Board Members and Associates

Director and Board Members

Carina Håkansson

Carina is IIPDW cofounder and part time IIPDW Director. She is an author, PhD and licensed psychotherapist. She is also founder of Family Care Foundation and The Extended Therapy Room Foundation.

The main purpose of The Extended Therapy Room Foundation is to describe and develop, through a social and therapeutic practice, a humanistic knowledge arising from both ordinary life knowledge, art and therapeutic understandings. In daily practice, the Extended Therapy Room aims to be an alternative to the psychiatric system.

Carina’s books include: Håkansson, C (2014). The Extended Therapy Room – Coming from an Authentic Place. University of Jyväskylä and Håkansson, C (2009). Ordinary Life Therapy. Taos Institute Publications
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Magnus Hald
Psychiatrist, Director of Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Board member of IIPDW

Magnus P. Hald is a psychiatrist, and for the last nine years Director of the Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, University Hospital of North Norway. He has long been interested in the development of a network-oriented perspective on mental health, based on ideas that have come from his working with “reflecting teams” and “reflective processes.” For the past two years, he has been engaged in developing a medication-free unit within the University Hospital, which opened in January 2017.

John Read
Professor of Clinical Psychology, Board member of IIPDW

John Read is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of East London. John worked for nearly 20 years as a clinical psychologist and manager of mental health services in the UK and the USA, before joining the University of Auckland, New Zealand, in 1994, where he worked until 2013.

He has published over 130 papers in research journals, primarily on the relationship between adverse life events (eg child abuse/neglect, poverty etc.) and psychosis. He also researches the negative effects of bio-genetic causal explanations on prejudice, the opinions and experiences of recipients of anti-psychotic and anti-depressant medication, and the role of the pharmaceutical industry in mental health research and practice.

John is a member of the Board of Hearing Voices Network – England ( He is also the Editor of the scientific journal ‘Psychosis’ ( John´s books include: Read, J., Dillon, J. (eds.). (2013). Models of Madness: Psychological, Social and Biological Approaches to Psychosis, 2nd edition. Routledge. Read, J., Sanders P. (2010). A Straight Talking Introduction to the Causes of Mental Health Problems. PCCS Books. Geekie, J., Randal, P., Lampshire, D., Read, J, (eds.). (2012). Experiencing Psychosis: Personal and Professional Perspectives. Routledge.
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Olga Runciman
Psychologist, Board member of IIPDW

Olga Runciman is the first and only psychologist in private practice in Denmark to specialize in psychosis. She is an international trainer and speaker, writer, campaigner, and artist. She is a co-founder of the Danish Hearing Voices network. She is a board member for a variety of organizations including Intervoice, Mad in America, The Danish Psychosocial Rehabilitation Organization and others. She is currently finishing her three-year open dialog education as a family therapist.

As a postpsychiatric psychologist, Olga has helped many people taper off or withdraw from their psychiatric drugs and has built up extensive everyday knowledge on how to best help people who wish to do this.

Olga views mental distress from a post-psychiatric perspective and does not believe there is a correct way to frame madness. She believes in opening up spaces where other perspectives can assume a valid role and does not seek to find solutions within psychiatry. Instead, she advocates that we should be moving beyond psychiatry, encouraging an acceptance that not all human problems can be grasped in a modernist technological manner.
Stefan Hearst
Board member of IIPDW

Stefan Hearst hails from the lived experience community. Having successfully tapered off many drugs including antidepressants and benzodiazepines, his mission now is to help others who wish to do the same.

Swapnil Gupta
Psychiatrist, Board member of IIPDW

Swapnil (pronouns: she/her) was born and brought up in Southern India and currently practices psychiatry in a community setting the United States. She has been trained as a psychiatrist in both countries and strives to constantly place her practice within a social and historical context. She frames much of psychological distress as the outcome of various forms of marginalization and endeavors to uphold the autonomy and dignity of her patients above all else.

Ruth Cooper
Psychiatric Researcher, Board member of IIPDW

Ruth Cooper completed her PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, 2016. She conducts research which aims to improve the treatment of psychiatric disorders, using both quantitative and qualitative methods, particularly randomised-controlled trials. She is interested in researching psychosocial alternatives to psychiatric medication and ways to support people who are discontinuing these drugs. She is currently working as a post-doctoral researcher at Queen Mary University of London on the RADAR clinical trial (Research into Antipsychotic Discontinuation and Reduction) which aims to establish whether antipsychotic reduction and discontinuation may improve functioning compared to maintenance treatment for people with schizophrenia and similar conditions.

