System Change Webinars: Promoting Radical Change


During the past year, we at MIA have been working toward a series of Mad in America Continuing Education webinars on a vital topic we haven’t focused on enough.  That is how to make changes in real-world programs that reflect the progressive reform agendas that embody a “green” revolution in mental health care.

Starting on September 17, we will be offering a series of monthly webinars that we believe promote this kind of system change.  The webinars will cover 10 topic areas, each one led by nationally and internationally recognized experts in these subjects.  We will be discussing both what’s worked and what we need to learn from what hasn’t worked. We believe that this is an essential course for anyone interested in radically improving mental health care.

Topics will include:

  • true recovery-oriented integrated health care
  • expanding supported employment to every person who wants it
  • counseling in schools to prevent children and adolescents from being prescribed toxic medications
  • making trauma-informed care universal
  • how to make these kinds of changes at local, regional, and state levels
  • using research to promote system change
  • addressing the major challenges in reforming state hospital cultures
  • decreasing the prescription of psychiatric drugs to children and adolescents
  • serving children and their families in community programs rather than institutions
  • seeing that peer supports are implemented in all programs

We are targeting two audiences. This webinar series is for those who are already on board with the need for radical change but who need practical assistance in making these changes happen (instead of just talking about them). It is also for those who may know little about Mad in America, but sense something is wrong with the standard “care” today and thus are open to a paradigm shift in mental health care.

A real paradigm shift will require reaching beyond the choir to those who are beginning to shift their thinking about conventional approaches. We settled upon the theme of system change after some open dialogue with a major national organization that we believe is the most progressive of its kind. We have also promoted course registration with a number of other organizations, including the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors–my old “club” as a state mental health commissioner.

So now my plea to all MIA readers: As we are trying to reach beyond the choir, please help us do that. Speak to leaders of organizations that provide mental health services and encourage them to investigate this course. Tell them we will provide a reduced, group rate for their members who attend. Our goal with this course is to get national organizations to market these webinars to their members and, in turn, help prompt them to question conventional practices such as regularly prescribing psychiatric drugs to children and adolescents.

We hope you see this goal as we do: An issue of paramount importance. Please write to me at [email protected] with any questions you may have about this course, and tell us too of organizations and providers you could help us connect.

We need your help to plant what we hope will be a seed of real change.



  1. My major question, which is one that the administrators of the state hospital where I work will ask me, is the cost for such a program. We don’t have a lot of money to allocate for extra resources. Do you have an estimate at this point in time or is this calculated by how many organizations sign up for the webinars? I am certainly interested by the price would have to be right for it to be used by the hospital.

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      • Agreed. But I’m frantic to find anything that I can take to the administration that just might further the dialogue concerning giving people more freedom over their own lives. My administration is beginning to make some small moves forward in changing the way they think about everything. But the psychiatrists rule generally so I have to have some really good things that will stand up against an all out assault when I take them up front for consideration. This is the only web site that even comes close to giving me some ammunition to use in the fight for human dignity and freedom for the people on the units.

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        • And you have to have people that talk the language of the people I’m trying to convince to do the giving of the information. Radical people get absolutely nowhere in my “hospital” other than to get themselves banned from ever speaking or showing up there. This has happened before with our police force told to look out for these “radicals” coming onto our property. So, you bring in people like Robert, who are credible and logical and rational in appearance and in message. You find a crack and then exploit it and then you drive a wedge into it until you can split off a chunk of this huge edifice that we’re going up against. We have to be sappers in a siege.

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          • Stephen, I wasn’t sure if you wanted more information on the series of webinars but looking at more of your comments, I think you are asking for some beginning points of reform in your state hospital. I actually have something that might be of interest and would want to email it to you because it’s longer than works well in a comments section. If you’re interested, email me at [email protected]

            I think I recognize the dynamics you’re dealing with.

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          • The idea that psychiatry will be or could be gradually abolished via incremental in-house steps is truly bizarre. And if that’s not the goal then what’s the point?

            This is all a diversion from what needs to be done. I think MIA has a lot of nerve trying to peddle such ideological snake oil, considering that its goal is to “improve” psychiatry and not do away with it. “Radical psychiatry” is an oxymoron.

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    • According to the link, it looks like the cost is $150 for the series of monthly seminars, for those who need Continuing Education credits.

