Friday, 20 November 2015

R.I.P. Steve Morgan

After struggling with Multiple Systems Atrophy, sadly Steve recently passed away. 

We will always remember Steve for his great musical talents.

Rest in Peace Steve.

November Newsletter

Dear Friends,

We wish to thank the amazing speakers Cristian Montenegro, Rodrigo Fredes, Paula Peters and Dave Skull for their presentation at our Human Rights event at the Kingsley Hall last week.

As days are colder and shorter we received many apologies, however we were very pleased with the few but good participants that came along in support of the event. Specially delighted to see several Mad Pride members (please see details for event on 20th Nov below the page).

We were very pleased to hear the manifesto contained in the brand new Mental Health Manual of Human Rights presented by Rodrigo, which was recently presented in Europe, at the International Hearing Voices convention in Madrid. We look forward to see the English translated book soon. In the meantime the Spanish version is available to be purchased; please contact Rodrigo directly for more details on

Notes from the event are now available to be shared. Send us an email if you wish to have a copy.

F.E.E.L. is now 8 years old. This week, at our monthly meeting at LARC, we have discussed the work we have done in these past years, run entirely by complete volunteer initiative. Although externally for some people might have not meant much, for ourselves it has been of amazing benefit. We have now decided to have a sabbatical to take care of ourselves, possibly resuming the monthly meetings around February 2016. There probably won't be much action online either, as it's a much needed time for some media and social media detox, although we will do our best to support fellow campaigners events, when energy will allow us.

On a personal level, looking at the likeness of the figure 8 with the infinity symbol , there is a feeling of completion of what F.E.E.L. has served for ourselves and the community. Our message is out there, repeated infinitus, not only by fellow survivors, but from a large range of professionals around the world. Most of these, which might have first hand experience of mental illness themselves, have their own stories, their own evidence to share that match our own. Some people might have seen us as extremist, but probably those don't know, nor understand what we are talking about.

I have not got around sharing my personal story as I wish it to see imprinted; yet I am proud of being free from the damaging pshyco-drugs for over two years now. Nevertheless I am dependent to other meds that keep me alive and cannot incriminate Big Pharma from all angles. Nor I wish to encourage or push people to come off their meds; everyone needs to be free to make their own choices, responsible of the self and own life. Only suggestion is to stay informed!

My early (unedited!) blog posts still hold the strong feelings that have fuelled my involvement in F.E.E.L., which has been a great support in maintaining sanity in this crazy world. Thank you comrades!

Concluding, wishing you all to find strength and courage to go thought difficulties; always remember that either good or bad things never last forever. Make the most of your favourite ones!



As part of MHRN's series of "SolidariTea" events at the Field in New Cross, on Friday from 7.30pm we will be hosting a Survivors Poetry performance with music and poetry from Dave Russell, Frank Bangay, Razz, King Miserable, C.T. and floor spots. Free crisps. All welcome. This will be preceded by a MHRN action-planning meeting.


Tangled Up in Laing: Reading R. D. Laing

Host: Adrian Chapman. Venue: Arcola Theatre 24 Ashwin St, London E8 3DL

Date: Sat 21 November. Time: 12.30pm-2pm FREE To book: drop in
This discussion-based event introduces Laing, the radical Scottish psychiatrist, author and sixties counter-cultural figure (who played a part in the original anti-university of London). We’ll focus especially on Laing’s conception of alienation. Attention will be paid, too, to his influence and the ways in which he might be relevant today.

No prior knowledge of Laing is required. Brief photocopies of his work, on which discussion will be based, will be handed out. Why not make an afternoon of it? Book a ticket to see a performance of The Divided Laing following this discussion in the same venue. Adrian Chapman, who teaches English Literature and writing at American universities based in London, has published on Laing and anti-psychiatry and will take up a Wellcome Trust-funded research fellowship next year at University of Glasgow, where he will be researching in the R. D. Laing Archive.

The Divided Laing. The play by Patrick Marmion is currently showing at the Arcola Theatre in Hackney, until the 12th of December


The Survivors History Group London Meeting

The next Survivors History Group meeting is taking place on Wednesday 25th November. As usual the meeting will be happening at the mezzanine at Together, 12 Old Street, London, EC1V 9BE from 1pm to 4.30pm ish. Refreshments will be provided and everyone is very welcome.


Mad about Poetry Books Launch 2
Thursday 26th November
Venue: Tea House Theater 139 Vauxhall Walk SE11 5HL. Door open 19:30

The most amazing evening coming to South London A magical evening of fun laughter and performance poetry with international poets. Never before and probably never again 17 of London's finest poets come together in one evening supporting 8 new title from W.C.H. Publishing , covering a range of emotion heartfelt express as only people who know. Their books take you on a journey of human hart string pluck to express the many different emotions. £3 entry, free for performers.


William Blake's 258th Birthday Celebration

Sat 28th November, from 1pm
All are welcome to the William Blake Congregation's annual Celebration of Blake's Birthday at the Tate Britain, in the Blake room,(Turner wing) Millbank, SW1P 4RG. Free to attend. Bring Poetry, Music, Dance to celebrate William Blake 258th! Cake & Cava in the garden afterwards!


Spark London Open Mic

Spark London has been called Britain’s first true storytelling club. Everyone is welcome to sit back and listen, or you can get stuck into the action and tell your own story. There are only three rules at Spark:
1) It must be true
2) It must be your own story, and
3) It must be under five minutes long.

With a different theme each time, you'll soon find yourself talking to friends and strangers about moments from each other's lives. Our aim is always to connect people through true stories. There are regular storytelling nights at the Hackney Attic and Upstairs at the Ritzy, and we put on a monthly show at the Canal Café Theatre featuring all the best stories plus special guest storytellers.

WORKSHOP: We run regular storytelling workshops to help you find and develop your stories. If there are no workshops listed on our events page then please email or join our mailing list so we can let you know what is happening when.



Sacred Cacao Lotus Love Journey @ Kingsley Hall, Bromley - by- Bow
Saturday 12th December 7 -11pm

5 Elements Meditation and Dance Sound Journey Sacred Cacao Ceremony with 5 element dance with the energy of AIR, with EARTH, with FIRE, with WATER.

***Low income Online tickets £15
***Normal wages Online tickets £20
***At the door £25

Monday, 2 November 2015

Mental Health, Psychiatric Drugs and Metabolism

We are pleased to publicate this article about the effects of psychiatric medication on metabolism recently written by Catherine Clarke SRN, SCM, MSSCH, MBChA and Jan Evans MCSP. Grad Dip Phys.

There is plenty of evidence about these type of studies and researches. Since the pharmaceutical industry has no interest in circulating them it is OUR responsibility, being at the receiving end, to share them and stay informed.

Previous articles by Clarke shedding light on the ill-effect of psychiatric drugs and consequential patient violence were publicised on the Asylum Magazine ( Nos 17.2, 17.3 and 20.3).

The fully referenced and detailed article can be obtained requesting it directly to the author :

Catherine Clarke SRN, SCM, MSSCH, MBChA

Jan Evans MCSP. Grad Dip Phys

28th September 2015

Mental health disorders are predominantly treated with psychiatric medications, which are licensed psychoactive drugs. This document focuses primarily on psychiatric drug induced mood changing side effects in relation to metabolisation. Metabolism is defined as an ability of the body to break down medications. Individual inability to break down medications efficiently causes toxicity, resulting in side effects. This enlightening information falls outside the remit of mental health mainstream literature. Although ‘side effects’ is common terminology, Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) is the more accurate term as it reflects drug induced toxicities and is referred to throughout this document. The term antipsychotic is definitively replaced by neuroleptic, which means literally to ‘seize the nerve’.

Psychiatric Medications Adverse Drug Reactions

Many individuals treated with psychiatric medications experience severe ADRs, without any effective drug response. Whilst antidepressant and neuroleptic drugs can cause iatrogenic physical ADRs, it is not widely known that psychiatric medications can induce mood changing neurotoxic behavioural ADRs. SSRIs for depression can precipitate deepening depression, suicidal ideation, suicide, homicidal ideation, homicide, akathisia and agitation, mania and delirium, severe anxiety, bizarre thinking and reasoning psychosis, and hallucinations. Neuroleptics, used to treat psychosis, are linked with violence, suicidal and homicidal behaviour leading to completed suicide and homicide.

So why do some individuals respond well to drugs and others not?

