United State

ISPS-US 15th Annual Meeting


October 28-30, 2016
Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
Cosponsored by the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation at Boston University

For over 50 years, ISPS has been an organization focused on psychological and social approaches to psychosis, madness, and extreme states of mind. People most in need of treatment have been relegated to institutions which were once thought to be therapeutic, but are now largely closed. More recently, people have been designated to community agencies, shelters, or the streets; many with the most complex problems are remanded by default and lack of informed design to overcrowded prisons under the assumption that they are 'other', and lack the capacity for recovery. Yet there is definitive evidence of a great capacity for recovery when people are given the chance. ISPS has been a forum for promoting treatments toward recovery that supersede the sterile, concrete reductionistic model of understanding and treatment that, unfortunately, is now common in current psychiatric thinking.

This meeting, ISPS-US's 15th annual one, features varied perspectives and points of view within our mission. These perspectives address individual and group psychotherapies, case histories, the presentation of data on recovery, and theoretic understandings of extreme states of mind. Experts by experience constitute a vital presence in our organization, and will add dimensions to our collective discussion in Boston. The dilemmas of people who wind up in prisons will be a focus, as will the experiences of family members of people with psychosis. ISPS, and our conferences in particular, have always provided a rich arena for collaboration, inspiration, and debate. Please come join us!

Keynote Speaker: Michael Stein, JD, PhD

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is the first human rights treaty of the twenty-first century, and the first one to specifically protect the rights of the world's one billion persons with disabilities. One of the fundamental rights contained in the CRPD, and one that is emblematic of the paradigm shift intended by the treaty, is that of legal capacity: the equal right of persons with disabilities to make their own decisions in all aspects of life, including health care provision. At the same time, this right is also the least understood in terms of practice, and the most controversial. The speaker was privileged to have participated in the CRPD's drafting and to have worked on implementing the treaty in over 40 countries. This talk will investigate and provoke discussions around involuntary confinement and treatment, a topic currently dominated by rights advocates but without consultation.

Honoree: Rachel Waddingham

Whilst hearing voices is often a taboo in western cultures, linked with media stereotypes and images of 'madness', there are some kinds of voices that are even harder to talk about 'taboo voices'. Taboo Voices may include ones that speak of violent and/or sexual themes - things that person, and those around them, find very distressing. They can be extremely graphic, sometimes overlapping with violent thoughts, impulses or disturbing visions. This talk draws from Rai's personal experience of hearing taboo and violent voices, as well as her work with young people and people in prison and the principles of the Hearing Voices Movement. It explores how we can view them as an opportunity for growth and understanding, rather than a risk to be silenced.

Make your reservation early!

Continuing Education (CE/CME):
The Institute for the Advancement of Human Behavior (IAHB) is pleased to offer continuing education credit hours to counselors, psychologists, social workers, nurses, physicians, and certain other healthcare professionals for the ISPS-US 15th Annual Meeting! Be sure to check our website for complete details once the conference schedule is confirmed. Click here for information

Making Real Change Happen: ISPS Liverpool 2017

Making Real Change Happen: ISPS Liverpool 2017

20th International Congress of the ISPS
Making Real Change Happen
Aug 30th-Sept 3rd, 2017 in Liverpool, UK
Call for papers
Abstract submission deadline: 1st December, 2016
Registration now open
Early bird deadline: 31st January, 2017

Can a conference be a catalyst for change? It is exactly this wish that inspired the title and theme of the 2017 ISPS international congress.
Sadly, this is a wish born out of frustration. Attitudes, practices, and services too often seem barely touched by the steadily developing understanding of psychological and social aspects of psychosis and of what is helpful for people who experience it. So we aim for this conference to be not only about the valuable sharing of new research, ideas, and developments, but also, as the title indicates, about making real change happen. The large number of organizations who have given their support to this conference can be seen here.
We are delighted to be meeting in the exciting city of Liverpool. Carl Jung saw it as “the pool of life,” and we hope its rich heritage (not just football and music!) will make it an energizing setting for a conference thinking about change. More information about the social program will be available soon.
Delegates at previous international conferences have often commented on how ISPS events stand out. They point to the unique mix of opportunities not only to learn from high-quality presentations, but also to join a rich dialogue between people with a wealth of experience and expertise, a fertile mix of professionals from a wide range of disciplines, and people whose experience and expertise comes through personal experience of psychosis.

ISPS conferences have also traditionally been warm and welcoming gatherings, where people go away
feeling inspired and reinvigorated. We hope this one will be no exception, and look
forward very much to welcoming you to Liverpool in August 2017.


ISPS-US is on the map! We are using the award winning DebateGraph cloud-based service to learn about and make decisions regarding complex issues regarding psychosis, madness, and mental health

Institutional Members

The ISPS International Book Series

Help Support ISPS-US

The next time you shop on Amazon, use this link and a small portion of your purchase will be donated to us at no extra cost to you!

With iGive, you can setup your account to support ISPS-US. You can signup here and a small portion of your purchases will be donated to help support our foundation

You can make a direct donation to ISPS-US. Donations made directly to ISPS-US are tax deductable to the extent allowable by law.

Missed a great presentation at one of our annual meetings? Purchase recordings of past meetings here.

Find more information on ISPS-US


The Education Committee has held webinars on several topics. They are free for members, and nonmembers are asked for a donation. Topics so far have included:

"Introduction to Dialogic Practice" with Mary Olson

"Madness and the Family: Practical Methods for Transforming Troubled Family Systems" with Paris Williams

Supporting the Transition from Passivity to Agency in Recovery

CBT for Psychosis: An Online Course

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for psychosis is an evidence-based method to reduce distress and disability related to psychotic experiences, and to support a possible full recovery. Ron Unger LCSW, an ISPS-US member, is the instructor for this 5 hour/5 CE online course which you complete on your own time, with lifetime access to all course materials. Use this link for more information and to register - 50% of your tuition directly supports ISPS-US!

A Way Out of Madness
Dealing With Your Family After You've Been Diagnosed With A Psychiatric Disorder

A Way Out of Madness

Co-Written and Co-Edited by Daniel Mackler and Matthew Morrissey

Family conflict can wreak havoc on people diagnosed with psychiatric disorders. A Way Out of Madness offers guidance in resolving family conflict and taking control of your life. The book also includes personal accounts of family healing by people who were themselves psychiatrically diagnosed. This is the first book in our ISPS-US Book Series. Paperback now available. For more information or to purchase>>