Dear Luise

Dorrit Cato Christensen

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Dear Luise

A story of power and powerlessness in Denmark’s psychiatric care system

An unintended event. This was the bland phrase used to describe Luise’s sudden death in the psychiatric ward at Amager Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark. She was 32. Dear Luise is a mother’s deeply personal account of her struggle to ensure her daughter’s survival through 20 years of treatment in the Danish mental health system. It is an alarming – and thoroughly documented – exposé of the abject failure of the medication-based treatment regimen routinely imposed on vulnerable psychiatric patients. This book is also a poignant tale of love and hope, brimming with tender memories of the creativity, originality and wry humor of a very capable, intelligent young woman.

Behind Luise’s ultimate fate we see the smug certainty of mental health professionals, both doctors and caregivers, and the concomitant dehumanization of their patients through indifference, harassment, coercion and the use of force. In this tragic case, the mother’s investigation also reveals a shocking trail of incompetence and dishonesty – repeated misdiagnosis, professional collusion, “missing” official records, falsified hospital charts, victim-blaming, and a complete lack of accountability.

Her mother’s ill-fated trust in Denmark’s healthcare system led an 11-year-old girl with misunderstood adjustment problems into a doctor-mandated drug hell. First she was wrongly diagnosed and dosed with powerful anti-epilepsy medicine. Then the severe side-effects were treated with antipsychotics that caused even more serious adverse reactions, both mental and physical. Complaints from mother and daughter ran into a stone wall, and all meaningful dialogue was cut short. The system had only one response – increase the medication.

Luise’s tragedy is far from unique in Denmark – or indeed any other “advanced” industrialized country. Towards the end of her life she knew what was happening to her. Luise told her mother: On my gravestone I want it to say that it was the medicine that killed me.

Author Bio

Dorrit Cato Christensen

Dorrit Cato Christensen is a retired teacher living in Copenhagen, Denmark, who devotes her time to advocating for better treatment of the mentally ill. She is president of Død i Psykiatrien (Death in Psychiatric Care), a Danish support organization for families and friends of patients who have died from overmedication and for those concerned for the well-being of loved ones undergoing medication-based psychiatric treatment. She is also active in several pan-European organizations with similar goals, including the European Union’s Agency for Fundamental Rights.

News & Views

Psychiatric care in Denmark linked to
“a severely increased risk of dying.”

University of Copenhagen researchers led a nationwide study in Denmark comparing individuals who died from suicide to matched controls between the years 1996 and 2009. Essentially, the researchers found that increasing levels of psychiatric care are associated with “a severely increased risk of dying.” They concluded, “The public health significance of this finding may be considerable.” You would think the press and public would be outraged. The study was totally ignored.

The researchers found that taking psychiatric medications during the previous year made a person 5.8 times more likely to have killed themselves. If a person had made contact with a psychiatric outpatient clinic, they were 8.2 times more likely to have killed themselves. Visiting a psychiatric emergency room was linked to a 27.9 times greater likelihood of committing suicide. And if someone had actually been admitted to a psychiatric hospital, they were 44.3 times more likely to have committed suicide within the year.

Read more…

A former Prime Minister’s take on Denmark’s mental health crisis

The foreword to both the Danish and English editions of Dorrit Cato Christensen’s Dear Luise is by Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, former Prime Minister of Denmark and Member of the European Parliament, who now devotes his time to improving conditions in his country for mental patients and their families. Like many Western countries, Denmark has long been stuck with a caregiver culture of “negative expectations and prejudices about the mentally vulnerable,” not to mention the routine practice of dangerous overmedication with psychotropic drugs. Conditions are slowly improving – there’s even talk of a paradigm shift – but it’s still too late for Luise and hundreds of others.

Read Poul Nyrup’s introduction here.

“One of the most extraordinary books about healthcare ever written”

Read the review by Dr David Healy on Amazon’s UK site.
Read More…

Written on Water

This synopsis of Dear Luise was posted on RxISK, the first free, independent website where patients, doctors, and pharmacists can research prescription drugs and easily report a drug side effect – identifying problems and possible solutions earlier than is currently happening.

