United State


ISPS-US Virtual Conference

Moving Toward Shared Understandings
in Psychosis and Extreme States:
Professional, Individual, and Family Perspectives

November 5-7, 2021

Psychosis and extreme states are complex, multifaceted phenomena. Mainstream mental health care in the United States has historically presented a narrow view of both root causes and treatments for the distressing symptoms associated with psychosis, viewing these experiences from a purely bio-medical framework. However, scientific advances over the past decades, and greater awareness of social, cultural, and societal influences on mental health have opened up opportunities to shift the conversation toward more humanistic, person-centered understandings. Thanks to the contributions of people with lived experience, family members, and enlightened practitioners, many of the experiences associated with psychosis are now understood as ways in which the human mind and spirit respond to confusing, challenging, and often difficult environments and relationships. While much progress has been made, much work remains to be done.

Join ISPS-US at our 2021 Conference and Annual Meeting as we consider the progress that can be made when multiple perspectives are honored in the treatment and understanding of psychosis.

We welcome presentations that examine and build upon rich collaborations between people with lived experience, family members, researchers, and clinicians across theory, practice, and innovation. We especially encourage presentations that acknowledge and address the additional burdens faced by people of color whose efforts simply to live in an increasingly hostile world can lead to psychosis and extreme states. Join us as we seek to  reimagine a future that offers greater hope, understanding, and possibility for all people who experience and struggle with extreme states.

This year we plan to include an interactive Creative Healing Space to present an array of therapeutic and creative arts modalities used for treatment, and as forms of self-expression that provide connection, comfort, joy, and healing. These can include origami, visual art, poetry, photography, music, dance, spoken word, and more. This Creative Healing Space was inspired by the ISPS International Congress, to be held in Perugia, Italy in September 2022. With permission, we will take these submissions with us to Perugia next year.

DEADLINE: Submit your proposal online by July 5, 2021

Conference Links

Call for Proposals
Submit a Proposal
Sign the Disclosure Form
Examples of Learning Objectives
Bertram Karon Memorial Award

Jaakko Seikkula

Keynote Speaker: Jaakko Seikkula, PhD
Jaakko Seikkula has been involved in developing family-centered mental health care since the early 1980s. He was a member of the original team in Western Lapland in Finland developing the approach later named Open Dialogue. Since 1988, he has conducted research projects on the effectiveness of Open Dialogue, especially on psychosis. He is also interested in looking at dialogues as the basic form of human life and therapeutic practice. Lately he has been looking at embodiment in dialogue, how we communicate in our bodies and create a relational mind. He is Professor of Psychotherapy (emeritus) at University of Jyväskylä and author of two books on dialogical practice and author/co-author of about 190 scientific papers.

Keris Myrick

Honoree: Keris Jän Myrick, MBA, MS
Keris Jän Myrick is a Co-Director of The Mental Health Strategic Impact Initiative (S2i), which aims to advance the transformation of mental health by catalyzing cross-sectional reforms, strengthening collaborations, and bridging gaps. She serves on the Board of the National Association of Peer Specialists (N.A.P.S.) and is a Certified Personal Medicine Coach. She is a leading mental health advocate and executive, known for her innovative and inclusive approach to mental health reform and the public disclosure of her personal story. She has over 15 years of experience in mental health services innovations, transformation, and peer workforce development.

Toshiko and Kristina

The International Organizing Committee of the Perugia ISPS conference, given the pandemic emergency, has decided to reschedule the Perugia conference of 2021 to next year on September 1st-4th, 2022.

Consequently the abstract presentation deadline has been extended until:
January 31st, 2022.
Submit an abstract here.

We would however like to maintain September 3rd-4th, 2021 as the date for a two-day "Co-constructing Healing Spaces" virtual conference.

At this virtual conference the plenary speakers will briefly present and discuss the following themes of the 2022 conference:


A small participation fee will be charged.

