“Saving Psychiatry From Itself”


In Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, University of Liverpool’s John Read suggests the “unscientific” nature of psychiatry is a major part of what is driving medical students away from the profession globally.

“There would seem to be two choices here, fraught with quite different risks for the profession,” writes Read. “The options might be characterised as authoritarian and authoritative. Will psychiatrists dismiss all criticism as symptoms of ‘antipsychiatry disorder’? Or will they locate the problem where it is seen so clearly to be by people outside the profession (professional and client alike) – a rigid adherence to a narrow biogenetic ideology combined with arrogant dismissal of those with broader perspectives? Will they genuinely listen to the concerns of colleagues, service users, carers and medical students and seek to address those concerns in a professional, scientific, authoritative manner?”

Read, J. “Saving Psychiatry from Itself: Will Young Psychiatrists Choose Authoritarian Power or Authoritative Respect?” Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 131, no. 1 (January 1, 2015): 11–12. doi:10.1111/acps.12355. (Full text)


  1. John Read is so cool! He’s also the doctor who points out that it’s likely that most schizophrenia is caused by adverse childhood experiences:



    Personally, I don’t think we need a psychiatric profession that has seemingly made their primary contribution to humanity be the cover up of child abuse via psychiatric stigmatization of the victims of child abuse, and subsequent creation of the schizophrenia symptoms via neuroleptic induced anticholinergic intoxication. I think we should be prosecuting the child molesters instead.

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    • But I do know that lawyers like Phillip Harris, who covers up child abuse for both the ELCA Lutheran religion and the Catholics, loves the fact that the psychiatrists are defaming, discrediting, and turning the victims of clergy child abuse into bipolar and schizophrenia patients with their drugs. I understand this is the “dirty little secret of the two original educated professions.”

      I recently met a Catholic couple whose daughter had been sexually abused by a priest. As compensation for this egregious crime, the Catholics agreed to pay for the daughter to go to a psychiatrist. She was put on an antidepressant, and then suffered from a manic episode, resulting in an upgrade to a bipolar diagnosis. I recommended Whitaker’s book to the couple.

      Here’s one of Phillip Harris’ ELCA Lutheran child abuse cover up attempts:


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  2. Frankly, I see absolutely no reasons to try and save psychiatry. I believe that the world in general would be a much better place without this particular specialty of medicine. I’ve dealt personally with five psychiatrists. Out of that five, one was nice but ineffective, one was nice but very paternalistic, one was truly a good doctor in the broader sense of that word. The remaining two were two of the most maladjusted, inappropriate, and most psychologically and emotionally abusive people that I’ve ever dealt with in my entire life. So, one out of five is not a very good batting average. Now, I work among about 20 psychiatrists and frankly I am not impressed with them as psychiatrists, doctors, or people. Most are arrogant and dismissive and they don’t listen to what people try to tell them. Of course, they never listen because they see themselves as the experts on everyone else’s life. Go figure. If psychiatry disappeared tomorrow I would not be unhappy at all. There are a few good ones, the ones who post here on this site are impressive, but overall I would do nothing to save this branch of medicine.

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    • I wonder how much of this has to do with psychiatry being the only branch of medicine (supposedly) where the doctors don’t have to give a crap about their patients opinions and are allowed to use force? I mean how can you grow and learn and improve when you never get feedback on your mistakes and if you get it you dismiss it as “crazy talk”.
      Even the “normal” folks who have never had a personal experience of psychiatry in action think that these “good doctors” are a little (or totally) off.

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