A major factor for varied drug responses is due to individuals’ differing genetic makeup, known as pharmacogenetics or drug metabolism. Although there are many metabolising systems in the body, the major metabolising systems for psychiatric medications are the CYP450 enzyme system, principally in the liver, and the serotonergic system. Both systems have an important role in the outcome of treatment, ADRs and efficacy.

450CYP Enzyme System

75% of psychiatric drugs including antidepressant and neuroleptic medications, are metabolised through CYP2D6, which is one of the most variable metabolizing enzyme pathways known. Other pathways that metabolise antidepressants and neuroleptic drugs include CYPC19, CYPC9, CYP1A2, CYP 3A4 and CYPA5.Genetic variations, known as alleles, classify individuals as either being Poor Metaboliser (PM), Intermediate Metaboliser (IM), Extensive Metaboliser (EM) or Ultra Metaboliser (UM) genotypes. PMs have two non-functional alleles and IMs have one non-functional allele plus one diminished allele or two diminished alleles or two partially active alleles. UMs have more than two active gene copies on the same allele, or increased expression of a single allele. EMs have one or at the most two functional alleles with ‘normal ‘activity.Genetic variability affects psychiatric medication outcomes. PMs and IMs incur neurotoxicities leading to violent acts, as do UMs with prodrug use. EM individuals are likely to have a therapeutic response without neurotoxic ADRs.EMs determine the window of opportunity for a drug therapeutic level and sets the recommended drug dosage. This is important, as drug companies do not specify drug dosage for UMs, IMs and PMs, which explains why these individuals do not respond well to standard drug doses.

Combined PM and IM frequency via CYP450 2D6:

· 26% Caucasians
· 40-50% African-Americans
· 50% Africans

Statistically, Black Minority and Ethnic (BME) populations have greater difficulty metabolising psychiatric medications compared with White and Asian population, due to the higher frequency of lower metabolism at CYP 2D6. BME groups are four times more likely to experience psychosis than Caucasians, with African Caribbean people three to five times more likely than any other group, of being diagnosed with schizophrenia and admitted to hospital.

Serotonergic System

Antidepressants and neuroleptics are regulated through the serotonergic system. The serotonin system consists of the Serotonin Transporter Gene and serotonin receptors (5-HT). As with the CYP450 system, the serotonergic system has genetic variations that affect outcomes.

Serotonin Transporter Gene and Antidepressants

Genetic variations in the promoter region of the Serotonin Transporter Gene (5HTT-LPR) are coded as L/L (2 long alleles), L/S (a long and a short allele) or S/S (2 short alleles). Those individuals with the L/L code have a ‘normal’ gene activity and respond well to antidepressant medications. In contrast individuals with the short allele have slower gene activity, resulting in a reduction of serotonin transmission. Both L/S and S/S individuals treated with antidepressants have poor outcomes, and a ‘powerfully predicted non response’. Emerging antidepressant ADRs are inevitable for individuals with the short allele.

Individual response to neuroleptic medication is also affected by 5HTT-LPR variations. 50% of individuals coded L/L receiving neuroleptic treatment with haloperidol experienced parkinsonian side effects; however the incidence of parkinsonian side effects for L/S and S/S allele individuals rose to 62.2% and 83.1% respectively.

What is the frequency of 5HTT-LPR Gene Variants?

Population Frequency of 5HTT-LPR Variations

Individuals coded with (S/S) and (S/L) genotype:
Caucasians S/S (39%)
Caucasians S/L (52%)
East Asians S/S (49–74%)
Native Americans S/S (42%)
African Americans S/S (7–17%)

Individuals coded with L/L genotype:
Caucasians (29–43%)
African Americans (45–56%)
Native American (10–14%)
East Asian samples (1–13%)

Serotonin Receptors

There are 14 types of 5-HT receptors that can be targeted by antidepressants and neuroleptics. However the 5-HT 2A serotonin receptor variant, in particular, is associated with individual poor response and increased risk of ADRs when treated with antidepressant selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. This same receptor variant has been linked to poor response from some individuals having neuroleptic treatment.

Genotype Testing

CYP450, 5HTT-LPR and 5-HT receptor genotype testing can determine individual status for metabolizing psychiatric medications. Prescribers do not currently conduct genotype testing prior to treatment and take no account of whether or not individuals are able to efficiently metabolise medication. The current practice is to work on a crude trial and error basis when treating individuals with psychiatric medication.

Genotype testing of an individual prior psychiatric medication treatment would enable assessment and prediction of the potential for neurotoxic behavioural ADRs in line with genotype status as depicted in the table above. The genotype test is a simple blood or swab test and in 2013 the standard cost of a test was £30. Retrospective genotyping for psychiatric drugs has demonstrated that there would have been a significant reduction in the financial outlay/cost based on the use of inappropriate medication and subsequent unnecessary healthcare costs.

Genotype testing is used by pharmaceutical companies during medication trials (stages II - 1V), to de-select individuals who are PMs and potentially liable to suffer severe ADRs. This practice includes trials with psychiatric medication and is done for reasons of safety, and also to show medication in its best light.


Neurotoxic behavioural ADRs are not understood in psychiatry. When individuals respond violently to psychiatric medication the practice in psychiatry is to increase the dose and/or polypharmacy. This practice is completely futile as further medications increase neurotoxicities. Individuals are theoretically being overdosed, albeit unwittingly by prescribers. Prescribing of psychiatric medications is done on a crude trial end error basis. Individual suffering is immense. This needs to change.

Friday, 16 October 2015

October Newsletter

Dear Friends, ​

The 10th of October marked World Mental Health Day. "Dignity in Mental Health" was this year's theme chosen by the World Federation for Mental Health, which produced a document for the occasion

Yet, mental health patients still suffer torture in the form of forced detention, coercive drugging and forced electroshock. When will this end?hings only change when action is taken.

We would like to invite you to the next FEEL public event "Drug Tyranny & Human Rights" that will take place on Tuesday the 10th of November at the Kingsley Hall, Powis Road, London, E3 3HJ

The speaker for the event are:

Cristian R. Montenegro (PhD Student at the London School of Economics, member of the Observatory of Human Rights of Persons With Mental Disabilities - Chile) “Global Legal Frameworks and Local Struggles: Experiences from Latin

Paula Peters (national DPAC steering group - Disabled People Against the Cuts) “The Devastating Impact of the Benefit Cuts"

Dave Skull (Mental Health Resistance Network, Mad Pride) “Compulsory Community Treatment Orders and Coercion in Recovery

The event will take place between 7-9 PM, however as every Tuesday the Three Bees Cafe will be open for refreshments from 5 PM.

In the main time FEEL monthly meeting is taking place this coming Monday the 19th. Please join us is you can.

As usual, please find below a list of links and events that might be of your interest.



Michael Kingsbury (In Lambeth, Ying Tong) directs the world premiere production on the 50th anniversary of The Philadelphia Association and of Laing’s experimental asylum at Kingsley Hall in Bromley-by-Bow.

Alan Cox plays Ronnie Laing in this provocative, freewheeling comedy by the acclaimed playwright and journalist Patrick Marmion.

The Divided Laing will showcase at the Arcola Theatre in Hackney, from 17th November - 12th December.


​Toynbee Hall and Middlesex University are hosting a seminar: Justice cuttings.
Legal aid cuts and experiences of accessing justice for those in need- to share findings from their joint research that explored the needs and experiences of people who feel they have nowhere else to turn because of legal aid cuts. One of the issues that will be under discussion in the seminar is mental health. Attendees will also have the opportunity to discuss the impact of legal aid and other cuts on different groups and communities and help to identify possible solutions. The seminar will take place:
Date: Monday 9th November 2015, Time: 3pm to 6:30pm
Venue: Linklaters LLP (Auditorium) - 1 Silk Street London EC2Y 8HQ GB

If you are interested in attending this event, click on the link below to see more information and register:


Power, Interest and Psychology: developing David Smail’s ideas
Thursday 12th November 2015 - Friday 13th November 2015 at Novotel Birmingham Centre

This exciting interdisciplinary event will appeal to anyone wanting to understand the connections between psychology and disciplines such as sociology, epidemiology, philosophy and cultural studies.

David Smail’s last book, ‘Power, Interest and Psychology’, was published in 2005. His other books include ‘How To Survive Without Psychotherapy’ (1996), ‘The Origins of Unhappiness’ (1993), ‘Taking Care’ (1987) and ‘Illusion and Reality: the meaning of anxiety’ (1984). David was appointed head of clinical psychology services in Nottingham in 1969, a post he held until his retirement in 1998. He was also Special Professor in Clinical Psychology at the University of Nottingham


More Harm than Good Conference on Psychiatric Drugs

​On September 18th, the one day "More Harm than Good Conference" brought together many of the leaders of the critical psychiatry movement. While the event has passed, the videos and slides from the conference have been made available on the council for evidence-based psychiatry site
The slides from the event can be downloaded here.