Read More…

The Psychiatric Epidemic – does long-term use of medication decrease the chance of recovery?

PsykoVision in Denmark has recently translated and published Robert Whitaker’s book, Anatomy of an Epidemic. In honor of this, PsykoVison invited Whitaker to speak at a small conference in Copenhagen.

This is Part 1: The Roots of the Epidemic, where Robert Whitaker guides us through the history of psychiatric medication and presents the scientific evidence that proves that the common wisdom about these drugs is mostly based on falsehoods.
Click to see Video…

In Part 2: The Scope of the Epidemic, Whitaker digs deep into the research on psychiatric medication and demonstrates how the studies paint a very different picture from public perception.
What is the reason for this discrepancy? Misinformation? Disinformation?
Click to see Video…

A mother’s shocking story of her daughter’s journey through the psychiatric system

“Although Luise lived in Denmark and her story concerns the Danish psychiatric system, there is much here for the English reader. It is beautifully and meticulously written.”

Read More…

A crucial read for patients, their families, and all mental health professionals

We tend to think we have evolved so far for the better in relation to stigmatizing differences, judging differences, in our prejudices, and in relation to segregation, and discrimination. Luise was a gorgeous kid who happened to be a `bit different’, and she was persecuted for it, to death.

Read More…

Psychiatry Gone Astray

Here’s an English translation of “Psychiatry Gone Astray,” an op-ed piece by Prof. Peter Gøtzsche in the Copenhagen daily Politiken that has caused quite a stir in Denmark. His book, Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma has Corrupted Healthcare, came out last year. The article is posted on the website of Dr. David Healy, a professor of Psychiatry in Wales and an internationally respected psychiatrist and psychopharmacologist. His book Pharmageddon tells how pharmaceutical companies have hijacked healthcare in America – with life-threatening results.

Read More…

‘Happy pills’ from Denmark

cartoonThis cartoon was once posted on Facebook by the Silje Benedikte Foundation, named for a young Norwegian woman who took her own life at 20 after two years of treatment with 20 different psychotropic drugs. The joke seems to be that, since a big debate is finally raging in neighboring Denmark over their health system’s misuse and overuse of psychotropic medications, there’s now a surplus available for export!

(Sorry it’s a little small: The cartoon depicts a Norwegian dad emptying a mega-jar of antidepressants down his kid’s throat, saying, “Just got these in from Denmark earlier today.”

Gross medical negligence led to suicide

Over medicatingPsychiatric Hospital in Amager harshly criticized for overmedicating 26-year-old man. Clinical Manager claims that incidents involving medicine in large doses have led to ‘cultural change’ in psychiatric treatment.

Read More…

Video interview – Dorrit Cato Christensen


TitleDear Luise: A story of power and powerlessness in Denmark’s psychiatric care system
SizeTrade paperback, 6 x 9 in (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
List Prices$21.95; UK £14.95; EU €21.95
PublishedNovember 2, 2012
BISACPopular Psychology, Mental Illness

Mirrors of the Mind

Ronald J Manheimer PhD

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Mirrors of the Mind

Reflecting on Philosophers’ Autobiographies

Imagine you could sit down and talk personally with the greatest philosophers of all time. Imagine having coffee with Augustine or Rousseau or Kierkegaard. Ever had a fantasy about chatting with Sartre and de Beauvoir in a Paris cafe? Well, read the chapters in Ronald Manheimer’s book and you will have the ‘feel’ of being in the presence of these and other thinkers. This is a one-of-kind book in which masterful scholarship is concealed behind a delightfully readable text. It can be recommended both to those with an academic grasp of philosophy and those coming to the great philosophers for the first time. The book is irresistible and not to be missed. — Harry R. Moody , Co-author, The Five Stages of the Soul

The field of philosophy is a formidable one, even for the well-educated. Its self-referential technical vocabulary and abstract discussions may seem remote from the issues and experiences of everyday life. Yet, in our own ways, each of us is a seeker of wisdom. We may wonder how our life experiences influence our ideas and values, and vice-versa. Can we find our place among the seminal figures of the great philosophical traditions, both east and west? Mirrors of the Mind aims to help bridge this gap.

