Searching for a Rose Garden: Challenging Psychiatry, Fostering Mad Studies


A review of “Searching for a Rose Garden:
Challenging Psychiatry, Fostering Mad Studies
By Jasna Russo and Angela Sweeney
PCCS Books, 2016, 261 pp.

This anthology is a timely and unique collection of essays that should be of interest to anyone with personal experience with, or research interests in, mental difference, psychiatrization and its resistance. This book emerged from the international conference ‘Searching for a Rose Garden: fostering real alternatives to psychiatry,’ held in Berlin in September 2011 and organized by the Association for Protection against Psychiatric Violence, but also diverges from that conference. It contains essays by those who have advocated for mad liberation or against bio-psychiatry for a long time, as well as new voices. Most importantly, it is entirely written by those psychiatrized. In so doing it becomes a pioneering book that does not just highlight mad knowledge and practice but fosters new conversations and movements.

The book is divided into four sections. As the editors’ note, the first section sets the scene for the book, “reminding us why radically different approaches to madness and distress are needed.” The second section, titled ‘Survivor-produced knowledge’, is about what I would call mad epistemologies.  The book itself is a form of subaltern knowledge that I found to be the most rewarding and compelling aspect of Searching for a Rose Garden. It is mad knowledge put into action.

I want to highlight a few chapters, although I wish I could summarize all the works in this collections as they all merit a close read. Bhargavi Davar’s chapter “Alternatives or a way of life?” is featured in the first section of the anthology. The chapter is representative of the kind of ‘user knowledge’ or mad epistemology the book aims to promote, but also quite distinct for its discussion of practices outside of the western perspective. It offers a critique of both psychiatry and what we come to call ‘alternatives to psychiatry.’ The author discusses the paradox of India’s hundreds of ‘modern asylums’ coexisting with thousands of faith based healing centers, which are often considered by western medicine and thought of as ‘superstitious’ and dismissed as pre-modern. From in-depth interviews Davar surmises that people do not come to these faith centers to be cured, but to be (spiritually) healed, to get answers to existential questions. Davar also discusses her mother’s institutionalization and how she ended her life living in a Hindu temple, but Davar insists that this was not an alternative to anything but just “her way of life” (p. 14). To characterize these practices as alternatives to psychiatry already accepts the western approach to understanding mental difference. However, the fetishization (or fascination in the author’s words) of the west with these eastern philosophies and ways of life is also a source of concern – both because of possible appropriation but also because of what Davar characterizes as loss of memory and respect for such ways of life in the west. These ways of life are also eroding now in India because of the increased medicalization of mental difference.

A similar critique is found in Colin King’s chapter “Whiteness in psychiatry: the madness of European misdiagnoses” in the second portion of the anthology. In it, King discusses the dissonance between psychiatric diagnosis and the experience of African men since slavery and his own current experience. Since Whiteness defines the black body/mind as inferior and not human (as in slave codes) it is no surprise that DSM and bio-psychiatry is a continuation of such practices, King argues. Although this chapter is of great importance because of its exploration of race/colonialism and psychiatric disability (and is unfortunately only amongst a few who do so here), it also seems to fall into some of the traps it critiques. This is especially evident in the author’s use of the term ‘cultural autism’ (of the author’s invention I assume) to describe “whiteness in its failed attempts to understand the subjective experiences of African men” (p. 74). Although one can say that autism can also be described as a White western construct, this is not explored in the essay as such and is left as a negative metaphor solely. The usage of autism to denote a lack of understanding seems to perpetuate the kinds of racial ableism/sanism that the author critiques and I fear will alienate many autistic folks reading this anthology, especially those of color.

Another interesting facet of Searching for a Rose Garden, in addition to mad epistemology, is its intertextual nature, displayed throughout the book. For example, in the section on user knowledge Clare Shaw writes powerfully about self-injury and the need to broaden, instead of pathologize, what we call self-harm. In her chapter she references David Webb’s book Thinking about Suicide as being influential in her life and work. David Webb himself then writes in the following chapter about the academic discipline of ‘suicidology’ and how it contributes to, rather than diminishes, the suicide toll. Such intertextuality helps the reader make connections and think about one topic from multiple perspectives.

The third and complementary section of the anthology is about ‘Survivor-Controlled Practice’ which puts this user knowledge or mad epistemology into action. Some examples of such practice (what might be termed alternatives to psychiatry) include a discussion of practices like intentional peer support and personal Ombudsman as well as specific projects in several (European) countries such as The Sunrise Project, Kindred Minds and women’s independent alcohol support. In the introduction, the editorial collective states that they decided not to focus on “well-established alternatives to mainstream psychiatric provision, such as Soteria, Windhorse or Open Dialogue, which all have one known professional (non-survivor) figure behind them.” The decision to highlight instead projects created by those psychiatrized is especially useful since, as the editors note, “It is hard to find projects that fulfill this criteria and are still operating.”

The last section of the book is titled ‘Working in Partnership’ and comprises discussion of different projects, models and musings (as well as critiques) of research/teaching and practice partnerships between those psychiatrized and those who are not. This is the only section that is written by those psychiatrized and those who were not but see themselves as having a stake in the struggle.

The philosophy at the heart of the third section on alternatives to psychiatry (which are based on mad epistemology) and the fourth section on partnerships characterizes the book as a whole, in my opinion. The approach that guides most of the chapters is that there are no easy universal prescriptions as to “what to do” to combat psychiatrization of people experiencing mad gifts or crisis. One solution does not fit all, and this is exactly the problem with psychiatry and bio approaches to mental difference; that they are monolithic and all encompassing. Instead, the authors throughout this collection offer us varied approaches, as well as their own honest reflections and critiques of said approaches. It is a process of constant trial and error; of becoming instead of being.

Another unique and important aspect of this anthology is not only the centering of mad epistemologies but also its engagement with disability studies and politics. Taking a cue from disability studies and movements, especially in the UK, a number of authors point to a need for a social model of madness. This, of course, alludes to the social model of disability which locates disability not in the body or mind of those with impairments but in the social, cultural and economic barriers they face that create their disablement (lack of physical accessibility, ableist policies and attitudes etc.).

This engagement with disability politics can also facilitate a broader coalition of activism, knowledge and practice in relation to both disability and madness. I am not personally convinced that madness and disability are separate entities though, although in the UK context and within the formulations of the social model that are espoused herein I can see how these two movements would be separate and perhaps at odds. But disablement is not just about bodily difference. At least in the American context people refer to psychiatric disabilities in the same way they would refer to sensory, cognitive or physical disabilities. In this sense madness can be perceived of as a disability in terms of theorizing, critically engaging with its complexity as well as celebrating its radical potential.

