Open Dialogue and Intentional Peer Support: Experiences of Parachute NYC Enrollees

Study finds positive experiences with the Parachute program in New York City, which combined Open Dialogue and Intentional Peer Support.


A new study investigates how a combination of Open Dialogue and Intentional Peer Support was experienced by clients and network members receiving services through the Parachute program in New York City. The Parachute program was designed as an alternative to standard psychiatric care that could respond to psychiatric crises with home visits and network meetings. The results of the new study, published the Community Mental Health Journal, show that participants valued the lack of hierarchy in teams, the accessibility of receiving care in their home environment, and had positive experiences with peer specialists.

“For most,” the authors write, “the network meetings appear to have provided a route by which those experiencing distress and their networks could take time to reflect, be heard, and gain a better understanding of what each other were going through.”
“Sunset with a Tandem Parachute landing-3” by Sheba_Also 45,000 photos is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Open Dialogue approach was developed in Finland in the 1980s as a form of psychotherapy and a way to organize mental health systems. The approach, originally designed for persons experiencing psychosis for the first time, relies on network meetings where family members and other natural supports are invited to a joint forum where language can be created to deal with distressing and difficult situations.

Network meetings usually happen in the home environment, and teams are composed of at least two therapists. Observational studies of the approach show that, in Wester Lapland, Finland, around 80% of persons experiencing a first episode psychosis recovered after receiving Open Dialogue.

The research conducted by the developing team in Finland has attracted international attention for their remarkable outcomes. Since then, several countries have adapted and implemented the Open Dialogue approach in different ways.

Parachute NYC was launched in 2012 to provide a “soft landing” for persons experiencing a psychiatric crisis. The program was funded through a federal grant from the Centers of Medicaid and Medicare Services and provided services through mobile teams and respite centers. Mental health professionals worked alongside peer specialists to offer network meetings to individuals and their natural supports who were 16 years of age or older, had received a diagnosis of a severe mental illness, and had at least one network member who agreed to participate in meetings.

All staff were trained in both Open Dialogue and Intentional Peer Support. Intentional Peer Support is an approach developed by and for peers and focuses on relationships and mutuality to foster hope and partnerships during times of crisis. The combination of Open Dialogue and peer support had never been attempted before Parachute. However, it is now being tested in a large randomized clinical trial in the UK.

Network meetings included mental health professionals and a peer specialist. The needs of the persons served determined the frequency, format, and content of the meetings. The sessions invited multiple perspectives in a non-hierarchical way to ensure that all voices were heard and dissonance respected.

Professionals engaged in the technique of reflection, where they discussed concerns among each other while the network listened and was invited to comment, increasing transparency in decision-making processes. Use of medication and inpatient treatment were openly discussed, hospitalization was seen as a last resort, and the respite centers were utilized when needed.

While there is an increasing number of Open Dialogue-informed programs being developed in the United States and other countries, research into how these programs can benefit individuals is still lacking. Considered by many to be an approach aligned to the human rights paradigm in mental health, the Open Dialogue approach was largely successful in Finland in reducing hospitalization, avoiding over-medicalization, and fostering recovery.

This study offers insight into how participants of Parachute experienced the program and is an essential contribution to the literature to support further development of Open Dialogue-informed programs.

The study described the experience of Parachute enrollees and their networks through qualitative interviews. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed, and researchers explored the themes that emerged from the data. Researchers sought to explore the following questions with participants:

  • How the features of Parachute were received by participants, such as home visits and having a peer specialist present;
  • How care received through Parachute was experienced compared to previous treatment experiences;
  • How Parachute facilitated or did not facilitate changes in perceptions of self and relationships. Eighteen individuals were interviewed.

Their results show that participants had positive experiences with the network meetings and the availability of the Parachute team. Comparing the experience of Parachute with hospitalization, participants stated that home-based care was less intimidating, in the words of one participant:

“It was important to do it [hold network meetings] in a setting that was like a safe place for us, intimate, you know–home.”

The study reports participants experiencing the presence of peer specialists in network meetings as generally positive. Participants noted that the presence of a person with lived-experience offered a unique perspective to the treatment. Additionally, having more than one therapist in the room was welcomed by participants as this quote illustrates:

“stronger support…two brains thinking at the same time.”

Finally, participants acknowledged how network meetings changed the way they saw themselves, contributing to new ways of understanding experiences and developing coping mechanisms. Including the natural supports of persons at the center of concern was described as having a ripple that benefited the entire network. Some participants felt that there was a lack of structure in the meetings, and there was some concern related to how the medication was handled by the teams.

The authors concluded that overall, the Parachute program was well received and positively viewed by participants with instances of discomfort related to the novelty of the approach compared to more traditional treatment modalities – such as meetings where no one plays the expert role and discussions about medication not necessarily taking center stage.

