What Is Biological Psychiatry and Why Is It So Important To Know?


In a recent discussion on Mad in America (MIA) I made the following statement: “I am NOT anti-psychiatry, but I AM proudly anti-Biological Psychiatry. And I believe anyone who critically reads the science reported at MIA, combined with the narratives of survivors and other dissidents, should be too.” This comment was part of a spirited, and at times, contentious discussion about Daniel Mackler’s recent blog titled “An Ode to Biological Psychiatry.” This blog was a scathing critique of the pervasive historical trend in psychiatry that essentially dominates the entire mental health field in this country and throughout most parts of the world.

The distinction I made between being “anti-psychiatry” versus “anti-Biological Psychiatry” is NOT one of simple preference or just some type of semantic argument. This is a strategic distinction that could actually mean the difference between a movement that remains isolated and on the fringes of society, or one that has a real chance of gaining enough allies – including within the broader struggle for human rights internationally – to truly end all forms of psychiatric oppression.

Some participants in that discussion, including a practicing psychiatrist (Sandra Steingard) who is a popular blogger at MIA, along with the actual founder of this website (Robert Whitaker), expressed deep concern about some of the content and tone of the blog. They passionately stated their belief that if we “demonize” (I will comment on the word, “demonize,” in Part 2 of this blog) all psychiatrists, and psychiatry as a whole, we will end up cutting off real dialogue and limit our ability to attract people to critically reevaluate the current mental health system.

Others in that discussion fully supported the content and tone of Mackler’s blog targeting Biological Psychiatry for all its abuses, and they emphatically responded that we have an historical obligation to expose and identify all forms of psychiatric oppression, and all those responsible for it, no matter who might be offended. And furthermore, many stated a position indicating that if we don’t decisively draw clear lines of demarcation between right and wrong, we will stand for nothing of substance and inspire nobody to want to join with us in this movement.

I fully agree with BOTH positions and I believe I can prove that they are NOT mutually exclusive. In fact, grasping and combining the essence of both positions is essential for developing a winning strategy to end all psychiatric oppression. In Part 2 of this blog I will present a clear strategic approach for how we can accomplish a joining of these two positions in a revolutionary way. However, in order to achieve this goal we must first become thoroughly scientific and look at the current reality in the world as it truly is, NOT what we might LIKE it to be.

What the Hell is “Biological Psychiatry” Anyway?

Some writers at MIA have suggested that to treat “Biological Psychiatry” as a target, or as THE enemy for our movement, might be confusing because of a commonly accepted interpretation of the word “biological.”  For these people this is especially true since most activists here would affirm (as would I) that human behavior and thoughts are related to many biological processes. They suggest that we need to come up with a different name to describe the oppressive forces within psychiatry, despite the fact that the name “Biological Psychiatry” or “bio-psychiatry” has been used thousands of times on this website and within this movement for decades as a descriptive name for psychiatric oppression. In this context, the other MORE accepted interpretation of the word “biological” is meant to describe a genetic/brain disease-based/drug-centered medical model of so-called psychiatric treatment.

Some bloggers, such as Dr. Sandra Steingard, seems to be so focused on the first interpretation of the word “biological,” that she is apparently not (as of yet) uncomfortable with identifying herself as a “biological psychiatrist.” This remains true despite the fact that most people at MIA would absolutely NOT see this as an accurate label to describe her, based on her evolving beliefs and the descriptions of her practice as a psychiatrist. Some might say (including myself) that she has been clearly INFLUENCED by Biological Psychiatry, but not actually DEFINED by it.

I must add the point that I have learned from Sandy Steingard’s blogs and from her evolution in theory and practice as a psychiatrist. We ALL (including myself in my role as a therapist) have been influenced by Biological Psychiatry, and based on our positions of power within the current system must carefully examine our thinking and practice in order to avoid doing potential harm to people.

Then of course, there is another separate vocal group at MIA who clearly state that they are firmly “anti-psychiatry” and do not think there is ANY importance in making a distinction between historical trends within the psychiatric profession. To them it is all the same; all of psychiatry and those that practice it, must be condemned. So the big question is: where will each of these different positions lead us, and what is the best strategic orientation to “unite all who can be united” moving forward in our struggle to end psychiatric oppression?

I have important news for everyone at MIA. All the confusion on this question regarding the true definition and origins of the name “Biological Psychiatry,” and why it is so important to know, can be rather easily resolved once and for all. If everyone here would take the time to make even a causal examination of the available literature related to this question, the debate would be all but over; they would clearly see that an historical verdict has already been rendered on the name Biological Psychiatry.

I used to believe that it was Peter Breggin who came up with the name “Biological Psychiatry” in the 1980’s, but upon further research on this question it is clear that the name actually started to be used by others much earlier in the 1950’s. As it turns out the major forces of oppression within psychiatry love the name “Biological Psychiatry” and they have very good reasons why they chose it. Let’s briefly examine this history.

I challenge everyone here to make a Google search of the name “Biological Psychiatry,” and then read through at least the first few dozen pages on the history of this term and discover for yourself who has eagerly claimed it as a perfect descriptive name for who and what they represent in the real world. When you start that search you will find some of the following organizations and publications:

These are just some of the journals and organizations that have the name “Biological Psychiatry” in their heading. There are dozens of other journals in psychiatry that may not have the name in its title, but clearly have Biological Psychiatry as its guiding ideology and practice.

Now read what Wikipedia has to say:

“Biological psychiatry or biopsychiatry is an approach to psychiatry that aims to understand mental disorders in terms of the biological function of the nervous system. It is interdisciplinary in its approach and draws on science such as neuroscience, psychopharmacology, biochemistry, genetics, epigenetics and physiology to investigate the biological bases of behavior and psychopathology . . .

“Biopsychiatry . . . is structured to follow the organization of the DSM-IV, psychiatry’s primary diagnostic and classification guide.

” . . . Because of the focus on the biological function of the nervous system, however, biological psychiatry has been particularly important in developing and prescribing drug-based treatments for mental disorders.

” . . . Biological psychiatry is a branch of psychiatry where the focus is chiefly on researching and understanding the biological basis of major mental disorders such as inipolar and bipolar affective (mood) disorders, schizophrenia and organic mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

” . . . Thorazine, the first widely used antipsychotic, was synthesized in 1950 …

” . . . The phrase biological psychiatry was first used in peer-reviewed scientific literature in 1953. (emphasis added)

” . . . Iproniazid, one of the first antidepressants, was first synthesized in 1957. In 1959 imipramine, the first tricyclic antidepressant, was developed…

” . . . In 1965 the seminal paper “The catecholamine hypothesis of affective disorders” was published. It articulated the “chemical imbalance” hypotheses of mental health disorders, especially depression. It formed much of the basis for the modern era in biological psychiatry.” (emphasis added)

Wikipedia (as one might expect) gives us some factual history and ultimately only a PARTIAL definition of Biological Psychiatry. The Google search, however, further leads us to a very important journal article written in 2006 with a simply brilliant title. From the journal Behavior and Social Issues, 15, 132-151, by Wyatt and Midkiff, we have the following article: “Biological Psychiatry: A Practice In Search Of a Science.” Included in that article is a significant addition to a more accurate definition:

“The term “biological psychiatry” describes a phenomenon of increasing visibility in both the professional and popular cultures in the past thirty years. It reflects growing acceptance of the notion that chemical imbalances, genetic defects, and related biological phenomena cause disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As biological causation has gained attention, acceptance of environmental causation has necessarily declined, and psychotropic medications have become the treatment of choice for mental and behavioral disorders.”

Clearly some of the specific language in their definition needs repair, but their description of the emphasis of biology over the role of environmental causation is an important addition to other known components of this specific historical trend in psychiatry. Later on in their article they introduce the key role of the pharmaceutical industry:

“The suggestion that our biology is the source of disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, addiction, and numerous childhood disorders is heavily promoted by the pharmaceutical industry. Biological causation suggests biological treatment.” (emphasis added)

As this journal article articulates, Biological Psychiatry has been in a desperate search over many decades for a science to justify its existence. Since it has never found one it has been forced to make one up, starting with the “chemical imbalance” theory first postulated in 1965. Fifty years and billions of dollars later, with literally millions of human victims from its drug experiments and other coercive forms of “treatment,” we now have an entrenched historical trend within psychiatry that has evolved into an institution that lies at the very core of the Psychiatric/Pharmaceutical/Industrial Complex.

Many writers such as Peter Breggin, David Healy, Marcia Angell, Robert Whitaker, and Peter Gotzsche (to name a few) have detailed and exposed the history of collusion, at the highest levels, between leaders and organizations in psychiatry with other highly placed executives and research and development leaders in Big Pharma. Many of the strategic machinations on the part of this emerging trend of Biological Psychiatry were the result of the psychiatric profession’s desperate state of affairs given their seriously declining economic and cultural status, especially during the 1960’s.

During this low point in psychiatry’s history it needed a way to gain legitimacy while overcoming the eclectic nature of its profession’s theory and practice, especially in its competition with other branches of medicine. Some of its leaders at that time were driven to give psychiatry the appearance of being based on the hard science of genetics and neurobiology, combined with the added discovery of “magic (pharmaceutical) bullets” targeting real “diseases” of the brain and so-called “chemical imbalances.” This immerging trend of Biological Psychiatry was predicated on a thoroughly reductionist approach; a science constructed on an unproven hypothesis justifying a newly manufactured paradigm of psychiatric drug centered “treatment” options.

All this led to the establishment of psychiatry’s series of evolving DSM “Bibles” that categorized a set of brain diseases and disorders completely divorced from a material world that actually creates the very symptoms they so desperately needed to pathologize. In this context the name “Biological Psychiatry” and the use of the word “biological” was a perfect fit. And all of this merged quite conveniently with the dynamic rise of the highly profitable pharmaceutical industry during the same period of time in our recent history.

Also, during the last several decades Biological Psychiatry, while colluding with Big Pharma, has virtually taken over all the major institutions of “higher learning” that train psychiatrists as doctors. These schools and their curriculums are heavily funded and influenced by the pharmaceutical industry with its own economic and political agenda. This “education” is centered on what could be described as a pseudoscientific combination of neurobiology and psychopharmacology; education in therapy and other social interventions for people in distress are mere electives, if offered at all. In this context the line between real education and propaganda is well beyond being blurred. Indoctrination would not be an exaggeration to describe this so-called learning environment.

Biological Psychiatry, as the dominant force in psychiatry, now represents a perfect melding of three very powerful institutions – psychiatry, the legal drug industry, and the medical schools that train psychiatrists. This unification was necessary to create favorable conditions for the complete takeover of the entire mental health system in this country and throughout most parts of the world. I, myself, witnessed (over more than two decades) the gradual takeover of the community mental health system in this country. A takeover that has now made psychiatric drugs, not therapy/counseling, as the new standard of care. Biological Psychiatry has grown exponentially in power in recent years and it negative influences permeate practically every pore within our society.

This takeover by Biological Psychiatry was a slow and protracted seizure by attrition. It took place over several decades and was significantly aided by Big Pharma’s deceptive marketing campaigns. A trillion dollars of advertising later, this system has successfully preyed upon a vulnerable population and created millions of victims out of people only looking for solutions to problems in an often traumatic and stressful world. This wholesale promotion of psychiatric drug use seized upon and expanded our already well-established culture of addiction. Biological Psychiatry has now created a huge public demand for a new legal form of mind altering substance abuse, where enormous harm clearly outweighs any benefits.

Based on all of this above history I would suggest the following additions for a more comprehensive scientific definition of Biological Psychiatry:

Biological Psychiatry is the wedding of genetic based theories of so-called “mental illness” with the American Psychiatric Association and other leading psychiatric organizations in the world, together with the pharmaceutical industry, and the major training institutions for psychiatry.

It promotes and maintains a genetic/brain disease based/drug centered medical model of treatment. It also promotes and enforces various forms of coercive types of so-called “treatment,” including forced drugging and electro-shock. It controls, conducts, and corrupts most psychiatric drug research which has led to millions of people throughout the world being severely harmed and/or dependent on brain and body damaging drugs. 

Biological Psychiatry is useful for the ruling classes in society to maintain power by using “genetic theories of original sin” to shift people’s focus away from the innate inequalities and daily traumas experienced by people living within their system. Their drug centered model of social control has especially targeted youth, prisoners, non-conformists and other more volatile sections of the population.

Biological Psychiatry, when combined with Big Pharma’s innate drive to maximize profits, has now become the driving force within the Psychiatric/Pharmaceutical/Industrial Complex.

While others may want to add to or tweak this definition of Biological Psychiatry, I believe a strong case has been made as to where this name came from and what it represents in the real world. Can there be any debate at MIA as to whether or not Biological Psychiatry is an oppressive force in the world? People may prefer it to be something different, but this simply cannot, and will not happen. People may wish to cling to another interpretation of the word, “biological,” but that debate has long since passed. I think we can say with some certainty that an historical verdict has clearly been rendered on this question; as Yogi Berra might finally say: “Biological Psychiatry is what it is!”

I would then ask the following important question: To those who were confused by the name, do you still want to cling to or somehow be identified with Biological Psychiatry as an historical trend? Let’s be clear about my question. Notice I DID NOT ASK if you still believe that genetics may somehow play some type of a role in what gets labeled as “mental illness,” or whether or not psychiatric drugs can have a limited positive role for some people experiencing extreme symptomology. I would even add the controversial issue as to whether or not there are extreme circumstances when force should be used to detain people who are in danger of self-harm. These are all clearly debatable questions within our ranks, and will be for some time. We can still debate these questions while being perfectly clear that we are vehemently OPPOSED to Biological Psychiatry as an overall oppressive force in society.

