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Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal

A Webinar Series

Robert Whitaker Introduces the Series

Note: All of our early bird discount and scholarship slots are now full. You can now register for the course at the regular price of $100.

Overview

This series of seven webinars will feature presentations by people with “expertise by lived experience,” psychiatrists, and other professionals. The educational purpose of the series is to present information and insights that arise:

  • from users’ experiences and their efforts to support others who want to taper from their psychiatric medications; research on drug withdrawal
  • the clinical experience of psychiatrists and other professionals who have supported patients tapering from psychiatric medications
  • research on drug tapering programs and efforts

This course is not designed to provide advice to individuals who are seeking to taper from their medications. It is, instead, designed to explore the risks and rewards of doing so, and methods for doing so successfully. It is also designed to identify the many shortcomings in our medical and societal knowledge about withdrawing from psychiatric drugs.


Who should view this series

This course is designed to educate mental health professionals (psychologists, social workers, licensed professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, nurses, psychiatrists, peer service and support workers, school counselors, and family physicians) as well as other health providers, people with lived experience of mental health challenges, family members, and the general public.

The October 24 webinar, Experts by Experience panel has been approved for 1.0 CE for psychologists, social workers, nurses, licensed professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists (visit this page to verify your eligibility).

The November 14 webinar, Antipsychotic Withdrawal/Reduction in a Public Mental Health Setting has also just been approved for 1.0 CE for psychologists, social workers, nurses, licensed professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists (visit this page to verify your eligibility).

5.0 CEs (though not CMEs) are pending for the remaining 5 webinars in this series.

Social Workers: Please note that CEs as approved for social workers are allowable only for those participating in the live webinars, not for taking the webinar after the live event.


Webinars


October 24, 2017: Experts by experience

5:30 pm Eastern 4:30 pm Central 3:30 pm Mountain 2:30 Pacific

Emily Cutler will moderate and participate in a panel of individuals who have successfully withdrawn from psychiatric medications. They will tell of their experiences doing so, and also describe their ongoing efforts to provide support to others seeking to taper from the drugs. Panel members in addition to Emily Cutler are Jocelyn Pedersen, and Dina Tyler. Below, hear Jocelyn Pedersen speak about the course:


November 14, 2017: Antipsychotic withdrawal/reduction in a public mental health setting

2:30 pm Eastern 1:30 pm Central 12:30 pm Mountain 11:30 am Pacific

Psychiatrist Sandy Steingard presents on research that provides an evidence-based rationale for supporting patients to taper from antipsychotics. She will discuss some of the challenges psychiatrists face when they are open to tapering and discuss her 5-years of experience of using a collaborative decision model that supports public mental health clients in deciding whether to reduce their dose of neuroleptic drugs. Below, listen to Sandy Steingard talk about her presentation:


December 12, 2017: Medication reduction and wellness

2:30 pm Eastern 1:30 pm Central 12:30 pm Mountain 11:30 am Pacific

Psychiatrist Kelly Brogan presents on her clinical experience working with patients withdrawing from psychiatric drugs; the role of addressing the physical and emotional reasons that gave rise to psychiatric “symptoms” in the first place (with a particular focus on anxiety and depression); and the psychospiritual underpinnings of this withdrawal process. She will describe her approaches in her clinical practice and her online healing community.


January 16, 2018: An alternative, non-medical approach to drug withdrawal

2:30 pm Eastern 1:30 pm Central 12:30 pm Mountain 11:30 am Pacific

Swedish Therapist Carina Hakansson will tell of her nearly three decades of experience, first as Founder of the Family Homes Foundation and now as founder of The Extended Therapy Room, helping people taper from psychiatric medications. She will speak of her need to “put on a white coat” given the absence of a medical-based practice for drug withdrawal. She will tell of how residential care can be organized around a person in crisis during drug withdrawal. She will also report on the activities of the International Institute on Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal, which she founded last year to bring together international experts on this subject to develop both drug-withdrawal training and research.


February 20, 2018: The evidence base for psychiatric drug withdrawal and risks of withdrawal syndromes

1 pm Eastern 12 Noon Central 11 am Mountain 10 am Pacific

Psychiatrist Peter Breggin will present on the hazards of long-term use of psychiatric drugs, which provides a compelling “evidence base” for psychiatric drug tapering protocols; drug-withdrawal syndromes that patients experience when tapering from psychiatric drugs; the biological explanations for such syndromes; and for patient-centered and controlled approaches to successful drug tapering and withdrawal.


