The Changing Face of NAMI


Pete Early, author of Crazy, traces the history of NAMI, including its “complicated love-hate relationship with Dr. E. Fuller Torrey” and shift from his 2002 keynote address to Robert Whitaker’s pending appearance at its 2013 convention in San Antonio this June. Early writes “For me, this shift away from Dr. Torrey’s views and the welcoming of Robert Whitaker as a NAMI speaker reflects how NAMI’s membership — or at least its board of directors – has moved away from its traditional parental based roots.”

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      • Thanks Duane.

        Being deprived of my freedom without having committed any crime whatsoever was the most humiliating experience of my life. The psychiatrists that say that many “helped patients” appreciate basically try to instill Stockholm syndrome in their victims. They were not successful with me. Ever year that passes since my commitment makes me even more upset that these people enjoy the undue power that they do. In fact, although I am aware that many MIA commenters do not feel that way, I will contend that coercion is the reason psychiatry is so much despised and hated. There are many nonsensical endeavors around (astrology, homeopathy, you name it), however none of them ruins lives the way psychiatry does. And the reason is coercion, either because people have suffered it (like me) or because the threat of coercion is a powerful enough weapon to subdue even the strongest willed individuals. Without coercion, psychiatry would be a joke.

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        • I agree with you wholeheartedly cannotsay2013, having been coerced and threatened with it on the 3 occasions I’ve been in psychiatric institutions. As you say, it was a means by which the system subdued me, made me conform and kept me under control. Until I escaped by taking charge of my own mental health and making a complete recovery. Yes you’re right without the use of force their belief system would collapse and this is why they are holding on to it with great force.

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          • Thanks Chrys,

            Yes it’s all about coercion. Not only on the side of psychiatrists but also of governments who have a “scientifically” sanctioned way to lock in people they don’t like.

            This is why the battle is so uphill. Neither psychiatrists nor governments are going to give up that power easily (humans in general tend to have a problem giving up power, and a bigger problem giving up big power).

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        • I went willingly into the system and once there was faced with the coercion that you’re talking about. Psychiatry seems to enjoy controlling people. I wasn’t allowed to leave until I agreed that I would take my “meds” like a good boy. I agree with you that this is something that has to stop and the sooner the better.

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          • Stephen,

            I really appreciate your comments on MIA, especially your *sincerity* when it comes to your own experience and desire to help others who find themselves in a vulnerable place.

            You really seem to understand what’s going on, and want to change things for the better. It shows in your comments.

            My best,


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          • :D. This reminds me of how “free” people were in the institution in which I was committed to leave.

            When you got in they gave you a very nice pamphlet with a list of rights, etc, one of them was “your right to leave voluntarily if you had come in voluntarily”. Although that didn’t apply to me, there was catch. Every single one who had tried to get out that way, got instantaneously an emergency court order that they couldn’t leave until approved by the psychiatrists that were following them :D. So there you go.

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          • While I agree that coercion is bad and wrong for me it is not going to solve half the problems we have. I know of thousands of people who very very willingly take treatments, in fact they complain when said psychiatrist will not up the dose of medication and search high and low for one that will. They actively search out doctors who will prescribe higher and higher doses, larger drug coctails, and give them more ECT. No one searches out that stuff on the basis of forced treatment laws.

            I know all about forced treatments and yes I became a complaint patient on the basis that it was my fastest way out. BUT I never ASKED for more, never searched for psychiatrists outside the system to give me higher doses, I simply did what I had to do to get out. I am however a rarity.

            I’m in Australia and we have a public or government funded health system. We also have a very large private health system. Over 50% of the population has private health insurance. Forced treatment is only in public health facilites and ALL private psychiatric hospitals must have unlocked doors at all times, the same as any standard hospital facility. The growth in the private psychiatric system is huge, especially in regards to inpatient admissions. There are whole facebook and other internet groups set up to discuss how to get a doctor to prescribe higher doses, and more drug coctails. People don’t join those groups to get out of a forced treatment order, they do so because they seriously believe that they have a brain disease and that these drugs, which they call medications will save them. To them the higher the dosage the more chance it has of working. If it is not working, then to them, you simply need a higher dose, or add another drug to the coctail they are already on.

            I hate forced treatment laws and would love to see them removed, but I do not for one second believe it would do anything at all to change the current status quo of psychiatry. The whole world believes in the brain disease and that we have drugs to treat these disorders. People are actively going to see GP’s and then psychiatrists to get these drugs, and people are angry when GP’s will not prescribe drugs and instead refer them to a psychologist or the like, as we all know that these drugs cure these diseases just like insulin for diabetes.

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          • Belinda,

            Of course it would. Again, there are already nonsensical disciplines (astrology, homeopathy) with equally nonsensical patients of said disciplines. Making psychiatry entirely voluntary would make a great deal of difference.

            There are also drug addicts outside psychiatry. People will do all kinds of stuff. My qualm is with having a “behavior police” with legal authority to enforce the behavior it deems necessary.

            For example, because I have this fear to HIV, I rarely go to the dentist. I have no problem with people going to the dentist, but why should I go (as I was asked to as “therapy”) when the possibility that this happens is very real ?

            I happen to have no problem flying (actually I love flying). But some people do even though statistically speaking flying is safer than getting HIV from the dentist. Who decides that fearing HIV is OCD that can make you spend time committed but fearing flying is not? Those who have a problem with people who fear HIV infected people. And in the West, we can trace that to the gay lobby, the same lobby that RIGHTLY SO managed to get homosexuality off the DSM, made sure that there was some DSM disorder for those who fear HIV which disproportionally affects gay males in the US and other Western countries.

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          • I NEVER once said that I agreed with forced psychiatry. If someone is saying I have then I challenge them to quote the relevent part.