If most of us could unite around a clearer definition of Biological Psychiatry, then the next step is to more systematically educate people throughout society exactly what it is and what harm it is doing to people. It is then that we can begin to create a dynamic politically charged environment similar to the 60’s where broadly throughout society the question was asked and debated: Are you for or against the war? In today’s situation the question that needs to be forcefully raised is: Are you for or against Biological Psychiatry, and if you are against it, what are you doing to stop it?

Now I am aware that, so far, I have not addressed those people at MIA who believe that all psychiatry must be equally condemned, and that making a separate distinction regarding Biological Psychiatry is not important or misguided. Part 2 of this blog will address (in much greater detail) why this distinction between Biological Psychiatry and the REST of psychiatry is so critical to developing a correct strategic approach to building a successful movement to end all psychiatric oppression. Part 2 will also explore specific ideas for how we can create the material conditions for a seismic shift and major split within both psychiatry and the entire mental health field that could potentially win over more allies and much greater numbers of people throughout society who support our cause.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


Mad in America has made some changes to the commenting process. You no longer need to login or create an account on our site to comment. The only information needed is your name, email and comment text. Comments made with an account prior to this change will remain visible on the site.

Previous articleFrom Self Care to Collective Caring
Next articlePhil Borges – Op-Ed Bio
Richard D. Lewis
Addiction, Biological Psychiatry and the Disease Model: Richard D. Lewis, MEd, has worked with addictions for the past 19 years in New Bedford, MA. Richard discusses the relationship of addictions to severe psychological distress often labeled as a “disease” and/or a so-called “mental illness".


  1. Presumably you believe that the non-biological, ‘REST of psychiatry’ is a force for good or at least salvageable. The truth is that psychiatry was an oppressive force long before the DSM and the rise of big pharma. Older, psychodynamic orientations, for example, also pathologised normal aspects of human experience, and psychiatrists have engaged in coercive practices ever since the emergence of the specialty. We’re misconceiving and missing large parts of the problem if we focus only on the current biological approach. Indeed we’re misguided if we focus only on psychiatry; clinical psychology and social work, in all their flavours, are major contributors to the problem too.

    Report comment

    • “We’re misconceiving and missing large parts of the problem if we focus only on the current biological [psychiatry] approach. Indeed we’re misguided if we focus only on psychiatry; clinical psychology and social work, in all their flavours, are major contributors to the problem too.”

      Excellent comment Sally.

      Report comment

    • That’s a good point. I cannot say that there are no parts of psychiatry that are worth preserving but it’s not only the drugs, ECT and lobotomies that are a problem. It’s the arrogance of coercion for those who “lack insight” and the conceptual pathologising of most of human emotionality and behaviours only because they make someone (usually a person in the position of power) uncomfortable.
      Personally my biggest problem with psychiatry is its powers as law enforcement not accompanied by any responsibilities and constraints of the real justice system. As long as psychiatrists can use their power to subject people to “treatment” against their will, to physically assault and imprison them without any due process and based on pre-crime the system cannot be repaired. For medicine to improve feedback from patients is a necessary step and that cannot exist in a coercive setting. I don’t care if it’s drugs, shocks and surgeries or any other voodoo practices – the whole concept is wrong.

      Report comment

    • One more thought: I think the major problem with psychiatry and related disciplines you’ve mentioned is the concentration on the individual as a source of the problem. As if “fixing” something within the person be it with drugs, talk therapy etc. is going to fix the problem. I personally find the Open Dialogue approach so appealing because it understands “mental illness” as a problem “in between” people, where individual distress is merely a symptom of a broader problem within a social setting. One cannot “treat” anyone successfully without taking this into account and that requires a personalised approach – everyone can have different reasons for their problems: social (say poverty), trauma-related, interpersonal or even biological (some mental problems are linked to biological diseases or are a result of stress associated with them). Some aspect of working with the individual can be helpful (like helping a person to get out of a toxic relationship) but it’s not the same as to say “you have a mental disorder we will work on”. A mental breakdown in a toxic environment is not due to a disorder of the individual – it’s a disorder of the social setting generating the toxicity and telling the individual there is something wrong with him/her is shooting the messenger.

      Report comment

  2. This is a well argued indictment of what is referred to as “Biological Psychiatry.” I am still of the opinion that this is an unnecessary distinction, but I look forward to reading Part 2.

    One issue I hope that Part 2 might address, or that I hope might be addressed in the comments, is this: As persuasive as this post is, it still reads to me like a story of a once noble field that has become corrupted by a “Biological Psychiatry” faction allied with Big Pharma. But if that is so, then when was the golden age of psychiatry? I’ve read Mad in America and I don’t recall seeing it in there.

    I’m glad this discussion is happening. Thank you.

    Report comment

    • Uprising and Sally

      Thanks for the interest and for the feedback. I definitely will not be promoting a “Golden Age of Psychiatry.” And rest assured that I am not without criticism of the “Rest” of psychiatry and its theoretical and practical foundations.

      There are many reasons why a minority of psychiatrists are starting to distance themselves from the dominant trend of Biological Psychiatry. And I know there are some psychiatrists who had problems with it from the beginning. We need to find ways to unite with these people; they could play a positive role in the coming battles. The “anti-psychiatry” approach, without making distinctions within the profession, gets in the way of seeking out these potential allies.

      I will try to address your questions in greater detail in Part 2.


      Report comment

      • Richard, WHY do you think we have to unite with them? The goal is not to get psychiatrists to support us but to expose the industry to the public at large until we can take away their power to make it matter. You well know that slavery was not abolished by convincing the slavemasters that it was wrong, that power cedes nothing without a demand, and that true change is bottom up, not top down. I think maybe you’re trying to apply some classic revolutionary organizing formula but have it a little convoluted. Or something. But this coming discussion should be a biggie for sure.

        BTW would you organize prison guards? The police? What’s the essential difference here?

        Report comment

          • Actually, sometimes slavery was ended by convincing slavemasters that it was wrong. Many slave owners experienced ethical epiphanies in the decades leading up to the Civil War, and freed their slaves. If you care about individuals, you must appreciate helping as many people as possible by persuasion, no matter how few. And to continue the analogy, it was a few rich unyielding owners that responded against this positive trend with violence. That is, the bad guys started the war, not the good guys.

            Report comment

        • “BTW would you organize prison guards? The police? ” This is a crucial point. Psychiatry plays a critical role in society like the police and prison guards. Psychiatry gets its power from the government. The only thing that can fight a doctor is another doctor, usually doctors use science but the science has been corrupted.

          In the game of chess it would be a Bishop fighting another Bishop.

          Mental illness exists and society needs psychiatrists to control or help the (figuratively) ill person.

          Mental illness is when someones emotions are too large. Larger than the power of someones rational mind to order/control oneself. Mental illness is the inability to choose.
          Two examples:
          If one is feeling too much despair, one does not have the ability to choose what to do to escape. Every possible response to the present conditions seems meaningless. Hopeless from lack of joy-enjoyment.

          If one is feeling too much confidence, one does not have the ability to perceive being wrong or incorrect about the situation one is in. Every possible response is the correct one.

          Report comment

          • Well, there is a problem with comparing the psychiatry to other law enforcement agencies and it is two fold:
            – practically the psychiatry has all the power of the justice system accumulated in one place (which is unacceptable in justice system) but none of the responsibilities and restraints – that makes it worse and more ripe for abuse
            – most people think of psychiatry as a medical profession rather than law enforcement that’s why they don’t see a reason for the extensive oversight and mechanisms to check for abuse
            That’s not to say that abuse of the justice system is in anyway not a problem, it’s only to say that it’s at least as bad in psychiatry with fewer people in the general population recognising it as a problem to be addressed.
            I think that people with “problems of thinking, emotions and behaviour” should never be treated with force unless they constitute a danger to others or public safety and that should be handled by police and not psychiatry. If they don’t break the law then they should be handled by crisis teams which are not allowed to use force and are closely monitored.

            Report comment

        • Oldhead

          Radical movements gather allies for the purpose of creating conditions to win battles and achieve the goals of their movement. At times that means uniting with some groups or individuals that you still have differences with. Any examination of prior revolutionary movements proves this to be true

          And let’s be clear here, I am referring to only a minority of psychiatrists at this time that I believe there is a possibility of winning over to stand opposed, on different levels, to Biological Psychiatry. In NO WAY am I suggesting that psychiatrists should be the focus of our organizing efforts; nor do I think our success depends on winning them over. The focus of our organizing efforts should clearly be among survivors and their families.

          Encouraging, inspiring, and even cajoling some psychiatrists to speak out and oppose Biological Psychiatry could be a valuable thing within a developing movement.

          Would you rather have this minority drop out of their profession OR unite with us on some level in order to make waves within their profession; perhaps even create a major split within psychiatry? I choose the latter option.

          This would not end our criticisms of some of the essential flaws in psychiatry’s theory and practice, but in fact be a new beginning for that struggle. Image the impact this would have if this minority of psychiatrists became very public about the harm being done by the Biological Psychiatry trend and disavowed having any role within it.

          BTW, prison guards and police do not enter their profession with the stated intention to help people who are experiencing trouble in the world. We all know the profiles of the types of people who are attracted to becoming cops and prison guards. I don’t believe your analogy holds up.


          Report comment

          • I just wrote about 6 carefully considered paragraphs that disappeared, bear with me while I reconstruct them:

            First, the study of prior revolutionary movements is a study of pinnacles of success followed by defeat. So there is much to still learn about the revolutionary process considering that counterrevolution in the USSR and China has left us with no truly socialist nations, with the possible exception of Cuba.

            I’m rereading The Mass Psychology of Fascism by Wilhelm Reich, which begins wth a discussion of how fascism appeals to emotional elements which can be found in all sectors of the working class, and how the reification of the science of Marxism had left it unable to grapple with the more visceral,”reptilian” (my term) elements of human character, leaving workers vulnerable to fascist theories and “solutions.”. This tendency continues today IMO.

            Marcuse (I believe) discussed the proclivity of populations on the verge of revolutionary success to hold themselves back froam the final breakthrough, not because of the resistance by the old guard but of some sort of a self-restraining mechanism in the collective psyche — even when material conditions for success are “ripe.” My contention is that psychiatry is a key contributor, maybe the primary one, to this phenomenon.

            You never respond to my pointing out that our “extreme” views never caused Drs. Szasz or Breggin to desert us. If someone wants to support us that’s great — if they want us to support something unsupportable in return and only on that condition, then it was never true support to begin with. And to tell you the truth, I don’t know why a psychiatrist primarily concerned with the survival of his profession would to support us.

            OK, so I think you’re stereotyping cops & prison guards too — many cops do start out with true intentions of saving people from robbers and rapists and killers. Then they are put in the position of having to wade into peaceful demonstrators and bash heads to keep their jobs, just as “sopportive” mh personnel often must agree to participate in all sorts of badness to keep theirs. I think it depends, again, on whether or not you see the mental illness industry as primarily a provider of “help” or of social control.

            Report comment

          • Sorry , I’ll never try to use the italics function after 10 p.m. again.

            The butchered sentence was…I don’t know why a psychiatrist primarily concerned with the survival of his profession would WANT to support us.

            Report comment

          • Richard– Your inexperience is showing here. Yes prison can be a good time, and when it is bearable the C. O. ‘s deserve the bulk of the credit. In my facility, we knew they were interested and careful about us in a tense and potentially very unstable situation. Cops, too, have proved better for me to talk to than the advocacy groups and overall the professional caregivers who sit out the war against psychiatric oppression, never mind that they vowed to help heal suffering souls out of the natural bent to their character.

            Report comment

          • “We all know the profiles of the types of people who are attracted to becoming cops and prison guards. I don’t believe your analogy holds up.”
            Actually I do believe it does hold up – I’d be inclined to think that people with sadistic and controlling tendencies are just as likely to go into law enforcement as into psychiatry, the difference may be the education level. That is not to say that this is a majority of cops, guards of psychiatrists but possibly a higher percentage that would go to become say cooks or gardeners.

            Report comment

  3. The ascendant Drug Shock and Psychosurgery Psychiatry is in no desperate search to justify its existence. It functions using propaganda which it does best.

    Biological Psychiatry is a propaganda catch phrase, as are tardive Diskinesia, side effect, weight gain, Medical model – everything written by them is propaganda.

    Calling them Biopsychiatry or Biological Psychiatry misses the fact that they have no “Medical model” they are not the Medical approach.

    Thomas A. Ban, M.D. part of the Task Force 7 is part of the personnel who suppressed chemotherapy in Psychiatry (called Orthomolecular). The fake peer review propaganda document Task Force 7 Report included a challenge test as pretend peer review evidence that Ban did, Ban gave a large dose of methonine to patients he had taken off tranquilizers and some niacin. The niacin failed to act as an antidote and all the test group deteriorated. This is similar to the later amphetamine challenge “tests’ which are propaganda as well – propaganda to (propaganda) support the (propaganda) dopamine hypothesis.

    They didn’t care about “dopamine hypothesis” nor “disproving niacin” they just need to look the part.

    Thomas Ban, M.D. “Dedicated”

    Abram Hoffer, M.D. who lead Psychiatry’s new Medical treatment describes the takeover by the drug companies

    So they aren’t the Medical model, nor Biologic Psychiatry they are the Drug Psychiatry. So Antipsychiatry is an okay word, really shorthand for opposing everything done by these frauds but not the legit Biochemical people and psychotherapy.

    Dan Burdick, Eugene Oregon

    Report comment

    • I have to disagree with you. The so-called Orthomolecular therapy is just as much bs as the standard psychiatric treatment. Pumping someone full of vitamins is not going to cure anything and is based on the same principle as other drug treatments: that there’s a deficit of some substance in the body which is causing the problem. In fact, some people can be helped by supplementing minerals, vitamins and exogenous fatty acids but that is specific cases when people have a deficiency (that can be determined with blood tests which btw psychiatrists never do, save maybe to monitor if they’ve destroyed your liver/kidneys already).