The connection between disability politics and mad politics and studies is importantly explored by Peter Beresford in his chapter “The role of survivor knowledge in creating alternatives to psychiatry.” In it, he discusses the potential of the social model of disability, as well as mad studies, to help gain a new and unified perspective on mental difference. However, the chapter sets aside any discussion of the possible tensions between mad studies and survivor movements and disability studies. As Beresford himself notes,“Big questions have been raised about the applicability of the social model of disability to mental health service users/survivors, but that is not the issue under consideration here.” This is fine for this specific chapter but I do wish it was the topic of consideration somewhere in this anthology.

Searching for a Rose Garden is true to its subtitle of “fostering mad studies,” a title added, as the editors reveal, after the conference had already taken place and mad studies was becoming better known. I found the engagement with the emergent field of mad studies to be the most rewarding and promising, especially as a way to develop a mad epistemology that is guided by, and hopefully also expands, mad movements. The transference (if you will) of mad epistemologies that have created the, perhaps academic, field of mad studies is front and center here, and their infiltration across settings and geographical locales leads one to believe in and be optimistic about the possibility of mad movements and studies on a more global scale.

Several authors in Searching for a Rose Garden discuss how mad studies can breathe new life and cohesion into survivor movements and user research as well as what I would call mad epistemology. Sweeney notes that in addition to its intersectional nature, mad studies can provide a counter discourse to bio-psychiatry as well as theorization beyond “consumerist service user involvement arguments” (p. 51), especially since nearly all such attempts end in co-optation, as the fourth part of the book clearly demonstrates. But as Sweeney and others also note, mad studies also has a lot to gain from user/survivor research and knowledge. It is this synergy that holds the most promise in my mind and what would make the book an indispensable collection.

This translation of mad studies across projects and contexts is not without challenges. Specifically, the absence or insistence of intersectionality was something I found to be quite uneven in this anthology. For example, Beresford highlights in his discussion of the social model of disability how important it was that it was created by disabled people from their own experiential knowledge. But it is as important to note that it was specifically conjured up mostly by White physically disabled men. As several authors highlight, especially notable in the overview by Sweeney on “the transformative potential of survivor research,” the field of mad studies, especially as was conceived in Canada, at least attempts to grasp with the intersectional nature of psychiatrization and the mad experience, certainly in relation to variation in relation to race, gender, sexuality, nationality, etc. This is in contrast, as Sweeney and Beresford note, to survivor research in its current form, especially in Europe (although the same can certainly be said about the U.S. as well). As the field moves forward one hopes that an emphasis on intersectional activism and analysis will indeed be at the center.

Since the book is so accessibly written and wide ranging it should appeal to those without any academic expertise, but I would especially urge those who are academics or professionals in the mental health arena not to dismiss it (and several chapters discuss this very dismissal at great length) and instead embrace it as experiential knowledge that should be the core of all disciplines engaged with mental health, psychiatry and its critique.


  1. Liat, you’re still legitimating the psychiatric system. The “real alternative” to the psychiatric system is not anything like psychotherapy, recovery or alternative treatments. The real alternative is simply the middle finger.

    This psychiatric system only continues to operate because somehow people are letting it have power.

    People are made vulnerable to ending up in the psychiatric system because of the abuses of the middle-class family. And mostly this mental / moral health system only operates because people are afraid to challenge the ways the middle-class family perpetrates abuse.

    I feel that this is self-evident, but I would be happy to discuss it further.

    As far as the psychiatric system, what I call for is zero cooperation whatsoever, and opposing it in by any and all available means.


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  2. I noticed your book at the recent NARPA conference, and I would have picked up a copy if I weren’t hoping Grace Jackson’s latest book were there, and finding as well that it wasn’t. She, after all, led a workshop at the same conference. Had your book still been around on the last day, I might have done so. Darby Penney, co-author of one of the essays, led a workshop on the subject of the essay. I like the direction, in some respects, that Darby has gone in.

    I was hesitant about picking up a copy for reasons similar to Nomadic’s, “the real alternative is simply the middle finger.” I’ve got my own reading list, (Currently reading, The man who closed the asylums, about Franco Basaglia.) and I would like my own readings to go in a productive direction. (I neither know if they can, nor will.) Got any ability politics? I mean “disability politics” has got to have it’s limits, and when one is in the limit zone perhaps they miss the door. Ablism and disablism can fight it out, but still. Where do we draw the line between “disablism” and bad faith?

    I’m not out to make myself a pariah among pariahs, but I’ve got questions about movement elitism as well. Redemption is important, and we’re not going to get it with a renewed blacklist. I mean, if you come up with a most censored list, who is gong to be on it, and IS that such a good thing? While the mainstream media suppresses us, some of us are not even given much opportunity to be sidestream players, and that is discouraging. Perhaps, though, this sidestream can grow, and there is something to that.

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  3. Thanks for this. I hope there can be more discussion about the social model of disability on MiA.

    I highly recommend the following article, which contrasts the medical and social models of disability, and explains the connections between the medical model, the eugenics movement, and class warfare. It uses a comment made by Jill Stein as a jumping-off point, but it is not a partisan article.

    “Jill Stein, Autism, and Disability Liberation”

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  4. Interesting article there uprising. I still say that we have to reject the entire psychiatric and disability system.

    In particular, I don’t go along with the Autism Self-Awareness Network because they are still endorsing this idea of a “neurological difference”. So it is still a way of looking for Original Sin in the child, and they are still committed to exonerating abusive parents and abusive schools.

    I go with Sami Timimi, “Autism does not exist.”

    Is it disability money which induces people to go along with the Psychiatric and Disability Systems? We must find some way out of this trap.


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    • Why would we expect to see anything other than “neurological difference” across the human population?

      I still say that we have to reject the entire psychiatric and disability system.

      I happen to reject psychiatry entirely. I personally think it should be abolished as a medical specialty, but that doesn’t mean that some of the people out there suffering from mental/emotional problems don’t want, need, and deserve help. And there is nothing natural or inevitable about psychiatrists being the gatekeepers for disability benefits and assistance for people with mental/emotional problems. A Magic 8-ball could probably do a better job anyway.

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      • “people out there suffering from mental/emotional problems don’t want, need, and deserve help”

        But in saying this you are denying that their anger and distress are over legitimate injustices. This is always the problem with any sort of mental health response, turning people’s feelings and anger back against themselves, and taking the position that people will be angry for no reason. I see no basis for this.

