Too Much Pies

Sera Davidow
67
86

No, that is not a grammatical error.

On March 18th, Ronald Pies, a psychiatrist based in Lexington, Massachusetts, wrote a letter to the New York Times. He argued in favor of the usefulness and harmlessness (when well used) of psychiatric diagnosis and wondered as to the misgivings so many seem to have toward this hallmark of his profession.

The Times invited its readership to participate in a dialogue by submitting responses to Pies’s piece. I have no idea how many replies were received, but Laura Delano, Paula Caplan, and I were among the relative few who managed to get our voices heard on the web and/or in print in the Sunday paper on March 24th. Pies had the last word, though. That last word was written when the Times afforded him the opportunity to respond to our replies in the same printing, and so concluded that particular dialogue. I suppose I should be pleased he acknowledged my letter in his reply, but he gave just two short sentences to my dispatchment, and as such, summarily disregarded so many years of pain and loss and abuse of power. You can read the whole exchange here.

Here’s the funniest part, though. As alluded to above, one of the central points to the 186 words I was so allotted was to speak to the power that is wrapped up in the process of diagnosis. As I stated in my recent post, Anti-Anti-Stigma, people regularly lose jobs, homes, children, health and freedom based on the process of diagnosis and what so often follows. Pies’s response? Well, basically, he claimed, “It’s not fair.” One could almost hear the stomping of his feet. Specifically, he said:

“Nor is it fair to blame psychiatric “labels” for the abridgment of civil liberties, as Ms. Davidow does. Psychiatrists, like all physicians, are governed by civil law and judicial oversight.”

What’s funny about that, you ask? Well, after being afforded the final word in the New York Times, Pies still wasn’t satisfied. No, he needed more ‘last words,’ and he apparently needed them to be largely uninterrupted. And so he left New York in favor of Psychiatric. Times, that is.

Apparently, Mr. Pies is the editor-in-chief of a publication called the Psychiatric Times. He posted, at length, about how his original letter had been misunderstood while essentially re-asserting the same points. But here’s where it really gets good. While one can sign up to read Mr. Pies’s article, one is not permitted to respond unless one is a (and I quote) ”qualified healthcare professional,” (which apparently must be proven by submission of one’s license number, amongst other details).

So funny (in a not so ‘ha ha’ sort of way) that he would dismiss my claims of power issues, and then flee at first opportunity to an arena where there is no denying the privilege afforded to those deemed doctor.

Is it so hard to understand how the power represented in the exclusivity of this domain and the obvious silencing of those not deemed worthy mirrors the power behind diagnosis and the structure of the whole psychiatric system?

Mr. Pies claims that psychiatrists are governed by law and judicial oversight. Yes, in theory; but theory is often where that ends.  I worked in a provider role and I have seen many things I wish weren’t true. I have personally witnessed defense lawyers seeking conference with the ‘other side’’ in commitment hearings because they don’t regard the person they’re representing as competent and are seeking guidance from those they see as ‘the professionals.’ I have seen providers sit together in meetings and strategize on how to agitate someone to the point where they could argue for commitment to a short-term hospital as but step one in a broader plot to see them committed to a long-term one. I have known people’s parental rights to be called into question before they’ve even left the hospital with their new baby based primarily on the diagnoses written in their file. I have seen laws (like the Roger’s Order in Massachusetts) twisted and warped from their original forms to allow for dramatically increased latitude in sectioning people off to the hospital. I have seen police, providers and lawyers work together in ways not supported by law to coerce people in directions they would otherwise not go and in ways that would certainly earn them (at the very least) the label of ‘manipulative’ by any well-reasoned and objective onlooker. I have my own stories of trauma experienced in hospitals where I was sent when someone decided that – based on my diagnosis and instances of decidedly non-lethal self-injury – I needed to be committed ‘for my own good.’

No, the stories I speak of do not come from just one small circle of deranged professionals lurking in the shadows of an otherwise well-functioning system. These stories hail from multiple states with multiple providers and multiple hospitals. There is story upon story upon story to be heard of how power has been abused. And, why? Although it is surely more complex than just this, much of it goes back to labels. One is labeled with psychiatric diagnosis and the other is labeled with a medical degree and initials after their name. Perhaps what is most telling is that when I recount these things I’ve seen, most people who have been diagnosed, hospitalized, etc… Well, they’re not surprised.

No, I am not suggesting that these abuses happen to everyone, but they happen enough and without notice or apparent recourse to suggest a real problem about how our society regards those who have been diagnosed. No, I am not suggesting that all people who work in provider roles are power hungry and abusive. More often than not, they are well intended and just as misguided as most everyone else. Largely, they don’t even see the power they are wielding; and if they do, they consider it benevolent.

So, again, how strange, that Mr. Pies should take his debate to a place where his power rings with such clarity as to silence us all. And so I conclude with a personal invitation:

Dear Mr. Pies,

I would like to issue you an invitation to join in a real dialogue. This will be one where we are limited not by numbers of words and frequency of reply, nor by our respective titles and licensure (or lack thereof). Join me – us – here on this blog on Mad in America where anyone is free to comment.

Until then, if you have genuinely good intent –- or any sense of irony -– please speak no more about the benevolence of psychiatry or the process of diagnosis.

I hope to see you here soon.

Sincerely,

Sera Davidow

Copied to Ronald Pies at his Suny e-mail address on Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 9:17 pm

67 COMMENTS

  1. Very well said. BTW, as I mentioned somewhere else, despite the abuses that are normal currency in the US, they are nothing compared to what happens regularly in Europe.

