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Rally, the Excellence blog, gives voice to issues, ideas and news in mental health recovery

For the latest news in mental health subscribe to Rally.

November 14, 2014 by Kathy Brous

How to Use

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor new readers signing up, bless you for your patience. I’m new to Attachment Disorder Healing, too — and it’s my website.  A note on “How to Use” AttachmentDisorder is overdue.

I fell into all this entirely by accident, when attachment disorder hit me upside the head.  Just as the latest brain science on how it works and how to heal was flooding in.  So I’ve been going a bit ape (above), multiplying content here like rabbits — faster than I’ve been able to index it so you can find what you need. 

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November 7, 2014 by Kathy Brous

The Body Keeps the Score, Bessel van der Kolk, MD

Bessel Book bodykeepsscoreI can’t read much due to three recent surgeries, so I won’t wait to finish this book just out– I’ll urge you now to buy it.  “The Body Keeps the Score” will “permanently change how psychologists and psychiatrists think about trauma and recovery,”as trauma scholar Dr. Ruth Lanius writes.  She was the first to call developmental trauma a “hidden epidemic,” source of my book’s subtitle “Silent Epidemic.” Dr. van der Kolk repeats this in his new book.1

And it is about the body. “Infants are psychobiological beings, as much of the body as of the brain,” writes Prof. Ed Tronick, author of the Still Face Experiment. “Without language or symbols, infants use every one of their biological systems to make meaning of their self in relation to the world.  Van der Kolk shows that those same systems continue to operate at every age, and that traumatic experiences, especially chronic toxic experience during early development, produce psychic devastation.”

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October 24, 2014 by Kathy Brous

Dr. Ruth’s Ultimate Trauma Solution

Ruth Bz blog pic… Dr. Ruth Buczynski, that is (so, relax…that’s her at left).  A peek inside the minds of cutting-edge psychotherapists on how to really heal trauma is in her latest blog “Rethinking Trauma: The Third Wave.”

She says the latest “Aha” is that “talk therapy” can’t always cut it — we need body work and other alternative “somatic” therapies such as Dr. Bessel van der KolkDr. Peter Levine, Dr. Dan Siegel, Dr. Stephen Porges, and Dr. Bruce Perry are delivering, as I’ve written for months.

Ruth is starting a new series October 15 by interviewing Steve Porges live, and yes, there is a fee to subscribe if you’d like transcripts and recordings to keep.  And yes, there’s also a free version of the series (detailed links at bottom).

And no, I’m not getting a cent for posting this. No one asked me to; I just wanted to “pay it forward.”

Why? Hey, that story I always tell of how I clicked the wrong link in a friend’s email and ended up on a brain science website that saved my life?  That was Dr. Buczynski’s March 2011 webinar, “The New Brain Science Series – Barrier-Breaking Interviews with the Experts.”1

And she, and they, did save my life, and I do hope you check this out.

Here’s a clip of Dr. Porges’ interview airing October 15:

Dr. Porges even brings in Bach, Beethoven and music in general as the most powerful healing there is — after live in-person human support, of course.

Ruth adds:  “What trauma therapy owes to Beethoven and Bach…  According to Stephen Porges, PhD, classical composers knew something hundreds of years ago that could be so helpful in trauma therapy . . .  in today’s webinar, he outlines how playing and listening to music, and even the design of the rooms where we deliver services, can shift the physiology of our patients. Stephen also goes into how to work with neuroception, the “personal risk detector” in the nervous system, as well as powerful, concrete suggestions for incorporating Polyvagal Theory into clinical work.”

We can watch or listen free in real time (schedule below). These free broadcasts reach many more than can afford subscription (to me, an insanely reasonable fee, considering what I got out of it).  Transcripts, video, mp3s of  all speakers, and more extras come with subscription.

