Madness Radio: Voices And Visions from Outside Mental Health explores 'madness' from beyond conventional perspectives and mainstream treatments, featuring survivors, authors, advocates, professionals, and artists.
Hosted by Will Hall, Madness Radio launched in 2005 on Valley Free Radio and aired more than 200 shows since then. We've been broadcast on KBOO in Oregon, syndicated on other stations through Pacifica, and currenrly podcasting on Spotify, Stitcher, iTunes, Pandora, and Google Play. More info on our About page.
Check out the Madness Radio book! Outside Mental Health: Voices and Visions of Madness gathers edited show interviews and additional content, and is available in print and as a free download.
Madness Radio is an affiliate of Mad In America Radio!
Check out www.madinamerica.com. Theme music courtesy Bonfire Madigan. Thanks to past Madness Radio Producers Jenka Soderberg, Nina Packebush, Leah Harris and Jeremy Lanzman. And thanks to our 190+ Madness Radio Kickstarter donors for supporting the show!
Listen to recent shows below or find us in your favorite podcast app, subscribe to be notified of new episodes on the right, browse by topics, search by keyword, or see a list all 200+ shows by date and title, in the archive. (Shorter versions are also available.)
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What does it mean to be called “crazy” in a crazy world? Listen to the free audiobook of the Preface to Outside Mental Health: Voices and Visions of Madness, written and read by Will Hall.
Outside Mental Health: Voices and Visions of Madness reveals the human side of mental illness. Based on ten years of Madness Radio interviews, more than 60 voices of psychiatric patients, scientists, journalists, doctors, activists, and artists create a vital new conversation about empowering the human spirit. Outside Mental Health invites us to rethink what we know about bipolar, psychosis, schizophrenia, depression, medications, and mental illness in society.
Voice hearers, mystics, visionaries, and mad people are found throughout the scriptures of Judaism. What does Jewish theology have to teach us about madness and psychiatric diagnosis? How can modern Judaism show the way to new responses to extreme and altered states, in our communities and ourselves? Caroline Mazel-Carlton is a survivor of psychiatric crisis diagnosed as psychosis, Director of Training at the Wildflower Alliance – Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community, Hearing Voiced and Alternatives to Suicide support group facilitator/trainer, and part of the Jewish Renewal movement studying to be a rabbi.www.westernmassrlc.org/ https://aleph.org/
What are the key ingredients of alternative mental health programs – and what makes them different and successful? Connor Tindall followed his calling to become a a therapist after confronting mistreatment by a psychotherapist as a teen. He went on to work at the innovative Soteria House Alaska, a hospital alternative where compassionate respect for residents — and much less use of medications — meant a chance to explore the meaning in madness and find real paths to healing. Connor discusses how awareness of power imbalances, the inspiration of the women’s movement, and his difficult psychdedelic drug trips all shaped his vision of a new kind of psychotherapy.
Has modern psychiatry lost its soul? How can dreams, storytelling, and imagination help people in emotional crisis – including psychosis and madness? What lessons can we learn from shamanism, the placebo effect, and the importance of the doctor’s “bedside manner’? George Mecouch MD, psychiatrist, Jungian therapist, and author of While Psychiatry Slept: Reawakening the Imagination in Therapy, discusses how to recover the lost art of healing in an era dominated by technology.
How is psychotherapy different when the therapist is also a survivor? What vital lessons must therapists learn from people who have experienced psychosis? If therapy is an imbalance of power between therapist and patient, how can therapists avoid the misuse of power and protect clients from harm? Olga Runciman, voice hearer, psychiatric nurse in locked wards, and survivor of a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, brings her experience with recovery to her work as a psychotherapist in private practice.
