Monday, 30 March 2009


Inisheer (Induc) with his mom Inosta (Caprimond - Consul, Trakehner)

Lord Tennyson (Mago) with his mom Lorna Doone (Tshainik - Sif, Thoroughbred)

Lord Tennyson on his own

Lorna Doone with her mom Fantasia Ligré (Sif - Forethought, Thoroughbred)

Marco with - yes, it's a goat. But it's not his mom!!!

Sunday, 29 March 2009


Three video clips about the real violence - and some thoughts about delusions.

Something I notice, again and again, is that more often than not it is people, who've experienced the violence close up themselves, who've experienced it in a very concentrated form, who achieve an awareness and an understanding of it, like Derrick Jensen or R.D. Laing for instance have achieved it.

It really seems, that one has to get to a point where it becomes unbearable, before one has the courage to let go of all the delusions and to face reality. And the more I think abut it, the more it seems to me, that working in the mh system actually is the ultimate protection against having to face reality and having to let go of the delusions. Unconsciously as close to enlightenment as one possibly can get without actually achieving it. And at the same time, consciously, light years away from it. The ultimate insanity: normality.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

"Look, even the mentally ill themselves do believe in it!"

This is something, I think I'll never quite get:

Once more, I got into a, luckily very short, but nevertheless, discussion with a person, who identifies as, well, yeah, a consumer, suffering from "manic depression", and, of course, the pills were no less than godsend.

The discussion: Danish psychiatry has made a film, Åbenhed gør stærk - om skizofreni i familien (Strength through openness - about schizophrenia in the family) technically, formally, obviously very much like Daniel Mackler's Take These Broken Wings - cross cutting between sequences of interviews with respectively two young people, Helle and Emil, labelled with "schizophrenia", their relatives, some friends, and, of course, professionals, especially one consultant psychiatrist from the OPUS-project. In regard to the "message" on the other hand, the Danish film, not surprisingly, tells the opposite of what Daniel Mackler's film tells. "Schizophrenia" is a chronic biological brain disease, due to defective genes, that cause abnormalities in brain structure, and the best treatment option is lifelong medication with "antipsychotics".

And the family? Well, it's important to assure the relatives, that it is not their fault. It's all just defective genes. But, of course, it is also very important to involve the relatives, and psycho-educate them - about biological brain diseases, what else?! - so that they can support "treatment" compliance. And when all this is in place, voilà, what a success story! Never mind, that one of the two young people in the film is in need of assisted housing, as she can't take care of herself due to the drugs' side effects. And never mind, that both face a future on disability, and dependent on the system for the rest of their, approximately 25 years shorter than average, life.

Now, during the past couple of weeks I've noticed numerous hits on my Danish blog, search terms "film about schizophrenia", and since I imagine, that it is the above described botched job people are looking for, and not necessarily Daniel Mackler's or Leo Regan's film, I combed the net for reviews, and wrote my own "not-quite-a-review", always just looking to meet the public's needs and desires... Not-quite-a-review, because I haven't seen the film myself, and I don't intend to, since I won't pay as much as one cent for crap like that. I actually won't give as much as one cent for whatever it might be that supports biopsychiatry. Not if I can help it.

And, yeah, right, I do a hatchet job on the film, slamming its message totally as being oppressive, discriminating, and disempowering, calling the "expert's factual information" for a bunch of lies with no scientific evidence to support it, and the filmmakers for fraudulent when they choose to interview a couple of colonized consumers and their just as colonized relatives, only and solely to, as I see it, give the impression that psychiatry's hopeless message is the one and only truth: "Look, even the mentally ill themselves do believe in it!"

The thing is, that even though the film tries to make the viewer believe, that Helle's and Emil's words are their very own words, they are not. They are the system's words. - Actually, this borders to abuse of these two young people. Colonialism controls, displaces or exterminates the original. In order to exploit. Psychiatric colonialism controls, displaces or exterminates its victims' thoughts, emotions and language in order to exploit its victims' capability to talk, making them repeat its own ideology like a parrot. That. is. abuse.

Well, the pain in the neck I am, I let both the filmmakers, the "expert", and the three people, whose hurrays I've based my own review on, know about it. One of them reacts, so far. The "manic depressive" consumer, I mentioned above. She doesn't react commenting on my blog, but by e-mail. Somewhat resentful at the fact, that not all people agree with her on psychiatry and its pills being a godsend, and that some people dare to question that having insight and being "treatment" compliant would be the road to recovery, as she wants to have it in her review of the film.

Now I wonder: what's in for someone like her, that she defends an industry, that ruins people's lives in droves, just to make a profit? I mean, she doesn't make a profit by doing so, as far as I can see. Apart from the purely idealistic profit of a false ego-identification, that is: "I'm manic depressive! I suffer from a real disease!" Does that rotten ego-identification really mean so much more than the lives of millions of people?? I just can't but keep on wondering...