            What I said was that the WHOLE reson we have it is because 99.9% of the population believes in the chemical imbalance brain disease model and that we have drugs to fix it.

            99.9% of the population is willing to go to the deninist. 99.9% of the population is willing to fly. And for the record MILLIONS of people throughout the world get treatment from psychiatrists for these fears and are prescribed drugs for them. Something I totally disagree with. I think there are much more appropriate ways of dealing with fears.

            Those on this site are the rarity and if someone believes that thinking psychiatry is crazy is the norm, then I would challenge them to provide proof of that. We are all labelled as those crazy antipsychiatry people. And yeah I proud to be antipsyhiatry, but that hardly makes me crazy. It is actually one of the first signs of saneness that exists, as no sane person could truly believe in psychiatry.

            What has been threatening to mainstream psychaitry and the population as a whole about Robert Whitaker is that he does not get into the question of forced treatment, instead he challenges the beliefs on which it is all based, and that hurts them more than anything, as without the brain disease model, they have no grounds for doing what they do.

            Judges do not grant orders to lock people just because the law says they can. They do so, because they seriously believe that these people have brain diseases, that we have medications more effective than insulin for diabetes for treating it, and that no sane person would ever refuse it. Many many judges have had sons and daughters locked up, and requested that they be locked up, because they need treatment and we all know that these drugs treat the disese!! Parents making these requests are not doing so on the basis of being abusive, or bad or mean, they do so on the basis of love as they seriously want the best for there loved ones, and what the doctor says they agree to. They simply worship the ground doctors walk on and 99.9% of the population do that.

            Mindfreedom has existed for over 25 years with very little success of anything at all. Massive changes and questions have occured since Anatomy of an Epidemic was published, but it never once questioned forced treatment, rather it simply questions the false assumptions of brain disease on which it is published. Psychaitrists are beginning to question what they are doing, something they did not do, when people were jumping up and down saying this is wrong I have rights. They simply labelled them insane. Robert Whitaker has changed that as they now have no grounds on which to label us insane.

            I don’t blame anyone for wanting to get rid of forced treatment, I just am not willing to waste huge amounts of my time on it, as to me the best way to get rid of it, is to simply challenge the grounds on which it is based which is the brain disease model. Robert Whitaker is changing the way psychiatrists practice and is challenging them to think outside the square, and that to me is going to be much more effective than me jumping up and down saying I don’t like what you did to me. People have been doing that for decades with no changes, changes have taken place with Anatomy was published, and some psychiatrists have even joined this site and are really challegning themselves in how they practise and what they believe, and for me personally those are the things that are going to have the best long term outcomes.

            The Hearing Voices Movement is having more sway here and more people are joining it, and for me that is something to actively encourage. I don’t think it goes far enough, but anything is better than nothing. It also is not based on saying don’t do this, it is about saying people can and do recover, and do so without med’s. Prove recovery and people will have less need for forced orders. The whole ground on which they are based is that people cannot get better and need these drugs for life. Show them that people can get better and not be what they fear of psychotic madmen and we begin to get them to think of something else.

            The simple fact is that believing in psychiattry is not just a small offshoot of society, as it is with other things, it is in fact the norm. When something is the norm, then laws are allowed for it. When something is abnormal, then laws do not exist for it. People do not believe in something solely because of laws, they do so because of what they are told about it, and in terms of psychiatry they are told a bogus story about brain diseases and life saving medications.

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          • Belinda,

            I think that there is more agreement that disagreement here.

            Where I think that you are mistaken is in the idea that debunking the “chemical imbalance” model will be fatal for psychiatry. The history of psychiatry tells otherwise. Usually, when its prevailing model loses steam, they invent another one. Which is why I believe that putting the fight against psychiatry in the context of civil rights will be more effective in the long term than focusing on the current psychiatric fad. In fact, we already know what the next fad is going to be: “anomalies in brain scans”. That will not please Big Pharma, but it continues to please both psychiatrists (who continue to make money after all) and governments (who continue to lock in those people they don’t like in a “scientific way”). There have been many times during which abusing the human rights of classes of people was considered normal (blacks, women, gays, etc). Now it is not. We need to take the long term view if psychiatry is to be exposed for the evil endeavor it is. Debunking the “chemical imbalance” model cannot be an end onto itself but only a means to an end. Let’s not forget the true enemy here: psychiatry as a whole.

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        • Cannotsay2013 and Belinda,
          I’m inserting my comment here because I can’t farther down where your discussion is.
          Related to AOT, there is another terrible abuse of human rights that is protected by the law. It is the psychotropic drugging of children and adolescents. From the minors’ perspective, their human rights are being violated with the complicity of their parents or, very frequently in the US, by their foster parents. These children are being forced into a quasi-irreversible path to mental patient careers, total disability, premature death and sometimes violence, to themselves or to others. This is a human tragedy of indescribable proportions; the violation of the human rights of these children is arguably more serious that of victims of adult involuntary commitment.
          I don’t think the basic powers and obligations of parents towards their children are going to change anytime soon or even if they should. Robert Whitaker has a strategy to ultimately address the human rights violations to children executed by psychiatrists. It is not to explicitly and directly challenge social norms backed by the law, but to change public perceptions. As we have seen so dramatically in the last decade with gay marriage, once the polls go, the politicians and the Supreme Court justices will go. If the public opinion campaign, as promoted by Whitaker, is successful, laws to protect minors and adults from psychiatric crime will follow. Though totally I agree with Cannotsay2013 that, based only on fundamental philosophical and ethical principles, AOT laws should be repealed immediately, that’s not how the world works, unfortunately; I can see Belinda’s point. But I am a little taken aback by how she dismisses active protest. Does she think that past civil and human rights victories have been won by armchair intellectuals alone?

