MIA in the Year 2017


We have always conceived of Mad in America as a forum for a community to come together and “rethink” psychiatry and its current paradigm of care. This past year was our first operating as a 501c3, and the support we received from our readers and from charitable foundations has reinforced and strengthened this sense of our mission. As such, we thought it would be useful to briefly review how we expanded our operations in the past year, and detail our ambitions for 2017.

Highlights of 2016

Website redesign
When we started Mad in America in 2011, we created a “front page” that was modeled after a three-column newspaper front. That format had grown worn out, and thus we decided to redesign our site in 2016, with the intention of adopting a web magazine format that could better feature an array of news, blogs, drug info, educational courses, initiatives, and video reports.

We hired an outside design group to help us with this task, with the implementation guided by our operations manager Chris Page. We launched the redesign in early October, and now strive to publish a summary of a research finding every weekday, and to publish at least five new blogs each week. The fruit of this redesign is already being seen in increased readership numbers, particularly since Yahoo now frequently highlights our blogs and research summaries. All total, in 2016 we had 1.6 million unique visitors, who viewed 3.6 million pages.

We also redesigned our MIA Continuing Education website and decided to make all of these lectures free, with the hope that we can support this effort through voluntary donations. The number of people signing up for the courses has increased dramatically following this redesign, with more than 600 having done so in the last 10 weeks. 

Strengthening our reviews of scientific findings
We now have a team of Ph.D. students in clinical psychology at UMASS Boston, working under the direction of Justin Karter, who provide us with summaries of research findings five times a week. This team has also contributed to the drug-info resources on MIA, as they recently completed surveys of research studies related to withdrawal from different classes of psychiatric drugs.

MIA global affiliates
In 2016, two affiliate Mad in America sites were launched. A collective in Spain, composed of professionals and people with lived experience, created Madinamerica—Hispanohablante for readers in Spain and throughout Central and South America. Mad in Brasil was founded by Paulo Amarante and Fernando de Freitas, both of whom have been leaders in Brazilian mental health for years.

Our Goals for 2017

Journalism projects
We have set our sights on a very concrete goal in 2017: We want to develop the resources to do our own reporting on mental health topics. This will involve commissioning print articles and conducting an ambitious video project, which will seek to give voice to the voiceless: youth in the foster care system, graduates of the foster care system, and others who are in the psychiatric system but rarely heard from. In addition, we want this journalistic effort to feature reports on alternative approaches that are being developed and are producing good results.

MIA Education
In 2017, we expect to hold live webinars for the first time (in place of simply filming guest lectures). We intend to promote these lectures to a wide audience; our executive director, Bob Nikkel, is making outreach to provider agencies a priority in 2017. 

Building up our resources

We will continue to improve our resources in this way:

  • This past week, we launched a directory of providers who will work with people interested in tapering from psychiatric medications.
  • We will publish papers on the long-term effects of antidepressants and stimulants. (In 2016, we published a similar paper on antipsychotics.)
  • In the next two months, we expect to launch a section on drug-withdrawal resources and also a section on alternative resources for parents. This latter resource will be developed by Eric Maisel.
  • We expect to broaden our roster of bloggers. Deron Drumm is now serving as an editor for bloggers devoted to holistic psychiatry; Olga Runciman is serving as a roving global editor, recruiting, in particular, leaders in psychiatric survivor movements in Europe and beyond to write for MIA.

Editorial changes

We also have a few editorial changes to announce.

Kermit Cole and Louisa Putnam will head our video journalism project in 2017. Kermit has served as the managing editor of Mad in America since its inception in 2011, but now will become an “editor-at-large,” directing this video project, while continuing to contribute to the editing of blogs.

Emmeline Mead, who has been our editor for personal stories, will become our managing editor. As such, she will have editorial responsibility for both personal stories, blogs, and initiatives.

Emily Cutler will begin working as our front page editor in the next week. In this role, she will help manage the blogs section, and our social media efforts.

Hana Valle will continue as our moderator.

A Thank You to Our Supporters

A 2016 financial report for Mad in American Foundation can be found here. As 2016 was our first as a 501c3, we operated in a very cautious manner, intent on making certain that we would enter 2017 with funds to support our operations through the first six months of the year. We accomplished that goal, and now have our sights set on raising the funds needed to expand our operations in 2017, and in particular, needed to support our original journalism efforts.

We have been moved by the support from our readers during this past year. We want to thank everyone who contributed to Mad in America Foundation in 2016, and hope that you will continue to support us in 2017.


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


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


  1. Thank you Bob, and thanks to all your colleagues at MIA who have had such a successful 2016.

    Knowledge, Understanding, and Hope are found here.

    These are the critical success factors for the continued survival of those who themselves, or whose loved ones, have suffered so terribly from the arrogance, dogma and inflexibility of the casual and careless prescribers, who impose psychotropic drugging by deception, coercion and enforcement.

    Sir William Osler observed: –
    “The greater the ignorance, the greater the dogmatism”.

    These words appear bespoke for those detractors who fear and contest your great humane and compassionate endeavour.

    Retired Consultant Physician. U.K.

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  2. Keeping my fingers crossed. MIA has been a great gift to the movement against psychiatric oppression, and its existence in any form is a positive. I hope I will have an emergency-free window this year during which I will be able to make a somewhat meaningful monetary contribution.

    The website redesign is not my area of expertise, at least in technical terms, but if it facilitates a wider readership I’m all for it. There was an email promised to explain it all when it was finished, so it’s unclear whether the redo is considered complete. If so, there’s no way to access the comments archive for individual posters. For people with reams of commentary going back years this presents a problem, so I hope we can look forward to its return; also to the inclusion of the first line of posts referred to in the “recent comments” feature. I haven’t brought it up with Chris page directly, just thought I’d mention it.