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Are psychologists really that stupid?

...Or do they just pretend to be??

Monday evening I came across an article, Aida Husejinovic, "Kognitiv remediation ved skizofreni" (Cognitive remediation for schizophrenia), Psykolog Nyt (the magazine of the Danish Psychological Association), no. 3, p. 20 - 27, where psychologist Aida Husejinovic writes:

"Even if Emil Kraepelin already a hundred years ago became aware of the fact, that cognitive dysfunctionalities are remarkable in patients with schizophrenia, this aspect was assumed to be a side effect of the medication for a long time. Yet, newer evidence points to that cognitive dysfunctionality is a core aspect of the illness, and characteristic for most of the patients." (Op.cit., p. 20)

And further down: "Dysfunctionalities in concentration and memory are regarded biological markers of schizophrenia, since they are detectable long before the onset of the illness, and can be observed in family members of patients with schizophrenia." (Op.cit., p. 20/21)

'There we have it,' I think, looking at this "argumentation" in favor of the biological model. 'The cart put before the horse.' Just as Mary Boyle for instance describes it in her article "The problem with diagnosis", The Psychologist, vol. 20, part 5, May 2007, p. 290 - 292. - An excellent article, by the way, that can only be recommended.

It is totally and completely beyond me how a psychologist can miss the point, that stress, stress, yeah, like in trauma, indeed has the capacity to reduce the stressed individual's cognitive abilities. Dysfunctional communication and abuse create stress. And thus cognitive dysfunctionalities in addition. Which is true for all involved individuals, also family members, who aren't labelled, but who nevertheless do practice dysfunctional behaviors. And it is especially true for individuals who are labelled with "schizophrenia", and who usually have been exposed to huge amounts of stress-creating dysfunctionality. Often throughout their entire childhood and adolescence.

I'd like to see to which extent Aida Husejinovic herself would be able to mobilize her cognitive abilities in a test-situation, where, during the very same testing, someone pointed a gun at her, threatening to shoot her at the first wrong answer she gave. For, this is approximarely the stress level you live with in a dysfunctional, abusive relationship.

In conflict with what Aida Husejinovic seems to regard an almost indisputable basis for her reflections about the cognitive abilities of "patients with schizophrenia", there is increasing evidence from newer research that points to so-called "schizophrenia" being a kind of post traumatic stress reaction. Not a biological brain disease. Cf. Paul Hammersley and John Read's meta study, for example. - But one looks in vain for this kind of references in the article. While, on the other hand, a whole lot of neuro- and biobiobiopsychiatric literature is listed. Of course.

Again I want to emphasize that, while Hammersley and Read - and similar studies - conclude that trauma "only" in about 70 per cent of the cases is demonstrable, they do not take other than physical/sexual abuse into account, thus leaving out verbal and purely psychological abuse, that can "hurt as much as sexual abuse". Furthermore, as they mention themselves, they were not in all investigated cases successful in establishing proof of abuse, because a number of psychiatrized individuals were never asked about their life story by staff. - According to the motto: "Don't ask a question, you know beforehand, you'll not like the answer to!"

Well, and if one wants it even more clearly, just compare the diagnostic criteria for "schizophrenia" with those for PTSD - and get surprised at the resemblance. The difference mainly being that individuals, who get labelled with "schizophrenia" often don't remember the experiences that were traumatizing to them, that they don't remember these experiences as traumatizing, and/or that the environment quite easily can deny the experiences. How convenient! For the abusers.

As Mary Boyle has it so to the point in her above mentioned article: "All scientists aim to identify patterns, or meaningful relationships, in whatever they study. But no aspiring science has ever been successful by asserting at the outset what kinds of patterns it will observe and retaining this belief in the face of decades of unsuccessful research. Yet this is exactly what has happened in psychiatric diagnosis."

Bias has never been the basis for anything but indifference. While indifference is the perfect protection for the abuser.

And apart from the fact that obviously also psychologists, and not just psychiatrists, are big time indifferent toward abuse - in order to protect the abuser-society we live in - they also - for the same reason - are indifferent toward neuroscience. It is no longer an assuption, but a well-proven fact, that neuroleptics cause brain shrinkage in the frontal lobes, the region of the brain where cognition is located. The region of the brain that makes us human beings. The chemical lobotomy. Exactly.

Maybe it is about time for psychology to consider its position in our civilization's war against (human) nature, and state clearly if it is on his clientele's or the abusers' side? Maybe it is about time for psychology to face and recognize the own inner abuser, who speaks so loud and clearly from Aida Husejinovic's article? As is well known, acceptance is the basis for transformation.

