Decades of disinformation and funding restrictions have devastated mental health services and wrecked lives. For more than thirty years, organized medicine has engaged in a concerted effort to severely restrict the practice of psychotherapy. In the early ‘80s, faced with competition for patients from psychologists and social workers, the American Psychiatric Association began colluding with pharmaceutical companies to eliminate the competition for their mutual economic benefit. Specifically, they began promoting a theory that had, and still has, no basis in science, that mental illness is the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain that can be corrected by the administration of drugs. This fraudulent theory was used as justification to restrict the use of psychotherapy.
Health insurance companies joined in this effort by severely restricting the number and frequency of psychotherapy sessions, imposing higher co-pays and burdensome preauthorization requirements. Despite the passage of federal mental health parity legislation in 2008 which outlawed these practices, most health insurance companies continue to require preauthorization of mental health care in violation of the law. In addition, most insurance companies have not increased the fees paid to psychotherapy providers in over 30 years, which has resulted in an inflation-adjusted reduction in fees of more than 70%. This has forced many psychotherapy providers to go out of business, discouraged new providers from entering the field and eroded the quality of care.
The latest assault against psychotherapy has come as a result of procedure code billing changes implemented by the American Medical Association for psychotherapy services that took effect on January 1, 2013. There are between 8000 and 9000 billing codes for medical procedures and changes are made every year. Now, insurance companies are claiming that changes to 30 psychotherapy billing codes are beyond the capacity of their computer systems to handle and it may take up to six months to fix the problem and pay providers. Many mental health providers will be forced to go out of business if they are not paid for months. In addition, insurance companies are using the changes in procedure codes to further reduce fees for psychotherapy.
As of 2000, over half of the counties in the U.S. did not have a single mental health provider of any kind. Other areas have severe shortages. As a result, many people in great emotional distress due to trauma or overwhelming life circumstances get prescriptions for pills instead of the compassionate help they need to develop effective coping strategies.
The Newtown massacre has prompted many to be concerned about the inadequate treatment of the mentally ill. The emphasis on drugs rather than psychotherapy as a treatment modality actually has made some mentally ill people more dangerous. Many of the most widely prescribed psychiatric drugs, including antidepressants, antipsychotics and stimulants, increase the chances of violence and suicide, according to recent studies. Numerous studies also show that the benefits of long term psychotherapy far exceed the benefits of medication and that psychiatric medication increases the likelihood that a mental illness will become chronic. Psychiatric illnesses are the leading cause of disability and reduced productivity in the U.S and worldwide.
Studies have also shown that about 90% of visits to doctors’ offices are related to stress. Studies in the 1950s showed that emotionally distressed patients could be identified by the weight of their medical chart and that even one targeted session of psychotherapy could reduce medical utilization for up to five years. Many subsequent studies have shown that psychotherapy is cost effective in that it reduces medical utilization and overall medical costs. And, unlike many medications used to treat chronic pain, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, ulcers and other stress related medical conditions, psychotherapy has no negative side effects. Reduced psychotherapy services have been one of the driving forces behind the huge increases in medical costs.
I’ve started the petition “Congress and President Obama: End the war against psychotherapy and expand mental health services“. The petition calls on Congress to hold hearings on this issue and to pass legislative remedies and calls on the President to use his executive powers to remedy this situation.
Will you take 30 seconds to sign my petition and help end the war against psychotherapy?
Thanks so much.
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.
How come we are doing the same thing over and over, expecting different outcomes? Why aren’t we looking at changing the fundamental way we do business? Specifically, why do we need to take health insurance at all? Wouldn’t everyone, the client and the therapist, be better off just charging a reasonable cash/credit rate and then offer sliding fees for those who cannot afford our customary rates and cut out the middle man of health insurance?
Cindy – I would sign your petition if you didn’t use words like “mental illness.”
Kisaphia – what your proposing might work fine for people with middle-class incomes; it doesn’t work for poor people.
Exactly. A lot of people can’t even afford the sliding scale. There are no professionals that I know of in my area that offer any sliding scales for their services.
If you’re going to get any services you have to go to the wonderful community mental health centers and guess what the favorite method of “treatment” is?!!!! The toxic drugs! I literally had to fight for six sessions of talk therapy, eventually having to go to the person who oversees all of the community mental health centers in the state where I live. It took me six weeks and numerous phone calls and trips to the center before they could find a therapist for me! I wouldn’t have been given this except for the fact that someone gave me the number of the head honcho. Most people in the system needing help would never get access to this phone number, unfortunately. I refused the drugs each and every time they were offered and they were angry with me for doing so. The talk therapy is there in the centers but you have to fight like hell and you have to know how to access it to get any help. Otherwise, all you get is the drugs.
While meaningfulness of intended psychotropic drug effects and their harmful effects are poorly studied, poorly regulated, and highly influenced by financial interests, the meaningfulness of intended psychotherapy effects and their harmful effects are even less studied and regulated. Cost of psychotherapy can be as high as the most expensive psychotropic medications.
I would leverage similar critiques against psychotherapy research and treatments as I would against pharmacological or somatic research/treatments. I don’t like when psychotherapists use this crisis in biopsychiatry to try to reinsert psychotherapy as a primary treatment, even though harmful effects of psychotherapy are even less studied (or reported) and folks harmed by psychotherapy have less redress. As a social work school dropout, I was highly dismayed by idolizing of the biopsychosocial model as a way to frame people’s experience of distress, but in practice, I just saw how by tacking “social” to the end of model, allowed social workers to take a piece of the insurance reimbursement pie from clients who had it by submitting to the hegemony of psychiatry. Social workers diagnosed the same, relied on the same crappy studies, referred for the same medications, and spouted the same ridiculous etiologies (ex. chemical imbalances).
I agree that health care resources spent on issues that are more related to stress and lifestyle would be better spent on making life less stressful and life more meaningful. I don’t see why spending this money on psychotherapy would be more cost-effective than in policy programs that let people access high quality food, support fitness, have secure housing and child/elder care, have meaningful work with living wages and paid vacations/sick leave, and works to undue overt and covert institutional oppression. I bet this would all still be much cheaper than our current health care expenditures on managing symptoms of stress of the fragility of our existence in a highly dysfunctional society and of the added negative effects of the drugs prescribed in the first place. Psychotherapy still relies on a giant clinical infrastructure, money few people have, and lots of harmful diagnosing.
No side effects? Psychotherapy literature is full of evidence of folks who get worse in psychotherapy, and some psychotherapies themselves (like Critical Incidence Stress Debriefing, a very short-term targeted psychotherapy) are likely in general to increase and add to the very symptoms they are intended to alleviate. What about all of the folks who spend years and thousands of dollars in unfocused/eclectic insight oriented psychotherapies that don’t seem to get their lives any better. Or the folks who decompensate in such therapies and are left much worse and poorer than where they began, with fewer emotional, social, and material resources, let alone trust, to seek any kind of support in the future?
Part of the whole move to remedicalize psychiatry in the 70s and 80s was precisely because of the dogmatism, inaccessibility, and poor outcomes of the psychoanalytic hegemony of the previous decades. I know that all kinds of psychotherapies have grown and “advanced” since, but the bigger issues still stand. Before advocating for more psychotherapy, I’d rather see mental health professionals advocate for saner social and economic policy/relations, and then see how much mental health treatment is needed.
I think you’ve raised very good points Nathan and Darby as well. One thing Cindy mentioned that I notice regularly is the subject of reimbursement rates.
-A decision is reached that certain “services” or “interventions” are preferred more than others.
-Reimbursement rates are then established to make providing the approved services/interventions more advantageous to the provider (note, this has nothing to do with what the person in distress might desire!) and less preferred services/interventions less advantageous.
For example, if the reimbursement rate for one hour of counseling was the same as or greater than one hour of psychiatric, what would happen? What if peer support was valued at the same rate as counseling? As psychiatry?
Reimbursement rates create a business model that predominately poorer individuals can’t escape.
Thank you all for your comments. I will try to respond here to some of them.
I am uncomfortable myself with the term “mental illness”. What I see is people in severe emotional distress as a result of what has happened to them in their lives coupled with a lack of coping skills and/or supportive people around them who have the skills to help them. In these circumstances, a caring, compassionate, well trained professional can be of enormous help.
It is true that psychotherapy can sometimes be harmful, in the hands of the wrong person. This is sometimes called “psychonoxious therapy”. The odds of psychonoxious therapy go up when the therapist is poorly trained, unaware of their own unresolved issues or burnt out. This is where low fees make things much worse. Psychotherapists who cannot afford to pay for additional training to stay updated in the latest therapeutic methosds or to take time off from their practice to do training, who cannot afford health insurance or psychotherapy for themselves, who are seeing too many clients and taking too little time off or sick time because of economic realities so they become burnt out–all of this increases the likelihood of psychonoxious therapy for the client.
Psychotherapists must play the insurance game of giving people labels in order to access insurance reimbursement. The reality is that very few individuals, and particularly those in great distress, have the economic resources to pay the fees that are necessary to pay business expenses and insure that those who provide the services can meet their own basic survival needs, not to mention the standard of living they should have as highly educated, highly trained professionals with sometimes 30 or 40 years professional experience. In the U.S. we are spending $2.2 trillion dollars on health care per year. Only 1.6% of that is being spent on mental health, down from the double digits in the 70s.
The cost of one psychiatric medication can be less than psychotherapy, but many people are now on four or five psychiatric medications. Medication is meant to be taken for a lifetime. In contrast, even the most extended psychotherapeutic interventions are still time limited. In addition, psychiatric medications have side effects that can land someone in the hospital for medical reasons, and they do not improve physical health. In contrast, psychotherapeutic interventions are well documented to decrease medical illness and medical utilization/costs.
I don’t want to hawk, but shouldn’t therapists who are poorly trained, burnt out, and have issues that interfere with their ability to provide helpful therapy ethically not be working as therapists? Isn’t it their responsibility as well-meaning, experienced, highly-educated professionals to do so? My assertions also extend to only licensed therapists, and to be licensed, therapists need advanced degrees, practicums, thousands of hours of supervision, and continuing education. Which psychotherapists are poorly trained or do not keep up with training? Ones that are engaging in unethical practices, are unlicensed, and hence should not be seeing clients anyway. I also find it strange that research also indicates no meaningful difference in outcomes of therapists based on degree or experience, so why should clients pay more for more experience or more school for their sake?
You’re right that few people have the resources to pay psychotherapy fees. Perhaps that means they are too expensive. This doesn’t mean other health services are not also too expensive. If anything, this should lead to folks challenging the reimbursement system and/or lower the cost of care. I also think people would pay for psychotherapy if they thought it would be helpful, but folks don’t, often with good reason. Arguing that it helps to reduce medical illness and utilization cost is a nice sentiment, but people don’t seek mental health care in order to reduce medical utilization costs. It’s far from a primary outcome. I will add that Psychotherapeutic interventions can have side effects that land folks in hospitals (or jails) too, and when folks experience them they are often instructed to take psychiatric medications as part of that process, now getting them into a situation of paying even more.
Medication is not actually intended to be taken for a lifetime, folks often think they won’t be but then find to late that withdrawing is more difficult than staying on despite adverse effects. A great deal of psychotherapy in conducted in the US is open ended, with no time-limitation set in the beginning. I bet it is underestimating cost of treatment that ends up ending it (folks are in therapy longer than they can continue paying), whether or not anything has been helpful.
We are spending lots on healthcare primarily because of an aging population that is living longer, being treated for diseased states (not acute disease) linked with environmental factors (heart disease, diabetes, cancers. etc.), including the expense of end of life care. Healthcare has also become profit driven in the pay-for-output model (number of prescriptions writen, number of therapy sessions, etc.) that has no incentive for addressing the factors that lead to such disease states or in anything related to curing them (just chronic treatment).People may have spent more in the 70s on mental health because psychotherapy was the primary treatment offered and it was expensive. The folks who could pay for it could pay for it, but the folks who can’t pay for it now couldn’t pay for it then, either, insurance or not. Part of the reason insurance companies gravitated to paying for medications and shorter term psychotherapies was precisely because what was being offered was not all that helpful. They were paying a lot and not seeing good outcomes. Might as well pay less to not see good outcomes.
If the big issue is payment and insurance reimbursement, I’d recommend advocating for an outcomes-based payment structure, either privately contracted or from insurance/government payers. Privately, therapists and clients decide what outcomes of treatment they expect to be able to get and the cost of of that treatment. With insurance/government payers, they will have some say in the price of those outcomes. They can even factor in the reduced medical utilization costs you cite for paying more for good treatment. The more clients therapists reliably help clients in the most efficient amount of time, the more money they will make. Therapists who reliably engender good outcomes would make zounds more than therapists generally make now, their practices would be filled with people who have evidenced trust in the competency of their therapist, and therapists can afford all of the training and lifestyle standards their level of education supposedly entitles them to. Therapists who don’t engender outcomes reliably will soon be looking for other work, as spending their time trying to help and not being helpful will not longer be profitable. This is good for patients to, as these would be therapists who are apt to be burnt out, supposedly poorly trained, or have other issues interfering with offering helpful treatment. If therapists can demonstrate good outcomes, they can charge heftier fees, and still make a lot of money even if they end up not being able to collect payment from the minority of patients who they end up not helping. Clients who are helped more gladly pay for their help, while clients who aren’t at least don’t have to deal with the financial loss on top of failed treatment.
Thanks for your well-reasoned, careful comments above. As someone who has seen a loved one harmed not only by ECT and psych drugs but also by psychotherapy, I feel strongly that a needed critique of the poor evidence base for psych drugs should go hand-in-hand with critical thinking about the psychotherapy evidence base. Thanks again for pointing out that there are potential harms from talk therapies. We should always be alert to double standards.
