Chrys Muirhead

miscellaneous articles, blog posts, films, documents ....

FOI response re Empower Project funding

Link to FOI response from the University of Glasgow about Empower Project funding

Community Mental Health Care in Trieste and Beyond

Community Mental Health Care in Trieste and Beyond
An 'Open Door - No Restraint' System of Care for Recovery and Citizenship
Roberto Mezzina, MD
The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease & Volume 202, Number 6, June 2014

"Abstract: Since Franco Basaglia's appointment in 1971 as director of the former San Giovanni mental hospital, Trieste has played an international benchmark role in community mental health care. Moving from deinstitutionalization, the Department of Mental Health (DMH) has become a laboratory for innovation on social psychiatry, developing a model that can be defined as the "whole system, whole community" approach. The DMH provides care through a network of community services but also places great emphasis on working with the wider community with a view to promoting mental health and taking care of the social fabric. The network of services is based on 24/7 Community Mental Health Services, whose organization and activities are here described in detail. Data are provided on activity and outcome. The performance of DMH as a World Health Organization collaborating center disseminating best community mental health practices is also reviewed."

UN Report of the Special Rapporteur July 2017

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

Corruption can have a devastating effect on good governance, the rule of law, development and the equitable enjoyment of all human rights, including the right to health. In many countries health care is among the most corrupt sectors, threatening the sustainability of health-care systems worldwide. Corruption originates from power imbalances and asymmetries, is perpetuated by non-transparent decision-making and reinforces ineffective and harmful policymaking and health services provision. The present report is focused not only on those forms of corruption that are legally defined as breaking the law and should be brought to justice, but also on those practices which undermine principles of medical ethics and social justice, as well as effective and transparent health-care provision. The right to health provides a valuable normative framework and constitutes a legally binding imperative to analyse and address corruption affecting the right to health and occurring in and beyond the health sector."

my response to Scottish Government Draft Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2018 consultation

my response to Engagement Process of the Draft Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2018

FOI Request Response from Scottish Government re the state of affairs in Stratheden Hospital now in respect of patient safety and unwaged Carer support

Disappointing response, nothing specific, links to websites rather than individualised information pertinent to my questions. Scottish Government FOI Request Response letter 21 December 2017

"It doesn't mean I'm useless": how do young people experiencing psychosis contribute to their families and why are contributions sometimes overlooked?

"It doesn't mean I'm useless": how do young people experiencing psychosis contribute to their families and why are contributions sometimes overlooked?
Justin Allman, Anne Cooke, Becky Whitfield & Michelle McCartney
Psychosis Journal, Published online: 22 Dec 2017; DOI: 10.1080/17522439.2017.1413129

The trials of speaking out with an independent voice in the ivory towers of Clinical Psychology in Scotland

In 2017 I returned briefly to the user/carer involvement groups at both Edinburgh (APEX) and Glasgow (CUSP) University DClinPsy programmes and prior to this did a one day teaching session on the Psychosis module at Glasgow, Mental Health and Wellbeing Unit, Gartnavel, invited by Professor Andrew Gumley. I enjoyed the teaching for which I received an honorarium and expenses. I'd spent many hours working on my presentation 'Surviving Psychosis/Psychiatry: Resilience, Resistance, Recovery; Rescue, Respite, Risk, Renewal" and appreciated being left on my own to teach the class of 2nd year Trainees, from my lived experience as a psychiatric inpatient and unwaged Carer Mother, also from perspective of writer, activist, campaigner and whistleblower about systematic abuse.

However on 9 May 2017 my PhD Clinical Psychology application at the University of Edinburgh was withdrawn due to the supervision relationship with Professor Matthias Schwannauer breaking down. No-one else could be found to supervise me. After this I did try to be meaningfully involved in the APEX and CUSP groups but I felt that my independent voice wasn't welcome, it was as if being constrained or silenced. Professor Hamish McLeod, Programme Director, DClinPsy Glasgow, did not want me teaching Trainees, sending me a headed letter to this effect. I made a complaint, Stage 2, asking to meet with Professor Jill Pell, but this was ignored. My complaint wasn't upheld.

Meanwhile at Edinburgh DClinPsy, although I'd had meetings with various academics, raising expectations of meaningful involvement, nothing has transpired. It's been 8 long years since I first engaged with Glasgow DClinPsy academics and 6 years since engaging with Edinburgh DClinPsy academics. I'm not getting any younger, now 65. So I've retreated from APEX Edinburgh and have no links with CUSP Glasgow. [27 December 2017]

University of Glasgow DClinPsy Psychosis Module day training 8 May 2017

Presentation slides: Surviving Psychosis/Psychiatry: Resilience, Resistance, Recovery; Rescue, Respite, Risk, Renewal

Speaking Truth to Power: DClinPsy presentation, University of Edinburgh

Presentation slides: Speaking Truth to Power. I was given a short time to speak (a wee bit longer than other Experts by Experience) to 2nd year trainees at DClinPsy University of Edinburgh.

University of Edinburgh DClinPsy APEX presentation 9 October 2017

Link to presentation slides 9Oct17

Chrys Muirhead Writes blog

FOI Request Response August 2012: Clinical Effectiveness at Stratheden Hospital, NHS Fife

Clinical Effectiveness at Stratheden Hospital Aug12: Resilience, Resistance, Recovery; Rescue, Respite, Risk, Renewal

"helping them through rather than blunting feelings" in support of #BBCPanorama

My response to a blog post on Discursive of Tunbridge Wells about the BBC Panorama programme 'A Prescription for Murder?':

"I thought the Panorama programme was very difficult to watch from the psychiatric survivor perspective, having been prescribed Venlafaxine in 2002 after being clinical depressed when coercively drugged with Risperidone, following a menopausal psychosis and voluntarily entering Stratheden psychiatric hospital, Fife. Without thinking it through I swallowed a bottle of Venlafaxine on impulse and was rushed in an ambulance to Ninewells Hospital Dundee, on oxygen. No-one had said about suicidal impulse being a side effect of this drug. I didn't know until around 2013 and for all these years I was ashamed at having tried to kill myself, although it was more of a cry for help. I'd never done such a thing before or since. I eventually managed to taper a maximum dose of Venlafaxine and 800mgs/day Lithium to zero, in 2003/4, making a complete recovery from the Dx label Schizoaffective Disorder which was in my "notes". It's still there.

I've warned my sons not take antidepressants as I think they are riskier than even antipsychotics (these drugs depressed me), because of my own personal experience. And I've heard from other people, one a good friend, of their negative experiences, trying to take their own lives when tapering antidepressants. Fortunately I was able to advocate for and support my sons in and out of psychiatry, for all 3 of them experienced psychosis after leaving home for university in the big city. I took my sons into psychiatric wards and had to advocate for them at meetings, helped them taper drugs, did my best to advise and protect, when they asked me to.

