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The current-day mental health system has been shaped around the idea that people who have been given psychiatric labels suffer in a way over which they have no control and that often results in an inability to care for ones self. It is an approach that encourages the idea that professionals need to step in to be the experts and determine someone's human potential. These beliefs have also influenced other aspects of our culture to the point where news, movies, friends and family tend to perpetuate the message that we are chronically sick and need to re-adjust our hopes and dreams. In some instances, people have been told they won't be able to handle living on their own, going to school, working, getting married or having children. Many have been told they need to take medications, even if they leave them numb, and participate in programs that treat them as if they are children. The Virtues of Non-Compliance talks back to all those ideas in the voice of people who have been there, who have been told they can't, and who have gone on to live their lives on their own terms.
By Patricia Deegan, PhD
"How does one work with people who are unmotivated"This curriculum, organized into eight modules, will help consumer/survivors/ex-patients, staff, families and friends to provide more effective support and compassionate understanding for those diagnosed with mental illness who appear unmotivated. Roy Starks, Director of Rehabilitation Services at Mental Health Corp. of Denver, Inc. wrote: "Both staff and members found the training materials invaluable. I have worked in the field of Psychiatric Rehabilitation for thirty years and found this training tape to be the most helpful I have ever seen...I recommend this training to anyone working in mental health." Staff of the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare comments:
- "Pat is a powerful myth-buster!"
- "These tapes really challenge and overturn conventional ways of thinking about 'unmotivated' or 'low-functioning' consumers."
- "Pat makes it so clear that their are no cookie cutter approaches, and her emphasis on relationship is so important."
- "These training materials will really be useful in working with staff who are resistant to the role changes that are needed to move the system toward a recovery orientation."
- "There is so much authenticity in this material. It is a grounded and thoughtful presentation of the life experience of real people."
By Craig LewisThis book helps those aspiring toward recovery and also those in recovery, because it addresses and challenges the individual—in very real, basic and honest ways—to make significant cognitive adjustments in how they live their lives. The beauty of this curriculum is that people want to do it and don't consider it a chore, a demand, or a requirement, because every page subtly encourages the individual to think in realistic and forward-moving ways. This allows them to feel good about doing the work. I based this book on my personal life and recovery, and every page has been used successfully in peer group settings. Craig Lewis is a Certified Peer Specialist living and working in Massachusetts. He has struggled immensely with mental health issues throughout his life, but he has successfully transformed this into a life of wellness. He has embraced his recovery process, producing remarkably beneficial results. He has discovered that he has innate skills and capabilities for helping others in their recovery, and he has been able to help many people improve the quality of their lives, which is life-affirming for him. He does this by tapping into his lived experience to help others transcend their own struggles. He is sincerely committed to his recovery and helping nurture the recovery and wellness of all with whom he comes into contact. Craig is successfully working as part of an outreach team at a human services agency in Boston, Massachusetts. He also tours the country, speaking about his lived experience, sharing his struggles and triumphs to help others.
By Lauren Spiro
A Daughter's Journey From Grief and Madness to Forgiveness and PeaceThis courageously personal memoir describes Lauren Spiroâ€™s journey from unbearable emotional pain following her fatherâ€™s murder, down into psychosis, through the depths of our dysfunctional mental health system, and finally to a place of transcendent healing and peace where she knows that we are all connected much more deeply than we understand. This book has been a way of sharing meaning found in madness and honoring the vision of a sixteen year old that has lead to her lifeâ€™s work. The Dialogues of Discovery book tour is a testament to the power of dialogue to transform consciousness and an invitation to explore topics touched on in the book, such as; How do you redefine who you are? How do you fill the emptiness in your soul? How do you come to know who you were born to be? How do you find liberation for yourself and others? How do you access and trust your own innate wisdom? Ms Spiro is passionate about developing our capacity for compassion, appreciating the vast intelligence and creativity of the human mind, and co-creating pathways so everyone may come home.