As a consumer I’d like to challenge the wisdom that psychotherapy ONLY is harmful when the therapist is poorly trained, unaware of his issues, etc.
The foundation of therapy puts clients in the role of the subordinate, the supplicant. Our very human traits are now sickness or disorders to be remedied by an expert who knows only a sliver of our lives. Our relationship with the therapist is remote, contrived and structured, yet presented to us as intimacy.
Then therapy’s frequent stoking of self-absorption, victimization and obsession, added to the client’s submission to the “expert” to can be an education in how to be depressed.
It barely seems acknowledged by the profession that this framework–even executed by an “ethical” therapist– leaves some consumers feeling worse.
Therapists seem so certain why therapy didn’t work. So many KNOW -with no evidence–that we must have been difficult, borderline or don’t-want-to-change. I see no one actually asking the consumer.
In addition to the Disgruntled Ex-Psychotherapy Client blog linked below, another blogger continues the discussion in http://trytherapyfree.wordpress.com.
You say that psychotherapists MUST PLAY THE INSURANCE GAME OF GIVING PEOPLE LABELS FOR INSURANCE REIMBURSEMENTS and other statements that I see as rationalizations for the same evil behavior perpetrated by bogus biological psychiatry. I’ve read quite a bit on this and some exposed how psychologists and social workers especially sold their clients out when they jumped on the PSYCHIATRY/BIG PHARMA bandwagon to access insurance instead of validating, exposing and fighting the many social injuries, abuses, evils, injustices, oppression, inequality, racism, sexism and others of which the mental death profession is chief of all evil social stressors and trauma.
As long as so called therapists collude with this evil status quo while pretending to be the victims of a vile system to which they all eagerly sold out to take advantage of this despicable gravy train at the cost of countless human lives including children and toddlers no less, I believe it belongs in the dust bin along with other biopsychiatry oppressors.
Yet, the real purpose of the mental death profession is to push BIG PHARMA’s poison drugs and other lucrative tortures on patent with a bogus veneer of the most laughable junk science that exposes their huge global billions and power to corrupt most it rolls over. The fact that so called psychotherapists have colluded with that to get their due as highly educated professionals (a complete farce when you consider the BIG PHARMA curriculum) as you claim along with Dr. Thomas Szasz’ THE MYTH OF PSYCHOTHERAPY like his other exposures of fraud in the mental death profession makes them the same paid shills bullying their so called patients to get and take their “medications.”
Unless so called therapists/social workers can divest themselves of biopsychiatry, the pseudoscience DSM and BIG PHARMA, I don’t think they deserve any less contempt than others pushing bogus stigmas and poisons on the vulnerable for greed, profit, power and status at others’ horrific expense WITHOUT INFORMED CONSENT!! You of all people should know that these horrific bogus stigmas follow people for life, so any pretense that any junk science “therapy” makes up for that shows a complete lack of conscience!! The only possible solution is to have people pay out of pocket for the “privilege” of talking to a fellow human no more or less qualified or smarter than them WITHOUT BEING SUBJECTED TO BOGUS STIGMAS.
It is the type of evil rationalization that you gloss over so glibly with the pretense that OF COURSE, THERAPISTS ARE FORCED TO COLLUDE IN THIS EVIL DESTRUCTION OF FELLOW HUMANS FOR THEIR OWN CAREERS, PROFIT, STATUS, LIVELIHOOD while destroying others in the guise of mental health that helps such evil thrive as it did when psychiatry instigated Hitler and the Germans with its evil eugenics/euthanasia theories to gas to death the so called mentally ill and later Jews and others deemed unfit to live.
There is no way I would ever wish to see your toxic agenda of collusion with the psychiatry/the mental death profession/BIG PHARMA cartel in the guise of help or less dangerous psychotherapy when the opposite is true. I truly hope that you will rethink the implications of your post and its very evil agenda.
I realize this sounds harsh, but I think we need to call a spade a spade.
I spend a great deal of my time and energy with clients educating them about the dangers of psychiatric medications and helping them to safely withdraw. I think the problem with most psychotherapists as it relates to drugs is that they have been misinformed or brainwashed about the implications of taking these drugs, not that they are evil. I recently met with my psychology professor from my college years (over 40 years ago). She was a dedicated teacher (now retired)and caring activist for human rights. I gave her a copy of Anatomy of an Epidemic and told her that there was absolutely no evidence that mental illness was due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. She was so shocked that her jaw dropped. Please consider the possibility that not all of us are evil. I went into this profession because I enjoy helping people and I know that in many cases I have. In situations where I’ve failed, it has not been due to lack of caring or trying.
I stand by what I said. There is absolutely no excuse for not being aware of the fraud of biopsychiatry by those in the profession no less given that those harmed greatly by it, euphemistically called survivors after having their lives destroyed all too often by the mental death profession without the education and credentials of their tormentors/betrayers were able to find the facts/truth in public libraries, books available from Amazon and other sources on the web, many articles and varioius whistleblowers. Dr. Peter Breggin and other whistleblowers bravely came out and exposed this fraud when psychiatry sold out to BIG PHARMA and the obvious junk science DSM III came out with bogus life destroying stigmas that didn’t have a shred of evidence in human reality, science or the realm of medicine. Pretending that gross social injustice, abuse and inequality that social workers used to fight and try to address were now genetic defects in their so called patients is the most vile abuse of truth, power, victim blaming and betrayal one can imagine.
Psychologists and social workers had to willfully deceive themselves and their clients to push this evil, fascist agenda of the bogus DSM junk science on vulnerable people in the guise of help. You can deceive yourself that you helped people especially in those who didn’t see through the fraud and betrayal until later and may have expressed gratitude based on their ignorance. I can assure you that once such a victim discovers the truth, they will feel anything but gratitude for such a traitor that engaged in evil victim blaming when they were dealing with various abusers, oppressors, injustices, trauma, etc. Bogus DSM stigmas follow people for life and harm every area including careers, health/life insurance, relationships, credibility, human/civil/democratic and now even gun rights freedoms, marriages, divorce, custody, physical health, ability to serve in the military and other occupations and anything else one can imagine.
Psychiatrists claim they care and try when they impose life destroying stigmas and lethal drugs that have destroyed countless lives. Psychiatrists of NAZI Germany claimed to be compassionate when murdering those THEY stigmatized as mentally ill, racially unfit and other massive evil based on their bogus self serving eugenics/euthanasia agenda funded by the robber barrons of the time like Rockefeller. It is amazing what society will justify in the guise of medicine and “mental health,” a term only a psychopath could invent and totally fraudulent per Dr. Thomas Szasz. Dr. Szasz exposed that psychiatry is to real medicine as spring fever is to rheumatic fever: twisting semantics to justify medicalizing normal human behavior and suffering to stigmatize it so it can be used as a profit center.
For someone to think they have some some great wisdom, enlightenment or gift to share with lesser mortals because they have a master’s degree or even a doctorate is gross self deception and out and out fraud when it comes to such a pretense with desperate, traumatized, vulnerable people. Psychology and psychiatry are basically pseudoscience exposed by books like WHORES OF THE COURT, PSEUDOSCIENCE in BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY and many others.
I didn’t say YOU were necessarily evil, but rather, the type of blind justification of evil you advocate in your post that pretends giving life destroying stigmas to clueless, vulnerable people can ever be excused for such dubious “help.”
My own anecdote is that I know somebody who just got her degree in social work and plans to pursue a certain type of marital problem in practice that probably wouldn’t qualify for insurance. She claims that she learned in school that though you must give the person a bogus stigma for insurance, you don’t have to treat for that. And of course, one must updiagnose to the worst fraud fad stigmas like bipolar to get insurance coverage in most cases, so it is well known that updiagnosing is rampant.
Do you really think that narcissitic people like this with no moral compass, honesty, ethics, compassion or most importantly, the goal to do no harm, should be serving as so called role models in society of what is normal/moral to help those supposedly less fortunate people who need their so called help? This is the height of arrogance and hubris in my opinion.
My anger over this fraud comes from having loved ones preyed on by this monstrosity that I was able to rescue thanks to finding the work of Dr. Peter Breggin many years ago to whom I owe a huge debt as I’ve said elsewhere and frequently. He was one of a few if not the only one at first to come out and expose the dangers of TOXIC PSYCHIATRY for which he paid dearly, but never quit. Though the psychiatry/BIG PHARMA industrial cartel remains as a psychopathic entity to push lethal drugs on patent globally to further enrich the 1%, Dr. Breggin has been totally validated as one of the few psychiatrists who didn’t go along with such a corrupt betrayal of his clients and humanity in general.
Perhaps your efforts would be better spent leading a cause for social workers and/or psychologists to break away from biopsychiatry as others have advocated to fight for a superior model of human justice rather than teaming up with those seeking prescribing privileges as if they haven’t done enough harm by colluding with biopsychiatry!
I am also a fan of Dr. Peter Breggin. I have met him, spent time with him and presented at one of his conferences. Besides being a relentless critic of biopsychiatry, Dr. Breggin is also a provider of and promoter of psychotherapy as an alternative to psychiatric medication. If psychtherapists, however flawed, become extinct, there will be no alternative offered to persons in distress except meds and things will get even worse. This has already happened in many parts of the country, and it is by design by organized medicine.
I am aware of Dr. Peter Breggin’s empathic therapy he advocates. But, Dr. Breggin does not believe in or use bogus DSM stigmas he finds very harmful, a fact you did not mention.
You still have not addressed your claim that psychotherapists, of course, have to go along with DSM stigmas for insurance remimbursement that I find outrageous and ludicrous. For your information, I am aware of situations that occurred before and after health insurance was widely available for “psychotherapy” and people who had high status jobs and paid high amounts for so called “therapy” got the same bogus blame the victim stigmas, invalidatio and so called treatment that greatly harmed them and their careers.
It is obvious why most if not all therapists do this; if they acknowledged the victim was being abused at work, home or other environments, they would have to take a stand, investigate and possibly even go to court or at least advocate for the victim. If they do any advocating at all, it is for the bullies and abusers or the most powerful in the situation. That’s why bully bosses frequently send their victims for psych evaluations now since they know the victim will be stigmatized as mentally ill and totally destroyed in the evil process. So, the DSM victim blaming system of even giving PTSD, anxiety, social phobia, depression or other bogus stigmas while blaming the victim’s childhood, excess anxiety for no reason, seeming paranoia and delusions and other evil lies allows the so called therapist to collect their high fees and sit in their ivory towers without having to encounter the hell their victims experience and advocate for the victims instead of colluding with those in power. The latter is the real goal of all of the mental death profession as Dr. Bruce Levine, Psychologist, explains in his books like COMMON SENSE REBELLION and this web site. So, this doesn’t have much to do with whether one can pay or not or whether insurance is involved, but has everything to do with the fact that most if not all therapists are lazy and cowardly and it is much easier to blame the victim and manipulate him/her into believing they need much of their great therapy for years to be normal, etc. So called mental health experts try to prove their usefulness by how they can help those in power per Dr. Levine. I was disgusted to read that psychologists are fighting to maintain lethal druggins of soldiers that are causing massive suicides and destruction of countless lives as they and many social workers seek prescribing privleges. If you can’t beat them, join them is th motto here.
The infamous Phoebe Prince bullying case is a perfect example whereby she was given bogus depression stigmas to push useless but deadly SSRI’s and the horrific atypical antipsychotic, Seroquel, on her for the vicious bullying she suffered by a cruel mob of students when it is well known these poison drugs cause suicide. One despicable journalist got access to her medical records and published them as one of many ways to viciously blame the victim of a bunch of narcissistic serial bullies as described by Dr. Tim Fields in his BULLYONLINE web site. According to the mental death profession there is no domestic violence, work/school bullying or any other severe social stressors that might cause the horrible stress symptoms they medicalize to invaldidate the victims and profit from their suffering.
I won’t go into detail, but the study you cite that psychotherapy worked as well as SSRI’s is ludicrous when you consider the book, THE EMPEROR’S NEW DRUGS, whereby antidepressants are exposed as being no better than placebo for the most part while having life threatening side effects. This was well documented on 60 MINUTES. Evidence shows they also make so called depression worse and more permanent that Robert Whitaker describes in one of his articles on this web site. Dr. Peter Breggin addresses this too. The way most if not all psychotherapy is practiced today is just another way to invalidate the victims of gross social injustices, oppression, abuse, trauma, bullying, sexism, racism and others to medicalize and profit from their suffering.
It is also well known that therapists have their own prejudices and tend to exploit and manipulate their patients due to the large power differential whether they realize it or not. And many tend to use their so called patients to work out their own issues of childhood trauma without realizing it as well and falsely assume the so called patient has the same problem. This has been especially true with the bogus codependency, ACOA movements.
It also appears that insurance will now only pay for short term therapy, so therapists were quick to get on the bandwagon for short term cognitive therapy that is used to force the victims to fit into their toxic environments, the goal of the 1% trying to make slaves of all of us globally with THE SHOCK DOCTRINE.
Finally, psychoanalysis was just as bad as the current biopsychiatry paradigm that exists in psychotherapy today, which is based on the vile, false assumption that there is always something wrong with the victim that needs to be fixed. Your claim that panic attacks come from some unknown source is laughable. Perhaps you might consider checking that out with domestic violence and work/school bully victims to gain knowledge of their wild imaginations at work, home and school. Are you familar with the movie, GAS LIGHT?? Subjecting a person to psychological torture and lying and denying it is considered gas lighting, which is what the mental death profession does to keep their victims in “treatment.” Obviously, if they admitted the environment was at fault and the person in therapy was not at fault, the so called patient would be lost.
That’s why Dr. Breggin warned that the most dangerous thing one could do is visit a psychiatrist and once psychologists and social workers sold out to biopsychiatry, the same applies to them.
