Take These Broken Wings

Take These Broken Wings, a feature-length documentary film by director and former psychotherapist Daniel Mackler, shows that people can recover fully from schizophrenia without psychiatric medication.  According to most of the mental health field, and of course the pharmaceutical industry, this is not possible.  The film centers on the lives of two women – heroes of mine – who both recovered from severe schizophrenia.  The film traces the roots of their schizophrenia to childhood trauma and details their successful psychotherapy with gifted clinicians.

The first woman is Joanne Greenberg (fully recovered for more than fifty years), the bestselling author of I Never Promised You A Rose Garden.  The second is Catherine new broken wings_image_largerPenney (fully recovered for more than thirty years), a mental health nurse in California whose healing tale was chronicled by her therapist, Daniel Dorman, MD, in the book Dante’s Cure: A Journey Out of Madness.

Their accounts are interwoven with interviews with giants in the field of schizophrenia recovery.  These include Peter Breggin, MD (author, Toxic Psychiatry), Robert Whitaker (journalist, author, Mad in America and Anatomy of an Epidemic), and Bertram Karon, PhD (author, Psychotherapy of Schizophrenia:  Treatment of Choice).  Also featured throughout the film are over 100 interview clips of strangers filmed in New York City’s Washington Square Park who share their points of view on schizophrenia.

NOTE:  I have decided to place all of my films on Youtube for free, because I want to share them with the world.  You can still purchase DVDs of the films if you wish, but I don’t want money to stop anyone from receiving their message.  Here’s to a revolution in the mental health industry!



DVD of this film and both trailers (click here and here) also available with English subtitles.

101 thoughts on “Take These Broken Wings

  1. About 7 years ago I was diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia within 2 weeks of psychosis and was told by the psychiatrist I would never be normal again and would be like that the rest of my life (I was in my early 20’s). I was in a psychosis at the time but didn’t believe in what he said then, that I would always be like that. For about a year I was on Seroquel and after the first month I had no psychosis but with the medication, I felt nothing and not like a human, and my heart was slowing and breath at night. I consulted a different psychiatrist about is there is any type of therapy for me or alternatives to medicine, he told me I thought too much and he wanted to give me a medication on top of that. I never went back and I took myself off of the Seroquel. For a couple of weeks, I had symptoms but I was lucky to have a friend who had once had psychosis as well who told me to treat the voiced like an annoying person and nicely ignore them. After that, I never heard voices outside of me again. I still have issues but I believe I was misdiagnosed and the experience in the psych ward and the psychiatrists was pretty negative, to the point where nurses were making fun of patients, and nurses exercising more control than they need to just because they can. “The lunatics run the asylum” kind of deal. I believe people can heal from psychosis, and even that some people who hear voices may live as not instance or in a psychosis, but with an understanding that it is something happening in their brain they can live pretty normally. But if people are brainwashed by psychiatrists that they will never be better they will likely stay in the world of delusion, which can be much more entertaining than reality.

  2. Dear Daniel,

    my brother was diagnosed 5 years ago and has been on medication ever since. I refuse to accept that sentence he has been given (that is basically what being diagnosed with schizophrenia in my eastern european country means ;)).

    I want to show the movie to my parents and want to ask if you have subs for it in English or German (both languages are fine, I can work with them) and do the translation.

    samokovi at gmail.com

    Best regards,

    • Daniel,

      I should have elaborated – I will make the translation into Bulgarian and provide you with the file so that you can add one more language option to the subtitled videos.


  3. Hello Daniel,
    Would it be possible to have your postal address or e mail address so that l could contact you by letter or email as l feel that what l have to relate is not necessarily suitable for this type of forum. I would very much appreciate any advise you can give me about an inextricably complicated situation and one which is politically delicate.
    Please let me know if you have the time…
    Best wishes John Herbert

  4. It would be nice or useful if you addressed cost, too.
    Who paid for those 1300 sessions of therapy for Kathrine? And the years at Chestnyt lodge for Joanna?
    Their parents? The parents’ insurance at the time?
    Today 1300 sessions would probably cost at least 150,000$ if not twice as much.
    But doesn’t residential treatment for eating disorders cost that much, too? And it’s covered by insurance while psychoanalysis is never covered. Right?
    How much do the drugs cost in comparison? Aripiprazole is extremely expensive. But others don’t cost very much.
    Do you think people who suffer from psychosis are sicker than people who are depressed or suffer from anxiety?
    How do people invent those voices in their heads? Why do some people do that and others don’t?

  5. I have been a psychiatric patient in Lithuania, in the university hospital in Kaunas, where I work myself as a doctor. I looked there for help and support as I suffered from severe postpartum depression, sleep deprivation and started having delusions and hallucinations. I expected some tests done as I had anemia before delivery, and then the baby got sick and I had to stay up for 10 nights in a row in a neonatal unit where they gave me no bed to sleep. I was waiting for someone to come and explain what was going on. Yet I was crushed instead, I was no longer a doctor, I was no longer a human, they started drugging me severely, and when I complained of side effects and asked the doses to be reduced, I received even more drugs and more humiliation. I was not allowed anywhere near my children, and that was pure hell to my soul. I was begging them to allow me home, but they told me I had to get well. My condition was deteriorating severely, I lost all willpower, my handwriting was small, I developed severe parkinsonism, was drooling saliva and lost all my mental and motor skills. I realized I cannot perform simple tasks as clean my teeth, comb my hair, walk, stand on one foot, write a page. Eventually with the help of my husband I managed to self discharge being floridly delusional on max doses of 3 psychiatric meds, being hardly able to walk, talk or think 2 months and 10 days later, after my husband realized I am not recovering and the psychiatrists telling I have ‘medication resistant schitzophrenia’. Things improved after I discontinued the poisonous drugs, and realized what they have done to me and my family. I requested the case records and to my surprise they were fabricated day by day to justify why they kept me in the hospital and drugged. All the concern I expressed regarding my children was named anxiety and delusions, and they kept changing meds as none of them worked – I still cared for my children. So indeed, Lithuania is a country where they would kill you and ruin your life and your family with no remorse, just to get the money out of your case. The system is rotten from a lame beginner resident to the head of the department and the head of the hospital. It is still the Soviet Union here. Psychiatrists are not doctors here, they are numb executioners and lobotomizers. The message you get once you are under their influence is that the longer you stay in the hospital and the more drugs you take – the better. The message they conceal – it is better for them, not for you.

    • What courage of Spirit that you could see the Truth in the midst of their “delusion” namely Greed. May you and your family be Blessed and may you help many with your story, as you have me today!
      Warm Regards,

    • Psych patient (Lithuania), I believe you my darling wholeheartedly, we have been dealing with the MHS in Western Australia 4 over 30 yrs now. Our daughter was diagnosed as having Bi-Polar, but in fact she’s a drug induced manic, there is a difference. I asked one psychiatrist, are there many people misdiagnosed with Bi-Polar, she said loads. Our daughter suffered w/depression @ the age of 18 (now we know it was caused by the contraceptive pill) & every time she took something 4 contraception she’d come down w/depression. 30 yrs ago the psychiatrists didn’t push poisons, (they’re not meds, they’re poisons) & if u were on something, they’d say I would like u 2 go off that slowly, u don’t need it. Today, there’s only one simple reason why they push drugs down patients throats & it’s not 2 help them, but it’s about greed. No money 2 be made if u discharge that patient in 2-3 weeks, we have to pro-long their suffering. Of course, all these drugs cause side-effects & the way they act on these drugs causes more & more diagnoses from “PSYCHIATRY’S BIBLE”. Our daughter is @ present in a MHI in Western Australia due to the Thyroid Extract that caused her to become manic & that’s because the Naturapath increased her dosage. She was
      put on this to bring her Thyroid down from TSH 39 when it should be between 0.2-4. The reason behind the Thyroid problem was that the psychotic drugs she’s been on suppressed her Thyroid & all she needed was just a little kick start w/5mgs only & once the thyroid level started coming down, take her off. Well, this Naturapath was pre-warned to take extreme precautions w/our girl as she suffers w/drug induced mania. I’ll just say, yes she did become manic as we guessed she would due 2 her Naturapath increasing her Thyroid Extract from 15mgs (which was working fast) to 60mgs. Our girl turned manic @ 45mgs. The Naturapath has been notified by a lovely email. She should now go & visit her patient in the MHI (been there for 10 wks now) & see what our family is going through right now. So our daughter has gone through 10 gruelling wks, having a concoction of psychiatric poisons shoved down her throat. @ the moment she’s on 2 Anti-Psychotics, Olanzapine, Quitiapine & was on Clonazepam & Chloral Hydrate to help her sleep. I said to the Dr, the Clonazepam makes her high so she won’t sleep on that. My daughter was violent on that stuff & basically abused everybody. Normally she doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. She started refusing both sleepers & she started sleeping well, oh what would I know, I’m not educated enough for those drug pushers. She’s never been on Quitiapine before & that’s causing her to be compulsive, oh I forgot, now she’ll be labelled w/obsessive compulsive disorder. I’m pretty sure that’s what a majority of psychiatrists have “OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER”, must be a compulsion to push drugs, serious shit.

