“Diagnostic Dissent”: Experiences of Individuals Who Disagreed With Their Diagnosis

Researchers investigate the first-person experiences of people who disagreed with their psychiatric diagnosis of psychosis.


Faith Forgione, a student at Fordham University, NY, recently published part of a larger study that examined the lived experiences of individuals who have received a psychiatric diagnosis that they felt to be inaccurate and invalidating. This project, guided by Dr. Marcotte, Dr. Kamens, and Dr. Wertz, among others, gives voice to an underreported phenomenon and asks: “How do individuals diagnosed with psychotic disorders experience perceived misdiagnosis?”

“Because of this parallel between these participants and psychiatric survivors, the present study augments the growing body of literature on the experiences of perceived psychiatric mistreatment and will hopefully serve as a resource to enhance discussions among psychiatric survivors, current service users, and clinicians regarding stigma,” Forgione writes.

Photo Credit: David Goehring, “Irregular and Unknown (or, The Illusion of Constancy),” Flickr

Disagreeing with one’s psychiatric diagnosis is not uncommon, particularly for those given a diagnosis of schizophrenia. It is important, Forgione argues, to examine the ramifications of receiving a diagnostic label for these individuals. While for some a diagnosis can provide a framework to understand their distress, others experience invalidation, trivialization, and frustration, particularly when the diagnosis lacks adequate explanation or justification by providers. This can result in deleterious social and psychological effects. For example, when a diagnosis results in greater dehumanization and social distancing it can increase one’s negative affect and distress rather than ameliorating it.

The potential for a psychotic disorder diagnosis to worsen distress is supported by studies that examine the beliefs of friends, family members, and providers. Individuals diagnosed with psychotic disorders are believed to be less capable of making decisions, “unpredictable,” “hard to talk to,” and “dangerous.” These beliefs are endorsed by the general public as well as by people close to those who received the diagnosis.

Forgione points out that these beliefs make mental health providers more likely to support involuntary hospitalization for those diagnosed. All of these misconceptions seem to work alongside worsening social stigma that parallels a medicalized narrative of distress:

“A recent meta-analysis found that although the public has become more likely to endorse biomedical origins of mental illness rather than personal moral failings, stigmatizing attitudes toward schizophrenia appear to have increased in the decade between 1996 and 2006,” writes Forgione.

It may come as no surprise then that those individuals who receive a psychotic disorder diagnosis are susceptible to engaging in negative self-evaluation and may come to see “psychosis” as a main part of their identity. Forgione cites a former service-user who published their experience of psychiatric hospitalization. They wrote:

“I entered the hospital as Robert Bjorklund, an individual, but left the hospital 3 weeks later as a ‘schizophrenic.”

What happens when service users and advocates speak out against diagnostic labels and the medical model? In psychological research, efforts to highlight the perspectives of service-users have been largely ignored. Nevertheless, many argue for a system that promotes partnership and empowerment over condescension and paternalized control. Practices, such as forced medication, are understood by some service users to be coercive, abusive, and inhumane. Service users and advocates seek to reconceptualize “symptoms” pathologized by psychiatric labels as strengths or gifts to mitigate the harmful impact that top-down diagnosis may have on one’s distress, social/work life, and self-image.

“Ultimately, these advocates believe that clinicians should honor the individual choice and needs of service users,” Forgione writes, “including the choice to avoid diagnoses and treatment entirely—rather than establish a hierarchal relationshipthat limits choice and agency.”

Forgione continues to deconstruct terms commonly used to describe patients’ condition such as “poor insight” or “identity disturbance.”  Past research (see Campbell, 1996) has found that the concept of poor insight, for example, is “profoundly disempowering, especially when ‘insight’ means agreeing that you are suffering from schizophrenia.” Moreover, the author draws from research suggesting that working within a service user’s explanatory model is a better predictor of successful treatment whereas attempts to superimpose Western, medical explanations of distress can be detrimental.

In this qualitative study, Forgione seeks to better understand the experience that individuals have when they dissent with their psychotic disorder diagnosis. As part of a larger study, Forgione interviewed three participants. The aim of this study was not to encapsulate the diversity of experiences or attempt to generalize these specific narratives, as it was not a quantitative investigation. Instead, these perspectives offer the perspectives of individuals who had high levels of dissent, and who may not have had experiences that fit the label of “psychosis.”