It always amuses me when someone implies there is no other better alternatives. Human beings have such vast capacities but normally the majority are incapacitated at the hands of the few who greedily and selfishly want everything and give nothing to others. Unfortunately, it has been my personal experience as a non-clinical worker that mental health workers (which includes social workers, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, even psychiatric nurses) are part of this greedy, selfish group.
Oh! And I agree 100% with what Donna has said.
Here’s a brief review of some of the psychotherapy effectiveness literature, with references:
Short term psychotherapy has been shown in numerous studies to be as effective as antidepressants without any of the risks. Long term psychotherapy has been demonstrated to be more effective than psychiatric drugs for mental disorders.
A 2005 study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry compared 16 weeks of group cognitive therapy with Paxil for the treatment of moderate to severe depression and found the two treatments to be equally effective. The researchers reported, “On the whole, these findings do not support the current American Psychiatric Association guideline…that ‘most (moderately and severely depressed) patients will require medication’. It appears that cognitive therapy can be as effective as medications, even among more severely depressed outpatients, at least when provided by experienced cognitive therapists.”
A study published in 2008 in the American Journal of Psychiatry of psychotherapy for panic disorder found that after 12 weeks of twice weekly talk therapy more than 70% of patients with panic disorder were significantly improved. Treatment focused on the symptoms as well as developing insight about the various unconscious factors that may have caused the panic disorder to develop in the first place.
A review by the Cochrane Collaboration evaluated the efficacy of short term psychodynamic psychotherapy relative to minimal treatment and non-treatment controls for adults with common mental disorders. The primary focus of psychodynamic psychotherapy is to reveal the unconscious content of a patient’s psyche in an effort to alleviate psychic tension. It also relies on the interpersonal relationship between patient and therapist. This form of therapy tends to be eclectic, taking techniques from a variety of sources, rather than relying on a single system of intervention. The studies that were reviewed evaluated short term psychodynamic psychotherapy for general, somatic, anxiety, and depressive symptom reduction, as well as social adjustment. Outcomes for most categories of disorders suggested significantly greater improvement in the treatment versus the control groups, and these results were generally maintained in medium and long term follow-up. “Modest to moderate” gains that were often sustained were achieved for a variety of patients.
A comprehensive study of the effectiveness of psychotherapy was published in Consumer Reports in 1995. The study evaluated the responses of readers to questions about their experience with psychiatric treatment. The conclusions of the study were that patients benefited very substantially from psychotherapy (most respondents got a lot better), that long term treatment did considerably better than short term treatment, and that psychotherapy alone did not differ in effectiveness from medication plus psychotherapy. No specific modality of psychotherapy did any better than any other for any disorder. In addition, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers did not differ in their effectiveness as therapists. Patients whose length of therapy or choice of therapist was limited by insurance or managed care did worse.
A review of the 1995 Consumer Reports study was published in American Psychologist shortly after the study’s publication. The author, Martin Seligman, Ph.D., concluded that the study was very well designed. Dr. Seligman reported that he concluded after reviewing this study that the usual randomized, controlled study with detailed scripting of the therapy approach and a fixed number of sessions is not the right model for evaluating the effectiveness of psychotherapy because it differs too substantially from how psychotherapy is done in real life. Dr. Seligman pointed out that in real life, psychotherapy is not of fixed duration. It usually keeps going until the patient is markedly improved or until he or she quits. In real life, psychotherapy is self-correcting, in that if one technique is not working, another technique or even another modality is tried. Patients actively shop for treatment, entering the kind of treatment they actively sought with a therapist they screened and chose. Patients in psychotherapy in real life usually have multiple problems and psychotherapy is geared to relieving parallel and interacting difficulties, unlike in controlled studies where patients are selected to have only one diagnosis. He also reports that psychotherapy in real life is almost always concerned with improvement in the general functioning of the patient, in addition to the amelioration of the disorder which brought the patient into treatment. Because the Consumer Reports study was based on people’s real life experience with psychotherapy, Dr. Seligman concluded that its results were more valid than the usual study.
A follow-up survey by Consumer Reports in 2004 which focused on treatment of depression and anxiety confirmed the earlier results. The study concluded that talk therapy rivaled drug therapy in effectiveness. Respondents who said their therapy was “mostly talk” and lasted at least 13 sessions had better outcomes than those whose therapy was “mostly medication”. The rates of adverse drug side effects that respondents experienced were much higher than those noted on the medications’ package inserts. The report noted that drug therapy has become a more prevalent mode of treatment for emotional problems in the last decade. In 1994, only 40 percent of those who sought care for any type of mental health problem received drugs compared to 68 percent in the 2004 survey (and 80 percent of those with depression or anxiety). The number of talk therapy sessions received by people with a mental problem drastically declined over the decade since the first survey. In 1994, survey respondents averaged well over 20 visits with a mental-health professional, while in the 2004 survey the average was 10 visits. Since the survey indicated that longer term therapy is linked to more positive outcomes, the authors of the survey found that trend troubling
A meta-analysis published in 2008 in the Journal of the American Medical Association examined the effects of long term psychodynamic psychotherapy on complex mental disorders such as personality disorders, chronic mental disorders, multiple mental disorders and complex depressive and anxiety disorders. They included only studies in which psychotherapy lasted a year or more. The authors concluded that long term psychodynamic psychotherapy showed significantly higher outcomes in overall effectiveness, target problems and personality functioning than shorter forms of psychotherapy. After treatment with this type of therapy, patients with complex mental disorders on average were better off than 96% of patients in the comparison group. The improvements were “significant, large and stable” across all types of complex mental disorders.
DeRubeis R, Hollon S, Amsterdam J, Shelton R, Young P, Salomon R, O’Reardon, J, Lovett M, Gladis M, Brown L, Gallop, R. Cognitive Therapy vs Medications in the Treatment of Moderate to Severe Depression.
Arch Gen Psychiatry, April 2005, 62:409-416.
Milrod B, Leon A, Busch F, Rudden M, Schwalberg M, Clarkin J, Aronson A, Singer M, Turchin W, Klass ET, Graf E, Teres J, and Shear MK, A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy for Panic Disorder, Am J Psychiatry, Feb 2007; 164: 265 – 272.
Abbass AA, Hancock JT, Henderson J, Kisely S, .Short-term psychodynamic psychotherapies for common mental disorders, Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006 Oct 18;(4):CD004687
Mental Health: Does Therapy Help? Consumer Reports, November, 1995, p. 734-739.
Seligman M, The effectiveness of psychotherapy: The Consumer Reports Study. American Psychologist, December, 1995, 50:12:965-974.
Leichsenring F, Rabung S, Effectiveness of long term psychodynamic psychotherapy: A Meta-analysis. JAMA, October 1, 2008, 300:13, p.1551-1565.
I cannot believe what I am reading! there are Tremendous problems with psychotherapists & their profession. I recommend that each and everyone here read the following excellent blog:
I am informing all here in this profession that those of us who have been harmed (and there are Plenty of us) by psychotherapists are starting a consumer rights movement. What has been ‘accepted’ will no longer be.
What is wrong with psychotherapists? Plenty:
1)I have spent years seeing different therapists – and had terrible problems with them. It doesn’t matter what they are taught in their courses, or what type of therapy they ‘practice’: they do what ever benefits THEM.
Examples from just my experiences:
My first therapist was a manipulative woman, with borderline personality disorder (she was a Classic case). Over time, she showed her true colors. She became ‘competitive’ with me – no matter what problem I told her about , hers was ‘far worse’ than mine – and she would sometimes spend entire sessions telling me HER problems. I was brand new to therapy, & had no idea what good therapy should actually consist of. When I finally left her, she was screaming at me loudly on the phone, then crying, telling me “Everyone leaves me except for you, and now even you are leaving me”. she also accused me of wanting to tell her MY problems in our sessions before she could tell me hers. Talk about boundary issues. Of course, she never apologized.
As to practically all the others – I have categorized them:
These don’t ask you what you want to do re: a problem; they TELL /Command you. And, if you argue/object/fail to follow their commands, then they start the SCREAMING.
What courses in their training teach future therapists to
scream at her/his client??? Belittle them? Act superior to them? Literally bark orders at them, in telling them HOW to solve a problem? When I told one about trying to figure out whether to have another child, she stopped me, and began a Lecture on what I must do. Don’t these therapists EVER stop and look at themselves? At their own tendencies?
A version of this, was when I saw another female therapist because I was having trouble in romantic relationships. All she ever did during the sessions was to tell me, very belligerantly, that of course men didn’t like me because of the way I ‘acted’ – never explaining what that was, and never trying to help me ‘change’.
3)Strict Belief System Therapists:
some absolute have a BELIEF, which is inviolable, and which they must make sure EVERYONE follows, as it is the TRUTH.
One therapist hated men , because her husband had cheated on her. Therefore, all men were blankety-blanks. She could never leave him, as she was a traditional Catholic, so instead, she made sure that her clients were educated in the TRUTH about men. When I told her I was going to leave her, mainly because of her beliefs, she told me “Well, don’t you know that some women were molested as young children and can never trust men.” I reminded her that THAT was NOT my background. Obviously – it was hers. She NEVER cared who I was – She only cared about what SHE had gone through.
3) THEY USE YOU TO RELEASE THEIR ANGER ABOUT THEIR OWN PROBLEMS
A male therapist once told me, in a very ugly voice, that his wife was a JAP (Jewish American Princess). THis had absolutely NOTHING to do with anything I was saying to me, or dealing with. I immediately confronted him, and told him I
was Jewish; all he said to me is “Well, that’s the truth”. He then told me that he also was Jewish , he had converted only to please his in-laws, and that ‘it meant nothing ‘ to him. I looked right at him, and said “that’s a real shame”. He NEVER apologized to me, or looked at what he was saying. Obviously, I never went back to such a bum.
These types take tremendous advantage of their clients: they know the clients are vulnerable, and desperately want help, and won’t fight back.
4) The SILENT THERAPISTS
At least three said NOTHING during entire sessions – when I asked one why she wouldn’t say anything she blamed it on me and my boyfriend at the time (we had sought couples counseling) because ‘we’ had ‘too many things’ going on in our lives. I reminded her that is WHY we were there to see HER. I went on to say that in my next life I would become a therapist & do exactly what she was doing – get paid big bucks for doing NOTHING.
A version of this: I told a new therapist what I was coming to see her for, (problems with my relatives) and she responded in a VERY superior tone of voice: ‘And THAT bothers you?!’ like I was nuts or something-she never helped me, and should have told me that from the START.
REAL REASONS WHY MANY ARE THERAPISTS: I am really sick & tired of this profession – I think many therapists are in it because: 1) Many have mental problems themselves, and in a very bizarre way, think they can ‘work them out’ by doing therapy. – a variant of this is they feel badly inside, but when doing therapy on others, are no longer focused on their own problems, and so feel much better; in this way, they don’t care if they help us or not, As they will feel better no matter want.
2) My fav theory that I MYSELF realized: Many therapists
can’t get intimate with others, they are too scared, and/or don’t know how. BUT they, like the rest of us, have intimacy needs. so – they fulfill these needs by getting ‘intimate’ with their clients. They do so simply by listening to another tell them their deep problems, opening up to the therapists. After all, when we listen to someone’s deep feelings, we do feel closer to them. THis way the therapist gets “intimacy”
( or a weak version of it) without having to be vulnerable.
Well, that’s about it. I think therapist’s sessions should be randomly ‘listened in on’ by supervisors. Otherwise, there is no way that anyone else really knows what’s going on – and can call them on it. I know NO other profession where the treatment ALWAYS takes place just between the treator and the patient or client. There are NEVER witnesses. It is perfect for these narcissists to get their needs met.
The quality of existing psychotherapy research, such as the studies you mention, tends to be so low that it amounts to a big pile of nothing. See, for instance: http://blogs.plos.org/mindthebrain/2014/06/10/salvaging-psychotherapy-research-manifesto/
The burden of proof is on proponents of these psychotherapies to show that they are making good use of their clients’ time and money, and that the risk-benefit ratio is favorable. In the absence of having met this burden, they ought to stop practicing, or at a bare minimum clearly inform all of their clients of the weak status of the evidence and indeterminate risk as part of a transparent informed consent process.
This long defense of using psychotherapy for “mental disorders” from the DSM is very “depressing” and proves my point since it assumes these so called bogus DSM disorders are all in the victims’ head or faulty brain. But, this article would fare well with biopsychiatry and the mental death profession in general since it does a great job blaming the victims while not acknowedging any environmental stressors that are known to cause severe emotional distress that are NORMAL REACTIONS TO ABNORMAL EVENTS with the mental death profession one of the worst human stressors ever inflicted on the human race. Dr. Fred Baughman, Neurologist, in his book ADHD FRAUD and many articles, shows that every DSM stigma is 100% fraud and that psychiatry has perpetrated the worst medical crimes against humanity ever.
I do not see where your posts do anything to alleviate these crimes.
I value research sophisticated research in psychotherapy. I support the evidence-supported treatment movement (despite a lot of problems reifying DSM diagnoses as part of demonstrating applied treatment effect). I do think lots of poor science is done in psychotherapy research, science similar to ones for psychotropic medications. Similarities include high publication bias, allegiance bias (clinicians who ascribe to particular theoretical orientations who do studies on their kind of psychotherapy show high effectiveness of that kind of therapy similar to the effect of drug companies who that fund research on their own products), inappropriately powered studies that lead to confusion in the meaningfulness of statistical significance of statistical equivalence (psychotherapy studies are often underpowered, drug studies are often over powered), inappropriate selection criteria,poor data cleaning/analysis (not including drop outs in in the final analyses, or doing intent-to-treat analyses), etc. I could go one. Control/comparison groups in psychotherapy research are often no treatment or an intentionally poor treatment, which doesn’t tell you much about the comparative effectiveness of a psychotherapy (beyond it being better than doing nothing), and when comparison studies to happen, they are so under powered that it’s hard to demonstrate anything but equivalence. Psychotherapy research has also not been good at assessing and mitigating potential harms that have been demonstrated to reliably occur (at frequencies higher than many of the more common side effects of drugs).
