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August 25, 2019 by Andrea Zwicknagl

Open Dialogue and Research from the point of view of someone with lived experience

Talk by Andrea Zwicknagl for the HOPEnDialogue Kickoff Workshop 2nd July 2019, Rome

I am standing here today because – like perhaps many of you – there is a question about Open Dialogue that has been with me for a long time:

WHAT IF?  – What if we had had Open Dialogue?

I would like to share a little of my WHAT IF with you.

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August 5, 2019 by Andrea Zwicknagl

What if…

What if...

Andrea Zwicknagl’s presentation at the kickoff meeting of HOPEnDialogue, a new Open Dialogue international research collaborative, in Rome, Italy, July 2, 2019. Read by Guiseppe Salamina in her absence.

To learn more and to support this project, please visit https://mental-health-excellence.networkforgood.com/projects/72234-open-dialogue-research-development

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July 21, 2019 by Christopher Gordon, MD

Reflections on Rome

Kickoff of the New Open Dialogue International Research Collaborative: Hopes for HOPEnDialogue

On July 2 and 3, 2019, I was privileged to attend the first meeting of the HOPEnDialogue International Research Collaborative in Rome.  I attended as a representative of the Board of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care, along with the Foundation’s President and CEO, Gina Nikkel, and the Foundation’s new Chief Philanthropy Officer, Kevin Aspegren.

The meeting was hosted by the leaders of the project, Raffaella Pocobello and Giuseppe Salamina, and brought together forty representatives from 12 countries, first in an open forum to discuss the goals and overarching strategy of the project, and a second day for the 20 international members of the Advisory Council to address more focused challenges, such as site selection requirements; inclusion/exclusion criteria; training; fidelity; and outcomes.

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June 28, 2019 by Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care

Holistic Options for ADHD Treatment

‘Micronutrients for ADHD Youth’ Study Now Enrolling Participants


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the presence of the behaviors of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and poor attention. The root causes and best solutions for these troubling behaviors will vary from child to child.

Parents concerned about the safety and effectiveness of popular drug treatments can try some promising alternatives with a significantly lower risk of unwanted side effects. Many have found psychotherapy and parent training highly effective in resolving troubling behavior and improving their child’s social skills and relationships with peers.

For some, micronutrient supplements have been life-changing:

The Micronutrients for ADHD Youth study is now accepting new participants, with sites at Oregon Health & Science University, The Ohio State University in Columbus, and University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada. Eligible children are age 6-12 and have not been on ADHD medications for two weeks before their participation begins.

Contact lead researcher, Jeanette Johnstone, PhD, at  503-494-3700 or healthykids@ohsu.edu if you are within driving distance of Portland, Oregon.

If you are near Columbus, OH, contact E. Arnold, MD at OSUMC-maddystudy@osu.edu

If you are near Lethbridge, Alberta, contact B. Leung, PhD at healthykids@uleth.edu

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January 14, 2019 by Sandra Steingard, MD

Open Dialogue: Does the Current Research Data Support Further Investment?

Psychiatric Services, a leading US journal, has published two important papers on Open Dialogue. Freeman and colleagues did an extensive literature review and analysis of currently available research. Their paper is accompanied by a commentary by Kim Mueser, PhD, Director of the Boston University Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation and one of the world’s experts in his field.

Freeman and colleagues begin their paper with a detailed explanation of the criteria for inclusion into their investigation. They identified 23 studies for review. Papers selected were published in English and evaluated Open Dialogue effectiveness using either case study, qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods. Studies were conducted in Finland, Norway, Sweden, and the US.

As the authors point out, most of the available research comes from the Western Lapland group that developed Open Dialogue (OD). This poses a fundamental source of weakness in the evidence base. Their studies had small sample sizes, there was no control group, and the ratings were not blinded. In addition, there were not consistent methods for either defining or evaluating OD.