This study provides evidence that the combination of Open Dialogue and Intentional Peer Support was well received by Parachute participants. More importantly, it shows that a psychiatric crisis can be dealt with in a community setting by mobilizing natural supports and creating a safe environment for all.

In contrast with current approaches to crises that involve the police, involuntary treatment, hospitalizations, and rely mostly on medications, the Parachute program offered an alternative that may be more aligned with the needs and wishes of persons experiencing extreme states and their families. The current research in the mental health field is still primarily focused on randomized clinical trials as the gold standard for high-quality evidence. However, qualitative studies like this show that in-depth explorations of individual experiences offer great insight about treatment that goes well beyond the usual outcomes defined by professionals and researchers.

There has been an ongoing debate in the field as to the quality of the evidence to support the implementation and expansion of Open Dialogue-informed programs. While one randomized clinical trial is underway in the UK, qualitative studies such as this are well suited to investigate in depth how participants experience different types of treatments in ways that RCTs can’t possibly capture. This points to a need to re-examine the dominance of the medical model in research in mental health and contributes to a rich body of evidence that values people’s experiences and helps close the gap between research and real life.



Wusinich, C., Lindy, D. C., Russell, D., Pessin, N., & Friesen, P. (2020). Experiences of Parachute NYC: An Integration of Open Dialogue and Intentional Peer Support. Community mental health journal, 1-11. (Link)


  1. “Parachute NYC was launched in 2012 to provide a “soft landing” for persons experiencing a psychiatric crisis.”


    relating to mental illness or its treatment.
    “a psychiatric disorder”
    emotional · spiritual · inner · cognitive · psychological · intellectual · mental · psychogenic · psychical · mindly · phrenic

    I am glad to hear that it had a positive side.
    I find with original recipes, if one tries to copy them, they never are identical outcomes. I find that extremely interesting. Even though I follow a recipe EXACTLY, and have observed technique, my result does not taste the same, look the same.
    Simple things, the strength of hand in kneading, the manipulation of dough, the movement of beaters and spoons, the slight temperature variations can alter a recipe so much that the creator of the recipe finds it not the same at all, even though I’m happy with it, even though I might even like my version better.

    And homemade cakes always turn out so much better than mass produced. Even food can so quickly have that clinical/bakery taste.

    I am very open when it comes to food, and have always marveled at an apple pie, each one delicious, yet none exactly the same. A homemade borscht, each gramma makes the best.

    Report comment

  2. Open Dialogue makes a lot more sense than the current “medical model,” where the psychologists are permitted to secretly run off like manic lunatics to get lies and gossip from pedophiles. Then lie through their teeth repeatedly to the client, delude and defame her to her own family, misdiagnose the client, and neurotoxic poison the client. All so psychologists and psychiatrists can profiteer off of covering up child abuse for the religions – while aiding, abetting, and empowering the child molesters – on a massive societal scale.

    Isn’t it sick that over 80% of the “mental health” workers’ clients are misdiagnosed child abuse survivors? Does Open Dialogue work for child abuse survivors, since that’s the majority of the “mental health” industries’ clients? I don’t know. Although, if a family member was involved, I’d think likely not.

    But all this child abuse covering up is by DSM design. The “mental health” workers have to misdiagnose child abuse survivors, and their concerned family members, if they want to get paid, and they all want to get paid, since they can’t bill to ever help any child abuse survivor.

    And all of this systemic “mental health” industry child abuse covering up, and pedophile aiding, abetting, and empowering, is destroying America from within.

    Oh, and a new documentary that I saw just yesterday.

    Definitely, having an Open Dialogue, where the client is actually listened to, makes a lot more sense than having the “mental health” workers continue – in private – to ignore, then declare peoples’ entire lives to be “credible fictional” stories. Since such psychiatric and psychological assumptions just made an ass out of me, and the stupid “mental health” workers.

    And just an FYI to the “mental health” workers who believe that neurotoxins “cure” concerns about child abuse, once the medical evidence of such is handed over. They do not. But child abuse survivors can heal, if they are kept away from the “mental health” workers, who want to neurotoxic poison them. Out of the darkness, into the light, is a good idea. “The truth shall set you free.”

    But we should find someone other than the systemic, child abuse covering up professions of psychology and psychiatry, and their DSM deluded “mental health” and social worker minion, to help child abuse survivors. Since most child abuse survivors probably don’t have a mom that would sacrifice her own life and reputation, and research into the “mental health” field, so she is knowledgable enough about the child abuse covering up industries, to protect her child from those who want to destroy his entire life.

    And who knew? What kind of sick country has a multibillion dollar, bunch of scientifically “invalid,” primarily child abuse covering up, “bullshit” “mental health” and “social worker” industries? Oh, it’s all of Western civilization, how shameful. Pardon my disgust.

