Psychiatry Bashing

Philip Hickey, PhD
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Last month (February 2016), the British Journal of Psychiatry published an online bulletin titled BASH: Badmouthing, Attitudes and Stigmatisation in Healthcare as Experienced by Medical Students, by Ali Ajaz et al.  Here’s the abstract:

“Aims and method We used an online questionnaire to investigate medical students’ perceptions of the apparent hierarchy between specialties, whether they have witnessed disparaging comments (‘badmouthing’ or ‘bashing’) against other specialists and whether this has had an effect on their career choice.

Results In total, 960 students from 13 medical schools completed the questionnaire; they ranked medical specialties according to the level of badmouthing and answered questions on their experience of specialty bashing. Psychiatry and general practice attracted the greatest number of negative comments, which were made by academic staff, doctors and students. Twenty-seven per cent of students had changed their career choice as a direct result of bashing and a further 25.5% stated they were more likely to change their specialty choice. Although 80.5% of students condemned badmouthing as unprofessional, 71.5% believed that it is a routine part of practising medicine.

Clinical implications Bashing of psychiatry represents another form of stigmatisation that needs to be challenged in medical schools. It not only has an impact on recruitment into the specialty, but also has the wider effect of stigmatising people with mental health disorders.”

Note in the “Clinical implications” the assertion that “bashing” psychiatry “has the wider effect of stigmatizing people with mental health disorders.”  This contention, which is widely promoted by psychiatry, is, I suggest, simply false.  Criticism of psychiatrists neither entails nor implies any criticism of their clients.  Indeed, within the anti-psychiatry movement, where the criticism of psychiatry finds its most vocal and ardent expression, psychiatry’s clients are routinely afforded a very high level of consideration and respect.  Indeed, it is my impression that more than half of the individuals associated with the anti-psychiatry movement are themselves former “patients.”

A second noteworthy matter is the use of the term “bash” in the title and in the Clinical implications section. The issue here is that it is apparently common practice in medical schools for students and faculty to make disparaging remarks about specialties other than their own.  It is also clear, from the survey itself, that the practice is not seen as particularly harmful or serious.

“The majority of comments (40.4%), either directly or indirectly, minimised any negative connotations associated with badmouthing other specialties or the impact on students’ future career choices. The most frequent comments stated that badmouthing was nothing but harmless fun and was done without any maleficent intentions. There was a real sense among some students that badmouthing was beneficial as a source of conversation and bonding within clinical teams. There was some recognition that some medical students might be influenced by the negative comments about certain specialties, but this was dismissed as being due to their own insecurities about their career choice rather than being affected by the remarks.”

Using the word “bashing” to describe this kind of activity constitutes overstatement to a misleading degree.  I have personally heard physicians make negative comments about psychiatry, but these have always been directed against the widely-acknowledged invalidity of its “diagnoses,” and the general lack of science in the development and assessment of its “treatments.”  It is interesting in this regard that two of the three examples Ajaz et al provide of psychiatry-bashing were:

  • ‘psychiatrists are not actual doctors’, and
  • ‘psychiatry – not real medicine’

And, seen in this regard, it is clear that such comments are warranted.  For decades, psychiatry has arbitrarily and self-servingly claimed as its legitimate domain all significant problems of thinking, feeling and/or behaving.  Within this domain, they have invented and promoted a truly bewildering array of fictitious illnesses, for each of which they falsely claim to have highly effective treatments in the form of neurotoxic drugs and high-voltage electric shocks to the brain.  Psychiatry has also conspired with pharma to produce a large body of fraudulent research and ghost-written books and papers to promote the sale of psychiatric drugs.  And on the wider scale, psychiatry’s “diagnoses” are inherently disempowering and stigmatizing, and serve to foster a culture of drug-induced dependency.

Psychiatry remains utterly deaf to these kinds of criticisms.  In fact, the more acutely and tellingly psychiatry is criticized, the more adamantly it defends its concepts and practices. But it seldom addresses the actual criticisms, relying instead on spin and on the endless regurgitation of the same tired old assertions:  we’re real doctors; we treat real illnesses; our treatments are effective; and – as in the present context – we deserve more respect.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

All of this is very interesting, but there’s more.  On February 27, the Royal College of Psychiatrists (the British equivalent of the APA) issued a press release on the Ajaz et al study.  The release is titled Royal College calls for an end to ‘Bashing’ Psychiatrists

Here are some quotes, interspersed with my thoughts and observations.

