Friday, August 7, 2020

Comments by Carina Håkansson, PhD

Showing 133 of 133 comments.

  • Thank you Joanna for the very important work you do, both re reserach and to get the word out. Unfortunately I am not surprised, the last decades my colleagues and I have tried to reach out to people in different positions in psychiatry, but we are met by silence. The last months I have tried to reach Simon Kyara, psychiatrist and wellknown researcher to suggest a meeting and to invite him to our international scientific symposium re psychiatric drug risk and withdrawal which we host in October. Silence! Your post inspires me to write an offical letter like yours and to get it published. Thank you!!!

  • Hi Robert and All, I really do not think psychiatry can be curious, at least not officially. But, it does not mean that our work is meaningless. Rather the contrary, it is even more important to find allies and people in a much wider context than in the so narrowing psychiatric system. MIA is a wonderful example of such a context, and there are others. Still not very many which are known, but still… Yesterday I met with Sera and Sean who are creating a documenatary about the myth of “chemical imbalance”, I am impressed by their dedication, and all the many people they have met and plan to meet. We are many- and we have to get oursleves known to the public. As for example by speaking in the parliament as you Robert did a few days ago in London. The work continues…

  • Thank you for this clear and informative article and for your work!! I will share it with people in my Swedish and international network. Labels, as you say nowadyas more and more frequent called diagnosis of different kinds are far too often seen as something actually existing and therefore we have to fight for other ways to define human beings and human Life, In that sense I am proud to call myself an anti psychiatry person. Hopefully there will be more and more people who realize that being anti psychiatry is as good as to be anti rasism. All the best, and thank you!!!

  • Thank you Sandy, it is as Always a pleasure to read your blogs. I agree, it is far more easy to make beuatiful statments than to do the very hard day to day work. But nevertheless, I find it extremely important to find alternatives to the psychiatric system, including its diagnosis and far too much prescriptions of drugs. BUT maybe more important tyhan that, to realize it cannot be “healthy” to spend time in a psychiatric ward together with a lot of other people in oain, including the staff. Very often the staff also talk about feelings of hopelessness, fear and powerlessness.
    Latest last week I spent time on a psychiatric ward in Sweden and ( again) I thought to myself; how can anyone Think this context will be good for people who “are lost”?
    And many of us trying to create alternatives have realized the need for human and vivid places where people have a possibilty to stay mentally alive. Maybe that is one of the most significant differences, and maybe also the difference which makes the difference??? Love as Always, Carina

  • I am so glad to hear you made it! In the meaning that you created a US meeting inspired by gatherings in Europe. Just want to remind about Tom Andersen and his big contribution re therapeutic work. He was actually the one who created the first meetings which the first years consisted of people from the Nordic countries, so came people from the Baltic countries. UK, Germany, and many of you from US. Lovely to hear you have found your way to continue… Looking forward to see you soon in South America, and to have chance to real chats. Love from another “doer”.

  • Hi Richard, you raise some essential questions which I struggle a lot about, and I have no complete answer by now. What I tried to express in the blog is my wish for a wider perspective than the individual one, and as you read I also believe in the importance of holding on to some essential ethical values in therapeutic and social work. If focusing a bit more on ethicla, social and political issues and less on different theoretical therapeutic approaches I would be happy. It is a very difficult work to be a “professional helper” and it takes a lot to realize and to stand being in the middle of pain, injustice, poverty and opression. So maybe it is therefore we sometimes tend to distance ourselves by different theoretical dilemmas and perspectives…

  • Hi Saul, and thank you for your comments. First I did not understand your comments about “my clients on photos” and then I realized you mean my colleauges!!! It makes me smile, and at the same time I have to ponder about this, how come they look so sad?
    Yes, some of “my clients” are by good reasons not so happy, but I am glad to say that most often people become more “happy” when being more connected. I wish to add that despite big troubles it pretty often happens that we laugh toegether!! Best wishes, Carina

  • Dear Jim
    I am so sad to read your text, and to hear that it was not possible to continue one of the very few alternatives to conventional psychiatry.
    I want to deeply than k you for the work you do, for the hope you bring and for the knowledge.
    It is for sure not easy to run an alternative organization, about that I know a lot, as I also think it is essential as you describe to be dedicated to the mission. One of the things I hope for future is that we describe the importance of dedication as one of the essential things when making change. There is far too much focus on “technical” issues, whereas we all know that without passion, collaboration and taking personal stance nothing really Changes. Wishish you all the best and once again, my deepest THANK YOU!!!

