Our Movement Needs an Alternative to the “Alternatives” Conference


Oh freedom, oh freedom, oh freedom over me

And before I’ll be a slave, I’ll be buried in my grave

And I’ll fight for my right to be free

— Sung during the civil rights movement in the 1960’s

The old order ends, no matter what Bastilles remain,
when the enslaved, within themselves, bury the psychology of servitude.

— Martin Luther King, Jr., in “Why We Can’t Wait”

A few weeks ago I saw for the first time the powerful movie “12 Years A Slave,” based on the memoir by Solomon Northup, a free black man in the 1840’s who was kidnapped and sold into slavery.  It is a hard film to experience.  But  as I watched the scenes of unending brutality and humiliation, somehow I felt calm and almost comforted.  I identified with the men and women who were treated as animals and property, to be abused and tortured just as I was as a child.  But I knew that eventually those atrocities ended, and slavery was abolished.

In 1946, when I was nine years old and an inmate of Rockland State Hospital, I read about a group of black veterans, just come home from the war, who were ambushed and killed in Georgia.  And I thought it was horrible that these men, who had risked their lives to save us from the Nazis, had been treated this way.  I thought, these people are being treated just like we are, the inmates of Rockland State Hospital. Even as a child, I understood the connection between my own life and theirs.

In the 1960’s, I participated in the civil rights movement, and it was exciting to see all the other movements of oppressed people, gays, women, immigrants, disabled people, inspired by black people fighting back, start to fight back in their own way. I wished there was such a movement for people like me, and soon, in 1971, there was.  For the next fourteen years, I threw myself into our movement, and we made great progress.  I am proud that I was able to convince an entire city to vote to ban shock treatment, which was forced on me when I was six.  Every year, we had a Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression that we organized and controlled. Our issues were taken seriously by the public, and the media were open to our message.

Then the psychiatric empire struck back.  Huge amounts of money (by our standards) were spent to set up a system-controlled national conference that took the place of one that we had put on for many years  The “Alternatives” conference now swallows up new people in the movement, who might fight for their freedom, but instead are indoctrinated to think harmless venting is all that can be done.  They are told that no movement really existed before.  They are encouraged to aspire to jobs as straw bosses, helping the system by controlling other “consumers.”

Every year, our conference would have a demonstration during the event at some abusive “mental health” facility, which are never hard to find.  Demonstrations are banned at “Alternatives.”  No substantial criticism of the system is allowed.  A few years ago, SAMHSA attempted to ban Bob Whitaker, an honest journalist who has exposed the dangers of psych drugs, from speaking.  Only the threat of a public protest by MindFreedom, which takes no government money, forced SAMHSA to back down from what would have been an embarrassing confrontation.  At the same conference, Will Hall, a survivor and therapist, was told he could not publicly give a workshop if he said openly that it was on the topic of getting off psych drugs.

In 2012, the “Alternatives” conference was held at a hotel in Portland, Oregon.  Right across the street, local activists organized a demonstration against shock treatment. They were not allowed to publicize the demonstration at the conference.  Only a handful of the conference attendees crossed the street tp participate in the demo.

This year, the keynote speaker at “Alternatives” will be a former Congressman who advocates for forced treatment and “more money for mental health.”

People, what sort of nonsense is this?  For thirty years, we have caved in to SAMHSA and its public relations people, and our cause has gone backwards. We are no longer “patients” and prisoners of this system.  We have been abused and humiliated, just like black people, just like all other oppressed people. They have refused to accept this, and we shouldn’t either.

We are a human rights movement, not the “consumer” auxiliary to the mental illness system.  We have to get rid of this slave mentality and start fighting back again.

I have become aware in the past few months that we have reached a kind of critical mass of people, both survivors and sincere allies, who oppose the abuses of psychiatry, who understand that we have reached a point where something has to change, that the Astroturf “movement” paid for by the mental illness system has led us into dangerous territory.  And something else has to take its place.

I think the anti-psychiatry movement of survivors and our allies needs to have a conference of its own, as a first step to reviving what we had before and what we need for the future.  (For those interested in my definition of anti-psychiatry, please read my article in MIA, “Of Course I’m Antipsychiatry, Aren’t You?”)

A few of us are starting to discuss such a conference.  A Facebook page will be set up, so that more people can give their input.  Those who want to be involved can contact [email protected].

We have to begin to figure out what can be done, with a focus on tactics and strategy which we need very badly.  There are certain issues I think we can concentrate on that will best advance our cause, such as putting measures on the ballot in places where that is possible, and paying more attention to the psychiatric abuse of children, which I think deeply concerns the average person. (One of the reasons we won the ballot measure that banned shock in Berkeley, I think, is that I, as the main spokesperson, had been shocked as a child.)

I think the general public is much more troubled by the abuses of psychiatry than our politicians and most of the media, who are corrupted by drug company advertising and “campaign contributions” (a/k/a bribes).  It is that general public that we have to reach, because this is how changes in a democracy are possible, at least in theory. So I think we have to keep in mind always how what we do and say reaches and affects the average person.

As part of our conference, we should demonstrate against psychiatric abuses, just as we did before,  at whatever institution that is near the meeting place.  These were always covered by the local media.  And it told the people who attended the conference that this was what we were about, fighting back, not applying for jobs helping the system to mistreat our brothers and sisters.

One of the most important outcomes I hope to see at our conference is a sense of love and solidarity among the people who attend. In 1974, at the first Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression I attended and helped organize, we had this kind of spirit.  People hugged one another, and we all felt part of an inspiring movement.  We were confident that we would make progress for our cause, and we did.

But for too long now, we who want to fight for our freedom have often fought with one another, when we need very much to support one another.  I think this is because most of us, including me, have felt despair about ever being able to win our fight. We certainly won’t if all there is are fake conferences bought and paid for by the people we are supposed to be fighting.

But we can win if we are persistent.  If slavery could be defeated, if all the other movements of oppressed people in the past fifty years have made great progress, so can we, if we stick together and never give up.

I am not so arrogant as to think I have the last word on what we need to do, but I offer these suggestions from my long experience in our movement, hoping and expecting that other activists will accept them and build on them.

And I hope and expect too that out of this conference will come, I am sure of it now, a much-needed sense of tactics and strategy, and the realization that we really are brothers and sisters.  We are all in this together. The people united will never be defeated!

With love and solidarity,
Ted Chabasinski


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.


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  1. Yours is an interesting vision, Ted. The flower children of the 1960s, among whom I grew up, might recognize themselves in your proposal. But I still wonder why nobody has so far been able to put together a well-funded class action suit against the APA and NIMH for gross malfeasance and harm to patients. I also wonder whether there are any reliable and repeatable alternatives to forced incarceration and drugging for the assistance of people in severe delusional distress. So far I don’t see evidence of either initiative, though I’m certainly willing to be informed on the errors of my perception.

    For those who would rebel against the abuses of psychiatry, I wish you every good outcome. But so far I don’t see the evidence or even prospects of real or sustainable change. How is that going to happen in real life? What are the steps? Who will lead?

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    • About a class action lawsuit, I think many non-lawyers believe that such actions are much more effective and possible than they really are. Without going into a lot of boring detail, all a class action suit does is aggregate a lot of plaintiffs into one lawsuit.

      All I am trying to say with my article is that our movement should just do what every other movement for social justice in the last fifty years has done — have demonstrations, speak out, refuse to accept the inferior position in society that has been laid out for us.

      As for what would replace the current practices of psychiatry, there are many people working on that. A few , very few, helpful programs are already in place, like Soteria Houses, peer respite programs, all sorts of places that at bottom replace drugs and despair with emotional support and human caring for people in emotional distress. I think Mad In America has published many articles by people working on these things.

      This article is just about one small piece of the larger struggle we have to engage in, and certainly isn’t meant to cover everything.

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    • Harvard, Emory, Columbia, Tuft’s and the NIMH and APA are are on the other team. Scientific American, Readers Digest, the New York Times and National Public Radio are also theirs. Ask Sacco and Vanzetti, the Rosenberg’s, James Earl Ray and Leonard Pelletier – things could easily be fixed by going to a fair and impartial Judge in a Court in the Land of the Free.

      “I also wonder whether there are any reliable and repeatable alternatives to forced incarceration and drugging for the assistance” Incarceration could be help. To what extent can we easily equate their selected small group of for-profit centrally acting drugs,as you would have us do here, with quote “assistance.” Their so-called minor tranquilizer products (of the diazepam group) are best understood as GABA agonists. Their major tranquillizers (seroquel, haldol, risperdal, geodon, olanzapine, stelazine, thorazine) are drugs of the 1954 thorazine type and are best understood as dopamine 2 receptor cloggers.

      Now a dopamine 2 receptor clogging drug is a neurotoxin, and of course dopamine is associated with interest, brain reward/self reinforcement, youth, growth hormone realease, and, with the advance of age and the decline of the dopamine system youthful zest diminishes and finally parkinsonism sets in and then death.

      While GABA drugs are hard on the receptors and cause withdrawal. Betty Ford was addicted quickly because she took the popular Vallium with expensive wine, which represented a one two punch to the GABA receptors (neither alcohol nor benzos being healthful chemicals to enhance the GABA system.

      Thus it is of course a scholarly mistake to make the sentence you have, “”I also wonder whether there are any reliable and repeatable alternatives to forced incarceration and drugging for the assistance,” — to wit, employment of their ancient primitive harmful GABA stimulents and neurotoxin Dopamine 2 cloggers centrally acting drugging chemicals ought not offhandedly be stated as as somehow quote assistance.

      Renowned Emory Doctor Charles Nemeroff http://lunatickfringe.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/drug-company-toady-charles-nemeroff-cons-british/

      Renowned Harvard Professor Joeseph Biederman

      Vitamin Therapy for Psychosis by Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D.
      >> “Tranquilizers cause brain damage. The amount of the damage depends on the total dose in grams. Thus if a patient takes 100 milligrams each day of one of the older drugs for 1000 days, the total dose is 100,000 milligrams or 10 grams. One multiplies the daily average dose by the number of days on that drug. 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.”

      Optimal Dosing for Schizophrenia by Raymond J. Pataracchia, B.Sc., N.D.
      >> “Neuroleptics are tranquilizers (major sedatives) that block brain neuron transmission at the receptor level.1 Neuroleptics can be useful during acute episodes of schizophrenia but should be prescribed with the intention of stabilizing the patient, not with the intention of long-term tranquilization. The human body was not made to function in a tranquilized state. I do not know of any physician willing to try this regimen themselves for a prolonged period of time.”

      Brain Allergies by Patrick Holford, M.D.

      “The Role of Methylation and Epigenetics in Brain Disorders”
      presented by William J. Walsh, PhD

      Nutrient Power with Dr. Walsh

      Beyond Mental Illness a Road Not Taken

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  2. I think an independent conference focused on humane rights would be a great idea. The Alternatives while having many good sessions on rights advocacy mostly is focused on developing Peer Support efforts. I think a conference just on organizing to fight efforts like the Murphy bill would be very important..
    Joseph Rogers

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      • We use to have in the evening planks where we actually did write papers or present. I don’t know why that disappeared. We would all work to come to a consensus. That was over 15 years ago. A lot of good work was done and we spoke the same language across the USA. Or some of us anyway. It actually seemed as if when Peer Specilist invaded the conference and over dominated it has gone down hill. We need a seperate conference or to expand on NARPA

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  3. I’m very much new to this movement Ted. Exposed to some of the worst abuses I’ve seen in my 50+ years as a result of a twist of fate.

    My tactics and strategies were written a long time ago by Sun Tzu in The Art of War.

    Know your enemy, know yourself, and in 100 battles you will not be defeated.

    The acme of skill is to subdue without fighting.

    Avoid what is strong, and attack what is weak.

    The “Alternatives” could be turned with the use of the town crier effect. It may take very little to have them return as strong allies.

    I understand why so many feel overwhelmed by this system of oppression, and why it is so much easier to go along with the status quo. These people killed me three years ago. What can they take from me now?

    “If by setting one’s heart right every morning and evening, one is able to live as though his body were already dead, he gains freedom in the Way. His whole life will be without blame, and he will succeed in his calling”. Hagakure.

    So my tactics and strategies have been well developed over many years, and if necessary I will continue to fight alone. But I do hope there are others.


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      • Thats a great question oldhead. The biggest problem that I see is the lack of targeted actions. A lot can be achieved with very few resources but chasing numerous targets will get you nowhere.

        The cyclops minus his eye will have no effect. A concrete example would be (and I have reasons not to reveal my hand in a public arena) building infrastructure. An old hospital with OSH issues would be one. This is an area where the enemy is weak because they can be tied up in liability issues. I know that at present asbestos in our public buildings is receiving a lot of attention. What isnt known is how the state governmemt is hiding these buildings from public scrutiny, to avoid having to spend money and shut the buildings down. Know what to look for and expose it. This the media will jump on board with.

        There is so much more, but I really dont see targeted action. The problem thus becomes overwhelming.

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        • The biggest advantage here is that while issue are only effecting patients, nothing will be done. Once it becomes an issue effecting staff, no expense will be spared. Or at least that is what will be presented to staff.

          A little know fact though is how the issues are dealt with by building management. If the staff only knew how these issues were really dealt with, they might not have a lot of confidence in their management.

          Sick Building Syndrome is more of an issue than people realise. But as long as they remain unaware, nothing gets done.

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  4. Hi Richard,

    “I also wonder whether there are any reliable and repeatable alternatives to forced incarceration and drugging for the assistance of people in severe delusional distress.”

    This is a false question. People who are diagnosed in “severe delusional distress” mostly are not. “You’re crazy!” is a common way of dismissing people who do not agree with one. There is now a system in place that allows people with some measure of control to invoke “treatments” for annoying and inconvenient others within families – usually old people, children, and social unfortunates such as widows with too many children.

    Most of these people, if they are disturbed, are disturbed by something tangible that the others in their environment do not wish to handle or change. Old people like company and attention, as do young people. Young people are noisy and demanding. Widows with children are poor. When these people are labelled as ill, they are drugged and become both quiet and submissive. (There is nothing like finding yourself in an endless jail system – a system in which release is always parole – to truly frighten one.) Family members can then both ignore these “family problems” – because those labelled are ill – and they can control them – because those labelled are now afraid. The “mentally ill” have seen the edge of society, and it represents a sharp drop-off.

    There are few, if any, true lunatics.

    This system is being fuelled by the immensely profitable drug trade. True lunatics, if there are any, are an infinitesimally small group. This group could not possibly fund this trade. You have put up a straw man for argument here.

    Also, your question as to why there has not been a successful legal challenge to the “mental health” status quo makes me certain that you have not tried this route yourself. Personally, I can understand the problem here, and there is one.

    Although this is an extensive question, one of the problems is that medicals have a union. Other medicals, who should know better, support colleagues as a matter of solidarity as do hospital staff. Medicine is big business too.

    And, like psychiatrists, regular physicians are, unfortunately, now largely pill-pushers. Longterm medication use always has a high price, and physicians are choosing to ignore this. My hope is that psychiatry will fall as a consequence of a larger loss of faith in medical practice as we are experiencing it.

    Anyway, thanks for your thoughts here.

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    • Just as an aside, this demonstrates why we need a vehicle for focused discussion on anti-psychiatry organizing — again, not on whether or why, but how. Those who simply want to expound upon their personal philosophies have plenty of opportunities at MIA to do so. We need a forum in which those who participate have already come to an anti-psychiatry perspective and wish to take the next step of putting words into action.