“The stigma surrounding psychiatry doesn’t begin and end with the experiences of patients; doctors too experience stigmatisation – for deciding to become psychiatrists.”

Note again, the spurious linking of the disparagement of psychiatrists with the stigmatization that attaches in some contexts to psychiatry’s clients.  In reality, the primary source of the stigmatization of their clients is psychiatry’s long-standing, though false, insistence that these individuals have incurable brain illnesses for which they need to take pills for the rest of their lives (Angermeyer et al, 2011; Deacon, BJ, 2013; Read, J, et al, 2006).

. . . . .

“Medical students and trainee doctors are reporting that the badmouthing of certain medical disciplines is impacting on their freedom to choose psychiatry as a speciality, and the higher echelons of this specialist branch of medicine are fighting back.”

This is a truly extraordinary statement.  Medical students and trainee doctors are reporting that negative comments about psychiatry that they hear around the colleges are impacting on their freedom to choose psychiatry as a specialty!  Impacting on their freedom to choose!  The poor lambs!  Those mean ol’ real doctors just keep picking on them, and you know, they just don’t know what to do with their lives.  Shouldn’t this be a “diagnosis” for DSM-6:  Excessive-insecurity-about-vocational-choice disorder?  But have no fear my little lambs, your leaders are fighting back!

. . . . .

“President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Professor Sir Simon Wessely is launching a campaign to support medical students and trainee doctors by exposing the practice of badmouthing – known as ‘bashing’ – that threatens to deplete an already under-subscribed medical specialism.”

So, in the best tradition of St. George the Dragonslayer, Sir Simon is going to “expose” psychiatry bashing.  I wonder how that will work?  Posting on bulletins the names of offenders?  Public denouncements of psychiatry-bashers at the beginnings of lectures?  Confessions from repentant bashers aired on campus media?  And of course, an army of volunteer snitches.  “Please, Sir, Dr. Wessely, in the cafeteria this morning I heard Rodney Thornwhistle saying that psychiatrists aren’t real doctors.”

And undoubtedly, psychiatric action will be swift and decisive.  “Don’t worry, Willis, I’ll have the bounder stripped of his honors and drummed out of the college within the hour.”

“Oh, thank you Dr. Wessely.  It’s been so upsetting;  I hardly know what to do with myself.”

“Well take a few days off, Willis.  We don’t want you contracting PTSD, do we?”

“Oh, thank you, Dr. Wessely.  It’s such a comfort to have a person of your understanding at the helm.”

. . . . .

“Psychiatry continues to face a worldwide problem with recruitment. In the UK, the Royal College of Psychiatrists has maintained an active recruitment programme for several years, but rates of students interested in psychiatry as a career remain at 4-5%; insufficient to meet future needs.”

Arguably, the single most important factor in human endeavors is the ability to deal rationally and self-critically with our failings, personally and organizationally.  Psychiatry is failing because it is everywhere being exposed as the facile and destructive hoax that it is.  But psychiatry has always been averse to anything remotely akin to critical self-scrutiny.  So they blame their decline on others.  And here we see this process plumbing the very depths of inanity:  recruitment is down because of the mean things that people are saying to psychiatry students in the medical schools!

. . . . .

“Professor Wessely said:  ‘There is no psychiatrist in the land who cannot remember the reactions they received from some colleagues – especially the senior ones – when they announced that they wanted to pursue a career in psychiatry.  A bit of humour is all very well, but behind this is something unacceptable – an implication that the best and brightest doctors are somehow wasting their time in psychiatry. This has to stop, and this campaign is going to do that. People with mental disorders – just like those with physical disorders – deserve the best minds to find new treatments and provide the best care.’  He will launch the campaign on Saturday 27 February at the National Student Psychiatry Conference 2016 in Edinburgh.”

Note the dictatorial tone:  “This has to stop”!

And the grandiosity: “this campaign is going to do that.”

So the Royal College of Psychiatrists is launching a campaign that will stop medical students and trainee physicians from ribbing each other concerning their chosen specialties.  Why not start with something easy, like world peace?

. . . . . 

But there’s more!  On March 2, BMJ Careers ran a piece on Dr. Wessely’s anti-bashing campaign.  The article is titled Stop bashing psychiatry, royal college urges medical students.  Here are some quotes:

“‘The current generation of students don’t put up with the things we used to,” Wessely told BMJ Careers. ‘Derogatory comments about race, sexuality, and gender are not common now, and when they do occur students complain. We want them to become the people who call others out when they denigrate psychiatry and mental health.'”

