Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D,B.C.S.A.,DAPA.

Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D,B.C.S.A.,DAPA.
e-mail: batushkad@yahoo.com

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.- Drug Free Relational Approaches/ Psychotherapy- Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania area

Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.
202 W. Tioga St.
Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania USA 18657




To arrange a consultation or for media interview requests, contact:

Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D. is a noted existential-humanist psychotherapist, child developmental specialist, social activist, and author. He is the founder of the International Center for Humane Psychiatry which is an emancipatory movement for human rights and dignity in the mental health system. Dr. Edmunds' therapeutic work has focused on drug free, relationship based approaches for autism and developmental differences as well as extreme states of mind (what is labeled as schizophrenia, schizoaffective, bipolar). He has been a leading critic of the mental health establishment challenging its ties to the pharmaceutical industry as well as many of its practices which invalidate experience and are oppressive.

Dr. Edmunds at the age of 14 began taking interest in culture and belief and undertook study of various ethnic and religious groups. At the age of 15, he became active in various political campaigns, holding his first press conference. At 16, he became the youngest legislative aide in the State of Colorado serving with then State Senator Robert W. Schaffer. He later served as the youngest registered professional lobbyist in the State of Colorado. In 1992, he served as a county campaign coordinator for a congressional campaign in Florida and had the opportunity to transport Martin Luther King III to an event at Bethune Cookman College and attend the Congressional Black Caucus Swearing-in Ceremonies in Washington, D.C.
He graduated from Fort Collins High School in Fort Collins, Colorado in 1993. He attended the University of Florida and received his Bachelor of Arts with a major in Comparative Religion and a minor in Sociology. He completed his Master of Arts in Theology from the University of Scranton, a Jesuit institution in 1999. He completed post graduate coursework in Dispute Resolution in 2000 via Nova Southeastern University and earned his Doctorate of Education in Community Counseling in 2006 from Argosy University of Sarasota. Dr. Edmunds' dissertation was an exploration of a drug free program for children diagnosed as ADHD participating in wraparound programs.
In 1999, he collaborated with Bobbi Gagne of the Sexual Abuse Crisis Team of Vermont. He began work as a therapist for a private agency in 2000, and in 2001 he was host of a local radio program addressing children's mental health issues and drug free approaches. In 2001, he developed a radio program in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area focused on drug free approaches and children's mental health. In 2002, he completed various trainings in relationship based approaches to autism. In 2003, he received Board Certification in Sexual Abuse Issues from the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress.
In 2004, Edmunds undertook a lecture tour in Florida discussing psychiatric abuse, and the diagnosis of ADHD and drug free ways to aid children receiving this label.
Edmunds began publishing a number of critical psychology articles at this time. In 2005, Edmunds delivered a presentation "Thinking Outside the Bio-Psychiatric Paradigm" at the 8the 8th annual conference of the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology held at the Sheraton LaGuardia in Flushing, New York. Also in 2005, he serves as clinical director for a therapeutic equestrian program.
In 2006, Edmunds attends the Fight for Kids Gala in New York City sponsored by Tia Ciabani of Ports 1961 which included Kelly Preston, John Travolta, Greta Van Sustern, and Arianna Huffington among the guests.
Also in 2006, after receiving his Doctorate, Edmunds begins private consultation and publishes his first book "Children Our Treasure" and delivers a talk at an exhibit on psychiatric abuse held in Niagara Falls, New York.
in 2007, he lectures at an event in Buffalo, New York and is interviewed on various local radio programs (Melbourne, Florida; Hartford,CT; Clearwater, FL) He publishes his second book "Experience: The Soul of Therapy."
In 2008, Dr. Edmunds publishes "Navigating Through the Mainstream", a text on autism acceptance and helping developmentally different persons. He travels to Miami, Florida for meetings on foster care reform and lectures at the opening of exhibit on psychiatric abuse in Philadelphia, PA.
in 2009, Dr. Edmunds joins the Board of Advisors of the R.D. Laing Society. He is interviewed on a number of radio programs including Highway to Health. He serves as a consultant in the case of Kurt Danysh, a person without any prior history of violence who committed a violent act after being prescribed the drug Prozac.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