    There is a great article about the matter (it’s from 2007 but still relevant) that gives an overview of ECHR case law when it comes to civil commitment and forced drugging,

    http://egov.ufsc.br/portal/sites/default/files/anexos/33124-41808-1-PB.pdf

    The article is worth reading in its entirety, however there is a key paragraph that underscores the difference in the rights we enjoy in the US, especially after the Donaldson v. O’Connor SCOTUS regime, vs the absence of rights in Europe,

    “The case Herczegfalvy v. Austria (10533/83) is characteris-
    tic of the Court’s difficulty in analysing the validity of medical
    treatment. The applicant, who had been on a hunger strike,
    was force-fed and given strong doses of neuroleptics. He
    was also placed in seclusion, restrained with handcuffs, and
    secured to a bed for several weeks on end. The Court criticized
    the lengthy duration of the seclusion and the immobilization,
    but accepted the argument of the Austrian government that
    this type of treatment was justified for therapeutic reasons,
    and thus could not be considered as inhuman and degrading.
    As for the appropriateness of the medical treatment pro-
    vided, various cases such Grare v. France (18835/91) or War-
    ren v. United Kingdom (36982/97) show that the ECHR
    always trusts the psychiatric medical evaluation, as far as it
    satisfies the criteria of usual practice [5].”

    Now, we’ve heard stories of forced drugging in the past in the US but usually, when they come to light those responsible are held accountable. Not to mention that in the US, the SCOTUS has made it very difficult for that to happen “legally” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sell_v._United_States (2003)).

    Yet, what the above paragraph says is that said abuse has been legally sanctioned for “therapeutic reasons” for the countries signatories of the European Convention on Human Rights. Nor does the SCOTUS “trusts the psychiatric medical evaluation, as far as it satisfies the criteria of usual practice”. The SCOTUS told psychiatrists in 1975: unless the person you are trying to commit is dangerous, you cannot do with him/her as you please.

    And in the Sell (and previous cases), it told psychiatry: except in very narrow circumstances, you cannot drug people against their will.

    So while we call Pies to order, let’s not forget that we are in a much better shape than in other countries.

    • Sera,great blog!

      This comment of mine is directed @ cannotsay2013.

      Cannotsay2012:

      You write,

      \\…Now, we’ve heard stories of forced drugging in the past in the US but usually, when they come to light those responsible are held accountable. Not to mention that in the US, the SCOTUS has made it very difficult for that to happen “legally”…///

      You refer to, “stories of forced drugging in the past in the US”???

      Cannotsay2013, repeatedly, in your comments, on this website, you are lauding the *supposed* justice that’s inherent in U.S. ‘mental health’ law, since the time of Donaldson v. O’Connor.

      You are, in that way, perpetuating extremely *dangerous* myths.

      You are denying reality.

      See the following Youtube video featuring John Breeding, PhD.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhluHUAAc9A

      If your attention is limited, then, please, at *least* watch the first 1 minutes and 30 seconds (preferably, watch more than just that).

      Watch the first minute and a half of that video and *listen* carefully.

      Replay that first minute and a half. Listen again. Get that information into your head. (Please.)

      Just in case you haven’t time to watch (or, if, perchance, your Internet connection does not allow you to watch Youtube videos), here, as follows, I transcribe just a bit.

      14 seconds into the video, John Breeding explains, “You may be familiar with the data that about 1.5 million Americans every year are incarcerated against their will, without judgement or conviction of criminality.”

      At 44 seconds, “And, then, the vast, vast majority of those are also forcibly drugged with toxic substances, against their will.”

      Breeding asks (53 seconds into the video), “So, what does that sound like? Does that sound like liberty and freedom in the United States of America? Does that sound like civil rights? Locked up and incarcerated with no charges of criminality. Forcibly drugged…”

      I encourage you to reread my comment, which I left for you, here: https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/02/reflections-on-a-psychiatric-indoctrination-or-how-i-began-to-free-myself-from-the-cult-of-psychiatry/#comment-20462

      And, please, do not reply to my comment, in a way that is simply reactive; I suggest, don’t reply unless or until you have found a way to watch that John Breeding video; when you have time…

      Pay close attention, beginning at 15 minutes and 20 seconds…

      Watch and listen, carefully.

      Respectfully,

      ~Jonah

      • Jonah,

        I posted a lengthy reply to Sera above but it is still under moderation. I am pretty sure that it complies with the MIA guidelines. Until it is posted, I see no point in continuing this discussion.

        I stand by what I said above: in the US we have tools to fight psychiatric abuse that are simply unavailable elsewhere. The real question is how to make available those tools to more people instead of relying on state appointed attorneys (which are as good as state appointed attorneys for criminal defense matters, ie, not very good). Just because these state appointed attorneys do not have the best interests of psychiatry’s victims in mind, it doesn’t mean that the tools themselves are not there. There is a difference between the average American not being able to afford good attorneys (something that is not unique to defense against psychiatric abuse) and a legal framework that makes remedies against psychiatric abuse almost impossible (case of European countries).

        • cannotsay2013,

          Frequently, you defer to SCOTUS (i.e., the Supreme Court of the United States); you do so — even to the point of expressing reverence, when it comes to the SCOTUS decision, in O’Connor v. Donaldson (1975).