Isn’t that the most delightful piece of spin.  So for a medical student or trainee physician to assert that psychiatry isn’t real medicine or that psychiatrists are not actual doctors is akin to slurs based on race, sexual preference, or gender.  Equating interdisciplinary college banter with the exploitation, victimization, and at times downright savagery, that has in the past been directed towards the groups mentioned is, I suggest, insulting to the point of obscenity.

And isn’t it particularly interesting that a growing number of psychiatry’s former “patients” are recognizing that the “diagnostic” labels conferred on them by psychiatrists were (and are) inherently disparaging, disempowering, and stigmatizing, often permanently!

Dr. Wessely is essentially calling for a kind of thought police mentality in Britain’s medical schools.  Students are encouraged to “call out” those who breach the code of silence by describing psychiatry as the unscientific non-medical hoax that it is.

. . . . . 

“He [Dr. Wessely] added, “’I remember being told that I would be wasted in psychiatry because I was too smart. What that says is that mentally ill patients only deserve crap doctors.'”

No, Dr. Wessely, that’s not what it means.  It means that psychiatry is a destructive, hocus-pocus, facile sorting activity which assigns so-called diagnoses, and distributes neurotoxic drugs to people whose problems are not medical in nature.  It is not intellectually challenging to even a moderate degree.  In fact, its primary requirement is the “ability” to systematically blind one’s cognitive capacities to its total lack of intellectual and conceptual rigor.

. . . . . 

“As part of the campaign, the college will be working with mental health charities and medical school deans to drive home the message that bashing psychiatry is no longer acceptable, and Wessely will be visiting every UK medical school to discuss the issues.”

Visiting every medical school in the UK to stamp out interdisciplinary ribbing!  What an extraordinary way for a person of Dr. Wessely’s stature to spend his time.  Does he actually imagine that he can achieve this?  Or that even if he did succeed in eradicating this kind of thing, that it would make the slightest difference to psychiatry’s status or to its ever-downward trajectory?

Perhaps we’re witnessing the death-throes of a profession.  Locked irrevocably to a bio-bio-bio ideology; buffeted on all sides by critics, including some from within; and with no defense to the conceptual and practical criticisms, they tilt at the flimsy windmills of college banter in their futile drive to establish their medical bona fides.  As if saying it often enough, and with sufficient conviction, will make it so.

. . . . . 

But there’s more!  Dr. Wessely’s campaign to exorcise anti-psychiatry banter has its own tee shirt!

As often happens in criticizing psychiatry, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry!

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62 COMMENTS

  1. I am laughing! This is a great piece- really well written about an amazing subject.

    The tee-shirt for medical students reads: “Anti-Bash: Changing Our Attitudes To Mental Illness.” The tee shirt implies that medical students doubt that mental distress is a real illness and that the cessation of bashing psychiatry will legitimize mental distress as a real illness. This does sound like the death-throes of a profession.

    I hope someone does some research about attitudes about psychiatry among medical students; Dr. Wessely implies that most medical students are (to some degree) anti-psychiatry.

    Best wishes, Steve

  2. The t-shirts thing is funny and pathetic. This suggests to me that I should design some anti-psychiatry t-shirts and have them airlifted and mass-dropped over British psychiatry training programs. The t-shirts would be covered in slogans like, “I couldn’t be a real doctor, so I chose psychiatry”, “If only we had even one valid diagnosis… The Lament of a Psychiatrist”, “What medical profession’s treatment only work better than placebo 10-15% of the time? (Hint, Psychiatry)”…. etc.

    As I was saying in the MIA report on this topic, criticizing psychiatry’s fraudulent diagnostic system and ineffective, harmful “treatments” is not only not a bad thing… it is something that should be encouraged, legitimized, and increased. These criticisms should be pursued with relentless, targeted focus. The goal should be to make psychiatry into a pariah of a profession that no young student wants to participate in due to its terrible reputation, contributing to its collapse due to unavailability of new trainees. Psychiatry should become… already is… the new alchemy, the new witchcraft, and the new astrology.