        And then with disability labels, people do vary in all sorts of ways, but we don’t really know what makes them the way they are. All we can do is just learn to accept them. But once you start legitimating these labels, you are diminishing people, and giving legitimacy to those who would abuse them.


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          • People don’t need psychotherapy, recovery, healing, motivationalism, or salvation. What they need is justice. But to get this they need to organize. If you or I try to obtain justice alone, we will just get branded as psychopaths. So we need to organize.

            But it is impossible for people to organize when they believe that they have some problem which resides within themselves.

            All of this is simply a perpetuation of the bogus idea of Original Sin, as it is propagated by the Middle-Class Family as the Self-Reliance Ethic.


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  5. Uprising — I have some questions about this “social model of disability,” as it feels disempowering to me to identify as any form as any form of “disabled” person. Or maybe I misinterpret what is meant by the term. If certain groups of people are prevented from full participation in the system, and the alleged benefits thereof, it is not their “disability” causing this but the oppressive structure of the system. Which I know you know, so am I missing something?

    That said, I have a bigger problem with the concept of “mad liberation” and don’t see why I should identify as “mad”; it seems self-denigrating. It feels like an attempt at securing the psychiatrized an “identity politics” franchise so we can join all those other supposedly progressive cliques talking about “intersectionality” instead of organizing.

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    • It makes perfect sense that it would feel disempowering to you if you are not disabled! Maybe it just doen’t apply to you; that’s fine. I don’t think that anyone should should assume that a psych diagnosis automatically entails disability. That would be bullshit, since psych diagnoses are invalid (as admitted by Thomas Insel, former head of NMIH). But that doesn’t mean there aren’t people out there who have serious problems that they want, need, and deserve help with.

      Some people with psych diagnoses are at least temporarily disabled (because of serious mental/emotional problems, and/or because of psychiatric interventions themselves, and/or for unrelated reasons), and I think they might be interested in this. I also think that considering the social model of disability might be of value to the general readership of MiA, because it provides a way to radically critique the “mh” system, without throwing disabled psychiatrized people under the bus by denying them the means of survival.

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      • And

        If certain groups of people are prevented from full participation in the system, and the alleged benefits thereof, it is not their “disability” causing this but the oppressive structure of the system.

        Yes. This basically *is* the social model of disability, at least from my reading of it.

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        • It is worth noting that all laws are wrtten using a social model. Except mental health laws which are uniquely written to the medical model. Which makes them incompatible in the end with the rest of societies laws.

          A reason to hope that one day the system might collapse under the weight of its own internal contradictions.

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        • OK that’s sort of my point then. I would be “unable” to shovel shit 12 hours a day, for example, but I wouldn’t consider it a “disability’; if anything it’s innate intelligence. If anything is disabled it’s a system that doesn’t/can’t serve the needs of the people. Like “stigma,” such “disability” is not something we “have,” but something that’s done to us. Another way of putting it might be that one’s competence should not be defined in terms of the expectations or demands of the system.

          Question: Once people no longer need to claim “disability” in order to guarantee their sustenance, i.e. when everyone is entitled to a guaranteed income no matter what, would there be an “up” side to identifying as “disabled”?

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          • I think that whatever systems humanity may come up with, there will likely always be people who are unable to fully participate in them without some kind of assistance.

            I’m starting to feel in over my head here, because I’m not a theorist, nor even someone with any depth of understanding about all this. But from what I have read of the social model of disability, it makes a lot of sense to me…

            If there is any way to avoid shoveling shit for 12 hours, it’s probably worth looking into. Still, that analogy might lead people to think that there is choice involved in being disabled.

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          • Actually I would probably literally be unable to shovel literal shit for 12 hours, so it wouldn’t be avoidance, at some point I’d keel over. But the thought was also made as an analogy. I still think a guaranteed income for all would erase the need to define oneself as “disabled.” Actually isn’t that term considered inappropriate by the disability rights movement, or some of it?

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    • I think you’ve got a good point there, OldHead, in that any “social model of disability” represents more of a survival technique than a “true” “disability”. The problem with Uprisings “temporary disability” is that it all too often ends up being “long term”. Once the money is there, it is the taxpayer who subsidizes the “chronic” mental patient, and given no means of providing for oneself, “chronic” is the goal of institutionalization.

      I don’t think people get locked up so much because they are literally “sick”, but rather I think they are locked up because their behavior disturbs other people. The idea that you are dealing with “disability” has become one of the ways in which release has been attained from institutions by lawyers. Legal arguments for human rights in today’s “medicalized” atmosphere are not arguments that can be won in court. Instead, you have to argue for the rights of persons’ with “disabilities”. The problem is that this “disability” in many cases is simply a lie.

      What is the answer, in other words, to “disability” by consensus? Why, of course, “ability” by consensus. Problem. I think we’ve got a word for what I’m describing, and that word is farce. Were the world “flat” by consensus, it would still be round. If “learned helplessness” is “learned disability”, maybe it is time to acquire some brand new teachers. You’ve got to ask, ultimately, of what value was that education? And to whom?

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      • Worried as always that a less fortunate person has their hand in your pocket. Interesting that I’ve never seen you talk about how the rich steal from all of us every day in a way that dwarfs all social expenditures. I’d reply to the rest if I could make heads or tails out of it.

        Oh wait, I see the word “sick.” No, I’m not saying that anyone is sick. I think that psychiatry should be abolished and that society’s approaches to problems of thinking, feeling, and behavior should be de-medicalized. But that doesn’t mean that everyone can always work or do all the other things that most people take for granted. (And you seem to be living in a fantasy land in which there is sufficient employment for even all the able-bodied people who want to work.)

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        • “And you seem to be living in a fantasy land in which there is sufficient employment for even all the able-bodied people who want to work.”

          Well, sure, you’ve got outsourcing and run away factories, but that’s kind of contrived. I don’t think “sufficient employment” a fantasy. Under employment might be considered a negative fantasy. We’ve got another expression for the negative fantasy, and that’s horror story. Basically, if it’s a script you’re reaching for, and you’ve got a choice between comedy and tragedy, do you have to choose the tragedy? I would think not.

          As far as I’m concerned, “there is sufficient employment for even all the able-bodied people who want to work.” Anybody can volunteer, and as far as needs go, in some quarters, the needs are great. Of course, that’s not the logic behind the lotto, nor casino capitalism, but that’s not where I’m coming from anyway.

