National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy


Patricia Deegan, Ph.D.
Director of Training and Education
National Empowerment Center

Psychiatric Survivor - Pat is a psychiatric survivor and activist in the patients' rights movement. First hospitalized at 17, Pat rejected the "prophecy of doom" associated with her diagnosis and went on to earn her Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

Author/Speaker/Lecturer - Pat has lectured, published and consulted on recovery and the empowerment of people with psychiatric disabilities throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Scandinavia, Israel, Australia and New Zealand. She has many publications and her papers have been translated into Hebrew, Dutch, French, Spanish and Norwegian.

Activist/Innovator - Pat left her position as a clinical director with the state Department of Mental Health to create a model program for working with psychiatric consumer/survivors in a cross disability/Independent Living Program in Massachusetts. The program remains in operation and has been nominated for a "Community Health Leadership Award" by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Pat was also a founding member and past president of M-POWER (Massachusetts People/Patients Organized for Wellness, Empowerment and Rights). In addition, she is a founding member of the National Empowerment Center.

Researcher/Training Director - Pat has developed numerous trainings for psychiatric consumer/survivors and mental health professionals. She has developed an innovative training called "Hearing Voices That Are Distressing: A Training Simulation And Self Help Strategies". This extremely successful training has been put into a curriculum format and is being used by a wide variety of trainers/faculty in medical schools, graduate and undergraduate schools, police departments, family groups, and inpatient and outpatient mental health settings. A version of the workshop is also available to people who are hearing voices with an emphasis on coping strategies. Pat is also conducting research on the process of healing/recovering from major mental illness. She is also actively involved in re-collecting the history of mental health services in the United States, especially as seen from the point of view of service users. Her photo essays, slide presentations and videotaped "oral histories" on this topic have brought national attention to the need for a comprehensive history that includes the consumer/survivor perspective.

At NARPA 2000, Dr. Deegan presented her acclaimed slide show, The Politics of Memory: A Slideshow on Ex-patient Perspectives on the History of U.S. Mental Health Services. She has been working with other ex-patients to discover, recover and celebrate ex-patient history. Pat's research has lead her into the old vaults and wards of state mental institutions in order to capture images and stories that have rarely been seen by the public.  She will share some of these images and stories during the slideshow and will reflect on the liberating praxis of a mad-peoples' history of madness.


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