The individual videos of each to the talks given at the conference can be accessed on their YouTube channel

The individual talks are:

Dr James Davies: The Origins of the DSM

Robert Whitaker: Our Psychiatric Drug Epidemic

Robert Whitaker: ADHD, Changing the Child Instead of the Environment

Prof Peter Gøtzsche: Why Few Patients Benefit and Many are Harmed

Prof John​ Abraham: The Misadventures of Pharmaceutical Regulation


New Evidence that Antidepressants Are Causing an Epidemic of Violence
A new article has been circulating recently, presenting the strong links between psychotropic drugs and violence.Other evidence shows that people who have exhibited no propensity for violence or aggression can develop violent behavior soon after beginning antidepressants. Not only that, but the use of these drugs might be the very cause of recurrent psychotic episodes.
Proof of how users became more likely to do violence to themselves or others are not new, they are only rarely mentioned in mainstream services, and information suppressed by the conflict of interest of the pharmaceutical firms.

More in the following links:

Ask the FDA to Warn Patients of SSRI Violence!

Please take part in this action, writing to the FDA to expand black box warnings on SSRI medications.


Press Release of the Hochschule Niederrhein,
University of Applied Sciences

After more than two years of development the Biographische Archiv der Psychiatrie (Biographical Archive of Psychiatry - BIAPSY) is now online. An initial compilation of 130 biographical entries featuring influential individuals from the history of psychiatry is now available at

The innovative online archive was developed at the Hochschule Niederrhein under the supervision of Professor Dr. Burkhart Brückner of the Faculty of Applied Social Sciences. The project was made possible by a funding programme for the humanities and social sciences offered by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. On the one hand the online archive features famous individuals from the world of science, on the other it also includes patients and members of their families. "In accordance with the principle of a ‘history from below’, we are also documenting the viewpoints of patients with psychiatric experiences. "We therefore combine the historiography of the psychiatric profession with patient-centred historiography," Brückner comments, describing the participatory approach of his team.

Which role do the patients play in the history of psychiatry? Which famous individuals were the most influential? Why does a person become a psychiatrist or psychotherapist? These are typical questions that were at the centre of focus during compilation of the short biographies. "We seek to address these questions in their respective socio-historical contexts," Brückner reports. "Particular attention was paid to ensuring scientific quality. Our sources and texts comply with the medical historical standards," he continues. The earliest entry in the online archive presents the Late Medieval English mystic Margery Kempe. However, the emphasis is on individuals from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Another criterion: Only individuals who have been deceased for at least two years are included. So far, around 40 percent of the existing biographies have also been translated into English. The most famous people featured in the archive include Vincent van Gogh, Sigmund Freud, Karl Jaspers, Carl Rogers and Emil Kraepelin. The patients’ perspective is documented in articles such as those on the 17th-century Englishman James Carcasse, the 19th-century German author Friedrich Krauß or Anna Pauline Bleuler, the sister of the Swiss physician Eugen Bleuler (who coined the term "schizophrenia" in 1911 and was both a professional and a relative). Brückner also cites the Italian Adalgisa Conti: "From 1914 onwards, she spent a total of 65 years at an asylum in Arezzo; her fate is a typical example of the conditions in such institutions until the reforms of the 1970s." There are plans to extend the archive in the future. "BIAPSY is open for suggestions and other contributions. The project is now off the ground and everyone who feels competent can submit a suitable biography. We will then review the texts and ensure that they meet certain quality standards, after which they will be made available online," explains Brückner." We may also be looking for private donations or applying for new research funding that will allow us to extend the Biographical Archive of Psychiatry," Professor Brückner continues. Press contact: Tim Wellbrock, University Communications Office of the Hochschule Niederrhein: Phone: +49 (0) 2151 822 2934; email: Dr. Christian SonntagPressesprecher und LeiterReferat Hochschulkommunikation Hochschule Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences

Postanschrift: Reinarzstraße 49, 47805 Krefeld
Besucheradresse: Obergath 79, 47805 Krefeld, Gebäude J, Raum 219 Tel.: +49 2151 822-3610
E-Mail: Unsere aktuellen Pressemeldungen


Entries Courtesy of Dr Stephen Woodhams:

David Cooper: anti­psychiatry revisited

David Coopers was one of the initiators in 1965 of the 'social experiment' at Kingsley Hall. Perhaps more than any other of the professional participants, If in retrospect the term confused as much as helped understanding of the project, it was David Cooper who coined the term 'anti­psychiatry'. His contribution was to perhaps the main link between radical re­thinking of 'madness' and the wider New Left. The Dialectics of Liberation congress in 1967 was in large part the work of David Cooper. Subsequently David Cooper, RD Laing, the Philadelphia Association parted company, each following their own path. In the course of time David Cooper has come to be over looked, and his strategic position in making possible critical thinking around 'mental health' forgotten. It is therefore of significance that the Philadelphia Association have added to their website the following link, Psychiatry Anti­Psychiatry Re­Visited

This as yet is a website in development. Those associated with FEEL or who otherwise read this Newsletter, may however have memories or know of David Cooper and be interested in contributing to remaking the radical politics associated with his name. And with the fiftieth anniversary of the Dialectics congress only two years away, this is an suitable time.


It seems that among the the very highest in the land unanimity as to what makes us bonkers is no longer to be found. Alas, no less an illustrious body than the Division of Clinical Psychology of The British Psychological Society (how's that for an impressive name?) have declared a 'paradigm shift'. They have dared to question the sacred and holy rite that our bonkersness lies in our biology. Even that those famous chemical imbalances, for which we need all those re­balancing chemical stuffed drugs, may not be quite so certain as claimed. The Royal College of Psychiatrists is not pleased (to be fair if someone came along and said you've been talking cobblers for years, nor might you be). For the outcome of this most noble feud we shall no doubt have to wait. Meantime though you might wind up your psychiatrist at your next appointment by putting between you a copy of the Position Statement­1325.pdf

Critical Psychiatry Network Conference

The British Psychological Society's History & Philosophy of Psychology Section in collaboration with the UK Critical Psychiatry Network invites submissions for its 2016 Annual Conference to be held at Leeds Trinity University 22nd­23rd March. The theme of the conference is the history of mental health, with a keynote address from Dr. Joanna Moncrieff (University College London). Papers are invited in related areas such as clinical psychology, psychiatry, service users, resistances to psychiatry, critical perspectives and interventions. For further information go to:­mental­health­joint­annual­conference­history- and­philosophy­psychology­section­and­uk­criti

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Community event

East London in crisis
resisting austerity, building community
Community event

26 September 2015 from 2.30pm till late
Venue St Matthias Community Centre
113 Poplar High St, London E14 0AE
Nearest station Poplar DLR

Meet local campaigners
Find out what’s happening to our communities
Share how we’re fighting back
Everyone welcome

Workshops with east London campaigners:
NHS • benefits • mental health services • education • housing • trade union rights • the environment

Bring food to share


Cabaret benefit Raising funds for coaches to the Anti-Austerity demo in Manchester on 4 Oct 2015.

This event has been launched by Tower Hamlets Keep Our NHS Public, with backing from Tower Hamlets People’s Assembly and Tower Hamlets Unison.

The old East End had a tradition of fighting for its rights.
That hasn’t changed.
Across east London, campaigners are fighting to save our services, our rights and our communities.

We say austerity’s a con. Being forced to pay for the global banking crisis through massive cuts to jobs and services is not just criminally unjust, it’s economically unworkable.

We think the real political agenda of austerity is even worse – it’s the creeping privatisation of services like the NHS, the theft of our land, the 50,000 families forced out of London in the past three years, the failure to tackle climate change, and the mounting attacks on trade union rights, claimants, people with disabilities and people with mental health problems.

In east London, we won’t sit back and let this happen.
The aim of our event is to bring people together to share their local knowledge and campaigning experience with each other. Everyone is welcome.

This event was called by Tower Hamlets Keep Our NHS Public, with backing from Tower Hamlets People’s Assembly and Tower Hamlets Unison. The event is supported by a large number of groups across east London. They include: health campaigners; trades unionists; pro-housing and anti-developer campaigners; claimants groups; mental health groups; environmental campaigners; local community groups.