      Report comment

  4. Hi Richard,
    Great post, I think I’m critical psychiatry.
    Biological psychiatry (as I know it) uses tranquillisers as medicine to treat human distress as an illness and people are expected to remain sick. The biological approach does not get people well.

    The question is whether non biological treatments can do better.

    I can substantiate with evidence that the non biological methods can bring about full recovery, from the major ‘mental illnesses’. Once people get better (through ‘psychology’) they remain well because the problems get sorted out.

    I believe that these so called illnesses do not exist and that they are medically created. That a lot of the time even the ‘diagnosis’ is ‘helped’ along the way.

    Its more a public relations battle and the biological approach has got the upper hand. But the digital age and consumer networking can help change all of this.

    Report comment

    • Hi Fiachra

      Thanks for the positive feedback. I also believe that “mental illness” is a myth. I believe we can be critical of the “rest” of psychiatry, even those who are still influenced by Biological Psychiatry, without pushing them into the camp of the enemy.


      Report comment

    • I disagree with “Once people get better (through ‘psychology’) they remain well because the problems get sorted out. ”
      My father and mother are the root of my “mental illness”, I am sure other people with “mental illness” have parents that literally make them crazy.

      The King and Queen do not want to lose their power, and successfully use psychiatry to keep their children as children.

      Report comment

      • My mother and father are not the root of the mental illness label given to me. They got the label also and it came from psychiatry. I got from my parents a good upbringing and through that the resilience to cope with what psychiatry did.

        What drove me into an altered mind state was pain, physical and emotional. Psychiatry is patriarchal and infantilises the patients so as to more easily control them. Let’s not blame the mothers or even the fathers. Let’s hold the system responsible and do something to change it and shift the paradigm.

        Report comment

        • Well, in some cases they are to blame. In some cases mental distress is caused by things you can’t influence – it’s nobody’s fault one gets a chronic disease or experiences a loss of a family member. But in some cases there is a well defined culprit – a domestic abuser, an overprotective parent, a bullying co-worker. Emotional distress can have many causes and making bank statements like “it’s the brain”, “no, it’s the parents”, “no, it’s the capitalistic society” ignores the fact that all of them can be true/false/kind of true in different situations.

          Report comment

  5. This thoughtful article is a valiant effort towards gathering forces within the psych reform movement. I would love to see that happen but I must remain skeptical. IMO, the word “biological” is implied in the word “psychiatry.” Take biology out of the equation and most people will assume that we’re now talking about psychology.

    How (or whether) we come to a meeting of the minds on our terminology depends on our approach and I see little cause for optimism. With opinions on forced treatment arranged along a spectrum, at one end sits Fuller Torrey (force okay once there’s a diagnosis) and, at the other, Thomas Szasz (force never okay). If you’re not a Szaszian (which I’m not) you’ll be accused of being a forced drugging enthusiast and the inevitable vitriol shuts down conversation.

    We might learn from the errors of the animal rights movement. The extremists who shriek about how evil it is to own pets actually harm animal rights because their opponents point to them as representative of the entire movement and they clearly are not. If the true goal is treating animals better, pushing for stronger legislation regarding the humane rearing and slaughter of livestock is where the effort should go, not into holding up “Meat is Murder” signs.

    The extremists don’t help in the psych rights movement either.

    Report comment

      • Oldhead

        I did not, and would not use the the word “extremists” to describe you or any other more vocal section of people at MIA. I hope you are referring to Francesca’s post. And I am glad you criticized this term; I should have done it myself.

        I must go to work so I will not be able to respond until tonight.


        Report comment

        • If you want to meet in the middle between Torrey and Szasz, it would help your case for there to be a strong presence on the “Szasz side” of the argument, because that moves the perceived “center” of the debate over from the “Torrey-side,” which is dominant, to where you want it. (For some reason, a lot of people seem to think the center is always right.)

          It’s kind of like the ridiculous national politics here in the US. Over the years, liberals supported oppression against communists, and then socialists, and then trade unionists, all of whom were painted as extremists, and now liberals themselves are painted as extremists because they sold out everyone to the left of them. (They even had to re-brand themselves as “progressives.”) So now, the perceived political “center” is somewhere between Obama and Paul Ryan, I guess, which means that it’s firmly in right-wing territory.

          That’s what my pragmatic side says. My idealistic side says, “Remaining true to one’s own moral compass (or disagreeing with Francesca Allen) does not make one an ‘extremist.'”

          Report comment

          • I certainly did not say nor would I ever say that disagreeing with me makes one an extremist. What makes one an extremist is holding an untenable position such as that there is never, ever justification for psychiatric intervention. By way of example, some people’s views on suicide prevention are extremist.

            Report comment

          • “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum….”

            ― Noam Chomsky, The Common Good

            …and to call everyone outside of the spectrum an extremist is a very good way to achieve that goal.

            Report comment

        • Well, if you compare the struggle for “mentally ill” rights to animal rights you may have a point for the “in-between”. Animals are considered to be inferior to humans in many aspects of their cognition and a lot of people see killing them as justifiable as long as it’s “humane”. However, that argument falls on it’s face if you compare the “mentally ill” rights movement to anti-slavery or LGBT movements (like, you know – other human rights movements). What is the acceptable degree for abuse and discrimination of slaves of gey people?
          Your analogy shows a flaw in thinking – you’re conceiving “mentally ill” as other, potentially inferior in their cognition (“lack of insight”) so the violation of some of their rights is OK as long as it’s kept to some standard. Well, I’d like to be treated like a human being not like a dog or a cow.

          Report comment

    • “animal rights”

      Unlike psychiatric patients farm animals have the right to fresh air and direct sun and exercise !

      § 205.239 Livestock living conditions. [PARAPHRASED]

      (a) The producer of an organic livestock operation must establish and maintain year-round livestock living conditions which accommodate the health and natural behavior of animals, including:

      (1) Year-round access for all animals to the outdoors, shade, shelter, exercise areas, fresh air, clean water for drinking, and direct sunlight, suitable to the species, its stage of life, the climate, and the environment…Yards, feeding pads, and feedlots shall be large enough to allow all ruminant livestock to feed simultaneously without crowding and without competition for food. Continuous total confinement of any animal indoors is prohibited…

      (4) Shelter designed to allow for:

      (i) Natural maintenance, comfort behaviors, and opportunity to exercise.


      Report comment

      • But you are quoting guidelines for ORGANIC farming while the vast majority of livestock are raised/slaughtered via FACTORY farming. I don’t know many psychiatric patients who spend their ENTIRE lives stuck in a crate too small for them to turn around in before usually being slaughtered in an unnecessarily brutal, inhumane manner.

        Report comment

    • Extremists how F. A.? I agree that “extremist” and “vitriole” are handy pejorative labels. In Daniel Mackler’s case with his recent article, vitriolic language was the problem, in my view. Further, that’s not a matter of mere “tone” as Richard would have it, but the more essential difference in choice of words. Emotions are very secondhand, second rate information dependent on attitudes and knowledge or ignorance.

      So, you can’t reasonably be meaning to say that Szasz was an extremist who held us back? Many people who want to express themselves about these very complicated issues that we are trying to make sense of and respond to sound like extremists for want of explanatory frameworks like Szasz attempted to put on offer. Think of what you need to say to get some anti-anti-anti-psychiatry rant-er to understand what good action you think is possible and you will see what most everyone mainstream also still needs to learn and view with an independent mind.

      Report comment

  6. It seems to me that if we could do away with “biological psychiatry,” we would still be left with FORCED psychiatry. Isn’t that the real problem?

    As far as calling ourselves “anti-psychiatry,” I just haven’t seen at all that regular people perceive that phrase as something too “extreme” to relate to. My experience is that people want to know what I mean by the phrase. And this of course gives me an opening to talk about a lot of things.

    The only people I have encountered who are really bothered by the phrase, and who keep referring to it as “extreme,” are people like E. Fuller Torrey, our friend, and Jeffrey Lieberman, the past president of the APA. The fact that they keep mentioning it tells me that they are afraid that it may become popular.

    I wrote a whole article about this in the past year on MIA. Please check out “Of Course I’m Anti-Psychiatry, Aren’t You?” Hopefully, you will find some well-reasoned and convincing arguments there.

    Report comment

      • Ted

        Yes, “forced psychiatry” or the use of any force by psychiatry is wrong and must be opposed.

        Ted, psychiatrist’s such as E Fuller Torrey and Jeffrey Lieberman are clearly powerful figures within Biological Psychiatry; I don’t care what they think of us. They will find any way they can to attack us and defend themselves.

        Without compromising any of our principles I do care what open minded and other dissident psychiatrists think about us, and how close they are willing to work with us to oppose Biological Psychiatry.


        Report comment

        • Biopsychiatry sounds good. You and the rest of us ought actually to chuck the use of “Biological Psychiatry” though.

          Biopsychiatry (as the name of the propaganda operation ersatz, faux “Psychiatry”) has 3 (fake, propaganda, congame) areas of academic pursuit and (f,p,c) treatment modalites.

          The pretense is to scientific academic and Medical pursuit.

          The three sub specialties in academe ,and the three treament modalities in Biopsychiatry are supposed to be seen as modern Newtonin Scientific. They are all repeatable concrete well-defined materialistic concrete Medical interventions. They are Electroshock, commencing of endless drugging of the brain with (patented, trademarked) centrally acting drugs and psychosurgery.

          Max Fink who is the Medical consultant for Ron Howards propaganda film A Beautiful Mind covered electroshock for academe and Professio0nal practice (and had a company making the quote unquote “Machines” (IE. electric timer, power-supplies).

          Donald F. Klein covered the psychopharmaceutical game – writing “Professional” books on diagnostic and treatment practice.

          Psychiatry relies on the stance of Professorial arrogance. This extends to their field agents spread throughout the USA since JFK introduced Modern treatment to the USA through the Community Mental Health act being advised by Menninger, Nelson Rockefeller and company that the golden age of Modern medical, caring treatment was at hand. No more snake pits science was here!

          Then the DSM-3 project of the 1970’s allowed as Klein intended (and Biederman and Wozniak enjoys today) the little Psychiatrists to faux diagnose (in an aloof distant Professional objective standard manner) “diagnose” people based on their objective opinion.

          By not using any Medical tests whatsoever and only relying categorizing people (the DSM nosology – a Linnean taxonomy of social abnormality)
          the diagnoses as Klien pointed out had to be correct. Bssed solely on Authority and not on any theory of causation they cannot be wrong.

          Naturally Don Weitz and others very correctly link this… approach… to the Malleus Maleficarum created by the same caste of characters in 1484 a full 500 years before 1984).

          This is seen in the propaganda film Beautiful Mind when the Authority screams at the family figure that if she doesn’t consent to her husband receiving the metrazol shock treatment immediately then the delusions may take over his mind irreparably.

          The Authority (that being a propaganda principle/gambit that they constantly employ) is seen in Janet Wozniak stating “Criticizing the diagnosis is insulting to clinicians!”

          It is seen in the Justina Pelletiet case of course. BCH (HArvard) Psychiatrists state that the new faux “diagnosis” is “Somataform” which means that no Medical test or Doctors opinion explains the physical symptoms. Harvard was asserting their right of Authority (in a dark ages sense. ) oesn’t matter what parents or Doctors say – they are Harvard and they are Psychiatrists. Veritas! Kneel and kiss the Ring.

          It is seen in Staggenborg’s reply to Chuck here in Eugene Oregon. He states that there are the special ones in the Profession, the Authorities, and then their are laypeople and others such as Chuck who worked in Mental Health for decades but not in “the Profession.”

          All of us should for certain not choose Not to Call Biopsychiatry or
          Psychopharmacology (that is, the congame pretend version of Psychiatry created by the propaganists)

          “Biological Psychiatry”

          because that term applies to legitimate Psychiatrists that do serious (IE, legit not fraud) Biochemical Psychiatry – functional Medicine.

          People such as John Smiethies and Hugh Riorden

          Richard writes, “I do care what open minded and other dissident psychiatrists think about us, and how close they are willing to work with us to oppose Biological Psychiatry.”

          Certainly Abram worked with us all to oppose Biopsychiatry:
          Abram Hoffer, M.D. refers the reader to Lawrence Stevens, J.D.

          Eva Edelma lives in Eugene, Oregon and shared an office with David Oaks of MindFreedom when she wrote her book Natural Healing for Schizophrenia which we used to sell from MindFreedom’s Mad Market.

          Eva has a review for William Walsh’s new book “Nutrient Power.”

          William Walsh worked with the late Carl C. Pfieffer, Ph.D., M.D. who Abram Hoffer told me took the biotype research as far as anyone, Carl completed it.

          These valid people do not state that they are the the people “of the Profession,” they do not tell us to disregard this and to support that on the baisis of theirs being the Authority.

          They actually speak and write as scientists — as fellow human beings.

          Their “authority” is based on what they are actually communicating not on their being right because they are from the Ivy Leaugue or are the director of the NIMH and state arrogant assertive things in a firm tone (things which do not accually scan logically, scholarly, scientifically).

          Nutrient Power book

          Masks of Madness

          Hugh Riorden 45 Years in Medical Practice – speech video

          Stand Up. Unite. Talk Truth to Power.

          Dan in Eugene

          Report comment

      • “I don’t see how non-biological psychiatry could be forced upon anybody. Involuntary talk therapy doesn’t really make any sense.”

        Francesca Allan,

        Your failure to fathom how it is, that ‘non-biological psychiatry’ could be forced on people, is no fault of your own.

        On the contrary, you are, imho, simply expressing the effect of confusing nosology. Richard has sincerely attempted, with his blog post (above), to create an iron clad (very strong) argument, in favor of this notion, that: There are two quite separate and distinct classes, of psychiatrist (or, two very different schools of thought in psychiatry), and he has not proven his point…

        He has not done a good job of it (despite the best of intentions). Maybe his next blog post will offer needed clarifications.