"Us and them", yes. But as Derrick Jensen suggests, it isn't us, the critics, who want a "us and them"-situation. It is psychiatry - and obviously psychology with it - that makes individuals in crisis their enemies.

And yes, my own cognitive abilities almost equalled to zero during the approximately six weeks the acute crisis lasted. Because I was far too occupied with what was going on deep inside myself to have the least energy to care for - compared - trivialities such as spelling, arithmetic, or any other everyday insignificance. On the other hand, my cognitive abilities have never been more functioning than today. Because I was given the chance to become aware and conscious, and come to terms with the abuse, I've experienced. Because this meant, that I eventually could relax. And because I wasn't chemically lobotomized.

I sent Aida Husejinovic a link to the Danish version of this post. She's read it. Several times. She has not replied to me. I contemplate to send the link to the magazine's editors, too.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Boston Globe-interview with Judi Chamberlin

Today's Boston Globe has a great interview with Judi Chamberlin. Check it out, and comment - our "friends" from TAC have already been there, and they ask to get cut down to size.

Read Judi's blog post about the interview and more here.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Video: Ray Sandford on his forced ect

I don't know if this is just me, but writing about stuff like what happened to Torben Martin Bødker just knocks me out, more or less completely. And reading headlines like "School shooter discontinued psychiatric treatment", i.e. "the dangerous mentally ill who go off their meds", without any mention of the fact, that it is far more likely, that these very same "meds", or withdrawal from them, caused Tim Kretschmer to experience akathisia, resulting in him going on a shooting spree, doesn't exactly make me feel better. Well, at least I had an interesting conversation on the phone, and comment exchange on my Danish blog with one of the article's authors. Who's just another victim of mainstream ideology, you might say, and certainly wasn't deliberately out to hurt anyone.

Nevertheless, I felt hurt, insulted, assaulted, discriminated against - apropos of ego-identification... - and at the same time as I feel, I have to speak out against this discrimination, there's the little voice in my head, trying to tell me, that it's me who's wrong, and who hasn't got a right to say anything at all. Exhausting.

Whatever, here, eventually, the video of Ray Sandford and his mom, giving their side of the story about Ray's forced electroshock "treatment". And since I can't think straight enough anymore tonight to write anything just halfway intelligent about it myself, or create more than two links: Jayme at Rayne's World has a great piece on it, and Stephany at Soulful Sepulcher has all the information about how you can help Ray.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Update to "The murder of Torben Martin Bødker, a Bosnia-veteran"

Two things I want to add to my post on the murder of Torben Martin Bødker:

1. It was a known fact, that Torben Martin Bødker was afraid of uniforms. Wtf did those two cops, who went to get him, think of??? "Let's go scare the shit out of that nut-case"??? I have no words but: "Jail time!".

2. Just to make it very, very clear: I don't in any way suggest, that what we need would be more hospital beds, more shrinks, more psychiatry, more system. On the contrary. What we need is to get a system, that never has been anything else but profoundly broken, replaced by 100% voluntary, 100% non-coercive, alternatives, that people can turn to and feel safe that no one there ever is going to label, force-treat, or in any other way assault them.

The murder of Torben Martin Bødker, a Bosnia-veteran

"Probably he had a psychological flaw in advance, that then worsened by the things he met with in Bosnia," the president of Danmarks Internationale Veteran Organisation (Denmark's international veteran organization), Bjarne Hesselberg, is quoted in an article on, published on Wednesday.

Torben Martin Bødker, a 32-year-old Bosnia-veteran, was shot and killed by two police officers on Tuesday, 9th, 2009. Torben had returned to Denmark from service in Bosnia ten years ago, suffering from severe PTSD. He did not get help.

His family and the veteran's organization tell, that they did what they could, but that Torben was reluctant to talk about his problems. Any wonder?? What is PTSD? PTSD is having looked the inhumanity of, for instance, war in the eyes. Why would anyone, who has experienced that, ever wish to talk about it with the people, who endorse this very inhumanity?? What Torben would have needed, was someone to talk to, who was not a relative nor in any way affiliated with the military. Someone, who would have valued his points of view unconditionally. He did not get that help. Because our society can't accept criticism of its abusiveness. Because it can't accept anyone questioning the necessity and validity of, for instance, warfare. Why it doesn't hesitate a second to label those, who do question as "mentally ill" and "psychologically flawed". More abuse. More warfare.

Torben Martin Bødker went to a hospital, just recently, begging for help. He was sent home. But when his family contacted the authorities to have him committed, two police officers in uniform showed up at his place. He attacked them with a sword. Because he was "mentally ill", "nuts", as the media tells us? NO!!! Because he felt cornered, and had to defend himself!