A Way Out of Madness
Dealing With Your Family After You've Been Diagnosed With A Psychiatric Disorder

A Way Out of Madness

Co-Written and Co-Edited by Daniel Mackler and Matthew Morrissey

Family conflict can wreak havoc on people diagnosed with psychiatric disorders. A Way Out of Madness offers guidance in resolving family conflict and taking control of your life. The book also includes personal accounts of family healing by people who were themselves psychiatrically diagnosed. This is the first book in our ISPS-US Book Series. Paperback now available. For more information or to purchase>>

Videos are now available from the ISPS-US 19th Annual Meeting

Free videos are available on our YouTube channel:

Videos for sale or rent are available on Vimeo:

Free audio files are available on our blog:

Paid audio files will be posted here later.

More videos and audio files will be posted so check back for updates. ISPS-US members get a 50% discount on paid videos. The code is in your welcome letter, or email Karen Stern for more information:

If you find our free resources helpful, please make a donation to ISPS-US:

Videos of the keynote presentations that were recorded at the 20th International Congress of the ISPS in Liverpool, August 2017 are available on the ISPS UK YouTube channel:

There is also a 'What is psychosis' film clip that might be a very valuable tool for events and trainings, as it's a good springboard for discussion.

ISPS-US Statement Condemning U.S. Immigration Family Separation Policies

The traumatic family separation policies of the Trump White House (WH) have been condemned by the following American health and human rights organizations: The American Academy of Pediatrics, The United Nation's Human Rights Council, the American Medical Association, the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American College of Physicians, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Public Health Association, the National Academy of Medicine, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS), the American Psychoanalytic Association, the American Nurses Association, etc.

View Full Statement

ISPS-US Statement on Mass Shootings and "Mental Illness"

While the number of mass shootings in the United States has risen sharply over the past 20 years, and shows no sign of slowing down, some public leaders have erroneously blamed "mental illness" for these horrific crimes. ISPS-US joins Mental Health America, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Medical Association in condemning statements that blame or suggest that "mental illness" is the culprit behind these crimes.

View Full Statement

Help Support ISPS-US

The next time you shop on Amazon, use this link and a small portion of your purchase will be donated to us at no extra cost to you!

With iGive, you can setup your account to support ISPS-US. You can signup here and a small portion of your purchases will be donated to help support our foundation

You can make a direct donation to ISPS-US. Donations made directly to ISPS-US are tax deductable to the extent allowable by law.


The Education Committee has held webinars on many topics. We ask for a donation in support of ISPS-US, but it is not required. Topics so far have included:

How Can the Uncontainable Be Contained? Paradoxes of Madness & Philosophy

Robert Whitaker: The Rising Non-Pharmaceutical Paradigm for "Psychosis"

Exploring the Promise and the Pitfalls of Mad Pride With Ron Unger, LCSW

Life with Voices: A Guide for Harmony

Online Courses

Online Courses by Ron Unger, LCSW 50% of your tuition goes directly to support ISPS-US.

CBT for Psychosis: An Online Course

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for psychosis is an evidence-based method to reduce distress and disability related to psychotic experiences, and to support a possible full recovery. 5 hours/5 CEs, which you complete on your own time, with lifetime access to all course materials. Use this link for more information and to register - 50% of your tuition directly supports ISPS-US!

Working with Trauma, Dissociation, and Psychosis

A large body of research now indicates that trauma can be a cause of psychosis, with dissociation playing an important role. This online course will help you understand how this happens, and how to use CBT and other approaches to support work toward recovery. 6 hours/6 CEs. Use this link for more information and to register - 50% of your tuition directly supports ISPS-US!

Addressing Spiritual Issues Within Treatment For Psychosis and Bipolar

Crisis in the mind raises deep questions that are often understood as spiritual. Learn culturally competent and recovery-oriented ways of engaging with people around these issues in this online course. 6 hours/6 CEs. Use this link for more information and to register.

Please sign Brian Koehler's Petition:

APA Drop the Stigmatizing Term "Schizophrenia"

Sign the Petition

Institutional Members

The ISPS International Book Series

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