In the episode, "The New Language of Neurodiversity, Decolonization, Depathologization: On Location at the ISPS Conference with Six Voices on a Mission (S5, E16)," I go on location to connect with The International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis (ISPS), which is a pioneering organization with almost 70 years of advocating for transformative psychosocial understandings and approaches to psychosis that restore personhood, dignity, and well-being. The weekend-long conference held at the University of Delaware from October 27th-29th gathered clinicians, researchers, advocates, and people with lived experience, who are deeply invested in advancing psychological and social approaches to “psychosis,” while moving beyond frameworks of deficit and disease.
Connecting with a community of likeminded individuals, who recognize that the mental health system needs transformation beyond the biomedical paradigm was a riveting experience. In the following interview, I speak with six speakers at the event who give a message of hope and hold a more humane vision for an alternative mental health paradigm.
Vesper Moore is an indigenous political activist, leader, organizer, public speaker and educator in the psychiatric survivor and Disability Rights Movements. Vesper has brought the perspectives of mad, labeled "mentally ill," neurodivergent, disabled people and survivors to national and international spaces. Vesper works with both the US government and the United Nations in shaping strategies around trauma, intersectionality, and disability rights.
Dr. Calvin Chatlos is professor of psychiatry at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey, with certification in adult, child and adolescent, and addiction psychiatry. Dr. Chatlos has presented at national and international conferences and is a distinguished life fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a distinguished fellow of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Since 2007, Sean Blackwell has been researching and teaching about the spiritual dimension and healing potential of bipolar disorder. His book, "Am I Bipolar, or Waking Up?," published in 2011, describes his own bipolar awakening, subsequent hospitalization, and complete recovery in 1996. Follow Sean on YouTube or at his website: bipolarawakenings.com.
Oryx Cohen is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Empowerment Center. He serves as president of the board for the Massachusetts Transformation Center and We R H. O. P. E., and is a master Emotional CPR trainer. Oryx co-produced and is a subject in the award-winning social action documentary Healing Voices, which was released in April 2016. You can follow his message on Instagram and on Tik Tok @ NECempowers.
South African Joshua Roberts combines his lived experience, with his Bachelors of Psychology and Masters in Theology to create a synergy between the inner / outer worlds. He's the COO of Inspired Mind Mental Health and works with NAMI and the National Empowerment Center. Josh's website is: InspiredMindMentalHealth.com Follow Josh on: Instagram, LinkedIn or YouTube.
Mija Bradford is a clinical therapist working in private practice since she graduated from Northwestern University Counseling Program in 2021. At six, Mija was introduced to the subtler energies in life and answered the healer's calling. Mija comes from a lineage of African diaspora healers that have suffered from collective generational trauma.