One of my clients, a thirteen year old boy, related to me about his prior time at a residential treatment center. He said that many of the staff would call him and the other children by obscene names, that he often felt bullied, degraded, and ‘like I never was a human being.” The father of this young man told me that “you have done more for him in a few weeks than many did in years.” This was a kind compliment and I was pleased that I was able to make a contribution to this boy’s life but beyond that I began to think- what exactly is different in my approach with this young man that has allowed a connection to blossom forth and has helped him to progress in a short period whereas he had rece3ived years of prior ‘treatments’. I found the answer to this in what I sought to create, and I believe this is the key to any genuine emotional healing- relationship. Beyond that, I radically tore down the barriers that would separate us. I tore down the hierarchy. I did not bully him or seek to use my position to force or coerce. From the beginning, I informed him that he was in a safe place to be his actual self, a place where he could feel comfortable to express whatever he chose without judgment or hostility. It came to be that whenever crises arose he would often seek me out. Many treatment programs today are based on staff being in positions of power over the person and seeking to modify nthe way the person thinks and feels by a system of manipulations. Those who conform to this are said to be ‘improved’ and are discharged. But I have never seen any real progress come from such ‘treatment’. This is because it was never based on genuineness, it was never authentic. We know that residential treatment facilities are costly and we know that the ‘success’ rates for such programs are very low. Why are we afraid to empower young people? Why are we afraid to use shared energy and power? Why is it that we adults who have created a warped society filled with wars, greed, corruption, poverty, and injustice feel that we have more wisdom and the ability to control our young people. I find that much of what is termed conduct problems among our young people are the result of what they have received from adult society or is a futile and unfortunately self destructive attempt to remove the shackles placed upon them by this corrupt society.
Residential treatment centers are like concentration camps. This indeed many be a strong statement. But we have taken a group of youth who have often been the scapegoats in their families and we have incarcerate them in facilities against their will, dehumanized them, and used power, control, and force to seek to make them be as ‘us.’ Imagine if we took the funds channeled to these residential treatment centers (which are often for-profit) and we invested it towards alleviating poverty, for educational programs, for assistance to mothers, for parental skill transfer, etc. We do not want to invest in these things because it would actually make a difference, it would elevate and empower people and this would be a huge threat to the status quo and the oligarchic system under which we operate. Often young people come to me and will complain about the injustices of the world and the unfairness of their lives. Sadly, the countless examples of corruptiojn and greed seen in adult society makes them feel powerless. I think of the judges in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania who profited from sending juveniles to detention facilities for lengthy periods for minor offenses. When young people see and endure this, it is no wonder that they become complacent. But their complacency is what I find most disturbing. In the past, youth often would stand up vigilantly to defend their rights and the rights of others. Now there is just apathy. People sit back and take the abuse from the system. They have become disenfranchised and disillusioned. But the message I send to young people is that yes, life can be unfair, it can be absurd, there are many unanswered questions, but through our experiences we maintain the choice to be complacent or to press on. We can take our painful experiences and transform ourselves and our world and those around us. I was inspired to enter the counseling field after encountering a woman who endured years of abuse but who made the choice to empower herself and others by creating a place of sanctuary for those who experienced such brutality. She pulled many out of the darkness of despair because she could journey with them, she had been through their darkness, she knew where they were.
This is a powerful theme- the journey with another person. To simply be with another person, particularly when they feel alone in the world. This has a dramatic impact on a person’s well being. But that is not how most ‘treatment’ works. Rather, ‘treatment’ seeks to ‘do’ things to you instead of being with the person. Be it psychiatric drugs, electroshocks, or restraints, all of this is something we ‘do’ to alter the person’s experience and to bring them to our sense of ‘normality.’ But is it good to be ‘normal’? Is there something better about this? Laing had commented that normal people had killed million of other normal people in this past century.
I find the Myth of Sisyphus as related by Albert Camus to be a powerful and inspiring story. Sisyphus is condemned by the gods to roll a rock up a hill for eternity, when he reaches the top, it falls again, only for him to have to do it all over again. This is often a metaphor for our lives, how we feel trapped, that we must go through the same mundane things over and over, however Sisyphus presses on because he maintains a spirit of defiance. I believe this spirit of defiance is what helps us to continue onward and develop new meanings. We are constantly revising our meanings, we are constantly reviewing and revising our lives. Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a popular diagnosis for young people who would dare to be angry ore challenge what adults tell them. Granted, this defiant attitude can be productive or destructive, the spirit of defiance I refer to is one that causes us to think critically and to take action, not just for our own benefit but for the benefit of others. The example of Martin Luther King Jr. is one of this spirit of defiance leading to radical and needed change. His was a non-violent spirit of defiance and that is what is needed to evoke any lasting change. If it is not non-violent then we just contribute to the cycle of misery and despair that individuals so often become entangled within.
I have known that for some of my clients they have felt as though they are trapped in a prison. A prisoner of their own minds, haunted by visions of the past. I do not find it helpful at times to rehash the past history of traumas. We can know what the traumas are but a regurgitation of all the details does not bring healing or move the person forward. It is often necessary to simply journey with the person and for them to come to a point of patient acceptance. This means accepting things were what they were but letting go, not inflicting more wounds upon ourselves or having a constant dialogue with ourselves of what if or why me? This patient acceptance allows us to come to a sense of peace within ourselves and with that around us. But when I say patient acceptance I am not stating that we must accept being abused or oppressed in the present. Instead, we must be active agent of our liberation and the liberation of others. This can only come about by turning away from a victim stance and becoming empowered to transform ourselves and by our transformation, in our small but significant way seek to bring peace and solace to others.
I believe that one role of the therapist that is basically forgotten today is to be an activist. If we truly want to see people happy and free from mental anguish, then we must take a role in championing the basic rights and dignity of all human beings. This activist role has been lost because the current medical-pharmaceutical model in the mental health system would tell us that everything is a chemical problem in the brain of the person. If this is the case, then there is no immediate need to change our environment or the way our society operates because it has not had no impact on the distress of the person, it is all in the wiring of their brain. This medical model has led to stigmatization, greed, has stifled any understanding of individual experience or the powerful social, familial, and political processes that leads to distress.
In addition to the fraud of the medical model, religious propaganda also causes us to lose sight of the need for us to take action in our world now. If persons are led to believe in some future better existence and that life is merely a test or preparation for the next better world, then what motivation do we have to change anything in our world now? If we are led to believe that the earth will all be destroyed at some point in time anyway, why take any action? I recall a client about nine years old whose grandfather had died of cancer. She was terrified, anxious, having nightmares and intrusive thoughts that her grandfather was burning in Hell. Why do we do this to our children? We often grasp onto beliefs because it is what we are told, or what our families did, or because others around us believe it. We have lost our ability to think critically. We have relinquished our lives to the control of some outside power that is really only the man behind the curtain pulling the strings. Ignore the man behind the curtain we are told and indeed we do!

Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.,.B.C.S.A.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Dear Oprah

We are writing in response to your programme about “The 7-Year-Old Schizophrenic”, which concerned Jani, a child who hears voices, which was broadcast on the 6th October 2009. We hope to correct the pessimistic picture offered by the mental health professionals featured in your programme, and in the accompanying article on your website. What upset us most and moved us to write to you, is that parents will have been left with the impression that they are powerless to help their children if they hear voices. We are also concerned that the programme gave the impression that children with voices must be treated with medication. We note that the medications mentioned in your programme all have very serious side effects. (For example, antipsychotics such as Haldol cause neuronal loss, block the dopamine pathways in the brain required to processes rewarding stimuli, and carry a high risk of neurological and metabolic side effects such as Parkinsonianism and diabetes. Their effects on the developing brain are largely unknown and, in our view, they should only be given to children as a treatment as absolutely last resort.)

We have been researching and working with adults and children like Jani for the last twenty years, and our work has led us to very different conclusions from those reached by the mental health professionals on your programme. One of our founding members, Dr. Sandra Escher from the Netherlands, has spent the last fifteen years talking to children who hear voices, and to their parents and carers. This work is the most detailed and thorough investigation of children who hear voices carried out to date [1, 2]. The most important findings from recent research on hearing voices are as follows:

Prevalence of voice hearing in adults and children
Recent large-scale population (epidemiological) studies have shown that about 4-10 % of the adult population hear voices at some time in their lives [3-5]. Only about a third seek assistance from mental health services. Amongst children, the proportion hearing voices may be even higher [6] and, again, only a minority are referred for treatment. Hence, it is wrong to assume that voice hearing is always a pathological condition requiring treatment.

Psychological mechanisms
Everyone has an inner voice. Psychologists call this phenomenon ‘inner speech’ and it is an important mechanism that we use to regulate our own behaviour (plan what we want to do, direct our own actions). Child psychologists have long understood that this ability begins to develop at about 2-years of age [7, 8]. Hearing voices seems to reflect some kind of differentiation in the mind’s ability to tell the difference between inner speech and the heard speech of other people [9, 10].

Link to trauma
A common theme in research with both adults and children is the relationship between hearing voices and traumatic experiences. In adults, around 75% begin to hear voices in relationship to a trauma or situations that make them feel powerless [11-13], for example the death of a loved one, divorce, losing a job, failing an exam, or longer lasting traumas such as physical, emotional or sexual abuse. The role of trauma was identified in 85% of the children we have studied, for example being bullied by peers or teachers, or being unable to perform to the required level at school, or being admitted to a hospital because of a physical illness. In short, our research has shown that hearing voices is usually a reaction to a situation or a problem that the child is struggling to cope with.

Voices have a meaning A related and equally striking finding is that the voices often refer to the problem that troubles the child, but in an elliptical manner. To take just one example from the children studied by Sandra Escher:

The voices told an 8-year-old boy to blind himself. This frightened his mother. But when we discussed whether there was something in the life of the boy he could not face, she understood the voices’ message. The boy could not cope with his parents’ problematic marriage. He did not want to see it.

We wonder whether anyone has attempted to establish why, in Jani’s case, the rat is called "Wednesday", why the girl is called "24 Hours", and why is the cat called "400"? What do these mean for her? Why does Jani want people to call her "Blue-Eyed Tree Frog" and "Jani Firefly"?

Good outcomes without treatment
Recently, Sandra Escher conducted a three-year follow up study of eighty children who heard voices, aged between 8 and 19 [1]. Half received mental health care but the other half were not given any specialist care at all. The children were interviewed four times, at yearly intervals. By the end of the research period 60% of the children reported that their voices had disappeared. Very often, this was because the triggering problems were dealt with or because the child’s situation changed - for example, following a change of schools.

Helping children who hear voices: Advise to parents
It is important to appreciate that the desire to make voices disappear, although usually the goal of the mental health care services, is not necessarily in the best interests of children. Some children do not want to lose their voices. If children can find within themselves the resources to cope with their voices, they can begin to lead happier and more balanced lives.

The most important element in this process is support from the family. Unfortunately, we have found that mental health services often fail to have a positive effect on children’s voices, because they foster fear rather than coping. However, we have found that referral to a psychotherapist who is prepared to discuss the meaning of voices is often helpful.

It is important that parents do not assume that hearing voices is a terrible disaster but instead regard it as a signal that something is troubling their child. If parents assume that voices are a symptom of an illness, and are afraid of them, the child will naturally pick up on this feeling. This can lead to a self-defeating cycle in which the child becomes fearful and obsessed by the voices.

We would like to offer this 10-point guide for parents, indicating what they can do if a child tells them that he or she hears voices:

1. Try not to over react. Although it is understandable that you will be worried, work hard not to communicate your anxiety to your child.

