The Bipolar Artist: A Lifelong Sentence to Bear

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I was told that I had only two choices: Do not have children, or take lithium while I was pregnant—the drug that posed the least amount of birth defects, and the very medication that had killed the painter in me years ago. I refused both options and set out on my own, and luckily found a willing psychiatrist to help me taper off the meds.

Study Finds Heavy Metal Music Beneficial to Mental Health

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A new study highlights the role heavy metal music plays in the mental health of adolescents facing adversity.

Dual-award Winning Play and Film About Human Beings, not Psychopathology

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[M]y play, SHADES, and my film, "Is Anybody Listening?" are about people who have experienced major troubles, even trauma or other tragedies, who have dark secrets that torment them, but who use connection, love, humor, and creativity to come through, even to heal. And no one in the play or the film is pathologized.

Inner Fire: Healing and Recovery Without Meds

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For five years, I and others worked to create a residential healing community in Brookline, Vermont, where people could recover from debilitating and traumatic life experiences, which often lead to addiction and mental health challenges, without the use of psychotropic medications. We welcomed our first six seekers to a yearlong, therapeutic and farm-based, day program last September, and we now can report on what we have learned during this time.

“Let the Soul Dangle”: How Mind-Wandering Spurs Creativity

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From Aeon: An emerging field of neuroscience has begun to reveal how contemplating art can lead to positive mind-wandering, psycho-biological self-regulation, and creativity. "Can art itself...

Study Finds No Correlation between Personality at 14 and 77

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This result calls into question popular notions about the correlations between personality and later-life achievement and health outcomes.

“Why So Many Smart People Aren’t Happy”

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The Atlantic interviews Raj Raghunathan about his new book, If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy? “If you were to go back to the...

Psychodynamic Therapy Revealed to be as Efficacious as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

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Meta-analytic study finds that psychodynamic therapy outcomes are equivalent to those of CBT and other empirically supported treatments.

Video Games By Prescription Continue Developing

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"Is this the future of medicine?" asks Stephen Armstrong in the British Medical Journal. "Little Artie has been left at the doorstep of his...

To Live and (Almost) Die in L.A.: A Survivor’s Tale

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After 25 years of chronic emergency, 22 mental hospitalizations, a stint at a “community mental health center,” 13 years in a "board & care," repeated withdrawals from addictions to legal drugs, and a 12-year marriage, I plan to live every last breath out as a survivor, an advocate, and an artist.

Art and Images in Psychiatry

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Between 2002 and 2014, JAMA Psychiatry published monthly essays by Dr. James C. Harris exploring the role of visual arts in representing emotional distress, trauma, life...

Study Explores Māori Community’s Multifaceted Understanding of “Psychosis”

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A new study explores how “psychosis” and “schizophrenia” are viewed within the Māori community in New Zealand.

Combining Art Therapy and Mindfulness for Refugees

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A new article, published in The Arts in Psychotherapy, describes the ways art therapy and mindfulness have benefitted refugees and asylum seekers in Hong Kong.
envisioning psychiatric drug freedom

Envisioning Psychiatric Drug Freedom

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Psychiatric meds can shut down the emotions and consciousness enough to make it possible to tolerate dynamics that would inspire rage or surges of empowered activity without the meds. It can be helpful to look closely at these blocks and start to create a map to freedom, understanding that it is a complex process that involves not only the physiology of the body of the individual taking meds, but the architecture of the social system around that person.

Can Cultural Engagement Protect Against Depression?

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A new study examines the preventative effects of cultural engagement has on depression among older adults.

New Findings Suggest Masculinity is a Risk Factor for Suicidal Thinking

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Men who report being self-reliant may be at greater risk of suicidal thinking.

Study Finds Music Therapy May Be Effective in Clinical Practice

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In a new study published in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Professor Sam Porter and co-authors, present the results of a music...

Large German Anti-Stigma Campaign Shows Little Effect on Attitudes

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“Overall, this study showed that the information and awareness campaign had almost no significant effects on the general public's attitudes toward people affected by either schizophrenia or depression,” the researchers, led by German medical sociologist Anna Makowski, wrote. “One could assume that deeply rooted convictions cannot be modified by rather time-limited and general activities targeted at the public.”

“Group Drumming Bangs Away at Anxiety and Depression”

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“Prozac? Actually, percussion.” Researchers in the UK found that a ten-week drumming intervention significantly improved anxiety and depression for people seeking mental health treatment....

Agency and Activism as Protective Factors for Children in the Gaza Strip

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Researchers recommend a ‘politically-informed focus', including activism, when assessing children and designing interventions in areas of chronic political violence.

Reading Suggestions for Bibliotherapy

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From Notes From a Typewriter: Bibliotherapy, i.e., the use of books in coping with emotional distress, can be a great source of comfort and support. "Reading is...

Why “Stabilizing” People is Entirely the Wrong Idea

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If human beings were meant to be entirely stable entities, then “stabilizing” them would be an entirely good thing; a target for mental health treatment that all could agree on. But it’s way more complex than that: healthy humans are constantly moving and changing. They have a complex mix of stability and instability that is hard to pin down. All this relates to one of my favorite subjects, the intersection of creativity and madness.

Karen Pence Picks a Cause, and Art Therapists Feel Angst

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From the New York Times: On Inauguration Day, Karen Pence announced her support for the mental health profession of art therapy. While many art therapists...

Researchers Identify 27 Categories of Emotion

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A new study finds that emotions may be represented by 27 categories, with each category relating to others in a more complex and continuous fashion than previously understood.

From Surviving to Thriving: Unleashing Creativity

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There were days that I’d wake up and all I could do was cry for no particular reason, just another miserable day of withdrawal. However, the idea of taking photos would get me out of the house. Especially on those days, the absolutely only thing that would get me to move at all was the idea of taking photos. One particular day, I was just crying, crying, crying, and as soon as I got to a beautiful spot that I loved, I stopped crying, took photos, and felt at peace. I even found that the days I felt the worst were the days I took the best photos.