“While there is plentiful research literature investigating the reliability and validity of diagnostic constructs, few studies have examined the lived experiences of persons who, in the words of Martin (2007), are ‘living under the Description’ (p. 8) of a psychiatric disorder that they do not believe they have,” Forgione writes.

Participants (referred to by pseudonyms) were Olufemi, a 28-year-old African male diagnosed with chronic paranoid schizophrenia; Paula, a 58-year-old African female diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder; and Oliver, a 31-year-old Australian male who had previously been diagnosed with drug psychosis. Oliver’s diagnostic details were provided through self-report as he was formerly hospitalized. Both Oliver and Olufemi migrated to the US from their home countries. Paula and Olufemi were hospitalized during the time of the interviews and their diagnoses were derived from medical records.

Phenomenological analysis, guided by the procedures of Giorgi and Wertz, were used to better understand the subjective complexities of the experience of misdiagnosis. The three participants in this study went through an experiential process of reclaiming their agency in the face of a psychotic disorder diagnosis they believed was inaccurate and invalidating. The researcher encapsulated this experience under the term “diagnostic dissent.”

“Diagnostic dissent” was seen as the core psychological structure making up the experience of perceived misdiagnosis. This was broken down into three parts: (1) “the clinician’s loss of legitimacy,” (2) “privileging self-experiences,” and (3) “psychosocial consequences of diagnostic labeling and stigma.”

The researchers also examined how experiences may have varied throughout this process. For example, before experiencing dissent about their diagnoses, one may go into treatment expecting “adequate professional intervention,” expecting “misdiagnosis and improper treatment,” or having “no expectation of professional intervention.”

The first part, “clinician’s loss of legitimacy” involves the erosion of the individual’s trust in the clinician’s psychiatric authority. Sometimes, this was prompted by feeling as though assessment was not adequate, such as through Paula’s experience:

“I just had a brief hallway, two-minute interview with the doctor . . . she just asked me two or three questions. . . . Nobody’s ever spent time with me to know exactly what is wrong with me.”

Olufemi felt that his assessment was driven by the ulterior motives of the correctional officers at the prison who claimed he “heard voices” in order to legitimize the “increased surveillance and transfer of incarcerated individuals.”

In the wake of this loss of legitimacy, participants began to privilege their own experiences and draw on their personal history. Paula, for example, spoke confidently about her self-knowledge, an experience that she believed to be tied into her history as a trauma victim: “I know what I have, because I have it,” she stated in the interview. Paula rejected the diagnostic label. Oliver, who believed the label did not fit, requested a reevaluation but that request was dismissed by psychiatrists who told him: “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Part of these three narratives featured the experience of “psychosocial consequences of diagnostic labeling and stigma” which participants viewed as a contributing factor to their experiences of damaged relationships and distancing from friends and family.

“The persons experiencing diagnostic dissent believe that their psychotic disorder diagnosis carries social stigma that causes others, including their clinicians, to view them as too incompetent or unaware to manage themselves,” Forgione writes.

In her interview, Paula recounted a harrowing experience of being beaten during a psychiatric evaluation, despite her physical disabilities:

“[They beat me] right in front of a psychiatrist. She didn’t flinch. She was interviewing me . . . she was giving me an evaluation. I had just been brought to the hospital by them, and he . . . body slammed me to the ground. I was in a straitjacket, from my head to my toes and I have a hip replacement. And . . . I was lying on the ground and the psychiatrist didn’t flinch. She continued her psychiatric interview. They strapped me in the bench. . . . The guy picked me up off the floor and shoved me into the bench. . . . She didn’t react and she committed me. [She] said nothing to the policeman . . . I don’t know what it is they see in my records . . . I have no violence. I’ve never been violent.”

After experiencing diagnostic dissent, the researchers identified two variations in experience: (1) Forgiving the invalidating other(s), and (2) Not forgiving the invalidating other(s). For Oliver, eventually finding a clinician whom he felt made him comfortable and understood him enabled him to “move past feelings of invalidation,” according to Forgione. However, in other cases, those dissenting may not forgive the invalidating other(s) for the harm they inflicted.

