The Male Heart

In the company of his own fellowship

A coldness impales the male persona

As he stands in a barren winter field

Where the rapidly shifting wind throws his

Chilled stiff body into nothingness.

He stands trying to conceal his shiver.


Above the infinite eye of the night

Glares down upon the stupid smallness

Of his existence, reminding him

That millions have died in war, all of whom

Have been embedded into the cold ice

Of this winter night. Masculinity


Continue reading “The Male Heart”

2016 Human Relations Indie Book Awards

Winner of four categories!!!

  1.  Director’s Choice Award for Outstanding Human Relations Life Adjustment Indie Book.
  2. Gold Winner, Inspirational Human Relations Indie Book
  3. Silver Winner Problem Solving Human Relations Indie Book
  4. Bronze Winner,  Self Reflection/Memoir Human Relations Indie Book

Retaliation Reactions

Jargonizing the Retaliation Reaction Construct:

This chapter’s construct consists of natural reactions that come up for message receivers as a result of acting as though their message experiences are the dominant reality.

Retaliation reactions can be as minor as a facial response: a glare, or a laugh; and in more dramatic occasions can involve actions that put the message receiver or the public at risk. In the course of this chapter I will provide some examples from my experience. While I certainly have observed the actions of others as most readers have too, I will limit the examples within, to my experience. Perhaps doing so will help make a case for group leaders to demonstrate their wellness by being able to take responsibility for their own complex behaviors.

Continue reading “Retaliation Reactions”


“I finally understand what a person with a mental illness feels like,lives like, and how he fights for his sanity and his life every single day . . .This book has compassion, passion, understanding, and a force of will that will allow any person to become better and make peace with themselves. Great job.”
Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite


“[Clyde’s] story is fascinating because he is able to intellectualize what he was thinking and feeling at the time, even if he is discussing his paranoid delusional thoughts . . . As someone with a Master’s of Science degree in a counseling field, I have found my greatest lessons have been from real people and not material in textbooks. As I read Clyde’s story, I felt like I learned many lessons through what he has to share. My work will definitely be more beneficial by what I learned from him.”
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (12/15)


“An intensely personal and impressively well written memoir, “Fighting for Freedom in America: Memoir of a ‘Schizophrenia’ and Mainstream Cultural Delusions” is a compelling read from beginning to end.”
Reviewed by Midwest Book Review


“Much has been written on the subject of schizophrenia with as many paths to recovery as there are individuals affected by it, but Dee’s work is most notable for his candid reflections on cultural delusions.  Clearly articulating the loss of faculties that make us what we are, they prove intrinsic to the telling of his story. More importantly they provide an often harrowing perspective on the anguish of mental illness from the inside and in doing so allow Dee to address commonly held beliefs and prejudices.”
Reviewed by Book Viral Spotlight


“Clyde Dee takes us on a heroes journey from condemnation to redemption, from diagnosis to self-definition. Seen through a filter of race, culture and often patriotism, Clyde Dee reminds us how fragile our human existence can be. . .”                                   Reviewed by Cardum Harmon, Executive Director of Heart and Soul in San Mateo County


