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News & Events


If you want to be in the know about what’s going on at our organization, you’ve come to the right place.

Be sure to check back regularly to get our latest news updates.

We're thrilled to announce the first of our two keynote speakers for the upcoming ISPS-US 2024 Annual Conference "New Beginnings: Reimagining Psychosis Services and Systems in the US." Please join us in welcoming Professor Craig Steel, a distinguished clinical psychologist and researcher from the UK whose work has significantly advanced the development and evaluation of psychological treatments for psychosis. His research focuses on creating models to comprehend symptoms in the context of trauma, including integrating innovative approaches like the voice dialogue method for distressing voice hearing experiences. Full bio below.

This event brings together investigative journalist Rob Wipond, author of “Your Consent is Not Required,” Philip Yanos, PhD, professor, researcher, ACT team clinician, and author of “Written Off: Mental Health Stigma and the Loss of Human Potential,” along with Patrick Mureithi, a father, musician, and documentary filmmaker who will discuss his personal journey through self-medication, psychiatric abuse, and homelessness, and eventual recovery through spirituality, focus on physical health, and community support. 

Philip Yanos, PhD, ISPS-US Member, professor, and eminent researcher at CUNY has started a petition titled "Mayor Adams, stop scapegoating "severe mental illness""

We encourage you to sign on today!⁠

Mayor Eric Adams has recently been scapegoating people with "severe mental illness" for high-profile public safety issues in New York City, including shootings committed by people without mental health histories 5%, or nearly 400,000, people in New York City are diagnosed with a "severe mental illness" and make major contributions to its communities. Let's let Mayor Adams know that it's not okay to use mental illness as a scapegoat for the city's problems.⁠

It's the news you've all been waiting for! We are thrilled to announce the much-awaited ISPS-US 2024 Annual Conference, to be held from November 1-3 in Pittsburgh, PA, and hybrid online.

Under the theme New Beginnings: Reimagining Psychosis Services and Systems in the US, this conference promises to be a dynamic platform for innovation, collaboration, and change.

Open Minded Online is a project of Elisabeth Svanholmer and Rufus May, two folks who were inspired to share methods of working with voices and similar experiences after they found their own experiences in traditional psychiatric treatment to be lacking. The approaches can be used by voice-hearers themselves, such as with the quick and practical Self-Help Guide to Talking With Voices, or with therapists, such as with the Engaging With Voices Videos.

ISPS-US Launches Speakers Bureau to Revolutionize Mental Health Conversations

PHILADELPHIA, PA - The International Society of Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis - US Chapter (ISPS-US) proudly introduces the ISPS-US Speakers Bureau. The Bureau offers access to a range of experts dedicated to changing the narrative on psychosis and mental health and championing psychological and social approaches that uphold human dignity.

Our Speakers Bureau brings together a diverse group of speakers, including service providers, academics, clinicians, individuals with lived experience of psychosis, and their families. By uniting these diverse voices, we aim to create an easily accessible and comprehensive resource for the press, organizations, and event planners.

Starting in April, ISPS-US will be hosting two new groups for our Members: Spiritual Wellness Conversation Group and Life Writing.

In the wake of several cities implementing policies to expand forced hospitalizations, this presentation will introduce several components of a psychoanalytic approach to the treatment of psychosis in community and urban environments.

Join ISPS-US member Sasha Warren for the launch of his new book Storming Bedlam. Storming Bedlam reimagines mental health care and its radical possibilities in the context of its global development under capitalism.

Dear ProPublica,

In response to your investigation into mental health care access, we are writing to you on behalf of ISPS-US, the US chapter of an international organization devoted to advocating for psychological and social approaches to psychosis.  While many of our members are mental health professionals and researchers, a significant proportion are people with lived experience or their family members who have embraced our organization after years and sometimes decades in the mental health system. 

Structural barriers to care pose a critical problem, but this problem is compounded by a crisis regarding the quality of the care that can be accessed. 

The human experience commonly labeled “schizophrenia” impacts all members of society in one way or another. Some experience it directly. Others witness loved ones or neighbors experiencing it. Most observe examples of it at one time or another in shared public spaces such as at bus stops and libraries. No matter the degree of contact we have with it, this state of being challenges us all as individuals and as a collective society. Is there a way we can approach this human condition with sincere compassion and respectful curiosity? Can we challenge ourselves to see first and foremost the human being having the experience and only then the behavioral expressions of the experience?