  • Of course Sandy, individual matters are important also, re the responsibilty each of us have in our own life and together with others. What I mean is that psychiatry has built a discipline far too individualistic in general without taking into account also political, social and relational aspects. As also far too often is the case in the field of psychotherapy. We, including myself talk a lot about equality, and each humans right in the World and at the same time we accept so extremely big differences re life conditions. What if we should pay some more attention towards that, and to try to make some real changes. Some of the people I meet who are defined “mad” are maybe mad since they cannot deal with all the madness taking place in the world. Sorry for dwelling into a new “subject”.

  • HI Sandy, what is problematic within psychiatry (and other arenas in life) is the idea to transform relational, contextual, political and social issues to an individual “problem”, as is manifested by diagnosis, and drugs which actually has increased a lot during the last decades. I am sure the “system” creates difficulties for the staff to think themselves, but still, I do hope and wish that well educated and in many ways priviliged people have a capacity to reflect and make ones own conclusions. By the way something which is needed not just in psychiatry but all over.

  • Thank you Bob for this blog as a reminder about this “made up” story. I have told several people today at work and elsewhere and will continue to do so. This is the kind of true stories from life which has to be told again and again since they as I think actually speaks to people in common. And people in common are the ones who will change the system, together with people like you. Thanks a lot!!!!

  • Hi Laura
    This is a wonderful resource and very inspiring for me since we plan to start a Learning Community Project with the aim to learn and encourage professionals and “ordinary people” how to support people who want to taper drugs. In Sweden as in many other places all over there is such a lack of available knowledge and experience re how to support/ encourage/ provide knowledge based on research and ´humanistic/ therapeutic practice

  • Thank you Sandy, I am happy to hear that your workshop was full of people!!! It is indeed important to talk about how to provide support for people who want to taper. As you write in your blog it is many things to take into consideration, not at least the relationship between the professional and the one called patient and each of their “abilty” to hold hard situations like fear and feelings of hopelessness.

  • Dear Olga, unfortunately I am not that surprised about your “results”, rather the opposite- for years I have been concerned that the psychiatric language and idea about human beings have influenced and damaged not just psychologists, but also therapists, teachers and socialworkers. As you know we decided many years ago to remove psychiatric diagnosis at my work place and to tell people another story than the “common one” re drugs and “treatments”. It is not an easy thing and each of us in the organization has to remind ourselves and others not to forget how important it is. Every day!!!! It is hard at times, and seems so much easier to follow mainstream, and to stay in the comfort zone. Anyway, I have come to the same decision as you and make the same promise. Maybe it means that I am more of an activist than a therapist nowadays…? Anyway, thank you for being there and doing the things you do.

  • I am looking forwad to a blog re ISPS since as I understood it, the aim was “the big tent” which actually meant that Liebermann was invited as a plenary speaker. Why on earth did the organizers chose him instead of you or me representing alternative organizations and hope for future??? And by the way, ISPS is also a sad example of an organization which politically correct invites some psychiatric survivors, but never as many as doctors and professors invited. I suggested that Daniel Mackler and Bob Whitaker would be invited since both of them present important data very based on lived experience in practice. So the idea about a big tent is for sure more big words than action.

  • It brakes my heart to read this! What is happening in the name of psychiatry and in society? How come this is possible to take place in a civil coutry/ world and how to make a change?
    I have been working for many years, but I never get used to “insanity” in the name of science, and to hear about this big Project involving a lot of Young people who have no idea what it will cause in their lives make me feel furiouse and sad at the same time.
    Anyway, thank you Johanna for getting the word out and let´s hope we are many enough who realize it has to be a change re the way people are met in crisis and the way we define ourselves and each other.

  • Hi Bernadettep1. Might be that I misunderstood you, but are you asking for someone who has great experiences from psychiatry? I am sure there are many people having those experinces. Why dont you ask some to write a blog? I know very few, if anyone. Thats why I am working towards a change, since I have met far too many people who have been damaged in the psyvhiatric system. But my experience is of course very limited.

  • I have to admit that I go to conferences- but I agree with Daniel. It is nearly always the same, ‘here we go again’. Pretending we have never heard it before. Being amazed when a ‘patient’ speaks in a moving way and yes raising up and having a tear in ones eye. Sera, deepest respect to you and your frank and honest way of being in the world. When our planned projects starts with its purpose to provide alternatived to diagnosis and drugs, I will be happy to invite you as a speaker. Really hope to find ways to work together towards a system which is not easily done but absolutely necessary!!

  • I suppose psychiatrists in common believe in the ‘medical model’, thats what they are taught during many years of training. What is very troublesome is that so many psychologists, therapists and even social workers have bought the idea about manual based formulas, diagnosis and a distanced perspective towards those we call clients. Unfortunately I think academia, prestige and the very idea about being ‘individualistic’ play a central role. We need to talk about the imåortamce of humanistic and sustainable values and act in a more solidaric and including way.

