Richard Gipps

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By training I am a Clinical Psychologist with a long-standing interest in: psychoanalytic theory and practice; psychotherapy; psychosis; and philosophical issues arising in the understanding of psychopathology – in particular the psychoses. I also have a PhD in philosophy and am an associate member of the University of Oxford faculty of philosophy.

I am particularly interested in the ways in which a) psychological theories of psychosis cover over what is psychotic about psychosis – i.e. how they fail to theorise, and even disguise the need to theorise, the nature of internal mental breakdown and failures in reality contact; b) philosophical methods (in particular those associated with the later Wittgenstein) can be used to undo this covering over of psychosis by psychological theories; c) philosophical and psychoanalytical reflection can help us understand why this covering over occurs; d) phenomenology can be used to provide apt articulation of the nature of psychotic mental life.

Although I am a Clinical Psychologist I remain largely sceptical regarding whether many clinical psychological theories of psychosis manage to do more than describe the (in my view) rather peripheral effects of psychosis on mental functioning (attention, perception, thinking (in the non-psychoanalytic sense of ‘thinking’) etc.) whilst leaving the psychotic core (of self-disturbances) untheorised. I have found both psychoanalysis and existential phenomenology to be of greater help to me than, say, cognitive psychology, in articulating the character of psychotic experience and in understanding the inner life of my patients.

I have been a member of the London Philosophy and Psychoanalysis Group since the year 2000. Currently my work is predominantly clinical: I work for the Student Welfare Support Services at the University of Oxford where I meet with undergraduates and postgraduates to providelong-term supportive and exploratory psychotherapy. I also maintain a private practice.

When I get the time I like to pursue philosophical research on psychosis, and I am currently writing a book on the intelligibility of psychotic thought. My clinical website is at I also have a blog – Philosophical Perspectives in Clinical Psychology. My academic papers are detailed at my site. I help maintain the website and members list for the International Network for Philosophy and Psychiatry: Since 2011 I have co-convened a research seminar on academia and psychoanalysis at St John’s College, Oxford.