“This is the tale of what happens when a compassionate, honest, humble man is confronted by corruption, cruelty and malice. . . Clyde’s journey is one of self-discovery which ultimately leads him not away from but back to the man he always was one of society’s unrecognised treasures.”
Reviewed by Debra Lampshire, the University of Aukland
“What a great read! As a person with mental health issues myself, I could relate to most of the memoir. Go ahead and read this book. I guarantee you won’t be able to put it down. Read cover to cover fast!”
Reviewed by Niki’s book review
This ought to be required reading for anyone involved in the mental health industry or anyone who has a friend or family member with the “dangerous gift” of mental illness . . . Combines serious clinical analysis with the empathetic and humanizing “person-centered” approach of the consumer/survivor/ex-patient movement. Moving and real. Read it!
Reviewed by Laura, Amazon
“Passages including Clyde’s dealings with mental health professionals were particularly interesting. Those passages made a case for the problematic nature of the “mental illness” narrative; how that narrative can get in the way of relationships, can make therapy impossible, and can add to the confusion of the one being diagnosed.”
Reviewed by Jonathan Roth, Amazon
“I have to take my hat off to the author Clyde Dee who has taken a tremendously complex subject and through relating his own experiences has made it infinitely more understandable to those of us on the outside looking in. I had never considered the full ramifications of schizophrenia or many of the other mental illness before reading this and I can truly say I am more empathic in my understanding. A big thank you to Clyde Dee for opening my eyes.
Reviewed by Avid Reader, Amazon
He joins the few other courageous authors, many whom also have become professionals in the mental health field, who have written candidly about their personal experiences inside the mental health system as a consumer to help educate and to break open the objectification and dehumanizing treatment towards creating a genuine heart centered person to person empowerment model of compassionate care. As well he says he writes to further his recovery and that of the clinical field and society as well by educating to help dismantle stereotypes and help understand his experience that is usually hidden.
Reviewed by Geese, Amazon
This is an excellent book. It dispels myths and stereotypes associated with mental illness, and instead recounts and explains in a way which makes it clear to understand. Through this understanding, I found I gained a great insight. Dee has a likeable writing style, it’s easy to believe he is writing from experience . . .The author openly explores relationships he has had, and the complexities involved through his schizophrenia and depression are both eye opening and entertaining . . . A captivating book, written with passion, understanding, and emotion.
Reviewed by Michelle Geist, Amazon
It’s a story not often told–coming to terms with the stigma and discrimination of mental health labels. It was a rare view into a world locked and closed to the rest of society–mental health institutions. Clyde Dee had the education, background, and street smarts to survive and the love and help of family and friends to thrive. Thank you for sharing your story, Clyde.
Reviewed by Helena, Amazon

Midwest Book Review: Small Press Bookwatch: May 2016: Reviewer’s Choice

unnamed (1)

Reviewer’s Choice

Fighting for Freedom in America
Clyde Dee
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Road, #515, Parker, CO 80134
9781478759928, $20.95, PB, 328pp,

Critique: An intensely personal and impressively well written memoir, “Fighting for Freedom in America: Memoir of a ‘Schizophrenia’ and Mainstream Cultural Delusions” is a compelling read from beginning to end. Very highly recommended for both community and academic library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that “Fighting for Freedom in America” is also available in a Kindle edition ($5.99).

How I Overcame the Revolving Door of Insanity, by Don Karp

Guest Blogger


Don Karp, helps young adults recovering from schizophrenia with practical, science based self-care. Check out his free video, 7-Step Self-Hypnosis Process, by signing up here. His book, available on Amazon, is The Bumpy Road: A Memoir of Culture Clash, Including Woodstock, Mental Hospitals and Living In Mexico. He is a regular contributor to and His twitter handle is @donsbumpyroad.


Early Development
“Stand up straight!” Don’t pick your nose!” “Speak like a man!” These
are some of the commands from my mom that I endured as an
adolescent. Dad once said, “I heard you got an A on a report. How
come you didn’t get an A+?”

No wonder I felt stupid, ugly and clumsy growing up. I was in pain but
didn’t know where or how to express it. I was shy, and isolated myself
from my peers.

Fortunately, Mom sent me to camp every summer year after year. I
learned to appreciate nature and developed curiosity about much that
I’d observed. I found some answers to nature’s riddles in science
classes and was more comfortable with test tubes than people.

Mental Patient and Dropout
Entering college, I had a dream of becoming a Ph D biochemist, doing
teaching and research. Eight years later, from inside a mental
hospital, I made my decision to drop out. The dream ended. I was too
sensitive to continue in the academic lifestyle, with its competitive
publish or perish, backbiting, old boy’s club and other harsh realities
as part of the game.

In those days there was no Freedom Of Information Act. I did not have
access to my personal file. After many unsuccessful job applications
(note that employment was not so scarce in the ’70’s), I got suspicious
and had the file sent to a friend. He disclosed my professors
“recommendations”: Don is a campus goodie-goodie.” “Don is brilliant
but remote.” In my opinion those professors acted immorally out of a
conceived stigma, and should have instead told me flat out that they
could not recommend me.

The Counter-Culture Conflicts With My Lifestyle
During the late ’60’s, while still in grad school, I became involved in
the emerging counter-culture revolution: radical politics, communes,
alternative schools, rock music and psychedelics. For me the wonder
of attending the Woodstock Festival was not so much about the music
as it was about genuine brotherly love—sharing and caring for one
another. During the storm our neighbor’s tent was destroyed. We had
no problem taking him in.