    I do hope Open Dialogue will be a better system, than the current scientific fraud based DSM based system. But it won’t be one, unless the “mental health” and social worker industries start admitting child abuse happens, rather than merely profiteering off of denying and covering up this societal problem, after promising to first and foremost “do no harm,” and being mandatory reporters. Can anyone say we’ve found the hypocrites, about whom Dante forewarned us?

    Report comment

    • I know that in my situation Someone Else I was, as I have so often stated on this site, tortured and kidnapped (i’ve got the proof and have offered it but it seems absolutely no one wishes to look) But here’s the point regarding Open Dialogue.

      I get tortured and kidnapped by the Community Nurse. Okay I make application to the FOI officer who looks and then engages in a criminal conspiracy with my wife to have me made into a “patient” post hoc because she recognises that I was tortured and kidnapped. She runs me round in circles making appeal after appeal and she is ensuring these go nowhere while they sort out a ‘referral’ to make me a “patient” and then they can do what they like, the conspiring becomes lawful at that point and a cover up is easy. I’m certain you know how that works.

      Point being that at this time my wife starts looking at the harm they are doing to me and well, it’s positively vicious and cruel (and they aren’t wearing the brunt of my anger over the vicious gaslighting). So My wife decides to tell me what they have been doing, so now I have a Community Nurse who is torturing and kidnapping for the hospital by lying to police and obtaining false referrals, AND an FOI officer who knows about these crimes but has been conspiring to pervert the course of justice with my wife who has been unable to have me get a referral to a psychologist to have me ‘treated’ against my will for being angry about torture, kidnapping and conspiring to pervert. (just an aside, the psychologist is the one who provided details from sealed court documents to the hospital, thus breaching the Privacy Act and the law. The conditions required to release that information were not met, and were done knowing I would object to it happening. And I had paid lawyers a lot of money to ensure that these Court documents were never released to anyone. Not that the rules apply to people who kill anyone who complains, that’d be silly. NEVER assume confidentiality, they are backstabbers)

      Enter the Operations Manager who when I point out to her what has occurred (and let me say she already knew before speaking to me) and that they have been attempting to pervert the course of justice (a mandatory prison term attached) tells me that she will fuking destroy me. So they plan to have me overdosed in the Emergency Dept and of course as I’ve pointed out my wife’s doctor friend was waiting in the next cubicle and interrupted the killing.

      So I guess in my wife’s defense she did want to engage in open dialogue but that would have meant the hospital admitting to their criminal conduct and well, they have been given authority from the Chief Psychiatrist and Minister to murder anyone who is wandering around with proof of their crimes. I mean, do your best to resolve it but …. when you have the stomach for it, have police drop them at the ED and knock em, simple. In fact my wife did tell me that the doctor who interrupted the killing was going to speak to me, but decided to use me without my consent to catch these killers operating in our hospitals (is it killing if the person has the status of “patient”, or are they really listed as ‘unintended negative outcomes’ by the Coroner? Keeping ones mouth shut means police can’t prove intent and thus no crime))

      The thing about Open Dialogue is that it might be good in certain circumstances but totally ineffective when there is a need to torture and kidnap. This needs to be done via closed doors and conspiracy. Documents need to be retrieved by police and they need to neglect their duty and provide assistance to the criminals in their State sanctioned killings. Someone might start complaining and they need to be shut down quickly via police threats to harm their families (ie my grand children)

      And as I have said I have the proof but …..not a soul here ever asked to have a look, despite the claims they’re here to reform the ‘system’. I’d be trying my best to clean out these killers first if I were wanting to bring about change. Of course if your aim is to increase the flavours of jelly available to ‘clients’ in hospitals then i’m sure your activism will yield results some time soon. How proud they will be with their ‘reforms’.

      I find it particularly strange that even our Attorney General can not point me to the authorities that deal with complaints regarding torture (and of course the attempt to kill me is refoulment). Why would they need an authority when there are zero complaints that get past the needle in the Emergency Dept?

      How does one apply for asylum? Beacuse they are maintaining the lies created by the fraudulent documents sent to the Mental Health Law Centre. (Sure no one wants to look? Obviously lawyers can’t, they will be subjected to threats and intimidation by police but …..Not really a lot to look at, documents showing kidnapping/torture removed, others inserted to create false beliefs that I was “mental patient” at this hospital for 10 years. Simple little trick really)

      Open Dialogue? Sure, go ahead and slander me, call me names …. whatever. It is not related to the facts that I was tortured, kidnapped and when I complained they attempted to murder me. I’m sure a ‘medical person’ would be aware that what i’m saying is possible. But lets not check and keep slandering him and threatening his family. Maybe these ‘reformists’ are okay with this being done to “patients” and so won’t stand up and say its wrong when done to a “citizen”? Maybe the Closed Dialogue will result in his death. Something I have no doubt was being encouraged by some (and with the assistance of my wife nearly became a reality). Spiked with Benzos, why not Arsenic? I’m sure the Coroner would look the other way to assist in cover ups, why not when a Cabinet Minister is.