Phenomenological analysis allows for uan nderstanding of variations in these experiences, such as those personal accounts in which one believes an otherwise competent doctor may have failed to accurately evaluate their experience. Other such variations are considered in Forgione’s paper. These findings illustrate how the act of refusing a diagnosis can, in and of itself, work to counter perceived invalidation and restore agency. Forgione summarizes these points:

“The very act of this refusal has the consequence of validating one’s self-experience and autonomy in the face of the perceived invalidation. Diagnostic dissent can also be a means by which individuals retain experiential sovereignty over their selfhood, even if others have otherwise assumed control of their corporality through institutionalization or coercive treatments. Through diagnostic dissent, individuals assert their self-experience in contrast to what they believe is an erroneous label, an act that ultimately reaffirms their sense of personal agency.”

Forgione recommends a number of opportunities for future research to continue to highlight first person accounts. Despite the limitations of this study, the lived experiences of these participants are consistent with the growing body of literature on the potential psychosocial harms of psychiatric diagnosis.

Forgione also provides some take-away points for clinicians to consider in their work. Person-centered approaches that involve working with openness, respect, and desire for partnership show more promise. Central to this idea is the privileging of the individual’s framework and understanding of their experience with an aim to work within that understanding rather than paternalistically imposing the views of psychiatry.



Forgione, F. A. (2018). Diagnostic Dissent: Experiences of Perceived Misdiagnosis and Stigma in Persons Diagnosed With Schizophrenia. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 0022167818777151. (Link)


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  1. As a person with lived experience who has also been misdiagnosed (over and over), I cannot adequately say how important this article is. I have told people over and over and over again (including in my articles for MIA) that the real way to go about things is to take people at their word, not as you choose to reinterpret it into some framework of your own. This would help things immensely, and clear up much misunderstanding.

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    • Well said, Eric. One problem might just be that the DSM is a scientifically dubious book to begin with, so it’s doubtful that anyone is properly diagnosed. In my view nobody needs a diagnosis to receive support, care, and compassion anyway.

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      • The DSM is in fact a CATALOG of BILLING CODES. ALL of the so-called “diagnoses” in it are bogus, and they are all INVENTED, or created, not “discovered”.
        (If so-called “mental illnesses” were in fact real, they would have been discovered, not invented or created, as is actually the case.)
        The DSM contains so many diagnostic codes primarily to sell the wide variety of DRUGS PhRMA manufactures. Many different drugs are given for the same diagnosis, and any given drug is used for a wide variety of different diagnoses. This is the PROOF that psychiatry is in fact a DRUG RACKET, and pseudoscience. If psych drugs were in fact true “medicines”, there would be something much closer to a 1- to – 1 correspondence. That is, “this drug for this diagnosis, that drug for that….” But it’s all a SCAM, to $ELL DRUG$, act as agents of social control, and maintain the guild power of psychiatry. Psychiatry and psych drugs actually *CAUSE* much of the distress they claim to be treating!
        That’s why psychs usually tell “patients” they will “need the drugs for life.”
        That’s not medicine. That’s a drug racket.

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  2. In the duh department, shrinks don’t diagnose “mental health”. In fact, they don’t know anything about it, it not being their area of expertise. If you don’t have one diagnosis, and you’re under their care, you must have another. This is one of those reasons so many people feel relieved to receive, for example, a bipolar diagnosis. All diagnosis of “mental disorder” is misdiagnosis. How can it be otherwise? Those little micro-organisms that are breaking down your “health” are all ‘in your head’. Same place the doctor keeps his defective brains, barring “medication” induced damage, of course.

    My response, go along with the gag. If you resist, you’re likely to get more time. Keep your mouth shut until you get safely beyond the auspices of the psychiatric authorities, and back in the world of humankind. They’re all deluded but, of course, they aren’t everything. The truth is out there. It just doesn’t even wiggle the “mental health” treatment bubble. You’re not the first to do time on the planet “mental”. Don’t sweat it. The planet earth is still about, and if you are vigilant, it is possible that you, too, will make it back.