          You were not raised in this country, but (from all you say), I gather you are a citizen; well, I suggest you study the U.S. Constitution; and, as a citizen of the United States, if you care to revere something, then I suggest: revere the Bill of Rights, in the U.S. Constitution.

          Personally, I do highly value the Bill of Rights; and, in light of the Bill of Rights’ guarantees, of due process, I view O’Connor v. Donaldson not as a boon to the cause of justice — but as a *hindrance* to it.

          The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is made up, of mere mortals; to blindly revere any of their decisions is a mistake, as they have been known to make mistakes. O’Connor v. Donaldson was a mistake, in my view — setting a really bad precedent.

          Of course, there are other SCOTUS decisions that have been mistakes — e.g., their appointment of G.W. Bush, as President…

          And, just look at how SCOTUS has, in modern times, granted corporations the legal status of individuals and has, meanwhile, turned millions of would be criminal prosecutions over to the so-called ‘mental health’ system. With the help of psychiatrists and others in that system, the courts marginalize individuals who are labeled “mentally disordered” and who are accused of being ‘dangerous’; such individuals are stripped of most rights of due process (which are *automatically* afforded to other citizens, who are not labeled “mentally disordered”).

          Anyone who is viewed, by psychiatry, as ‘a danger to himself/herself or to others’ as the *supposed* result of a so-called “mental disorder” is *not* afforded true justice; that is simply a fact – thanks, largely, to the SCOTUS decision in O’Connor v. Donaldson.

          Please, see and integrate the knowledge of John Breeding, as conveyed through that 20 minute Youtube video, which I’ve recommended, above (in my comment on April 11, 2013 at 11:46 am); note, especially, all that Breeding points out, after minute 15, about that criteria, of ‘dangerous’; and, note, when Breeding mentions two then-recent “victories” in the courts, realize he is referring to very, very *small* victories. I.e., on the grand scale of things, they are “victories” which shall not make a dent in the way cases of so-called “mentally disordered” people are adjudicated; they are not precedent setting cases; they are merely a couple of *rare* instances in which so-called “involuntary patients” of psychiatry have won their freedom, through the court system. (John Breeding well-realizes this.)

          Also, see and integrate the knowledge of Daniel Fisher, M.D., Ph.D., as conveyed through his comment below (on April 12, 2013 at 6:15 am): https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/04/28047/#comment-22629

          And, if you want a SCOTUS decision to venerate, look to ‘Rennie v. Klein’ (1978): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rennie_v._Klein

          Unfortunately, the ‘Rennie v. Klein’ decision amounts to mere words, virtually empty of meaning, in the eyes of the courts – (i.e., it is *not* widely respected) – due largely to the courts’ ongoing adherence to the principles put forth in O’Connor v. Donaldson.

          That is to say, one could (I believe) make a half-way reasonable claim that ‘Rennie v. Klein’ is the needed legal ‘tool’ for freeing psychiatric slaves from bondage; but, as a matter of fact, it is not such a tool, for O’connor v. Donaldson made ‘dangerousness’ the virtually *all-powerful* litmus for forcibly ‘treating’ so-called “involuntary patients” of psychiatry; in fact, quite often, crippling ‘treatments’ with psychotropic drugs (and electroshock/ECT) are ‘justified’ – based on that criteria.

          It should go without saying, ‘dangerousness’ is an utterly *vague* criteria; it means whatever a judge decides it means – and whatever a psychiatrist (or other authorized ‘mental health’ professional) wants it to mean; it can be applied for all kinds of reasons, both arbitrary and capricious. But, the general public does not understand this (and/or, it doesn’t care to think deeply about its implications).

          Anyone who genuinely cares about justice would *never* accept perceived ‘danger’ as a criteria for ostensibly justifying forced brain ‘treatment’; forced brain treatment should *not* be tolerated under any circumstance. Period. Indeed, the United Nations’ CRPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) prohibits forced psychiatry; hence, it prohibits forced brain ‘treatment’.

          Sadly, nonetheless, throughout the United States, those who defer to O’Connor v. Donaldson make forced psychiatry *seem* justified, many hundreds of thousands times annually…

          Cannotsay2013, if you are truly, sincerely interested in advancing the finest principles put forth, in the U.S. Constitution, you will reassess your deference to O’Connor v. Donaldson.

          Respectfully,

          ~Jonah

          P.S. (Please, excuse me; I was meaning to post my comment — and wound up adding this long post-script before doing so…)

          Cannotsay2013,

          In a comment under Laura Delano’s great blog post “Reflections on a Psychiatric Indoctrination, or, How I Began to Free Myself from the Cult of Psychiatry,” about the rights of U.S. citizens, you stated (on February 24, 2013 at 5:16): “…you have a bit less rights when it comes to preemptive detention than what are granted to criminal defendants.”

          That is such a vast understatement of the problems in the U.S. legal system, as it pertains to ‘mental health’ issues…

          I know you say you’ve studied these matters, but you’ve studied them from the point of view of one who has *never* been engaged in the U.S. ‘mental health’ system.

          That being the case, I highly recommend reading and taking-to-heart *all* the comments thus far posted on this page by Stephen Gilbert. He is, herein, providing far more insight, into the workings of the U.S. State “hospital” system than you will ever have.

          Commenter (and blogger) Maxima is, likewise, providing considerable insight, via all of her writings, on this website.

          But, I suppose that, unless or until you become directly involved with such survivors and/or engage directly with the U.S. ‘mental health’ system, you may always view the U.S. ‘mental health’ system as considerably less threatening — because you, personally, are not feeling threatened by it — because you’ve never been its victim.