However my youngest son was physically and mentally abused in the locked seclusion room of Stratheden IPCU in February 2012. This has been the toughest experience yet. The flashbacks were hard to cope with, he lives with me, has done since before 2005 when first engaging with psychiatry. They made him into a revolving door patient until the 2012 abuse when I contend they did their best to make him retaliate as other patients have done in the past, ending up in medium or high secure forensic psychiatric wards. I can name some of these men and know their stories. [I have know one Mother since 2003, who has stood by her son for over 25 years, many of them as a Stratheden Hospital inpatient, broken bones, inhumane treatment. It has taken its toll on her, she's now in her 70's, recently had a fall, her son is 49.]

I think that psychological therapies need to be on offer more, that therapists and psychologists need to develop more skills, be allowed to practise them more, to work with mentally distressed people so that less antidepressants will require to be prescribed, reducing risks of self-harm due to the drugs. This will mean improving cognitive interpersonal approaches, using a variety of mediums, to listen and engage with people who are anguished or in extreme emotional states or psychosis. Helping them through rather than blunting the feelings with drugs which in some cases, maybe rare or uncommon, isn't effective and makes things much worse. Antidepressant prescribing is continually on the increase, even the fish in the sea are now showing traces of them, according to research. We are a nation of pill poppers it seems and this Panorama programme raised a number of questions which rather than dig trenches could help us all reconsider how to manage or work better with people who are depressed or disconnected or suicidal."

Surviving Psychosis/Psychiatry presentation 8May17 DClinPsy Glasgow

Surviving Psychosis/Psychiatry: Resilience, Resistance, Recovery; Rescue, Respite, Risk, Renewal

Switching antipsychotics: John Donoghue

Switching antipsychotics: Basing practice on pharmacology & pharmacokinetics; John Donoghue 2014 presentation to NHS Scotland psychiatric staff

Insight, duration of untreated psychosis and attachment in first-episode psychosis: prospective study of psychiatric recovery over 12-month follow-up

Insight, duration of untreated psychosis and attachment in first-episode psychosis: prospective study of psychiatric recovery over 12-month follow-up by A. I. Gumley, M. Schwannauer, A. Macbeth, R. Fisher, S. Clark, L. Rattrie, G. Fraser, R. McCabe, A. Blair, K. Davidson and M. Birchwood; The British Journal of Psychiatry (2014) 205, 60-67. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.113.126722

DCP-Scotland Review, Summer 2017, Issue 16

Link to DCP-Scotland Review Summer 2017 and my piece 'Hard to reach: Coercive system or defective gene?' on p44-46. Thanks to Dr Simon Stuart, Clinical Psychologist and Editor of the Review.

Interpersonal Processes: Prof Matthias Schwannauer

Interpersonal Processes presentation to 1st year Trainees DClinPsy programme University of Edinburgh

My WRAP Plan

My WRAP Plan adapted from Kansas University booklet

An Interacting Cognitive Subsystems Model of Relapse and the Course of Psychosis

'An Interacting Cognitive Subsystems Model of Relapse and the Course of Psychosis' by Andrew Gumley, Craig White, Kevin Power; Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy; 1999

'Walking alongside: a qualitative study of the experiences and perceptions of academic nurse mentors supporting early career nurse academics'

'Walking alongside: a qualitative study of the experiences and perceptions of academic nurse mentors supporting early career nurse academics': Debra Jackson, Kath Peters, Sharon Andrew, John Daly, Joanne Gray & Elizabeth Halcomb; Contemporary Nurse, 2015 Vol. 51, No. 1, 69-82

Important Court Judgements: Hunter Watson paper February 2017

Important Court Judgements: paper by Hunter Watson updated February 2017

Reactive psychoses revisited

Reactive psychoses revisited by Gabor Sandor Ungvari, Paul Edward Mullen; Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 2000; 34:458-467

The psychodynamics of psychosis: Brian Martindale & Alison Summers

The psychodynamics of psychosis: Brian Martindale & Alison Summers; Advances in psychiatric treatment (2013), vol. 19, 124-131 doi: 10.1192/apt.bp.111.009126

This article outlines common psychodynamics in psychosis. We consider psychosis as a response to unbearable aspects of reality and illustrate how psychodynamic concepts of psychological defence can be used as a framework for understanding this. We also present a psychodynamic approach to understanding the development of psychosis, using the stress-vulnerability model, and discuss interpersonal dynamics in psychosis, par ticularly their relevance to therapeutic relationships and to interactions between patients and their families. The perspectives presented are intended to complement and enrich other frameworks rather than compete with them."

Mistakes I Have Made in My Research Career: Sir Robin Murray Schizophrenia Bulletin 21Dec16

Mistakes I Have Made in My Research Career: Sir Robin Murray paper

Shared treatment decision-making and empowerment-related outcomes in psychosis: systematic review and meta-analysis

Shared treatment decision-making and empowerment-related outcomes in psychosis: systematic review and meta-analysis Paper in BJPsych by Diana Stovell, Anthony P. Morrison, Margarita Panayiotou and Paul Hutton

Cognitive-behavioural therapy for the symptoms of schizophrenia: systematic review and meta-analysis with examination of potential bias

'Cognitive-behavioural therapy for the symptoms of schizophrenia: systematic review and meta-analysis with examination of potential bias':
S. Jauhar, P. J. McKenna, J. Radua, E. Fung, R. Salvador and K. R. Laws; The British Journal of Psychiatry (2014) 204, 20-29; doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.112.116285

Service users' experiences of the treatment decision-making process in psychosis: A phenomenological analysis

'Service users' experiences of the treatment decision-making process in psychosis: A phenomenological analysis':
Diana Stovell, Alison Wearden, Anthony P. Morrison & Paul Hutton; Psychosis, Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches; 21 March 2016; DOI: 10.1080/17522439.2016.1145730

Recovery in Psychosis: A Delphi Study With Experts by Experience

'Recovery in Psychosis: A Delphi Study With Experts by Experience':
Heather Law and Anthony P. Morrison; Schizophrenia Bulletin; 12 April 2014; doi:10.1093/schbul/sbu047

Mental Health Strategy Paper March 2016

Here is a link to the Mental Health Strategy Paper March 2016 for discussion at the engagement events held by the Scottish Mental Health Partnership and the Scottish Government, including 21 March, Apex Hotel, Edinburgh.

Peer Support 2 day course TPS Glasgow Drug Crisis Centre Nov08 & Jan09

Workshops on Peer Support delivered to Turning Point Scotland clients at the Glasgow Drug Crisis Centre in November 2008 and January 2009.

Programme and report for 28Nov08 workshop

Programme and report for 13Jan09 workshop

Fife Acute Psychiatric Inpatient Care & Crisis Services Research Project 2011

In 2011 I worked in partnership with Dorothy Woolley, Choose Life Co-ordinator, NHS Fife, on an action research project, inviting mental health service users and carers to tell us about their experiences of acute inpatient care in Fife and crisis services. We held focus groups, conducted one-to-one interviews, used an online survey and questionnaires.

Unfortunately my youngest son had a crisis at the Christmas time 2011 and couldn't access support, eventually becoming an inpatient at Stratheden psychiatric Hospital, 1 February 2012. Therefore I did not write a report on the research findings, being too busy raising complaints and trying to protect my son. The rest is history.