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          • Little to add to what you say, except if I left out those children in my discussion about the evils of coercive psychiatry is because I though it was implicit in my criticism of forced “treatment”. You can also point to the scores of seniors in nursing homes who are being drugged with anti psychotics for the same reasons. It’s all part of the same evilness.

            I am a pragmatic individual and I know that these unjust laws are not going to go away overnight. There is also the fact that we are in better shape here in the US than in Europe (there, its European Court of Human Rights has recognized in several cases “need for medical treatment” as a valid standard for civil commitment, while our SCOTUS standard is “dangerousness”). So these things take time but I very clear about what the true enemy is, and in my opinion, it’s psychiatry’s legal status as a coercive force. You cannot be “forced” to be treated a tumor if you don’t want. Jehovah’s witnesses refuse to get blood donations and, as far as I know, that has been upheld by courts. Psychiatry’s true evilness lies in the legality of its coercive measures.

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          • I have STATED VERY PUBLICALLY AND ON THIS THREAD that I opposed to FORCED TREATMENT LAWS of ALL varieties. Please stop saying that I am saying something I am not saying.

            My beliefs is that NO ONE makes an informed decision to take these drugs for the simple fact that they can’t. No one can make an informed decision about something, when they are lied to about having a fictional brain disease and that these drugs treat that brain disease. The chemical imbalance myth has largely been debunked, but we still have genetic biological brain diseases. It is the drugs, marketed as medications that I am opposed to, for EVERYONE, not just the elderly or the children. I do not know of any adult that has seriously made a fully informed decision, because they have ALL done so on the basis of seriously believing they have a defective brain. MOST people on this site who have used these drugs did so very willingly at first, believing that they would help them. I suggest you all go back and read Laura’s story, she was not forced to take these drugs, she did so on the belief that she had a brain disease. Her parents supported that by believing the same thing.

            Repealing AOT laws would do very very little, as very very few people are affected by them. I live in Victoria, Australia, and we have the highest rates of forced treatment anywhere in the world, yet they are only less than one percent of our treatment population. I do not know of anyone who takes drugs on the threat of forced orders. EVERYONE I know takes these drugs, because they believe they have a bogus brain disease and that these drugs are treating the brain disease. AOT laws in the US are almost non existant. I am not saying they are right, anymore than any form of forced treatment laws are right. What I am saying is that at present 1 in 5 people in the US is on one of these drugs, and less than one in a million is being forced via law to take them. Sure children might be one of every 200 of those, sure you might have one in a thousand taking them due to fear of forced treatment, but that is only going to touch the surface of those on these drugs.

            I was forced to take these drugs as a child. I know full well what the affects of them are. I have also suffered the affects of forced treatment orders that are allowed in my state in my country on the basis of refusing treatment. One does not have to prove you are a danger to self or others, in our laws no sane person would ever refuse these drugs and so refusing entitles one to a forced order, that is decided by a panel of psychiatrists, not a judge in a court of law. And no we do not get legal representation.

            My real concern is based on the TRILLIONS of people worldwide who willingly take these drugs on the belief that they have a genetic brain disease and that these drugs treat that condition better than insulin for diabetes.

            I HATE and DETEST forced treatment orders, children being forced to take them, the elderly being forced to take them. But I cannot deny the facts that they are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of who is taking them, and I don’t want to help a few, I want to get these drugs out of existence. NO ONE can make an informed decision to take these drugs, EVER, and I cannot comprehend anyone who says they choose to take them, so whats the problem. They don’t choose, they do so on the basis of what doctors have told them, and we are all bought up to believe that doctors are right.

            I would also add that in recent years I have come across multiple adolescents, 15, 16 and 17 who have choosen to take these drugs, whose parents tried to stop them for years from taking them and who believe they should have the right to take such medications for medical conditions they have. I even know of 12 year olds who are angry that parents can decide not to allow them to take these medications!! WHY because they believe what they hear from doctors and the media, and that is in a country that does not allow direct to consumer advertising of these drugs. What they get are the media saying that feeling sad is a brain disease and that we have medications to fix it, just go and see a GP and you will never feel sad ever again.

            Until we change a public perception that we have medications which we all know kill you eventually, to cure a fictional brain disease then no real dent will be made in the billions of people taking these drugs, as the fact is most are fully consenting adults, many of whom are members of this site. And how do we determine when adolescents or the elderly can consnet to taking these drugs, if you support them on the basis of consent.

            Civil and human rights victories are won on the basis of PROVING that what is being done is wrong. Not on the basis of someone saying I don’t like this. FACT: AOT laws are passed and endorsed on the basis that BILLIONS of people WILLINGLY take these drugs and cannot comprehend anyone who won’t.

            Australia has forcibly given blood transfusions to children of Jevoh’s Witnesses via court orders when parents would not consent. The court determined that while adults had a right to kill themselves they did not have a right to kill there children. Parents were offered the chance to give the child their own blood or that of other relatives, so it was a not a strangers, but it made no difference to them. I can say that in ALL cases bar one the parents have thanked us, saying they wanted to do the right thing, but religion would not allow it. This way they could keep the religion and still do the right thing by the child!!! They would want the laws any other way.

            Adults with cognitive impairments are forced to recieve medical treatment on the basis that they are not able to make informed decisions about the treatment offered to them, in the same way as parents act as decision makers for children. There are definately cases of adults labelled as mentally ill, that are under guardianship orders on the basis that they are not able to make informed decisions. While I do feel that guardianship orders are issued too freely in all countries, the fact remains a person in a coma cannot make an informed decision and loved ones do need to step in and make decisions for them, if they do not have advanced health directives in place, which most people do not. This is not about an advanced mental health directive, this is about an advanced directive for everything, what do you want your family to do if you have a spinal injury, stroke, heart attack or the like?? You cannot make a decision on those things while lying unconcious on the side of a road, or do you not want ambulances to take you to hosptial and to instead leave you there to rot, as you have not given informed consent for it?? Fact is people are given forced treatment, in many many instances without even knowing it. Any ambulance that picks up an unconcious person is forcibly treating them and detaining them, since they did not agree to the ambulance removing them from the side of the road and transporting them to hospital!! Perahps they made an informed decision to lie on the side of the road to rot. While there is no doubt that forced mental health treatment is a totally different kettle of fish, not least because they are not treating any real condition or disease or have any real medical treatments for it, fact is people are forcibly treated at times, every day of the year in ALL countries in the world.