          You are convinced that the U.S. provides more legal protections than the European country where you were the victim of psychiatric ‘care’; and, I imagine it is true what you say, that country had considerably fewer protections against psychiatry; I suspect that is true; I simply take your word for it (in my not knowing what country that is); but, I believe you forward a serious factual error when you judge the U.S. legal system to be ultimately superior, in comparison to the legal systems of the E.U., generally.

          Here I am speaking strictly of ‘mental health’ law.

          In terms of making comparisons, to E.U. countries, regarding the relative strength of protections against unwanted psychiatry, the U.S. system is hard to judge; but, surely, it does *not* provide the best protections (such as you indicate) — because the Bill of Rights are *not* being defended by the courts.

          Those who are made subjects of ‘mental health’ law, in the U.S. do not enjoy the protections of the Bill of Rights.

          That is what you fail to realize.

          And, perhaps, you do not realize that, currently, Germany — which is, of course, by economic measures, the most powerful country in the E.U — has recently accepted an end to unwanted psychiatric ‘care’; i.e., anyone in Germany can now avoid psychiatry (i.e., anyone can avoid unwanted brain ‘treatment’), by way of merely signing a standard advance directive.

          Finally, I question your saying (on April 11, 2013 at 2:37 pm) to Maxima, “The fact that your story made it all the way to the UN speaks for itself.”

          In my view, the United Nations is key.

          But, Maxima is unique — in having had the wherewithal to bring her story (and the story of others whom she’s met, who are still trapped in the U.S. ‘mental health’ system) to the U.N.; and, let’s watch and see how the U.S. replies to the question now being put to it, by the U.N.!

          The U.N. is asking the U.S. to put forth its ‘justifications’ for utilizing forced psychiatry…

          I suspect that the U.S. will reply by echoing SCOTUS’s decision, in O’Connor v. Donaldson; i.e., the U.S. will answer by insisting that it has an ‘obligation’ to provide psychiatric ‘treatment’ to those who are officially said to suffer a “mental disorder” and who are supposedly a ‘danger to themselves and/or to others’ as result of such *supposed* “disorders”.

          I strongly suspect that such will be the reply of the U.S.; moreover, I suspect that, slowly, one by one, various E.U. countries (besides Germany) will come to eschew forced psychiatric ‘treatment’ …long before the U.S. ever does.

          Knowing the U.S. is the most *forcefully* dominating of all countries, I fully presume it will, indeed, long be a holdout, in the U.N.; it will be amongst the very *last* countries, in the world, to renounce forced psychiatric ‘care’; it will continue defending forced psychiatric ‘treatment’ for many years to come — and, maybe, forever — quite like it is amongst the last to go on defend its use of the death penalty.

          Of course, that’s just my humble speculation, based on what little (or, however much) I truly know of these matters.

          • Your lengthy post just underscores our differences that I have elaborated in different posts. My approach is to let it be known to wanna be abusers that there will be retaliation, in a legal sense, if they ever dare do to me what they did to me in Europe https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/04/too-much-pies/#comment-22640 . So far, it has worked perfectly.

            I don’t think it is worth restating my point of view so I’ll just comment one thing,

            “I believe you forward a serious factual error when you judge the U.S. legal system to be ultimately superior, in comparison to the legal systems of the E.U., generally.”

            The EU, unlike the US, is not a country, so the actual reality varies a lot from country to country. Nonetheless all of them, and some other European countries not members of the EU, are signatories of the European Convention of Human Rights that established what is considered the highest court in a European context with matters regarding Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights, known as ECHR for short. All their decisions are binding and take precedent over each country’s Supreme Court rulings. On the matter of involuntary civil commitment/forced drugging, the ECHR has repeatedly ruled in a way that sanctions psychiatry’s abuses while the SCOTUS (most recent case I am aware of Sell (2003)) has repeated ruled in a way that puts psychiatry under check. That’s the factual reality. The difference cannot be stated enough because the legal context cannot be more different.

          • Cannotsay2013,

            You have avoided my ultimate point; maybe you missed it, so I will be more clear.

            You have (in previous comments, beneath other blog posts) tended to paint the E.U. with a broad brush, repeatedly suggesting that the U.S. is superior to the E.U., in terms of its *supposedly* possessing all the needed legal ‘tools’ to prevent unwanted psychiatric ‘treatment’.

            Frankly, I don’t believe such U.S. ‘tools’ (e.g., in the form of O’Connor v. Donaldson) are even half as powerful as you make them out to be.

            Why?

            Because I know that ‘dangerous’ is a completely *nebulous* concept.

            The SCOTUS decision which you venerate (O’Connor v. Donaldson) sets a ‘danger to self and/or others’ standard within the U.S., yet various States provide varying relative degrees of protection against unwanted psychiatric ‘care’ — given that provision.

            Yet, in fact, that amount of protection is always *quite* limited; that is why, each year, one and half million citizens of the U.S. become incarcerated in “hospitals” — subjected to ‘mental health’ law.

            (I.e., they are not given the protection of the U.S. Bill of Rights.)

            Many hundreds of thousands of those citizens are forcibly ‘treated’ against their will, by psychiatry; most of them are subject to forced drugging, which makes them *seem* enfeebled, disabled.

            It is a process of ‘care’ which almost always makes one feel infinitely small, in comparison to the ‘treating’ psychiatrist and the System which s/he represents.

            And, few are ever offered any *real* legal defense.