Book ReviewsLauren Spiroâ€™s magical book conjures creativity from tragedy, visions from madness, and leadership from despair. I was especially inspired by her courage to challenge racism in the context of a terrible crime. This heartfelt account of Laurenâ€™s life will inspire everyone to reach higher. ~ Will Hall, host of Madness Radio and author of The Harm Reduction Guide to Coming off Psychiatric Drugs
In this moving, beautifully written memoir, Lauren Spiro tells of unfathomable loss, the madness of a psychiatric system that would diagnose her with â€œchronic schizophreniaâ€ at age 16, and her ultimate recovery from both of those childhood traumas. In her poetry and prose, we see too that wordsâ€”the language that can bring us understanding and compassionâ€”can have a healing power of their own. ~ Robert Whitaker, award-winning author, Anatomy of an Epidemic
In vivid prose and poetry, Lauren Spiro has painted for us a picture of her spiritual journey, a journey that took her from unbearable emotional pain, down into psychosis, through the depths of our dysfunctional mental health system, and finally to a place of transcendent healing and peace. This is a story of hope and love, the story of how a daughter, so devastated by her fatherâ€™s senseless murder, was rescued by his cherished spirit awakening in her adult life. The message is clear: healing of the mind and heart is always possible, love needs to be the guiding star in recovery, and we are all connected, much more deeply than we understand.â€ ~ Dr. Mark Foster, Family Physician
A beautiful story of liberation and growth, Living for Two eloquently expresses the path to forgiveness and offers the reader tools and inspiration to get there. Interspersed with dream-like color paintings and poetry, Laurenâ€™s story blends her personal life history with accounts of the larger movement for mental health liberation. A revealing story that will help other survivors of loss and trauma find hope and possibilities. ~ Cassandra Nudel, Editor, Firewalkers: Madness, Beauty & Mystery
Laurenâ€™s story embodies the strength and resiliency of persons who have experienced trauma. With refreshing insight she graciously shares her journey and the tools and resources that have been the wind beneath her wings. ~ Nikki Migas, MPA, Managing Director, CARF International
Lauren takes us on a journey where culture and cosmology enter different doors of the same house. Living for Two is a love story that celebrates the fragility of humankind and the resiliency of one very brave and wise little girl. ~ Cardum S. Harmon, author, Mandala Project: Transfiguration of Ordinary Souls
Lauren Spiroâ€™s Living for Two provides a compelling account of the struggle to map the unfathomable territories that lie at extremes of human experience. Her recovery and transformation after senseless violence, profound loss, spiritual emergency and extreme mental states exemplify hope, resilience and post-traumatic growth. People in recovery, psychology and social work students, helping professionals, children of violence, and others will find this small volume worthwhile. ~ Priscilla Ridgeway, PhD, co-author, Pathways to Recovery
Lauren invites the reader to accompany her through experiences of devastating personal loss and abuse, and being further harmed by the mental health system. Laurenâ€™s creativity, reflected in her prose, poetry, and painting, evoke insight and empathy in the reader. Living for Two takes its place in the literature of personal challenge and recovery, and the ensuing social activism they engender. ~ Jonathan Finkelstein, PhD Associate Dean, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
A powerful story of a young womanâ€™s experiences with trauma and her courage to reclaim a path of recovery and healing. This memoir should be read by all who work in the mental health field. ~ Kevin Ann Huckshorn PhD, RN, State Director, Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, Delaware
Laurenâ€™s story is as courageous as it is tender in her exploration of how our deepest losses shape the soul, how fear and misunderstanding can too easily silence it, and how love can give our souls voice again, no matter how long they have been silent. Laurenâ€™s memoir invites us to consider whether there is any wound love cannot heal. A question we must answer with our own lives and hearts. ~ Jennifer Maurer, Managing Director, Mother Bear: Families for Mental Health
Powerfully written, this personal journey from loss and sadness to reclamation and healing is soul-redemptive and emotionally stirring. Thank you Lauren for being real, vulnerable, and sharing your story which will ultimately empower others to share theirs. ~ Amikaeyla, Singer / Songwriter / Executive Director, ICAHSI, The International Cultural Arts & Healing Sciences Institute
By Katherine Sharpe
A compelling and troubling exploration of a generation raised on antidepressants, and a book that combines expansive interviews with substantive research-based reporting, Coming of Age on Zoloft is a vitally important and immediately engrossing study of one of Americans most pressing and omnipresent issues: our growing reliance on prescription drugs. Katherine Sharpe, the former editor of Seed magazines ScienceBlogs.com, addresses the questions that millions of young men and women are struggling with. Where does my personality end and my prescription begin? Do I have a disease? Can I get better on my own? Combining stout scientific acumen with first-person experience gained through her own struggle with antidepressants, Sharpe leads the reader through a complex subject, a guide towards a clearer future for all.