  • Hi John, yes, a safe space is for sure what we need all of us. The “weird” thing though is that by some reason it does not seem to exist so much in the psychiatric system where human beings are met by a manual based formula during the first meeting, or given a diagnosis based on, as I think far too fast assumptions about the person whom it concerns.

  • I am working on how to find the reserach reports, designed by Rolf Sjöström and Johan Cullberg ( two different studies though).
    The Cullberg report shows that most of the people Barbro worked together with “recovered”, which led traditional psychiatrists to claim “the patients were not really schizophrenic”.
    This very weak argument is unfortunately often used by those who by some reason dont welcome when people get well. I often wish that some of the doctors who have claimed about “my clients” that they will not make it without medication would admit they were wrong. It has never happened!!! Anyway, I realize that I feel more rage the last years, and less patient – still having a hope and intention to continue the work we do. Actually, there is no other way.

  • Sera, I so much love to read your blogs, even the very “hard” ones, as this one is. In the sense that you raise a question which involves all of us, more or less of course. Iagree, most of what happens is part of a larger societal context and has to be seen like that. Right now I wish English would have been my first language since sometimes it is tricky to express things in another language. Issues about power, status, taking a personal stance and to make some essential decisions is crucial.
    Anyway, thank you and I so much hope to see you not too long in future and to keep in touch.

  • Thank you Jim Gottstein for this article, it is indeed worse than worst that society drugs kids who already have suffered enough. It is nothing but a big shame. So far the conditions in Sweden is not as horrible as in US due to drugs and kids, but as it seems it becomes more and more usual to prescribe drugs to children and young people – even when it is undoubtable that it is the context which is “crazy” and not the young person. I admire the work you do, and please continue!!!

  • Hi Sera
    Thank you for raising this issue, I also very mucg missed the voices from people with lived experience, it is still very rare with talks talks by people here called “clients” compared to the voices from professional “helpers”. On the other hand, I also miss the voices of people having own lived expeience due to professionals, Sometimes, unfortunately, it seems as if it is either the one or the other. Either pretty “dry” distanced presentations involving data and research , or more vivid and real talks by “clients”. From my point of view it would be great if possible to define humans a bit more both and instead of either or. And of course at the same time never ever forget the issue of power which as I think is central – especially due to the psychiatric system.

  • Alex, thank you for letting me know, and yes I think we agree about many things, probably the most. From my perspective of being a professional and having my own lived experience sometimes I have tried for decades to focus on these issues since they are fundamental, but also very complicated at times, as you also writes about. Anyway, there is unfortunately still a lot to be done, my hope is that those of us who want a humanistic and including world to take place, will continue to talk with each other and acknowledge how very hard it is at times, and at the same time also absolutely possible to make a change. All the best!

  • Hi Alex
    I did not mean it is the staff we need to remember, and mostly care for. I deeply agree it is the people called clients, it is therefore I say that the staff matters- a huge deal I would say. In the best of worlds there would be no professional “helpers” at all, but that is unfortunately not the way life looks like. Rather the opposite, more and more people defining themselves clients or more usual being defined a client by someone else, and so becoming part of a professional system, which consists of people; staff, and clients. Power issues as different functions and roles where the staff always are in a “stronger”position due to not having to reveal onesef. If we dont recognize this I find it hard to see how to make a change in the system. I know it is to ask for a lot but still I find it absolutely necessary to at times leave mainstream, to dare to follow your heart and values, and to take a stance. It is probably more important than any specific approach or method.

  • Hi Russerford and all
    What is important is not to forget the group in Torneå, with its dedicated staff, a psychiatrist who dared to go outside the box, who is committed to her task to try together with the others to create a safe and human space for those called patients. The staff has been working together for a long time, and part of their work is to also include themselves in the meetings, and to reveal themselves and to be as transparent as possible. These things are not done in a second, it takes time, trust and relevant knowledge. Love, and respect are beautiful and BIG words, the thing is how do we show in deeds love as well as respect? And to be open towards others and find ways to in any given situation try to meet the need of the other. Again, this is not easily done, it takes a lot, and to acknowledge how hard it is at times, is necessary as to ask how and if this is possible within a medical model in a psychiatric system?

  • I am still waiting for a dialogue with people more directly connected than I am, and hopefully someone in US since it is here the trademarketing is happening. I have the deepest respect for colleauges in Torneå, and for others as well, trying to ba an alternative by showing in practice the need for thearapeutic meetings and contexts which include the one whom is concerned. But I find it hard not to met in a seriouse conversation about some essential questions which have been raised, and as I think is a reaction to thoughts many people have had and still have. To be met by silence is something I far too many times have experienced due to the tradition psychiatric system, and it makes me sad to expeience this also in relation to OD, and the people who stand behind it.