From "Bekendtgørelse om fremgangsmåden ved gennemførelse af tvangsindlæggelser" (Notice on the procedure of implementation of involuntary hospitalization):

§10, subsection 2: "The committing physician should if possible be present at the implementation of the involuntary hospitalization." (my italics)

§12: "The executing police officers should if possible be in plain clothes." (my italics)

Which in plain English means: it is completely down to the individual physician him-/herself, if s/he feels like being present or not. And it is completely down to the individual cop, if s/he feels like changing, before s/he pounds and breaks open your door.

But no! Torben Martin Bødker was not defending himself. After all, the cops came to help him, who was a psychologically flawed loonie, not to harm him, right?! It were the cops, who were defending themselves when they shot and killed this psychologically flawed, completely gone bonkers individual, right?! Wrong!

After the incident, everybody involved was offered counselling by a psychologist. My question is: where was this psychologist when the cops came to bust Torben Martin Bødker?? Where was this psychologist when Torben Martin Bødker showed up at the hospital, begging for help???

A system, that doesn't only deny people like Torben Martin Bødker the least help , but into the bargain denies them help in order to later on in the process assault and kill them - in the name of "help" - is a grossly abusive system. And it is a grossly failed system in regard to real help. When will this change?! And when will the media stop covering this system's ass?!

Torben Martin Bødker

Read also: Sholom Keller, A Letter To My Shrink,
Doug Bremner's blog post DSM V Shadow Team Strikes Back at Psychiatric Establishment on PTSD,
and an update to this post.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Anti-bullying expert Helle Rabøl Hansen's bullying language

E-mail to Danish "anti-bullying-inspirator" Helle Rabøl Hansen:

Dear Helle Rabøl Hansen,

In context with the latest school shooting in Germany, I happened to read Gitte Svanholm's article "Elever kan afværge skoleskyderier" (Students can prevent school shootings),, January 26th, 2009,, that quotes you:

"Those who go berserk have an extremity - a twisted soul - in addition to their loneliness. But it isn't only their genetic material and their education, that makes them go berserk with weapons at schools. To a great extent, school structure enters into it, too".

I agree, that society, parents and school included, play a decisive role in regard to the single individual's well-being. They do play the decisive role.

What I don't understand though, is where you get your knowledge in regard to the genetic material of the individuals concerned from. Until this day today, no one gene has been found, that could be made responsible for these individuals' behavior. Thus, your mention of genetic material is pure speculation, and has to be termed extremely unscientific.

Furthermore, both insinuating a genetic defect, and even more a wording like "Those who go berserk have an extremity - a twisted soul- ..." (my emphasis) is utterly discriminating against the individuals concerned.

Now, unfortunately it is on our society's agenda to grossly discriminate against everyone who doesn't in every particular live up to the norms that define normal behavior. It is normal to do so, so to speak. Nevertheless, I wonder how comes, that even an expert on the matter of bullying obviously isn't capable of recognizing this, and of avoiding to grossly discriminate, bully, herself, and I'd appreciate to hear, how you explain your choice of words.

Best regards,
Marian B. Goldstein

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Spring Tide - new post

I've revived Spring Tide, which most of you certainly thought, I'd abandoned for good since I didn't post anything there for months. Well, I posted a piece yesterday.

Not sure, if I should say 'enjoy!' or 'beware!'...

Sunday, 8 March 2009

"Thou Shalt Not Be Aware"

What I would add to this video is how "Thou Shalt Not Be Aware" not only applies to abuse/mistreatment in families - and not being unconditionally loved by your parents to me equals to child abuse/mistreatment, just as the denial of the truth does - but just as much to a society, that only "loves" (i.e. accepts) you under the condition that you live up to its norms and values. Which, in regard to our modern western civilization, means that you have to be the perfect consumer/producer in order to receive society's unconditional love, its acceptance.

Well, and I'd like to add, that psychiatry of course not only covers over the abuse/mistreatment performed by single private persons, families - while society as a whole would condemn abuse/mistreatment - but indeed covers over the abuse/mistreatment, that pervades society on all levels, and that is the foundation of consumerism: "Thou Shalt Not Be Aware" that modern western civilization's norms and values are thoroughly unnatural, destructive, and abusive, and thus inhumane - causing inhumane suffering, both physically and psychologically. "Thou Shalt Not Be Aware" that it is modern western civilization, who suffers from a chronic imbalance - of power. "Thou Shalt Not Be Aware" that it is perfectly natural and healthy to react "crazy" to "normality", i.e. to the real insanity.

If society truly and honestly were dismissive of oppression, betrayal, fraud, exploitation, abuse, mistreatment, etc., psychiatry as a societal institution would never have been established. Instead people, who'd been exposed to these assaults, would be offered real help, not punishment and additional assault.

Read also Gianna's post on this video.

Saturday, 7 March 2009


This is for Gianna, with belated congrats on her second blogiversary.



