“Navigating” Recovery: Difficult When the Map is a Psychiatric Fraud!


I was recently asked to contrast my views on psychosis and recovery with those offered by NAVIGATE, a US government (NIMH) sponsored program aiming to guide early intervention programs for psychosis.  This inspired me to inquire into what NAVIGATE does tell people and families about psychosis and recovery.  What I found, unfortunately, was quite disturbing.

Navigate presents itself as a very humanistic program, with the goals of “helping people work toward personal goals and recovery.”  And “More broadly, the NAVIGATE program helps consumers navigate the road to recovery from an episode of psychosis, including supporting efforts to function well at home, on the job, at school, and in the social world.”  The emphasis of the program is broad enough to include “Supported Employment and Education, Individual Resiliency Training (IRT), and Family Education.”

Unfortunately, while these mostly progressive components have value and may help some toward recovery, NAVIGATE includes them alongside a basically toxic collection of blatant misinformation about psychosis which is likely to have the opposite effect.

(I should note that what I write here is based on my review of specific sections of the Navigate Family Education Manual.  As far as I know other educational materials produced by this program may be not quite as bad; though it is also possible that they may also be worse.  What I do know is that the family manual is terrible enough to suggest the program as a whole is way “off course” from where it should be.)

Early on in my review of that document, I encountered this declaration, prominently made in a text box on page 92:

Psychosis is nobody’s fault:  People do not cause it.

Wow, really?  People “never” contribute anything to causing psychosis?  Believing that requires completely ignoring what is now a vast collection of evidence that shows that adverse childhood experiences, including various forms of child abuse, do play a large role in making later psychosis more likely.  That isn’t to say that people abusing other people is the only possible cause, but this claim by NAVIGATE that people never have anything to do with causing it is simply inexcusable.

The dishonesty of this statement sets my cynical side to wondering:  did child rapists and other abusers of children pay NAVIGATE to so brazenly exonerate them from being blamed for contributing to later experiences of psychosis in so many of their victims?

And providing this sort of misinformation doesn’t just benefit abusers and minimize the importance of fighting child abuse as a way to prevent psychosis; it also makes it more difficult for people who have experienced such abuse to understand what happened to them and to work toward recovery.  Even though their extreme experiences may be an understandable reaction to terrible things that happened to them, they are told there is no relationship whatsoever, and that the blame should go to their “psychotic illness.”

When children are abused, they are usually prevented from telling their story.   Being forced to keep what happened and all the feelings about it secret then alienates them from others and from themselves.  This alienation can later contribute to developing psychotic experience.  When professionals tell people that their psychosis has nothing to do with the abuse they experienced, they are contributing to the same process that the abuser began, just “piling on” more alienation, more lies, more abuse.

And even when the psychosis is not a response to experiences of child abuse, it can still be the result of various interpersonal events and personal reactions to those events, a result of various conflicts and misunderstandings.  When professionals tell people the psychosis is definitely not the result of any such events, the result is still more alienation that contributes to psychosis and makes recovery more difficult.

So why is NAVIGATE telling this kind of lie?  I imagine, if confronted, they might explain that not everyone who becomes psychotic was abused, and they don’t want parents to blame themselves when perhaps they did nothing wrong, and also they don’t want people to blame themselves for becoming psychotic.  Isn’t it better, they might ask, when no one feels blamed?

Well, no.  It is true that inaccurate or exaggerated forms of blame can be very unhelpful.  But placing blame where it belongs is the way we make sense of things, it’s how we learn to get in control of what we are doing and where we are going.  Identifying the way others hurt or confused us helps us get a sense we could seek out better relationships in the future, with better outcomes.  Identifying our own mistakes also allows us to become responsible for the direction of our life in the future.  We are only completely “blameless” for negative outcomes when we are completely helpless, and by telling people that no one’s behavior had anything to do with causing psychosis, a sense of helplessness is conveyed that is actually a huge barrier to recovery.

A better approach is for professionals to be uncertain about what happened to cause the psychosis and what is going on now, and to support everyone in exploring possible viewpoints or understandings, in a way that supports taking personal responsibility for mistakes but also seeks to avoid inaccurate or excess attributions of blame or responsibility.

But when professionals are uncertain, people and their families may come up with a variety of different understandings, and they might not arrive at a certainty that a psychiatric framework best describes what is happening and they might not decide that drugs are critical to making things better.  And that, apparently, is not acceptable to NAVIGATE.

So readers of the family education manual are informed, for example, that the duty of mental health workers is to “legitimize the psychiatric disorder” (p. 22).   This is framed as something kind and helpful to do for someone – the “symptoms” that are being experienced, we are told, are simply beyond the person’s conscious control, “trying hard” to change things does not work, and so people must be taught to understand them is as part of a “psychiatric disorder.”

