Stories to Awaken the Inner hero

We have completed our series of workshops, Stories to Awaken your Inner Hero in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland with Dr Lewis Mehl-Madrona and Barbara Mainguy. What a great workshop it was. We discovered the healing power of story, the emotional power of using metaphor. The gift it was to be able to listen to someones life challenges, and turn it into a Heros story, using metaphor. The story of Pack rat and First mother, told by Lewis, reminding us all, just like the Heros, not to give up. That by creating a metaphorical story we we become the hero and succeeds, our brains, and spirits began to start searching for a way to create that success on a deeper level.

Uplifting, and engaging.

Here is an interview with Lewis and Barbara before the workshops, talking about it.

Heroes story interview Lewis Mehl Madrona & Barbara Mainguy

Research on Nutrients used for treating Mental illness in New Zealand- Julia Rucklidge

There is some great research and results done here in Canterbury NZ by Julia Rucklidge. Using micronutrients for treating children with ADHD and psychosis.

Here is the TED Talk

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. In this critically important talk, clinical psychologist Julia Rucklidge explores a range of scientific research, including her own, showing the significant role played by nutrition in mental health or illness.

Julia J Rucklidge, PhD is a Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. Originally from Toronto, she did her training in neurobiology (McGill) and Clinical Psychology (University of Calgary). Her interests in nutrition and mental illness grew out of her own research showing poor outcomes for children with significant psychiatric illness despite receiving conventional treatments for their conditions. For the last 6 years, she has been investigating the role of micronutrients in the expression of mental illness, specifically ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, anxiety and more recently, stress and PTSD associated with the Canterbury earthquakes.

Here is a more detailed talk here: What if Nutrition Could treat mental Illness

Despite the advent of medications and other therapies over the last 50 years, the rates of mental illness have been on the rise rather than a decline. Over the last decade, scientists have been uncovering an uncomfortable truth: What we eat is affecting our mental health.
In this talk, Prof Rucklidge will discuss the data that shows an alarming picture of food choices serving as risk factors to all kinds of psychiatric problems; she will then introduce the recent paradigm shift of using nutrients to treat these challenges, reviewing the evidence to date. The talk will challenge our current treatment regime for mental disorders and suggest one alternative course of action.


This World Hearing Voices Day we are holding an event called

Wonderful ways for Wellbeing.HVN Flyer Final Cut

Held at the Grey Lynn Library Hall, we will have a collection of nonmedical ways of increasing the wellbeing of those who experience Voices and Visions in the community.

We will have stands, so you can talk personally, but will also have presentations and demonstrations on the half hour and hour, to explain and entertain.

This includes

Toi Ora- Live Arts- Creativity inspiring Wellness

Hearing Voices Network Support group facilitators

Sue Spurling Homeopath

Sandie Gates- Nutritionist

Brigitte Sistig, Researcher, Psychotherapist and Yoga instructor

Les Slade and Richard Gray- Spiritual and Intuitive healing and Reiki

Edna Heled- Dance therapist.

Liz Hart- Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner.

So come along and be informed. You asked for other ways to stay well, and so this is your chance to learn about some of them.

FREE EVENT- Sponsored by the ASB communities trust.

10am to 3.30PM

SEE YOU THERE- Behind the Grey Lynn Library, Great North Road, Parking is limited.


Hallucinations- a new book by Oliver Sack

Saw this morning, a book by neurologist Oliver Sack. Looks interesting. Will watch out for any more reviews and excerpts

Hallucinations can be terrifying, enlightening, amusing or just plain strange. They’re thought to be at the root of fairy tales, religious experiences and some kinds of art. Neurologist Oliver Sacks has been mapping the oddities of the human brain for decades, and his latest book,Hallucinations, is a thoughtful and compassionate look at the phantoms our brains can produce — which he calls “an essential part of the human condition.” In this chapter, Sacks examines auditory hallucinations. “Hearing voices” has long been the classic signifier of mental illness, but many otherwise healthy people just happen to have hallucinatory voices in their heads, according to Sacks.Hallucinations will be published Nov. 6.


It shows chapter 4 on the blog

DSM 5 Psychiatric manual under attack.

The latest edition of DSM, the influential American dictionary of psychiatry, says that shyness in children, depression after bereavement, even internet addiction can be classified as mental disorders. It has provoked a professional backlash, with some questioning the alleged role of vested interests in diagnosis

See the full article here

It has the distinctly uncatchy, abbreviated title DSM-5, and is known to no one outside the world of mental health.

But, even before its publication a week on Wednesday, the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, psychiatry’s dictionary of disorders, has triggered a bitter row that stretches across the Atlantic and has fuelled a profound debate about how modern society should treat mental disturbance.

