Barcelona snapshots

Prof. Jim van Os

Jim van Os psiquiatra Controversias Psiquiatría Barcelona
Utrecht University, Holanda
Ponencia El enfoque psicosocial
Fecha Jueves, 19 de Abril 2018
Hora 16:45 a 17:30
Mesa redonda Modelos para explicar la complejidad


Jim van Os is Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Chairman of the Division Clinical Neuroscience at Utrecht University Medical Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands, and Visiting Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology at the Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK. He trained in Psychiatry in Casablanca (Morocco), Bordeaux (France) and finally at the Institute of Psychiatry and the Maudsley/Bethlem Royal Hospital in London (UK) and after his clinical training was awarded a three-year UK Medical Research Council Training Fellowship in Clinical Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In 1995, he moved to Maastricht University Medical Centre.

He is on the editorial board of European and US psychiatric journals such as Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, European Psychiatry, Psychological Medicine, Schizophrenia Research, Schizophrenia Bulletin, Early Intervention in Psychiatry, Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, Psychosis Journal, The Journal of Mental Health and the Journal of Psychiatry and Neurological Sciences. He is also an Academic Editor at PLoS ONE.

In 2011, he was elected member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW); in 2016 he became a Fellow at King's College London; he appears on the 2014/2015 Thomson-Reuter Web of Science list of the world's 'most influential scientific minds' of our time.

Over the period 2009-2015, Jim van Os was coordinator of a €12M EU FP7 IP project on gene-environment interactions in schizophrenia, and is also active in clinical gene-environment interaction research in depression and bipolar disorder.

He was a member of the Psychosis Group of the DSM-5 Task Force, and was co-chair of the APA DSM/ICD conference Deconstructing Psychosis.

He leads the Division Clinical Neuroscience at Utrecht University Medical Centre and initiated a public health service for psychosis in the Netherlands. He is actively involved in mental health reform in the Netherlands as well as in Science in Transition, a movement that makes an effort towards making scientific research more relevant and impactful.


Although mental suffering is complex, much of the language and practice of mental health care is based on apparently simple concepts, for example that symptoms are caused by mental disorders, that evidence from randomised controlled trials are required to inform evidence-based guidelines that can be applied to individual patients, that the highest intensity of care is admission to a hospital bed, that severe syndromes are of 'biological' and mild syndromes of 'psychosocial' origin, that the technical ingredients of psychotherapy are more important than the therapeutic relationship, that effectiveness of interventions is reflected by reductions in symptoms, that there is an urgent need for a medical model of prevention of mental illness, that deep brain stimulation, transcranial magnetic stimulation and manipulation of the immune system hold major promise for the treatment of mental illness, and that the output of mental health care is best judged in the context of 'value-based' health care measurements.

Close analysis of these assumptions shows that their apparently strong and even unassailable logic is increasingly being questioned as insufficient to deal with the complexities of mental illness. The social context of mental suffering provides a rich perspective to deal with the complexities of aetiology and treatment of mental illness in populations. A degree of scientific demystification of professional knowledge and practice suggests that a critical transition may be approaching that requires new context-based concepts, language, science and practice to address the complexity of mental distress in populations.


[PDF] Guloksuz S, Van Os J (2018). The slow death of the concept of schizophrenia and the painful birth of the psychosis spectrum, Psychol Med. 2018 Jan;48(2):229-244. doi: 10.1017/S0033291717001775. Epub 2017 Jul 10.

[web] Van Os J, Guloksuz S (2018). A critique of the “ultra-high risk” and “transition” paradigm, World Psychiatry. 2017;16(2):200-206. doi:10.1002/wps.20423.

[PDF] Van Os J, et al (2017). Evidence that polygenic risk for psychotic disorder is expressed in the domain of neurodevelopment, emotion regulation and attribution of salience., Psychol Med. 2017 Oct;47(14):2421-2437. doi: 10.1017/S0033291717000915. Epub 2017 Apr 24.

[PDF] Guloksuz S, Pries L-K, Van Os J (2017). Application of network methods for understanding mental disorders: pitfalls and promise, Psychol Med. 2017 Dec;47(16):2743-2752. doi: 10.1017/S0033291717001350. Epub 2017 Jun 5.

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