Why Can’t They Hear Our Truth? We Have a Cure.

Corinna West

March 16, 2012

There is a guy named David Kennedy who, along with other people, figured out how to cut the murder rate of a city in half overnight. It was called the “Boston Miracle” and was covered heavily in the media, but no other city would reproduce the program.

My poet friend Daniel Christensen who lost a family member to murder

My poet friend Daniel Christensen who lost a family member to murder

David Kennedy spent the next 15 years trying to get this program replicated, just as we in the recovery movement have. We’ve known since Judi Chamberlin’s “On Our Own,” came out that peer programs have better outcomes and lower costs, yet they are still a very small minority of mental health care. Looking at Don’t Shoot, his riveting, poetic, powerful and well documented book, is very instructive for our movement.

The approach is simple. It turns out most of the shooting in most cities is done by gangs, and in fact, not all gangsters do the shooting, but really only about the 16 most active gangsters. The cops can identify these 16 guys. If they arrest these 16 guys and take them to jail, more will simply fill the vaccuum. However, if you bring the 16 to a meeting, you can offer them tons of social services and say, “You can fight, but don’t kill anyone. We’re on you like flies. Next shooting you go to jail for 20 years.”  This actually works, and mostly it’s because there is huge information gap driving urban murders. Mostly, if you can give gangsters a truly safe and honorable way out, they’ll take it.

The information gap causing high murder rates in some neighborhoods:

(a summary of page 18 – 25 in this book):

    • The law enforcement community wants to end violence but often does it by heavy enforcement of crime in violent neighborhoods which turns into essentially random busts since not all crime can be caught. Often law enforcement has written these communities off, and we continue to send many men in these neighborhoods to prison. Most police officers know they are not racist and simply don’t know where to start to solve this problem. They truly wish they didn’t have to knock on any more mom’s doors and tell them their son is dead and do they know anything about it?

      Martin Luther King Day in my Kansas City, KS hometown.

      Martin Luther King Day in my Kansas City, KS hometown.

    • The second community is this neighborhood, and even in the poorest, hardest -hit neighborhoods there are vital, caring resourceful people. Yet they’ve seen this crime, the violence, and figured out it could be stopped if we wanted to, that all the enforcement is racist. The drugs and the HIV and the crime is kept going by the government to keep upstate prison guards in union jobs. Therefore, why cooperate with any of the law enforcement? David Kennedy says, “It took me most of my life to really hear what is said because my mind shut it out as crazy talk….white folks hear this all the time, but they do not hear it…..It took me twenty years of walking these streets, working on these issues, before I could hear it.”
  • The third community is the gangsters, “where men will kill for their brothers, die for their brothers, where being a thug is a good and honorable thing, where thug love means having your brothers’ backs, no matter the cost…It’s a world that believes it acts with righteousness.” It’s a world that believes the community around it doesn’t care, or is complicit, or is supportive of what they see as racist police actions. But mostly people don’t know how dangerous gangster life is, and how drug dealers mostly make no more than minimum wage.

But David Kennedy says, “This is wrong. It’s all wrong…Spend time, real time, with angry communities. Spend time, real time with gang members and drug dealers and cops. They are none of them, what they seem to be from the outside. They are, none of them, their stereotypes. They are, all of them, in their own ways, strong and aspirational and resilient. They are, all of them, dealing as best they can with a world they did not make. They are all doing profoundly destructive things without fully understanding what they do. There is, on all sides, malice, craziness, and evil. But not much, it turns out, not much at all. There is, on all sides, a deep reservoir of core human decency.”

So, the Boston miracle was simply creating a way that all of these communities could get honest information about what the other communities knew, then use that information to make rational decisions. And it worked, it works, it’s now been or is being replicated in 70 cities. In most murder rates are cut in half overnight. But the real question is, and this is the real question for us. Why can’t people hear the solution? Why can’t people hear us?

How our truth can be heard:

If people believe that all individuals can recover, this also needs to include people who haven't yet heard our message.

If people believe that all individuals can recover, this also needs to include people who haven't yet heard our message.

