Blogs

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).

An Open Letter to the Colorado House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee RE: HB1386

I ask you to vote against HB1386. I write with a moral obligation to inform you of research findings which were recently defended through the PhD Program in Environmental Psychology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Throughout this research process, I repeatedly gave examples of people who participated who were silenced and retaliated against for expressing their expert perspectives about the public psychiatric service delivery system. Of grave concern is that this silencing extended to people who were reporting abuse of people who were involved with the public psychiatric service delivery system.

DxSummit Officially Launches

5
As co-chair of the Diagnostic Summit Committee of the Society for Humanistic Psychology, I am pleased to announce that today we officially launch the Global Summit on Diagnostic Alternatives (DxSummit.org), an online platform for rethinking mental health. Our goal is to provide a place for a collegial and rigorous discussion of alternative ways to conceptualize and practice diagnosis. Today's launch is marked by the appearance of our first eight posts. These posts come from a variety of prominent people in the field, each offering a unique perspective on the current state of diagnosis and where we might take things as we move forward.

Chapter Fifteen: A Haven from Self

0
A Note to the Reader: Thorough searches of my memory reserves have failed to provide me with a complete and detailed account of my...

Healing From Intergenerational Trauma: Facing the Unfaceable

15
I spent 15 years slowly preparing for a trip into the unfaceable, in large part by observing an American human rights advocate and coalition builder (who has German heritage) do gut-wrenching emotional healing work particularly related to her internalized anti-Semitism and her internalized white racism. She inspired me with her intelligence, tenacity and determination to be free from the damaging effects of these forms of oppressions. Many of her family members supported the Nazies.

Thinking Holistically

17
I am a board certified psychiatrist and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. I mention these things only to indicate that I...

Where There is No Word for “Alone”

2
I learned a lot about the meaning of community in Senegal, West Africa where I lived for a few years. One day while I was still learning to speak Mandinka, the language of my village, I asked “How do I say, I am going running (alone, by myself)?” It was explained to me that there was no word for "alone" in Mandinka.

Chapter Five: Filling the Void

0
When I returned to boarding school in the fall of my junior year, I brought with me not just duffel bags of clothes, athletic...

We did it! Kansas’ Health Insurance Application withdrawn!

2
Recently one blogger pointed out how managed care systems might be a violation of human rights. I've also been recently posting about how the...

Billing the Victims of Unethical Medical Research

9
Imagine for a moment that you are seriously injured in a medical research study and require expensive medical care.   Imagine further that the study...

Abbott’s Admissions of Criminality: Do They Accomplish Anything?

6
The big fines paid by the drug companies are not effective, yet the government is ignoring the simple solution of enforcing Medicaid and Medicare's restrictions to drugs that are prescribed for medically accepted indications. It is hard to take seriously the government's stated commitment to rooting out fraud when this massive fraud is consciously allowed to continue. I know it is consciously allowing the fraud to continue because the government has been antagonistic to our whistleblower cases raising this point. Massive harm is not enough to cause government action. Massive fraud when the government is drowning in red ink is not enough either. What is it going to take?

Taking down the Giant: A Call for Increased Community Outreach

22
I think it’s helpful to see the psychiatric/pharmaceutical complex as being somewhat analogous to one of those large inflatable giants that you sometimes see hovering over car lot sales. Sure, it looks big and powerful, and it really is so long as “we the people” buy its propaganda and its drugs and continue feeding it billions of dollars and continue “bowing down” to its “almighty wisdom.” But its entire foundation consists of a model that simply doesn’t fit the research evidence at all, and quite frankly is propped up by many outright lies.

Finding and Funding Our Way, Outside the System

36
There's a growing (and soon to be quickly growing) group of us who are not therapists or psychiatrists but who offer “coaching,” connection and support. We offer this support to those coming off psychiatric drugs, or who would like to, or are opting to not go on in the first place but are facing pressure to. Most of us are psychiatric survivors so a lot of our knowledge and information is from firsthand experience. Others may have never been on psychiatric drugs but know a lot about the ins and outs of withdrawal through close association with those who have.
drug pushers

Keeping Meili Off Psychiatric Drugs

17
We first came under pressure to give our developmentally disabled and autistic daughter a psychiatric drug when she was in her mid-teens. She was attending a local school for autistic children but was unable to adapt to their program, and we were urged to consult a psychiatrist. What enabled us to resist the pressure to put our daughter on drugs?