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      • Ted and Oldhead

        I agree with the thrust of this blog and have echoed similar calls for organization and action. Ted, I appreciate your persistence on this matter.

        Oldhead, I agree with your statement above and earlier comments about using the forum section at MIA to continue further discussion on these questions.


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    • I wonder if the conference should not be linked to a “convention” to draft actual legislation. That sounds like a more efficient way than trying to do it over the internet – to have a few days of concentrated effort to put together a bill draft…

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      • The whole issue of pursuing change via legislation is tackled a few more posts down so I don’t want to be repetitive; however I would add that until we have an actual movement with actual positions and analyses we might find find agreeing on what such legislation would entail to be hopelessly frustrating, as well as an exercise in wishful thinking.

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  5. I think the anti-psychiatry movement of survivors and our allies needs to have a conference of its own, as a first step to reviving what we had before and what we need for the future.

    Very true. We need our own conference again. I agree most wholeheartedly.

    Anti-psychiatry goes to the root (as in radical) of the problem. Patient injury is standard practice in psychiatry today. When one opposes psychiatry, one opposes death and destruction.

    We should have pow wows among those people who don’t want work for the psychiatrists no matter what kind of job or monetary incentive they are offered. People who won’t be bought off turn coats, working for the same system that did them so dirty, come what may.

    The career in “schizophrenia”, the career in “mental disability” work, “certified peer support specialists”, the absolute nonsense, please, we don’t need that kind of thing. I don’t need a certificate to support my brothers and sisters fighting the system. Solidarity comes more naturally here. They’ve got their jargon, but we’ve got the English language. We can, and do, talk back to psychiatry and it’s lackeys.

    Reformist and moderates can talk their endless reform talk forever. There is no end to it. We know it’s bad, it was bad to begin with, now let’s reform it…Not! Sure, we can make bad better, but we will always be a long ways off from making bad good. Abolition, and abolition of forced treatment, would mean an absolute end to the abusive mistreatment that goes by any other name.

    I’m for resurrecting the rupture between radical abolitionists and moderate reformists in this matter. I don’t want to work for the mental illness industry. I think all too many people are entangled in this mental illness industry expansionism that is harming so many people. Many of those getting caught up in this matter do so naively or unwittingly, too.

    I think it would be much more preferable if we had periodic conferences among those who are against force as well as, if such is the case, for alternatives, on a more regular basis, rather than the odd few that I have seen. Conferences that could take on the reality of psychiatric oppression, and encourage the liberation of patients, directly. Right now, you’ve got all these conferences of paraprofessional para-patients, and that is more than confusing, it’s absurd.

    Maybe nobody told them they don’t have to play the mental patient role. (Agh! The mental health services consumer role if you prefer.)

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    • I agree, except I did get certified as a peer specialist in an attempt to understand how the peer specialists were expected to function within the system, in the area in which I now live. But since they’re still allowing the idea that “mental illnesses” are caused by “chemical imbalances” to be espoused where I live, in these training classes. I don’t have any desire to work in that industry, despite my desire to help others caught up in the insane psychiatric system.

      Absolutely, a new “alternatives” conference does seem to be necessary.

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      • I went to a couple of conferences, one for peer support specialists, and the other for people who train the specialists. The idea of these peer support specialists was that the people who are farther along in their recovery can help those who are less far along. I found the whole idea rather insulting.

        One thing peer support specialists are not doing is getting people out of the mental illness system. Instead they are expanding that mental illness system. I don’t need a survey to tell me that this is a “good” thing, and that it works toward people’s recovery. Recovery, as far as I’m concerned, exists outside of the mental illness system. “Mental patient mental health workers” is not an improvement. When it’s an expanding mental illness system you’ve got, “mental patient mental health workers” are part and parcel of that expansion, that is, they are part of the problem.

        You’ve got people saying 1 in 5 people have a “mental illness” as a means of demanding money from the state. Were they to say 1 in 3 people have a “mental illness”, same thing, only worse. This urgency is rather ridiculous because it’s all about drumming up the funds to support the mental illness industry. Oppose the mental illness industry, and you’re accused of stigmatizing people. Mental illness, the excuse, is big business.

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        • If you read a lot of people’s recovery stories, told by themselves, you will often find that they received important kinds of help from within the mental health system, by people who were going against the grain a bit and providing real help instead of the more common kind of “help” that makes things worse.

          So I don’t buy the idea that no one can provide help within the “mental health industry” or the idea that all peer support paid for by the system is useless. Yes saying it is useless sounds dramatic and clear, it just happens to be more dramatic and clear than is the truth.

          At the same time, I totally agree that we need people organizing outside of the system, to protest the violations, abuse, misinformation, and generally stupid ideas of the system, while not having the “conflict of interest” of also being part of that system. Of course, such organizing isn’t going to have the funding that “Alternatives” has.

          And we shouldn’t ignore the fact that there already are some national conferences happening that are pretty independent – MindFreedom organized one this year. NARPA just had its conference earlier this month.

          I don’t know if any of those conferences involved protests though. By the way, I was at that little protest against electroshock across the street from the Alternatives conference in Portland in 2012. David Oaks made it happen, he would never let the opportunity slip by to have a protest when he could! He’s still sometimes involved in protests, I even marched with him today here in Eugene, but that protest was about stopping global warming…..

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          • Ron, David Oaks also astutely recognizes that any attempts to reform this system ends up in growing the system. I swear to you on my life this system has perpetrated what any reasonable person would call crimes against humanity .I am one of the people to have survived this. I have felt most all their arsenal accept lobotomy and have literally escaped 5 times from 3 of their “mental institutions”. The way you write sounds like you had a bad hair day. Help from nice psychiatrists 1 point . Torture 99 points. What are you talking about ? Fred

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          • Hi Fred,

            I think David Oaks’ reasoning is more nuanced than you suggest. He is certainly very wary of attempts to “reform” without being radical enough – which is why he always calls for a “non-violent revolution” instead. But he certainly hasn’t maintained that there can’t be value to people doing progressive kinds of work even within the existing system.

            People’s experience differ as far as how much help versus abuse they feel they received within the system – partly I think that’s because the mental health system is not a monolith, it is different in different places, and as operated by different individuals. And people at the receiving end are also all different, with some being helped by what others resent.

            I hear that perhaps your experience was 99% abuse, maybe 1% help. It would be nice for our society to have a way of helping people in crisis that led to most of them feeling 99% helped, maybe only 1% mistreated (we will never be perfect!) But obviously we are a long way from that.

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          • I agree with much of what you say, Ron, to a degree. There is also a degree to which I disagree, that is, if you run a dependency system you are going to get people claiming to be grateful for their dependence, but it is not the same as running an independency system.

            My concern is about all the people I’ve encountered who have been labeled, are drugged, might even be employed, if in the mental health system, but who can’t envision any other sort of future for themselves. I’ve seen the damage that comes of this type of perspective, the ill physical health, and because of it, I definitely see a need to have people working in the system to change that system. This also makes for a need to have people working for change outside of the system as well.

            Something like Open Dialogue, too. It takes a certain amount of time before any psychotic break can be labeled schizophrenia. If change is effected, or stability is attained, before that time has elapsed, you don’t have a “schizophrenic”. This makes such an approach preventative in a world where most preventative procedures are causative in point of fact.

            I was at the MindFreedom conference this year. I have been at NARPA conferences in the past. Both are terrific organizations. I don’t think support for some alternatives rules out anti-psychiatry activism. Nor do I think we shouldn’t work together when it is in our mutual interests to do so. I do think however that there are points where that interest divulges, and where we might, upon occasion, part company.

            A conference that did, as the old human rights psychiatric oppression conferences did, include demonstrations would be a big plus. We demonstrated in front of, was it Glaxo Smith and French in 1978? I don’t know. Anyway, it’s GlaxoSmithKline today. There were so many protesters on drugs in the 2012 protest at the APA convention in Philly such a thing would have been unthinkable. All the same, protesting at APA annual conventions, without any civil disobedience, is beginning to seem like a bad habit. We need to get more creative, in this regard, when it comes to reaching people, and a conference that wasn’t so heavily into the mental illness industry could definitely help us to do so.

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          • Hi Ron, Actually when I say 1% help from psychiatrists I’m being generous. Except for the statement by one psychiatrist to my mother, which I overheard when I was 16 years old who said,”We really don’t know how to help your son ,he’ll have to figure out how to help himself.”At least he made one honest statement before he prescribed thorazine .That statement is all the help I received . The few honest words was more than most have received from this corrupt gulag system. The “diagnosis” at the time was the S word. Chemical lobotomy was the “treatment” of choice. Before the age of 18 electric shock treatments followed.Than on and on and on. Through my own efforts and help from outside the system (luck or miracles) I walked out the other end as a 50 something year old survivor and am here to tell you at the age of 67 conversing with psychiatrists or social workers or therapists was always as forced to sit or stand before the judgement of heartless mindless gestapo officers . I’m done with it and I am anti-psychiatry. Always was from day one. Now I can say it openly.
            If you walked a mile in my moccasins I can’t how see anyone could come to another conclusion. Although I wouldn’t wish it on anyone what I went through ,reparations are in order. One day I’ll write a book not the 1000 word summary so many ask of us for their websites or files, so they can speak with authority about what they have not experienced and analyze so expertly in calm quiet words so far beyond our own ability to understand our own searing experiences.

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          • You inadvertantly make the pont that when people get any real help within the system it is an aberration, i.e. the help is received in spite of the system rather than because of it — in the cases you mention, because of those working in the system who actually oppose it, right?

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          • “conversing with psychiatrists or social workers or therapists was always as forced to sit or stand before the judgement of heartless mindless gestapo officers”
            Mine impression too. Especially in a hospital when it was all a game of convincing them that you’re good to be released. I don’t understand how delusional these people are if they think they are really having an honest conversation with you that can somehow help you. I actually believe that for some it’s not the point anyway, they just get high on the power.
            “reparations are in order”
            …and long overdue.

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          • Sorry I’m getting back to this late – oldhead, you wrote that “You inadvertantly make the pont that when people get any real help within the system it is an aberration, i.e. the help is received in spite of the system rather than because of it ”

            I don’t think that is consistent with what I was saying. Certainly to provide real help, people have to go against the mistakes and the corruption within the system. But the system is more than its mistakes, and coming out against the entire system suggests one is against helping people find housing and jobs, is against paying anyone to listen to and spend time with a troubled person, against the reasonable things the system does or at least tries to do some of the time.

            It’s easier to mark things as totally black or white, but much of the real world isn’t laid out that way……

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        • “Mental patient mental health workers” is not an improvement. When it’s an expanding mental illness system you’ve got, “mental patient mental health workers” are part and parcel of that expansion, that is, they are part of the problem.

          I can’t help thinking about Malcolm here — are we maybe talking about “house patients” vs. “field patients”?

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          • Very fit analogy in some cases I think, only sometimes it seems like we’ve got a lot more “house patients” than “field patients” these days. ‘Once upon a time’ the only way into patient status was through the involuntary commitment process. Now-a-days, this is no longer the case, any sort of complaint can gain a person a diagnostic tag. All sorts of people, reluctant to leave adolescence and childhood behind themselves perhaps, can claim to have a “mental illness” if they want some kind of “special” attention. This “special” treatment, in the long run, is not any more conducive to human rights than was involuntary commitment and, in fact, is likely to prove harmful. I happen to think there is a reason you don’t see more adults pulling on mommy’s tit. The bureaucratic tit of the nanny state, well, that’s another matter.

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  6. Ted,

    What about a focus on amending the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – making sure that the least restrictive clause begins to be applied to people who’ve been given psychiatric diagnoses.

    This would be an “alternative” to the alternative conference… A group of folks coming together to change federal law (by amending the ADA), to protect people from from psychiatric force – incarceration, drugs, ECT, and all other forms of harm.


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    • Repeal mental health law, and forced treatment is a crime. We’ve got mental health police because we’ve got mental health law. Repeal the law, and those mental health police become criminals. Imprisonment by private individuals is not just false imprisonment, it’s abduction.

      Imagine we had an Americans with Abilities Act. Who would it benefit? Now tell me, which disabilities are real disabilities, and which are false? No legislation is going to decide these matters, even if it is decisive legislation. Anybody tired of living in a hypocrisy. There is no easy way out of that one.

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      • “How do repeal mental health law without legislation?

        Protests? Yeah, that’s been doing a lot of good. Look at all the mental health courts that have shut down business due to protests. Judges saying, “I’m outta here… Those protesters are too much to handle… all 15 of them.”


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          • Mental health laws are legislation. We don’t repeal laws without legislation, legislation to repeal legislation.

            Actually I think Tina Minkowitz has the right idea. When the Convention on the Rights of Persons’ with Disabilities (CRPD) bans coercive psychiatry, all you have to do is get the USA to sign on with those other countries who already have done so. Once signed, it’s just a matter of seeing that international law is observed.

            I’m aware that the situation is getting worse, all the same, it’s not going to get any better if we remain unorganized, and an Alternative to “Alternatives” represents a way of organizing. As far as strategy and tactics go, I wouldn’t rule out anything.

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          • I appreciate the work of Tina Minkowitz.
            She calls on the UN to recognize the rights of people with ‘disabilities’ if not mistaken (a concept you appeared opposed to earlier in the thread).

            The problem is enforcement.
            Who enforced UN treaties?
            The dictators at the round table?
            The boys in baby blue helmets?

            The US needs to lead.
            It’s been a while.


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          • There is “disability” and there is “disability”. I can elaborate only so far. There is also ‘artificial invalidism’. I’m certainly not saying that there are no people with physical handicaps, and that they shouldn’t be provided for.

            American exceptional-ism stands in the way of recognizing international law, but the USA is no exception, and human rights violations take place here just the same as they do elsewhere.

            The USA doesn’t seem ready to take the lead in this matter right now, perhaps later.

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          • Frank,

            There are plenty of people who have been so gravely injured by psychiatric “treatment” that they cannot work…. Whether it be the trauma from incarcerations, or the injury caused to the brain and body by psychiatric drugs.

            Also, there are a number of veterans who have traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress from numerous tours of duty.

            So, I would be hesitant to say they are not “disabled.” If a person can no longer work, or if they are in an emotional spot where they can barely function, they are disabled.

            And I happen to think America could take a lead here.


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          • The situation is a little more complex than that, Duane. The official numbers of the unemployed don’t include people who have stopped looking for work. The stat is only about people receiving unemployment benefits. There was a time when such a statistic wasn’t, on the surface of it, so completely deceptive.

            Corporations run away with factories to other countries where the labor force is cheap in order to maximize profits. Corporations automate, close factories, and cut employees. Businesses have their own biases about job performance. You’ve got people working 3 jobs, and not being able to make ends meet. You’ve got people not working because, with government benefits, there is a disincentive to do so.

            Basically, there is this attitude that realism means a certain % of people should be unemployed. Given this attitude, a certain % of the population is going to be unemployed. This unemployment, of course, should in no way cut into the nest feathering of that millionaires club, congress.

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          • Frank,

            Now we’ve moved into talking about economics.

            I wish for once we could, as a group – focus (like a laser beam) on making changes where there is plenty of passion and the potential for a collaborative effort – on protecting rights for people who have been abused by psychiatry; protecting others before they are abused.