  • Thank you Eugene for this very clarifying post, I deeply agree with the concern and also the historical review.
    Ron, excause me if not being correct in English, but what I mean to say is that the principles are well known for many therapists – no matter which theoretical background or approach. My concern is what happens when marketing principles enter our field, so my question was- what does it mean on a concrete level that OD is trade marked?
    Sandy, I really dont think the big issue is what we call the work we do, rather how it is done and if the system/ organization including all co workers are honestly willing to explore our own motives, skills and difficulties due to the people we are supposed to meet. It is such a difficult work at times and it takes a lot, for all involved, especially for the one called client, and this is very important to recognize and admit.

  • THank you Daniel, for high lighting some very essential issue.
    First of all, like you I also wonder how is it possible to trade mark OD, isn´t it a huge contradiction to the approach itself? I would very much hope someone direct connected to OD will answer to this since it creates so many fantasies not to know.
    The other thing I would like to comment on is the importance of a vivid and brave organization, with co workers who are willing to do what is needed, and I have like you no general answer to it, but a wish that different groups/ organizations and people will make it in a way which fits with the context, the Culture, themselves and of course – most important due to the needs.
    Thank you Daniel – as always I so much like to take part of your thoughts and experiences so grounded and real.

  • Dear Joanne
    It sounds so very easy when you claim that anyone can love, understand and compassion. I am sorry to say but if it had been that “easy” neither you nor me had had been needed as we obviously are in our professions. I think it is important to not use “too big words” without trying to define what we mean, at least if we want to create alternatives to the medical model. Sandra Steingards question is very relevant as I think and ought to be taken into consideration. Besides that I agree with you in many ways, so thank you.

  • We have many difficulties in Sweden, but one of the very best things is that Health care is still for free. It is indeed something to try our very best to keep so that we do not end up in such a “horrible” situation as described by you Sandy in this post. Thanks for reminding!!!

  • Thank you Peter Breggin – I agree, we have to strongly react towards a system which diagnose children and young people and prescring drugs without having a clue about long term effects. Just back home from a weekend with a lot of family homes and staff at our office. We were fotune to host Olga Runciman and Katrine Borre, film director from Denmark and also Anne-Lise from Norway who works with families and Children. Our organisation is one of very few ( maybe the only one) in Sweden which takes a stand against psychiatric diagnosis and prescriptions of drugs. Sometimes it is nearly overwhelming to realize how very dominant the biological/ pharmaeutical perspective is. Still we have no choise but to try to show alternatives in practice and by research. And maybe even more important to create networks and communities where we find strenght and create space to keep the hope alive. My deepest respect to you Peter for never ever giving up!!!

  • Will, warmest thank you for taking you time to share this important and valuable story which you call essay, but which I also would like to call a scientific paper. It is built on yours and several others experience . and thereby it is just as scientific as any other. I am together with people at my work place in the middle of what you describe very often. In daily work, but also by trying in different ways to make necessary changes and finding alternatives to forced “treatment” and exclusion by labelling people with Words no one know what it means.I love the way you decrice yourself, the young man and the meeting. I also respect the way you dare to describe the complexity in relationships, also sometimes parents towards their children. Some days ago I met my mentor Barbro Sandin who started a kind of “revolution” in Swedish psychiatry 30 years ago by claiming the things you do in this post. The importance of trying to make sense. To be there with the other one. To stand up for human rights and to never ever give up the idea that also the most unexplainable is possible to make sense of. If someone is willing to make a try. Thank You so much Will!!!

  • Dear Peter, first of all to say that I am deeply honoured to be one of the speakers in such great company of people. Second, when reading your post I recognized some essential similarities with my mentor Barbro Sandin who devoted her work and Life to make a change in the psychiatric system, and for that I am always grateful. I am so much looking forward to meet you in April. warmest / Carina

  • In this post I use the term antipsychiatry since in many contexts especially in psychiatry but also in academia it is seen as something “bad”, and something which is far too emotional etc, so therefore I wanted to use it and at the same time articulate some reasons. It is also to say – in this we have to take a stance!!!

  • Thank you for this great article and for highlighting the very important question, Why do we at all need psychiatry in its medical shape as if human life was reduced to biology and not including social, political, relational and philosophical issues. It is indeed as the comments illustrate, when psychiatry is investigated and questioned ( which is far to seldom) it often ends up as described in your post. And those of us who argue for a system beyond psychiatry are questioned instead, and seen as rebels, non scientific, not seriouse and with a lack of knowledge.