    The word “bashing” is inappropriate, suggesting that attacking what most psychiatrists in America do is unprincipled, gratuitous, and undeserved. But nothing could be farther from the truth. Mainstream psychiatry’s own leading figures have condemned its fraudulent diagnostic system; accumulating research continues to point to the woeful lack of efficacy of its main “treatment” (drugs), and leading psychiatrists like Pies, Wessely, Torrey, Carroll, etc. remain unresponsive to legitimate criticism.

    As to the notion that “bashing psychiatry has the wider effect of stigmatizing people with mental health disorders”… what a sad sack of shit from these nondoctors (my word for psychiatrists). First of all the “disorders” they reference are not even valid conditions. Secondly, the main reason for the existing stigma is the lies these guys have been putting out about a biological/genetic component to said “disorders” that supposedly (not really) makes the people so-labeled fundamentally “other” and different than “normals.”

    Saying “psychiatrists are not actual doctors” and “psychiatry is not real medicine” is not “bashing”… it’s called facts, people 🙂 Saying “psychiatrists are not real doctors” is like saying “hippos are not antelopes”… it’s a fact.

    Ironically, Wessely was quite correct to say that psychiatrists are wasting their time by training in this field. Well… wasting their time as far as providing real help to most clients. Not wasting their time in terms of getting paid 3-4x as much as most mental health workers without doing anything significantly more to deserve this increase.

    And mentally ill patients, whatever that means, don’t deserve or need doctors at all for the most part… they deserve competent therapists, if they so choose.

    If anyone from the APA or the Royal College of Psychiatrists is reading this and you’d like to hire me, a psychiatric survivor, to give a keynote address about the future of psychiatry at your 2016 conference, please inquire within. I can be reached at [email protected] . My speech would sound pretty much like the paragraphs above…

    • leading psychiatrists like Pies, Wessely, Torrey, Carroll, etc. remain unresponsive to legitimate criticism

      Tactically I think it would be good to not portray Torrey as a “leading psychiatrist” but as a discredited “rogue psychiatrist.” I think a number of “leading” shrinks would lend support to such a characterization.

    • BPD

      Your mentioning of the fact that psychiatrists get paid more than the rest of “mental health” staff kind of caught my eye. In essence psychiatrists in “hospitals” do almost no work since they rely on the rest of the staff on the unit to report back what people say and do. Talking directly to “patients” happens at the rate of once every two weeks. All they really do is write the doctor’s order about the drugs and about the rest of the so-called “treatment.” When you work on a “teaching” unit as I do even those things are done by the baby “doctors” who intern on the unit from the university med center in town. They get a pretty fat check for doing very, very little. Most of the actual real work of dealing with the “patients” falls on the shoulders of what are called behavioral health workers, some of whom are tremendous people and some who need to be shown the front door. The nurses actually have very little to do with the “patients” and you never see them out on the floor of the unit. They stay behind the nurses’ station.

      • Having been a “patient” in a mental hospital years ago, I know how this works Stephen… psychiatrists certainly do not deserve to be paid what they are for dispensing mostly useless pills for illusory “illnesses”. The practice of psychiatric drugging in mental hospitals is one of the biggest scams, perhaps the biggest, scam going.

        • Amen to that!!!!!! But the American public continues to believe in the scam that’s being run on them all for the profit of the drug companies and psychiatry. Of course, we who work in the system also profit from it even though our roles are totally different from the usual clinical staff. It’s a situation looking for a solution but none is to be had.

          • I am tempted to say that most American people deserve what they get, since they are mostly not smart enough to educate themselves about what is really going on with psychiatric diagnoses and drugs… instead, the mindless sheep continually bleat about not finding the right drug, about lack of resources for “mental illness”, about the hope for future breakthroughs in treating “brain diseases”… these things ain’t coming baby. If you want to get better you have to extricate yourself from the system and find your own way.

            Sometimes I have the thought that natural selection is operating in a particularly cruel way through American psych hospitals ruining people’s lives and stopping them from having jobs and families.

          • BPDT, there are probably many things you take for granted as a result of corporate brainwashing that you don’t even realize are highly debatable. It’s not a matter of intelligence so much as access to information. Even so, is lack of intelligence a crime that makes one “deserving” of exploitation?

          • Oldhead, I know that they don’t deserve it really; you are right. It’s just the cynical side of me coming out. The bullshit about mental illness spouted by the establishment can make anyone a bit jaded after a while. I need a vacation.