    I hope MIA will resist the tendency to confuse progressive thought with policing people’s commentary based on their semantics or their perspectives, rather than encouraging people to recognize the interrelatedness of all struggles against systemic oppression. I’m not talking about overt, intentional hate speech, but that which reflects a less-than-conscious understanding of something. I reject the use of the term “politically correct” to describe this, because there is nothing remotely correct about what some refer to as “identity politics,” or taking a position that one is more enlightened than the stupid ignorant people being preached to. (This is the mentality that got Trump elected btw.) I hope the reference to “social justice” in the new logo — a term which frequently seems to be hijacked — does not portend a move towards the sort of tokenism which would, for example, judge MIA’s commitment to “diversity” based on the number of Black faces in the list of writers, rather than on the acuity of an individual writer’s understanding of racism and psychiatry’s historic role in perpetuating and enforcing it.

    Lastly and mostly, thanks Bob for everything you’ve done and continue to do, there are no words which are truly adequate and I won’t try. I look forward to some real movement over the coming year.

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  3. I think the most important new area to look into is lawyers. People need to be filing strategic lawsuits, because tort law is mostly just case precedent. In a civilized society, you can’t solve disputes by violence. But you can’t solve them in a Psychotherapist’s Office either. You solve disputes in the Civil and Probate Courts. So people need lists of public interest minded attorneys, and they need to understand where the current high water marks are.

    What they don’t need is talk about Therapy, Recovery and Healing, because all that amounts to is turning people’s problems back against them and trying to convince them that their problems originate inside their own heads. Showing any such support then is always also a support for Psychiatry, and the next newest drug, and the sometimes need for forced treatment.

    There is a new field of litigation, “Psychotherapist Abuse”. So while we should be opposing all Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, this is still a step forwards. So we should be following all such progress.

    Likewise we need to be suing parents, because all the mental health system does is cover up for child abuse. It always seems to start by the “othering” of a child.

    And then in some places now they are talking about building homeless shelters out of shipping containers and having on site mental health services. Concentration Camps / Mental Hospitals!

    In the US:

    Dysfunctional Family -> Therapy, Recovery, Healing, Getting Saved

    In British Columbia:

    Dysfunctional Family -> Lawyer

    The bottom line with all dysfunctional families is that such abuse and neglect inhibit the development of healthy adults with healthy relationships. As adults, such people often have difficulty in judging and trusting others and themselves. They often experience difficulties in their workplace, in their relationships and with their very identities.

    What is more, in the world of the estate litigation, they are often disinherited.



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    • YES!!!!!! Thanks, Frank. The yapping on and on about drug harms only serves to minimize the greater harm of being seen as MI in the first place. The drugs are only recently in the forefront, the past few decades. How can folks be so short-sighted? Therapy itself is so harmful. It causes addiction and dependency.

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      • Before I went on psych meds, I had some horrible experiences with therapists. But the two I had when I suffered through horrible side effects were life savers.

        Another psychologist I saw for career counseling was very supportive regarding my tapering off of psych meds. There is no doubt in my mind that if I had seen her for counseling, I would have been happy with the match. Unfortunately, I quit seeing her because her office wasn’t convenient to get to.

        I just think we have to be careful about making generalizations although I do understand the concerns expressed in the thread.

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        • I wasn’t on psychiatric drugs until I was incarcerated in a psychiatric facility. Getting off psychiatric drugs was merely a matter of being discharged from that psychiatric facility.

          I’m not saying I wasn’t duped into taking psychiatric drugs for a short period by the mental health profession. I am saying that my experience on those drugs was such that I came to the conclusion that whatever problems I had, the drugs were making them worse.

          You were talking to a psychologist for career counseling. Okay. Was your career wounded? Would a drug fix that? Mental health treatment has become a gateway into work in the disability field. Employers are not hiring people who have been incarcerated in psychiatric facilities except in the field of mental health work. I’d call that corruption after a fashion.

          People do best who are ‘left alone’ by the psycho-pharmaceutical industrial complex. So much for psychiatric interventions.

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          • I could have used some practical advice regarding my music career instead of all that talk about “emotions” back in 1981. I didn’t need emotional support. I needed someone to give me some practical assistance figuring out how on earth a young Jewish woman could break into the music composition field, which at the time, was overrun by Dead White Guys. Back then, being smart, Jewish, and female was not even allowed. You couldn’t exist.

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          • I know it can be hard. Apparently this country is not ready for a woman head of state yet either, but I think there is reason for optimism. Homo sapiens may be the misnomer it seems to be, nonetheless, I see progress being made over the course of time. Just think, it wasn’t until 1920 that woman gained the right to vote in the states. I think we will all be able to take that somewhere eventually. When it comes to the mental health system, too, you have people suffering from all sorts of oppressive situations, even oppressive situations that aren’t recognized as such. Rich bosses, even though sometimes they seem to be, aren’t everything.

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  4. Good going. Now, if you had a provision to take currency in Indian rupees, I would have already donated money periodically (albeit small amounts that I can afford). But seeing as I have to set up a PayPal account to convert it into US dollars, I haven’t been able to make any contributions. I will try to set up a PayPal account.

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  5. Dear Bob and crew, I am grateful to this site because back in 2013 I didn’t even know there were other people out there who knew the things I knew. When I discovered MIA it was like a godsend. I am happy that I made friends here and found others.

    However, I am more and more being shoved aside here. Whatever I have to give is not wanted at all. Mostly it is because of the overemphasis on psychiatric drugs and MIA’s refusal to acknowledge the whole picture. Also, MIA repeatedly upholds the authority of those with PhD’s and MD’s in MH-type fields as “experts” over those who have really lived this thing. This is totally false, and should end. I cannot participate in glorifying these non-experts any longer, nor encouraging others to do so. I cannot support MIA for continuing this lie as growing forefront in the media.