  • Dear Sandra
    I so much appreciate your posts and that you as a psychiatrist, one of the very few, engage in this extremely important issue and discussion. Sometimes the replies tend to “go far beyond” the original post so I just wish to say how much it means that you share your knowledge and experience.
    I would also like to thank Richard for suggesting you to use quote marks around that which is called ADHD. From my perspective I find it to be one of the most important issues at the time being, that we never keep our months shut for the terrible things taking place right now in the western world, and as far I have understood it is also spread to South America – the fact that a lot of Children and Young people are labelled and put on drugs. It is such a shame and it cant be done without protests and by telling the other “truth”. So thanks again Sandra, I so much value your work and word!

  • I surely appreciate both Open Dialogue and Peter Goetzche but I am not happy with the concept “schizophrenia” aince the diagnosis itself is very weak, and there are still no common sense about what it means. So I would suggest that we are very careful when using such wordings. Another thing I would like to highlight is that the concept Open Dialogue is sometimes a bit “vague”, and as far as I know we are many people all over the globe who have known for ages that it is important to talk to and not about others, and also that listening to the other one is the abolutely first step to take if a meeting will take place. But it might be that P G means OD in relation to research about how the team in Torneå meet people in acute crisis?

  • Hi David and a warm thank you for such nice words. Please let me know when you visit Sweden next year, maybe in connection to our planned Film festival which will be in cooperation with MadinAmerica. Lets stay in touch!

  • Thank you for the article and also thanks for the comments which I very much agree with. One thing though which puzzle me a bit is that Allen Frances is seen to be “critical” – was it not him who partly created the DSM system? I am not saying that it is not ok to change one´s mind and opinion, but to me it seems a bit “weird” when Frances is so critical to a system he has very much created himself. Or maybe I have just missed him saying “I am deeply sorry for that, and I had no idea it would cause such huge difficulties for so many people all over the world”.

  • I so agree with you Corinna, and also wish to add that as far as I could see Allen Frances did not attend the whole festival. As is far too often the case, when so called “prominent” people attend they tend to stay while they present themselves and then leave. I also noticed that during the panel with invited doctors all of a sudden people started to use titles, in a way that had not been done before.

  • The dilemma as far as I see it is when those of us working as “professional helpers” declare that we want to do one thing and then do something totally different. I know it is to ask for a lot but still if people in the system feel like it is very hard to do what the system ask for, how come they stay? It is a rethoric question since of course there are very many answers to it, but still it is worth talking about it and hopefully to try to be as honest as possible. If the reason is money, status, living a comfortable life, it would be very good to say so. Instead of pretending as if the reasons are something else, as for example “I wish to help the other one”. It is such a big issue and I myself am at times a “pretender” and not very honest all the time, but still it is important to try to find ones own motives instead of focusing too much on the other one. Systems are created by people and it also means that people have a possibilty to change systems.

  • Hi David Cohen, thank you for publishing your brilliant talk at MIA Film Festival. It was so great to listen to your very transparent presentation and that you so clearly take a stance. That is missing very often missing in professional contexts, and one of the reasons why this website is so important- to “meet” others who have decided to be outspoken and share essential experiences. We do have so much knowledge about what is important in life- for each of us, no matter what we are called or where on the globe we live. This knowledge has to be shown in deeds and actions, so thank you. We hope to be able to invite you to Sweden next year. Your voice is indeed needed!

  • My experience from meeting children and youngsters at my work place is that nearly all of them have been given psychiatric diagnosis and prescribed drugs. It did not happen that much ten years ago, but today it is extremely common. All the kids have a kind of reason for coming to us, otherwise we would not have met. But the reason is of course to find in their context, and in their relationships or lack of relations. Instead of focusing on that young people are described as “psychiatric cases” and “treated” with drugs no one know the consequenses of. It is nothing but a big shame, and as I think something all citizens have a responsibilty to not accept. Yes, more resaearch is needed, but also common sense, and to tell about practice. That which many of us experience every day, without talking about it. It is not just psychiatrists, but many of us who have a possibility to contribute and to make a change.

  • Hi Laura
    As always I very much like to read your post, and the issue this time is often in my mind, How to do as little harm as possible as a professional helper and instead find ways to connect with young people beyond the therapeutic wordings and by labelling and diagnosing. As it is by now it seems as if society and those being in charge pay far too much attention to find out “what is wrong” instead of realizing that it is a part of growing to be a bit “crazy” at times. And for sure there are a lot of reasons for young people, and for us not that young any more to feel dispair and sadness and “furiosity”. So if instead of focusing on “the missing gen” or “the imbalance in brain”, as we now know does not even exist except as a metaphor, try to make changes in society on a political level and dare to show in words as in action how crazy it has been when a society label their kids and young people instead of changing what needs to be changed. My vision is that far more people, both so called ordinary ones as those defined professional helpers would refuse to take part in that play.