            It is true that access to information is probably more important than intelligence. However, there are a very very large amount of dumb-sounding mofos going around saying totally delusional things about “mental illness”… maybe that’s just how misinformation sounds.

            And let us not deny… dumb people are out there. 50% of people are below average in IQ, even if 90% of people don’t think they are (and I’m not in the bottom 50 percent… of course not). I bet dumb people are overrepresented among those who believe mental illnesses are real brain diseases for which you have to take drugs. Of course it’s not their fault and these people are even more in need of accurate information than those who are smarter and/or more educated in other ways.

            And I am a skeptic by nature and I rarely accept what corporations or the mainstream says. In fact, if the mainstream or corporations are saying something, I usually automatically suspect that it is false or not the whole story.

          • BPDT — My intention wasn’t to actually accuse you of being brainwashed, just saying that we all have instances of not having the necessary information to make rational decisions, and that it isn’t necessarily a reflection of our intelligence. No biggie.

  3. Thank you, Dr. Hickey, for this terrific and much needed post.

    What became the American Psychiatric Association (APA) started out in 1844 as the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane (AMSAII). There were 13 members. Today the APA has 36,000 members. As you can imagine, as they became “mentally disordered” “the insane” must have grown correspondingly to support such a large number of top predators in the mental health field.

    Now that “mental health” is about “consuming” “mental health services” rather than “recovering” from those upsets that occur in real life, given the failure of psychiatry to find anything approaching a “cure” beyond perpetual management of “symptoms” through physically damaging drugs. Business is booming. The “mental health system” is “broken” because people commit violent acts and, therefore, it needs an influx of more money. Perpetually. We haven’t found the “cure” for massive acts of violence yet, and especially massive acts of violence committed by loners with one gripe or another about a lot of things (AKA the potentially diagnose-able).

    Thing is, if there is a “stigma” attached to receiving mental health treatment, how do you encourage people to “recover” (i.e. cease receiving mental health treatment) by promoting such treatment? “Consumption” of mental health services keeps the “mental illness” business booming. 36,000 shrinks, and if they had their way, 46,000, 56,000, and the world is their oyster. The world in which a great deal more people have become what they call “marginalized”.

    I think, like you suggest, the majority of people that identify as anti-psychiatry today are psychiatric survivors and ex-patients. People who know first hand the oppression and abuse prevalent in standard psychiatric practice. We’ve heard from those mental health professionals who have been challenging their profession to do something different for some time before. Soon it will be time to listen to the voices of those who have been, by this profession, essentially disenfranchised, “devoiced”, and disempowered. When times need to change, hopefully, we will be able to move this process forward. An expanding “mental illness” system is not a “broken” “mental illness” system. Would that it were.

  4. Back on Jan. 17, the local Keene, (N.H.) Sentinel printed a front-page story about how a local psychiatrist had a “sudden departure” from the local hospital – Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock, Keene. Even the medical director of the hospital, Dr. Don Caruso, refused to say *anything**more* than to repeat that Dr. Marcia Pabo had a “sudden departure”. But, as the result of her “departure”, CMC/DHK was forced to close their adolescent psych unit, and the continued operation of their adult psych unit was also threatened. Why? No shrinks. A psychiatrist shortage. Must be. The local psych unit also reports *1* bed filled, out of 12, according to the same news report. Looks like maybe that “psychiatrist bashing” is having some effect. Good. As for me, the LIES of the pseudoscience drugs racket known as “psychiatry” can’t be exposed wide and fast enough….

  5. It is particularly ironic for psychiatry, the ultimate in privileged, power-based authoritarianism, claiming “stigma” against their profession! They, who are such purveyors of the very stigma that causes their own patients to revolt, they, who are the most arbitrary wielders of State power and authority with the least accountability, they, members of the most privileged class of society (doctors) and reaping all the advantages thereof, they are somehow victims of prejudice! It is as bizarre as the domestic abuser stating that his partner/victim is out of line for criticizing his abusive behavior and wanting to leave as a result.

    If psychiatry is an unpopular profession, the answer isn’t a slick PR campaign. In fact, psychiatry is BASED on a slick PR campaign and that’s why it is in disrepute! The answer, if there is one, would be a humble self-examination, combined with a seeking of feedback from those damaged by their supposedly helpful practices. If over half of the people protesting your services are those who received them, I think you’ve got more than a PR problem, folks!