      “Speak to leaders of organizations that provide mental health services and encourage them to investigate this course. Tell them we will provide a reduced, group rate for their members who attend.” I’ll pass this on to the head of the ELCA, since Lutheran Social Services likely employs lots of DSM “bible” believers. And I’ve already pointed out to the bishop of the ELCA the fraud of the “mental health” workers, and need to reeducated them.

      But since their recent response to my well researched concerns about the “mental health” industry was appalling. Likely because the ELCA, and perhaps all other religions have apparently been utilizing the “mental health professionals” to cover up their “zipper troubles” for over century. At least according to an ethical pastor of a different religion, who called the ELCA child rape covering up crimes against my family, “the dirty little secret of the two original educated professions.” And covering up child abuse is a systemic problem of both the psychological and psychiatric industries, historically and today.

      My childhood church’s response was to try to “change my mind,” attempt to get me to talk to one of their “therapists,” which I did not choose to do. Then they sicked a fellow artist and banker’s child on me, who was also a psychologist, who handed over an “artist manager” contract. Which was in reality a thievery contract, which I did not sign.

      But my point is, I don’t think Lutheran social services wants to actually get out of the multibillion dollar “mental health” business of turning millions and millions of child abuse survivors, into the “mentally ill” with the psychiatric drugs. (anticholinergic toxidrome)

      Nor do they want to end our society’s apparently huge, related, child sex trafficking problems. Because covering up such societal problems are apparently very profitable businesses for both the fraud based “mental health” industries, and the hospitals owned by the religions.

      But I’ll pass this retraining along to these religious employers of these child rape covering up religions, and their child rape covering up “mental health” workers.

      Will these courses be available online for free for those of us who’d like to see changes made, in a timely manner, who haven’t chosen to profiteer off of covering up child abuse for decades?

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    • Stephen, could you give me an idea of what you’d like to see in your state hospital to move toward a “green” reform or revolution? I’d be happy to think with you about what the budget implications would be. Steve, i agree completely that part of the problem is what you’re pointing to–the waste on ineffective and destructive “treatments” for people who don’t need or want them.

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      • All this is based on the premise that a state institution such as that in which Stephen works has any interest whatever in what people need rather than what is most effective at controlling them. No matter one’s intentions, taking such a premise seriously is not only naive but outright dangerous. Psychiatry is a tool for counterrevolution, nothing more, and always will be.

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      • I want true informed consent. Since they will never give up the drugs what I want to see is a judicious use of the damned things in small amounts until people are more balanced. Then I want to see them tapered off if that’s what the individual wants for themselves. I want people to have real and valid input into their treatment plans. I want to see staff sitting down and listening to people in caring and healing ways. I want to see the reduction of seclusion and restraint. I want a council of people from the units that would meet on a regular basis to discuss developments in the “hospital” and to advise the administration. I want a peer representative to sit on the administrative team at which said peer has a true and equal voice and vote with all the other members.

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        • These suggestions are all based on an assumption that the purpose of a state institution is to help people, when there is no such intent, period.

          If there were true information provided about drugs and psychiatry in general the only people who would choose “treatment” would be those with masochistic or self-destructive mentalities. No way around that basic contradiction.

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    • Well, you have to begin somewhere in the battle and I’m willing to look at everything before I dismiss it. We’re not going to be putting the perpetrators in jail or prison any time soon and in the meantime we just might begin to change the direction of the huge ocean liner by laying some good groundwork and foundations for eventually holding them all accountable. But we are not strong enough to do that right now. That will come later.

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      • we just might begin to change the direction of the huge ocean liner by laying some good groundwork and foundations for eventually holding them all accountable

        First among these is developing an analysis of what psychiatry really is and what its purpose is. It is necessary to start from the understanding that psychiatry is not a branch of medicine but a social control/police agency.

        Further, PD’s constant attacks on intangible and undefinable abstractions such as “therapy” and “recovery” diverts people from the attainment of such an analysis.

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        • Oldhead I strongly disagree with you. Therapy and recovery are what provide the cover for Psychiatry and the DSM.

          The common presumption is that anyone who is not a happy camper obviously needs therapy and recovery, as if these were not just ways of turning things back onto the survivor.

          Overall, if we want to fight the system, we have to find the best attack points. I do not claim to have all the answers here, and lots of people are doing good work. But I still feel that the front best to open is in trying to put some psychotherapists out of business, that being helped along by “Transference Abuse” lawsuits.