2. Accept the reality of the voice experience for your child; ask about the voices, how long the child has been hearing them, who or what they are, whether they have names, what they say, etc.

3. Let your child know that many other children hear voices and that usually they go away after a while.

4. Even if the voices do not disappear your child may learn to live in harmony with them.

5. It is important to break down your child's sense of isolation and difference from other children. Your child is special - unusual perhaps, but really not abnormal.

6. Find out if your child has any difficulties or problems that he or she finds very hard to cope with, and work on fixing those problems. Think back to when the voices first started. What was happening to your child at the time? Was there anything unusual or stressful occurring?

7. If you think you need outside help, find a therapist who is prepared to accept your child's experiences and work systematically with him or her to understand and cope better with the voices.

8. Be ready to listen to your child if he or she wants to talk about the voices. Use drawing, painting, acting and other creative ways to help the child to describe what is happening in his or her life.

9. Get on with your lives and try not to let the experience of hearing voices become the centre of your child's life or your own.

10. Most children who live well with their voices have supportive families who accept the experience as part of who their child is. You can do this too!

In conclusion we would like to stress that, in our view, labelling a seven-year-old child as schizophrenic and subjecting her to powerful psychotropic medication and periodic hospitalisation is unlikely to help resolve her problems. Indeed, the opposite is most probable: children treated in this way will simply become more powerless. Because your well respected, award winning show reaches out to so many people, we are concerned that there will be many viewers who will be left with the impression that the treatment Jani receives is the only method available. We fear that this may cause some children to be subjected to an unnecessary lifetime in psychiatric care. It is very important to recognise that hearing voices, in itself, is not a sign of psychopathology.

We hope you will give consideration to the possibility of making a future programme showing the other side of the story, one of hope, optimism and with a focus on recovery. Perhaps you could make a programme about a child with similar voice experiences to Jani, who has been helped to come to terms with her or his experiences and to discuss with the child, parents and therapists how this was acheived? If there is anyway we could help make this happen, please contact us.

We look forward to hearing from you on the issues raised in our letter.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Baker
INTERVOICE coordinator
(Letter reedited with the kind assistance of Professor Richard Bentall)

Selected bibliography
1. Escher, S., et al., Independent course of childhood auditory hallucinations: A sequential 3-year follow-up study. British Journal of Psychiatry, 2002. 181 Suppl 43: p. 10-18.
2. Escher, S., et al., Formation of delusional ideation in adolescents hearing voices: A prospective study. American Journal of Medical Genetics (Neuropsychiatric Genetics), in press.
3. Tien, A.Y., Distribution of hallucinations in the population. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 1991. 26: p. 287-292.
4. van Os, J., et al., Strauss (1969) revisited: A psychosis continuum in the normal population? Schizophrenia Research, 2000. 45: p. 11-20.
5. van Os, J., et al., Prevalence of psychotic disorder and community level of psychotic symptoms: An urban-rural comparison. Archives of General Psychiatry, 2001. 58: p. 663-668.
6. Poulton, R., et al., Children's self-reported psychotic symptoms and adult schizophreniform disorder: A 15-year longitudinal study. Archives of General Psychiatry, 2000. 57: p. 1053-1058.
7. Berk, L.E., Why children talk to themselves. Scientific American, 1994: p. 61-65.
8. Vygotsky, L.S.V., Thought and language. 1962, Cambidge, Mass: MIT Press.
9. Alleman, A. and F. Laroi, Hallucinations: The science of idiosyncratic perceptions. 2008, Washington: American Psychological Association.
10. Bentall, R.P., Madness explained: Psychosis and human nature. 2003, London: Penguin.
11. Read, J., et al., Sexual and physical abuse during childhood and adulthood as predictors of hallucinations, delusions and thought disorder. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 2003. 76: p. 1-22.
12. Hammersley, P., et al., Childhood trauma and hallucinations in bipolar affective disorder: A preliminary investigation. British Journal of Psychiatry, 2003. 182: p. 543-547.
13. Shevlin, M., M. Dorahy, and G. Adamson, Childhood traumas and hallucinations: An analysis of the National Comorbidity Survey. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 2007. 41: p. 222-228.

Signed by 155 people from 20 countries, listed in order of the time they were received.