    Again, while I agree with the mission, who really has the authority to tell this story authentically and honestly? If we are to look back on the Nazi Holocaust, whom do we believe? The textbooks, the college professors, the lecturers, the politicians, the advertisers, the banks, some website, or your grandma and aunts who were imprisoned there?


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        • Firstly, IMHO, the columnists are very important. Without the columnists, this website will become a land of posts by those perceived as “disgruntled patient groups”.

          We are free to evaluate and criticize what is held up as evidence. As an example, you can see some of my posts here.

          Also, think of it from a practical point of view, if you want to leave the system, as bad as it sounds, you may need the help of someone in the system.

          Apart from columnists, the website allows people to write of their own experiences.

          People’s voices should not be stifled (and sometimes people can write things here in a lot of distress, as I have, and I also [not-hopefully] may in the future). However, the presence of such columnists can be of mutual benefit to both them and us.

          In fact, what if people embroiled in legal cases with psychiatric subject matter in them need lawyers who understand the nuances of psychiatric terminology? What if people need the kind of doctors on MIA? People like that writing here, engaging here can be mutually useful.

          How can we know the system and protect ourselves without those in the system writing about it?

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          • We need all that to change. Even in the court system, which is corrupt as we know, the word of a psychiatrist as OPINION is upheld as expert witness. That’s insanity in itself. I have personally known forensic psychiatrists and I can tell you they are just as idiotic and do not hold any more expertise nor are any wiser than bartenders or hairdressers in human nature and human frailty.

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          • A famous forensic psychiatrist once told me I was “faking my eating disorder.” This guy’s word holds up in court, that is, his damn opinion, that has the power to put people away for life. What can I do except laugh? If I could get on the witness stand I’d blast him away.

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          • You’re right, but how would you win such a case without a competent lawyer who can defend you?

            Second, don’t you think the presence of lawyers who are willing to fight for the right thing and against fraudulent legal cases which are muddled up with deceptive DSM jargon (for example, an abusive spouse accusing the other of being a schizophrenic or an abusive parent whose child ended up in the legal system and is psychiatrically labelled, fraudulently manipulating the DSM labels attached to the child or making false allegations with psychiatric subject matter etc.) would be an asset?

            If the people in these systems don’t speak about it and more importantly don’t work against it, how will you change it? Guns? Knives? They don’t work. You will be shot. Unfortunately, money and authority are the only things that work in the real world.

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          • I’m not saying those with a bunch of degrees should be silenced but those with lived experience should be more visible, and if we are only here as tokens, then, well, we’re not upheld as the real experts. So this is perpetuating the myth of who the real experts are. Not only that, it’s perpetuating the “brain” myth all over again. it’s continuing the false belief that all this happens due to a brain defect that only some specialized field can handle, some person with a higher degree that the sufferer and sufferer’s family cannot possibly have. Some 800 number, some “help” out there, and therefore, the dichotomy persists and is upheld. No, this needs to be knocked down, we need something else. We need strong communities, strength within, not another 800 number, not more Welfare, not more agencies, not more “services.” Strong communities, more sense of belonging, friendship, caring, and love. And that cannot come from outside expertise, because the expert is YOU.

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          • Yes, this is very true, But who is upheld as “experts” here. MH professionals rule the land here as experts. We do not see enough attorneys posting here, and I really wish we had MORE posts by attorneys. Not only that, we need many many more attorneys. Hundreds, thousands!!!! I wish we could somehow develop, say, a law school that taught student lawyers to specialize in all sorts of psych, so they would come out ready to take on these cases, all specialized in drugs, abuse, threats, sectioning, force, restraints, sexual abuse, spousal related to psych, taking dx off charts, wrongful care, incorrect care, incorrect dx, shock, failure to inform, confidentiality, wrongfully putting on disability, academic matters, child welfare, suicide, homicide, on and on…..how about…The JIM GOTTSTEIN School of LAW? If we have the Bonnie Burstow antipsychiatry scholarship, the world of Law needs the Jim Gottstein scholarship ten times more, instigated all over world. Like, yesterday. Please donate and join up.

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          • In a sense I would say that those strings of degrees are a way of trying to suppress the opinion of people without such initials following their names. We know you went to school. We know you matter. Next slide. You’ve got this academically trained elite out to label, torture, and imprison people who don’t conform to it’s standardized version of “reality”. I ask you, does this disagreement make those people “sick”, and if they were to conform, would that make them “well”? You tell me…

            I’m really not greatly impressed by the legal profession either. The USA was founded by lawyers, and that’s made for many of the problems we see in this country. If a person is impoverished, and he or she doesn’t win the lottery, perhaps that person can sue their way into prosperity. The more laws you’ve got, the less free you are when it comes to ‘transgressing’ them. We’ve, due to this circumstance, got many more than our share of stupid laws, as well as the consequence for enacting such legislation.

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          • Mr. Blankenship, I think the anti-psychiatry elite are just as bad. They judge and shame people, too, who don’t conform to their standardized version of neurodiversity. They don’t handle disagreement well, either. I would like a more open dialogue where we weren’t belittled for having a slightly different take on things.

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          • I have to laugh at your nonsense here, PaisleyToes. Anti-psychiatry elite? What anti-psychiatry elite? Yep, I suppose that’s way up there with the anarchist elite. Anti-psychiatry elite, to my way of thinking, is the kind of an oxymoron that anti-psychiatry itself can never be. Why don’t you get back to me when people are being offered PhDs in anti-psychiatry? Until such a time arrives, it’s still the pseudo-science of psychiatry that has the power as established by our institutions of higher education (custom, law, etc.), and if any anti-psychiatrist qualifies as a welder of such power, at this point in time, it is not as an anti-psychiatrist.

