THEMHS Conference Sydney 2022

Navigating Complexity

Embedding Integration that makes a difference

11-14 October  |  Wesley Conference Centre


Prof. Dr. Adalberto de Paula Barreto

Dr Adalberto Barreto was born and raised in Northeast Brazil, his strong academic credentials include a Doctorate in Psychiatry from University of Paris and a PhD in Anthropology. These served him well by giving him the legitimacy to integrate his knowledge of Western medicine with traditional healing approaches and systems.

Dr Barreto developed and disseminated Integrative Community Therapy, focusing on the value of local cultural resources, being open to the unexpected, creativity, community participation and the belief in the abilities of the individual, the family and the community.

Dr Barreto is a pioneer of Integrative Community Therapy (ICT), designed to meet the needs of under-served, low- income communities in Brazil, who were presenting with mild to moderate mental health issues, usually requiring medication.

ICT uses large group, dialogic therapeutic modalities to emphasise community -building in a shared environment, creating a powerful tool for collective healing and resiliency.

Research and evaluation of ICT cites many positive outcomes from community building, inclusiveness and diversity, sharing experiences, promotion of healthy coping strategies and the creation and reinforcing of social support networks.


Topic: Brazil’s Approach to A Global Mental Health Crisis: Integrative Community Therapy.


The evolution of our societies favours isolation, retrenchment, exclusion, rejection and conflicts, creating segregating distortions, harmful interactions and existential precariousness (physical, psychological, economic, social, threat of identity crisis). These situations have been intensifying all over the world during the Covid 19 pandemic. 

To face all those challenges, psychiatry in general, and more particularly social psychiatry, must open a new field of activity, research and development, in the field of community mental health, including existing socio-cultural resources, thus opening its field of intervention to the current challenges. 

Integrative Community Therapy (ICT) was born in Brazil. Its systemic and anthropological practice offers a space for “listening, speaking and building links” that functions according to precise rules, which safeguard from any possible projection and desire for influence. It allows the participants to take care of themselves and others, through a relationship without “enslavement”, allowing the emergence of bonds with others, promoting social integration, the feeling of belonging to a group, and the awakening of self-esteem. In addition to academic knowledge, it seems necessary to rely above all on the knowledge of each culture and on the knowledge and wisdom acquired through life experiences. 



PhD. in Psychiatry by Universidad René Descartes-París / France, and PhD. in Anthropology by Universidad de Lyon / France; Licensed in Theology by Universidad de Roma; Family Therapist; Professor and postgraduate of Social Medicine at the Department of Community Health of the University of Medicine, of the Federal University of Ceará (UFC); Invited teacher of the HEP (Haute Ecole de Pedagogie de Laussane-Suiza) and Invited teacher of the HETS (High School of Social Workers-Ginebra – Switzerland) Creator teacher of the ICT (Integrative Community Therapy) Methodology, Coordinador of MISMEC-CE (Integrative Movement of Community Mental Health – Ceará) and Honorary President of ABRATECOM – Brazilian Association of Integrative Community Therapy; President of Brazilian Association of Social Psychiatry – APSBRA. Author of the books: “Community Therapy: Step by step”, (translated into Spanish, Italian, and French); “The Indigeneous who lives in me”; “When the mouth is silent, the organs speak” and “The Speech of the Symptom”. From 2008 to 2017, coordinated the implementation of Integrative Community Therapy in Brazilian territory under the support and funding of the Ministry of Health – Brazil.

Dr Eleanor Longden

Dr Eleanor Longden is a Postdoctoral Service User Research Manager at the Psychosis Research Unit at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH), honorary research fellow at the University of Manchester, and co-director of GMMH’s Complex Trauma and Resilience Research Unit. Throughout her career, Dr Longden has drawn on her own experiences of recovery from trauma and psychosis to promote person-centred approaches to complex mental health problems that emphasise the lived experience and expertise of service-users. Her research focusses on the relationship between dissociation, trauma, and voice-hearing, and she has lectured and published internationally on these issues. Her 2013 TED talk on voice-hearing was named by the Guardian newspaper as one of the ‘20 Online Talks That Could Change Your Life’ and in its first year online was viewed 2.5m times and translated into 33 languages. Along with Dr Charlie Heriot-Maitland, she is co-author of Relating to Voices Using Compassion Focused Therapy: A Self-Help Companion. 

Topic: Hearing Voices: Recovery and Discovery.


Although traditionally understood as a purely medical symptom, an increasing amount of evidence shows powerful psychological links between painful events in people’s lives and the experience of hearing voices. This lecture draws on the presenter’s own lived experience of trauma and psychosis, as well as recent research and clinical findings, to explore how a greater emphasis on trauma-focused care may help to promote healing and recovery within mental health services. Information is also provided on the work of the International Hearing Voices Movement, a survivor-led initiative which aims to support voice-hearers, reduce stigma and prejudice, and promote positive alliances between experts by experience (voice-hearers, their friends, and family members) and experts by profession (clinicians and researchers). 


Psychosis Research Unit, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. Honorary Research Fellow, Division of Psychology and Mental Health. School of Health Sciences. Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester. Co-Director, Complex Trauma and Resilience Unit, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Associate Professor Simon Rosenbaum

Simon Rosenbaum is an academic exercise physiologist and Scientia Associate Professor at UNSW Sydney. His research areas are physical activity and mental illness including physical health comorbidities. He is an Associate Editor of the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity, the President of the Australasian Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and co-chair of the Olympic Refuge Foundation’s Think Tank on sport in humanitarian settings. He has consulted to the United Nations mental health response in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh and Maiduguri, Nigeria, and is also a consultant to the World Health Organization’s Physical Activity Unit.

Topic: Rethinking Routine Mental Health Care: How Integrating Physical Health Services Can Change Systems, Culture and Outcomes


Globally, mental health and psychosocial support workforces are under increasing pressure to provide high-quality interventions that promote positive mental health and treat people living with mental illness. Finite resources within mental health services coupled with a primary focus on mental health symptomatology has led to a ‘scandal’ of premature mortality, whereby people living with mental illness are likely to die earlier than people without mental illness. This gap is largely due to preventable and premature cardiovascular and metabolic diseases for which evidence-based treatments and preventative approaches exist. Embedding and integrating preventative interventions that promote physical health within mental health services is an underutilised and often poorly implemented strategy. Programs targeting modifiable lifestyle factors including physical activity, nutrition and sleep can impact patient outcomes, change service culture, and ultimately redefine our expectation of what comprises routine mental health care – yet such interventions need to be properly designed, adequately resourced and sufficiently integrated in order to succeed. This presentation will draw on lessons from low-resource and humanitarian settings and provide real world examples related to the conference theme of navigating complexity: embedding physical health interventions that make a difference.