        So, I think your stated confusion is key to this discussion — because, imho, it is Richard’s fault, not yours. And, I agree with your conclusion, that “Involuntary talk therapy doesn’t really make any sense.”

        Few people could imagine that what is presumed to be ‘non-biological psychiatry’ could be forced on people.

        I think what you’re saying, goes a long way toward explaining why no careful observers of psychiatry can reasonably hope to view psychiatrists as falling neatly into two separate camps (nor will they ever divide themselves into two camps) — ‘biological psychiatry’ and ‘non-biological psychiatry.’

        The confusion you express is that same, that many could easily feel, when speaking with Richard about ‘biological psychiatry’; you are failing to understand, that: In Richard’s proposed scheme, “the rest” of psychiatrists (i.e., those who, ostensibly, are not ‘biological psychiatrists’) most definitely can be prescribers of psychiatric drugs.

        And, in fact, they can forcibly drug their “patients”.

        Only, their stated reasons for doing so would be different from the stated reasons of psychiatrists whom Richard refers to as ‘biological psychiatrists.’

        Note: Richard has previously suggested, that he does not approve of forced drugging (and I deeply appreciate his stance, as such); he conveyed that point, in recent comments to me, under Daniel Mackler’s latest blog post; he has my utmost respect for having come to the point, that he can convey such a view to his readers; but, apparently, he is nonetheless willing to befriend psychiatrists who order such drugging.

        Those who order and condoned forced brain-altering ‘treatments’ are not ‘the enemy’ — according to Richard, currently…

        ‘Biological psychiatrists’ are ‘the enemy’ (to Richard).

        And (to Richard), ‘biological psychiatrists’ are those who promote theories of genetically caused “mental illness” and/or “mental disorder.”

        Of course, I could be misreading him or over-simplifying his views, as I reiterate them; I hope he will correct me if I am doing so; but, in any case, I believe he views “the rest” of psychiatrists (i.e., ‘non-biological psychiatrists’) as those whose work may or may not consist, mainly, in the practice of prescribing psychotropic drugs; and, such psychiatrists (whom he feels are not ‘the enemy’) may or may not be providers of talk therapy.

        What sets these psychiatrists apart from ‘biological psychiatrists’ (according to Richard), is that: They are inclined to eschew theories of genetic determinism; indeed, they’re quite willing to presume, that most (if not all) of what’s typically called “mental illness” and “mental disorders” amount to the effects of traumatic experiences and/or environment stressors…

        I believe that is what Richard is suggesting, ultimately.

        But, in any case, most nearly all psychiatrists condoned forced drugging…

        And, frankly, to me, that’s the main problem with psychiatry.

        Oh, and, by the way, Francesca, I have read you explaining, in one of your comments, somewhere on this page, that you’re fine with the concept of “mental disorder.” Likewise, I have no problem with that term, except I believe that psychiatry has made it into something of a farce…

        The term “mental disorder” is usable, I think, to describe a state of reported mental confusion.

        Meanwhile, the DSM or ICD (‘official’) lists of supposed “mental disorders” are an utter crock, over all, imho…

        They are, especially, because they speak of so many so-called “mental disorders” while suggesting theories of supposed “heritability” — which becomes genetic determinism. They are offensive theories. So, I fully sympathize with Richard’s general sense of disgust with (and his clear disdain for) what he calls “biological psychiatry.”

        However, the most offensive thing (imho) in psychiatry is the hubris of someone who would choose to tamper with another person’s brain, against that person’s objections.

        To me, in discussions of psychiatry, the ‘enemy’ is anyone who would approve of such ‘medical’ treatment.

        It matters very little to me whether or not we conclude, that such a person is a supporter of what Richard calls “biological psychiatry.”

        And, of course, when I speak here, in terms of identifying ‘enemies,’ I mean to say, there are these people whom I choose to hold at arms distance, as I pray for their enlightenment. I am wishing such individuals all the best — really — harboring no ill will whatsoever…



        Report comment

        • Duane

          You said: “Richard has sincerely attempted, with his blog post (above), to create an iron clad (very strong) argument, in favor of this notion, that: There are two quite separate and distinct classes, of psychiatrist (or, two very different schools of thought in psychiatry), and he has not proven his point…”

          Yes, you have mischaracterized my position. I do not believe there are two distinct classes or different schools of thought in psychiatry, as if there is one that is good and the other bad.

          I believe Biological Psychiatry is the clear dominant and overriding trend in psychiatry. To not recognize the significance of these changes in psychiatry over the past several decades is to underestimate what we are up against.

          When the sale of a single drug, Abilify, grosses more income than Google in a single year then this is clearly not your mother’s or grandmother’s psychiatry anymore.

          So there is the dominant trend of Biological Psychiatry and an eclectic hodgepodge of theories and practice in the rest, including some clearly “critical psychiatry” elements; some who write at MIA.

          We need to know what we are up against and how to approach people based on how they come at these questions. Some people within psychiatry can be won over to stand against psychiatric oppression, including all forms of forced treatment. Is it not worth the effort to unite with some of these people? Isn’t possible they can be a force for change?


          Report comment

          • “Yes, you have mischaracterized my position. I do not believe there are two distinct classes or different schools of thought in psychiatry, as if there is one that is good and the other bad.”


            OK, then, I am sorry; please, forgive me, Richard, for mischaracterizing your position. And, by the way, it is I (BeyondLabeling a.k.a. Jonah), not Duane, whom you’re addressing. (Lately, I’ve not seen Duane posting comments.)

            Now, to avoid misrepresenting your position, I am presenting what I see as the crux of your argument, in your own words:

            I believe Biological Psychiatry is the clear dominant and overriding trend in psychiatry. To not recognize the significance of these changes in psychiatry over the past several decades is to underestimate what we are up against.

            When the sale of a single drug, Abilify, grosses more income than Google in a single year then this is clearly not your mother’s or grandmother’s psychiatry anymore.

            So there is the dominant trend of Biological Psychiatry and an eclectic hodgepodge of theories and practice in the rest, including some clearly “critical psychiatry” elements; some who write at MIA.

            We need to know what we are up against and how to approach people based on how they come at these questions. Some people within psychiatry can be won over to stand against psychiatric oppression, including all forms of forced treatment. Is it not worth the effort to unite with some of these people? Isn’t possible they can be a force for change?


            Richard, from that reply of yours, I now see, that your primary intent is to do your best, to ‘just’ provide kindling for a popular movement, that would be guided by the central themes of this MIA website!

            I.e., now I’m realizing, your intention is to effectively bring to this MIA-inspired movement, the help of psychiatrists who would be willing to challenge the dominance of pharmacological approaches to providing ‘mental health’ care.

            (Hopefully, I’m not again mischaracterizing your position by my saying all that…)

            That’s fine and good, Richard! Speaking only for myself, I’ll tell you: As I like you, and I deeply respect your opposition to forced drugging, I’ll be happy to do whatever seems reasonable, to join you in that cause; only, in forwarding that cause, I think it could make more sense for me to say I’m challenging the dominance of pharma-psychiatry (not “bio psychiatry”).

            Simply put, Richard: No matter how many ways you explain the origins of the term “bio psychiatry,” and no matter how you describe the implications and uses of that term, I find it confuses people.

            It requires all sorts of explanations, which many (or most) people, these days, haven’t time and attention enough to gather…

            So, though you are providing a lot of great fodder for illuminating discussion, here in relatively tiny realm of this website, which is fully dedicated to flushing out issues pertaining to ‘mh’ care, I think we need to be much more clear with folk representing the general public, if we are to make any immediate and clear sense, when out and about, speaking with them…

            I mean, personally, I will not choose to go around harping about problems with “bio psychiatry” — only because I feel that “bio psychiatry” is an intrinsically misleading label, which requires the exposition of many thousands of words, in order to make it well understood.

            Now, all this is not to say, that I believe you’re ‘wrong’ — nor that I’m expecting to change your mind or your methods.

            Simply, imho, you would be much more automatically understood, were you to speak very directly of the harms caused by Big Pharma’s impact on the ‘mh’ system — and, along those lines, refer to the devastating impacts, the ultimate societal tragedy, that is caused by this fact, that ‘mh’ systems everywhere have come to be dominated by pharma-psychiatry.

            Your banner says “Down with bio psychiatry!”

            Mine says “Down with pharma-psychiatry!”

            Same difference, but I think mine is more easily understood by the general public.



            Report comment

          • Jonah

            I apologize for using the wrong name this morning in addressing you.

            On the question of the name Biological Psychiatry: Our job is not to find new names for what history has already chosen. I only attempted to explain its origins, and why it makes perfect sense in the context of those who believe biological causation demands biological treatment.

            I am sure there are many people who find the name “Zionism” to be an inaccurate, misleading, or incomplete descriptive name for the movement that lead to the creation of a Jewish State. At this point in history there is no longer a debate or any need to argue about the name.

            Jonah, as to the major points I have tried to make in my blog – to the extent that you are not clear on what I stand for – I will accept blame for not clearly explaining myself.

            My political goals are for the elimination of all forms of exploitation and oppression that are part of class society in this historical era. Until we get beyond a profit based economic system we will be plagued with the multiple forms of physical and psychological violence in the world.

            I envision a world in the future without psychiatry, therapy, or any other type of power relationship over other human beings. I want to take part in a movement that will bring us closer to that goal.

            I see the battle against Biological Psychiatry as part of a key human right struggle leading toward the broader goals expressed above. While we need to unite people around these long term goals where we can, we also need to “unite all who can be united” more PROGRAMATICALLY with those who are not quite ready to accept those broader goals, but in this our case, they may want to fight psychiatric abuses.

            It is in this context that I am raising the possibility of uniting with some psychiatrists who may not be ready to see psychiatry go out of existence but will fight against psychiatric abuse. All successful liberation movements have employed such strategies.

            So concretely, in your case, how could you, Jonah, find a way to unite (on some level) with Dr. Philip Thomas, for example. He is a member of the Critical Psychiatry Network which is very critical of the Biological Psychiatry trend, but he still clings to a position that says in certain extreme situations sedative drugs may be forcefully needed to restrain some one. This is also the position of Jonathan Keyes who also blogs here.

            You have raised principled struggle with both of these individuals on this question; I learned from that debate.

            Question: Do you think it is helpful or will lead to more opportunities to use persuasion to win over these people, to label them as your enemy? I believe you stated, the other day, that anyone who holds such an outlook, or is in a position to enforce such an act, is your enemy. Correct me if I am wrong.

            These are important strategic and tactical questions that could mean the difference between winning and losing important battles within our movement.

            And BTW, I believe about a year or two ago (in some comment) you praised me for providing a similar definition of Biological Psychiatry that is contained in this blog. No one here has actually disputed the history that I have uncovered as to the origins of this name.


            Report comment

          • The more I consider it I think breaking down psychiatry into subsections then favoring some over others is more divisive to the prospect of a unified resistance movement than it is to the profession itself. I’m afraid that would include “pharmapsychiatry” too.

            Also it would screw up our chant, “Hey hey, ho ho, psychiatry has got to go!” — just too many syllables in biopsychiatry and pharmapsychiatry, try chanting it that way yourself & see. 🙂

            Report comment

          • “I am raising the possibility of uniting with some psychiatrists who may not be ready to see psychiatry go out of existence but will fight against psychiatric abuse.”

            Richard, when there was an actual survivor-led movement against psychiatric oppression there were many such people, as there are today. They don’t need to be seduced into supporting what’s right by our stroking their egos and saying “these are the good psychiatrists,” because integrity is not dependent on what school of thought you adhere to so much as your being able to connect with what’s human.

            Report comment

          • “Question: Do you think it is helpful or will lead to more opportunities to use persuasion to win over these people, to label them as your enemy? I believe you stated, the other day, that anyone who holds such an outlook, or is in a position to enforce such an act, is your enemy. Correct me if I am wrong.”


            Thanks for your reply, which included those questions. In this comment I am attempting to clarify.

            I will begin by answering your first question (“Do you think it is helpful or will lead to more opportunities to use persuasion to win over these people, to label them as your enemy?”).

            Yes, I do think it is helpful and can lead to more such opportunities — definitely, yes.

            In so many ways and for so many reasons, I think it can be useful to clearly identify our enemies — but only when it’s done thoughtfully; and, I believe I am doing it very thoughtfully.

            Right now, you are helping me to advance my view of those who I consider my enemies and why I consider them that. And, I fully presume that others shall read this — including some of my enemies; and, they will come to better understand my positions, precisely as you come to better understand…

            About labeling certain people as my “enemy,” please realize (it seems you may not have understood me): I was referring strictly to people who are in the practice of forcing mind-altering ‘medical treatments’ on others — in particular, brain-invasive (‘psychotropic’) drugs.

            To me, such people are ‘the enemy’ — as they represent a significant threat to people who have been labeled by psychiatry as I have; but, of course, it should go without saying, I’m not speaking here of ‘mortal enemies’ — nor either am I speaking necessarily of permanent enemies.

            I am speaking of people whom I distrust — for good reason — based on personal experiences.

            Meanwhile, I should add, that: I believe that some enemies can become friends in the long run.

            So, I appreciate your saying in your comment to me, let’s “unite all who can be united” …to “reduce psychiatric abuse.”

            You explain, “…I am raising the possibility of uniting with some psychiatrists who may not be ready to see psychiatry go out of existence but will fight against psychiatric abuse. All successful liberation movements have employed such strategies.”

            You continue, “So concretely, in your case, how could you, Jonah, find a way to unite (on some level) with Dr. Philip Thomas, for example. He is a member of the Critical Psychiatry Network which is very critical of the Biological Psychiatry trend, but he still clings to a position that says in certain extreme situations sedative drugs may be forcefully needed to restrain some one. This is also the position of Jonathan Keyes who also blogs here…

            Richard, most pointedly: Phil Thomas has done a lot of good, and my understanding of Phil Thomas is that he is not a practicing clinician, so I feel he can’t possibly be my enemy.