            But, in any case, I am pointing out that Germany now provides better ‘tools’ of that kind (far-and-away better tools).

            Even a non-citizen of Germany, after a mere six months of residency, can make himself/herself *truly* safe (i.e., far more safe than whatever safety you feel you are gaining, by living in the U.S.); if you care to be *truly* protected against unwanted intrusions by psychiatry, I suggest moving to Germany.

            See: http://www.patverfue.de/en

            The following passages are a couple of brief, quoted lines, taken from that website:

            “The Pat­Ver­fü, an ad­vance di­rec­tive with a built-in re­p­re­sen­ta­tion agree­ment, in which any un­wan­ted psych­ia­tric tre­at­ment and any de­pri­va­tion of li­berty whatsoever re­sul­ting from a psych­ia­tric dia­gno­sis is pro­hi­bi­ted by law.”

            “This works for German citizens at home and in certain countries and for anyone without a German passport living in Germany for at least 6 months.”

            Cannotsay2013, as I have seen you post numerous comments which praise the U.S. and yet have *never* seen you post any comment which lends praise to any E.U. country, I wonder if you can admit that Germany is ahead of the U.S., in terms of its legal ‘tools’ of protection, against psychiatry?

            Respectfully,

            ~Jonah

          • Jonah,

            As the above poster mentioned in the case of Canada, this measure you are talking about is pure charade. You can be drugged against your will, or deemed incapacitated to make a decision and be drugged against your will anyway, your choice. The link implies that.

            If you had lived in Europe (as I said I lived in several European countries in addition of that of my birth), you’d know that in the European psyche, individual freedom doesn’t really exist. You are “free” to do what you please except what the powers that be determine that you are not free to do.

            In the hospital where I was committed, upon arrival they gave you a very nice pamphlet that stated in no ambiguous terms that those who were there voluntarily (not my case), were free to leave at anytime after speaking to one of the psychiatrists responsible for the place. The problem :D? Every single one that had tried to do that, and some did while I was there, got an emergency court order that they couldn’t leave unless they got the approval of the psychiatrists. So that’s how “free” we were. With those advanced directives, same story. You get your advance directive, fine. You refuse “treatment”? They’ll have it invalidated, and you’ll be “treated” anyway.

            Again, if you are so certain of Germany’s status, please go ahead and move there. I am so certain that such is not the case that I have not put my feet on European soil since I put and end to the situation and sent a very unpleasant note to the psychiatrists that committed me (needless to say I didn’t hear back from them). That was long time ago :D.

            Several countries of the EU have now in place something called a “European Arrest Warrant” by which all countries signatories of the convention must honor arrest warrants issued by a judge of a third country. Although it has never been applied, to my knowledge, for people who might be wanted for civil commitment, I am not willing to take even the risk of being arrested with that method. Last time I checked with the appropriate sources, it is not clear if it applies to psychiatric orders and I am not sure if there is one pending for me since I lost all contact with my family.

          • “As the above poster mentioned in the case of Canada, this measure you are talking about is pure charade. You can be drugged against your will, or deemed incapacitated to make a decision and be drugged against your will anyway, your choice.”

            Cannotsay2013,

            Frankly, I don’t know what you are talking about here. Who, besides you, is referring to Canada, in this conversation??? (I don’t see *any* poster offering *any* reference to Canada — except you.)

            Surely, Canada is home to countless horrible cases of psychiatric abuse; but, what does that have to do with this conversation?

            Sera writes, “I have seen laws (like the Roger’s Order in Massachusetts) twisted and warped from their original forms to allow for dramatically increased latitude in sectioning people off to the hospital.”

            My point, in reminding you, of that passage is simply this: Massachusetts is a State (here in the United States); and, it is widely considered a ‘model’ for other States, in the Union, when it comes to ‘mental health’ “care” (so-called).

            You are inclined to idealize the supposed the legal ‘tools’ at the disposal of involuntary so-called “patients” here in the U.S..

            you should be aware (because, it is not hard to see), that the current trend, in the U.S., is toward developing *compulsory* “outpatient treatment”.

            Via PsychRights(dot)Org:

            “There is no outpatient commitment statute in Massachusetts and the authorities instead rely on the 1983 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s decision in the Rogers case, 458 N.E. 2d 308, to obtain guardianships and force people to take drugs against their will. The Rogers case was intended by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to set a very high bar before forced medication could take place. However, due to the lack of adequate representation for people faced with proceedings against them, the Rogers case has been turned on its head and become a vehicle for assembly-line
            involuntary psychiatric drugging orders.”

            Now, I refer you to my preceding comment, directed to you (under Sera’s *next* blog post):

            https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/04/slices-of-pies-a-dialogue-with-ronald-pies/#comment-22671

            If possible, let’s, please, agree to move this conversation to that Web page — if you don’t mind.

            (I will comment no more on this Web page.)

            Respectfully,

            ~Jonah

          • “My point, in reminding you, of that passage is simply this: Massachusetts is a State (here in the United States); and, it is widely considered a ‘model’ for other States, in the Union, when it comes to ‘mental health’ “care” (so-called).”

            I am not saying which state I live in, but all I can say is that my state is better, when it comes to the protection from psychiatric abuse, than Massachusetts. Again, not PERFECT, but better. I am aware of the different ways in which the “dangerousness” standard is implemented. Definitely agree that the situation varies a lot depending on the state one lives in.