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          • Belinda,

            I think we are arguing about splitting hairs at this point, really.

            On psychiatric coercion, I know nothing about Australia’s system -other than its abusive laws- but I can tell you that in Europe many “voluntary treatments” are de facto “forced treatments” because people are usually given two options: either to “agree to treatment” or to be “forced into treatment”. So coercion does make a difference, even in “voluntary” cases.

            On the issue of drugs, I have no problem with people taking any drugs they want, as long as they do it voluntarily. People are already addicted to alcohol and other hard drugs that are illegal. I don’t see how you can prevent addicts from taking drugs, really. It’s really not my business what people choose to do with their own bodies. My only worry is what some psychiatrist thinks I should do with mine and what would happen if I refuse to follow orders.

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          • Do people take cocaine and heronine and other illicit drugs, sure they do. BUT they do not do so with taxpayer dollars, fully funded by the government and prescribed by a doctor as a treatment for a fictional condition. People take those drugs knowing full well the dangers involved in taking them. We have classes in schools to teach children about the dangers of such drugs. Yet in the same schools we teach them about the so called benefits of taking prescribed drugs to treat fictional diseases.

            Do I know people who agree to drugs on the basis that it will prevent forced treatment sure. Did I at one stage do so myself, sure. But only for as long as was necessary to get the relevent authorities away from me, so that I could truly decide to remove myself from them – which had to be without any assistance from anyone at all, and that is not an easy task for anyone. I also know of many people who have failed trying to do what I did and who slipped back into a full on psychotic state, if that is the right word to use.

            The simple fact is no one makes an informed decision to take any form of psychotropic drug, because they are handed out by the government, funded by the government and endorsed by the government, under the guise of medical treatment. No one hands out cocaine as a form of medical treatment, or heroine as form of medical treatment. In fact we go to huge lengths to stop people from taking them, have sniffer dogs and other technologies to stop people from bringing them into the country. People are also charged with not only taking them, but especially with selling and distributing them to others. Some countries even sentence such people to death, and all countries put people in prision for many many years. Why are doctors not put in prison for suggesting people take a substance no better than them?? Sure one could argue that they should be put in prison for forcing someone to take them, but a court of law makes that decision, so they are not doing it in isolation. And how was it that you were able to make a decision that taking these drugs was so bad for you, when you consider it perfectly acceptable for them to be deemed medical treatments for 99.9% of the population??

            I am a person who generally follows the advice of doctors. I am not a doctor and I do need to respect the training that they have. There are many medical conditions I have for which I take medication, which not only helps, but substantially improves my quality of life. Difference is they are diagnosed with real diagnositic tests. They are not something I can diagnose myself or decide for myself whether I do or do not need medication. Like billions of other people I was led to believe that psychiatrists were real doctors who had real medical treatments. My concern is over them pretending to be someone they are not. It is also my concern that taxes are used to poision and kill BILLIONS of people in my own country. Sure we have a few thousand on forced orders, and a few thousand who might take them for fear of forced orders. But as I stated above that does not account for 99.9% of people in ANY country, including Europe who very very very willingly take these drugs, under the guise of medication, paid for by the government and prescribed by doctors. The same doctors do not prescibe cocaine or heroine and nor would they ever suggest a person took such a substance. If you believe that doctors should be prescribing cocaine and heroine and we should stop trying to restrict there use and instead promote them, the same as we do these psychotropic drugs, then fine, but as I said, I do not. I believe that psychotropic medications, which are drugs should be no more legal than cocaine or heroine. It is beyond me how anyone can endorse the use of ANY such drug.

            I have made my points very clear. People are entitled to there own views, but I will never ever respect anyone who endorses the promotion and sale of any drug, and I believe that psychotropic medications are drugs. I will not be responding or reading anything in relation to this thread anymore.

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          • Belinda,

            I do not get where your belligerence comes from since I think that there is more agreement than disagreement.

            With respect to “I am not a doctor and I do need to respect the training that they have.”

            That might explain the difference in our approaches. I do not have medical training myself but I do have scientific training that is as, if not more, rigorous. For that reason, I don’t grant “respect” to anybody on the basis of their credentials alone. In my eyes, respect has to be “earned”. I know many people that hold advanced degrees and I don’t respect all of them. I know that we, the highly educated, have also our share of crooks (as with any other group of people).

            With respect to drugs, I would not like to pay for them with my tax/insurance dollars (as we do with psychotropic drugs) but at least in principle I have no problem with people destroying their own lives with drugs. I’ve never tried illegal drugs myself but if people want to destroy their lives with them, they should be free to do so. As long as psychiatry keeps its coercive powers, there would be no difference with announcing to the world the so called “dangers” of “psychiatric drugs”. Some people just prefer to believe that taking drugs, any kind of drugs, is going to solve their problems. You just cannot change that. What I resent is to be held hostage of psychiatry by the inability of these weak minded individuals to take command of their own lives.

            Psychiatry’s coercive methods are the only problem as far as I can see.

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    • This selective appeal to the testimony of patients is preposterous. It brings into sharper relief the comments made by psychiatrists about how utterly meaningless the verbal productions are of their patients. Indeed, I think that one of the axioms of psychiatry is that the average mental patient deemed eligible for involuntary psychiatry speaks nonsense or says not what is in his true interests.

