Ending ECT: From a Lawsuit to a Novel – The Moment is Now!


Eyes peer at me, then quickly look away.
Because they are afraid.
Because they sense the humiliation.
Because they know not what else to do.
Stretchers in front of me. Stretchers behind me.
Some poor soul being dragged where none of us want to go.

Who would have thought that a single shriek could fill the universe?
(from Burstow, 2017 — The Other Mrs. Smith)

In the midst of flagrant professional misrepresentation of ECT, this article will provide hard-hitting and accurate information about the “psychiatric treatment” known as electroshock (ECT). This is a call to arms. Quite simply, the time has come for a frontal assault on the ECT industry and on the professionals associated with it. The time has come to rid society of this barbaric “treatment” altogether.

Naturally, it would make no sense to call for the end to a “treatment” unless it was, first and foremost, clearly profoundly injurious. So…

What are the Salient Facts about Electroshock?

There are so many horrific facts about ECT that it would take several articles to list them all. In a nutshell, however, some of the most pressing of these are:

  • ECT is a putative “treatment” involving the application of sufficient electricity to the brain to produce a grand mal (Whitaker, 20021). A relevant point here is that every other branch of medicine moves mountains to prevent grand mal seizures because of the damage that results. By contrast, psychiatry is purposely perpetrating grand male seizures, at the same time denying the damage in question.
  • ECT is inherently brain-damaging, with damage arising from both the seizure and the electricity.2
  • ECT always causes memory loss, much of it extensive and permanent—both loss of memories from before the shock (retrograde amnesia) and inability to remember new facts (anterograde amnesia) (see Burstow, 20153).
  • Contrary to what the shock proponents claim, not a single form of ECT gets around the problems of brain damage and memory loss. What does the largest study in electroshock history show—and this to a degree of statistic significance? Despite the standard reference to “new and improved,” every single mode of ECT damages and creates memory loss (see Sackeim et al, 20074).
  • As thousands of courageous ECT survivors have testified over the decades, most shock survivors are greatly impeded in their ability to navigate life as a result of this putative “benign treatment.” A typical day for a frighteningly large number is having to take notes all day long, for otherwise, by the time the day has ended, they will have no way of knowing what has happened. More generally, an abundance of survivors routinely forget people in their lives, cannot remember facts, ways of proceeding, details—are stuck having to settle for a simplistic job despite having prepared for something very different, for gone are many of the skills that they have spent a lifetime acquiring (see ECT survivor testimony).
  • Electroshock is overwhelmingly an attack on women. In this regard: Two to three times as many women as men are subjected to electroshock. The psychiatric rationale for this difference is that electroshock helps with depression and women are more depressed than men. The truth, however, is that women are given electroshock two to three times as often as men irrespective of diagnosis. What is likewise significant, the very people who are targeted for shock (women) are the ones typically most damaged by it (see Burstow, 20065).
  • The rationale for delivering this terrible blow to the mind and to the integrity of one’s being is that ECT allegedly prevents suicide. The truth is that it does not lower the suicide rate (Black et al., 19896). In fact, a study by Munk-Olsen, et al., 2007,7 suggests instead that in the days after the “treatment,” it actually raises the risk of suicide.
  • Electroshock is not effective even by psychiatry’s self-serving measures of effectiveness. As decades and decades of studies show, within six weeks electroshock is no more effective than placebo (for an extensive meta-analysis of the various effectiveness studies, see Ross, 20068).

In short, people are being permanently damaged—for nothing! Virtually nothing! Hence the call to arms.

What Makes This a Good Time to Combat Shock?

A good time to mobilize on any issue is when you can detect movement on it—which is exactly where we are at this juncture. The point is, after decades of us activists largely spinning our wheels around shock, in the last half year, the attack on shock has been gaining real momentum. What are we seeing? Major lawsuits, legislative intervention, an uncompromising new novel that truly lays bare the reality of shock: all reasons to seize the moment.

The Lawsuit(s)

The leading legal action is in California. And it is a class action lawsuit against the manufacturers of shock machines. The filers of the motion are DK Law Group. The major defendants are the giant shock machine manufacturers MECTA Corporation and Somatics—and yes, these are giants! The allegations are: negligence, failure to warn, and loss of consortium. Anyone can join the class action if they have have sustained injury in California any time from May of 1982 onward as a result of the negligence of the shock manufacturers (for further details, including how to get involved, see David Karen’s blog).

Significantly, while this action is restricted to California, DK Law Group is committed to helping law firms in other states file similar cases. And interest is growing in having comparable suits worldwide.

Herein lies a promising new direction and a momentum that we have not seen before.

I would just add: a Canadian law firm is also actively considering launching a class action lawsuit, but unfortunately it would be open only to Canadians subjected to electroshock in the last two years (clearly an attempt to stay within the statute of limitations). What is promising, nonetheless, is that the conversation is happening.

The Pennsylvania Motion

A promising development has likewise materialized in Pennsylvania. In short, a bill has been introduced by state representatives Stephen Kinsey and Tom Murt to prohibit the use of electroshock on children—a fortuitous initiative that could reverse the current targeting of children and youth.

Ways to Contribute to the Momentum Identified to Date

Targeted ways to contribute to the current momentum, include a) taking part in or otherwise supporting the lawsuits and bills currently under way, and b) doing the footwork necessary to bring about similar suits and similar laws in additional jurisdictions. Obviously still other ways are speak-outs, demonstrations, and educationals.

A Different Kind Development, and a Special Opportunity: The Novel The Other Mrs. Smith

When we think of defeating shock, we quite rightly think of lawsuits and legislative interventions—all of which is necessary and all of which is good. We also think of demonstrations and speak-outs—also good. Alas, though, we tend to overlook the enormous power of art. Art is magical; it opens up a public space for understanding and transformation. Points can be made that otherwise allude. Art moves and educates, and can stir the public to protest. Correspondingly, if demonstrations or speak-outs sufficed to stir public indignation against shock, we would have won the battle against shock long ago. And has a development happened here as well—something that can add to the current momentum? In a word, “yes.” Enter the new novel The Other Mrs. Smith—and in the interests of full disclosure, to be clear, I am the author.

The blurb on the cover of The Other Mrs. Smith is as good an initial introduction to this novel as any. It reads:

This novel traces the life experiences of a once highly successful woman who falls prey to electroshock and subsequently struggles to piece back together her life. Naomi suffers enormous memory loss; additionally, an estrangement from her family of origin that she has no way to wrap her mind around. The novel begins with her wandering the corridor of St. Patricks-St Andrews Mental Health Centre (St. Pukes) faced with the seemingly impossible challenge of coming to terms with the damage done her, as well uncovering the hidden details of her life. It moves back and forth between a relatively happy childhood in the legendary north-end Winnipeg of the mid-1900s and post-ECT adulthood in Toronto. An exceptionally kind man named Ger who befriends Naomi comes to suspect that important pieces of the puzzle of what befell her lurk beneath the surface of writing in a binder of hers, which comes to be known as Black Binder Number Three. What Naomi progressively comes to do, often with Ger’s help and just as often with the help of a very different and eerily similar sister named Rose, is find ways to do justice to her life and to the various people in it. Filled with a vast array of colourful and insightful characters from a variety of communities—Toronto’s Kensington Market of the 1970s, the 1970’s trans community, north-end Winnipeg Jewry, and the ingenious and frequently hilarious mad community—this novel sensitizes us to the horror of electroshock, takes us to new levels in our understanding of what it means to be human, and, in the process, leads us to question the very concept of normalcy. 