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      • Frank: We seem to be on the same page in terms of the semantics, but I could care less about the concerns of “the taxpayer” (often a euphemism for big business, especially as used by Hannity & co.). We need these people of all our backs. No matter what any individual’s productive capacity or stamina may be, we all are entitled to healthy and prosperous lives. From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs…

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        • What is the difference between physical disability and “social disability”, OldHead? That’s what we were talking about, a “social disability model”. If you are endorsing a “social disability model”, I’m not on board. If we’re to have “counter narratives” to “counter” the psychiatric guild’s “false narrative”, as Bob Whitaker puts it, let these “counter narratives” not ALL be “false narratives” as well. A “false narrative”, white or black, to my way of thinking, is a lie, that is to say, I think there is a virtue in honesty. Revolution, too.

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          • From the link I shared above:

            Negating the medical model is the social model. According to the social model, human brains and human bodies have a legitimate existence as they are, and they are not all the same. Some bodies walk. Others don’t. Some people communicate through spoken words. Others do so through sign languages, or through other means entirely. None of that is necessarily “damaged.” No brain and no body is inherently disabled. Rather, the physical and cultural structures of any given society are built to be used by some bodies and not others. “Normal” brains and bodies are the ones for which physical and social environments are built. “Abnormal” ones aren’t intrinsically defective – rather, it’s the environment that isn’t sufficiently accessible. Disabled people don’t “have a disability” (much less “suffer from a handicap”); instead, they are disabled by the inaccessible features of the society around them. It’s the context that disables them, not their embodiment.

            The medical model says a wheelchair user is disabled by their legs. The social model says they’re disabled by the steps.

            The current medical model grew from medicine’s historical alignment with eugenics. Eugenics is an ideology of human “betterment,” emerging from the use of coercive medicine to control the most oppressed working-class communities in the deepest possible way. The medical model treats contextually-determined standards of “normalcy” as objective biological facts; many of its most direct political implications continue the eugenicist practice of violence “for people’s own good.” For instance, physician-assisted suicide laws give cover to doctors enforcing the notion that disabled lives lack dignity, lack quality, and are not worth living. In some cases, they prioritize doctors’ assessments that some disabled people should die over those individuals’ stated desire to continue living, as documented by disability rights groups such as Not Dead Yet and the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund.

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          • I have to back to what I was saying before: Models of what? It’s not a small point.

            Like I said before “the medical model of mental illness” is consistent with itself semantically. If you say the “social disability model of mental illness” you’re still assuming “mental illness” and employing the medical model until you define what you are describing models of — if not “of mental illness” then of what? Does this make sense to anyone?

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          • I think that “social disability model of mental illness” is an oxymoron, but I think I get what you are saying. I’ve been trying to talk about the social model of disability, which I think ought to replace the medical model of disability. I think we do need some sort of model for this because there will always be people who cannot fully participate in human systems without help from others.

            Then there is “the medical model of mental illness,” which is redundant as you know. What should that be replaced with? I don’t know. But it can be hard to hold down a job when voices that no one else can hear keep screaming at you, or you just can’t stop crying all the time, or your body constantly thinks you are in imminent danger, or you can’t stop trying to kill yourself, etc.

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          • Holding down a job, however, does not fulfill human needs and aspirations, except for the few who are fortunate enough to be able to make a living from what they like to do anyway. So, speaking very abstractly, I think there’s something to be said for considering alienated labor anathema to the human spirit, and resistance to performing it, be it conscious or subliminal, a natural human reaction, not a disability.

            Of course resolving that sort of contradiction, or even alleviating it, would entail eliminating capitalism, that’s all, so whenever you’re ready… 🙂

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          • A job is doing what you don’t want to do. I’d call that pretty cynical, OldHead. You think?

            Also, the assumption that the problem would be eliminated by eliminating capitalism. It’s a nice thought, but usually one completely contradicted by the reality.

            Mind you, I’m not saying capitalism is a good thing, it’s just that there is socialism, and there is socialism, and there are miles and miles between the two.

            One thing,as there are people on the right who are as opposed to psychiatry as people on the left, I think they both might get furthest, on this one issue, by joining forces.

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          • Oh well this thread is stretched to its limit. But I’ll own that definition without too many reservations, to the extent that not particularly wanting to do something (irrespective of your competence at doing it) is what makes it a “job” as opposed to a role; the term could be seen as a commodification of labor, or something which distinguishes personally meaningful work from that which serves primarily to bring in a paycheck, i.e. alienated labor.

            That of course is very academic, as there is no doubt that having a job, alienated though it may be, is for many the difference between life and death, which in itself is rewarding. That still doesn’t make it a laudable situation.

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  6. It amazes me how much most people feel subordinated to the Self-Reliance Ethic. They feel that they need to prove themselves, and so when this is hard, the are attracted to disability labels.

    Very few people feel that they don’t need to prove themselves or justify their failings. And this all, in my opinion, comes directly from the abuses which the Middle-Class Family is built upon.


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    • I don’t think a whole lot of people would argue with that, it’s your singular focus on the family to the exclusion of all or most other capitalist institutions that limits your analysis in my estimation. Plus “middle class” is a nebulous concept.

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      • Middle-Class is a reactionary identification system. In the United States, there is no other class. Though there are multiple levels of it, so it might be better so say, Middle-Classes.

        But it is a way of thinking, not a socio-economic level. And though there are no other classes, there are those who act against the interests of the middle-class, and there are those who have been expelled from it.

        Capitalism could never exist unless you had the Middle-Class Family and it was psychically maiming children. No Middle-Class Family, no Capitalism because people would revolt at once.

        General strike, riots, etc. People who have not been maimed by the Middle-Class Family would recognize that the level of poverty which we tolerate, the level of child abuse in privately run schools, the level of economic uncertainty experienced in junk jobs, and the level of abuse in the government licensed Psychiatric and Psychotherpy offices are completely unacceptable, and these things would be eliminated at once.

        One of the things which silences the survivors is simply our inheritance laws. Almost all other industrialized countries prohibit disinheritance of one’s child.

        In the US people deal with the so called “dysfunctional family” with psychiatry, psychotherapy, recovery, and religion. These are all forms of self abuse.

        In British Columbia they deal with it by calling a lawyer.

        Without the Middle-Class Family, having turned children into private property, and being the only social arrangement by which people are deliberately deciding to have children, and psychically maiming children with the Self-Reliance Ethic, Capitalism would never have existed.

        Capitalism required that people be driven off of common lands and forced into the cities to work in factories at starvation wages. Unless you had some guilty until proven innocent type of crime, like Original Sin / Self-Reliance Ethic, then people never would have gone along with this.

        And today, people won’t stand up to the Middle-Class Family, because that would mean that they would be held to be out of compliance with the Self-Reliance Ethic.

