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March 1, 2017 by Lauren Spiro

Lauren’s Emotional CPR March-April Training Calendar: An Invitation to Compassion, Peace and Awakening

It has been seven years since we began doing eCPR certification trainings. We have dozens of trainers spread around the world. An even higher number of apprentices and facilitators receive individual mentoring on their way to becoming trainers.

eCPR becomes a way of life.

Many people hunger for innovative approaches to support other people through emotional crisis or distress. We know that crisis and distress are not synonymous and that the term ‘crisis’ is a judgement. What one might judge to be a crisis may not at all be defined as such by the person experiencing the emotional state. When we created eCPR, however, it was actually designed to support people through very tumultuous emotional experience, so crisis seemed like the best word to use at the time.

We have come a long way from those days and now know that when eCPR is really understood and the knowledge and skills are applied to every day life – it becomes a way of life. That is what people from all over the world tell us. Their relationships are better because communication is clearer – both receptive and expressive as well as verbal and non-verbal language flows bi-directionally and more lovingly.

Introductory Workshops
We have found that an effective way to introduce eCPR to a new community or constituency is to conduct a workshop which typically varies in length from 90 minutes to a half-day. Workshops have been done with a few people to over 200 people and serve as a way to give people a taste of eCPR – it is a brief introduction.

Often when I find myself in a city where eCPR has not previously been introduced, I offer a free workshop. This is the case in Nevada County, CA on my schedule below.

Sometimes I offer a free workshop in a city where eCPR does have a foothold but I have free time and am able to offer one, as is the case in Oakland, CA, and Seattle, WA, also on the schedule below.

If enough people are interested in a workshop and they contact us, I am happy to deliver. If there is no previously arranged space, we will secure one. We are creative and resourceful. This on-the-fly organic style workshop is perhaps unique to me and the particular March-April 2017 schedule. Typically workshops are scheduled way in advance and advertised. I am open to adventure so I am putting the invitation out to offer these workshops without pre-arranging all the bells and whistles, so to speak.

Certification Training
Trainings are typically financed in two ways, either an entity is bringing us in and has paid for the training or a self-pay method where individual registrations cover all costs and anyone can sign-up. The only self-pay training on my schedule (below) is Portland, OR. All certification trainings and some workshops are listed on the eCPR website. When a training is open to others, a contact person is listed on the eCPR “upcoming trainings” webpage.

eCPR is an embodied practice. That is to say that when one begins to really understand the relational process – a giving and receiving process – and how to listen with the eyes, ears and heart then our essence, our entire being, including our body becomes a tool of healing, compassion and understanding. And at the core, that is how we support people through emotional distress. Anyone can do it if they take the time to learn and are open to the process. It is essential to get out of the head and into the body, particularly into the heart and experience our inherent wisdom and inner knowing. Often we need to re-learn how to listen to our authentic voice within because our culture does not encourage this type of genuine humanness.

eCPR training teams are organized and assembled by the team coordinator and each one is unique. I decided to share my calendar because it is unusual to have one person coordinate and co-facilitate five certification trainings in less than 6 weeks. I wanted to let our cadre of trainers know what I was up to and then thought why not let other people know as well. I am very pleased to see the growth of eCPR; writing this blog is a way to celebrate how far we have come.


Lauren’s eCPR training schedule March & April 2017

All trainings are 2-day eCPR Certifications unless other stated. All training are done with additional members of the training teams

March 9-10, Seattle, WA

March 13, is available for a FREE workshop, Seattle, WA | Contact Lauren

March  15-16, Redmond, WA

March 22-23, Portland, OR | Register Now

March 27 workshop, tentative date, Nevada County, CA | Contact Lauren

April 6-7, Oakland, CA

April 10-11 Oakland, CA

April 12- is available for a FREE workshop in Oakland, CA | Contact Lauren


Emotional CPR Explained
Emotional CPR (eCPR) is a dynamic public health educational training that teaches people to support others through an emotional crisis by Connecting (C)- listening with our eyes, ears, and heart to feel the person’s presence; emPowering (P)- accepting the uncertainty of not knowing what is best, but open to collaborative exploration; and Revitalizing (R)- exploring our vital center – our truth, our authentic self and our genuine voice.

eCPR is recommended by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and CARF, the largest behavioral healthcare accreditation body in the world, and others. Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations referred to eCPR as a “peace-making” process.

Other eCPR training team members include: Reid Smithdeal, Fawn Preston, Kozi Arrington, Dina Tyler, Heather Riemer & Rachel Harris

For information about free workshops (as noted in the cities, above, contact Lauren,

For general information see


Related post: Emotional CPR: A Tool and Process of Peacemaking.


Lauren_SpiroLauren Spiro’s vision of social justice and mental health liberation fuels her work of community building, developing our individual and collective capacity for feeling deeply connected, appreciating the vast creative intelligence of the human mind and creating pathways so everyone may come home. Diagnosed and institutionalized with chronic schizophrenia as a teenager, she has emerged as a visionary thinker, artist, and consultant dedicated to embodying inner peace to create global peace. She has an M.A. in Clinical/Community Psychology, has been featured on national media, co-founded Emotional CPR and two non-profit mental health corporations, is the former director of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery ( and author of a recently published memoir, Living for Two:  A Daughter’s Journey from Grief and Madness to Forgiveness and Peace. Join her at or email

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February 10, 2017 by Bob Nikkel, MSW

March 8 live webinar: Open Dialogue: A Recovery-Oriented Approach to Early Episode Psychosis

Six years ago, Dr. Chris Gordon set out to train in Open Dialogue practices which had produced such good long-term outcomes for first-episode psychotic patients in Northern Finland. Dr. Gordon is medical director of the large community mental health organization Advocates Inc. in Massachusetts.  Advocates developed the first pilot project in the country, which they call the Collaborative Pathway, to adapt these methods in the United States. Advocates’ outcomes have been promising, with very high satisfaction from young people and their families, and good clinical outcomes.