This is an engaging novel with broad appeal. At the same time, it drives home the horror of shock in a way not seen in fiction before. We see the effects of this “treatment” play out over the span of the heroine’s life. We see the effects on the next generation. And we come to know the reality of shock from the inside—not just the outside—for the novel is narrated in the first person by a fictional shock survivor. Moreover, the sexist nature of this “treatment” is inescapable.

How I came to write this novel, I would add, is itself informative. I was part of the big 1980s push to abolish shock. Now, there were moments back then when it looked as if us activists were on the verge of winning. Then I saw us totally lose the momentum. For the next several decades, like others in the struggle, I continued to push for the abolition of shock with very little that was promising materializing, when one day the idea of writing an ECT-centered novel narrated in the first person occurred to me. I knew that a first person narrative about someone badly harmed contravenes the inherited wisdom of what is possible to pull off in a work of fiction, but in short, I decided to pursue this seemingly impossible project anyway.

Soon after making this decision, I phoned Toronto shock survivor and long time activist Carla McKague and told her what I was doing. “For God’s sake, Bonnie, do it,” she insisted. “We have never had anything like this. What you are describing is a novel that the movement direly needs.”

Whereupon I threw my heart and soul into this project for the next two years. However, problem after problem kept materializing. And I soon realized why a novel of this sort had been declared something that should not be tried. What emerged was often overwhelming and just as often confusing.

Anyway, the time came when I again called Carla to tell her that I was going to have to stop for it just wasn’t working. Her answer was, “Bonnie, don’t stop. The movement, it absolutely needs this novel.” And understanding her point only too well, back to the drawing board I went.

Two years later and after considerable work, again I felt the urgent need to stop—this time not so much because it was not working, though there were problems of this nature too, but because it was just too hard, just too agonizing. Along with this, there was an enigma at the very centre of the project: namely, while I myself could tell Naomi’s story, the fictional narrator into whose head I had placed myself was often at a loss for how to tell it precisely because of the memory impairment, precisely because of the damage done to her by shock.

A related issue is that there were moments when I felt that I could not endure another second of being inside the head of someone whose memory was this impaired. To put this another way, I did not want to have to keep facing dead end after dead end. How wonderful it would be to get my life back! I found myself thinking. And to get it back, all I really had to do was give up writing this novel. Now for a brief moment there, that is precisely what I was determined to do—when suddenly the realization struck me like a thunderbolt:

Yes, of course, I could get my life back. But those of you who are shock survivors, you do not have the same option, do you? That is, you do not have the luxury to get your lives back. And if you can’t do it, then neither should I. Herein lay the moral imperative.

It took me almost ten years to complete this novel and to land a publisher, but the longer I worked at it, the better, the richer, the more fulsome the novel became. What is particularly telling is that the very difficulties that had originally led me to declare the writing of this novel an impossibility were exactly what allowed this novel to become rich, multi-leveled and potent. In fact, it was soon evident not just to me but to everyone around me that what had emerged was nothing short of “dynamite.”

Fast forward. The novel is now out, and yes, my sense is that it genuinely has the power to motivate the public—it is that sensitizing, that powerful—but only if it is widely read. Hence my own current campaign.

If, after reading the novel, you too become convinced of the importance of ensuring that this novel is widely read, here are some ways that you can help:

  1. Write a review on Amazon.com or Amazon.ca and encourage others to do the same (if over 100 of these materialize, the novel will indeed start to take off).
  2. Follow me on twitter and re-tweet the quotations from the novel that I post.
  3. Repost messages that I post about it on Facebook.
  4. Email information about the novel to friends, post it to listservs; write blurbs about it on Facebook, on your blogsite, on your personal webpage.
  5. Write a full scale review for a major publication.
  6. Give it as birthday and Christmas presents to your loved ones—and do remember, Christmas is just around the corner.
  7. If you are part of a book club, look into getting The Other Mrs. Smith on the agenda.
  8. Put in a request for your local library to purchase a copy; also hook up with women’s and trans centres in your area and encourage them to have a copy on hand.
  9. In any demos and other actions that you mount in support of the current move against electroshock—and I hope these will be legion—do consider reading a passage from the novel.
  10. Get in touch with literary and media figures that you may know with the goal of interesting them.
In Conclusion

This article has provided a brief summary of what is wrong with electroshock and why it should be abolished. It has clarified what makes this an optimal moment to act while articulating the momentum that is building. And in the process, it has introduced you to current actions to which you might contribute—a groundbreaking class action lawsuit, a legislative bill that could help to safeguard our children, and finally, a novel that has the potential to do heavy lifting for us.

That said, to end this article as it began, with a quotation from the novel, what follows are the opening words of the fictional heroine Naomi, ushering you into the world of what I call the novel The Other Mrs. Smith and what she calls her “memoir”:

My name is Naomi, Nomi for short. Not two years ago I was at a public meeting in Toronto where an aged woman looked everyone straight in the eye and asked, “After all our years of service, is this what we have to look forward to?” Two months later, a far younger woman who is ever so precious to me called with an urgent request. “Write about everything,” she pleaded. “Do it for whoever—yourself, me, others at risk. Just do it.” Hence this curious journey on which we are embarking.    

Now in the sweep of literature, there have been many unusual, one might even say “oddball” narrators—corpses, the cross on which Jesus Christ hung, even—and I kid you not—a fish. By these standards, I am a fairly everyday narrator, for as best I can make out, I am neither the holy rood nor any kind of fish—well, leastways not since I last checked. What I am is a sixty-five-year-old activist with holes in my head and a whopper of a memory problem. And that is the crux of the matter. But enough said.

This is one of those stories, you see, best left to unfold on its own. Like a surprise autumn sunset. Like a murder at dawn. I would only point out that there are depths here to plumb, truths to probe. Step into my world, additionally, and you will quickly find yourself rubbing shoulders with a vast array of some of the most endearing and fascinating souls that a person could hope to meet—some housed like Gerald, some from the streets like my buddy Jack who could always roll the meanest cigarette in Turtle Island. Ah, but all in good time.

Now I could begin almost anywhere—when I discovered the films of Ingmar Bergman, when I fuckin’ rediscovered the films of Ingmar Bergman—but if I am to trust in that old Spenser formula, “where it most concerneth me,” there is really only one place to begin: When I first started crawling out of the void. When those glimmers of consciousness first came upon me in the opening days of March 1973…

Show 8 footnotes

  1. Whitaker, R. (2002). Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill. New York: Perseus Books.
  2. Breggin, P. (1991). Toxic psychiatry. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
  3. Burstow, B. (2015). Psychiatry and the Business of Madness: An Ethical and Epistemological Accounting. New York: Palgrave.
  4. Sackeim, H. et al (2007). The cognitive effects of electroconvulsive therapy in community settings. Neuropsychopharmacology, 32, 244-255.
  5. Burstow, B (2006). Electroshock as a form of violence against women, Violence Against Women, Vol. 12, No. 4, 2006: pp. 372-392
  6. Black, D. et al (1989). Does electroshock influence mortality in depressives? Annals of Psychiatry, I, 165-173.
  7. Munk-Olsen, T., Laursen, T., Videbech, P., Mortensen, P., & Rosenberg, R. (2007). All-cause mortality among recipients of electroconvulsive therapy. British Journal of Psychiatry, 190, 435-439.
  8. Ross, C. (2006). The sham ECT literature. Ethical Human Psychiatry and Psychology, 8, 17-26.


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.


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  1. Bonnie, I agree. Many readers only read novels and avoid nonfiction. I believe this is rooted in our school days when a novel meant fun and nonfiction meant Your Teacher Made You Read It and Write a Paper. Readers want to be entertained and for whatever reason they conclude that only fiction will do this (which isn’t true but that’s the general belief). They want a page-turner, and if the plot doesn’t constantly move along, they’re likely to put the book down.

