John Lysaker & Paul Lysaker: Disordered Self


Thinking Through the Disordered Self: New Directions in the Dialogue between The Arts, Psychiatry and The Humanities

Two public lectures on art, self-experience and mental illness, by John Lysaker and Paul Lysaker

Registration required: please register by email through:
May 31st, 19:00-22:00, VOC hall, Bushuis/Oost-Indisch Huis, Kloveniersburgwal 48, Amsterdam

There is a long tradition of dialogue between the domain of the arts, the humanities and psychiatry – ranging from phenomenological approaches to mental illness, through narrative and creative therapy, to the medical humanities and neurophilosophy. After all, one of the fundamental questions of the humanities – what is it to be human? – often leads to questions about the self, mind and consciousness, and about what happens if these are affected by mental illness. With the current fascination for forms of ‘self-management’, ‘self-care’, or ‘self-direction’ in both psychosomatic medicine and psychiatry, the dialogue between the humanities and mental healthcare has shifted to the topic of ‘the self’ once again. How can we approach self-experience, and how can we understand the disordered self? What are the conceptual and existential challenges of taking care of (or managing and directing) this disordered self? What can the humanities – or art and literature – tell us about mental illness, and how can we further develop theories of the self by building on experiences from clinical practice? During this special event, John Lysaker, Professor  of Philosophy, and Paul Lysaker, Psychiatrist and Professor of Clinical Psychology, will tackle these and other questions. The event is bound to be of great interest to all master, research master, PhD students and academic staff members with interest in specifically psychiatry, (neuro)philosophy, psychology, narratology, literary studies, aesthetics, phenomenology, and art theory.


19:00-19:40 Prof. John Lysaker: What Art Asks of Us

19:40-20:00 Q&A

20:00-20:40 Prof. Paul Lysaker: The Relevance of the Humanities to Clinical Practice

20:40-21:00 Q&A

Paul H. Lysaker is a clinical psychologist at the Roudebush VA Medical Center and a professor of clinical psychology at the Indiana University School of Medicine, department of psychiatry, Indianapolis Indiana. He received his doctorate in Psychology from Kent State University in 1991. His research interests include the psychological processes that affect recovery from serious mental illness, alterations in consciousness in disorders such as schizophrenia and the development of long term forms of psychotherapy focused on enhancing wellness for adults with psychosis. He is an author of over 330 peer reviewed papers on these and related subjects.

John Lysaker is Professor of Philosophy at Emory University. His work concerns human flourishing and whatever facilitates or frustrates its emergence. He works in philosophical psychology, the philosophy of art, and social philosophy, and primarily from the traditions of hermeneutic phenomenology, critical social theory, and American romanticism. He is the author of Poetry and the Birth of Sense (2002), Emerson & Self-Culture (2008) and the co-author, with Paul Lysaker, of Schizophrenia and the Fate of the Self (2008). Current projects include Where Do We Find Ourselves: Essays After Emerson, and Dear Glaucon: Finding Our Bearings with Artworks.

This workshop is an initiative of Gaston Franssen (University of Amsterdam) and Stefan van Geelen (University Medical Center Utrecht/Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital). In February-March 2017, they organized the interdisciplinary MA/RMA research tutorial ‘What Is It Like To Be A Patient: Stories in Medicine, Psychology and The Humanities’; for more information, follow this link; for a video impression of the tutorial, please follow this link as well as this link. The workshop is co-funded by the NWO research project “Management of the Self: a Humanities Approach to Self-Management in Psychiatry and Psychosomatic Medicine”, carried out at the Radboud University Nijmegen, the University Medical Center Utrecht, the VU University Amsterdam, the Dimence Mental Healthcare Group and the University of Amsterdam. For more information, please email: Gaston Franssen ( or Stefan van Geelen (