Nov 10, 2018
This week on MIA Radio, we interview Dr. Sandy Steingard. Dr. Steingard is Medical Director at Howard Center,
a community mental health center where she has worked for the past 21 years. She
is also Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the College
of Medicine of the University of Vermont. For more than 25 years,
her clinical practice has primarily included patients who have
experienced psychotic states. Dr. Steingard serves as Board Chair of the
Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care. She was named to
Best Doctors in America in 2003 and writes regularly for Mad in
America. She is editor of the book Critical
Psychiatry, Controversies and Clinical
Implications due in 2019.
In this episode we
- What led Sandy to her career in
psychiatry and her particular interest in the critical aspects of
psychiatry and psychology.
- That Sandy’s initial interest
was in biomedical explanations of psychotic
- How, in the late 80s, the advent
of new antipsychotic drugs caused an initial excitement because of
the promises made about safety and efficacy, but that Sandy came to
realise the problems with the drugs.
- How she witnessed the
over-promotion of the drugs and that the promotion was markedly
different to the results of studies and her observations of
patients that were taking them.
- How a series of disappointments
and recognition of some inherent flaws in psychiatry led Sandy to
her interest in alternatives.
- That the book, The Truth About
the Drug Companies by Marcia Angel MD, had a big impact on Sandy’s
view of the drugs during the 2000s.
- Other influential books were The
Daily Meds by Melody Petersen and Side Effects by Alison
- That reading Anatomy of an
Epidemic and particularly the problematic aspects of the long-term
use of antipsychotic drugs caused Sandy to question how she was
- That she found colleagues were
sometimes angry at the conclusion that antipsychotic drugs might
not be safe or lead to better outcomes for patients.
- That this led to the
investigation of alternatives such as Open Dialog, training with
Mary Olsen at the Institute of Dialogic Practice and discovering
the Critical Psychiatry Network and the work of Dr.
- How Sandy approaches practising
from a critical perspective, particularly when expectations are in
line with the dominant biomedical narrative.
- Her book, Critical Psychiatry,
due in 2019 which aims to help clinicians apply transformational
strategies in their clinical practices.
- That psychiatrists would be well
served by welcoming lived experience input to their daily
- Why informed consent should be
viewed as an ongoing process rather than a one-time
- The problems that arise in
clinical studies where experience is translated into a numerical
Psychiatry, Controversies and Clinical Implications (due
How Well Do Neuroleptics Work?
Side Effects by Alison
The Institute for Dialogic