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March 14, 2019 by Bob Nikkel, MSW

Two Upcoming Webinars in Our Informed Consent Series

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:

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.

The April 15 webinar will be on a topic that has received far too little careful and research-based attention–informed consent for prescribing psychiatric drugs to children and adolescents. Dartmouth clinical psychologist Erin Barnett will present her work and provide several tools that should be resources for clinicians as well as anyone concerned about the appropriate use of psychiatric drugs with young people.  She will focus especially on the most vulnerable children of all-those in the child welfare system and foster homes.

Again, you can register here.

Please share this announcement with any colleagues or organizations you are members of!

And be looking for our May 21 webinar on informed consent with some of the other most vulnerable and over-prescribed people–seniors and persons with developmental disabilities. My long-time colleague and veteran of years of work in this area, James Toews, will be the presenter.

We are now offering CEs to social workers in addition to our continued approvals for psychologists, nurses,  licensed professional counselors and marriage/family therapists.

Note: All of our webinars are uploaded after the “live” presentations and can be viewed at your convenience the next day and for the next year at least. 

Feel free to contact me at or (503) 929-9346 for more information.


Panel featuring Celia Brown, Sean Syrek, Malcom Aquinas, and Ron Unger, Moderator: January 22nd, 2019, 1:30pm Eastern/10:30am Pacific

The panelists will discuss their experiences with the informed consent process and the practices they have observed in their work as advocates and peer support providers. Their experiences range from involuntary hospitalization and forced treatment to outpatient to foster care and correctional settings.

David Cohen, PhD: February 19th, 2019, 1:30pm Eastern/10:30am Pacific

The concept of informed consent and the history of the development of practices and ethical processes

Sandy Steingard, MD: March 19th, 2019, 1:30pm Eastern/10:30am Pacific

A description of a true informed consent process in a real life community mental health center–what should it look like and what are the challenges, perceived risks and benefits?

Erin Barnett, PhD: April 16th, 2019, 1:30pm Eastern/10:30am Pacific

Shared decision making for children and adolescents and their parents, surrogate parents such as guardians, foster care providers, child welfare and residential/hospital settings.

James Toews, MA: May 21st, 2019, 1:30pm Eastern/10:30am Pacific

Considerations in the informed consent process for psychiatric drugs in working with people who have severe cognitive disabilities such as those with developmental disabilities and seniors in residential and nursing care settings.

Closing Panelists: June 18th, 2019, 1:30pm Eastern/10:30am Pacific

Review their responses to the presentations – what do they see as practices to recommend, benefits to be expected and any barriers they believe would need to be addressed.



January 22nd, 2019
Celia Brown is a psychiatric survivor and leader in the movement for human rights in mental health. She is the President of the Board of MindFreedom International. She was the main representative to the UN for MindFreedom and collaborated with other disability organizations on the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. She is a founding member of Surviving Race: The Intersection of Injustice, Disability and Human Rights Coalition. Celia is a certified peer specialist and works as the Regional Advocacy Specialist for the Office of Consumer Affairs, NYS Office of Mental Health.

Malcolm Aquinas, MAT CPSS LPE, is the Peer Trainer & Mentor Coordinator at the Oregon State Hospital. He is a past Chairperson for the Oregon Consumer Advisory Council. He is a professional consultant for the National Center for Trauma Informed Care. Malcolm has lived experience of the mental health system in Oregon and Alabama. He has been given multiple diagnoses, been placed on numerous medications, experienced both voluntary and involuntary hospitalizations, and survived restraints, solitary confinement, and electroshock. Malcolm is passionate about restoring a human and civil rights focus to the Mad Liberation Movement.

Sean Syrek, B.A., B.S. has been with the Mental Health Association of Oregon since 2014. He supervises peers and recovery mentors across four programs including several in Clackamas County Behavioral Health services and Multnomah County Mental Health Diversion Courts. He has special expertise in developing peer support programs for people involved in the criminal justice system. He has personal experience with the mental health and addictions service system and grew up in the California foster care system. He spent four years in the Czech Republic and studied for two of those years at Charles University First Faculty of Medicine in Prague.