Join us for our March webinar "From Pathology to Purpose: Reiminaging The Past and Future of Mental Health" with Justin Garson, PhD, Philosophy Professor at CUNY, Historian, and author of Madness: A Philosophical Exploration. 

Date: Thursday, March 14th, 2024
Time: 12pm-1:30pm (Eastern)

Hot off the heels of our recent webinar together, we are pleased to announce that Danielle Knafo, PhD, will be presenting at the next meeting of the New York City Branch of ISPS-US (ISPS-US-NYC) on April 7th from 1-3pm Eastern.

The FREE event is in partnership with Adelphi University and will be held at the Adelphi Center at St Francis College, 179 Livingston Street, Room 5100, Brooklyn. Refreshments will be served and CEUs available.

My advice to seekers--keep an open mind! The stigma, the labels, the trauma, and the disease can be erased over the course of years of hard work! It took me a lot of perseverance and a steadfast belief in my own reason, healthy eating, connection with people, retraining my trauma with successes in work and in social life and also trusting the wisdom of others who have cured themselves and been able to get off medication.

I touched my book:
it was
like a white ship,
half open
like a new rose,
it was
to my eyes
a mill,
from each page
of my book
sprouted the flower of bread;
I was blinded by my own rays,
I was insufferably
my feet left the ground
and I was walking
on clouds

Join ISPS-US for our Spring workshop series, Diverse Psychotherapeutic Approaches for Voice Hearing Series. 18 CE hours are available for APA and ASWB boards.

This series features six biweekly, expert-led workshops, each delving into a distinct therapeutic modality, including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for psychosis (CBTp), Psychodynamic Therapy, Creative Arts Therapy, Internal Family Systems (IFS).

Our next webinar will be From Breakdown to Breakthrough: Psychoanalytic Treatment of Psychosis, featuring renowned clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst, Dr. Danielle Knafo.

We're pleased to announce our next webinar, Creative Approaches to Voices, Visions, and Other Sensory Phenomena, with Tami Gatta, Creative Arts Therapist and co-founder of the Hearing Voices Network NYC.

Date: Thursday, January 25th, 2024
Time: 12-1:30pm (Eastern)

We are thrilled to share that on December 20th, ISPS-US is launching Life Writing with ISPS-US, an 8-week course aimed at individuals interested in crafting personal narratives centered around experiences of altered states or what some may call "psychosis." We welcome both experiencers and family members to join us.

We invite you to join our December 6th webinar, Rewriting the Narrative: Healing and Advocacy Through Storytelling, featuring two remarkable authors, Sarah Fay, author of Pathological: The True Story of Six Misdiagnoses and Cured: A Memoir, and Tanya Frank, author of Zig-Zag Boy: A Memoir of Madness and Motherhood. This event will run from 4-5:30pm Eastern time. Can't make it live? Don't worry a recording will be emailed to all those who register.

On Saturday, 28th October, during our conference reception and awards ceremony, ISPS-US was pleased to award the following people with the ISPS-US awards for their outstanding contributions to our mission of promoting psychosocial approaches to psychosis. Join us in celebrating their impactful work!

Don't miss out on our upcoming webinar "Deprescribing and Undiagnosing: Two Sides of a Coin" with Dr Swapnil Gupta, which is coming up on November 10th at 1pm Eastern.

Webinar Description

In the past two decades, medicine and psychiatry in particular, has paid increasing attention to parsimony in psychotropic prescribing. As people taper off their psychotropic medication, either alone or with their doctors, they must deal with withdrawal symptoms, recurrences of underlying symptoms and the looming fear of rehospitalization. For some patients, deprescribing may entail a process of constructing a meaningful and more complex narrative of their psychological distress, one that may have been sequestered or even destroyed by diagnosis.

With case examples, Dr Gupta will illustrate five themes that emerge during the process of undiagnosing and deprescribing: denial and disbelief, anger, grief over lost years, the search for authenticity and finally a clinical pragmatism, for both, doctor and patient.

ISPS's Creative Online Sharing Space virtual gallery is now LIVE on both our 2023 Conference Platform and for viewing via our website.

ICOSS members meet from across the world to share their creative works with others. The feedback and reflections received help contribute to a sense of community and insight.

Feel free to browse our virtual gallery space, and if you're coming to the conference, check out our exhibition table. Every ISPS member is welcome to ICOSS, if you're not already a member. Join us today!