Ruth has authored a number of academic papers, the most relevant being: Cooper, R.E., et al. (2019) Psychosocial interventions for people experiencing psychosis on minimal or no antipsychotic medication: a systematic review. Schizophrenia Research. Moncrieff, J., Lewis, G., Freemantle, N., Johnson, S., Morant, N., Barnes, T., Pinfold, V., Kent, L., Counter-Smith, R., Darton, K., Hunter, R., Horne, R., Crellin, N., Cooper, R., Priebe, S. (2019). A randomised controlled trial of gradual antipsychotic reduction and discontinuation in people with schizophrenia and related disorders: The RADAR trial (Research into Antipsychotic Discontinuation and Reduction): Protocol paper. BMJ Open Cooper, R.E., et al. (2019) Mental health professionals' views and experiences of antipsychotic reduction and discontinuation: a focus group study. PLOS ONE.
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Email:RADAR Study
Rebecca Miller
Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Professor at the Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Board member of IIPDW

Rebecca Miller, Ph.D., is a psychologist and Assistant Professor at the Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry. She serves as Director of Peer Support at Connecticut Mental Health Center in New Haven, using her lived experience with mental and physical illness to inform her work. Her publications and other scholarship have focused on peer support for persons diagnosed with serious mental illnesses, person-centered and recovery-oriented approaches, alternative experiential approaches to clinical training, and deprescribing in psychiatry. She received her MA and PhD in Clinical Psychology from Long Island University and her BA from Barnard College.


Peter C. Gøtzsche
Physician, Professor, Director of the Institute for Scientific Freedom

Peter has published over 75 papers in “the big five” (BMJ, Lancet, JAMA, Ann Intern Med and N Engl J Med), and his scientific works have been cited over 50,000 times. Peter’s books of relevance for psychiatry are “Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime,” “Deadly Psychiatry and Organised Denial, and “Survival in an overmedicated world.” Peter works as an independent consultant, inter alia as an expert in lawsuits about patients having been harmed by psychiatric drugs or having been forced to take them. Peter is Protector for the Hearing Voices Network in Denmark.

Robert Whitaker
Journalist and Co-founder of IIPDW

Robert Whitaker is a journalist and the author of five books, three of which tell of the history of psychiatry and explore the scientific literature regarding the safety and efficacy of psychiatric drugs. He also is the founder of, a website that features research news and blogs from an international group of writers interested in “rethinking psychiatry.” He spent a year as a fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, where he studied and wrote about American psychiatry through the lens of institutional corruption.

Paulo Amarante
Paulo Amarante, MD, PhD, Post-doctorate

Senior Researcher Oswaldo Cruz Foundation – FIOCRUZ.  I am a psychiatrist and sanitary doctor.  Researcher and Teacher at the National School of Public Health of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), Rio de Janeiro / Brazil. I am leader of the Research Group "Laboratory of Studies and Research in Mental Health and Psychosocial Care" (LAPS) of the National Research Council (CNPq). I was coordinator of the Center for Studies and Research in Mental Health and Psychosocial Care / LAPS / ENSP / FIOCRUZ. at AUSL Imola / Italy. Invited professor at national and foreign universities, especially in Argentina and Uruguay. More information:

His academic and political work has been focused on the following themes: psychiatric reform, mental health, epistemology; philosophy of science, public policies and health policies. He is the author of several articles and books Coordinator of the “Madness and Civiization” Collection at Editora Fiocruz, the “Madness Century  XXI” Collection at Editora Garamond (Rio de Janeiro) and the “PensarAgir” Collection in Mental Health at Editora Zagodoni (São Paulo). He was Scientific Editor of Revista Saúde em Debate and Director of Editorial Policy at the Brazilian Center for Health Studies - Cebes. Honorary Professor at the Faculty of Psychology at the National University of Rosario (Argentina). Doctor Honoris cause of the Popular University of Madres of Plaza de Mayo (Argentina). President Member of the Consultative Council of the Brazilian Drug Policy Platform. Honorary President of the Brazilian Mental Health Association (ABRASME).
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Auður Axelsdóttir
Occupational Therapist

Auður Axelsdóttir is from Reykjavík, Iceland. She is the director of Hugarafl (e. Mindpower) and recovery center, which operates within the Icelandic mental health sector. Auður founded Hugarafl in 2003 along with four individuals with lived experiences, with the aim of changing the way that the mental health system works in Iceland. Thanks to their hard work and unconventional ways in her work, Auður and Hugarafl have cleared the way for a new approach in the service to individuals with mental health problems. Hugarafl works on the principles of empowerment and recovery with the aim to influence the system with their experience, i.e. what works and what doesn’t in recovery. She works with individuals, families and in group situations.