I do agree by the way that simply “trying hard” to overcome difficult experiences etc. often fails – but we don’t need the concept of a “psychiatric disorder” to explain why that happens.  People often lack understanding of what is happening in their mind, and the things they then try to bring their mind under control not only often fails to work, but actually makes things worse!  Trying to control thoughts or voices for example often makes them become more intrusive.  And then as things get worse, people try even harder, resulting in escalating problems, creating a vicious circle.  It is this vicious circle which then seems so uncontrollable, and is easily framed as illness.  But the fact that people’s misguided efforts don’t make things better is not proof that nothing will work.  A better approach is to simply notice that life and our minds can be tricky, and people may need help figuring out what does work to manage things, but there usually is a way to do so even if it has not yet been discovered.

What people don’t need is “helpers” persuading them to give up trying to understand themselves or relate to their own experience, and convincing them to see psychiatric frameworks as the only “legitimate” way of comprehending their condition.

But getting back to the NAVIGATE manual:   once people have been convinced that the psychiatric diagnosis is “legitimate” then the next step apparently is to convince them it is definitely “biological.”

So people are first informed that “According to the stress-vulnerability model, psychiatric illnesses have a biological basis.” (p. 93).  And then “because both biological vulnerability and stress contribute to symptoms, treatment for psychiatric symptoms needs to address both of these factors.” (p. 94).

It is interesting to note that the stress-vulnerability model as first introduced did not describe vulnerability as always biological; it instead described people as possibly having vulnerability due to a number of factors, which might range from something genetic to many other factors, including such things as unresolved childhood trauma to dysfunctional beliefs.  The notion was simply that when vulnerability was higher, it would take less current stress to push a person toward psychosis.  As such, it was a reasonable and I believe helpful theory.  Unfortunately, this reasonable theory was soon distorted by biologically focused propagandists to frame vulnerability as always biological and further, always as something known to be certainly present in everyone who becomes psychotic.  The NAVIGATE program is unfortunately choosing to propagate the distorted version of the theory.

One way of challenging this distortion is to simply ask to see the research that shows that there is in fact a type of human being invulnerable to getting psychosis.  Of course there isn’t, and since as far as we know anyone could become psychotic when exposed to enough stress etc., then no one’s experience of psychosis can be taken as proof they have a greater degree of biological vulnerability than does anyone else.

And even if a person does have a specific biological vulnerability, there is no proof that treatment needs to “address that factor” as the NAVIGATE document claims.  To better understand this point, consider a person with fair skin, which can be understood as a biological vulnerability to sunburn.  There is no need to modify the person’s skin to avoid future episodes of sunburn – modifying environmental/lifestyle factors can provide a complete solution.   It seems perfectly possible that the same sort of approach could work for any biological vulnerabilities to psychosis.

But there is no room in the NAVIGATE model or educational materials for conceptualizing a rational approach to psychosis without a “biological” treatment.  To make sure drugs are prioritized, NAVIGATE even stoops to the old “biochemical imbalance” myth:

“Scientists believe that the symptoms are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.” (p. 101).  And “Medications reduce biological vulnerability by helping to correct the chemical imbalance in the brain.” (p. 102).

If NAVIGATE had simply informed us that “some” scientists believe that the symptoms of psychosis are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, and that many others don’t, then there wouldn’t be much ground for criticism.  But instead they try to convince us that a scientific consensus exists around a notion of biochemical imbalances which actually lacks even realistic evidence, and then they frame the drugs as handily “correcting” the problem, even though the actual evidence suggests the drugs create a biologically abnormal state of suppressed dopamine, and that this in turn causes the brain to shrink, etc.

It is in fact a blatant fraud to convince people that a consensus exists about drugs reversing a known biochemical imbalance, when in fact that consensus does not exist and when better information suggests that the drugs suppress “symptoms” in only a minority of those who take them, and may in fact not only be ineffective in causing more good than harm in the short term, but also reduce chances of recovery in the long term.

Recovery, as you might recall, is supposed to be the primary aim of the NAVIGATE program.  Interestingly though, in the educational materials I reviewed, significant effort seems to go into reducing expectations for recovery!  The document speaks of the importance of “imbuing interactions with hope” (p. 5) but then the best possible outcomes they can cite are that “perhaps” as many as 20% might go on to live “relatively symptom free lives” (p. 6) and the possibility that “a small minority of persons with first episode psychosis (perhaps 10-20%) can live successfully even off medication.” (p. 114).