Many of us learned of Open Dialogue because of their reported excellent outcomes for individuals who experienced a first episode of psychosis. We are eager to see if these results can be replicated elsewhere. But there are other important questions.

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July 28, 2018 by Shannon Hughes, PhD

Fort Collins Research Collaborative Recruiting for Second Test Group of Novel Program

The Fort Collins-based Learning and Self-development Collaborative grant project is midway through supporting its first group of young adults experiencing mood-related distress. It is also actively recruiting for the second group, scheduled to start in late August.

Nearly three-quarters of the young adults in the first group have prior mood disorder diagnoses and have tried psychiatric medications like antidepressants. However, the ineffectiveness and intolerable side effects of the drugs had left them searching for an alternative way forward when they decided to enroll in the Learning and Self-development Collaborative. These young adults are currently medication-free and their outcomes on mood distress, social connectedness, empowerment, and quality of life at six months will be compared to other young adults receiving usual care and daily psychiatric medications in the community.

An initial focus group with participants revealed a number of themes related to young adults’ past experiences with seeking help. Participants discussed feeling frustrated by one-size-fits-all solutions, such as drugs and mindfulness techniques, and invalidated by counselors who failed to connect with their experiences.  Lack of information about prescribed drugs was frequently brought up by participants who also shared various stories of “chemical imbalance” and drugs “re-training the brain to relax” told to them by doctors and therapists.

Findings from pre-program focus groups are being used to help inform the content and delivery of educational material in the Learning and Self-development Collaborative.

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February 10, 2017 by Bonnie Kaplan, PhD

Advancing nutritional psychiatry, donors jumpstart new projects

Celebrating our achievements and setting new goals for binational Nutrition & Mental Health Research Funds

nutritionandmentalhealthfundprogress_12317The generosity of people donating to these two charitable funds is heartwarming. Both funds were established to support research in the area of nutrition and mental health, and we are beginning to do just that.

I’m so pleased to announce the following:

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February 6, 2017 by Sandra Steingard, MD

Sir Robin Murray and Our Collective Mea Culpa

Sir Robin Murray, a distinguished British professor of psychiatry, recently published a paper in Schizophrenia Bulletin titled, “Mistakes I Have Made in My Research Career.” He describes the evolution of his thinking regarding the concept of schizophrenia, including the problems with the neurodevelopmental model, the limitations of the drugs used to treat the condition, and his failure to pay adequate attention to the role of social factors in the etiology of psychotic states. These ideas are not new to anyone who has read Anatomy of an Epidemic. Sir Robin’s ’s paper could be read as a synopsis of Chapter 6, “A Paradox Revealed.”

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December 14, 2016 by Christopher Gordon, MD

Finding our way together

A doctor-patient relationship that calls out the best in each other

Several years ago, a person whom I was serving as a psychiatrist changed my life. This man had been a participant for some years in the services of the non-profit where I work, Advocates in Framingham, Massachusetts.

He had spent years going in and out of hospitals, for what doctors called bipolar disorder, but what he himself experienced as periods of great spiritual elation (which clinically looked like mania) alternating with what he described as “spiritual hibernation” (which looked like severe depression).

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November 28, 2016 by Julia Rucklidge, PhD & Bonnie Kaplan, PhD

Have You Ever Wondered Why Labels on Supplements Are So Vague?

The New Zealand government is currently writing a new law (Natural Health Products Bill) aimed to regulate natural health products (NHPs). What is happening in New Zealand is not unique: the push for tighter controls on NHPs is occurring all over the world, including Europe, Canada and South Africa. However, if it wasn’t evident before, these newer regulations make it crystal clear that prescription drugs have a monopoly over the terms “medicine” and “therapeutic benefit,” and that it is very difficult for anything that isn’t a Big Pharma drug to make a therapeutic claim. It is the regulations of medicines, not the regulations of NHPs, that result in vague labels on products. Let us explain, using New Zealand’s current proposed bill as an example.

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