Earn strictly private therapy through community volunteering

People Helping People Helping People

Reading List

Below are some links to organizations and websites that may be helpful to people who want to think seriously and critically about the meaning of “mental illness”. Some of these resources suggest more scientific, logical and humane models for understanding people’s private confusions, distress and struggles – as well as similarly constructive models for helping people.

For those interested in references of further articles and books that support VIP’s perspective and approach to helping people, please see the “Professional References” that are listed below these organizations and websites.


The International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry

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The International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry is a  non-profit organization of mental health professionals, physicians, educators, ex-patients and survivors of the mental health system, and their families.

ISEPP’s mission is to use the standards of scientific inquiry to address the ethics of psychology and psychiatry. “We strive to educate our members and the public about the nature of ‘mental illness’, the de-humanizing and coercive aspects of many forms of mental health treatment, and the alternative humane ways of helping people who struggle with very difficult life issues. We believe this is essential since one of the most cherished principles in the mental health field is ‘informed consent’. That means you should be fully and honestly informed about the problems you are experiencing, and the full risks and benefits of any treatment, before making truly voluntary decisions about your care. Our goal is to fully inform you.”

ISEPP is not affiliated with any political or religious group.

The International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis

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ISPS-US Mission

  • Promote the appropriate use of psychotherapy and psychosocial treatments for those suffering from psychosis.
  • Support treatments that include individual, family, group and milieu approaches and treatment methods that are derived from psychoanalysis, cognitive-behavioral, systemic, psycho-educational, peer support and related approaches.
  • Advance education, training and knowledge of mental health professionals in the psychological therapies and psychosocial interventions in the treatment and prevention of psychosis for the public benefit regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or socio-economic status.
  • Promote personal empowerment as a necessary part of recovery from psychosis.
  • Promote research into individual, family, and group psychological therapies, preventive measures and other psychosocial programs for those with psychosis.

Mad in America

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Mad in America’s mission is to serve as a catalyst for rethinking psychiatric care in the United States (and abroad). We believe that the current drug-based paradigm of care has failed our society, and that scientific research, as well as the lived experience of those who have been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, calls for profound change.

Our non-profit organization promotes such change in two ways:

(1) We publish a webzine, madinamerica.com, that provides news of psychiatric research, original journalism articles, and a forum for an international group of writers—people with lived experience, peer specialists, family members, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, program managers, journalists, attorneys, and more—to explore issues related to this goal of “remaking psychiatry.”

(2) We run Mad In America Continuing Education, which hosts online courses taught by leading researchers in the field. These courses provide a scientific critique of the existing paradigm of care, and tell of alternative approaches that could serve as the foundation for a new paradigm, one that emphasizes psychosocial care, and de-emphasizes the use of psychiatric medications, particularly over the long-term. While the general public may take the courses, we are primarily marketing the courses to provider organizations and mental health professionals, including psychiatrists.

We believe that this mix of journalism, education and societal discussion can provide the seed for a much-needed remaking of mental health care in the United States.

Mad In America is also the title of an important book written by the website’s founder, science and investigative writer, Robert Whitaker.  Whitaker’s second book on the subject of psychiatry is Anatomy of an Epidemic, which won the Investigative Reporters and Editors book award for best investigative journalism in 2010.   Perhaps best of all is Whitaker’s third book on related subjects, co-written with clinical psychologist and Professor at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, Dr. Lisa Cosgrove, entitled Psychiatry Under the Influence:  Institutional Corruption, Social Injury and Prescriptions for Reform.

The Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community

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Western Mass RLC is a leader in ethical, thoughtful, respectful and innovative avenues for people’s “recovery” from periods of emotional overwhelm and confusion.  Read about the wonderful programs they provide for people, designed as an alternative to the coercive aspects of the institutional “mental health” system.  They criticize institutions that repeatedly fail to listen for how people express their distress, and that so frequently neglect to understand its often traumatic sources in people’s actual experience.  Staff developed their helping programs based on their own experience of what they found to be misguided and oppressive in existing systems.