If NAVIGATE is really attempting to help clinicians “imbue interactions with hope” then they might try drawing numbers from, or even referencing, research that provides a bit more room for hope.    For example, they might point to the Vermont Study, which found that about 34% of a population of people who had been considered chronic and severe cases were able to be living successfully in the community, off mediation, 20 years later after being helped by a psychosocial approach.  Of course, if 34% of a “chronic” population can live successfully off antipsychotics, we would expect that a much higher percentage of people with first episode psychosis would be able to do so.   They might also mention research into Open Dialogue, finding that over 80% of people experiencing first time psychosis were living “relatively symptom free” at a 5 year outcome point, with less than 20% taking antipsychotics.

We don’t know where the NAVIGATE authors found their tiny estimates of how many might be able to fully recover and live without drugs.  But we do know that the overall effect of minimizing people’s chances for recovery, while also convincing people they are definitely biologically different in a way they can’t manage without drugs, is to discourage belief in the possibility of working toward true and complete recovery.

What is emphasized instead is the possibility of what might be called “recovery but still sick.”  The emphasis is on helping people reduce their expectations, so that they will aim only at having some successes in the lives despite continuing to have a biological mental disorder, and will resign themselves to believing they need drugs to correct their “biochemical imbalance.”

I do see lots of value in efforts to help people have a full life despite whatever difficult experiences they might continue to have – and I know that getting support in this way often does help people a lot.  But it’s just sad to see what are otherwise good ideas about how to help people being presented mixed in with poisonous lies designed to make people feel more helpless about managing and making sense of difficult experiences, and pushing them toward increased reliance on drugs.  People deserve honest and balanced information on these topics that allows them to make informed decisions for themselves, not lies designed to push them in a specific direction.

By writing this blog post, I hope to shame NAVIGATE, and NIMH which has supported it, into correcting their educational materials, so that people experiencing psychosis and their families have a chance to become honestly informed about what is and is not known about the sorts of troubles they are having, about chances for recovery, and what might be helpful and harmful as they try to work toward that recovery.

If you are interested in supporting this effort, please consider supporting this petition addressed to NAVIGATE and its sponsor, NIMH.  Thanks!



Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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  1. What a great, practical initiative. If there is any positive response from ‘Navigate’ to ‘updating’ the Family Education manual, I wonder if they would consider using “The British Psychological Society Report on Psychosis” as a resource manual – I am not hearing very much about that report any more.

    This is so discouraging – all the new information that I think must be slowly getting ‘out there’, and then hearing about such a backward manual.

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    • Yes, it is discouraging. But I think it’s something we have to watch out for: there are organized forces that don’t want to hear anything new and that will pretend to be humanistic and forward thinking while hiding at their core the same old toxic slop.

      And then there are organizations that will take in some of the more progressive viewpoints but just kind of mix it in with various kinds of misinformation. For example EASA, Oregon’s early intervention program, will admit that trauma can contribute to psychosis, or that anyone can possibly experience psychosis under the right conditions, but also portrays psychosis as definitely a medical condition, suggests that “schizophrenia” can cause psychosis (rather than it just being a label used for when something causes psychosis and other problems over a certain period of time), etc. See http://www.easacommunity.org/what-is-psychosis.php

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      • I was reading an old newsletter the other day. In it, an individual who was either a patient or a parent of a patient suggested re-naming “schizophrenia” Kraepelin’s Syndrome (after the guy who first described it) in order to defuse patient, public and psychiatric paranoia about the condition. I found it an intriguing notion- notice that a syndrome is discussed instead of an independent disease.

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  2. Hi Ron,

    Thanks for this article.

    While going through I’m doing some commentary of my own on the sections you picked out:

    “Psychosis is nobody’s fault. People do not cause it.”

    On the one hand this statement is pretty vague, because psychosis is not one unitary thing with a single cause. On the other hand, the research on trauma, neglect, and abuse makes it so clear that negative interpersonal interactions raise the risk for getting labeled psychotic. As John Read said, child abuse can be – but is not always – a causal factor in psychotic breakdowns. And when it is involved, parental abuse of children is only one factor, and then not even necessarily the most important one.

    This Navigate manual seems to be based on the old idea that covertly inserting the disease model into severely distressed people’s minds will reduce stigma. But then over the long term, the cost is that the (usually present) interpersonal contributors to one’s problems are not explored or understood. Then, due to the disease model, distancing/fear/misunderstanding between the supposed helpers and the person with extreme states results, along with chronic drugging which blocks motivation and the ability to feel.

    Ron, rather than wondering about rapists/abusers, why don’t you wonder whether Big Pharma is funding some of the institutions supporting the professors involved in this Navigate program? These companies would be the ones who have the interest in seeing extreme states as a biological problem unrelated to what happens socially.

