“The oldest psychiatrist who’s been working in mainstream psychiatry in Norway for so long said, ‘It’s so tragic to see how little impact the psychiatrist actually has in the recovery process of a patient.'”
In this interview, Robert Whitaker talks again to Ole Andreas about the Hurdalsjøen Recovery Center (a private psychiatric hospital located about forty minutes north of Oslo), the success of this pioneering approach and why this success might threaten its future. The interview begins:
“Robert Whitaker: Hello, my name is Bob Whitaker and I’m very pleased today to have as our guest Ole Andreas Underland. In 2015, he opened the Lake Hurdal Recovery Center in Norway to provide medication-free treatment to those who wanted such treatment or to patients who wanted to taper from their psychiatric drugs. As Mad in America has urged for a paradigm shift in psychiatric care, this is a center that very much embodies that paradigm shift.
We have long considered it one of the most important initiatives in the Western world. So we’re really pleased today to have Ole tell us about the recovery center, its evolution and some of the struggles it has faced in political-financial circles. Ole, thank you for being our guest.
Ole Andreas Underland: Thank you very much, Bob. I appreciate being invited to your very important program.
Whitaker: Let’s go back to the beginning. Why did you do this?
Underland: I have to start with my background. I was raised in a suburb of Oslo, the capital of Norway, close to the largest psychiatric hospital at that time, Dikemark. When I was 16 years old, I started to work in the kitchen in the Dikemark and when I was 18 years old, I was already a father of a lovely daughter. Then I was educated as a nurse and I did different types of jobs within Norwegian mainstream psychiatry until 1994.
I worked for one and a half years as a sales manager for a pharmaceutical company actually launching the first SSRIs to the Norwegian markets. But I quit my job after one and a half years, even though it was a great commercial success, because as we all know the so-called antidepressant without side effects was a huge bluff …”
You can read more – or listen to the full audio version of the interview – from here.