Friday, February 28, 2020


Essays by a diverse group of writers, in the United States and abroad, engaged in rethinking psychiatry. (The directory of personal stories can be found here, and initiatives here).

Want Our Message Nationwide? Join the National Dialogue NOW

Do you think youth prevention programs, sports, arts programs, or spiritual approaches can help people through emotional distress? We've been calling for this dialogue for years and now it's time to get out in your city and participate in it. In four days in Kansas City we'll have the first ever large scale public forum that includes information about medical harm and the full range of entrepreneurial solutions.

Bringing Human Rights Home

The United Nations calls on countries to repeal their mental health laws that authorize involuntary commitment, and to ensure that mental health services are...

More Delays on Sandy Hook Reports

The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission (SHAC) and the State Child Advocate's office still have produced no reports, and the deadlines continually come and go, with virtually no interest on the part of Governor Malloy or Connecticut state lawmakers. What is of interest, though, is the complete run-around and disconnect by those involved in producing the reports.

Persecution: Dangerous Liaisons

From 1951, a system designed for heroin and cocaine addicts – prescription-only status – was applied to all new drugs. Why? These were after all the first truly effective drugs in medicine. But the ability to do good came with a likelihood of doing harm. There was a trade-off to be made between risks and benefits. The new complex trade-offs could not be put on to the label of a drug or even captured in a forty page package insert. They needed to be individual to each person.

September 21, 2010

Dear Bob: Today, fittingly, was a very psych heavy day at my clinic. I saw the whole gamut of patient situations, patients (and their conflicted...

And Now For the Rest of the Story

Check out the story that appeared on August 30 on titled “Growing Up Bipolar,”  and the one  on August 31 in the New...

Start with a Solid Foundation

How are we going to do this?  That’s the question we asked ourselves when a few likeminded bureaucrats sat down and said, our current...

Many Ears Make Light Listening

When we share our stories publicly, whether in speaking, writing, or another art form, we acknowledge we are part of something bigger. We are aware we aren't the only ones who have been abused or witnessed abuse, or who are scared to let go of our ancestral shame and fear. We are, rather, part of an entire generation, an entire society that is moving away from silence, blame and abuse. In sharing our stories, we instantly recover from a big hunk of loneliness, loneliness that might not be so easily resolved sitting in a room across from a professional, with a few non-offensive art pieces on the walls. We acknowledge that every single one of us who experiences physical or emotional symptoms is holding onto things for others, in our bodies, and together, word by word, we can break free.

Embodying Peace in Times of War

No culture or community or individual escapes the damage caused by war. War is the ultimate betrayal of humanity. It occurs when we have so completely lost our way and we cling desperately to concepts such as possessiveness, power and separation. Yet, psychiatry has declared war on big emotions; those very human experiences that help us find our way in times of difficulty. Big emotions are the heart’s way of calling out for support when we need someone’s good attention and thoughtfulness to help us get back to ourselves- to find our equilibrium.

Don’t Go Back to Sleep

You may think I’m slow on the uptake when I say this. And maybe I am. But I recently came to the realization that products or lifestyles that are vigorously marketed and promoted are bad for you.

Robert Whitaker: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

On March 5, Bruce Levine, PhD, published an interesting article on Mad in America  titled Psychiatry Now Admits It's Been Wrong in Big Ways – But Can It Change? Bruce had interviewed Robert Whitaker, and notes that Robert, in his book Mad in America, had challenged some fundamental tenets of psychiatry, including the validity of its "diagnoses" and the efficacy (especially the long-term efficacy) of its treatments. Bruce reminds us that Robert initially incurred a good deal of psychiatric wrath in this regard, but also points out that some members of the psychiatric establishment are beginning to express a measure of agreement with these deviations from long-held psychiatric orthodoxy.

Vote NOW for solutions to emotional distress!

If you want solutions for emotional distress, vote NOW! Vote for the distress model and vote for Aunt Bertha. 1) Vote now for the distress...

‘People are tip-toeing around me’

At this point in time, I do not consider myself a survivor. For me, a survivor is someone that has endured pain or suffering but has come out on the other side of it. I am not there yet. I also have lost the option of suicide as a way to end my pain because I have seen what it would do to my family and friends, and I don’t want to cause them that anguish. I’m not living, and I can’t die.

Tsunami of Frozen Grief Found in the Clinical Work

One of the primary clinical teachings found in the pursuit of prescription drug withdrawal: we need stepping stones and a great many of them to navigate the perilous terrain.

Better Living through Chemistry?

Reading the article “Risky rise of good-grade pill” in the New York Times on Saturday once again raised the philosophical issue of how to...

Making Plans for the Long Flight – Re-visioning Icarus’ Next 10 Years

It’s been the kind of contemplative, hibernating winter that’s left us ready for an action-packed spring. Jacks and I spent two months living in a little house in the woods finishing our first solo books and revising the classic Icarus text Navigating the Space Between Brilliance and Madness...

New APA President: Same Old Cheerleading

As my readers know, I am a great fan of former APA President Jeffrey Lieberman, MD.  His regular articles on Psychiatric News were always helpful to the anti-psychiatry cause, and he will be greatly missed. But his successor, Paul Summergrad, MD, has recently posted his first presidential message, APA Poised to Take Advantage of Unique Time in History, and it is already clear that not much has changed.

A New Model of Service

What should the relational and emotional stance of the therapist be? Just who exactly is the therapist in relationship to the person coming to see the therapist? What is the therapist's job, exactly? What should the therapist's disposition be toward the person sitting across from them? What kinds of assumptions or presumed power come with the label therapist and are those assumptions harmful or helpful?

March 15, 2011

Bob-- I want to share with you a success story that has played out over the last three months. I have been working with a woman...

“Social Workers’ Malaise: What’s Our Mission?”

Just a few final words on this issue. One of the readers of the blog I posted on March 27 on identified himself as...

Calling for Rep. McCann’s resignation while there is still time to run a different...

I am writing to suggest you run a different democrat in House District 8, Rep. McCann's district, because she has made herself unelectable and I would prefer that the seat remain in democratic hands. The reason for this is simple: Her sponsorship of HB1253 which represents an attempt to take the right to jury trial away from one million Coloradans. Please, Rep. McCann, do the party a favor and retire from public life to contemplate what in the world made you think going after the jury trial was a good idea in the first place.

June 17, 2011

Bob-- Here is a letter that I wrote several months ago in response to an early reader of my blog here. She expressed concern about...

September 27, 2010

Bob-- I would guess that as I am typing this, you are in the midst of a spirited defense of your book at the conference....

Human Rights and Managed Care: Part 4

This leads us into discussing psychiatry per se, which managed care prioritized first. Unless you are early career psychiatrists, you are probably familiar with...

Developing Policies and Practices for Medication Optimization

Southern Oregon physicians—from family practice specialists to psychiatrists—and nurse practitioners, social workers and other mental health professionals have been meeting for several months to...

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