    I am excited to read the book. I can do some of the things on your list and will be happy to help out. Since I have experience writing a book that didn’t sell, I learned just how essential marketing is. Marketing the book well will make or break it as a publication.

    I would like to add a couple of electroshock harms to the list. 1) Witnesses to shock are traumatized.

    2) After electroshock damages a person, the perps are likely to claim that the cognitive problems were from an “underlying psychiatric condition.” This is classic behavior in malpractice. “Your cancer was always there, we didn’t upstage it” is a common excuse (Look up Amy Reed). In ECT, the patient is told they were always confused, and/or told it was “latent BPD.” The new BPD or other diagnosis is terribly harmful.

    3) After damaging a patient that patient is often sent to a state institution, nursing home, or other long-term, restrictive facility. Or put on disability.

    I have available online ENTIRELY FREE both my memoir, which contains information about my post-ECT experience in the chapter “Walking the Line,” book completed in 2009. By the way, I found out that at least one inpatient facility has BANNED my memoir. Stripe on the uniform!

    I also have posted in my blog the entire 28-page testimony to the FDA about my ECT and post-ECT.

    All found at juliemadblogger.com. I have been blogging 18 years now. They can’t stop me!

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      • Bonnie given the price of the book in the USA, my suggestion would be to concentrate on getting it into libraries. This costs nothing for the library patron who requests the book. And anyone out there who has privileges at a library for the blind can get it made into Braille and audiobook.

        Is it being made into an audiobook for the general public? I am willing to narrate it, if you want. Since starting my radio show I have obtained an excellent microphone and am certainly experienced at reading aloud for audiences. Not only that but I survived ECT. I can also do sound file editing.

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  2. In 1998, Canadian electroshock Survivor Wendy Funk wrote “What Difference Does it Make”, the horrifying real life story of her 14 month incarceration in a Canadian psych hospital where she was drugged and given 43 ECT that destroyed her life memories and caused severe cognitive dysfunction. She had to learn how to do up buttons, to brush her teeth.
    In 2009, Linds Andre published “Doctors of Deception” which described the decimation of her life via ECT and then laid out the ugly history of shock and the lies and misinformation being spread by proponents of ECT. She included the sad stories of other victims of ECT.

    Either of these books should have been powerful enough to inspire ppl to see ECT was banned. They weren’t.
    If these books had little impact, why will a book of fiction on the same topic have a more profound effect?

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    • Because, Truth, far far more people read fiction than read autobiographical accounts of damage done. Note the enormous effect of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. And there is a history of the average person being and profoundly moved by fiction. For good or ill, this is simply a truth about fiction-I am am trying to leverage our special attachment to fiction.

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      • I agree with Bonnie. My experience as a published writer of memoir tells me this. People are uncomfortable with the truth! The way my own friends (now ex-friends) so rudely refused to buy the book was shocking to me. Total sales were about five sold, in the six years it was in publication. Even my graduate school buddies refused. I am clueless as to why they dropped their support and friendship because we were on good terms when I was in school.

        In my opinion, well, if it were me, and my friend, someone I cared about published a book you bet damn well I’d go to their readings and purchase the book even if I didn’t have time to read it. I’d read the book and support the author in non-monetary ways such as upvoting the book, reviewing it, and otherwise standing by it. Why? This is what it means to be a friend. If a friend has an art opening you bet I’ll be there. Sadly, the friends I had not only rudely refused, but bashed me also. Without even opening the cover, I got remarks like “It’s probably badly written,” or, “I don’t want to read it if it’s about abuse.” It is not about abuse, but they hadn’t read it, of course. Also I got rude people saying “If it’s about human rights I am not interested.” They had no clue I had put six years of hard work into it, no clue what how much work goes into an MFA degree, no clue the emotional investment I made. No amount of arm-twisting worked and I realized I had to end these relationships with nonsupportive people whose aim was to put me down any chance they could get. I did hear from folks who couldn’t afford it and I understand. This is why it’s now free.

        Also, it took me all those years to admit to myself Chipmunka was a scam. Interestingly, this parallels ECT. When I had it I refused to admit to myself that ECT had harmed me because I had chosen it, actually asked for it. Who could admit to themselves that they had willingly harmed the brains God had blessed them with? (This aspect of ECT is in my documentation)

        People are uncomfortable with real life. They’d rather escape into fiction. Furthermore they don’t want to pay a high price for a book so this is why I think in the USA simply requesting that Bonnie’s book be ordered at your local library would be the best approach, and, if possible a book discussion group would also further the cause. I’m thinking that high end bookstores in wealthy parts of your town might carry it.

        The book could be given as a gift also, as the timing is perfect for Christmas. Did you plan it that way, Bonnie?

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          • Well, that is true, but they do have Morgan Freeman and shark fin trade banned in 12 of the States in the US.
            No glowing reports about the miracle of shark fin in the media…ppl seem to care more about the environment or other living creatures…
            And we have to battle celebrity proponents and doctors- like David Healy ( and the likes of Dr. Oz with his “The Shock that Could Save Your Life!”

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      • And far more respond to movies with even more to TV – I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, just saw this today – but a TV mini series might be the way to go. Get it into the living rooms of the world, because most people don’t know/believe it’s still happening.

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  3. Contratulations Ms. Burstow:
    Anyone who has read “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair, “The Iron Heel” by Jack London or “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand or “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey knows that fiction has great impact on social movements. Fiction can make philosophy palatable or create larger than life archetypal figures. Social movements need heroes and villains. Social movements require that the public have their complacency smashed by a clear moral division between good and evil. Dr. Martin Luther King knew the power of civil disobedience and televised images of non violent individuals being hosed, attacked by dogs, even firebombed to create a moral drama, a story that was so compelling, people could no longer be complacent. Wasn’t it Marx who said that ‘Artists are the vanguard of the revolution? I can’t wait to read your book and take some of the actions you prescribe. Good day to you warrior woman.

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  4. I know some people will be offended by my using Ayn Rand in the same breathe as Martin Luther King. Writers from both the right and the left use the novel to influence people. Ayn Rand influenced a lot of people whether you agree with her philosophy or not. Also, lest someone scoff at my using ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ as an example of a novel that influenced people’s thinking, consider this true story: a psychiatrist once stood by my daughter’s hospital bedside, while she lay catatonic for over a week. He wanted to shock my daughter and I was considering filing an emergency court injunction to block his ‘treatment.’ He didn’t want to defend his ‘treatment’ in front of a judge, any more than I wanted to go down to the law library and take a legal crash course. We were mentally drawing swords and circling around one another with my daughter’s spirit somehow dominating the drama, even though she was in a coma like state. I was scared out of my wits because he had power and authority and I was just some frumpy middle age mother with very little resources to hire an attorney Guess what? He was scared too! He blurted out, “You know who I blame? That damn author of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest!” He made everyone believe that shock is bad!” As it turned out, he didn’t have the heart to proceed and I didn’t have to seek legal assistance because the public exposure in the press is something that the average psychiatrist loathes.