Here are the survey forms, information sheets and feedback results from online survey and focus groups:

Service User survey form

Carer Questionnaire

Crisis Research Info Sheet

Crisis Informed Consent

Focus group feedback 9Aug11

Focus group feedback 26Sep11

Online Survey service user feedback stats

Online Survey carer feedback stats

Muirton Fairfield Research Project 2008, Perth

From March to July 2008 I worked as a PT researcher with Perth & Kinross Council. The aim was to research the adult learning needs of the Fairfield and Muirton regeneration areas of Perth, identifying barriers to learning and if possible engaging with people who do not usually access learning opportunities.

Link to Muirton Fairfield Research Project Report

Muirton Fairfield Blog 2008

Antipsychotic Guidelines for Dementia Patients (2): W Hunter Watson, July 2015

Here is a link to Hunter Watson's 12 page paper 'Antipsychotic Guidelines for Dementia Patients' July 2015

"The use of these drugs in those with dementia has substantial clinical risk attached, including a conservative estimate of 1,800 extra deaths and 820 extra serious adverse events such as stroke per year."
Sube Banerjee, Professor of Mental Health and Ageing, King's College London

NHS Fife and Fife Council Psychiatric Emergency Plan (PEP) 2010

Here is a link to the NHS Fife and Fife Council PEP

remembering knitting BMX jumpers for the boys and being a cross-stitcher

One of the reasons I like visiting the Great Tapestry of Scotland is because I've been a keen stitcher over the years, especially when my bairns were young, knitting for them and their cousins. I was also a dressmaker when a teenager and through the years, like my mother before me, then a cross-stitcher in my 40's doing large projects for friends and family, keeping smaller items for myself.

My two oldest sons had got BMX bikes for Christmas one year so I knitted them jumpers with their own bike colours woven in. Photos from a day out in Perth c1986, snow on the ground, my youngest son aged about 2 in a hooded, basket-weave knitted jacket, wrapped up warm, a shawl he had from a baby.

my latest #BMJ response: 'Stigmatising language in psychiatric settings which may be discriminatory and long-lasting'

A psychiatrist friend sent me a link to this BMJ article by Glasgow GP Dr Margaret McCartney on 'Bad Language', thinking that I might like to do a response:

"Whether it's related to remnants of paternalism or to the universal rise of the public relations industry, healthcare is littered with terminology that inadvertently or otherwise misleads, by concealing or distorting crucial information. From lazy language to deliberate doublespeak .... Don't we need a clear-out of this bad language?"

And I did do a Rapid Response which was published yesterday:

Stigmatising language in psychiatric settings which may be discriminatory and long-lasting

"I wanted to add my voice to the mix, from the perspective of a person who has recovered from "mental illness" and supports family members recovering from the same. I would like to identify language used in psychiatric settings as a negative which in the real world would be seen as a positive and highlight other words which are stigmatising and discriminatory (1) (2). They can sit in our medical notes in perpetuity regardless of their accuracy or relevance to the here and now (3).

"non-compliant" if resistant to taking medication or psychiatric drugs - in the outside world this may be described as non-conformity, signalling an independent spirit and someone who knows their own mind

"anosognosia" or lack of insight if unwilling to accept the prescribed drugs or diagnosis. It may be that a person has the insight to refuse but this is contrary to what the doctor/psychiatrist ordered

"without capacity" if acting in a way that appears unusual or if not wanting to take the medication or if unwilling to accept the diagnosis or course of treatment ...

Read complete Post

Reference (3) The other side of the fence: Iatrogenic stigma; Dr Peter J Gordon, Hole Ousia, March 2013

FOI request responses in relation to Scottish Government senior civil servant Geoff Huggins' role as dementia ambassador

Blog post, 30 March 2015, setting the scene: FOI request to Paul Gray CEO of NHS Scotland about Geoff Huggins' role as a dementia ambassador

First FOI response from Colin Brown, Deputy Director, Office of the Director-General Health & Social Care and Chief Executive NHSScotland, on 28 April 2015.

Second FOI response from Richard Dimelow, Policy Manager, Healthcare Quality & Strategy Directorate, Scottish Government, on 29 May 2015.

'Distress Brief Intervention - description and proposed specification': Scottish Government

Paper for discussion at Focus Group Event, Perth, Scotland on Friday 8 May 2015. Suicide Prevention Strategy 2013 - 2016: Theme A: Responding to people in distress; Distress Brief Intervention - description and proposed specification; 10.4.15

Link to Paper

Hunter Watson: Legal Matters

"W. Hunter Watson, April 2015
Scotland Act 1998
Section 29 of the Scotland Act 1998 states "(1) An Act of the Scottish Parliament is not law so far as any provision of the Act is outside the legislative competence of the Parliament.
(2) A provision is outside that competence so far as any of the following paragraphs apply ..
(d) it is incompatible with any of the Convention rights or with Community law."
In this connection, the Minister should seek legal advice regarding a number of matters including the following:
  • Would an amended mental health Act be law if any of its provisions is outside the legislative competence of the Parliament?
  • Might an amended Act be incompatible with Convention rights if it is not compatible with a judgment of the European Court of Human Rights?
  • What constitutes Community law? ..."

    Read complete article

    Don't be afraid of critical (patient) voices #SVscot14 Dundee 9 October 2014 (a madmother speaks out)

    "Activist and carer Chrys Muirhead shares her frustrations at the challenges of meaningfully including patient voices and her suggestions for improving the system."

    [thanks to @RosieHopes for making this a pleasant experience and for rescuing me from the table discussions where I was beginning to rebel at the restraints/straitjackets coming into play]

    Robert Whitaker & Peter Gotzsche, Copenhagen May 2014, PsychoVision Conference: Anatomy of an Epidemic

    "Published on May 23, 2014 The Psychiatric Epidemic - does long-term use of medication decrease the chance of recovery?

    PsykoVision in Denmark has recently translated and published Robert Whitaker's book, "Anatomy of an Epidemic". In honor of this, PsykoVison has invited Whitaker to speak at a small conference in Copenhagen.

    This is Part 1: The Roots of the Epidemic, where Robert Whitaker guides us through the history of psychiatric medication and presents the scientific evidence that proves that the common wisdom about theses drugs is mostly based on falsehoods."

    Part 2 The Scope of the Epidemic - Robert Whitaker

    Part 3: On The Wrong Track - Peter Gotzsche

    Part 4: Children & ADHD - Robert Whitaker

    Part 5: Q & A - Gotzsche & Whitaker - Psychiatric Epidemic

    my response to Dr Denise Coia post on Ayrshire Health blog

    Bridging the gap between inequality and reality for those with mental illness by Dr Denise Coia (Healthcare Improvement Scotland, HIS, Chair) on Ayrshire Health blog

    My response:
    "I am a writer, activist and campaigner in mental health matters, also an unpaid carer of two sons who have mental disorder labels/diagnoses so I wanted to declare my "conflict of interest" before making this comment which will be a critical voice.