Come with us to Manchester: Tower Hamlets Unison and Tower Hamlets Keep Our NHS Public are taking coaches to the People’s Assembly Anti-Austerity demonstration in Manchester on Sunday 4 October 2015. To reserve a seat (£25 or £10 unwaged), email

September Newsletter Extra

The Philadelphia Association
50th Anniversary Celebrations
25 September - 4 October 2015

The PA came into being 50 years ago to challenge and to widen the discourse around the teaching and practice of psychotherapy. So it seems wholly appropriate that we celebrate this landmark in our history with a week-long programme featuring a diverse range of performances, talks and events.

Tickets are free of charge, donations accepted for the PA Therapy Aid Fund.

To book a place at any of the above events please contact our administrator on 0300 123 1708 or via email

4 Marty’s Yard, 17 Hampstead High Street, London NW3 1QW

For directions to Marty’s Yard please go to our website: and click on ‘Contact Us’

Monday, 14 September 2015

September Newsletter

Dear Friends,

It's FEEL monthly meeting time again next week. Come along to celebrate the end of a Summer and the beginning of a new season on Monday the 21st of September, on Peace Day. We'll also raise a toast to the amazing Myra Garrett in occasion of her birthday, taking the chance to thank her for all the work and inspiration she has offered for many years.

F.E.E.L. is supporting and holding a stall for Open House London at Kingsley Hall, Bow this Saturday the 19th.

Guided tours of the building will run by the hour from 12pm, closing at 6pm (a BSL/SSE tour will be available at 3:15pm). Come along to see where Gandhi lived during his London stay, R.D. Laing Asylum with the Philadelphia Association which is where it was initially started 50 years ago; find out the whole history of the Lester sisters, founders of the Hall

More events listed below. Have a good week!

FEEL meets the third Monday of each month 6.30-8.30pm
@ LARC Centre 62, Fieldgate Street, Whitechapel E1 1ES


Mental Wealth Festival at City Lit

Beyond Words, City Lit and Cathedral Innovation Centre have teamed up to create the inaugural Mental Wealth Festival in London, 16-17 September 2015. The Mental Wealth Festival will highlight the way mental health issues impact on so many aspects of daily life, and how the arts, politics, culture, faith and the media can support our ‘mental wealth’. Speakers include the Minister of State for Community and Social Care, Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, and award winning author Nathan Filer.

It’s well known that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. With just under 1million people in contact with mental health services within the UK, (at least a fifth of whom have learning disabilities), it is clear people are not accessing all support on offer. With this in mind the two day festival will explore the many facets of mental health, and look at the support and innovations in the field.

The festival comprises a series of free seminars, workshops and pop-up events looking at ways to support and celebrate people's mental wellbeing.

In particular, the festival will draw upon the themes of creativity, wellbeing and emotional resilience with input from individuals, professionals and the wider community. The theme of the festival is a positive one with an emphasis on championing ability, recovery and strength in solidarity.

There will be a range of informative and interactive ways to engage including film screenings, exhibitions, talks, Mindfulness, keynotes, book signings, live art, debates, learning, creativity and art workshops.


Luke Fowler: All Divided Selves

Film London Jarman Award-winner Luke Fowler’s 16mm feature portrait of radical anti-psychiatrist R.D. Laing is introduced by John Foot, author of The Man Who Closed the Asylums, book about Laing’s Italian counterpart, Franco Basaglia. In association with Verso Books.

Thurs 1 October, 7pm Zilkha Auditorium Whitechapel Gallery 77-82 Whitechapel High Street London E1 7QX


Kindred Minds’ Black History Month - Mental health and wellbeing Special

Inspire, The Crypt, St Peters Church, Liverpool Grove, London SE17 2HH
Saturday 3 October 2015 from 1.30pm

An event exploring Black history, wellbeing and mental health through discussions, workshops, film and music.

Hot evening meal provided.

The event will inform the writing of a mental health manifesto which aims to change policies and practice of relevance to the needs of Black and Minority Ethnic mental health service users. This event is open to everyone and is organised by Kindred Minds, a Southwark based Black and Minority Ethnic mental health service user group.

There is no charge for this event but please pre-register by emailing Raza Griffiths on to receive a registration form or ring 07737 647 445 for further information


CoolTan: Join a fun guided walk for World Mental Health Day.

Exploring South London’s vibrant musical history.
There’s nothing like music to uplift the soul!

Learn about musical landmarks, local musicians, sound art and the connection between music and mental wellbeing. Enjoy live musical performances and learn the words to our favourite London songs! Dress up as your favourite musician or song, bring instruments or simply come along to enjoy the noise.

The walk length is 4.8 miles, the route is accessible and will led us through the streets of Southwark. By taking part you will be really helping CoolTan to continue our vital work; supporting people with mental distress to build a quality of life. The registration fee is £5 unwaged, £10 waged.

Date: Saturday October 10th 2015, 11.30am-4pm
Starts: Maudsley Hospital, Denmark Hill, SE5 8AZ (outside the main entrance)

Once registered you will receive an official sponsorship form. Register online now.


Penny Lectures | Autumn series 2015

To celebrate its 125 year anniversary Morley College is reviving the Penny Lectures. The Penny Lectures began in 1882 at the Old Vic Theatre in Waterloo. Topics were chosen to encourage new thinking and ideas and provided illustrated lectures at affordable prices…a penny! The lectures were a huge success and quickly led to the establishment of ‘Morley Memorial College’ for Working Men and Women. Now celebrating the 125th anniversary, the Penny Lecture series have being revived for a new generation of adults to learn from and be inspired by.

Creativity and Mental Liberation
Sarah Wheeler, founder of Mental Fight Club. Dolly Sen, writer, film-maker and mental health consultant. Bobby Baker, artist and author. Sarah Wheeler, Dolly Sen and Bobby Baker, all with lived experience of mental illness, describe how creative practice has saved and transformed their lives. Friday 23 October. Doors at 18:00, lecture from 18:30-20:00


Connect and Discover
( part of The Dragon Cafe)
Join us at Morley College - part of Connect and Discover We are going to be re-creating a mini-Dragon Cafe pop up at Morley College at the end of the month, and then regular Fridays until March 2016. You can check out the Connect and Discover programme here to get the full details. Join us on Friday 25th September at 2 - 5 pm for a creative and social end to the month PLUS we will be having a special Launch Event at 5 - 6 pm with special guests and entertainment to celebrate our new adventure. This is free and open to everyone. See you there! Morley College, 61 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7HT T: 020 7450 1889

Discover programme here to get the full details.


Campaigning for the Future: How can we work better to secure our rights?

Download Campaigning for the Future Final report

This report offers the views of a wide range of disabled people about present UK disability policy and how they may best work to improve it. In 2011 Jenny Morris wrote a Viewpoint report, published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation called Rethinking Disability Policy. Shaping Our Lives have facilitated two meetings to enable disabled people to discuss what they think about the findings of the report and look at ways in which disabled people can lead improvements to policy and practice as experts by experience – disabled people living and working in austerity Britain from 2012 through to mid-2015. Continues HERE

Saturday, 15 August 2015

August Newsletter.

Dear Friends,

It was an enormous feat that the Shuffle Festival was back again this year. Glad for the space offered to the Survivors participation and the popular Outsiders Poetry.

Lunacy brilliance celebration was obviously open and dedicated to everyone. We also kept in mind the memory of St Clements Hospital and all the people that have played a role during its existence, ex-patients and their friends and families, as well as all people and members of staff that made the history of the asylum. We were pleased to welcome more Deaf and deaf-accessible acts in the programme as well and stretch the inclusiveness spectrum of the festival.

An album with photos and credits to most if not all the contributors can be found here:

Free next Monday the 17th? Join us for the monthly meeting at LARC 6:30 - 8:30 pm, plus find attached the last PEN and a nice list of links and events to follow.

Best wishes for the Ferragosto :)


Lately there have been a series of online webinars such as Shades of Awakening or the currently running Mental Wellness Summit which are jam packed with information of healthy professional advice that offer solutions for mental wellness that, as openly state, "may not involve a pill".

The beauty of these teachings are that they are multiplying by the day and information, spreading faster than ever, can be easily accessed thanks to the blessing of having internet access in our homes. Education, most of the time self-education, is what saves us and heal us. Doctors are too busy in selling us their pills and keep us depending on them to admit of the slim chances of long term benefits in such addictions. Meditate folks!