There are 10-days left until the kick-off of the ISPS-US 2023 Conference! As the excitement builds, we want to share five reasons why you should consider attending virtually. Here's what you can look forward to:

ISPS-US's Advocacy Committee penned the following letter in response to SAMHSA's recent Request for Information; Potential Changes to its Evidence-Based Practices Resource Center. In it, we conveyed our concerns about the re-evaluation of the Evidence-Based Practices Resource Center (EBPRC), emphasizing the need for a more inclusive, transparent approach to evidence-based practices. We highlighted biases in current treatments, emphasizing the need for transparency, the inclusion of qualitative measures, and a focus on long-term research for effective mental health treatment.

We urged SAMHSA to consider the limitations of manualized treatments and to prioritize the relationships between clinicians and clients in the pursuit of well-being-focused interventions. Furthermore, we emphasized the importance of a more inclusive approach to soliciting feedback from various stakeholders in the mental health field.

Did you know the Twin Cities has a local support group for people who hear voices or have other perceptual experiences?  This group is a non-judgmental and welcoming place, free of stigmatizing labels and devoid of an emphasis on symptom reduction.  In this space you can share your experiences with others who are able to listen from a place of genuine understanding.

Meetings take place each Monday at 7:00pm in the Meditation Room of the Walker Community United Methodist Church located at 3104 16th Ave S Minneapolis, MN 55407. 

All are welcome!

ISPS-US is the United States Chapter of the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis. Our organization is unique in its inclusion of researchers, clinicians, individuals with lived experience, family members, and other stakeholders, all of whom have joined together to create a three-dimensional picture of what works in the treatment of people diagnosed with severe mental illness. We appreciate SAMHSA’s invitation to share our knowledge and experience, and do so urgently to address our significant concerns regarding certain of your agency’s current recommendations and resources

Excitement for the ISPS-US conference is soaring, and we have an important update to share regarding accommodation. Due to overwhelming demand, our on-site hotel, the Marriott Courtyard University of Delaware, is now fully booked for the conference dates. However, we've got some fantastic news to ensure your stay is just as convenient and comfortable!

We've secured a special block of rooms at the nearby SpringHill Suites, located just an 8-minute drive from the conference center. The best part? You can enjoy all the perks of your stay at the same unbeatable rate of $169 per night, which includes a complimentary hot breakfast buffet to kickstart your conference days with energy and ease.

Recognizing a theme among her conference proposals this year of spirituality's significance in navigating extreme states, ISPS-US is pleased to announce we are hosting a free virtual meditation group to take place every Monday in October, from 8:30-9am (Eastern) leading up to our Annual Conference.

The group will be open to ISPS-US members and Conference Attendees. Our host is Pastor Bob Bergner, a presenter on our conference Spirituality Plenary Panel, and principal character in Daniel Bergner's incredible book The Mind & The Moon: My Brother's Story, the Science of Our Brains, and the Search for Our Psyches.

Get ready for a one-of-a-kind event! We are thrilled to invite you to our next webinar, an extraordinary narrative-theoretical performance titled "Here is a Broken Word: Psychosis and Ethical Accompaniment" on Thursday, September 28th at 12pm, Eastern.

This immersive experience will delve into the lived experience of psychosis, its purpose as communication and testimony, and the ethical accompaniment required to foster connection and healing. Dr. Erin Soros, a "mad writer," distinguished scholar, and story-teller, will share her personal journey and expertise on this vital topic.

ISPS-US's Executive Director, Leah Giorgini, ISPS-US member Martin Cosgro, and 2022 conference attendee Fehmida Iyer Visnagarwala were interviewed in the latest edition of Counterpoint, the newspaper published by Vermont Psychiatric Survivors.

ISPS-US's recent webinar event, "Psychosis, Sociopolitical Trauma and the Asian Diaspora" with Ruth Ozeki and Claire Bien, held in partnership with Hearing Voices Network USA, is mentioned in this excellent article written by Derek DeForest.

Titled, "At the End of the Tunnel: Buddhist Perspectives on Voices and Visions," Derek's article recounts a transformative meditation retreat whereby he experienced visions or "hallucinations" that ultimately led to his ostracization, sparking an inquiry into the complex relationship between spirituality and mental health.

As we prepare to honor the hard work and dedication of individuals across the nation, we have a special announcement to make – we're extending the early bird rate for the ISPS-US Conference until 12am on Tuesday, September 5th! By extending the early bird rate, we're giving you more time to benefit from reduced registration fees.