March 20, 2018: A harm-reduction approach to psychiatric drug withdrawal

1 pm Eastern 12 Noon Central 11 am Mountain 10 am Pacific

Therapist Will Hall, PhD candidate and author of the Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs (translated into 15 languages and used world-wide), discusses how he works with individuals, families, and clinicians using a person-centered and flexible approach to drug withdrawal as a life change and learning process, including drug response diversity, crisis risk, and alternative responses to experiences seen as psychotic.


April 17, 2018: Developing a drug-withdrawal agenda for the future

1 pm Eastern 12 Noon Central 11 am Mountain 10 am Pacific

A panel of people with lived experience review this first MIA withdrawal course, its strengths and shortcomings, and discuss an agenda for developing drug-tapering knowledge and support programs. What do we, as a society, know about this subject, and what do we need to learn?


Cost

The cost for the seven-seminar course is $100. Enrollment is limited, so sign up now.

International payments are automatically converted to U.S. dollars.


Your Instructors


October 24th, 2017

Jocelyn Pedersen graduated Suma Cum Laude from Brigham Young University with a BS in education and a minor in music. She spent two years teaching before she decided to start a family and become a full time mother of two children and part time performer. Prescribed Ambien for insomnia, Jocelyn developed a benzodiazepine associated illness, was misdiagnosed, and treated for 3 years with antidepressants and a benzodiazepine.

After becoming educated about this iatrogenic illness, Jocelyn worked to educate and assist others in safely tapering and recovering from benzodiazepines and their associated disability. She founded the non-profit Benzodiazepine Information Coalition and has used her YouTube platform, Benzo Brains, to create educational/support content for benzo victims and their loved ones. Jocelyn was invited to participate in a panel at the 2017 International Benzodiazepine Symposium in Bend, Oregon. She is currently an author at Mad in America and The Mormon Women Project.


Dina Tyler is a psychiatric survivor, trainer, advocate and peer supporter. She holds the values of the consumer/survivor/ex-patient movement close to her heart that people should have a choice in their treatment, that social inclusion and empowerment of people with lived experience should be a primary focus of improving services, and that recovery-oriented, whole health and integrative approaches should be part of the public mental health system. Dina currently works with people and families seeking an alternative to conventional mental health treatment, supporting those who choose to discontinue taking psychiatric drugs, through offering peer support, sharing personal experience of withdrawal, and working directly with individuals, providers and support networks to create environments conducive to successful withdrawal in the community.

Dina is the Director of the Bay Area Mandala Project, a group bringing together alternative healing communities to support the transformational and spiritual aspects of extreme states of consciousness. She has seven years experience in community mental health working in early psychosis and bipolar intervention programs around the Bay Area, where she trained and supervised peers and family supporters, trained clinical staff on recovery-based language and approaches, and brought compassionate alternative approaches through direct peer support and mentorship. She is a co-founder, facilitator and Board Member of the Bay Area Hearing Voices Network. Dina was awarded the prestigious Peer Specialist of the Year by the National Council for Behavioral Health in 2015 for her work with young adults recently diagnosed with Schizophrenia.


Moderator: Emily Sheera Cutler, is a Mad woman and psychiatric survivor who is passionate about fighting for cognitive liberty - the right to experience any and every thought, feeling, belief, state, and expression of such as long as it does not harm another person - and combating paternalism. She received her Bachelor's in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania, where she completed an honors thesis on sizeism and ways to promote fat acceptance in schools. After her involuntary psychiatric hospitalization at age 20, Emily became particularly interested in fighting for the civil liberties of people labeled mentally ill and became involved with the psychiatric survivors movement.

Emily is currently the Assistant Editor and Community Moderator for Mad in America. In addition to her role at Mad in America, she is a private consultant and has helped plan the consumer/survivor/ex-patient led Alternatives Conference and assisted with Emotional CPR, a non-coercive, non-pathologizing approach to emotional distress and crisis. Emily is also the founder of the grassroots group Southern California Against Forced Treatment, which works to educate the public about the issue of psychiatric confinement and forced treatment as well as provide a force-free, coercion-free space for people to express themselves authentically.


November 14th, 2017

Sandra Steingard, M.D. is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine and Chief Medical Officer at Howard Center, a community mental health center in Burlington, Vermont where she has worked for the past 22 years. For over 25 years her clinical practice has primarily included patients with schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses. She was named to Best Doctors in America in 2003. She currently writes a blog called “Anatomy of a Psychiatrist” a www.madinamerica.com. She has served on the board of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care since 2012 and has served as chair since 2016.