This era gave hope for a better world and was quite a contrast to my
academic lifestyle. I’d invested so much, I couldn’t just drop out. The
conflict of lifestyles was exacerbated when I gained awareness from
my inner experiences–experiments with psychedelics. Eventually I
began having flashbacks to those experiences without the drugs. I
thought that someone was putting drugs in my food, that I was being
watched and followed, and I started hearing voices.
Some people ask me if taking psychedelics made me crazy.
I think that they opened the doors to the reality of who I was and to my
past. This was too much for me to comprehend, and created the

One day I took a drive out into the suburbs to get away from it all. I
thought I heard a helicopter following me and, to escape, drove my
car off the road, hitting a tree. I was not hurt and the car undamaged.
Mom brought me to a psychiatrist who listened to my story for ten
minutes and said that I needed to be hospitalized. I didn’t know what
else to do. He was the authority and I had no alternatives.

Ten Years of Hospitalizations
Yearly hospitalizations became a routine for me when I had psychotic
breaks. The stays usually lasted a month, the time it takes to evaluate
anti-psychotic medications.

My brother had spent some time in Berkeley, California, and
suggested I go there because they had more knowledge of how to
handle dropouts like me. I took his advice and my life became a
steeper roller coaster ride, with even deeper lows and highs.
I joined a group at the Berkeley Rap Center, a free clinic using Eric
Berne’s transactional analysis, and embodying the ideas of The
Radical Therapist, that the main cause of mental illness was
capitalism. To overcome my shyness, the group’s leader gave me an
assignment. I was to go to the campus and meet young women. I
approached one and said, “Hi, my name is Don. My therapy group told
me to meet women on campus.” Her response was: “Hi. I’m Sylvia
and I have the clap.”

One hospital stay was at Napa State. My therapy there was talking to
a medical doctor for ten minutes once a week. He told me that
similarly to a diabetic with insulin, I’d need to take Thorazine the rest
of my life or I’d have psychotic attacks. I was lucky to get out of that
hell hole. I’ll not go into that story here.

As a young adult I was back living with my parents. This became an
increasingly intolerable situation. Finally, after a few months, I acted
out and Dad brought me to the hospital with the same result:
medications and boredom.

How I Beat Recidivism
This was my fifth hospitalization. I was fed up with the revolving door,
and made a firm resolution that when I got out I’d never return again.
As often happens when we firmly take our fate into our own hands,
the Universe cooperates. Three actions helped me to conquer this

First, against the advice of my friends, who said it would be
impossible, I got an apprenticeship at the university with a professor in
the fiber arts department. While in California, I picked up a simple
form of weaving and wanted to get more seriously involved. It was a
very meditative and relaxing activity resulting in a physical product.
This gave me new identity as an artist and kept me busy and off of the
streets and away from the bars.

Second, when I got out of the hospital I did not follow their
recommendations: medications, outreach programs and living in
neighborhoods with other ex-patients.
Third, I entered therapy with a very special psychologist after waiting
two years for her appointment calendar to clear. We had two sessions
with Mom and Dad. She told me that there was a family problem and
that I displayed the symptoms.

She used the Gestalt therapy method, and trained me in dream
analysis. She advised that whenever I heard voices, I should check
out where there might be rejection in my life instead of listening in.
Using this approach, over time, the voices decreased.

During my hospitalizations I was a member of the local chapter of the
Mental Patients Liberation Project whose purpose was to alert the
public of the dangers of psychiatric oppression. We distributed
pamphlets, spoke to classes of nurses in training, held a panel
discussion on suicide and did some advocacy work in hospitals.

Understanding My Purpose
Fast forwarding over many years, I experienced therapies, workshops,
men’s groups and living in intentional communities. In 2003 I retired
from a career as a chemist and moved to a small magical city in
central Mexico.

