Thursday, October 28, 2021

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

“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...

“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...

New Traction for Art Therapy as a Treatment for Depression

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New study investigates the acceptability of a phenomenologically informed, manual-based art therapy for clients diagnosed with moderate to severe depression.

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.

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...

A Mental Patient’s View of the Body

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In 20 years of inpatient hospitalization, the psychiatrists that I encountered focused almost exclusively on treating my diseased mind and had no concept or interest in the body. While the wheels of “progress” turn slowly in mental health, I hope that along with ongoing advocacy there will be a focus on responsible health counseling and supporting people in healthier eating and living.

How Relational Therapy Enhances a Sense of Self and Relationships

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Relational therapy can be informed by the intersubjective dynamics observed in early childhood to facilitate the development of healthy relational patterns and a strong sense of self.

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...

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.

Mental Well-Being and Engagement in the Arts

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Public health researchers at the University of Western Australia examined the relationship between recreational arts engagement and mental well-being in the general population. The results, which have implications for policy makers as well as health practitioners, indicate that those who engage with the arts for two or more hours per week have significantly better mental well-being.

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.

Healing from Psychiatry: A Community Art Book

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I began reaching out to other psychiatric survivors, asking whether they would like to have their art featured in a book, and the response I received was amazing. People openly shared not only their art but their personal stories, their feelings, and their painful journeys into, through, and out of psychiatry.

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.

“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.

Social Prescribing May Improve Self-Esteem and Mental Well-Being

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Systematic review suggests social prescribing benefits individuals with mental and physical health issues, but more program evaluations are needed.

Series on Anti-Psychiatry and Critical Theory for World Mental Health Day

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To coincide with World Mental Health Day on October 10th, 2015, Verso Books, the largest independent and radical publishing house released a series of blogs on mental health and critical and antipsychiatry. The posts include pieces on R.D. Laing, colonialism, women’s oppression, delusions and art, “The Happiness Industry,” and social and institutional oppression.

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...
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.

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