            Or we could talk about corporate tax rates, unemployment, and get nowhere… I thought we had a forum for politics.


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          • Of course, it’s economic. Economics, sociology, civics, etc., it all ties in. If the government thinks it realistic that a certain % of population is unemployed. My guess is that a very high proportion of those unemployed are going to be people who have had experience in the mental health system. Prejudice is real, and this is where it comes in. I’m not saying that they aren’t going to be hard on ex-felons, too. Ex-felons are another group whose rights are being violated, and who are subjected to pretty persistent prejudice and discrimination from the job market as well. In this day and age, as well, everybody is expected to have a college education, otherwise it’s unskilled poo poo work for you, kid. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way either. I have a lot of faith in the ingenuity of our species, and what I don’t have a lot of faith in is paper work. I think it’s mostly rubbish, and folks can get around it. Hands on, and people are alright; hands off, and the screws are being applied to somebody.

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          • “I’m certainly not saying that there are no people with physical handicaps, and that they shouldn’t be provided for. ”
            There are many quite severe physical disabilities which don’t stop people from being very good workers. I know or have a second hand account of people missing limbs who do quite normal physical jobs to the point that a friend of mine has actually missed for a couple of weeks that her co-worker has no arm (she told me that he “functionally had both hands so she didn’t notice”).
            I think a lot of the old way of thinking about many types of disabilities, both mental and physical has been very patronising. Of course disabilities come with certain restrictions that’s why they’re called disabilities but the trick is to help people to be active and find ways to apply themselves according to their abilities. And I’m for that not because I care that my taxes will support the slackers (this I don’t really care so much about unless by slackers you mean the 1% and their tax cuts and subsidies we all have to make up for with our money) but rather that people with disabilities also want and deserve fulfilling and independent lives and not to rely on anyone’s mercy.

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          • “When the Convention on the Rights of Persons’ with Disabilities (CRPD) bans coercive psychiatry, all you have to do is get the USA to sign on with those other countries who already have done so.”
            Well, as much as I am really happy for UN’s stance on forced psychiatry (even though they could be more explicit – that is completely ban it and treat the same way as chemical weapons or other types of torture) I don’t think that it would change much. The country where I currently live (Austria) has signed it and nothing has changed. In fact in the last report I’ve read UN complained about the very same things I experienced and as far as I know there’s no perspective ahead to actually ban them. Nobody enforces the treaty so nobody gives a flying sh*t.

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          • Regarding the UNCRPD Australia has also signed and gone in the other direction by expanding the very things that were criticised.

            Speaking of prejudice I went to the police with a complaint about being drugged without my knowledge yesterday. Provided police with the official hospital documents demonstrating the act. The police then rang the Mental Health Emergency Line and told them they had a delusional man in the station and tried to have me detained under the Mental Health Act. Funny how by ignoring a little bit of evidence you can use the Mental Health Services as a method to make complaints disappear. I nearly got locked up for making a legitimate complaint lmao. Guess it works well with rape victims too.

            The police were probably a bit busy with the porn on the internet to deal with my issues.

            Prejudice and corruption are major issues within this system. The use of mental health as a political tool is more of a problem than the public is aware.

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    • That is a great point. I think that a big chunk of organising and meeting should be dealing with writing up actual bills and amendments (setting up some work groups on that to make the process more efficient?). Protests are great but we need to lobby politicians and write up our demands and ideas on how to change the actual legislation.

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  7. Ted, no argument with your exposing the fraudulent and reactionary so-called “alternatives” conference. Anyone who takes such as sham seriosly is seriously misguided, of course. And an alternative is needed; the most obvious answer in my mind would be to resurrect the International Conference On Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression.

    However, asking people to sign up with Facebook in order to discuss these issues is in my opinion sheer madness. Facebook is primarily a surveillance and data gathering tool, and I don’t know how you could not realize this. I would never participate in a facebook discussion and question the judgement of those who do; at any rate I would never want to make survivors think that in order to participate in the resistance movement they have to sign up for and put their thoughts on such a forum.

    While I know your article is talking about organizing an “alternative to the alternatives conference,” there are a number of people who have expressed varying degrees of interest in forming a survivor-led anti-psychiatry network. These conversations have been held right here in the open and as a result some of us are in the process of working with MIA to set up a forum on this site to discuss the formation of such an organization.

    I suggest that a discussion about setting up a conference be arranged in the same way, so that people don’t have to leave the site and, particularly, not to go to Facebook for god’s sake! I think it’s important that as many people as possible get a chance to discuss anti-psychiatry politics and strategies from all angles and perspectives, and since so much of the currently heightening degree of “survivor” consciousness has been nourished here at MIA I think it would be a mistake to divert people to another site rather than bringing more people here.

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    • PS — 2 links to info about Facebook for those who think I’m being paranoid:

      http://rt.com/shows/sophieco/snowden-leak-privacy-surveillance-093/ (An interview with Linux developer and Internet Hall of Famer Richard Stallman; better to watch the video than read the transcript.)

      http://www.remnantofgod.org/facebook.htm (This site is run by a 7th Day Adventist and is marred by a fundamentalist and homophobic perspective at times, however there are all sorts of links here to news articles exposing Facebook for what it is and what it does to all sorts of folks.)

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      • Oh, I’m not wedded to Facebook. However, any discussion we have on MIA, Facebook, or anywhere else is going to be available to the people who are keeping an eye on everyone. Nothing can be secret anyway.

        Oldhead, I am very interested in these discussions about a new national organization you are talking about. How can I participate?

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        • Hey Ted, how’s things?

          It’s not a question of “secrecy” or I wouldn’t be posting at MIA either; the sinister nature of Facebook goes far beyond that. I doubt that MIA is creating data banks with the info we post, or creating personality profiles, or logging the things we edit or delete before we upload our posts, ad infinitum. Please check out the links I provided in my above post for a better idea of what Facebook is all about.

          The discussions I refer to have so far been taking place here openly in responses to other articles where we basically “hijacked” the discussion at hand. This is a poor way to carry on this important conversation, hence the interest in creating such a forum right here at MIA, where we already have an online community just waiting to get involved in something bold but also effective. I sent you an email about this btw but never heard from you, maybe I wasn’t clear.

          So there’s nothing too complicated about participating — it’s mainly a matter of getting such a forum created here, which I don’t think will be a big problem; realistically tho it’s probably a good idea to wait until the film festival is over and MIA people have more energy to put into new projects.

          Meanwhile, you’ve created a temporary forum for this conversation simply by posting your article & providing us with a thread to join. Problem is these posts all drop off the board in time, or the thread becomes so long that it becomes impossible to download.

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    • Re : These conversations have been held right here in the open and as a result some of us are in the process of working with MIA to set up a forum on this site to discuss the formation of such an organization.

      I was thinking maybe a chat room could be helpful too in sharing ideas faster in real time.

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      • A chat room in addition is an interesting idea. I think an ongoing forum would collect more and probably more well thought-out input as there’s more time for responses, but yeah.

        What we seem to be stuck on is this: the forum I’ve discussed with others would be specifically for discussions about organizing a survivor-led anti-psychiatry organization — not for arguing about whether or why such a group should or should not exist, but for those who have already taken the conscious step of opposing psychiatry and who want to move in a more activist direction.

        Some at MIA support this but don’t think it should be specifically labeled “anti-psychiatry”; in my view (and others’) it’s important to make clear from the start exactly what we’re there to talk about and not mince words. The discussions have been friendly however though, for the immediate present, they have fallen off somewhat as people prepare for the MIA Film Festival. But the process has been started, and I encourage people who support the idea to let people at MIA know (I believe Emmilene would be a good person to contact initially and would convey your thoughts to the appropriate people).

        I don’t want to be part of a movement that sets itself to be sold out again and again. It’s important that we don’t make impulsive or emotionally-based moves; we need to be methodical and strategic if we want to be effective.

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          • The term “anti-psychiatry” says nothing about individual people. It signifies clear and proud opposition to a medical specialty that is not valid and that should not be allowed to exist.

            You can call the same position Fluffy Care Bunnies Against Awesome Psychiatrists’ Unintentional Excesses and psychiatry will still paint you as an ignorant extremist, so why play the game? Why not just state the position clearly? Plus, “anti-psychiatry” is a lot easier for average people to understand than mincing words and going into all the subtle nuances.

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          • It also seems to me that it would benefit anyone who is remotely critical of psychiatry for there to be a vocal and unapologetic organized opposition that identifies as “anti-psychiatry.” That way, whenever people like E. Fuller Torrey talk about any critics of psychiatry as being “anti-psychiatry,” there would be an organization (or organizations) present to say, “No, those other critics are absolutely NOT anti-psychiatry. We are, and this is what it means…”

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          • I know that trying to distance ones self from the term is probably more damaging than anything.

            Imagine someone treated badly by the system, where are they going to look in order to try and change that system? I know my first seach term was anti psychiatry. If we as a movement hide from that term, how will these people find us?

            At this point in time its not unlawful to organise under that term. That may change if the movement becomes effective but ……

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          • Well, there are certain people — or their actions — to whom it would apply; however we can’t be responsible for people’s misinterpretations, all we can do is set them straight about the fact that we are fighting an institution, not every individual who comes within its scope. The DSM is one facet of what we’re fighting; however if psychiatry did not have the power to coerce it would be irrelevant.

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          • “I know my first seach term was anti psychiatry. If we as a movement hide from that term, how will these people find us?”

            Excellent point.

            Btw I can’t envision them making the term “anti-psychiatry” illegal, at least not before the US turns completely fascist, which hopefully people will prevent. But it’s definitely possible, I guess.

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  8. Re: We are a human rights movement, not the “consumer” auxiliary to the mental illness system…

    “The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.”

    ― Vladimir Ilich Lenin

    That Lenin quote above I think describes whats going on.

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  9. I posted to Ted Chabasinski page on facebook a vital stategy issue. I tried to go there to look at Ted’s input collaboration. Don’t see the facebook page any more. Human communication in the populist antiauthoritarian Movement, cooperation, the Movement for social change. JB

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  10. (We need a forum in which those who participate have already come to an anti-psychiatry perspective. ) Which Antipsychiatry Movement perspective, the one you already have that doesn’t include the suppression of Orthomolecular by the NIMH/APA/Big Pharma/FDA.

    Peter Breggin and Thomas Szasz and Joanna Moncrieff exactingly leave this out. Left out of Mad in America and left out of TOXIC Psychiatry with extreme unction. Who are they. Psychiatrist, Psychiatistm Psychiatrist, Boston Globe Journalist friend of Loren Mosher (!) (Psychiatrist andanti-orthomolecular participant in the 1973 Task Force 7 fraud) .

    Well they are a great bunch, and excellent source material — Except — Except — except if people do not have access to the protection to the propaganda, the other information — then such people can Falsely Indocrinate.

    Psychiatric opponents should not be lead into a cul-de-sac.

    (We need a forum in which those who participate have already come to an anti-psychiatry perspective) .

    “The Antipsychiatry perspective” is not to be found in TOXIC Psychiatry by Ginger and Peter Breggin, M.D.

    It is ESSENTIAL that the Movement not be swayed by the stilted propaganda.

    Before you act large and in charge of the People’s Movement for Social Change — get it right !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Stand Up. Speak Truth.

    From: John Hammell
    Subject: More Info Re Orthomolecular Treatment for


    By John C. Hammell, President, International Advocates for Health Freedom
    Blacksburg, Virginia, USA


    What’s in a name? Terming non-standard medical treatment.(Townsend’s New York Observer)

    History of the Journal – – They started the Journal in 1967 because they realized they could no longer be published in their own University’s Journals and in the Journals of the Profession– by 1967. (The drug companies and the NIMH and APA were unified by 1967.)

    The 58 page Task Force 7 Fraud of 1973 that excluded Medical treatment from USA Psychiatry, at the exact same time that they were making everything quote “Medical model” for the next 4 decades (that is making everything propaganda for the next 4 decades) (for patented centrally acting drug sales as the exclusive quote unquote “medicines.” (Propaganda being the only foundation of Psychiatry)

    The FDA Ban of L-Tryptophan:
    Politics, Profits and Prozac
    by Dean Wolfe Manders, Ph.D.

    Merge the Rhetoric and you will be able to fight better, because you will make more sense.

    Fight the propaganda with the picture of what happened and what the situation is.

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  11. Um, I would say that anti-psychiatry means anti-psychiatry, not “good” psychiatry vs. “bad” psychiatry. Psychiatry is the fraudulent field of endeavor which portrays itself as a branch of medicine that treats “mental” diseases, which exist only in the minds of those who don’t understand the basic principles of language. As such I don’t know why you would want to compete for the title of “psychiatrist” rather than just calling yourself a nutritionist or something. On the other hand I don’t want to divert the conversation by discussing it now.

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  12. Right, mental illness is anti-rational, and Antipsychiatry is an excellent term. I know a lot of this stuff. That’s why Other people should tech up to what I have said.

    To be Antipsychiatry we should know what the situation is, we should know what is going on.

    We are being fooled by our friends. To know Orthomolecular and how wrong it makes all “the good ones” — is to have a Key. A Key to successfully reading those “good ones.”

    This goes both ways. Taken simultaneously the literature contains the real reality.

    USA “Psychiatry” is not the medical approach. Their drug products are not the state of the art in chemical treatment. They do not have a “dopamine theory.” They do not have an interest in genetics.

    The non Medical approach of Critical Psychiatry or ISEPP is not their scholarly, honest independent material. It is stilted.

    Peter Breggin is all so very concerned about the topic of Tardive Dyskinesia. But – not really. Wont touch B-6 topic, nor the topic of Vitamin E and Manganese.

    A scholar can’t do “Tardive Dyskinesia” without the topic of Manganese and Vitamin E.

    But Peter Breggin can.

    There is no way to understand what happened, or what the literature is while closing ones mind to Task Force 7 and the suppression of chemical treatment in Psychiatry in 1973 by the APA and NIMH.

    The suppression of the actual workers in 1973 is a topic that cannot be ignored. It is part of history. It is relevent.

    ISEPP wants to be the good guys. — It is Mind Poison. Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire.

    Joanna MonCrieff and Duncan Double and Critical Psychiatry.
    Loren Mosher. Thomas Szasz.

    Ty Colbert.

    INTAR and Bertram Karon, M.D. of Michigan Psychoanayltic Society — “We know what helps, and what hurts.”
    The San Joaquin Psychotherapy Center

    Mindfreedom and ReEvaluation Cocounceling – the Rational Island cult of Harvey Jackens.

    CCHR and Dianetics – the Scientology cult of Ron Hubbard

    They are most all singing the same wrong tune. Follow them the wrong way.

    Those are the good ones.


    Center for the Study of Empathic
    Therapy, Education & Living

    National Empowerment Center “Mental Illness is a Coping Mechanism”

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  13. The discussion about what this conference should and should not be is not one that needs to the discussion of its actual organization. Clearly, the moderates, the “credentialed” folks and those suffering from Iatrogenic Servile Disorder already have their conference. We have established that it is called “Alternatives”. Do we have a few credentialed allies who are trustworthy? Certainly they exist, but they are few and far between. Inclusion of non-survivor allies should be approached with extreme discretion.

    For this conference, we need our best organizers and our most unbreakable activists. I think we know who these people are. I think we also know who will pander, waver and toss around pseudo-professional terms like “compromise” and “diplomacy” in the interest of their own self-promotion for whatever ridiculous reasons they may have for wanting notoriety in a Movement that is not yet even a shadow of a blip on the radar screen of popular knowledge.