Kiri (...and the hairy, off-white thing in the foreground is Spiff, the westie)

Thursday, 5 March 2009

How to prevent change

I just realized that it's the 5th of March today. I realized, because a discussion (closed list) made me think of the "Bedre vilkår"-demonstration and hearing, that took place on March 5th, last year.

Has anything changed (for the better) in the Danish mh system since then? Nope. Nothing. Does anyone even talk about the demonstration or the hearing anymore? Does anyone mention the following hearing in fall 2008? No. No one. Why not? My guess: because a huge part of the criticism isn't really criticism of the mh system as such. It is the call for more hospital beds, and more research - into new, "better" medications. And it is this huge part of the criticism, that asks everyone else, everyone, who calls for human rights to be fully, without exception, respected by the mh system, to please!, compromize. Compromize? On human rights??? I should think not.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

"Is it time for ISPS to remove the term 'schizophrenia' from its name?"

Some more thoughts about the ISPS, and about diagnoses, human nature and power imbalances in our egocentric culture.

So, looking at the ISPS Denmark, basically, what have we got? A semi-professional* organization, who, in spite of what its name might suggest, doesn't really regard psychological treatments as having the potential to, successfully replace medical treatment of extreme states of mind, but merely sees these psychological interventions as a means to get people, successfully, hooked on psych drugs. For life.

The Danish - and obviously also the Swedish - group consists, as I say in a comment at Gianna's blog, of a bunch of drug pushers, whose aim it is, to consolidate the "patients' " compliance to the drug "treatment" by massive indoctrination. Which, in their terminology becomes "dialogue". Well, yes, as a matter of fact and undeniably it is a good thing to know at least the basics of psychology if you want to make your indoctrination as efficient as possible. It's called "mind control", and, yes, it has got everything to do with psychology.

The ISPS' central, international organization recently launched "Psychosis", a journal with articles related to psychological treatment options for extreme states of mind. The table of contents reflects two things:

1. the wide range of - fundamentally - different views on so-called "psychosis" inside the ISPS, and

2., as I point out in a comment on Gianna's post on the journal, and especially on one - great! - article featured in its first issue, the power balance between the labelling and the labelled. Or maybe I should say: the somewhat grotesque power imbalance between those two groups. Again, we here have a medium, that chooses to give about 90% of its space to professionals theorizing about the experience, and about those, who have/had it.

Well, at least it seems, it's not 100%... And, and this is really groundbreaking!, the journal doesn't advertise. No Zyprexa, Risperdal, Seroquel, or whatever else ads. Incredible! Congrats on that one, ISPS!

But - no, I'm not finished with you guys! - the journals name is "Psychosis". What exactly is "psychosis"? Let me tell you:

"Psychosis" is, just as any other psych label, the Establishment's - unfortunately widely successful - attempt to pathologize human nature - in favor of the culture represented and promoted by the Establishment.

Most people aren't aware of the fact, that natural does not equal to normal. Be sure, it so doesn't! Actually, the more our culture moves away from what is natural, the less these two adjectives do equal. Thus, driving a car is completely normal, although it isn't the least natural. It's a cultural phenomenon. It is judged by cultural norms and values as being normal.

While in nature things just are, or are not, without becoming judged, in culture things become measured and judged by the at any time given cultural norms and values. So, the things that in nature just are, in culture become normal, or abnormal, worthy, or unworthy, good, or bad (mad??), etc. And the more a culture moves away from nature, the more things it measures and judges in this way. And the more rigorously it divides normal from abnormal, worthy from unworthy, good from bad, etc .

It is the ego that makes us cultural beings, in addition to being natural beings. It is the ego that needs to measure and judge, in order to delimit itself from the oneness, that nature is, in order to define itself as a unique individual. Or as a unique, individual culture. And when the ego rules, as it does in an ego-centered culture like our modern, western civilization, it will do everything imaginable to make the distinction between itself and the other as pronounced as possible. It will do everything imaginable to alienate the individual from its human nature, from the oneness with nature in general.

For instance by judging perfectly natural phenomena as abnormal. Or as strange, like in "alienation" (i.e. distinction, or split, schizm, like in "schizophrenia" - who is really "schizophrenic" here???) - from nature.

While anyone can relate to and identify with (identification = oneness) emotions and states of mind like anger, fear, confusion or joy, and quite easily can understand for instance "extreme confusion", because they've experienced confusion themselves, it gets a whole lot more difficult, if not impossible, to relate to, identify with, and thus to understand "schizophrenia" or "psychosis".

While anger, fear, confusion, joy etc. are viewed as normal by our culture, the extremes of these emotions aren't described as lying end to end with, and as, indeed, being basically the same in their nature as the as normal judged intensity of these same emotions, but as diametrically opposed to it, as abnormal, strange, unintelligible, pathologic, sick. And in order to ram this home, in order to cement it in people's perception, the extremes got renamed. With pathologizing labels. "Psychosis". Meaning: not to be understood. Or: meaningless. While it is our nature to always and in everything look for meaning, for oneness, our culture has created the ultimate tool to alienate us from our own nature by creating the concept of "mental illness" (i.e. meaningless behavior, thoughts and emotions) to describe our own nature with.