            The Canada reference was a poster above who said that in Canada you had two choices for being being forcibly drugged: either you agreed, or you were declared to be incompetent to agree and you were forcibly drugged. This German “advance directive” business looks to me very similar. There is an advance directive, fine. If psychiatrists find it necessary to forcibly drug their victim, they’ll claim that the individual was incapacitated when he wrote the advance directive, end of the story. I am hardly impressed by these “European tricks”. I know them all.

    • I am a former patient who works in the state hospital where I lived for two and a half months. Each and every day I see forced treatment with drugs, I witness people being taken to court and given forced stays of 45 and 180 days in our institution. This is all done at the direction and discretion of the psychiatrists working in this particular hospital. It is the rare person who gets released from the hospital when taken to court since all that most judges do is refer to the psychiatrists and whatever the psychiatrists say becomes the law. Once in a great while a particular judge will actually question a person and will release them, against the wishes of the psychiatrist. It happened one day last week. but his is the very rare exception.

      The reality is that people are continually being forced into the hospital and into treatment and they’re often brought by the law, which creates a real double bind for many people. Forced drugging and forced time in the hospital is the reality. It is the rare person who actually signs themselves into the hospital voluntarily; I know because I work in Admissions. This is the reality. I don’t know anything about what happens in foreign countries, but I do know about what happens in the state hospital where I work.

      • And if people don’t take the drugs as the psychiatrists want them to do most of the psychiatrists threaten the person with a little trip down to the court on court day (which happens twice a week for my hospital). They threaten people with longer stays mandated by the judges and courts. If this isn’t coercion and forced treatment then what is?

        • For some reason, the psychiatrists in state hospitals would rather take you to court for commitment than for treatment.

          Stephen, would you like to make a statement for the Center for the Human Rights for Users and Survivors of Psychiatry in our effort, in combination with Mindfreedom, Psychrights, and 2 other NGO’s, to bring the UN human Rights Committee to condemn forced psychiatric treatment in the US? You are a survivor AND have been sober and seen the human rights abuses. When in the middle of being abused yourself, it’s hard to see what other people are going through. Would you consider going to Geneva for the three days our issue will be considered? We are fundraising for expenses. Who knows how we will do? I can’t afford to go back on my own resources.

          You can reach me [email protected]

  2. Psychiatrists have their own courts in hospitals. They hold court weekly. Judges almost never (if ever) listen to patients or family members, but instead, they take the advice of the so called professionals. The attorneys who represent patients get paid from the same source as the psychiatrists do. They are in the same bed and sleep together.

    Psychiatrists dismiss facts and the latest scientific research/evidence that goes against what they’ve been preaching for so long. They don’t listen when a medical doctor tells them that the drugs, “will kill the patient being treated if he or she doesn’t stop taking them.” Their response is to say they have their own MD, which means ordering regular blood work, but even that changes when a psychiatrist reads the results.

    For example, if the patient’s liver panel is abnormal, as a result of psychiatric drugs, the psychiatrist will say they do not read the results the same as a family physician (MD) does. They say, “We don’t count the surge in the number of liver enzymes, unless it has tripled.” So, not only do they have their own justice system, they also have their own way of interpreting medical lab reports.

    Although, I am deeply disturbed by the injustice and awful treatment that I have seen take place in psychiatry, and the harm that has visited my family, I am no longer surprised by anything that goes on inside the walls of psychiatric treatment.

    I would love to see psychiatrists join in on the conversations in this blog. Now that would surprise me!

  3. Sera, thank you for your amazingly articulate honesty . I wish you’d send this to the NYT editorial as thus would make a great letter to the editor ! While I agree with Darby that Pies won’t be joining you in dialogue here on MIA, as there would be no ” pie” left….maybe he’d meet you face to face. You’re a powerful mensch!

    Bravo !

    Thanks for writing this and speaking the truth in the face of such total minimizing and blindness by those who I’m sure truly believe they are doing good for others, the truth needs to be spoken again and again and again

    Yana

  4. From Pies’ response: “Nor is it fair to blame psychiatric “labels” for the abridgment of civil liberties, as Ms. Davidow does. Psychiatrists, like all physicians, are governed by civil law and judicial oversight.”

    It’s not FAIR to say psych labels abridge civil liberties? Is this guy insane? I’m in British Columbia and here civil law affords patients’ practically no rights. You can consent or you can be deemed incapable of consenting; there’s no room for someone who dares to simply disagree with treatment. As local journalist Rob Wipond puts it in an excellent article (which I can get for you if you like), with an advance directive you have the right to refuse rescusitation (sp?) but not forced drugging and electroshock. BC allows advance directives for every area of medicine EXCEPT mental health. People with psych diagnoses are subhuman — that’s the impression I get. Now, it may be true that many psychiatrists follow the law. The trouble is that the law needs to be changed.

  5. Sera, thank you for speaking about the collusion among police and professionals and lawyers. And thanks for speaking about bating a person so he reacts and gets committed. Thanks for speaking from the provider’s side. I’ve seen these things done too, but concluded that it can’t be true. But is it. Remember, there is a financial gain here. A certain number of beds need to be filled.

    Specifically about diagnoses: I was in hospital court. I had a DMV medical report that my alternative psychiatrist declared my diagnosis was ‘in remission’. The Barbie doll judge–she is a city counsel man’s daughter, picked up the report by a corner like it was a dead mouse. She said, “This is a photocopy. One in rather sad shape. Inadmissible!”

    The DMV had to have the original. I carried the copy for my protection. Of course, it did not shield me.