In recent years, her main areas of interest have been in using antipsychotic drugs in a more selective ways and integrating Open Dialogue practices into her clinic. Along with colleagues, she has developed a Vermont-based need-adapted program called Collaborative Network Approach. Dr. Steingard has presented a previous course for Mad In America Continuing Education, “Antipsychotics: Short and Long-term Effects.” She has lectured around the world on these topics. She chaired a workshop and symposium at American Psychiatric Association meetings on the optimal use of antipsychotic drugs. She has tracked a series of individuals who have been tapering their doses of antipsychotic drugs and will present this data in this lecture.


December 12th, 2017

Kelly Brogan, M.D. is a Manhattan-based holistic women’s health psychiatrist, author of the NY Times Bestselling book, A Mind of Your Own, and co-editor of the landmark textbook, Integrative Therapies for Depression. She completed her psychiatric training and fellowship at NYU Medical Center after graduating from Cornell University Medical College, and has a B.S. from MIT in Systems Neuroscience. She is board certified in psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine, and integrative holistic medicine, and is specialized in a root-cause resolution approach to psychiatric syndromes and symptoms.

She is on the board of GreenMedInfo, Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, Functional Medicine University, Pathways to Family Wellness, NYS Perinatal Association, Mindd Foundation, the peer-reviewed, indexed journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, and the Nicholas Gonzalez Foundation. She is Medical Director for Fearless Parent and a founding member of Health Freedom Action. She is a certified KRI Kundalini Yoga teacher and a mother of two.


January 16th, 2018

Carina Håkansson is a Doctor in psychology and licensed psychotherapist at the Extended Therapy Room in Gothenburg, Sweden, where she as part of her work helps people taper off psychiatric medications. In 1987 she created the Family Care Foundation which is built on close collaboration between family homes (a kind of foster home), those called “clients,” their families and professional helpers in order to provide a place which could create “new possibilities” while avoiding the use of psychiatric diagnoses. In 2016 she founded the International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal to bring together international experts on this subject to collect existing knowledge and to develop drug-withdrawal training and research.

Carina has written a number of articles about psychiatry and societal treatment of children in foster care and the ongoing challenges of helping people withdraw from psychiatric medication. She has written three books. The latest, Ordinary Life Therapy: Experiences from a Systemic Collaborative Practice, was published in 2009. One of her articles, "Cut Out Wood Dolls," was published in the journal Psychosis, and explores what it is like to “be with” a person who is experiencing terror.


February 20th, 2018

Peter Breggin, M.D. is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist and former Consultant at NIMH who has been called “The Conscience of Psychiatry” for his many decades of successful efforts to reform the mental health field. His work provides the foundation for modern criticism of psychiatric diagnoses and drugs, and leads the way in promoting more caring and effective therapies. His research and educational projects have brought about major changes in the FDA-approved Full Prescribing Information or labels for dozens of antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs. He continues to educate the public and professions about the tragic psychiatric drugging of America’s children. Dr. Breggin has taught at many universities and has a private practice of psychiatry in Ithaca, New York.

Dr. Breggin has authored dozens of scientific articles and more than twenty books, including medical books and the bestsellers Toxic Psychiatry and Talking Back to Prozac. Two more recent books are Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Crime and Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal: A Guide for Prescribers, Therapists, Patients and their Families. His most recent book is Guilt, Shame and Anxiety: Understanding and Overcoming Negative Emotions. As a medical-legal expert, Dr. Breggin has unprecedented and unique knowledge about how the pharmaceutical industry too often commits fraud in researching and marketing psychiatric drugs. He has testified many times in malpractice, product liability and criminal cases, often in relation to adverse drug effects and more occasionally electroshock and psychosurgery.


March 20th, 2018

Will Hall, MS is a counselor and facilitator working with individuals, couples, families and groups. He has taught and consulted on mental health, trauma, psychosis, medications, domestic violence, conflict resolution, and organizational development. He is a schizophrenia diagnosis survivor and has worked for more than 15 years in community development in the recovery and psychiatric survivor movement. He is the author of The Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Medications and many other publications.

He has consulted and presented for more than 50 organizations in over 13 countries.

He holds a Diploma and Masters Degree in Process Work from the Process Work Institute, and is a PhD candidate at Maastricht University Medical Center and has studied with Jaako Seikkula in Open Dialogue at the Institute for Dialogic Practice.

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