      Report comment

  3. Verbose article with no new facts or evidence except the one single source, which this whole website is based on. Tragedy.

    People stick to their ideology on this site and don’t seem to use critical analysis.

    You’re selling hope without factoring in the consequence ye are promoting by making people come off their medication and relapse into psychosis. I was incarcerated for two years for a stabbing I did while psychotic and under the supervision of Open Dialogue.

    Ye should be promoting genetic engineering instead, as that’s what schizophrenia is – a genetic defect.

    Report comment

    • If schizophrenia is a “genetic defect,” why have 50 years of genetic research fail to identify any genetic cause? Why are the correlations with childhood adversity in the 80% + range while the best specific genetic correlations are in the single digits?

      Report comment

      • They only decoded the genome in 2003 at a cost of 3 billion US dollars. Today you can get it done for free. An exponential advancement. The problem with figuring out which genes map with schizophrenia is that the genes responsible for schizophrenia mostly lie in the brain AND there’s different types of schizophrenia. But all of this is beginning to be uncovered now. Once they map out each person’s genome and pin point which genes are responsible for schizophrenia this site will thankfully fall into irrevalence

        There will be a complete cure for all types of genetic defect in under 10 years due to the exponential advancement in genetic engineering by CRISPR.

        Report comment

      • Ps

        Before I started using critical analysis I avidly read books promoted from this site. One of them claimed that schizophrenia was due to repressed homosexual urges.

        By the way, the 80% correlation to childhood adversity and schizophrenia is misrepresentation. Schizophrenia is like shyness in a way. There are genetic variants. Some schizophrenics can’t handle much adversity or they’ll relapse. Poorer people have more challenging life so are mostly prone to schizophrenia. Basically, there’s a correlation but no causation.

        Report comment

        • You miss my point, in a couple of ways. First off, there is no “genetic variant” that “causes” schizophrenia. I ask you for evidence of this and you have not presented any, so it is just as right to say “there’s a correlation but no causation” when referring to genetic claims as well. Which leads to the second point, that the correlation (which I called a correlation, not a causation, if you will review my post) is about 10 or more times higher for childhood adversity than it is for genetic markers of any type. And the relationship is dose dependent. And even the research for markers has to use something like 100 potential markers to get anything like 5-10% correlations. There is no one gene that contributes more than a tiny fraction of that, even in the most optimistic assessments that have been done. So yes, it’s ALL correlations, Martin, including the overblown claims of “heritability.” Here is just one link, found in seconds on google:

          “Those that were severely traumatised as children were at a greater risk, in some cases up to 50 times increased risk, than those who experienced trauma to a lesser extent.”

          RE: multiple casues of “schizophrenia”

          The real problem, of course, is that “schizophrenia” itself is just a name given to a certain set of behaviors or experiences, and these “criteria” may exist in people who have little to nothing in common, genetically OR environmentally. The idea that behaving in a similar way means that people have the same problem and need the same “treatment” is scientifically nonsensical. It’s quite possible that SOME people who meet the criteria for “schizophrenia” have something genetically wrong with them, but to suggest that “schizophrenia” is caused by genes or by any one specific thing is absolutely not supported by science, whatever your personal feelings may be on the matter.

          Report comment

          • You can’t seem to grasp what you write, Steve McCrea.

            We’re talking about curing schizophrenia here.

            Childhood adversity CORRELATES with schizophrenia. It’s practically impossible to implement a plan to eradicate it.

            Whereas, genetic engineering will CURE schizophrenia.

            As for genetic variance being a fallacy…. Pfff

            One third of schizophrenics will need medication until a cure comes along.
            The next third will relapse a few times but will ultimately be able to come off their meds.
            And final third will have one psychotic episode and will be ok after that.
            This is established fact that has been told to me by various psychiatrist.


            Report comment

          • PS

            About one percent of every country are schizophrenics. That includes war torn countries. If it was solely due to adversity those war torn countries would see orders of magnitude of higher numbers of schizophrenia, but it isn’t the case.

            Report comment

          • PSS

            I reread your post. It’s clear you don’t understand what the genome is. The ability of software to operate a computer is apt analogy. The genome is the software that operates the function of a human. A fault in genes could have devastating consequences

            Report comment

          • I don’t agree at all. From Wikipedia:

            “In the fields of molecular biology and genetics, a genome is the genetic material of an organism. It consists of DNA (or RNA in RNA viruses). The genome includes both the genes (the coding regions) and the noncoding DNA, as well as mitochondrial DNA and chloroplast DNA.”