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          • Frank, I have been told over and over by MH professionals in every way possible, in the medical model, by my own doctors, by other professionals, in and out of clinical settings, the following…

            That my degrees, which I earned, do not matter.
            That whatever intelligence I possess is not of any use.
            That my intellect needs to be suppressed and silenced via drugs and incarceration.
            That female intellect is a disease.
            That no matter what, they are right and I am wrong.
            That no matter what, whatever I say is a reflection of a diseased state.
            on and on…….

            In 2006 I was URGED no to continue with my MFA studies. Told I did not belong in graduate school.

            In 2013 I was told I HAD to stop writing and exposing the truth in my blog and I was told I would be given psychiatric drugs to force me to stop, to incapacitate me.

            In 2013 I was told I had a “useless master’s degree.” Which I suppose is why I keep it after my name. Because they can’t do a darned thing now.

            they need to *go screw* very badly. Stick their heads in poop. And stay there.

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          • Frank, every single group out there has its elite. This isn’t degree-dependent. It’s a social thing. Who is “in” and who is not. Only no one likes to admit that. We’re all aware of some who have been kicked off of here, some who have been shamed, and some who simply do not hang around. We all know who the popular ones are. We all know who is “liked” and who is less “liked.” Every single group is like that, whether you got ten, twenty, a hundred, or more. You got the central circle, and you got the peons. Yeah, you got the favored ones, and you got the ones on the fringe. This is reality, and it does suck for a few, this will happen. Humane societies, workplaces, clubs, scouting, football teams, you name it.

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          • Every single group that is preoccupied with power.

            I’ve got to ask why psychiatry is doing so well, and why anti-psychiatry sympathies are being suppressed in the media? Mental health treatment has been about en-caging and torturing the mad since it began. A lot of people, in other words, want to see more people en-caged and tortured.

            In realistic terms, I’ve been looking for the anti-psychiatry movement for years, and I’ve still only found relatively small groups of relatively isolated people having the courage to call themselves a term that is offensive to so many others.

            I don’t mind the offense myself, finding the opposite number (i.e. en-caging and torturing people) all the more offensive.

            If anti-psychiatry is an exclusive club, as you suggest, where do I go to join?

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          • We need to keep writing more about what it is really like to be kept inside a nuthouse, from the prisoners’ point of view. Not some stock story such as, “I was sick, I went to treatment and now, I’m better” type of crap they pay people to write.

            I applied for a blogging job recently and they *said* they wanted me. Then, they said they didn’t want to hire me because they said if readers read the truth about what happened to me, they would choose not to go to mental health care. I wrote back and told them that this was my precise intention, that I aim to keep people out of nuthouses, and that I am sorry they do not like the truth. I am sorry that those places are publishing misleading stories. I do not wish to work for them in any capacity.

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          • Wouldn’t a class action malpractice suit against the entire industry be warranted at this point? I think that would be a good way to utilize funds, to bring justice, and allow survivors to be compensated for what was robbed from us in the process of making us sicker and sicker under the pretense of being some kind of “healing profession.” And we offer them evidence of our truth, and they keep doing it, as if our voices carry no weight or legitimacy.

            Julie’s right, the client’s voice has always taken a back seat, that is exactly the problem. No doubt in my mind that this needs to change. That is EXACTLY when the necessary paradigm shift will occur. Otherwise, it’s more of the same.

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          • Plus, I can’t think of a better way to get the world’s attention than to file a class action suit on behalf of psychiatric survivors, against the APA. I’ve a feeling that would open up a dialogue like no other, and provide multiple platforms for exposing psychiatry for what it actually is. It would probably expose a whole host of other things, too.

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          • “That my degrees, which I earned, do not matter.
            That whatever intelligence I possess is not of any use.
            That my intellect needs to be suppressed and silenced via drugs and incarceration.
            That female intellect is a disease.
            That no matter what, they are right and I am wrong.
            That no matter what, whatever I say is a reflection of a diseased state.”

            I was never told getting a degree does not matter. I was encouraged to get an education (yes, I’m talking about what shrinks told me).

            I was never told my intelligence was of no use. I was told to use it well.

            I was never told that my intellect needs to be suppressed by drugs and incarceration. However, some of the garbage drugs I was prescribed by many of these guys did make me feel like a cripple. Now, I (voluntarily) do take a few pills (mainly an antidepressant to help with a low mood, along with 2 more for the side effects of the antidepressant, cumulatively I have no ill effects) which overall, have no distressing side effects.

            I was never told my intellect was a disease.

            I was never told that no matter what I say it is a reflection of a disease state, however, I have been through some rather nasty disease mongering from their side.

            I was not told that they are always right and I am always wrong. However, there is a power structure there with less power on my side and more on the other side which has ended up causing bad outcomes for me and which makes it easier for those with more power to make decisions which harm me.

            So, different experiences.

            That being said, it hasn’t been fairies, nor even “moderately good and moderately bad”. The overall experience of my family and psychiatry has been terrible and very distressful. I wish I had more knowledge when I was younger.

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          • “It would be warranted, but isn’t psychiatry malpractice by definition?”-oldhead

            “Wouldn’t a class action malpractice suit against the entire industry be warranted at this point?”-Alex

            One has to realise that the kind of people who post on MIA are a small subset of those who have ever seen a shrink. There are other forums online (dealing with people who go to or have gone to a shrink(s)) which have sizable populations which are appreciative of what shrinks do.

            It is easy to get overwhelmed by the posts here and forget that not everyone may feel the same, may have vastly different experiences and that most don’t care. It’s like being a man who has spent his life in a nomadic tribe in Africa and after that he gets transported to Times Square, New York and it baffles him.

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          • One has to realise that the kind of people who post on MIA are a small subset of those who have ever seen a shrink.

            Nothing offensive or hostile there, huh? Exactly what “kind of people” might that be?

            This site is basically for EXPOSING psychiatry, not doing testimonials. You are responding defensively and emotionally rather than trying to grasp what people are saying.

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          • Response to oldhead, from the middle of this thread–

            “…isn’t psychiatry malpractice by definition?”