''Emotions have healing power because they are the active regulators of vitality in movement and the primary mediators of social life. Therapists seek to find ways to engage with the motives that light up body and mind with emotions. Thus, they must move with the patient in the performance of real desired project and tasks not only tasks that exists as stories in talking. The rhythmic expressive foundation of emotional dynamics is the same for all spoken and unspoken 'dances' of the mind. Emotions are how we dance together and doing so is at the heart of the human enterprise.'

Colwyn Trevarthen (2009)


More Harm Than Good: Confronting the Psychiatric Medication Epidemic a one-day international conference at the University of Roehampton

The Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry invites you to join global leaders in the critical psychiatry movement for a one-day conference which will address an urgent public health issue: the iatrogenic harm caused by the over-prescription of psychiatric medications.

There is clear evidence that these drugs cause more harm than good over the long term, and can damage patients and even shorten their lives. Yet why are these medications so popular? What harms are they causing? What can be done to address the problem?

This event brings together key experts from both sides of the Atlantic to debate these issues, and we invite you to join the discussion (see the programme below).


Places are limited – early booking is advised! We are afraid there are now no more £28 reduced fee spaces.
When:18 September 2015
Where: Whitelands College, University of Roehampton, London SW15 5PU (how to find us)
Cost: £85 for delegates


The Man Who Closed the Asylums: Franco Basaglia & the Revolution in Mental Health Care

Author's Talk: John Foot - Chair Graham Music

Freud Museum 20 Maresfield Gardens London NW3 5SX
18 August 2015 7pm - doors open at 6.30pm
£10/£7 concessions/Member of the Freud Museum

Writer and Professor of Modern Italian History, John Foot discusses his latest publication, The Man Who Closed the Asylums (Verso August 2015) - The fascinating story of Franco Basaglia, one of the key intellectual and cultural figures of 1960s counterculture - a contemporary of R.D. Laing who worked to overturn institutions from within and ended up transforming mental health care in Italy.

Inspired by the writings of authors such as Primo Levi, R. D. Laing, Erving Goffman, Michel Foucault and Frantz Fanon, and the practices of experimental therapeutic communities in the UK, Basaglia’s seminal work as a psychiatrist and campaigner in Gorizia, Parma and Trieste fed into and substantially contributed to the national and international movement of 1968. In 1978 a law was passed (the ‘Basaglia law’) which sanctioned the closure of the entire Italian asylum system.

The first comprehensive study of this revolutionary approach to mental health care, The Man Who Closed the Asylums is a gripping account of one of the most influential movements in twentieth- century psychiatry, which helped to transform the way we see mental illness. Basaglia’s work saved countless people from a miserable existence, and his legacy persists, as an object lesson in the struggle against the brutality and ignorance that the establishment peddles to the public as common sense. Book online here
Advance booking highly recommended

For further information or +44 (0)20 7435 2002


Community Options event: Your Say Your Day

Spirituality & You

Friday 21st of August from 2-5pm
The Brady Arts Centre, Hanbury St, Whitechapel, London E1 5JD

Guest speakers from the Spiritual Crisis Network.
Talks and workshops, plenty of hot delicious food.
More info


Rocks in My Pockets + Shorts + Panel discussion

Film screening will be followed by a panel discussion that asks, 'Can creativity tame mental illness?'.

23 Aug 2015 From 2:00 pm | Cinema 1 | £7.00 to £11.00 Book Tickets“With Rocks in My Pockets, Signe Baumane presents a sharp, surprising and funny animated feature, plumbing the depths of depression via her family history. Guided by Ms Baumane’s almost musically accented voice-over, this hand-drawn debut feature is based upon the mental struggles of her Latvian grandmother and other relatives. It’s told with remorseless psychological intelligence, wicked irony and an acerbic sense of humour.” Nicolas Rapold in The New York Times

Despite positive reviews and film festival success, Baumane’s 2014 feature is not set for theatrical release. Her energetic taboo-busting candour and a style of animation that captures the shape-shifting whimsy of the imaginary world deserve to meet and engage a wider audience.

We will be screening Rocks in my Pockets, preceded by three shorts from Baumane's 2008 web series, The Teat Beat of Sex. The series is an non-squeamish look at how sex works from a female perspective. Each 'explicitly educational' episode clocks in at under two minutes and provides graphic insights into one of a range of coming-of-age issues.


Join the Cohesion Workshop Seminar to discuss on how to make Tower Hamlets a more cohesive borough.

This will run on the 8th September 1-4.30 pm venue mile end hospital arts pavilion e3 4qy.
Contact for more details.


Caring for People with Psychosis and Schizophrenia

King's College London (KCL) have recently developed a new online course focused on some of the relevant issues for carers of people with psychosis and schizophrenia. The initiative was funded from the Ostaka Lundbeck Alliance but the course was developed independently by KCL and will run through FutureLearn (part of the Open University).

It is a global course and open and free to anyone in the world be part of. It is a two week course designed to offer an in-depth understanding of some of the key issues and questions relevant to carers supporting people with psychotic disorders, including:

· Why is schizophrenia commonly described as psychosis?
· How can we best understand psychosis and its key symptoms such as hearing voices?
· What are the links between cannabis use and developing psychosis?
· Can psychosis affect physical health?
· How do medications work and what effects can they have?
· In what ways are siblings of people with psychosis affected?
· How can psychosis affect a carer’s health and their relationships?

The course includes a mixture of activities such as talking head videos, quizzes, written texts and opportunities for moderated discussions between learners. It will be the first time a course like this has been developed for carers.

The course includes people with lived experience of caring and a number of leading national and international academics and clinicians from psychology, psychiatry, pharmacy and nursing including:

Professor Elizabeth Kuipers (Chair of the NICE Guidelines for Psychosis & Schizophrenia)
Professor Sir Robin Murray (Chair of the Schizophrenia Commission)
Professor Mike Slade (100 ways to support recovery)
Professor David Taylor (Author of the Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines)
Dr Fiona Gaughran (Lead Consultant, National Psychosis Unit)
Jacqueline Sin (E Siblings project)

The course is open to anyone with an interest in psychosis and caregiving issues. We designed the course with carers in mind. However, it would also be relevant for any student or professional working in a health setting with psychosis and carers. No previous knowledge of psychosis or experience of caring is required to take the course.

The course is based on approximately 3 to 4 hours per week study. The point of the course is that you can study how you like, in your own time. It is about flexible learning, in a style that best suits you e.g. if you want to do five minutes, you can do that, if you want to study for more, you can do that too.

I would be grateful if you would highlight the course to any families you are working with and any colleagues in your Trust working with families- so they too can pass on.

The course starts 12th October 2015 and enrollment is open from now. All one needs to do to sign up is simply follow the link

Email enquires can be sent to:


To conclude:
a Whistleblowing PRESS RELEASE - by Dr Bob Johnson
twitter: ‪#‎ASimplerPsychiatry‬

An OPEN LETTER to Royal Colleges of Psychiatrists, of GPs, the CMO & NICE.

Dear President,
Re our ‘Age Of Unreason’

As holder of high public office, what is your response to the excoriating Special Report on mental health by The Economist (11 July 2015) – two sins of commission, (1) & (2), and one of omission, (3)? Who is going to take the present psychiatric profession to task, if you do not?

(1) Mental illhealth is set to cost us up to $16trn by 2030 (all other diseases cost less)

(2) Our current medical approach is pungently described as our ‘Age Of Unreason’

(3) Meanwhile, it’s a medical scandal to omit an approach that is perfectly sensible, obvious, courteous, civilised and inexpensive – for 500 years.*

Bearing in mind that the bulk of psychiatry occurs in general practice settings, heavily chaperoned by consultant psychiatric opinion, where do your medical responsibilities lie? Whistleblowing gets lonely.

The DSM (the current psychiatric ‘bible’) strenuously omits any reference to CHILDHOODS. Also omitted from the DSM is the irrefutable medical fact that child sexual abuse can remain undisclosed for decades – where does it go? Merging these two incontrovertible clinical facts happily accounts for point (3). Yet the BMJ recently adjudged this hypothesis, ‘unhelpful’**. When I then raised all three points above, the BMJ remained complacent. Do you?