Again, I do not think psychotropic medication research has been quality science the past 30 years, but because that is so does not lead to an increase in psychotherapy services, as I believe psychotherapy research has also been poor (though in some circles getting stronger). I also think a broader issue, if we want to use the money we spent so wastefully on (mental) health care, more efficient uses in social and economic policy outside of the mental health world may actually be more beneficial for people’s mental health.
Beyond that, I would like to comment on some of your evidence for the effectiveness of psychotherapy (even beyond the fact that you list disparate studies of very different kinds of therapeutic interventions for very different issues using particular kinds of outcome measures that many would say lack clinical meaning).
In the group CBT vs Paxil for moderate to severe depressive symptoms, saying the CBT is equally effective as Paxil for depression isn’t saying much about CBT, as Paxil, of all the SSRIs, show’s the most modest drug effect (if any) on depressive symptoms. So this study echoes perhaps at best Irving Kirsch’s analysis that depression alleviating effects of Paxil are placebo, in that taking it feels like taking a positive step and associated drug effects increases hopefulness. This is proposed mechanism of CBT, increasing hopefulness through changing behavior and thought processes. If CBT is as good as taking a placebo pill though, is it worth the cost to engage in it?
Evidence of dynamic therapy for reducing panic symptoms is in the study you note is stronger. But again, this is a basic efficacy study, showing that dynamic therapy is better than doing nothing to treat panic symptoms. I bet a lot of things are better than doing nothing for addressing panic, and doing some well-powered comparative studies next would be able to help make stronger claims about the value of dynamic therapy for panic, and whether other interventions may be better first or second choice interventions.
The Cochrane study mixes outcomes of broadly defined short term dynamic therapy for many “conditions” in its analyses. That adds a lot of noise to their meta-analysis, a method that requires some thoughtfulness in study selection as it is prone washout effects when combining too many kinds of things being studied with different kinds of outcome measures. I do know that Abbas is also a huge advocate of intensive STPP and seems a biased author. Even more, again, they only found STPP better than minimal or no treatment. Again, I bet just talking to someone for many general adult conditions is better than doing nothing. This study does not tell much about the efficacy of STPP for particular concerns or whether its comparative effectiveness is meaningfully better than cheaper or less burdensome interventions.
The 20 year old Consumer Reports study main outcome measure was people’s satisfaction of their experience in psychotherapy. Satisfaction is not a meaningful outcome (I consider it an output), as satisfaction is not a value engendered by a treatment, but a reflection on the process of it.
Seligman notes the many drawbacks and methodological limitations of the study, I think the most important is that is neither an efficacy or an effectiveness study. There is no comparison of psychotherapy to anything, not even nothing. It could be that people in this study were worse off due to their treatments than doing nothing, no matter how satisfied or not they were with it, the study doesn’t help with determining this. I’ll quote Seligman in his conclusion, “The study is not without flaws, the chief one being the limited meaning of its answer to the question ‘Can psychotherapy help?'” This should not be included in the category of effectiveness literature, and full of all sorts of biases that the make answering the question of effectiveness mute (Seligman notes these too).
The Leichsenring and Rabung meta-analysis has been severely challenged I think to a point to be discredited. The methodology of their metaanalysis was poor, they do not compare treatment group to a control, but individual patient at endpoint to baseline. They include all sorts of disparate diagnoses that add so much noise to their data. For more detailed critique of this study, see here: http://www.psychotherapybrownbag.com/psychotherapy_brown_bag_a/2010/05/wading-through-a-sea-of-bad-science-a-closer-look-at-a-metaanalysis-comparing-longterm-and-shortterm.html
Cindy, my main argument this whole time is just that psychotherapy research is similarly poor to medication research, so trying to increase psychotherapies as treatment for mental health issues instead of drugs does not have strong research support. Eysenck (starting in the 1950s), Mors, Lillienfield and others have done research in the potential limited effects of potential harmful effects of psychotherapies. Additionally, iatrogenic effects of psychotherapy is not taken nearly as seriously as iatrogenic effects of medication, and folks who experience it have little redress, support, or acknowledgment that engaging in what was told to them is safe and “just talking” can actually lead to worse outcomes from when they began. Finally, non-clinical interventions (beyond drugs or therapy) should be part of the conversation on supporting people’s well-being as a potentially effective and efficent way of doing so. As you say, if 90% of visits to doctors are stress related, I bet we can work at more systemic changes in reduce that stress and increase well-being than engaging in more clinical treatment.
I’ll quickly add to my comments about the Cochrane review of STPP. In the conclusions printed in its abstract, the authors note: “STPP shows promise, with modest to moderate, often sustained gains for a variety of patients. However, given the limited data and heterogeneity between studies, these findings should be interpreted with caution. Furthermore, variability in treatment delivery and treatment quality may limit the reliability of estimates of effect for STPP. Larger studies of higher quality and with specific diagnoses are warranted.” I agree with this all of this, and think that it demonstrates that the question of the effectiveness of STPPs is far from established.
I have gone back and forth in my professional career and volunteer activities from trying to effect systemic change to trying to help individuals. I have studied the mechanisms of each. Effecting systemic change can take generations. In the meantime, helping people learn coping skills and empowering them to fight for systemic change may take only a few hours. I believe in doing both.
I’m a believer in psychotherapy because I’ve experienced its benefits in my own life and because in my work I’ve been able to help others reduce their emotional distress and improve their functioning. That’s all the proof I personally need.
All studies are somwhat flawed–some because of the complexity of what is being studied and others by design. We need to look critically at them and draw our own conclusions then make the best decisions we can from there.
Your experience as a therapist and in your personal therapy are valid. Lots of people will say the same about their medications, diagnoses, and chemical imbalances. Let’s be clear than that your argument is to not based on review of quality science, but on your individual experience. Again, I’ not a fan of how good research in psychotherapy does some reifying of DSM disorders as part of their research process, but the American Psychological Assocication has compiled lists of best first-line therapies given the current evidence for different issues people face (http://www.div12.org/PsychologicalTreatments/index.html). It’s a start, but it is far from saying that more psychotherapy will mean better experiences for folks.
I wasn’t aware there was a “war” being waged on psychotherapy.
Psychotherapy may be unaccessible for many who are poor, but I’ve not witnessed any effort to shut down the profession.
I spent some time in grad school studying various counseling theories, but remain convinced that there is no *one* method that is *magic* for the masses.
The more I study and listen to others, the more I tend to think that a *number* of approaches can be helpful, especially when used in combination… some have *nothing* to do with talk… in fact, *continuing* to talk may be the *last* thing a person needs to do.
I feel outrage toward the large number of psychotherapists, social workers, and others who have been *silent* when it comes to what has been allowed to take place – labeling people, drugging them, shocking them and locking them up – all under the guise of *treatment*.
Many of these folks work in *tandem* with shrinks – share office space, refer patients back-and-forth, rub elbows at meetings as colleagues.
A “war” on psychotherapy?
C’mon… give me a break.
No, the “war” has been on the “mentally ill”.
And there have only been a handful of professionals with the courage to utter two words about this *slaughter*.
Duane Sherry, M.S. CRC-R
Re: The Petition
Congress and the President have already done their job – passing ObamaCare and getting it signed into law – against the will of the people.
Health and Human Services (HHS) will now take over.
Nobody within HHS is accountable to an electorate.
They can now do as they please.
And they will.
There’s a “war” taking place alright.
Against the *will* of the American people.
What does this have to do with “mental health care”?
Stay tuned (unfortunately) and find out, as HHS drafts hundreds of thousands of pages of regulation and administrative law.
I’d bet the ranch.
I appreciate your usual common sense approach to the pretense of a great war on poor psychotherapists when the great majority sold out patients to join the war against THEM as you say.
Further, your point is well taken that psychotherapy or “talk” may make things worse in many cases like all mental death “treatments.” Given the fact they use the same bogus DSM life destroying stigmas, I wouldn’t go near a therapist if my life supposedly depended on it and I’m feeling that way about main stream medicine in general more and more. Your web site does a great job of showing the many diverse types of care that can help individuals based on their unique needs without destroying the person.
Let’s not forget that those in third world countries like Nigeria not preyed on by biopsychiatry and its toxic drugs or the mental death profession in general mostly tend to completely recover from severe emotional distress as they used to in the U.S. before psychiatry sold out to BIG PHARMA and created the junk science DSM to push the latest poison drugs, ECT and other brain damaging torture treatments on patent on those they fraudulently stigmatized with their VOTED IN disorders, destroying their lives in the process. People recovered with normal social/community/family and other supports before monstrous biopsychiatry brainwashed everyone to believe that severely emotionally distressed people suffered from a dangerous brain disease rather than severe social stressors. Thus, everyone could blame the victim and deny any accountability or responsibility with the “identified patient” becoming the scapegoat for family, work, community, government, medical and other mobs!
I also note that Cindy’s article on this post reads like a BIG PHARMA ad for more mental death stigmas and treatment with the supposed huge cost of these so called “mental illnesses.” I used to do marketing and write copy for disability insurance ads for a brief period when I got my MBA and a typical ad ploy is to try to scare the wits out of people to try to sell them your “product.” Of course, disability and life insurance can be very helpful while selling bogus DSM stigmas is very unhelpful and all to deadly.
I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts.
In respect of what you say about third world countries, I was talking to an African friend (more an acquaintence – sorry I’ve forgotten what country he said he’s from but I think it was Guyana) who was telling me about how his cousin who had been having severe so-called mental health problems for several years and was being treated by mental health workers. This was in London, England where I live. My friend ended up giving up work and devoted his full-time to looking after his cousin for about 6 months. However, his cousin wasn’t getting any better and ultimately my friend and his cousin’s family decided that it was best for his cousin to return to his African country. However, when the mental health workers heard of this plan they started acusing my friend of exploiting his cousin and did not like this plan at all so they arranged one of their “Professionals Meeting” and my friend told them that his cousin was only going to his African country for a couple of weeks holiday, even though this was not so. The family carried out their plan to send him back to Africa for good and my friend said that within about 3 months his cousins was working in a petrol station and had totally recovered from his “mental health problems”. I was quite surprised but my friend said he has had heard many times of people with mental health problems in European countries who returned to their African countries and totally recover within a few months.
Your criticisms of Cindy’s use of Biological Psychiatry’s language without quotations to denote questioning or a critical analysis, has been appropriate. It is also appropriate to seriously challenge people working in the so-called mental health field about their complicity with the “Disease/psychotropic drug Model” or any elements (even shades of thinking)that reflect any attitude of superiority over the people they engage with in a so-called therapeutic relationship. Cindy did respond and amend some of her comments from the original post to address some people’s earlier critisms on these questions.
Donna, I have followed many of your writings and contributions to this blog. I have great respect for your unrelenting criticisms of Biological Psyhiatry and other comments you have made questioning practical and ideological aspects of the current forms of activism. But it is off the mark and counter productive to our movement to place all therapists and mental health workers in the same camp as Biological Psychiatry. And if you want to know what I mean when I refer to “our movement”; I mean a movement whose goal is the complete defeat of Biological Psychiatry and the complete dismantling of the mental health system as part of a revolutionary movement to transform the material conditions in this country that gave rise to this reactionary trend, and that creates on a daily basis all the forms of stress, violence, patriachry, racism, sexism,and classism that ultimately causes the symptoms that get labeled as “mental illness” or “addictions.”
I have worked in a community health clinic for 20 yrs and watched the final stages of the takeover of the medical model. I have fought this takeover for many yrs and have taken some risks in that struggle and will continue to do so with even more intensity. I read my first Peter Breggin book in 1991 (I first became a political activist in the 1960’s) and was provoked to write my disertation for my masters degree on the dangers of psychotropic drugs; I likened the prolific use of these medications to the AIDS crisis at that time. I have contributed to the MIA website in discussions for two years. I have written a three part series on “Addiction, Biological Psyhiatry, and the Disease Model.” Part 3 of my series is currently up on the blog. I encourage you to read this series in a critical manner to determine if I still harbor any of the ideology or elitist thinking represented by Biological Psychiatry. I welcome any feedback, for I have learned a great deal over the past few years while intently reading the comments and critiques of the survivor/activist movement; my views are constantly evolving.
Donna, there is a general alienation and the rumblings of dissent among those working in the mental health field. They know something is terribly wrong (with a primitive level of understanding) with this complete takeover and dictatorship by Biological Psychiatry. The suvivor/activist movement can play an important role in educating and arousing a significant section of people working in this field. I believe it is possible at this time to even unite with a small minority of psychiatrists to wreak havoc in the APA and throughout their profession to target this takeover by Biological Psyhiatry and build a movement to totally dismantle the mental health system. By the way this does not mean that I am uncritical of psyhiatry before the advent of Biological Psyhiatry, but I believe as this movement develops all forms of elitism and hierarchy of power will be challenged along the way.
To place everyone working in the mental health field in the camp of the enemy is not only wrong but will lead to the defeat of our movement and isolate those working in that way to the fringes. We must UNITE ALL WHO CAN BE UNITED around a radical agenda; this is both necessary and possible.
Therapy does help some people. It is nothing more than another form of “coaching.” Some coaches are good and successful, others not so much; some are terrible. And it is certainly appropriate to evaluate and critque how someone goes about coaching another person when they are experiencing extremes states of psychological distress, including addictions. I am not so comfortable with promoting all these studies to back that up the superiority of therapy over medications; Nathan raises some good questions. One study, however, in recent yrs concluded that it was not the form of therapy that mattered when evaluating success rates, but it was the nature of the relationship developed during the process that mattered most. I believe if the person counseled is given respect,empathy,and support from an equal plane of hierarchy, and there is an exchange of ideas and feelings where each learns from the other, then something good might happen and problems may be solved. I have always criticized the DSM labels even when people seemed to be resigned to accepting them, and I have done my best to steer people away from medications and to challenge their psyhiatrist if they had one (70 % percent of psych meds are now prescribed by regular physiscians).