    — Steve

  6. This is both hilarious and extremely encouraging!

    ‘psychiatrists are not actual doctors’, and ‘psychiatry – not real medicine’

    Yes, and…? So the main so-called “bashing” comments are merely statements of fact?

    There’s nothing like peer pressure, so we should definitely encourage our supporters in medical school to bash away! When students’ allegiance to psychiatry starts to interfere with their social and sex lives there could be a big drop-off in recruitment. Hopefully the fears of Dr. Wessely will prove accurate. It means to me that we are clearly right, tactically and otherwise, to be using the term anti-psychiatry.

  7. If it would do any good – if it would keep them away from me, – I’d get “anti-psychiatry” tattooed on my forehead. OK, it would be blockhead letters: ANTI-PSYCHIATRY. Bashing the lies of the pseudoscience known as “psychiatry”, *ME*?*…. Victim of 3 near-fatal iatrogenic pharmacological emergencies thanks to psychiatry?…. Watch my friends turn into drooling vegetables? OK, walking, talking, breathing DRUG ZOMBIES?…. You mean *that* psychiatry-bashing? BASH AWAY!….
    Yup, I’m yet one more victim of the lies of the pseudo-science known as “psychiatry”….

  8. This…

    ‘The current generation of students don’t put up with the things we used to,” Wessely told BMJ Careers. ‘Derogatory comments about race, sexuality, and gender are not common now, and when they do occur students complain. We want them to become the people who call others out when they denigrate psychiatry and mental health.'”

    …coming from a profession who didn’t remove homosexuality from it’s DSM until the 70s? and who still labels transgender people as having “gender dysphoria” (only recently changed from “gender identity disorder”). And how about how psychiatry profiles, harms, and discriminates against minority ethnic groups?

    Oh, the hypocrisy.

  9. What they call stigma of mental patients is the stuff they list as symptoms. Makes no sense at all. If they want to stop people from thinking their patients are “dangerous” and “unpredictable”, than maybe they should not always be saying why their pills are neccisarry, or what compassionate people they are to treat people like this. If something spills into the public? Maybe the public has formed it’s own opinion. Now, we are worried about GPs. I thought that big pharma, was targeting GPs, because all the people who see a GP instead of a psychiatrist.

    The study also clearly mentions a lot of critism towards all professions. The spilling into the public, is just nonsense. The only medical profession I’ve heard really criticize others is psychiatry. Like, how they say stuff like the brain is so complex, and they have the toughest job in medicine. That everything is really effected by the brain. Other doctors have so easy with they’re vacations, and their set schedules, but they’re always on call. Then of course that the other doctors don’t understand the difficulties of helping such difficult people, and not even being appreciated for it. Pretty much makes sense why any stigma would be surrounding it. In fact, I’m pretty sure all the stigma would be traced back to psychiatry. Especially seeing as how common it is to receive a diagnosis, if it weren’t for all their fear tactics, it would probably be normalized. In fact, it really is starting to become that way. If those medical students were being told they were probably worse than their patients, did it ever occur to them, that at this rate chances are they really have a diagnosis?

    In fact, the only critism I’ve heard was directed at psychiatrists, like the artical states, which would automatically be counter to this spreading to patients. None of stigma would apply. Like I said, they’re the only branch of medicine I hear criticizing the others. Whose fault is it if they choose, to overcompensate for any critism by shutting themselves in, and congratulating each other. In fact, quite the opposite from what I’ve seen. I’ve seen the mental health field react very arrogantly, and other fields of medicine attempt to be welcoming, and even supportive of them. In my opinion, even have way to much faith, and would consult a psychiatrist if they don’t know the answer. Yea, not always, but a lot of the times, they seem to have gave it an honest shot, and are admitting they still don’t have an answer. In fact, I hardly ever hear psychiatry doing this.

    • Most of the good studies concerning stigma towards the so-called “mentally ill” point out very clearly that the most stigmatizing group of all is doctors themselves, particularly psychiatrists!!

      The so-called “mentally ill” receive sub-standard health care because doctors themselves discriminate against us and feel that we are less than. It’s all out there in the real, scientific studies.

      • Defiantly agreed. Not to mention, the defenders are typically the most offensive. When they are you won”t hear a psychiatrist be critical, but actually thank them. I’m referring specifically when they openly bash the patients they so call care for.

        However these things are becoming more and more pardoxical. I mean people are depressed, because they are being stigmatized for being depressed, which is supposedly what they are being treated for. It’s all just said without explanation. Too many unanswered questions, and loose ends.