Dr Bob Johnson Wednesday, 5 August 2015
Consultant Psychiatrist, twitter: #ASimplerPsychiatry
Empowering intent detoxifies psychoses
P O Box 49, Ventnor, Isle Of Wight, PO38 9AA, UK

GMC speciality register for psychiatry reg. num. 0400150
-formerly Head of Therapy, Ashworth Maximum Security Hospital, Liverpool
-formerly Consultant Psychiatrist, Special Unit, C-Wing, Parkhurst Prison, Isle of Wight.
-MRCPsych (Member of Royal College of Psychiatrists),
-MRCGP (Member of Royal College of General Practitioners).
-Diploma in Psychotherapy Neurology & Psychiatry (Psychiatric Inst New York),
-MA (Psychol), PhD(med computing), MBCS, DPM, MRCS.
-Author of
Emotional Health ISBN 0-9551985-0-X
Unsafe at any dose ISBN 0-9551985-1-8

* [Geel is a small Belgian town, pop 53,000.] “Because of the link between economic development, ageing and mental illness, the coming decades are likely to resemble an age of unreason. That is why Geel, which has been caring for people with such conditions for half a millennium, is worth paying attention to. What is striking about the town is how thoroughly normal it seems: the town square with its fake Irish pub; American pop music playing at a polite volume on the main shopping street. Mental illness, so often frightening, seems ordinary here. Geel’s system embodies principles for dealing with it—dignity, openness, kindness, patience—that should be embraced by societies everywhere. [The

Economist Special Report, 11 July 2015, page 5 §7, my emphasis].


Friday, 17 July 2015

JULY Newsletter

Dear Friends,

We wish to send a reminder about F.E.E.L. monthly meeting as this is now due next week, on Monday the 20th of July.
Please join us as we will discuss last month events and the next one in programme, among other things.

June has resulted a very interesting and busy month following three major events dedicated to the 50th Anniversary of the start of RD Laing community experiment at the Kingsley Hall in Bow. The more arty one at Cafe Oto, the projection of the documentary Asylum and the reading of the play "The Divided Laing".

Wonderful to get to meet beautiful minds such as Dr Berke, Dr Ridler, Dr Shatzman, Adrian Laing and Francis Gillett and hear about the creation and early days of the Philadelphia Association and anecdotal stories of those days.

Reviews by Dr Woodhams of the first two events can be read in the following links:

We are now pleased to announce that F.E.E.L. Outsiders Poetry event will be taking part to the Shuffle Festival on Saturday the 1st of August. Opening their doors at the Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park in Mile End on Friday the 24th July until the 1st of August, the Shuffle will go on for nine days offering diverse opportunities for entertainment and be amused, included a tree house restaurant - that's right, people will have to climb up a tree for this!

On Sat 1st of Aug David Kessel will be running a poetry workshop with the Outsider Poets from 12pm. From 2pm the main stage will host the Outsider performance to which we have invited among other members of the Dragon Cafe', Core Arts, Deaf Poets, Eastbeat and Survivor Poets. There will be a ALL-DEAF show between 6 pm and 7:45pm

These events will be deaf accessible with the support of BSL (British Sign Language) interpreters and live captioning by STTR ( speech to text reporters). We take the chance to thank Arts Council England for offering us the opportunity to fund and make this event happen.

Have a look at the rich programme for the day and we hope you can join us for a fun day of free activities and entertainment that we wish to dedicate to all survivors, their families and friends. For one day let's celebrate lunacy, individuality and diversity looking at the bright side of Life

Please find to follow a series of events and news that might be of your interest.


Trauma, Dissociation & Recovery: ​Working with Dissociative Identity Disorder and Complex PTSD

Central London, EC2A on Saturday 18 July 2015. Time 9.30 am — 5.00 pm

This is a new course and suitable both for people who have previously attended 'Living and Working with Dissociation' as well as people with no previous training or experience.
It will look at how to work in clinical practice with people who have suffered complex and chronic childhood trauma, resulting perhaps in a range of diagnoses such as Dissociative Identity Disorder, psychosis, complex PTSD or borderline personality disorder

Cost: £75.00 per person / £70.00 for 'Friends of PODS'
For more information and to book please go to:


East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) working in partnership with MIND, Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group,Community Options and Bow Haven, have set up the Tower Hamlets Recovery College for service users, carers and staff who use mental health services in the borough. The project aims to support the recovery and wellbeing of mental health service users and will deliver free courses led by individuals with a lived experience of mental health and recovery. The courses will also feature support from someone who is trained and works within mental health services.

The project is being piloted this month and classes will run from 13th to the 30th July 2015. Another pilot for the college will also commence in September 2015 and will end in November 2015.

For more information on the project, please contact Robert Pickard on 020 7426 2450 or 07908 459 239 or


Survivor History Group

The next meeting of the Survivor History Group will be on Wednesday 29.7.2015 at 1pm-4pm (ish)
Where? Together, 12 Old Street, London, EC1V 9BE
Food and drink to reward those who come.
Everyone is very welcome at meetings of the Survivor History Group.


What is Talk for Health? The Talk for Health programme is run by Psychotherapist Nicky Forsythe. It trains people to be part of a peer counsellling group – a space to talk honestly and be accepted for who you really are. This is good for wellbeing and confidence.

Who is it for? Free for Islington residents Talk for Health is designed for everyone; we can all benefit from developing our communications and listening skills.

Programme 1: YMCA at the Drum TASTER: Monday 27th July 4pm to 6pm ADDRESS: 167 Whitecross Street, London, EC1 8JT TRAINING: Six Tuesday afternoons from 3pm to 6pm August 3, 10, 17, 24 September 7 & 14 ADDRESS: The Drum, 167 Whitecross Street , EC1 8JT

Programme 2: The Mind Spa at Islington Mind TASTER: Monday 7th September 4pm to 6pm ADDRESS: 35 Ashley Road, N19 3AG TRAINING: Two Mondays 11am to 5pm September 14th & October 12th Four Tuesday evenings 6pm to 8.30pm September 22nd, 29th, October 6th & 20th ADDRESS: 35 Ashley Road, N19 3AG

Your first step is to book a place on the taster. Email, call us on 07826 148 461, or text ‘call me’ and we will get in touch with you.


New Book: The Hidden Freud: His Hassidic Roots, by Dr Joseph H. Berke

What’s the connection between Jewish mysticism and Western psychoanalysis?

Freud’s ancestors were Hassidim going back many generations, and included the only Jewish King of Poland.

Freud was forced to deny these roots in order to be accepted as a secular, German professional.
However, his Jewish background also informed the development of his ideas about dreaming, sexuality, depression and mental structures, as well as healing practices.
/The Hidden Freud: His Hassidic Roots/ considers how the ideas of Kabbalah and Hassidism profoundly shaped and enriched Freud’s understanding of mental processes and clinical practices. The book is now on Amazon


PSYCHOSES – the case for optimism

Saturday 10th October 2015, 1:30pm – 5:00pm
Venue: Bloomsbury Suite, Friends House, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ
Dr Bob Johnson & Peter Bullimore with National Paranoia Network Present a Half Day Panel Discussion

It’s time we

(2) stopped relying on MIND NUMBING DRUGS, &

(3) re-kindled the HEALING HAND OF KINDNESS

(1) DSM-psychiatry isn’t working – 1 in 50 deaths is SUICIDE [>800,000 of 56m in 2012. WHO]

(2) All psychiatric drugs work by ‘INTOXICATION’, like alcohol [Myth of Chemical Cure p 244]

(3) More psychoses were CURED 1796-1850 than ever since. [Mad in America p24]

Panel: Dr Bob Johnson, Dr Eleanor Longden, Oliver James(stc), Peter Bullimore.

Chair – David Brindle, the Guardian Saturday 10th October 2015, 1:30pm – 5:00pm Venue: Bloomsbury Suite, Friends House, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ

Rates: £15, concessions £5.00. Contributions/donations welcomed Email: Tel 07763652490/ 07590837694 –


Revised Mental Health Code of Practice

A revised Mental Health Code of Practice came into effect on1st April, replacing the 2008 version. The Code shows professionals how to carry out their duties under the Mental Health Act 1983 and provide high quality safe care. The revised Code of Practice seeks to provide stronger protection for patients subject to the Mental Health Act and to clarify roles, rights and responsibilities.

Find out more about the Mental Health Code of Practice

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Asylum Reconsidered, by Dr Stephen Woodhams

Review of: 
RD Laing 50 @ Kingsley Hall, 12th June 2015

Asylum by Peter Robinson is not set in Kingsley Hall, yet it was in keeping with the anniversary that this screening should take place there. The anniversary is that of the 'social experiment' begin at the Hall in 1965, which gave rise to the Philadelphia and Arbour Associations' community houses. Continuity from Bow up to Archway and elsewhere, was made possible when Joseph Berke Leon Redler and others carried forward their belief in asylum where deeply distressing experiences could be lived through without pressure to 'recover' or be inoculated by chemicals. The word asylum carries long held meanings referring to a safe place, a sanctuary, haven. Each term may convey the sense of protection from immediate external pressure, where by agreed respect for shared space, a person may do as they need to go through their experience.