    Firstly I have been excluded from Scottish Patient Safety Programmes in Mental Health by Healthcare Improvement Scotland. Why? The reason given: if I attend then others won't. Please check this information with the HIS chair and other to verify.

    Secondly I recently had a complaint against NHS Fife upheld regarding unreasonable treatment of my son in the IPCU at Stratheden Hospital, in respect of their locked seclusion room use. A room which had no toilet or drinking water, light switch outside. Here is the Sunday Express article which tells our story.

    Thirdly, in response to Dr Coia's comments about people with mental illness dying sooner due to not getting their physical health issues treated, I would like to challenge this perspective. There are other articles written which lay the blame for reduced life expectancy in the severe and enduringly mentally ill at the door of psychiatric drug treatment.

    The drugs or medication debilitate and disable people because of the side effects in the short term and the more serious permanent side effects in the longer term.. Which include a higher rate of diabetes, walking problems, increased social anxiety due to medicine agitation and tardive dyskinesia, a permanent disabling nerve condition due to continued long term use of neuroleptics on the brain and nerve endings.

    See article on Psychology Today by Paula Caplan

    And book 'Anatomy of an Epidemic' by Robert Whitaker, "best investigative journalism book of 2010"

    There are always two sides to a story and in mental health settings there is the professional's "take" on things and then there is the other, the person with "lived experience", often called the real "experts". I am a person who has made a full recovery from "mental illness" and did this by taking charge of my own mental health, tapering and getting off the psychiatric drugs, in 2004, and getting back on with my life.

    Mental illness does not need to be a disabling lifelong condition. It could be an episodic condition with the "right" treatment, is how I look at it, and so do others. We who have other ways of looking at mental distress and emotional crises would like to see alternative ways of working with people in psychoses that don't have to mean drug treatment, on occasion forcibly given. There has to be a better way to "forge a ring of confidence" I contend."

    See blog post

    'The outlook for schizophrenia is better than we think - but is being sabotaged by Assembly-line Psychiatry' Dr Robin Murray

    'The outlook for schizophrenia is better than we think - but is being sabotaged by Assembly-line Psychiatry' Dr Robin Murray presentation (26 slides) at the Royal College of Psychiatrists Faculty of General Adult Psychiatry Annual Conference'Reshaping Medicine'16-17 October 2014, Brighton. In Parallel 3 session: New Developments in Psychiatry. Slides One and Two:

    Dr Peter Breggin: 'How Forgiveness Can Change Your Life'

    Dr Peter Breggin article in Huffington Post, January 2013: 'How Forgiveness Can Change Your Life'

    "Forgiveness, as I understand it after all these decades on Earth, is about an attitude toward both ourselves and others. Forgiveness is an attitude of letting go of enmity and resentment and encouraging ourselves to feel genuine love and empathy. It begins with kindness and understanding toward ourselves.

    Forgiving ourselves allows us to recognize our own faults and then to correct them as much as we can without languishing in unforgiving guilt and shame. Guilt and shame actually make us less able to examine ourselves. We try to relieve these self-punishing attitudes by denying responsibility for any wrong actions. In a state of denial that protects us from guilt and shame, we cannot identify what we need change about ourselves.

    Further in regard to ourselves, to forgive others is to make peace within ourselves. We give up anger and resentment and thereby become freer of spiritually-corrupting malice. We no longer give those who have hurt us the power to continue to do so by preoccupying us with their deeds."

    Read complete article 'How Forgiveness Can Change Your Life'

    Community-based psychodynamic group psychotherapy for treatment-resistant schizophrenia

    'Community-based psychodynamic group psychotherapy for treatment-resistant schizophrenia '
    by Giuliano Aiello & Sheraz Ahmad
    Advances in Psychiatric Treatment Journal, 2014, 20:323-329.

    We describe the work of a psychodynamic psychotherapy group for individuals affected by chronic schizophrenia in our community-basedrehabilitation and recovery service. Despite presenting with negative symptoms, over time patients made good use of the psychodynamic setting: they attended, expressed emotions, made connections and reflected within the group on their personal experience of mental ill health.

    We discuss the rationale and indications for psychodynamic psychotherapy for individuals with severe and enduring mental illnesses. We also reflect on the challenges we faced working psychodynamically with psychosis and on the necessary adaptation of the approach to work with chronic psychosis. We present vignettes from group sessions to illustrate themes that we identified in the therapy, making links with the literature.

    We conclude that the unstructured setting of the psychodynamic group approach can help individuals affected by most severe forms of psychosis to make sense of their experiences and use the space."

    Read complete article

    Ageing is Truth from #Omphalos: Time passes. Listen. Time passes.

    Ageing is truth from omphalos

    "Time passes. Listen. Time passes

    Sculpture: "The Ageing stone" by Dr Peter J. Gordon

    Track: "Truth" by Hue & Cry

    The Latin inscription (copied and translated below) was carved on Mavisbank house in 1724:

    Concedatque Deus, Nunquam Vel Sero Senescas Seroque Terrenas Experiare Vices Integra Reddantur. Que Plurima Saecula Rodant Delui Et Ut Serio Pulchrior Eniteas.

    And may God concede that you grow old either never or late, and that you experience earthly changes late. And may what the numerous ages erode be restored intact, and may it be granted that the older you are, the more beautiful you may shine."

    Cognitive behavioural therapy for psychosis prevention: a systematic review and meta-analysis

    P Hutton and PJ Taylor
    Psychological Medicine, March 2013, pp 1-20

    Clinical equipoise regarding preventative treatments for psychosis has encouraged the development and evaluation of psychosocial treatments, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

    A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted, examining the evidence for the effectiveness of CBT-informed treatment for preventing psychosis in people who are not taking antipsychotic medication, when compared to usual or non-specific control treatment. Included studies had to meet basic quality criteria, such as concealed and random allocation to treatment groups.

    Our search produced 1940 titles, out of which we found seven completed trials (six published). The relative risk (RR) of developing psychosis was reduced by more than 50% for those receiving CBT at every time point [RR at 6 months 0.47, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.27-0.82, p=0.008 (fixed-effects only: six randomized controlled trials (RCTs), n=800); RR at 12 months 0.45, 95% CI 0.28-0.73, p=0.001 (six RCTs, n=800); RR at 18-24 months 0.41, 95% CI 0.23-0.72, p=0.002 (four RCTs, n=452)]. Heterogeneity was low in every analysis and the results were largely robust to the risk of an unpublished 12-month study having unfavourable results. CBT was also associated with reduced subthreshold symptoms at 12 months, but not at 6 or 18-24 months. No effects on functioning, symptom-related distress or quality oflife were observed. CBT was not associated with increased rates of clinical depression or social anxiety (two studies).

    CBT-informed treatment is associated with a reduced risk of transition to psychosis at 6, 12 and 18-24 months, and reduced symptoms at 12 months. Methodological limitations and recommendations for trial reporting are discussed."

    Read complete article

    'Testimony of Experience: Docta Ignorantia and the Philadelphia Association Communities' by Bruce Scott

    Testimony of Experience: Docta Ignorantia and the Philadelphia Association Communities by Bruce Scott, PCCS Books.

