This week we interview Olga Runciman. Olga is an international trainer and speaker, writer, campaigner, and artist. She co-founded the Danish Hearing Voices Network and sees the role of the Hearing Voices Movement as post-psychiatric, working towards the recognition of human rights while offering hope, empowerment, and access to making sense of individual experiences.
Olga was a psychiatric nurse working in social psychiatry but today she is a psychologist and since 2013 she has had her own private practice in Denmark, working with people who have been labelled schizophrenic or psychotic. Olga is herself a psychiatric survivor and a voice hearer too.
In this interview, we discuss Olga’s professional and personal experiences of the psychiatric system and how she now helps and supports healing and recovery in others.
In the episode we discuss:
- How Olga became a specialist psychiatric nurse in Denmark, believing at the time the reasons given for psychiatric diagnoses.
- How she came to see that there was little evidence or corroboration to underpin the diagnosis and treatment that she witnessed.
- How Olga was also a voice hearer but kept this hidden from her psychiatric colleagues.
- How, when experiencing stress and trauma, Olga came to be admitted to a psychiatric ward, diagnosed as schizophrenic and treated with a cocktail of psychiatric drugs.
- Olga’s experiences of the antipsychotic drug Clozapine.
- How Olga came to stop her psychiatric drugs which she had been taking for ten years.
- Psychiatry’s story of hopelessness and chronic illness that is so often sold to patients.
- How Olga now views her work from a post-psychiatry perspective.
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