      • Phill, I wondered why that was. I mean how so many people like that end up psychiatrists? I think it may appeal to some people that any critism, and failure can be put on the patient. Now, that people are becoming more aware of problems, they’re claiming discrimination.

        It’s annoying though, because anyone can see what you are writing about. You communicate points very well, but all anyone would have to do was look at the information honestly.
        Even for a believer, you’d think they’d at least see you made some good points, realize psychiatrists don’t respond well to any criticism, are using the word discrimination inappropriately, and should be held accountable.

  10. Other medical specialties have never considered psychiatrists to be doctors, not even when they actually did something halfway useful, like doing real talk therapy. I believe it’s time for this group of snake oil peddling, shiftless shonks to pack up their drugs and hit the road to never return. The only real doctors among them are those who truly sit down and work in collaboration with the people experiencing the emotional and psychological distress. The rest need to be tarred and feathered and ridden out on a rail.

  11. Philip

    Brilliant!!! This made my day and has filled me with joy and laughter.

    If I lived in Britain, I would, without a doubt, being passing this essay out at every medical school I could find. Please, someone on the other side of the Pond , organize some cadre to pass reams of these out at all the schools. I, personally, will contribute to a fund to make this happen.

    And while your at it, why not organize and advertise “A Bashers’ Ball” in the all the towns where the schools are located; let’s celebrate the future demise and withering away of Psychiatry – the sooner the better.

    Richard

  12. Right here is the core problem, from where I sit–this hyper-sensitivity to appropriate feedback and criticism, how is this mentality either safe or sound for a client in a private meeting, going to such great lengths to actually launch a campaign against THE TRUTH!? And basically, becoming “victims” by mentality. How is this an example of anything good, and most of all, character?

    One-to-one meetings with such thin-skinned AND prejudice people that are so terribly taken with their “power & authority” (sorry, both illusions to my mind–what I guess is called in some circles as ‘delusions of grandeur’) makes me shudder. Been there, done that, and I don’t at all recommend it if you at all value your dignity and sanity. Seriously.

  13. “Perhaps we’re witnessing the death-throes of a profession. Locked irrevocably to a bio-bio-bio ideology; buffeted on all sides by critics, including some from within; and with no defense to the conceptual and practical criticisms, they tilt at the flimsy windmills of college banter in their futile drive to establish their medical bona fides.”

    I only wish this were true. Here in the U.S. at least, psychiatry is getting bigger and more powerful all the time. I cant go to any general practitioner/family doc without being asked about my mental health and being referred to mental health services. Even after I made it explicitly clear with my current doctor how I feel about that, it occurred again in a following appointment by his physicians assistant while I was waiting for my papers to leave. After I made it explicitly clear with the P.A. how I felt about that, he went off like a fanboy about how wrong I was and how invalid my experiences were to the point that I just walked out the door and got my prescriptions from the nurses at the desk on my way out.

      • I think sometimes physicians think they’re being subtle. They should be informed in clear terms that these are “mental health” questions and asked what these questions have to do with the problem (flu, ingrown toenail, etc.) which prompted the appointment.

        Following Obama’s disgusting gun control speech physicians may be under pressure to dime their patients out to the FBI if they show signs of “depression,” etc.

        • It certainly goes far beyond a presidents speech. The mental health “industry” has been pushing for universal screening of children and adults for a generation, and has been greatly empowered in recent years by the conservatives who scapegoat the “mentally ill” whenever gun control becomes an issue.

          Here was something recently in the news about the push for screening; http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-screen-adults-pregnant-postpartum-depression-20160126-story.html

          Many states and health plans already have requirements for screening, or at least that’s what I have been told by the last two GP’s I went too. “We cant accept you as a patient until you fill out this questionnaire (with questions ranging from “have you ever had kidney stones” to “do you often feel anxious around others” to “does anyone in your family have a history of [insert diseases]” to “have you ever had thoughts of harming or killing yourself?”)

          Of course, not much else to do except just lie on all the mental health questions. To make matters worse though, my adult medical records contain a history of psychiatric bullshit, including a coerced and an involuntary commitment.

          • “my adult medical records contain a history of psychiatric bullshit, including a coerced and an involuntary commitment.”

