The Salvation of Psychiatry

Robert Berezin, MD
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“A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth.” Albert Einstein.

Psychiatry should be grounded in the quest for truth. It has, however, lost its way. The various theories during its psychoanalytic period were genuinely well intended, seeking knowledge, truth and beauty. However, many of its theories were off base and flat out wrong. The proof is in the pudding, and the test of time always reveals the flaws and inadequacies of a system. Many of its practitioners were also flawed, some more than others. There have also been many excellent psychotherapists who worked with their patients to plumb the depths of the pain of their human experience, and helped them find their way to a truer authenticity and ability to love, while diminishing the suffering brought on by psychiatric symptoms.

Nonetheless, in my opinion, the practice of intensive psychotherapy continues to be the hope for the recovery of psychiatry, psychology, social work, and other therapists. I’m referring to psychiatry generically as the field that deals with human struggle. To say it more simply, hope lies in psychotherapy. I’m not talking about professional degrees. Over the course of time I have seen many fads in psychiatry come and go, each advertised as having great promise. But they always fall short. I see fads today that may or may not prove efficacious. I find myself cautious. Time will tell.

As a psychiatrist I have practiced the psychotherapy of character for forty-three years. As a practitioner I have come to appreciate both the art and the science of therapy. To plumb the depths of each patient’s character; to find our way with how trauma has been digested by each person’s unique temperament; to mourn that pain, not alone; to see psychiatric symptoms melt away; to bear witness to the fulfillment of each person; to be with each person’s unique journey is incredibly gratifying and effective. Of course, we are not talking perfection. There is no such thing. The pain of the past always leaves scars. But there are almost always good enough transformations.

I don’t in general write about patients because confidentiality is of such prime importance. If I could, the presentation of this enterprise would be much easier. The purpose of psychotherapy is exclusively for the well-being of the patient, not for publication, not for science, not for ego. Psychotherapy is a purely human practice, based on the development of real trust and genuine responsiveness. It is not an analytic process, but a feeling one, based on mutual respect and clear boundaries.

The value of psychotherapy is not easily provable. It certainly doesn’t lend itself to so-called evidence based studies. Despite the fact that this sounds like the backbone of science. It’s not. Real science is wonderful. One considers a set of information and develops a hypothesis, a theory based on inductive leaps which must conform to deductive principles and the laws of nature. To test a hypothesis, one tries in every way possible to disprove one’s own theory. The process of science is not to prove a theory, but rather, to fail to be able to disprove it. An investment in proof, whether egotistical, or financial, warps the quest for truth either consciously or insidiously.

Evidence based psychiatry is code for the new wave of psychiatry — so-called biological psychiatry, drug psychiatry. I have written extensively elsewhere about the problems with pharmaceutical psychiatry. We need to return to a psychiatry that respects the complexity of human nature; that respects our knowledge of the evolution of human personality; a psychiatry that honors the processes that facilitate mourning the pains of our existence which promotes real healing. Life is not simple. There is no easy magic. The idea that drugs can cure what ails us is an insult to the human condition. Human struggle has always been part of human nature. In every society there have been institutions to deal with suffering and pain. There is always a role in society for people to help others with life’s struggles. We need to go beyond ‘do no harm’ and promote real and genuine healing.

I fully understand that many people have been damaged by today’s psychiatry. And of course I respect that. I too am furious about it, and am a committed member of the Mad In America community. At the same time I know from my own experience how helpful good psychiatry can be. I continue to be an advocate for that.

There has been a great deal of accumulated wisdom in the history of our cultures from religion, doctors, and shamans, that have plumbed the depths of human nature. Many of these systems can also be problematic due to false and limited knowledge. And they can be misused for power and control. Nonetheless, a genuine quest for the real thing, which respects the depth of the human experience, is an essential enterprise. The gains in our scientific knowledge have been multiplying at an incredible rate in physics, biology, neuroscience and technology. This has not necessarily been accompanied by the accumulation of wisdom.

I am suggesting that “The Psychotherapy of Character, the Play of Consciousness in the Theater of the Brain” is precisely this unified field theory of consciousness and psychotherapy. The e=mc2 is that human character is created as trauma is digested by our temperament, which crystallizes into our unique play of consciousness. We then live out these scenarios. Every snowflake is different, but we are all snowflakes.

Psychotherapy specifically addresses and modifies the play of consciousness. It is both an art and a science. As a science we trace the development of the play in a way that is consistent with the brain and biology. Of course we are biological creatures, and the play is how the brain operates biologically. The significant issues are not microbiological, but operate on high symbolic levels of brain networks in relation to the limbic system. The belief that brain problems are located in our synapses and molecules is looking in the wrong place. Real psychiatric issues reflect our life adaptations as we form our play of consciousness in the brain. Healing from the damage of being alive comes from mourning our pain and writing a new play of consciousness that is infused with love rather than sadism. Psychotherapy operates on this level, and the brain changes all on its own to reflect the organization of the new play.