            I’d agree with that and I’m sure others would. But a lot of people don’t feel that way, and feel very strongly about their need for psychiatry and “medication,” so proposing it this way wouldn’t get very far, it would be battle among survivors who feel betrayed and harmed and clients who swear that psychiatry saved their lives.

            But, I think that there are a lot of people who can make a case that psychiatry led to trauma and injuries which only made matters of health, life, and relationships worse than ever. Were there enough of us who could persuasively articulate this, with evidence, reason, and consistency, then I think that would be a powerful case against psychiatry. I’ve never had trouble convincing people, at least not the ones who know me. My story was witnessed by a lot of people, we all know what happened, it is clear. I’ve already won one legal mediation against the system.

            This would have nothing to do with people who feel supported by it, that’s another group of people. If they don’t have a grievance, then they wouldn’t be participating in this. This would be for those who feel harmed by psychiatry, beyond the shadow of a doubt. I’m aware it’s a long shot, and I can’t say if anyone would be willing to go this far–either survivors or attorneys–but in theory at least, this would be an option.

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          • PaisleyToes, I understand your position. The way I see things here, I cannot fit in here either. At least, not the comment sections.

            There is as much hostility in the comment sections here as there can be in some very pro-psychiatry “take your meds” kind of camp.

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          • Paisley toes, that’s some pretty nonsensical stuff.

            What is “elitism”? Generally it’s something that people who do the most work, hence receive more attention, are charged with. No matter that they are often living on starvation budgets.

            I again refer to something one of my mentors, Abbie Hoffman, said about “elitism” — that “elitism” is showing up late for a meeting and acting like it’s no big deal.

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          • Registered, I was speaking specifically as a female. The male mental patient experience was somewhat different at least a number of decades ago. Back in the 60’s and 70’s the career options for women were limited and women were not encouraged to pursue an advanced education. Unluckily for me, I found I enjoyed academia and wanted to stay there. I disliked the workplace and didn’t find I had any work options at all in my chosen field. Not as a woman. Not at that time. I saw women marry composers, and live in the shadows of their husbands. Then they didn’t write a note of music again. They made babies. That disgusted me. So I suppose psychiatry looked like a tempting niche to slip into. Brilliant, talented, and mad. Nice partnership, especially if you are female and do not want marriage.

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          • Almost everybody knows who Vincent van Gogh was. People are still learning who Camille Claudel was. Antonin Artaud wrote Van Gogh: A Man Suicided By Society, and the issue is still relevant today, but…sometimes the rope breaks, the gun malfunctions. I guess that presents you with the kind of scenario you could take credit for.

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          • “You are responding defensively and emotionally rather than trying to grasp what people are saying.”-oldhead

            Your reply was quite defensive and emotional as well. But, leave that.

            “Nothing offensive or hostile there, huh? Exactly what “kind of people” might that be?”- oldhead

            Sigh. My bad. By “kind of people”, I meant people “with the type of view point of”. I should have worded that differently. But there, I have explained what “kind of people” (perhaps a poor choice of words) I was talking about.

            I am a part of those “kind of people”, and if you go back to my history you can find posts from 2014. I might as well have used the words “those of us who post on MIA”.

            Sandra Steingard, a writer on MIA, in an article titled What We Are Talking About When We Talk About Community Mental Health used the line

            “This essay was written for an audience that I expected was more accepting of the conventional narrative than the MIA crowd”

            I used those words in a similar vein.

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  6. Thank you for all the comments and support.

    The redesign of the website is not complete, and so we appreciate all the comments here on how to improve it, such as archiving all of the comments from one individual.

    As far as being a forum for the voice of those with lived experience, that has always been a priority of ours, and we have had an editor, Emmeline, who has been devoted to bringing these stories to MIA in a way that gives them both power and clarity.

    Thanks again for all the support.

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  7. I plan to be more active at this site. Seems to me that here there are a few ex-users, and article markers that are worthy to read.
    I did read all the posts ot this thread. I should all mention that i have 3 books of Robert Whitaker (Anatomy, MIA, and Influence). I like the book “Anatomy of an epidemic”, more than the rest.

    So far of the posters i read during 2016, i like: Frank Blankenship; Julie Greene and oldhead
    write/think (despite i only read the MIA site not regularly at 2016).

    I want to support Robert Whitaker, so i buy his books.

    1) As for the MIA site, and improvements that could be done… it would be nice of the posts were more “print-friendly”: large, side-to-side. Is very silly to have posts that are 10cm wide (~ 3 inches).

    2) Private messages would be nice.

    3) As for the original post of Robert Whitaker (January 13, 2017 ) at this thread. Is nice to have plans. And i have no opinion about: “Our Goals for 2017” ; “Journalism projects”; “MIA Education”; “Building up our resources”; “Editorial changes”. All that can the the thing to do, and hope that it fills its goals.

    4) Now, as i see it… i would also would like to see Robert Whitaker (or a ex-users, or a group of ex-users), make plans for 2017, 2018, and 2019. And the ex-users have goals, unite and get empowerment. And make real change.

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          • I have never tried to contact any user of this site before. I did try (with no sucess), to contact 2 bosses of this site.

            I am at Europe. Never been near the Americas (north or south). My native language is not the english or the spanish.

            Never the less, the DSM hits hard at Europe too. The APA decides at the USA and… in due time the exact same rules are upon the European Union. The silly quotes from Lieberman gets repeated here too 🙂

            At my country (looking at the point of view of a ex-user), what exists is pointless.

            So, my hopes at 2017 (and beyond), are with ex-users (likely mainly from the USA).
            This January i am still a bit busy, but i do plan to see where i can be useful (to turn the tide).

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          • There are some people around who are interested in more effectively networking with people internationally, as well as helping people around the world connect with like-minded folks in their own areas. So you’re likely hopping onto a trend. Keep posting if you can, we need more APs here, a lot of us are tired of “rethinking” things.

