Award winning medical journalist and author of Anatomy of an Epidemic and Mad In America, Robert Whitaker, became curious when he read about two World Health Organisation studies that showed longer-term outcomes for schizophrenia patients in three “developing” countries were much better than six “developed” countries. Despite limited resources how was it that outcomes for schizophrenia in places like India… Read more →
Filmmaker, Dean Puckett, interviewed Emma Goude, author of My Beautiful Psychosis as part of his research for a script he was writing. He wanted to know what it was like to experience psychosis for a character he was portraying. The result is this frank author interview. What is it like to experience psychosis? How do the psychotic episodes begin? What… Read more →
Catherine G Lucas, co-founder of the Spiritual Crisis Network UK published her first book In Case Of Spiritual Emergency, which validates non ordinary states of consciousness. Transpersonal experiences are usually pathologised by the mental health system. Catherine’s book is an essential read for anyone who has been through a transformational crisis, especially if this has been seen as a psychosis… Read more →
When she was 20 years old, Catherine G Lucas ended up in a psychiatric hospital. She had the wisdom to work with a therapist and found that within her experiences lay an opportunity for healing. Gradually, with the help of her therapist, she learned how to take better care of herself. Catherine went on to found the Spiritual Crisis Network,… Read more →
When Sascha Altman Du Brul was eighteen years old he was locked up in a psychiatric ward for two and a half months. He was told he had a biological brain disease that he would have for the rest of his life and there was little hope for him. But Sascha stepped outside of this view and looked into the… Read more →
Dr.Eleanor Longden started hearing voices when she was a student. At first they were harmless and narrated whatever she did. But they became increasingly antagonistic and dictatorial, and made her life a nightmare. She was hospitalised, drugged and labelled schizophrenic. Eleanor went on to earn a master’s in psychology and demonstrate that the voices in her head were “a sane… Read more →
It wasn’t until she read Robert Whitaker’s book, Anatomy of an Epidemic that she began to seriously reconsider her options. Since September 2010, she has been free from psychiatric labels and psychotropic drugs, and now believes that the human experience should never be pathologised. Read more →
I sent a total of 34 proposals out: 18 of which received rejections and 16 I never heard back from. The standard response went something like this:
“Thank you for sending us this material, but I’m afraid it isn’t suitable for us. I’m sorry to disappoint, and wish you luck with your future writing.”
Only one agent gave me feedback as to why they didn’t go for it:
“Thanks so much for contacting us. I’ve read the sample material with interest. While I liked the chapters I wasn’t sufficiently swept along by the narrative to know that I’d be the best advocate for the book. Sorry! Best of luck elsewhere.”
The email I cherished the most, which I devoured like a drop of rain in the desert, came from Cara at the HHB Agency:
“Dear Emma, Thank you for your submission to HHB. I enjoyed reading your work, you write well, with intensity and style. However, as a small agency we are only ever able to take on a limited number of authors and I am afraid in this instance, we were not able to take you work further. I wish you all the best. All best, Cara”
One of the reasons I wanted to find a publisher was because I felt I wanted support to get the book out into the world. It is an entirely different process from writing the actual thing and requires very different skills. I’ve come to accept that I’m going to have to climb that particular mountain alone.
Thankfully there is help online at every step of the way.
The first thing I’ve done is to learn about cover design. I had a meeting with a graphic designer friend who very humbly said she wasn’t up for the job. I found a designer online, called Derek Murphy, who shared the secrets to designing a bestselling book cover. I’ve talked with bookshop assistants to find out what they think. I’ve played with different ideas and now, with a drum roll, I unveil the cover of my first book.
A huge thanks goes to artist Adriane Vinter from Norway for permission to use her image ‘Straight Jacket’.
The first time I was about to lose my ego, I had this sudden terrifying thought that I was going to die. A feeling of impending annihilation took hold of me. It seemed totally illogical because there was no actual physical threat. It was as if a part of me knew that my ego was about to shatter. Because in… Read more →
Open Dialogue is revolutionising the way people are treated in the mental health system. This new system of healthcare emerged in Finland after their mental health service collapsed under the weight. Finland used to have the worst statistics in Europe for schizophrenia. Now it has the best.
After the mental health service collapsed, a group of family therapists got together and asked how can they do it better? Open Dialogue is the answer. It is based on a totally different model to the current one, which adopts the brain chemical imbalance theory. Instead, it sees mental health problems as a symptom of the social network breaking down and so it aims to repair that. Bringing together the social network of the person at the centre of concern (they are not called the patient) the job of the practitioner is not to diagnose and treat but instead to encourage all of the voices to be heard. It taps into the power of the social network, so that everyone takes an active part in the healing of the family member. It is a social model that believes in the power of the individual to heal with the help of the collective.
Open Dialogue doesn’t ask what’s wrong with a person but what’s happened to them.
Open Dialogue is being introduced into the NHS by Dr Russell Razzaque author of the radical book Breaking Down Is Waking Up. And Green Lane Films (my production company) has been asked to film it. My personal and professional life have finally joined and had children! And this video is the offspring.
Melinda Messenger features in this clip that I shot at the Open Dialogue Conference in London earlier this year. Melinda is doing a Transpersonal Psychotherapy training and is the Patron of the UK Spiritual Crisis Network.
If you want to know more about Peer Supported Open Dialogue sign up to the POD Bulletin.