"Is it time for ISPS to remove the term "schizophrenia" from its name?" Well, that depends. It depends on whether we, humanity as a whole, want to continue on our egos' and culture's path of increasing alienation from (our own) nature, on our egos' and culture's path of regression**, deeper and deeper into unconsciousness, or if we can overcome this culture's narcissism, realizing and accepting that there is nothing strange, meaningless, nothing "schizophrenic" or "psychotic" to (human) nature. Realizing and accepting that we all just are.

As my above jottings show, removing the term "schizophrenia" from ISPS' name, and replacing it with another pathologizing label, won't do. The problem is, that, basically, what my train of thought leads to is, that neither a medical nor any other degree actually qualifies anyone to guide another individual through and out of extreme states of mind. That which qualifies someone for this task is only and solely being in touch with, and conscious of their own human nature, their true self.

* Membership is open both for professionals and non-professionals.

** Note the parallel to what is described as a "schizophrenic" mechanism.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Merete Nordentoft, the OPUS-project, and The International Society for the Psychological Treatments of the Schizophrenias and other Psychoses, ISPS

The following is a rather nasty slamming of the Danish branch of The International Society for the Psychological Treatments of the Schizophrenias and other Psychoses, ISPS. So, don't get me wrong, it is not a critique of the international organization, or of any other countries' groups! - With the exception of the Swedish ISPS-group, that is.*)

I must admit, that it was a somewhat pleasant surprise when I learned, that The International Society for the Psychological Treatments of the Schizophrenias and other Psychoses, ISPS, also has a Danish branch. "They hide efficiently," I wrote in an e-mail to Daniel Mackler, since I usually don't miss important things going on in this country's mh system.

Well, apart from the fact, that even an organization, that gives high priority to psychological treatment options as help for people in extreme states of mind, does have its problems with avoiding to pathologize the individual, I thought, naive as I at times can be, that there maybe really was not just a very few helpers, that can be counted on the fingers of one hand, but maybe even a whole organization of helpers, who do take people who experience extreme states of mind seriously, and really make an effort to offer these people the kind of help they want. And well, the pathologizing we can thank Freud for. Just as we can thank him for psychoanalysis. So...

I guess, I'll have to reconsider.

For a moment, I thought I'd add a link to the ISPS to my sidebar. And yes, the American branch of the organization does actually have some very interesting articles on its site, and on the home page it says: "We promote the humane, comprehensive, and in-depth treatment of psychotic disorders." Very nice, indeed! So, maybe this really was something, I should add to my collection of recommended Danish sites?

Now, I don't just link to something without first investigating a little further what I am possibly going to recommend. - Which doesn't mean that I would be looking for 100% conformity with my own views, only. But well, one has to draw the line somewhere, right?

The first name I came across was Bent Rosenbaum, a Danish psychiatrist. This reverberated mixed emotions. The next name did no longer reverberate mixed emotions, but red alert: Merete Nordentoft.

Why red alert? Well, Merete Nordentoft, psychiatrist and one of the Danish mainstream medias' pets on the subject of "mental illness", also is the initiator of the so-called OPUS-project **). The acronym stands for "tidlig opsporing og behandling af unge psykotiske", meaning "early detection and treatment of young psychotics", which already tells me a whole lot. Alone the choice of words: them (the "psychotics") - and us. (And "opsporing" may as well be translated as "tracking down", giving the concept a whole new - somehow slightly TAC-like - dimension...)

But let's have a look at what this, allegedly so revolutionary, project actually is all about. According to the report, I link to above, treatment consists of five different initiatives: Individual dialogues, medical treatment (here we go!), psycho-education (Honi soit qui mal y pense!), social skills training, and family work (of course meaning work with your biological family, your relatives. Certainly not the "family" of your own choice, your friends. As we all know, care providers are much more fond of relatives than of friends. And they have their reasons, yahahhh!).

'Well,' you may think, ' individual dialogues does sound promising, doesn't it?' Let me tell you right away: I'll have to disappoint you. In another report on the project, that in the meantime has disappeared from the net, it was stated that the individual counselling a person is entitled to during the two-year-period she is assigned to the project, is limited to 12 - TWELVE! - in certain cases up to 24 - TWENTY FOUR! - sessions with a therapist, and that the subject of the sessions would have to be agreed upon beforehand. Yep. Unfortunately, this is not a joke. While the counselling itself definitely turns into a joke, under these circumstances.