    Ron, I think this part of what you wrote is a problem:

    “But placing blame where it belongs is the way we make sense of things, it’s how we learn to get in control of what we are doing and where we are going. “

    Identifying a parent as a causal agent in contributing to distress is not the same as blaming. There is no need to “blame”, since that word sounds like a negative personal judgment. Instead of blaming, we can perceive deeper and understand. Most parents who abuse do so out of their own emotional immaturity, from lack of knowledge about how to parent, out of poverty, and especially from their own traumatic issues that got passed down from their own parents (the grandparents). So there are reasons why they do what they do; we shouldn’t blame in the judgmental sense since that doesn’t benefit us, but should identify their behavior as problematic in as neutral-objective a way as possible, and then seek to find alternative ways forward.

    I see you may have been attempting to use the word “blame” in a neutral sense. However, with the way most people understand that word, this will be difficult.

    Navigate also assumes that visiting a psychiatrist and getting drugs for every breakdown that gets labeled as psychotic is necessary; something that is simply not true. But to be aware that well-trained therapists can work effective with regressed people without any involvement of psychiatrists or drugs is somewhat of an existential threat to psychiatrists and to the NIMH. But it is an awareness that we need to share. In fact, I have recently been talking to several parents about these non-medical options for their children labeled with “serious mental illness.”

    What I do when talking to families is in fact the opposite of Navigate; based on my lived experience as someone labeled with extreme states in the past, I “delegitimize the psychiatric disorder” – I explain how extreme states are not lifelong biogenetically-caused illnesses, and how reversible and modifiable such distress is. I reject the term “symptoms” (of an “illness”). I refer the parents to authors like Jay Joseph, Paris Williams, and Bruce Levine, who can explain better than me how flawed the illness model in the Navigate manual is. And I have more credibility than most mental health professionals, because I actually experienced these conditions and recovered from them. I am also more genuinely hopeful than these professionals.

    As for this statement, ““According to the stress-vulnerability model, psychiatric illnesses have a biological basis.”

    What a misleading statement that is! No wonder people do not trust our governmental institutions. Changes in brain chemistry and epigenetics (usually, not always) correlating to stressful experiences are not illnesses simplistically caused by biology. Postulating a model of a “biologically-based (i.e. caused) illness” without evidence is unethical, and the authors of the manual should be ashamed (although perhaps they are simply ignorant).

    As usual, psychiatric professionals seems to feel they can just put out an unevidenced theory about psychosis that appears to reduce blame, that fits in with the current climate of focusing on biological explanations. They seem to think that by repeating these unevidenced statements about biological basis, symptoms, illness, etc loudly enough people will believe them. But I think more people are stopping believing and questioning mental health professionals’ explanations of “schizophrenia” and “bipolar”. I recently had a mother of a young person with psychosis ask me whether she should read Kim Mueser’s book, and I told her not to, because I know that he puts out unevidenced bullshit like in the Navigate manual.

    As Ron rightly and courageously said, “One way of challenging this distortion is to simply ask to see the research that shows that there is in fact a type of human being invulnerable to getting psychosis.  Of course there isn’t…”

    As for this: “Scientists believe that the symptoms are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.” (p. 101).  And “Medications reduce biological vulnerability by helping to correct the chemical imbalance in the brain.” (p. 102).”

    This is the very apogee or zenith of ignorance in American psychiatry. In a just world, this would be cause to fire all the leading workers at the NIMH that wrote this document. It is propaganda that is doing real harm in terms of reducing hope and promoting long-term dependence on unproven neuroleptics drugs. It is indeed “blatant fraud”, as Ron said.

    And then they said this: “perhaps” as many as 20% might go on to live “relatively symptom free lives” (p. 6) and the possibility that “a small minority of persons with first episode psychosis (perhaps 10-20%) can live successfully even off medication.” (p. 114).”

    This shows how very ignorant these people are about effective transformative appraoches to curing psychosis. They should read Gaetano Benedetti, Ira Steinman, David Garfield, Murray Jackson, Vamik Volkan, Paris Williams, Gustav Schulman, the Open Dialogue Approaches, and other ISPS authors to try to get a sense of how very much they are missing. Who is gonna be encouraged by the numbers above?

    On the other hand, you can’t fail when you set your goals so low 🙂 (i.e. when you only think 10 or 20% of people can fully recover, you might just achieve that, even if you use the outdated and harmful disease model of “schizophrenia”).

    A lot of the distortions above, which seems so offensive and obviously wrong to us with lived experience, simply has to be ascribed to ignorance on the part of these professionals. It is still incredible to see it, and to imagine the alien (from our perspective) professional environment they must live in.

