Thursday, May 6, 2021


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).

The Future of Mental Health Interview Series, Part II

The Future of Mental Health interview series continues with interviews this past week with James Maddux (on positive clinical psychology), Lucy Johnstone (on critical psychiatry and psychological formulation), Michael Cornwall (on being present to “madness”), Monica Cassani (on beyond meds: everything matters), Tim Carey (on parenting skills and family mental health) and Sharna Olfman (on the science and pseudoscience of children’s mental health. Here some highlights...

Personal Steps toward a Revolution in Mental Health Care

My friend David Oaks, director of MindFreedom , likes to say that what is currently needed is a non-violent revolution in mental health care.  Mental...

“Knowing Together” vs. “Knowing Apart”: The Importance of Extending Our Network

A kind of epidemic is occurring in the field of psychotherapy and psychology, with its increasing use of disparate approaches, methods, manual-based formulas and different theoretical schools, each having their own understanding and different treatments. Psychotherapy has come to mean everything and at the same time nothing.

Generative Narratives and the Counterculture Psychiatrists

For outsiders like me who are really critical of mainstream psychiatry, the first thing to understand is that "community psychiatry" is a counterculture within the larger culture of biomedical psychiatry. When I say "counterculture" I don't mean these people had flowers in their hair or face piercings.

“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...

Cognitive Therapy Found Effective in Unmedicated Psychotic Patients . . . And Other News

For a long time, psychotherapy has been seen as providing little benefit to patients with schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders. However, two recent studies,...

The Rotted Fruit

In the law if one falsehood is uncovered in sworn testimony, all of the statements made and the actions that follow are suspect. If...

More From Finland

The 17th International Conference on the Treatment of Psychosis included nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other clinicians as well as several persons with lived experience and at least one philosopher, anthropologist, family member, and chaplain. I will try to summarize what I learned and experienced.

Expect Recovery….

Expect Recovery….seems like a tall order, especially for people that have: little hope; spent years cycling in and out of hospitals; spent years on...

Better Broadband

So many treatment colleagues have shared that prior to finding an approach that really works to turn a child’s intensity to greatness, they felt no recourse other that to look for ways to moderate the accelerating poor choices that children they worked with were making. Most relevant here is, that in retrospect, they felt that it boiled down to simply being faithful to their training, which it turns out so often is a set up to fail with difficult children.

Letters from the Front Lines

Dear Bob-- I met a new patient today, an African American gentleman in his late 40's, a successful entrepreneur and innovator (invented and marketed his...

The Boy in the Closet — How I Lost my Best Friend to a...

Lables such as schizophrenia mask all of the strengths, feelings and talents that individuals possess, The labels can make people's behavior appear aggressive, when in fact they are terrified. On the other hand, people in extreme states respond as all humans do to an approach that is calm, supportive, and allows them the space that they need at critical times. Individuals who have been abused, neglected, or suffered from traumatic experiences communicate these fears to those who have the patience and willingness to listen to them.

My Desperate Yet Demoralizing Plight to Get My Son a Diagnosis for Christmas

In October of 2013, I wrote a blog on the Foundation for Excellence website (‘The Story of My Perfectly Wonderful Children and the Change WE Need to Make in the World to Save Them’) shortly after finding out that my son’s guidance counselor suggested he (then 10) consider ‘distraction meds’ to aid in his school performance. If I could sit every member of this school system down right now and ask them all my most burning questions, they would be: Do you want to be a tool of the system? The one who knows all the rules and holds all the lines? That says 'no, we can't do that', just because that's the way it is? Or do you want to be a guide through all that mess?

It’s Time to Wake Up and Stop the Violence

Usually when the acts of violence that are all too common in the United States occur I choose to try not to think about it, to focus on the positives, to move on quickly. I suppose I am not too different in that respect from many of my fellow Americans. Maybe it's because I am a parent of young children that the recent shooting in Newtown, Connecticut has finally woken me up. The violence has to end.

The Shoes Keep on Dropping… What Next?

If your government espouses freedom for all but abuses citizens of its own as well other countries, its pronouncements are pure propaganda. This article seeks to help readers make the connection between the public and secret behaviors of the U.S. government as it continues to oppress those individuals within its reach that occupy a politically marginalized status; including, of course, persons who are survivors and/or users of psychiatric services.

Letters from the Front Lines

Dear Bob-- Last fall, I was filling in at a clinic for a provider who was on vacation, and saw a woman in her late...

Turning a Child’s Intensity to Greatness

My passion in the medication debate stems from my clinical work with families with challenging and intense children. I got to see that with 2-3 weeks - at most within 2-3 months for the most difficult children - that the very same intensity that had gone awry became the very fuel for that child's greatness.

Why You Can’t Get Informed Consent From a Doctor

What is informed consent? Informed consent obviously means if you are being given drugs you should know the common and potential adverse affects, drug interactions, risk of dependency and addiction, and counter-indications with other substances, health conditions or health concerns. This is the baseline of informed consent (which many people don't receive) but there is an incredible amount more that is included in what you deserve to know about any drug you are prescribed or medical system you are advised to subscribe to.

Madness Radio: Sharna Olfman on Medicating Children Diagnosed Bipolar

Professor Sharna Olfman has researched and written extensively about children in society, including education and sexuality, and her perspective on so-called bipolar disorder is...

From Psychiatric Coercion to Libertarianism: A Personal Journey

My name is Tristano Ajmone. I’m Italian and 42 years old. I consider myself a “psychiatric survivor” — a term by which I don’t merely mean that I’ve been through the psychiatric system and got out of it; I really mean that I’ve survived a psychiatric journey in which some of my comrades weren’t as fortunate as me, and they simply died along the way.

From Burning Man to Bellevue Hospital

Every year around this time my thoughts turn to my friends participating in Burning Man. Burning Man is founded on these 10 principles. Stories I have heard over the years have often made me wonder when and how society condones public displays of madness. Stories from burners have often reminded me of some of my own emotional crises, and I wonder about expeditioning to places where what would be called madness by a psychiatrist may be completely normal, acceptable, and encouraged.

In Search of Change: My Journey

It is more helpful to focus on what clients do well than what they are lacking. These are simple things, but it takes a lot of discipline for professionals to stay focused, stay simple, respect clients as the expert on their life and listen intensely for their strengths and resources.

Life Lessons and Trauma Informed Care

My first real introduction to the world of madness and “mental illness” was when I was 21 years old and I left home to start my mental health nurse training. Reflecting on my own experiences has led me to consider how the trauma of participating in the psychiatric system can affect the way we care for others.

Autistic Acceptance and Understanding: Forging Emotional Connections

I met with a 5 year old autistic boy who was non-verbal. He came into the office and began banging his hands on the...

The “I Am Not The Butcher” Speech

On Thursday I had an interaction with a psychologist where I basically said, "I am not sure I want to attend a workshop you...

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