Dr. Sandra Escher, - Board member of INTERVOICE, The Netherlands
Professor Marius Romme, psychiatrist, MD, PhD, President of INTERVOICE, The Netherlands
Dirk Corstens, Social psychiatrist and psychotherapist, Chair of INTERVOICE, The Netherlands
Paul Baker, coordinator of INTERVOICE, Spain
Jacqui Dillon, consultant trainer and voice hearer, chair of Hearing Voices Network England, board member of INTERVOICE, UK
Ron Coleman, consultant trainer and voice hearer, board member of INTERVOICE, UK
Hywel Davies, chair of Hearing Voices Network Cymru (Wales), honorary board member of INTERVOICE; UK
Amanda R. E. Aller Lowe, MS, LPC, LCPC, QMRP - Agency Partner, Communities In Schools & Area Representative, The Center for Cultural Interchange, Aurora, Illinois, INTERVOICE supporter, USA
Adrienne Giacon, Secretary and Hearing Voices Network Support group facilitator Hearing Voices Network Aotearoa, INTERVOICE member, New Zealand
Dr John Read, Associate Professor, Psychology Department, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Ann-Louise S. Silver, MD, founder and past president, International Society for the Psychological Treatments of Schizophrenia and Other Psychoses (www.isps-us.org), ISPS-US, USA
Matthew Morrissey, MA, MFT, Board Member, MindFreedom International, Northern California Coordiator, ISPS-US, San Franciso, USA
Irene van de Giessen, former voice hearer and foster-daughter of Willem van Staalen and Willem van Staalen, voice integrating foster-father of Irene, The Netherlands
Olga Runciman, consultant trainer and voice hearer (BSc psychiatric nurse and graduate student in psychology), INTERVOICE member, Denmark
Professor Wilma Boevink, Chair of Stichting Weerklank (Netherlands Hearing Voices Network), Professor of Recovery, Hanze University; Trimbos-Institute (the Dutch Institute of Mental Health and Addiction), Netherlands
Marian B. Goldstein, voicehearer, (fully recovered thanks to trauma-focussed therapy, the opportunity to make sense of the voices) INTERVOICE supporter, Denmark
Professor Dr J. van Os, Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, INTERVOICE supporter, Netherlands
Virginia Pulker, Mental health Occupational Therapist with young people with psychosis, recovery promoter, HVN Australia, Northern Ireland and England. INTERVOICE supporter, UK/Australia
Professor Richard Bentall, PhD, Chair Clinical Psychology, University of Bangor, INTERVOICE supporter, Wales, UK
Alessandra Santoni, professional working in a Mental Health Service of Milan, voice hearer and facilitator of a hearing voices group, INTERVOICE supporter,Italy
Geraldo Peixoto and Dulce Edie Pedro dos Santos, São Vicente - Est. São Paulo - INTERVOICE supporter, Brasil
Joanna & Andrzej Skulski, INTERVOICE supporters, Polska
Darby Penney, INTERVOICE supporter and President, The Community Consortium, Inc., Albany, NY, USA
Jacqueline Hayes, researcher at Manchester University about hearing voices in 'non-patients' and therapist, UK
Phil Virden, MA, MA, Executive Editor, Asylum Magazine, UK
Matthew Morris, Mental Health Locality Manager, East Suffolk Outreach Team, Suffolk Mental Health Partnerships NHS Trust, INTERVOICE supporter, UK
Ros Thomas, Young Peoples Worker, Gateway Community Heath, Wodonga Victoria, INTERVOICE supporter, Australia
Dr. Rufus May Dclin/ Consultant Clinical Psychologist, INTERVOICE supporter, UK
Dr. Simon Jones, INTERVOICE supporter, UK
Dr. Louis Tinnin, Psychiatrist, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA
Linda Gantt, PhD, Intensive Trauma Therapy, Inc., USA
Burton Norman Seitler, Ph.D., New Jersey Institute for training in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, Child and Adolescence Psychotherapy Studies
Ron Bassman, PhD., Founding member of International Network Towards Alternatives for Recovery (INTAR), Past president of The National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy, USA
Michael O'Loughlin, Adelphi University, NY, USA
Dorothy Scotten, Ph.D., LCSW, USA
Marilyn Charles, Ph.D., The Austen Riggs Center, USA
Bex Shaw, Psychotherapist, London, UK
Ira Steinman, MD, author of “TREATING the 'UNTREATABLE' : Healing in the Realms of Madness”, USA
Mike Lawson, Ex Vice Chair National MIND UK 1988-1992, INTERVOICE supporter, UK
Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D., B.C.S.A., International Center for Humane Psychiatry, USA
Ron Unger LCSW, Therapist, USA
Daniel B Fisher (Boston, MA): Person who recovered from what is called schizophrenia, Executive Director National Empowerment Center; National Coalition of Mental Health Consumer/survivor Org., member of Interrelate an international coalition of national consumer/user groups, community psychiatrist, Cambridge, Mass., USA
Mary Madrigal, USA
Paul Hammersley, University of Manchester, INTERVOICE supporter, UK
Phil Benjamin, mental health nurse and voices consultant, Australia
Eleanor Longden, Bradford Early Intervention in Psychosis Sevice, England, UK
Karen Taylor RMN, director Working to Recovery, Scotland, UK
Bill George, MA, PGCE, Member of the Anoiksis Think Tank, Netherlands
Dr Andrew Moskowitz, Senior Lecturer in Mental Health, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK
John Exell, BA(Hons), Dip Arch, voice-hearer, sculptor, artist, writer, poet, UK.
Tineke Nabben, a voice hearer who has learned to cope with her voices and student, learning to help other children and parents to cope with their voices. Germany
Marcello Macario, psychiatrist, Community Mental Health Centre of Carcare, Italy, INTERVOICE supporter, Italy
Ian Parker, Professor of Psychology, co-director of the Discourse Unit, Manchester Metropolitan University, England, UK
David Harper, PhD, Reader in Clinical Psychology, School of Psychology, University of East London, England, UK
Wakio Sato, representative of the Hearing Voices Network - Japan. President of the Japanese Association of Clinical Psychology. The representative of an NPO named "Linden" for community mental health in Konko town, Okayama prefecture, Japan
Suzette van IJssel, Ph.D., spiritual counsel and voice hearer, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Jeannette Woolthuis, psycho-social therapist working with children hearing voices, The Netherlands
Dr. Louise Trygstad, Professor Emerita, University of San Francisco School of Nursing, USA
Erik Olsen, Board member ENUSP European Network of Users (x)-users and Survivors of Psychiatry and Executive Committee in European Dsability Forum (EDF)
Astrid Zoetbrood, recovered from psychosis and voices, the Netherlands