        The main psychological mechanism that operates in all child abuse involves using children as what I have termed poison containers – receptacles into which adults project disowned parts of their psyches, so they can control these feelings in another body without danger to themselves. In good parenting, the child uses the caretaker as a poison container, much as it earlier used the mother’s placenta as a poison container for cleansing its polluted blood. A good mother reacts with calming actions to the cries of a baby and helps it “detoxify” its dangerous emotions.

        Oldhead, I value your views and your participation here. I am missing something?

        We need to make a new organization which sues Psychiatrists, Psychotherapists, and Parents. All you really should need to justify going after parents is animosity between parent and child.

        And we should have a group to go after all Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, Recovery, Motivationalism, and Evangelical Religion. And this group should be mounting a ferocious opposition to Murphy.


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  7. Frank, everyone wants to do well. The Self-Reliance Ethic is derived from Original Sin. What it means is making people believe that their own drives, desires, and inclinations are wrong. So instead they have to suppress these and submit to the Self-Reliance Ethic. This means serving an outside master system, rather than following their own inclinations.

    So it is because people have been so maimed in the name of the Self-Reliance Ethic, that they end up in Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, Recovery, Healing, Motivationalism, and Evangelical Churches. They go to these things because they believe that there is something wrong with them, rather than wrong with the world they live in.

    And though the Self-Reliance Ethic is what our society is predicated on, the institution which is entrusted to main children in its name is the Middle-Class Family. This is why we have pedagogy manuals which talk about things like Compassion, Empathy, Attachment, and Communications Skills, to make the maiming of children go more smoothly.

    Einstein’s, Mozart’s, and Elon Musk’s get turned into Homer Simpson’s.

    Welfare is necessary because our social and economic system gives many people nothing. It has always been like this since Capitalism started in the 1600’s.

    Extremely good book explaining this, and explaining why and how welfare is used to regulate the poor, not to provide for the needs of the poor:

    Having the poor being subjected to ritual humiliations is what keeps the rest of the work force in line, and especially in the public sector. And of course it is the Middle-Class Family which prepares people to submit to this kind of control.

    We used to get our poor scapegoats from immigrants and racial minorities who did low wage labor and slave labor. But now in the information age there is much less need for such labor.

    So now we get our scapegoats directly from the Middle-Class Family, and Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Religion all play a critical role in creating these scapegoats.

    I had the distinct privilege of helping to put one such father into our state prison. He was maiming his children. With the girls he was using a tried and proven method, sexual molestation. And with a son he was using the Psychiatric System, getting the boy removed from the home and from school, under the pretext that he had a ~~Brain Chemical Imbalance~~ and that he would need to be on mind destroying drugs for the rest of his life.

    Now I want to strike at more and bigger targets, and I want Comrades. I have zero tolerance for Commiserators, because they are back stabbers. But what this all comes down to is being able to find Comrades, because they will fight shoulder to shoulder with me.


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    • The original sin was once an explanation for madness. I don’t really see self-reliance as originating with original sin. I see self-reliance as a great improvement over relying on people who don’t have one’s best interests in mind, and that includes the vast majority of people on this planet because, bluntly, most of them are too busy looking after their own interests. I think it only makes common sense to say, rely on others at your own peril. You can’t, as a rule, rely on them, although you can, as a rule, rely on yourself.

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      • Frank,

        You and I interacted a great deal on the regular forums. I guess I don’t communicate very well, because clearly we are not understanding each other.

        Everyone wants to do well. For one thing, because they want to win the respect of friends and family

        The Self-Reliance Ethic is a Capitalist Over Coding. It is a bogus ethic because it is unnecessary. Everyone wants to be great, so they want to do what will yield that.

        But rather than allow this to be, our society entrusts the Middle-Class Family with instilling the Self-Reliance Ethic. And just as it is with Original-Sin, the Self-Reliance Ethic means making people believe that their own inclinations and drives are wrong, bad.

        So it is a bogus teaching, completely bogus, just like with Original Sin.


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        • I don’t think ” the Self-Reliance Ethic means making people believe that their own inclinations and drives are wrong, bad”. That would be, in fact, an Other-Reliance Ethic instead. I do agree that there is much wrong and bad, often times, in what is expected of people, but again, this is when those expectations come from outside of the self rather than from within.

          I’m not making any generalizations about what everyone wants to do. You are talking two things here, on the one hand about pleasing one self, and on the other, about pleasing others. It is possible for both to be at odds, and as in Paris William’s book, Rethinking Psychiatry, perhaps the best we can expect is a compromise of one with the other.

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  8. There is a problem with the tenets of critical disability that cannot be ignored and that is–it ultimately dissolves into liberalism and as such, is not “critical” at all. To ignore materialism with respect to psvchiatry makes perfect sense since there is no material difference between the people labeled mentally ill and the people labeled “mentally healthy” (though the damage created by the drugs eventually shifts this). To ignore it where materiality does make a difference (e.g., lungs that don’t breathe) is a whole different matter. How convenient to pretend it is a social construct when our polluting of the environment is involved. By so labeling it, we don’t have to stop the polluting. How convenient for those of us in the global north to say that it is a social construct, when our pollution of the environment and the wars that we foster create the material problems experienced by people in the global south–a reality that we can then ignore. There is a likewise a problem equating what people who are labeled “mentally ill” go through with the word “disability” –an equation, note, that we forget to our detriment, originated with psychiatry itself.

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    • Thanks for the substantive critique.

      To ignore it where materiality does make a difference (e.g., lungs that don’t breathe) is a whole different matter. How convenient to pretend it is a social construct when our polluting of the environment is involved. By so labeling it, we don’t have to stop the polluting. How convenient for those of us in the global north to say that it is a social construct, when our pollution of the environment and the wars that we foster create the material problems experienced by people in the global south–a reality that we can then ignore.

      This^ is chilling. Why would the social model of disability necessarily preclude addressing the causes of impairments that lead to disability?

      There is a likewise a problem equating what people who are labeled “mentally ill” go through with the word “disability” –an equation, note, that we forget to our detriment, originated with psychiatry itself.

      Right, but as pretend physicians, psychiatrists have assumed that so-called “mental illnesses” are diseases and that those who experience the worst of them are therefore disabled in the sense of the medical model of disability. There are people who are at least temporarily unable to work due to impairments that psychiatry would label as symptoms of “mental illness.” If we say that they are not disabled in any sense, then how do we as a society recognize that they need social support in order to survive capitalism?

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      • Your getting closer here to what I think is or should be the point, or at least one of them.