      With this in mind, I find it a little absurd that psychiatrists and psychiatric propagandists invoke the testimony of people who are supposedly retrospectively grateful (and to my mind, we should privilege the original testimony and interpretation of the coerced patient over that of this supposed retrospective gratitude) when it is they who spend so much time marginalizing their voices and spreading the notion that the patient is not fit to author his own experiences.

      The implications this has for so much of the so-called scientific evidence regarding the efficacy of a treatment could be disastrous for the profession. If patients can’t be trusted to bear witness to their own existence, why are we bothering to ask them about whether the drugs work or not? If their utterances only have meaning and significance within the context of their illness, then this makes a mockery of so much of the science, which lest we forget, rests on the anecdotes of the patient.

      They can’t have it both ways. Either patients can’t be relied on to speak or see the truth, or they can. It is no good oscillating strategically between the two positions in response to the circumstances, trying to rationalize this discrepancy by abusing your power and position to label some expressions as symptomatic of disease and others as symptomatic of health (which is of course, exactly what has been done by the profession, and which I am afraid is a logical corollary of the trust and power society myopically reposes in its psychiatric protectors).

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      • What about the role of oppression in all this? Such people start from the premise that oppression is like a mere historical curiosity. If they knew anything about oppression and its central determining role in all this, they would understand that the effect of oppression’s tyranny isn’t just felt on the plane of words and actions, but on the plane of thought as well.

        Many patients are psychological slaves, articulating their experiences in the terms imparted to and imposed on them by their oppressors, initially resistant to the role imposed upon them, but now fully socialized to that role so that it has taken over their identity, in deference to the simple human need to live a life without the unbearable emotional and psychological concomitants (trauma, fear etc.,) of rebellion against a much more powerful enemy, who has availed himself/herself of the means at his/her disposal to punish you for your refractory behaviour, and thus to influence your thinking in the desired direction (of the oppressor).

        I think that perhaps why on programs like World Strictest Parents, the children come round to their oppressors.

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          • Also, never is any mention made of the role of the sytematic degradation of mental patients in all this, the cumulative effect of which is to leave the patient riddled with self-doubt and lacking in dignity, which are two of the psychological preconditions of resistence to authority.

            This was why in the show trials in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, Freisler and Vyshinsky would verbally degrade and humiliate the accused; because dignity and self-belief act as an impetus to resistence, so that with the diminution of each comes a commensurate diminution of his capacity to resist, hence why the rituals of degradation are such an important part of the administrative functioning of psychiatric hospitals.

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          • Very well said. I have always had problems of those defending coercive psychiatry based on this type of testimony on two fronts.

            First, much of it is anecdotal. In this area psychiatry continues to do what it does best: take extreme anecdotal cases and try to make them pass as “the norm”. My own inquiry into the matter tells a very different story: “the norm” is for people who have been committed against their will to be very upset and humiliated by the experience. It’s to have families destroyed sometimes -as in my case- forever. I have yet to meet a single person committed against his/her will who was very happy with the experience. The most I have heard is “understanding” that it happened but never “support” or willingness to repeat it. In a way, if you value your freedom as much as I do, it’s the same feeling that people who have served time in jail for crimes they did not commit have once they are exonerated. They might not wish ill (*) to those who committed the injustice, but they hardly say that such miscarriages of justice are OK for the sake of “community well being”.

            Second, even if it were the case that the majority of people who have been committed against their will feel good a posteriori, does this really matter at all? I am sure that many former slaves felt empty after the 13th amendment passed that they had to learn how to live in freedom with many willing to go back to their life in servitude with their basic needs taken care of in exchange of obedience to their masters. In many former Communist Eastern European countries, a significant part of the population continues to vote 20 years later for the heirs of the former totalitarian parties out of “nostalgia” of the “good times” during the totalitarian regimes. People sticking to unjust but “perceived” easier lives is nothing new in the human experience.

            (*) Regarding wishing ills to former tormentors, I know I am not a good Christian for say what I am about to say, but that is how I feel. With every passing year, I feel more strongly about this. I do wish the worst of luck to my former tormentors, and that includes my parents. I dream that these people suffer the worst of tragedies in their own lives as retribution for having destroyed mine, either here or in the afterlife.

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  1. Although this article is somewhat encouraging, the comments under it are anything but that. In fact, they are very scary if you look at the agenda of some of them to create a new fascist Torrey type monstrosity of a NAMA alternative, attacks on Bob Whitaker and reviews of the great “science” that everybody “knows” is true with regard to biopsychiatry like their bogus stigmas are real diseases like any other and on and on…………….

    Hope you can understand why I am very bummed out about the fate of humanity now that it seems the psychopathic hijacking of the globe has succeeded. The book and web site, POLITCAL PONEROLOGY, along with those by world authority Dr. Robert Hare and others explain how these intraspecies predators accomplish this.

    Some journalists believe that these public shootings have been created by psy-ops to rob us of more freedoms and exert more social control with psychiatry already exercising fascist control for our growing police state as many experts believe 911 was an inside job as an excuse for the Iraq war and to rob Americans of more and more human, civil and democratic rights.

    At this point, given the malignant corporate pathocracy that has hijacked the globe, nothing much would surprise me.

    I know I risk being called a Scientologist or Conspiracy Theorist, but given our nation’s sordid history along with that of psychiatry, not much is going to surprise me now.

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    • Conspiracies happen all the time and are all around us. How can you not question anything and everything when doctors are allowed to give PREGNANT WOMEN Prozac, essentially maiming/killing an unborn child? If people are willing to do that, IMO nothing is beyond the realm of possibility when it comes to evil acts.

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      • Scott,

        Aren’t you afraid of being accused of being a fellow Scientologist and Co-Conspirator by daring to question the establishment’s right to force toxic drugs from the womb to the grave?