            Jonathan Keyes, on the other hand, I do consider an enemy — because he forcibly drugs people in the psychiatric “hospital” where he works; and, at last, please understand, Richard, I choose to use that word (“enemy”) only because you had referred to Biological Psychiatry, as “THE enemy for our movement.” [That was in your blog post (atop this web page), you explained: “Some writers at MIA have suggested that to treat “Biological Psychiatry” as a target, or as THE enemy for our movement, might be confusing because of a commonly accepted interpretation of the word “biological.””]

            Oh, and here I should emphasize, that: I was one of those individuals who found that term (“Biological Psychiatry”) confusing; so, yes, there was a comment of mine, more than a year ago, in which I thanked you for clearly explaining what you had meant, as you’d used it repeatedly. I thanked you for the history lesson, and I even said your use of the term now made sense to me.

            And, from what you were describing, of the history of that term, I clearly indicated, that: I, too, consider myself an opponent of that trend in psychiatry. But, nonetheless, I concluded, that: I am, first and foremost, an opponent of medical-coercive psychiatry.

            (And, Richard, note: Much as I do appreciate your history-of-psychiatry lessons, the term “Biological Psychiatry” remains a bit irksome, in my mind; I find it’s confusing to me, as I can’t easily retain all your historical reasons for using it, and I have to keep reminding myself of what all it means to you; and, so, I figure it will confuse whoever does not know the history of psychiatry — because, as you well know, “biological” has another meaning altogether, in most people’s minds. But, really, now, I would prefer to avoid belaboring these points. You seem relatively unconcerned with that fact, and I believe you view the term as undeniably useful and permanently fixed in meaning, even as I don’t agree that any label has a fixed meaing. Simply, I’m willing to say, OK, let’s move on; I can let it go; imo, it’s really not worth arguing about.)

            So, anyway, Richard, further on the “enemies” label and my reasons for using it:

            Richard, you also wrote in a comment, on June 16, 2014 at 8:07 pm (above), to commenter Fiachra: “I believe we can be critical of the “rest” of psychiatry, even those who are still influenced by Biological Psychiatry, without pushing them into the camp of the enemy.”

            You see, it was because you were speaking again of
            “Biological Psychiatry” as the enemy,” that I felt it might be good to identify those whom I consider my ‘enemies’; in that way, I would (hopefully) advance the conversation, in my preferred direction (that is, toward opposing medical-coercive psychiatry, generally — and, especially, it’s practice of forced drugging); I would do that, by identifying those whom I consider my enemies.

            So, here I’m copying and pasting precisely what I stated the other day, in those regards. (It was in my comment on June 17, 2014 at 3:03 pm.) I explained to Francesca Allan,

            …the most offensive thing (imho) in psychiatry is the hubris of someone who would choose to tamper with another person’s brain, against that person’s objections.

            To me, in discussions of psychiatry, the ‘enemy’ is anyone who would approve of such ‘medical’ treatment.

            It matters very little to me whether or not we conclude, that such a person is a supporter of what Richard calls “biological psychiatry.”

            And, of course, when I speak here, in terms of identifying ‘enemies,’ I mean to say, there are these people whom I choose to hold at arms distance, as I pray for their enlightenment. I am wishing such individuals all the best — really — harboring no ill will whatsoever…

            Richard, I have offered you this comment, to hopefully answer your question, and I pray this has been clarifying…

            For further clarification, see my comment to Andrew Yoder, near the bottom of this page (if you have not already seen it, here: http://www.madinamerica.com/2014/06/biological-psychiatry-important-know-2/#comment-44082 )

            Wow, there’s a lot of great conversation, that you’ve inspired by posting your blog — many great comments, on this page…

            So, thank you for this latest blog post and also for your responsiveness, replying to comments!

            I look forward to reading your blog’s ‘Part 2’



            Report comment

          • P.S. — Richard,

            Are you sure Phil Thomas has conveyed a view, that forced psychotropic drugging may be necessary at times? Knowing he’s a foremost leader in the ‘critical psychiatry’ movement, I certainly feel he should be opposed to such practices, so that’s something I was asking him about, in my comments, under one of his blog posts. I cared to read his position on this matter.

            To my recollection, he never replied to those comments of mine.

            Report comment

          • P.P.S. — Richard,

            I appreciate your offering what you’ve called your “political goals,” as you explain, “My political goals are for the elimination of all forms of exploitation and oppression that are part of class society in this historical era. Until we get beyond a profit based economic system we will be plagued with the multiple forms of physical and psychological violence in the world…” Really, I appreciate your offering that, yet I don’t believe it’s a reasonable vision at all; and, I have no idea why you call those “political goals.”

            To me, it seems your dream that you’ve offered. (It’s somewhat like Martin Luther King Jr’s dream, as he said, “I have a dream” or like Isaiah 11:6, “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.” ) It’s your ultimate hope — for some would be quite incredibly far-distant future; it is, I suppose, in your mind’s eye, a kind of perfect ‘Heaven on Earth,’ that’s beautiful to you, but I consider it quite an impossible dream (surely, I’m not the only one who’ll read it as such); and, in any case, I feel you must realize, it is out of the realm of practical discussions; it has nothing to do with the here and now, imho.

            But, about your adding, more specifically this,

            “I envision a world in the future without psychiatry, therapy, or any other type of power relationship over other human beings. I want to take part in a movement that will bring us closer to that goal…”

            Richard, I think all we need to do, to get to that point, is to reach it in our own lives, by doing our best to step away from the State run ‘mh’ system — and by encouraging others to do likewise; imo, the State is bound to wreak massive havoc wherever it’s ostensibly attempting to provide ‘mental health care’ …for a myriad of reasons.

            A State-run ‘mh’ system must forever dictate and violently enforce what it considers acceptable thoughts, feelings and behaviors; it defines that as ‘normalcy’ and demands that its subjects stick to those ways of being…

            A kind of theocracy is created, wherein the most prestigious, licensed ‘mh’ pros, in their being considered supposedly ‘qualified’ to define ‘normalcy,’ come to enforce the prohibition of whatever supposed “disorders” supposedly account for decidedly “abnormal” and “deviant” behaviors; they make the latest lists of supposedly ‘healthy’ as opposed to ‘unhealthy’ thoughts, feelings and behaviors appear as though needed guidlines for living well.

            Wherever the State involves itself, that way, more harm shall be done — surely.

            I suggest (to you and any other therapist who likewise hope for and end to the Therapeutic State) just turn in your badge — and counsel those who come to you, as you would a friend in need.

            Open your own ministry; preach your gospel; insist that the State should have nothing to do with dictating or enforcing anyone’s ways of thinking…



            Report comment

          • Forced, coerced treatment and the “official expert treatment” that may perhaps seem less forced but is everywhere falsely represented (from TV drams to Readers Digest magazine to Scientific American magazine to Professional Peer Recview Journals to OP Ed Pieces to Library Books to Support Groups to University courses) and created for profit and power purposes and not created to heal –

            Early intervention is important such as antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids.

            Forced treatment is most especially bad because of the real life extent political circumstances that they are creating now.

            With HR 3717 early treatment takes the meaning that the Authority decides and that the Authority over rules and silences person freedom choice statement, recourse to legal and Medical aid, parental rights, personal rights of free equal citizens in a Democracy.

            They are not forcing young children and pregnant and nursing women as well as people currently in a valid delusional malfunctioning state to get some really beneficial restorative treatment.

            More really they are forcing with force – force – to establish a precedent to their authority to force force without any question nor recourse of anyone except them.

            Justina Pelletier has 3 Authority Harvard Psychiatrists at BCH get ahold of Justina and state that her Medical diagnosis and her Medical treatment is superceded by their say.

            She cannot bill for Medical treatment because Harvard the Psychiatric authorities set the precedent that Somatoform a Psych Diagnosis that means that no Medical Doctors Opinion not Medical Test Result exists that explains the physical symptoms thus the Somatoform diagnosis applies.

            The Authority precedent here stands beyond, personal legal Medical and parental Rights and recourse.

            With HR 3717 they seek pre-crime Authority to screen all the populous fro wrong thought and pre-crime and threat anyone by their Medical Orders in any manner.

            This is directed at returning Vets as well as all the free citizens of the Democracy.

            An FBI Psychiatrist Alen Salerian who was working with pain management and stopping the war on drugs was taken away to a mental institute to prevent political interference.

            Force is the topic. There is the larger context. It isn’t force for good like Galdalf getting the Ring…

            Report comment

          • Well, you’ve defined biological psychiatry and I think we’re all (?) pretty much against it. However, if you’re defending the point of psychiatry existing at all then you should maybe also define what that psychiatry should be to be an acceptable approach to human distress?

            Report comment

        • I’m not experiencing confusion. I am well aware that psychiatrists can and do forcibly drug their patients. I just happen to believe that “non-biological psychiatrists” (awkward phrase) are de facto psychologists and I don’t see how one person can FORCE talk therapy upon another. And there are in fact two types of psychiatrists: those who solely rely on drugs versus those who are interested in the bigger picture.

          Report comment

          • Well, that’s not fun when you know that the moment you disagree you can be locked up and drugged. It’s like telling people in CIA black sites they should be having fun with the interrogation while they know that they can be at any moment subjected to torture.
            It’s not really my idea of fun.

            Report comment

  7. Oh Richard. You’re making this too complicated. I will ask again — if the villain is “biological” psychiatry, then what is the “good” psychiatry? I.e., which branch of psychiatry acknowledges that the notion of “mental health” is a complete fraud and a linguistic impossibility, and rejects the notion of mental illness completely?

    Again, psychiatry, unlike psychology in general, is based on the notion that there are mental diseases that are “just like any other disease” and must be treated by a pkysician, i.e. a psychiatrist. Is there a branch of psychiatry that doesn’t require a medical degree?

    There is simply no basis for unity until psychiatrists recognize that their field is based on a big fat deliberate lie. Some like Szasz and Breggin don’t find their personal egos threatened by this knowledge and I expect other psychiatrists who profess to support us to adopt the same attitude.

    Meanwhile our limited energies should not be primarily spent on winning over psychiatrists but on taking away their coercive power. We should always open to support but not at the price of ignoring what we know to be true and compromising our primary goals, nor should we be expected to do so. Eyes on the prize!

    Report comment

    • “There is simply no basis for unity until psychiatrists recognize that their field is based on a big fat deliberate lie. Some like Szasz and Breggin don’t find their personal egos threatened by this knowledge and I expect other psychiatrists who profess to support us to adopt the same attitude.”

      I’m glad this was said. I think it’s an important point that has not been made enough. I would expand on it and say that, as far as I can tell, neither Szasz nor Breggin ever expected people who had been harmed by psychiatry to put on the kid gloves when dealing with psychiatrists, to sanitize their experiences, to dial down their emotion around it, in the vain hope of of getting psychiatrists to “understand” the harm that their profession is responsible for.

      No, Szasz and Breggin are about presenting the facts. The facts reveal that psychiatry is based on pseudo-science and drug company propaganda, and it hurts people. I don’t see how it is reasonable to expect people who have been harmed by psychiatry to put on the kid gloves with a profession that purports to provide support for people in emotional distress; one would think that people who truly fit that description would be able to handle the emotionally charged testimony of people who have been harmed and would be eager to learn about how their own profession has perpetrated that harm.

      Why is it reasonable to expect people who have been harmed by psychiatry to bend over backwards in an effort not to offend the delicate sensibilities of psychiatrists? Personally, I think the gloves need to come off.

      Report comment

      • “getting psychiatrists to “understand” the harm that their profession is responsible for”
        I actually find that idea offensive. No one in their right mind would ask a rape victim to go and kindly explain it to the rapist and if he understands shake hands and become best buddies.
        People who advocate this forget that victims need justice to heal just as much as they need reconciliation. In fact I don’t think there can be true reconciliation without justice to begin with.

        Report comment

    • I don’t think there are many who deny the existence of what is referred to as “mental illness.” Seems to me the argument is whether we’re talking about minds or brains. Myself, I prefer the term “mental disorder” which implies neither one over the other. It’s merely a neutral term for dysfunctional thoughts and behaviour.

      The quest for abolition is futile and resources spent there are subtracted from realistic goals such as effective legal advocacy within our existing system. We cannot outlaw psychiatry but we can make it increasingly obsolete.

      Report comment

      • Obsolete implies that at one point it was useful or had value; since this was never the case with psychiatry “obsolete” is N/A.

        And there are many who understand the fact that “mental illness” does not and could not exist’

        Your comments are not only defeatist but often hostile to those who don’t share your cynicism.

        Report comment

        • No, things without value can become obsolete also. My comments are neither defeatist nor cynical; they are realistic. For the most part, what passes for discussion at psych reform websites does not help the cause. In fact, much of it hurts the cause because Fuller Torrey et al point to it (sometimes correctly) as naïve, uninformed, irrational outbursts that are not to be taken seriously.

          Report comment

      • “effective legal advocacy within our existing system”
        Well, there are countries with very good legal protections, which have ratified the UN conventions and have patient advocates etc. and the end result of it is: nothing’s changed. These legal system don’t work because the principle on which they’re founded are wrong and unrealistic.

        Report comment

    • Oldhead

      You stated that: “There is simply no basis for unity until psychiatrists recognize that their field is based on a big fat deliberate lie.”

      Some psychiatrists, especially those in the older generation who were trained several decades ago, might be very open to that characterization, or others could be won over to that position. Should we tell them to dropped their medical degree and leave psychiatry before they can step foot in our movement? Would they want to join us if we publicly declare ourselves to be “anti-psychiatry” and declare ALL of psychiatry to be “evil?”

      You said: “Some like Szasz and Breggin don’t find their personal egos threatened by this knowledge and I expect other psychiatrists who profess to support us to adopt the same attitude.”

      Neither Szasz or Breggin dropped their medical degree or disavowed the psychiatric profession.