Western Mass Recovery Learning Community

Defining Principles

Our Core Values:  Genuine Human Relationships, Self-Determination & Personal Strength, Mutuality, Optimism, Healing Environments and Respect.

National Empowerment Center

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Mission: To carry a message of recovery, empowerment, hope and healing
to people with lived experience with mental health issues, trauma, and extreme states.

Led by Psychiatrist, Dr. Dan Fisher, COO Oryx Cohen and other staff, the National Empowerment Center has many thoughtful and creative offerings of ideas about recovery from emotional distress and confusion, often based on NEC staff’s own lived experience.  Dr. Fisher had been part of the Presidential New Freedom Commission on Mental Health that concluded “we need to transform our mental health system from one that tells people in acute crisis that they have a brain disorder requiring a lifetime of care without hope of recovery, to a system based on the real hope of recovery. There is virtually no evidence that a mental health diagnosis is due to a brain disorder.”   Fisher is an adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Professional References

Abramson, J.  (2004)  Overdo$ed America:  The Broken Promise of American Medicine.  NY:  Harper Collins.

Anders, G. (1996)  Health against wealth:  HMO’s and the breakdown of medical trust.  Boston:  Houghton Mifflin.

Angell, Marcia (2004)  The Truth about the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do about It.  NY: Random House.

Angell, Marcia  The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why? , The New York Review of Books , June 23, 2011.

Angell, Marcia  The Illusions of Psychiatry, The New York Review of Books , July 14, 2011.

Antonuccio, D., Danton, W., DeNelsky, G, Greenberg, R. & Gordon, J.  (1999)  Raising questions about antidepressants.  Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.  68, 3-14.

Babyak, M. Blumenthal, J. et al. (2000)  Exercise treatment for major depression:  Maintenance of therapeutic benefit at 10 months.  Psychosomatic Medicine.  62(5) 633-8.

Bass, A.  (2008) Side effects:  A prosecutor, a whistleblower, and a bestselling antidepressant on trial.  Chapel Hill:  Algonquin.

Blakeslee, S.  (2000)  New imaging technique gives scientists a map of brain.  New York Times.  March 14.

Bollas, C. & Sundelson, D.  (1995)  The new informants:  The betrayal of confidentiality in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.  New Jersey:  Aronson.

Boyer, L. B. & Giovacchini, P. L.  (1980) Psychoanalytic treatment of schizophrenic, borderline, and characterological disorders.  New York:  Aronson.

Boyle, M.  (1990) Schizophrenia:  A scientific delusion?  London:  Routledge.

Breggin, P.  (1994)  Talking Back to Prozac.  New York:  St. Martin’s Press.

Breggin, P.  (1991)  Toxic Psychiatry.  New York:  St. Martin’s Press.

Burrell, M.  (1987)  Psychotherapy and the medical model:  The hypocrisy of health insurance.  J. Contemp. Psychotherapy.  17(1) 60-67.

Cahn, E.  (2000)  No More Throw-Away People:  The Co-Production Imperative.  Washington, DC:  Essential Books. [Timebanks.org]

CNNInteractive  (1999)  Study:  Prozac no better than older depression drugs.  March 19.

Cohen, D.  & Jacobs, D.  (2007). Randomized controlled trials of antidepressants: Clinically and scientifically irrelevant. Debates in Neuroscience 1, 44-54.

Consumer Reports (1992)  Pushing drugs to Doctors.  Feb. 87-94. [ &  Miracle drugs or media drugs?  March  142-146.]

Davies, J. (2013) Cracked: The Unhappy Truth about Psychiatry. New York: Pegasus Books.

Dumont, M. P.  (1990)  In bed together at the market: Psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry.  Am. J. Orthopsychiatry.  60(4) 484-485.

