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We have two outstanding webinars of great clinical relevance and interest coming up on the Mad in America Continuing Education Project.
Registrations are open at: education.madinamerica.com/p/what-would-real-informed-consent-on-drugs-look-like
On March 19, Dr. Sandy Steingard will talk about what informed consent can and should look like in a real life community mental health program. Dr. Steingard has been a leader in this country and is getting increasing attention elsewhere for her courageous and research-based approach to psychiatry. She is particularly well-prepared to discuss issues related to the use of psychiatric medications. You can see notice of her webinar here along with the learning objectives she will be addressing.
We are asking for a registration fee of $75 but it covers all 6 of the webinars in this series. You can contact me if you want to discuss an organizational rate or discuss a scholarship option.Read More
I see eye-to-eye with most players in the National Basketball Association. Recently I proved this by a random meeting with two guys in the Portland airport who were just a shade taller than I am–one was a former NBA player and the other a current member of the Portland Trailblazers. 6-10 and 6-11, respectively.
I am in love. I’m in love with this way of working. And I won’t stop. Open Dialogue Washington began in 2018 upon my graduation/commencement from Jaakko Seikkula’s dialogic approaches to couple and family therapy trainer/supervisor training, in collaboration with Dialogic Partners and the University of Jyväskylä.
In 2016, I embarked to partake in the best training course I had ever experienced as a family therapist. The embodiment I experienced working with my Open Dialogue colleagues felt like the missing key in psychiatry and psychotherapy. Something intangible, yet what I knew all along. Something ineffable, yet also a shared language. Something deeply and autonomically human, yet unrepeatable and fleeting. It led me onto a moment-by-moment path where everything I learned in my 27-year long career about systemic family therapy and emergency psychiatric protocols ebbed, and the present moment of love flowed, neither the ebbing knowledge nor the cresting wisdom having any lesser value than the other. The complete work we do in mental health care is this ocean of love.
We are in constant change when we are in crisis. Timelessness sets in. Growth is happening. We don’t exactly know what we need. That is what mental health work is, sitting with this human happening. In the in-between space something happens, and we don’t know what will. This is the paradox. We are navigating the ebb and flow of incoming knowledge we have from research and the ebb and flow in each patient and family’s difficulties (the meanings they make of them.)
“It cannot be taught, but it needs a teacher.”
This post helps make sense of the mountain of bipolar drug research. It distills into an infographic the pros and cons of five classes of bipolar drugs and gives observations on what it means for people who face choices on bipolar care.
(The infographic is kept fresh as research evolves. The latest version with footnotes is always here.)
A few key perspectives behind this infographic deserve attention:Read More
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.Read More
(Lauren Spiro) – This week we e-release this new free booklet, Pathways to Enhance Well-Being. The evolving story provides an example of how we can follow the life pulse that moves through us – in this case – it moved through the three co-authors and manifests something new that we hope will be helpful for many people.
My co-creators and I, and seemingly the stars too, were aligned on this project. For each of us, our life story has in large part been about finding pathways to enhance our own well-being and to assist others in doing the same.
We came together with heart-based and soul-based intention to share some of the practices that have transformed our lives, opening our bodies and minds which allowed joy and passion to flow through us. We don’t write about our transformative process in the booklet but make no mistake – this is the energy that flowed through us and we hope that you, the reader, can feel in yourself as you expand or deepen your use of body/mind/spirit practices.Read More
After high school I got a job at Macy’s. I just wanted something super easy because inside I was fighting this terrible mental battle and didn’t believe I could handle a job that made me think. I worked there for about four years but realized I didn’t want a minimum wage job for the rest of my life, so I needed to figure out what to do next. I thought getting into the medical field would be a great career, not knowing what I wanted to do in the field, so I applied as a receptionist at a doctor’s office to get my foot in the door. After working there for about a year, I hated it and realized I didn’t want to go to school for something in the healthcare field. Also, at this point I was feeling so out of control in my mind. I was fighting with friends and family and cutting them out of my life, so they didn’t have to see me self-destruct. I felt it was time that I should go see a doctor and figure out what was going on in my head.Read More
My story begins when I was a teenager. I knew something wasn’t right with me because I would be extremely happy one day – euphoric like, then the next day I’d be extremely depressed and wouldn’t want to get out of bed and face people. I would often ask my mom why I’m like this and she’d brush it off that I was a moody teenager. I knew I was moody with my hormones being all over the place, but I felt this went beyond normal teenage angst.
As I got older, my anger, depression, and anxiety was getting worse and I started self medicating with alcohol because this would take my pain away for a while. My mom wouldn’t listen to me, that I wanted to see a doctor about my problems, because we don’t talk about mental health in my family. Ironically enough, it runs on both sides of my family, yet it’s a forbidden topic. I tried to talk to my grandma about it but she said I was exaggerating my issues.
By the time I was 16, and I could hardly stand to be in my own skin, and my mom and I were fighting daily- making it a very toxic situation, so I left home.Read More
Hearing voices is a common experience, yet it’s one that’s seldom talked about.
Although the latest stats have shown that up to 12% of young people hear things, see things or sense things that other people don’t, they tell us that the misinformation, fear and stigma surrounding these experiences makes it incredibly difficult for them to share what’s going on and to seek support if they’re struggling.
That’s where we aim to help.
About Voice Collective
We launched the Voice Collective service in 2009, with the aim of building capacity within existing programs to enhance their support for children and young people who hear voices, see visions or have other unusual sensory experiences, paranoia or unusual beliefs or multiplicity.
Although many children and young people who have these experiences aren’t distressed by them, others describe a combination of positive, negative and neutral experiences. Some young people can find their voices or visions overwhelming, confusing, frightening or upsetting, and some struggle with feelings of powerlessness, worthlessness or hopelessness. They may be self-harming, feeling suicidal or have attempted to end their lives.
We support children and young people in distress by normalising what they’re going through, reducing isolation and stigma and increasing coping skills, self-esteem and their capacity to live lives that they’ll love.Read More
I’m excited to announce a new series of Mad in America Continuing Education webinars for 2019. They focus on what I believe is a central issue—what does a true informed consent process look like for the prescription of psychiatric drugs? This is a leverage point for changing the paradigm of care by starting with how people are informed about what psychiatric drugs do.
I believe that righting this ship is largely going to be up to non-medical mental health professionals and persons with experience in having been through a system that fails miserably to provide real informed consent. Since we are a continuing education program, our courses are designed primarily for the first group: psychologists, social workers, nurses, licensed professional counselors, and marriage/family therapists. We will continue to apply for continuing education credits (CEs) and at some point recruit more interest from physicians so it would be worthwhile to apply for the more expensive continuing medical education credits (CMEs).Read More