To keep in touch with friends and relatives I sent out a short blog
every few months. Although I’d not seen myself as a writer, I got a lot
of good feedback to that effect.
In ’95, using my journals, I began writing my experiences as a mental
patient, hoping that this might provide some closure on those dark

In 2007, I met a woman who had won national writing awards. She
asked me to send her my manuscript. Her response was: “I got so
involved in reading it that I forgot to go to my yoga class.” She also
sent me several helpful editorial comments.

I began attending a weekly writing group and read several how-to
books on memoir writing. I now wanted to publish, and as I mentioned
earlier, when an intention is strong, the Universe provides for it.
I was in the “zone!” I met my cover artist in a hostel in Oaxaca,
engaged with a web designer I met on the beach who also introduced
me to social media and I got a friend to help me with formatting. I selfpublished
with an online firm that placed me on Amazon with a
paperback and Ebook.

Then came the next hurdle—promotional speaking engagements. In
the audience were friends and relatives. Also there were many
strangers. “Who cares about me and my story,” I thought. I got up my
courage and overcame this fear, finding that everyone has a story and
we all have overlap we can identify with.

As my legacy, I help people who are in trouble as I was . I provide
young adults, recovering from schizophrenia, different forms of online
self-care, as an adjunct to the mental health mill. My goal is not only to
see recovery, but to assist them in actually thriving in life.

I hope my story has given you some encouragement to rise above
your problems and help others. Please add your comments below. I’d
love to see your thoughts.

Ways Universal Theories and Evidence Based Practice can do Damage and Waste Resources

Please note: This long blog has been divided into two parts and will be republished 

I feel that the mental health field’s current preoccupation with evidence based practice is one of the greatest impediments to putting dollars to good use on the ground.  It comes out of the psychotherapeutic tradition of teaching theory that has been tried and tested to cross cultural boundaries.  I am here to exclaim that this claim alone is corrupt and a piss poor way to promote mental health! And I am here to reflect an opinion from the rank and file: that when administrators expand these concepts and suggest that fidelity measures supersede local culture, the potential for doing damage and being wasteful rises exponentially.

You can give me any amount of research that a best practice is universal and I will go back to my experience in life and gawk. I don’t think I am the only one who’d argue that authentic contact with the culture of the local situation one sees in the therapy context is more important than a measured technique. It is time administrators and therapists’ alike wake up and study themselves before they waste money on importing academic concepts.

My beef with therapy that follows strict theoretical fidelity measures started twenty-seven years ago when I was first hospitalized at age seventeen for anorexia in Salvador Minuchin’s clinic.  My family was to receive a best practice Structural Family Therapy performed with the highest of fidelity measures with one-way mirrors and expert consultation.  I was expected to gain a half pound a day or my family would be viewed as a failure.  I would later learn that 6000 calories a day would not anatomically gain me a half pound a day.  In therapy I kept making this point but the team was instructed to ignore me when I was oppositional.  In other words, I was to lose my voice in the family system if I behaved that way.  We went through intense and traumatic experiences as a family including my father being encouraged to bully me into eating. While he later did many things that worked, I was not able to conceptualize my rage and started to throw up indiscriminately. I had no idea what we were supposed to do, only that we were failing at an impractical expectation.

In working my way through my Master’s level education I did some extra reading on Salvador Minuchin.  I learned that he was an Argentinian, Israeli Army guy who developed his theory for people of the “slums.” Going after psychosomatic problems like eating disorders and juvenile diabetes was a way for him to penetrate middle class markets and prove that his work was manifest destiny universal.  This way students could learn that they could use his theory with anyone.

When I reflect on this, it tickles me.  All those years ago Minchin was dealing with two aristocratic Quaker families who were in many ways the highest of authorities on being anti-authoritarian.  My father, a Quaker school principal; my grandfather, an Ivy League administrator; being trained to insert military structure so Minuchin could prove that his ideas were universal.  But the results of this simple mismatch were lasting. My family on all sides weren’t used to being told they were failures. None of us took kindly to that news and what essentially ensued was a thirteen year emotional cut-off.

When, thirteen years later, in a political thriller against the powerful housing authority of a major US city, I finally descended into a two year schizophrenia. Reunification as a prodigal son didn’t go very well.  Suddenly I, considering myself a whistle-blower, found society hell-bent on incarcerating and making me accountable for being a eugenic failure. And my only remaining supporters, my long-lost family agreed. My father did what he could to get me to stay an extra nine months on the most chronic of back-wards; and later to prevent me from having a car.

