Finding myself intrigued by this man who'd never trained in psychiatry or psychology but who nevertheless worked effectively with people in severe distress using self-developed theories, I tracked Buhner down. I asked him to speak to me about these issues, and here is what resulted.
We are here to challenge how this thing called madness and mental health is in fact a reflection and a relationship, to redefine how society responds, and to insist that in the definition of madness we also see a reflection of the society looking at it.
I was recently asked to contrast my views on psychosis and recovery with those offered by NAVIGATE, a US government (NIMH) sponsored program aiming to guide early intervention programs for psychosis. This inspired me to inquire into what NAVIGATE does tell people and families about psychosis and recovery. What I found, unfortunately, was quite disturbing.
The researchers find that the drug effects for reducing psychosis are small and that treatment failure and severe side effects are common.
The issue of how women in crisis are supported after a birth is personally relevant. One day I hope to have a child. As someone whose distress sometimes takes the form of psychosis, I was eager to connect with the stories of women who had trodden this path before me.
After working in the field, I have found that the majority of people in the mental health system are not getting adequate care like I received during my first psychotic episode. I was lucky enough to have a doctor who took a nontraditional approach to schizophrenia and worked with me on coming off of medications.
We need to learn to listen and respond in a caring way to the disturbed and disturbing voices within the population—to really engage with them, while also not believing any lies or distortions or letting destructive forces take over.
In this interview we will explore often-contentious topics including the non-validity of the biological model, the link between parenting problems and psychosis, and how best to help psychotic people who are fighting both emotional conflicts and a psychiatric system drugging them into silence.
I believe that an Intensive Psychotherapy can lead to healing and, often, a cure of psychotic states. By cure I mean the cessation of delusions and hallucinations, and a gradual titration off of antipsychotic medication, with the cure lasting—even without continuing psychotherapy.
In this second article, I will further analyze the reasons why the unevidenced biological-illness approach to “schizophrenia” has become so entrenched in our society. Most importantly, I will discuss hopeful alternatives.
As a psychiatric survivor who has personally experienced severe psychosis, my criticisms focus on the relative lack of attention to what psychiatric drugs actually are, and on the uncertain, contested nature of the supposed target of these drugs: “schizophrenia.” I will elaborate on each of these points with references, as well as highlighting alternative approaches to helping psychotic people.
A new review, published in Schizophrenia Bulletin, examines the effects of exercise on cognition in individuals diagnosed with 'schizophrenia.' The results of the meta-analysis...
A new study, published online ahead of print in the journal Clinical Psychology Review, investigates the underlying connection between the experience of trauma and the...
As Burning Man nears its 30th anniversary, USA Today has published an article attempting to explain how this still somewhat freakish event came into existence. I enjoyed the article, but as someone involved in the origin story it tells, I believe that an important piece is being left out. This relates to how misguided “mental health treatment” came close to disabling a key organizer of the early Burning Man. This piece is a fascinating tale in itself, but more fascinating when considered as just one example of how a flawed approach to mental health treatment forms a barrier to many forms of cultural evolution and renewal, with oppressive consequences for society as a whole.
In this month’s issue of the journal Brain a new study investigates whether the drugs prescribed to control seizures can increase the risk of...
In the mainstream, psychological difficulties are seen as “symptoms” of an “illness” or “mental disorder” and based on this the focus is put on suppressing them, either by using drugs, or shock, or by psychological interventions that also aim to “eliminate the problem.” Unfortunately, this mainstream approach often works poorly, and too often its main effect is to aggravate the problem, or to cause “collateral damage” as critically important parts of the person are suppressed along with the supposed “symptoms.” But if we want to replace the mainstream approach, we need a coherent alternative view.
Jaakko Seikkula writes, in the first blog on the new International Open Dialogue website, about current trends in Open Dialogue; "After first opening the door...
In the past five years, there has been a dramatic explosion of interest in the Open Dialogue Therapy practiced in Tornio, Finland. It is a humanistic “treatment” that has produced five-year outcomes for psychotic patients that are, by far, the best in the developed world, and there are now groups in the United States, Europe and beyond that are seeking to “import” this care. However, the challenges for doing so are many and, last month, Open Dialogue UK - on the occasion of the first-ever fully recognized Open Dialogue training outside of Tornio - organized a conference in London to hold an open dialogue about Open Dialogue.
When people are “mad,” they are often insisting that certain things are so, and frequently seem unwilling or incapable of appreciating or learning from other perspectives. Yet when the supposedly “sane” mental health system approaches those who are mad, it typically does the same thing – it insists that its own view of what’s going on is correct, and seems incapable of appreciating or learning from others, whether they be the patient, the family, former users of services, or anyone who understands madness in a different way.
Last year, eleven years after the suicide of Dan Markingson in a University of Minnesota drug study, external investigations found evidence of coerced study recruitment, troubling conflicts of interest, shoddy scientific review, deep mistrust of U leaders, and a climate of fear and intimidation in the Psychiatry Department. U leaders solemnly promised the people of Minnesota that they were finally going to clean up the mess. Last week, yet another investigation found that nothing has changed.
Families are often very important for people encountering severe mental and emotional difficulties. But how can family members really know what is helpful, and what is likely to make things worse for the person having problems? Similarly, for those who want to help families, how can they know what will really be helpful for those families, and what will make things worse?