Jan Anders Borning

I am a psychiatrist working at a medication free psychiatric inpatient unit at Akershus University Hospital. Our unit offers a mixture of therapeutic interventions,  such as psychotherapy, physiotherapy, art therapy and a program called Illness Management and Recovery (IMR). I have an interest for non medicinal interventions, and have several years of experience  with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness.

James Davies
Reader in Medical Anthropology and Mental Health
Dr James Davies graduated from the University of Oxford in 2006 with a PhD in social and medical anthropology. He is a Reader in Medical Anthropology and Mental Health at the University of Roehampton and has practiced as a psychotherapist in the NHS. He has delivered lectures at Harvard, Oxford, Oslo, Brown, UCL and Columbia, and has written for The Times, The New Scientist, The Guardian and Salon. He is author four books including the bestseller Cracked: why psychiatry is doing more harm than good. He is co-founder of the Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry, now secretariat to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence, Westminster, London.
Council for Evidence-based PsychiatryAPPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence
Adele Framer
Founder - Surviving Antidepressants

Adele resides in San Francisco, California, USA and is retired from information architecture & user experience design for software. She went off 10mg paroxetine in 2004 and it took 11 years to recover from the withdrawal syndrome. She has studied psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome since 2004 and founded the website in March 2011. Surviving Antidepressants was designed to collect case histories. It has more than 12,000 registrations and receives more than 300,000 page views per month. It has 6,000 naturalistic longitudinal case histories by patients. It provides more than 60 tapering topics (“Tips for tapering [drug]”) and explanations of titration methods (e.g. gradual 10% per month hyperbolic tapering method self-guided by patient). The site content is widely shared on Facebook and other websites.

Fernando Freitas
Professor and Researcher

Fernando Freitas PhD is Professor and Researcher at the National School of Public Health (ENSP / FIOCRUZ / RIO DE JANEIRO). He is co-author of the book Medication in Psychiatry published by Editora Fiocruz. He also is co-editor of the website

Anne Guy
UKCP Reg; MBACP (Accred) Secretariat Coordinator, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence
Anne Guy, PsychD, Psychotherapy & Counselling, BA Philosophy and Sociology, is a psychotherapist in private practice. She is also a member of the Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry and is the secretariat co-ordinator for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence. Professional memberships include UKCP, BACP & UPCA.
In 2018 she co-authored two reports for the APPG; one analysing the systemic issues underlying patient experiences of prescribed drug dependence & one describing four current service models for supporting prescribed drug dependence in the UK. She is currently leading a project with the primary UK professional bodies for counselling and psychotherapy to create guidance for psychological therapists to enable conversations with clients about prescribed psychiatric drugs, which will be available on a dedicated website by the end of 2019.
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Rex Haigh
Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist

Rex Haigh is a British critical psychiatrist and Medical Psychotherapist in the NHS. His undergraduate training included antipsychiatry and therapeutic communities – and he has followed that path since, as much as possible. He has been a government advisor for personality disorder, and founded two quality networks for therapeutic environments at the Royal College of Psychiatrists. His particular clinical interests are modified therapeutic communities, ecotherapy, and co-creation with service users. He was appointed as Honorary Professor of Therapeutic Environments at Nottingham University in 2015, and helps with several third sector organisations.

Peter Kinderman
Professor of Clinical Psychology - University of Liverpool

Peter is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool and former President of the British Psychological Society. His research interests are in psychological processes underpinning wellbeing and mental health. He has published widely on the role of psychological factors as mediators between biological, social and circumstantial factors in mental health and wellbeing. His most recent book, A Manifesto for Mental Health, presents a radically new and distinctive outlook that critically examines the dominant ‘disease-model’ of mental health care.

Peter argues that our mental health and wellbeing depend largely on the society in which we live, on the things happen to us, and on how we learn to make sense of and respond to those events. He proposes a reconceptualization of mental health problems; a rejection of invalid diagnostic labels, practical help rather than medication, and a recognition that distress is usually an understandable human response to life’s challenges.
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Alex Krokidas
Advocate, Lecturer, Sociologist, Social Worker

I have worked in mental health for the last 25 years, 20 of which in the UK in various community mental health settings. Prior to that, I worked in the theatre and as a lecturer in sociology, philosophy and medical ethics. I am currently involved in a pilot project in Athens using the Open Dialogue approach, and run an advocay and rights group with users of mental health services. I have written a number of  newspaper articles arguing for the total abolition of any form of compulsory interventions in mental health, including forced medication and involuntary hospitalization. In my spare time I play the violin.