As an art, psychotherapy operates through feeling connections with our patients. This is purely a human experience of real engagement with another person, the therapist, as we sit together with the pain. This process takes time and operates ultimately through genuine caring and humility.

I do my best to give a full exploration of the science and the art of psychotherapy in my book. I suggest that this theory does scientifically elucidate our human development and addresses how psychotherapy allows the patient to stop inhabiting his old play, as he writes his own new and more encompassing one. I believe this addresses the full scope of psychiatric symptoms and suffering. Psychotherapy can be understood in such a way that it is dogma free; that it is consonant with knowledge from biology, and neurology. In this view psychoanalysis is a problematic and dogmatic form of psychotherapy which has become outmoded. It ought to be replaced with a newer and clearer understanding. After all, we all seek Occam’s Razor.

I would hope that people in the helping professions will undertake the hard work of learning psychotherapy. One can object that intensive psychotherapy is an expensive proposition. If it really is what’s best and what works, which I believe, we can have practitioners from all the various professions that will be able to practice it at affordable levels. I myself spent many years working in a housing project working with people with no money. I had a team of therapists there who worked very effectively. It can be for everybody.

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52 COMMENTS

  1. Robert

    Why would you or anyone else, who is trying to be both scientific and moral at the same time, want to save Psychiatry as a medical specialty? There is a world, and a world outlook, of difference between “therapy”: and “Psychiatry.” Since the word “salvation” has a strong religious context, I would say that ALL people (including current psychiatrists trying to be moral human beings) should seek “salvation” FROM Psychiatry, rather that attempt to somehow salvage what could be referred to as one of the closest thing to evil on this planet.

    I hesitate to use the word “evil” since it implies an a priori existence (like the “Devil”) which is abstracted from the political and social conditions in the world that have given rise to modern Biological Psychiatry, and which currently perpetuate its existence as a critical form of “social control.”

    Here I will repeat a comment I made to you in a prior blog on exactly the same subject about why Psychiatry should be abolished rather than somehow salvaged as a medical specialty:

    “Your theory of “the play of consciousness in the theater of the brain” has great merit as one way to explain severe psychological distress. I have no doubt you are a very good therapist who has helped many people overcome enormous problems coping with a very unjust world.”

    “But where is your scientific rationale for keeping Psychiatry as a medical specialty when the essence of what you do in the real word is “therapy,” and also the construction of well thought out therapeutic theories for how best to work with people in distress?”:

    “Since you agree that there are no brain “diseases” and the Medical Model is absolutely wrong when looking at ways of analyzing and providing support for people in distress, why hold on to the credential of Psychiatry/MD? Doesn’t the very existence of the MD moniker mislead people as to what you do and perpetuate the belief that these are “medical” problems that you are addressing in therapy?”

    “Yes, while Biological Psychiatry is the worst of Psychiatry on steroids, our Grandmother’s Psychiatry several decades ago was also quite oppressive when we look at the existence of lobotomies, Electro-shock, and other oppressive forms of “treatment” that people were subjected to. You even agree that psychoanalysis, which was more prevalent among psychiatrists in this period, also had its serious problems.”

    “One of best ways to proceed in a current movement to end ALL forms of psychiatric abuse is for activist doctors to declare Psychiatry THE SCIENTIFIC AND MEDICAL FRAUD that it TRULY IS in the real world.”

    “Robert, you could play a much more powerful role in this movement if you, as a psychiatrist with the MD moniker, would renounce the complete legitimacy of your profession as a medical specialty and sacrifice all the power and financial benefits that go with it.”

    “This would make a very important statement to the world that could potentially change many people’s thinking on the true nature and oppressive role of Psychiatry. And actually, this act of courage and defiance would provide a much STRONGER AND POWERFUL BASIS to promote your highly creative and useful theories of providing supportive therapy for those experiencing extremes forms of psychological distress.”

    Respectfully, Richard

      • Bio-psychiatry is my pet peeve, based solely upon a scientific lie, drugs, electroshock, and I believe the lobotomy is making a comeback soon.

        Good psychiatry (Thomas Szazs, William Glassner, Peter Breggen, etc.) does not purport to be a medical practice. Actually it’s no different than therapy.

        Unlike many commenters here, I’m pro-therapy. Unless it’s coerced. In which case, it is stupid and it’s only function is to earn the abusive therapist some dollars. I had two abusive therapists and would rather do without it than put up with their nonsense.