Christine Brown, RMN, Hearing Voices Network Scotland, INTERVOICE supporter, UK
Rachel Waddingham,Manager of the London Hearing Voices Project (inc. Voice Collective: Young People's Hearing Voices Project), trainer and voice-hearer, UK
Joel Waddingham, Husband and supporter of someone who hears voices, sees visions and has other unusual experiences, UK
Professor Robin Buccheri, RN, MHNP, DNSc, University of San Francisco, CA, USA
Jørn Eriksen, Board member of INTERVOICE, the Danish Hearing Voices Network and The International Mental Health Collaboration Network, Denmark
Douglas Holmes, voice hearer working in a Mental Health Service in Darlinghurst, Sydney, and facilitator of a hearing voices group, INTERVOICE supporter, Australia
Matthew Winter, Student Mental Health Nurse and INTERVOICE supporter
Anneli Westling, Relative of a voice hearer from Stockholm, Sweden
Lia Govers, recovered voice hearer, Italy
Molly Martyn, MA in Clinical Mental Health, Hearing Voices Network of Denver, USA
Tsuyoshi Matsuo, MD, INTERVOICE supporter, Japan
Janet M. Patterson RN, BSN, USA
Odette Nightsky, Sensitive Services International, Australia
Barbara Belton, M.S., M.S. trauma survivor who has recovered and former behavioral health professional, USA
Luigi Colaianni, PhD sociologist, researcher, Community Mental Health Centre, Milano, Italy
Teresa Keedwell, Voice Hearer Support Group, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Maria Haarmans, MA, Canadian Representative INTERVOICE, Canada
Ami Rohnitz, Voice hearer, Sweden
Sharon Jones, University of York, INTERVOICE Supporter, England, UK
Gail A. Hornstein, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Mount Holyoke College, USA
Siri Blesvik, INTERVOICE supporter, Norway
Lynn Seaton, mental health nurse, Scottish Hearing Voices Network and INTERVOICE supporter, UK
Rozi Pattison, Clinical Psychologist, CAMHS, Kapiti Health Centre, PARAPARAUMU, New Zealand
Suzanne Engelen, Experience Focussed Counselling Institute (efc) and member of INTERVOICE. She is an expert by experience and also works for Weerklank (Dutch Hearing Voices Network) and the TREE project, The Netherlands
Susie Crooks, Voice hearer, Mad & Proud, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Lloyd Ross, Ph.D., FACAPP., P.A., New Jersey, USA
Catherine Penney, RN, USA
Nancy Burke, PhD, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis, USA
Nels Kurt Langsten, M.D., USA
Michael S. Garfinkle, PhD, New York, USA
Andy Phee RMN, community mental health nurse,Kings Cross,London,facilitated a hearing voices group for 10 years, member of the London HearingVoices Project advisory group. England, UK
Helen Sheppard, AMHP, West Yorkshire, Engalnd, UK.
Dr Gillian Proctor, Clincial Psychologist. Bradford, UK
Jane Forrest, sister of voice hearer, Sweden
Tami Williams, Ph.D., Licensed School Psychologist, Clinical Psychologist, Psychiatric Survivor, USA
Lone Jeppesen, Works as a social teacher in an institution with a lot of voice hearers and the diagnosis of schizophrenia, INTERVOICE supporter, Denmark
Judith Haire, author and voice hearer, Ramsgate, Kent, England, UK
Peter Lehmann, Peter Lehmann Publishing, Berlin, Germany / Eugene, OR / Shrewsbury, UK
Sigari Luckwell, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Bunbury Clinic, INTERVOICE supporter, Western Australia
Will Hall, voice hearer with schizophrenia diagnosis, founder of Portland hearing voices, host of madnessradio.net, USA
Richard Gray, specialist mental health support worker, random hearer/ seer of voices, visions and past lives. HVN NZ treasurer. New Zealand
Jacqueline Roy, Department of English, Manchester Metropolitan University, England, UK
Dr Mike Jackson, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Betsi Cadwaldr University Health Board, North Wales
Frank Blankenship, Chair of Affiliate Support Committee, MindFreedom International, MindFreedom Florida Gainesville, Florida USA
Dorothy Dundas, psychatric survivor, MA, USA
Sigrun Tømmerås, mental health acitvist/ childhood abuse survivor, Norway
Karyn Baker BSW, MSW, RSW, Executive Director, Family Outreach and Response Program, Toronto, Canada
Monika Hoffmann psychologist and co-founders of the "NeSt", the German Hearing Voices Network, Germany
Paul Beelen connected to the INTERVOICE network and voice hearer, The Netherlands
Rossa Forbes Holistic Schizophrenia, North America
Teresa Keedwell Voice Hearer Support Group, Palmerston North New Zealand
Yutaka Fujimoto Psychologist, Tokyo Metropolitan Govemment Mental Health and Welfare Cente, vice president of the Japanese Association of Clinical Psychology, member of the Hearing Voices Network Japan. Tokyo, Japan
Cheontell Barnes High support mental health worker and voices group co-facilitator Brighton UK
Yutaka Fujimoto Psychologist, Tokyo Metropolitan Govemment Mental Health and Welfare Cente, vice president of the Japanese Association of Clinical Psychology, member of the Hearing Voices Network Japan. Tokyo, Japan
Pino Pini, Psychiatrist, Mental Health Europe, INTERVOICE supporter, Italy
Ivona Amleh Psychiatrist, Bethlehem Psychiatric Hospital, Palestine
John Robinson, Integrative Therapist (and voice hearer) for the Hearing Voices Project, SE London
Yann Derobert Psychotherapist, France
Indigo Daya , Voices Vic Project Manager, Melbourne, Australia
Stephen McGowan , Early Intervention in Psychosis Lead. Yorkshire and the Humber Improvement Programme, UK
Adam James Editor and award winning journalist, psychminded.co.uk, UK
Tori Reeve, counsellor, member of HVN, Intervoice supporter, UK.
A. C. Sterk MA Ppsychologist and psychotherapist, director of the Ann Lee Centre community mental health project, and person with previous experience of psychosis. Manchester, UK.
Geoff Brennan Nurse Consultant Psychosocial Interventions for Acute Inpatient Care, Berkshire healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Co-editor Serious Mental Illness a manual for clinical practice”, UK
Lyn Mahboub voice hearer, trainer, consultant, mother, daughter, student, teacher and, also, one who has navigated the psychiatric service system, Australia
Kristin Hedden, Ph.D. VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Tacoma, Washington, USA 126
Agna Bartels MSc , psychologist and researcher in the University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands.
Rita Brooks, BS in Human Services Recovery Consultant, writer and producer of DVD called: The Reality of Recovery, Covington, Kentucky, USA
Angel Moore David Romprey Oregon Warmline, Oregon, USA