    I also think the professionals who are spreading this misinformation via the Navigate manual should be named:

    Shirley Glynn, a professor at UCLA
    Cori Cather, a professor at Harvard Medical School,
    Susan Gingerich, a social worker and winner of a NAMI book award
    Jennifer Gottlieb, a psychologist affiliated Boston University
    Piper Meyer, a psychologist affiliated the University of Minnesota
    Kim Mueser, a psychologist at Boston University
    David L. Penn, a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina

    It is amazing to see people who have been in the field for 20 or 30 or more years, as some of these people above have, but then still have the reductionist and inadvertently pessimistic attitudes that they do. It just goes to show how great the power of biological simplistic explanations for extreme states is. And how little understanding there is of what intensive psychotherapeutic approaches can do to change outcomes for severely distressed people.

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    • Thanks Matt, for all the points you added.

      Regarding the “blame” thing – I guess I’m wary of bending over backwards to avoid using that word. If there’s a car wreck, we understand it makes sense to figure out who was to blame, even if we still understand it was an accident, and we aren’t condemning anyone as being a terrible person. Going too far out of our way to avoid being blaming just makes it harder to make sense of what happened and how to prevent it in the future. On the other hand I do agree it makes sense to be compassionate also toward those who made mistakes that led to problems.

      And yes, I certainly think NAVIGATE is more influenced by big pharma than by the child molesters, though on this issue, their interests line up pretty well! I did start to write a little about that, but it didn’t make it into my final draft.

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      • Ron,
        Yes, you are right, as long as we can use the word blame without making simplistic moral judgments – i.e. studying who is responsible / causally involved, rather than painting people as malicious evildoers – it can be ok. The problem is partly as you say that people tend to misinterpret or overly negatively interpret the feelings behind the term “blaming.”

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      • I appreciate the above discussion about the importance of compassion and of avoiding simplistic judgements.

        For me, however, the main problem with ‘blame’ is when ‘outsiders’ (in particular those outsiders who are in a position of power such as therapists and psychiatrists), generalize their experience or observations to assign ‘inaccurate blame’ based on theoretical constructs (even theoretical constructs that have a lot of value). This is why I appreciate so much the following paragraph in this article:

        “A better approach is for professionals to be uncertain about what happened to cause the psychosis and what is going on now, and to support everyone in exploring possible viewpoints or understandings, in a way that supports taking personal responsibility for mistakes but also seeks to avoid inaccurate or excess attributions of blame or responsibility.”

        For me – this point cannot be emphasized enough given the wide variability that exists with people who extreme states -and given the terrible things that have happened in the past (and that continue to happen) both to the people who experience extreme states, and also to their families. The answers need to come from within the person’s particular story: ‘what happened to you’, NOT what others tell you has happened to you. Another quote of Ron’s that I have alway appreciated is when he says something like – ‘people can break their ankle from a big accident, but also from stepping off the curb’. We must not make people feel that their ‘reasons’ aren’t ‘significant enough’ or ‘bad enough’ to warrant such an extreme reaction.

        That being said, it makes complete sense (and there is lots of research to support the position), that the more adversity you face, the bigger the chance you have of a extreme reaction; so I know it is also important to not lose sight of that, nor to lose sight of the importance of creating environments that allow a person to freely talk/explore ‘what happened to them’.

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  3. What blatant propaganda in support of the “Guild” and the psychiatry-psychopharma industry.

    Page 92.
    “Psychosis is nobody’s fault: People do not cause it”.
    Ref RxISK: AKATHISIA. 2016.

    “Significant symptoms of AKATHISIA occur in: –
    Around 20% of people on ANTIDEPRESSANTS.
    At least 50% of people on ANTIPSYCHOTICS.
    On higher doses, this rises to 80% or more”.
    AKATHISIA is associated with profound changes in personality and in behaviour.
    AKATHISIA is the SSRI (et al) precursor of aggression and iatrogenic violence against self and others.

    It is frequently a medically unrecognised precursor to a TOXIC PSYCHOSIS which is vulnerable to mis-diagnosis as a FUNCTIONAL PSYCHOSIS.
    Such misunderstanding tragically leads to incarceration, and compulsory drugging with more/higher doses of SSRIs and antipsychotics.
    As this potentially, life-threatening, misdiagnosed catastrophe fails to respond to “medical management” of “first episode psychosis”,
    a kaleidoscopic, prescription cascade of further, fatuous, psycholeptic drugging may move this desperate clinical situation, through serotonin syndrome,
    towards a generalised psychotropic-neuroleptic syndrome.
    (This is especially likely in those most vulnerable to psychotropic ADRs).
    Such cumulative intoxication may kill, or may be preceded by akathisia induced suicide.
    Meanwhile, case entries may appear such as: “manipulative behaviour”, the poisoned patient having become far too toxic to eat, drink or care for themselves.