    This brings me to another point that is important about this conference. There needs to be some media attention with regard to the event, whether it is attention to the conference itself or to some action that may take place in conjunction with the conference. And, there needs to be some control of the media attention. We are all familiar with the mainstream media’s tendency to make our people look like a bunch of lunatics who are out to do nothing but buy firearms in order to shoot up schools and other public venues. The media piece is a part of both the organizing and the activism–connecting with sympathetic media sources and maintaining the resolve to hold our position regardless of possible adverse events that could possibly be out of our control.

    Personally, I get some flack from time to time about being “negative” and “unrecovered”. There is a time for positive thinking and positive action; but, let me be clear: OUR MOVEMENT IS NOT THERE YET. Before we can move on from the damage that so many of us have suffered under the boot heel of psychiatry, we need to be able to say NO to the things that are killing and disabling us. It is absolutely impossible to build better “alternatives” until we can be free to build them and choose them for ourselves. This is a process that has been started in the past, but, sadly, has been hijacked by capitalists and authoritarians. And, let me be clear on one more thing–some of the most “unrecovered” people I know are the strongest in their commitment to our work. This dynamic goes to the discussion above about living one’s life as if one was already dead (I quote loosely). Those of us who feel we have the least to lose are often willing to give the most because we live our lives in that way. For myself, I feel that everything from ten years ago going forward is borrowed time. There is no reason to break, bend or retreat on borrowed time.

    Lastly, I will make the point that this conference also needs diversity (although “diversity” is quickly becoming a human resources-type buzzword I hate). I’m reading the discussion above. I’m reading. I’m reading. I am reading (largely) elder white men. There is no reason to create a conference focusing on saying “no” to our marginalization if we are simply going to duplicate the gender, ethnic and socioeconomic dynamics of the power structure that has already killed us, maimed us and co-opted previous efforts toward change.

    This is what I have to say on the subject of this conference. I won’t be emailing anyone about my interest in this idea, but I do believe the Movement knows how to find me if it feels my ideas are of any value.

    Best Regards,
    Sharon Cretsinger
    Manager, Motel 6

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      • This simply shows how the movement was splintered and coopted, and ultimately neutralized, following what I would call the high point, around 1982. At that time feminists and gay activists were a cutting-edge force, and a very strong analysis of women’s oppression vis.a vis. psychiatric oppression was drafted by women paraticipants. I don’t know if it’s anywhere online, if I find it I’ll post the link.

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    • OK I have a somewhat unorganized mixture of strong agreement and vice versa. Partly because I think calling a conference before a democratically run survivor-led anti-psychiatry organization is in place is putting the cart before the horse, and likely to result in confusion and power struggles. But similar principles are in play in both efforts.

      I agree that raegardless of whatever may eventually ensue from all this talk, there should be an understanding that “survivors” should set the terms of the struggle, and that we alone decide who our allies are, and what if any role they should play in actual decision-making. We also need to determine who qualifies as a “survivor” — i.e., is anyone who has had a few therapy sessions a “survivor” with an equal vote to someone who has been forcibly drugged?

      “For this conference, we need our best organizers and our most unbreakable activists. I think we know who these people are.”

      Here’s where I must disagree. While we can all point to those whose work and commitment we admire, and learn from the experiences of others, there are many people who have never had a movement to work with, so there’s really no way of knowing who has what abilities that will be useful in the present situation. Many of them will seemingly come out of nowhere if we set the proper framework for that to happen.

      I also must take some issue with the idea that there currently is anything that can be called a “movement,” so it’s not always clear what is meant here by the term “we,” unless it is meant to refer broadly to all “survivors.” (In which case I would have to disagree that “we” know who these “unbreakable” organizers and activists are.) I see no evidence of a movement, i.e. people moving in the same direction towards common goals, only many disparate groups and individuals who share some common dissatisfaction with the psychiatric establishment.

      In any case I think we need to get away from relying primarily on “leaders” to get the job done. Once we are dependent on individuals to act as traditional leaders it’s an easy step for the system to identify them and pick them off, or to throw money at them and try to coopt them. While I am not an anarchist and I do realize that some individuals exert greater leadership through their words and actions than others, it should be a goal to nurture that capacity in all of us and not become dependent upon those who may display the most developed leadership abilities at any given point in time.

      Lastly, I totally agree say that saying NO to oppression is positive. By definition.

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      • Uprising: Thanks for the trip down memory lane. As an anti-CIA activist during the 1980s we studied the MKULTRA program. We also studied Philip Age who detailed the inter workings of the CIA. Most of the resources of the CIA went into influence peddling-setting up dummy foundations abroad to attract and persuade locals to uncle sam’s point of view and also by fostering a network of sympathetic journalists to plant stories in the local media. Since the CIA was forbidden by its charter to work in the US, this was an end run around this prohibition. The CIA funded a secret army in the 19502 to overthrow the Guatemalan Government from Honduras.-presently the CIA is even more involved in military aspects than in the past.
        Also I think it is important to note that the newsletter that uprising posted here is from Canada. There was a time when Canada marched to a slightly different drummer by harboring war resisters and refusing to send its own troops to Vietnam. NAFTA is one component that has bludgeoned Canada back into the fold. It seems that Pierre Trudeau was a little like De Gaulle in France by distancing himself from the Yankees. Any way, was there a similar and as forceful push back in the US comparable to the community building that was taking place with the Mental Patient Liberation Front in Canada, For what it is worth, I am credentialed with an MA in Public History a somewhat more radicalized branch of the history profession.

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    • I am blown away every time you write, Sharon! Your passion is intense and focused on the right issues. I agree 100%, what we need is a survivor-led movement, with professionals only engaged as 100% supporters of the goals of the survivors. And issues of gender, race, and other social oppression need to be a central focus. Psychiatry is the ugly face of our oppressive, authoritarian society – the ultimate in victim-blaming. Power to the disempowered is the path forward. I would love to see you as a leader in such a movement.

      —- Steve

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    • “There needs to be some media attention with regard to the event, whether it is attention to the conference itself or to some action that may take place in conjunction with the conference.”
      Would organising it in the same time and place close to APA annual meeting combined with the protest do it? I mean you hit multiple birds with one stone: you get people who want to go to the conference to also be able to go to the APA protest and vice versa and you draw media attention by combining these events.

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      • That’s pretty much how it came to be done at the Human Rights/Psychiatric Oppression conferences and it is a good tactic. Not that it has to become written in stone.

        A recurring problem with those conferences was that, in an effort to be egalitaraian and direct-democratic, the agenda was set on the first day of the conference at a huge meeting. This was chaotic and inefficient. As much as I hate digital technology, we nonetheless have the capacity now to carry on conversations with lots of people ahead of time and do some collective and democratic pre-planning.

        I still believe such a conference should be the outgrowth of a wider organizing effort and not just a random smattering of people who are unhappy with psychiatry. There should be at least some focused discussion beginning now or very soon about principles of unity, i.e. who “we” are and what we stand for.

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        • I am in agreement that there should be an agenda for the conference that is pre-determined, perhaps with a bit of room for open discussion or late additions. As for a larger organizing effort, it is difficult for me to envision whether the larger organization can be assembled before the conference, or whether it might be an outgrowth of same. A few semi-random thoughts:

          Where? Somewhere inexpensive and accessible. Proximate to the APA meeting or other relevant event. I don’t think we are yet in a position to do multiple small conferences.

          When? Soon. Things just keep getting worse.

          Who? I think those who want to present should submit topics to some forum or email list. When enough topics have been collected, the agenda can be democratically assembled before the conference.

          I think we know who many of the people are. Some of you differ with my opinion. Others of you also think you know who the people are, and you and I are definitely thinking of different people. I certainly do not want to limit the possibility of some great idea coming from a voice no one has ever heard before.

          It is not too soon to be thinking of a topic for presentation on direct action or a related area for this conference. Let’s see some thoughts.

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  14. Brilliant Post Ted !!!
    To the extent I am not activist enough I am still a slave .
    Nothing about us not led by us . Onwards to the Alternative to the Alternative’s Conference .Let me know when and where , I’ll be there. Strategy and Tactics ,,,,,,,Surprise and Unpredictability and staying 2 steps ahead, protect each other, and never give up. Anti- Psychiatry, a way of life . The First do no harm alternatives will reveal themselves as we move forward for sure because stages of them already lay within us. Creative Maladjustment to Coercion .

    As John Steinbeck writes in the introduction to his novel “East of Eden”:

    “And this I believe that the free exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world . And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected . And this I must fight against:any idea , religion or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about . I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind , for that is the one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system . Surely I can understand this , and I hate it and will fight against it to preserve the only thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts.
    If the glory can be killed , we are lost ! ”

    In Love and Solidarity, Fred

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  15. I have read all of the above and concur with most of what has been said. As far as I can see – we need something new that is very inclusive of alternatives to what we have and to what has been promoted already as “Alternative”.

    In dealing with school, medical, court and finally prison systems I can say my education has been personal and extensive, if albeit, from the periphery of a concerned and involved parent. I have watched our son’s decline over 25 years. It is sad. I know alternatives work because we use them at great expense and without any support from Medicaid.

    I know that those such as the Breggins and Moshers of the movement are good folk but don’t have all the answers. None of us does. Do we have the right to judge those who don’t see our point of view? I think it best to stand for what we believe – as in ANTI-PSYCHIATRY with all its alternative modalities and let each of us choose what we like and what we think will work. It’s simple – create an arena where we all work together to get the final outcome – psychiatry out of our lives – disbanded and unfunded by government.

    I am completely anti-psychiatry now. I am completely open to creating and finding answers – some I’ve tried and many I haven’t. I’m still searching and researching. Education for all of us and especially those who don’t know this field, is essential. Education and a forum to express our ideas, create our new pockets of safe places for our loved ones and ourselves to heal are essential. I have had encounters with many professionals and I have learned from most – even those who I would consider “the enemy”. I applaud this discussion and the inception and coming-to-fruition of the Alternatives to Alternatives Movement.

    I am the mother of a psychiatric survivor whom my family and friends love dearly. One of the most precious things to have happened to us during the withdrawal period (which is being extended who-knows-how-long) is that our daughter’s friends have taken our son under their wing, giving him and us a much needed break after 4 and a half years of being out of a forensic state hospital. Respite for everybody without psychiatric intervention or police intervention or all those already-known assists is a paramount need for those of us caring for our adult children. He is happy to be with regular working folk his own age,who have banded together to make his life and ours happier, more productive, safe and peaceful. What a blessing. I have not seen this kind of compassion/understanding in general or specifically with the schools, social workers, doctors and teams that we dealt with over the years. These young people could teach the professionals much more than a thing or two.

    As long as I am able I am willing to support your efforts in building a new Alternative to Alternatives Movement.

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  16. “We are a human rights movement, not the “consumer” auxiliary to the mental illness system.”

    “I know that those such as the Breggins and Moshers of the movement are good folk but don’t have all the answers. None of us does. Do we have the right to judge those who don’t see our point of view? I think it best to stand for what we believe – as in ANTI-PSYCHIATRY with all its alternative modalities”

    Of course we have a right to judge. We need to think. We need to think about the psycho-social theorists. Peter Breggin as a psychosocial thorist judges all of Psychiaty, as does Mosher.

    This includes their judging the part of Psychiatry that stopped being a part of Psychiatry when it was banned from Psychiatry by the NIMH and the APA working with the drug companies’ Thomas A. Ban. Their judging of the part of Psychiatry that was banned as heritics and swept under the rug never to be mentioned, involves hardly mentioning them and causually sweeping them under the rug.

    It is important to re-remember this. To be capable of having critical judgement/ human reasoning as to these representatives of special interest groups.

    ReEvaluation Counceling

    “The engineering of consent

    Consent or agreement with a certain theoretical orientation, freely given, implies that people retain the right to ask questions, examine alternative sources of information and review their initial commitment to the organization concerned.”


    Abram Hoffer, M.D. and the other legitimate biochemical workers were outcast from APA/NAMI/NIMH Psychiatry with its psychopharmacology patent centrally acting drugs, its electric shocks across the head and its psychosurgery – its exclusive three alternative forms.

    To support only psychosocial thorists is a thing we are programmed to do. It is the requirement. And it is anti-rational doctrine. (The opposite to Medical Fraud (the APA/NIMH Propaganda as Medicine) is NOT Non Medical alternatives. The opposite of Medical Fraud is Medical Reality.)

    WE of Antipsychiatry have no OBLIGATION to be influenced by Authoritarianism and critical thought exclusion tactics used by the ReEvaluation Counceling of Scientology groups.

    If Peter Breggin states emphatically that we Must not include Othomolecular in our Freedom Movement world view, we need to ask, What is up with THAT ?

    Where did THAT come from?

    The Psychosocial Theorists should be read simultaneously with the suppressed by the NIMH, APA and drug companies Orthomolecular because the psychosocial theorists are using authoritarian tactics, correct-think, and manipulative actions when quickly suppressing Orthomolecular. WITHOUT BALANCE one can easily be indoctrinated by the controlled opposition.

    There is no reason why, without human thought, the Antipsychiatry Movement should support vested system special interests, such as Scientology and Dianetics, ReEvauation Counceling, and the ISPS http://www.isps.org .


    Its divide and conquer. They have the Antipsychiatry oppostion being told that it is required of them that they support only non-Medical vested interest groups.

    They suppressed the best people people in Psychiatry with the 58 page Task Force & Report fraud.

    Psychosocial theorists left in the establishment system on the margins were made the only acceptable critical voice.

    NAMI formed as a grassroots and was absorbed by drug company spies two years later.

    After suppressing Medical treatment in Psychiatry in 1973 they started the DSM-3 project wherewith everything would be “diagnosed” psychologically and “treated” Medically (erstaz Medically — propaganda “Medically” meaning exclusively Patented Drugging Agents as well as Psychosurgery and Elelecric Shocks to the head.) DSM-3 was published in 1980 for the next deaced everything was “Medical model” — just saying any noise to keep drug sales profits increasing.

    Absorb and Mutilate: Alternatives Conference and MindFreedom (ReEvaluation Counceling acting to coopt all social movements) became the remnant of the Movement.


    Bertram Karon and the Michigan Psychoanalytic Council

    Abram Hoffer, M.D. “Tranquilizers cause brain damage. The amount of the damage depends on the total dose in grams. Thus if a patient takes 100 milligrams each day of one of the older drugs for 1000 days, the total dose is 100,000 milligrams or 10 grams. One multiplies the daily average dose by the number of days on that drug. 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. ”

    I was at NARPA 2002. Lauren Mosher was on a big stage with a large audience. He stated that the fairly recently marked “atypicals” and especially olanzapine, Zyprexa – that it wasn’t enough to be conclusive yet, but it was quickly becoming so — the reports we coming in of metablolic harms, of type 2 diabetes. That was an excellent announcement by Loren about atypicals Zyprexa and diabetes. The presentations by Mosher and Whitaker were super. The unfinished documentary 41 days was given a rare showing on a large scene in a small dark hall. What it shows of Ted and Wade and the community actions is fantastic. I recommend contacting Richard Cohen and getting him to get you a copy along with buying Hurry Tommorow. Hurry Tommorow shows all the fundamental aspects of USA Psychiatry. Violence, force, drugging, pulling “diagnoses” out of thin air based on authoritarianism and interview.