Chuck Hughes Corresponding Secretary Los Angeles County Clients Coalition, USA
Amy Sanderson, Bradford Early Intervention in Psychosis Team, UK
Pam Pinder parent of voice hearer, Plymouth, Devon, UK
Gerard van de Willige MSC psychologist and researcher, University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands
Mette Askov voice hearer with the diagnosis of schizoprenia and on the road to recovery, INTERVOICE supporter, Denmark
Claire Attwood , Voice hearer and mental health support worker, Isle of Wight. UK,
Alberto Diaz MSc Argentinian psychologist, PhD student in collective health at Universidade Estadual de Campinas, researching mental health, special interest schizophrenia, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil
Barney Holmes, running a Level 1 Affiliate - MindFreedom, Lancaster, UK
Cindy Highsmith Myron psychiatric survivor, completely recovered from voice hearing and severe mental illness, mental health professional and life coach for persons with mental illness in a self-directed care program, INTERVOICE supporter, Florida, USA
Mad Hatters of Bath We are a group of people who have experienced mental extremes, including hearing voices and seeing visions. Bath, England, UK
Karin Daniels mother of a voice hearing daughter who suffered a lot, but who has now recovered. Maastricht, The Netherlands
Jim Probert, PhD Psychologist, Student Health Care Center, University of Florida, USA
Dr David Lee Clinical Psychologist, Dept of Psychological Therapies, Royal Bolton Hospital, Bolton, Supporter of INTERVOICE, UK
Professor Sue Cowan, Registered Mental Health Nurse and Chartered Health Psychologist, University of Abertay Dundee, Scotland, UK
Paul Harris psychotherapist and support worker based in the UK
Marina Beteva voices hearer for 8-9 years, on medication treatment, Moscow, Russia
Monica Cassani North Carolina, USA
Rikke Bitsch Denmark
Afaf Swaity Nursing Director of Bethlehem Psychiatric Hospital, Palestine
Mary Maddocks MindFreedom Ireland, Ireland
Tania Linden North Lincolnshire Early Intervention Service, UK
Rosemaree Ashford honours psychology student, recovery worker, Richmond Fellowship of WA, Australia
Gemma Hendry Trainee Clinical Psychologist with a specialist interest in Community Psychology and Voice hearing, UK
Erica van den Akker Social worker in Forensic Psychiatry, The Netherlands
Caroline von Taysen psychologist, Netzwerk Stimmenhören, Germany and Normal Difference, Mental Health Kariobangi in Kenya, Germany
Poppy Rollinson Mental Health Nurse, Brighton, UK
Vanessa Jackson Vanessa Jackson Healing Circles, Inc. , USA
Dr. Julie Arthur Kirby Supporter of INTERVOICE and Senior Lecturer, UK
Peter Bullimore Expert by experience, Asylum Associates, UK
Paul Cheminais voice hearer, Bournemouth, UK 159


