Psychiatry on Trial: The Anders Breivik Trial


An article in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease (“the world’s oldest independent scientific monthly in the field of human behavior”) explores “why experienced psychiatrists reached such fundamentally opposing diagnostic conclusions” in the case of Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011.

Abstract →

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. One of the reasons is that there is no science at all involved in all of this. It’s a mish mash of convoluted and half baked theories with no foundation in truth or fact but psychiatry and the drug companies present everything as if it is scientific fact. There is no science involved in the diagnostic process in psychiatry. It is all subjective based on what the egos of the supposed “experts” state it to be. It’s been proven that you can go to a number of different psychiatrists and present the same story to them and you’ll get as many different diagnoses as psychiatrists that you consulted. It’s laughable to any of us who’ve been on the receiving end of the process but the general public takes it all as established scientific fact.

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    • Stephen,

      I agree, 100 percent!

      In fact, I would take it a step further. Not only is there no science in psychiatry, there is no science in any of the fields that study human behavior. The reason is simple: Human behavior is *unpredictable*.

      And this randomness applies across the board. For example, when we least expect it, any person can commit an act of random *kindness*, for reasons that no “expert” can ever fully explain.


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