National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy


Creating Pockets of Resistance: Supportive Communities Outside the Values of the Medical Model

Caroline White


The Medical Model has perpetuated the unproven idea that people that who experience deep despair or hear voices that others don’t are “biologically different” than others.  This myth has contributed to human rights abuses and limited lives.  What is the power and potential of the “peer” role for changing the conversation?  What if instead of just fighting for a place at the table, people with these lived experiences created spaces of their own?  This talk will examine the impact of spaces like “Alternatives to Suicide” and “Hearing Voices” groups and peer respites which operate under a completely different set of values than the Medical Model.  Caroline will share her experiences with these settings where there is no assumption of illness and, instead of diagnoses and drugs, people are met with curiosity and choices.  Caroline will also share strategies for bringing these pockets of resistance to even the most restricted psychiatric settings and the power of the peer role in “advocating with” others to live the lives they choose.

Goals and Objectives

*Discuss ways the Medical Model lens limits the stories and paths of those who experience deep despair, anger, voices or visionary states

*Examine the radically different values that are held in settings such as Hearing Voices and Alternatives to Suicide groups and how access to such spaces can reduce human rights violations, involuntary commitment, and drugging

*Identify strategies for maintaining the ethics and non-clinical focus of a peer role in a highly restricted environment


Link to brief presenter bio:

Caroline White


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