We all have a lot of work to do to defeat Biological Psychiatry as part of changing the world we live in to be more humane and just. Knowing exactly who our friends and enemies are, and uniting all who can be united is a critical part of this process.
“I believe if the person counseled is given respect,empathy,and support from an equal plane of hierarchy, and there is an exchange of ideas and feelings where each learns from the other, then something good might happen and problems may be solved.”
Well said. This is at the heart of the work and care that I do. It’s about being in a state where I can learn from the families and children that I work with, as much as it is about them learning from me.
I personally and professionally think the way social workers, counselors, and therapists practice needs to change. We need to critically look at, discuss, and change the way these professionals engage in the insurance game, labeling via the DSM-IV, achieve outcomes, and what fees/rates are being charged.
The focus should really be on helping people help themselves get to the place where their abilities to cope are no longer overwhelmed by life circumstances, in collaboration with their natural, community, and spiritual supports, and I believe this is possible without giving them a diagnosis/label just to get paid.
I recently read your latest addiction article and having done lots of research on this from trauma and other perspectives, I was VERY IMPRESSED with it in terms of its empathy toward those suffering from “addiction,” which includes ALL OF US, in this alienated Capitalistic materialistic, often oppressive environment. I have been meaning to write a comment on your blog commending you for such an excellent, compassionate approach to “addiction” and its many causes that debunks the disease, biopsychiatry fraud that hijacked the movement. The expansion of addiction “disease” in the pseudoscience DSM V is just another greedy power/money grab per usual to the great detriment of its many victims. I do think AA can be a useful adjunct especially for men once one learns the truth and facts about “addictions,” given their long term practical experience, but I also think their powerlessness permanent disease approach and some practices that amount to bullying and cult status can be very harmful if one is unable to pick the wheat from the chaff. There are now 12 step groups for overeating (OA), nicotine addiction (NA), Debtors, Codependents, ACOA’s, Emotions and on and on. Choose your poison!
I have suffered from various addictions from childhood on including smoking, overeating, workaholism, shopping, perfectionism and others, so as you say, none of us is immune. I have finally learned that certain junk foods with sugar, salt and fat have been manufactured to addict us like cigarettes that has helped me to overcome these plagues by avoiding them and adopting a more healthy diet like EAT TO LIVE and using abstinence to quit smoking since there is no other way for me (that includes sugar and junk food). See books like THE END OF OVEREATING by Dr. David Kessler.
For the many who suffer from PTSD, “addiction” is one of its many typical symptoms, so I despise the mental death profession’s attempts to demonize people who self medicate with alcohol/drugs and other “addictions.” Dr. Loren Mosher exposes the abject hypocrisy of the mental death profession railing against alcohol and illegal drugs as criminal as opposed to their supposed good drugs from which they can make a profit in his famous resignation letter in disgust from the APA that can be found online.
You have certainly done your homework by including many of the latest approaches to “addiction” that I found in my own research like Stanton Peele’s excellent work like THE TRUTH ABOUT ADDICTION AND RECOVERY and the book you cite, Trimpey’s SMALL BOOK (and also THE FEAST BEAST for overeating), and others you include in your very thorough article.
Other great books that challenge the AA or medical disease model are HEAVY DRINKING by Fingarette and ADDICTION IS A CHOICE by Schaler. Since the bogus biological/psychiatric addiction treatment industry makes billions, such whistleblowers have taken a great deal of heat and abuse for challenging the mental death addiction industry.
Another enlightened expert on addiction is Dr. Mate Gabor in his great book, THE REALM OF THE HUNGRY GHOSTS, whereby like you, he understands that abusive, unjust social conditions from childhood on often create the conditions for addiction though he too admits we are all addicted in one way or another including himself given our oppressive capitalistic environment. He exposes the crime and hypocrisy of demonizing and criminalizing such abused, traumatized people.
The book, THE PLEASURE TRAP, is another great book about how certain substances like certain foods, drugs and other experiences can hijack certain parts of our brains and cause us much long term grief for these short term pleasures as you point out in your article.
Anyway, per your request, I did not find one word or thought in your article that made my blood boil like Cindy’s glib statement in passing that “of course, therapists had to use the DSM for insurance purposes” without any acknowledgement of the huge harm in doing so.
Therefore, I think you are off the mark for saying that I am being counterproductive with this criticism of Cindy’s post because many experts and survivors on this blog and elsewhere like Dr. Paula Caplan agree that BOGUS DSM STIGMAS ARE THE MAJOR IF NOT THE SOURCE OF HARM FROM THE MENTAL DEATH PROFESSION that lead to all the other evil harm and destruction of people’s lives. Given that biopsychiatry in bed with BIG PHARMA promotes the evil lies that these VOTED IN junk science DSM stigmas are genetic, chemical imbalances, faulty brain wiring and other self serving LIES, and the fact that electronic records are going to be adopted more frequently, to glibly pretend that doling out such stigmas in not harmful is unbelievable coming from someone who claims to be part of the solution rather than the problem.
I have mentioned elsewhere that if all else fails, the approach taken by Gary Greenberg (who has posted here) in his book MANUFACTURING DEPRESSION may be part of the solution. He claims that he explains the problem of insurance requiring a less than ideal DSM diagnosis for payment and offers to fill out the paperwork for insurance if the client desires while requiring payment up front. Many patients opt to forgo insurance once they understand the problem. This may not be ideal, but many clients CAN afford to pay and would do so if made to understand the harm of bogus DSM stigmas. Then, perhaps therapists could use a sliding scale to avoid using stigmas on anyone given one’s ability to pay. Again, this isn’t an ideal solution, but better than blindly pretending along with psychiatrists that DSM stigmas as a way to get paid is appropriate or even a “necessary evil.”
I apologize for anything I have said here that is politically incorrect, but I’m not as much worried about political incorrectness as doing anything that would aid and abet biopsychiatry’s death sentence DSM stigmas to push the latest lethal drugs and torture treatments on patent while robbing the stigmatized of all human, civil, democratic and other rights.
I understand that Cindy probably has good intentions, but we all know that the road to hell is paved with good intentions and being sucked into biopsychiatry’s death trap is definitely hell on earth as any survivor would acknowledge.
Here is an excellent article by expert, Dr. Paula Caplan on the huge harm of psychiatric diagnosis and the details of only one of millions of lives destroyed by the bogus bipolar fraud fad epidemic:
This story shows that the mental death profession is evil, corrupt and psychopathic to its very core!!
Thanks for your thoughtful response to my last posting. I appreciate the positive feedback about my blog on addictions, especially from someone as well read and as experienced in dealing with these issues. I will respond to the addiction topic under my particular blog.
As to the question of defeating Biological Psychiatry and their Bible the DSM; you are absolutely correct to rail against the DSM labels and the stigmatizing it represents. However, the reality is that that millions of people in this country end up seeking help from mental health professionals to deal with addictions, trauma, depression, anxiety… the misery goes on and on. Community mental clinics are on the front lines of receiving these admissions, and the vast majority of these people have Medicaid insurance. As you know poverty creates more stress and trauma than within other sections of the population and unfortunately these clinics are the only place at this time that these people can turn to for help. I say unfortunately because when I started working as a therapist 20 yrs ago there was only one psychiatrist at my clinic now there are 5-7. Back then I could clearly state that most people were probably helped by their experiences in therapy; only a minority saw a psychiatrist and received drug prescriptions. Today with the complete takeover by Biological Psyhiatry and the proliferation of Psych drug prescriptions I cannot say MOST people anymore.
In community mental health the only way these people can receive help is if the therapist uses a diagnosis code. Due to the lack of income these people are unlikely to attend therapy if they have to pay for it, even on a sliding scale; therefore Greenberg’s negotiating fee approach in this environment will not work.
Donna, there are many dedicated people making very little money who are committed to working with this section of the population. This is the front lines for dealing with the human “symptoms” of a very DISEASED AND SICK PROFIT HUNGRY SYSTEM. They are NOT just good intentioned well meaning people “paving the road to hell.” Many do good work and help people despite an increasingly backward working environment. Many hate the takeover of the Medical Model and all the drugs and labeling that goes on but there is a sense of demoralization and resignationm to this oppresive system. But there is the material conditions for resistance and rebelion; “a single spark can start a prairie fire.”Yes there is also ignorance,comlicity, and elitism and it all needs to be challenged.
But I will repeat myself; to declare that everyone working in the mental health field is “evil, corrupt, and psychopathic” is simply wrong, unproductive, and represents a losing strategy for defeating Biological Psychiatry. We need to find ways to unite with people to wage struggle both outside and within the system to expose the abuses, labeling, and mass drugging. The survivor movement can win over and unite with people from ALL sectors of the mental health field, including psychiatrists; this will NOT happen if people are slammed “up against the wall” and told they are “evil” and part of the enemy.
Donna, 50% percent of my caseload involves addictions the rest involve a myriad of other problems. I am forced to still use labels to get those people help. Dr. Sandra Steingard and Dr. Dan Fisher still use labels and as are other particpants on this website. Are we evil and part of the enemy?
As I said before I discuss the problems with labels with all the people I see; I try to minimize the severity of the label. I speak out at all team meetings; I am a constant thorn in the side of the medical department. I plan to fight for a boycott of the DSM 5; yes, I know that the ICD9 codes are no better and I plan to say that, but it can strike a blow against the APA and raise consciousness in the process of the struggle.
Even my participation on this blog is a potential threat to my job. Would you have me quit my job in community health? If you had a relative or friend with Medicaid who needed help would you rather have them see me or someone else for whom you have no idea how they think or operate as a therapist? If I needed this kind of help I would see a person like Cindy, even though I had some issues with her use of language and I agree with Duane that to call it a “war on therapy” was way over the top. If I had to see a psychiatrist I would choose a person like Dr. Sandra Steingard even though I have challenged her for not going far enough in her criticisms of Biological Psychiatry.
Donna, I can handle your criticisms; I’ve been in the trenches of revolutionary struggles in my past. But others who you attack with your too broad a target may not have that thick of a skin. You will drive them away from our movement or into the camp of the enemy. And by the way there is nothing wrong with “political correctness”; since when is being correct wrong. As I stated before I have much respect for your insight and critical analysis of Biological Psychiatry; many times I avoided responding to a particular posting because you said exactly what needed to be fought for in those struggles.
On the issue of strategy I believe you are off the mark. Narrow the target within this particular movement. Biological Psychiatry is the main enemy not all mental health professionals; unite all who can be united around a radical agenda of defeating Biological Psychiatry and dismantling the entire mental health system. Encourage and challenge people within the system to raise their consciousness and take risks to expose Biological Psychiatry’s disease/psychotropic drug model. We all have much work to do. Dare to struggle, Dare to win. Let’s all become Biological Psychiatry’s worst nightmare!
How did we allow the words *biology* and *psych* to be hijacked?
I’m *for* life science and *for* the study of the human spirit, and any sincere efforts i helping heal the spirit.
And yet, here we are.
A profession void of science.
A menace and nightmare to suffering souls.
My comment about the mental death profession being “evil, corrupt and psychopathic” refers to the article I cited by Dr. Paula Caplan that describes how a young mother experiencing a great deal of stress and lack of sleep due to lots of caregiving in addition to her job and children was fraudulently stigmatized as having bipolar disorder, prescribed toxic drugs, advised to give up her job and collect disability and other horrors, which caused the woman to lose her marriage, custody of her children, career, friends, income, home and everything else that ever mattered to her because of an evil, psychopathic, corrupt doctor who sold out to biological psychiatry. This is not a unique situation, but rather, became all too common as bipolar disorder became the latest fraud fad of psychiatry to push lethal drugs on patent like Depakote and atypical antipsychotics with other poison drugs added to the lethal cocktail guaranteed to destroy the victim’s life, disable them and rob them of all they hold dear. Robert Whitaker cites many similar horrific cases in his books and I have seen many others exposed elsewhere.
I cannot speak for people like yourself since everyone has to consult their own conscience and decide if they are making things worse or better given the situation and environment. You make a good case for what you and others are doing in Community Mental Health Centers where you are dealing with poor people on Medicaid who tend to have more poison drugs forced on them and will probably get a DSM stigma anyway, so in this case I would agree that therapy is probably better than drugs for the probable inevitable stigma.
Why the bipolar stigma drives me up the wall is that it has replaced schizophrenia as psychiatry’s bogus sacred symbol per Dr. Szasz while both stigmas are referred to as the severe mentally ill in the media and everywhere, which means that anyone so stigmatized is at risk for losing all human, civil, democratic and other rights with forced commitment and drugging in our increasingly fascist government pretending to be a democracy while targeting any dissendents for social control and destruction in the guise of mental health in addition to any vunerable person they can target.
With the Internet and many critics of the DSM as total junk science and even Dr. Alan Francis, ed. of DSM IV, admitting that psychiatric diagnosis is “bullshit” and there is no way to define what is normal or abnormal in any clear way, nobody can pretend ignorance at this stage. He admits that the DSM IV was responsible for several false epidemics including ADHD, bipolar and autism. Thus, no psychiatrist can pretend he doesn’t know he is committing malpractice with each bogus stigma per Dr. Fred Baughman, Neurologist, who calls all of them 100% fraud and the worst medical crimes ever perpetrated against humanity. So, there is no excuse for any psychiatrist or mental health expert being ignorant of the fraud of DSM stigmas and the enormous harm of a bipolar or schizophrenic bogus stigmas in particular. So, my real venom is aimed at biological psychiatry and the original fiends in the APA who decided to sell out to BIG PHARMA for increased power, status and greed while totally selling out the whole system with a total betrayal of future patients.