What does healthcare become when science is limited by a mechanistic, machine view of reality? How does a mechanistic view shape concepts of mental health and illness – and deny the fundamental aliveness of human beings? What does the study of living systems teach us for creating a different, more holistic vision? Fritjof Capra, theoretical physicist, systems theorist, and author of several international bestselling books including The Tao of Physics, The Web of Life, and most recently The Systems View of Life (co-authored with Pier Luigi Luisi), discusses a shift in scientific consciousness with far reaching implications for our understanding of mind and mental illness. www.fritjofcapra.net www.capracourse.net Photo: Basso Cannarsa
Does a diet without animal products improve mental health? Why can changing to plant based nutrition be so hard to sustain? And are people’s food ethics a symptom of eating disorder or neglected self care? Sabrina Louise, a vegan educator, consultant at Portland Community College, and ecstatic dance DJ, discusses how to transition away from eating animal products while avoiding common mistakes that can undermine health.
How can people come off psychiatric medications in the safest way? What are the key lessons and vital ingredients for leaving psychiatric care? Is there life after meds? Laura Delano spent 14 years as a psychiatric patient before she left behind her psychiatric diagnoses and reclaimed herself. Today she is Director of the Inner Compass Initiative and The Withdrawal Project, working to support drug withdrawal and build community beyond the mental health system. www.theinnercompass.org withdrawal.theinnercompass.org https://bit.ly/2ISZuzh
What’s it like to be a teenager in a psychiatric hospital? What’s it like to be a queer pregnant teenager? And is it true that friends do make the best medicine? Nina Packebush explores these questions and more in her groundbreaking debut young adult novel, Girls Like Me. Girls Like Me is an In the Margins 2018 recommended book and a Lambda Literary Finalist. Nina is a queer-identified, grown-up teen mom, writer, zine maker, and mental health advocate – as well as Madness Radio Producer. www.ninapackebush.com
Is psychosis a journey and a breakthrough to somewhere more authentic? Should unhappy people be made to adjust to a mad society? Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing was a fierce critic of the mental health system, and saw madness as a rational adaptation to irrational family and social constraints. Laing’s compelling prose, acute intellect, and spiritual insight made a huge cultural impact worldwide, shaping the psychiatric survivor movement and calling to overturn social conventions during the U.S. war in Vietnam and the revolutionary 1960s. How are Laing’s provocative insights about politics and culture still relevant today?
Michael Guy Thompson, a psychoanalyst and founder of the Gnosis Retreat Center, worked with R.D. Laing in London and has created hospital alternative sanctuaries for people struggling with experiences called psychosis. He directs the annual R.D. Laing in the 21st Century Symposium at Esalen Institute. www.gnosisretreatcenter.org www.michaelguythompson.com
Is madness breakdown or initiation into a spiritual calling? Crazywise is a documentary film that explores the meaning of psychosis from the perspective of traditional cultures and shamanism, following the stories of people struggling with extreme states, spiritual awakening, and the mental health system’s failures. Filmmaker Phil Borges is an award winning photographer and filmmaker whose work has appeared on National Geographic and Discover. www.crazywisefilm.
How can seeing visions and hearing voices be transformed into a spiritual gift for healing? What does the initiation ordeal into becoming a shaman involve? Gogo Ekhaya Esima was diagnosed with psychosis and confined in psychiatric hospitals before she became an initiated Sangoma healer in the Zulu tradition of South Africa. Today she is a certified Peer Recovery Specialist in mental health, a trauma survivor, and a spiritual teacher and was recently featured in the film Crazywise.
What is it like to hear voices — and are all voices harmful or can they also be helpers? What does voice hearing say about the human mind – and the society we live in? And how can we support people who hear voices? Lisa Forestell has heard voices since she was a child. She is an organizer with the Hearing Voices Movement and with the Western Massachusetts Learning Community, a mutual support initiative run by and for people with lived experience of unusual and extreme states of mind labeled as “mental illness.” http://www.westernmassrlc.org/
Is mindfulness meditation about calming the mind and accepting things as they are? Or is it a force for social change and challenging oppression? Can meditation help us become intimate with our wild, primal and untamed creative force? Nirali Shah, certified UCLA mindfulness facilitator and teacher at Spirit Rock, has spent thousands of hours meditating, as well as serving in one of the largest slum communities of Asia. She currently teaches with technology companies such as Google as well as academic institutions and non-profits, with a focus on re-wilding the self.