Shrabanee Shah, Founder, No Stigma Network

WE is Our Medicine™

We are creating a docuseries and movie that we hope will work to legitimize anomalous spiritual experiences within the mainstream mental health system and prevent people from being needlessly pathologized. Colleen DeJoseph PhD

Dissertation: “Psychiatric Misdiagnosis:

When Anomalous Spiritual Experiences are Needlessly Pathologized”

Meet us on Rethinking Mental Health Face

LOGLINE: Spirituality clashes with psychiatric diagnoses in “Breaking DOWN, Breaking OPEN, Breaking THROUGH.” Follow a 40-year journey through the mental healthcare system. Featuring personal narratives and expert insights from around the globe, this documentary reveals the complexities surrounding misdiagnosis, involuntary institutionalization, and forced treatments, offering hope in unifying to affect change. 

SUMMARY: Unveil the hidden truth of spiritual awakenings in this compelling documentary tracing Janet Werner’s, 40-year journey as a small business owner, facilitator, single mother, activist, and spiritual seeker who was misdiagnosed and involuntarily routed through the American mental healthcare system. While Janet’s personal story depicts a tragic level of misguided stigmatization and disempowerment, it is hardly uncommon. Join the unification of voices from around the world as mental healthcare professionals, visionaries and thought leaders, spiritual leaders, and first-hand experiencers from all walks of life challenge the harmful cultural norm of misdiagnosing spiritual experiences as nothing more than so-called symptoms of perceived mental illness. Increasing public awareness is paramount to transforming an oppressive and inequitable system of psychiatric labels, involuntary hospitalizations, and mind-numbing medications – most of which cause more harm than good – into a significantly more healing paradigm in which compassionate, forward-thinking mental healthcare specialists work to promote more holistic modalities of treatment that honor first-hand experiences and better address a person’s mind, body, soul, and spirit. 

The Making of the Movie. The docuseries will record behind-the-scenes footage for the feature film “Calling God to the Witness Stand” while advancing the conversation in mainstream media with little known facts within the mental health system.

EXPERTS from around the world offer research-based information to a mainstream audience.

*The documentary team is interviewing individuals who have lived experiences with the mental health system:

  1. hospitalized without their consent.
  2. forced to take medications.
  3. diagnosed with a mental illness which they feel is unwarranted.
  4. have had Spiritually Transformative Experiences (STE) or Spiritual Emergencies.
  5. have had side effects to the psychiatric drugs prescribed to them.
  6. family members speaking about the side effects of psychiatric drugs prescribed to their loved one (spouses and parents) that resulted in life changing events sometimes resulting in death or suicides.
  7. Individuals who have had success with psychiatric drugs & hospitalizations.

This Happened to Me is a sample of lived experience recordings from around the world.

  1. Colleen DeJoseph, PhD
  2. Bret. A. Warshawsky
  3. Janet Werner
  4. Laura Lee Scott
  5. Jen Macdonald
  6. Josh Roberts
  7. Matt Marin
  8. Calvin Chatlos, MD
  9. Michael Garbe
  10. Elizabeth Sabet
  11. Katrina Michelle
  12. Dr. Lukoff
  13. Brooke Siem

*The docuseries team interviews experts in the field of spirituality, mental health, journalism, advocacy, legal and psychiatry.

1. Dr. Calvin Chatlos – Professor of Psychiatry at Rutgers University conducts research and speaks out on spirituality while challenging the psychiatric profession to transform.

2. Rob Wipond – author of “Your Consent Is Not Required”: The Rise in Psychiatric Detentions, Forced Treatment, and Abusive Guardianships

3. Robert Whitaker is an American journalist and author who has won numerous awards as a journalist covering medicine and science, including the George Polk Award for Medical Writing and a National Association for Science Writers’ Award for best magazine article. In 1998, he co-wrote a series on psychiatric research for the Boston Globe that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. His first book, Mad in America, was named by Discover magazine as one of the best science books of 2002. Anatomy of an Epidemic won the 2010 Investigative Reporters and Editors book award for best investigative journalism. He is the publisher of

4. Jim Gottstein Esq Founder of The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights incorporated as a non-profit in 2002 is a retired Alaska based lawyer who practiced business law and public land law and is well known as an attorney advocate for people diagnosed with serious mental illness. Gottstein has sought to check the growth in the administration of psychotropics, particularly to children. Gottstein was instrumental making alternatives to psychiatric drugs available in Alaska, through organizations he founded or helped lead, including Soteria-Alaska and CHOICES, Inc.In 2002, Gottstein co-founded the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights), and currently serves as its president. He is also a member of the board of directors of the International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry (ISEPP). 

5.David Lukoff, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and co-author of the DSM-IV and DSM-5 diagnostic category Religious or Spiritual Problem which increased awareness of spiritual issues in clinical practice.

6. Stanislav Grof, MD. is a psychiatrist with over sixty years of experience in research of non-ordinary states of consciousness and one of the founders and chief theoreticians of transpersonal psychology. Among his publications are over 160 articles in professional journals and the books including his book “Spiritual Emergency”. Grof was the founding president of the International Transpersonal Association (ITA) (in 1977) and served for several decades as its president. He went on to become distinguished adjunct faculty member of the Department of Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness at the California Institute of Integral Studies.

7. Elizabeth Sabet, CEO and Lead Instructor, The Institute of Transformational and Transpersonal Coaching. Former President, ACISTE (The American Center for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences). Ms. Sabet references Pew Research Center which documents as of 2006 49% of Americans have had a religious or mystical experience, defined as a moment of sudden religious insight, or awakening.

9. Kim Witczak is a leading global drug safety advocate and speaker with over 25 years professional experience in advocacy, advertising and marketing communications. She is currently a very vocal Consumer Representative on the FDA Advisory committee evaluating new drugs coming to market.

10. Michael Garbe, a Doctor of Social Work and Licensed Clinical Social Worker who specializes in incorporating spirituality into therapy.  Michael has first-hand spiritually transformative experiences. 

*The documentary will also be interviewing the founders and leading advocates all around the world, working with new and innovative treatments and facilities such as Earth House in Princeton NJ

*We include individuals and leaders from diverse cultures such as African, Latino, Muslim, American Indian, India and others where spirituality is a part of their culture, education and religion.

*The documentary will be also taking a deep dive into how creativity, mental health and spirituality seem to be connected for so many.

Our VISION Landing Spot:

A Place for Us

by Hilary Van Welter