 Schedule: Wednesdays at 5pm EST & 6:30pm EST

Wed, Oct 29th: Bessel van der Kolk, MD: How to Help Patients Rewire a Traumatized Brain – Applying the Latest Strategies to Speed Healing and Reduce Symptoms for Even the Most Traumatized Clients

Wed, Nov 5th: Pat Ogden, PhD: Why A Body-Oriented Approach Is Key for Treating Traumatized Patients (and What It Looks Like in Practice)

Wed, Nov 12th: Daniel Siegel, MD: The Neurobiology of Trauma Treatment: How Brain Science Can Lead to More Targeted Interventions for Patients Healing from Trauma

Wed, Nov 19th: Peter Levine, PhD: Getting to the Root of Trauma: Why It’s Critical to Understand the Role of Memory in Trauma Therapy

Here’s the link to see Ruth’s full promo with important details on each of the speakers and what they’ll cover:

Register here to watch or listen free at time of broadcast:

Register here for a subscription Gold Membership ($197) with all items noted above:


Kathy’s news blogs expand on her book “DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME: The Silent Epidemic of Attachment Disorder—How I accidentally regressed myself back to infancy and healed it all.” Watch for the continuing series each Friday, as she explores her journey of recovery by learning the hard way about Attachment Disorder in adults, adult Attachment Theory, and the Adult Attachment Interview.



  1. This 2011 series is over, but a subscription to it for transcripts and recordings is still at


About the Author

Kathy BrousTechnical writer and author of the upcoming book Don’t Try This at Home: The Silent Epidemic of Attachment Disorder –  How I accidentally regressed myself back to infancy and healed it all. Raised on Long Island, New York, Kathy survived a 30-year career in the fast lanes of New York City and Washington DC.  Starting on Wall Street researching South African gold stocks, she was an international economist for 18 years, using her Japanese language skills to write and consult on U.S.-Japan trade and finance.  In Washington, she became a technical writer, producing complex documents for Pentagon subcontractors, her line for the last 12 years, while pursuing her hobby as an opera singer. She was busy flying around the world instead of having children and building a family. Suddenly in 2007, Kathy faced divorce from her 27-year marriage to her college sweetheart, leaving her bankrupt.  A move to California was followed by the death of both her parents and then two bad rebound affairs – five life disasters in two years. Those crises started her down a path of discovery and healing that she is now able to share with others.

Kathy’s “News Blogs” expand on her book “DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME:  The Silent Epidemic of Attachment Disorder—How I accidentally regressed myself back to infancy and healed it all.”  Watch for the continuing series each Friday, as she explores her journey of recovery by learning the hard way about Attachment Disorder in adults, adult Attachment Theory, and the Adult Attachment Interview.

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October 14, 2014 by Sandra Steingard, MD

Rethinking Psychiatry

FilmFestivalI was honored to both attend and participate in the recent Mad In America Film Festival. I was one of three psychiatrists who were asked to respond to the themes and questions explored in the festival. What follows is a lightly edited version of my remarks.

First of all, I want to thank Laura Delano for inviting me. She is a woman of great fortitude and bravery.

I also want to thank Robert Whitaker, our moderator and the inspiration for this festival. I first wrote to Bob on May 29, 2011. I had never written to an author before. I went back to look at the first of a long and ongoing correspondence. This is how I concluded that first e-mail:

“I am almost immobilized at this point.”

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October 13, 2014 by Phil Borges

CRAZYWISE: A documentary Film Directed by Phil Borges and Kevin Tomlinson

ThuptenA 20-year fascination with shamanism leads photographer and filmmaker Phil Borges to question how Western cultures define and treat severe mental disorders. CRAZYWISE is a feature documentary centering around Adam Gentry, a young man struggling with his sanity while trying to understand his diagnosis and cope with the many pharmaceutical combinations prescribed to him. In-depth interviews with renowned mental health professionals, anthropologists and survivors reveal insights on the nature of mental illness and how a new survivor-led movement is challenging a mental health system in crisis.

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October 10, 2014 by Kathy Brous

Stephen Porges on Treating Trauma and Compassion

Stephen Porges magesDr. Stephen Porges discovered in 1994 that trauma in humans comes from our most ancient “reptilian” freeze reflex. He calls it the Polyvagal Theory, as I wrote last week. But Porges also says we can use our mammalian attachment system to heal this.

This week I have a few short (and two long) Porges videos to share with you, which since Polyvagal is pretty darn complex, are really wonderful to have.