Critics claim that the American Psychiatric Association’s increasingly voluminous manual will see millions of people unnecessarily categorised as having psychiatric disorders. For example, shyness in children, temper tantrums and depression following the death of a loved one could become medical problems, treatable with drugs. So could internet addiction.

Inevitably such claims have given ammunition to psychiatry’s critics, who believe that many of the conditions are simply inventions dreamed up for the benefit of pharmaceutical giants.

A disturbing picture emerges of mutual vested interests, of a psychiatric industry in cahoots with big pharma. As the writer, Jon Ronson, only half-joked in a recent TED talk: “Is it possible that the psychiatric profession has a strong desire to label things that are essential human behaviour as a disorder?”

Psychiatry’s supporters retort that such suggestions are clumsy, misguided and unhelpful, and complain that the much-hyped publication of the manual has become an excuse to reheat tired arguments to attack their profession.

But even psychiatry’s defenders acknowledge that the manual has its problems. Allen Frances, a professor of psychiatry and the chair of the DSM-4 committee, used his blog to attack the production of the new manual as “secretive, closed and sloppy”, and claimed that it “includes new diagnoses and reductions in thresholds for old ones that expand the already stretched boundaries of psychiatry and threaten to turn diagnostic inflation into hyperinflation”.

Others in the mental health field have gone even further in their criticism. Thomas R Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, the American government’s leading agency on mental illness research and prevention, recently attacked the manual’s “validity”.

And now, in a significant new attack, the very nature of disorders identified by psychiatry has been thrown into question. In an unprecedented move for a professional body, the Division of Clinical Psychology (DCP), which represents more than 10,000 practitioners and is part of the distinguished British Psychological Society, will tomorrow publish a statement calling for the abandonment of psychiatric diagnosis and the development of alternatives which do not use the language of “illness” or “disorder”.

The statement claims: “Psychiatric diagnosis is often presented as an objective statement of fact, but is, in essence, a clinical judgment based on observation and interpretation of behaviour and self-report, and thus subject to variation and bias.”

The language may be arcane, but the implication is clear. According to the DCP, “diagnoses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, personality disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorders and so on” are of “limited reliability and questionable validity”.

Diagnosis is often described as the holy grail of psychiatry. Without it, psychiatry’s foundations crumble. For this reason Mary Boyle, emeritus professor at the Univerity of East London, believes that the impact of the DCP’s statement marks a dramatic shift in the mental health debate.

“The statement isn’t just an account of the many problems of psychiatric diagnosis and the lack of evidence to support it,” she said. “It’s a call for a completely different way of thinking about mental health problems, away from the idea that they are illnesses with primarily biological causes.”

Psychiatrists say that such claims have been made many times before and ignore mountains of peer-reviewed papers about the importance that biological factors play in determining mental health, including significant work in the field of genetics. It also, they say, misrepresents psychiatry’s position by ignoring its emphasis on the impact of the social environment on mental health.

Most psychiatrists concede that diagnosis of psychiatric disorder is not perfect. But, as Harold S Koplewicz, a leading child and adolescent psychiatrist, explained in an article for the Huffington Post, “those lists of behaviours in the DSM, and other rating scales we use, are tools to help us look at behaviour as objectively as possible, to find the patterns and connections that can lead to better understanding and treatment”.

Independent experts also say that it is hard to see how the world of mental health could function without diagnosis. “We know that, for many people affected by a mental health problem, receiving a diagnosis enabled by diagnostic documents like the DSM-5 can be extremely helpful,” said Paul Farmer, chief executive of the mental health charity Mind. “A diagnosis can provide people with appropriate treatments, and could give the person access to other support and services, including benefits.”

But even Farmer acknowledged that diagnosis is imperfect. “For example it takes, on average, 10 years before a person with bipolar disorder gets a correct diagnosis, which comes with a number of mental and physical health implications, such as side-effects from the wrong medication,” he said.

But now the DCP has transformed the debate about diagnosis by claiming that it is not only unscientific but unhelpful and unnecessary.

“Strange though it may sound, you do not need a diagnosis to treat people with mental health problems,” said Dr Lucy Johnstone, a consultant clinical psychologist who helped to draw up the DCP’s statement.

“We are not denying that these people are very distressed and in need of help. However, there is no evidence that these experiences are best understood as illnesses with biological causes. On the contrary, there is now overwhelming evidence that people break down as a result of a complex mix of social and psychological circumstances – bereavement and loss, poverty and discrimination, trauma and abuse.”

Eleanor Longden, who hears voices and was told she was a schizophrenic who would be better off having cancer as “it would be easier to cure”, explains that her breakthrough came after a meeting with a psychiatrist who asked her to tell him a bit about herself. In a paper for the academic journal, Psychosis, Longden recalled: “I just looked at him and said ‘I’m Eleanor, and I’m a schizophrenic’.”