 The film emanated from one of the community houses in Archway. Shot in 1971, Asylum attempts an anthropological recording, where the makers seek to be part of the household. The aim was to capture a lived experience of a therapeutic community where divisions of practitioner and patient were minimised, and governance arrived at by the will of those in the house. The use of a naturalist form for the film may of course be contended. The house as depicted, contained features recognisable as part of many households, together with scenes clearly belonging to this specific group of people.

Discussion after the film was chaired by Rebecca Greenslade of the RD Laing reading group that had been meeting with the support of the Claremont Project in North London. Over the previous year four of Laing's works had been read, and the screening of Asylum was the culmination of the venture. On stage three figures represented different relations to the film, which is should be stressed only featured Laing in passing. One reason for this, was Morton Shatzman who had been a regular psychiatrist at the house, and who on
the evening, conveyed intimately the atmosphere, daily life and success of the community. Offering a different experience was Francis Gillett who having previously been at Kingsley Hall, had been one of the longest resident participants. His account of another occupant, who had been significant in the film, conveyed the difficult balance between a person living out their experience of distress, and respecting the shared presence of others. Finally was Adrian Laing, who has recently completed a biography of his father. Perhaps not surprisingly for a Kingsley Hall audience, power in the house, and as portrayed on film, was the topic of several contributions as explanation for the ascription, nature and exercise of authority was offered and contested.

It was an evening where through the medium of film, experience and thoughts could be exchanged. Asylum offers insight in to how a therapeutic community can and does provide space where distress, disturbing to sufferer and others, can be lived through.

Kingsley Hall offered its own contribution as the ghost of the original 'social experiment' once more awoke. If that ghost were given voice, it might tell many things, and even a rhetorical question. It has always been easy to demand that 'alternative' approaches to psychological distress answer questions, yet were the pharmaceutical industry placed in the dock, what evidence can it provide for the claims made for the drugs it persuades psychiatrist they should use? At least Laing and others can truthfully say they would not have cost the NHS billions. Our ghost might add, if a fraction of that finance had been made available for asylums where love was the primary treatment, perhaps, as we saw and heard this evening, care may have been a richer experience.

Rebecca Greenslade, Chair RD Laing Reading Group, Nat Fonnesu, Friends of East London Loonies (F.E.E.L.) and the Kingsley Hall commitee.

Kingsley Hall Revisited, by Dr Stephen Woodhams

Review of:
Sunday, 7th June 2015

If you went “mad” how would you want to be treated?

BBC Radio 4 broadcasts a series called 'The Reunion' and it was perhaps something of the kind that occurred at Café Oto* when two distinguished figures were brought together to recall memories and tell the story of a 'social experiment'. The story starts, and yet of course does not, in 1965, when Kingsley Hall was made available for a group of people at very different social­psychological points to live together in a non­hierarchical, non­divided manner. Two of the occupants of Kingsley Hall were Dr Joseph Berke and Dr Leon
Redler, and it was they who had been brought together to make this small yet significant piece of history at Café Oto on a Sunday evening in June fifty years later. Café Oto is not Kingsley Hall. Yet that Sunday evening those that packed into the bare surroundings of a once purpose­built C19 factory,** where seating could leave an impression on a backside and heat aided shedding weight in sweat, may have sensed something of a social experiment. In the gloom of the interior, organiser and anchor for the evening, Dee Sada took the stage to thank everyone for coming. Though Dee gave no indication and took no credit, the event had taken some three years to bring together. However none of this background was revealed, instead after her brief introduction, the stage was given over to film­maker Luke Fowler. What You See Is Where You're At was made, Luke told the audience, some fifteen years previous. Compose of exerts of interviews with past residents of Kingsley Hall and clips of footage shot during the occupancy, What You See Is Where You're At offered an insight to both context and lived experience of RD Laing's idea. The film is worth seeing, though it was perhaps after that understanding of some of what had been seen, became clearer when Leon Redler in conversation with Luke Fowler, explained his path to RD Laing and so Kingsley Hall.

Kingsley Hall is in Bow, an area of East  London which if marginalised from the outside by trunk roads, is yet home to vibrant populations. Among some local people, Gandhi Hall is the immediate and obvious description – the building's most famous resident having stayed there in 1931. Luke Fowler and Leon Redler offered a little of this history as setting for what took place there, though of course that was only one part, another being the circumstance of 'mental health' patients. Despite attempts to move practice forward,
and growing interest in psychoanalytic and other social­interpretive­communication based approaches, regimes involving forced drugs and electro­convulsive treatments were probably dominant in the NHS. The social experiment was to see what might happen when people lived together not as professionals and patients, but as a population seeking to understand diverse experiences and expressions of a circumstance commonly named 'madness'. Leon Redler's analogy with the previous night's Champion's League Final, was in answer to Luke Fowler's question as to difference between Kingsley Hall on film and as lived experience. In essence, just as the match produced 'highlights', so film captured perhaps moments to engage an audience. The lived experience however was very much more ordinary, the everyday routine and even dullness of life for residents. Yet that was perhaps the point – 'RD Laing's Kingsley Hall' has been mythologised to become something exotic. Perhaps a balanced record would read that it was a endeavour to seek more humane means of living with 'madness' and that what ever the realised short comings, the impulse behind the attempt remains valid.

Joseph Berke's presentation differed in style. Anecdotal in places, it revealed some of his experiences and memories. Perhaps best known was his long and at times suffering relationship with the later artist Mary Barnes. The material for her early work is well known and in the film, we see Mary and Joe Berke at perhaps an early stage, where physical interaction is to the fore. Eventually they were to write, Two Accounts of Madness, a title that captures perhaps the spirit of the Hall. Not the separate 'reports' of
patient and therapist, but two stories told of a process lived through together but experienced differently. Fire was a magazine produced at the Hall, and Joe Berke presented a copy to the audience, who may have regretted that images contained could not have been put on view. What was offered however were poems, Joe reading a small number accompanied by Dee. It was in the reading of these perhaps that the sense of
what Kingsley Hall had been about, gained immediacy. Recollections gave insight to the life and times of Kingsley Hall, the poetry portrayed its spirit. An aside admittedly, Joe Berke revealed how Mary Barnes Catholicism had led him to re­engage with his own Jewish heritage, yet perhaps the profession speaks something too of the spirit of the Hall, a sense of sharing and journeying on roads that may enable any participant to reflect on where roots to their own self may grow.

Laing at 50 was an evening made by people, a lot of people, crammed into a hot darkened room. On stage the Bohman Brothers ended the evening making music and poetry where the name RD Laing took on various connections and where ideas associated with him found expression. The social experiment at Kingsley Hall was of course of its time – when else could it have been? The New Left was as others like Stuart Hall have recalled, pervasive ­ RD Laing and David Cooper were contributors to the Dialectics of Liberation Conference at the Roundhouse in 1967. Organisations that have grown from Kingsley Hall, the Philadelphia Association and the Arbours Association are necessarily different from the original experiment, yet what came through from Leon Redler and Joseph Berke was a passion that the Flame, the impulse that gave birth to the Hall should live on. To borrow a term from Raymond Williams, a near cousin in more than age to RD Laing, the long revolution toward a humane psychiatry and beyond that a humane society has to be pursued. Both history marker and celebration, that Sunday evening in June reminds us that any road to social justice has to address despair, suffering, pain and loss as it can be experienced by any person and that love needs be at the centre of any response.


My thanks to Sally England of Hackney Archive for this information.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

June Newsletter

Dear Friends,

We wish congratulate with musician Dee Sada for curating an awesome event last Sunday at Cafe Oto, Dalston, dedicated to the 50th Anniversary of the radical experiment at Kingsley Hall by RD Laing and colleagues. Wonderful contributions were shared by Luke Fowler, Dr Leon Redler, Dr Joseph Berke, The Bohman Brothers and a special "I LOVE them, for they are my Friends" performance with Dee Sada, Billy Steiger and an humorous Dr Berke. An excerpt of the evening can be viewed here

The conversation about the community of Bow will continue this Friday the 12th after the projection of the film/documentary Asylum, by Peter Robinson, at the Kingsley Hall itself. Confirmed guests for the panel discussion are Adrian Laing, Dr Shatzman and Francis Gillett. Doors will open at 6.30pm.