Peter Lehmann
Independent social scientist, publisher, author, medical journalist and freelance activist of humanistic antipsychiatry

Born in 1950 in Germany. Survived psychiatric treatment in the 1970s. Certified pedagogue and independent social scientist, publisher, author, medical journalist and freelance activist of humanistic antipsychiatry in Berlin. In 1998, editor of "Psychopharmaka absetzen" ("Coming off psychiatric drugs"), the first book in the world about the issue of successfully coming off psychiatric drugs. In 2010, awarded an Honorary Doctorate in acknowledgement of "exceptional scientific and humanitarian contribution to the rights of the people with psychiatric experience" by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. In 2011, awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in acknowledgement of service to the community by the President of Germany. More see

In 1986, foundation of Peter Lehmann Publishing and Mail-order Bookstore (Germany), in 2003, founding of a branch in UK, 2004-2015 in USA. Since 1990, co-editor of the Journal of Critical Psychology, Counselling and Psychotherapy (United Kingdom). Blogger at Mad in America.
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Peggy Lilleby
Psychiatrist at the Senter for Basal Exposure Therapy, Vestre Viken Hospital Foundation, Norway

Peggy Lilleby has been working as a physician in psychiatry Norway since 2008. From 2015 she has been attending physician at the Centre for Basal Exposure Therapy (BET) at Vestre Viken Hospital Foundation, working systematically with tapering drugs for patients receiving complex psychiatric medication but nevertheless having unremitting symptoms and a low global level of function. The Centre for Basal Exposure Therapy offers intensive psychotherapeutic treatment primarily in inpatient setting for patients having severe and complex treatment resistant conditions.

Marcello Macario

I started working in public mental health in 1987 and since then have been working in Community Mental Health Centers. I was one of the founders of the Italian Hearing Voices Network and I am very much involved in introducing the Open Dialogue approach within the Italian NHS. I think that mental health is not only a medical problem but rather something related to what has happened in a person’s life, and also that the most important things in the treatment process are an attitude towards ‘recovery’ and the belief that everyone (including the ‘patient’ and family members) have something important to say much more than using the ‘right’ techniques based on the ‘right’ diagnosis.

Fanny Marell
Social worker, Licenced psychotherapist, Teacher and Supervisor

How helpers perceives suffering has a big impact on how they try to help and what kind of help they understand is needed. Therefore is of big interest to me how I can work with this question in practice both as a therapist and a supervisor. We live in a society with a very individualistic and biological/medical model of understanding suffering that easily lead us to solutions in forms of medication and individualistic solutions. The risk with this is that we miss poverty, isolation, oppression, violence and problematic relations as a way to understand suffering. How can I help people widen their ways of understanding suffering in order to get access to more kinds of understandings and with that more ways of actions?

Lasse Mattila
Social Worker, Lecturer, Author, Publisher of Mad in Sweden

Lasse Mattila has a Bachelor of Science in Social Work and over 25 years of experience working with vulnerable children and adolescents. Lasse is chairman of Förenigen Alternative till Psykofarmaka (The Association for Alternatives to Psychotropics) in Sweden and publisher/editor-in-chief of the web magazine Mad in Sweden. Lasse is also a supervisor within psychosocial work, an author, musician and lecturer in child and adolescent mental health.

Sandra Steingard
Chief Medical Officer - Howard Center, Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry - University Of Vermont Larner College of Medicine

Sandra Steingard, M.D. is Chief Medical Officer, Howard Center, Burlington, Vermont and Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University Of Vermont Larner College of Medicine.  She is chair of the Board of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care, a member of the board of the American Association of Community psychiatrists on the advisory board of Mad In America Continuing Education, and an Associate of the International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal. She is editor-in-chief of Community Mental Health Journal and editor of the book, Critical Psychiatry: Controversies and Clinical Implications.

Giuseppe Tibaldi

Psychiatrist, currently responsible for the community (inpatient and outpatient) services for 150,000 inhabitants, near Modena, after working 25 years in the Turin area.

From 2015 to 2017 trainee in the three-year OD training in London (in the group of trainers and supervisors). Before the Open Dialogue, the main training was psychotherapy of psychosis (ISPS orientation). In the last 15 years I promoted the writing and publication of many recovery stories in Italy.