  • I am very sad to say but it is the same difficulties in Sweden, if not worse to get the word out. Media does not publish critical articles and are absoultely unwilling to publish debate articles as I have tried for ages. It is nothing but a big shame for a society and especially for the so called professionals who do not take a stance and tell about what is going on.

  • First of all, this post really creates a dialogue (whatever that difficult word means) but more than that it shows how our own experiences tend to colour what we feel and Think. I deeply agree with many of the people commenting on Daniels post that for once it is possible to get the word out and the importance of it. But I also find it important to not say that all psychiatrists are crazy and mean and “full of shit”. Of course they are not. If we end up there I am afraid we play the same game as we dont want, namely to label and diagnose each other. The psychiatric system is something different, as I think, and for me it is very hard to understand how come we still have not found a better alternative. To be honest it is also difficult for me to understand how people manage to work in such systems, but that is indeed not just psychiatrists who do, lots of other professions are involved. For me the big issue is how to create alternatives and to get the word out? My hope is that for example MIA will grow and be a very strong voice, which find ways to involve a lot of people having different backgrounds and experiences but sharing the same vision; to shut down the far too damaging psychiatric system and let something vivid and healthy grow.

  • I did not see your post as a shut down dialogue thing, rather something coming from anger and frustration and experience. Yes maybe a bit wild, but very sad to say the things you wrote about have many of the people I meet at work experienced. being forced with injections,being told “you have schizophrenia and will never be able to live without medication”, being told something is wrong in the brain, being told about an imbalance in brain. But NOT being told their are other “truths”. Are Not being told there are many people who are no “patients” any more…etc etc…

  • Hi again Sandra, just to say that if all psychiatrists were like you the world would have been a different place. I have a lot of respect for your work and ideas, and also want to add that I am of course not always in a mood of powerlessness, but it worrries me that so many people, not only psychiatrists seem to close their eyes and ears.

  • Hi Sandra
    Just before I started to read Daniels post I had got a mail that my debate article as I have sent to a newspaper were rejected. Again! It seems impossible to publish articles which describes another “truth” than traditional psychiatry. the feeling of powelessness came over me, as often when trying to get the word out. in media but above all in relation to psychiatry in Gothenburg as in other places. I have recently been part of a discussion at the ISPS list serve and feelings of powelessness got me even there It worries me since I usually keep pretty much hope inside, but its getting harder and harder. It is as if people dont want to see the skyrocketing prsecriptions of psychofarmaca and psychiatric diagnosis. so I do think it is necessary to write the way Daniel does. I do think it is necessary to find ways to touch the reader, and people in common. My question is maybe a bit milder, but I wonder how come so many psychiatrists take part in this play? How come nearly none of the people I meet at work have been told that it is possible to live without medication? They are actually told the difference, as Daniel writes, that it is not possible. So many people I meet who have to live with sife affects and who have been told they are sick without taking into consideration either context or relationships.

  • Hi Daniel
    This is so good and even though the issue is anything but fun, you really have a point!!! Yesterday I told a young woman I meet in therapy that I am so grateful I never turned to psychiatry when life was very hard and I had a lot of symptoms. I am sure if I had done that my life would have been very different by now. As you know, I have been against psychiatric diagnosis for a very long time and as it seems as if more and more people start to realize how absoultely crazy it is to categorize human beings like that. Reading your list makes it even more obvious….

  • tahnk you B, yeeeh, the psychiatric system is difficult to make sense of, as I think. I know many people working in the system, and they have the best of intentions but still it seems as if again and again coming back to the question, is it possible to define social, political and contextual difficulties in an individual psychiatric diagnoses? That is for me very tricky…

  • hi Sandra
    The importance of respect and consideration for the person is, as I think nothing new when it comes to ideas and experience in the field of therapy and social work. Also in the “system”. There are a many skilled and passionated professionals belonging to different theoretic schools who have a lot of to tell about this.
    What I find radical in OD is the combination of this knowledge and attitude with the idea to reduce or take away drugs. That is what needs to be in focus as I Think, and hope for future.

  • Thank you Sandra for this most beautiful post, describing some very essential things about being a human and the problems which come when we tend to behave as if it would be possible to catch human life into a box and give a name to it. Former Tom Andersen used to talk about how language sometimes bewitch us in the sense that we give a name to a phenomena as if we by doing so think we know the truth. As for example the psychiatric diagnosis used each and every day by a lot of people as IF something called schizophrena or ADHD really exists.
    My experience from many years of practice, research and lived life is what you describe, the importance of presence and participation and to come from an authentic place when meeting another person. This does not mean that we shall not try our very best to understand human dilemmas and difficulties, but it means that we have to find out a better way to do it. As for example what is done on this webpage started by Robert Whitaker in order to examine research and practice. and in lots of other ways and places all over the world. We “just” have to see and value that it exists and that it is a brilliant alternative to the still dominant way of relating to human beings and human life.