            Your statement is the same as saying that a computer program is the same as the computer hardware. The genes are hardware. They contain instructions, which is programming of a sort, sort of like the “operating system,” but the incredible complexity of human behavior is no more explainable by the genome than a computer’s behavior is explainable by the operating system.

            Not to mention, the computer has an OPERATOR as well as a program and hardware. I challenge you to provide a genetic explanation for who/what is operating the brain?

            Report comment

          • You make my point for me. If we don’t know how the brain works, then we can’t say that “genes cause schizophrenia,” at least not if we are being scientific. All we can say is that “genes create the brain.” We’re on safe ground there. See my other post for the requirements of a real “genetic disorder.” Being related to the brain that is created by genes doesn’t qualify as proof. Makes as much sense to say that running is genetically caused, since the leg muscles are created by genes. It is, indeed, a nonsensical argument.

            I am guessing that you are what is called a “reductive materialist.” Do you believe that everything that happens must be directly explainable or measurable in terms of physical reality? And therefore that the mind must be created and run by the brain, and therefore every manifestation of the mind must be caused by the brain?

            Report comment

          • I read the entire article. All it says is that gene expression is altered over time and that these alterations can be tracked. It does NOT place responsibility for “schizophrenia” or any other “mental disorder” in the genes. It talks about an identified “risk group” of genes, providing no information as to what level of risk is entailed by these genes, nor any correlations to a particular “disorder”. The total effect of these genes is not calculated or estimated. The article clearly mentions methylation, the core of “epigenetics,” as a big factor that they will be looking at. All indications I’ve read are that epigentics is primarily and deeply affected by the environment.

            So the article you provide provides no evidence of a genetic origin of any “mental disorder,” and allows for a huge possibility of variation of outcome due to environment. The presence of “risk genes” is mentioned in passing, but risk is not causation, as I’m sure you are aware. I’d be really interested in hearing a comparison of the level of risk attributed to “risk genes” as compared to the level of risk attributable to childhood adverse events. I feel quite certain that the “risk” from environmental abuse is much higher than that from any set of “risk genes.” But your article doesn’t bother to do that comparison. It is an interesting and telling fact that the article makes no mention of non-genetic risk factors, and seems bent on finding a genetic explanation, even when such an explanation is not really viable under the huge variation of environmental factors impacting these “risk genes” that are postulated to contribute to these “disorders.”

            It is also worth noting that the “risk gene” group is correlated with more than one “disorder”. A truly causal gene would be associated ALWAYS with the disorder in question. For instance, children with the Down Syndrome genes will ALL have Down Syndrome. That’s a genetic disorder. Having correlations with “risk genes” does not make any kind of argument for a “genetic disorder.” The “risk genes” could be associated with other survival traits that are essential to the species. To use the obvious example, even if they found a gene which made kids more active and intense than average, and even if that gene did so 100% of the time (which by the way has never been shown to be the case, nor have even “risk genes” been identified), it would not prove that “ADHD” is a “gene disorder,” because the genes convey a general personality tendency that could be positive or negative or neutral depending on the environment.

            You are entitled to believe what you want, but I’m pretty well versed in the research and am quite certain that there is no proof that “schizophrenia” is even a distinct an definable entity, let alone a “genetic disorder.” If you claim it is such, you’ll have to come up with a lot more convincing article than that one to sway my opinion. Mind you, I can be swayed with adequate research, but this doesn’t do it for me. I certainly don’t deny that genes can be involved in mental/emotional states, but “can be” is a pretty broad statement, while claiming that a specific “disorder” IS genetic requires a lot of proof to establish.

            Report comment

          • But surely Steve if there are more black men with it (which the science supports) then it has to be found in the gene for the color of your skin right?

            Must admit it’s a highly effective tool to slander people with.

            Not too dissimilar to being called “Juden” in National Socialist Germany. Try convincing them that it wasn’t genetic.

            In fact, given that the first into the showers were the “schizophrenics” how come there were actually MORE of them after the war? (suggesting a trauma/environments cause) If it was genetic and the gene pool was erased from the herd, then there would be at least less right? If not none.

            Report comment

          • Just the kind of “reasoning” that got us where we are. There were days in the not too distant past when wanting to escape enslavement was considered a “disorder.” Most of the victims of this “disorder” happened to be black. Must be genetic, eh?

            Report comment

          • On the issue of war torn countries and rates of schizophrenia. Ever see a psychiatrist or psychologist in contact zones? Not the sort of place they are providing services i’m afraid.

            In fact I’d like to see them out dishing out diagnoses there because what they call being psychotic is about all that keeps one alive at times. “i’m sorry Sargent I’m going to have to intervene and refer you for assessment. I think that when you stated to your superior officer “you want me to drop this c*&^t?” and shot a civilian at point blank range while he was defending himself with his prayer beads, you were displaying symptoms of psychosis”.

            see around 35.00 mins. (trigger alert civilian being executed)


            Situational (Mischel) not Personal (Allport).