        I have gained enough self knowledge over the years I don’t need a therapist now. But I could have benefited from GOOD therapy at 18 or 19 when I started to sink down the rabbit hole of Pharma-Psych.

    • By definition, psychiatry isn’t even medicine- the notion of being able to treat diseases that correspond to no material origin, and only those, bears more resemblance to shamanism (minus scary masks, dances around the campfire and rattles) than medicine as we know it.

    • Good comment, Richard. I also agree, Robert, that your ideas on therapy have merit. But I have to agree, it’s time to get rid of psychiatry as a field of medicine. For one, because distress is not a medical problem, distress is caused by psycho/social issues, not biological or medical issues.

      But I largely believe psychiatry should be gotten rid of because this is the third time in history that psychiatry has arose to great power, first in Bolshevik led Russia, second in Nazi Germany, and now in an America which is under attack in the exact same manner as those other countries were.

      And every time psychiatry is given too much power, they end up killing massive numbers of people. And every time, the psychiatrists are knowingly or unknowingly actually working for the exact same war mongering and profiteering globalist banksters, who create money out of nothing and un-Constitutionally charge governments interest on this counterfeit money, so they may steal as much from that country as possible and fiscally destroy that country. Psychiatry is a tool of the “luciferian” globalist banksters that want to enslave all of us, whether or not the psychiatrists know this, or not.

      It is “Rockefeller medicine” that misinformed, miseducated, and turned today’s American psychiatric industry into a bunch of scientifically invalid, unrepentant defamers, torturers and murders. History repeats itself.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6oW03gNiOY

      The reality is psychiatry created a DSM “bible” that describes the iatrogenic illnesses that they can create with their psychiatric drugs, not a classification system of real “genetic” illnesses. Most of the psychiatrists were played for fools, with pharmaceutical money. Which you may thank “Rockefeller medicine” for as well.

      The leaders of the APA have proven they cannot accept the reality of the HARMS they are, once again, doing to human beings, and to an entire society. According to the medical evidence today, the majority of those labeled with the bogus DSM disorders are actually child abuse victims, not brain diseased people, prior to being psychiatrically drugged.

      https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/04/heal-for-life/

      Which means the primary actual societal function of today’s psychiatric industry is covering up child abuse, by turning massive numbers of child abuse victims into the mentally ill with the psychiatric drugs. This is illegal in the US. Should an industry, whose primary actual function which is illegal, be perpetuated? Is a society actually benefitted by having a multi billion dollar pedophile profiteering industry? No, psychiatry should die as a medical specialty. But multibillion dollar “dirty little secrets” do die hard, psychiatry.

      At least it’s now come out that the “luciferian” war mongering and profiteering, globalist banksters, whose money the psychiatrists worship, are in fact into child abuse and worse. This is who the psychiatrists have always, and still work for. Please wake up, psychiatry, overcome your delusions of grandeur. You are pawns of the “luciferian” globalist, war mongering and profiteering banksters. Did you know this?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9mMdUGcRRw

      Psychiatry should be criminalized in America. As also should be the fiscally irresponsible and un-Constitutional Federal Reserve system.

  2. Robert:
    I, too, am a psychiatrist who has been practicing psychotherapy for over thirty years, which I believe has helped people. But the handful of us that still do this, will all retire soon. And there are now many social workers and psychologists who are excellent therapists (medical schooling is in no way needed), so our society does not need psychiatry to return to that role. Our field adapted to threats to its existence from managed care and competing social workers/psychologists, by abandoning helping people via psychotherapy, to instead embrace harming them, by taking advantage of people’s trust in MDs by luring them in with lies and pushing fake medicines that are often addictive, on them. Psychiatry has painted itself into a corner, in which it thrives by discouraging parents from raising their children, and discouraging people from acknowledging/addressing their own issues. It ruins people’s lives on an assembly-line basis, starting in early childhood, in order to produce permanent customers for itself. It is a monster that as it gets bigger, keeps on finding ways to feed its growing appetite, by enlarging its huge domain so it can trick even more people into becoming its victims. Psychiatry will never turn back; it is not interested in any “salvation”.
    Lawrence

    • Beautifully written, Lawrence. But I hope to clarify on your point “medical schooling is in no way needed.” I agree, it’s not needed for talk therapy. But actually, all doctors are taught in med school, and it does even forewarn in the DSM-IV-TR, that the antidepressants can create the symptoms of “bipolar.” So claiming that “antidepressants unmask bipolar” is inappropriate behavior, thus malpractice. The “second only to God” Dr. Joseph Beiderman screwed over millions of American children (and adults) with his greed inspired, pharmaceutical funded, BS theories.