      DANIEL MACKLER, I love u man, I love your work & what you do. I have just recently come across your videos & your song on Bullshit Psychiatry, so true man, right down our alley, thankyou. Please, please come to Western Australia & set the message straight in this sick world of ours & how greed everywhere has taken over society. Very best wishes Kazza

  6. J am surprise about the film of broken wings recovery from schizofrenia without medication.
    My daughter is diagnosed schizofrenis few months ago. But she have been sick almost 2years ago. She had get a false diagnose and mediction. J need help. She is still sick.

  7. Where can we find affordable treatment for those suffering with schizophrenia? I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and sometimes get negative feedback for having seen a client for over 300 sessions. Not everyone can afford this. You make me feel like I am doing my job rather than taking advantage of the patient. Thanks for sharing this film and research.

    • greetings, wish I had a good reply for you!!!! well, a lot of therapists criticize anything they don’t understand, so I cant take them too seriously!!! appreciating what you say—–daniel

  8. Onschizophrenia!patient imtyping on small tablet! Iwanttodiscuss lies about MENTAL illness !inexperience as a kid what nellyblye a famous journalist did but in a rou d about manner! She pret need to be insane!for me ihad nosymptoms of mental illness but ansick father with an MD whowanted adoctortodisgnose me with anything he said to keep me a happy gomluck art student who overcame BULIMIA ALONE! Came up adjusted and a neurosis ridden family whowanted me to screwed up like them the doctor said who my father employed to do this!OK my fshtrer insisted I be sicknwhen he ws told tolesve me alone! But refused to back down when he started as panic hysterical dear in me then he began to ssayohhb stsy awY romdoctors !same doctorsnwhontold himtoleave me alone hensent me to!IWAS a super athletic kid with a happy soul!these asshole tore my life up induced extreme sof abuse on mein effort tocufre me of anilness my father msdeup TOCURE meof!first of all !nodoctor saw me sick and inever reported feeling sickorhear voices !myfshter assaulted me whenjcme home from school honors and said ihadntowork and he got me a job!iwokred t champion level with no issues continue to heal from BULIMIA!allsuddenhe wanted to keep me from school as he did to my sister outnof delusions of being an artist! This begsna lifetime of abuse and trsaum !doctor werre fold ihad schizophrenia!OK howmuwalked into andoctors office with no symptoms and came out with afskemdiwgnosois this!my center insisted that Dr diagnose me with anything !!whendr fektmfear of my father bully hi he said OK how about anxietyhow bout depression how bout schizo effective!whenihewrd schizo likethepeopleminthis video whonsaidnworstmfewarsninhit the roof and began to fear !ihad avbirginlife new slate!!!he’smy life as tskentohellof my father amentslly I’ll doctor and suggestion and insurance!drsagged in traumatized and battered electrocuted and kept terrorize and torture!IWAS taken for fifteen years kept in torture begged Dr toremove me before I cracked tested tomyhealingnofbulimia and fodgsve me thewiltosurvive ansick family doctor greed!these people will take anyone’s insurance lie and diagnosed a ascsred kidmwith no voices hysterical ivemr father’s intentions fesar withlies! It lead for metobe soabused iwa battered to be predsposxed for metal illness! 15 years after begging them for antidote!!!!!!! Iwa not given rmoval from abuse trauma and givenlovemtime to heal!isuffered PTSD and almost lost my mind but retained it!!!!! Theniwaleft those commonsense and try to save my own life!isuffered seizures and trauma related condition but somethinf f else!!voices! I took notes and the voices were ofmanabusicpve psychic persons who got to me interests of NYC and people grabbed ofmtis!!did not imagine this and icsn prove it!there are people who suffer cracking mind who hallucinate or near voice ofnegstiv people projection indifferent the voices of sensentowolrd and attack! Bujtcome frl damage to defense’s!! When apersonsuffer trauma !people cannibalize !another form of cannibalizing is psychic attsk!isaw smmd ienrnto cormswelling legdhear same voice ihears in slight ove me tell him to attack me!!!and he did!!!!!!!itwanotmyvoice but of what my friends said anevilpersonfolowing me trying to keep. Me down!people arempsychicand as imade one step out of a prison between some and real world notonlyws one sister of TEO trying to use psychic mind one mebut others usually black ghetto abrasive drug cocaine adicts !peoplemstole me they were super preditors csllit bullies using a idea used in movie menwhostared at goats to killormattack amind!!!!!! It’s real! Dr refused toremove me cromtraumamro heal andpeesinsmizaw inhospitalsmalsowere keptmtraipumarized as nely blye said in her story!!!!
    It took me years TORECORD from what isaw but I decided odds givengodmckarityinsight commonsense see also katimortinontsakingncsaremofmyuour own illness!!!!!!! Ucsnhealurself dpfromanyrhinf by nnotncearing!not listen to others and know your own self!iescsped a prisnof doctrlies family hell off a suggestion came out nwith a fairy tale!people abused me for being fearfukifmpeipkemtobenesar mslightlypanic!!and target me took me as amfool!!!!some gaslighting d memortriedmtomakeme feeominsane!ongaymentsally illperson injob n !!!!my friends told me iewasmtheonmlynormalmne in my family!!! IWAS then iturnednback into myself and it wasmnotmaboutexaminemtheir intent!button makemsure ibeacame metsly I!toshit me uplp!inlast chapter of yrise up and charmed lifmamdj from dancehall injamaicsamanalcholic predisposed of mental illness harsh roug nature substance abuse famousnameme in mdlifemcrisis befsntotossme around dandtraumtizeme !in a states where my healing of 19 years was exposed to Jamaican’s abusers using super mind!doctorsmworking notremovemmemtoheakfrim one initial wound!iwa left traumatized traumatized until this man was used to inflict last wounds and ibegsn after 19 years of healing from PTSD tosuffer anexteme psychotic break and doctor still refused toremkocemmemto heal !as result people!tore me apart and induced wnextremelydisabling form of mental illness in me!just as iewasmgettingnwhereniwasmsuposed to go!motnat anytime didmthe prevent it!why?????? Money ??incompetancenand pypsychic games!this manisine of asgrwssive ignorant people I’m the dancehall and he vottomemaftermisufferednexhaustionptsd and breakdown!he threastrento kill me!!!my flife WA involved inmusicnsart andnreggaemjamaics!ieasmamselfmhealingnstringnwiled suvstwncemfree person!!Jamaican are very inclined to practice howmto induce mental illness in people !not how to cure it!!!to inducenabusenthstnlewds toanger!!!¡cinfusion andneriklinto mind!!!see also the serpantnand rainbow!! Jamaican’s and hatiansmand black people feel it’s cooltomfuckmupmwhite people and have special powers!!!!but isaw this inthegay male and others !ifmihad been tested for my wound they never get to me!!IWAS begging ndr to pout me in hospital !itws like they ignore me!!!!!

  9. Does anyone know if there is an appropriate healing facility in California -or anywhere -preferably on the west coast, that is culturally sensitive, where a person can reside and be treated for (Schizophrenia)..hearing voices and unusual sensory experiences, that is NOT med focused, and not a locked faciility; but rather is open and treats people with dignity and respect no matter their ethnicity? DANIEL OR ANYONE, PLEASE TELL ME THE NAME/ADDRESS OF SUCH A PLACE..eob eonja2@yahoo.com

    • windhorse in san luis obispo is probably the best in california and is definitely one of the best in the country. https://www.windhorseimh.org/ however…….they’re not good for everyone and they’re very expensive—-probably more than $10,000 per month. that’s the sad reality of the USA……. not sure if you have the money for this, but i would give them a call and maybe they could also make other referrals. if you give me a more specific location i might know a specific local clinician…..ya never know. all the best, daniel

      • Hello Daniel.
        Thank you so very much for your reply. I will definitely follow up with Windhorse. My son continues to have severe symptoms but fears sharing his misery with Psychiatrist because he fears -even more, being put on more meds!!
        I am praying that Windhorse will be more interested in HELPing my son to heal, and will work with me on the finances.
        By the way, I met a colleague of yours. When I mentioned your name, as a reference in regards to eCPR, he stated that he already knows you.
        Again, thanks so much.

