Finding Human Life on Earth


Through the ISPS listserve, I read a blog this morning written by Thomas Insel, director of the NIMH. The way he described people I daily meet in work and in my own life created a rising pulse, so I decided to find out some more about his thoughts and practice. I am not saying that what I read on his blog is unknown to me, but still it made me wonder how on earth is it possible to invest so much money – and resources – in research which is so distant from practice, and so far away from humanistic and holistic ideas and theories.

On the NIMH web page you can find a variety of psychiatric diagnoses, and there is no question there whether they – so to speak – exist or not. Rather the opposite; again and again words like “schizophrenia,” for example, are used as if a phenomena called schizophrenia exists. And so it is described how researchers (maybe) now have found that it is not possible to make use of experiments from mice in relation to human beings.

What is not described is the enormous amount of money it has cost to come to this “finding.” It is so upsetting; so hard to find words for. Worse than this is that this kind of research is still the dominant one, and still there are experiments going on to find “the missing link,” to find “the gene,” to find in the brain what might cause that which is called schizophrenia.

At the same time an innumerable amount of methods and manuals consisting of different letter combinations are created, and in many places – in Europe and the US, in particular – nearly impossible to get the word out about alternatives to this way of thinking and acting towards human beings. It is as if life wisdom and knowledge is put aside; as if knowledge about what is important for all of us is not relevant. As if social and political conditions don’t make an impact, both on individuals and society itself.

I can´t tell how many times over the years my colleagues and I have met people who have been defined as patients and prescribed drugs and told they have to “accept” their illness. And also how they are told a lot of – as I would say – lies. For example; that it is not possible to get off drugs and it is not possible to live an ordinary life without contact with psychiatry.

So let me end this very short post, written just before I am about to talk with a person who used to be defined in terms of “schizophrenia,” and told she has to stay on drugs for the rest of her life. As you may guess it was a wrong prediction and she is now off drugs and getting back to an ordinary life –  whatever that means.

For many years I was against research since the only kind of research I heard about was the one described in Thomas Insel’s post. Inspired by people I got to know by being part of an extended broad network I came to become a researcher myself and I have come to see the very need for alternatives to the kinds of research described above in this post. I think we need to find ways together to describe human life and to describe what is important to human beings. Being part of MadinAmerica has made me even more convinced, so my deep thank you to all who in different ways share important knowledge and experience, and by doing so get the word out.

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Interview with Carina Håkansson

Carina’s Plenary Presentation at the Taos Institute Conference in Drammen, Norway

Discussion of the Plenary Presentation

Carina Håkansson: “Healing Psychosis


  1. I don’t believe in ‘Schizophrenia’ myself, as a result of my own experiences in psychiatry.

    I have a friend that spent 9 months in a mental hospital ‘hiding under tables’; this friend was not diagnosed with ‘schizophrenia’ because they knew his relevant details – he had been addicted to Valium and was withdrawing.

    In my case diagnosis was irrelevant as my recovery was as a result of practical psychotherapy (and careful drug taper). The effect of the Psychotherapy was long term.

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  2. Carina,

    “It is as if life wisdom and knowledge is put aside; as if knowledge about all of us is not relevant. As if social and political issues don’t make an impact, both on individuals and society as a whole.” Thank you for pointing this out, since that was completely my experience with the US psychiatric industry – they function in a manner opposite of reality, ethics, and sanity.

    My entire life, and real life concerns, were actually declared a “credible fictional story” in my medical records. In real life, I’m supposed to be a “judge,” according to 40 hours of unbiased psychological career testing. But my life is a “credible fictional story,” based upon lies from child molesters, according to my medical records.

    I’ve been wondering if Insel has actually taken money away from research into the DSM disorders, as he stated he would do, since my current research didn’t seem to imply such. Thanks for pointing out the continuing waste of staggering amounts of American tax payer dollars into the fraudulent DSM disorders.

    But, the DSM, from my experience of having the adverse withdrawal effects of a “safe smoking cessation med” / antidepressant, misdiagnosed as “bipolar.” And my experience that the “bipolar” drugs cause the schizophrenia symptoms, does imply that the DSM is a very good “bible” to describe the adverse effects of the psychiatric drugs, iatrogenic, but not “genetic” illnesses.

    Let’s hope and pray we get to the point wisdom reins again. Thank you for you justified concern.

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  3. As a metaphysician, I assert that it is absolutely impossible this concept to exist – from linguistically and logical point of view; it lacks real possibility even, and the concept itself matches to a schizophrenic concept invention- it is a salat of concepts united into an absurde and horrible representation, which can describe only movies and literature. The wrong, approach – the wrong research. The thing is, that even if the concept did not exist, did not match reality, the disease and the philosophy of a such thing could be indeed created, and further – to indeed exist.
    Congratulations for your critical approach!

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  4. Hi Carina,

    Great blog and I love your work.

    It’s a funny old world because I spent three years in Goteborg from 1981 in the early stages of my neuroscience career, conducting postdoctoral research with Arvid Carlsson. As you will provably know, he was the father of dopamine research… and a Nobel Laureate.

    However, I left my neuroscience career behind me in 2000 – after 25 years – because I did not anymore believe that drug treatments were helping people recover from addiction and mental health problems. Have been working as an addiction and mental health recovery advocate since then. Now run and Hope you don’t mind me putting up your blog on Recovery Stories and promoting you.

    I now live in Perth, Australia, mainly working with Indigenous people, but hope to see old friends in Goteborg some time later this year. It would be lovely – and even more ironic (!) – to meet you if you have any time.

    As I say, just love what you do. I watched the first of your film clips, and there was so much joy! Just wonderful!!

    My best wishes, David

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