      Breggin as far as I know still does therapy and helps people get off of psych drugs; he is also paid handsomely for these services. I am glad he does this work for people. If he didn’t have a medical license he wouldn’t be able to help these survivors with tapering protocols.

      Szasz also publicly declared himself NOT “anti-psychiatry.” Ironically I do not agree with his reasons for taking this position, but this is a fact. A topic for another discussion.


      Report comment

      • Szasz was referring to a school of psychiatric thought associated with R.D. Laing known as antipsychiatry, one word. He also said he was not anti-psychiatry in the sense of not allowing it to exist (he was a libertarian), but he was opposed to the profession being given legal or coercive power, the ability to appear in court, be given government funds, etc. That pretty much is my position. But there is a larger context in which I am also anti-psychiatry period.

        Breggin’s work does not require a degree in psychiatry and he warns people to stay away from it. I don’t know how you would renounce a degree anyway…

        Report comment

    • Oldhead–I’m jumping in here since I think that you would right away understand my complaint about taking a “tolerant” view of the status quo in power relations.

      If Dr. Philip Thomas has said what he said as Richard quotes above, then he remains part of the problem and not part of the solution, perhaps not in deed–I’ll grant that, but in word. People who are trying to get taken seriously by the mainstream always have such casual ways of mis-stating the obvious and obscuring the vital issues all over again. “Sedative”? Not close to the same problem as “neuroleptic”. “Needs to be controlled because violent”…how did this problem get to be first and foremost one we imagine must happen in a mental hospital, so-called? First place for violence to get managed in a structured way should be jail. And the right way to call attention to wise practicality in “mental hospital (right-less imprisonment, really) situations is to say “Prisons might need to employ chemical restraints in extreme cases, and should use sedatives.” The reason to be specific is plain: tranquilizers should only ever be chosen, they don’t wear off like a downer could. That leads you to the more careful statement of how “Of course, mental hospitals can run into the same problem. But there the issue is already more problematic than it needs to be, because of the lack of moderation in the use of force and the absence of rational limits to the use of experimental chemical lobotomies.

      The Dr. Thomas’s and many other well-meaning “advocates” are inventing fancy postures when they try to get taken seriously by the mainstream, and think it’s good enough to sound tough somehow. To me, the residue of cowtowing in such turns of phrase as this retired good doctor’s emits its reminder of how all the obscurantism and punishment by misnomer got as far away the standard in “care” and how it stayed as bad as it has stayed.

      Report comment

  8. “and what is the best strategic orientation to “unite all who can be united” moving forward in our struggle to end psychiatric oppression?”

    I don’t think it matters much when fighting a huge monstrosity like the psycho pharmaceutical industrial complex what gets fired at it as long as everyone keeps firing with everything they got without letting up.

    I think we are still in the stage where in actual warfare the air force is softening up the enemy so it’s so it’s safe enough for the ground troops to go in and start cleaning up.

    I like posting all the disgusting , dishonorable and dishonest stuff the industry does from my “plane” dropping nasties all over the web exposing the truth to more and more and more people.

    I am going to drop a nasty right here: Part 1: Children reveal painful memories of neglect, heavy duty drug treatments. http://abcnews.go.com/2020/video/foster-kids-prescribed-psychotropic-drugs-heavy-duty-drug-treatments-neglect-2020-15077792

    Report comment

  9. Well said Richard.

    I identify as a psychiatric survivor and as critical of psychiatry. It’s a political stance. I have never believed in mental illness no matter that they forced me into ingesting their drugs for a time, and forced all my family members from my mother and father to my 3 sons, because we experience altered mind states as a normal occurrence. The abnormal experience was being forcibly treated with psychiatric drugs. I call it psychiatric abuse.

    Report comment

  10. I like the term “beyond the therapeutic state” (and that is why we are putting on a conference with that very name next week in Drammen, Norway: http://www.taosinstitute.net/beyond-the-therapeutic-state), as opposed to “anti-psychiatry” or “post-psychiatry”, because I think the problem is much larger than just psychiatry. Therapies, including the psychotherapies, that serve to help people adjust to unjust conditions within our neoliberal economic system are also part of the problem. Coercive therapies and manipulative therapies, that are implemented without informed consent, are problematic. The very idea that there are expert therapists, be they biological psychiatrists or psychologists or psychotherapists, who purport to “know better” about how others should live their lives, is problematic. The medicalization of everyday life is problematic, and so is the dominance of the medical model at the expense of all other forms of care and treatment.
    Perhaps we might conclude that the very vocabularies of therapy and treatment, with all the assumptions they engender, are part of the problem because they transport particular forms of power relations that are anathema to our preferred visions of care and collective responsibility.
    Psychiatrists, as the group with the least status and acceptance within the medical elites, provide an easy target for our outrage. Their hubris and insensitivity to public opinion, despite a history of “treatments” from electroshocks to lobotomies, that are hard to differentiate from other methods of torture, indeed their persistent belief or grand delusion in the myth of mental illness, as well as their tendencies to rationalize and legitimize coercive procedures under the guise of “treatment”, do not make them more appealing as a group.
    Can we begin to envision and realize a post-therapeutic future that goes beyond the therapeutic state?
    Thanks for opening this discussion.

    Report comment

    • Eugene

      Your comments about the “therapeutic state” are very powerful and I agree with them. In Part 2 of this blog I plan to address this issue. I, too, envision a world without psychiatrists, therapists, or other similar professionals because of the power relationships you mention.

      I choose not to leave my job as a therapist at this time because I believe I can still play an overall positive role in this position, especially with the help of critical guidance from those working on the outside.

      Even though I believe therapy must, and will, go out of existence at some point in the future, I believe it would be incorrect for me (or our movement) to promote an “anti-therapy” position and attempt to organize people around it. Many therapists can be won over to a movement opposing Biological Psychiatry and I would not be in favor of creating any barriers for this to happen.

      I also believe human society will someday be able to create a world without violence and war. We should try to win over others to this type of outlook. However I would not, in today’s class structured world, state a position that I am against all wars. In this historical era there are both “unjust” and “just” wars and there will be for some time to come. There is no way we can avoid this by skipping stages in history.


      Report comment

    • “Therapies, including the psychotherapies, that serve to help people adjust to unjust conditions within our neoliberal economic system are also part of the problem”
      Exactly. The therapies are in most cases aimed at “fixing” the individual which at its core is a demeaning and arrogant notion as opposed to helping the individual to adjust to or change the conditions that have led to the distress. If someone’s having panic attacks because of an abusive relationship it’s not the individual who’s broken – it’s the relationship. And you can either support the individual in changing his/her circumstances (like leaving the abusive partner) or work with the whole problem (by sort of family therapy). Instead victims of abuse are explained that they have defective personalities and that’s why they get abused. That helps no one but the abuser (who’s most likely already explained the person that she/he is worthless and defective already).

      Report comment

  11. I’m against forced (non-consensual) psychiatry altogether, that said, let me skip to religion. The Church of Psychotherapy can be as obsessive, unscientific, and absurd as ever was the Church of Biological Psychiatry. Give me talk therapy before drugs any day of the week, but talk endlessly, and I’m walking. (Call me ‘recovered’.) Throw out biological bias, the usual excuse for the chemical fix, and what do you have? No reason for a medical degree, surely, and a profession in crisis. If psychiatry is redundant, so much the better. What we don’t need is more and more psychiatrists creating a demand for more and more “clients”. As an expansive business, psychiatry may not have the same addictive power as drugs, but that’s not going to keep it from trying to seduce more and more treatment junkies. The population labeled “mentally ill” is growing by leaps and bounds. Inventing any more new diseases would just be adding fuel to the flames. When was there ever a better reason for downsizing!? Furthermore, it is a profession I can live without, and I figure there are many, many other people who can do the same.

    Report comment

    • I suspect that if all psychiatrists disappeared overnight that the world would go on as usual and we would all be none the worse for their disappearance. It would be vastly different if all cardiologists disappeared overnight. This is the only specialty in medicine where their “treatment” creates a worse problem than the original “illness.” Their treatment is no cure at all and all they do is tranqualize people rather than help them to actually deal with and transcend their issuea. So, I’m all for all of them disappearing overnight. I guess I’ll get called an extremist but so be it.

      Report comment

      • Stephen

        I will not call you an extremist, but I will say that part of your comment above is terribly misguided and I hope at some point you will retract it. You know that I have been very supportive of your positions here at MIA, but this one wreaks of revenge and a form of “demonizing” and alienating potential allies.

        I understand your anger based on your narrative and daily frustrations witnessing abuse within the system. I have worked with more than two dozen psychiatrists over 20 years and I know it can be almost intolerable to see how entrenched many of them are in this current paradigm of so-called “treatment.”
        I am very angry too, but I would never make a statement such as yours below.

        You said: “Their treatment is no cure at all and all they do is tranquilize people rather than help them to actually deal with and transcend their issues. SO, I’M ALL FOR ALL OF THEM DISAPPEARING OVERNIGHT. So, I guess I’ll get called an extremist but so be it.”

        So you mean that even those psychiatrists such as Peter Breggin, Dan Fisher, Peter Stastny, Sandra Steingard, Philip Thomas (from the Critical Psychiatry Network) to name a few, and perhaps hundreds, if not several thousand more, who do far more good with people than any kind of harm, should all disappear from the earth over night? Disappear or maybe even die? Really!!

        What about all the people who are depending on them, perhaps in very acute conditions, because of the harm cause by trauma or by other harmful psychiatric treatment. So you want all those people to be suddenly abandoned, or perhaps the thousands of others that they could potentially help within their lifetimes?

        Some of these people you want “disappeared” are basically good human beings do good things to help people; some might even be activists now or later trying to change the world for the better. So to get rid of the bad psychiatrists you want to deny the world the experiences of the good ones?

        Your comment is way off; think about it some more before responding.


        Report comment

        • I think you’re way overreacting and maybe projecting, Richard. He never implied that he wanted anybody “disappeared” in the sense you’re implying & maybe even (dangerously) accusing him of. He was expressing a vision, just like John Lennon was when he sang imagine there’s no countries, possessions, religion, etc. I see nothing to retract.

          Report comment

        • I’m not saying there aren’t any good psychiatrists. I am saying that the bad ones by far outnumber the good ones, and that the ones that are good tend to be good despite, and because of, the bad ones. Psychiatry doesn’t strike me as the most essential career choice in the world. It does though increase the need for psychiatrists who can defend people from psychiatrists and psychiatry. When your career is built around harming people, maybe it’s time to reassess. That’s how some of the good psychiatrists came about. I like to see people get out of the mental health system. The more people who leave the system, the more recovery is taking place. Making an argument for downsizing is not the same thing as promoting the profession as God’s answer to oddballs. Some of those oddballs just want the psychiatric profession off their backs.

          Report comment

          • Definitely important to distinguish between psychiatrists, who cover a range of beliefs and interests and openness to learn from new data, and psychiatry, an institution with a grim and horrific history of morally and criminally destructive acts, including extreme (and some would say ultimate) responsibility for generating the Holocaust in Germany in the 1930s-45. I am definitely in support of positive psychiatrists working to make changes, and am definitely against the institution as it has come down to us through the years of lying, force, and abuse.

            Unfortunately, the media image that most people have of psychiatrists is as therapists who try to help their clients re-think their world views (as seen in Good Will Hunting, Ordinary People, What About Bob, and many more films and TV shows). As a result, the moniker “antipsychiatry” can cause some who are unfamiliar with the field to conjure up images of people who don’t care about mental/ emotional/spiritual distress and think that people should just “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” and “get over it.” Which is why psychiatrists use that word as a smear tactic, along with their self-serving “anti-stigma” campaigns designed to make anyone critical of their ineffective and destructive interventions seem like an insensitive heel.

            I find myself in the odd position of agreeing with Richard that “Anti-biological psychiatry” or “Anti-f0rced-treatment” might be terms that the general public can more easily process, while at the same time agreeing that if you eliminate force and drugs, 98% of the current practice of psychiatry would immediately come to an end, and the remaining 2% could easily be incorporated into neurology or psychology, based on the presence or absence of an actual physical health issue. For those who would argue that the temporary use of psychotropic agents might still have some therapeutic value, there will still be medical doctors who could prescribe them, but they’d have to be viewed more along the lines of pain killers, appropriate for temporary relief of acute symptoms, but not appropriate for treatment of anything that requires actual healing.

            I don’t really see that psychiatry as a profession serves any useful purpose, and its history will always weigh it down with the likelihood of evil intentions asserting themselves. But I do see a point in approaching our language strategically, for as much as it can be frustrating, most people make decisions mostly based on emotions, even when you have the facts on your side. It is this fact that psychiatry as an industry counts on, and if we are to counter it, I think we need to have a counter-message for the general public that generates the right emotional response, even if it isn’t strictly “true” in the scientific sense.

            It is a very tough point to work out.

            —- Steve

            Report comment

          • But by no means do I think we should alter our language to appease the psychiatric industry. I don’t really care what the mainstream of psychiatry thinks. I do care about helping human beings of whatever profession who are in doubt about this area decide to start looking at the rest of the evidence.

            —- Steve

            Report comment

          • When I went to a Conference On Human Rights and Against Psychiatric Oppression many, many years ago, I heard someone object to the term anti-psychiatry because a psychiatrist had come up with it. My, my but times have changed.

            I recently watched the movie Beyond the Medical Model produced by the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community. This movie begins with the disclaimer, “This is not an anti-medical model film”. There is vast difference between cinema and reality. There is also a vast difference between the lies of psychiatry, and the reality of peoples situations. I am not so restricted by any direct ties to the psycho-pharmaceutical industrial complex that I have to resort to such deception. When it comes to human beings in distress, I care, and what’s more, I am an anti-medical model person. It’s simple honesty that is involved in saying so.