This was a hard way to be treated, when, six months after the three month hospitalization, I was only able to find a minimum wage job with a two hour bike/BART routine while in “psychosis.” A car was key to enable me to grow out of this situation. After ten months, I was finally able to manipulate my mother into helping me.  And with a car I did improve my job performance, start back on medications and eventually escape the grasp of a company that I was later able to confirm really did cooperate with a local mob boss, just as I thought.

Though most Master’s-level clinicians of my era learned that multiculturalism was important, we also learned that if you chose a best practice orientation like Minuchin’s Structural Family Therapy, or CBT and apply the concept across cultural divides and you were okay.  In those days we were not taught to study the cultural ethos within which the best practice was created and translate it through ourselves while considering the cultural experiences of the subject. I often wonder if this is still the case. I certainly was not blessed with such thoughtfulness from any of the mental health providers I came into contact with. I am now left to wonder what would have happened if I received the treatment of Minuchin’s primary competitor Bowen who worked with Midwestern, white-bread schizophrenic families. Maybe then some of the pain and suffering would have been averted.

Now fifteen years later from my stint in a state hospital, I am finding that those of us workers, trained in counseling theories, are additionally hired into systems that use fidelity measures to promote proven recovery practices.  Four years ago I left my job in a community I love and have since returned to, to join a county collaborative effort to jumpstart recovery via importing three evidence based practices.  And so we get to my initial contention that evidence based practice, like theory, cannot override culture.

The county I work in imported the Housing First best practice; the IPS employment model; and the best practice of peer support by a leading out-of-state company.  Clients were given all three practices at the same time and expected to transform into work and end their dependence on Social Security.  Teams were set up with representatives of all three out-of-context best practices were and led by case managers from seven local case management teams.

I came on board during the second year of operation as the back-up administrator of peer support.  I completed a comprehensive and experiential peer-employment training with a new team of workers and my first task was to attend all the team meetings and represent the peer workers.  Sure enough, I would find many of our peer workers, just out of the system and battling external and internal stigma, being bullied into silence at the meetings. Though this was not what the company wanted, those who spoke up affectively also would somehow end up targeted by company.

After I made the rounds, on a day when the top administrator and our boss were present, a worker who seemed most effective, and on-the-ground respected came into my office before meetings commenced.  He shook my hand and told me I was walking into a bee hive.  As soon as he was gone and the door closed, I found out that the top administrator had a file on this worker, who was a racial minority; he was on track for being fired along with another minority worker, who was axed that day.

Sure enough, the man of a minority race was trying to provide for his family on wages that barely cut it according to the local standard of living. The things he had done, in my mind, demonstrated his economic need. Memories of my own sense of financial hopelessness were triggered. Indeed, the more I took inventory, I quickly became alarmed of what I considered to be racial and class in-sensitivities: workers who had harder inner-city backgrounds seemed to me to be more heavily scrutinized. With this vague sense, I forged a relationship with the county’s program director who was a racial minority and was under attack by our company’s bosses. Peer support and the training I had gone through is something I have come to believe very strongly in so I felt that the best thing to do was to send an email expressing my concerns to the boss.

Meanwhile, as I was feeling quite bullied and insulted at the tables, I quickly got feedback from my own company that I didn’t know how to present as a professional; however, the feedback from the program evaluation came back that I was well received in the eyes of the local workers.

Time passed and the worker who warned me about the bee hive was fired and the minority director was replaced.  I continued to observe the other male minorities to be not treated well from my perspective: one, I had trained with seemed to be getting targeted in part for having non-Christian spiritual beliefs. The top Administrator was out sick much of the time and calling shots from her bedside and the county’s new director formed a strong relationship with our boss who seemed offended after my email.

The bullying at the table overseen by the county’s new director was now escalated. I often felt insulted and attacked. One day I was ambushed with several domain leaders present and accused of influencing and enabling “psychotic” clients to be against medication.  When I explained that I myself believe in and take medication, a worker who supported me was written up for not being a team player. I experienced no sense of an apology.  Shortly thereafter, I was vanquished from the meetings.