        Again, “unable to work” is not substantially different than “unable to juggle marbles with your feet while standing on your head,” neither of which I consider a “disability” in the sense of being a defect in the way one is supposed to function. “Work” can mean anything from farming and carpentry to standing on an assembly line making skittles; performing or refusing unspecified “work” should not be a standard for judging human character or ability.

        “Social support in order to survive capitalism” is to me a much better way of describing what is needed and how it should be defined. But such an approach should be considered a Band-Aid measure (if people can handle the metaphor) pending the conscious end of capitalist rule. Of course such a genuine and honest approach would be fought by the industry and government tooth & nail, who would likely define any such political analysis as a symptom of mass “anosognosia” on our part.

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        • The “mental illness” industry has less of a problem hiring “patients” and “ex-patients” than other workplaces as doing so supports the “mental illness” industry and its expansionist aims. This is because much “mental disability” is imaginary disability. “Social disability” is actually a euphemism for prejudice. Were we putting on a play, it might as well be a tragedy as a comedy because everybody takes off their costumes in the end and goes home. Designing this disaster, and resource drain, on the other hand, leaves one with a major question. When you could be doing anything else, why?

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          • “Social disability” is actually a euphemism for prejudice.

            I would have to agree in principle, just as I would with the notion of “stigma” being defined as other’s bigotry towards the psychiatrically labeled.

            However, the onus for correcting either “social disability” or “stigma” is not on those affected, but those who employ such prejudice as a justification to negatively impact the lives of others “for their own good.”

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          • I don’t see it as such a one way street myself, OldHead. There is what is referred to as “learned helplessness” and “internalized oppression”, and the system is busy spreading it’s propaganda 24/7. I’d think the problem is one of not holding people accountable in both lanes rather than simply in one lane. Psychiatry exists because people pay for it. Did nobody pay for it, you’d have no psychiatry. Ditto, psychology and social work. I think consciousness raising is necessary before people grasp the craziness of the “mental illness” industry. Psychiatry kills, but only because folks are allowing it to kill. Conscious killing is murder. Turning a blind eye, aiding and abetting. Not being cognizant in this matter, nope, that’s only ignorance, and while it may be bliss, it isn’t the solution.

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      • because to try to stop t is to admit that disability has a material side. Please note in this regard that people with a social only model of disabiity have labeled people like Breggin and I who object to electroshock because it is brain-damaging ableist. This is what we are up against.

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        • Suggesting that there is no “mental illness”, and that people might be doing something with their lives besides receiving “treatment” will arouse an accusation from some quarters of “stigmatizing” people presumed to have such a condition, and not only that, psychiatrists are apt to accuse one of “stigmatizing” their profession if one knocks wholesale labeling and drugging. Obesity, heart conditions, diabetes, tardive dyskinesia, etc., etc., etc. Certainly if one doesn’t have a physical problem to begin with, psychiatric treatment can result in one, and as the bard might add, there’s the rub. Imagine replacing the maxim, “first, do no harm” with the maxim, ‘first, do harm’. You’d think they’d get it, that is, that a concern for people’s physical health is not such a bad thing at all.

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        • people with a social only model of disabiity have labeled people like Breggin and I who object to electroshock because it is brain-damaging ableist.

          Their assertion is clearly ridiculous. Do you have any links for this, and/or further reading?

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    • I certainly would never want to trivialize disability issues, or ignore the environmental harms and other abuses which are causing them.

      But on the other hand, I do think that most of the consequences of having a disability are socially created. Consider for example ADHD, Asperger’s, Autism. As far as I can see, mostly all it is is that your parents or your school teachers do not like you, find you to be an embarrassment, or find you to be a problem. And then there are White Coats who have made disability labeling into a professional specialty.

      So for example, the Autism Self Advocacy Network promotes this idea of “Neurological Difference” and then “Neuro Diversity”.

      I think this is nuts. The only reason that I could ever see for intelligent people going along with that is that they want to make sure they don’t undermine their claim to disability money. So while I do want them to get that money, I still do not go along with their approach at all.

      As far as I can see, the best response to anyone trying to apply a disability label is just to say,

      “So do you wanna make something out of it?”

      Because anything less than that means that you are letting them apply something which is always a stigma, and which there really is not objective basis in either, and serves no constructive purpose whatsoever.

      Now, some have asked me about disability labels like paralyzed or blind. And again, there are some who reject these labels. And then, the issue is so obvious that there is no reason to talk about it. And I feel again that the main consequences of such conditions are entirely socially created.

      1. feeling that the disability implies some sort of moral failing.
      2. unwillingness to provide the required degree of assistance to allow the person to do the things which they can.

      So I feel that the labels are negative and accusatory, and that they should be aggressively rejected.

      And of course no one should ever submit to Psychotherapy, Recovery, or Salvation Seeking, as these are simply ways of further abusing survivors, the quintessential second rape.

      Until we reject such further abuses, we will never be able to organize, and we have to organize or we will never be able to take effective action.


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      • Well, Nomadic, first thing, if this or that psychiatric label is, by and large, bogus, then so must be some of this “disability”, “mental disability” being a corollary to “mental illness”.. Liberalism is about spending, but there is a crippling that accompanies this spending at the same time. People are encouraged to claim a “mental disability” rather than to work, and some of this brokenness is, bluntly, contrived. Now, after all, “not working”, for people fully capable of working, becomes an option. There are many ethical questions one can ask about this matter. When I say bogus I’m saying that this type of thinking is based upon a lie. A person isn’t incapable of being a contributing member of society because a person isn’t a contributing member of society. The question becomes, how do we give these people a meaningful purpose in life, such as, a job, a function, once that meaningful purpose has been taken from them? I don’t think “dysfunction”, all in all, represents a meaningful purpose in life, and when any sort of meaningful purpose in life has been taken from a person, of course, you’ve got a term for this lack of meaningful purpose in life, and that term is “mentally illness”. My objection is to the welfare statism that facilitates robbing people, on a large scale, of that meaningful purpose in life, and based upon an out and out lie, that lie being a purely subjective leap to judgment regarding a person’s “capacity” or lack thereof.

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        • “Welfare statism” is a capitalist bugaboo term. “Work” is not equivalent to wage labor, which is a characteristic of capitalism. I’m working right now writing this. I’m not getting monetarily compensated for it, so it’s not recognized as work.

          Having a ‘”job” is not equivalent to contributing to society or humanity, and is often achieving the opposite. Manufacturing Styrofoam cups might bring in a “living” wage but also destroys ocean life. Why is that preferable to collecting a welfare check?

          If “ability” is defined in terms of how well we serve the interests of capital maybe we’re all better off “disabled.”