            Report comment

          • You claim that immigrants have higher number of schizophrenics, that cause they tend to be poorer than upper class, so have harder life. The harder the life, the more likely it will cause schizophrenia. It really is that simple.

            It’s clear you still don’t know the function of the genome, even after you qouted wiki. The genome is like the software that directs a computer/human, genes are part of the software. The anology really is that simple.


            Tens of thousands of psychiatrist, genetic professors claim schizophrenia is genetic.

            Read this if you don’t believe me:

            I can publish many, many other publications like that one

            Strange, eh? Only one source this site provides – the holy grail, Open Dialogue – which is the foundation of this whole site, but yet they dodge the publication of hundreds of the latest scientific papers.

            I like to let everyone know that you should do your due diligence before believing what you read. I believed in the ‘ethos’ of this site which resulted in me almost killing someone and very close to committing sucide.

            Report comment

          • From your article: “Rather, researchers discovered that risk for psychiatric illnesses tends to be “highly polygenic.” This means that many combinations of DNA variations— cumulatively occurring in as many as 1,000 of our 21,000 genes—contribute to risk, when viewed at the level of the entire human population.

            In light of this discovery, the question for an individual becomes: Which of these many variations, if any, do I carry in my own genome? And how, if at all, might the variations that I have in my genome affect my mental health and that of my children and grandchildren? Answers to these questions involve understanding what “risk” means in the genomic context.”

            Note that this research is a) in the earliest phases and b) involves “risk variations.” This does NOT represent the genetics of a “genetic disease.” A genetic disease is something like Down Syndrome or Cystic Fibrosis or Huntington’s. These diseases involve a clearly identifiable gene which leads unerringly to the same result in every single case.

            So far, as have already mentioned, such research has led to groups of often hundreds of genes which are estimated to contribute very small proportions of the “risk.” How that risk is assessed remains unclear to me, but even the most optimistic efforts have never shown even a 10% contribution, meaning that even if we take all this at face value, 90% of “schizophrenia” is environmentally mediated. In fact, the very use of the concept of “risk genes” acknowledges that environmental insult is REQUIRED to create the syndrome in question.”

            Your own first comment, suggesting that immigrants have higher rates of “schizophrenia” due to having harder lives due to poverty, is an acknowledgement that “schizophrenia” is NOT a “gene disorder” and is highly affected by environmental situations. If it were purely genetic in origin, it would not matter what kind of environment was involved. Poor kids with the Down Syndrome genes don’t suffer more from Down Syndrome than rich kids with the genes. Every kid who has it, gets it. No kid who doesn’t have it gets Down Syndrome, no matter how s/he is treated.

            And for the record, poverty is not the risk factor for “schizophrenia.” It is being an IMMIGRANT that specifically confers the risk. And there is no gene for immigration.

            As for the genome, I believe the analogy to an “operating system” that I offer is a much more appropriate one. The most superficial observation of human beings makes it very clear that most of our “programming” comes not from our genes, but from the decisions and priorities and education and training and experiences we have after birth. Ants’ “programming” is all in their genes. We have the obvious ability to reprogram ourselves (or to be reprogrammed) based on experience. Which would include adapting to childhood adversity by various means. Not suggesting that such adaptations are not INFLUENCED by our genes, but we are not pre-programmed in our responses in the way an ant or even a mouse might be.

            Of course, the fact that a bunch of psychiatrists agree on something adds not one iota of confidence that it is true. Psychiatrists agreed that Benzedrine (and later Valium) was not addictive, that Thalidomide was safe, that Haldol and Thorazine did NOT cause Tardive Dyskinesia, that antidepressants did NOT increase suicidality (some are still denying this), that antidepressants do NOT create withdrawal symptoms, and on and on. Psychiatrists still deny the decades of research that show stimulants do not lead to any improvement in long-term outcomes, nor that “unmedicated” people with “psychosis” more often than not do BETTER when they are not on long-term antipsychotic drugs. Again, this is NOT to say that some people don’t find these drugs helpful in their observation, just that the idea that EVERYONE who has any kind of psychotic episode MUST be put on antipsychotics for life. You yourself acknowledged earlier that this is true, yet the majority of psychiatrists still insist that every psychotic patient be immediately and permanently put onto antipsychotics. So the agreement of psychiatrists as a group means very little in terms of what is and is not true. Science should be our guide, not “resort to authority” arguments that “most psychiatrists say it’s true, so we should believe it.”

