We are profoundly social beings living not as isolated individuals but as integral members of interdependent social systems—our nuclear family system, and the broader social systems of extended family, peers, our community and the broader society. Therefore, psychosis and other forms of human distress often deemed “mental illness” are best seen not so much as something intrinsically “wrong” or “diseased” within the particular individual who is most exhibiting that distress, but rather as systemic problems that are merely being channeled through this individual.
“Published in the journal PLoS ONE, a new set of studies suggests that compassion—and intentionally cultivating it through training—may lead us to do more to help the wronged than to punish the wrongdoer. Researchers found compassion may also impact the extent to which people punish the transgressor.”
For the Critical Psychiatry blog, Duncan Double writes that psychological formulation and psychosocial assessment may provide a way forward to a “new psychiatry” that moves on from modern concepts of mental illness as chemical imbalance or some other abnormality of the brain.
"The holiday season can be a very stressful time, so think about giving directions, asking someone if they need help, or holding that elevator...
A new pro-recovery manualized intervention – called the REFOCUS intervention – has been developed and will now be evaluated in a multisite randomized control trials. The strengths-based intervention, which focuses on promoting relationships, is outlined in the latest issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry.
According to a study published in this month’s British Journal of Psychiatry, people diagnosed with depression in high-income countries are more likely to limit...
Acknowledging that current depression treatments are failing many people, researchers from Michigan State and MIT have developed a new model for understanding how multiple psychological, biological, social and environmental factors contribute to depression.
NPR reports how loneliness can change our bodies and affect our physical and mental health. "There are things we can do to get out of a depressed or lonely state, but they're not easy," they report. "Part of the reason is because these negative psychological states develop some kind of molecular momentum."
Day 3 of WNYC Only Human’s radio show, called Listen Up, focuses on the importance of listening with empathy. They interview Ken Feinberg, a mediator who met with victims after the September 11th attacks, the Sandy Hook shootings, and the Boston marathon bombing.
“Does Psychotherapy Research with Trauma Survivors Underestimate the Patient-Therapist Relationship?”
Joan Cook, professor of Psychology at Yale, writes than in her work with military veterans she realized that her psychotherapy techniques mattered much less than her training had indicated. Instead, what mattered was “the bond forged over years of therapy,” known as “the therapeutic alliance.”
“Studies show that self-help books can resolve readers’ depressed moods, change ingrained thought patterns, and instill a renewed zest for life – as long as the advice within is scientifically sound,” Elizabeth Svoboda writes for Aeon. “The literature we choose to guide us should supply proven advice we can trust. But it should also, as Franz Kafka wrote, be ‘the axe for the frozen sea within us’, bludgeoning us in ways that awaken us to the extraordinary.”
In a guest blog for the Scientific American, Peter Kinderman takes on the “harmful myth” that our more distressing emotions can best be understood as symptoms of physical illnesses. “Our present approach to helping vulnerable people in acute emotional distress is severely hampered by old-fashioned, inhumane and fundamentally unscientific ideas about the nature and origins of mental health problems.”
Since the time of Freud, the field of psychotherapy has assumed that modalities and techniques were the instruments of change in psychotherapy. But the evidence is mounting that modalities and techniques have relatively little to do with effectiveness; evidence shows that it is the human elements of psychotherapy that are the most potent agents of healing
ServiceNet, a mental health and human service agency in western Massachusetts, received a three year, two million dollar grant to launch a program designed to support young adults who have recently experienced their first episode of psychosis. The Prevention and Recovery Early Psychosis (PREP) program is funded by the Massachusetts department of mental health and is designed to treat psychosis as a symptom, not an illness, resulting from other illnesses, substance abuse, trauma, or extreme stress.
A New York Times Op-Ed by Cornell psychiatry professor George Makari connects the surprise over the results of the widely-covered RAISE study to American psychiatry’s shift toward pharmacology and the oversimplification of disorders as brain diseases.
I was a psychiatrist who participated in the Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode Early Treatment Program (RAISE ETP). Although I welcomed the positive headlines that heralded the study's results, the reports left me with mixed feelings. What happened to render the notion that talking to people about their experiences and helping them find jobs or go back to school is something novel?
New research suggests that more frequent in-person contact lessens the risk of depression in older adults. The study, published in this month’s issue of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, found that in Americans over fifty the more face-to-face contact they had with children, family and friends, the less likely they were to develop depressive symptoms.
Everyone in the world is either touched by their own mental health issues or have had a family member affected. What if they directed their buying power to an organization that would use the profits to fund exciting mental health & recovery projects both in the developing world and in their own countries; projects that would be ethical, non-coercive, personal recovery-based, and were aimed at creating recovery communities? What if they could buy products, crafts, services, art, music, books from people who had experienced mental health issues, enabling them to set up their own businesses or buy from social co-operatives that enabled distressed people to work and earn a living wage?
My opposition to psychiatric drugs is not just that they are harmful, dangerous, and destructive. That would be plenty motivation enough. And it is. But in addition, my profession, which I love and value, has been hijacked by the APA and Big Pharma. It is my goal to return psychiatry to its proper place - where good psychotherapy is understood to be the treatment for human suffering.
The Society for International Psychology, Division 52 of the American Psychological Association, will host a webinar entitled “The Humanistic, Vigorous and Universal Approach of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.”
The American Psychological Association is hosting a two and half day interdisciplinary summit on November 3rd through 5th entitled Global Approaches to Integrated Care: Translating Science And Best Practices Into Patient-Centered Health Care Delivery. The summit features presentations and discussions on social determinants of health, demographics, culture and health disparities, and patients’ perspectives, among others. It can be livestreamed here.
Results of a large government-funded study call into question current drug heavy approaches to treating people diagnosed with schizophrenia. The study, which the New York Times called “by far the most rigorous trial to date conducted in the United States,” found that patients who received smaller doses of antipsychotic drugs with individual talk therapy, family training, and support for employment and education had a greater reduction in symptoms as well as increases in quality of life, and participation in work and school than those receiving the current standard of care.
Writing for CounterPunch, Paris Williams writes that when an individual is experiencing what has been termed “psychosis,” it is important to recognize that this may also be the manifestation of a breakdown in their larger social groups, the family, society, and even the species.
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.
Journalist Emma Reynolds profiles Amanda Waegeli, Ron Coleman, Nathan Grixli and Lyn Mahboub about their experiences coming to the Hearing Voices Network (HVN). HVN was established 10 years ago in Australia and provided a support group that encouraged people to listen to their voices rather than trying to block them out. The group now operates in 25 countries.