    • Watch our language. Realize that communities of psychiatric survivors can often use an internal language that scares away people entrenched with the mental health system. I’m moderating a Facebook discussion group called UnDiagnosing Emotional Distress that is trying to create new language. We need more mainstream participants.
    • Gather research evidence that our solutions work. We can’t keep talking about Soteria and Open Dialogue – there are tons of current and USA based programs that are highly effective and have data as well.
    • Solutions are king. We can’t say, “mental health sucks,” without saying, “I know a better way to do this.” Right now the imperfect system we’ve got is all people can imagine. It’s really hard to say Option B and C are better if Option B and C only exist in our heads.
    • Don’t demonize. Know that in our community, the “16 gangsters” doing the most shooting are the key opinion leaders, the bought off academics, and pharma CEO’s. These people know medications don’t work that well and keep selling them. Very few other people are demons; most are simply haven’t seen the need or taken the time to ask questions, challenge authority, or step back a few steps and evaluate what they are a part of. Bruce Levine explained in his blog about anti-authoritarians that very few people who require all authority figures to be legitimate are able to complete 7 – 10 years of professional training. Furthermore, Suzanne Beachy points out that finding our civil rights movement is like finding a needle in a haystack. Why get mad at people like 99% of NAMI members who have never heard anything at all like our story?
    • Use social messaging. If we can point out damage being done by our 16 gangsters and keep pressuring for lawsuits, congressional hearings, firings, and literature retractions for their work, we’ll eventually be heard. However, keep in mind that we need an alternative approach to counter their approach. And maybe these people would take an honorable way out if we could offer it to them.
    • Support providers who do challenge the paradigm. It’s basically professional suicide for many mental health providers to work publicly for a new paradigm. At the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care conference, I heard three professionals say, “We’ll I’m just not sure all this Whitaker stuff is right.” All three got scolded during the conference instead of supported. It takes a long time to verify this research and comes at a great personal toll for people. It’s very difficult to spend your precious little free time reading literature that might say you have hurt people you’ve meant to help all your lives. These people need respect and patience.
    • Learn how your trauma affects advocacy. Which leads me to my next point – if you’ve been badly damaged by the system and can’t be respectful to parts of it, don’t engage with them. Lately I had to realized that mental health providers were not my core audience. I am still too traumatized by 7 shock treatments, years of useless and harmful medications, and loss of parenting, work and education opportunities. I still can’t speak calmly for very long to rooms full of mental health providers who haven’t started to see the truth and don’t want to.
Qualities of an entrepreneur from the Global Women's Entrepreneurial Summit in Kansas City, 2011

Qualities of an entrepreneur from the Global Women's Entrepreneurial Summit in Kansas City, 2011

  • Support idea champions that have new solutions and are not just talking about problems.  The person who invented the Heimlich maneuver to save people who are choking had to spend 15 years spreading the idea. Nothing innovative gets shared automatically, there’s always someone with a passion out there talking about it.
  • Use entrepreneurial approaches. Of course there’s no government funding for what we’re doing, and who has time to write grants non-stop? In the US, about 50% of our income goes to sales, property, income, or other taxes. Yet the government funding is mostly determined by lobbying efforts, which we can’t afford. People also, on average give only about 3% to charities, which is why grant writing is so hard and time consuming. Why not go after the 47% of American income that people can spend any way they want? This means our businesses can grow as large and fast as market demand.

I’m going to end this with a re-post of my favorite mental health blogger, 1boringoldman.com. I recently asked him if he’d ever heard of the mental health civil rights movement, because I’d never seen him mention us. I told him that the word “Antispychiatry” is kind of like the N-word for me.  This may or may not be his response to this comment, but either way his plea below is vital for us to create good messaging. Also, as he says, maybe I myself am also just speaking to myself in this appeal to not scare people off with my messaging.

I think my message here can be summarized succinctly. A lot of people who get educated about all this [big pharma] craziness do so because they’ve been hurt by it all personally. I’m only a little bit in that camp. But it’s one of those things where the more you learn, the more disillusioned you can become. I can feel that sometimes, the impulse to rant and rave and say “screw it!” because there are pieces all along the way that are downright evil – TMAP being one of those things. It’s easy to see the whole system as corrupt along with everyone in it – and many think that very thing. Then along comes an Allen Frances who was right in the middle of things and was able to say, “Wait a minute here!” And I know that without all the blogs, I’d have never gotten anywhere when I started nosing around. The thing that helped me were the people who reined in their outrage enough to deliver the facts. I started with Healthcare Renewal, with Drs. Poses and Carroll, and Danny Carlat [my own kind] – but then graduated to Pharmalot and Soulful Sepulcher and so many more.

I’ll admit that the ones that said something like “All you psychiatrists want to do is <some creepy thing>” sent me packing, but my tolerance for even those has increased somewhat over time. Like everyone else in the universe, I don’t much like being simplified like that. But if you guys could wake me up [which you did], there are plenty of others that can have a Toné Jones moment, or a 1boringoldman moment, or an Allen Frances moment. So no matter how discouraging your own experience, it can be heard and the only way to increase that possibility is to put your story out there in a form that will get it read by someone who is capable of hearing it without being chased off. Attacking the people who are already lost causes is just a futile gesture.

As infuriating as I find all of this, I’ve spent my life among physicians [that's partially true even here in the woods], and the majority are some of the more decent people I’ve run across in my time on the planet. There’s a huge story here to be told [and heard]. And right now I’m preaching about telling it in a way that doesn’t chase off the very people who might be able to hear it in a way that makes for change. And if there’s anybody in particular I’m talking to here, it’s myself. I can feel the cynicism well up inside sometimes. Simplifying others takes away the pain in an odd way – sort of like hating Hitler or Bin Laden. If I’m going to criticize the cynical simplifications of Janssen or their hired KOLs [sick people equals potential customers, critics are "pharmascolds," etc], then I can’t just turn around and do the exact same thing and totally simplify them, though I sometimes do exactly that. The best I can do is stick to the facts when I can in the hope that some reader like I was not so long ago happens across my words

 

Corinna West

Wellness Wordworks: Corinna West  writes about the business she founded, which coordinates people with emotional distress who provide instant peer support for each other in exchange for helping anyone who is interested in expanding their online presence.

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32 thoughts on “Why Can’t They Hear Our Truth? We Have a Cure.

  1. The Nazi’s may have just been doing their jobs without knowing full well what they were doing, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t demons. I’d rather the opposition be stopped by the force of law than to be coddled into simply doing it less. Ignorance is not a valid excuse for harming people, let alone wrecking their lives or killing them. If I did something that affected your life, even ruined it, I’m sure you would expect me to be brought to justice over it. I don’t believe that the pro-druggers deserve a way out, and especially that we should be building that bridge. They deserve to be punished. The fact of what these drugs do, what they are really being used for and how psychiatry has known this for generations should be used to stir up a fervor in society that results in criminal charges. I’d rather this take 20 more years than to give up on justice, wait until the system is ready to change due to drugs being off-patent and then try to influence their new approach to treatment.

  2. Let me put it another way too, a way my parents can fully understand. When a child is put on neuroleptic drugs and develops life-long problems from it, they don’t go away when that decision is regretted and excuses do no good to mend a ruined life. I still hate my parents and abuse them regularly over it, and they deserve it, and will always deserve it, for being ignorant enough to think that it was OK to put a child on psychotropic drugs. My parents, who I otherwise love, will never get off the hook, and neither should other parents who do it. It doesn’t matter if the psychiatrists are lying or ignorant, it doesn’t matter what the parents intentions are. The bottom line is the bottom line: You DRUGGED a child, now they’re messed up. No amount of excuses “We didn’t know any better! We thought we were helping you, ect” is ever going to change that. This is supposed to be why we have a justice system, so that people can be punished so victims can feel better and move on.

  3. I think you are right – we need to find the “big 16″ and attack them, while attempting to communicate em pathetically (but honestly) with those who genuinely try to help. Now the next question is, who are those “Big 16?”

  4. From my perspective as a parent of a son who got an unfortunate mental health label, I couldn’t agree more with you list of actions for how the truth can be heard. The worst thing, IMO, people to do shoot themselves in the foot is to demonize the opposition. Not only does this not allow their message to be heard, quite frankly, it looks like they haven’t moved beyond their diagnosis. The ranting and the blaming is mentally illness in action. That famous line comes to mind – insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. It applies to “patients” too.

      • But I really think that you miss the point. When people like me blame and scorn the druggers, I am not advocated for them to change their behavior, I am advocating that they be forcibly stopped from what they are doing and punished. Jeanne’s reply to my comment above was a perfect example of what I mean. I don’t want druggers to change, I want them to face consequences for the harm they cause and any argument about whether drugging children, forcibly drugging adults, or prescribing drugs to adults without truly informed consent to stop, as there would be no point in arguing it’s validity in mental health care if it were banned, which is exactly what needs to happen.

        You may be trying to influence the practice of psychiatry, whereas people like me are trying to put psychiatrists in prison for what they’ve done.

      • Also, saying that it makes angry people like me look like we haven’t “moved past our diagnosis” is a perfect example of the bunk science and pro-politics way of psychiatry. Of course anybody that is angry about what psychiatrists do must be mentally ill, since they themselves are the deciders of what mental illness is. By thinking that there is validity in their opinions that the raging ex-patients must still be mentally ill you are agreeing that there are no real problems in psychiatry that should warrant anger. That it’s OK to drug childhoods away and create functionally disabled adults who suffer from sexual dysfunction, movement disorders, metabolic problems, ect. Or that it’s OK to drug adults in their own homes. Apparently if they are angry about it, it is because they are still ill. That is just a very wrong way to think about it.

        • Besides, I really believe that we need a lot more outrage in this society against psychiatry. I’ve seen that most people who are abused by psychiatry wind up just like rape victims. As soon as it’s over they try to just forget it ever happened, denying it even to people who know that it happened. As soon as they get out of the hospital they just try to pretend that nothing ever happened. I’ve even met a guy who had a very noticeable tardive dyskenisia that even involved his neck and shoulder, but when asked, he’d tell you that he was born that way. Then when I see or talk to many of the people trapped in the system, they too seem like rape victims. Now they’re sympatizing with their abuser’s, believing it’s all their fault, ect. I really think that if these two issues could be cleared up, that psychiatrists wouldn’t be safe to leave their homes in this country.

          • Yet another post, but I feel I should ad to the end of my last comment. I do believe that this is the only way that the government will begin prosecuting psychiatrists for what are so obviously crimes against humanity. If the people victimized by it get to the point that imprisoning the psychiatrists becomes the only way to protect them from the lynch mobs. This could, and should happen. If not for the dehumanizing views that people had toward the mentally ill, there would be no argument that what psychiatrists do is a major human rights violation. No “normal” person would ever tolerate it, and they’ll never have to, because the law will protect THEM from it.

    • Rossa; I hear you and agree to a certain degree and have made similar observations and had similar experiences. The thing that might be helpful is to understand that those who are stuck in their ranting have not had their experiences validated and their wounds soothed. Many have lost much to the labels and lies of needing the drugs “for life” and experienced the system as a major trauma and still do. What would be helpful for those so injured might be is to remember that they are like little children lashing out at their abuser and everyone is telling them to “get over it” which is what many of us were told in the mental health system and why the drugs are used to quench the raging pain from early life abuse/trauma. There is a way to heal this kind of pain and allow for the kind of growth that will enable and empower individuals but dismissing them and telling them this is their mental illness in action may not be so helpful.

      • Susan,

        Excellent comment(and, especially your conclusion):

        “There is a way to heal this kind of pain and allow for the kind of growth that will enable and empower individuals but dismissing them and telling them this is their mental illness in action may not be so helpful.”

        To critique anyone’s behavior, by calling it effect of “mental illness” (so-called) is simply paying tribute to the medical model — empowering medical-coercive Psychiatry — and perpetuating the disenfranchisement of that individual.

        Respectfully,

        ~Jonah

    • Rossa, I hope when you said “it looks like they haven’t moved beyond their diagnosis,” you’re describing how it must seem to others who have no idea what’s going on beyond the typical biopsych paradigm. Not what you or any of us here should think. Also, I can’t believe you would say “the ranting and the blaming is mental illness in action.” First of all, maybe if you personally had had experiences being the victim of this idiotic, abusive paradigm, you would have more of a right to say this kind of thing. As I assume you have not, you may as well not tell the rest of us how to feel and act. I really hope what you instead meant was, “The ranting and the blaming APPEARS TO OUTSIDERS TO BE mental illness in action.”

      Also, the flip side of that “insanity” cliche is persistence, and the value of it. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Doing the same thing over and over sometimes DOES get you where you want to be – you chip away and chip away until there comes a tipping point.

  5. I’m on EAC’s side .I’m a survivor and I actually flew over the coocoo’s nest,but it took me 38 years to do it.Better late than never.I am thankful to be alive and have much to teach but no students.And I’m not a harvard graduate ,I’m not even a community college graduate.If you want to have a real aha moment on the subject of the post that will put our predicament in real perspective read Edwin Black’s book “War Against the Weak”.I’d like to hear what you have to say after that.Until that time and after “rebel the cartel”.

  6. Corinna, next conference we will definitely have to be bunk mates! We’d get zero sleep. Your recent focus on language, communication, dialoging for change, it so vital. I am so encouraged to watch your process and pursuit of this. You mentioned looking beyond Open Dialogue and Soteria to find things we are already doing, systems we have in place, which could really advance this dialogue for underdstanding, support, healing, and change.

    I’d like to suggest that Marshall Rosenberg’s NonViolent Communications and NVC Center is already well tooled to deliver training to everyone from inner city gangs, to overworked social workers, to families, to medical providers. We are looking at how we can incorporate this for Mother Bear Community Action Network. The principles are simple, the results can be profound. Marshall has done many trainings with highly polarized groups like the Palestinians and Israelies, Serbs & Croats. His trainers have taken those big examples down to the community level and worked with troubled teens, challenged school systems, and fractured organizations. Can’t say enough about it’s potential application in mental health care.

    Of course, there is Daniel Fisher’s emotional CPR, which is often offered to participants for free (gasp). Would love to see more eCPR trainings all over the country.

    The more I’m learning about what helps recovery, the more I’m hearing that communication, communication, communication is key. Giving voice. Being heard. Nonjudgement. Encouragement. Bearing witness. While I reject the magic bullet notion, if there were one, it would have to be compassionate, honest communication.

    You may at times, feel like you are splitting hairs, but you setting the stage for true Open Dialogue on world wide scale. How cool is that?

    I’d also like to acknowlege the pain and conviction of those who speak out of their horror and despair. We can hold that pain too, and transmute it by holding firm that when families and individuals take personal responsibility for making informed and heartfelt decisions, the risk of victimization is greatly reduced.

    Bless you all. The need for change is real…

  7. Everyone is trying to figure out where to go, which is good as there is a lot of ferment in the movement right now. To add my piece: I agree that we have to present solutions – we have to compile information, research, analyze, get money shifted, create model policy based on the things we want: IF our goal is transformation of the mental health system to be something that can heal, teach or support more often than it harms people. But there is another goal: to DELEGALIZE psychiatric torture and imprisonment, which will do two things: communicate to society that these acts are crimes and therefore that those victimized by these crimes are human beings equal to everyone else; and raise very high the cost of committing these acts so that such delegalization amounts to abolition. This can be accomplished by repealing the mental health laws – the laws (statutes and also a certain amount of case law) that allow psychiatrists to have us locked up (involuntarily committed) and forcibly drugged/electroshocked/restrained/put in solitary confinement etc. The United Nations has called for repeal of such laws under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (which the U.S. has signed but not yet ratified), and UN officials have also found forced psychiatry to violate human rights independent of that treaty (including, that forced psychiatric drugging/electroshock can amount to torture). A group of us have started a campaign to Repeal Mental Health Laws, http://www.repealmentalhealthlaws.org, and you can also find us on facebook. We need both components, the creation of positive alternatives so people seeking help and support are not mistreated instead, and also the decisive prohibition of psychiatric violence. (To make an analogy to the example given in the article, the police would have quite a hard time of dealing with the gang killings, if they were not even illegal.)

  8. @Corrinna: there are tons of current and USA based programs that are highly effective and have data as well.

    I share information about Soteria and Open Dialogue. Also, about Perry’s Diabasis which produced an 85% recovery with no medications. As we all know, these types of programs simply are not available at a local level. I often encourage people to find out what they can about them and then, do their best to patch together their own treatment by making use of local resources, peer support, self help, etc.

    It would be helpful to have a more extensive list to refer others too. Does anyone have one put together?

  9. I agree, there isn’t enough outrage. I also agree that people who have been abused by psychiatry (at least the people i have encountered.) do not want to acknowledge the crime that has been committed against them. I tried explaining this to my friend who is addicted to SSRI’s but he is going to have to learn the hard way. What really boils my blood is the apologists/pseudo reformist. They don’t have a clue. What people do not get is that they are next on the chopping block. If psychiatry/pharma didn’t scam you, it is going to be the banks, military industrial complex etc. This country is being systematically destroyed. When are we going to say enough is enough?

      • I will concede the point that the outrage is there (i personally do not think it is) nevertheless, your prescription of being “constructively critical” has been tried and failed miserably. Books that constructively criticize like Toxic Psychiatry (1991), Talking Back to Prozac (1994), The Emperor’s New Drugs (2002), Prozac Backlash (2000) etc. have been around for some time now and psychiatry has done squat. Better yet, they have doubled down on the drugging. Simply put, they don’t want to hear it and are tuning out criticism regardless. I have personally spoken to two psychiatrist in person and one online and they cannot handle rational, fact based discourse critiquing their drug paradigm. One actually told me after i explained to her how SSRI’s can cause brain damage that “beer is bad too”. She actually said that. That is why i am in the camp of either barring many of the current crop of psychiatrists from either “practicing medicine”, or putting them in jail. That way they can’t “tune out”. I believe this is the only way to stop the wholesale, criminal drugging of our children, adult, and elderly populations. Tell me that i am wrong.

        • One more thing, every day we allow this drugging to continue, people are being maimed and killed. They know what they are doing, and if they don’t, they are too ignorant or negligent to be a “doctor” anyway.

  10. Thanks so much to those who are interested in speaking up to reform the system or at least to promote and create our own alternatives without scaring off mainstream type people. The best list I know of these alternatives are here:

    http://www.power2u.org/consumerrun-statewide.html
    http://warmline.org/
    http://www.alternativementalhealth.com/

    And thanks so much to Tina Minkowitz for explaining to me the parallel advocacy agenda of making human rights violations illegal. This approach explains much more to me about positions taken by people like EAC, Fred Abbe, and Scott Miller. Since I am trying to build a business, it doesn’t work for me, but I’m glad people are choosing this path. We just need to be mindful of our technique so that things we say can’t be used against to discredit our whole movement.

    • I am not trying to revamp the mental health profession as much as trying to stop mass murder and a confidence scheme that puts Bernie Madoff to shame. I believe history has shown us in matters involving large sums of money that until massive fines, job loss, or imprisonment is employed not much changes. This drugging is a business model and all of the incentives are there for it to continue.

  11. From the moment I became aware of how our society views and responds to emotional crises, and of the damage this view and response does to people experiencing emotional crises, I’ve wondered, how on earth does one not become bitter? And also, how can one engage in activism, and be true to one’s own experience and convictions, not compromising one’s integrity, and still avoid “becoming like them”? How can one escape this madness of fear, anger, hate, aggressiveness, abusiveness,… that characterises our society, and, with the mental health system representing the very essence of the dynamics in this society, to an even greater extent the system?

    Let’s face it, I’ve never been, and will probably never be a bridge builder. At least not to the extent that building bridges means desperately searching for “common ground” — even where there can’t be any –, being scared to death by the mere possibility of not being “politically correct” in one’s words and actions, and having to repress one’s genuine emotions. On the other hand, blaming and looking for revenge is what keeps the drama, and thus the suffering, alive and well. Forgiveness is the only thing that can prevent bitterness. But forgiveness doesn’t mean that one cannot hold accountable. On the contrary.