I said I had a very bad experience with loved ones personally I was able to save thanks to Dr. Peter Breggin, so I don’t have much sympathy for those who do such evil as exposed in Dr. Caplan’s article of only one example of many destroyed lives due to the bipolar fraud fad alone on normal people in distress who trusted these fiends.
I am an older person, so when one assumes that the mental health profession gives helpful talk therapy as shown in TV programs and movies EVEN TODAY (see Sopranos and In Treatment) only to face this horror show of the sellout to biopsychiatry when dealing with loved ones at risk for such evil and abuse, it’s enough to fuel a great deal of loathing and anger at such a betrayal as I hope you can understand. Since bogus biological psychiatry did not exist in my youth, its fraud is all the more obvious to people like me.
Yes, I was tough on Cindy because in her article and comments she pushed many of my hot buttons that she may wish to reconsider if she wants to be part of the survivor movement who people can trust. I don’t know if she works in a Community Mental Health Center or works independently enough that she could give clients the option of paying themselves to avoid stigmas while explaining the harm that can come from them to all patients.
I clarified that I wasn’t saying Cindy was evil in herself, but I felt that she was advocating evil actions by being willing to stigmatize people based on bogus DSM stigmas. Personally, I still would not ever go to a therapist who would give a DSM stigma without other options given what I know now. And trying to find such an unusual person is so difficult if not impossible, I would tend to avoid the mental health system like the plague anyway, knowing what I know now.
You do make a lot of good points and you communicate your position much better than Cindy did though she eventually made some good/better points as we went along rather than sounding like a NAMI ad as she did in her original post and other comments. Cindy, I’m not trying to be mean spirited; I have suffered a lot of pain and trauma myself indirectly thanks to the so called mental health system, which is why I’m so well informed about it now and about the medical system in general! I am no longer the trusting fool I was back then.
So, Richard, I must say you have made a good case for your position and probably Cindy’s too. All I can say is to do as little harm as possible and if the shoe fits, wear it and if it doen’t, don’t. My real anger is toward biological psychiatry and if certain people working underground as people had to do in NAZI GERMANY to mitigate the situation or see less harm done and/or save lives, then I say do so in good conscience.
I doubt very much biological psychiatry will be abolished because as Seth Farber points out, its whole purpose is marketing toxic drugs on patent making global billions and they aren’t even pretending to help people, so it is working very well given their evil agenda when you consider toddlers and children are being increasingly poisoned with neuroleptics to control bad behavior. May I say that is psychopathic and evil having studied Dr. Robert Hare as the world’s foremost authority on psychopaths and author of WIHTOUR CONSCIENCE and SNAKES IN SUITS? My diagnosis is far more scientific for the mental death profession of biological psychiatry than their’s could ever pretend to be.
Thanks for your prompt response.
Thank you for your post. I was about to sign the petition but then noticed the citation of Scientology’s CCHR. Unfortunately, while I may agree with the fundamental premises of CCHR, I have to accept that the broader citizenry regards any affiliation with Scientology as a reason to dismiss the argument(s). Hence, in my writings, I’ve stayed as far from CCHR/Scientology as possible, which means never citing them as sources. Fortunately, there is such a mountain of empirical support for your arguments that CCHR-as-a-reference is unnecessary and potentially distracting. Please keep up the good work. Your voice, added to the chorus of advocates, is vital to the cause.
To be honest with you, the more contrarian impulses in me are starting to impel me to embrace any identification made by others of myself as a scientologist, even though I’m not, and have never even met one.
It’s the spirit of contradiction you see. I have no use for the approbation of people I generally find to be an annoyance, whose hatred I willingly court, and anyway, a society complicit and in my opinion at the root of psychiatric tyranny (a tyranny whose scope is far greater than that exercised by powerful scientologists on their believers) is in no position to be sitting back in smug collective judgement on scientologists from the Olympian heights of its own misplaced moral self-regard and self-esteem.
My attitude towards scientology is credit where credit is due. They have probably done as much as anyone to stem the tides of psychiatric/Pharma/Nami misinformation, descending on society like a tsunami of excrement, and to offset the effects of its propaganda campaign. Credit where credit is due.
To me, scientological bigotry is the bigotry du jour of modern western society, a bigotry so firmly rooted in hatred and intolerance that it renders the bigot impervious to the corrective influence of reason.
It occupies the same moral and logical status as anti-catholic bigotry or anti-semitism. Sometimes in history, anti-semitism has become so deeply rooted in the cultural and collective-psychological landscape of certain nations, it became something of a cultural axiom in such societies that all Jews were evil, and that there could be no greater a mark of virtue, honour or moral purity than hatred of the Jew (lamentably, the purview of a majoritarian tyranny all too often extends to morality, so that morality becomes little more than a popularity contest).
The same phenomenon is to be found in our culture. From my point of view, the weight of evidence behind the indiscriminate hatred of this group of individuals is about the same as it has been with indiscriminate hatred of Jewish people throughout the ages.
It would be much better if people were to simply endorse the arraignment before a court of law the individuals for whom there is evidence of criminality. Yet instead, society, in its boundless hypocrisy and fatuous self-righteousness, applies the principle of collective responsibility to scientologists (which would to my mind be much more applicable to society’s central determining role and acquiescense in psychiatry’s mass slaughter and abuse), which is little more than a rationalization of this most viscerally rooted, glorified prejudice.
Anyway, I’m getting so sick of these people who go around accusing others of being scientologists (the tacit assertion that you are therfore the lowest species of evil vermin to have ever sullied the cosmos with your presence), that if they ACCUSE (I emphasize the word “accuse” because in our society, criminality and depravity are deemed to be intrinsic to such an identity) me of being a scientologist, I think I’ll just say, “yes I am a scientologist, as well as anything else you hate.”
If all the pychiatric establishment flunkies cared about serving the people they would have long ago at least given half their salaries to help fund underfunded psychiatric survivors who are the only ones qualified to show those suffering what a path to survival looks like.I agree very much with Donna’s comments.I’ve never seen an extreme arrogance like that of the psychiatric establishment except in portrayals of nazis.
Yeah, the fatuous hubris of many in this industry, I’m afraid, is a natural consequence of the myopic conferment of power and privilege, with which accrues arrogance, corruption and delusion.
Far too many psychiatrists have become used to being the objects of a veneration that deems them to be some sort of enclave of super-rational, omniscient Ubermenschen within a society of irrational, benighted Untermenshen, in need of the guidance of the these infallible scientists of the human mind and human nature (as exemplified by the esteem accorded to their testimony in criminal trials), these arbiters of the best interests of their subjects.
They are just intoxicated on the power so injudiciously entrusted to them by society, it has gone to their heads. They think they have these natural rights to get away with things that the rest of us can’t, that their useless education confers some sort of esoteric insight into the nature of everything, inoculating them against them against lunacy, delusion and unreason, investing in them the right to decide what is sane and what is insane, mentally ill and mentally healthy, to go around allocating the rights and liberties they steal.
Power and privilege are the tracks that lead man ineluctably down the path to hubris and corruption. As a rule, such people should be deemed unworthy of the trust they expect as a natural right.
All of you who are rightfully concerned about the stigma of psychiatric labeling need to direct your considerable energy and ire towards the insurance establishment that has created the system of requiring a label in order to pay service providers for their work. If service providers could bill for an office visit without a diagnosis, the problem would be solved. Many people who consult psychotherapy professionals do so for help with very ordinary problems, such as dealing with a stressful situation at work or to learn how to help their child deal with bullying at school.
Just like people who build things, sell things, clean things, design things, count things, teach or whatever else people do for a living, those who spend time with others trying to help them solve problems need to get paid for the time they spend working so that they can feed themselves and their families and keep a roof over their heads. I spoke with a colleague, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, the other day who, after 16 years working as a professional, still owes $70,000 on his student loans, more than he originally borrowed.
It is true that talking about a problem can sometimes make it worse. This is particularly true with posttraumatic stress disorder. Other times people need to talk about their problems in order to resolve them and may not have anyone in their lives who can provide the needed support. Many techniques have been developed in recent years to heal trauma without talking about it–including somatic therapies, EMDR, EFT and neurofeedback. Competent, highly trained psychotherapists have a wide range of tools to use that can address the considerable variation in the needs of people who come to them. Without adequate income, we cannot afford to do get that training, much less stay in business at all.
Here are just a few examples of why psychotherapists are needed that I personally know about:
A happy, popular, 12 year old girl who had test anxiety was put on an SSRI antidepressant. A short time later she committed suicide.
A young father of 4, whose wife described him as a man who would run into a burning building to save his children, killed two of his children after being put on an SSRI antidepressant after complaining to his PCP about work-related stress.
A young adult man who had been experiencing anxiety for a few weeks who jumped off a building to his death after being prescribed an SSRI antidepressant.
What all of these people have in common is that they were never offered counseling to help them develop coping skills. Instead they were given psychiatric drugs, with deadly consequences.
This is a tough argument. I am totally in agreement that the DSM is the source of almost all the evil we are fighting, and that when psychotherapists have to buy into DSM diagnosis to be paid, they are making a pact with the devil and end up colluding. I say this having been such a person for a while. It is also very true that many, I’d have to say a majority, of those purporting to provide psychotherapy either don’t know what they are doing (despite or perhaps as a result of whatever training they received), or have so many emotional issues that prevent their effectiveness, that they can either waste a lot of money or screw people up pretty badly. I was fortunate to have received almost no training prior to learning how to be a therapeutic agent, and so fell back on my own sensitivity and creating a safe space for good, solid communication, in addition to considering my clients to be the primary source of information on what does and does not work. And I had some quality psychotherapy before I ever started, which was probably more important than any training I could have had.
At the same time, I see people being drugged partly because doctors and even “therapists” see no other options. There HAVE to be other ways available to help people who are in distress, or the psychiatrists and the drug companies will own the field. Self-help and peer-delivered services can fill a lot of this gap. But in truth, this world we live in is exceedingly complicated and painful to experience, and I have found that nothing truly exceeds communication with a safe terminal who is willing to ask some tough questions in a caring way in its ability to help me create lasting change. That a lot of therapy fails to meet those criteria does not mean that quality therapy should be discarded as an option.
Interestingly, I recall a study that showed the process or school of thought employed by the therapist was relatively irrelevant to whether the client got better in the end. The client’s sense of “therapeutic alliance” with the therapist, such as feeling safe an unjudged, and being supported in trying out new things, and feeling validated for efforts they had historically made, were far more important than the therapists theoretical orientation.
I would much rather send someone who is in distress to talk to someone than to get drugs. Even if the talking is overly expensive and doesn’t always work, it at least has a chance of success. Whereas the drugs are clearly a dead-end street. Sometimes literally.
Again, a very hard topic. I don’t know what the answer really is. People do need support, and therapy can be very powerful, but the critiques raised are quite valid. In particular, I have to agree, the war is not on therapists, it’s on individuals who are suffering. But one tactic in that war is to make legitimate social and emotional support unavailable to those individuals, and cutting out the option of therapy seems to forward that goal effectively.
There is actual still quite a bit of debate about the “dodo bird hypothesis,” that is that psychotherapy skill is a minimal factor in treatment outcome while alliance is the great predictor of outcome for all issues psychotherapy clients face. There is a lot of evidence against this, and it’s the kind of thinking that is using medications without scientific basis, (“if people feel better when they take drugs, why does it matter what the data show?”) Even if quality of alliance is associated with better outcomes, this does not mean it is the quality of alliance that determines outcomes. Studies that address change in psychotherapy over time and therapeutic alliance often show that alliance improves AFTER people start to feel better, not the other way around. That makes sense for a lot of cases, as a lot of folks probably don’t trust clinicians as much until after they see that therapy is helpful for them. I think in this regard just saying people should seek quality therapeutic alliances is not supported advice. It also leaves folks who have a lot of trouble forming therapuetic alliances the way they are often fomented in psychotherapeutic frames, potentially leading to a lot of negative feelings, shame, and more stigmatizing diagnosis.
I’m not warring on psychotherapy, I just think critique of science, politics, and economics of biomedical psychiatry should also extend to the broader mental health field, including psychotherapy. I want good research in psychotherapy, and if that research yields quality findings, I want those findings applied. I just don’t think the science of psychotherapy is all that strong, let alone how the structural elements of mental health law, insurance, diagnostics, stigma, privacy, and payment are currently aligned in regards to therapy.
I left off informed consent to my list in the last paragraph.
It is a great list!
Can’t really argue with you, Nathan! Each of us deserves to decide what works for us, and to be fully informed of what is and is not known about the process we’re embarking on. And the range of consequences just for being “diagnosed”, let alone receiving “treatment,” are quite vast. As I said, it’s not an easy question to answer.
I hadn’t read before what you said about the therapeutic alliance building after the person feels better, but that makes a whole lot of sense to me. Essentially, I think most of us who are suffering need a person to trust so we can sort through what we’re thinking and feeling safely. The act of establishing trust with someone may in itself be the most important part of the process. I think there are lots and lots of ways to do that, and they don’t have to be “evidence based” or professionally driven or provided by someone with a degree to be effective. The final arbiter of “effectiveness” is the judgment of the person seeking support.
I think that’s truly where we go off the rails – as soon as someone else thinks they’re smart enough to know what’s good for me and feel OK forcing me to accept it, whatever “science” is behind their opinion, we’ve left any semblance of helping behind.