      But the DSM does not point out that the “bipolar” and “schizophrenia” drug cocktail recommendations, which call for combining the antidepressants and/or antipsychotics (aka neuroleptics), can create both what appears to the DSM deluded to be the negative and positive symptoms of “schizophrenia,” or the “depression” and “mania” of “bipolar.”

      Despite the fact these drug induced symptoms are actually what the larger medical community, including the psychiatrists, are taught in medical school are the psychiatric drug induced “neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome” and “anticholinergic toxidrome.”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroleptic-Induced_Deficit_Syndrome

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxidrome

      So basically what today’s psychiatric industry did was take known medical knowledge, use and hide their medical knowledge to create a bogus “bible” of theorized “mental illnesses.” Which then allowed them to intentionally misinform all within the “mental health industry,” so they could intentionally create “mental illnesses” in millions of people with their psychiatric drugs, for profit.

      It’s sad such delusions of grandeur filled doctors, who believe it is their right to defame and torture innocent human beings for profit and forever, “will never turn back.” It’s sad psychiatry “is not interested in any ‘salvation’.” But I agree, that does seem to be the case. And it’s particularly sad given the fact that they have malpractice insurance to pay for their mistakes, and chose instead to bribe the religious, legal and judicial industries, which does seem to be what the psychiatric industry did. At least so I’ve been told by an ethical pastor, and was my experience.

      But my point is, the psychiatrists actually weaponized their medical knowledge, created a BS DSM “bible,” and used their medical knowledge to delude the entire “mental health” industry into waging a war on all of humanity. So “medical schooling,” or at least medical research, is actually important in fighting against these unrepentant psychiatric mass murderers.

    • “Psychiatry will never turn back; it is not interested in any “salvation.”
      Well put. Note in how many devious ways it reacts to any threats to its existence. Note what it attempts to do to Bob Whitaker, let alone David Healy, who is one of its own.
      Which does not mean that the effort to “take it down” is not a worthy one – it is.
      I envision thousands of us descending on the APA the next time it has its annual convention! Let ‘er rip!

  3. I’m sure I’ll agree with Richard when I read his post. I just need to say right off for now that saving psychiatry should NOT be a goal. Psychiatry is a faux field of medicine and should be abolished.

    “Psychotherapy” is not psychiatry and, despite its misleading name, can be of help to some people depending on the particular interaction between “therapist” and client. Psychiatry is a major cause of the decline of competent “psychotherapy.” Psychoanalysts and other “psychotherapists” with integrity should fight to expose and eliminate psychiatry; there can be and should be no “salvation.”

    • Some psycho therapy is non-coercive. Szazs only worked with consenting adults. Choice Theory is anti-coercion by its nature and they never pin a defamatory “diagnosis” on you. If someone is unwilling to overcome their emotional pain or throws a temper tantrum because you won’t give them “medicine” or drugs to dull the pain, a good psycho-therapist will tell them they’re not a good fit and recommend they look elsewhere. More like a life coach, come to think of it.

    • Antipsychiatry. Anti-psychology, too, if need be. Anti-governmental-intrusion, anti-psychiatric-intervention, and anti-paternalism. Anti-whole-human-services-bureaucracy. Keyword, bureaucracy. All these little barriers between hombre y hombre just have to go.

      “Mental suffering” is it’s own critique. Want to suffer? You are free to do so.

      Institutional psychiatry (mad houses) in the UK didn’t get off the ground in a big way until after the middle of the 17th century or thereabouts. Michel Foucault wrote of a dialogue that existed between reason and folly in the middle ages, and that we contemporaries, not being so tolerant, no longer have.

      Locking people up, and people who have broken no laws, for having unconventional views and behaving oddly, well, I would say doing so is not really necessary, and, in fact, it is a matter of violating those peoples’, so long as the constitution applies, human rights. If you will remember, ‘life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness’, and all that good stuff are values that we, as a species, happen to hold dear.

      • WIKIPEDIA
        In Britain at the beginning of the 19th century, there were, perhaps, a few thousand “lunatics” housed in a variety of disparate institutions but by the beginning of the 20th century, that figure had grown to about 100,000. This growth coincided with the development of alienism, now known as psychiatry, as a medical specialty.[1]:14

        • Moral management, with it’s asylum building fanaticism, in large part, was responsible for this growth. Just think Dorothea Dix, and her drive to see that more lunatic asylums were built. The idea, much like today, was that crazy people were being housed, when they had houses, in jails and similar facilities, but you don’t build asylums you don’t want inhabited, This movement, billed as a reform movement, increased the population skyward of people bearing psychiatric labels, and confined to institutions. The drive to have people treated, against their will, in other words, escalated the numbers of people being treated (i.e. abducted, imprisoned, tortured, brainwashed, and killed). Of course, there were some positive aspects of this movement, however, one of them was not keeping the numbers of the mad down. “Mental illness” was “serious” business, and people “afflicted” with it destined for the “asylum”, as some people felt people bearing psychiatric labels shouldn’t be allowed to wander on the loose outside of such institutions. If you say, “for their own protection”, then the question becomes who is to protect those threatened with protection from their would be protectors. Protection, of the sort you got in the asylum, kept the campus/grounds graveyard, with it’s nameless and numbered cheap concrete bumps or slabs, to relieve the embarrassment of potentially scandalized relatives, and hush up the family secret, itself expanding.

