Time for Changes to Happen

It is the last night in Cambridge for this time, and it fills me with vemod (there is no English word for vemod) and deep gratefulness. It is one of the best times in my life, and part of it has to do with meeting such great and passionate people with whom important talks have taken place and with whom I have felt surrounded by joy, commitment and a wonderful seriousness.

It has also been a joy to study at the beautiful library, and to get to know about Jessie Taft, a therapist and social worker educator who lived here in US between 1882 and 1960. When reading her texts and biography written by her dear friend and colleague Virginia Robertson it feels like reading about the work of Barbro Sandin whom I have been gifted to know as a dear mentor for many years.

Both Jessie Taft and Barbro Sandin express the importance of being met like a real person by another real person, also when the meeting takes place in a therapy room. Both of them describe the relationship as the most important, and not to be afraid of emotions and feelings, but rather to acknowledge their importance without trying to explain it. Time as a limit is something else they seem to have in common, to make use of the time frame, and to be reminded about life and death and the responsibility which comes with being a human being.

The last month has been a reminder about essential things in life and work, and how to be useful in relation to people in need, but also how to listen to that which is of utterance importance in my own life. A lot of meetings have taken place, and some phenomenon tend to be more present, no matter where the meetings take place, no matter with whom. The importance of taken a stance, and to do that which has to be done.

As Barbro Sandin did when she claimed there is no such thing as schizophrenia as an illness, but rather as a reaction to life situations too hard to deal with, and by doing so challenged the whole psychiatric paradigm. Or as Peter Breggin did when he loudly protested against lobotomy and by doing so made a change for lots of people until then being numb in the psychiatric system. Robert Whitaker who tells about the increasing use of psychiatric diagnosis and drugs will tomorrow publish a new book which probably will create some “panic” amongst psychiatrists who have sold their souls to Big Pharma.

I have had a coffee today with Dan Fisher, a psychiatrist with own lived experience of being forced to taking drugs and also a meal this evening with Laura Delano, editor at MadinAmerica whom for years was “treated” in the psychiatric system, being told she would never get well. Both of them are bringing essential experience and wisdom into the movement which is determined to make a change regarding those called patients – those whom are labeled and prescribed drugs.

It is absolutely necessary to create a change when more and more kids are defined in terms of that which is called ADHD, without ever having found any evidence by blood tests or brain screenings, just by some vague symptoms described in the psychiatric DSM –system.

So as much as I find it hard to leave Cambridge, as much do I also find it good to soon be back at work, with the aim and mission to create some vital changes and present alternatives to the psychiatric biological model. We are many and will be more, in this text just a few important persons are mentioned, but there are many, many more. I am so happy to be a part.

The acceptance of
the black hole

I have recently started to read a new book written by Marcia Bartusiak who is a professor of the Practice in Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The book is about the black hole in universe and how scientists and people in common over many years of doubts and struggle have come to accept such a phenomenon. Bartusiak quotes a famous saying “All truth passes through three stages: First it is ridiculed; second, it is violently opposed: and third, it is accepted as being self-evident”.

That is a comforting thought and more than so, I deeply believe there will come a day when that which today is defined anti-psychiatry will be seen as common sense. There will be a day when people wonder how could it be possible to treat human life dilemmas with pharmaceuticals and how come so many children and young people were defined mentally ill without taking into consideration the context which surrounded them.

Yesterday I met with Peter Senge, known from his best seller book The Fifth Discipline. He told me about a project called Roca Inc. close to Boston where “troubled” young kids are met in a radically different way than what they are used to, and how this difference makes such a big change. For all the people connected to the project.  He talked about the method they use, but so he said, of course the most important is the dedication each and every staff member show in daily practice.

I thought about my own work place and that which has been possible to create over the years, all the meetings between very different people and how these meetings have made a change. For all of us. When our organization was created it was seen like ridiculous – how could we believe it would be possible for “ordinary people” to deal with those called clients who had stayed for a long time in prisons, institutions and mental hospitals. We were sometimes accused for not being either scientific or serious. And it happened pretty often that people from outside said that we were not even “real therapists”. Today we know it was possible- and more than so-we meet more people than ever. Both at our work place and in many other places all over the world.

People who are trying to make a change in a system which has to be changed, for a more sustainable and humanistic way of dealing with human life dilemmas. It makes me happy to read about the acceptance of the black hole and it makes me happy to hear about Roca Inc. as it does to know we are many people all over who in different ways find a way to reach the truth about what is important in human life.