My own course included 45 sessions, spread over the period of three and a half years. A (-n absolute) minimum, when it comes to "psychosis". And only possible because I a) wasn't twenty years old - or young - anymore, but more like two times twenty, with the according life-experience and a certain background knowledge in relevant areas (such as philosophy, literature, and, yeah, psychology/-analysis).

Because I b) was as motivated and determined as you possibly could be - not to learn how to live with a chronic, limiting illness, but to become aware of, understand, and resolve my existential problems.

Because I c) wrote - 24/7 ("I'm fond of saying psychosis does not fit the 50-minute hour -- because it goes on 24 hours." -Loren Mosher), and not for the drawer, but for my therapist to read. Which means, that, anytime, I could have a certainly imaginary but nevertheless somewhat concrete conversation with my therapist, on paper. Also at 3 a.m. in the morning, if necessary.

Because I d) wasn't additionally traumatized by a stay at a locked ward, respectively by the betrayal of my trust it would have been to arrange for such a stay against my explicit will. Something that inevitably hadn't only meant a remarkable setback in my recovery, but that under all circumstances also had ruined any trust in my therapist for good. And that in any other professional in addition. While I, at the same time, was pretty clear about what to do in case it should turn out, that there, obviously, was no trusting in humanity at all. "Suicide was my ticket out," Catherine Penney says in Take These Broken Wings, asked about what she thinks would have happened had she not met Daniel Dorman. It also was my ticket out.

Because I e) wasn't at any time drugged,

because f) nothing ever was agreed upon beforehand but date and time for the next appointment,

and last but certainly not least because I g) didn't raise to the biological bait, other than for a, luckily very short, period where I had some doubt, caused by the massive propaganda everywhere. By the way the only period of time in my entire life where I seriously contemplated suicide - the real deal, not the "I want/have to go somewhere else"-thing the voices tried to convince me of. You don't change your genes, or a chronic chemical imbalance in your neurotransmitters just like that. You can only, passively, hope, that the "medication" works its magic. But you can always become active, and change learned behavior - and recover fully.

Which brings us back to the OPUS-project. According to the report I link to above, the weekly dialogue sessions are sessions with what is called a contact-person. The term "therapist" thus has disappeared entirely from this, obviously newer report. So what. Eventually, it anyway was just a joke, wasn't it?

Well, and in this, newer, report it says under "individual dialogue":

"The dialogue treatment can include many elements: counselling, guidance, crisis intervention, psycho education, relaps prevention, psychological support of insight and actual cognitive therapy. [Ah, so there they maybe were anyway, those 12, maximum 24 sessions with a therapist??? Absolutely out of this world fantastic!]

In general, the dialogues can be scheduled according to the phase, the patient is in, like this:
Acute phase:
Contact and treatment compliance are established. The dialogues are primarily of supporting and psycho-educating character, (...)
Stabilizing phase:
The patient is supported in him continuing to follow the treatment, although he has improved. Psychological support is given for insight and acceptance, (...)
Maintenance phase:
Support is given to continue the treatment, (...)"

Under "medical treatment" you can read in detail about what exactly is supported with such a great effort and persistence:

"For most of the patients antipsychotic medical treatment has been indicated."

Really cosy it gets a little further down in the document, where it is stated, that many people in crisis experience periods of "depression" - strange, very strange indeed, that they feel down after they were made believe, they suffer from a chronic biological brain disease - which then of course preferably are treated with antidepressants, SSRIs, according to the report. Since the "depression" is to be regarded part of the biological disease, and certainly not a result of humiliating and disillusioning messages from the "helpers", that render the individual in crisis completely disempowered and helpless, no no! And since, as we all know, they've shown to be so effective, the SSRIs, yes! And by the way, no no, it is neither the so-called "antipsychotic medication", that can cause depression as a side effect!

Yah, and since both "psychotic and depressed states can cause a lot of anxiety" - no no, this is certainly not a side effect of the recommended SSRIs! - we can easily add one or the other benzo to the cocktail, that in case of a diagnozed substance abuse (and we will have to term the consumption of three different psychoactive substances on a daily basis for an indefinite period of time - it's chronic, remember?! - a substance abuse, although it hardly will be diagnozed) can get spiced up with some methadone or the like. Cheers! Or: Your health!...

If you're lucky, you then end up like Gianna, who, after almost twenty years in a medical daze, saw through the charade, and now in her fifth year, physically seriously damaged by the drugs, struggles to free herself from the prescribed psych drug hell. If you're not so lucky, you end up more or less a vegetable at some supported housing program - or like Luise.