Readers drawn to philosophy often find the standard histories and introductions distant from their personal lives. Many are more curious about how historically influential thinkers actually lived. Could there be a connection between the general truths that a school of philosophy asserts about the universally human and the particular flesh-and-blood truths of the philosopher’s life?

Delving into the newly identified genre of the philosophical autobiography, Dr. Ronald Manheimer’s Mirrors of the Mind takes both the neophyte and the initiated on a unique literary and philosophical journey through the works of important thinkers. This guided tour of the life of the mind covers self-reflective narratives ranging from fourth century Augustine’s Confessions to 20th century Simone de Beauvoir’s The Prime of Life.

Mirrors of the Mind looks into the private lives, made public in narratives by important thinkers who have changed the world or, at least, how we perceive it. The focus is not highbrow gossip or sordid revelations about a philosopher’s life, but rather a search for the creative embodiment of thinking and being – the architecture of the soul.

These first-person narratives serve as the loci in which philosophers’ lives and the ideas that have animated them are joined or paralleled. The philosophical autobiography is a literary space in which the thinker turns his or her analytical mind and the tools of the trade on his or her remembered past.

At its best, the philosophical autobiography helps us to see great minds as real people who wonder and suffer, analyze and romanticize, communicate both bliss and darkest despair. The accounts they give of their lives show that many of their most famous ideas occurred in moments of sudden illumination that would take them a lifetime to explicate. These works demonstrate that analytical judgment may go hand in hand with acts of imagination; that calm, cool, reason may intersect with an impulsive leap of faith.

Through such authors, the reader shares exemplary instances of a thinker’s emerging sense of purpose, engagement with the critical issues of his or her time, perceived threads of continuity through a life of change, and the search for integration of ideas and experiences. Getting to know philosophers through their life stories helps to dispel the impression that great thinkers lived only in their heads.

For readers who wish to explore the subject further, each chapter ends with suggested reflexive writing exercises and philosophical fieldwork.


Mirrors of the Mind will teach. Students are drawn to philosophy because in order to live the life worth living – the examined life – the ideas of the great thinkers connect with their own. To explore the lives of these thinkers who have helped construct our intellectual world, using narrative, metaphor, whimsy and rigorous philosophical argument is a delightful way to invite students into the search for wisdom. Manheimer has crafted an original work, the result of decades of his own philosophical autobiography. — Katharine Meacham, professor of philosophy and religious studies

Mirrors of the Mind is an excellent introduction to philosophical autobiography and, in certain ways, to philosophy in general. Manheimer is like one of those masterful guides, who knows all the best spots – the twin gardens of Augustine, Rousseau’s country lane, and many more besides. First-time visitors to philosophy may find themselves wanting to stay, while locals will surely be surprised by the resources right under their noses. — David Hart, philosophy professor

Author Bio

Ronald J Manheimer

Ronald J. Manheimer holds a PhD from the History of Consciousness interdisciplinary graduate program of the University of California at Santa Cruz, where his dissertation on the Danish philosopher and theologian Søren Kierkegaard led to publication by the University of California Press of his book, Kierkegaard as Educator (1977). In 2003, an award-winning Korean translation of this book appeared with a new introduction by the author.

Manheimer has taught at UC Santa Cruz, The Evergreen State College (Olympia, Washington), Wayne State University (Detroit), the Smithsonian, and the University of North Carolina at Asheville, where until his retirement in 2009 he held a joint appointment as Research Associate Professor of Philosophy and executive director of the NC Center for Creative Retirement.

In his A Map to the End of Time: Wayfarings with Friends and Philosophers (1999), Manheimer demonstrates the fruitfulness of combining dual interests in philosophy and aging studies. This work has been translated into Chinese and Korean.