    The primary psychiatric delusion prevails.
    (Ie. That such enforced, acute, severe, life-threatening, chemical trauma to the brain is therapeutic. This cannot, and may not be challenged).
    Even in the face of the most fastidious scientific evidence.
    Even in the face of serial, masterly deconstruction of ghost written, scientifically fraudulent clinical trials.

    Loved ones, and family beg and plead to be listened to, as might also a whispering toxic patient.
    They KNOW that this destruction of life, health and HOPE all started as a barn-door-obvious, SSRI ADVERSE DRUG REACTION.

    No chance of a hearing whatsoever.
    More likely to be excluded from visiting.
    More likely to receive a punitive dose increase in “beneficent medication”.


    The increasing dehydration, starvation and ketosis in this detained, “pseudo-psychiatric patient” doesn’t appear to merit I-V fluid replacement.
    No monitoring of clinical chemistry.
    No skilled resuscitation with active, parenteral re-stabilisation of optimal physiology.
    Not even when family beg for basic and fundamental, routine medical management of a desperately ill, metabolically compromised patient: – (Routine everywhere else in medical practice, procedure and protocol).
    No gesture to correct the real CHEMICAL IMBALANCE! (page 102).

    More and more tragedies as outlined above are the inevitable and grotesque outcome of psychiatry’s unrelenting, expansionist propaganda.
    Marketing, incompetence and denial, masquerading as medicine.

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  4. Re `blame’ – some therapies actually use the action, at least, of `blame’ as an initial tool to clarify `what happened to you’ approach to understanding why you’re at this point, now. In Schema Therapy for instance, one of the first actions is for the person to write a letter to the person they believe caused them serious pain in their childhood. The letter is never sent but the act of writing it exposes the hurt. As you say, the cover up, the lies, the denial of events in early childhood and the confusion that it led to, expresses itself in psychosis as well as other problems. Is this `blame’? I guess, but who among us parents is perfect? My parents did things that made me vulnerable, and I don’t thank them for that, but it wasn’t deliberate, it was a consequence of their own issues past and present; and I’m sure I didn’t do everything right either, though I tried hard.
    I have a problem with people who need to be `blameless’ – maybe this is a `condition’ in its own right. Many of the parents in the drug company subsidised NAMI seem to suffer from this denial problem. Interestingly, psychiatrists have a very high personal psychological pathology rate as do their children, so maybe that’s part of it.
    Another point, was this document ghost written? When you see that Ron Pies, Daniel Carlatt and other high profile establishment psychiatrists have publicly come out denying the `chemical imbalance’ crap, and it has been removed (at least in this form) from the RCP, RANZCP and APA etc websites, it seems odd to me that it appears as blatantly as this. Maybe the fault lies with the editorial process in NIMH, where clerks have copied from some of the pop websites and big pharma ads and no one has bothered to check. I say this because in a case I know, a doctor did not get legal consent for ECT, the patient later found out and after it was reported to the authorities suddenly the consent form appeared. BUT it was `signed’ by the wrong people on the wrong dates – something the doctors involved would have known but the clerical staff did not. It appears that the document was forged.
    This whole document is yet another dishonest guild publication that must be exposed for the fraud it is. Thank you Ron Unger

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    • I don’t have any reason to believe that the authors of the NAVIGATE Family Manual were any different than those listed, but it is always possible that ghost writing was going on.

      I do know that the whole biochemical imbalance myth is super convenient for pushing people to quit asking questions and just take their drugs, and I suspect it’s that convenience that causes this lie to still be featured within the NAVIGATE program.

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  5. I find it telling that my family uses the “scientific evidence” above to ensure I take my poison pills for life, but they refuse to touch the pills themselves. The rationale is that because my illness is so severe, the pill is good for me… and since their illness is so minor, the pill is bad for them. That makes zero sense to me. If the poison is bad for them, it’s bad for me too because I’m as human as they are.

    The brain disease model actually promotes the stigma it claims is trying to erase, implying that I’m subhuman. If these poison pills are the miracles I’ve been told they are, then why don’t the preachers take the so-called miracle pills too? Don’t they WANT to take antidepressants and be perfectly happy all the time? Since they refuse to take what they preach, I have no reason to have faith in their tiny “miracles” in a bottle…

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    • Victoria, you are totally right to stand up for yourself in this way. Surely, from reading this site and other sources you are now aware that psychiatric drugs are not medications treating a specific disease, but general tranquilizers (for the most part) dimming the central nervous system and limiting the ability to think and feel.

      The brain disease model is indeed complete bullshit. It artificially separates the dynamic, interpenetrating way in which brain and environment interact and affect each other all the time. There is no evidence that chemical imbalances or faulty genes cause any sort of discrete psychiatric disorder at all on their own. The way psychiatrists attempt to talk about this fails at the start, partly because they lack valid discrete categories to use in discussing adverse experiences.