I also promoted the translation into Italian of Robert Whitaker’s “Anatomy of an epidemic” and Peter Goetzsche’s “Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime”.

Alain Topor
Psychologist and Associate Professor

Alain Topor is a psychologist and associate professor at the department of social work at Stockholm university (Sweden) and professor at the department of psychosocial work at the university of Agder (Norway). After working as a family therapist, Alain moved on to work as a journalist and went back to the psy-field only because of a proposition to participate to the closing of a mental hospital in Stockholm and the development of alternatives to total institutions in the community.

When the mental hospital was closed and the resources moved to the community, he started to wonder in what ways the home visits, open-care centres, co-operatives, meeting points, supported apartments etc. were helping the persons in question and started asking them what they experienced was helpful for them. The encounters with the experience in Trieste, with persons like Roberto Mezzina, Anna Scoppio, David Cooper, Loren Moscher, Marius Romme, Simonetta Di Girolamo, John Strauss, Larry Davidson offered experiences and a concept: recovery.

Alain has published around 50 articles about Helpful professional relationships, Money and recovery, Post institutional landscapes, Social perspectives and work, Micro-affirmations and small things and about A ten years follow-up of persons with a diagnosis of psychosis.

Birgit Valla
Clinical psychologist, Lecturer and Writer
Birgit Valla is a Norwegian psychologist. She has been the director and lead creator of a community based mental health service called Stangehjelpa, a service developed based on the feedback from the people that ask for help. She is the author of the book “Beyond Best Practice – How Mental Health Services Can Be Better». She has written several articles in Norwegian newspapers and journals. Birgit is an experienced lecturer and speaker and teaches how to build services based on feedback and how to train therapists to get better. Birgit has a strong voice in the public debate in Norway for developing service based on an  humanistic understanding rather than assessments and diagnosis. She is the initiator and editor-in-chief of Mad in Norway, an affiliate of Mad in America.
Marnie Wedlake
Assistant Professor, School of Health Studies, and Registered Psychotherapist

Marnie Wedlake lives and works in London, Ontario, Canada. As a faculty member in the School of Health Studies at The University of Western Ontario, Marnie’s teaching and research interests are in the broader field of mental health. As a Registered Psychotherapist, Marnie is a member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. She is a trauma-informed therapist who works with people who live with varying degrees of distress, dis-integration and psychosis, as well as those who struggle with various manifestations of existential despair.

Both professionally and academically, the philosophy that guides Marnie is perhaps best captured by her tagline: Wellbeing is not prescribed. It is created. With ownership and intention.’  W:;

Marnie is also an ex-mental patient. In the early 1990’s she spent about 4 years embedded deeply in the mental health system. She had almost 600 days as an inpatient in psychiatric facilities where she endured 18 sessions of electroshock. Marnie’s undergraduate and master’s degrees are in psychology, and her PhD is in health professional education. Marnie believes most people share a fundamental desire to experience a greater sense of overall wellbeing, and many are becoming increasingly vocal about this. They are stating their beliefs that overall wellbeing is not created or maintained through processes and systems that medicalize and pathologize how they cope with their burdens, traumas and adversities. Marnie is convinced that wellbeing is a fundamental state that is available to all people. In this regard, she feels ‘modern’ mental health care has lost its way.
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Helene Speyer

Born in 1977 and living in Copenhagen, Denmark. Medical doctor in 2008 and PhD in psychiatry in 2016. Working part time in a post doc position and part time training in psychiatry. Passionate about transparency and integrity in research and providing evidence-based medicine with respect for human rights. Currently conducting a discontinuation trial for individuals with psychotic symptoms. Born as an anarchist, skeptical to the “disease-model” in psychiatry and still trying to find my way in the established system.

Mette Ellingsdalen
Human Rights Activist, Political Advisor for We Shall Overcome

Mette Ellingsdalen is a human-rights activist from Norway. From 2007 to 2014 she was chair of the user/survivor organisation We Shall Overcome (WSO). In this role she was one of the initiators to create the «Joint action for drug-free treatment», that led to the creation of drug-free treatment options in Norway.

Currently she is employed part time as political advisor for WSO, and is responsible for WSOs Human Rights work, advocating for the full implementation of the Convention for the Rights of people with Disabilities (CRPD).  

Her work is informed by her own experiences as a former psychiatric patient, where she was prescribed more than 25 different psychiatric drugs and was given multiple electroshocks, and denied the right to free and informed consent. She gives voice to those mistreated and harmed by psychiatric treatment.

 Her work includes national and international advocacy, writing and public speaking.