    "Bruce Scott presents one of the very few pieces of research carried out with people who have been residents of the Philadelphia Association, set up in the 1960's by R.D.Laing and colleagues.

    Today, there are few places left for people to escape our modern plight; the cognitive and neuroscientific imperialistic discourse of mental distress. Testimony of Experience is an attempt to transcend this oppressive discourse. It does so by presenting over 40-years-worth of the experiences of ex-residents of Philadelphia Association (PA) communities. These were set up by R.D. Laing and others in the 1960s as a response to reductive medical and scientific theories of mental suffering.

    The tyranny of scientific certainty and striving for 'knowing' so prevalent within our state-sanctioned 'mental health' institutions deprives us of other ways of accommodating our curtailed subjectivities, of what it is to suffer, to live, to be human.

    This book re-examines an ancient dictum which is dying out today - the Docta Ignorantia - the doctrine of wise unknowing. Through a philosophically informed critique of positivistic research methodology and an analysis and deconstruction of interviews with ex-residents of the PA communities, this book asks the question that must be uttered to regain our subjectivity; is there room for wise unknowing in mental suffering in a world of certainty?"

    Mad in America blog posts by Tina Minkowitz & Faith Rhyne

    "We Name It as Torture" by Tina Minkowitz

    "Spending a lot of time in UN meetings I have come to feel like I am operating an avatar of myself, letting something come through me that uses logic and legal reasoning to add up to the inevitable conclusion, based on the definition in the Convention against Torture, forced psychiatry is an act of torture. But it has begun to feel curiously cold, as if it is more a trick than the truth. UN advocacy is all about getting the right words on paper, and it can breed cynicism on all sides.

    What I've done when I allow something to come through me in those meetings, is at best to allow the truth to speak itself. It is always hard to call up that state of being in myself that can remember and critically shape advocacy at the same time; it is justified when the creative force shapes ideas in a new way so that I am bringing something into the world. But when it feels like I am just dressing up the same ideas in new clothing, trying to sell my orphans to the highest bidder, I get tired.

    We need more than the right words on paper. We need allies who are in it with us for the long haul. We need to build our own bases of power, and to share power and resources with each other so that no one has to feel rejected; there are too few of us for rivalry to make any sense. We need to not exploit each other."
    Read Blog Post

    "Trigger Warning: Why Is It So Hard to Think About Torture?" by Faith Rhyne

    "June 26th is the United Nations International Day In Support of Victims of Torture. Last month, the Center for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (CHRUSP) and the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (WNUSP) put out a broad call to activists in various sectors of the consumers/survivors/ex-patients movement asking that people involved in the psychiatric human rights and c/s/x movements consider dialogue about the United Nations determination that many routine psychiatric interventions meet the criteria for torture. We were asked to discuss the implications of the fact that, under the myths of medical necessity, people regularly and routinely have their human rights violated in psychiatric treatment, often in ways that constitute torture.

    People do die as a result of psychiatric interventions, but in formal definitions of torture it is made clear that torture involves far more than physical injury. Torture is about isolation and it is about powerlessness. It is about fear and abject vulnerability. It is torture to believe that you are utterly alone. When people are tortured, they are stripped of their personhood and the human right to defend oneself or to make choices or to be free in the most basic human ways of movement and communication."
    Read Blog Post

    Chrys: "remembering my mother whose birthday was 26 June, a woman who was a psychiatric inpatient after nervous breakdowns in the 1950's and 1960's, when she was given courses of ECT against her will, was latterly on a depot injection for more than 20 years yet lived a life of purpose and meaning. Despite having to live with the effects of this psychiatric drug in her system, limiting her movements and affecting her sleep patterns, causing her anxiety and indecision."

    Photo of my mum with me circa 1953:

    'Madness Contested: Power and Practice' edited by Steven Coles, Sarah Keenan, Bob Diamond

    Review by Jonathan Gadsby

    "Across the contributions are a number of repeated themes. As we turn away from reductive biological explanations, the horizons of what may be considered important in viewing madness suddenly expand to include almost everything. In particular, social and political themes become of paramount importance in understanding not only madness but also the shape of the institution to combat it: contemporary psychiatry. Madness ceases to be primarily a property of persons but rather of 'a complex web of agents and interests'."

    From David Pilgrim and Floris Tomasini, 'Mental Disorder and the Socioethical Challenge of Reasonableness':
    " ..[A] good case could be made for a curfew on all under 30s to be off the streets between dusk on Fridays and dawn on Mondays. This would save many lives from the reduction of road traffic accidents, rates of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies would drop, as would the rate of sexual offences and violence, perpetrated by sane citizens [and] replayed every weekend in town centres and urban homes. But legislation that enforced such a curfew would, understandably, be met with derision and scorn by most of us. However, for those deemed mentally disordered the law warrants intrusions of this sort on their freedom, and is simply accepted as being justifiable and even claimed to be a form of social progress."

    'Tomorrow I Was Always a Lion' by Arnhild Lauveng

    "I used to spend my days as a sheep.
    Every day the shepherds gathered everyone in the ward to herd them out in a flock
    And the sheep dogs yapped furiously if anyone was reluctant to go outdoors.
    I may have bleated a little, softly,
    as they hurried me through the corridors,
    but no-one ever asked why
    - once you are mad, you can bleat all you like.

    I used to spend my days as a sheep.
    They herded us along the paths around the hospital in a flock,
    A dawdling herd of motley individuals no-one could be bothered to see.
    Because we had become a flock
    And the whole flock had to go out for a walk,
    And the whole flock had to be locked up again.

    I used to spend my days as a sheep.
    The shepherds cut my mane and clipped my claws
    So that I could merge into the flock more easily.
    I padded along with well groomed donkeys, bears, squirrels and crocodiles
    Wondering why no-one wanted to see.

    I used to spend my days as a sheep
    while everything in me longed to run across the savannahs.
    And I let myself be driven from pen to enclosure to barn
    if they said that was best for a sheep.
    And I knew it was wrong.
    And I knew it wouldn't be forever.

    I used to spend my days as a sheep.
    But tomorrow I was always a lion.

    Tomorrow I Was Always a Lion by Arnhild Lauveng, one of the speakers at this year's ISPS conference in Warsaw, Poland, 22-25 August 2013.

    'The U.N. Asks the U.S. to Defend its Use of Forced Psychiatric Drugging' by Tina Minkowitz

    Mad in America blog post from Tina Minkowitz: The U.N. Asks the U.S. to Defend its Use of Forced Psychiatric Drugging

    "The United Nations Human Rights Committee has asked the U.S. government to clarify how the possibilities for nonconsensual medication in psychiatric institutions comply with their obligations under Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights - i.e. the obligation to ensure that no one is subjected to torture and ill-treatment. This is the question they asked:

    15. Please clarify how, in the State party's view, the possibilities for non-consensual use of medication in psychiatric institutions and for research and experimentation, as outlined in paragraph 31 of the Committee's previous concluding observations, are in conformity with the obligations upon a State party under 7 of the Covenant.