Duncan, B., Miller, S. & Sparks, J.  (2000) Exposing the mythmakers.  Family Therapy Networker.  March.

Egger, R.  (2004)  Begging for Change:  The Dollars and Sense of Making Nonprofits Responsive, Efficient and Rewarding for All. NY:  Harper Collins.   [www.DCCentralKitchen.org]

Eisenberg, L.  (1996)  What should Doctors do in the face of negative evidence? J. of Nervous and Mental Disease.  184(2), 103-5.

Fisher, S. & Greenberg, R.  (1989) The limits of biological treatment for psychological distress.  New Jersey:  Erlbaum.

Fisher, S. & Greenberg, R.  (1995) Prescriptions for happiness?  Psychology Today, Sept./Oct. 32-37.

Fisher, S.  (1996) Hanky-Panky in the pharmaceutical industry.  Int. J. Psychopath. Psychopharmacol. & Psychother. 1(1).

Fisher, S. & Greenberg, R.  (1997)  From placebo to panacea:  Putting psychiatric drugs to the test.  New York:  Wiley.

Glenmullen, G.  (2000)  Prozac Backlash.  New York:  Simon & Schuster.

Gnaulati, E. (2018) Saving Talk Therapy: How Health Insurers, Big Pharma and Slanted Science are Ruining Good Mental Health Care. Boston: Beacon.

Hay Group (1999)  Health care plan design and cost trends – 1988 through 1998.  ( www.naphs.org/News/hay99/hay99.pdf )

Hopkins, B.  (1996)  The legal answer book for nonprofit organizations.  New York:  Wiley.

Horwitz, A (2021) DSM: A History of Psychiatry’s Bible. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Hubbard, R. & Wald, E.  (1997)  Exploding the gene myth.  Boston:  Beacon Press.

Kaiser, D.  (1996) “Commentary: Against Biologic Psychiatry,” Psychiatric Times, www.psychiatrictimes.com/p961242.html

Karon, B. and VandenBos, G. (1981) Psychotherapy of schizophrenia:  The treatment of choice.  New York:  Aronson.

Karon, B.  (1995)  Provision of psychotherapy under managed health care:  A growing crisis and national nightmare.  Professional Psychology:  Research and Practice.  26(1) 5-9.

Karon, B.  (1992) The fear of understanding schizophrenia.  Psychoanalytic Psychology, (9) 191-211.

Kauffman, M. & Julien, A.  (1999) Medical research:  Can we trust it:  Surge in corporate cash taints integrity of academic science.  Hartford Courant.  April 9 – 11.

Kiesler, D.  (1999) Beyond the disease model of mental disorders.  Westport, Praeger.

Kirk, S., Gomory, T. & Cohen, D. (2013) Mad Science:  Psychiatric Coercion, Diagnosis and Drugs. New Brunswick:  Transaction Publishers.

Kirsch, I. & Sapirstein, G.  (1998) Listening to Prozac but hearing placebo.  A meta-analysis of antidepressant medication.  Prevention and Treatment, (1) Article 0002a.  (http://journals.apa.org/treatment)

Kirsch, I., Moore, T., Scoboria, A. & Nicholls, S.  (2002) The Emperor’s New Drugs:  An Analysis of Antidepressant Medication Data Submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  Prevention and Treatment, (5) Article 23.

Kirsch, I. (2010) The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth. New York: Basic Books.

Kremer, T. & Gesten, E.  (1998) Confidentiality limits of managed care and clients’ willingness to self-disclose.  Professional Psychology:  Research and Practice.  553-8.

Kutchins, H. & Kirk, S. (1997) Making us crazy:  DSM: The psychiatric bible and the creation of mental disorders.  NY:  Free Press.

Lacasse, J.R. & Leo, J. (2005) Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect between the Advertisements and the Scientific Literature. PLoS Med 2(12): e392 doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0020392

Langs, R.  (1980)  Interactions.  New York:  Jason Aronson.