We're thrilled to share that the preliminary schedule for the 2023 ISPS-US Conference, Humanity in Solidarity: Sharing the Journey Through Psychosis and Extreme States, is now available, and it's more interactive and engaging than ever before!

In the pursuit of justice and ethical treatment within mental health institutions, the case of Dawn Dziuba has caught the attention of individuals and organizations alike. Dawn Dziuba is currently a patient in the Forensic Treatment Center South in St. Louis, Missouri, and has been an inpatient since 2014. Dawn alleges that she is being subjected to retaliation for submitting complaints on behalf of herself and fellow patients who believe they have experienced unjust, inhumane, or illegal practices. Members from ISPS-US, led by the Advocacy Committee, have been closely monitoring Dawn's situation and actively supporting efforts to address the concerning circumstances she faces within the Missouri mental health system.

This swell of cross-organizational support has led Missouri State Representative Sarah Unsicker to write a letter, dated August 1st, to the Director of the Missouri Department of Mental Health regarding Dawn Dziuba's case, calling for an investigation. In a compelling letter, Representative Unsicker expressed her concern for Dawn's well-being, echoing the worries raised by MindFreedom International and the wider community. Representative Unsicker, an Attorney, also points out numerous legal irregularities in Dawn's case.

In a change to our group schedule, the Evening ICOSS group will now meet on the second Monday of the month from 7:30pm to 9:00pm Eastern. If you prefer a daytime session, our Daytime ICOSS group remains on the third Thursday of the month from 12:00pm to 1:30pm Eastern. Both groups provide a welcoming space to share your creative works and receive feedback and reflections.

We are excited to announce that registration is now open for the ISPS-US 2023 Conference "Humanity in Solidarity: Sharing the Journey through Psychosis and Extreme States." Join us on October 27-29, 2023, at the Clayton Conference Center, University of Delaware in Newark, DE, or participate online through our hybrid format.

With this announcement, we are pleased to share the identity of our third and final keynote speaker: mad liberation activist, trainer, writer, and psychiatric survivor Vesper Moore! Vesper joins Pat Deegan and Willard Ashley as our speakers who will kick off each day of the conference with their wisdom and insights.

ISPS-US invites you to attend a panel presentation, featuring four eminent leaders from the U.S. and U.K. who will share their dialogic work, research, learnings, challenges and emerging best practices as inspired by Open Dialogue.

Registration will soon open for the ISPS-US Conference, "Humanity in Solidarity: Sharing the Journey through Psychosis and Extreme States.” However, we believe that everyone should have an opportunity to participate, regardless of financial circumstances.

To create equity in action, we are launching a special fundraising campaign to provide scholarships. Our goal is to raise $4,000 and we would be honored to have your support.

The three-year term for ISPS-US officers elected in 2020, comes to an end this fall. The ISPS-US Nominating Committee has developed a slate of proposed officers, which follows. Check out their

ISPS-US has extended the deadline for submitting proposals for the ISPS-US 2023 Annual Conference. The new deadline for abstract submissions is now June 7th.

The conference, themed "Humanity in Solidarity: Sharing the Journey Through Psychosis and Extreme States," will take place from October 27-29th at the University of Delaware in Newark, DE. We are excited to bring together researchers, practitioners, people with lived experience, family members, and advocates to explore the human experience of psychosis and extreme states, and to highlight the significance of building solidarity and community in the journey of healing.

ISPS-US members recently took part in a letter-writing campaign to The New Yorker in response to their article The Revolving Door / The System that Failed Jordan Neely. Thanks to the collective effort from our organization and others, The New Yorker will publish this moving and important letter from a reader that helps to highlight our and others' concerns around coerced treatment.

We're thrilled to announce a new local ISPS-US branch effort in Upstate New York! Join us for our inaugural meeting on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, at 7:30 pm, at 534 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo.

Advocates are currently organizing against a recent RFP put out by the state's DMHAS for a peer respite center because the limitations set around the center deviate from what studies and experience in other states show are best practices.

The White Paper, a response to Alaska's HB172 bill, presents evidence against coercive approaches and offers effective alternative approaches such as peer respite houses, hearing voices groups, and open dialogue. These alternatives are among the approaches that ISPS-US promotes.

In this webinar, advocates Sascha Altman DuBrul and Stephen Nawotniak will share their unique perspectives on transforming mental health care through peer support in pathways from both inside and outside the system.

Voice-hearers and their supporters and allies will learn techniques to develop a compassionate understanding and relationship with voices.