            *Although I think it went without saying, I think maybe I should add that this often leads to me being treated like someone whose “slipped through the cracks”, and once they suspect that, it typically leads to an attitude toward me that I find not only enraging but is the only reason I suffer so immensely from untreated ulcerative colitis and now gastritis 90% of the time. I’m at the point now where I wont even go to the hospital, even if I’m sure I’m dying.

          • It was years after the fact, when I requested and received ALL my medical records from Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock-Keene(CMC/DHK), that I learned a BOGUS “note” had been put in my medical record, alleging that I had tried to “commit suicide”. It never happened. But, hey, a quack shrink *SAID* it did, so who do you think was believed? The irony? That quack shrink later himself actually DID commit suicide! And “they” think *I* am “crazy”? HAH!….
            My first trip to a State loony-bin was funny, even today. The black, rural sheriff’s deputy who drove me there wouldn’t handcuff me, or let me ride in the back seat. He INSISTED that I ride up front, and un-handcuffed. Seems all his friends were smoking weed, and he was getting pressure to try it himself. So, knowing that I had smoked weed, he wanted to pick my brains, and ask me all kinds of questions about weed, from who he considered an “expert user” of the stuff!…. Honestly, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried…. We all need a good laugh, once in a while! (Not making light of all the iatrogenic pain and harm, though….)….

    • Jeffrey,

      At times it does seem like we’re losing ground, but the anti-psychiatry movement continues to grow. The injection of psychiatric screening into primary care is certainly a step backwards, and is very troubling. But my hope is that eventually the GP’s will see this for what it is: psychiatric drug-pushing by proxy.

      • Yes, “a step backwards”, and also PROOF of the pseudoscience tactics psychs use.
        Now, I can’t even get “regular”, “primary care physician” medical treatment.
        There’s such a shortage of shrinks locally- in large part because of the truly awful and deserved bad reputation of Cheshire Medical center / Dartmouth Hitchcock-Keene – that the local hospital had to shut their adolescent psych unit, and may have to close the adult psych unit, also. But they’re hiring in OTHER jobs like “housekeeping”, and “cafeteria attendant”. And, the fact that psychs are getting MD’s to do their dirty work, shows just how *SICK* the LIES of psychs & psych drugs have made our society. More $$$ = more psych drugs = more sick people = more $$$$ = more psych drugs = more sick people = more $$$ = more psych drugs = more sick people = more $$$ = more psych drugs = more sick people…. HOW LONG will this go on….????….

    • Jeffrey,

      My former PCP worked for a healthcare organization and as a result, before any routine visit, I was always asked to fill out a mysterious functional living questionnaire in which it seemed a wrong answer could lead to a a prescription for an SSRI. I refused to do it but found this very creepy. And a few times, got asked about suicidal ideation by the nurse when it had nothing to do with my visit.

      Hopefully, those days are over with the new PCP who works independently and didn’t even use a computer while talking to me. His attention is on the patient. What a novel concept.

      Your experience sounds very upsetting.

  14. I think we all need to realize that it is NOT ONLY psychiatrists that have brought us to this state of affairs. It’s also nurses, and various other “medical” specialties, including “case workers” and “therapists” of all kinds. And, here in the U.S., it’s also a whole system network of “community mental health centers”. And, don’t forget drug stores / pharmacies, which make huge profits off selling the DRUGS which shrinks write scripts for. It’s a HUGE, multi-BILLION$$ industry, and it employs a LOT of PEOPLE. There are 10’s of millions of folks in America alone, who are still among psychiatry’s “true believers”. Boy, what a way to “divide and conquer” a society….

  15. Their freedom to choose their careers? Boo hoo!
    They don’t care about how they ruin our freedom to choose careers.
    And worried about stigma? That’s as stupid as the southern slave-owners saying the abolitionists up north didn’t understand what the “darkies” needed like they did. Of course the fact that the slave-owners were making a killing in the cotton industry due to the low overhead (slave labor is cheap) had nothing to do with why they kept people in bondage. It was all done for the slaves’ own good, out of the pure goodness of “massah’s” heart. Ha ha.
    Slaves that ran away were mentally ill with a classic case of “drapetomania.” Good slaves stayed on the plantation and liked it, proving how mentally sound they were. If they blacked the masters’ boots well enough they got to eat leftovers, wear his cast-off clothing, and got a warm place to sleep by the fire.
    Today’s mental health house slaves blog for “Healthy Place” about the importance of taking your cocktail exactly as prescribed. And they are sometimes elected President of the local NAMI chapter.