BIGSPD Values Statement

BIGSPD Values and Philosophy

As an organisation we pride ourselves on our promotion of co-production, which embraces the involvement of people with lived experience (which additionally includes family and friends), multi-disciplinary practitioners, academics, clinicians and researchers. We do this to influence the commissioning of better services using evidence-based practice; the removal of the treatment postcode lottery, the reduction of health inequalities, progressive research that enhances practice and service user experience; raising the knowledge and awareness of personality disorder and related difficulties. We are committed to reducing stigma and prejudice and to enhancing the diversity within the organisation. We bring together a wide range of partners who shape the agenda and debate relating to this field of practice and this is encouraged by adopting, as an organisation, a stance that all opinions are valued and welcomed, and that healthy debate can only improve practice, treatment and service experiences of those who are likely to receive a diagnosis of personality disorder or related difficulties.

Our values include:

• The way people choose to define themselves is an integral part of their identity. The diagnostic label is a contentious one and one that continues to cause distress to many. We recognise this distress while also
acknowledging others find the label useful.

• How we help people is more important than how we label their problems. A variety of diagnostic labels associated with personality disorders are considered important to the work of BIGSPD such as Complex-PTSD and dissociative disorders.

• The past impacts on people’s lives – what has happened to people is important. We acknowledge the high prevalence of trauma and other forms of adverse experiences in both childhood and adulthood in the lives of people who go on to be diagnosed with personality disorders.

• Relationships are essential for working together. We strive to create as safe an environment as possible for debate and reflection.

• A diversity of experience enhances our capacity to learn from one another. We value bringing together and sharing learning from mental health services, social care and the criminal justice sector as well as those who access these services.

• Lived experience is central to achieving our aims. BIGSPD strives to include people with a lived experience in all levels of the organisation as well as delivering inclusive events and decision-making processes.

• We recognise and strive to end health inequalities of all forms and to promote equality and diversity. As an organisation we will seek inclusion of all protected characteristics including ethnic, gender and sexual identity minorities.

• Positive discrimination towards people with a lived experience is not a helpful approach to co-production, but positive action is. We work to lower barriers to co-production whilst making such adjustments universally applied.

 Critical reflection is important to us. We challenge, test and interrogate ideas by taking a critical but reflective stance and welcoming difference of opinion.

• We are committed to supporting change that enhances the experiences and responses of services. People who receive this diagnostic label can be helped and are deserving of help. Stigma continues to negatively influence people’s experiences of services and lived experiences should be valued alongside professional experience in this area.

Often people ask, ‘what is the stance of BIGSPD?’ on, for example, the diagnostic term ‘personality disorder’, diagnostic manuals, treatment preferences, or the future direction of treatments. We hope our values provide some clarity in relation to these questions. All our members, conference delegates and executive members have a unique range of views and opinions but collectively BIGSPD as an organisation does not hold a position on these debates. Instead, our focus is on providing a safe platform which encourages and facilitates inclusive debate, where all views, opinions and discussions relating to personality disorder and related difficulties are explored.

We acknowledge the sensitivity relating to the debate around the diagnostic label in particular, but also endeavour to represent those who find this construct helpful. Where there is consensus, is that we are working to improve understanding, and address stigma. As an organisation, we aim to bring people with interest in this field together to form networks and collaborations. By adopting this stance we facilitate and actively encourage healthy and respectful debate. Central to achieving our values is the practice of co-production. We are working to embed this throughout the organisation with a greater representation of lived experience within the executive team, our members, speakers and delegates.

The Executive Members – The BIGSPD executive has a broad range of expertise and experiences and holds different views and opinions about various current and topical debates in this field of practice. Those views held by individuals are not representative of BIGSPD as an organisation and no one person or the executive can speak for all. However, the executive team will adopt a position of influence and information provider with all the complexities of debate carefully considered before statements or organisation representation is made in public forums.

Click here to view a PDF version of the BIGSPD Values Statement.

The BIGSPD values and Philosophy Statement was developed by the communications team led by Dr Gary Lamph and including; Tamar Jeynes, Kier Harding, and Dr Kirsten Barnicot,  input and feedback from members of the BIGSPD executive team were sought over several months.  The first version was complete and Finalised in August 2020 this statement was put before the BIGSPD membership during our AGM, and final amendments based on their feedback were addressed. 

In 2022 we have updated this document following an executive team away day event and reforming of the communications team which now includes; Dr Gary Lamph, Tamar Jeynes, Kath Lovell, and Tom Mullen.  They have led the development of the Version 2 statement which was finalised following consultation with the wider executive team in May 2022 and will be reviewed on an annual basis.  As aligned to our values, this work has been co-produced with a diverse range of people contributing, including shaping by differing occupational collaborators and lived experience expertise. Responses from outside the membership and at our next AGM will be considered for future annual reviews. The process of defining who we are and what we do will not cease with the publication of this statement, and if the experiences of people who have a diagnosis of personality disorder are important to you, we hope that you will consider joining our collective that embraces many different perspectives.

If you are interested in becoming more involved, please click on the for more details of how to join BIGSPD