Meanwhile, back on the company’s ranch, the top administrator was out on disability, I hoped that the fact that our domain’s numbers were steadily growing with me as the temporary leader, and that our specific company boss was replaced with someone who seemed to respect me might be job security. I was not looking for control of the program I was fine with being number two. I was more interested in being in a position to advocate for better wages for the workers. From my perspective, this way key to promoting quality services making a permanent stay in the county. When the person who was hired over top of me turned out to have a temper and walk out on the job after a month; I got the word that at the call of the county’s program director, I be demoted and put in charge of the charts.

My powers were totally stripped.  When a worker was sick I was not allowed to release them.  They had to work until my rarely responded to emails gave me the approval. There were many examples suffering that occurred from unanswered emails.  Meanwhile the productivity sank. At the same time I was micromanaged.  Company people were brought in who publicly sabotaged my credibility in from of the team.  Being attacked in this manner can do a number to old self-esteem scars.

It occurred to me as they hired the wife of the leader of the collaborative program that letting productivity tank could justify my demotion. I was told that I was disorganized which is true, but never had been brought to me as a concern. All details of the job that I was responsible for were factitiously done on time because, I worked sixty hour weeks. I never realized that disorganized people who have a history of success in therapy (and who’ve written their own therapeutic theory,) were gifted when it comes to taking care of charts. I went back to my old job part-time and opened up a private practice for Medi-Cal clients. My application to be a Medi-Cal provider mysteriously stalled at the county’s highest level for reason that did not make sense.  I pinched pennies, worried about mortgage payments, and eventually got back to full time back in the community I love.

Ultimately, the county closed this expensive collaborative program and the out-of-state company I worked for lost its contract.  I learned that the county had decided against using local peer leaders to run the peer support aspect of their program.  It was true that the company I worked for had some pretty awesome training and that they have successfully expanded. I think ours was the first of their programs to close.  Much of what they have to convey about mental health, I continue to agree with. I don’t even think it’s fair to conclude from what I experienced that they discriminate against racial minorities.  But they did not know the ground of the community they were operating in. Though not their fault that local people were insulted that they got the contract and attacked, the unhealthy attack back mode made a few heads roll.

I believe what happened in the county is likely when a practice uses research to proclaim that their fidelity measures are going to work anywhere.  It’s a false sales pitch.  There are so many cultural factors at play, personalities, egos, and competing financial incentives in community mental health.  There were times when competing fidelity measures didn’t match up.   Perhaps the employment IPS domain was highly critical of the peer domain in part for survival purposes: if peers could do what they could, jobs might be lost, or pay cut.  Likewise the more educated case managers may not have only felt threatened for those financial reasons, but there I was with more experience challenging their clinical culture and notions of superiority; that couldn’t have been very easy. I don’t like clinical culture. I was after all exhibiting some degree of ego.

In sum, with a high need for collaboration and an enormous amount of political infighting recovery was not promoted. Perhaps some will say it’s the clients’ faults.  In spite of all this, though, the pilot program did transform lives on the ground. Yet, my question stands: did all the money for all the promises of the evidence based practices trickle down into the lives of the people served? Would the county not have been better off going to its strong consumer base, taking the ideas from these evidence based practices and co-constructing locally sensitive recovery? Was imposing change in top-down ways based on the notion of a superior intelligentsia cost effective?

I go back to my original paragraph and point out that things would work better if money was not spent proving that because a set of ideas worked in one place, that fidelity measures can assure it can be reproduced in another.  This entails that Theorists need to first define themselves culturally and then assert themselves locally. They need to interact with their local consumer base and not sell their experience on a global market. When it comes to practice of mental health a theorist and a therapist needs to constantly define the limits of themselves and not grow so large in the head as to impose their values and experience in universal terms on others.

I think it is time for administrators to wake up and limit the relevance of evidence based strategies. Step inside a state hospital backward, or prison and you get a pretty good sense of where all the good intentions of counseling theorists and therapists and administrators may well lead you. I think that most other survivors of these environments will tell you that they did not get much support from a theory in that squalor.  Speaking for myself, I was only helped by people who threw the theory away and treated me like a human being.  And believe me we clients can tell when people are treating us like a statistic, like we are one of their “folks.” That is not helpful.

Please note: This long blog has been divided into two parts and will be republished