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    • Thank You madmom for your stand-up for your daughter, prevailing over the power and authority of the psychiatrist . I to have seen how when a family member stands up for their loved one , at the right time and place with a strategy of non-violent action, they can singlehandedly make a psychiatrist or even an owner of a “clinic” , if there are no other employes in the room, back-off, if the strategy clearly involves exposing the injustice to the clear light of day for many others to hear about, they back -off in fear of losing reputation and future cash flow . Definitely worth the effort. Psychiatrists count on the family members approving anything they say , which most of them do.
      Your understanding , love , and bravery, carried the day, protected your daughter, and now inspires others .Until one day when shock is abolished actions like yours and others , can save individuals in real time as the daily atrocities continue . Maybe Bonnie’s book can be made into a movie ?
      Thank You , fred

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    • Madmom, Your daughter would have heard every word – as one very severely withdrawn person said in a quiet lucid moment, `sick, not dead.’ She would have the memory of that fight and your courage, stored deep in her memory. Good for you.
      A couple of years ago, a woman who’d read something I wrote asked my for help to stop her daughter being given ECT. I flew to her state, 100 miles away and together we got her out of it, a new doctor and off a court order. This was a girl with all the potential for a full recovery from her psychotic episode but the help she really needed was just not available. There is only one psychiatrist in Australia whom I would trust in a case like that and he is overstretched. That is Jock McLaren, a long time anti ECT psychiatrist who writes here and is ostracised by establishment psychiatry in his own country. The two countries with the equal highest rate of ECT in the world, Australia & Sweden. Money is the driving force in Australia with the private hospitals far exceeding public hospital rates. It make $millions for them and in my own state, with regulations lifted since 2014, the rate has increased exponentially – but no one cares.
      I feel sick when I think of it.

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  5. Of course ECT must be eradicated. But also, never cooperate with anyone promoting therapy or recovery as the remedy for psychiatric abuses.

    Any therapy or recovery ‘treatments’ performed upon a minor when that minor is not currently being represented by an attorney in court, is extreme abuse and should be legally punished as such.

    Anyone who works with children and shields the parents of children being subjected to therapy or recovery, is committing a serous felony, and this must be prosecuted as such.

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    • I don’t understand what you mean by recovery. Recovery isn’t a verb, and the only verb associated with the word is “recover.” Recover is not an act performed on an person, the word stands alone when used in this context. Unless we’re talking recovering files, or recovering something lost like a credit card or cell phone that got dropped in the toilet.

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      • Recovery is a movement, and also a concept. It is a way of turning the experience of injustice back onto the survivor. It is closely related to psychotherapy and to evangelical religion.

        It is a way of getting survivors to find fault with themselves, so that they never organize and fight to redress the actual sources of the injustice.

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        • Oh yeah! I remember that, someone mentioning “recovery movement” to me. Is this Ellen Copeland? I saw her book and didn’t find it at relevant. I was kinda turned off by the principles of it that my friend was mentioning, but at the time I wasn’t sure quite why I was turned off. She mentioned censorship of any medical terms. Not just psych terminology, but even regular medical terms such as “I have a fever” or “I really need to drink because I get dehydrated easily.” And the whole concept of censorship based on “triggering.” I ask who on earth defines what is triggering and what isn’t! Undoubtedly, whoever is in charge, right? Yes that pisses me off. Especially after the fight of my life was over Freedom of Speech. That is a precious thing I hold onto dearly. Does the “recovery” movement still exist?

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      • Bonnie, I can relate. I did NaNoWriMo a number of years. I think I finished maybe five times. I wrote some memoir (which my degree is in) but in 2010 I took on the challenge of a novel. I never edited it after I was done with the 30-day marathon. I loved the book so much that I posted it for free, as is. Yes it really is painstaking work. Bit by bit…right?

        There is a book out that i have used that’s really good (for anyone out there) to help you structure a super workable outline. It’s Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. I would get the wire-bound if you can, don’t use the Kindle version (unless you know how to file-convert the .mobi file to printable, then print out many pages!). She may have a web version by now. You do not have to do it in 30 days, this is just a workbook.

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  6. Oh how funny. I just read an article about how great ECT is and it was all about ECT at McLean where I had it some 20 years ago. And get this: They say the antipsych movement is fueled by One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I wrote to the “doctor” who wrote the article and told him he was incorrect about that. The wonderful Kesey play is fiction, well done fiction, but we are driven by real experience (ours) and real facts, real life stories, real studies, actual statistics, even theirs they didn’t want leaked out.

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    • Dee, I saw that post and thought it was amazing. I don’t see it now, either. I didn’t see anything in there that was at all offensive, either. I found what you said touching and poignant. You made a great point, too.

      We are activists, and for many of us, the cost is high. We DO lose friends over this. For some, the financial toll is very high. Never mind working our butts off only to be silenced or ignored, or even condemned. Some run the risk of re-capture. I totally understand if a person drops out because of these immense losses. I’ve heard many wise words from activists who are older than me or who have been in it longer.

      I have not stopped nor gotten tired of it, but I am aware of the hardships others have gone through. Many have to make the decision and ask where their priorities are. Those of us still in the position to speak out and willing to keep up the fight need to fight even harder.

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  7. FeelinDiscouraged , I have helped to get a father who was sexually abusing his daughters convicted and incarcerated in our state penitentiary. The opportunity availed itself to me, and I decided that one does not ignore burning bushes.

    And of course what were the parents trying to do? Send the three girls to psychotherapy, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Therapy, to help them rid themselves of such ‘painful false memories”.

    So I was heavily involved with the case for over 2 years, and though he is not in the state pen., I am still tracking his appeals attempts.

    It isn’t just a matter of pedophiles. Those people get news coverage because they are not the parents. When it is within the family, and especially parents still married, housed, and financially solvent, very rarely is their any penalty. I learned this and learned why from my involvement in this case.

    And then when you talk about say, emotional or psychological abuse, almost never is their any penalty, except maybe for when the child kills the parent. Then sometimes people will side with the child.

    So we have to start standing up for the child in familial conflicts. And the most basic way to do this is to do what they have done in most every other industrialized nation except for the US, prohibit disinheritance.

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    • When you say disinheritance, do you mean disengagement? I know with ECT, if the damages are high, the offending institution calls the patient a hopeless case and often instructs the bewildered family to “disengage” from the patient, which may mean not speaking to her or refusing to include her as a member of the family.

      As for inheritance that’s another matter. I’m thinking of buying a life insurance policy so i can leave money i don’t even have for a charity. But most policies are too expensive.

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      • Julie, most child abuse is rationalized in the mind of the parent, as being for the good of the child. Said child is the designated scapegoat.

        Knowing that the law will prohibit disinheritance, as it does now in most every industrialized country with but one glaring exception, would go a long way towards stopping the abuse. It nullifies the motivation, and the profit motive as well.

        And prohibiting disinheritance would be a first step in giving justice to the survivors. Without that the survivors still have to live in that very small space of legitimacy which the abusers have left them, and likely being preyed upon by psychotherapists and motivationalists at the same time.

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        • Tireless, I don’t understand what inheritance has to do with it. Also, not all parents are abusive nor does ending up in the System make a person automatically “the family scapegoat.” I have known patients who were very loved by their families, and had not been abused by their parents.

          I wasn’t scapegoated by my parents. I have certainly been scapegoated in social situations outside of my family years later, simply because it was easy to place blame on the known nutcase in the group.

          I wish my dad was still alive because he defended me against those docs, and so did my mom. My dad kept telling me about human rights, too. I should have listened.

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          • Many people survive horrendous exploitation and abuse and still do not understand that this is so. Our society does not encourage such awareness and understanding. Actually, it problematizes it. The survivor gets no social benefit from recognizing and understanding the ways in which they were used, they only get more stigma. This is after all simply about power.

            Outlawing disinheritance takes the parental motive away, it shifts power back to the child.

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      • A long ago psychiatrist once said that Electroshock was not much good for the patient but kept the families and the staff happy. A docile, apathetic, brain injured relative is far more acceptable to families and staff. The stories out there are mind blowing as they describe social control, not `treatment’.
        In 1973, the inmates of South 6, the old `burnt out’ remnants of shock, lobotomy and Insulin coma, were literally the waking dead. The quietest ward in the place. the greatest tragedy in the place. I was never so horrified as when I worked in that place,, seeing the total acceptance by the staff, that this was `normal’.
        And still they do it.