By Bruce LevinePolls show that the majority of Americans oppose recent US wars and Wall Street bailouts, yet most remain passive and appear resigned to powerlessness. Many Americans have lost confidence that genuine democracy is possible, and Get Up Stand Up explains how major US institutions have created fatalism. When such fatalism and defeatism sets in, truths about economic injustices and lost liberties are not enough to set people free something else is required. For democratic movements to get off the ground, individuals must recover self-respect, and a people must regain collective confidence that they can succeed at eliminating top-down controls. Get Up, Stand Up describes how anti-elitists can unite and recover dignity, confidence, and the energy to wrest power away from the ruling corporate-government partnership (the “corporatocracy”). Get Up, Stand Up details those strategies and tactics that oppressed peoples have successfully employed to gain power. As you read Bruce Levine’s rousing Get Up, Stand Up, inevitably you will be reminded of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, which served as a rallying cry for the colonialists to take action against their British rulers. Today, Levine argues, Americans are ruled by a tyrannical “corporatocracy” i.e. government by big business and for big business and his analysis of why the American people remain so passive in the face of such tyranny is smart, lucid, and passionate. Readers will also find, in his proposals for how the “people” today can stand up and “do battle” with the corporatocracy, a stirring call for action that surely needs to be heard.” Robert Whitaker, author of Anatomy of an Epidemic and Mad in America
By Robert WhitakerThe timing of Robert Whitaker's Anatomy of an Epidemic, a comprehensive and highly readable history of psychiatry in the United States, couldn't be better. Salon.com Anatomy of an Epidemic offers some answers, charting controversial ground with mystery-novel pacing. TIME.com Lucid, pointed and important, Anatomy of an Epidemic should be required reading for anyone considering extended use of psychiatric medicine. Whitaker is at the height of his powers. Greg Critser, author of Generation Rx Why are so many more people disabled by mental illness than ever before? Why are those so diagnosed dying 10-25 years earlier than others? In Anatomy of an Epidemic investigative reporter Robert Whitaker cuts through flawed science, greed and outright lies to reveal that the drugs hailed as the cure for mental disorders instead worsen them over the long term. But Whitaker's investigation also offers hope for the future: solid science backs nature's way of healing our mental ills through time and human relationships. Whitaker tenderly interviews children and adults who bear witness to the ravages of mental illness, and testify to their newly found aliveness when freed from the prison of mind-numbing drugs. Daniel Dorman, M.D., Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine and author of Dante's Cure: A Journey Out of Madness This is the most alarming book I've read in years. The approach is neither polemical nor ideologically slanted. Relying on medical evidence and historical documentation, Whitaker builds his case like a prosecuting attorney. Carl Elliott, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Center for Bioethics, University of Minnesota and author of Better than Well: American Medicine Meets the American Dream Anatomy of an Epidemic investigates a profoundly troubling question: do psychiatric medications increase the likelihood that people taking them, far from being helped, are more likely to become chronically ill? In making a compelling case that our current psychotropic drugs are causing as much if not more harm than good, Robert Whitaker reviews the scientific literature thoroughly, demonstrating how much of the evidence is on his side. There is nothing unorthodox here this case is solid and evidence-backed. If psychiatry wants to retain its credibility with the public, it will now have to engage with the scientific argument at the core of this cogently and elegantly written book. David Healy, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Cardiff University and author of The Antidepressant Era and Let Them Eat Prozac Anatomy of an Epidemic is a splendidly informed, wonderfully readable corrective to the conventional wisdom about the biological bases and biological cures for mental illness. This is itself a wise and necessary book essential reading for all those who have experienced, or care for those who have experienced, mental illness which means all of us! Robert Whitaker is a reliable, sensible, and persuasive, guide to the paradoxes and complexities of what we know about mental illness, and what we might be able to do to lessen the suffering it brings. Jay Neugeboren, author of Imagining Robert andTransforming Madness Every so often a book comes along that exposes a vast deceit. Robert Whitaker has written that sort of book. Drawing on a prodigious quantity of psychiatric literature as well as heart-rending stories of individual patients, he exposes a deeply disturbing fraud perpetrated by the drug industry and much of modern psychiatry at horrendous human and financial cost to patients, their families, and society as a whole. Scrupulously reported and written in compelling but unemotional style, this book shreds the myth woven around todays psychiatric drugs. Nils Bruzelius, former science editor for the Boston Globe and the Washington Post A devastating critique. . . . One day, we will look back at the way we think about and treat mental illness and wonder if we were all mad. Anatomy of an Epidemic should be required reading for both patients and physicians. Shannon Brownlee, senior research fellow, New America Foundation and author of Overtreated
By Daniel Mackler and David Morrissey
Dealing with Your Family After You've Been Diagnosed with a Psychiatric DisorderFamily conflict can wreak havoc on people diagnosed with psychiatric disorders. A Way Out of Madness offers guidance in resolving family conflict and taking control of your life. The book also includes personal accounts of family healing by people who were themselves psychiatrically diagnosed. Contributors include: Patch Adams, M.D., inspiration for Robin Williams film; Joanne Greenberg, author, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden; David Oaks, director, MindFreedom International; Will Hall, co-founder, Freedom Center.
By Daniel Fisher, MD, PhDThe question most often asked of Dan is: "How did you recover?" This booklet includes Dan's personal experience from seclusion to empowerment, and the healing strategies he found helpful. Learn about the values Dan lives by, the strategies he found helpful in healing his "mental illness", and how to connect and harmonize with others.
By Judi ChamberlinOn Our Own is Judi's story as a patient in both public and private hospitals. The story explores her experiences while being a patient as well as the lessons she learned while using services controlled by the patients themselves. It makes a compelling case for patient controlled services; a real alternative to the institutions that destroy the confident independence of so many. This is a work of great hope and optimism. On Our Own is now translated in to Korean, thanks to Ji-Eun Lee. To download the Korean version, please click here.
By Dorothy Dundas Dorothy Dundas, a survivor of forced combined insulin coma/electroshock, psychiatric drugging, seclusion and restraint during her teenage years, has created this powerful poster from her actual hospital records
By Laurie Ahern, Daniel Fisher, MD PhD
People can and do recover from severe emotional distress known as "mental illness".This curriculum has been developed by Laurie Ahern and Dan Fisher MD, Ph.D. It includes a 34-page guide and a 90-minute video lecture on the PACE (Personal Assistance in Community Existence) curriculum, featuring information on the empowerment model of recovery, PACE/Recovery principles, and recovery research. This information is useful for administrators, consumers, families, advocates, and providers who want to transform their system to one based on a recovery culture.