    This is the fruit of successful advocacy by Maxima Kalitventsev and myself; we went to Geneva last month to meet with members of the Human Rights Committee and urge them to ask questions related to forced psychiatry and psychiatric profiling as violations of our human rights."

    'More Than Surviving: Speaking up About Life in the American Mental Health Gulags' by Maxima Kalitventsev

    Mad in America blog post from Maxima Kalitventsev: More Than Surviving: Speaking up About Life in the American Mental Health Gulags

    "February 26, I left behind locked, steel doors, inmates, languishing, wandering through cinder block rooms and long hallways. The core of their humanity being drug drenched, blunted into the vapor of ghosts. This last visit I was not heavily drugged. They were no longer ghosts. I saw their humanity. Some became my friends.

    I had walked out of those doors six times before. This time I would treasure, not trash everything that reminded me of this experience: the sponge rubber crafts I made and the clothes I wore over and over. For once, for this two-month stay, I had not been really drugged. I wanted to know who these people were, why they were here."

    Maxima's website Healing 'Mental Illness'

    If Only ... Poem by Scottish Friend

    "If only you knew how it feels...
    To go in as a voluntary admission
    Because you knew all you needed was sleep
    And then, as if in your worst nightmare,
    Find out that you can't get out.
    To be imprisoned, confined and incarcerated.
    To be pinned to the bed by medication.
    To ingest so much quetiapine, haloperidol,
    Risperadol, lorazepam, diazepam, seroquel
    That you begin to lose yourself.
    If only you knew how that felt.

    If only you knew how it feels...
    To be labelled "presenting as dishevelled"
    When your hair is the maddest thing about you.
    To be threatened by other patients
    When you won't drink their stolen vodka.
    To take the hairdryer cord from your friend's
    Neck and be sent to your room for interfering.
    To be given all the drugs the pharmaceuticals
    Can offer (provided you queue like a good girl)
    But be deprived of the one thing you need -
    Someone to listen.
    If only you knew how that felt.
    ... Read complete poem"

    'Psychiatry beyond the current paradigm' by Pat Bracken et al

    Article in British Journal of Psychiatry, 3 December 2012, by Pat Bracken, Philip Thomas, Sami Timimi, Eia Asen, Graham Behr, Carl Beuster, Seth Bhunnoo, Ivor Browne, Navjyoat Chhina, Duncan Double, Simon Downer, Chris Evans, Suman Fernando, Malcolm R. Garland, William Hopkins, Rhodri Huws, Bob Johnson, Brian Martindale, Hugh Middleton, Daniel Moldavsky, Joanna Moncrieff, Simon Mullins, Julia Nelki, Matteo Pizzo, James Rodger, Marcellino Smyth, Derek Summerfield, Jeremy Wallace and David Yeomans.

    A series of editorials in this Journal have argued that psychiatry is in the midst of a crisis. The various solutions proposed would all involve a strengthening of psychiatry's identity as essentially 'applied neuroscience'. Although not discounting the importance of the brain sciences and psychopharmacology, we argue that psychiatry needs to move beyond the dominance of the current, technological paradigm. This would be more in keeping with the evidence about how positive outcomes are achieved and could also serve to foster more meaningful collaboration with the growing service user movement."

    Read Article

    'Inquiry into the Schizophrenia Label - Preliminary Results Out Now!' by Phil Thomas

    "'Schizophrenia' ': Time to Discard the Diagnosis?

    Preliminary findings from the independent Inquiry into the 'Schizophrenia' Label (ISL) finds that over 80% of those who gave evidence believe the diagnosis is damaging and dangerous. "The label has destroyed my life, friendships, relationships and employment prospects." [Survey respondent]

    "The doctor at the hospital kept asking me if I heard voices. I didn't know what she meant by this. Was she checking my hearing, my awareness? Was she using a metaphor? I didn't know. I said yes as I could hear the voices of nurses and patients on the ward down the corridor. That sealed my fate." [Testimony submission]

    "When [my son] found that some people recovered he was adamant that he would be one of these and this has helped him to fight for services he needs and to maintain good self-awareness. Therefore largely the label has not been unhelpful - but very very scary." [Survey respondent]"

    Read complete blog post on MIA from Dr Phil Thomas - Inquiry into the Schizophrenia Label - Preliminary Results Out Now!

    And on the ISL website: Update:Inquiry into Schizophrenia Label

    The effectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy

    A literature review by John Read and Richard Bentall

    "Abstract AIM: To review the literature on the efficacy of electroconvulsive therapy [ECT], with a particular focus on depression, its primary target group.

    METHODS: PsycINFO, Medline, previous reviews and meta-analyses were searched in an attempt to identify all studies comparing ECT with simulated-ECT [SECT].

    RESULTS: These placebo controlled studies show minimal support for effectiveness with either depression or 'schizophrenia' during the course of treatment (i.e., only for some patients, on some measures, sometimes perceived only by psychiatrists but not by other raters), and no evidence, for either diagnostic group, of any benefits beyond the treatment period. There are no placebo-controlled studies evaluating the hypothesis that ECT prevents suicide, and no robust evidence from other kinds of studies to support the hypothesis.

    CONCLUSIONS: Given the strong evidence (summarised here) of persistent and, for some, permanent brain dysfunction, primarily evidenced in the form of retrograde and anterograde amnesia, and the evidence of a slight but significant increased risk of death, the cost-benefit analysis for ECT is so poor that its use cannot be scientifically justified."
    Read Paper

    Are our mental health services driving people to suicide?

    Blog post by Vivek Datta MD

    "When trying to establish whether more mentally ill people are committing suicide now than in the past, we immediately hit upon a stumbling block: the definition of mental illness has vastly expanded to cover a range of maladies and miseries that were not defined as such a century ago. How then, can we evaluate the claim that more mentally ill people die by suicide? There seem two possible ways to go about this. One is to consider only those cases of mental illness that would have been regarded as mental illness in the past - the type of 'lunacy' or 'melancholia' that mostly led to hospitalization. The second possibility is to reclassify cases that today would be regarded as having a mental disorder present. The problem with the latter is it does not allow us to discern whether suicide is more common in the mentally ill today than in the past, or whether it just looks like that. We return to the arguments surrounding the social construction and social reality of mental illness....."
    Read complete Blog post

    Pharmageddon, Book by Dr David Healy

    "This searing indictment, David Healy's most comprehensive and forceful argument against the pharmaceuticalization of medicine, tackles problems in health care that are leading to a growing number of deaths and disabilities. Healy, who was the first to draw attention to the now well-publicized suicide-inducing side effects of many anti-depressants, attributes our current state of affairs to three key factors: product rather than process patents on drugs, the classification of certain drugs as prescription-only, and industry-controlled drug trials. These developments have tied the survival of pharmaceutical companies to the development of blockbuster drugs, so that they must overhype benefits and deny real hazards. Healy further explains why these trends have basically ended the possibility of universal health care in the United States and elsewhere around the world. He concludes with suggestions for reform of our currently corrupted evidence-based medical system."