I think you may have misinterpreted my assertion about alliance and therapy outcome. I believed you were citing a now commonly argued notion that therapeutic alliance is the best predictor of psychotherapy outcome (not therapist skill or particular therapy technique for particular issues), and using an illogical correlation equals causation logic, that good therapeutic alliances lead to good outcomes. I countered with the assertion that there is growing evidence, in at least some kinds of psychotherapies, that good outcomes cause/lead to good alliances. People who start to feel better due to psychotherapy start to feel a better alliance with their therapist (because therapy seems to be working). They don’t feel better because of the alliance, but the alliance improves because they feel better. These are very different explanations.
Additionally, the studies/researchers that advocate for the “dodo bird hypothesis,” basically mix outcomes of all sorts of different studies with different outcome measures of different psychotherapies dealing with very different client/patients dealing with very different issues and with all of the noise in the data, can’t find a lot of difference, and everything seems about mediocre. The takeaway from such studies should not be that all kinds of psychotherapy are good for all people for whatever they are seeking help for, but that we do bad science in psychotherapy. For example, psychoanalysis is not likely to be helpful for folks with OCD symptoms, but exposure therapy is likely to be. Dynamic therapy may be helpful for panic, but other treatments may have been shown to be more likely to be helpful and take less time/money. Mixing outcomes of very different kinds of studies and then seeing after you mix enough of them up that technique/approach doesn’t matter is a wrong conclusion. Ultimately, everyone should decide what they think can be helpful for them. For me personally, I would like access to quality research to help me make more informed choices about what will be helpful and why it would be.
Again. Even the research on particular symptomology/disorders I find suspect due to the lack of validity a these “disorder” have. I do think there is growing psychotherapy literature that is showing some effect for some kinds of issues people face, but the results should not be generalized past their intent. Dealing with obsessive symptoms and and panic can alleviate a lot of distress, but it won’t help with a lot of other things people struggle with. I think by investing too much in individual clinical care, we do not invest in our social/economic infrastructure that allows people that affords more people the autonomy, relationships, and stability to live lives with less impairing distress.
I know you wouldn’t be as angry as you are if you or someone you care about hadn’t been harmed in some significant way. I work independently and I have never given anyone a diagnosis of bipolar or schizophrenia. The vast majority of the people I see have seen other providers before me and already have been given a diagnosis. I often use a less severe one myself. The federal mental health parity laws that took effect in the last few years have helped a lot in that insurance companies no longer can legally limit the length or intensity of treatment based on the diagnosis. In theory, at least, they can be no more intrusive or directive about mental health treatment than they are about medical/surgical treatment.
Thank you for taking time to answer your readers, and for clarifying your positions.
I appreciate your desire to help, without drugs. I think it’s fair to say that I came on awfully strong, and I apologize for doing so.
There are a lot of folks who have been hurt by psychiatry on this site, and/or had family members who have been hurt as well. But I think it’s also fair to say that we need to begin to incorporate more *non-drug* approaches, and that psychotherapy (with the right person) can be a good option (one of many) for people who are interested in exploring its value.
Cindy, You are right that I had loved ones at huge risk from biopsychiatry I was able to save/extricate thanks to Dr. Peter Breggin at great personal cost as I said before. I have come in contact with some very evil, abusive, dishonest psychiatrists and their cohorts in crime in my rescue efforts from whom I got the “mental death profession” label.
I know some survivors here have a high opinion of you, But with all due respect, some of the things you wrote did come off as some of the worst of biopsychiatry that I would suggest you reconsider for this audience. For example, you give a typical sales pitch for the huge number of people with “mental illness” that is so costly to society, which comes off like a typical BIG PHARMA disease mongering ad campaign when people like me know those statistics are grossly inflated given the many bogus stigmas in the hundreds in the current junk science DSM if one even believes in the concept of “mental illness,” which I don’t because it was derived from twisted semantics and very faulty thinking and metaphors per Dr. Thomas Szasz. I do believe people suffer from severe emotional distress due to severe life stressors, abuse, trauma, loss, crises, oppression, injustice, etc. Given the support you seem to have from Richard Lewis and Corrine, I am saying this to be helpful.
I have no problem with your getting paid, but rather, using life destroying DSM stigmas to get paid. Do you work in a Community Health Center or your own practice? Do you have the freedom to adopt a system whereby you could allow people to pay themselves to avoid DSM stigmas as one psychologist posting here does? As I said above, you have to follow your own conscience and if you feel you can prevent harm to people with your therapy and approach to treatment then, that’s what you should do. Obviously, psychiatric stigmas on one’s health record are very harmful for life, so any way you can eliminate or minimize this harm is obviously in everyone’s best interest and avoiding bipolar and schizophrenia stigmas is an excellent start. I believe that people should be informed about the consequences of DSM stigmas on their health record.
Anyway, I regret that I may have overeacted. I am afraid that your post pushed a lot of hot button issues for survivors or protestors of biopsychiatry like me. I hope that you will take our comments in good faith and understand that many of us are very passionate about these issues because of all the harm that has been done in the guise of mental health.
Thank you for your comments and response to our concerns.
Hi Donna. This is completely off-topic and I don’t want to be a pest since I already said before how much I like your expression “mental death profession”. But now that you mention in passing your own personal experiences I cannot help feeling that that expression might be just the perfect title for a book, written by you.
Of course other that having read a few of your posts I don’t know anything about you so this could be a ridiculous suggestion, but have you ever considered writting a personal book about your own experiences? I have a feeling you could do it very well, and books can be very powerful.
During World War 11 when Hitler invaded Denmark and demanded the Jews of Denmark (for extermination) and that all the Jewish People must wear yellow stars on their clothes the King of Denmark refused and appeared himself wearing a yellow star on his clothes. That kind of integrity and courage is lacking among the psychiatric establishment busy playing both sides against the middle while they know full well the shit has hit the fan for so many millions of men,woman,children ,and babies in this thinly disguised high tech eugenic operation which they call medicine, psychiatry,dentistry,healthcare,etc.As a Kapo who do you think you are helping? Or are you just trying to save yourself for a little while longer or are you trying to pay off your house? Us survivors ,we see through you and through your subterfuge.We must birth a renewed real friendship with the oppressed.
Thanks for your usual support and kind words. I tend to be vague about my personal experience because it involves people I love very dearly who are very close to me. I feel I have no right to betray their trust and certainly would not want to endanger them again after what we went through to escape the mental death trap.
However, I have done tons of research about biopsychiatry fraud that applies to both my personal experience and everyone’s experience that has made me sadder and wiser that I try to share from a general perspective. What is most appalling and horrific is our govnernment and its corrupt hacks aiding and abetting this BIG PHARMA and other predation on all of us for their own self serving greed, power and profit. It’s pretty obvious that it takes tons of money to get elected, stay in power and get rich at the same time. Further, many in Congress who sold us out to BIG PHARMA went on to get lucrative lobbying jobs for their “efforts.” This is not some big conspiracy theory, but rather, you can find a mainstream media video on PHARMALOT with a newscast about this appalling betrayal of the American public and our children especially.
I’d like to hear more about your experience or opinions if wish to share them.
Donna, I agree with most of what you say (I won’t say with all, because I haven’t read everything you’ve written!). My interest in the mental death profession is by way of my own profession, although in a very roundabout way. Not that I’m completely untouched by it at a personal level (who is these days?) but not too closely. Without going into a lot of detail I’ll just say that it has become progressively clear to me that a lot of people are lying about psychiatry and I don’t like that at all. I used to think that it was ignorance or lack of knowledge, but not any more. Of course, I won’t say that every single person in the field is lying, but far too many are, and certainly all those “at the top of the food-chain” are.
Someone has written here that you are angry; well, I guess I’m angry too. Perhaps not enough people are angry or they are not as angry as they should be. I know it might be hard for a practising psychiatrist to give up everything he or she knows (and maybe a lot of what they own), but just like people affected as “users” have to rebuild their lives, any honest person practising psychiatry should face the fact that, like their patients, they have also been the victims of a lie and they need to walk away from it and rebuild their lives. I don’t think there’s any room to sit on the fence in this. To narrow it down to something specific: if in your profession you are using the DSM (or the equivalent sections of the ICD) you are part of the problem, not the solution.
Getting back to the book thing, I mentioned it because I think one of the things that is really missing in terms of letting people know what is going on are more voices in “popular culture”. We can have a scientific debate about it, and it is happening whether pharmaceuticals want it or not because advances in areas of research that are not under their control, like for example neuroplasticity, are in clear contradiction to the model of biologically-determined psychiatric disorders; but science progresses very slowly and it’s going to be a while before that body of evidence is so overwhelming that they cannot bury it with money. We can have scientific journalism like “Anatomy of an Epidemic”, and without a doubt it does a lot of good and we need more of it; but a lot of people won’t read that kind of book (and they are not getting translated into other languages either). But I think we also need people telling their own experiences in a way that reaches a wide audience, we need “page-turners”, books that Hollywood will want to buy the rights of. Books that simply tell people “this is what happened to me”, no theories, no speculation, just letting the facts speak for themselves. Of course not everybody can write a book like that, but everybody can try, and out of 10,000 who try one might succeed, and sometimes one book is all it takes to tip the balance.
Anyway, I just thought that if I saw a book called “The Mental Death Profession”, I’d buy it.
I really appreciate your willingness to reexamine some of your comments and be open to feedback given the volatile and highly charged nature of this topic. This is especially true given some of your own traumatic family experiences perpetrated by Biological Psychiatry. BTW I always capitalize Biological Psychiatry as I would any significant reactionary or oppressive historical entity.
Don’t think for minute that people on this website who are working inside the mental health system aren’t deeply affected by all the provocative comments such as yours and people like Anonymous (who unfortunately has been absent for a while). They make me reevaluate my choices at work on a daily basis and provoke me to do everything possible to expose Biological Psychiatry and work towards dismantling this oppressive system.
While I have not directly experienced the oppression of this system on myself or my family, I have seen some of my clients die and others have their brains fried by the chemical cocktails of psychotropic drugs. It is difficult enough to listen to all the multiple stories of horrific traumas that seem to pour out of every fiber of this profit mad system, but to see human resilience crushed before your very eyes under the facade of it being so-called “medical treatment”,this can be almost too much to bear when your intentions were to provide empathic help to people in desperate need.
The more people working inside the system can learn from and unite with and be a part of the survivor/activist movement on the outside, the sooner we will be able to create an unstopable force for radical change. Let’s keep very SHARP YET PRINCIPLED struggle going strong to create this unity of purpose.
An unstopable force for radical change can only come when it is realized that the assault on the human being including of course the human brain starts even before birth. The drugs given to the mother,the vaccinations given to babies,the toxic dental care ,the adulterated food supply,chemialized, biologically altered food crops, floridated water supply,the diease promoting medical care,the psychiatric assault on a traumatized population,poverty,joblessness,betrayal trauma,the exploitatation of the population by the robber barrons. All this must be replaced by paths of mutually gauranteed survival.Traditional Naturapathy,organic farning,Homeopathy,Energy Healing like YuenMethod,Chiropractic and other bodywork,open dialog,Hal Huggins trained dentists,Friendship between people trying to create a sustainable way of life in line with nature.This is the real way to life liberty health and happiness.
I have been working for several years on a book called Health Care Hijacked: How We’re Being Cheated Out of Safe, Effective, Affordable Health Care and What We Can Do About It. It is about the war against all natural forms of healing by powerful interests who profit greatly from pharmaceuticals and other dangerous forms of medicine.
What has happened in psychiatry has also happened, often to a more extreme degree, in all aspects of medicine. For instance, pharmaceutical companies falisified the data about the addictive potential of narcotic painkillers like Oxycodone and Hydrocodone, claiming that addiction to these drugs by people in chronic pain was an extremely rare event. In fact, the rate of addiction is 50% and millions of lives have been ruined. Meanwhile, chiropractors, who have been historically thrown in prison for “practicing medicine without a license” more recently have been facing the same economic issues that psychotherapists face–no increases in fees for over 30 years. The number of chiropractors leaving the profession has greatly accelerated in recent years.
The worst abuses have been in the field of cancer care. Patients are put through tortorous treatments while being told we are winning the war against cancer. The truth is that the five year survival rate for people with cancer who get chemotherapy is only about 2%. Many are killed by chemotherapy. At the same time, many of those who have dared to treat cancer with therapeutic nutrition and herbs, which are far more effective and less toxic, have lost their medical licenses, been prosecuted and thrown into prison and even killed. Even Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, who was the only person in history to win two unshared Nobel Prizes, for chemistry and peace, was labeled a “quack” by mainstream medicine and denied research funding for his work with Vitamin C and cancer. Meanwhile, over 560,000 Americans a year continue to suffer and die from cancer.
My hope is that when more people are educated about these issues, more people will say no to this fraud and choose safer, more effective treatments.
Great points, Cindy.
Wow. I come to this site because the articles are interesting, but sadly, my memory is severely interrupted and I can’t really comment with any good sense. I do not know if I am going to recover, so by the time I read the comments, I can’t even remember what the article read. (I suppose, my comment could be at the end of any article on this site). I can’t seem to get it right.
My life is incredibly altered by medicine and particularly psychiatry.
Reading the posts only gives me more anxiety because I’m too sick to do a thing about the harm done to my family by psychiatry and cannot afford the care I believe would help us; acupuncture (regularly), massage, supplements, an organic whole food diet, true counseling which I’m beginning to think that almost anyone could offer; a neighbor, sister, cousin, or friend. My dog could do a better job than most folks who are educated in social work, psychotherapy and god only knows the psychiatrists. We need people with a caring heart.
We need what we cannot access.
I am poor. I am disabled. My son is disabled and now, after only a few months of Latuda, he has serious Akasthisia. He has been dismissed by the doctors (ha! psychiatric Nurse Practitioners) who gave him the Latuda. The last time we saw the NP she said, “I don’t see any signs of Akasthisia in him right now.”
I knew then, when she said that, that I could never face her again. I cannot stand the lies and coercion anymore.