In the proposed guidelines on chemical restraint, it suggests that "Chemical Restraint" means the use of a psychotropic drug as a restraint to control behavior or restrict freedom of movement that is not a standard treatment for the person’s medical or psychiatric condition. I believe it is necessary to define more clearly what is meant by this term 'standard treatment'. This would allow for the possibility of forced drugging as well as a possible loophole for inappropriate chemical restraints and the argument to be justified that somehow this implied 'standard treatment'. Chemical restraint should not be considered in the realm of any standard treatment.
In addition, it is necessary to more clearly relate the terms of what informed consent implies, and to insure that parental rights are respected, that all information pertaining to possible adverse events are reported, allowing parental freedom of choice, and respecting the best interests of the child.

Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I met with a client in the deepest, darkest despair and feeling suicidal. He felt as if all was plummeting at once as a relationship had ended and he had lost employment at the same time. He felt detached from family members and others. He felt that there had been many situations of depression in his life. The mental health system today would spend little time looking at his experience, would take the account and assign him a diagnostic label and more than likely recommend a drug for him to take indefinitely. Instead, I looked at the ways that he felt oppressed, of what had once made him happy, how he could begin to feel empowered, and ways to develop a support network. It was not important to rehash all the traumas he had endured but rather to meet him in his present place, and offer him authenticity and a safe place to express himself and to feel that he has someone willing to listen, understand, and journey with him. It was only after a few session that his despair began to dissipate. This is the power of two humans coming together to share their common humanity. No drug can replace this. There was no 'chemical imbalance' at work here rather an imbalance in our society that created this individual's distress.

I recall a number of years ago working with a young man whose father was drug addicted and abusive. The family dynamics were often chaotic and shrouded in what Laing would term mystification. Communication was poor and this young man had endured serious traumas that led to the development of what many would label 'psychosis'. It was decided to see what would occur if he was removed from this environment for a time. The results were astounding in that the behaviors that had been so disturbing to others almost ceased to be, the experience of hearing voices which had been present at times before were not seen, and there seemed to be some solace he found. As sadly predicted, once he returned to the home environment, the challenges he had all returned. This demonstrated clearly the impact of the environment, traumas, and familial communications upon individual well being. I have seen this circumstance unfortunately play out in many of my client's lives where when provided a period of 'sanctuary' where they found a relationship with another, felt validated, and were away from the things that led to their 'madness' they began to recover and wherein they were returned to their previous environment, everything unraveled once again. I believe this is an important aspect we must look at in the mental health system, for it appears we are failing because we do not provide sanctuary for people, rather we take them and 'do' things to them, thinking it is in their best interest, we 'treat' them, but often we are only forcing their compliance with oppression and we are returning them to the private hells that caused their distress to begin with. The mental health system faults the person's brain, and ignores all the other dynamics. Unless we can get to the true root of the distress, unless we can work with the entire family system, our efforts are often in vain.

-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.
202 W. Tioga St.
Tunkhannock, PA 18657




I have begun to notice through what has been spoken on the Kids for Cash scandal, that it is also the school administrators who must answer for their actions. The school administrators willingly went along with the corruption and the violation of children and families' constitutional rights solely because it made things easier for them. They did not want to provide to the true needs of troubled children, instead it was much easier to go along with the corrupt schemes of Ciavarella. But aside from this tragic instance, this has been the pattern all along. This is what has led to parents being bullied to place their children on dangerous psychotropic drugs, because the school administration does not want to change or take the time to address children's true needs, both emotionally and educationally. It is much easier to ship them out of the school where the problem does not have to be dealt with at all by them, or if this is not possible, to drug them into submission to a flawed system of things.

Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Today I was reading a review of a book on education that appeared in the ISR magazine. This described how that there education often seeks to keep people within their particular social class and how that schools are divided between the working class schools which do not provide critical thinking but encourage rote tasks; the middle class schools which focus in 'right' and 'wrong' answers, the affluent schools which allow more of a level of independent action, and the elite schools focused on leadership and molding the thought of the student. As I began to examine this closely, I realized how true this is and can see it demonstrated within my own community. The public schools where the majority of the working class students attend is focused on rote tasks and when a child dare rebel against this system of things, there are various ways to seek to force them into compliance, often through labels and drugs. I believe it is necessary for young people begin to understand their own state of affairs and to mobilize, to collectively challenge the system of things in a non-violent manner and to demand change in the education system. The working class students are often told they are lazy or missing opportunities, the fact is that the education system does not seek to provide them with many opportunities. They are demoralised and they are encouraged to 'stay within their place." It is no wonder there is a rise in crime, drugs, violence, etc., this is what we have created when we have demoralised our youth, when we have not truly met their needs, and they become desparate and despairing. Eugene Debs said, "While there is a lower class I am in it; while there is a criminal element I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free”. I completely agree.

-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


I recall in 2006, that I began hearing some odd reports from families about unusual practices in the Luzerne County Court regarding Juveniles. This involved children being sent to a detention center in Pittston Township as well as to Camp Adams, a facility operated by Youth Services Agency. I was unable to verify much of this information, but knew that something did not appear right, so it came as no surprise when the judges were implicated in scandal. In 2006, an position was open for a specual education director at the Juvenile Detention Center operated by PA Child Care. I decided to apply for this position not because I had any intention of working in the facility but thought it would give me an opportunity to get within the facility and see it for what it is. As I had applied for the position, I was taken on a tour of the facility by one of the directors who went by the name of DePippa. What I saw was appaling and sad, the only fresh air these children received was in a small square basketball court within the center of the complex. I saw a large staff holding a child down and screaming at her, this was at the end of a hallway so I could not really tell what was happening and then was immediately shuffled to another room. Now we sadly find that 6500 juvenile cases have been vacated, these children were sent to a horrible place, probably forever to be scarred by this experience. What have we learned from this experience? Will it change the way we meet the needs of our troubled youth? Will it change our perspectives? I can only hope, but each day I continue to see the unfortunate ways we deal with our youth and a society filled with corruption and greed.

-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.