    The judge committed me for 180 days so I could be drugged with antipsychotics. “Schizoaffective,” she said, gloating.

    The hospital’s psychiatrist never sent for my records from my outside psychiatrist who took me off meds.

    BTW, I cheeked the meds. How I quickly got out I have already written in an article MIA published entitled “Speaking up.”

    No, cannotsay, forced drugging is routine. At the private hospital that transferring me to the state facility, the judge came into my room with several associates. He committed me for 30 days and forced treatment. I was provided no attorney and no opportunity to even speak.
    Maxima

    • “No, cannotsay, forced drugging is routine. At the private hospital that transferring me to the state facility, the judge came into my room with several associates. He committed me for 30 days and forced treatment. I was provided no attorney and no opportunity to even speak.”

      I did not say that abuse doesn’t happen here, I am saying that we have better tools to fight it in the US than elsewhere. I answered above to Sera. The fact that your story made it all the way to the UN speaks for itself.

  6. Sera, thank you for speaking truth to power, and, as always, very eloquently and with an eye to the absurd, which might be said of Mr. Pies monologue.

    There is a whole field within Sociology devoted to Labeling theory. A whole field within literature devoted to deconstructing language and its power to shape and misshape our reality. Not to mention the massive and ever-present business of marketing, which is all about how you label and sell things.

    To dismiss the power of a label, a word, a voice, is to dismiss our humanity. Perhaps that is the greatest breach of “civil liberty” and what makes it possible for all the abuses you mention to follow.

    With gratitude for your vigilance and voice,

    Jen

  7. Ha! I love that you sent this invitation to Mr. Pies. I hope he reads your post. I wonder if he even checks his own email, or if some TA or assistant screens it for him. At any rate, I hope someone from his associations reads your post.

    Psychiatry has a broad streak of self-serving ego, doesn’t it?

    In order for them to be “doctors,” they must create “patients.”

    Love this: “One is labeled with psychiatric diagnosis and the other is labeled with a medical degree and initials after their name.”

    Mr. Pies and his colleagues have constructed a system of stratification that serves their apparent need for a sense of authority.

    There are millions of people who are stronger and smarter than any psychiatrist ever gave them credit for…millions of people who, for years, have wanted to tell their psychiatrists that they don’t know what they are talking about.

    Thanks for speaking truth to (constructed) power. It’s tragic that the imagined power of psychiatrists has become a matter of law in so many places. As documented all over the internet and in innumerous records, when labelled people challenge the authority of psychiatrists, they are punished, forced into the role that psychiatry requires them to play…so that psychiatry can exist.

  8. As a psychiatrist who worked for three years in a state hospital and 25 years as a public sector community psychiatrist, I can attest to the accuracy of Sera’s assertions. The fact is,p there are in the US, and all industrial countries, two systems of law. There is the law of the land, the civil law and then there is psychiatric law. The law of the land applies until a person is psychiatrically labeled. Once labeled, a person is no longer under the protections of civil law, which in the US is derived from the Constitution, but the labeled person comes under psychiatric law. Psychiatric law is sanctioned by judges who defer to expert opinion of the psychiatrist. In so doing, the psychiatrist becomes the judge and jury of the decisions regarding the interventions ordered. Therefore, it is not surprising that the person psychiatrically labeled rarely wins their case. For instance in Massachusetts, in hearing regarding forced medications, the labeled one only wins 3% of the time. So, as Sera points out, diagnosis, the basis of labeling is the basis for the deprivation of rights. This means we must be very diligent to safeguard against any undue diagnosis. Unfortunately, diagnosis is also the basis for benefits. So there is a trade off, your rights for your benefits.

    • “The law of the land applies until a person is psychiatrically labeled. Once labeled, a person is no longer under the protections of civil law, which in the US is derived from the Constitution, but the labeled person comes under psychiatric law. Psychiatric law is sanctioned by judges who defer to expert opinion of the psychiatrist. In so doing, the psychiatrist becomes the judge and jury of the decisions regarding the interventions ordered.”

      Daniel,

      Thank you for contributing to the conversation. I find your comment to be *perfectly* cogent, and it is a very important message you’re offering. (I wish more psychiatrists would speak with such candor regarding the overwhelming *lack* of justice that exists for those who are, unfortunately, tagged “mentally ill” and/or “mentally disordered”.)

      Perhaps, one sentence that you’ve offered, could use expansion. You write, “we must be very diligent to safeguard against any undue diagnosis.”

      Question: What would be a *due* diagnosis (as opposed to an “undue diagnosis”) in the realm of psychiatry?

      How many of the labels that psychiatry applies are arguably *valid* — thus, genuinely due?

      E.g., I believe ‘autism’ can be considered a valid/due diagnosis. I’ve recently discussed this (as has a commenter who goes by the name of “ATG”) in comments, under a recent MiA blog, by Adam Urato: https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/04/on-world-autism-day-why-i-am-concerned-about-the-use-of-antidepressants-during-pregnancy/

      Note, however, that, while I say autism can be considered a valid/due diagnosis, this is not to say I believe it is always valid or due; I would seriously caution parents against automatically accepting that diagnosis (i.e., if I were a parent with a child whom I figured might be suffering from autism, I would seek more than one opinion); after all, autism can manifest very differently, in any two cases; there are endless degrees of severity; and, since there is such a wide array of *negative* behavioral phenomena implied by that label, to accept an ‘autism’ diagnosis can be a horrible mistake (practically speaking) in many instances.