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          • I think there are many, many underemployed people in the mental health system, and soaking up social security, who would rather be doing something interesting with their time that they were also getting paid to do. We’ve heard these rumors of the social security drying up, and recently there was this matter of a trillion dollar debt. A lot of underemployment is, much like those matters, just not good economic sense. I don’t think, for instance, that Mary Barnes was in a better place before she got a little bit of recognition as an artist. Isn’t it curious that people don’t make so much of freeloaders. I wonder why that is.

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          • We’ve heard these rumors of the social security drying up, and recently there was this matter of a trillion dollar debt.

            It’s not our debt, we don’t run this corporation. Though make no mistake, the oligarchs will try to pay their bills by reaching into our pockets.

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  9. Hey, I think we should just spend more money on war toys and overseas adventures…and then blame ‘welfare’!

    You sound like a sad, lonely and rigid person Frank. Compassion and human kindness seem incompatible with your world view. So sorry for whatever it is that happened to you that makes you so bitter.

    Maybe they should put you in charge of handing out the Black Pill. I’m ready for it~

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      • What is it about Jill not Hill that you don’t understand? I didn’t vote for Reagan when he ran, but running didn’t remove him from the human race in any event. Wavy Gravy campaigned to put nobody in the white house, and maybe that’s more my speed. Non-loser, or not, you won’t see me voting for Trump either, but I think we’ve got way too much corporate control in D.C. to begin with. As far as I’m concerned, he can take his business elsewhere. I’m certainly not buying what he selling (nor am I his bought puppet for that matter). That’s right. My apologies, Uprising. Whoever you think I am. I’m not a Trump Tea Partier, or whatever it is you’re imagining of me.

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          • I’m not really one to promote a permanent vacation for bunches of slouches. I just think it’s stupid, and if my welfare bashing is only knee-jerk, I hope to do better than that at some point or other. Shakespeare said all the world’s a stage, and I think that’s the thing about politics. Let’s say we cast these people as riff raff, and those people as pillars of society. It’s rather like putting on a production of Romeo and Juliet where the male leads playing Romeo and Mercutio exchange parts over consecutive nights. Don Juan and his servant, too. The riff raff and the pillars can do the same because what we’re basically dealing with is a farce. Sure, Alexander took this role, and those countries. However,, in those countries, it’s called oppression, and now there is a move to separate from his empire. It isn’t a mystery now that Julius Caesar took off on Alexander’s success, and the road away from Rome leads naturally enough to Napoleon, and from Napoleon to Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. It is no coincidence that Jesus Christ was crucified two Caesars on from Julius. He was called the king of the Jews, and these Jews were servants of the Romans. Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre-Dame was elected Pope of Fools during a Festival of Fools, but maybe there is a place for that kind of thing, too. Quasimodo was deaf and dumb, but still he knew his place. He was the bell ringer at Notre Dame. There must be some kind of pride in that.

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  10. Frank, what Oldhead is saying is correct. We are all workers, whether we are getting paid or not.

    Multitude is based on this idea:

    Liberalism does not mean spending. In other countries what it means is laissez-faire, it means allowing Capitalism to run rampant.

    In the US what it means is trying to effect change or reform, like ending unjust wars, or remedying the effects of prejudice. And sometimes this does cost money.

    Original Sin is a doctrine which says that you are trying to turn away from God. But it is bogus, because no one would ever want to turn away from God, and even more importantly, no one ever could. The sun shines on everyone. And God would never do any less.

    Likewise, the Self-Reliance Ethic is bogus. It is based on the doctrine of Original Sin, as it is simply an attempt to convince someone that their impulses and inclinations are wrong, and that instead they need to suppress these.

    And so this is how the Middle-Class Family has arisen, in the service of Capitalism. And it’s function is to scar and maim children. And when for some reason it fails, then we have Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, Recovery, Evangelicals, and Motivationalism, in order to further denigrate and maim those who somehow managed to escaoe the full effect.

    Everyone wants to do well. Telling people to rely on themselves is just an idiotic insult. Just like with Original Sin and Self-Reliance, you are accusing people of a failing in a way which no one ever could.

    As far as the mental health system, and Murphy, I say we must present a strident front:

    1. Total rejection of all Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, Recovery, Motivationalism, Life Coaching, and Evangelization.

    2. Direct condemnation of the mental health system, specifically showing that is it is just preying on the survivors of childhood abuses, making them feel that they have some kind of a problem, and that they should not fight back.

    3. A core warrior caste which rejects all alcohol, street drugs, tobacco, and is instead committed to fighting back.

    4. Protest in front of hospitals and clinics, and the offices of Suicide and Crisis Telephone Lines ( these tend to be the worst of the worst )

    5. Let people sign “no psychotherapy or psychiatry cards”, and offer immediate legal intervention when ever this is violated, and promise that those clinicians who try to hid their identities will be outted in name and picture.

    6. Lawsuits upon lawsuits, against the mental health system and against abuser parents. Let the survivors have Vindication, instead of Victimhood. This is what is really missing in their lives and this is the key for people being able to have a new chance.

    7. We, the Survivors of the Middle – Class Family, start setting up our own adult communes, to let people have worthwhile work and living opportunities, Bio Political Power, not Bio Power. And start our own Foster Care Group Homes. What exists not is horrid because it is designed to defend the Middle-Class Family. What we set up will be phenomenal, because it will be set up to destroy the Middle-Class Family.

    8. And always make it clear that the draconian parts of the mental health system and of Murphy, will never be enforceable, because we will fight them using all available means.



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  11. OldHead says he is doing unpaid “work” when he makes a comment on a webpage.

    Do you know how many people there are commenting on webpages?

    Wow! What “workaholics” we are as a nation!

    Were I to go to a city park, and swing on a swing, I could call that unpaid “work”, too.

    There may be original crimes or bad acts, but there is no God. Attributing good or bad to any acts is a human matter, and should be dealt with from that perspective. We didn’t fall from anything approaching perfection. Perfection is an abstraction.

    (I could get into mommy/daddy birds and bees type stuff here, too, but I think that’s unnecessary.)

    Everyone may want to do well, as you put it. Of course, everyone doesn’t always “succeed” at doing “well”. Plus, everyone may not have such good intentions as you imagine them having. Some folks do bad. The main concern some folks have is profiteering at the expense of this fool or that.

    Self-reliance is a pragmatic matter. Other reliance requires trust, and I think people are more often bound by a sense of obligation and duty than they are by trust. Rely on somebody who is untrustworthy, and you get swindled. One more reason to rely on oneself.

    Yes, we must reject the mental health system. It is a form of subjugation. Repulsion from it = health. Attraction to it = a formula for disaster.

