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  • By Lauren Spiro

    A Daughter's Journey From Grief and Madness to Forgiveness and Peace

    This courageously personal memoir describes Lauren Spiro’s journey from unbearable emotional pain following her father’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 life’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 Reviews

    Lauren Spiro’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 Lauren’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 “chronic schizophrenia” at age 16, and her ultimate recovery from both of those childhood traumas. In her poetry and prose, we see too that words—the language that can bring us understanding and compassion—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 father’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.” ~ 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, Lauren’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  
      Lauren’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 Spiro’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. Lauren’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 woman’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  
      Lauren’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. Lauren’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 Hanne Arts Paperback 218 pages
  • By Daniel Fisher, MD, PhD

    I hope for a day when: Every person who experiences extreme emotional states is engaged in respectful, hopeful, humanistic, and empowering relationships that enable them to heal and recover full, meaningful lives in the community. Instead of being seen as threats to society, we will be seen as a source of wisdom that we have obtained through our recovery. Practices like Open Dialogue will eliminate the long-term iatrogenic effects of a prophesy of doom and lifelong illness. Suffering will be seen as an understandable human response to trauma rather than a chemical imbalance or a defective fear circuit. Voluntary, community-based, recovery-oriented, culturally attuned, traumainformed services and housing will replace psychiatric hospitals. The mental health system will be run by persons with lived experience of recovery from extreme emotional states. Everyone will learn how to assist each other through extreme emotional states by learning communication skills such as Emotional CPR.
  • Note: The Hearing Voices Curriculum is now available as a virtual training. For some suggestions on how to conduct this training virtually, click here.

    Learn more about the Updated Hearing Voices Curriculum in the video below.

     

    Originally created by Patricia Deegan, PhD with updates by Dr. Dan Fisher and Oryx Cohen

    WHAT IS IT?

    Hearing Voices That Are Distressing is a complete training/curriculum package in which participants use headphones for listening to a specially designed recording.  During this simulated experience of hearing voices, participants undertake a series of tasks including social interaction in the community, a psychiatric interview, cognitive testing, and an activities group in a mock day treatment program.  The simulation experience is followed by a debriefing and discussion period.  The curriculum includes an updated DVD and updated discussion questions that focus on what we can do to support people who hear voices.
    "...The first graduate students who experienced 'Hearing Voices' said it changed their lives. We now require it for all our graduate students in sites across the country."      ~ Paul J. Carling, Ph.D. Executive Director The Center for Community Change, Trinity College, Vermont "...The voices simulation gave me a good overview of what people who do hear voices go through on a day to day basis." "...Incredible experience which gave a great insight. " "...Every Officer should have this experience so they can understand what people who hear voices are going through."      ~ Law Enforcement Officers from Utah CIT Academies

    WHO BENEFITS FROM THIS TRAINING?

    This curriculum has been developed and piloted for a wide range of mental health professionals including: Inpatient/outpatient psychiatric nurses, psychiatrists, social workers; psychologists; direct care workers in residential, day treatment and psychosocial rehabilitation programs; mental health administrators, policy makers; and police officers, academic faculty and students.
    "...I recently participated in the 'Hearing Voices' training. I must confess, I was disturbed by the sudden realization that I have been treating schizophrenia for four years, yet I have never known what it really was. I may have had the knowledge, but not the wisdom or true empathy -­ until now."      ~ Jim Willow, M.D. Psychiatric Resident, PsycHealth Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba

    Sample a sound byte from the hearing voice simulation (mp3, 1843 KB) Please be advised: Contains mild profanities

    WHO CREATED IT?

    Patricia E. Deegan, Ph.D., holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and developed this curriculum as part of her work with the National Empowerment Center. She also publishes and lectures internationally on the topics of recovery and empowerment. Pat is a person with a psychiatric disability, who also has experience hearing voices that are distressing.
  • Director/Producer PJ Moynihan Producer Oryx Cohen Executive Producer Gayle R. Berg, PhD
  • By Daniel Mackler

    Healing Homes, a feature-length documentary film directed by Daniel Mackler, chronicles the work of the Family Care Foundation in Gothenburg, Sweden -- a program which, in this era of multi-drug cocktails and psychiatric diagnoses-for-life, helps people recover from psychosis without medication. The organization, backed by over twenty years of experience, places people who have been failed by traditional psychiatry in host families -- predominately farm families in the Swedish countryside -- as a start for a whole new life journey. Host families are chosen not for any psychiatric expertise, rather, for their compassion, stability, and desire to give back. People live with these families for upwards of a year or two and become an integral part of a functioning family system. Staff members offer clients intensive psychotherapy and provide host families with intensive supervision. The Family Care Foundation eschews the use of diagnosis, works within a framework of striving to help people come safely off psychiatric medication, and provides their services, which operate within the context of Swedish socialized medicine, for free. Healing Homes weaves together interviews with clients, farm families, and staff members to create both a powerful vision of medication-free recovery and an eye-opening critique of the medical model of psychiatry.
  • By Bruce Levine

    Polls 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
  • Developed with the assistance of diverse leaders from across the U.S.

    Emotional CPR is a public health education program designed to teach people the skills to assist others through emotional crisis and regain a sense of hope and purpose in their lives. This workbook was developed for the eCPR certification training and provides a thoughtful discussion of the values of eCPR, the features of dialogue, and the primary components of eCPR: C = Connection, P = emPowering, and R = Revitalizing. Other sections include how to prepare oneself to provide eCPR as well as tips for self-care. The workbook is filled with inspiring quotes, real-life examples of embodying the practice of eCPR, sample instructions for role plays, and other exercises. The workbook is designed for anyone who may encounter a person in emotional crisis – law enforcement, mental health peers, mental health providers, family members, and others. If you are interested in learning more about eCPR, or would like to request an eCPR training, please visit www.emotional-cpr.org.

  • By National Empowerment Center

    Starting Recovery Dialogues in Your Community

    This DVD focuses specifically on one form of dialogical practice: Recovery Dialogues. In the DVD, you will witness an actual Recovery Dialogue and learn how you can set up Recovery Dialogues in your community.
  • By Patricia Deegan, PhD

    Self-help strategies for people who hear voices that are distressing

    This self-help guide can help you gain control over or eliminate voices that are distressing. The 22 page booklet, includes 18 fully illustrated self-help strategies that can help you take a stand, find your own voice and reach your goals!
  • By Daniel Mackler In June of 2012, twenty-three people came together to discuss the subject of coming off psychiatric drugs. We were psychiatric survivors, therapists, mental health consumers, family members, and activists, united by a passion for truth-telling. More than half of us had successfully come off psych drugs, including cocktails of antipsychotics and mood stabilizers. What resulted from our three-day gathering was an unforgettable meeting of the minds. This 75-minute documentary (directed by Daniel Mackler) offers a rare glimpse into the world of coming off psych drugs through the eyes of those who have done it. The film presents, among others, Will Hall, author of the world-renowned “Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs,” Oryx Cohen, director at the National Empowerment Center, Laura Delano, blogger at www.madinamerica.com, and Daniel Hazen, noted psychiatric survivor and human rights activist. Although this documentary is not medical advice, it intends to offer something even better: hope. In a world where increasing numbers of people are put on psychiatric drugs every day, where more than 20 percent of Americans already take them, and where so many are told they need to stay on them for life, COMING OFF PSYCH DRUGS offers proof that another way is possible.