"To be nobody but yourself …"

From “A Poet’s advice to Students“: 

Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human being can be taught to feel. Why? Because whenever you think or you believe or you know, you’re a lot of other people: but the moment you feel, you’re nobody-but-yourself.

To be nobody-but-yourself-in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else-means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

 ― E.E. Cummings

Christian Jarrett: "False memories have an upside"

via psykisk daily



A false memory feels to its owner like a recollection of a real experience, but is in fact a construction of the mind. False memories are prolific because the process of memory is an inherently active, reconstructive process. Human memory then is highly fallible and prone to distortion. This sounds bad. However, in a new paper, Mark Howe and his colleagues show how our propensity for false memories can be advantageous.

Brett Deacon: "The United States of the Biomedical Model: Five Anecdotes"

via DxSummit.org
The Global Summit on Diagnostic Alternatives: 
An Online Platform for Rethinking Mental Health


Brett Deacon’s article begins like this:

It is difficult to overstate the ubiquity and influence of the biomedical model that provides the foundation for psychiatric diagnosis and treatment in the United States. As a clinical psychologist who has spent the past 15 years working in medical centers, inpatient psychiatric hospitals, outpatient mental health clinics, a residential substance abuse treatment center, private practice, and academia, I have encountered the myriad effects of the biomedical model on a daily basis. Among these encounters, five are particularly memorable and help to illustrate the popularity and consequences of characterizing psychological problems in purely biomedical terms.

NIMH Director Accepts Once Seen Radical Ideas

by Bruce Levine, Ph.D. via @BeyondMeds

Amazing Victory for Mental Health Activists:
NIMH Director Accepts Once Seen Radical Ideas:



It is an amazing victory for mental health treatment reform activists and Robert Whitaker. On August 28, 2013, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) director, Thomas Insel, announced that psychiatry’s standard treatment for people diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychoses needs to change.

After examining two long-term studies on schizophrenia and psychoses, Insel has come to what was previously considered a radical conclusion: in the long-term, some individuals with a history of psychosis do better off medication.

Insel finally recognizes what mental health treatment reform activists and investigative reporter Robert Whitaker have been talking about for years—the research shows that American psychiatry’s standard treatment protocol has hurt many people who could have been helped by a more selective and limited use of drugs, and a more diverse approach such as the one utilized in Finland, which has produced the best long-term outcomes in the developed world.

Like many treatment reform activists and Whitaker, Insel does not completely reject the use of medications, but instead calls for a more judicious use of them. Insel concludes:

“Antipsychotic medication, which seemed so important in the early phase of psychosis, appeared to worsen prospects for recovery over the long-term. . . .It appears that what we currently call “schizophrenia” may comprise disorders with quite different trajectories. For some people, remaining on medication long-term might impede a full return to wellness. For others, discontinuing medication can be disastrous.”

The tide is turning…yes, psychiatry must face reality

September 22, 2013 By Monica Cassani


Links about Psychological Formulation


Lucy Johnstone:
Alternatives to Psychiatric Diagnosis: 
Psychological Formulation



Insisting that we need ‘alternatives’ before diagnosis can be discarded is not a legitimate position but a strategy used to maintain the status quo. The simplest response to the question ‘What do we do instead of diagnosing people?’ is: ‘Stop diagnosing people.’ Ask people what their problems are and what they want help with instead, and proceed on that basis. This is essentially Peter Kinderman’s suggestion. Like many clinical psychologists, and like the best psychiatrists, I have never used diagnosis in my whole career. At a day-to-day clinical level, it is neither necessary nor helpful.

Lucy Johnstone has also written:
Using Psychological Formulation in Teams 


It should be noted that in this version of formulation practice the main client is, in effect, the team, whose counter-transference feelings of stuckness, hopelessness, anger or despair are likely to have prompted the request for a discussion. In effect, a team formulation meeting is a type of supervision or consultation, and in the same way as with those activities, it may not always be appropriate or helpful to share the aspects that deal with strong staff reactions directly with the service user. However, careful thought needs to be given as to how to involve the service user as closely as possible. Wherever possible (bearing in mind factors like severe learning disability, dementia etc) a parallel formulation is developed with and for the service user, and the two versions feed back into and inform each other. Sometimes this is most appropriately done via a conversation, or series of conversations, with the service user rather than a written document.


On giving children a hard row to hoe with the very best of intentions:

via @DrBrentPotter: 


I am posting this here because it seems to connect with the two previous posts – on shame – and with what I have written about “The Streetlights of Normiarchy”. I’ve put it all on the back burner for now, hoping the dots will connect themselves. 

PS: Adding this, via Sigrun Daily

Seven-year-olds’ beliefs about ability are associated with the way they were praised as toddlers

By Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer)


Pollyanna Positive was the survival self of the child I used to be. 