          • Not just `mental illness’ but behaviour violating the rigid control and values of the Christian Church, and social norms, particularly for women and minorities who stepped beyond their place, were destined for the asylum. And still are.

  4. The LAST thing psychiatry needs is bogus “salvation”…. The FIRST thing it needs is ERADICATION.
    You, Dr. B., and Dr. K., who commented above, and Dr. Peter Breggin, plus a FEW others, are the exceptions which prove the rule. Psychiatry is a pseudoscience, a drug racket, and a means of social control. It’s 21st Century Phrenology, with potent neuro-toxins. The DSM-5 is a catalog of billing codes, and nothing more. ALL of the bogus, so-called “diagnoses” in it were INVENTED, not “discovered”, as excuses to $ELL DRUG$, and perpetuate mechanisms of social control. So-called “mental illnesses” are exactly as “real” as presents from Santa Claus, but not more real…. It’s NOT “salvation”, but rather *ERADICATION* which psychiatry needs….
    Let it soon molder on the scrap-heap of history, alongside phrenology….
    (c)2017, Tom Clancy, Jr., *NON-fiction

  5. The salvation of psychiatry? One might as well argue for the salvation of plantation slavery or the salvation of the Third Reich. Why would anyone want to “save” a pseudo-scientific system of oppression and coercion anyhow? Psychiatry has always been the science of lies. It was never grounded in any kind of truth or truth seeking. This is obvious to anyone who knows anything about the true history of psychiatry. Psychiatry has not lost its way. It was rotten from the start. Does anyone really believe that the chicanery of Charcot, the mendacity of Mesmer, the pretense of Pinel, the fraudulence of Freud, the bamboozlement of Bleuler, or the casuistry of Kraepelin have anything to do with truth? This is not a system with inadequacies. It is now, and it always has been, institutionalized deception and torture masquerading as medicine. Fortunately there have been a few genuinely intelligent and honest psychiatrists (e.g. Thomas Szasz and Peter Breggin) who have been brave enough to tell the truth about their own so-called profession.

    Some people are willing to acknowledge that the bio-medical model of psychiatry is based on pure fiction, but fewer people see through the deception inherent in psychotherapy. Study the lives of the founders of psychiatry and psychotherapy. They were charlatans of the highest order. Why protect a guild of quacks and charlatans? What good will that do? If there were no psychiatry or psychotherapy, there would be no patients. Psychiatry and psychotherapy do not fill a need, they create problems in order to offer pretended solutions to unwitting victims. The value of psychotherapy is not provable at all, because there is no value. It has nothing to do with actual scientific analysis or study. Psychiatry is the opposite of respect for human nature. Pause for a minute to think about the word “psychiatry.” It is utter nonsense. “The medical treatment of the soul.” What on earth could that possibly mean? In order to treat the soul medically, one would first have to know what a soul is. Do psychiatrists know what the soul is? Of course not. Is there a medicine that can be applied to the soul? Of course not. There is no easy magic, and yet psychiatry, along with its psychotherapy pretends to offer magical solutions that cause real harm to innocent people.

    Don’t get me wrong. There are very good people, very well-intentioned people, who have been trained in the pseudo-scientific theories of psychiatry, who genuinely want to help and to show compassion to others. All of this zeal to help others could profitably be employed in the quest to abolish psychiatry.

    To learn more about the true history of psychotherapy, consult the following:
    https://psychiatricsurvivors.wordpress.com/2017/01/17/the-myth-of-psychotherapy/

    • When it comes to making an argument for the salvation of institutional psychiatry, it is very much like arguing for the salvation of the plantation system. Private practice, to my way of thinking, is not what most people in the public mental health system experience. Given this far from ideal circumstance, getting out of that system can be very problematic indeed.

  6. dr berezin—–I like your focus on effective treatments…a positive approach..i don’t like all this hatred….treatment is based on causation…
    I don’t think we know what causes most mental suffering…I am concerned about throwing out anything that might lead to understanding why we suffer so much…thanks for your talk here…

        • Such as the psych system, I suppose. It should be done away with.

          The state of New Jersey is another matter.