            I really am sorry that you feel you were misled and it sounds like you had an awful outcome! I also want to acknowledge and validate your experience. I certainly agree that all people should vet any and all concepts claiming to “help” people with “mental illnesses.” The fact of the matter is, nobody really knows what a human mind IS let alone how it works and what helps when it doesn’t seem to be working well. It is the arrogance of psychiatrists insisting that they KNOW things when they really don’t that rankles. I have no answers, either, but trusting psychiatrists is a risky business as well, as you should be able to observe by reading the stories on this site. You have your reality, but other people have different experiences, as I’m sure you can see if you have any empathy at all for the many people on this site who have experienced harm at the hands of the “mental health” system.

            Report comment

          • “I believed in the ‘ethos’ of this site which resulted in me almost killing someone and very close to committing suicide.”

            External attribution, and yet the claim is that this ‘illness’ is genetic? Surely if the ‘illness’ were genetic, then your genes made you do it?

            Report comment

          • I’m going to keep this short and sweet because I’m typing from my smartphone.

            poverty and the perception of poverty being linked to mental health problems, here’s the evidence:

            Guess you were wrong about that?

            I never claimed that environmental factors don’t play a role in schizophrenia.

            My position is genes and environmental factors cause schizophrenia. Environmental factors vary widely

            Your position was childhood adversity cause schizophrenia and genes have no role.

            You can’t seem to grasp or be able to comprehend that genes and the environment play a role in schizophrenia. Moreover, there’s plenty of contradictions and wild claims in your personal analysis that it’s hard to believe you consider yourself an expert on the subject.


            Claiming that some psychiatrist did wrong things in the past so shouldn’t be trusted in the present or future is simply false analogy fallacy.

            If MadInAmerica really cared about the mentally ill they would provide a balance coverage instead of promoting a false ideology…

            Report comment

          • I never said that genes play no role in schizophrenia. I said that it is not a “genetic disorder” like Down Syndrome or Cystic Fibrosis. And I said that there are small correlations with certain genetic patterns, but that the correlation with childhood adversity is much higher than any genetic correlation. It sounds like we are in essential agreement that genes and environment play a role. I ask that you be more cautious not to read things into what I’m saying that I didn’t actually say.

            Similarly, I didn’t say that psychiatrists shouldn’t be trusted in the present or future because they were dishonest or misinformed in the past, though I think it would be a very reasonable thing to say. (How do YOU decide if someone can be trusted? Don’t you decide based on how they acted in the past?) What I said was that psychiatrists agreeing about something is irrelevant scientifically. I pointed out that psychiatrists have agreed almost to a man/woman about some “facts” in the past and right on up into the present which are now known to be false. This simply confirms that agreement among psychiatrists does not equate to scientific reality. I am certain the same observation can be made in almost any field of study we could mention. Science does not operate by expert consensus. It operates by experimentation and study and the ruthless questioning and retesting of any theory proposed to be true. It is also important to remember that scientifically speaking, any claim is assumed to be false until proven true, so the lack of evidence for something like a genetic basis for schizophrenia means that from a scientific viewpoint, it is not a valid theory.

            Bottom line, we both agree that both genes and environment are most likely involved in what is called “schizophrenia.” So what are we arguing about?

            Report comment

          • I think you’re now trying to circumvent from what you said earlier.

            It is not clear at all what you believe in.

            I’m going to leave it at that now, but I will be around in the comment section for future articles.

            Report comment

          • I suggest you re-read what I stated in my earlier comments. I have never been accused of inconsistency.

            I think you’re right, we’ve aired this out as much as we can air it. We may just need to agree to disagree on the extent to which genes vs. environment are responsible for these phenomena. Since the scientists can’t prove what is going on one way or the other, I think we’re on solid ground saying that no one can say for certain at this point what causes these phenomena to occur.

            Report comment

      • Well geez, We have only established that defect exists in certain behaviour and symptoms.
        The behaviours of opening peoples brains and experimenting with it is not considered a defect.
        The invention of chemicals that create docile injured lobotomized people is not considered a defect.
        The continuation of inequality is not considered a defect.

        Why does only one small group or large group get to say what defect really is.

        Report comment

    • You do not have a defective gene. It would be detrimental to society in years to come to mess in areas that are being messed with, based on false premises to begin with. And they know and understand this. They are petrified what might happen to their own genes down the line.
      Terrified of extinction or crazy diseases.

      It’s not going anywhere. They have no clue “what” you have, or “why”. And thus, you can call “it” whatever you like.

      So what should we do about the genetics responsible for viruses? Wars? Witch burnings? Lies? Propaganda? slavery? Indigenous rape? Bullying? Sadness? Loneliness? fears?

      Report comment

      • I’ve read several books on genetic engineering: regenesis, a crack in creation and many others.

        I’m VERY excited about genetic engineering.

        Genetic engineering will be as ubiquitous as smartphone are now due to exponential progress. It will be seen as criminal preventing people to enhance their lifespan, memory, cognitive abilities, and cure genetic defective mutations.