    Scotland the Brave Article - Andrew Roberts

    "Scotland pioneered the user movement in the United Kingdom, according to recent research by the Survivor History Group. At least twice in as many decades it was Scottish patients who put their full force on the lever of history. Academic historians have given the credit, for both occasions, to London. But new evidence suggests Scotland led the way."

    Survivors History archive of "Scotland the Brave" by Andrew Roberts - Secretary of the Survivors History Group. Originally published in Mental Health Today July/August 2009 (Pavilion Journals (Brighton) Ltd).
    Link to article on Survivors History website:

    Joanna Moncrieff Interview - The Myth of the Chemical Cure

    Dr Joanna Moncrieff, course organiser for the Royal College of Psychiatrists examinations, is the author of 'The Myth of the Chemical Cure: A Critique of Psychiatric Drug Treatment'. Here is a link to a 2009 interview with Michael F Shaughnessy, Senior Columnist at, Eastern New Mexico University where Dr Moncrieff responds to questions about this so-called 'chemical imbalance' and the treatment of depression: Interview

    "We are pretending to treat or cure people with mental illness because that makes us feel alright about controlling them. Sometimes we need to control them but we should at least be honest about what we are doing. Pharmaceutical companies are cashing in on our dishonesty."

    Crazy Like Us: The Globalisation of the Western Mind

    Book by Ethan Watters

    "It is well known that US culture is a dominant force and its exportation of everything from movies to junk food is a world-wide phenomenon. But it is possible that its most troubling export has yet to be accounted for? In Crazy Like Us , Ethan Watters reveals that the most devastating consequence of the spread of US culture has been the bulldozing of the human psyche itself: it is in the process of homogenizing the way the world goes mad." Amazon

    Myth of Mental Health Nursing and the Challenge of Recovery

    The latest paper by Prof Phil Barker and Poppy Buchanan-Barker 'Myth of mental health nursing and the challenge of recovery' is published in the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing.

    "Abstract: Although the concept of 'mental health nursing' has grown in popularity over the past 35 years, it remains a myth. People believe that they know what it is and value it highly, but cannot describe or define it other than in vague terms. This paper briefly charts the rise of 'mental health nursing', emphasizing its political implications, and in particular, the drive towards an embrace of a person-centred, recovery-focused approach to care. If nurses are to realize such ambitions, they must resolve their historical association with psychiatric nursing. The concept of the 'mental health nurse' might signal the emergence of a new vision for human services, but might also signal the need for 'mental health nurses' to negotiate a formal separation from the traditional 'psychiatric' family."
    Read Paper

    Robert Whitaker (Anatomy of an Epidemic) Video

    Bob Whitaker, author of Anatomy of an Epidemic, speaks in Victoria, Canada on May 17, 2011. He overviews the past 30 years of scientific research into psychiatric medications, showing how the drugs seem to be creating the very chemical imbalances they're supposed to cure, and why they develop chronicity in the long term: "a societal delusion driving us - we're fixing this 'known biological problem'"
    See Video

    Book for Carers

    A Straight Talking Introduction to Caring for Someone with Mental Health Problems
    Edited by Jen Kilyon and Theresa Smith

    This book tells how family and friends of people with complex mental health needs frequently have to battle for, and often with, mental health services, whilst they themselves can be stigmatised. Jen Kilyon and Theresa Smith help carers tell their stories. Although some of these stories end with a positive outcome and others tell of continuing battles, all demonstrate that it is frequently the carers alone who keep hope for recovery alive.

    The book includes things they found most helpful in their struggles. Rather than accept that solutions to mental health problems are owned by the medical professions, these books look at alternatives and provide information so that the users of psychiatric services, their families and carers can make more decisions about their own lives.

    Doctoring the Mind

    Doctoring the Mind - Is our Current Treatment of Mental Illness Really Any Good? - by Richard P Bentall

    Bentall is one of psychiatry's most eloquent enemies . . . the drugs don't work (Sunday Times )

    "Bentall's thesis is that, for all the apparent advances in understanding psychiatric disorders, psychiatric treatment has done little to improve human welfare, because the scientific research which has led to the favouring of mind-altering drugs is, as he puts it, "fatally flawed". He cites some startling evidence from the World Health Organisation that suggests patients suffering psychotic episodes in developing countries recover "better" than those from the industrialised world and the aim of the book is broadly to suggest why this might be so."
    Salley Vickers, The Observer, Sunday 21 June 2009

    Unshrinking Psychosis

    Unshrinking Psychosis - Understanding and Healing the Wounded Soul - by John Watkins

    "This book takes a bold quantum leap beyond restrictive bio medical terms of discrete illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder to view these conditions from a holistic perspective that reveals a method of madness of psychosis. Some episodes may function as a desperate coping strategy while others reflect a profound developmental crisis or spontaneous self-helping process. As they originate in deepseated spiritual imperatives some tumultuous episodes are appropriately viewed as spiritual emergencies or potentially transformative psychospiritual crises."
    Amazon UK - Kindle edition - for a paper book copy contact Working to Recovery

    Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service

    "LSCS is, at heart, a crisis sanctuary operating from 6pm-2am Fridays to Sundays, the hours when most mental health services are closed and isolation can, in particular, hurt. Support workers are on hand at Dial House which prides itself on offering non-judgemental empathy, safety and refuge space. The service offers itself as an alternative to hospital admission. Strong feelings of suicide are common. Visitors usually have a history of trauma. Those with 'challenging' behaviour are welcomed."
    Read full article about the Leeds service in

    History Beyond Trauma

    By Francoise Davoine and Jean-Max Gaudilliere, professors at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, who both hold advanced degrees in classics - French, Latin and Greek literature - and doctorates in sociology.

    History Beyond Trauma "In the course of nearly thirty years of work with patients in psychiatric hospitals and private practice, Francoise Davoine and Jean-Max Gaudilliere have uncovered the ways in which transference and countertransference are affected by the experience of social catastrophe. Handed down from one generation to the next, the unspoken horrors of war, betrayal, dissociation, and disaster in the families of patient and analyst alike are not only revived in the therapeutic relationship but, when understood, actually provide the keys to the healing process.

    The authors present vivid examples of clinical work with severely traumatised patients, reaching inward to their own intimate family histories as shaped by the Second World War and outward toward an exceptionally broad range of cultural references to literature, philosophy, political theory, and anthropology. Using examples from medieval carnivals and Japanese No theater, to Wittgenstein and Hannah Arendt, to Sioux rituals in North Dakota, they reveal the ways in which psychological damage is done - and undone."

    Postpsychiatry - a new direction for mental health

    A British Medical Journal article by Patrick Bracken and Philip Thomas, consultant psychiatrists - Postpsychiatry - a new direction for mental health 2001 - talks about the diminishing belief in the ability of science and technology to resolve human and social problems.

