An Introduction to the ‘Power, Threat, Meaning Framework’ (PTMF)


Kane, a social work student, got in contact with me about a workshop they are running as part of the Horizon Award Program on the 29th May from 10.00am to 11.15am.

The workshop is about a new model for thinking about why people experience mental distress. It is called the ‘Power, Threat, Meaning Framework (PTMF)‘.

Instead of viewing mental illness through the lens of pathology (i.e. there is something wrong with the person), it insteads looks at a person’s symptoms as being a function of what that person has had to do to make sense of their experiences, of what has happened to them and what they have had to do to survive.

The framework was developed over a five-year period, by a group of senior clinical psychologists from the UK, in collaboration with service users and campaigners, as an alternative model to traditional psychiatric diagnosis for making sense of people’s distress and life challenges.

The PTMF summarizes and integrates a great deal of evidence about the role of various kinds of power in people’s lives, the threats that the misuse of power poses for us, and the ways we have learnt to respond to those threats. This workshop will provide a brief overview of the Framework, along with an exercise to help you get a taste for how it might be applied in practice.

Kane and fellow student Claire, who are presenting the workshop were inspired to run it after attending a two-day workshop with the authors of the workshop. They are keen to share what they’ve learned with fellow students.

I think this is a good opportunity for any students who struggle with mental ill health to expose themselves to some alternative ways of thinking about their mental ill health. Given that most of the material about the PTMF is complex to digest and aimed at mental health professionals, this is a chance to get to understand the basics of this framework.

For more information and to register visit – 

Note: this post is about a workshop being run by Flinders students. The Health, Counselling and Disability service strongly encourages students who struggle with mental ill health to educate themselves about current thinking in mental health. However we cannot specifically endorse the content of this workshop having not been trained in the framework ourselves.



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Training Well-being at Flinders

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