      So yes there is nothing genetically or “brain chemically” wrong with you in any sort of disease or pathological way (if there were it would be a real brain disease!). You are as human and as entitled to feel well as anyone else – and with sufficient support and accurate information about your problems, you’re as capable over time of feeling well genetically and biochemically as anyone else, too! Don’t believe their lies, and believe that you can come to feel better, alive, and fulfilled.

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  6. As to, “did child rapists and other abusers of children pay NAVIGATE to so brazenly exonerate them from being blamed for contributing to later experiences of psychosis in so many of their victims?” Given the Wiki leaks “Spirit Cooking” and subsequent #Pizzagate scandal that’s now on the web, that the seemingly lacking in credibility mainstream media is dismissing as “fake news.” And the “Conspiracy of Silence” / Franklin cover up, in which an FBI agent points out evidence of seemingly Satanic child abuse in high places in this country, and apparently this is a problem all over the world. It is possible that child rapists did, indeed, fund the NAVIGATE literature, do you know who funded it? Although, no doubt, the psychopathically run pharmaceutical industry does benefit from these lies as well. As do all the child molesters in this country, which does not arrest child molesters any longer, even if a person has medical evidence of the sodomy of a child.

    “When professionals tell people that their psychosis has nothing to do with the abuse they experienced, they are contributing to the same process that the abuser began, just ‘piling on’ more alienation, more lies, more abuse.” Absolutely true. And it is maddening to go to a “talk therapist” to try to over come one’s denial that a well respected “school for gifted children” would actually have on their board a child molester, and that school would collude to cover up child abuse by this wealthy donor. And the fact the psychological and psychiatric industries would further collude to deny the child abuse, based upon lies by these wealthy child molesters, by trying to convince a person they had a “mental illness,” then gas light the person to the max, by making the person psychotic via anticholinergic toxidrome poisoning. Upside down and backwards, psychological and psychiatric industries, that puts you on Satan’s side, especially since my psychologists and psychiatrists were Holy Spirit blasphemers.

    “Isn’t it better, they might ask, when no one feels blamed? Well, no.” Right again, Ron. As soon as the medical evidence of the sodomy of my child was handed over by some decent and disgusted nurses in my PCP’s office, I was relieved. My guts instincts were right. I was still disgusted by the reality, but at least I now understood why my pastor and his friends were bullying me in a church. “The truth will set you free,” today’s psychiatric industry is set up to cover up the sick reality that we have a psychiatric child abuse cover up problem in this county, with possibly Satanic origins and motives, it seems.

    “Identifying the way others hurt or confused us helps us get a sense we could seek out better relationships in the future, with better outcomes.” And that’s exactly what I did, even before I understood the staggering medical and religious betrayal that I dealt with, I left those psychopathic child abuse covering up doctors and the evil church. I found a church with a pastor who was ethical enough to explain to me that I’d dealt with “the dirty little secret of the two original educated professions,” based upon the actual medical evidence. And eventually I found a doctor who took the “psychiatric” misdiagnosis off my medical records, based upon the medical truth also.

    “What people don’t need is ‘helpers’ persuading them to give up trying to understand themselves or relate to their own experience, and convincing them to see psychiatric frameworks as the only ‘legitimate’ way of comprehending their condition.” No, that is the opposite of helping a person, especially since there is no scientific validity to any of today’s DSM disorders, as Dr. Thomas Insel so ethically confessed.

    “The emphasis is on helping people reduce their expectations, so that they will aim only at having some successes in the lives despite continuing to have a biological mental disorder, and will resign themselves to believing they need drugs to correct their ‘biochemical imbalance.'” No, this NAVIGATE recommendation is a description of how to gas light a person to the max, which is a form of mental abuse, not a form of mental health care.

    Thank you for pointing this out, Ron, I tried to sign the petition, but there was an issue with the website not allowing me to do so, so I’ll try later.

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  7. Thanks for your reply, Matt. I actually read Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker about 6 years ago, so I know ALL about psychiatry’s history leading up to the modern-day mess we’re now in. I’ve been a huge fan of this website for years, but mostly I was a lurker. I want to get more involved, though.

    Part of me believes their lies are true and part of me believes they aren’t true. I take my “medication” nightly and I wonder often when I’ll get tardive dyskinesia and other deadly side effects. Instead of giving me hope, my “medication” is giving me nightmares… while awake.

    I appreciate you reminding me to not believe their lies. My psychiatrist agreed to lower my medication (eventually), but in the meantime I’m doing all I can to improve my mental health. Running, hydrotherapy, eating well, whatever I can to persuade her to lower my dose. If that day ever arrives, I don’t know. I can only hope…

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    • Ok, Victoria I hope you will get more involved here. We need more people to speak out who have alternative views on serious distress and how to help people experiencing it. Maybe you can write an article about your success one day.