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  2. Sorry, MIA is not a radical organization, but a thoroughly liberal one, and should not be presuming to advocate “radical change” (for a fee). Fighting for truly radical change is not a career move for social service professionals or a tactic for getting laid at SJW social events; to quote Che, “revolution is not a garden party; in a revolution one wins or dies.”

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  3. Oldhead, we have to find where the best attack points are. No different from any other Resistance campaign.

    People are doing good stuff, but lots of people are using mental health as a cover, or they are providing cover for mental health.

    I go back to where I started, campaigns to put some psychotherapists out of business. And were it totally up to me, it would focus on Richard Schwartz and his “internal family systems therapy”, as that is the closest to Scientology.

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    • I’m not sure I see the similarities you mention. As I understand it, Scientology is based on the idea that we are spiritual beings being held back by physical and emotional pain, and that the answer is reexperiencing this pain to release it. It seemed very individualistic as I have read about it. That’s my understanding, correct me if I’m wrong about that. I’m unaware of any kind of family approach, and there was no talk about “different internal voices” or a lot of talk about “different parts” of people and so on as Schwartz seems to go on about. I don’t really see what is so similar about them. Do you have any specifics?

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      • “we are spiritual beings being held back by physical and emotional pain, and that the answer is reexperiencing this pain to release it”

        Yes, and you are expected to be doing this, so that you can better comply with the needs of the organization, and better submit to the hierarchy.

        Psychotherapy always becomes like this, but some kinds maybe more than others.

        These internal voices of the Schwartz school, they are just the stuff that Scientology would expect you to somehow process and get rid of.

        Schwartz and Scientology do not understand that your anger, your pain, these are your map to the truth. They do not care about this, they only care about normalization.

        And so in the Scientology old writings there are fierce indictments against Psychanalysis.

        They don’t like any of this stuff, because THEY want to drive it themselves. Scientology is working a very similar con to what Psychtherapy and Psychiatry are.

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          • Getting people to disclose their personal matters. Scientology w/ E-Meter. Psychotherapy wo/ E-Meter. But E-meter was always just a gimmick.

            Presumption is that once you have disclosed everything, then you are a ‘Clear”. Not sure that Psychotherapy has a comparable term, but the idea is that you are moving away from “woundedness” and to “recovery”. But in fact nothing in your objective life has changed, its just that you now have no privacy. You are being talked into compliance with social norms.

            What makes Richard Schwartz even more Scientology like is that they are making all your issues into pathology. These “voices” or family role entities, they are all pathology which you are to be relieved of. Cult of disclosure.

            People who want to live with honor would never go along with Psychotherapy, and especially not with Richard Schwartz

            A project to put some psychotherapists out of business will depend up angry clients. But all things being equal I want to go after Richard Schwartz first.

            So he does his own certifications? So do his people also hold state issued licenses?

            How about Freudians, Jungians, Reichians, and Lacanians, do they hold state issued psychotherapy licenses? Will they likely have malpractice insurance?.

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          • Psychotherapy takes people into a land of denial. It is land of denial because it is a land without honor.

            If you try to restore your honor, you will see than how hard it is. Then and only then do know how much has been taken from you.

            But psychotherapy is based upon the denial centered premise that it is morally superior to relinquish restoring your honor.

            Which would you rather say, “I spent the last 20 years in therapy so that I could surface my repressed pain from childhood abuses.”


            “I used to believe in Psychotherapy, now I see it as a scam, a con game, so for the last 20 years I’ve been putting psychotherapists out of business and educating the public about them” ?????

            Honor is the key! Honor, public honor, is everything.

            Perceval and the Red Knight

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  4. The mainstream “mental health treatment system” is all about providing iatrogenic damage on top of medicalization. “Alternative” services, while setting themselves up as a more radical approach, in many instances, reinforce continuing medicalization with their own brand of competition. If you want to do something radical, the thing to do is to pull out the funding. The thing that keeps the whole absurd system functioning, and spreading like wildfire, is money. Get rid of the legal tender that keeps it going, and you get rid of the problem.

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    Perceval gave the rogue Red Knight one chance to surrender. He didn’t, so Perceval trained hard and the next time they met, Perceval put a javelin though his forehead.

    With the other bandits, he would pin them down, rip off their helmets and put a knife to their throats. They either yielded and let him take them to King Arthur, or he cut their heads off. Most yielded.

    This is the Hero’s Journey. But today? Nothing like this happens because Perceval and all of the other knights are all doing weekly sessions with psychotherapists.

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