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        • My parents and I were buffaloed into thinking destroying the brains of the mad had gone out with the 60’s.

          Just because your loved one quits complaining does not mean their suffering is gone. If SILENCE is all you are after maybe shrinks should start giving linguectomies. Or send mental patients into permanent comas.

          A couple friends were shocked when I told them how I hated the “medicines” and how miserable they made me. Neither had any idea till I told them. 🙁 I never told because I knew no one would believe or care.

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      • Whatever ‘reply’ button you clicked on, is where your comments go. Are you working with an actual computer, or a substitute, pretend one, ‘smartphone’? How do you get, respond to being notified of a posting? I can click on the notification of your long post of the 4th, https://www.madinamerica.com/2017/10/ending-ect-lawsuit-novel-moment-now/#comment-117178
        and if you copy, paste that link you’ll open and see it. If you also investigate, with an actual computer, you’ll see all the contributions, and sub branches, one might post a reply to, or go to the very end, and wonder where, back in the messy tree of branches, you may have posted, and lost sight of, what you contributed. 🙂 hmmm. that doesn’t seem to take one directly there either, smh. but it is there, if you scroll through the multitude of contributions, yours is there… i’ll paste it again if you want. Its over 20 posts back…

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  8. yes, I had that happen once too. tried to re edit, and it triggered a silly spam notice

    Yes Dee the link is rather useless as it doesn’t take you to the specific comment, only to the beginning of the thread. Maybe someone can fix that and make reviewing comments, more friendly?

    Again, it is there, but as I mentioned it is well over 20 posts back now, from when I mentioned that.

    As to the suggestion of never inviting one to reflect, on what one is specifically concerned, afraid over? or experiencing what could be labelled as ‘paranoia’, to me would be ignoring the very issue, begging to be redressed, namely the choice or habit of some degree of fear(fullness)

    Fear, and the habit of involving oneself resulting in experiencing what might be termed paranoia, at any level, degree, I suggest isn’t particularly useful to make up or complicate as being more than a natural result of supportive beliefs one holds, regarding how best to take care of oneself, and being afraid to explore, consider options and changing ones operative beliefs 🙂

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    • Yeah Larry but in my past other people have been extremely cruel and used that label to totally discredit me. So it’s a sore spot.

      My doctor claimed that human rights were “trivial” and claimed that I was paranoid a number of times.

      A male therapist asked me out on a date early in 2013 and when I reported this to my psychiatrist she claimed “That’s impossible,” and she called me paranoid and psychotic. I was telling the truth and she was obligated by law to report him since psychs are mandatory reporters.

      Brainwashed patients claim that the human rights abuses I witnessed and those that were done to me never happened and call me paranoid as a way to totally devoice me and ensure no one else believes me, either.

      Yes it is offensive. If anyone calls me paranoid, or any euphemism for it, I unfriend.

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      • How would it be useful for me, or anyone else to suggest, to pretend to know what its like to be you, or to walk in your shoes Julie? I certainly wouldn’t pretend to know, or to judge whether you were embracing, engaging in thoughts or feelings of fear or paranoia or accuse you of being paranoid. How would it be useful for me, or anyone, to pretend to know and to pretend to know someone better than they do?

        Even if I did, isn’t presentation of such a shocking ignorant presumptiveness, an opportunity to explore who’s beliefs one values most? Ones own, or someone that can’t even pretend to know you? Supportively me.

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        • Larry, From what I can tell, within this community many have been harmed by psychiatry. This includes many who have been accused of paranoia every time we speak out about human rights. I think by default we shouldn’t be accusing each other of paranoia, simply because it is totally hypocritical, never mind rude and offensive, to do so.

          It is rude is most any context even outside of here. If, say, you accuse a neighbor of paranoia in an argument over a lawn upkeep issue. What are you doing except discrediting that neighbor, dismissing his claims and also wrecking his reputation in the eyes of the outside community by calling him psychotic? He may very well be mistaken or misinformed, or maybe you’re mistaken, or there was a failure to communicate, but none of these has much to do with a mental disorder.

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          • My family members LOVE to ask me if I’m taking my “meds” whenever I say something they find odd or annoying. They believe I’m “compliant” and started saying it years ago when I started on a tiny dose of Stellazine so my belief is they see it as a joke. They have no idea how hurtful I find it!

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    • I believe it was me that offered to copy and paste Dee
      here is I think your first share
      “Thank you Bonnie for your perseverance. I have spent so many years writing and fighting but have fallen away over the last year or so, mostly in frustration that nothing I said or did had any real impact, that I was preaching to the choir. I have written to newspapers, the governments of 3 countries, had bitter arguments on line with proponents like the entire readership of the Psychiatric Times, argued my case in the face of abuse from David Healy and his followers, and suggested strategies to survivors that no one took up.
      In 2015, at great financial cost, and a very sympathetic GP (whose mother died following ECT), I organised an independent assessment from a neurologist to show that I did indeed have brain damage and was referred to a neurological rehab unit. My theory was that if large numbers did this we would have a case, plus that the cost to the government of a lot of taxpayer money for rehab might move a few politicians to question the psychiatrist’s claims. I spread this across the web – NOTHING.
      I ran the only Australian protest against ECT in 2015 – and had to scramble for contributors. My work for this cost me even more of my relationship with my son who never wanted to think about what happened to the mother he used to have but who is different now, because of the brain injury from 87 ECT treatments for a bad reactions to Prozac and Lexapro.
      ECT cost me my career as a novelist, a sculptor, and even eventually as a writer of fiction entirely. It did give me a long lasting disorder though, a stress disorder, which lingers, even after quite good help from a psychologist. Part of my withdrawal from the cause was a way to minimise this.
      At 75, having lost so much I felt I had to conserve what time I have left and make something else of my life, so right now I’m writing and illustrating kid’s books.
      But perhaps, Bonnie, I should keep going, but where? I am in tears as I write this, at my own grief and that of the thousands who cannot fight, whose injuries are so great that they are trapped in the apathy and disability of traumatic brain injury that was sold to them as `help’.
      My belief is still that people have to front up to the neurologists with their ECT induced Chronic Brain Syndromes, and force the medical profession to regulate their peers. If you add that to other litigation, go for compensation, force the courts to disallow the `gagging’ that the medical profession routinely applies when they settle, and push countries that have public health services to believe that their best interests lie with stopping the injuries happening. The answer eventually will be money – it’s what’s driving the push for ECT by psychiatrists, it might be what stops them. If their insurance premiums spike, if the government makes them pay for the rehab of their patients, the bulk of them may turn away.
      Just a few thoughts – thank you again Bonnie, I’ll get the book but might find it very harrowing to read. In fact one of the things that, as a friend put it, was stolen from me, was the joy of reading books. I have gone from reading 4 books a week before ECT, to 3 years reading none, to one every 3-6 months now. And I used to write them.”

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      • Thanks Larry, I’m a trifle technically challenged as you may now realise- and my son calls me the antichrist of electronics – I can manage to stuff up, or the machinery around me manages to stuff up, in ways that leaves experts baffled.
        And thanks Julie, and most of all thanks Bonnie Burstow for her long, and dedicated campaign against ECT, a scourge that should have been confined to a museum for people to wonder at the inhumanity of man, 50 years ago.