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January 6, 2017 by Lauren Spiro

eCPR (Emotional CPR): A Tool & a Process of Peacemaking

It has been several years now that we have been bringing Emotional CPR (eCPR), our public health education program designed to teach laypeople to assist each other through emotional crisis, to communities across the United States and overseas. Many people have told us that the skills they have learned in our training have helped them communicate better in all their relationships. They also tell us that eCPR is a “way of life,” in that it is a practice of being more accepting of and present to ourselves and others. This is very good news, and it is an invitation to take our understanding of eCPR to a deeper level.

I had the great honor of speaking with Kofi Annan, former secretary general of the United Nations, after a talk he had given locally here in Washington, DC. We spoke about eCPR and there was a moment that I will remember for the rest of my life. He looked deep into my eyes and said, “We are in the same line of work. We are peacemakers.” It was a profound statement that inspired me to think more about eCPR as a tool of peacemaking.

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May 4, 2016 by Bob Nikkel, MSW

Reflections on Saks Institute Discussions of the Movies and “Mental Illness”

bnikkel_miaceOnce again this year, I was fortunate to attend the annual Saks Institute symposium held at the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law.  The topic, fittingly enough in L.A., was mental illness in the movies.  Several filmmakers were in attendance, as were a variety of others–some academics, some attorneys, some mental health professionals, and a variety of others, including family members and some NAMI advocates.  My observations in this blog are made with the belief that those who participated in the symposium were some of the “best and the brightest” and in no way do I mean to be critical of their aspirations or devotion to the cause of helping move us beyond stigma and discrimination.

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April 12, 2016 by Bob Nikkel, MSW

Announcing improved course formats and marketing for Mad in America Continuing Education


The roll-out for Mad in America Continuing Education courses is moving into its next phase–improved formatting of courses and a more aggressive marketing of what we believe are unique CME and CEU resources for professionals and advocates alike.

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April 12, 2016 by Jacob Hess, PhD

In Praise of a Non-Aggressive, Creative Way of Working with Unusual Mental States

One of my best friends is in prison.  Over the years, unusual mental and emotional experiences led him to seek some way – any way – to find answers and healing.  And yet everywhere he turned, he was told there was one answer.  When he resisted that answer, he was encouraged, then pressed, then taken to court.

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March 29, 2016 by Bob Nikkel, MSW

A Revolution Blueprint


Almost a year ago I wrote a blog posted on Mad in America and The Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care entitled “So You Say You Want a Revolution?”  I suggested that the process for changing the public system (which I know best compared to the private world) would require 5 “C’s”–Commitment, Courage, Creativity, Capability, and Care. In reviewing what I wrote, I think those are still key characteristics of a successful reform movement.   I received a number of thoughtful comments, many of which raised the issue of top-down versus grassroots strategy–they’re still available for review if anyone is interested in seeing those reactions.

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November 13, 2015 by Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care

“Psychiatric Drugs Do More Harm Than Good”

Copenhagen, September 16, 2015 Conference Video Series

Peter Gøtzsche of the Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen arranged this conference uncovering what the scientific literature reveals about the effects of psychiatric medication. Those lectures are followed by real world accounts.

Part 1 with Robert Whitaker: Our Psychiatric Epidemic – A Historical Overview.

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October 5, 2015 by Dennie Brooks

Dorothea Dix Learning Center: “Bearing witness, giving voice”


Dr. Dean Brooks (at top) passed away in 2013; his friend, attorney Al Bendich passed on January 5, 2015.

Dean and Al
Early this year, we directed the Dorothea Dix Think Tank Fund to give a small grant ($2800) to the Oregon State Hospital Museum’s Dorothea Dix Learning Center in memory of Al Bendich and Dean Brooks. The grant’s focus was for development of curriculum for educators to use when bringing students to the museum.

The Dorothea Dix Think Tank Fund was established by my dad, Dr. Dean Brooks, in 2012. He assembled the think tank and charged the august group of well-connected and largely retired professionals to work to reverse public policy established in the 1970’s which has resulted in countless people with mental health challenges ending up in jails and prisons instead of getting the mental health care they need. The Think Tank’s final focus was to concentrate support for activities leading to cultural change.

Dad met Al Bendich in the course of the production of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, where Al was co-owner of Fantasy Films, which produced Cuckoo.  They became fast friends and would spend the next half century conferring on the intersection of mental health policy and the justice system. Al was a founding member the Think Tank.

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August 24, 2015 by Sandra Steingard, MD

A Network Meeting in North America

On a beautiful Vermont summer week-end, about 40 people – social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, administrators, and people with lived experience among us – gathered together. We hailed from Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York.

Our purpose: To come together and model what many of us had experienced in Europe at the International Meetings for the Treatment of Psychosis. These are the meetings where clinicians who work with the models of Open Dialogue, reflecting therapies, Needs-Adapted Treatment (NAT), or the variations of these practices that have evolved over the past two decades gather to discuss and share their work.

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