        • cool 🙂 also, you should try contacting Jack Rosberg in Southern California. he’s a clinician and a good person whom i’d trust more than many many others!! daniel
          p.s. i’ll send his email backchannel to you.

        • actually, i don’t even know his email anymore, it was so long ago i was in touch with him. but he started this organization, i believe, so they might have it: http://www.schizophrenia-help.com/ i can’t vouch for their present work, but i do believe jack started this, and they’re worth a try. all the best, daniel

  10. Dear Daniel,

    Pardon my awkward internet use, I am not familiar with communicating this way. I will be direct, I watched “Take these Broken Wings.” It was wonderfully crafted.

    I have a Schizophrenic friend who is just becoming stabilized on quite a bit of medication. I am thrilled at the prospect of recovery, but I am apprehensive about showing him the video for fear that it will upset the modest recovery he has experienced.

    To be frank, I am worried (respectfully) that your video is too good to be true.

    My key question for you is this, what arguments have you received against your assertion that Schizophrenia is curable (albeit difficult to achieve) without medication and can you comment on how you refute these arguments?

    Thank you for sharing your talent and insight.

    Warm regards,


    • Thanks Beck.

      You wrote: “I am apprehensive about showing him the video for fear that it will upset the modest recovery he has experienced.”

      My reply: Yes, sometimes people can get overwhelmed by what amounts to essentially opposite messages…. On one hand — you have a genetic disease, a brain disease, you’ll have it for life, take your meds, it’s the only thing that can stabilize you (and often does in the short-term). And the opposite message: you’re going through something that results from painful life experiences, and if you can work out some basic issues in your life, your history, and your social world, you’ll likely come through whatever it is you’re going through — and meds, especially long-term, will likely just make your problem chronic….. Hmm….. I’ve also seen that videos such as this one can inspire people to want to get off their meds, and some people rush it or don’t have proper supports (external and internal) — and things at times go badly….especially if they’ve been on the meds a while and their bodies and brains have become acclimated to them. Withdrawal can be hell…..and look very much like the original problem……or worse.

      You wrote: “My key question for you is this, what arguments have you received against your assertion that Schizophrenia is curable (albeit difficult to achieve) without medication and can you comment on how you refute these arguments?”

      My thoughts: Well, I’ve received tons of arguments against this movie over the years. Some I don’t agree with, and some are pretty good.

      Here’s the main one I don’t agree with:

      Argument: “No one gets well from schizophrenia. You can stabilize it at best — and meds are the trick. If someone does seem to get well from schizophrenia than they either never had schizophrenia in the first place (and were misdiagnosed) or they’re just in remission and are going to have a psychotic relapse at some point.”

      My refutations: 1) look at the evidence. Lots of people recover without meds — according to robust, long-term-outcome-oriented psychiatric literature, and not just radical literature. 2) all the people I’ve known who were diagnosed with schizophrenia by reputable docs who got well. And in the years since I’ve made this film I’ve met a lot more. 3) I’ve worked in therapy with people who were going through the process of recovering from that thing called schizophrenia. So I’ve seen it in therapy. 4) I’ve seen it in friends. Lots of them. 5) basically it’s a poorly constructed argument anyway, because by definition they’ve set it up so that it’s impossible to recover. 6) there’s big money in telling people they can’t recover = validates big pharma and psychiatry, keeps them in business — big business. 7) it’s scary for psychiatrists to have hope for people when the main things they offer to help people in severe crisis over the long haul make it harder for people to pull out of their crisis and move on with their lives. Safer to remove hope….which also scares people into taking their meds and following doctors’ orders. 8) the concept of the physician’s illusion — that many doctors (and therapists) have never seen someone diagnosed with schizophrenia recover fully from it…..because those of their clients/patients who don’t follow doctors’ orders, who leave treatment, who don’t take the meds, and who get well (aka a lot of people)…don’t come back for follow-up with the doctors….thus the doctors don’t know they even exist. The doctors instead see the people who end up becoming chronic…. 9) doctors and hospital emergency rooms all see examples of people who stop taking their meds and things go wrong. This does happen, obviously — and after one has seen it many times it can get seared into the brain as a very big and real reality, which it is. But it’s not the only reality…and often if we look at the histories of people who end up becoming “chronic” we can see things in their history that could have been done so differently along the way……likely to a much better outcome….

      Another criticism I’ve gotten: “These people in your film obviously had a lot of money to pay for that much therapy. And for brilliant therapy too. Not everyone can afford 5 days a week of that kind of therapy — for years. 1300 sessions? Ludicrous!”

      My reply: yes, there’s much truth in that. But heavy, intensive, long-term therapy isn’t the only way to “get well” from that thing called schizophrenia. I’ve known many people who have gotten well with no professional help at all. Also, I made my films “Healing Homes” and “Open Dialogue”, both of which show programs that profoundly help people with psychosis for a fraction of that time and money — and don’t rely on the stereotypical genius therapist…. The bulk of the healing environment in “Healing Homes,” by the way, is done by untrained farmers in Sweden…. And I’ve lived with them. They’re amazing. (Both films are on youtube for free — and by the way, the Finnish Open Dialogue project gets the best results in full long-term recovery from psychosis in the world.)

      Argument: “You cherry-picked the two women you chose as your subjects in ‘Take These Broken Wings.’ They do not represent the norm at all.”

      My reply: Yes, I chose them. But I’ve also met a lot (a LOT) of other people I could have filmed as well, whose stories of recovery from schizophrenia would have been similarly profound and complete. I also chose these two women for other reasons that are less obvious. One is that they are both brave and comfortable enough to be public with their stories of recovery. A lot of people who have been in mental hospitals at any time in their lives don’t want to talk about it publicly, let alone on camera using their real name. Second, I chose these women because at the time of filming both had been recovered for decades — one for three decades, one for five. (Now longer.) I did that on purpose — to work to defeat the argument that they were just “in remission” and might have a relapse at any point. By the way — I filmed them 9 years ago….so it’s now almost 4 and 6 decades of recovery for them, respectively!

      Argument: “you cherry-picked literature and mental health professionals for your film.”

      My reply: I chose mental health professionals (and Whitaker the journalist) who are unblemished in their integrity! And they lean on excellent literature. I would say the onus to defend against trashy, cherry-picked science (right up to the highest levels) is quite on the shoulders of traditional medicine (and psychiatry). These two shocking conventional articles sum it up quite nicely: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2009/01/15/drug-companies-doctorsa-story-of-corruption/ and http://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/05/16/editor-in-chief-of-worlds-best-known-medical-journal-half-of-all-the-literature-is-false/

      Argument: “if your film and the literature quoted in it were true there would be tons of people recovered from schizophrenia all around telling their stories.”

      My reply: There are. They’re everywhere. But from what I’ve seen many if not most keep that fact mostly to themselves, especially if they’re around people who are quick to undermine their experiences (aka traditional mental health workers). I also saw that in the mental health world when I was a therapist. I saw clients who thought they could get well and thought the meds were bad for them labeled delusional. They couldn’t win — not in that system. That said, there are many people vocal about their past history in the mental health system and with all sorts of unpleasant diagnoses — have you seen http://www.madinamerica.com http://www.mindfreedom.org and lots of other sites too…….

      Argument: “it’s hard to find a great therapist to help someone who is in a major psychiatric crisis.”

      My reply: Yes, it is. I get people emailing me from all over the world all the time — wanting referrals to good therapists who don’t charge a lot. And mostly I have very little to offer them…. Also, in this film (Take These Broken Wings) it can seem like it was just good therapy that helped these two women recover, but….it’s important to note (and the film does reference it) that both women were in containing, respectful, dynamic hospital environments (rare nowadays) that offered a lot of support beyond their daily therapy… They were essentially in a therapeutic milieu environment, and that is not to be underestimated. Perhaps just therapy alone wouldn’t have helped much…..

      Argument: “this film subtly implies that if you can just come off your meds you can recover. If only it were so easy….”

      My reply: Yes, if only it were so easy! It’s hell for many people — and a hell that can produce big, ugly consequences. And I think it’s harder nowadays than it was back thirty or forty years ago. 1) the antipsychotic meds that people are on nowadays are harder to come off from. Compared to the old drugs (haldol, thorazine, stelazine), the new ones target a lot more neurotransmitters and thus wreak a lot more havoc on the brain and mind during the withdrawal process. Much harder for many people to come off. 2) lots of people are on a LOT more psych drugs simultaneously nowadays. Polypharm is the norm, especially ultra-polypharm in the USA. That makes it a lot harder to come off the drugs — for many many people. People still do it, but it’s hard. Actually, I made a film about this too — “Coming off Psych Drugs” — in part because of the criticisms I was getting about Take These Broken Wings — and also just to help share a message about coming off, because many people (and many mental health professionals) really are very poorly educated on the coming off process….and it’s such a serious, important topic. 3) isn’t it now incumbent on doctors to look more at alternatives to putting people on these drugs, especially when there’s good evidence (finnish open dialogue, soteria, wunderink, harrow and jobe, WHO studies) that not putting people on the drugs in the first place sets people up for the best chance to pull out of it in the long-run…….