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  9. “Thank you Bonnie for your perseverance. I have spent so many years writing and fighting but have fallen away over the last year or so, mostly in frustration that nothing I said or did had any real impact, that I was preaching to the choir. I have written to newspapers, the governments of 3 countries, had bitter arguments on line with proponents like the entire readership of the Psychiatric Times, argued my case in the face of abuse from David Healy and his followers, and suggested strategies to survivors that no one took up.
    In 2015, at great financial cost, and a very sympathetic GP (whose mother died following ECT), I organised an independent assessment from a neurologist to show that I did indeed have brain damage and was referred to a neurological rehab unit. My theory was that if large numbers did this we would have a case, plus that the cost to the government of a lot of taxpayer money for rehab might move a few politicians to question the psychiatrist’s claims. I spread this across the web – NOTHING.
    I ran the only Australian protest against ECT in 2015 – and had to scramble for contributors. My work for this cost me even more of my relationship with my son who never wanted to think about what happened to the mother he used to have but who is different now, because of the brain injury from 87 ECT treatments for a bad reactions to Prozac and Lexapro.
    ECT cost me my career as a novelist, a sculptor, and even eventually as a writer of fiction entirely. It did give me a long lasting disorder though, a stress disorder, which lingers, even after quite good help from a psychologist. Part of my withdrawal from the cause was a way to minimise this.
    At 75, having lost so much I felt I had to conserve what time I have left and make something else of my life, so right now I’m writing and illustrating kid’s books.
    But perhaps, Bonnie, I should keep going, but where? I am in tears as I write this, at my own grief and that of the thousands who cannot fight, whose injuries are so great that they are trapped in the apathy and disability of traumatic brain injury that was sold to them as `help’.
    My belief is still that people have to front up to the neurologists with their ECT induced Chronic Brain Syndromes, and force the medical profession to regulate their peers. If you add that to other litigation, go for compensation, force the courts to disallow the `gagging’ that the medical profession routinely applies when they settle, and push countries that have public health services to believe that their best interests lie with stopping the injuries happening. The answer eventually will be money – it’s what’s driving the push for ECT by psychiatrists, it might be what stops them. If their insurance premiums spike, if the government makes them pay for the rehab of their patients, the bulk of them may turn away.
    Just a few thoughts – thank you again Bonnie, I’ll get the book but might find it very harrowing to read. In fact one of the things that, as a friend put it, was stolen from me, was the joy of reading books. I have gone from reading 4 books a week before ECT, to 3 years reading none, to one every 3-6 months now. And I used to write them.”

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      • Feelin, I think that one isn’t even arguable anymore as Hemingway’s family confirmed that he killed himself due to inability to write after ECT. I am not sure the causal link is validated, and certainly denied by the perpetrators of ECT, but it’s just to obvious to overlook.

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      • And many of us do argue that the treatment causes the despair and hopelessness which are the basis for suicide. When I began to discover, during the year after the last one, the degree of damage I suffered from the first 66 ECT treatments, I took my first steps down the road to suicide. You cannot imagine the pain of realising I could no longer remember my children’s lives, my artistic skills, or recognise my friends. When I suddenly realised during an intellectual discussion with my best friend and realise I had no idea what I was talking about, when the doctor told me my brain was 10 years older than I was, when I realised that I had lost my publishing contract, my movie writing deal and the ability to read a book, much less write one. All it needed was for one more major loss, the death of that best friend and bingo, massive suicide attempt, which I only survived by chance.
        Was it the treatment? Yes, feelinDiscouraged, because the consequences of the treatment had loaded the gun, the loss of my friend was just the trigger.

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    • Btw, I have never experienced ECT, but I believe what you and others who have gone through it say about the horrors.

      Not even my nearest and dearest believed me when I told them how horrible my pills made me feel. I continued taking them because I believed I owed it to those around me who couldn’t stand who I really was.

      Aside from my weight loss and “laziness” no one notices any change since I went off them.

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  10. You could argue that damaging Hemingway’s or someone else’s brain still doesn’t mean they have to commit suicide.

    My religion–not psychiatry–has prevented me committing suicide. Some folks get insulted or accuse me of saying, “Just trust Jesus and pray and you’ll feel great.” Those things don’t alleviate all my suffering. Doing the “naughty” thing and going off my brain drugs has provided more long term relief. But my belief that–for me–I don’t own myself or have the right to end my life has prevented my suicide. Not the junk they put me on!

    Like a lot of people here I think Rick Warren is a fool. SSRI’s did not prevent his son’s suicide, yet he thinks forcing them on countless others will put an end to self harm.

    Believing I had an uncontrollable “disease” that could cause me to self destruct made me more apt to kill myself–thinking I had no responsibility for my actions at all. No longer suicidal thanks to my “poor insight.”

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    • So long as individuals choose to fear,
      and sense helplessness regarding others
      engaging themselves in emotional distressfulness,
      and behaving as they might, Others will insist on believing it necessary or useful to straitjacket,
      or lobotomize in order to protect themselves,
      or believe its only responsible to ‘safeguard others’ from what they themselves fear. imho

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      • I don’t care if a person believes a spaceship is coming down to take them away. Oddly, a lot of people have this bizarre idea that a human who lived 2000 years ago is part god, should be worshiped as one, and is actually coming back. They even have bizarre beliefs about rising from the dead. None of these folks are harming anyone by believing these oddities. In my opinion it isn’t for me to judge whether a person is “distressed” simply by their beliefs. It is their actions, whatever they may be, that may, or may not, be concerning to others. In theory anyway.

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        • Again it seems I’ve failed and the intentional heart
          of my contribution missed. It was to provoke reflection, Understanding of, and perhaps greater capacity to accept, (not take personal) how individuals, psychiatry and others react and behave as they do towards others, as a result of fear. (Fear as a habit, being unpleasant and unhelpful)

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          • It’s okay, Larry. Our entire society uses words and phrases that become institutionalised. Psychiatry has peppered us with them to maintain its position as arbiters of `mental health’, i.e. conventional behaviour. `Off your meds’, you have a chemical imbalance’, `mentally ill’, `mental’, schizophrenic’…all cement difference as `illness’. Then we have the public response to unusual people, `screwy’, `nuts’, `mad’, `loopy’ – etc etc. `Paranoid’ is just one more.

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          • Fear is not a habit like smoking is. It is an automatic reaction that is borne of experience. Statistics show that people who are in marginalized populations tend to fear the police more, for good reason because they’ve seen more police cruelty in their communities. So fearing the cops comes from experience, it is not something chosen. A woman who has been raped may be fearful afterward and perhaps be extra cautious to lock her door or not go to certain places. She may fear the perpetrator and avoid contact, or get a restraining order. The fear protects her to a large extent. If you are a kid and you are beaten up by another kid in the neighborhood, you may avoid that kid, and this is because your fear is protecting you. Fear keeps us from walking in the street because our fear of being hit tells us what will happen if we do.

            I recall being too confused to fear ECT while it was going on, and now I truly wish my protective instinct had kicked in because I would have stopped the shock sooner.

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        • Actually Julie, some of them ARE harming people, those who don’t believe their story or believe it differently. And they have been doing it for 2000 years. Christianity has probably been the most destructive ideology in the history of mankind – it’s ironic that another destructive ideology is rising as theirs wanes.
          Interesting that a vast number of very peaceful people believe in all kinds of weird things, but if its a group thing it’s okay.
          We punish the creative among us, who develop their own set of weird beliefs, unless they record them in well written books. Badly written books are just considered the words of madmen.
          How arbitrary it all is, this mad thing.

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          • Szazs was onto something when he called psychiatry a religion. But in America there is no ordinary religion where they can legally lock you up, force feed you poisons or fry your brain until you recant your heresy. “Yes, doctor, I have good insight now. I was right and you were wrong. Thank you for shocking and poisoning me in this prison.”

            The whole thing smacks of the Spanish Inquisition.