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          • (my reply is a little out of place because where was no link: reply)
            Best thing i had read today, thanks oldhead.

            To give an example: December 2016 i sent a couple of emails (in english), to a couple of organizations dealing with Schizophrenia at Europe. Today is 16 January 2017. I had no reply.

            Did i ask them to give me things…?
            I (as European/ person diagnosed with Schizophrenia, and doing well), …i asked what i could do help their 2 organizations.
            No reply to this day.
            So, despite is possible i still get a reply… seems they dont have what is necessary.

            As for the MIA, i dont pretend to know the site well. There is a lot of the site i havent read. Likely there are options i am not aware.I will take care of that during this year.

            I am creating a personal foundation (understanding), of the important issues. And that could take years.

            Robert Whitaker is a good writer. And i have seen a few of his videos. He gives a frame of the causes, the evolution, breaks some myths of today about mental illnesses.

            But more is needed.

            There are scientific studies.
            Whitaker has a vision of the important parts, and how they fit.

            However… as the “Tsunami laws” at the end of 2016 showed…
            Seems to me that some people were surprised with what happened.

            Maybe is time to ex-users to get “more real”? Dream less/ talk less? And be more… efective?

            As for what is needed to create power to the ex-users…. I accept suggestions.

            If i recall well (i read it quickly some time ago), the MIA site prefers that articles are signed with the real name and have a real picture of the author. I understand the reasoning behind that.
            But for some people that is a no-go.

            We take risks if we quote: times/ places/ hospitals/ doctors… and events. Not all of us have a rock solid fmaily situation, or can pay legal protection / legal advice.

            And i ask, in court… who wins?
            The words of a well know Psychiatrist?

            Or a no-name user: “lacking insigth and is a risk to himself, the city, and the whole country?”

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  8. Thank you MIA team for all of the awesome work that you have done. I value the attempt to address some of the problems within the community in terms of the lack of diversity (racial and economic), as well as language used to describe what’s going on with us. In 2017, I hope that this conversation continues in a manner that can be constructive for the community, so we can propel ourselves into a real broad-based movement. In addition, I would like to read more stories from people of all types of racial and economic backgrounds. It gives greater context to the depth of harm occurring across socioeconomic lines.

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    • I agree but am confused — from some of your early posts I had the impression that you were hostile to class/race concerns. Maybe you were being ironic, or maybe I misread you.

      I would add that people should not be used as tokens as a means of claiming diversity, more than once I have seen unwitting people unfairly placed in the crossfire of arguments they know little or nothing about.

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      • Oddly enough, from some of your post that mentioned race, I thought you were hostile to race specific issue being mentioned.

        Tokenism means bringing in people who differ from an established group norm simply as window dressing; their perspectives and insights don’t matter as much as maintaining the status quo while seeming “diverse”. Tokens have no real voice.

        MIA has a unique enough platform to include perspectives from a multitude of voices without seeming forced or fake. Not every article has been a tour de force thinkpiece by an academic who gets it. And that works because stories and comments from survivors embody the soul of MIA.

        Even though I don’t agree with you and you don’t agree with me on some key issues, I do believe that we both want to see this horrible system of oppression dismantled. Perhaps from that vantage point, we can find common ground.

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        • My activism over the past 20-30 years prior to stumbling upon MIA has been primarily focused on struggles of political prisoners, and other anti-imperialist causes. So I am keenly attuned to neoliberalism, particularly, and its attendant racism, disguised as progressivism. So maybe that will give you a better perspective on what I’m trying to get at sometimes, also be aware that at times I am being ironic, which can throw people off. So I will not even concede that we disagree at this point on anything in particular until it becomes apparent. Anyway, this is interesting.

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  9. What I want to know is, how has this platform allowed anyone to resolve their cases? How has it allowed anyone to get justice? When will these changes come?

    Doing that would require a great deal of money.

    I have seen this site be dismissed as a “pseudoscientific antipsychiatry site not worthy of mention or recognition”, “full of vitriol against mental health workers”, “people similar to AIDS deniers” etc. Why people have vitriol towards these mental health workers, or why people turn to what they term antipsychiatry is not something they will ever bother to understand, nor care enough about, even if they do understand.

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  10. It isn’t just studies that need to be shown. But how people can seek help whilst creating legally binding agreements with service providers with criteria like: “No labelling”, “Things considered not helpful, not to be done” etc. which if the service provider breaks, he/she can be liable to legal action.

    We need to see more court cases concerning the labelled, practical examples, than simply studies with labels, confidence intervals, effect sizes and p-values.

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  11. We need to see the other side of the perspective as well. Here’s an article on a blog called Shrink Rap, which describes itself as a blog by psychiatrists for psychiatrists. This particular article is titled “Are psychiatrists evil?”

    The entire article goes as follows:

    I want to point you to a psychiatry blog I happened upon not long ago, In White Ink, written by psychiatrist Dr. Maria Yang. There was a post that moved me, and I went to comment, but there was no place to do so.

    Now, Dr. Yang is in the process of moving her blog and she’s put up a post about My Brief History on the Internet. My favorite part of the post is where she marries one of her blog readers!

    Dr. Yang writes:

    I started meet­ing peo­ple who read my writ­ing online. The inter­net was a dynamic and excit­ing place.

    I started feel­ing ambiva­lent about writ­ing online. I closed down com­ments because anony­mous peo­ple left state­ments like, “ALL PSYCHIATRISTS SHOULD DIE” and “YOU’RE A PSYCHIATRIST, YOU KILL CHILDREN”. A physi­cian who wrote a blog under a pseu­do­nym was revealed in court. I wor­ried that my writ­ing wasn’t fic­ti­tious enough, that maybe my sto­ries weren’t purely coin­ci­den­tal. My mind gen­er­ated cat­a­stro­phes: Some­one might read a story and think I was talk­ing about them! They would sue me and I would lose my license! Other doc­tors would judge me! I would never recover! Even if I did, one of those com­menters who hate psy­chi­a­trists would then kill me!