News & Views

Thought-Inspired Life or Life-Inspired Thought?

Listen here to the NPR interview with Ron Manheimer about his new book. Frank Stasio, host of WUNC’s The State of Things, discusses with him how the lives of nine great philosophers informed their theories.

Teachers and self-educators now have at hand a congenial portal to challenging big thinkers

Rob Neufeld’s review of Mirrors of the Mind appeared in Asheville Citizen-Times shortly before Ron’s book launch at the University of North Carolina, Asheville.

The Malkovich Transformations

How on earth does John Malkovich find himself featured on the opening page of Ron Manheimer’s new study of the self-revelatory narratives of nine great philosophers?

Find out here.

How does an expert in ‘creative retirement’… retire?

When Jorvik Press author Ron Manheimer retired in 2009 as founding director of the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement, he thought he knew how to leap into the next chapter of life.

Read more…


TitleMirrors of the Mind: Reflecting on Philosophers’ Autobiographies
SizeTrade paperback, 6 x 9 in (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
List Prices$25.95; UK £17.95; EU €25.95
PublishedFebruary 5, 2015
BISACPhilosophy, Biography


Hammond Guthrie

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memoirs of a beat survivor

When the counterculture was busy being born in Los Angeles and San Francisco in the mid-1960s, Hammond Guthrie found himself in the midst of hipster heaven, somewhere between late Beat and early Hippie. A budding painter and writer, he quickly made friends with many of the musicians, poets, performance artists and street people who were blazing trails into new lifestyles.

Realizing that life was meant to be a total trip, a non-stop adventure, he left the West Coast with his wife for England and immersed himself in the alternative scene in London – the world of International Times, the UFO Club, Arts Lab, inner-city squats – with a writing gig at Time Out magazine.

Moving on to Amsterdam, he befriended Provos and free-living bohemians, while building a promising career in the art world – the Stedelijk Museum even bought his paintings for their collection. But in the early 1970s the trip took a surreal turn. His wife started taking free love far too literally, and her amorous escapade with a drug dealer entangled them both in a nerve-racking intrigue in the twilight zone of Tangier. Hammond’s Moroccan mission was to spring five Americans, including his wife’s lover, from 60-year prison sentences for wholesale hashish smuggling.

Here he tells it all in his playful style, with a keen eye for absurd detail and an unflagging sense of humor. Among the hundreds of famous and not-so-famous personalities he encountered along the way were the Buffalo Springfield, Del Close, Max Crosley, Richie Havens, Nico, Carmen McCrea, Allen Ginsberg, John “Hoppy” Hopkins, William Burroughs, Simon Vinkenoog, Kenneth Alsop, Pete Townshend, and Emmet Grogan.

Praise for AsEverWas

AsEverWas, along with Ed Sanders’ Tales of Beatnik Glory are the two most important tomes I’ve seen recounting those decades of the twentieth century.

— Larry Sawyer, Editor, Milk Magazine

Hammond takes you places you want to linger and others that cause you to shudder with fears you might not know you had. It was the sixties, but you haven’t read this story before.

— Comment on from a reader in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Hammond’s book may be one of the quintessential freak histories.

— Michael Simmons, LA Weekly columnist

It brought back memories I’ve never had!

— Gary Fulkerson, singer/songwriter

I laughed, I cried. It’s a marvelous book written in intriguing conversational style, bringing back wonderful memories from a wonderful time.

— Herbert Gold, novelist and journalist

AsEverWas captures the story of countless others who lived on the fringes during an era when the country was at an important crossroads. Anyone who was alive during these turbulent times and who gives a damn about just how we got here should read this book.

— John Aiello, poet and journalist

Helps you see, feel and understand the moods, people and places that shaped an extraordinary decade. For its style and its lessons, Hammond Guthrie’s memoir is a rare and important achievement.

— Stew Albert, co-founder of the Yippies

I’m blown away by the stories – [he] really [has] seen and done it all. Just fascinating and, unlike so many of the other accounts I’ve seen, [Hammond] actually does remember.