      Meanwhile……I know this writing is jerky and just spilled out of me, but I liked your question and wanted to answer it immediately. Maybe I could craft this into a better essay at some point….


      • First off, excellent response, I’ve read it three times already. I’m so glad you’re able to back up both the positive and negative aspects. For me, even thought I have been working through psychotic symptoms and have a “gifted therapist” by my side, the thought of not being able to be in the mind of someone who’s recovered to truly know what it’s like to fully heal leaves me with doubts about it nonetheless. I watched your documentaries almost a year ago, and I understand that people recover, yet there is still doubt in me. I guess I’m saying it because reading things like this should be a way of letting so many people know the reasons they should hope, and most importantly take charge in their recovery. Because even if I have been in doubt, I have worked hard every day at getting through and analyzing and developing the core issues that led me to this. So doubt isn’t a deterrent, its become a quest to find out, and in the meantime I have gotten so much better.

        “…But heavy, intensive, long-term therapy isn’t the only way to “get well” from that thing called schizophrenia. I’ve known many people who have gotten well with no professional help at all.”

        Those many people who have recovered in this manner, how have they done so? I mean I’ve always been curious after reading about the WHO study, that 1/3 recover, but 1/3 can’t all be in therapy.


        Sergio L

  11. This is the first time I’ve seen this film. For the first time in my life I finally see that there are people out there that believe what I’ve always believed. My mother was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic several years ago. She never signed up for help but did end up in a hospital a few times because of something she did breaking the law. Treatment was forced on her and when she was released she never pursued further treatment. However she seemed well and for several years at a time. The last time I would say she seemed good for close to twenty years. That never made any sense to me. There was always some traumatic incident that happened that put her over the edge where nobody could reach her. She would then isolate and disown us kids. There were four of us at one time. My youngest brother committed suicide back in 1981 suicide when he wad 16. My oldest brother overdosed on heroine 2 years ago. That leaves me and my other younger brother. I am 58 years old now. I always felt it was a safe place for my mother to be in her schizophrenic world rather than to face the deaths of her 2 children. Back when she was married to my father she lived a pure life of hell. He was not what she thought he was when they married. As far as her younger years are concerned, I was told she started to show signs of mental illness when she was in her teens. She was born in 1936 and is still alive today but the only one she speaks to is my brother. A few years ago we took trips to Sweden and she seemed ok then. But something happened again and she left mentally. Some of my other relatives wish she’d get medical help, medicated etc., but I told them I felt she was better off where she is mentally. Given her age and the lack of genuine help, the help that I know would work, she’d probably die before she’d be well. I really wish more help was available over the years but I suppose if the kind of help that really works was available, then a lot of people would be out of work and God forbid that happens. I worked in the medical profession for years and finally left. I was sick and tired of all the stuff that goes on. I know the truth and this documentary confirms what I known all along. Maybe that’s why my mother always liked being in foreign countries. Thank you Daniel for taking the time trying to reveal the real issues!

      • I’m surprised nobody put a gag order on you by now. Corporate America would have a field day with this information. That is of coarse this hits someone in their own family. I admire your courage. This is also the first place I found that I have a voice. Thank you once again.

  12. First of all thank you for making this document.

    I would love to pass this along but I’d rather do it with a reference list so people can also read these studies with their own eyes (this is a delicate matter for people to deal with when people rely on the drug industries so gullibly). Is it possible to get links/info for the researches that were talked about in the document?

    • hi anne — greetings from new york. i don’t have all the references compiled, i’m sorry. i did it years ago but can’t find the document. i did find a document with some of them in it, and some others that are good.

      The first of these six articles, I believe, can all be found at the website http://www.psychrights.org

      Seikkula, Altonen, Alakare et. al. (2006). “Five-year experience
      of first-episode nonaffective psychosis in open dialogue
      approach: Treatment principles, follow-up outcomes, and two
      case studies.” Psychotherapy Research, 16(2): 214-228.

      (world health organization studies, cited in “take these broken wings”:)
      Jablensky, A. (1992).
      Psychological Medicine.
      Supplement 20, pages 1-95.

      Whitaker, R. (2004). “The case against antipsychotic drugs:
      A 50-year record of doing more harm than good.” Medical
      Hypotheses. 62: 5-13.

      Harding, C. (1987). “The Vermont longitudinal study of
      persons with severe mental illness.” American Journal of
      Psychiatry 144: 727-734. [cited in “take these broken wings”]

      Harrow, M. and Jobe, T. (2007). “Factors involved in outcome
      & recovery in schizophrenia patients not on antipsychotic
      medications: a 15-year multifollow-up study.” The
      Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 195(5): 406-14. [cited in “take these broken wings”]

      Seikkula, J., Alakare, B., & Aaltonen, J. (2000). “A 2-year follow-
      up on open dialogue treatment in first-episode psychosis:
      Need for hospitalization and neuroleptic medication
      decreases.” Social and Clinical Psychiatry. 10(2): 20-29.

      Seikkula, J., Alakare, B., Aaltonen, J., Haarakangas, K., Keränen,
      J. & Lehtinen, K. (2006). “5 year experience of first-episode
      nonaffective psychosis in open dialogue approach:
      Treatment principles, follow-up outcomes, and two case
      studies.” Psychotherapy Research. 16(2): 214-228.

      I think the rest of the articles in “take these broken wings” are cited in Robert Whitaker’s books “Mad in America” and “Anatomy of an Epidemic,” which are both well worth the read.

      all the best, sorry to not have a complete list,

  13. I’m just finishing “Take these broken wings” and I love it. Thanks for putting it on youtube, I finally have a video to direct those in my family to who think medicine is the only answer. I myself was diagnosed with Schitzophrenia but refused the medication and released myself from psych ward, mostly because I did not believe I was insane and that the voices were real. Like they were, just coming from my own brain and not the stratosphere. I had to threaten suicide to stop my family from declaring me insane like the doctor suggested in order to force the medicine into me. I didn’t go to therapy either but the symptoms slowly went away. I don’t know exactly what I did right if anything, I’m just grateful that I had the good sense to refuse the pills because a friend of mine that was diagnosed with the same condition a few years later and who did take the pills died from the side effects. Check out “Hearing voices international” at intervoiceonline.org if you havent heard about them before. Thank you again.

  14. I was wondering if one can be “cured” from bipolar/mania? Someone close to me is currently taking 8 medications a day and not able to live life. 🙁

    • hi Jean — sure, lots of people with that diagnosis have come out of it, come out the other side, worked through it, “recovered” — whatever word you want to use. a couple or a few are in this film: http://wildtruth.net/dvd/psychdrugs/

      wishing you and the person close to you all the best

  15. thanks daniel for you answer I am mary, i don’t speak very well English but I try to do. Yesterday I wrote you because i saw one commentary where you respond to another person in Argentina.and you tell her you have freinds in Argentiana and you send her information this commentary is down to the video healing homes or curando en casa in spanish . my brother have psicosis he can’t go out his home. We don’t find any professional with this methods without medication.
    daniel thank you if you can nhelp me with this importanbt information for my brother’s life.
    I apreeciate you read my message and finaly thank you for all your information .
    thanks so much. god bless you.

    • hi mary,
      i was given this website — es posible que puede ayudarte or ayudar a su hermano? tambien, yo voy a escribirte en privado, con un nombre. es posible que esa mujer sabe algo que puedu ayudar. daniel

  16. hola buenas tardes tengo un familiar que necesita ayuda en buenos aires Argentina.Mi hermano estaba tomando medicacion pero creo que ya no toma, nunca se interno, pero no puede salir de casa
    . Por favor si conoce un profesional en buenos aires, que sea ante todo un buen ser humano que de terapia sin mediacion .
    Gracias por toda la informacion cuando sentia que perdia la esperanza lei y vi tus articulos, y me di cuenta que si hay una esperanza y que los familiares nos tenemos que informar. Le agradeceria me envie el contacto de un profesional que como dice el doctor Norman vea este tipo de problemas como algo que tiene que ver con la vida, una persona que ayude a descubrir el camino .
    que Dios lo bendiga gracias.