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    • Dan ,
      You say the opposite of medical fraud is medical reality.

      Myself I’m for medical freedom and the legal right to choose to treat or not treat myself as I feel necessary or Not, with whatever modality from whatever culture, the right to try to invent modalities for myself and use in any combination what I feel will work for me, plus if I choose to get advice from someone or research something I will or I won’t as I see fit across the board. But I will not be coerced nor will I coerce anyone.

      I applaud your right to strongly put forward your idea’s. I do see a great value in supplements and herbal formula’s that are of industrial strength such as those made by http://www.herbdoc.com

      I have helped myself with oral niacin and mineral baths. They among other strategies gave me time until I realized Mercury poisoning from amalgams was the primary cause of my problems .

      It seems Ted and old head agree on the way forward and I like their basic ideas for the future of the movement,
      Best Wishes ,

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      • Medical freedom and the legal right to choose.

        Peter Breggin TOXIC Psychiatry Max Fink or another shock doc was fine with reporters seeing patients before treatment. Pressed to show after a course he wanted a lot of money.

        Not only are the Peer Review Journal reports of “scientific tests” of psych drugs sometimes ghost written m the intent is propaganda, and the scientific test stance is a farce.

        Robert Whitaker reported on the Risperdal tests and its a good example. The control group not on drugs had been yanked off drugs so were prone to suicide. The comparitor drug group given haloperidol were given a large dose. The risperdal group (the independent variable) were given 3 different size doses close to optimal.

        In general they define the DSM disorder as a collection of “symptoms.” They also define the symptoms. Then they measure the amount of symptoms in a group “with” the disorder they crafted. Then they put 130 volt shocks across there head, or start drugging them, then they measure the symptoms again (the dependent variable). They observe the reduction in meassured symptoms. Publish in a peer review Journal the successful test of the intervention as safe and effective.

        They use Television drama’s as propaganda vehicles for their rote phrases and words which make up the propaganda that comprises their Medicne.

        The real version of all this they supressed with a fraudulent 58 page document the NIMH, APA and drug companies made: Task Force 7 Report.

        Robert Whitaker doesn’t reference the import of this. Peter Breggin and Thomas Szasz actively propagandize against this in a manner that mimics E. Fuller Torrey.

        If Critical Psychiatry, Peter Breggin, Thomas Szasz and Loren MOsher and Robert Whitaker are making a gross misrepresentation, that is a problem.

        There is no reason for you and Ted Chabasinski

        Medical freedom and the legal right to choose.

        One can’t have a legal right to choose nor Medical freedom in an active intentional propaganda world. The people on our side need to be on our side not propagandizing us for the sake of a larger market share for psychologists, or Harvey Jacken’s ReEvaluation Counceling or whoever is pulling their strings.

        Plaese don’t state Old Head Together with Ted and me somewhere else. Let’s have them know what I’m saying.

        The radical therapists or radical psychologists were with The Movement prior to the counterintelligence backlash, Cointelpro.

        Thus the divide and conquer was in place. R.D. Laing may have been able to appreciate the situation. Anyway the Movement people did not really get ahold of the suppression of biochemical Psychiatry by the APA, AMA and NIMH. Then they divided and absorbed and perverted and propagandized and controlled information.

        So its back to the beggining. Don’t base the Movement on lies found in Critical Psychiatry, Peter Breggin and Thomas Szasz.
        Base it on the actual things that exist. Base it on the actual situation.

        Task Force 7 is important history to what happened to The MOvement even if the Movement people never realized this, because of this.

        Its still divide and conquer. Don’t face Goliath and then ask for a smaller stone because MindFreedon and Harvey Jackin’s ReEvaluation Counseling decided that for us in closed session 30 years ago. Because it doesn’t happen to suit Peter and Ginger Bregin and the ISPS and Bertram Karon and the Michigan Psychoanalytic Counsel.

        I took risperdal. I was presented with abusive manipulative horseshit instead of Profession help. And poison billed as medicine using prefab abusive manipulative propaganda phrases instead of communication.

        They give this to our children and pregnant women and elders in our Country.

        Why should there be a Ted Chabasinski, an old head and then also a me?

        Divide and conquer.

        “WE KNOW What helps and what hurts.” Oryx Cohen and Bertram Karon at INTAR

        Mental Illness is a Coping Mechanism
        Lauri Ahern – National Empowerment Center

        Extremely grotesquely rare peice of scholarship that has Loren Mosher, Abram Hoffer and Robert Whitaker in its description of the History of Psychiatry. Includes all reality in one Essay!!!! !
        Jack Phillips Essay on History of Psychiatry


        Joanna Moncrieff, critical psychiatry


        Orthomolecular that through the outcome of history, and through intentional active perverting influence is left out of much of the literature that Movement people are encouraged to see:

        Psychiatrist Hyla Cass: First Do No Harm

        The War on Vitamins – Andrew Saul, M.D.

        We Become Silent – Documentary on CODEX ALIMENTARIUS
        “We are here today to protect the most basic Human Right – the Right to Health.”

        Wiki Censorship

        Dr. Hyla Cass Psychiatrist
        The Wellness Hour

        Abram Hoffer founding father of modern Biochemical Medicine and Psychiatry
        Last Autobiography year before Death – explains what happened with Task Force 7 and Loren Mosher, M.D.

        Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D. Psychiatrist
        States that the Big Pharma took over Psychiatry after the huge profits from tranquilizers that they made in 55′ 56′ 57′ — Psychiatry was taken over by the drug companies by 1967.

        by Walter Lemmo, ND
        Vancouver, BC, Canada

        How to Find a Doctor You Can Trust, Functional vs. Mainstream Medicine

        Functional, Alternative Medicne
        Vincent Bellonzi, D.O.

        William Walsh

        Nutrient Power with Dr. Walsh – Your Health TV

        Dr Bill Walsh On Testing Requirements for Chemical Imbalances – Outreach 2010 Bio-balance Health

        Dr Bill Walsh Explains Under-Methylation – Outreach 2010 Bio-balance Health

        Dr Bill Walsh Explains Over-Methylation – Outreach 2010 Bio-balance Health

        Dr Bill Walsh On Schizophrenia – Outreach 2010 Bio-balance Health

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  17. The point i’ve been trying to make on MIA for years is this:

    1. The constitution continues to be circumvented by the mental health system
    2. Ours is a defensive position – ie, rallying to stop the Murphy bill
    3. We exhaust ourselves at the state level, fighting bills that are unconstitutional
    4. We have ‘coffee talk’ – we ‘talk amongst ourselves’
    5. Nothing changes – we go nowhere, and we get there fast

    Why can’t we take the same level of energy and change the law, by drafting our own piece of federal legislation? If we don’t have the resources, we could start by having the ADA amended – in such a way that people who have been diagnosed are protected – least restrictive, least intrusive, and most therapeutic options of many types, chosen by the individual, protected by federal law (versus the traumatizing, dehumanizing, and life-threatening protocols that are status quo).

    My two cents.


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    • Duane,
      Wouldn’t a ground swell of public opinion have to be created first ? What do lawyers think of this ? Couldn’t this also be discussed at a forum and conference ? How far can we divide our energies? Should we not as Dr.Rev. King said “Keep your eyes on the Prize”. Shouldn’t we have a clear articulation of the Prize by the time the first conference is on going or sooner ? I’ve said before I believe also this battle must be fought on more than one front. And I know I don’t have all the answers. But I know those we defeat will regroup so we might as well figure a way to have fun in this struggle against dehumanization for the long haul.
      Best Wishes , Fred

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      • “Shouldn’t we have a clear articulation of the Prize by the time the first conference is on going or sooner ?”

        Yes, yes, yes! My point exactly. I’ve been to too many “well-organized” conferences that devolve into endless ego-tripping and power-tripping. The terms of such an event must be carefully and democratically hammered out and agreed upon ahead of time, imo, or else it could be ultimately counterproductive.

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    • Things change, Duane. This is why we’re in a worse situation now than we were 30 years ago, and why we need, as Ted puts it, an Alternative to “Alternatives”.

      The psycho-industrial pharmaceutical complex has grown. Mental illness industry propaganda is everywhere. The unholy alliance of NAMI, Big Pharma, and the APA have made significant gains at the expense of anybody who questions the pathologizing of an ever widening swathe of humanity.

      30 years ago one could criticize the mental health system without a second thought. Everybody was doing it. Today, doing so will get you accused of laying some kind of “stigma” on the allegedly “mentally ill”. Psychiatrists, in fact, are arguing that there is a “stigma” against their profession, and more problematic, people are buying these arguments.

      These are pitches for the mental illness system. It is actually a mental illness factory system. Out of these pitches you get more and more people labeled, drugged, and otherwise abused. The numbers, as they are doing, rather than sinking, rise.

      The mental illness industry wants to stash all critics of psychiatry between the Scientology/conspiracy/cult brackets. They would offer legitimate medical science, and anyone who has any doubts about their biases must be a flake.

      We don’t change anything by sitting around on our arses talking about it. Voila! The importance of strategy and tactics. Principals, measures, and actions that come out of an organization that includes a regular, in contrast to the odd, Alternatives to “Alternatives” conference.

      Principals, measures, actions and people. Let me not forget people. Our numbers can grow, and when they do, we become more effective actors in the process of change, a process of change that doesn’t need to be all for the worse.

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      • “They would offer legitimate medical science” That’s a propaganda line alright, they are medical, they are science. Peer Review Published. Tested using the scientific method. Double blind test.

        Then as I have been writing, we have the “good guys” for us – Critical Psychiatry, ISPS, Courtenay Harding, Thomas Szasz. Robert Whitaker. Peter and Ginger Breggin. Cohen. INTAR All against Biochemical Psychiatry.

        They support non Medical.

        This leaves the bad guys as the Medical scientific ones. And the good guys as the humanistic, psychotharapy ones who criticize The Medicines.

        Which stay The Medicines. It’s propaganda, but those stay The Medicines. And the bad guys stay “The Medical Approach” and the good guys criticize them and the drugs, and offer non – Medical alternatives.

        With these for friends there’s no way forward.

        The other side gets to be the Medical Scientific one and our side the psychotherapy and less Medication side.

        The Mental illness industry want these to be the good guys. They are defanged. Drugs are bad. But they are the “Medicine.” And we want non-Medical alternatives.

        APA/NAMI/NIMH do not use a reductionist Medical model. No such thing exists. SInse 1973 they have been on the propaganda Model.

        Peter Breggin, Robert Whitaker and Joanna Moncrieff do not touch this with a ten foot pole.

        Before determining what is wanted more historical clarity should be passed around.

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    • “drafting our own piece of federal legislation”
      I agree and are 100% for it.
      The question is how we organise about that? we certainly need lawyers and I think Ted was more than eager to participate in something pro-active so maybe he would be willing to take part (Ted…?).
      The problem is people here are scattered over whole US and a big chunk of the world so that has to be done somehow via web or by smaller group of people who can physically meet. Maybe we could set up a page linking from MIA were surviviours and other people in teh movement could post suggestions on what should be in the bill for a certain period of time and then we could vote on it again for a defined time period and then the best ideas should get written up and the draft can be discussed.
      Any suggestions?

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      • My suggestion is that we first establish a continuing forum here at MIA in order to hold more organized discussions for those who wish to organize an anti-psychiatry network. At that point we can start working on particular issues, positions and projects.

        Without getting specific, I feel confident that if anti-psych folks here can be patient for a couple more weeks we will have the forum we need.

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  18. “Ground swell of public opinion” seems to be a great goal to start the new Movement toward the changes that are wanted. Each person has his particular contributions to make and no one person or even group can do it all as stated before. There needs to be a planning group and a media group etc. to address the education of those who are needed to make this a successful enterprise. The public needs the information that will show them that what they already know is not the whole truth and that disinformation has been more of the norm than not.

    Fred, I think that you are very accurate in your belief that you have the right to treat yourself however you see fit with whatever means you choose to use. I believe everyone should have this opportunity and that there should be education to that end – education as to all the alternative methods available and a group to research and help present them without prejudice or interference from any side.

    Orthomolecular is spot on for many conditions and it can and should be augmented by so many old and new methods of treatment which each person feels is right for his own body, mind and soul – not what someone else tells him is needed. I just want options. I want to know that no one is standing in the way of my finding them or fighting to have them suppressed. That’s the part that has to be handled by those who enjoy talking to legislators. There should be a place for everyone to find his capacity to work toward his own good and the good of the whole, in my opinion.

    Working toward the good of one and all precludes sitting in judgment of this or that psychiatrist or this or that group and squawking loudly to those who are on the same side who are singing in the same choir, so to speak.

    Why not put our collective intelligence to finding the best, most workable, having-a-good-outcome solution that will create more good will and healing than all the rhetoric, drugs and Congressional legislation combined?

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    • That’s a thumbs up for functional Medicine, biochemical Medicine that is suppressed by Quackwatch, the AMA, Medline, wikipedia, Peter Breggin, E. Fuller Torrey, Scientific American.

      Dan just don’t criticize certain good-guys, and shut up Dan.

      Well I have stated that there is an active problem hidden in our good guys.

      And that’s 1 good thumbs up, almost, for my message…

      So if Frank and Ted could just state something, equally, meaningful, thumbs up – as if I was, you know, breathing air, then shutting up will be great. I will be in the same room, not under the entry way mat. Free at last, Free at last!

      “Working toward the good of one and all precludes sitting in judgment of this or that psychiatrist or this or that group and squawking loudly” If you look through TOXIC Psychiatry by Peter Breggin you can find the “reference” to Abram Hoffer, M.D. and the suppressed Biochemical Medicine.

      At this single parragraph where Peter Breggin is found “sitting in judgement” against “the good of one and all” Breggin’ “reference” consists of stating that sometime in history the Psychiatrists talked about adrenocrome, and this was a quote “fad.” Abram Hoffer’s name is not given. No scholarly reference is given. It is mentioned and labeled “a fad” — something we all should do, accrording to Breggin.

      When Breggin or Szasz are “sitting in judgement” against “the good of one and all” they do more malignant propaganda than “squawking” would be. I remind you that squawking is a pejorative term. Get it together, Brothers.

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      • Dr.Abram Hoffer and Linus Pauling were genius level and concerned human beings. I believe them.

        But I’ve yet to meet anyone whose right all the time.

        Don’t you think there is such a thing as a citizen scientist that could out think a think tank ?

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  19. The lovers of coercion are insidious . An example of the type of power we are fighting:

    Some years ago a natural growing food red rice which was grown in China was found to work better with no side effects then the Big Pharma drug Lipitor for blood pressure cholesterol issues. For some time Big Pharma , government , and medical collusion actually banned the importation of red rice (a natural food)into the USA to protect their harm causing Lipitor concession. Crime against humanity? DUH. This is an example of a strategy we can expect to see and need to know how to defeat as the food and products and modalities people need for survival and healing become more revealed, discovered, and popular. Actually suppression and oppression has been ongoing and increasing.

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    • I don’t know about red rice but there’s been some incentives in EU to ban or heavily regulate the production and selling of herbs (you know, stuff like St John’s wort, camomile, mint, linden and Melissa) because it can be dangerous when people use it as medicine. I don’t know what happened to the idea but fortunately it has not come to pass at least for now.