Also a gentle reminder for our monthly FEEL meeting, which is taking place next Monday the 15th.

I DOC Italy:

Screening of the documentary "The crazy woman next-door"
by Antonietta De Lillo. Introduced by poet and translator Cristina Viti

Date: Tuesday, June 09, 2015
Opening times: 6.30pm
Venue: Italian Cultural Institute
Organised by: Italian Cultural Institute
Free Event Booking Online

Poet Alda Merini tells her life in a personal and familiar narrative, fluctuating between public and private, lingering on the most significant chapters of her existence: childhood, womanhood, love, maternity and the relationship with her children, madness and the lucid reflection on poetry and art. The face of the poet and the details of her eyes, hands, and body create a portrait that does not hide the contradictions of one of the most important and renowned literary figures of the twentieth century. Alda Merini (Milan, 21 March 1931 – Milan, 1st November 2009) was a poet, writer and aphorist.

Cristina Viti's translation of Mariapia Veladiano's first novel (A Life Apart, MacLehose 2013) was the runner-up for the John Florio Prize. Other translations (including Elsa Morante, Erri De Luca, Amelia Rosselli) and poetry have appeared in a number of magazines and reviews. Her translation of the poetry of Gëzim Hajdari is forthcoming from Shearsman Press.



Freud Museum and The University of Roehampton
20 Maresfield Gardens, London NW3 5SX
Saturday 13th June 2015 Day Conference 9.30am - 5.00pm

Exploring the talking therapies in neoliberal society
Speakers from different theoretical perspectives address questions about the provision of talking therapies in contemporary society, and how it affects therapeutic practice.
-Is it important for psychotherapy to be 'critical' and socially engaged?
-Do psychotherapists do a disservice to their clients by not being so?
-Do psychotherapy trainings discourage critical thought and promote an other-wordly sense of psychotherapy and the ‘inner world’? -What models of 'mental illness' and 'mental health' are appropriate for psychotherapy in the 21st century?
-Have mental health services and the 'mental health agenda' become part of the ideological mechanisms of neo-liberal society?

This conference will be of interest and benefit to anyone involved in psychotherapy today.

Speakers include
Del Loewenthal, Julian Lousada, Ian Parker, Hugh Middleton, David Morgan, Adrian Cocking, Mari Ruti, Anastasios Gaitanidis, Julie Walsh, Tom Cotton, Jay Watts, Rai Waddingham.

For further information please click here
For online booking please click here
Registration: £60 / £45 concessions (£5 discount for members of the Freud Museum and students and staff of Roehampton University).

Pre-Conference Evening Symposium

The Many Faces of ‘Critical Psychotherapy': An evening of dialogue and debate
Thursday 11th June 2015
Time: 7pm – 9pm

Talks and discussion at the Anna Freud Centre exploring different notions of the term ‘critical psychotherapy’ and putting them into dialogue.

Del Loewenthal – Introduction
Michael Rustin – Work in Contemporary Capitalism
Steven Groarke – Psychoanalysis and Resistance
Andrew Samuels – The Activist Client

Registration: £12 / £8 concessions

For further information please click here
For online booking please click here


The British Psychological Society is pleased to announce the publishing of the BPS Good Practice Guidance on Hoarding

We would like to invite you to join us at the launch of A Psychological Perspective on Hoarding:

On Tuesday 16th June 3pm -5pm at the British Psychological Society London Office, 30 Tabernacle Street, London EC2 4UA.
The British Psychological Society requires everyone who wishes to attend to register online via this link:


How Come We Didn't Know?

A photographic exhibition by Marion Macalpine
Showing between 16th - 27th June
Mondays to Thursdays 9am-8pm
Fridays 9am – 6pm
Saturdays 9 am – 5pm

Highlighting the many different ways that healthcare corporations are taking over the NHS.

Marion is a Hackney resident and member of Hackney Keep Our NHS Public.
The Brady Arts and Community Centre
192-196 Hanbury Street London E1 5HU
Tel: 020 7364 7900


End Austerity Now - National Demonstration Starts at 12:00PM
Saturday 20th June Assemble 12pm, Bank of England (Queen Victoria St) City of London
March to Parliament Square Organised by The People's Assembly

There is no need for ANY cuts to public spending; no need to decimate public services; no need for unemployment or pay and pension cuts; no need for Austerity and privatisation. There IS an alternative. We need a government to reverse damaging austerity, and replace it with a new set of policies providing us with a fair, sustainable and secure future. We can no longer tolerate politicians looking out for themselves and for the rich and powerful. Our political representatives must start governing in the interests of the majority.


THE DIVIDED LAING or, The Two Ronnies

A Rehearsed Reading
Written by Patrick Marmion
Directed by Michael Kingsbury
Cast: William Houston, Alan Cox, Michael Matus and Laura-Kate Gordon

A surreal comedy about utopian ambition, the nature of madness and the seething mind of RD Laing " The Divided Laing" depicts the final days of the community at the Kingsley Hall.

23rd of June 6:30PM
Kingsley Hall, Powis Road, E3 3HJ
Free of charge


Friday, June 26 at 1:30pm. Meet at Streatham Memorial Gardens, Streatham High Road/Streatham Common North to march to Streatham Job Centre Plus, Crown House, Station Approach, London SW16 6HW

A mass protest against Lambeth Community Mental Health Services moving to Streatham Job Centre, and the establishment of the UK's first psychological therapies department at Streatham Job Centre - explicitly merging mental health services with the DWP's agenda of harassment posing as "Back to Work."

"Curing unemployment is a growth market for psychologists. Job Centres are becoming medical centres, claimants are becoming patients, and unemployment is being redefined as a psychological disorder."

- Organised by the Mental Health Resistance Network


: Second Gathering on the Politics of Technology
July 9-12 2015, Unstone Grange, Derbyshire
Organised by CorporateWatch, Scientists for Global Responsibility, Luddites200 and others

Come to Breaking The Frame 2 for a fresh conversation on the politics of technology. Join us in July for 3 days of workshops and campaign planning, plus music, food by Veggies, walking in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside, hands-on activities and more

We live in a world dominated by technology and by systems created by technical experts. So whether it's where your food and energy comes from or if there is a right to privacy, almost everything in life is profoundly shaped by those technologies. Technologies do bring some genuine benefits, but because their design is almost entirely controlled by corporate and military technical elites, they tend to reinforce corporate power and destroy the environment. Breaking The Frame is based on the idea that everyone has the right to take part in decisions about technology, and that is crucial to creating an economically just and sustainable society.

Last year's gathering was supported by more than 20 organisations. Whether you're a technology politics campaigner, trade unionist, environmentalist, critical scientist, developer of alternative technology, artist or plain concerned citizen, Breaking the Frame is not to be missed.
Booking: places are limited, so you'll need to book in advance. We aim to ensure that no-one is excluded for reasons of cost.
For those who are travelling from London, a group will taking the 12.58pm train from St Pancras on Thursday 9th - we'd love you to join us.

There will be panels on basic technology politics/technocracy, democratic control of technology, alternative technology and the transition to an economically just and sustainable society.
Workshops run by leading campaign groups will focus on the technology politics of food, the workplace, privacy/policing, gender, energy, health, militarism, mining/infrastructure, etc.

For more information visit, contact or call 020 7426 0005.


Dr Bob Johnson & Peter Bullimore with National Paranoia Network
Present a Half Day Panel Discussion
Psychoses – the case for optimism
It’s time we –


(2) stopped relying on MIND NUMBING DRUGS, &

(3) re-kindled the HEALING HAND OF KINDNESS


(1) DSM-psychiatry isn’t working – 1 in 50 deaths is SUICIDE [>800,000 of 56m in 2012. WHO]

(2) All psychiatric drugs work by ‘INTOXICATION’alcohol [Myth of Chemical Cure p 244]

(3) More psychoses were CURED 1796-1850 than ever since. [Mad in America p24]

Panel: Dr Bob Johnson, Dr Eleanor Longden, Oliver James(stc), Peter Bullimore.

Chair – David Brindle, the Guardian
Saturday 10th October 2015, 1:30pm – 5:00pm
Venue: Bloomsbury Suite, Friends House,
173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ
Rates: £15, concessions £5.00. Contributions/donations welcomed
Email: Tel 07763652490/ 07590837694 –