    • hola mary! yo no conozco una terapist en argentina, pero es posible que alguien aqui conoce una…. espero que si!! gracias y buena suerte! daniel

  17. Hi . it´s your fan, Fernando from Ecuador, how are you? I have a question. I receive an injection of haldol 50 mg every two months. I have been going regularly to a psychologist for 4 months and he sees a lot of progress in me and he wants to help me and talk to my father who forces me to have the depot injection and ask to him to let me substitute the medication with psychotherapy. I would like to ask you what kind of psychotherapy would you suggest he uses. In your films like “These Broken Wings ” or “Family Homes¨ or the video of ISPS it says therapy has success but it doesn´t say which kind of therapy specifically e.g. emphatic therapy, cbt, psychodinamic psychotherapy, cpt, psychoeducation, emdr, etc or what combination do you recommend to suggest and talk it over with my psychologist. CBT would be good because there are articles and studies showin its superiority over medication treatment we could show my father these articles to convince him. I have also heard you are recomending Self Management therapies. I ordered WRAP already and I am going to receive it soon. Is that the kind of selfmanagement therapies you recomend. Hope to see a new film and hear new music from you soon
    Thanks a lot

    • hi fernando,
      in my experience it’s not the type of therapy that matters, but the quality of the relationship you have with your therapist — that you feel comfortable to be yourself, to be honest, to express your feelings, that your therapist understands you, that you both like each other, that you feel safe — basically, that you have a good caring and trusting relationship. that is the most important, from what i’ve seen. more than anything else. also, have you seen my film “coming off psych drugs”? it might have some good ideas. also, maybe your therapist would like to watch that movie too?? http://wildtruth.net/dvd/psychdrugs/ i wish it had spanish subtitles — sorry!!!! daniel

  18. Hi, I am writing about your film Take These Broken Wings. This film does not tell the whole truth. You are making this assumption that every severely mentally ill person just needs someone to give them psychotherapy. It is completely unrealistic that every severely mentally ill person would be able to meet with a therapist 5-6 times/week. It is also unrealistic that they would form a bond that is so strong and therapeutic that it could overcome psychosis. These people featured in this film are lucky and are the exception. It is simply not feasible for every severely psychotic person to be able to meet with therapist that they bond with and feel secure enough that they could work on these issue. Finding a good therapist is like getting the newest version of an iPhone on release day. They go very quickly.

    Spend a night at an ER and see the amount of people who come in who have gone off their psych meds who present in pain and desperation. What are we suppose to do for these people? Smile and assure them that their MD/PhD therapist will be meeting with them shortly. It is laughable. At most people will be meeting with LMHC who will be doing generic, non individualized CBT. Also it would in my opinion give your documentary more credibility if you featured at least 1 non-white individual. The African American mom with psychosis or the hispanic immigrant that cannot speak English. Explore their stories.

    Additionally, there is a lot of evidenced regarding the biologic basis of psychosis. While I do agree with you that there are environmental factors influencing psychosis, they do not negate the wealth of biologic research showing a link between biology and schizophrenia. The brain is an organ. There is no longer a debate as to whether it is biological.

    My viewpoints on this documentary come from my perspective as a registered nurse and someone with mental illness. I have cared for people in this “post-medication world.” I have been one of those people who have lectured people to take their psychiatric drugs. I have done this not because I am an evil person, not because I am being paid by drug companies, and not because I do not recognize the unique factors in all individual histories. I tell people to take medication because I have seen it help people far more than hurt them. I have seen it give people hope.

    The psychiatric hospital that I currently work for is over 200 years old. At one point it only served the very wealthy. Currently we serve many people from many different backgrounds. If you look at old psychiatric notes you clearly can see that the “premedication world” was far from perfect.

    As someone who has mental illness I can relate to many of the issues discussed in this film on a personal level. A few years ago I began seeing a psychiatrist who took me off my medications. Slowly the same symptoms began coming back. My experience as both having mental illness and working with people with mental illness has taught me that most people need everything they can get to overcome their illness, including medication. I frankly take umbrage with professionals such as Dr. Danielle Knafo who speak of not liking to medicate patients because SHE cannot tell what they are dealing with. It is not about YOU and YOUR theories. People should not have to suffer for a long time without medication so that you can begin therapy with them. Just because some people have recovered from schizophrenia without meds does not mean all will. Her patients should not have to reject mainstream medicine just because she believes her therapeutic technique is profound enough that it can undo the biology of schizophrenia.

    In short I hope your documentary gives hope to people suffering from this disease. I hope it do not see anyone in psychiatric crisis because they went off their meds after seeing this film. Thanks for listening

    • hi colleen
      thanks for your comments. i think there is some validity in what you say — the difficulty of finding and paying for those “super-extraordinary” therapists. however, did you notice the international research presented in the film, about how people with psychosis in the developing world (aka, poor, no therapists at all in many cases) do better than they do in the USA….certainly that begs some questions. i would suggest you watch my other films — for instance, “open dialogue” in particular. no super-fancy therapists there, just a wise, intelligent system in one relatively poor part of finland — getting the best results in the world. all the best, daniel

    • I agree with Colleen.

      Same discussion in germany. And of course: The brain is an organ. There is no longer a debate as to whether it is biological. The problem above all: the prefrontal cortex makes the game. One of my NeuroScience VIDs with Dan Siegel.


      Daniel, I saw your newstes yt-vids. Great. Incidentally, I have even less clothes in the closet than you. A pair of sneakers, a black sweater and jeans. Like Steve Jobs 🙂

      Nice: «Finding a good therapist is like getting the newest version of an iPhone on release day.»

      wishes wolfgang.

    • Hi Colleen,

      Reading your comments I feel an angry little girl fighting. But she cannot win because all her life she had to rationalize things and always HAD to choose for the ‘wise’ and correcting words of her mother, and father. What if she revolted, what if she find her own answers, what if she stood up and say you’ve rationalized my perfect soul…and be doing so you destroyed my true inner wise heavenly voice.

      Kind regards
      Jim van der Wal
      Gnostic Psychiatric Survivor

    • Hi Colleen, I hear your dedication and your frustration at feeling that there are not alot of great alternatives to Medication. However, as both a licensed mental health professional and someone who went throught a very traumatic childhood, I would say that:
      1. We need good alternatives to be funded by the Government and Insurance. We need peer and professionals working together for low cost, Community based solutions (as seen in Dan’s great video on Open Dialogue in finland.
      There are people getting well without Meds. These people used changing their gut health as a major part of his recovery. And obviously “social emotional support” someone who believes in you, is a huge support. In this case his wife, was so crucial, I would assume in his recovery. We need more people like her! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDblspgSoc0
      There are answers, but they are not easy answers. So instead we turn and offer Medications, which are generally to be the last resort, not the first, especially not helpful long term, just because the other answers are not easy.
      We need to use everything we can find that helps us in Body Mind & Spirit. I like Internal Family systems IFS as one piece of the puzzle, but I find many of the therapists trained in this model a bit too interested in money rather than alleviating sufffering, hopefully that can change. There are books for self help. Expressive art therapy. Using various nutrients and supplements. Diet is crucial, but takes a lot of inner strength. People can complain about their symptoms, but you are “medicating yourself” at least 3 times a day with what you eat. This is hard for me too! But removing gluten, sugar and dairy could be an important part of the puzzle. You have to be ready as the old Shamans say, to change yourself so much, in Body, Mind & Spirit that the disease no longer recognizes you.Here’s people who found remarkable changes from working with “leaky gut syndrome.”
      I dream of the day where there are Community places everywhere, where people can be in Peer driven respite homes, that offer healthy delicious food, social skills training, expressive art therapy, Helping recognize core unconscious beliefs and how to change them, how to self soothe in easy healthy ways. And even more, I dream that this is taught to all children as part of school.
      Because ultimately, this is about dealing with stress and trauma, and how do we become more resilient and more able to get along with our self and other people.
      I am still learning.
      Thank-you Dan Mackler for being a L*I*G*H*T in the darkness. I have watched and recommended your films to many people.
      May you be supported in every way,

      • I have to take a break, but there is so much more to share, of hope and non medicated ways to function better in an authentic way in this world.
        PS I didn’t click notify me about follow-up comments, so if you want to comment, reply to this comment, rather than the one above.
        May everyone be Blessed on Your Healing Journey!
        Keep the FAITH, wherever you can find it.
        There are good people everywhere who really care, they may be rare as diamonds, but if you search hard enough, you will find they are there!