        I had been in pretty good spirits until I read Laura’s post about many new fascist laws being considered in Massachusetts to rob those stigmatized as “mentally ill” of their every last human, civil and democratic rights making me feel like I am living in NAZI Germany or Stalinist Russia due to the latest public shootings probably caused by deadly psychiatric treatment with SSRI’s and other violence inducing drugs. Then, I read another article about the mental death profession preying on those who suffered child abuse to stigmatize them as having more severe bipolar disorder and then I came here and read the vicious comments by the Ralph Torrey crowd under what appeared to be progress by NAMI in the main article. This just made my day!

        Nice to see you here again!


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          • Dear Madness of Cledwyn…,

            Thanks for another very witty, hilarious and insightful post about the real “madness” out there led by Cult Leader Torrey and his many worshippers.

            I must say I have been quite down by recent news on this web site and other sources. So, it was a great relief and stress reducer to read another one of your brilliant posts while I howled with laugher over your satirical, biting humor again.

            Thanks for improving my day again. Keep up the great work! You are a great inspiration for keeping a sense of humor while wading through the neverending toxic waste of psychiatry so that we don’t end up drowned in it all the more.

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          • I would also like to add that fairness demanded that we remove the comment, amusing though it may be, and irrespective of whether we might happen to agree or disagree with the message.

            We can’t pick and choose which targets deserve to be protected by our posting policies. It gets difficult to make the call about removing posts; we tend to be very conservative about that, and generally we all discuss it before we do. This means often things stay up that are questionable (I believe Donna makes a reference to a certain public figure in a comment above, which I’m ignoring for the moment in favor of writing this).

            The bottom line, I think, is that if we refused to print, or dismissed the opinions of everyone with whom we found some disagreement, there would literally be nobody left. The site, to cite the Open Dialogue term, is about polyphony. And it’s been my experience that the more and better polyphony is encouraged, the less such concepts as “crazy” and “psychosis” even have room to exist.

            As Donna posted recently in another thread: “…all disrespectful, controlling, invalidating behavior or emotional, verbal, psychological abuse is harmful to ANYONE AND EVERYONE even if in the best of emotional health.”

            She goes on to say (I’m paraphrasing a little): “…people should be expected to feel something when insulted or offended, but it is true that people have to control their reactions in that they aren’t allowed to hit someone with a bat or shoot someone when offended.”

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          • I understand the posting policy -I’ve been at the receiving end a couple of times- but let’s be honest here, E. Fuller Torrey is not just “somebody”. He has become kind of pinata for our movement since he represents everything that is wrong with the current system. I have watched him speaking, in internet videos, several times and he scares the hell out of me. It’s what G W Bush was for liberals and Obama is for conservatives: a container that manages to include each and every single one of the issues the respective critics see as the quintessential example of evil. I read the posting and it surely was a bit over the top if directed at a human being for whom we might have some respect, but given E. Fuller Torrey’s pinata status, maybe it was not so bad.

            Just my 2 cents.

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        • Dear Matt, Kermit and others,

          I have mixed feelings about your censorship of Madness… and me regarding the likes of Torrey.

          Here is one of many articles about how psychiatry’s evil eugenics theories and never ending witch hunts for those with inferior genes or “human vermin” unfit to procreate or live create a mass delusion, vicious scapegoating and murder of millions of innocent people even if slowly with psychiatric violence and brain damaging treatments that rob people of 25 years of life or drive them to suicide.

          I have been very down seeing people like Torrey and his ilk using the latest public shootings probably caused by toxic psychiatry and its mania, violence inducing drugs to stir up masses of people into a vicious frenzy to act like lynch mobs to scapegoat the so called mentally ill for all the mass shootings, violence and woes of a declining country just as has been done with Jews, blacks, gays, women, lepers and other marginalized groups throughout human history. Torrey and his cohorts wish to rob ALL those stigmatized as mentally ill of all their human, civil, democratic rights with the vile pretense that such a gross violation of human rights, the Constitution ensuring that even the worst criminals are to be safe from cruel and unusual punishment and out and out destruction of this group by a huge INSANE, VIOLENT, VICIOUS MOB led by this megalomaniac to do his funders’ bidding.

          Fuller is a big hypocrite because he had opposite views in the past and he admitted psychiatrists were no better than witch doctors. He agreed with Dr. Thomas Szasz that there was no such thing as mental illness. He obviously changed his tune when funded by a rich foundation. He is also known to carry around cat brains in keeping with his theory schizophrenia is caused by a cat virus.

          After reading many fraudulent articles of vicious, lying psychiatrists including Torrey and their followers using these rare national tragedies to prey on millions of people with the usual lies about the great success of forced commitment, useless but lethal drugs, ECT and other torture treatment and permanent slavery to the mental death system, I was also feeling very angry with some growing feelings of hatred for these vicious, cruel predators.

          As everyone here knows, it takes a long period of hard effort and careful progress to change views of a large enough number of people to change a false, damaging paradigm in the mental health system to a better one. Bob Whitaker especially has worked very hard for years to carefully build up and present his excellent, persuasive research of many expert studies in psychiatry that has persuaded those with a conscience in the profession like Dr. Steingard to reconsider their practice. Not so Torrey and his ilk; he attacks the science, vilifies Bob Whitaker and continues his vicious agenda with no regard for the damage and suffering for the millions he afflicts with his vicious lies and manipulation of an ignorant, brainwashed, fearful public not thinking too rationally given the recent mass shootings that the forced treatment squad are exploiting to the hilt no matter how many horrible lies they must tell; the vile means justify their fascist ends.