I really like “The Science of Compassion,” his talk at the Stanford University conference of the same name.  Here they are:

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October 6, 2014 by Oryx Cohen, MPA

Wellness Is a Journey

As someone who takes language very seriously, recovery is a bit of an interesting word.  A dictionary definition of recovery suggests that one is recovering back to a previous healthier state of being.  However, many people do not have much to recover back to, as their lives have been filled with mostly horror.  And then there are those of us who don’t believe we are recovering from anything, that our altered states and emotional distress are just a part of being human.

I think when we use the word recovery now we are actually creating our own definition that looks more like a wellness journey.  The great thing about focusing more on wellness is that wellness applies to all human beings.  It is my belief that altered states and emotional distress are human experiences, and we have a lot to learn from them about what it takes to stay well as a society.  The following poem I wrote in response to a person with lived experience who did not believe that “recovery” is real.  I’m happy to say she believes in recovery now.

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October 6, 2014 by Fran Silvestri, MBA

Meet the Board: Chair Fran Silvestri, MBA

When I was asked to join the board, the potential impact of The Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care to radically improve how we support people in distress was easy to see.  EXCELLENCE is unique both in the U.S. and globally. Even  now, we are germinating the next generation of supports and system improvement that will allow all people in distress to manage their lives, enjoy their families and friends and be included in all community and social networks where we work and play.

There are myriad, time-consuming debates about what isn’t working. While important to consider, my sights are set on doing what can we to better support people, their families and communities now and in the near future. This requires bold investment of time, money and political capital to correct the course of our scientific research and clinical treatment of mental distress, so the supports we offer go beyond symptom management to real wellness.

What convinced me to accept the leadership of the board this past March is the exciting opportunity it affords to link social entrepreneurs to the innovations that will increase the people’s ability to thrive.

There is untapped passion alight in the hearts of millions across the globe who daily walk beside family and friends experiencing emotional distress, those who know firsthand the pressing need for better options to help people through their mental health challenges. As community leaders, we recognize that we cannot afford the high human and financial cost of our current methods. The time has come and the need is urgent.

Every day, we are coalescing a broader and deeper community of researchers and clinicians who are asking the right questions to effect the change we need. And every day we make new friends who wish to donate funds wisely to reach the answers to those questions.

Our community foundation approach links these two groups together. We connect donors large and small to leaders, researchers and innovators whose partnerships are transforming our shared vision for the future into a reality. With a variety of giving options to choose from, our donors can have hands-on involvement in their area of interest or simply speed along the great efforts already underway.

We are an international community and what excites me is that together we can quickly spread the word about the best ideas wherever they occur around the world.

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October 6, 2014 by Krista MacKinnon

Families Healing Together offers innovative online family mental health recovery education

Families Healing Together (FHT), an interactive online mental health education program, is improving access to recovery education and support for families supporting someone experiencing emotional distress. FHT was co-developed by the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care along with Practice Recovery, a psychiatric survivor led training and consulting initiative, and Family Outreach and Response, a Toronto based family mental health support program. All three partners recognized the healing power of community and the value and importance of family mental health support.

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October 6, 2014 by Gina Nikkel, PhD

First Do No Harm

I had intended this article to be an overview of EXCELLENCE as the first Community Mental Health Development Bank and how together we can pool our resources to pay for much needed unbiased research as well as recovery-focused programs.

I also wanted to make the appeal for becoming one of our $1 million dollar donors so we can continue building our endowment fund or tell how, for a much more modest contribution, you can help us achieve our $250K Challenge Grant.

Instead, I am going to focus on what I see as one of the most critical issues we are all facing which is underscored by the people I come in contact with on a daily basis.  FIRST DO NO HARM.  It doesn’t take a medical degree to understand the basic rule of care: help people, and if you can’t, at least don’t harm them.  Of course.  And yet, we the healers, people with lived experience, family members, public policy experts, and community members are so busy shooting at each other over what mental illness is or is not and how we ought to treat “it”, we have lost sight of our basic humanity and the suffering and compassion that are indivisible parts of the human experience.  There are a lot of people in the world of mental health care who are showing compassion but not nearly enough.

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