Introducing the ‘Parent Resources’ Page

Eric Maisel, PhD
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Hello, everybody:

Let me introduce myself. My name is Eric Maisel and I’m the new editor for parent resources at Mad in America.

I was born in the Bronx in 1947 and grew up in Brooklyn. As a boy I thought I would be a scientist—a physicist or an astronomer—and I attended one of New York City’s math-and-science high schools, Stuyvesant. I graduated high school young and started at Brooklyn College at the age of sixteen. I was too young for college and by the age of eighteen I’d flunked out. I then joined the Army (in 1965). After the Army I attended first Oregon State University and then the University of Oregon, where I got an undergraduate degree in philosophy.

At the age of 24 I started writing. I got a Master’s in creative writing from San Francisco State University, I wrote both fiction and nonfiction, and by the age of 35 had written many books. At that time my wife and I had two small children and we needed more income, so I returned to school and got a second undergraduate degree in psychology and a Master’s in counseling from San Francisco State University. I went on to become a licensed marriage and family therapist in California, later getting a doctorate in counseling psychology.

For the past 35 years I’ve worked first as a family therapist and then as a coach to creative and performing artists. Over the course of my writing career I’ve written more than fifty books and the subjects that have interested me the most are mental health, meaning and life purpose, and creativity and the creative life. I’m also the parent of three and the grandparent of five, and my wife and I will be celebrating forty years together this November.

Today I’m a retired family therapist, an active coach (and trainer of coaches), a workshop leader and lecturer, and I continue to be passionately involved in mental health activism, especially where it comes to children’s mental health. I know how hard it is to be a parent, how much pressure children experience growing up nowadays, and how difficult it is for the average parent to get educated about alternatives to the current, dominant “diagnose a mental disorder and provide a chemical fix” paradigm that is affecting so many millions of parents and children. I hope that this new MIA parent resource section that I’ll be curating will help to educate you and point you in the direction of valuable resources.

No doubt the parent resource section will morph over time, but let me share with you how we are starting out. There will be pieces that I write—they will appear in the left-hand column at the bottom of the resource page. There will be interviews that I conduct with folks who have something to say about children’s mental health—those interviews will appear in the central column at the bottom of the resource page. Then there will pieces written by others (which may have appeared previously on Mad in America, Psychology Today, etc.) that will appear in the right-hand column at the bottom of the resource page. I’ve already posted a great deal of material of potential interest to parents, and I hope to post a lot more as we move forward.

Right now these resources aren’t grouped into sections or categories; no doubt eventually they will be. We are just getting our feet wet here <smile> and we shall see how we ought to proceed as we locate more resources and hear from readers. We actively seek your input and would love to learn about any resource you consider relevant (a blog post, a book, an article, a person, an organization, etc.) and we’d also love to hear about your personal story, if you’d like to share that. Just contact me at emaisel@madinamerica.com and let me know!

You might find some of my books of interest to you. My latest is called Overcoming Your Difficult Family (New World Library, 2017) and describes the skills needed to deal with difficult family situations. A book of mine called The Future of Mental Health (Transaction Publishers, 2016) might also interest you. In it I deconstruct the current “diagnosing and treating mental disorder” paradigm and explain what shifts look to be possible in the direction of a more humane and honest mental health system. Also of interest may be Rethinking Depression, The Van Gogh Blues (of special interest to creatives suffering from existential sadness), Hearing Critical Voices (a collection of interesting interviews with folks in the critical psychology and critical psychiatry camps), and Life Purpose Boot Camp.

The three primary goals of this new parent resource section are: 1) to help parents better understand the current “mental disorder and chemical fix” system and especially its flaws and dangers; 2) to point parents in the direction of alternative help, help that might complement or supplement what they are currently trying or replace what they are currently trying; and 3) to provide a place where the voices of parents, children, critics of the current system, and alternative helpers can be heard. I hope that you’ll join me and I hope that you’ll stay tuned!

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5 COMMENTS

  1. The very best resource may be telling parents where NOT to go.

    The latest ‘put your kid on drugs’ dragnet I saw was those TV ads for Understood.org

    Usual tangled web, Understood.org is partners with the Child Mind Institute and the founder of that is a guy named Koplewicz who is perhaps best known for his public advocacy of increased usage of psychotropic medications for children diagnosed with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and In 2001 Koplewicz co-authored study 329, a drug trial sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), that looked at the safety of the use of psychotropic antidepressant drug Paxil (Paroxetine) and concluded that Paxil “is generally well-tolerated and effective for major depression in adolescents” (p. 762). The report and conclusions were then used by GSK to market the drug to children. In October 2011 the company was sued by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) for false claims and for a fraudulent scheme to deceive and defraud, and charged that the company for touted the study 329 and journal article “that it paid to have drafted and that exaggerated Paxil’s efficacy while downplaying risks identified in one of the trials.” In the summer of 2012 GSK settled the lawsuit with the DOJ for a record $3 billion (and more recently the State of North Carolina for $32 million).

    Took me all of 5 minutes from seeing the TV ad luring parents to visit understood.org to view the page, research and connect a few dots and figure out its goal, get as many kids labeled and drugged as possible.

    Parents have no idea its part of the pharma criminal mafia network. Go parents get advice from partners of the criminals who paid 3 billion dollars in fines and that whole Paxil teen suicide thing. Go do that.

    Understood.org even has a parents forum where the parents parrot back and forth the same advice – “For years the drugs never helped or hurt my child but YOU should keep trying them on yours.” Don’t give up. Never give up.

    Its the same game all these child drugging websites play, they want parents to think their kids are an anomaly when the drugs don’t work , keep looking ‘find the right meds’ most parents don’t bother to notice that in the 1000s of posts by other parents there are basically zero “found the right meds” success stories.

    • Another game they play in the forums of those the pharma front child drugging websites is if you read some of the horror stories and suggest that maybe after years of bad results and the child suffering maybe the parent should quit doing the same thing expecting different results, that’s when they come at you with “We don’t judge here” Little phony shame game they invented in case a parent starts to figure it out to make them keep their mouths shut.

      Oh I am so sorry, I meant to say you should keep drugging your child with the same mixes of crap that has done nothing but make them suffer awful side effects for the last 3 years and expect different results THIS time. Sorry for judging, is that better ?

      But again the sneakiest trick they play on parents is convincing them that their child is the anomaly and the drugs work ‘great’ on everyone else’s.

      And how they make it all seem so normal, like its catsup on hamburger, mustard on hot dogs and lots of drugs on kids who don’t feel like sitting still all day in an institutional setting with a boring ass teacher ‘learning’ how to take the latest government test.

  2. Thank you! I’m part of a Holistic Mental Health Network in Cincinnati where our main challenge is establish “legitimacy” and educate. To just diagnose and medicate is a disservice in mental health, especially with young people. We will be glad to refer to this resource.