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January 17, 2013 by Bob Nikkel, MSW

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Most of us know all too well about the field of mental health having a middle name: Divisiveness.The Freudians fought with the behaviorists. The psychiatrists have often found conflict in their work with psychologists and social workers and counselors. Of course, the psychologists and social workers don’t always get along either. More recently there has been the professional vs “paraprofessional” or peer-delivered staff conflict.

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December 17, 2012 by Courtenay Harding, PhD

“Recovery” Is Not Just a Fad

Courtenay-HardingI want to talk briefly about “recovery.” Many clinicians and program directors were trained, as I was, to think that regaining marginal improvement or downward course were the only two options open for persons with repeated episodes of serious and persistent psychiatric problems, such as the group of schizophrenias, major depressions, or bipolar disorders. However, there have been over 30 follow-up studies, both short and very long, as well as hundreds of former recipients of services all displaying carefully collected data and brilliant examples about the possibilities of significant improvement and even full recovery.

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March 17, 2012 by Jamie Lopez

A Piece of My Journey in Recovery

This is a piece of my journey in recovery, in regards to doctors, psychiatrists, medications, and fighting for my human rights.

For years, I had struggled with mental health and substance abuse challenges. Also for years, I had seen many different psychiatrists and had been told to take many different medications. I remember going to these doctors in desperation regarding symptoms, and I remember not being listened to. I would sit across from them and explain what was going on, and I was usually met with a smug and quick response. I was generally hurried out and was told that I was a very sick person and to take this or that with little, but more frequently, no explanation. I would usually have questions about what I was given and would receive little or no answer. Those years were very frustrating and had a feeling of hopelessness for me. There was a feel, in the interaction with the doctor, that somehow I did not know what I was saying or what I was saying was not accurate or to be believed because I had a mental health diagnosis. I felt as though I lost my voice as a human being to be heard because of the stigma attached to serious mental illness. I remember thinking, ‘wait a minute, I know what I am talking about! Someone please listen to me!’ and during that time, the more I attempted to advocate for myself, it seemed like the stronger my voice was silenced. Or that, maybe the “voice” that I had was a symptom of a psychiatric disorder. That particular type of hostility from the doctors towards me, I believe, began to interfere with how I thought of myself as well. I began on some level, to believe, that perhaps my “voice” was me just being “crazy”, maybe I wasn’t worth being heard.

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