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      • Internatonally the CODEX Alimentarius – and national actions that can be linked to Codex as more of the same. Antipsychiatry is linked to CODEX opposition at a reasonably functional level. In We Become Silent, an FDA director is being interviewed by someone from Natonal Health Federation. They point out that Tryptophan is banned, while Prozac is marketed. The FDA states the propaganda stance that Prozac is scientifically tested and approved, while supplements are not tested and are dangerous and uncontrolled.

        Are you in the EU?

        We Become Silent – CODEX

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          • Probably. Banning ephedra was meant to lead to bigger bans. They banned the best form of B-6 recently so they could make it a expensive drug. There’s generally a war on against access to health, and health information, and health freedom. Its the same sort of industry cointerintelligence that comprises everything NIMH, APA Psychiatry states since 1973. Ginko is like B-6. It is great and wonderful where a particular type has a patent and is an expensive drug. Here in propaganda land – Amerikkka – we have “Scienfic American” telling us Ginko bioloba extract is quackery, Ginkgo is as good as a candy candy bar states the current incarnation of “Scientific American.”

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      • 100,ooo year old plant Medicine is dangerous. We Become Silent video on CODEX is quite entertaining and informative. Get to see a close up of a top FDA official – the sort that bans Tryptophan and ephedra and approves aspartamne, Vioxx, Risperdal and Prozac. Danger: Plants are not quality controlled nor Officially tested and approved!

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  20. There a literally millions of people who have been injured by psychiatry and psychiatric drugs and other forms of “treatment.”

    Children and their parents
    Military veterans and their families
    College students and young people

    Just to name a few.

    If we build it, they will come.

    We need to *begin* to put something on paper…..
    To search for someone in the House who will sponsor such a bill.

    If we fail on the first effort, we will be more prepared on the second, or third.
    But we need to begin to MOVE.

    That’s why these efforts are called MOVEMENTS.


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  21. A small technical question: can I change my account e-mail (I have a new one now) without creating a new account?

    I just want to clarify how it works. I can just type a new e-mail and click “Save changes”, or something more is necessary?

    Sorry for the distraction from the main dialogue!

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  22. In my region, there is a peer movement, which may have potential, but appears to be be identified with psychiatry. A few times I have gone to NAMI sponsored peer events because that’s is what is around and affordable. I don’t really feel solidarity there and would like to meet and activist activate with type of group which Ted describes. For those of us who are having to make do with “the alternatives” in our region or who are involved in cross disability, this could be very grounding and fortifying energy base for when we have to go back out there as leaders or educators.

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  23. “Demonstrations are banned at “Alternatives.”

    What kind of confererence is this?

    My favourite conference is one what is part of a protest, where the conference, the speakers and discussions, are part of a protest.

    Alternatives become niche markets unless they say they are there because they oppose the mainstream. Organic food stores do not challange agrobusiness and supermarkets. But food coops that say agrobusiness is nasty and dangerous can be part of a movement to challange big agrobusiness.

    Supporting people in distress is about understanding what they are going through, what caused it and what might help. It is about understanding and encouargement. It always has meant that and it always will.

    For a movement against psychaitric oppression I think there are three ways of offering support that help the movement achieve it’s aims:

    1 creating support organisations and networks that specifically say they are doing the work because mainstream psyhciatry causes more harm than good
    2 offering support to activists – I’ve done this for other movements as part of Activist Trauma Supoprt
    3 as genuine alternatives to mainstream psychiatry, that is funded from the same pot as as conventional psychiatry and takes money away from damaging services. Sammi Timimi does this. He runs a drug free, diagnosis free child and adolescent clinic in the UK and gets funds because his outcomes are so good

    I want to congratualte Robert Whittiker and the Mad in America team for thier succesful strategies in challanging mainstream psychiatry. First Bob wrote his two books, then he toured the world giving talks and promoting the books. Then he started this webzine and the team that ran it commissioned articles from all sorts of people that challanged mainstream psychiatry. Then they got together a posting policy – which all online media need. Then they put together a film festival. So Bob started with what he knew and was persistant in presenting his information before expading. The MiA team seem to take time to become good at what they do before expanding too. I think this is how succesful movements work – find a tactic you are good at and use it to get more people on board, and then expand into another tactic

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    • The problem i always have with the discussions about “alternatives” is the implication that by alternatives we mean different “places to go for help” than a MH center or shrink. The implication is that if we use different and better “techniques” we can all be happier and everything will be better. The fact is that until there is a social transformation that includes the elimination of cultural and economic oppression, the best ‘support” in the world amounts to helping one another through the storm. We need to get to a place and time where the storm is over, not have an attitude that things are destined to be this way and the best we can ever do is keep the pain at a manageable level.

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      • I would like to say that coercive psychiatry needs to be outlawed, and that, no, we don’t need to have alternatives in place first. You get that kind of argument, and it’s sheer nonsense. It’s way up there with arguments that run we can’t deinstitutionalize without community supports in place. What you’ve really got is an argument for the community mental health system; you know that thing that came out of the Kennedy administration. The community mental health system is actually an expansion of the state mental hospital system. Now we’ve got crisis stabilization units, ACT teams, ALFs, group homes, etc., and they’re like little hospitals away from the hospital if you get my drift. All of these things raise the labeling with “mental illness” rate. You don’t have to banish people to the hospital if the hospital can come to the community runs one line of thought. It’s all mental illness industry expansionism. Real deinstitutionalization should work in the opposite direction. It should not be a matter of making a mental health ghetto. We’re dealing with the mental illness industry here, and that makes a mental health ghetto a mental illness ghetto in actual fact. I’m not knocking alternatives. The best ones are those that come out of this need people have to manage outside of the mainstream mental health system (i.e. the mental illness industry). They, the ones I am referring to, are also few and far between. I am saying that abolishing forced treatment is not contingent upon developing alternatives, and it should not be considered so. Some people seem confused about this issue. As you indicate, oldhead, many of the problems people face are social and economic in nature. You’ve got power disparities to alleviate and economic damage to repair. It can’t just be a matter of institutionalizing them outside of the traditional hospital. That’s just more of the same.

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        • abolishing forced treatment is not contingent upon developing alternatives

          Exactly, and in many struggles the argument against progress is “you can’t criticise unless you have a working alternative.”

          I’m not “knocking” the interim alternative measures many people are taking because it’s all that’s possible in this social/political system. But we should remember what makes people crazy in the first place, and that any “solution” short of changing those conditions will be makeshift and limited, more of a means to an end than the end itself, which is liberation of course.

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      • Good point. Still though I think in the “meantime” some folks could do with a place where they can get their s*t together and hopefully emerge stronger. I don’t think fighting the reasons behind “mental illness” and helping people who are already in trouble are mutually exclusive and I don’t think you can ever make the world a great place for everyone.

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        • Huh? Misery may love company but, please, I will let the world remain a great place for yours truly, for the time being anyway.

          I have a problem with the “human condition” when that “human condition” is a matter of applying the screws to another human.

          As far as providing a place for people to get their sh*t together, I wouldn’t give them several lifetimes in which to do so. This is just practical thinking as far as I’m concerned. The shortest distance between two points is always going to be a more simple calculation than the longest distance between two points.

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          • @Frank,
            Could you please re-formulate why you think it is sheer nonsense that we need have alternatives (different from psychiatric-pharma-industrial complex) in place so that coercive psychiatry can be outlawed.

            I am more practical on this issue and suggest we need alternatives – where people know that mental illness labels are harmful sham, and that psychoeducation being training to be chronic mental patients is most psycholigically iatrogenic.

            Alternatives which collectively practie narratives of mutual self-education, mutual care, exploration of mental diversity, respectful teaching and discussions of interpersonal trauma and the structural violence behind/within it, innovative dialogical support in reowning one’s unusual and extreme experiences as the Hearing Voices/Maastricht approach, support in healing body and mind practices (‘gardening’, walking in nature, yoga, meditation, music making, spoken word, dance etc), sharing values of solidarity with oppressed nature and oppressed humans in awareness raising as well as the ‘healing practices’.

            In my view alternatives need practice and PAR evaluation to create dissemination strategies showing that they actually support people in healing from structural and interpersonal violence and abuse through a variety of critical and open minded learning, healing, collective activity as mentioned (non exhaustive).

            My opinion is that such true alternatives can even show the vast capacities and resources of people with unusual experiences if learning and healing and creative awareness raising for liberation in solidarity are practised and ‘evaluated’ i.e. reflected upon their ‘healing and empowerment’ dynamics and values.

            For me practising and better understanding these alternatives demonstrates survivor knowledge in collective practice and wisdom and thereby exposes the iatrogenic harmfulness and falseness of coercive psychiatry.

            PS I am not from the US but a German survivor, anthropologist, MSc student for survivor research and peer support sharer in the Hearing Voices Network London. I do not see how deepening a divide between the ‘SAMSHA supported Alternatives’ or/and the NEC and the suggested new movement with its valuable criticism of coercive pharma-psychiatry will promote alternatives. Read me within the INTAR spirit, alternatives and alliances.

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          • We don’t need alternatives in place in order to oppose forced treatment. We don’t need alternatives in place in order to end forced treatment. We’re talking two different things entirely here. I don’t imagine you are forcing your alternative on people, are you? If so, then your alternative would be something we should oppose.

            You would claim to be more practical than myself by suggesting that we need alternatives. Speak for yourself. I make no such claims. I say some alternatives can be useful, and it would be a shame to be without them. I wouldn’t confuse them with bread, butter, and oxygen. I was tabling on campus just the other week. I had a girl say to me, “I think some people need to be drugged.” That’s an opinion I happen not to share. People need food, clothes, shelter, air, and affection. What people don’t need are drugs.

            I’m not knocking alternatives. It used to be alternatives to forced treatment. I’m not sure what it is anymore. I’m just saying that freedom is also a need, and as far as I’m concerned, having had psychiatry forced on me, it is a greater need than receiving some different form of treatment or other. Some people don’t seek mental health treatment. Some people have mental health treatment thrust upon them. Some of us frankly have better things to be doing with our time, and we are doing those better things.

            I know a lot of mental patients and former mental patients, however they would like to refer to themselves, are now working in the mental health system as paraprofessionals. So be it. This is a practice I’m neither out to encourage nor discourage at the moment. (Let me save my spite, thank you.) I’m just saying that there are other options as well, and we shouldn’t turn a blind eye to those other options. Working outside of the system, for instance, isn’t so tainted with the “stigma” of “mental illness” labels. There’s a lot to be said for working outside of the mental health system, too. In fact, there’s a lot to be said for working outside of the mental health system to destroy the mental health system.

            Alright. Did I leave anything out? You tell me.

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          • Another thing is forgot to mention is that the alienation bred by eons of capitalism and corporatism has alienated people from their inherent human capacities to the degree where basic human capacities such as love, empathy, compassion and support have been privatized and are now considered to be commodities, i.e. matters that only people with “professional expertise” are qualified to address. For a fee of course.

            So the alternative to this is simply regaining and respecting out humanity.

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          • “love, empathy, compassion and support have been privatized”
            That is a good observation. Psychiatry and many therapies are comparable to healthy human relationships as prostitution is to love.

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          • Frank, Have you ever been in a situation where you were for a long period on a psych med cocktail . Or where you couldn’t wean off a neuroleptic even though you wanted to. Or you couldn’t get a decent job cause of psych history.Where you ever force injected or electrified. Your analysis most times are brilliant . But when you talk about people working or not or about the importance or not of various healing modalities outside psychiatry that people might wish to choose I don’t agree with your conclusions. I am anti -psychiatry but I don’t want to add to the coercive boot heel poor suffering people are already under.

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          • Excuse me, Fred, I am not “applying the coercive boot heel” to anybody. Nor am I excusing anybody who would want “the coercive boot heel” applied to him or herself. I could take the 5th when it came to all of your allegations, but there is really no need for me to do so. As a survivor of coercive psychiatry, I have personally endured many of the situations you mention. I am saying that there are better ways to deal with things than by expanding the mental illness industry. It is an industry that I, personally, have no interest in working for. I think there are many measures that could be applied in order to expand the mental illness industry, but I have no interest in applying them. I am no longer a prisoner of the mental illness industry, and I prefer to work outside of the mental illness industry, and as I am not in the employ of the mental illness industry, I can do so. Personally, I’d like to see the mental illness industry go under.

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    • Uprising: I was institutionalized in 1989 and 1990, and although I was involved as a social activist in Central American, anti-Apartheid, Palestinian Rights, and anti-CIA activism, I had no idea that there existed an organized group of people fighting back against what I was experiencing.

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      • Actually by then the movement had been pretty much neutralized, externally by the extreme repression of the Reagan years and internally by the cooptation fostered by the APA and its ilk hand-picking “our” leaders and throwing money at them.

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        • Would something like the following inserted with the Statement of Principals help people see and understand the danger of co-optation and gain a larger amount of like minded activists and supporters ?

          Take the time you need to reflect . Do not be tempted to become like the psychiatrists , or the pharmaceutical corporations , or the government officials. Do not be seduced by power or money .
          Remember if even one of us remains enslaved we cannot be truly free . We have a right to take our freedom . For at least 5000 years it has been a human tradition .
          Keep your eyes on the prize. Remember you are always moving forward toward the promised land . A world of justice and freedom including medical freedom , including food freedom , including shelter freedom , including freedom from being coercively sterilized , for all human beings. Plus equal opportunity and especially freedom from any coercive psychiatric labels recommendations treatments or authorities for all human beings .

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  24. I would be in for some sort of conference.Back in 1982 I was working on the other side on a psych unit and heard about the APA demonstration and hunger strike. The docs some of who I really liked were sad. I don’t think they had any idea of why and wherefore of the reason for the protest. I didn’t then I do now. I think framing it in terms of a psych survivor conference would work best. I too would not like to have restrictions. There are so many of us vets, artists, recovering folks, dual or triple disability folks. Most certainly some tow the party line but I wouldn’t want to shut them down and cut them off completely. How did the civil right movement handle those folks in need of but opposed to certain reform tactics?
    I would follow that lead.
    Money would be an issue. Where and how?
    I would invite all psych survivors medded up or not. Picking time place and how needs strong planning and thinking ala Saul Alsinky.
    The Catholic Church in the 1950’s had social action cells. Small gatherings of like minded folks who worked toward social justice actions on all levels. I also would look into how The Catholic Worker manages. They handle folks of all kinds and I am sure they may have some thoughts worth considering.
    So a conference before a conference may be in order. Someplace nice please!

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      • While it is true that many from our Movement may be at the MIA film festival, this event has unfortunately out priced many of the folks I have spoken to recently, including me. While all discussion and planning is useful., I hope that any discussion and planning happening at the festival can be followed by discussion and planning in a more socioeconomically inclusive venue. While it looks like there will be a great line up of films at the festival, it is somewhat unfortunate that the very term “film festival” smacks of elitism and exclusion.


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        • Sharon: I am interested in how the film festival turns out, but I won’t be able to attend. I would like the opportunity to see the films in another venue. I have 24 credit hours from the local graduate school of counseling. While it is true that putting together a group of like minded souls here on MIA has a ways to go, I already do feel more of a kinship and unity of purpose than I did at the graduate school. Some have suggested developing chat rooms so that we can discuss issues in real time and get to know one another better. Maybe this would be a step towards forming an in person organizing effort. One of the challenges to this is that the contributors to this site come from the far flung reaches of the English speaking world, but this could also become one of its strengths.