    So I shut down that blog. The inter­net was a scary and dan­ger­ous place.

    At Shrink Rap, we’ve been to all those places, since we started blogging in Spring of 2006. We do have the best of readers, who are bright, articulate, and thoughtful, and we don’t get death threats or personal accusations, but part of this post resonated for me.

    What we do see a lot of in our comment section are stories about people who are, from their point of view only (the psychiatrist’s side is never solicited) who have been mistreated by the mental health system. I like getting the links, because I do like to know that these issues are out there. What I don’t like, is the insistence that the patient is always the victim of the evil psychiatrist, that they played no role and if they behaved in an aggressive way that provoked unwarranted treatment, then it’s obviously because the evil psychiatrist was not listening to their concerns and any reasonable, mentally well, human being would respond in such a fashion.

    If that’s not enough, then commenters go on to talk about how psychiatrists are all about “power trips.” Trust me on this, any day a psychiatrist calls the police for an out-of-control patient, it’s BAD day. There’s no, “Honey, what a great day, I got to call the cops and commit someone.” It’s traumatic, upsetting, and draining for the psychiatrist. And, I’m well aware that it’s traumatic, upsetting, and draining for the patient, and no doctor likes to upset their patients. It’s a much better day when things are congenial and patients like the ways we have of helping them.

    Personally, the psychiatrists I know — who are all just people with the same types of flaws and imperfections that all people have — really care about their patients, respect them as human beings, and are interested in working with them collaboratively. I get insulted when readers insist my career is about power trips and that I’m wrong to say we shouldn’t revel in the stories of patient victimization without knowing the full story. I’m not saying that psychiatrists don’t make mistakes, or that their aren’t bad psychiatrists, and I’m certainly not saying that there are not bad laws out there, but I am saying that our field is not about evil people (they are the exception, not the rule), and power trips. One should reserve judgement when all sides can’t weigh in. A psychiatrist simply can’t tell his side of the story to the media. “I was hospitalized unjustly!” can’t be countered in the media by a psychiatrist saying, “He insisted he was going to kill his family.”

    What I’m lost for is why the “Psychiatrists are Evil” crowd congregate here at Shrink Rap. Do they think that the incessant drumbeat of “psychiatry is evil” in the comment section of a blog changes the world? It doesn’t, it just annoys the bloggers and adds to this odd notion that a therapeutic relationship with one’s doctor is adversarial, when we see it as being collaborative. It’s exhausting and eroding. I believe that if the commenters want to change the world, they should start their own blogs for like-minded readers, and when they believe someone has been victimized by bad laws, they should write the newspapers and legislators in those states and protest the bad laws. The comment section of Shrink Rap does nothing, nada, zilch.

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  12. Dr. Yang’s thoughts are interesting. She writes:

    I started meet­ing peo­ple who read my writ­ing online. The inter­net was a dynamic and excit­ing place.
    I started feel­ing ambiva­lent about writ­ing online. I closed down com­ments because anony­mous peo­ple left state­ments like, “ALL PSYCHIATRISTS SHOULD DIE” and “YOU’RE A PSYCHIATRIST, YOU KILL CHILDREN”. A physi­cian who wrote a blog under a pseu­do­nym was revealed in court. I wor­ried that my writ­ing wasn’t fic­ti­tious enough, that maybe my sto­ries weren’t purely coin­ci­den­tal. My mind gen­er­ated cat­a­stro­phes: Some­one might read a story and think I was talk­ing about them! They would sue me and I would lose my license! Other doc­tors would judge me! I would never recover! Even if I did, one of those com­menters who hate psy­chi­a­trists would then kill me!
    So I shut down that blog. The inter­net was a scary and dan­ger­ous place.

    I feel similarly, even if I want to get a prescription.

    Oh, no! Will the next guy label me with something else? Is a “personality disorder” next, if I stand by my convictions and disagree with the doctor? I was already from an abusive home when I entered psychiatry. If it solved one problem, it created 5 new ones.

    What if I want to move to a foreign country to work or study? Will they label me with more nonsense? Will I ever run into a situation where I will be forced (even if subtly) to take drugs which cause horrible physical effects in the body? If I do not want to be labelled, I have to opt out of insurance. How will I pay medical bills without insurance? Medicine in the west is so expensive, I wouldn’t be able to afford it except the first few times (which would also be a massive dent in my finances).

    Will these doctors even listen to me if I tell my side of the story (furnished with evidence), even if the story displeases them or will they not really care (even if they say they do) because they don’t really have to?

    While Dr.Yang may have had the privilege of feeling fear, I do not have that either, because my doctor will dismiss is as “obsessive thinking due to illness” (as has already happened).

    Will I be labelled with another disorder for the side effect of some other drug as I was labelled bipolar because prescription SSRIs caused mania?

    We can all go on our “cute little rants” and we all have our versions of the story. Their version is right from their point of view, and ours from ours.

    What we do about it, is the question.

    Good for us, we have MIA, and we need not congregate at Shrink Rap.

    The thing is, I would actually love the service providers that I had coupled with certain members of my family on one side, and me and certain other members of my family on another side in front of an impartial (but knowledgable in psychiatric terminology) jury to sort out the nonsense that has taken place. But nada, zilch. Never gonna happen.

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  13. We have to keep the other side in mind too, to take any steps.

    However, it is just as eroding and exhausting for us to be doing this too. Some of them do not understand that they do not have to be evil at all and may have the best of intentions and still end up causing damage.

    It isn’t as simple as being “good” or “evil” or being a “victim” or a “person with a power trip”.

