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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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November 16, 2016 by Bonnie Kaplan, PhD

A Pioneer in Nutritional Mental Health Care

davidhardyDavid Hardy is gone, but will not be forgotten

Many of you know the story of how EMPowerPlus was formulated, and that David Hardy’s 20 years of knowledge gained from studying nutrition in farm animals guided the broad-spectrum micronutrient formula that became the focus of the company (Truehope) that he and Tony Stephan established together. Recently, David split off from Truehope (which is still run very capably by Tony Stephan and his colleagues, partnered with Q Sciences) to form Hardy Nutritionals, which produces its own broad-spectrum formula called Daily Essential Nutrients (DEN). So David’s expertise contributed to the formation of both companies, which have served as the bedrock of this entirely new line of research called Nutritional Psychology or Psychiatry.

Sadly, I am writing today to let you know that David had a serious stroke last week. The neurosurgeons were unable to control his brain swelling, and he died in Calgary, at the Foothills Medical Centre, on Sunday November 13 at the age of 66.

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September 27, 2016 by Bonnie Kaplan, PhD

Nutrition & Mental Health Research Fund receives its second $100,000 donation

nutritionandmentalhealthfundprogress_090916The new donation was given to further stimulate investment in this area of research thus far neglected by government funding agencies — the use of broad-spectrum micronutrients for the treatment of mental health symptoms.

Thanks to the commitment of another anonymous donor, the Nutrition and Mental Health Research Fund at the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care now has an additional $100,000 to further our knowledge of how nutrition influences mental health and also to support and cultivate young scientists working on this important topic.

The Nutrition and Mental Health Research Fund was established by Dr. Bonnie Kaplan, PhD in 2015 to support research and education on the ability of broad-spectrum nutrient treatments to reverse and prevent the onset of psychiatric symptoms, an area that has not yet been considered a priority by public funding agencies.

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July 28, 2016 by Christopher Gordon, MD

6 Lessons on Open Dialogue in the U.S.

Takeaways from The Collaborative Pathway experiment



The Collaborative Pathway is a replication and adaptation of Open Dialogue at Advocates, Inc., the human services agency in Framingham, Massachusetts, where I serve as Medical Director. Last week, our team (Chris Gordon, Vasudha Gidugu, Sally Rogers, John DeRonck, and Doug Ziedonis) published an article in the Best Practices column of the journal Psychiatric Services, describing the program and our results from the first cohort of young people and families experiencing a psychotic crisis.

This is the first published adaptation of Open Dialogue in the U.S. and represents the culmination of several years of planning, training and direct service. None of it would have been possible without generous initial funding from the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care.

We provided our services to 16 young people and families over a period of one year. Most have continued to receive services after the study period, so we have more substantial follow-up data than was published in this initial paper. It’s hard to draw many conclusions about Open Dialogue from such a small sample, but I would like to share some of the promising lessons we’ve learned along the way:

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January 29, 2015 by Open Excellence

2015 Classes & Events


Mad in America Continuing Education Online Courses

Antipsychotics: Short and Long-term Effects (3.5CME/2.5CEU) | Dr. Sandra Steingard, MD
Psychiatric Medications and Long-term Outcomes for Schizophrenia (3.0 CME/2.5CEU) | Dr. Martin Harrow, PhD

Families Healing Together Online Education & Support

Next Recovering Our Hope class begins February 15 | Register now
Next Recovering Our Families class begins March 15 | Register now


Saks Institute Symposium, Los Angeles, CA, March 30, 2015 
At University of Southern California’s Town & Gown Ballroom.  It will be a one-day symposium focusing on best practices for meeting the mental health needs of university and community college students with special attention to the needs of student military veterans.

Yale University Symposium: New Data & New Hopes Call for New Practices in Clinical Psychiatry, April 24, 2015

Yale Medical School, New Haven, CT

The symposium will review new data generated over the last decade related to the treatment, course, and outcome of serious mental illnesses and discuss the implications of these data for changing clinical practice in psychiatry. Among the speakers will be Martin Harrow, PhD (University of Illinois) and Lex Wunderink, MD, PhD (University of Groningen, The Netherlands).  It is co-sponsored by Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health, the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care and the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. More | Symposium Schedule | Register Now

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January 2, 2014 by Mary Olson, PhD | Blog

The Promise of Open Dialogue

Mary_OlsonOpen Dialogue is an innovative, network-based approach to persons experiencing severe psychiatric crises and conditions.  Developed at Keropudas Hospital in Tornio, Finland, this way of working has garnered international attention for its outcomes with first time psychosis.  Noting the positive interest Open Dialogue has begun to attract in the U.S., publisher Marvin Ross, in a recent Huffington Post blog (11/11/13), argues that before making the global claim that Open Dialogue achieves better results than standard treatment, we need to do more research.  I agree.

At the University of Massachusetts Medical School, I am co-leading a research project on Open Dialogue with Douglas Ziedonis, MD, Chairman of Psychiatry and an internationally renown expert on implementation science, and Jaakko Seikkula, PhD, one of the original developers of Open Dialogue, now a professor of psychotherapy at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Our project is called “Preparing the Open Dialogue Approach for Implementation in the U.S.” 

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July 5, 2013 by Jeffrey Lacasse, PhD

Saving Science: It’s Time to Solve Publication Bias

Erick Turner has published an important piece in CNS Drugs entitled “Publication Bias, with a Focus on Psychiatry: Causes and Solutions.” It should be required reading for any medical student, non-medical helping professional, or practicing prescriber. Rather than being an unbiased reflection of the underlying data, the psychiatric literature is instead sort of a funhouse mirror – the published results are consistently, overwhelmingly, positive – no matter what the actual data are. The implications are enormous. Note that the methodology in such trials is often deliberately constructed to bias such trials in favor of the sponsor’s drug – even so, publication strategies are used to minimize any bad news resulting from such trials, and to maximize the impression that the drug is effective.

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May 20, 2013 by Sandra Steingard, MD

Thoughts on the Meaning of Neuroscience

Judith Shulevitz, the science editor for The New Republic recently wrote an interesting article on loneliness.It caught my eye because it started with a nod to Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, the psychoanalyst who was immortalized in Joanne Greenberg’s fictionalize memoir of her recovery from psychosis, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. Ms. Shulevitz goes on to describe the field of loneliness studies from a psychological to a neuroscience perspective.

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May 5, 2013 by Bob Nikkel, MSW

Elusive Justice – America’s Thought Leaders Weigh In at USC Symposium

I made my escape from the glitz of Las Vegas and a national conference on behavioral health this past month and flew into the surprisingly fresh–and relatively boring–air of Los Angeles. I could even see the hills!

The purpose of this personal transformation back to reality was to attend the Third Annual Symposium on Mental Health and the Law at USC’s Gould School of Law. This stimulating forum was organized by Elyn Saks, the director of the Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics.

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