          Anyway, given that I felt some very negative emotions when confronted with this nightmare when it seemed things may be looking up with NAMI, Bob Whitaker’s ideas gaining more acceptance with his many talks and the publishing of his work in a mainstream journal and other things, I must confess that the witty post by Madness was an enormous relief. It helped me to laugh at the absurdity in the face of massive evil and viciousness. As Nietzche said, “Beware for those who fight monsters of becoming a monster yourself for those who look into the depths, they come back to look at you.” (Not sure I got that quotation exactly right, but hopefully you got the idea. An FBI agent who pursued serial killers prefaced his book with it and admitted it was all too true for him).

          Madness’ humor lifted me out of potential feelings of the type of hatred and rage and/or empty souls that created the eugenics predation on certain people by referring to them as “human vermin.” This is the exact type of assault that Torrey and his crowd instigate in destabilized people and economies looking for scapegoats or the illusion of total safety if they can just eliminate this evil menance by trusting in biopsychiatry. Those who deferred to the eugenics of biopsychiatry in NAZI Germany and the same hidden agenda today and justify it by believing the “mentally ill” are subhuman, which is necessary for any war or attack on fellow humans, tend to not be so proud of themselves when they see the evil results of their deeds and all must share the shame and blame.

          Duane can probably help me with this. C.S. Lewis prefaces his great witty book, THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS, with the advice that if you want to rid yourself of the devil, laugh at him because he can’t bear to be mocked. So, I think laughing at the ridiculous ploys and lies perpetrated by Torrey and his cohorts helps to keep us sane and hopefully, will send this devil of constant predation and violation of human rights packing if we treat it with the righteous scorn it truly deserves.

          Anyway, maybe Madness… can continue her great works by toning them down, so we can continue to enjoy her comic relief so that we won’t become what we hate and despise ourselves.

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          • Thanks Donna, you make some good points in this comment and your previous one, about humour and the insidiousness of the biomedical model, used to justify forced treatment and even eugenics. The bullying and intimidation of one group against another. There’s something in humanity that can’t stop putting other folk down.

            You have to laugh at some of the antics otherwise you would cry and not stop crying for what goes on in the name of psychiatry.

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          • Usually I remove follow-up threads about moderation, but I think there are good points here I want to address. Parody and satire do play an important role in any subculture or social movement. For a little frame of reference, I’m a big fan of Stewart/Colbert and in a previous life in online community I was a moderator on the bitingly satirical

            I want to invite this kind of playful posting, but I think it goes best in our community forums rather than comments on our articles.

            The forums I know have been a virtual graveyard for a while, but maybe the more lively posters among us can make an effort to bring energy there, especially light-heartedness and new ideas. A post in the forums, clearly marked as tongue-in-cheek, could even be linked to in a comment here, but let’s keep satirical remarks off the front area of the site.

            The comments are very public and give newcomers, as well as critics, a first impression of our community. It is particularly important to the mission of this site that we embody the utmost civility in our style of interacting here. The forums offer more leeway for people to interact socially and discuss more radical and potentially offensive beliefs without the same liability in terms of community integrity and reputation.

            In regards to Torrey, seriously dehumanizing anybody is not acceptable in our community. It is a core value of our approach to dialogue that we respect individuals and all they have gone through. I agree with much criticism of Torrey’s work, but that does not make it acceptable to attack his humanness here.

            In response to Donna’s assertion that Torrey is a “big hypocrite” because he changed his mind about his belief in mental illness I say this: May we create many more hypocrites with the work we are doing here.

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          • Matt, thank you for the explanations. The rules are plain common sense and I support them. But as a big fan of Colbert myself, I’ll relish the attempts to go right up them without crossing.

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          • Yes, PC. My point is that it seems unhelpful to perjoratively label someone for having changed their mind, when changing minds is exactly what we’re trying to do here.

            I wouldn’t hope to change anyone’s mind toward most of Torrey’s assertions, but the act of being able to change our minds is something that I celebrate.

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          • Matt. Ridicule, of what people say not who they are, can be a very effective at promoting the mission of MIA. The distinction is important. That is the fine line that is not to be crossed.

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          • Fair enough Matt, that comment was pretty vitriolic. What can I say, I find it difficult to resist the temptation to make zoomorphic analogies when confronted with the behaviour of Torrey. As for my physiognomic analysis, I no more intended to dehumanize him through this means than did Balzac, Flaubert or Proust would when they would use similar means to shed light on a person’s psychology. I thought I would that just in case this was interpreted as an attack on his humanity (though, obviously, the part about the rat lends itself to such an interpretation).

            I can see why someone would believe I have fallen prey to the dehumanizing trends of the age based on what I have written, but I must say I wouldn’t brook any equation betweeen myself and this man, who utters his dehumanising words as a prelude to or as a post hoc rationalization of his despicable acts, that when shorn of their obfuscatory shrouds reveal themselves to be wholly compatible with common criminality, as I have tried to show in some of my posts comparing them to rogue tradesmen, cowboy builders, rapists etc., and other individuals who do not have the power and the prestige (unlike many criminals in the mental health industry) to escape legal and public scrutiny for their crimes.

            What can I say, I don’t believe in a just world. We could never have got rid of the Nazis through turning the other cheek; through rigid adherence to moral dogmas that make no allowance for the exigencies of the situation; or through the simple dissemination of moral and pacifistic tracts.

            Sometimes, the quest for absolute moral righteousness must be deferred to the long term out of respect for the urgent demands of the moment.

            The psychiatric dehumanization of its opponents (which by the way, I would have absolutely no problem with if it wasn’t for its practical and strategic import. Not everyone who sees his opponents as “vermin”, or who compares humans to animals, does so to lay the conceptual groundwork for the persecution of that group, which is a common fallacy, just like not every Misanthrope treats humanity badly) through the use of linguistic and cinematographic rhetorical forms must be offset by giving these people a taste of their own medicine sometimes.