  19. Dear Daniel,
    I think I am your newest fan! I saw your critic about the mental health system on YouTube and listen to your interview , bought your latest book on Amazon all on one day!
    I think what you do is so amazing and a true gift to all parents ! I wish you would write about how to be better parents , common mistakes parents make or something like that!
    I appreciate all the free and reasonably price books you have offered us and hope to become a therapist like you ( honest , fearless and effective )
    Not sure if you read this but I thought to express my gratitude as a person working to become a psychologist

  20. Hi Daniel, Not sure if your web-site is still active, but I was diagnosed as suffering from Schizophrenia in the early eighties and after a number of times in hospital, I was told I would never recover or work etc.
    Since then I was taken off medications in 97 and have never relapsed.
    I have had my own business, worked in the NHS in mental health for 10 years, did a degree as part of my career, the went overseas and taught Science and English.
    I have my own ideas about what causes psychosis and found that many of the people (except those who were psychotic as a result of illegal drugs) had similar paths into psychosis as I had.
    When I tried to speak to people in the NHS about my ideas they did not seem interested in even exploring any new idea.
    I want to make my own youtube videos but do not have the cameras/lighting etc to do this, but I hope to get help from a universities media studies class, soon, I am just waiting on word. any suggestions from you or any of your commenters would be appreciated.

    • Hi Patrick,
      I would appreciate very much if you can give me some insights what is the path which lead person in psychosis .
      I would appreciate very much your answer …I have son hospitalized because of psychoses at present time and heavily medicated.
      Thank you .Sincerely regards Zorica

  21. Hello Daniel. I recently watched a few of your films, including take these broken wings, open dialogue, and meeting of the minds. The main gist of your films and your philosophy is exactly what I have felt for a long time. As a human being, I have dealt with my fare share of emotional and psychological issues, and thank G-D as far as that goes im doing wonderfully today. My improvement did not come from psych meds, but from realizing the basic truths of life, and gaining a grounded worldview. Unfortunately, and mostly on a completely unrelated level, I went through what I believe to be a sort of physical brain trauma. The details are mostly unimportant not to mention a little strange, but the main idea is that I think I hurt myself in a sort of physical and sudden way. Although mostly your films advocate dispelling the myth that “mental illnesses” are brain disorders, and are in fact spiritual issues, which I agree with 100%, im sure you are not opposed to the idea that of course a person can, in fact, injure their brain, such as a person who is impaled by a metal pole in a car crash etc etc, and obviously that person would need time to recover and recouperate. Anyway, how this all ties together, is that as a result of the injury, I was labeled “mentally ill”, which is in fact just another word for crazy. while I cant say for sure, it is reasonable to suggest that if people held off with labeling me mentally ill, and weren’t so brainwashed to believe that every person having any kind of difficulty automatically needs to medicated, I probably would have made a complete recovery years ago. As it stands unfortunately I became dragged into the “mental health system”, hospitalized, and thoroughly medicated. It has been about four years that ive been on medication, and, thank G-D I was fortunate enough to have a psychiatrist who listened to me, and worked with me, although at the end of the day he was still, in fact, a psychiatrist and did to some extent buy into a modern psychiatry paradigm. who knows if the difficulties ive had in the last 4 years were due to medication or due to internal physical issues, but the main idea is that it is possible that many problems could have possibly been avoided had people not responded with the knee-jerk reaction that I am sick. With my psychiatrist’s support, I finished a very long process of gradually reducing the amount of psych drugs I took yesterday. for now, and G-D willing, for all future time I am no longer taking medication. I may have some philosophical differences with you, as I am a proponent of following the doctor’s orders, as I believe doctors to be agents of healing. Its very difficult to come to terms with both of these simulataniously viewpoints: that one must listen to one’s doctor, despite the fact that overall I believe that the psychiatric system if flawed and delusional. its an unfortunate reality that we live in a world generally that is dominated by a flawed perspective, but it is in fact the world we live in, and I believe that overall I guess a person still has to work within the “system”, although one can still voice his opinions about the direction he wants to see his care proceed in-whether coming off or reducing or changing medication, and can still have contentions with the prevalent psychiatric mold, I think in the end a person should attempt to do what is in his best interest, but not without the consent of his doctor. ANYWAY, I would love to hear from you via email or as a follow up comment on this website. I am inspired by your work, which is positive and full of hope, and is a much needed rattling of the cage for those drowning in psychiatric propaganda. THANK YOU!

    • greetings — thank you for your thoughtful message — i agree with what you write. also, yes, of course i do believe in real brain damage….and even childhood trauma can cause that to some degree (and so can psych meds for sure!). interestingly, one of the first psychiatrists whom i really became interested in, frieda fromm-reichmann (she’s mentioned a good amount in “take these broken wings”) started her career in world war 1 working with brain damaged german soldiers. she later went on to help joanne greenberg when she was experiencing psychosis
      meanwhile, thanks for sharing your words — and sorry my reply is so short — i’m hardly on the web these days!!!
      wishing you great strength and of course all the best!!

      • Hey again Daniel. Thanks for your speedy response. Given that you just wrote that you don’t spend too much time on the web these days, which is probably a good thing, ill try not to take too much of your attention. I just wanted to say that now I see where your spirit of caring for others and effecting change comes from-its in your blood- your Jewish! I’m also Jewish. Tikkun Olam- fixing the world- is a basic jewish tenet. Not only that, but Judaism believes firmly in the power to transform your own personality and exercise full control of your intellect and thoughts-which in turn gives you the power to regulate your own emotional wellbeing. I highly recommend a philosophical, spiritual and psychological work called the Tanya, which analyzes and breaks-down the structure of the human soul. It offers insights into the struggle of what it is to be human, and how best to succeed in this struggle. I believe fully that all emotional and psychological problems are the result of what is called the yetzer hara- the evil inclination. It deludes us into false methods of thinking and undermines our wellbeing, but its an innate part of every human and we are given the task of reigning it in. The challenge is to conquer it with the G-D given power of our true self, our G-Dly soul, which is unlimited. I read somewhere, and forgive me for being a stalker, but I watched part of one of your interviews on youtube and read a little on this website- that you don’t believe in organized religion. The truth is, I also don’t believe in what you call organized religion. In your bio it also says that you no longer know if you believe in psychotherapy either. To a large extent I agree with that as well. What I do believe in is truth- that somewhere out there, there is a right and a wrong, a good and a bad, and that humanity has a mission to pursue the good and eliminate the evil. and ultimately this what is going to create emotional wellbeing- staying true to your life’s mission, and completely regulating your inner-life in accordance with the ultimate truths of what is spiritually healthy and unhealthy. Psychology as a whole can sometimes in some instances get some parts of it right, but many times does not, and is grasping at straws to figure out what the human condition is. The truth is, we are created by G-D, and the secret to the human condition is not going to be found in university textbooks, its going to be found in Torah, likewise created by G-D. If you want the blueprints, go to the builder. Anyway, all the best to you, and I encourage you to check out the Tanya. Its available online for free to read. Id love to hear your thoughts so feel free to email me. Keep doing good work!

  22. I watched your whole film. What a strong message you have put together! Thanks for your effort toward providing truth to the general public about the web of lies of the psycho-pharma mafia. They don’t have any actual science but are the root cause of the worst cancerous decay in society. You should ally with CCHR (Citizens Commission on Human Rights) whose mission is to expose psychiatric atrocities and also provide the truth just like you. They are the strongest such group I have ever seen and you could worse than coordinate efforts with them. My very best to you for your guts and work.

      • So typical of Joanne not to “toot” her horn. She never even mentioned this documentary to me last Nov. when we were mounting a new production of “Rose Garden.” I must chide her the next time I see or talk to her.

        I watched the video and ordered the DVD. It was very nicely done and made the point precisely.

        At the numerous talk backs that she and I had with audiences after various productions, it was always amazing how we would always get one professional who wanted to argue for the use of medication, but was totally unable to answer the questions put back to them.

        This information (like in your video) has been hiding in plain sight for over 70 years. Too bad these doctors are so myopic that they can’t see it.

  23. Hello Daniel,

    I’ve just watched 2 of your films (Take These Broken Wings and the critique of becoming a psychotherapist). I ‘enjoyed’ both and was in particular amazed (though not surprised) at the research on recovery from schizophrenia i.e. drugs seemed to be less than helpful.

    I live in the UK and am nearing the end of my first year of study on a 2 year part-time course in Person-Centred and Experiential Counselling and Psychotherapy. This leads me to question some of your comments in the critique of the process of becoming a therapist. There are a series of therapies listed on-screen (at 41 minutes 15 in the film) when you are talking about supervisors’ responses to the way you use your of lack of certainty about what to do with clients during sessions i.e. there is a suggestion that you should study other orientations so you have a better idea about what to do.