  • I very much agree, and even in physics nowadays many researchers know that it is not possible to know about the observed phenomena without also taking notice of the one who observes the phenomena. That is one of the reasons why I have taken a stance against psychiatric diagnosis, since it says as much about the one who gives the diagnosis. I hope you understand my “broken” English.

  • I may be a dreamer (one amongst many others by the way) but I think and hope that sooner or later it will turn out that human beings dealing with human dilemmas will be met in a different way. in a non-medical way. And IF people in psychiatry are willing to be part of that movement and change, they are more than welcome. If not, they will do better outside the coming contextual way of thinking and relating towards people in crisis.

  • Thank you, that is also my hope and at least some days it feels as if maybe one day…And no matter, there are really no alternatives for those of us who cant stand the way it is, we have to do something about it!

  • Dear Skybluesight. I am sorry if I got it wrong, but have a wish to reply to say that my post is from my own experiences, and I agree it is very important OF COURSE with the narratives from those who have been part of our work. Therefore we try in different ways regularely to talk together and also to create space for their voices. For example through an antologhy edited by a colleauge of mine, Hanna Lundblad.

  • I am so sorry to hear about your son and your very hard experiences, and I agree it is so upsetting there is not more efforts done to find alternatives to the traditional psychiatry. Unfortunately it is not very usual in Sweden and Finland either, so it is an ongoing effort to try to enabling our experiences also in Sweden, and in the ciy Gothenburg where we work.

  • I am not sure if I misunderstood your post, jist want to say that our organization is a non profit one and people who come to us are supported by the state, very rarely people pay themselves, and when so it is just a little fee. I also wish to add that many adults coming to our place do not bring their parents, so it is not necessary to do. Sometimes it does not work, by different reasons. When meeting young people and childrne we know from experience how importnat it is to invite also parents and familynetwork, which does not necessarily mean that the child and parents go along with each other. But to be part is important, as we have experienced. Hope my answer has given some meaning to you.

  • Olga, my warmest thank you, and likewise I am very happy to know you and take part of your experiences and knowledge. I am fllowing your work in Denmark as yoy know and am very much looking forward to catch up in May, if not before.

  • Thank you so much Fred, and for telling about your friend and his commitment in life. Just to add, it is indeed not me alone who makes our organization possible, rather the collaboration between a lot of people; those called family homes, those living in the family homes, their families, people at the office and many others supporting in different ways. And yes, I agree about the importance of love but for me anger is also a driving force, since it creates Power when experiences that something is just “too not ok” and has to be changed for the better. Sorry for my not so good English, I hope you see what I try to express. All the best!

  • Thank you, I felt such a “need” to tell about some of the people my colleauges and I meet at Family Care Foundation beyond therapeutic methods and research since when it comes to the meeting it Always involves not “just” the so called client but also me as the therapist and human being. I am not at all against research, but we do know so very much, and also what needs to be done. So I hope for future that all of us will focus much more on humanistic issues in an organizational context instead of inventing new manuals and methods and wordings about that which is already so very well examined.

  • Hi Sandra, just to add that as I think the team in Torneå is also an example of the very importance of having dedicated people working together for a long time and at the same time being open for visitors to take part in their work and share their ideas. That in itself creates an atmosphere which is a benefit for those we call patients and create a trust and an open mind. Compared to far too many situations where the patient have to meet a new therapist or a new psyvchiatrist every time he / she enters the hospital or ward. All these factors are necessarily not counted as tehrapy, but so very important. Wishing you all the best Sandra!!!

  • Yes it will be great to see you, and to listen to you of course!
    This morning on my way to work I met a mother and her four years old daughter on their way to day care (or how to call it in English). In the beginning of last autumn a colleauge Hanna and I met the girl and her parents who at that time were in a chock since a psychologist after meeting the girl ONE time had told them that the girl has a very severe autism and has to start medicating and go through psychological tests. They were also told that the girl will never be able to live “a normal” life. Well, to make a long story very short, we have seen the parents during some months and listened to their story over the last ten years and how different things have happenened in their life, and not to say that everything is totally ok by now, but they again trust their own feelings and experiences towards the daughter and have decide not to go back to child psychiatry. Welcome to Gothenburg!!!