And, in case you should be the owner of a healthy amount of scepticism, OPUS also has a solution for this:

"It often happens, that the patient doesn't wish to take medication, especially the antipsychotic medication. (...) At OPUS our philosophy has been, that, if the patient didn't want the medicine, that was found necessary for him, the patient had his reasons, and it was the task of the staff to investigate the background, educate about what the medication could be used for, and which side effects could be expected, and to try continuously to motivate acceptance of the relevant treatment." Yep. And then you end up like Gianna, or Luise, anyway. When you, because you already are in a somewhat vulnerable state of mind, can't stand the psycho-terror (being "motivated") anymore. With or without healthy scepticism.

Note that "treatment" in the above quotation equals to drugs. So, don't count on other kinds of treatment to be offered. Obviously, the weekly dialogues are not so much meant as treatment in a therapeutic fashion, as they are meant to be indoctrination. While, in a way, indoctrination is the exact opposite of therapy.

OPUS finally died as a "masterpiece", in my opinion, with the following quotation, that, characteristically, is found under "Familywork", which according to the report includes "individual meetings at the start of treatment" with the relatives, "without the patient but with the patients acceptance" - What is attempted to be saved here, by the bell? The "Nothing about us without us"-concept? Nice try. Try again! Cf. above: psycho-terror of people in extremely vulnerable states of mind - :

" - psycho education with weight on a biological model (guilt-reducing)"

How did Loren Mosher put it? " 'Biologically based brain diseases' are certainly convenient for families and practitioners alike. It is no-fault insurance against personal responsibility." And: "Biological differences 'make them different from us fundamentally,' he says. 'They're sort of a slightly different race than we are.' Mosher thinks it's all 'a way of carefully saying, 'These people are really different. And therefore we have the right to do whatever we goddamn please with them,' ' " he is quoted in this article.

Or, to put it in a slightly different way: Whether or not it costs "the schizophrenics" their lives - due to the drugs, or because suicide, quite logically and not the least sick, becomes the ticket out of an existence with a chronic brain disease - most important is, that doctors and relatives can wash their hands.

More fitting than one immediately should think, that Merete Nordentoft was awarded Den Gyldne Skalpel (The Golden Scalpel) for the OPUS-project. Reminds me of a certain Nobel Prize laureate...

And with this quite clearly stated disdain for people in crisis, the Danish branch of the ISPS, which Merete Nordentoft is a member of, and at whose International Symposium at Copenhagen in June 2009 she is going to participate as a member of the local scientific committee, died too in its shape of a pleasant surprise, and a potential link in my sidebar.

Concerning other than the "insight" and "treatment alliance" promoting "support" offered by OPUS: I had a friend who was assigned to OPUS. "A place to stay? Sorry, we can't help you with that. A job? Sorry, we can't help you with that." But the pills he got. Straight out. And all for free. He didn't even need to ask for them. Oh, and along with the pills came the message: "It's a lifelong burden." I wouldn't be surprised if he killed himself. He chose to believe in their message - and was devastated by it - although I did my very best. But it was my word against the "experts"...

This really must be termed excellent support of people in crisis.

And no, I was wrong. They don't hide. Not at all. They're right there. Having a biobiobiopsychiatrically splendid time right in the middle of Danish biobiobiopsychiatry. The members of the Danish branch of the ISPS. Obviously, promoting the "psychological treatments" in their interpretation means nothing much else than promoting "the slightly more sophisticated" version of pitch-black, poisonous pedagogy. Sad but true. But not that surprising anyway, in the country of the Jante Law.

By the way, also Lene Falgaard Eplov, who is convinced that recovery can't be anything else than learning to live with a chronic brain disease, and biopsychologist Torben Schjødt are members of the Danish ISPS group. Uhm, yah, R.I.P. ISPS Denmark.

If you should read the report on the OPUS project, note that the possibility to receive trauma related therapy isn't mentioned once throughout the entire report. Not even a superficial look at the individual in crisis' life story is mentioned. Thus it is denied in advance, that traumatic experiences can cause emotional suffering. Apropos of the persecutor at any given time doing whatever is in his power to prevent the victim - and the surroundings - from becoming aware of the abuse/mistreatment.

The report is an evaluation from the years 1998 to 2002. The OPUS-project still operates, by and large in the same way as described in the report. It's outcomes: no change in the number of people who become chronically ill and go on disability - roughly 90% of those labelled with "schizophrenia" or other "psychotic disorders" in this country. Indeed, what a masterpiece!

*) While I'm at it: A quote from the "Guidelines for practice" published by the Swedish ISPS-group: "Antipsychotics are a corner stone in the treatment of patients with psychosis. During the acute phase benzodiazepines are to be offered to treat sleepnessness and anxiety."

**) Originally, I here had a link to a paper on the OPUS-project published on Århus Universitetshospital Risskov's - Danish biopsychiatry's stronghold, setting the fashion for the psychiatric system all over the country, and the location for OPUS to, initially, be established - website. Unfortunately, the paper has disappeared from the website. Several other publications about OPUS can be found here though.