It is easy to see the smile. And I was lucky, I met good helpers who also saw the anxiety, loneliness and confusion. These people gave me something very important, silent acceptance, a friendly presence, a safe place where I could put aside my smile and rest for a while. 

I was given silent acceptance and a friendly presence. So I know that they are. And because I know what they are, I now can give silent acceptance and a friendly presence to Thing.

Thing is a part of me. She cannot speak, she has no mouth. And I have been ashamed of her. I have denied her as long as I can remember, so she is almost lifeless. And I recently stopped Action Man, who is another part of me, from killing and burying her. And I am not crazy, I just have very interesting dreams, and I use archetypes and metaphors to find and tell the stories that I otherwise would have no words for.

After many years, Thing has slowly been allowed to emerge. And she wants to write her own story with her own words.

And now, finally, that is OK with Pollyanna and Action Man.

And with me.


About being Thing.
Ingrid thinks she knows, she knows not.
Thing has mouth.
Ingrid sees it not.
Mouth is shut with stitches of shame.

To be Thing.
To be silenced.
And shamed.
Ingrid knows not.

Ingrid did it.

Silenced and shamed me.

Thing has no life.
Thing has no protection.
Thing has no borders.
Thing has no voice.
Thing has no emotions.

Thing has not.

Thing is not.
Thing is for.
Thing is for using.

Cog in the machines of others.
Chip in the games of others.
Statue in the landscape of others.
Doll in the life of others.
Pivot in the dreams of others.
Thing is not.
Thing is for.

Thing is for using.

Thing was needed so that others
could make wheels go round.
Could decorate landscapes.
Could play games.
Could live dreams.

Pollyanna was there.
Pollyanna smiled.
Pollyanna smiled the ABB smile.

Action Man was almost dead.
No room for Action Man in Ingrid.
Ingrid closed the mouth of Thing.

Thing was not.
Thing was for.
Thing was for others.

Does Pollyanna see Thing now?
Does Action Man see Thing without
wanting to kill Thing?

Does Ingrid see thing?

see me see me see me see me see me

see my mouth

see the stitches

take away the stitches


I hold the virtual body in a virtual mother lap. Cut off the virtual stitches that have closed the virtual mouth. I love the silenced, exhausted, harmed little virtual being that is a part of me with an aching heart.

And I say:

Yes, I did this.
I closed your mouth with stitches of shame.
And I thought that I knew that you had no mouth.
I did this.
I own this.

You were my shame.
So I disappeared you from my life.I shamed you away. 

I did this.

I own this.


And for now the story stops there. The concept of forgiveness is far from the frames of Thing. Is it possible to forgive a life in voiceless isolation?

Forgiveness is also far from my thought frames. In asking for forgiveness, I can only make Thing a cog in a story that makes me feel better.

Be in the situation.

That I can do.

Own what I did.

That gives peace.

“It is like this.”
The best words in the world.
The best thing in the world: to see what is.
With no lies.
No tangles.
No filter.

And be.

Thomas Scheff: The S-Word: Shame as a Key to Modern Societies


This time, I’m quoting from the  quote at the beginning of the article:

Great is truth, but still greater…is silence about truth…simply not mentioning certain subjects…influences opinion much more effectively than…the most eloquent denunciations.

-Aldous Huxley

And I’m adding a link I found in the comments section:

Good Shame, Bad Shame (and Brené Brown)
– Laura K Kerr, PhD

Brent Dean Robbins: Letting Boys Be Boys, Not ADHD Diagnoses

via @DrBrentPotter

Letting Boys Be Boys, Not ADHD Diagnoses



On April 1, The New York Times reported on the startling fact that 11% of children in the United States are now diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). One in five young males of high school age now have the diagnosis. Among children between the ages of 4 and 17, 6.4 million now bear the ADHD label and, no doubt, are medicated for it, most likely with psychostimulants. Since 2007, the ADHD diagnosis has seen a 16% increase, and over the past decade, the increase has been an astonishing 41%.

In a scathing response to this news in the American Spectator, Daniel J. Flynn wrote, “Boyhood isn’t a medical condition to be cured. The God-complex of doctors, on the other hand, could use an injection of humility. Physician, heal thyself.”

An Open Letter to Allen Frances From Intervoice

via @Sigrun_, who tweeted (in Norwegian): “Interesting about hearing voices, from professionals who have taken off their diagnosis glasses”: 


The authors wrote:

This open letter addresses the points of concern we have about his article and seeks to initiate a dialogue, both with Professor Frances, and others who are concerned and disheartened about the direction that psychiatry is taking.

And their article brings up a question that I have been pondering for a while: Are psychiatry and recovery moving in opposite directions?