Leifer, R.  (1969)  In the name of mental health:  The social functions of psychiatry.  NY.  Science House.

Lidz, T.  (1973) The origin and treatment of schizophrenic disorders.  New York:  Basic Books.

Mancuso, A.  (1998)  How to start a nonprofit corporation.  CA:  Nolo Press.

Miller, R. (2015) Not So Abnormal Psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Moncrieff, J. (2008) The Myth of the Chemical Cure:  A Critique of Psychiatric Drug Treatment.  New York:  Palgrave Macmillan.

Moncrieff, J., Cooper, R.E., Stockmann, T. et al. The serotonin theory of depression: a systematic umbrella review of the evidence. Molecular Psychiatry. July, 2022.

Moore, T.  (1998)  Prescription for disaster.  New York:  Simon & Schuster.

Moore, T.  (1999)  No prescription for happiness:  Could it be that antidepressants do little more than placebos.  Boston Globe.  October 17.

Mosher, L.  (1999) Are psychiatrists betraying their patients? [Letter of Resignation from American Psychiatric Association]  Psychology Today  September/October, p. 40.

Peele, S.  (1989)  Diseasing of America.  Boston:  Houghton Mifflin.

Petersen, M. (2008) Our Daily Meds.  New York:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Ross, C.A. & Pam, A.  (1995)  Pseudoscience in biological psychiatry.  New York:  Wiley.

Searles, H.F. (1975)  “The patient as therapist to his analyst”, in Tactics and techniques in psychoanalytic therapy, Vol. II:  Countertransference., Giovacchini, P., editor, New York:  Jason Aronson.

Seligman, M.  (1998)   Is depression biochemical?  APA Monitor.  September.

Shapiro, A. & Shapiro, E. (1997) The powerful placebo.  Baltimore:  Johns Hopkins University Press.

Shaw, D. (2000)  Medical journals exercise clout in news coverage.  Los Angeles Times.  Feb. 14.

Shulman, R.  (1996)  Psychotherapy with ‘schizophrenia’:  Analysis of metaphor to reveal trauma and conflict.  The Psychotherapy Patient.  9(3/4) 75-106.  [Reprinted at www.PsychRights.org]

Shute, N., Locy, T. & Pasternak, D.  (2000)  The perils of pills:  The psychiatric medication of children is dangerously haphazard.  U.S. News & World Report.  March 6.

Silverstein, K.  (1999) Prozac.org:  An influential mental health nonprofit finds its “grassroots” watered by pharmaceutical millions.  Mother Jones.  Nov./Dec. 22-23.

Szasz, T.  (1965) The ethics of psychoanalysis.  New York:  Basic Books.

Szasz, T.  (1976) Schizophrenia:  The sacred symbol of Psychiatry.  Syracuse:  Syracuse University Press.

Szasz, T.  (1996) The Meaning of Mind.  Westport, CT:  Praeger.

Tucker, G.  (1998)  Putting DSM-IV in perspective.  American Journal of Psychiatry, February, 159-161.

Valenstein, E.  (1998)  Blaming the brain:  The truth about drugs and mental health.  New York:  Free Press.

Wazana, A.  (2000)  Physicians and the pharmaceutical industry:  Is a gift ever just a gift?  JAMA  283(3), 373-393.

Wexler, B. & Cicchetti. (1992)  The outpatient treatment of depression.  J. Nerv. & Mental Dis. 180 (5) 277-86.

Whitaker, R.  (2002)  Mad In America:  Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill.  Cambridge, MA:  Perseus.

Whitaker, R.  (2010)  Anatomy of An Epidemic:  Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America.  New York:  Crown.

Whitaker, R. & Cosgrove, L. (2015) Psychiatry Under the Influence: Institutional Corruption, Social Injury, and Prescriptions for Reform.  New York:  Palgrave Macmillan.

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