How do psychiatric labels shape our perceptions of others - and ourselves? Are there better ways to understand emotional distress? Does the "peer movement" offer real alternatives -- or present new problems? Sera Davidow, psychiatric survivor, director of the peer-run Western Mass Recovery Learning Community (RLC), and co-producer of the new film "Beyond the Medical Model," discusses the politics of language and innovative programs to truly help people in distress.
Is trauma also a source of creative inspiration? Can sexual passion be a force for healing? And do we have to live in either/or boxes - or is there somewhere else? Artist and activist Jacks McNamara, co-founder of the Icarus Project radical support community, discusses their recently-published anthology Inbetweenland, including poetry about being genderqueer person, surviving with a broken heart, and how to travel the path from madness to the wounded healer. http://www.ashley-mcnamara.net, http://www.theicarusproject.net, http://www.crookedbeauty.com
Is a champion athlete more powerful than madness and psychiatric medications? When Meaghan Buisson said she wanted to break the world record for inline skating, her psychiatrist diagnosed her as psychotic.Two years later, she won the title -- only to face the even greater challenge of self-harm, starvation, and psych meds withdrawal. Buisson now directs BodyWhys Canada, supporting youth with peer education. http://www.bodywhys.ca/
Is poetry the way to truly understand madness? Do rituals and music -- such as Ireland's tradition of keening -- have the power to heal emotional suffering? Susan McKeown, Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter and folklorist, supported her partner through an extreme state. She began a journey to uncover intergenerational trauma in her family and in the history of her native Ireland, and was inspired to take poems about madness -- by Anne Sexton, Theodore Roethke, James Clarence Mangan, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others -- and set them to music in her album "Singing in the Dark."
Is it possible to navigate the "multiple worlds" that emerge during psychotic experiences? Are voices and altered states also like a shamanic journey, needing guidance to find your way? Anusuya StarBear has heard voices and gone through altered states her whole life. A tragic near-death experience 20 years ago left her with severe and chronic physical pain -- and the calling to be a healer. Today visionary painting and Native American spirituality transform her pain into a creative pathway as a Process Oriented therapist, coach, and energy healer.
What if people struggling with madness could explore their emotions in a supportive sanctuary? Do frightening 'psychotic' experiences have the power to transform and heal? Is breakdown also breakthrough? Michael Cornwall became a therapist after surviving his own crisis -- without medication or psychiatric treatment. For more than 30 years he has worked in the tradition of Carl Jung and R.D. Laing to support people to go through psychotic
states in medication-free community settings, including
John Weir Perry's Diabasis House in the 1970s.
What do you do when medications for your emotional problems become worse than the problems themselves? Laura Delano went to a psychiatrist at age 18, and for the next decade was prescribed nineteen different psychiatric drugs. After devastating physical and emotional effects, she began a journey to become medication free -- and re-discover who she is. What lessons did she learn? Laura blogs regularly about her experiences at Mad in America, works for a mental health agency in Massachusetts, and is an advocate for drug alternatives and safe withdrawal. http://www.madinamerica.com/author/ldelano/ (Link to coming off meds guide: http://willhall.net/comingoffmeds/ )
Childhood sexual abuse is pervasive in our society, leaving lifelong wounds that affect men as well as women. Is it enough to hold perpetrators accountable, or are there deeper causes of abuse? Do police, courts, and child protection services help heal -- or lead to more trauma? And how can body-oriented approaches move beyond the limits of talk therapy? Child sexual abuse survivor Staci Haines, author of Healing Sex: A Mind-Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma and co-founder of Generation Five, discusses transformative justice and liberating society from child abuse. http://www.generationfive.org http://www.generativesomatics.org/ http://vimeo.com/3600242 http://bit.ly/MrJeRp
Hearing voices is strongly connected with traumatic experiences, but are voices a brain malfunction or a creative strategy for protection? UK psychologist Eleanor Longden survived a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia and went on to be a leading researcher around voice hearing, trauma, and dissociation. She is a pioneer in the movement to understand voices as a normal human experience -- and truly help people by healing trauma. http://ind.pn/3ltxoe http://bit.ly/NjDA77 http://bit.ly/z01Fhn http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB869Pk390U
Could a young man's overwhelming visions of Christ and apocalypse be a creative response to life trauma, rather than signs of paranoid schizophrenia? Does madness unfold differently depending on whether it is supported - or feared? Irish activist and punk musician Grainne Humphrys, herself a survivor of an extreme state, discusses the campaign for the release of former partner John Hunt. John has been incarcerated and drugged against his will since 2005, sparking international outcry. http://freejohn-loverevolutionary.blogsp... www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQUKdaRaJNw www.mindfreedomireland.com/ www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVjgRUI-IM0