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          • Yes but there are some religions that brainwash people. I have many times compared psychiatry to a brainwashing religious cult. I did research on that since I was a Moonie for a short while and was subject to brainwashing. The methods are exactly the same.
            Limited contact with the outside
            Slogans and repetition
            Use of confession-like sessions
            Replacing your current beliefs with their beliefs
            Threats if you dare leave
            A Devil figure, who will snatch you up outside the cult (relapse)
            Discrediting of anyone who speaks out against the cult
            Replacing your identity with new identity as cult member (patient)


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          • The other aspect of psychiatry that is cult-like is the intolerance of any facts that conflict with the agreed-upon dogma. This is where psychiatry is most like a religion – they have their “scriptures” (the DSM) and any attempt to question the scriptures is punished by shaming or ostracism.

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      • Steve, I heartily agree. Although I remain “religious” I remember experiencing a break from reality at age 9 due to spiritual abuse and a period of homelessness related to bad behaviors of church people. Sounds like I’m not the only one to have that kind of experience. 🙁

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  11. Imagine if the Moonies, Scientologists or some other cult had the legal authority psychiatry does. Corrupt as their leaders may be at least the damage they can do is limited.

    Not so with Psychiatry. Worst of all, 99% of the population swallows whatever they say without question. Even those who don’t belong to the cult.

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    • `Do we want to believe in a “magical” treatment for our worst times? Is the generalized loss of “God” being displaced onto the “doctor” to cure us all with pills, or worse? This then places a huge burden on the doctor because he/she is not God and therefore cannot make us better, but must try. After all he/she belongs to the same beliefs as everybody else in our society. As a “healer” the doctor places a huge expectation on him/herself therefore forever pushing more and more extremes of treatments. Needless to say the more ephemeral “illnesses” will attract the “furore therapeuticus” making it possible for even the most benign and gentle ”healers” to do terrible things in order to “help”. From there the path is not going to be very good for the “sick” person. Nonetheless, aren’t we all complicit.’
      I can’t remember who wrote this but it’s spot on. As religion’s power waned the medical profession gleefully took up its position, on the back of the miracle of penicillin, and is happily raking in the shekels ever since.
      We have to remember too, that the medical profession as we know it is based on the cut, burn and purge treatment style of the monks of 1000 years ago. This took over from the healers, mostly women, with thousands of years of accumulated knowledge passed from mother to daughter, whom they murdered in order to take away the power these women had in their communities. The physicians quickly saw that they could make a buck out of it and spent the next thousand years killing far more than they saved. We are not so far from that even today. People are made so sick from the treatment, that even when one illness succumbs, the one caused by the treatment will kill them, albeit more slowly.
      As long as the worship of the `doctor’ continues, we’re all in trouble.

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    • If psychotherapists could still get away with it, they would still be telling juveniles that they are causing or imagining ongoing sexual molestation. They job of the therapist is to promote denial. Promoting their own denial is why people become therapists.

      What they do today is to convince the survivor that societal problems are their own personal problems, and that none of these are actually problem enough that they are worth doing anything about.

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  12. The establishment medical profession drove Semmelweis, the man who identified the cause of maternal deaths from infections, to suicide. This still happens when one stands up against any standard dogma including ECT. The majority accept that ECT causes harm and over 70% rarely or never prescribe it, but if they stand up against it, they are likely to lose admission privileges to private hospitals, their job and/or place in group practices where ECT is the foundation of wealth, not get promotions etc, or may just be ostracised, and excluded professionally. Not many are willing to take this road.
    My own doctor was actually listening to me about the harm, and was jolted when I suggested how she would feel about her own teenaged daughters getting it. But with pressure from the leader of the consulting rooms, a major and public advocate of ECT, she began using it again, and resumed her delusional stance that she was `giving people back their lives’.
    The problem is that ECT is VERY lucrative – One patient will generate around $70,000 for a single course of ECT. A single small hospital I know has around 30 patients receiving ECT at any one time. If we assume that there will be 30 new patients every 3 months, that’s 120 per year = $8.4 million. There are many hospitals who boast of 1000 ECT patients per year = $70+ million. That doesn’t include what individual doctors make, which can be $25,000+ per week. And then there are the `researchers’ who get millions in grants from Universities and manufacturers to play silly b*ggers with pseudoscientific claptrap to justify causing wholesale brain damage to vulnerable people.
    Their PR campaign continues apace, with wide eyed journalists trying for a byline presenting PR handouts with a bit of scientific jargon in them, as scientific fact, because after all, a DOCTOR said it.
    One highly respected newspaper presented one of these, and my comment suggesting the learned doctor seemed to be touting for business (which he was), the entire comment section shut down. Apart from using a similarly good and very expensive PR campaign, I have no idea how we combat that.

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  13. Julie Green wrote, “Psychiatry actually believes in harming people that don’t agree with them, by first calling such people sick, then by “treating” them by forceful silencing, gag orders, threats, discrediting, locking up, shocking, and drugging.”

    Psychotherapy also believes in harming people, it just does it in different ways. It treats them as though they suffer from some kind of a malady, makes them wrong for feeling their feelings, and for not exonerating abusers, for not living up to the standards of the abusers. Psychotherapy is rooted in the denial systems of the practitioners.

    We should be fighting to eliminate license psychiatry and psychotherapy. The licensing does not protect the public. It protects the practitioner, and it protects the parents who are sending their child to see the practitioner. Imagine instead if it were a fortune teller or channeler. People would get in trouble. It is the license which stops this.

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    • FDiscouraged wrote, “My family members LOVE to ask me if I’m taking my “meds” whenever I say something they find odd or annoying. They believe I’m “compliant” and started saying it years ago when I started on a tiny dose of Stellazine so my belief is they see it as a joke. They have no idea how hurtful I find it!”

      That right there indicates that in one form or another there has been a long history of abuse. Work with those who are fighting to keep the court house doors open, and to prevent disinheritance. That kind of a matter should be resolved in court, not in a therapists office. But kudos to you for posting about it, as you obviously are able to see that something is wrong.

      Right today, someone somewhere is driving their child to the doctor’s office.

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      • Tireless, that’s not always how it happens. Not everyone is taken to the therapist by their parents. I was older, 23, and had been living away from home for many years. I took myself to therapy and my parents didn’t even know, actually. I didn’t tell them until I’d been going for a few months. When my parents found out, they were bewildered as to why I was going to therapy! The abusive therapists blamed my parents, which is what therapists do by default. My parents were not abusive. Therapy was! I am saddened that the therapists claimed I had a bad mother when I didn’t. I am saddened that therapy so badly harmed my family that I have two nephews and a niece that were raised as if Auntie Julie doesn’t exist. Every holiday I cry over this. Especially Thanksgiving, which I spend alone. I hate hearing about the wonderful time people have with their loving families. I hate seeing the pictures, too. I spent my 50th birthday alone and it was awful, and my 60th is coming up. Our family used to be happy when I was a kid. I can only warn people not to step into the therapist’s office. These people do not unite families, they break them up.

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        • Amen to that!! My parents did not cause my breakdown. The guys who sexually harassed me in high school on a daily basis for two years caused that.

          My shrink caused my expulsion from college and encouraged my family to view me as a Disease rather than a human being.

          I went to him of my own free will. My suffering was real enough and I was desperate.

          When some people say, “My ‘mental illness’ is real,” defensively, they imagine we are denying their emotional pain. Not so! Your pain is very real. Just not an incurable brain disease.

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  14. Tireless, other instances of people who go to therapy who aren’t taken by their parents include people who are already adults, such as working people who go because therapy is covered on their insurance plan. I know an elder who went because she was urged by her PCP. These are examples of people who weren’t taken to therapy by their parents. In fact, in the case of the elder, her parents weren’t even alive. Tireless I’m very sorry you were taken to therapy by your parents but that’s not how it happens for everyone, and you cannot assume it does.

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  15. Bernie Madoff advised people on retirement portfolios. He also swindled old ladies out of their life savings.