            I know there are mental health professionals who won’t use the word anti-psychiatry to describe themselves because it could put their careers in jeopardy to do so. One can respond in an ‘on the record’ ‘off the record’ manner, I suppose, but sometimes honesty is preferable. It is a dangerous word. I like that about it. I don’t have a problem with it.

            Some psychiatrists, and especially biological psychiatrists, don’t like the word anti-psychiatry. That, to me, gives the word a great deal of appeal. I also know of people who call themselves anti-psychiatry activists. Anti-psychiatry activist has a good feel on the tongue. If I were going to describe myself, I think I could do worse than anti-psychiatry activist. One thing I am not doing, as an anti-psychiatry activist, is harming people with drugs, nor locking them up, and calling such imprisonment, and torture, “medical treatment”.

            Yeah, I am survivor of psychiatric mistreatment. Further more, this psychiatric survivor is proud to call himself an anti-psychiatry activist.

            I’m not running away from the English language. I will use any word to describe myself and my beliefs that I want to use. I think it good to have a good command of that language.

            I say screw psychiatry because I wouldn’t have psychiatry screwing me. If that’s anti-psychiatry. I don’t have a problem with it.

            Report comment

          • This in response to Frank’s most recent post — glad you said that, people needed to hear it. It’s one thing to compromise on some points; it’s quite another to surrender your basic analysis and primary demands for the sake of some illusory & temporary “unity.”

            As far as “good” & “bad” shrinks go, that’s a leftover christian morality play. The focus we need to maintain is on the system, not individuals.

            Report comment

          • Actually I prefer the term on my business card. My business card describes me as a human rights activist. A lot of people don’t seem to get that about me. Many of us see our movement as a struggle for human and civil rights. Often it seems that in order to be a human rights activist one must also be an anti-psychiatry activist. I’m not saying one can’t be both. Anti-psychiatry is like Yankee Doodle Dandy. Yankee Doodle started as a parody of the American colonials that was appropriated by us Yanks from the Brits. Now it’s practically an anthem. Given this understanding, should anybody call me anti-psychiatry, you’re not going to hear a complaint from me.

            Report comment

    • Good to see you joining the fray Frank.

      Re: the comments about other “therapy” being oppressive too — it is only psychiatry per se that has coercive authority. Take that away and they would have nothing to prop themselves up with.

      Report comment

  12. Interesting article and debate going on here. I agree with what many are saying, and understand the objective of distinguishing biological psychiatry from the rest of the “helping” professions. However, I agree with many here that the problem is not only with the psychiatrists.

    To that point, I’d like to say I believe the mere existence of unprovable and scientifically invalid “disorders,” in and of itself, is a large part of the problem. Because the existence and use of fictitious diseases will always result in abuse of innocent patients by unethical and / or incompetent doctors, from all branches of medicine.

    Report comment

  13. I agree with Frank and Stephen above. I don’t really differentiate between biological psychiatry and non biological psychiatry. Whether psychotropic drugs are used is irrelevant to the ultimate goal of psychiatry of normalizing all human experience according to their made up definitions in the DSM:

    1- If your pattern of behavior falls inside the DSM manual, you are disordered and you can be forced into compliance.

    2- If your pattern of behavior falls outside the DSM manual, wonderful, psychiatry considers you officially “normal” and will help you advance the goal of getting it accepted in society at large.

    I blame as much as those who see the DSM/psychiatry as a tool to do 1- as those who use the DSM/psychiatry to do 2-, such as gay activists.

    There should be no mechanism of social control whatsoever outside the criminal justice system because, by design, that is what the criminal justice system does: behavioral control. As such there are tools in place to prevent abuse. Even then, in the US “being black” was still a crime until 1964 and engaging in homosexual acts between consentin adults was also a crime until 2003 (I think that the criminalization adultery was declared unconstitutional earlier).

    To be sure, those who defend the “biological branch” of psychiatry have powerful economic interests at play, like the money big pharma rakes in from the drugs, and the money psychiatrists get from their big pharma kickbacks. Those who defend the non biological branch have equally powerful interests: the salary of those who provide talk therapy, CBT and the like.

    When it comes to psychiatry in general, it is an oppressive specialty that our society needs to send to the ash heap of history.

    Report comment

    • Agreed. It is the only specialty of medicine that can force people to take its “treatment.” It should not have this power and ability to force people to conform to the social norm.

      Now that psychiatry is walking hand in hand with the legal system more and more people are dragged screaming and kicking into the system that should never be there, not that anyone else that’s there should be there either. Many state hospitals are becomeing forensic psychiatric hospitals due to the large influx of “patients” from the legal system.

      Report comment

  14. Screening and Early Treatment, Anosognosia, Violence, Mental illness, Brain Disease, Medication, Weight Gain, Side Effects…

    The Big Lie is repeated incessantly, endlessly from faux independent sources. It is based on catch phrases, rote, cant.

    It contains antirational content in its rote, cant, “belief system” (Officials diagnose Psychiatricly because these are non-Medical diagnoses and these Officials treat Medically because they are real Doctors with prescription pads that write orders for prescription treatments – they do so because they are “employing the Medical model.”

    Antirational rote propaganda:

    Non-Medical diagnosis and Medical Treatment (with lucrative “Meds”) because it is Medical, not Medical.

    (How many Angels can dance on the head of a pin? How many fingers do you see, Winston?)

    Psychiatric diagnosis is typically made these days by exclusion of Medical diagnosis. The current, famous Justina Pelletier case involves Tuft’s Medical diagnosis being suddenly replaced, superceded, by Harvard, with a non-Medical, Psychiatric diagnosis instead – this based on the power invested in them by their Authority as “Harvard” and as “USA Psychiatry.”

    Harvard, Veritas! Harvard and USA Psychiatry Über Alles!

    The Harvard replacement diagnosis really rubs salt into the wound here because it is actually a diagnosis of Somataform which specifically means that no legitimate Doctor’s Opinion nor Medical test proffers any Medical reason for the reported physical symptoms.

    As the Psychiatrist says all parents and all USA institutions must show obeisance. A fantastic prescient to set in Obama’s USA.

    Remember what Janet Wozniak says, “Criticizing the Diagnosis is Insulting to Clinicians!”

    They have the Authority! They are Professionals! As Sheldon and Rampton write, “Trust Us — We’re Experts!”

    Psychological, Psychiatric “Somataform Diagnosis”

    Robert Sealey on the other hand states that according to Psychiatry’s own practice guidelines that their syndrome labels, such as Bipolar 2, are supposed to in fact lead to “differential diagnosis.”

    Practicing legitimate Medicine would be inconsistent though with the use of the authority of the clinician to use Professional Opinion to assign DSM classification names as the diagnosis and give treatments consisting of ordered, patented, trademarked, chemical pills, shots and subcutaneous implants (and electroshock) (and psychotherapy).

    Stand up.

    Daniel Burdick, SEA Springfield Eugene Antipsychiatry June 2014


    Justina Pelletier

    R.D. Laing “Freedom, and autonomy — is all a lot of Cant”


    Many sources of the same Propaganda. Supposedly vastly separate. (Movies and Television scripts, Magazines such as Scientific American and Readers Digest, Professional Books, books for laypersons, NAMI, NIMH etc.)

    Fredrick Goodwin, M.D. (famous for giving huge doses of fenfluramine to innercity black and Latino adolescent boys as the former head of the NIMH) later during the scandal of his Public Radio show Fredick Goodwin states the key importance of their Independence . Which being not a legitimate statement rather a ubiquitous propaganda gambit they imploy (as with the “Independent” “Peer Review” “Professional” Journals.)

    Fredrick Goodwin, M.D. and the ACNP Report on SSRI’s and Suicidality in Youth

    Fredrick Goodwin, M.D. and his “Independent” USA Public Radio program on SSRI’s and Suicidality

    Fredrick Goodwin, M.D. leading Psychiatrist as former Director of the NIMH gives large doses of neurotoxic serotonin-releaser drug to adolescents in the USA as an experiment on them:
    See also Peter Breggin, M.D. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQZdUmxG1Es

    Early Treatment of “Mental illnesses” (Insel, Lieberman, Biederman, Jaffe etc.)

    Mental Health Screening signals end of parental Rights

    Sepp Hasslberger – Bush to Impose Drug Regime

    2014 Early Screening for “Mental illnesses”

    Early Treatment for Autism by William Walsh (legitimate person)

    Early Treatment for Autism etc. by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, Neurosurgeon
    (legitimate person) GAPS Gut and Psychology Syndrome


    Pregnant women, children and toddlers are fair game for these marketers and propaganda operatives who want descriptive syndromes to be conflated with medical diagnosis and want patented centrally acting drugs to be conflated with current cutting edge state-of-the-art Medical therapy.

    Stephen Wong
    Behavior Analysis of Psychotic Disorders: Scientific Dead End
    or Casualty of the Mental Health Political Economy?

    > Page 157. Reliably and Validity
    URL – http://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/bsi/article/view/365/296

    “The mission of raising the reliability of DSM diagnoses is an ongoing process that continues with the current version of the manual. ”

    “Enthusiasm for psychotropic drugs should also have been tempered by the limited benefits they made to clients’ adaptive functioning and overall quality of life.”

    “Of course, the fact that certain psychiatric diagnoses have low interrater reliability and that expert committees devised them do not negate the existence of these disorders.”

    “Nor does the present lack of replicable data linking mental disorders to brain anomalies preclude the possibility that future research will discover such links.”

    >> https://www.facebook.com/daniel.burdick.792/posts/10202864771032599


    “Each of the mental disorders is conceptualized as a clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome.”

    Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders


    Cambridge, “Criticizing the Diagnosis is Insulting to Clinicians!”

    Furious Seasons Blog, Philip Dawdy
    Janet Wozniak, M.D. Psychiatrist

    Wozniak defends the diagnosis and treatment, says the prevalence is 1 percent amongst kiddos, argues that people criticizing the diagnosis and treatment are “insulting to clinicians.”

    “In the DSM there is no assumption that each category of mental disorder is a completely discrete entity with absolute boundaries dividing it from other mental disorders or from no mental disorder. There is also no assumption that all individuals described as having the same mental disorder are alike in all important ways.”


    1) Treatment of Bipolar Disorder by Charles Gant, M. D.

    2) Forensic Psychiatry http://sbmu.ac.ir/uploads/ForensicPsychiatry2010.pdf


    “The term “nosological classification” is often used in connection with medical classification systems, and the tendency is to equate it with “diagnosis” and “validity.” However, particularly in the case of psychiatry this is far from always being the case. ”

    Validity of nosological classification
    Petr Smolik, MD, PhD*

    “One hundred percent of the members of the panels on ‘Mood Disorders’ and ‘Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders’ had financial ties to drug companies.”



    Differential Diagnosis – Dan Burdick

    Civil Rights Under Attack with the Justina Pelletier case – Dan Burdick


    Robert Sealey

    “Why shortcut the practice guidelines of psychiatry which recommend testing and diagnosing before prescribing? Why mix meds without trying to identify the root cause(s) of brain symptoms?”

    PEPSI has been warned that this public support for CABF would come back to bite them – they have not listened!! Now they are walking into a position of being forever tied to CABF & the negative repercussions the award money will provide for small children, youth, and America.



    “Debate” over forced “Treatment”


    Report comment

  15. I really want to be an advocate at MIA for shifting discussion away from “survivors” vs. “psychiatry” or “peer” vs. “professional” or even “biological psychiatry” vs. “psychiatry” and toward definition and clarification of core values of the community.

    What are the values we stand for? If you and I broadly share values, then we are allies. It does not matter whether you are a practicing psychiatrist or a psychiatric survivor (or BOTH as is sometimes the case) or neither.

    Report comment

    • Andrew,

      Great comment.

      In particular, I love your question: “What are the values we stand for?”

      I guess, to answer that question, each one of us who’s interested in answering it, must first answer a first-person version of it, to our own satisfaction, eh? That is to say, each one must ask himself or herself: “What are the values that I stand for?” Moreover, we may need to ask ourselves, “Which principles do I most value?” And, “Which do refuse to compromise?”

      When involved in discussions of so-called “mental health” (and “mental health treatments” or “care”), I value, above all else, this notion, that “No means no!”

      Based on indelible memories, of personal experiences (now going on three decades ago), my recollections of having been forcibly drugged in psychiatric “hospitals,” I can definitely relate to women raise that very basic and essential cry for respect — and justice.

      Hence, when it comes to considerations of ‘mental health treatments,’ I place the highest value on acknowledging, providing and defending an inalienable right to informed consent.

      That’s a value which I absolutely refuse to compromise. (E.g., I find is beyond absurd – it is just plain hypocritical – when anyone working in the ‘mental health’ system claims to value informed consent and yet turns out to be someone who engages in the practice of forcibly ‘tranquilizing’ certain “patients”; I find that ultimately compromised position, to be preposterous — and, really, a terrible insult to the intelligence, of psychiatric survivors — particularly survivors of forced drugging and other forms of psychiatric torture, of all kinds…)

      Realizing the extraordinary harms that can be caused by forced ‘mental health treatment,’ I’ve come to conclude, that: Truly respecting the principle of informed consent is absolutely essential.

      Yes, I place the highest value on respecting informed consent.

      Anyone who truly respect that principle, I consider an ally.



      Report comment

  16. Hello,

    Biological Psychiatry and Biopsychiatry as you write are terms used by both them and by critics and opponents.

    I agree with Ted Chabasinski that Antipsychiatry is a fine term and that we should take with grains of salt statements opposing the term coming from E. Fuller Torrey (of NAMI and TAC, name as the author on some books), Jeffrey Lieberman, M.D. (of Columbia and current President of the APA) and David Oaks former director of MindFreedom.

    The statement, of questionable providence, that calling oneself “Antipsychiatry” is stupid because it is to state that one is opposed a branch Medicine which is of course defacto foolish ignores for instance the last 20 years of revelations on what Biopsychiatry does.

