of Love and Liberation - Can language liberate us?

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Time & Location

12 Mar 2021, 11:00 – 13:00


About the Event

Language constructs our realities. It is a process through which power is gained and maintained. The stories we tell about our own suffering and our young people’s suffering are commonly medicalised, individualised and rely on psychiatric diagnoses. We will use this session to explore how language (including 'risk' and 'recovery’) can obscure structural trauma and perpetuate harm. We will touch on the histories of diagnostic language, and how it has operated as a tool to oppress black and queer people.

What does reclaiming language and re-authoring our stories of suffering look like? Dr Sanah Ahsan looks forward to meeting these difficult questions together, reflecting on how language might be used as a means of liberation. She hopes we will cultivate a courageous and compassionatespace, where we can embrace each other’s madness and suffering. She will invite you to engage with poetry and exercises of embodiment for us to collectively deepen our exploration of language and suffering.


  • Poem
  • Short meditation/Free-Write
  • Explaining the current ‘illness-like-any-other’ model of mental health
  • Histories of diagnosis as a tool of oppression
  • Current language of MH services (e.g. risk, recovery, diagnosis) drawing on the stories of Experts by Experience
  • A movement away from our suffering
  • How can we be with our own and each other’s suffering?
  • Reclaiming our own language (e.g. Urdu terms for sorrow)
  • Break out groups
  • Freewrite & Meditation

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