In 1969, at the age of 25, I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for the second time in three years. The first diagnosis, schizophrenia, paranoid type was followed by a second hospitalization and the diagnosis schizophrenia, chronic type. My treatments included electro-shock, insulin comas and massive doses of Thorazine. After I recovered from my "treatments" and began addressing the identity issues that had triggered my excursion into "madness," I entered graduate school, earned my doctorate and have worked as a licensed psychologist in a state hospital, in private practice, been a consultant to schools and state agencies and have been the executive director of a 7-county comprehensive mental health center. My current work includes psychotherapy, consultation, and University teaching.
I worked for nine years at the New York State Office of Mental Health Bureau of Recipient Affairs doing self-help project development, education and technical assistance. I am a former two-term president of the National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA). I have been an elected member of the American Psychological Association's Expert Taskforce on Serious Mental Illness. With other ex-patients and allies, I was a co-founder of the International Network Towards Alternatives for Recovery (INTAR), which held its first meeting of alternative practitioners and psychiatric survivors in 2004. Currently I am chair of The Community Consortium, an organization created to promote the civil and human rights of people with psychiatric disabilities, and to provide the tools to facilitate genuine community integration for people who use mental health services.
Dr. Bassman is the author of A Fight to Be: A Psychologist's Experience from Both Sides of the Locked Door.