    From the conclusion:
    " ... Postpsychiatry tries to move beyond the conflict between psychiatry and antipsychiatry. Antipsychiatry argued that psychiatry was repressive and based on a mistaken medical ideology, and its proponents wanted to liberate mental patients from its clutches. In turn, psychiatry condemned its opponents as being driven by ideology. Both groups were united by the assumption that there could be a correct way to understand madness; that the truth could, and should, be spoken about madness and distress. Postpsychiatry frames these issues in a different way. It does not propose new theories about madness, but it opens up spaces in which other perspectives can assume a validity previously denied them. Crucially, it argues that the voices of service users and survivors should now be centre stage." read Article

    The Trail is the Thing - new book from KU

    Introducing a new book, hot off the press, from the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare, Office of Mental Health Research & Training - The Trail is the Thing - a year of daily reflections based on their successful Pathways to Recovery strengths self help workbook.

    "The thing to remember when travelling is that the trail is the thing, not the end of the trail." ~ Louis L'Amour

    This book "is the result of almost 2 years of work from 4 authors and more than 20 individuals who provided their ideas, edits and support to bring readers of Pathways to Recovery a new tool ... it is about finding the things in life that give passion, purpose and meaning." The authors of this book do not receive profit from sales of this workbook. All profits are designated for reprinting of the book and to provide scholarships for Kansas residents with the lived experience of mental illness or trauma to return to post-secondary education.

    Pathways to Recovery, Supported Education Group, Office of Mental Health Research and Training @ School of Social Welfare, The University of Kansas

    The Caring Focus of RD Laing

    Phil Barker and Poppy Buchanan-Barker 2001

    "... Laing's influence extended far beyond psychiatry, psychotherapy and medicine. However, the practical application of Laing's thought - by the man himself and some of his most famous allies and former pupils - was largely non-medical. Indeed, we might interpret the application of his philosophy - especially through his frequently revised views on psychotherapy - as a nursing approach, focused on nurturing the conditions - social and interpersonal - under which people might finally seize their own power and use this, constructively, to define themselves, rather then be subjugated, if not actually driven to madness, by others ..." read Article

    Open Dialogue Approach Finland

    Five-year experience of first-episode nonaffective psychosis in open-dialogue approach: Treatment principles, follow-up outcomes, and two case studies
    Psychotherapy Research, March 2006; 16(2): 214-228

    Abstract: The open dialogue (OD) family and network approach aims at treating psychotic patients in their homes. The treatment involves the patient's social network and starts within 24 hrs after contact. Responsibility for the entire treatment process rests with the same team in both inpatient and outpatient settings. The general aim is to generate dialogue with the family to construct words for the experiences that occur when psychotic symptoms exist. In the Finnish Western Lapland a historical comparison of 5-year follow-ups of two groups of first-episode nonaffective psychotic patients were compared ... read Article

    Anatomy of an Epidemic

    Anatomy of an Epidemic, a book by Robert Whitaker, author of 'Mad in America' and investigative journalist.

    "Anatomy of an Epidemic investigates a profoundly troubling question: do psychiatric medications increase the likelihood that people taking them, far from being helped, are more likely to become chronically ill? In making a compelling case that our current psychotropic drugs are causing as much - if not more - harm than good, Robert Whitaker reviews the scientific literature thoroughly, demonstrating how much of the evidence is on his side. There is nothing unorthodox here - this case is solid and evidence-backed. If psychiatry wants to retain its credibility with the public, it will now have to engage with the scientific argument at the core of this cogently and elegantly written book."
    David Healy, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Cardiff University and author of The Antidepressant Era and Let Them Eat Prozac

    Still Crazy after all these Years

    San Diego Weekly Reader, Vol. 32, No. 2, Jan. 9, 2003

    "Dr Loren Mosher, a San Diego psychiatrist, was the principal architect of the Soteria experiment. What unfolded during the years it operated (1971 through 1983) shaped his ideas about schizophrenia, a condition estimated to afflict 1 to 2 out of every 100 Americans. Unlike the majority of his professional colleagues, Mosher was never persuaded that psychotic behavior is caused by brain abnormalities. He moreover came to believe that if schizophrenia is not an organic disease, then it's wrong to force schizophrenics to take drugs that change their brains. He acknowledges that the powerful antipsychotic medications prescribed for schizophrenia nowadays often do suppress the symptoms of lunacy and make disturbed individuals easier to control. But Mosher argues that there are better ways to help most schizophrenics recover their sanity - cheaper, more humane and libertarian, less devastating to the human body and soul." read Article

    Crisis and Connection

    "Psychiatric interventions for crisis care lie at the center of the conflict between forced treatment and recovery/wellness systems in mental health services. Though crisis can mean completely different things to people who have the experience, the general public has been taught a unilateral fear response based on media representation. More and more this has led to social control but is erroneously still called treatment This does nothing to help the person and in fact further confuses people already trying to make meaning of their experience.

    This paper offers a fundamental change in understanding and working with psychiatric crises. Rather than objectifying and naming the crisis experience in relation to the construct of illness, people can begin to explore the subjective experience of the person in crisis while offering their own subjective reality to the relationship."

    Shery Mead & David Hilton read Paper

    Leadership for Empowerment and Equality:
    By Mary O'Hagan

    Published in the International Journal of Leadership in Public Services Volume 5, Issue 4, December 2009:

    "The leadership of people with lived experience of mental health problems is underdeveloped, when it comes to leadership in one's own recovery, at the service level, and at the systemic level. Unlike the mental health system, the user/survivor movement has a values base of empowerment and equality. But the movement has not yet created an explicit model of leadership based on these values. " read more

    Realising Potential

    An action plan for allied health professionals in mental health

    "I just want to get back to an ordinary life that I can function in .."
    Service User

    Realising Potential is a document that brings together the work of the allied health professions (AHPs) in mental health, in partnership with service users and carers, professional organisations and NHS boards.
    " brings benefits to service users through the promotion of realistic hope of meaningful recovery and positive engagement with social, educational and work opportunities." from the Foreword by Shona Robison MSP, Minister for Public Health and Sport.

    What is Narrative Therapy?

    An easy-to-read introduction on Narrative Therapy by author Alice Morgan. It includes simple and concise explanations of the thinking behind narrative practices as well as many practical examples of therapeutic conversations.

    "Narrative therapists are interested in working with people to bring forth and thicken stories that do not support or sustain problems. As people begin to inhabit and live out the alternative stories, the results are beyond solving problems. Within the new stories, people live out new self images, new possibilities for relationships and new futures."

    more info

    Mental Health Ethics: The Human Context

    Phil Barker is the editor of a new book - Mental Health Ethics: The human context. Offering a comprehensive and interdisciplinary perspective, it includes six parts, each with their own introduction, summary and set of ethical challenges, covering:

  • fundamental ethical principles
  • legal issues
  • specific challenges for different professional groups
  • working with different service user groups
  • models of care and treatment
  • recovery and human rights perspectives.

    Full details from

    The Dundee Advanced Interventions Service is a specialist service providing assessment and treatment for severe and chronic treatment-refractory depression (TRD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This includes NMD, neurosurgery for mental disorder or brain surgery for mental illness.
    Link to 2007 presentation by DAIS team.