  • First of all, sorry I did not know about the possiblity to sign the paper. In my daily work I meet far too often children and young people coming to our place with psychiatric diagnosis and prescriptions of drugs. Fortunately I am often part of a change, I have the joy to work with people who believe in other things, people who believe in the importance of being present and participating in a relationship to try to find out how come it is like this. And there are answers, always! Not necessarily easily found, not necessarily comfortable, sometimes very painful issues to discover, sometimes with a lot of guilt and sleepless nights. So it is important to be there together with the child and his / her family (if possible). There are no other way. It can never ever be acceptable to define a child or a young person having a psychaitric illness without taking into account the context, life conditions, family, society, etc… And sad to say, but have also very many times met children and young people getting worse in a “professional” context with its manuals, methods, and different criterias. I have a dream about a different approach, about a knowledge which include many people, also the professional “helper”, a knowledge which has to do with trust, hope, taking a responsibilty and to find ways to collaborate.

  • Hi Daniel
    First of all, I love that Margaret Mead quote. and it is true!!! Every single change starts with a few people and the more we dare to accept that, the better chance for changes.

    I am very happy that you have written this post and it is an important document no matter where we work, Soteria or not.
    In a couple of weeks my work place celebrate its 25th anniversary.

    One of the few rules we have had over the years is to try not to do things we dont believe in. That we stated already from the beginning. We told each other that rather than doing things we did not find good enough we should close down the shop if necessary.
    Believe me, there have been times when I and my colleagues have been very challenged about that decision, but we have held on to it.

    That does not mean that we have always done very good things and that we have not made huge mistakes, we have! Well, not THAT big mistakes, but you see what I mean.

    But we have never sold our soul and the culture of our place. As for example, there have been times when it had been much more politically correct to shut our mouths instead of arguing against drugs. There have been times when it had been better not to talk that loud about not using psychiatric diagnosis, but we have talked about it. Loud at times.

    Why? because it is our duty to tell about important experiences and to let other people know that there are other ways to do the work.
    As Lauren Mosher did when creating Soteria and as lots of other peoople have done during history.
    And aS YOU DO NOW!
    There is always this balance about our own needs and comfort life and the need of others.
    In the best of worlds we would always do the best for the other, but that is not how life use to be. Still, we continue to dream, and work and write and argue. Some of us more than others.

    When you now discuss these issues the way you do, you also take a risk. For yourself but also for Soteria Alaska.
    There is a risk that people who dont want places like Soteria and my work place will find arguments to say LOOK WHAT THEY DO AND WHAT THEY DONT DO!!
    That is a risk we have to take. Tom Andersen, one of my important persons used to say that we need to go into the margins and to look to be able to look at the mainstream. But we must not stay there too long, because then we take a risk to become mainstream ourselves.
    I hope this is possible to understand in my not very excellent English.

    Sometimes I get “accused” of thinking that love is enough when meeting people having huge troubles. I dongt find love enough. Unless we dont mean that love is also to argue, to challenge, to be hard, to say NO.

    I still love my work, not at least since it makes “use” of other peoples committments,solidarity, openness, recognition, and collaboration. The fact that some people invite a totally strangefr to their home.
    But I have also experienced over the years the importance of a peaceful place, a place with very clear frames and where people know what is ok and not. And where people know they are not left alone when too hard.

    Well time for me to stop by now, sending my wishes to you and to others who keep on working, and by doing so challenge both ourselves and the others.
    Thanks again Daniel for a very brave and wise post.
    Carina

  • Hi Sandra
    It is great to read your blogs and the way you describe the work which has been done in Torneå for many years and now is a wonderful inspiration for lots of people all over. I do hope that it will never be simplified as “a method” or seen as something that can easily be achieved by a certificate. So thanks alot for writing the way you do!!!! love, carina

  • Hi Sandra!!!
    just to say it was great to meet!. I am back at work and reminded every day about the importance of taking a stance and try to find out every day what is now “the best” to do.
    Met a little girl yesterday together with her parents. She has after ONE meeting with professionela, as we are called, got a very severe psychiatric diagnosis. That is what is needed to focus on, as I think. The far too fast assumptions about other peoples way of behaving, feeling and thinking.
    So we have to keep up the work and try to make it more humanistic and including. No matter if calling it the one or the other method. That struck me during days and nights in Findland, the, as it seemed need from so many participants to get a “solution”, a method, a certificate and so on.
    I know it is necessary maybe to have some method to hold on to, but it may never be, in away which takes away the focus from the people we meet in every day work.
    once again, great to meet. Take care.
    Carina

  • Hi
    a colleauge in Denmark made me aware of your article and after reading it, I felt like saying that it is indeed encouraging to read since I am writing a thesis based upon my experiences as a therapist. Late Tom Andersen used to say that we need to write and talk in a way which create feelings inside the ones who read or listen. Your article corresponds with that. It is necessary to try to give life to the stories we tell and to realize that we are talking and writing about living people. So thanks again! Carina