    Person-Centred Therapy (PCT) is listed and while I am not blinded by PCT I have to say it holds great meaning for me, it seems deeply honest. I assume from the film that this was lumped in with the rest as ‘more of the same’ or having little to offer? I therefore find it strange that later in the film you go on to talk about what you feel to be most therapeutic or helpful for clients. What you seemed to do was list some of the fundamental aspects of PCT i.e. being present for clients in an authentic way, treating them with respect and recognising their capacity for insight and change.

    In the film about schizophrenia the key moment for Cathy is when Dr Dorman comments that ‘Reality can be pretty scary.’ This is received by Cathy as highly empathic and therefore therapeutic. This process (of recognising Cathy’s experience) is what she states as healing her. Surely this is Person-Centred Therapy?

    I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the ideas you were expressing about what therapy is (should be) in light of Person-Centred perspectives. More generally I’d also be interested hear what your theoretical training / background is.

    By the way I really appreciated the two films and, in particular, your openness in the critique.

    Warm regards,


  24. I wanted to say how well you depicted schizophrenia in your documentary, “Take Your Broken Wings”, and what a gift it was for you to unleash it; thank you for making it available to me. Last year around this time my cousin was diagnosed with schizophrenia while I was taking a university psychology class. I was earnestly reaching for explanations and what I got, I am afraid, was a great scooping of hopeless pathological explanations which I spread to my family. Recently I found, in the past 4 months, what Dr. Faye Snyder calls “The Causal Theory”. I found you from freedomainradio.com and just read your new book, Breaking From Your Parents, which gave insightful anecdotal and very relateable maps to which, after first glance, I think I will be referring back to. I look forward to reading more about your work and watching more of your films. Thanks for your work.

  25. Isn’t it extraordinary that if you get better, you can’t have had schizophrenia? The psychiatrists won’t let go of their beliefs even in the face of major evidence to the contrary.

  26. I too am weeping in gratitude. I read `I Never promised You a Rose Garden in the 1960s when I was in a very dark place. I think it was the reason I went into psychiatric nursing in 1969. I became a nurse/clinician, counsellor and advocate who never believed the emerging bio guys’ belief it was all in the chemicals & genes. I worked with a large group of young people diagnosed with schizophrenia as we produced, performed & toured a stage production for 6 months. No one had any sign of psychosis for the entire 6 months. Nobody reneged on rehearsals or performances even when they were drugged to almost a standstill. After 6 months it was disbanded (not by me, I was a 3rd year student). Two of the most talented killed themselves within 3 months, one went on to be a successful executive of a peer organisation who retired a couple of years ago. The others, I think, were swallowed by the system. I still remember them as if it was yesterday. I too, had issues, and in my old age fell foul of the mental health system. After 13 years, including 87 ECT treatments, I walked away, dropped the drugs and haven’t been `sick’ since. As a result of that book I believed that everything had a cause. It was just a matter of finding it, working with it & moving on. It could be hard work. I was also often impressed by the sheer courage of some people facing dreadful futures as we were told at the time. Schizophrenia was a life sentence they said – `I Never Promised You a Rose Garden’ put paid to that, I thought. I still regret that theatre, music & art are so ignored by the entire psychiatric profession. I am now attempting to be an advocate & activist, but, as `Deborah’s’ doctor said in the book, if one by one is OK by God, then one by one it must be. I was an advocate for a young woman recently, and together with her family we managed to alter the totally unnecessary path an aggressive bully of a doctor was pushing. I hope she can stay clear of the `system’. During the theatre episode I met one of the most courageous people I have ever met. I don’t know what became of her but, given her appalling background, a nasty & much maligned `illness’, she stands clear as a beacon to me over 40 years on. I would like to buy all the DVDs you have & I will ASAP. Thanks

    • Thank you Dierdre! I appreciate hearing what you’ve written, painful as it is. ECT…..so scary. I actually just made a new short film (for Youtube) and in it there are two people who have had ECT. One speaks about it in some (painful) depth. It can be such a horror…… I did an internship at a psych hospital for ten weeks in NYC where they gave electroshock. Let’s put it this way: I am no fan of that hospital or their treatments!! Here’s my new film if you’re interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGcL6ntKuR0

      Wishing you all the best!

  27. Hi Daniel,

    My name is Matt Estrada and I am a schizophrenic. I was diagnosed a couple years ago as my general condition has continued to decline. I very much appreciate your two films “Take These Broken Wings” and “Healing Homes.” Thank you for putting them on YouTube so I could watch them for free. They were very helpful. I do not take medication, because I find it to be worse than actually having this. I guess I could be considered high functioning because I have held a job throughout my illness. It is said that this problem is incurable and I simply cannot accept that. I have tried so many different things to only come up empty. I know what works but it is simply to hard to obtain. I really want a quick fix but realistically it’s going to take time and I would like to counsel with somebody. Do not mistake this as me asking you for counseling. Since you made the film I thought you could simply refer me to a psychotherapist or to someone you know who could refer me to one. I figured you have connections. If not I planned on contacting some of those in the film to see if they could refer me to someone in my area.

    • Hi Matt,
      good to hear from you. I’ll reply to you backchannel — i might have some ideas, but it depends on where you live. i have very few therapists to whom i can comfortably refer clients, but sometimes it works out. all the best, daniel

  28. I am weeping in gratitude for this movie and your generosity.I was given “I never Promised you a Rose Garden” after a total of 7 years of instituional “treatment” In Aotearoa New Zealand. My first psychois altered the rudder of my life profoundly. I have always yearned for a caring that did not involve medications. I have been working as an advocate against forced treatment for many years the fire of my advocacy burnt into my being from what I have witnessed and experienced. I have always said my mania is my friend. There is so much I would want to say here but for brevity sake I am a wash with gratitude that a friend said money is not needed for the revolution. The return of such open giving will be manifold and manifest. Bless the beauty of your own pathway.
    Annie Helm, Wellington New Zealand

    • Hi Annie,

      I just wanted to say thank you so much for your beautiful message. I also live in Aotearoa NZ and have watched my Mum suffer through the psychiatric system for most of my life. I am doing eveything in my power to support her and learn about the best ways to do that. I want to be a part of the revolution within this country. Blessings to you.


  29. Dear Daniel,

    Your film “ Take These Broken Wings” was awesome. It was inspirational, encouraging and reaffirmed my beliefs all along, in regards to medications.

    My son, is 29 and was diagnosed with Schizophrenia when he was 19, but I think his symptoms started at round 15 or 16, because that is when he really started on a downhill slide in school. (In 4th grade was reading at 8th grade reading level. His writing/spelling was 12.9th grade, while his math scores were below 5th grade. Both he and I agreed that we would fight the forces together regarding forced medication, in spite of Psychiatrists, therapists, counselors. However “they” finally won out with by starting him on the injectable med, as a condition for him to be released from the psych ward on his first -rather traumatizing experience. In addition, he HAD to be complicit in order to get County services, SSI, supportive housing, etc.

    However I am now on a quest to promote my son taking control over the voices, and negative sensory experiences he feels on an on-going basis. He has been in torment daily for the last 10 years or more, and he is desperate for recovery.

    I am working through a group that is most prevalent in Europe -actually the Ukrain. It is called “Hearing Voices” Are you at all familiar with their work? I attended a 2 day conference this weekend, in which I was paired with someone that hears voices. I questioned her with the , techniques used. Unfortunately I had to leave before the session was over, but fan planning to complete the second session this Tuesday. The woman I was working with seemed very bothered by the fact that I was sort of abandoning her, but I will be following up with her, since I previously knew her from a parent support group.

    Currently, I hope to get the facility, the Psychiatrist and others on board, where my son lives, to look at seeing the HV techniques as an alternative therapy, while at the same time tapering him off the medication. Although I have encouraged my son to confront the voices, he is still very fearful, reluctant to talk about it to professionals, because he’s been told the same old stories that is prevalent today about Schizophrenia, and he feels, guilt, shame, and remorse for having to live such a dreadful life.

    He feels that he has no control, no power, and no future. My dream is to change that for him, as well as other parents whose loved ones are suffering too, that they will be able to feel like there is hope for them..that they CAN look toward recovery, through learning how to cope with their auditory and sensory experiences. To not view their experiences as “torment” but instead make it a part of how they can cope and thrive, within the structure of WHO they are. The symptoms may never go away, but they can be “controlled”..like the professor, played by Russell Crowe in film “A Beautiful Mind”. The belief of the HV therapy is to allow the person to “cure” themselves, by giving them the tools they need, for regaining their own recovery.

    • hello motherbrown — thank you for your comment. yes — i have a great respect for the hearing voices network and the hearing voices movement in general. i hope it spreads more and more — and it’s certainly starting to catch on in the USA. much bigger in the UK!!
      wishing you all the best,

  30. Hi Daniel,

    Having watched the trailers for Take These Broken Wings, I’m really keen to see the full film. I’m a filmmaker myself (although things are getting in the way of the films a little at the moment), but also on a journey to get well. I was wondering if there is any online streaming option, a way to see the film over the internet for a lower cost? Your film is worth every cent you charge – I know the labour s involved in personal projects – but I am not in a position to afford the DVD right now.