      Even psychiatric ‘diagnoses’ of ‘mental retardation’ can be terribly misleading (developmental ‘norms’ will not account for mere delays, nor will they account for the presence of much advanced ability to love – and much phenomena that could be the precursors of genius); indeed, most psychiatric ‘diagnoses’ have low kappas scores, so I don’t see good reason to presume, necessarily, that any so-called “disorder” appearing in the ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’ should *ever* be trusted, as ‘due’.

      But, yes (quite as you indicate): the steady erosion of ones rights, upon being labeled, by psychiatry, is very real.

      Respectfully,

      ~Jonah

      P.S. — to MiA readers: Anyone who does not consider himself/herself ‘science-minded’ may be, nonetheless, interested in coming to learn about *kappas* scores.

      http://onbiostatistics.blogspot.com/2011/01/agreement-statistics-and-kappa.html

  9. In the state hospital where I work most of the patients scheduled for court waive and don’t appear since they know that it’s just a sham and flim flammery and that what the psychiatrist says is what the judge will decide. Some staff even go so far as to admit that it’s a sham but they never voice this in front of the quack psychiatrists. The court is just right down the street from the back door of the hospital; how convient. The law and psychiatry have gotten into bed with one another and there is little or no justice for the person incarcerated against their will.

  10. Yes what’s fair is to make sure that any disagreement about what’s not true isn’t interfering with the fare of who gets the money for this disagreement here, which I’m not the one receiving the money of-what-it-is-for/between, but if it was mine, that receiving that is giving to those who weren’t right, but this is typing wasn’t writing (or righting) the thing that they give to those receiving the un-fare!
    Farely, we move to those who, unless it’s not them, but maybe, did you say it’s those fairs? So you see, as they understand that, not understanding, and the fare, which isn’t unfair, they have gotten for it; mis-understanding, but yet be busy at the fair, for this is our fare, four awhile.

    Unfortunately, I’ve also seen many people who are already in the system, on medications – and squarely stuck in what’s barely gross – give others the wave good by to get them the same stuffings , both hands please!

    “Well, I was talking to my doctor (Il Traditore), Mr. Fred, and he said she stockpiles cigarette butts for rosaries, as well as leaving slippers on the stairs, because she thinks they look like slippers. So, we are free to make up that whatever she’s doing has a defect, which to it it would be needing fairly anything but what would decrease the fare for those receiving the fare from the farers (is the Pharoah involved yet)?”

    I think last time it was just whistling which was the problem….

  11. Great work Sera! If the assertion of power over those labeled is not inherent in the act of psychiatrists labeling an individual’s human experience -(without their input or approval)- as something that cannot be accurately explained, described specifically, or proven to be a real medical condition that exists in any understandable way – why are the thoughts of those labeled, regarding the impacts of labels – excluded from and/or seen as less credible than the thoughts of doctors, within the discipline of psychiatry? Surely Mr. Pie’s decision to exclude certain voices – implicit in the decision to write in an exclusive forum for psychiatrists – was not in violation of any civil law.

  12. I will make one point on this one topic and stick to the topic for sake of it has a big message. Psych docs are not for anyone but lining their pockets if they still are forcing meds to people and giving the the ECT they say will help. I have been there and will say it made me worse by far to take the meds and it was a waste of money to give me ECT. First off it was for depression, guess what it was there after 6 treatments. Second the meds for bipolar and depression are very tricky to take and one over medication can do years of damage. My hubby was given 1500 mg of lithium and he was getting toxic… his psych doc…she got pissed because he went down one pill to get rid of the effects. She dropped him as well left him no other choice but to withdrawal all of a sudden. is this how the wonderful psych docs that keep fighting the truth want us to see them as? Ego ridden, or even have the “god complex”. Uh yeah you do if you do not listen to your patients. Mr. Pie take that into consideration when you defend your profession. It does happen more than you know and we need to fix it before more people get hurt. Period. I will say this one point lead to many ugly truths in this comment. can you see the truths?

  13. I think it is a mix of things, but money does have a driving force that cannot be ignored either. I was seeing the psych doc who at the time was the Director of Psychiatry. It would make it easy to blame just the money, but again in my eyes she was just not seeing what i was seeing when it came to my health. My hubby’s health was being compromised over an ego pull with his doctor as well. His was more recent. Would anyone really condone giving a higher does of med that is causing toxic effects, just because you thought it was good for him/her? When a doctor puts the meds over health they are not thinking about the total outcome of what will get hurt in the patient health and wellness.

    I want to say something briefly about the one person who said our country has better ways of handling things with malpractice…My hubby was pink slipped and I was not allowed to see him in the ER which did this. They were belligerent and they were acting like he was a danger, when in fact he was not. In reality i should have been allowed to go in and at least check on him. If i felt no danger was there I could have helped them figure on what is needed. They were argumentative to me when I was upset over not seeing him. They barred me and told me to leave the hospital, called security and the cops. I in no way was overreacting to them any more than others would in this situation. His rights were violated and guess what, they got away with it. How I am not sure ask the mental health board who decided thy were not able to take this on. Why the hospital was off limits they said. really? they get money from the govt just the same as the board, so in effect he was hospitalized without regard to his and my saying he was not emergent in the way they said. Is America really here to help those who are mental health patients? NO. it is not true and do not for one second think i am attacking you, I am not I am making aware we are no better than the other countries it is worldwide and we all need to come together to fight this not separate who is worse.