            To put it in cliche, unimaginative terms, sometimes fire must be fought with fire, hatred must be countered with hatred. That’s my philosophy. I have no wish to be a martyr for virtue, nor some mug who turns the other cheek and gets slapped all the harder for it. I know my enemies, and I don’t tend to waste my finer sentiments on them. Fascists, thugs, careerists and con-men simply don’t appeal to my finer sentiments, and I tend to steer clear of bourgeois hypocrisy wherever possible.

            Nevertheless, I have obviously overreached the limits of what is considered acceptable on this site, and whilst in no way contrite, I accept the reason for removing my comment as it does violate the behavioural code for this website. I’ll have to try harder to suppress my hatred.

            As for Donna, thanks for your compliments, which I esteem as an honour coming from someone whose views so closely resemble my own and whose every comment commands my respect. I will also take on board the criticism.

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          • I have no inention of lowing myself to Torrey or anyone else’s standards. I detest him, like I detest others, but I have morals and dont plan on lowering myself, by trying to somehow justify it as saying but they started it. Two wrongs do not make a right. Does that mean that if someone starts shooting a gun at anyone, then I can do the same thing, because they started it?? They have no science to back up what they state, which we have. They are offended, because we now have the science that Whitaker has put together so wonderfully, and which I have personally gone and read many of the research for.

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  2. Psychiatry is a tool used by the elite to profit from, suppress and kill those deemed “infirm”. With class struggle around the corner this tool is going to be used against those that defy the despotic status quo. Simply put, it is a scam. Like 9/11 was a scam, the War In Iraq was a scam and how pretty much our whole economy is held together through scams and fraud. It needs to go.

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    • “Foolish consistencies are the hobgoblins of little minds”

      Ralph Waldo Emerson, SELF RELIANCE


      You are right when you take what I said totally out of context. However, you will notice I was really speaking about good and bad motives and the reasons for changing one’s mind and not the fact that somebody has changed their mind.

      For example, I point out that Dr. Steingard obviously has a conscience, so when she read Bob Whitaker’s ANATOMY OF AN EPIDEMIC and other evidence, she became concerned about her practice possibly harming people, so she started using neuroleptics much more carefully if at all in certain cases and other wise actions when confronted with very credible new information.

      E. F. Torrey on the other hand joined other antipsychiatrists when their views seemed the prevailing view and then jumped on the biopsychiatry forced treatment, drugging band wagon when that became the theory du jour and the wealthy Stanley Foundation hired him to direct this fascist forced treatment agenda due to their experience with their son. When Torrey sees any information and facts that challenge has brain damaging, life destroying agenda, he viciously attacks the messenger regardless of the truth or impact on his many victims. No matter how much science, evidence or medical experience is presented to Torrey that his fascist agenda has and is destroying countless lives and creates the very problems he pretends to solve, he viciously, violently attacks the truth, refuses to intelligently consider the evidence and uses all the more out and out vicious lies instead of changing his mind when confronted with the facts showing he has a very impaired conscience in my opinion. Bob Whitaker wrote an article on this web site urging Torrey to stop the lies.

      Thus, as you can see my full post had little to do with whether one changes their mind or not, but rather, WHY someone changes their mind as is evident if one examines my comparison of Dr. Steingard versus Torrey above. In the former case, Dr. Steingard sees that her patients are probably being harmed by the current practice of neuroleptic use, researches the matter further and has already CHANGED HER MIND about the safety and efficacy of such “treatment” based on the ample evidence and her own experience.

      In the latter case of Torrey, he changes his mind whichever the winds seem to blow depending on how he can profit and take advantage of the situation with no regard whatsoever for the consquences to the very people he pretends to be helping, those stigmatized as “mentally ill.”

      So, I would agree with you in that attacking people for just changing their minds would be inappropriate and ridiculous if you just take that one sentence out of context from my post. But, if you consider the entire post and the above explanation, that is the opposite of what I said. In keeping with Emerson’s famous quote about stubbornly refusing to change one’s mind in the face of all evidence to the contrary, which is one of my favorite quotations, I admire Dr. Steinberg and Bob Whitaker when they change their minds about certain practices in psychiatry while I feel the opposite when Torrey changes his mind because of their all too obvious motives, agendas and results.

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      • Thank you Donna. I absolutely did not mean to negate the full force of your post, or imply that you really thought people shouldn’t change their minds in general. My intention was to be playful with the turn of phrase. Thank you for your insightful comments.

        It is in our power to – at best – gently speculate about other peoples’ motives unless we have some special insight into the situation. We might deduce that Torrey’s motivation is greed, or power, or any number of things. We can accusing him of being uncaring, of refusing to consider the facts, but the reality is that we do not know for sure. His experience and description of what’s going on may be different. Many people in history have done grossly harmful things with good intentions.

        Pointing out Torrey’s mistruths, which, as you point out, Bob has done here, is in this way a step removed from declaring we know why he is lying. We can make some very good guesses, but that’s still all they are. The purpose of the guidelines here is based in the shared understanding that we would not like an authority to make misplaced guesses and conclusions about our own character and motivations, as often happens in psychiatric treatment. We offer the same basic respect to others, no matter how fiercely we might suspect them of “faults,” or “disorders.” That’s the present standard for being a part of this community.

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  3. “By the way, I’m not a woman.” Priceless.

    I remember the first time I read a Cledwyn comment, I literally sat up in my chair and said, “Now this person has command of the Queen’s English!”

    I continue to be impressed by your literary style, your substance and passion for what you write.


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    • Once again, thank you for your support David, which is most welcome considering my respect for you and your views.

      I wish I had the same faith as you in my writing. Sometimes I read back what I’ve written in horror and despair that I could have made such an obscene verbal spectacle of myself. I hope that’s more to do with my implacable self-loathing than it is with anything to do with my writing itself.

      the Bulb

      (actually, my name is not Cledwyn at all. Nor is my surname Bulbousons. I just like silly names. I think I’ve taken a bit too much acid and watched a bit too much Monty Python.)

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