Ron UngerLCSW, is a therapist specializing in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for psychosis, a hearing voices group facilitator, and an activist for choice and human rights in the mental health system. He has taken as special interest in the intersection of trauma, dissociation, psychosis, and spirituality, drawing on his own experiences as well as other sources to develop new perspectives on these topics. Ron teaches continuing education seminars on these topics, where he offers practical and humanistic ways of working with difficulties that too often are framed as simply biological defects or as not understandable. He is also chairperson of the education committee for the US Chapter of the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches for Psychosis (ISPS), and is a blogger at, as well as

February 19th, 2019
David Cohen, PhD is Professor of Social Welfare and Associate Dean of Research at the Luskin School of Public Affairs, UCLA. He researches involuntary interventions, medicalization, iatrogenesis, social pharmacology, drug regulation, and psychotropic drug action and discontinuation. He received awards for excellence in research, writing, teaching, mentoring, and advocacy, and the Tocqueville-Fulbright Chair to France. He counseled clients who sought to discontinue from their psychiatric medications and worked with service user organizations around the world on this issue. Author or co-author of 120 articles and chapters, his books include Challenging the Therapeutic State (1990), Your Drug May Be Your Problem (1999, 2007), Critical New Perspectives on ADHD (2004), and Mad Science (2013)

March 19th, 2019
Sandra Steingard, MD, is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine and Chief Medical Officer at Howard Center, a community mental health center in Burlington, Vermont where she has worked for the past 22 years. For over 25 years her clinical practice has primarily included patients with schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses. She was named to Best Doctors in America in 2003. She currently writes a blog called “Anatomy of a Psychiatrist” a She has served on the board of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care since 2012 and has served as chair since 2016.

In recent years, her main areas of interest have been in using antipsychotic drugs in a more selective ways and integrating Open Dialogue practices into her clinic. Along with colleagues, she has developed a Vermont-based need-adapted program called Collaborative Network Approach. She has lectured around the world on a variety of topics and has developed innovative approaches to providing informed consent as a process in her community mental health practice. She is editor of the book, “Critical Psychiatry: Controversies and Clinical Implications” published by Springer in 2019.

April 16th, 2019
Erin Barnett, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine. She is also a faculty member at the Dartmouth Trauma Interventions Research Center and Vulnerable Children’s Research Group. Erin has expertise in Shared Decision Making with families and children frequently prescribed psychiatric medications. With families and multi-disciplinary teams, she has developed and tested interventions to enhance patient-centered care and Shared Decision-Making within child psychiatry. She has published extensively on this topic in the national peer reviewed literature, including a recent systematic review of patient-centered psychiatric care within the foster care population. Erin is also certified in two evidence-based psychotherapies for children, Child Parent Psychotherapy and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has provided clinical supervision and consultation to numerous clinicians within community mental health and other mental health centers across New Hampshire. Further, Erin has provided training and consultation through trauma-informed training and workforce initiatives within various child-serving sectors, including residential treatment facilities, child welfare, juvenile justice, child care, schools, and homeless shelters.

May 21st, 2019
James Toews, MAwas the Director of the Office of Developmental Disability Services for the State of Oregon for 27 years. He also served for 10 years as the Director of the Seniors and Persons with Disabilities Division. His Division had responsibility for community residential care, assisted living, adult foster care, in-home care, employment programs, nursing homes, family support,and Old Americans Act services. During his tenure Oregon continued its dramatic reduction of reliance on institutional care models and created a wide network of home and community services. In 2011 he joined the federal HHS/Office on Disabilities as a Senior Policy Analyst and served as the Acting Principal Deputy Administrator of the HHS Administration for Community Living during 2016 and 2017.

Enroll in Webinar TODAY!

We hope to see you there!

bnikkel_miaceRobert Nikkel, MSW, is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Public Psychiatry Training Program at Oregon Health and Science University. He was the State of Oregon’s commissioner for both mental health and addictions from 2003-2008. He is the director of the Mad in America Continuing Education project and a member of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care.

One thought on “Two Upcoming Webinars in Our Informed Consent Series

  1. Johnstone Mutai says:

    I take the opportunity to thank the stake holders of the NCA for tye great work they do to make sure all the rules and standards are followed to the later.

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