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        • Yes, film festivals can be elite pools of certain communities. I can’t go either since I work but have no vacation time – but let the meeting begin! We should have a state by state Stonewell bar or coffee shop for a monthly or bimonthly meeting. I agree about the media control in another post! Being inclusive is very important but we all each one of us can always play are part where we are . Face to face meeting is crucial. The nuns have the nuns on the bus program that maybe something to emulate.

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          • I think that implications of elitism vis. a vis. this film festival are absurd. When we had international conferences we had scholarships for indigent people funded by donations. If we had a movement right now there would be the same, and there are efforts to provide scholarships to the festival despite the low budget.

            Capitalism makes it expensive to organize. This is a reality. If you can make it to the festival great. If not be glad that it’s happening anyway, and grateful to those who have worked hard to make it a reality.

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        • SC It out priced me too . Not to long ago I saw an excellent movie on Netflix .com They have a free trail of 1 month. It’s called Ward no.6 Its about a director of a mental institution that becomes an inmate of the same place.It’s based on Anton Chekhov’s short story . Well worth seeing . FA

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        • I’m assuming folks looked into the scholarships that were available? While I don’t happen to share your negative associations with film festivals, I definitely agree about the importance of socioeconomic accessibility. I like Ted’s idea for smaller regional gatherings that would lower some of the financial barriers with travel and lodging etc.

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  25. SAMSHA is just a bureaucratic front for the drug companies. If they were interested in the health and welfare of ‘the people’ instead of their paychecks and potential big paychecks from the drug companies they would have made the following changes to the mental health system long ago – plus doing away with ECT.

    Use all 4 reasons in the medical model for the reasons for brain dysfunction, instead of just the one the drug companies push. The Medical Model’s Four Reasons for Brain Dysfunction (Biology and Human Behavior: The Neurological Origins of Individuality, Professor Robert Sapolsky, Stanford University, The Great Courses, The Teaching Company © 1996): 1. Anatomical abnormalities or damage 2. Lack of oxygen or glucose 3. Electrolyte imbalance 4. Neurotransmitter deregulation: the imbalance of brain chemistry.

    “Many mental health programs are not staffed with physicians practiced in medical diagnosis and thus are unprepared to detect a large proportion of physical diseases in their patients. As described elsewhere, California’s state mental health programs fail to detect many diseases that could be causing or exacerbating psychiatric disorders” [ A Medical Algorithm for Detecting Physical Disease in Psychiatric Patients, Hospital and Community Psychiatry Vol. 40 No. 12 Dec 1989]

    Trauma can result in shrinkage of the hippocampus which is adjacent to the amygdala, and can be considered the emotional center of the brain. This shrinkage affects the communication between areas of the brain and is responsible for heightened fear and anger responses. This means trauma would fit into category 1, but the various bureaucratic organizations, SAMSHA, NAMI, MHA, TAC, have generally all ignored trauma, at least in any meaningful way. Several proven non-drug methodologies are available to treat trauma, including Somatic Experiencing® (SE), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing® (EMDR), and Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) developed by David Berceli, Ph.D.- generally all ignored by the mental health system. Then there is magnesium deficiency – which falls into category 3, magnesium being an electrolyte. “…Magnesium is essential in regulating central nervous system excitability thus magnesium deficiency may cause aggressive behavior, depression, or suicide. Magnesium calms the brain and people do not need to become severely deficient in magnesium for the brain to become hyperactive.. a marginal magnesium intake overexcites the brain’s neurons and results in less coherence – creating cacophony rather than symphony – according to electroencephalogram (EEG) measurements.[1]… We need to move away from being controlled by drug pushers and look at the entire person, and create a mental health system which works instead of scapegoating people and sending them into a life time of poverty, homelessness, jail and marginalization.
    [1] Transdermal Magnesium Therapy ©2007 by Mark Sircus, Ac., O.M.D pg.5
    More on creating a mental health system which promotes recovery and makes prevention a reality in my new book – Liberty & Mental Health – You Can’t Have One Without the Other to be released later this year.

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  26. I want to comment on a few things oldhead said, and I find this discussion easier to follow when it is in order of when things are posted. I am having a lot of trouble finding new posts as they are scattered all over the page.

    Anyway, first, thanks, oldhead for your really good contribution here, and I’m glad you are doing it. I do want to disagree with one point you made, that there should be a national organization before there is a conference, else there will be a lot of power-tripping and fighting.

    Actually, the movement we have now almost specializes in fighting with one another, and I think we have to address this very carefully. It really drains our energy.

    I am more worried about things like that if there is a national organization before there is a real active movement again. This has happened before. Over the years there have been several national organizations formed with hardly any local groups in place. They disintegrated very fast, because there was really nothing behind them. These “paper” or one might say now, “electronic” groups only survive when they get big funding from somewhere, and SAMHSA of course would love to step right in and do that.

    Just the same, I think it’s fine to be doing both at the same time, organize conferences (notice the plural) and talk about a national organization. There really isn’t any power to fight over in a conference, since when it is over, it’s over. And I think we can have a number of (what I hope will be) small conferences. We should have gatherings around the country, so people can get to them without having to pay big bucks flying there, paying big fees for the conference, and hundreds of dollars for hotel rooms. I see no reason we can’t use college dorms, hostels, or even campgrounds to keep costs down. We can even self-cater to keep food costs down. We have done this before. It takes work, sure. But we have been indoctrinated to think these gatherings should cost like $1,000 or so. Then we think, oh, we have to have our psych agency or local “mental health” program pay for it…on and on.

    I thought of going to the recent NARPA conference. I think well of them, although they are not anti-psychiatry or run by survivors. But when I priced it out, it would have cost about $1,000.

    One last thing, which I think people reading this may not like. I think our first few conferences should be by invitation only. I can hear people already, saying that would be “undemocratic.” But I don’t think so at all. The people who do the work and the organizing have the right to decide who they want to work with. Once there are groups in existence, or a conference underway, of course everyone involved should have an equal voice in decisions (though my concept of a conference is that it is not there for decision-making, but more for inspiration and an exchange of ideas.)

    I always have believed that those who do the work should make the decisions. If you feel having a conference (or even an organization) by invitation is wrong, what would be democratic then? Asking NAMI who they want to come? Asking SAMHSA? Handing out leaflets to random people on the street? We have to start with people who are really in agreement, so we can plan what we want to do, not just argue about it. And we just CAN’T be fighting with one another, as we too often do.

    Myself, I am NOT planning to have a big leading role in this. I think it is important for new leaders to step forward. We can’t build a large powerful movement with just a little clique.

    The role I think I want for myself is to put a lot of energy into one of the small regional conferences, and to encourage as wide a participation in the leadership as possible. (Remember, the leaders are the ones who do the work.) I think that’s the right way to help bring about the kind of movement we need.

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    • Ted, I think there is something to oldhead’s argument. What I’m trying to say is we’ve had alternatives to “alternatives”, but they go kaput. Consider the psych-Out conferences, for instance. There was one in 2010 in Toronto, and there was one in 2011 in NYC. When the conference in NYC broke up, there was talk of a conference in the Boston area for 2012. The end. The 2012 conference didn’t materialize. Psych-Out has psych-gone. If we had an organization that united like minded people, this would be less of a problem. These things can arise periodically, and then fade into history, or you can develop some kind of vehicle to keep the momentum going. I kind of think we need that vehicle. We can keep self-destructing, or we can have some kind of vehicle to carry us into posterity. I’d like to see our movement, if we’ve got one, have a future, too, and not just a past. I just don’t relate to “Alternatives” the way some people do. I’d like to see other events take place. I’m not sure we can expect such to mushroom all over without a little effort on our part.

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      • I wouldn’t say though that we need a national organization. I think we need an international coalition. This would involve organizing at the local level certainly, but not just around the idea of creating alternatives. There is an Alternatives conference about that somewhere, isn’t there? I don’t think that Alternatives does a lot to fight forced treatment anymore. I think they’ve more or less forgotten people do receive treatment, and harmful treatment, mistreatment, against their will and wishes. Aren’t they mainly about funding their own programs, including the Alternatives conference, and at tax payer expense? We need a group of people, and organized in my book is a plus, who are out to oppose forced psychiatry, not just feather their own nests. Another party that’s just going to blow over, well, we can do that, too, if you like, but why don’t we work on creating something more substantial as well. I really miss the old conferences on human rights and against psychiatric oppression. Imagine, they took place on an almost yearly basis. You can’t do that without organizing regardless of whether you have an organization or not. Just sitting around talking about it? Well, we know how that goes.

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        • Well, Frank, yeah, a “coalition” sounds good. But to have a coalition, there has to be groups already existing. So I think there has to be organizing local groups around the country.

          And along these lines, it just occurs to me that these regional conferences I am talking about could be the start of local or regional groups. Like, a conference could be held in, say, Chicago, and then it could be followed up with the founding of the Chicago Anti-Psychiatry Coalition. That would be another advantage of having such conferences be fairly local.

          But again, I think there are many possibilities, and no matter how much we discuss them, the ones that really happen will be the ones where dedicated people put their energy. As long as we keep in mind we are just talking about tactics and strategy, that’s fine. If we start confusing tactics with principles, then we will start fighting. I’m glad to see that isn’t happening here.

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        • It may be a bit of a semantic thing going on here, i.e. organization, network, coalition, etc. I still think it has to exist before a conference is convened.

          I guess I should better define my own concept, though right now my primary goal is to get an ongoing forum here; people may understand why after this blog falls off the page & we have to start this conversation all over.

          Anyway, what I would be suggesting once we had such a forum would be that rather than “invitation only” a core group be formed of as many people as possible who meet collectively-defined criteria, e.g.

          — One is survivor of psychiatry (this needs to be defined) AND

          — Is opposed to all coercive psychiatric procedures AND

          — She/he is opposed to the medicalization of emotional distress (i.e. the “medical model”) and thus anti-psychiatry — psychiatry being based on the medical model, thus inherently fraudulent. (However, I do not equate being anti-psychiatry with demanding its abolition.)

          If someone meets these criteria he/she would be as welcome as anyone else to participate from the ground level. If we have this sort of consensus from the start I believe anything that we then decide to do would have a far greater chance of succeeding.

          An openly anti-psychiatry org or network would be something new, so I wouldn’t envision “coalitions” of anti-psych groups per se in the near future; however once we were secure about our principles and positions would could form coalitions with others who share our views around certain issues. These could include groups of renegade professionals but would more naturally include prisoner organizations, senior citizen groups, women’s & gay groups, etc.

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          • Also, to address the local/regional vs. national issue, I don’t think these have to be in opposition. A national (or international) grouping of some sort — if and only if it is democratically organized — could provide support to regional (often smaller and more isolated) groups, and help coordinate campaigns which are national in scope (including but not limited to legislation such as the Murphy bill). It also could take bolder and more honest positions free of the coercive influences which often plague more localized efforts.

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    • I don’t think there’s a contradiction between local and central, the relationship should be symbiotic, both drawing and feeding energy from/to one another in yet-to-be-defined ways.

      Ideally the national or international grouping would be comprised of representatives of local groups where they exist, and of whomever is there otherwise. We need national coordination to fight the Murphy Bill and address other issues where the opposition (APA?/NIMH?) operates on a national level. The central office or whatever would not tell affiliated groups how to operate, as long as they conformed with whatever the consensus is regarding principles and positions on key issues.

      A national network would, like MIA already does on another level, provide inspiration and support to more isolated folks who don’t live near big cities, etc. Plus it would help keep us all in touch with what is happening elsewhere, help advance our general consciousness and develop strategic talking points for confronting the rhetorical abuse that will be hurled our way. It seems that the way to do this is not to be divided-and-conquered small group by small group, but to have some broader solidarity and to have each others’ backs, in an organized way.

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  27. I would love to become involved with such a new conference hosted by other psychiatric survivors. I would also love to attend it. Maybe it could be held more then once a year, in different locations so that people from different regions can attend. Also, there should be more demonstrations outside of the institutions that hold so many against their will.

    Another idea I got, which is very radical but could bring attention to our movement, is to infiltrate the psychiatric wards with willing participants. In a way, re-due the Rosenhan experiment. Have willing participants all check into a ward, all record their observations and treatments, then get released and report those to society, showing how much psychiatry is a fraud. But you’d have to have people willing to do this. Then things like this, and other demonstrations, could be recounted at the Psychiatric survivor’s conference. Would I be willing to do this, maybe. But not at the current moment.

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    • Working in a state hospital, I would say that it might be a lot harder to get out of psychiatric wards than it would be to get in. Also, the residents of these facilities can spot a person who doesn’t suffer or experience real psychological or emotional distress and they can do it at the drop of a hat.

      It sounds good but I’m not sure I’d want to be one of the people who gets admitted to a ward. When every word you say, every action you make, and every thing that you claim is pathologized and written into your chart as a sign of your “mental illness” it’s damned hard to prove that you shouldn’t be there.

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      • That’s what happened to me Stephen. The patients knew their was nothing wrong with me, but the staff filled out paperwork describing a monster.

        One woman who was wandering around yelling about her AIDS and stabbing her hands to make stigmata saw me months later and said “Oh your the guy who was locked up with us when there was nothing wrong with you”. Only her and the psychiatrist noticed lol. All the rest were interpreting my claim that I had rights as being “grandiose” and my complaint about being assaulted as “litigious”.

        I’d be happy to go back and expose the system for what it is. My hands up as a volunteer, because I really believe that this would be some of the best exposure this movement could get.

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      • Also, the residents of these facilities can spot a person who doesn’t suffer or experience real psychological or emotional distress and they can do it at the drop of a hat.

        I think that was one of the things reported in the original Rosehan experiment.

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      • “Also, the residents of these facilities can spot a person who doesn’t suffer or experience real psychological or emotional distress and they can do it at the drop of a hat.”
        Not really, at least the “professionals” I know. That’s the whole idea behind the experiment anyway, to show that they can’t see a difference and are going to label everything done or said by a person a symptom.
        On the issue of that being a dangerous strategy I kind of agree. In today’s crazy times I’d be afraid that these people can get stuck in the system anyway.

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        • Ditto the “not really”. I’ve been locked up when there was nothing wrong with me among others of whom I would say there was nothing significantly wrong with some of them. There is no “mental illness” litmus test. The real issue, as well, behind civil commitment is public safety. People aren’t locked up because they’re sick per se, no, they are locked up because they are thought to be a “danger to self or others”. Actually, “danger to self and others” is the excuse. If sickness is social disapproval, something else is going on here.

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  28. I’ve used this quote before but feel a need to repeat myself.

    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

    I am in the most isolated city in the world so will have difficulties attending anything that is organised anyway. But I know that from what I have been reading here their are people who if they have it in their hearts can change to world and make it a better place for all. I will pray that this small group of thoughtful committed citizens is formed from these discussions, because there is such a need for change.

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  29. Why don’t we call the anti psychiatry organization or a branch of it by a name which has the best chance of gaining huge public approval . Like maybe the ‘ NAAPOP’ ‘ The National Association For the Advancement of People Oppressed by Psychiatry ‘ (and try our best to live up to every thing that that implies) I believe it would naturally also grow in other countries . With the previously posted statement of principals of the organization old head was part of and in my opinion with an added point advocating medical/health freedom. To hopefully cover us from psychiatric oppression delivered by those other then psychiatrists like AMA doctors or any one else .This is just a suggestion.