Longden writes: “And in his quiet, Irish voice he said something very powerful, ‘I don’t want to know what other people have told you about yourself, I want to know about you.’

“It was the first time that I had been given the chance to see myself as a person with a life story, not as a genetically determined schizophrenic with aberrant brain chemicals and biological flaws and deficiencies that were beyond my power to heal.”

Longden, who is pursuing a career in academia and is now a campaigner against diagnosis, views this conversation as a crucial first step in the healing process that took her off medication. “I am proud to be a voice-hearer,” she writes. “It is an incredibly special and unique experience.”

Hers is an inspirational story. But to focus on one person’s experiences would be to ignore the testimonies of others who believe that their mental distress has biomedical roots. Indeed, many people report that they can see no clear reason for their distress and firmly believe their life stories have little bearing on their mental state.

Nevertheless the DCP believes the world of mental health treatment would benefit from a “paradigm shift” so that it focused less on the biological aspects of mental health and more on the personal and the social.

“In essence, instead of asking ‘What is wrong with you?’, we need to ask ‘What has happened to you?’,” Johnstone said. “Once we know that, we can draw on psychological evidence to show how life events and the sense that people make of them have led to the current difficulties.”

A shift away from a biological focus would give succour to psychiatry’s critics, who question society’s reliance on the use of drugs or interventions such as electroconvulsive therapy to treat psychiatric breakdown.

Prescriptions of antidepressants increased nearly 30% in England between 2008 and 2011, the latest available data.

A recent article in the online edition of the British Medical Journal suggested “that only one in seven people actually benefits” from antidepressants and claimed that three-quarters of the experts who wrote the definitions of mental illness had links to drug companies.

Professor Sir Simon Wessely, chair of Psychological Medicine at King’s College London (KCL), argues that his profession has always emphasised the need to “look at the whole person, and indeed beyond the person to their family, and to society”, and that claims psychiatry is being “taken over by the biologists” are unfounded.

This defence, which will be outlined at a major international conference on the impact of DSM-5, to be held at KCL at the beginning of June, is often lost in a shrill debate.

Indeed, it is noticeable just how vocal psychiatry’s critics are becoming ahead of the publication of DSM-5. In an attempt to pour oil on troubled waters, Professor Sue Bailey, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, conceded that “many of the criticisms that are levelled at DSM” were valid but warned that the row was “distracting us from the real challenge, which is providing high-quality mental health services and treatment to patients and carers”.

Bailey insisted the manual’s publication “won’t have any direct influence on the diagnosis of mental illness in the NHS”. But it will frame the wider debate about how people see mental health. As Wessely acknowledged, psychiatry’s critics will seize on the manual’s “daft” new categories of mental disorder to bolster claims that the profession is “medicalising normality”.

There is an irony here. Psychiatry lies wounded and much of the damage appears to be self-inflicted. The emotional scars may take decades to heal.

Voice hearers experience of Neurolink

This is an email I received last year, and I thought I had posted it here. But doesnt look like it. We like to share what other voice hearers find helpful.

I have spoken to you a couple of times over the past few years in regards to my husband who has been a voice hearer for as long as he can remember. As discussed in the past he hears very aggressive negative voices.

I wanted to let you know the very interesting journey we have been down this year…..

In June he had a sudden onset of a severe pain in the back of his head that was so intense we ended up at hospital with him getting CT scans and lumbar puncture to screen for a brain tumour. The tests came back negative and he was just given pain killers and basically told to see how it goes. This pain in his head did not leave for 5 months solid. In that time he was seen by Rheumatologist (given steroid shots in his skull) to no avail. Then he saw a Neurologist who said it was a chronic nerve pain called occipital neuralgia. This pain never left in five months and left all the specialists and osteopaths scratching their heads. The last thing we got told was that maybe his depression was causing pain so to take a high dose anti depressant  !!!!  Honestly !?! how insulting !

 After this pain wearing him down for such a long time in desperation we decided to try a few new things ……A friend of ours was telling us amazing results that her and her friends had had at a place called Neurolink in Greenlane.

So with nothing much to lose we gave it a go ……here’s the best part …..he left there with his headache completely gone ….and even more amazing than that ….he left there with no voices !!!!!!! he told me this a week after the treatment because he couldn’t quite believe it ! They have been gone ever since he had treatment, which is now a couple of months!

 This was just amazing because his voices are with him all day every day running a constant commentary on his daily life and activities!

Neurolink is a technique to reconnect neural path ways that have been disrupted. The treatment is completely gentle an non invasive with a series of muscles tests and tapping technique

I thought I would let you know as this has been an amazing experience and We want to share this experience with others. We told the Neurolink practitioner about his voices whilst we were there.

 We are happy for you to pass this info on if you wanted to

 They have a website you may want to check out

 Take care

 We are always happy to share what works and what doesnt.