    One of the service providers I had was unable to understand me telling him why the psychiatric ordeal had damaged my life and instead felt accused. Being a professional and having good intentions isn’t necessarily doing the right thing.

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  14. I wouldn’t say that psychiatry is defined by malpractice, because that implies that there must be such a thing as non-malpractice. But I agree with oldhead that there should be litigation.

    Actually, the way to do it is Crimes Against Humanity prosecution in the International Court. That gets it completely around US law.

    At this time I would like to acknowledge the supreme contribution on this thread of Oldhead, Frank B, and Julie. We have had our differences, but this is to be expected. The most important thing is to stop more people from being abused by Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and the Recovery Movement. We may differ in our approaches and interpretations, but at least people are speaking out.


    Please Join:

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  15. … MIA in the Year 2017…

    The end of January 2017 is near.
    During some spare time i took a look at the forum.
    Not all the threads of course, but months enough to get a idea.

    Robert Whitaker pointed plans for the site during 2017, and pointed who will be taking care of this and that. That shows vision and a plan.

    Yet at level of the “participants”, or users/posters at the forum/blogs of MIA… the plans for 2017 are not so clear.

    Among the participants/posters something is lacking.
    The forum itself could be improved. And should be improved if the MIA leaders think that the forum is important.

    Looking at certain threads at the forum that looked more promissing… what asked for user organization; activism; action… and so. Seems that the strength to do things is not there… few results. Sometimes even gets users to give up before anything is done.

    I am not lacking heart. And i wont go away.
    Things can be done… but must be done diferently.

    Lets see if at the end of February 2017… i can make a lists of sugestions to improve the MIA forum. I see a lot of efforts of the participants/posters… getting nowhere. What a waste.

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  16. MIA is not the movement, and should not be regarded as the anti-psych movement’s headquarters. Though we may be “squatting” here at the moment, MIA has different priorities. Keep up your commentary & remember that many are reading, even if a relative few feel confident enough to participate.

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  17. Quote 1): “MIA is not the movement, and should not be regarded as the anti-psych movement’s headquarters. MIA has different priorities”.

    re: Well, i am new here. And we all had to start somewhere. As i said, at my country is a no-go. And at Europe, it does not look promissing.

    As i see it… Robert Whitaker is a voice worthy to listen, and has helped me with his books. Gave me hope, made me understand how things works. Showed me the way. And that way worked.

    Likely there are other authors, other sites, other forums.

    re-Quote 2): “MIA has different priorities”.

    re: Well… i know Whitaker (at this same thread), pointed “priorities/goals/changes/persons” for 2017. I do not pretend i fully understand his post. I imagine he has the best intentions. He is smart. And helikely surrounded himself with the rigth persons to get to his goals. And he has a good plan and will work/delegate/correct/add as needed during 2017.

    Yet, at his firt post (the main post), at this thread… i feel something is missing. After looking at the forum, i see much room for improvement. At the blogs i have mixed feelings. I like a few. Some fill space. And am not around enough time to pin-point exactly why things are like that.

    So, could i have made a fundamental mistake? Not seeing the “MIA Priorities”?

    Well, is possible. Time will tell. Thanks for pointing it to me, oldhead.

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  18. People go into psychotherapy, psychiatry, and life coaching because there is no redress. You are only facing your pain when you are trying to find redress. Then you see how the whole society sides with the parents and The Family, instead of with the child.

    So when you become a psychiatrist, a psychotherapist, or a life coach, then you get to abuse other abuse survivors and you get to keep your own denial systems in tact.

    Of course I am here extrapolating from the works of Alice Miller, and when she was at her best.


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  19. By providing a protected space for Psychiatrists and Psychotherapists to post, they get to proclaim that they are part of the solution and not part of the problem. So this forum is encouraging the mental health system and promoting the idea that some people are mentally ill.

    And then by providing the same sort of protection for Recovery Movement leaders, Life Coaches, and others committed to this idea that the “mentally ill” must be portrayed as non-dangerous, this forum encourages the bogus eugenic argument that the “mentally ill” are not fit to live.

    Whereas instead, the best thing possible if for some of those who have been labeled as mentally ill to realize that they are survivors of familial abuses and mental health system abuses and to find ways to organize and fight back.

    It was because free blacks were so offended by Harriet Beecher-Stows protagonist that they demanded to be able to serve in the Militia of Massachusetts and also used violence to try to stop the renditioning of suspected fugitive slaves. They knew that they must not accept the Uncle Tom mantle.


    We must organize an Anti-Mental Health and Anti-Recovery forum. Taking back our social and civil standing will not happen in the protected space of a therapist. It means engaging in public conflict. So all POV’s will be welcomed as posts will not be censored. Please Join:

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  20. Asking the survivors of abuses to post confessional life stories is wrong. If anyone does that, its just like putting themselves back in that psychotherapist’s office, disclosing personal things, allowing themselves to be manipulated and invalidated. Your therapist is not your friend, they are committed to discouraging you from action.

    People who have survived abuses and have seen through the lies of therapy, recovery, healing, and life-coaching will know that they have to start acting as their own lawyer. The first advice from your lawyer is always going to be “shut up”.

    Disclosing personal affairs should be reserved for Comrades, those who are fighting with you shoulder to shoulder, committed to legal and political redress.


    We Need To Have An Anti-Mental Health, Anti-Recovery and Self-Improvement Forum. Your Posts Will Not Be Censored:

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  21. I see this, and their lawyer list, as the current high water mark in Anti-Therapy activism.


    Now of course what we really want is for people to see that ALL THERAPY is abusive, as is the very concept of Recovery.

    And we want to be suing parents and overturning disinheritances. But it is easier to start with suing therapists, and attorneys who are saying Good Therapy vs Bad Therapy.

    So send any disgruntled to me, and I’ll do whatever it takes to find them a lawyer. People should be engaging in political and legal activism, not confessing their feelings so that therapists can manipulate them.


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