          “States of awareness” people can develop some control over, despite one of the “myths of mental illness” disputing that fruitcakes ever have any sense of “self-control”. Ditto, states of unawareness, or so called “extreme states”.

          Consciousness can either be raised or lowered, with raised being the preferred direction to take it in.

          Once upon a time there was a Choo Choo that must be rusting in idleness and dereliction by the side of the railroad tracks somewhere. I don’t think the “I think I can’t” mantra you find so prevalent in the “mental health” system these days is really conducive to positive outcomes.

    • Actually I think we do. Life experience is what causes mental distress. And `science’ is proving it. Even then, does it really matter? We know that a gene causes Huntington’s Chorea, but knowing that does squat for the who have it. What we need to know is how to fix it, so we work towards finding a way – so it must be with emotional distress, we have to work towards fixing it by helping people who are overwhelmed find better ways to live their lives. And it doesn’t need to be a doctor.

  7. Robert

    You said: “I don’t support any professional guilds and their hold on power. I oppose all of that.”

    The above statement DOES NOT mesh with the overall intent of the message in your blog which is seeking the “salvation” of Psychiatry. As a psychiatrist who is promoting more therapy and less drugging and labeling of people, you are, in fact, supporting the further existence of this guild and ALL its interests by suggesting A WAY for Psychiatry to save itself.

    And then you said the following: “I fully support fighting against today’s psychiatry. I do know that todays psychiatry will collapse upon itself. Because it is wrong and destructive. It has to, and I know it will. It is happening already.”

    No matter how well intentioned your motives are here (and I do believe you are sincere and compassionate in your work with people) this amounts to nothing more than pure wishful thinking on your part.

    Psychiatry is not currently “collapsing [in] upon itself” nor will it just fall apart “because it is wrong.”

    Psychiatry is stronger than ever and drugging and labeling more people everyday as we speak. Psychiatry has become a vital and necessary form of social control in a system that is clearly headed in a fascist direction as part of an Empire that is facing increasing competition and threats from competing powers on the planet.

    To end ALL forms of psychiatric oppression AND the institution from which it derives, major political struggle will have to be directed against that institution, as part of joint action and movements focused on multiple human rights issues.

    In a prior blog comment section you said that you were not a “political person.” The reality today is that we ALL must become more political (even if this makes us uncomfortable) if we truly want to end human suffering on the planet.

    Conscious and moral psychiatrists DO have an important role in the world in fighting psychiatric oppression:

    1) There are are millions of people trying to find a way to safely taper off of toxic psychiatric drugs who could use the help of sympathetic doctors. This struggle will go on for several decades even if all new psychiatric drug prescriptions ended today

    2) Activist psychiatrists can raise hell in every psychiatric organization and meeting that takes place on the planet by exposing and condemning all aspects of Biological Psychiatry. This could seriously disrupt the function of Psychiatry as an institution.

    3) Activist psychiatrists can call for the abolishment of Psychiatry as a medical specialty. This would have an enormously powerful political impact in drawing attention to the nature and origins of all forms of psychiatric oppression. This would be a courageous and selfless act that could make a huge difference in the overall struggle.

    Robert, I love your passion and commitment to help people and your willingness to criticize Biological Psychiatry. But there is an overall lack of moral consistency in your central themes and arguments here. I hope you are open to constructive feedback.

    Richard

    • Richard, – I hope you’ve seen enough of my comments here to know that I generally agree with you. So I’m not arguing against you here. But I think you’re (at least partially) wrong when you say “Psychiatry is stronger than ever….”….
      Here in SW New Hampshire, the local hospital, – Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock-Keene, closed their 16-bed “Mental Health Unit” in early 2016, because they couldn’t find ANY psychiatrists to staff it. They FIRED one of their psychs right before, – for cause. The local residential drug treatment facility relies on a psych in their 80’s, to sign off on their admissions for insurance billing. At a recent local “community forum”. supposedly dealing with inappropriate public drug and alcohol use, an employee with the nearby Brattleboro Retreat spoke up and claimed we “need more psychiatrists”. (He wouldn’t speak to me after the meeting.) Here in N.H. Statewide, the parent company of the local hospital got the contract to supply psych services to the “State Mental Hospital”, then promptly saw “job actions”/strikes/dissent, and the loss of several psychs & psych nurses, and a struggle to fully staff their contractual obligations.
      Given all this, I’d say psychiatry is reeling, and on the ropes here in SW N.H……
      How do we KILL this DYING MONSTER….????….

      • Bradford

        Lawrence has raised some important and true information in response to your point about the lack of psychiatrists and some of their current difficulties in staffing.

        I am not trying to be cynical or negative in reminding people of the still growing power of Psychiatry. I am only trying to be realistic about what we are up against here and what it might take to ultimately defeat Biological Psychiatry.