    Many thanks, for all your work

    • hi Will,
      I’m working on a new, good option right now!! I will reply to you backchannel — all the best,

  31. That gives me so much hope for my soliloquy son who has been diagnosed in 2004 paranoid schizophrenic. Weaning from Invega Sustena injections with no medical supervision. He talks aloud 12 to 16 hours a day.

  32. Hi Daniel,

    I wanted to share major experiences I made, during my life trying to heal what my parents destroyed in me.

    First, your points are eye opening. I read a couple of books 7 years ago from Josef Giger Bütler, a swiss therapist who has been similarly eye opening for me. He talks about similar things and went diametrical against the common therapeutically beliefs.

    He helped a lot of people with this new approach. I recommend taking a look into his works. He has similar points of views like you. One is the depression is not a sickness. It instead is a wrongly learned way of thinking and behaving that origins in one own family.

    I have seen many of the things in real and know that what he is saying is the truth.

    As you I thought, in my early 20s, I was on a great path of healing and conquered the heaviest stuff by understanding how and why I am like I am. I thought I know all there is to become fully recovered.
    I saw the results immediately.
    I became well respected at work and made true friends during this 2 year period of initial healing. I felt true to myself for the first time in my life and it was the best feeling I have ever had.

    I automatically began including things like no masturbating, healthy sleep (min 8 hours a night), great relationship with god, being in the present all of the time (helped the most of all and breathing exercises accommodating and supporting being in the present).

    And it worked wonders. I have never ever felt so alive as I have during that phase.

    I also capped the contact to family, especially to the parents to an absolute minimum. That was a big helper as well.

    So all the things you are recommending, I did out of listening to myself, to what my body was saying. That is why I know these things are true and somebody who says something different has no idea.

    I am in and out of phases of depression since I had been 17.
    You made the movie “Take these Broken wings” because you wanted to show people who had not much luck with their parents, that despite of their destructive childhood, they can heal and can live a life that is worth living.

    I hope this is true to people like me as well.

    We have to hear it over and over that there is hope, Daniel, otherwise we don’t believe it, that there is a different live for us.

    The media and everybody tells you that when you have a disorder, you have to live the rest of your life with it. When somebody comes and says no, it isn’t like that, it gives new hope to recover from the shit.

    I have been out of this initial healing period since 5 years and these last years were catastrophic. I have chosen the wrong major and made the big mistake going back to the parents, because I though I could heal the wounds my father did to me when I was in my childhood. It turned out to be one of the nastiest experiences I ever had. I flipped out in the beginning, because I could not accept that I had been so wrong in thinking we can work through all the hurt, the wounds and horrific things he did.

    What we need are more examples of people who worked through their abusive childhood and now live a life that is pleasant for them. I know you portrayed people in your movie “Take these broken wings”, but I have not been able to purchase it and watch it by now.

    All the best,

    • dear brian—
      thank you for posting — and sharing. i find what you write interesting — and i suspect that others will too!
      wishing you the best,
      p.s. i also just sent you a backchannel email — in part to let you know that soon (in a few months???) my films will be available for online streaming (not just in DVD form) for less money. i am looking forward to that!!

        • hi brian,
          interesting that you mention this video with liz mullinar. i was recently in australia and spent some quality time with her (as she lives there). she invited me up to hear healing center — and we share a lot of common ideas.
          all the best to you!

      • “http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=svX3fEdVTLQ”

        Deeply stroke a cord within me. Enjoy this great video and let’s pray that trauma is spoken about someday the same as we speak about cancer today.

  33. Daniel – Received the videos today. We just finished watching the first (Take These Broken Wings) and found it to be inspiring. Though I realize that schizophrenia is a complicated illness this video shows that there is hope for recovery without medication. It would be wonderful if all professionals could display the kind of empathy displayed by those in the film. To truly value another human being seems to me the single most important thing we can do in life – and to communicate that so the other feels as if they do have value. Fear holds us back when interacting with the mentally ill – will we say or do something wrong, will they hurt themselves or others, how do we know what is working and what is not – most of us fear the unknown, and there is little in the world that is more unknown than a fragile mind that is often out of touch with reality. The schizophrenic will often test the limits of our acceptance in ways that we are simply unable to maintain. I ordered these films for a friend whose daughter was diagnosed a few years ago – in her early 20’s – and has been in and out of treatment. She is an RN and has witnessed the rampant over-medicating of young people so she is against medicating her daughter. It is my hope she can find a therapist in this area that could treat her daughter without drugs. Thank you so much for creating these videos!

    • Thank you for sharing this, Pat. Glad to hear you found value in it. There’s also an interview with me about the making of this film. It’s on Youtube if you wish to see it: http://youtu.be/9-_sytUZV7o

      It’s not always easy to find a clinician who will work without psychiatric drugs — or who has much of idea of what to do that will be useful. But there are some out there!! And also some peer-oriented or consumer groups have a much more enlightened perspective, and can be very useful — at times much better than therapy, I think.

      All the best to you, to your friend, and to your friend’s daughter——

    • “To truly value another human being seems to me the single most important thing we can do in life”. Catherine Garcia

      Wow! Rescuing animals is humane, rescuing humans is divine.

  34. Blackbird singing in the dead of night
    take these broken wings and learn to fly
    All your life
    you were only waiting for this moment to arise

    Blackbird singing in the dead of night
    take these sunken eyes and learn to see
    All your life
    you were only waiting for this moment to be free

    Black-bird fly
    Black-bird fly
    into the light of a dark black night

  35. I would love to know more about your work and purchase your videos. As a mental health nurse I work casually where drugs are mandatory most of the time. As a clinical hypnotherapist I have my own practice where I subscribe to the theory that it is possible to cure oneself, so facilitate self hypnosis for my clients. It’s difficult doing the 2 jobs!!! I am thinking of ways I could do some research to bring about change.

  36. I just happened by, Mr. Mackler (or should I say Daniel?) because I watched a few times some of your videos on You Tube, especially the one called ‘Schizophrenia- Therapy promoting full Recovery’, now also to report a link of it for a second italian writing competition around mental health recovery stories.
    I left a comment over there too, for I myself recovered in North Italy with the help of a long psychodynamic psychotherapy and wrote my autobiographical story about it too (can be found on Amazon with the title ‘Healing from schizophrenia – a personal account’ by Lia Govers. I know of course of many other type of recoveries, like the one Ronald Bassmann or Rufus May (UK) had. I was asking myself: has this film ‘Take these broken wings’ also been translated in italian…?
    Best regards, Lia Govers

        • Hi Daniel,

          you fly around europa and never landing in germany? …. just came from turkey, from the wonderful protests there …

          ooops. You were in the land of Ayse Kok ? If you had told me earlier, I would have made ​​you known to her. search google … ayse ist great -:-)

          Incidentally, I have moved my suicide because there is still much to do. Who writes these lines ?

          embrace you

  37. Hello Daniel
    How do I get a copy of the DVD take these broken wings in Australia Daniel? It needs to be PAL, area 4.
    By the way love your work and approach to suffering.
    This is coming from a psychiatric survivor and therapist in Australia
    Do you plan to come to the international hearing voices conference in Australia this year – we would love to have you!
    Warmest wishes Sandy

    • hi sandy,
      greetings!! my films are all pre-set to show in all regions, and although it’s NTSC (not PAL) in my experience they’ve all played in PAL DVD players and on most PAL computers…. I don’t know if they’ll work on yours….but if you buy it and it doesn’t work I will refund your money.

      also, i am coming to australia in october and maybe part of november, 4 weeks. a different conference, and then my plans are not set. i lived in australia for 8 months in 1993 — haven’t been back since!! very much looking forward to coming!!

      all the best to you,

  38. Hello
    I’m a psychology student
    and I would like to ask if you have any experience with mindfulness treatment in cases of psychosis ?

    • Hi Katerina,
      Yes, I do have some experience with this. In the most general sense I have a lot — because I personally practice inner dialoguing, which is rather like mindfulness, and sometimes people in extreme states find this useful. But in the specific sense I have visited or lived at a few different programs where they take mindfulness pretty seriously, and use that word. I’ve been at all 3 Windhorse programs in the USA (Northampton, MA, Boulder, CO, and San Luis Obispo, CA) — and they, and especially some of their clinicians, take mindfulness seriously…and I think it’s pretty helpful for some of the folks they work with.
      all the best,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *