It was a long haul from being a psychiatric patient in 1992 to graduating with a masters in counseling in 2011. I flunked out of my first attempt to get a graduate degree because I was in a school that didn’t support my experience as a psychiatric survivor, and because I just wasn’t ready to make my way through the complicated process of becoming a therapist given how much abuse I myself had experienced at the hands of therapists and other mental health professionals. It took finding a more supportive school — the Process Work Institute — before I could actually survive and thrive as a student becoming a therapist. In this Madness Radio interview (recorded more than a year ago but only now getting broadcast), I talk with clinical therapist Toby Watson, who uses limited medications in his practice and has a very different approach to being a therapist. Above all we need to understand how power relations shape professional relationships and what we can do to use power with awareness so that people don’t get hurt or exploited. And we need to learn how to be with people in places of great pain and suffering such as suicidal feelings, rather than using force and control, which are really just ways for professionals to feel safe and protected — from liability and professional criticism.
You can listen to the whole interview on the latest episode of Madness Radio:
Madness Radio: Ethical Therapy Toby Watson
Can psychotherapy be a replacement for medication for psychosis and extreme states? Should therapists hospitalize suicidal clients against their will — even when they could be traumatized by the very care intended to protect them? Dr. Toby Watson, clinical psychologist, discusses how to be an ethical therapist in an era of medications, diagnostic labels, and forced treatment. www.abcmedsfree.com/
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.