    I think, the worst that can happen in an attempt to build bridges, and create common ground — and unfortunately I see it happen all the time — is that one becomes dishonest toward oneself. Having been dishonest toward myself is what has led to crisis, and it is what the madness of this world is made of. So, each time we are dishonest toward ourselves, we are actually feeding into this madness, again. Let’s not sell out of our integrity, our honesty toward ourselves, because of a misunderstood conception of what forgiveness is!

    As for demonising the “enemy”, IMO, it is just as counter-productive as blaming and looking for revenge. The most frightening thing about the “enemy” is that s/he is no different from me, not a monster, but a human being. Acknowledging this is what I mean by forgiveness. Forgiveness that allows for holding accountable (the other human being) vs. bitterness and hate that can only blame (the monster).

    I’m not so sure that we can’t keep talking about Open Dialogue and Soteria. Both are, in contrast to many other alternatives, extremely well-documented, especially Open Dialogue. And whenever we point to alternatives, we’re asked for documentation of their effectiveness. What I think is more important than reeling off a number of other alternatives by name is that we point out what exactly it is that makes Open Dialogue and Soteria effective. That it is not the name of the project, or the name of its founder, or or or, whatever of that kind, but the view of what crisis is, and the values that consequently derive from this view, and that shape how crisis is approached. When it comes down to it, all effective alternatives are based on a very similar, if not identical view of crisis, and on pretty much the same resulting values. Open Dialogue and Soteria are both well-known and, as mentioned, well-documented synonyms for this view and these values.

  12. I’m really liking the idea of prison for willfully negligence and crimes against humanity for bad psychiatrists. The heavy drugging ECT pushing types truly are moral reprobates who will never change, especially as there’s so much under the table Big Pharma bribery involved. I can name names of psydocs so heavily indoctrinated into pushing the merchandise and an academic department so dripping with dirty money it’s frightening!
    These people are disciples in a cult, the so called opinion leaders are chosen for charisma. Our local Opinion Leader has a two sided business model- paying patients are boosted in value by being used as non consensual test subjects, unless they’re really wealthy; If they can sic an attorney with a phone call he becomes their benzodiazepine dealer. The shame of it is the bizarre charm of this man seems to be generated by sociopathy, or something like! During the three years he spent brain damaging me with novels ( for straight depression? Parnate works for me) He used to talk to me like his therapist. Creepy! Zero empathy for other people. Sick man, and that’s who Big Pharma wants.

  13. The men and women who raped me and then drugged me for complaining about being raped, calling me awful names like “Borderline Personality”, and who wrecked my beautiful brain and body with their poisonous neurochemicals are NOT human beings just like me. I never forced anyone to do anything, except make my kids do the dishes. I never told lies to make myself powerful and wealthy. The syndrome we suffer from as psychiartic victims is Stockholm Syndrome. It’s the battered wife thing, dependence on your abuser. I don’t trust ANYONE who is getting money for managing mental patients, whether they have a diagnosis or not. I risk conflict by telling my truth and I am not afraoid of conflict.

    • Human beings are unique individuals because our experiences are unique. No two human beings have exactly, down to detail, the same life story. Not even identical twins, who grow up together. On the other hand, we all have this one thing in common that we all are human beings, and that we, as such, do react in a certain way to certain experiences. This is what makes empathy possible.

      What psychiatry does is that it takes the experiences out of the equation, and only looks at the reactions. This is what makes it possible to label the other as other to an extent that empathy is no longer possible. When empathy is no longer possible, when it is no longer possible to see the other as an equal human being, who doesn’t do anything different from what I myself do, i.e. react to life, we no longer think we need to treat the other like we would want to be treated ourselves. And when we think we don’t need to treat the other like we would want to be treated ourselves, the floodgates are opened for all kinds of violence. Also to name-calling and abuse on the part of the harmed, the victim. The roles in the drama are interchangeable. No one is always only the victim. In fact, identifying as the victim in itself can be an act of violence in as far as I use my victim status to gain certain privileges. Like in : “Don’t talk to me like that! I’m a Victim! You have to respect my Victim status (i.e. walk on eggshells around me)!” This is a way of indirectly accusing everybody else of being a perpetrator, and making them feel guilty. And unfortunately I see it happen all the time. Caroline Myss talks about people using their woundedness as a street currency.