        Yes, I do believe the anti-psychiatry forces have made important advances in the last decade especially, but unfortunately the Diseased/Drug Based Model is so deeply embedded within medicine and our entire culture (after a several hundred billion dollar PR campaign), that its power has not been affected. It is still growing as we speak.

        Also, this economic and political system needs Psychiatry, and all its drugging, to control some of the more volatile sections of the people who could potentially organize significant resistance to multiple types of human rights struggles in this country and around the world. Psychiatry has literally become “too big to fail” to the maintenance of this system.

        All of this means our strategy against Biological Psychiatry must be both broad and inclusive, and very much connected to other human rights struggle challenging a profit based system/Empire.

        Richard

        • Not to argue against you, Richard, *BUT*…. In one sense psychiatry is still “growing”, but in another sense it’s days are numbered. I *MUST* believe that to be true, to keep hope alive. Psychiatry is trying to get all “genetic”, as in “genetic psychiatry”, etc., because that’s where the money is going, and to (try to) continue the charade and façade of “scientific”. For years, there’s been a push to allow General Practitioner Docs, Physician Ass’ts, and even psychologists prescribe drugs. This is both an expansion of psychiatry, and at the same time a watering down, or dilution of it. Psychs are losing their exclusivity. And, as increasing numbers of folks bail out on psychiatry, and come to places like MiA, psychiatry gets an increasingly bad rap. So, it isn’t that psychiatry *isn’t* growing, but that it is *ALSO* losing ground & credibility. It’s *BOTH*, really. When a worker from the local (20 miles away, in the next State!) psych hospital has to plead in public for more psychs, you have to ask *WHY* there is any shortage at all! We here at MiA would like to see the *event* of psychiatry’s demise, but it will continue to be an on-going PROCESS. I’d like to think that we ALL here at MiA are helping move that process in the right direction. Also, I think psychiatry needs “the system”, far more than vice versa…. Would the pharmaceutical industry go *poof*, just because psychiatry did? Hah!…. See what I mean?….
          (The ONLY quote in the Time magazine obituary for Dr. Thomnas Szasz was E. Fuller Torrey, so your point is well taken. *BUT*!…. re-read my comment here…..

          • Bradford

            I respect many of your points but disagree with the following statement:

            “Also, I think psychiatry needs “the system”, far more than vice versa…. Would the pharmaceutical industry go *poof*, just because psychiatry did? Hah!…”

            This System we live under does VERY MUCH need Psychiatry and their paradigm of “treatment” as a necessary form of social control over those sections of the people who are most likely to rise up against it.

            AND the pharmaceutical industry has been a vital (highly profitable) sector of the U.S. economy, and psychiatric drugs are a big piece of this industry.

            For these reasons Psychiatry ans their Disease/Drug Based System have become “too big (and important) to fail.”

            Richard

          • Oh, come ON, Richard! Your “commie-socialist” skew is getting old! *GRIN*/LOL…. Yeah, psychiatry is used to sanction *some* folks, but to suggest that it’s a large-scale effort to *target* “those most likely to rise up against it”, strikes me as over-blown hype, and paranoid hyperbole. America is NOT Stalin’s Russia, or even England w/it’s grossly over-abused “sectioning” laws. I can’t agree with your “tto big to fail” assessment, either. I’d say, instead, that it’s “so big, it hasn’t finished failing YET”…. Stop raining on my hope parade, ok, will ya?….
            That sux about Matt Stevenson, huh?….
            ~B./

  8. Bradford:
    The problem is that the demise of the psychiatric profession will not be enough. Many internists, pediatricians, and other specialists (and their associated nurse practitioners or physicians assistants) have embraced “psychiatric treatment” as a cash cow in their practices, as a way to get rich by creating permanently ill customers on an assembly-line basis. And we still need pediatricians and internists to treat real medical problems.
    The belief/practice of psychiatry’s false medical model has spread like a cancer into all aspects of our culture. Most social workers and psychologists accept it, and their therapies are now based on it. Schoolteachers use it to make their jobs easier. Young children are taught/indoctrinated in it while in health class in grade school. Local, state, and federal governments all promote it. Universities, medical centers, and research institutions all financially gain by furthering it. Our legal system embraces it (many lucrative law firms specialize in it) , and our media and entertainment industries push it as well. Popular websites like WebMD tell Americans that biological psychiatry has made amazing advances and helps millions, and that its false theories have been conclusively proven. I don’t mean to discourage you. I just mean to recommend that we focus not only on eradicating the psychiatric profession, but also the lies it has successfully ingrained into America’s psyche since 1980.
    Lawrence