On the Corner of Distress & Poverty: What Happens to Our Minds When There...

40
In the last few years, Mental Health First Aid has been backed by the President of the United States, the First Lady, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the National Council on Behavioral Health (among others). In fiscal year 2015 alone, the federal budget allotted 15 million toward the Council’s MHFA mission of ‘one million trained.’ Yet, this course – promoted with unprecedented fervor and designed to support the average citizen to identify a mental health ‘problem’ in their fellow persons and (strongly) encourage them to get ‘help’ – has little to say about the importance and emotional impact of meeting basic human needs.
skeleton

Beneath the Fog

61
The medication left me emotionally numb, making it impossible to connect with people or sense the aliveness of the world around me. But after two years on antidepressants, I found something that gave me jolt of feeling strong enough to wake me up for a moment. I then spent the next seven years giving myself daily doses of horror to induce an emotional reaction.
An abstract illustration in purple and other colors

Fifty-Eight Years Beyond the Community Mental Health Act, 1963

31
Do not focus on "getting more beds" or "providing better treatment." Focus on homes with windows and giant gardens where survivors can be coached to rebel and dance with wild abandon.

Fast-Moving Bill in Congress Would Weaken FDA Oversight of New Drugs and Devices

7
Congress is moving quickly to pass a bill that would authorize higher industry fees for the FDA in exchange for speeding up the approval...

Paradigms Lost

9
The fundamental stance of bio-medical psychiatry remains unchanged since my grandfather’s time – “mentally ill” people managed like stock portfolios, reduced to diseased brains and bundles of genes and biochemicals that can be quantified, manipulated and cured “scientifically” by bio-tech and surgical interventions. Magic bullets as magical thinking.
anti-authoritarian resistance

Fighting the Suppression of Dissent: A Guidebook for Those Who Refuse to Conform

46
Political, educational, and mental health fields are joining forces in ever more powerful authoritarian rule. The DSM, proclaimed to be a scientific guidebook, is little more than a political instrument used to control undesirable behaviors and experiences. Who will fight for our rights when everybody is tranquilized into conformity?

Open the Paradigm

11
Less than six months ago I had the great fortune to start working with a small group of fellow producers who had spent a chunk of time traveling and shooting at various conferences. Interviews with notable figures in the movement. Survivor stories. A mixed bag of “Mad Media”. Immersing myself in the now 200+ hours of raw footage was like swimming in a sea of the subconscious. So I was swallowed whole by the white whale, consumed with the energy to put my still-developing abilities to the best use I could think of.

Open the Paradigm.

Driving Us Crazy: A Festival About Madness in Society, and in All of Us

5
I am proud and happy to announce that our webpage DrivingUsCrazy was launched today. It will help us to get the word out about the international film festival taking place in Gothenburg, 16-18 October, 2015, and also to highlight the issue of madness every day until then — and hopefully for many days afterwards.

A Confession, and a Dilemma

24
In reviewing the classes I took in graduate school, nowhere was I taught that mental disorders are an illness arising from a chemical imbalance which needs to be treated with medication. If my university professors did not teach it, then where did I learn it? The answer lies in working in the field itself and hearing it from supervisors and other colleagues. But where did they learn it? Why do we to continue to blindly go along without questioning whether or not any of this makes sense or is helpful? We need to do better.

Recovery through Learning Creatura, a Language of Life

11
There is a language underneath our familiar verbal language. Ordinarily it is called nonverbal communication. It is also called body language. I came to...

The “I Am Not The Butcher” Speech

9
On Thursday I had an interaction with a psychologist where I basically said, "I am not sure I want to attend a workshop you...

Troubling Times

30
These are troubling times for me as a physician and as a psychiatrist. They were even more so before I ran away… excuse me…...