      While we claim for ourselves the right to be seen as human beings, who have a life story and react to it, we more than willingly close our eyes to the life story of those who have harmed us, and label them, not “borderline”, “schizophrenic”, “bipolar”, or or or, but monsters, abusers, evil. This can go as far as coming up with ideas of certain people to, in truth, and underneath their human appearance, be scaly green aliens from out of space who have invaded our planet to gain world domination (cf. David Icke, and his is only one of many such ideas). It can go as far as this, but, and this is important, in essence it is no different from the formerly mentioned demonisation. Both are dehumanising human beings, the first to a lesser, the other to a greater extent.

      So, there are a few implications here: 1. We’re doing to others what we do not want them to do to us: we’re denying their life story, we’re labelling them lesser than human, we’re dehumanising them. No one can righteously expect others to respect them as an equal human being, if they’re not willing to respect these others as equal human beings in the first place. 2. To the extent that I use my woundedness as a street currency, I cannot afford to heal. Because healing from my woundedness means that I run out of funds. — Ever wondered why mentioning the mere possibility of full recovery in many contexts provokes an outcry of indignation from the Victim community? Ever wondered about statements like “It has ruined my entire life, past, present, and future/I will never heal/I will always suffer”? Well… 3. To the extent that I choose to remain the Victim, to not heal, to never ever forgive, I continue the drama, the violence, and I will, inevitably, inflict suffering on both myself and everybody around me. As a participant in the drama, I am subject to its script. I am not in a position to write my own script, i.e. shape my own fate. 4. And this means that I choose to not learn anything from life. If I dehumanise those who inflict suffering on others, I actually deny the destructive power of violence. The terrible truth is that the experience of violence can make any human being, and I mean any, you and me included, (re)act in the most horrifying, “monstrous”, ways. This truth is a lot more terrible than ideas about monsters, whose (re)actions cannot be understood, or even reptiles from out of space seeking world dominance. Denying it is what keeps the violence alive and well.

      • Apologist, self-hating crap. I understand the abusers’ position and life story perfectly. I had to study abusers in order to survive. Either you are a criminal with a reckless disregard for human life, or you aren’t. Maybe these arrogant medical authorities will evolve out of their paternalistic, life-hating, controlling, oppressive behavior. I sure hope so. They do not care what names I call them. They never listened to me and they aren’t going to listen now, no matter how carefully and lovingly I craft my words.

        There is a holocaust going on. Let’s make it stop!

        ONE IN THREE women is on a psych chemical. This is war on the whole human race, and on women’s minds, but mainly upon our bodies.

        • I’m with you, Jeanne. This is OUR movement, not their movement, and it is FOR us, not for them. Thus if we need to be angry we have not only every right to be, but that is in fact one proper function of our movement. Not the entire thing, but one real function– as an outlet for our rage which as a matter of course psychiatry denies and uses against us when it can. It actually is in my opinion a human right to have one’s voice heard, one’s emotions heard, even when those emotions are inconvenient for others– especially when those emotions are caused by abuse and victimization. Even more especially when our abuse and victimization was premised on an idea of us as fundamentally “less”– less sane, less human, less able to resist. It’s so fucked up. I won’t be told by anyone that OUR job in our own freakin’ movement is to please the psychiatrists and tell them what they want to hear.

          Did white people in the 1960s change because the Civil Rights movement finally found the magical combinations of words and rhetorical approaches that opened the hearts of whites? Nope. That is not how change happens. At best it is how reform happens; there is room in this movement for reformist and more revolutionary arms. We do need to tolerate each other and as the latter, I tolerate the former and ally with them, but I won’t be told that their approach is the way or let it limit my vision.

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