        Report comment

        • I can hardly wait.
          Genetic engineering.
          At least the chatter about genetics keeps the idea of “MI” alive, that IS it’s purpose.
          Where is the cure for cancer? They can’t even give you a decent calm, dignified, non suffering death in the face of horrible illness.
          In fact, after ALL this great science, they got yer morphine, which causes awful delusions, delirium, fear.
          Oh yes, then they made fentanyl and a few others. They can’t work out the effects, after all these years.
          So because we fail so miserably, let’s dabble in genetics, it will sound like real science to most and keep alive the idea that we are onto something.

          AND let’s say you are correct, what will the treatment look like? Like chemotherapy? Like morphine?
          Like not giving the people with your “illness” the same rights as others?
          Will it result in abortions based on genes?

          Report comment

        • What variables are responsible for anyone’s experience, are possibly in the millions. No one gene will be responsible for one experience.
          “gene exploration” would be laughable if not so sad of what it will not prove, but keeps ancient paranoid ideas and beliefs alive. Many will continue to get hurt, because they really need to look for all the “genes”, for ALL the DSM disorders, and really, to be blunt, for each “normal behaviour”. That is it isn’t it. So hard to find anyone normal and even if you did, his “genes” are not the solitary thing to his experiences.
          Perhaps some are a Bio-Bio illness.
          The chatter about it is nothing more than the glue.
          BUT, I will never deny that many people experience extreme states of distress.

          Report comment

  4. Martin84

    I attempted to Kill myself several times while on ‘Medication’, but never before starting ‘Medication’, or after successfully stopping ‘Medication’.

    I recovered as a result of stopping ‘Medication’, but if I wasn’t able to do this successfully (as I initially wasn’t), I would still be judged to be ‘Chronically Schizophrenic’ (…or Dead).

    But even after carefully stopping strong ‘medications’ I still suffered from a ‘Long-Term High Anxiety’ condition that I had never suffered from prior to starting ‘medication’.

    Thankfully, I learnt how to survive this terrible condition in a somewhat ‘similar manner’ to what Eckart Tolle eloquently describes, in ‘The Power of Now’.

    Report comment

      • No one is saying that medication/drugs can’t be beneficial. But the fact that you find them beneficial does not imply that you are being “treated” for a “disorder.” It just means that you find them beneficial. Lots of people do, but lots of other people don’t. Is that not a fact you have to consider in your analysis? What about the “schizophrenics” (who are many) whose lives are not improved or are made worse by these same drugs?

        Report comment

          • Well, individuals certainly report perceiving them as beneficial. But then, many people perceive a snort of Johnny Walker Red or a couple of beers after work as beneficial, too. Doesn’t make beer a “treatment” for “Work-Related Stress Disorder.”

            Apparently, hospitals are reporting a dramatic decrease in admissions for heart problems and other acute incidents. Is it possible that staying home from work and not having to commute in insane traffic to keep a ridiculous schedule may be beneficial to one’s health? Or perhaps fewer visits to the local MD may result in fewer incidents of iatrogenic heart attacks?

            Report comment

          • Have you any evidence to back up the first paragraph comment. Or we yet again suppose to take your word for it? Because as far as I’m aware antipsychotic medication as helped millions of people including me…

            Report comment


    What kind of pets do psychiatrists get, if they get a pet at all?
    I’m thinking it would be from a breeder and as a pup, and most likely a labradoodle or golden retriever. I was a “rescuer” or should I say I purchased used pets.
    They came with their unique set of “genetic defects”. Two of them were difficult to “control”, and had an ability to become defensive in certain circumstances.
    Why does the police dept usually get Shepherds? Many dogs are of high intelligence. And not every shepherd has the ability to become a “sensible” guard dog. Through training, some get ruined.
    It still points to nothing and no, the “ruined” dog does not have a defective gene that caused him to get “ruined.” The “ruined” dog most likely was more geared to becoming a pet only.
    It could just as easily be that one pup had a different bed to sleep in, or an easier time getting at the mother dog’s teats, or a different “handler”, or perhaps the handler had a bad day.

    Report comment

    • Animal psychiatrists? Why did I get this image of me walking into the Doctors office and a horse sitting behind the desk with a stethoscope round it’s neck? I sit down and say “Your not going to believe this Doc but …….”



      Report comment

      • Don’t mistake an ass for a horse boans 🙂
        I noticed that animal psychiatrists like to work with the owner mostly. Genetics.
        Although I’m sure a shrink would say that animals and humans have nothing in common.
        Even though I eat meat, I hate to know where it comes from and since I spent a lot of time volunteering with “quit stalling”, and don’t eat pork, and spent time arguing with AG students, which is really identical to arguing with shrinks, or any consumer of “pork” paradigm.

        Report comment