— Jeff Tamarkin, author of Got a Revolution

What a marvelous surprise lurking beneath the cover of this one.

Jacket Magazine

Author Bio

Hammond Guthrie

Hammond Guthrie published three volumes of poetry and illustrated writings, edited Ginger Snaps magazine, and contributed articles, poems and illustrations to print and web-based journals, including Earth Magazine, Time Out (London), Exquisite Corpse, Big Bridge, NIGHT magazine, Anderson Valley Advertiser, Counterpunch, Jack Magazineand SoMa Literary Review. His artwork was represented by the Vorpal Gallery in San Francisco. Hammond died aged 71 at his home in Portland, Oregon on October 1, 2019, with Margaret, his wife of 25 years, at his side.

News & Views

…A journey through the fun house of mirrors and tunnels of love

Mary Jo Malo wrote a wonderfully intimate and comprehensive review of AsEverWas in Big Bridge #12. She also mentions “the publisher’s failure to properly edit” the original hardback edition. That’s why you need the new paperback or eBook, lovingly revised and thoroughly edited, fact-checked and re-indexed.
Read the full review.

A (Fore)word from Hoppy

John “Hoppy” Hopkins, who died in London January 30, 2015, was a great friend of Jorvik Press. Here’s the introduction he wrote for AsEverWas: memoirs of a beat survivor by Hammond Guthrie, who also lost a dear friend. Jorvik’s revised and edited second edition of this memoir supersedes the original 2002 hardback version, now out of print.

‘A fascinating tale of Beat/Hippie life’

“In his memoir, AsEverWas, Guthrie reveals a fascinating tale of Beat/Hippie life including free love, drugs, smugglers and the incredibly creative art milieu of the period. His encounters with the legends from that period are some of the highlights of the book. His reflections and insights into his own life are deep and meaningful, reflecting the prevailing anomie many of us felt during that period of social change.”

Carmen McRae in the Rain

This excerpt from Hammond’s book is published on the official Carmen McRae website:

Back in the City, I was just ahead of an impending storm front, sidewalk down on the lower end of Polk Street, making for the warmth of our third floor walk-up, when a torn scrap of paper scotch taped inside the window of a dingy little bar caught my attention. Curious, I walked over to read the note. The joint was completely dark inside and pad-locked tight, but the childish pencil scrawl read: “10 p.m.- Carmen McRae.” I laughed as rain began to fall, thinking how improbable a performance that would be, and made for home. But I couldn’t get Carmen’s voice out of my head.

The Funniest One in the Room

One of Hammond Guthrie’s close friends was Del Close, the guru of improv, about whom stories abound in AsEverWas. Here’s a link to a Google Books excerpt from The Funniest One in the Room: The Lives and Legends of Del Close by Kim Howard Johnson, featuring Hammond and Del’s adventures on the San Francisco Muni. The book blurb reads in part:

Nichols and May. John Belushi. Bill Murray. Chris Farley. Tina Fey. Mike Myers. Stephen Colbert. For nearly a half century, Del Close – co-creator of the Harold, director for the Second City, San Francisco’s The Committee, and the ImprovOlympic, and ‘house metaphysician’ for Saturday Night Live – influenced improvisational theater’s greatest comedic talents.

From the hip…

Because I’m in the process of reading Hammond Guthrie’s absolutely delightful autobiography (the guy was the Zelig – or Forest Gump, for you youngsters – of hip; he made every scene worth making from the mid-60s on) and because I just finished his stories about encountering Del Close during his Committee days in San Francisco, I am compelled by Forces of Nature beyond my control to seek out and post clips from Del Close & John Brent’s amazing How to Speak Hip LP. Enjoy.

Video: The Art of Hammond Guthrie


TitleAsEverWas: Memoirs of a Beat Survivor
SizeTrade paperback, 6 x 9 in (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
List Prices$17.95; UK £11.95; EU €17.95
PublishedSeptember 20, 2013 (2nd edition)
BISACBiographies, Artist Biographies, Memoirs