ENS, salle Jaurès, 29 rue d'Ulm, 75005 Paris
People often seek help for mental problems because they are suffering subjectively. Yet, for decades, the subjective experience of patients has been marginalized. This is in part due to the dominant medical model of mental illness, which has tended to treat subjective experience as a quaint relic of a scientifically less enlightened time. To the extent that subjective symptoms are related to the underlying problem, it is often assumed that they will be taken care of if the more objective symptoms, such as behavioral and physiological responses are treated. Given that 'mental’ disorders are named for, and defined by, their subjective mental qualities, it is perhaps not surprising, in retrospect, that the effectiveness of treatments that have sidelined mental qualities have been disappointing at best. Negative views about subjective experience took root in psychiatry and allied fields decades ago when there were few avenues for rigorously studying subjective experience. Today, however, research on consciousness is thriving, and offers a viable scientific approach that could help achieve a deeper understanding of mental disorders and their treatment.
The DEC organizes a monthly colloquium with guests from the international scientific community.