They dismissed him saying he would be better served at the clinic who specializes in ‘severe and persistent mental illnesses.’ The clinic doctor wanted to not only double the dose of Latuda, but triple it. If Akasthisia is permanent, then my son probably does not have a future to look forward to. I am so incredibly sorry for him and to him. I am so sorry that I ever once stood by and allowed psychiatry to screw his body up so badly!
Poor people can’t afford any form of treatment that will get us better. Dr. Peter Breggin, at least as far as I know, does not see poor people nor offer a sliding scale fee. I called his office once, when I was less disabled and would have driven across the country to see him. I would move anywhere if I could; if there were people who could help my son and I, but we do not have the money they expect or charge.
Psychotherapy might as well be the moon! We can’t access it anymore. Psychiatry intervenes and says oh wait, we must see you first, before you see a free resident at the supposedly free hospital. They want to get their reimbursements, which is quite a fat check!
Psychotherapists do not want a Medicare/Medicaid patient.
My son is now seriously physically disabled from Akasthisia, but of course, the NP who gave him the drug and treated him for two days with clonozepam, gave up on him and never saw him again after having seen him for several years.
I feel like it is my fault because I got sick with pneumonia, then given an antibiotic, a medicine of which has made me even more ill, which I didn’t think was possible and I don’t know if I’ll ever recover.
I’m not in any shape to fight anymore.
I would like a therapist, but not one who believes there is any antipsychotic drug that will help my son. Psychiatrists do not care what their drugs do or how much harm they cause. There are a few psychotherapists who understand the dangers of psychiatry, but I haven’t met many. Only one to be specific and I can’t even remember her name!
What are poor disabled people supposed to do? Just sit, or jump around because they can’t sit for even one minute without torture, suffering to no end and wait to die?
PS I would like to add that the most recent psychiatrist my son saw claimed to be a holistic one. I was very excited and hopeful. That didn’t last long. The supposedly holistic psychiatrist also wanted to continue Latuda, and eventually, triple the dose. Why on earth? His conclusion was to give one of the older drugs, with the most side-effects of all because of the communication issues my son is having. My son communicates fine when people take time to listen.
I told him that I was upset. I told him that there are many people who believe psychiatry does a lot of harm.
“Yes,” he responded. “Those people are terribly misinformed.”
I learned that if I had cash, then there was holistic care available at his office.
I cried. I left crying. I left completely hopeless and have been ever since, which was a month or so ago.
Am I wrong, I wonder? The psychiatrists say I can’t give up (on them!). They make me feel like I am doing wrong by my son by believing in radical non-believers like the folks who write on this blog.
The truth is that I agree with the writers on this site, but I am so afraid. I am so afraid because I do not know where to turn anymore.
It makes me wonder who are more “delusional,” the psychiatrists and all those who follow slavishly in their footsteps, or the people who they label as “mentally ill.”
Once again you point out one of the most important problems of being poor and not having access to good talk therapy of some kind. The very few professionals who even venture to offer this today do not have even a sliding scale. If you don’t have lots of money you don’t get any therapy and are left as prey to the psychiatrists who want to drug you to the gills with their disabling and very toxic drugs.
Your story distresses me greatly.
You know, I finally understand why patients in a psych ward say the staff or psychiatrists are the ones who are ‘crazy’ or as you say, “delusional.” The same logic applies to settings outside a psych ward.
As to counseling or therapy, I must say I’ve had the pleasure of a helpful therapist in the past who didn’t charge me or when I could pay, then the fee was affordable based on my income.
Things have changed, I guess, and you are right about being left to the toxic drugs. Just recently, the provider who we were seeing said quite blatantly I thought, “Poor people must rely (solely) on medications.” Of course, I do not agree and do not think I or anyone must accept this.
I think the best bet for you is to find a “peer support” network in your area. Where are you located? There are a lot of “hearing voices” support groups and such around in most major cities that I’ve lived in. These folks won’t judge and have been there and know how to help someone, and also generally don’t charge for their services, more than some nominal fees for space and snacks and such. It might be worth looking into.
I only know one therapist in Eugene and one in Portland who does therapy work with people with psychotic issues. It’s a rare specialty, and such people are often attacked by mainstream psychiatry. It is very discouraging, but don’t give up – there are a lot of others who have experienced the same and come out the other side. See if you can find them.
I am so sorry about your troubles. Regarding your health situation, antibiotics can be just as disabling and deadly as psychiatric drugs, particularly a class of drugs known as quinalones. Just like with psychiatric drugs, patients are not warned of the possible side effects and when patients do develop side effects their doctors deny the connection.
As far as your son, akithesia is not permanent if the person gets off the drugs. Your son needs to safely wean himself off of his drugs. There are instructions in Dr. Breggin’s books and in many places online on how to do this. It is tardive dyskinesia, a movement disorder, that is permanent if the person stays on drugs for too long. Akithesia is dangerous because the person feels so horrible that sometimes they commit suicide to stop the torture. You and your son do not need a doctor’s permission or blessing to wean off the drugs, though it would be safer to do it under a sympathetic doctor’s supervision.
As far as access to pschotherapy for poor people is concerned, there is a tradition, at least among clinical social workers and possibly other mental health professionals to offer some free and reduced fee care. However, as fees have gotten lower and lower and business expenses have gotten higher and higher and providers have to see more and more paying clients just to keep their heads financially above water, they are less and less able to offer reduced fee or free care. In addition, funding for free public care, such as county mental health facilities, has been drastically cut in recent years as financially distressed governments cut back on everything. This leaves poor people with no place to turn.
Theoretically, Obamacare will increase access to all medical services for everyone, however, as the saying goes, “the devil is in the details”. Will drug alternatives such as psychotherapy, peer to peer support programs, Soteria-like inpatient treatment facilities and other safer, more effective programs be adequately funded? It is up to all of us to do whatever we can to make that happen.
My own efforts include the petition referenced in my article. While I agree with some of the comments on my article that psychotherapy can be harmful in the hands of incompetent or uncaring providers, many competent, caring providers who do provide genuine help to others are struggling to survive themselves so that they can continue to provide help to others. So signing my petition is one small step you can take to make a difference. Please provide a comment on the petition, as all comments will be presented to policymakers.
Hello Cindy. Thank you for your reply to my very emotional comment. Obviously, we are having some difficult times lately. Thanks for your well wishes too. As to antibiotics, I will not take another one, or any other drug for that matter, without first doing my own research. I did ask the doctor if the one she chose was dangerous, and she said no. I don’t understand why, since it comes with a black box warning. My ears haven’t stopped ringing, which I’ve learned can happen from taking that drug. I hope to find relief.
About Akithesia, I’m sure glad to hear it isn’t permanent. He has cut the dose in half since we learned what was going on. We haven’t yet looked at a guide for withdrawal, but obviously, this would be best. I’ll check out the resources you mention. We know a holistic practitioner who would probably work with my son in this regard.
I have to keep up the hope. I have lost it many times lately. Without hope, doing something simple, like making a phone call and asking for help is difficult. Being sick makes everything harder, but I feel a little better since having commented on your article.
I’ve never felt good about Latuda. At first, I thought it was a general fear of the dangerous side-effects of antipsychotics, then later, other people noticed things, like the restlessness and faster sudden movements. It wasn’t just me.
I told the person who had prescribed the medication about my concerns and was told that maybe the symptoms that I and others noticed was my son’s real personality showing up from the positive benefits of the drug. I knew this was not the case, but it was later, when the symptoms worsened, that they said they would, “treat him for Akithesia,” which was to take him off Latuda for two days and give him a strong dose of clonozepam. Those two days were the best I had seen my son in a while. I realized how bad the anxiety/restlessness was when I saw it go away.
The plan next was to immediately restart the drug and stop the clonozepam as if the symptoms of Akithesia disappeared, but they didn’t. So, he is slowly reducing the medication.
Personally, I have had positive experiences with talk therapy, as well as hypnosis and biofeedback, but those providers are no longer in my area. I have however had negative experiences as a Mother, watching the social workers who have worked with my son (taking the place of psychologists), because they have an agenda of teaching the patient/client that medication is the most important part of ‘treatment’ and managing illness means making sure not to forget medication. Also, if he doesn’t want to take medication, the programs and service providers in the area do not allow him to participate in other types of treatment, including psychotherapy. This has never made sense to me. He isn’t even allowed to participate in group functions because he may be, “a bad influence on others if he says he doesn’t take medication.” It is absurd.
I have read the comments about poor experiences in psycho-therapy, which is sad really, but I do understand. I wish my son could find someone like the therapists that I’ve known and that it would help him. I’m glad I read the experiences people shared though. Being invalidated and told how to think is not the way counseling ought to be.
We have met with a small group of people in an Icarus group that we both enjoyed. We also found a wonderful Temple where I think my son could find healing. The reason we haven’t been able to get out and participate more is because of my poor health for the past year.
You are right about each of us doing what we can to change things. I will sign the petition. Thanks again for your reply and also, for your personal work to make a difference in our current mental healthcare system.
Psychotherapy has done more harm to me, than medications, which I had horrible side effects from, some of which I have not recovered from, even after having been off them for over a year. Most of the time drugs numbed me to oblivion. The lasting horrors of psychotherapy will live with me for life.
I have been with some of the top therapists of ALL types of therapy, you name it I experienced it, and NONE of them helped me and all of them harmed me. The latest catch cry of CBT solving everything is as useless as the drugs. When I was told I could get over being raised in a pedophile ring, by simply thinking as the therapist told me, I really knew it was not going to work. But hey it was my thoughts that were causing the problem, and what caused those thoughts is totally irrelevant. I just need to think what the therapist tells me to think, because there thoughts are right!!! Then you get the psychoanlyists who insist on you lying on a couch and telling all your problems, which they interpret as resistence. Be on a bus that has an accident and end up in hosptial, it is your resisting therapy, you unconciously arranged the bus crash as you wanted to avoid therapy and getting better!!! But of course when I don’t get better from these therapies, it is all me and not the therapies, or the therapists providing the therapy.
Many countries do not have these restrictions from therapy, yet there is no evidence that people are getting better in our countries!!!
If therapists only gave therapy to other members of the “professional” psychiatric establishment and if in turn psychiatrists limited their neuroleptic prescriptions to therapists and other members of the psychiatric establishment only adding pharmacuetical company heads and employees and of course the Rockefeller family for therapy and prescriptions then maybe that black hole would slowly drift into another part of outer space and leave the rest of us most thankfully to manage without their “professional” services.
Michelle and all,
If you want poor people to have access to options other than medication, then please sign my petition. That is in essence what it is about–that insurance, whether it is private, Medicaid or Medicare, pay adequately for other services so that providers can afford to stay in business and provide services to anyone who needs them at low or no cost. All consumers can have equal access to almost any provider if the insurance problems are corrected. If the supply of providers was plentiful, people would flock to the good ones and the bad ones would go out of business eventually.
Cindy, I agree with you and will surely sign the petition.
The holistic provider my son and I saw regularly last year and who helped my son more than anyone has, is now able to get payments from Medicare and possibly Medicaid, but am not sure about the latter. He was so excited to tell me they were going to pay him.
He isn’t the average alternative healthcare provider, as he has extra time for people who can’t pay what he would normally charge, but you are right. If the insurance companies would pay, then more people like him would provide services.
If someone wanted to see a Tradittional Naturapath, or a Homeopathic Physician or a YuenMethod Energy Healer or have their denistry correctly done by a Hal Huggins trained dentist,or to be counciled by a Peer Survivor, or all of the above,…. WHERE IS THE INSURANCE TO COVER THESE MODALITIES WHICH ACTUALLY WORK?
Well gosh, Fred, they can’t be making people BETTER! Then they’d have to get more clients, and that takes SO much time… Far better to create chronic, lifetime disability so they can charge $100+ a session for a 7 minute visit and get lots of extra payola from their drug company buddies!
Cindy, the fact that you said “psychotherapy has no negative side effects” reveals ignorance of the realities of iatrogenesis and the history of psychotherapy. Lives have been ruined and people have even been killed from therapies such as attachment therapy, repressed memory therapy, gay conversion therapy, etc. When a therapy is not grounded in robust replicable scientific evidence, the outcome is a crap-shoot; you’re recklessly experimenting with human lives with potentially profound and devastating consequences. There are some readings listed here that might help for starters: http://www.trytherapyfree.wordpress.com/links.
You are right, of course. Human interaction is a powerful thing, for better or for worse. I was thinking of the kind of side effects that are caused by introducing a foreign substance into the brain that alters the way the brain functions, with potentially catastrophic consequences such as suicide, homicide, making a transient situation chronic or birth defects. There is no doubt there is such a thing as psychonoxious therapy that makes the person worse. There is also therapy offered by competent, compassionate, accepting, respectful therapists who help people struggling to cope with life’s challenges or who are overwhelmed by the aftermath of trauma to find peace and healing. Research shows that the latter type of therapy, regardless of the techniques used by the therapist, results in significantly better outcomes than medication. The point of my activism with the petition is that if present trends continue, even the best psychotherapy will disappear as an option and the only “treatment” available for those who are emotionally struggling will be psychiatric drugs.
Asymmetrical paid relationships and drugs are not the only alternatives. For alternative recommendations, please see http://trytherapyfree.wordpress.com/ (“Recommendations” section) and http://trytherapyfree.wordpress.com/about
Also, please note that there are no reliably effective psychotherapy treatments for trauma, and those that are tried out on people often make them worse off than no “treatment”: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/19588408/
Further, the psychotherapy industry has done an egregiously poor job of tracking and taking responsibility for the harm it causes: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24607768 and http://www.comppsychjournal.com/article/S0010-440X%2814%2900006-6/abstract
There is no justification for therapists, no matter how good their intentions are, to go on engaging in dehumanizing relationships and playing dice with human lives.