    Robert Whitaker revealed the manipulations of the “testing” and peer review Journal publication of Risperdal “clinical trials” — Risperdal the first “next generation” “atypical” major tranquillizer patend drugs that they named after Haloperidol and was designed to have a similar dopamine 2 receptor binding affinity to it.

    { Alliance for Human Research Protection

    “The spurious invention of the atypicals can now be regarded as
    invention only, cleverly manipulated by the drug industry for
    marketing purposes and only now being exposed.”
    (Source: Lancet)

    “We would beg to disagree: given the active (duplicitous) role of
    prominent academic psychiatrists, as well the major professional
    associations in psychiatrybthe American Psychiatric Association,
    the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the American Academy
    of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, et al in promoting the second
    generation antipsychotics, it is unfair to lay blame entirely on
    the pharmaceutical industry….”

    Baum Hedlund Law revealed during litigation how Fluoxetine the first SRI patent drug for “depression” was known by 1986 prior to acceptance by the U.S. F.D.A. to cause suicide and the company memos show how they treated that as secret information to be dealt with and spun cautiously.

    Jeanne Lenzer showed how Frederick Goodwin, M.D. the former director of the N.I.M.H. on his public radio program pretended to be impartial and independent while crafting a show to support SRI drugs use and deny their causing suicidality and homicidality. (Are Doctors Shilling for Drug Companies on Public Radio? http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2008/05/stealth_marketers.html )

    Eminent Professorial leaders of U.S.A. Psychiatry such as Timothy Wilens, M.D. and Joseph Biederman, M.D. of Harvard and Charles Nemeroff, M.D. of Emory are shown in scandalous news revelations to be on the take receiving millions of dollars from drug companies. This is something that is nearly ignored by the rest of the leadership of Psychiatry and their affiliate Universities.

    Peer Review Journals of the Profession were shown to be publishing Professional reports signed by prestigious Psychiatrists actually ghostwritten by satellite propaganda firms employed by drug companies. This included the ACNP, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology’s Journal Neuropsychopharmacology and its Task Force Report on SSRI’s and Suicidal Behavior in Youth

    {See, google – ACNP Suicidal Behavior in Youth Vera Sharav, AHRP
    “The Executive Summary of ACNP’s Task Force on SSRIs and Suicidal Behavior in Youth, was issued by GYMR, a public relations firm in Washington (in January 2004) 10 days prior to an FDA advisory committee hearing about this issue.”}

    Lawrence Stevens, J.D. of the Antipsychiatry Coalition writes that the stigma of even going to a Psychologist or Psychiatrist follows one though life and this is something people should consider.

    Psychiatrist Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D. (who worked with Nobel Laureate Biochemist Linus Pauling) refers to Lawrence Stevens, J.D. in his essay “Vitamin Therapy for Psychosis”
    “On the internet, L. Stevens, a lawyer, described the tranquilizer psychosis as follows. ” These major tranquilizers cause misery – not tranquility. They physically, neurologically blot out most of a person’s ability to think and act, even at commonly given doses. By disabling people, they can stop almost any thinking or behaviour the therapist wants to stop. But this is simply disabling people, not therapy.”

    Whistleblower Allan Jones who was fired from his job (which actually was oversight) for exposing Johnson and Johnson the manufacturer of Risperdal as bribing USA State Formulary Officials as reported at the time by Jeanne Lenzer writing for the Brish Journal of Medicine was years later vindicated in Texas Court. (see, google 1 Boring Old Man, or Vera Sharav, etc.)

    In 2010 NAMI the Grassroots concerned independent non-profit organization was revealed by US Senator Charles Grassley as receiving at least 81% of its funding from the drug companies.

    You write,
    “The distinction I made between being “anti-psychiatry” versus “anti-Biological Psychiatry” is NOT one of simple preference or just some type of semantic argument. This is a strategic distinction that could actually mean the difference between a movement that remains isolated and on the fringes of society, or one that has a real chance of gaining enough allies.”

    I do not think this is probably of great strategic import. It is more important to keep rebroadcasting the truth. It is also more important to unify the Movement with the suppressed Biological Psychiatry.

    The Biopsychiatry we refer to in our writings is the ersatz school of Psychiatry of Rapoport, Nemeroff, Lieberman, Fink, Insel, Wilens, Torrey, Biederman and Thomas Ban.

    The Biopsychiatry we mean is the one that uses rote catch phrases and propganda “templates” (that is gambits). Propaganda templates include stating that the drug may cause “weight gain” as a “side effect” and that “weight: is “statistically associated with” metabolic problems and diabetes. This weight gain as the “side effect” skips stating that the drug is a metabolic toxin and that weight gain and diabetes are “two peas in a shell” – that is morbid weight gain and diabetes and so forth are among results of the drugs metoblic toxicity. Another propaganda template is to refer to the cul-de-sac of “off label use” – using the terrible neurotoxic drugs on tiny children is spun as the ssue being “off label” precription of drugs “not tested in children… (as if “testing” neurotoxic chemicals in children would make their use a-okay.)

    Gary Null in the Hidden Side of Psychiatry states that corruption in Psychiatry is not a problem so much as all pervasive condition.

    The Biopsychiatry we refer to is the label and drug Psychiatry. It is not Medical Psychiatry. It is drug company “Psychiatry.”

    There are two types of Psychiatrist that are possibly above and beyond such whole sale condemnation, legitamate biochemical, Medical Psychiatrists such as Abram Hoffer, M.D. and Hugh Riorden, M.D. and Hyla Cass, M.D. and then there are the Psychosocial Theorists such as Loren Mosher, M.D. and Peter Breggin, M.D. and some of the authors listed here.

    DSM Labeling based on Interview and Professional Opinion and Psychological Word Tests doesn’t constitute diagnosis of illness, and the profitable drugs are not the Medical approach.

    Hugh Riorden, M.D.

    Hyla Cass, M.D.

    David Moyer, LCSW

    Unifying with the supressed Biological Psychiatry and hammering away at repeating all that is known now about the machinations at the top are the key strategies. Get the knowledge out, and get more support.

    Dan Burdick Eugene, Oregon

    Report comment

    • It is only associated with Scientology because the psychiatric industry chose to use that association as a PR tactic. As I have said before, I meet any such implications with a clear statement: What on earth does religion have to do with whether or not your treatments have been shown to work?

      —- Steve

      Report comment

    • I don’t think there’s much of a problem with one word or the other. Take a case of anti-globalisation movement – it’s been vilified and associated with few fringe elements (the Molotov cocktail throwers) in order to discredit it as well as laughed out of the park for being “unrealistic”. Subsequently it’s changed it’s name to alter-globalism but nothing’s changed in the media and to a vast extent public perception of it. It’s not the matter of how we name themselves – they’ll use the same propaganda to discredit the name. It’s called PR machine and it works in politics just the same.

      Report comment

  17. Richard, I don’t want you to guess that I am uninterested in your project. By way of comparison, the views of cannotsay and uprising are the most right on, and the distinctions I could add to their genuinely radical takes are matters of style. For instance, it should not be omitted in the Daniel Mackler debate that “lack of control over your emotions is not ideal”. How uprising says this however, is in the appropriate spirit, isn’t it? “Don’t dial down your emotions”. And what Eugene said above about the misguided, disingenuine (and all too prevalent fashion) for talking people into adjustment for what is by all rights nothing less than unjust–this is a statement that needs repeated until people in mental health determine that the problem exists like that, and determine it one by one.

    The mental health mission disappearing as such and being replaced by people who doubt that they know exactly what to do besides try some things carefully to listen and advise strictly with mutual consent as the standard would be as much of an improvement as Stephen Gilbert says. I think you were eager to misconstrue his intent in order to coax more liberally correct expressions from him.

    I’m not part of the behavioral science glee club, but still care to see what practitioners are up to, and the offerings here are about the most reliable. Good luck with part II, and I hope you see fit to incorporate something of what Ted points to above for honing the message.

    Report comment

  18. Most every 1% cartel enterprise is pseudo science embed without any regard for humanity’s welfare or individual welfare ,only their own. It’s time released eugenics run wild. These enterprise’s like Monsanto’s, the AMA, “Modern Agriculture”, the American dental association,dangerous electronic gear, The chemical biological pharma products , ( Do you really think pharm.’s AMA drugs are really any safer then their psych dugs (I should say poisons) ? There are many others. The main science happening is population cull and control all done with feedback and mathematical formula. See http://www.StopTheCrime.net
    To me Psychiatry is a” pseudo science salad FUBAR” that works together with and is supported by other pseudo science FUBAR”S to oppress control disable exploit and cull the human being. I despise it with a passion.
    The Fight Against Coercion and Oppression Must Be Unending and a Constantly Improving Way of Life.

    Report comment

    • “…perhaps the correct term is that I am “ANTI-OPPRESSION!””


      I appreciate that sentiment of yours and do trust you mean it.

      You say it sincerely, no doubt; but, almost anyone could say that about himself/herself, and it would not necessarily mean what it means to you, for it is actually a rather vague self-description.

      On the other hand, in your comment, of a few minutes prior, above (on June 24, 2014 at 7:11 pm), you were being more specific, as you suggested, that “Anti-f0rced-treatment” might be a label you could choose, to describe yourself.

      That interest me; for, certainly, that label is one that I’ll choose to describe myself.

      (I call myself “BeyondLabeling” as a way to eschew psychiatric labels.)

      But, I wonder, what does “Anti-f0rced-treatment” mean to you?

      I ask …because recently I’ve discovered that someone who works in a “hospital” could possibly claim, that he does not support forced “treatment” (in fact, he may insist that “I have never forcibly “treated” anyone…”); and, yet, when pressed, that same person admits to supporting and engaging in what’s often called “emergency forced drugging.”

      See: http://www.madinamerica.com/2014/06/psychiatrys-response-attack-pr/#comment-44441

      He just doesn’t consider his use of force to be “treatment” because, he explains, it’s ‘only’ a means of preventing apparent threats of violence in the “hospital” he works in…

      So, what’s your position on such ’emergency forced drugging,’ Steve? I am wondering, as I enjoy reading your comments; they are always very thoughtful, and when I read them, I tend to think: ‘Here is someone who’s apparently a reformer of the “mh” system, who actually is making sense to me!’

      [Note: Imho, one such as I, who has no faith whatsoever that psychiatry can be significantly reformed without taking away its power to force itself on “patients,” will tend also to be disinterested in strategies of ‘reform’ of the ‘mh’ system generally; but, I would not care to discourage those, such as yourself, who are dedicated to reducing the harms caused by the ‘mh’ system. You may even consider yourself a reformer of the ‘mh’ system. Just don’t hold your breath, expecting me to become an advocate of reforming the ‘mh’ system (as I think the State should not be dispensing ‘mental health care’ of any kind; it should not be judging our thoughts, at all, imho).]

      But, in any case, Steve, as you have indicated, that you may describe yourself as “Anti-f0rced-treatment,” then, please, what is your position on “emergency forced drugging”?



      Report comment

  19. Thoughts about Steve’s considerations. Getting your self-understanding clear has important place in open forum. I think that it is good that you would want to try making a stand as a scientist against forced treatment. That change would mean that you had become a patient advocate. That would be a tranformation.

    Then it would be good if you blogged here, good for offsetting the influence of non-patient advocates who blog here, who don’t want the term popularly seen to apply to themselves. Who gladly keep the postings hung up on linguistic tussles. Who restrict some portion of the blogposts to grow-up show and tell. Like Dr. Mark Ragins, and most lately psychologist Jim Schroeder. Also, reform-minded survivors entertain straightforward notions of non-patient advocacy as a comfortable way of adding to their image as recovered, particularly once they are for reform as workers in the system like yourself. Akin to reformed smokers, hold-outs at a march on Washington, or self-appointed FCC “alternatives” like the parental advisory council on lyrics. You’re more worth hearing from, in fact, Steve, since you are more nearly explicit about your convictions.

    Clearly, at this stage, though, you still are inexplicitly or tacitly a non-patient advocate whose sympathies are guided by educated perception and enlightened self-interest. So it could go either way with you still. Please just don’t become less explicit, as you are good to hear from and may serve as a worthy foil at times because you are not prone to antagonism. Obviously, the “anti-abolitionists” wish they hadn’t such a tendency since it gives them away.

    Report comment

  20. While their own papers and books in their Literature may have the word Biological Psychiatry attached to them does not seal that as undeniably the word to use.

    Abram Hoffer, M.D. states that Psychiatry was taken over by the drug companies after 1955 and the great profit from the dopamine 2 receptor tranquillizers.

    The biochemical imbalance treatment Psychiatrists were suppressed in 1973 (18 years later after Thorazine) with the Task Force 7 document. They had seen the need to create their own Journal though by 1967. (12 years after Thorazine).

    Thomas A. Ban, M.D. is part of Task Force 7. Ban has written a couple different edits of the statement that they are quote “dedicated” to the “treatment” of “Psychopathology” utilizing centrally acting drugs.

    That is the ascendent version of Psychiatry. The one that has KOLs – key opinion leaders – such as Joseph Biederman, M.D. and Janet Wozniak, M.D. at Harvard using the Harvard mantle to portray that Psychiatrists should write prescriptions to give little children dopamine 2 receptor antagonist drugs in 2014 (60 years after Thorazine).

    This ascendent version of “Psychiatry “- mind Medicine – is not Biological Psychiatry, it is Psychopharmacology, it is drug company sales pitch and political leverage “Psychiatry.”

    By sweeping their own best people’s work under the carpet they show that they aren’t interested in Medical evidence or a Medical approach – they want to max out sales for Risperdal, Zoloft, Zyprexa, Seroquel, Ritalin, Adderal, Paxil, Prozac, Xanax and Clozapine.

    The target teenagers, pregnant and nursing woman to increase sales niches. On purpose for that. They are not Biological anything. They are “dedicated” to patented centrally acting drug chemical product sales.

    Report comment