    Ted is astutely advising us and for starters the part of his statement that he said we wouldn’t like I believe is made to give us a better chance not to be co-opted right from the outset and not in the future.

    The other alternatives organization of Rodgers never let my survivor lived experience presentation about mercury amalgams and mental emotional phenomena to even be presented it was repeatedly rejected and I was told it has nothing to do with mental health. That was when I realized how a gov. pharma funded organization locks out progressive ideas . And what about Energy Healing for example http://www.YuenMethod.com ( it’s value is simply not understood by the vast majority. To me all these issues are important. G-d bless you . We all have a right to think freely and share ideas forged in lived experience and may we always be able to distinguish what is truly best for us at any given time without taking away other persons equal rights .

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  30. Ute M. Kraemer, mental illness labels do not have to be a sham…

    In ascendent “Psychiatry” “mental disorder” “mental illness” “serious or severe” are propaganda terms. In this fake Medical Psychiatry all “studies” all statements and all words and phrases are done as intended propaganda.

    Medical Psychiatry was suppressed in the USA and everywhere with the Task Force 7 Report a fraudulent 58 page independent professional peer review which stated that all the best research clinicians in Psychiatry (inventing tests for and therapies for biochemical imbalances) lacked credibility and were wrong. Task Force 7 was then cited as definitive for decades in propaganda. At this same time period they created the NAMI a pharma front operation posing as an independent concerned grassroots. They also created DSM-3 which made everything “Medical model” and “chemical imbalances.” Now psychological word tests and the professional opinion of the clinician would be the basis of ersatz diagnosis, and the mainstay of treatment would be highly profitable centrally acting drugs to treat symptoms – as the putative underlying medical etiology was always for decades still being researched (according to their propaganda).

    The TF7 fraud document actually states in the text that – important well funded research is underway as to the underlying Medical causes. This in 1973. SO the same propaganda catch phrases and gambits have been recycled since 1973.

    Because they have no interest in Medical treatment, because they have no Medical model the pretend Psychiatry here in the USA and abroad is a propaganda foundationed merger of University departments, media outlets, drug companies, government officials and agencies.

    The leadership of the NIMH, the APA and Thomas Ban, M.D. a psychopharmacologist with the drug companies collaborated on the 58 page Task Force 7 sham.

    Robert Whitaker and Vera Sharav have relayed how the NIMH did amphetamine challenge “tests” of the “dopamine hypothesis” of “schizophrenia.” All of this, all of this, is post-1973-propaganda. They Have No “dopamine hypothesis.” And they Had No interest in “reaserch” when they poisoned their victims with amphetamine. They just knew that they could claim that dosing people with a dopamine releaser caused them to deteriorate and thus this propaganda-gambit adds “evidence” to “their dopamine hypothesis.”

    This is just them going through some propaganda motions.

    Most of the MRI brain studies was additional propaganda Currently the propaganda happening in the USA about “genetics” is to be seen by us as backlash propaganda against Robert Whitaker and company getting some traction.

    Really important research is currently underway! Same statement they made in 1973. In the Task Force 7 Report fraud Thomas Ban, M.D. did for it a independent peer review trial of niacin, B-3. He overdosed 30 victims with methionine and a Monoamineoxidase inhibitor. He also gave an insufficient amount of niacin to act as an antidote by being a methyl receptor. Although this and other tests supported the over-methylation idea, for Task Force 7 this was part of the independent peer review showing that niacin doesn’t work and the people lack credibility. Thus before 1973 we have a sham test used for propaganda purposes, as with decades later the tests described by Robert Whitaker’s investigative journalism on the Risperdal test for safety and efficacy, and the amphetamine challenge test. So again we can glean zero about “the validity of chemical imbalances” from the Ascendent “Psychiatry” which has Zero Interest in the use of language other than for manipulation. Call them lying mortal enemies, ruthless amoral businessmen or call them lying sociopaths they have zero interest in Medicine.

    Dan Burdick Eugene Oregon, USA “Springfield Eugene Antipsychiatry”

    About Beyond Mental Illness
    David Moyer, LCSW

    Little Did I Know
    David Moyer, LCSW

    Rose My Wife
    Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D. final autobiographical writing before death
    > “We met in Washington, DC. On
    our side we had Linus Pauling, Humphry Osmond, our executive director and for
    the NIMH Dr Morris Lipton, who had chaired the remarkable Task Force of the
    American Psychiatric Association which had roundly denounced our work and had published a most remarkable document, remarkable for its totally dishonest account of what we had been doing and claiming. The most rabid republican in the United States would probably have done a more honest job in attacking the Democratic Party. Humphry and I replied to this corrupt document but few paid any attention 11. It became the holy writ, the bible, for the antiorthomolecular movement. ”

    From: John Hammell
    Subject: More Info Re Orthomolecular Treatment for

    Orthomolecular Psychiatry

    “One of the APA report’s five authors, psychologist JR Wittenborn, reacting to Hoffer’s specific criticisms, later re-analyzed his original double blind study[33] favorably with respect to orthomolecular psychiatry, obtaining the same result as Hoffer,[35] and never received NIMH or APA support again. [36] According to Hoffer, APA task force co-author Thomas Ban was well known for his tranquilizer studies and that Ban previously stated that much of his income derived from grants from companies and other sources interested in selling tranquilizers.”

    One Person’s WRAP Plan: Recovery Using Restorative Orthomolecular Medicine
    by Robert Sealey, BSc, CA

    Psychiatrist Hyla Cass: First Do No Harm

    Recovery Redefined
    PsycheTruth Videos
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99INrbeiCwA –> For SAMHSA the word recovery in Mental Health doesn’t imply that a person is well, it is like a person who has lost their legs and learns to adapt and get by in life.

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  31. If a leader comes forth (or is appointed), and a strategy set in place, all those who agree with this movement will come forth… If the strategy can be broken down into small parts,, your allies will do all they can. As for myself, I can only devote the hours left at the end of the day to this effort – but I can rally the allies. My gift is as a connector… I am not a psychiatric survivor, and many of the people who agree with this movement are not “survivors” per se – but they are allies, and they want this as much as you do. And, it’s not just about psychiatry – it’s about the entire broken mental health system — there are family physicians and pediatricians who are just as guilty as the psychiatrists who dole out their evil “treatments”. Count me in.

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  32. Answer to Frank Blankenship on September 24, 2014 at 9:59 am
    Apologies to post here as there is no reply function in the thread related to Frank’s post mentioned above.

    Issue was/is: Do we need alternatives to end coercive psychiatric practice.

    I had mentioned that for me psychiatric coercion includes
    – invalid diagnoses (that is the DSM III to 5 or ICD ones),
    – psychoeducation as training of chronic mental patients to apply the false diagnostic knowledge
    – psycho-‘treatments’ being indoctrinations deduced from sympom clusters elected by medical pseudo-experts or aberrant cognitive mechanisms isolated and construed by neuro-cognitive psych-scientists (all false knowlegde packaged in neuro-mechanism terminilogy – not any better than psychoanalytic mechanism homunculi of DSM I to II)

    I consider these, plus the harmful neuroleptic medications, and obvious enforced practices, as coercion.

    If all of these indoctrinations and enforced submissions into roles of mentally ill (sub)humans who are accused of enduring incapability of personal judgement and conduct were to be abolised and no alternatives offered, what than happened to despairing people or those changing mental genres of experiences and expression? Let them despair or err in fear of humanity and erased selfness (as often is consequence of abuse, severe and enduring neglect, oppression, victimization, extreme bullying etc)?

    In my opinion with alternatives as
    – open dialogical meetings in wider social networks and respectful humanistic listening, exploration, validation, re-collection of fragmented perceptions or dead emotionality etc.
    – respectful and acceptance based peer support and mutual listening and learning
    – healing practices for our soulful bodies
    – in respectful and relaxed multi-actor (multi wisdom) settings
    most people even in extreme despair or disturbance/extremely extravagant expression of ‘unacceptable’ experiences are offered ‘contact zones’ for human orientation, recollection, listening and learning, healing from shattered psychic and emotional to more relaxed and integrated psychic and emotional self-relatedness.

    Not offer any support as roughly described above to me would leave people in despair and distress, often as ‘shattered selves’ and ‘ghostly victimized’ shadows or persecuted existences.

    Therefore I want to practice and evaluate diverse and complex alternatives to be available – and to replace the psychiatric coercive treatments.

    In my view the experiences of psychiatric survivors, voice hearers, altered reality travellers have contributions to make to such alternatives from their sufferings and shatterings, as well as from the call-to-life or self-defense ingredients in voices, visions, altered reality states etc.

    I am certainly against coercion. I resumed my experience of medical psychiatry as modern inquisition with all the strategies used in inquisition.

    I found allies in the hearing voices movement, survivors, experts by experience, radical nurses, ‘transformed’ social psychiatrists as Marius Romme or few in other countries (European ones).

    I learn in voluntary collective peer support with other people experiencing periods of altered perceptions and beliefs. I learn to appreciate our mutual respect, care and our living alternative ‘knowledge’… I hope that this kind of learning and caring may help to broaden humanistic, ecological services offered.

    It is not compatible with my values to abolish all medical psychiatric coercion and indoctrination … but let people in distress and extreme perceptual vagancies alone – without offers of human reconnect to reconnect with shattered parts of themselves (over-simplified).

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  33. Issue was/is: Do we need alternatives to end coercive psychiatric practice.

    If this issue is a question, the answer is “no”. We don’t need alternatives to end coercive psychiatric practice. You are talking about two separate things here. 1. Ending coercive psychiatry. 2. Providing alternatives to conventional (sometimes forced) psychiatry. These are two matters I am not linking, and that, frankly, I don’t feel need to be linked.

    We can accomplish both goals actually. We can end coercive psychiatry, and we can provide alternatives (increase options) to conventional practice.

    I am certainly against coercion. I resumed my experience of medical psychiatry as modern inquisition with all the strategies used in inquisition.


    It is not compatible with my values to abolish all medical psychiatric coercion and indoctrination … but let people in distress and extreme perceptual vagancies alone – without offers of human reconnect to reconnect with shattered parts of themselves (over-simplified).

    You contradict yourself. If you are saying that alternatives must be provided before coercion is ended. I disagree. If you are saying alternatives can be provided before and after coercion is done away with. I agree.

    I don’t then see the two issues as mutually exclusive. You can have alternatives without ending forced treatment, and you can have forced treatment without providing alternatives. I’m not against providing those alternatives. I am against forced mental health treatment. I am for outlawing psychiatry between non-consenting adults.

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  34. Issue was is /: Do we need alternatives to end coercive psychiatric practice . I’m gona run with this.

    “First Do No Harm” alternatives can be provided before and after coercion is done away with : Many of us have been helped or had our lives saved by making use of various of these alternatives.Most of us have heard of some of these. Some survivors have invented or improved safe alternatives.
    Tragically insurance doesn’t cover them nearly well enough .
    Some are free or low cost others expensive.More need to be supported. More on this at another time.

    I feel that one point of this is that higher numbers of people will feel a stronger sense of empowerment if we support non coercive “First do no harm” psych-survivor recommended free choice alternatives both before and after the end of coercion .

    Also clarifying that the anti psychiatry organization it self will not use coercion on any human being .

    There by ending coercive psychiatry sooner by having a wider base of supporters. And even wider support and making us more impregnable from attack and better placed to succeed by placing our anti- psychiatry statement of principals from 1982 conference and Phenix Rising including also medical/ health freedom and freedom from pseudo science and prevention of state medicine pharmaceutical monopolies inside a name like National/and or International and/or regional Organization and /or Coalition for the Advancement of Peoples Oppressed by Psychiatry.

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  35. I don’t think there’s a reason to look for a new name once we actually do pull together a conference — it should be called the International Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression, in acknowledgement that the organizing vehicle which guided the modern movement from the beginning was having its legitimacy restored and recognized once more.

    I also agree that the 1982 principles would be a good place for beginning discussions about an updated position paper for the 21st century.

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  36. Ted, I’ve had the same issues with Alternatives for many years. However, it’s the reason I support NARPA (National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy) every year. We just had our annual conference in Seattle. Tina Minkowitz was there; we had a panel discussing how to combat the Murphy bill; there were leading disability rights attorneys, advocates and educators; Paula Caplan allowed us to view the first cut of her new movie as well as giving a wonderful keynote; David Cohen also talked about his latest book; Jim Gottstein discussed his latest work; and Irit Shimrat gave a rousing opening keynote. Next year NARPA’s conference will be on the East Coast, and I invite anyone seeking a home as a dissident to check it out. Dates and locations should be posted on the NARPA website by December at http://www.narpa.org.

    NARPA is the only conference I’ve attended where nobody really cares who you are. Those of us with psych histories are not second class; we are all in the struggle together. We welcome others to join us as we continue to push for humane responses to human struggle.

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    • Nobody is bashing NARPA here. NARPA is a great organization with some great people behind it. What NARPA doesn’t do is take an explicitly anti-psychiatry stance. We’re talking something besides NARPA expressly for those of us who see ourselves as anti-psychiatry, and anti-psychiatry activists. NARPA tackles the legal end of the struggle, but there is also the activist end, and they are not always identical.

      Oldhead would revive the old International Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression. I don’t know about that. I do agree with the basic idea. We need something of the order of what we had when we had the ICHRPO conferences. I don’t think we have that now. This would be something in addition to, and not opposed to, by any means, NARPA. NARPA is certainly a good thing, no question about that. I love their mission statement, and it is a mission statement that speaks to me.

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      • I rather agree with Frank about NARPA. I also think very well of them, and I would have gone to the latest conference if I could have afforded it. But as Frank says, it is more oriented to the legal end of things, not activism. (Not that I have anything against lawyers, as I am one.) In fact, NARPA’s only activity is to hold its annual conference.

        And I do think we need conferences for people who consider themselves anti-psychiatry. Given the frenzied negative response to the phrase “anti-psychiatry” coming from people like E. Fuller Torrey and Jeffrey Lieberman (the APA past president), it has become clear to me that those who lead the psychiatric profession are terrified that the phrase and what it stands for will become more recognized and accepted among the general public. I wonder if being anti-psychiatry will become a diagnosis of “mental illness” in the next version of the DSM. All the more reason for us to identify ourselves as anti-psychiatry.

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      • I don’t mean that a new conference would ritually mimic every last facet of the International Conferences, I’ve made some criticisms of that format here myself.

        However reestablishing the original name would contain an explcit and powerful political message — that we recognize there once was a legitimate movement with an annual conference named as such, that the original movement had fallen by the wayside and become co-opted, and that we are acknowledging that this was a misadventure down the “psychiatric road” and reaffirming our original anti-psychiatry stance.

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  37. This past year I attended my first “Alternatives” conference and was a presenter. While I did receive some valuable information from the conference, I felt disappointed overall. Looking at the pictures of the movement in the 70s and then looking at us, felt very underwhelming. The conference lacked teeth and I know now that is because it’s been co-opted by the government. It’s not a truly consumer-run conference, but actually a government-run conference under the guise of being “consumer-run.”

    Inviting Patrick Kennedy to be the keynote and speak in favor of forced treatment is like a slap in the face to consumers such as myself. SAMHSA also censored my presentation as well as the presentations of two of my colleagues. I would bet they also rejected alternative presentations that didn’t serve their agenda. I strongly agree that we need to get out from under the government’s thumb so that we can truly bring alternative ideas to the table and have our voice heard uncensored.

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