Mental health researcher highlights humanity’s struggle with its dark side

4 December 2015

A mental health psychologist is to explore what separates our species from being the cruellest to the most compassionate on the planet in a lecture at the University of Derby next week.

Addressing recent evidence, Professor Paul Gilbert, a Visiting Clinical Psychologist at Derby and former Head of the Mental Health Research Unit for Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, will discuss what emotions and behaviour can be encouraged to improve the human condition.

The public lecture, called ‘Compassion: Saviour of the Universe and the Tragedies of the Human Mind’, will take place at the University’s Kedleston Road site on Tuesday, December 8 from 5.30pm to 6.30pm.

Professor Gilbert, bestselling author of ‘The Compassionate Mind’, said: “Research on the evolution and nature of the human brain has revealed it to be capable of extraordinary compassion but also immense cruelty.

“We are a species which has multiple potentials and without care it is easy for us to act out the dark sides of our nature.

A mental health psychologist

“This talk will reveal how compassion is much more complex than people think and that it is an antidote to our dark side but needs to be cultivated.”

The event will also discuss that humans are part of the flow of life and therefore are an evolved species with evolved brains.

It will touch on the fact that it is very easy for humans to become harmful to themselves and others particularly when their minds are orientated by self-focused competitiveness.

This talk will explore how therapies are beginning to build on these insights about the evolution of the human brain, the potential problems it hands to humans, and what people need to do about it.

Professor Gilbert was awarded an OBE in March 2011 by the Queen for his contributions to mental health and this month was awarded the Monte Shapiro lifetime achievement Award in Clinical Psychology at the Division of Clinical Psychology Conference in London.