      Remember that your psychiatrist should work for you, not the other way around. If they aren’t doing a good job, hopefully you can eventually switch to another psychiatrist or work with another type of helper. In my case, I eventually decided to taper off antipsychotics secretly, alone. It was a risky decision but it worked. I am not recommending this or not recommending it; you have to do your own research and make your decision.

      If you ever need support feel free to email me at mstevenson2010 (at) outlook (dot) com

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  8. Victoria,

    If you decided to secretly go off of your meds, a good site for support is http://survivingantidepressants.org/. Sadly, many people have had to lie to their psychiatrists that they were taking the meds and then used the specific advice from this board to very slowly taper.

    Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not endorsing lying or doing this secretly. Unfortunately, sometimes, there isn’t a choice.

    Best of luck to you.

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  9. AA, I wish I only had depression! Then the choice would be easy. I have a history of non-compliance, so I tried. But I was naive and tapered too quickly, or quit cold turkey (I tried several times) and my symptoms came back every time. That’s why I’m afraid to try again. At first, I only had depression… but then I went on Wellbutrin and that gave me an even worse diagnosis. Thanks for the good luck, I need it… Good luck to all of you, too!

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    • Sorry Victoria, I wasn’t clear. In spite of the title of the site, it helps people get off of all types of meds including Benzos, Antipsychotics and hypnotics.

      I can understand your reluctance in not wanting to try again but you might find if you really went slow with your taper such as 2.5% to 5% of current dose every 4 to 6 weeks (perhaps even slower), you might find more success. Obviously, your mileage will vary.

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  10. Oh I see, I’ll look into it more. I appreciate the resource! I definitely need to think this through more, if I want to pursue being totally off my meds or not. I may want to simply stay at a low dose forever, I’m not sure. Society always freaks out when I voice my choice… I’m grateful for this site because it doesn’t force me to silence myself the way society does; bottling up the truth is bad for mental health too… but the world doesn’t want to hear the truth!

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    • Glad I was able to clarify that. Definitely take your time in deciding what to do and the only choice to make is what is right for you. Don’t be influenced by anyone else no matter what their position is.

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  11. Hope to see more stuff like this. Appreciate a lot what was addressed Ron, as I’ve wondered similar things myself. Here’s something I posted in the forum, would like to hear some your thoughts, as well as anyone else that’s interested.

    It is highly focussed on a treatment center, that I’ve had very negative experiences with, but ideas are similar. Have been blocked on Twitter. Had sort of made a counterpoint to artical they posted, no conditions as far as I know. It wasn’t even disagreeing just adding a point that wasn’t addressed. Interesting how even politicians, often have to at least act like they care what you have to say to a degree. Rep Tim Murphy blocked many of us, the second we said anything remotely critical.

    How do you see this changing? Seems almost impossible, when their above any feedback, that’s not completly in their favor?


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  12. Yes, Psychiatry is a fraud. But Psychotherapy, Recovery, and Healing are also frauds.

    Then entire hoax is based on the idea that you can restore your social and civil standing simply by changing how you think, rather than having to fight real battles with real people.

    Sooner people learn that their therapist is and foe and not a friend, the sooner things will start to change.


    Move from talk to action, please join:

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    • Hi Nomadic,

      I certainly agree with you that just changing how one thinks, without taking action, and dealing with conflicts, is not going to work! But I “think” it is also a mistake to believe that changes in thinking have no role to play. Coming up with new strategies and perspectives about how to handle conflicts is often very helpful! If that makes sense to you, then maybe it also makes sense that at least some talk with others aimed at developing new thoughts or strategies for life etc. might be helpful and not harmful?

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  13. Ron, yes changes in ways of thinking are very important. But the ways these come about are from dealing in conflict, by going after the perpetrators, and going after the institutions like state, church, and family which back them up.

    We come to see things differently from talking with our comrades, those who stand shoulder to shoulder with us as we fight.

    Very different from lying on a therapist’s couch, and maybe celebrating our impotence by punching pillows. The therapist is not a comrade in any sense of the word. He is someone who tries to get people to talk themselves out, so that they will be left feeling that all along it was they who were the source of the problem.

    The therapist is a cancer.


    Move From Talk To Action, Please Join:

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  14. A therapist would not be a therapist unless he believed that the solution to most problems lies inside one’s own head. He has found a denial system, therapy and they myth of emotional healing.

    He has created his own social and civil standing, by abusing others, engaging in what amounts to Second Rape.

    So for those of us who don’t want to make money by abusing others, the way to restore our social and civil standing is to fight back. And the best place to start this, really a mandatory pre-requisite, is to tell off your last Psychotherapist.


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