For all interested in Open Dialogue (the subject of my third film): A few days ago I posted an essay on the well-read blog Mad In America, all about my thoughts over the last five years on the Finnish Program “Open Dialogue.” The comments after the essay are worth reading too — some really good ones. Meanwhile, in the essay I am fairly critical of the people who are helping to spread Open Dialogue around the world, mostly because they’re not taking a strong enough stand on some of the basic issues that made Finnish Open Dialogue an evidence-based success, namely, focusing work on people in a first-episode psychosis and working with minimal or no meds. Perhaps not surprisingly, none of those folks commented on the essay — though, considering the prominence of the blog Mad In America, it’s pretty likely that most of them (or all of them?) read my piece. But that, sadly, is the nature of the mental health field: discussion and dialogue are great in theory, but questionable in practical reality……
Here’s a link to the piece:
Meanwhile, greetings all — and I plan to be posting a lot more here soon!!
[Written in 2008.]
NOTE: THIS IS A TONGUE-IN-CHEEK ESSAY…
“The schizophrenogenic mother” – a mother who creates schizophrenia in her child – is presently a hated, taboo topic in psychology because it blames mothers. The only modern articles that refer to the concept anymore label it as incorrect and disproven. But they invariably fail to say WHY it is incorrect. So I have taken the liberty of doing it for them.
[Note, with humor aside: I actually strongly dislike the term “schizophrenogenic mother” because it lets fathers, who bear half the responsibility for child-rearing, off the hook. Please keep this in mind as you’re reading this list!! Continue reading
[Written in 2011.]
The mental health system in all Western countries is failing, especially when you consider the intensely poor outcomes for people with the most serious issues, such as psychosis. Having been a psychotherapist in New York City, I have given much thought to the mental health system’s failure and have come up with a new theoretical model for the system, from top to bottom. I hereby present it.
1) Abandon Diagnosis and the DSM
My experience as a therapist has taught me that diagnosing people does not further their healing. The diagnostic categories we presently use are so often arbitrary, misleading, stigmatizing, or just downright wrong (and at times all of these) that they end up doing far more harm than good. In fact, I have rarely seen cases where they definitively help anyone.
[Written in 2005. Feel free to read my 2013 commentary on this essay — for context and/or follow-up.]
Essay refers to: To Redeem One Person Is to Redeem the World, by Gail Hornstein
[Unless otherwise noted all bracketed page numbers refer to Gail Hornstein’s book]
It is characteristic of biographers that they have difficulty identifying with the child and quite unconsciously minimize mistreatment by the parents.
-Alice Miller, from FOR YOUR OWN GOOD
Gail Hornstein’s gift to the reader in To Redeem One Person Is To Redeem The World is that she provided the raw materials to understand the fascinating character and revolutionary work of Frieda Fromm-Reichmann. The book’s weakness is that Hornstein did not sufficiently connect the dots of her own careful research to create a psychologically satisfying, three-dimensional portrait of her subject. Continue reading