    • Thanks, Dr. K. Like I always say, “Psychiatry is a pseudoscience, a drug racket, and a means of social control. It’s 21st Century Phrenology, with potent neuro-toxins. The DSM is in fact a catalog of billing codes, nothing more. All of the bogus “diseases” in it were INVENTED, – not “discovered”, as excuses to sell dangerous drugs. While I do agree with your assessment of the pernicious and pervasive nature of psychiatry, let’s not forget the many ways it’s also LOSING ground & credibility. A wild animal is most dangerous as it’s dying, and I think that describes psychiatry well. A dangerous wild animal *DYING*….. I still enjoy hearing Dr. Peter Breggin on the local radio station, when he’s a guest on the “Coast-to-Coast AM” show….. Also, 1980….????….wtf? I think it started way before then! Remember “alienists”….????….

  9. Hi Robert,

    I’ll throw you a ‘bone’ as I’m more of a ‘reformer’ like you than an abolitionist like the majority on this site.

    My wife has d.i.d. and as with most people who suffer this, she has excruciating headaches. It might be one place where a biological understanding of the brain could help…

    This is my guess as I’ve watched the 8 girls (alters) heal from the trauma and then connect to each other: I think the extreme headaches have something to do with the ‘reconnection process’. I’ve read that d.i.d sufferers have actual grey matter loss in the brains (I think). And the worst of the headaches ALWAYS correlate when the ‘new girl’ on the outside begins to internally connect with the others. So I’ve wondered if the headaches somehow are connected to the re-vitalization of her neural connections between the once-dissociated girls (alters)…maybe the regrowth of gray matter, if that’s possible…anyway, I’ve watched her become un-functional from the headaches as each girl ‘moves ahead’ to connect internally and then the headaches, mostly, subside at the new plateau point until one of them moves forward again with a deeper internal connection.

    I’m probably not explaining it well, but deep dissociation does cause real brain issues and not simply ‘mind’ issues. This would be a place that I wish the MD’s could figure out how to help lessen the headaches while the re-vitalization of the neural synapses is occurring between the various girls (alters).
    Sam

  10. First we have to ask, should `psychiatry’ as a discipline even exist? Is it necessary to have a medical degree to practice `psychotherapy’? Is it plausible to expect a person with a medical degree not to be `medical’? Is it possible that having studied medicine is a hindrance to being a psychotherapist? Does spending 6 years or more studying the workings of the human body have any relevance whatsoever to plumbing the vagaries of the MIND? For some people, their hairdresser offers more help than any medically trained practitioner, who has lear ned a whole lot about diagnosis but little about the soul. Even psychology degrees, now steeped in the DSM, lean towards the SCIENCE of the human condition, in order to legitimise their profession.
    Rarely in our so objective society, is anyone taught that the ART of listening, empathy and simple caring which is arguably the most valuable ART of all, and deserves its own legitimacy. In crisis centres, where it is likely that on one has a degree in any science, but does have people with skills in relating to a fellow human being in trouble. They aren’t paid much, they can’t boast to their family and friends, `look at me, I’ve got this degree, aren’t I clever, haven’t I got status, aren’t I important because of this qualification,’ but they have the one thing that someone who has spent 6 years+ buried in books while they have been finding out about how the world and they work, hasn’t.
    As a university student many years ago I was struck by the fact that while my group of young men and women were in the cafe and the pub learning to be grown-ups, our med student friends were very rarely there – they were in the library, alone with books about the human body. Of course we too read books, but on a myriad of subjects,
    The old adage my father used to say was:
    That he learned less and less until he knew nothing about everything, which he believed was better that learning more an more until one knew everything about nothing. He was a renaissance man with a bit of knowledge about an awful lot of things.
    I really believe that medicine has no place in treating people who happen to be overwhelmed in their lives.

  11. This article was not what I expected. Psychiatry is actually a religion. As such, it has it’s own belief systems, moral codes, and formula for earning your salvation.

    How do you become saved according to Psychiatry? Unlike many religions, there are two paths for salvation according to the High Priests of Psychiatry.

    1. You must be perfectly “normal.” Never have mood swings, imagine stuff that other people don’t, or think unusual things. Be a totally average Joe with no imagination, suffer no emotional trauma, steer clear of the Community Mental Illness Center and you will be saved.

    We all know that normal people never commit violent crimes, behave badly, or do anything too bad. They are all faultless, good at heart, and basically pure of any possibility of bad behavior. Because you are normal and not “mentally ill” others can suffer on your behalf while you enjoy your wonderful life of normalcy.

    2. You are mentally ill and must be pun–uh–treated for your crimes–I mean illness. You can work out your psychiatric salvation with fear and trembling if you adhere to the following sacraments.

    I will elaborate on the blessed sacraments later. Need to blog, but am nervous about having people know I’m escaping.