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    • Frank, the world is basically social. So yes, our society is filled with people doing unpaid work.

      And in fact, most of them take far less out of our society than the people who are doing paid work. Many of them actually do contribute a great deal.

      People want to do that which will gain them admiration. They only give up on that and start to want to take advantage of others when their efforts are long thwarted.

      The Middle-Class Family is the main institution for teaching the taking advantage of people. I teaches that you can’t do great things, so you just have to get money and try to look good. And the way it teaches this is by example. Children don’t need to be lectured too, as they can see the examples. And most of all, they see that in the Middle-Class Family, people have children in order to make themselves look good.

      And we have a system of permanent structural abuses in the Psychiatric, Psychotherapy, and Recovery System. All based on further abusing the survivors of familial abuses, though almost never do these survivors understand this, because of the Self-Reliance Ethic.


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      • Again, I don’t see the problem as being one of self-reliance, psychiatry, psychotherapy, etc., being primarily examples of ‘other-reliance’. I don’t think they stem from any Self-Reliance Ethic. You don’t get “adult children” out of a Self-Reliance Ethic. You get them from a capsizing of any Self-Reliance Ethic.

        I’m not knocking volunteerism, but the world runs on money. The difference between amateur and professional is determined by whether one takes in money or not, that is, whether one relies on what one does to make a living for oneself, or whether the money that pays one’s way comes from another source.

        I have my own gripe with the system because the system can get people jobs within itself, but it can’t get people jobs outside of it. This is how the system expands. You’ve got more paraprofessional mental health workers, and having such, you can support a larger “patient/consumer” population of people “buying/consuming” “services”. Were it to do more to get people jobs outside of the “mental health” system you might see a shrinking system rather than the current “mental ill health” epidemic/”crisis” we’ve got.

        I think people trapped within the “mental health” and “social security disability” systems, often times, really do want to work and bring home the bacon. I think that it is usually prejudice that prevents them from doing so. By ‘bringing home the bacon’ I don’t mean receive a check from the government because they are thought incapable of doing real work. I’d like to see people fulfilling themselves within the workforce, not necessarily, outside of it.

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    • Any form of writing is work. Just that writing as a vocation is undervalued. Hence the scarcity of renumeration.

      The amateur textbox commentators are often to be found all over the internet, expending a great deal of blood sweat and tears, information, humour, basic human capital, voluntarily, with no financial reward.

      But do not be mistaken that such activities generally are generating capital in some way or other.

      Of course, such pursuits can become an addiction in themselves. I suppose the material reward then is egoic, or narcissistic. I’m not sure. All I know is an expert wouldn’t be willing to answer me below the line. There’s too little in it!

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  12. Fucking give it a rest, Frank.

    We get your little obsession; too bad you have nothing to say about the 1% who offshore their ‘assets’ and pay zip in the way of taxes.

    O, right, you don’t believe in taxes…cuz you don’t use Medicare or drive on roads or go to your local library…you are totally self-sufficient and are now able to direct us slouches from you palatial estate about the error of our filthy ways.

    I so want to be in a ‘movement’ with you…

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  13. Hi Liat,

    it appears I live down the road from you in the Buckeye State.

    Anyway…my wife has d.i.d. Sadly even though ISSTD understands this disorder is trauma-based, they seem just as entrenched in their ways as those who subscribe to the biomedical model for most other mental health issues. After 6 years of blogging my wife’s healing journey using attachment theory and the unparalleled progress she has made, I have found ZERO signs of ‘working in partnership.” I have been completely rebuffed in all my attempts to reach out to both the ISSTD group and the attachment theory group of experts. Maybe some day that will change, but I see no signs of the experts having any curiosity how those of us in the trenches are doing things, and I might add, doing things that they say ‘can’t even be done’.
    Take care,

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  14. If we talk about all that is wrong about psych meds and how they make people worse instead of better, does that mean that we have already accepted that they are in need of some kind of fixing, therapy or recovery?

    If so, then I say that such discussions are wrong.

    Saying that psych meds are bad and should be completely eliminated is fine. But saying that they make people worse instead of better?

    First of all, that sounds like debating the merits and demerits of some kind of chemical abuse. We should not be doing that. Instead we should be calling for 100% rejection of psych meds and immediate arrest and criminal prosecution of anyone who gives them to anyone involuntarily.

    We should be picketing out in front of every hospital in the country.

    Hardly any of the ‘symptoms’ of psychological distress may correctly be seen as medical matters. The so-called psychiatric ‘disorders’ are nothing to do with faulty biology, nor indeed are they the outcome of individual moral weakness or other personal failing. They are the creation of the social world in which we live, and that world is structured by power.
    Social power may be defined as the means of obtaining security or advantage, and it will be exercised within any given society in a variety of forms: coercive (force), economic (money power) and ideological (the control of meaning). Power is the dynamic which keeps the social world in motion. It may be used for good or for ill.
    One cannot hope to understand the phenomena of psychological distress, nor begin to think what can be done about them, without an analysis of how power is distributed and exercised within society. Such an understanding is the focus of this web-site.

    If someone is trying to live in a world where their social identity has been voided, they will feel continual distress, because they are always at risk, and always facing persecution. If they are not careful, they will end up on the therapist’s couch or getting chemically abused.

    The remedy for a voided social identity is always political and legal action. And usually this is impossible alone, as it requires comrades.

    So if we talk about whether psychiatric medications make people worse or better, and see that it is always that they are being made worse, then aren’t we still legitimating the psychiatrist’s efforts, but merely repudiating his means?

    Aren’t we still saying that these patients have some kind of a problem and need to be fixed / cured? So then isn’t such talk about psychiatric medications, where they could be legitimated if they actually worked, wrong?

    Shouldn’t we instead be showing that what is being attempted is wrong from the start, besides just critiquing the means?

    Easier to talk here:


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  15. Frank, the Self-Reliance Ethic is Other-Reliance. It means using shame and humiliation to convince a child that its desires and instincts are wrong, and that instead it must submit to normative social standards. So rather than Other-Reliance, you could say it is Other-Submission.

    This is how Einstein’s get turned into Homer Simpson’s. And the fall out from this is people in Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, Recovery, and Evangelical Religion.

    And it is just like Original Sin, because that entails convincing a child that by its own desires and abilities that it is operating in defiance of God.

    The reason we have so much of this is that Capitalism needs scapegoats at the bottom to make the people in the middle comply. These scapegoats used to be found in the immigrants and minorities who did cheap labor and slave labor.

    But now in the information age, the need for labor is less. So our society wants people in disability and welfare, and locked in psych wards and prisons.

    Easier to talk here, please join:


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