    Ergo, ALL financial consultants must be swindlers and crooksl!

    We must ban financial consulting!! Society depends on it!!!

    Notice the flaw in this reasoning? Logicians call it hasty generalization.

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  16. Julie, no not everyone is taken to doctors by their parents as a minor. But why would someone take themselves to therapy as an adult unless they were receptive to the argument that there is ~something wrong with them~?

    Auntie Julie does not exist, well even if that is just a rejection of therapy, that still suggests that you were the scapegoat. Almost impossible that this kind of scapegoating did not start until you were an adult, or until you were in the mental health system.

    And of your therapists saying your parents were at fault. Well they are still saying that there is something wrong with you. And they are not going to help you achieve vindication, they are going to help you submit without protest. They have to say something like that to convince you that you need to be in their office, instead of doing something more productive. But these therapists are not going to help you come to political consciousness and then fight for justice.

    And yes, the Good Family People run the world, they believe in their lies and denial, and the ones who bear the cost of this are the children. And this is why the survivors suffer, because we continue to be delegitimated. We live in a world of lies and denial. The reason we suffer is not because we need Recovery or Therapy. Its because we have not organized and been able to fight to tangible gains, and we have not fought for penalties for perpetrators or reparations for survivors, and we have not been able to establish any alternative lifestyles which do not draw their social legitimacy via exploiting children.

    As far as therapy being covered by insurance, well I say we should abolished licensed psychiatry and psychotherapy, as well as get rid of their drugs.

    And Julie, you don’t actually think I would be so stupid as to say anything about myself and make myself a target for your pity, do you?

    And FDiscouraged, I am sorry about what happened to you in high school. Those kinds of situations must be dealt with. The less supported and validated someone is by their primary care takers, the more vulnerable they are going to be to shrinks. What you have already posted about concern over your taking your meds I see as strong evidence of your having been made the scapegoat. And almost certainly this had to have started before you ever saw any shrinks.

    People can exploit a child, use them, without ever engaging in anything which would be seen as physical or sexual abuse. They do it simply by triangulating around the child, making the child into the problem to be solved.

    With the man I helped put into our state penitentiary, he never said anything to me which directly indicated guilt of the charges of sexually molesting his daughters. But as I emphasized in each of my communications about the matter, I was just blown away by the amount of emotional energy this guy had invested scapegoating his eldest daughter. That indicates a long history of emotional abuse.

    And as I explained over and over, the reason this guy was molesting his daughters was not just for his own sexual gratification. No, it was also to harm them, so that they would have to come out like him and like the members of his church, thinking that their sexuality was dirty and that it had to be subjugated to monogamy and procreation, or they would burn in hell.

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    • Tireless I am not going to argue any longer. You are making huge incorrect assumptions about people you do not even know and have never even spoken to, things that happened decades ago when life was very different. Humans tend to assume everyone else is just like them, has the same flaws and makes the same mistakes. Unfortunately that’s not true. Every family is different and not every family is just like yours.

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          • Was reading your blog on insomnia. For me the more I thought about it the worse it got. Now I just do a few things, take magnesium citrate, in the mornings, during winter I switch on a few daylight balanced 5 food tubes that I used for painting. When awake in the early hours I just let the thoughts happen, if things get difficult I may get up or take 75mg magnesium citrate. Apart from my hands shaking and memory issues, it’s the most affecting issue that I have been left with or should I say inflicted upon by psychiatrists.

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  17. Something for consideration. We at MIA are an unusually heterogeneous group. Even if we discount the dissenters/trolls and other pro-psychiatry folks our dissimilar backgrounds and experiences make it hard to understand each other.

    Even the doors we entered the MI system through vary greatly. Some of us partied a little too hard and were accused of Bipolar Mania. Others had legal trouble and were persuaded to plead the “mental illness” excuse. (Big mistake!) Others had unusual experiences brought on by trauma or stress–hearing voices, very non-mainstream beliefs. Others were brought to shrinks by gaslighting relatives or SOs. Others like me, had a severe reaction to an SSRI and wound up with the nice little stigmatizing label of “Bipolar.”

    We need to realize that when John says he’s mad about being told he was bipolar because he was locked up after getting stoned Mary is not discounting his experience when she tells him she started hearing voices after she realized her uncle had raped her when she was 7. Mary may have sought professional help because people told her she needed it and her pain was real. Because their experiences differ John may be into social activism while Mary is still trying to process the trauma of being raped AND buffaloed by the psychiatric racket.

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      • I am asking people to PLEASE STOP the default assumption of child abuse!!!! Doing so is so fucking offensive, especially this time of year when some of us have to be alone on Thanksgiving. People enter the System both voluntarily and involuntarily for a huge variety of reasons and those reasons change over time. Please STOP assuming you know other people’s reasons for entering and staying in the mental system. Really such rash assumptions are so fucking offensive. No one can read the minds of other people nor read the minds of other people’s families, for godsake, nor the minds of all the in-laws! If I recall correctly, some shrinks in my past acted like they could, but they were always way off base. I am so put off I feel like quitting MIA for good for my own sanity, or at least complaining to the mods. I am very sick of these completely unfounded accusations of past child abuse that never happened, this is just insane.

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        • Julie, the issue is the middle-class family, not really what is considered as child abuse. I for one do not like to talk about child abuse because the concept is misleading. It refers to what is already recognized as abuse, and hence this is no longer that important.

          And also, if a psychotherapist says to you, “Your parents abused you.” He or she does not mean that your parents did something which requires redress, or that there are things about our society which require redress. That concept is alien to a therapist. He or she means that you have a malady. So of course you have every reason and duty to tell that therapist off with extreme prejudice.

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          • Give it a rest, TF! Julie is sick of hearing about it. She loved her parents and is grieving their loss. Most of us love our parents after all. Sorry if yours were Boris and Natasha.

            Are you saying locking up all pedophiles will magically make victims happy and normal? That’s a bunch of hooey and anyone who’s been molested would agree with me. Mom continued suffering when Art died. What would you recommend? Vandalizing his grave? That would fix everything! 😛

            I think you’re more obsessed with recruiting for your causes than helping anyone. You don’t see people but means to your idea of Utopia. Our pain is meaningless to you so you mock or dismiss it.

            Societies are made up of people. Forget that and you morph into a cold, heartless Bolshevik or Nazi.

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  18. YetAnotherAccount, we all live in a world which is in deep denial. How else do you explain the huge number of people living on the margins, if not in institutions or on drugs?

    Julie, Parents do not cause mental illness. They couldn’t, because there is no such thing as mental illness.

    Beyond a certain point it is pointless to even talk about child abuse, because the issues here are not the aberrational things which occasionally happen. Far more useful is to talk about child exploitation, something which is near universal. It happens because the middle-class lives in bad faith, does not take responsibility for the fact that it has choices. And so the burden of this always falls upon the children. And then psychoanalysis grew up at the center of this middle-class hypocrisy. Originally Freud said that his patients, female hysterics, were telling the truth when they spoke of early childhood sexual molestations. Freud was pilloried. But by publication of his “Interpretation of Dreams” he had changed his theory, talking about infantile sexual fantasies and saying that his patients were not being truthful. This is still today the basis of psychotherapy. Though the law stops them from saying the juveniles are making up stories of molestation and other abuse, they still take the position that the problems lie within the patient, and not in the environment in which they live and in the ways power has been wielded against them. So the therapist is further exploiting the patient, and no matter what the patient’s age.

    Hence you have people who enter adolescence and adulthood, with no real place in this world, and believing that there is something wrong with them. And it is this latter which makes them subject to further exploitation, by religion, by psychotherapists, and by psychiatrists, to name but a few.

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