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  3. “The potential for a psychotic disorder diagnosis to worsen distress is supported by studies that examine the beliefs of friends, family members, and providers. Individuals diagnosed with psychotic disorders are believed to be less capable of making decisions, “unpredictable,” “hard to talk to,” and “dangerous.” These beliefs are endorsed by the general public as well as by people close to those who received the diagnosis.”

    I find that the diagnoses of bipolar and borderline personal disorder also cause the community at large, family, friends, etc., to believe that the person is deficient and “needs their meds” to function in society. The stigma of a mental health label now is also a scapegoat for mass shooters and other violent offenders. Diagnoses clearly do more harm than good.

    I recently received an email from a doctor who says that our mutual client is “lacking insight.” I assume that is because this client has not accepted they are ill as the doctor thinks they are. I am sick of “professionals” believing they know what their clients’ truths are, as if they can magically jump into the person’s body and know what is really going on.

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    • I hope you plan on sharing that email letter with your mutual client, so they will know just how trustworthy that doctor is! Are you planning to inform this client of their right to change doctors, and support their choice?

      Doing so would demonstrate trust in your client, and would demonstrate your commitment to the paradigm shift that places client autonomy and self-determination as core values of your work rather than doing what’s expected and acquiescing to the institutional culture that prizes professionals’ “insight” over the individual’s own truth.

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      • Lavendersage,
        This doctor is temporary and won’t be seeing the client on an ongoing basis (luckily). I find, however, that this doc’s attitude is often prevailing within the MH world, that “professionals” know what is best and the client just needs to “accept reality” as the “professional” thinks is accurate. There are so many problems with this line of thinking, and I think it goes back to this false belief that doctors (and therapists) have some magical insights that their clients lack, as if we are superior at clarifying human suffering and what it all means. We are very fallible and clients should follow their own truth, not one propped up by the MH establishment. I agree with you that transparency is very important to building trust. I think many clients are confused about what is up from down because they’ve been steamrolled by the system, given too many pills with too many assorted diagnoses.

        I asked her why she thinks the person “lacks insight”. I am awaiting a response. The hubris coming from so-called “professionals” is angering. I really do wonder how this doc knows what is going on in my client’s brain and body? I think it’s called magical thinking.

        I can’t agree with you more! Too many of my clients tell me they feel cognitively and emotionally blunted on psych drugs (I’ve recently started asking them different questions that get at the heart of this, and their answers would be of no surprise to anyone here on MIA), and so what do their doctors do with this? Change or add pills! Very few doctors I know really work to reduce or eliminate psych drugs, in part because this is sadly the only intervention they learned in med school. So if $200k in student loan debt only gets you the ability to prescribe dangerous pills, I think that money could be spent more wisely, like creating programs based on mutual support and compassion. Unfortunately, many docs don’t have the temperament to sit with others’ who are in emotional pain.

        I think my clients, and all human beings, just want to be known, understood, validated, and respected. When people receive this kind of “treatment”, strangely they usually feel better. I wish doctors would take more of this approach than the “let’s throw 5 to 10 pills down your throat and see what happens!”

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        • Sounds like you are not planning on sharing that tidbit with the client. Color me: Disappointed, but not Surprised.
          And I concur with you that that attitude is quite prevalent in the MH world.
          Do you show your clients their charts? Do they get to read the (official, btw) statements that have been made about them? My own therapist (Goddess, I miss her!) had no qualms whatsoever about handing over my chart whenever I asked to see it. That was one of the ways she earned my trust.

          I mean, why should a client trust a “pro” who won’t trust them, or balks at this very personal example (seeing one’s chart) of Nothing About Us Without Us?

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          • I have had extensive conversations with this client about the lack of validity of the DSM and the problems with pills. I think it would be most fruitful to ask the client what they think of their understanding of their experience is and what it means to them, which we have already started to do.

            May I ask, if you were in my client’s position here, what would be helpful from the therapist? I am more than open to suggestions. I think an open dialogue is important.

            If a client asks to see their chart, I personally have no qualms showing them. My agency, no doubt, is anxious about such things because they worry the client will misunderstand what is there. I find this to be insulting and patronizing. I guess they don’t want to have to defend what is there.

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          • Trusting untrustworthy people is dangerous, especially if they hold real-world power over you. Doctors have been given such (illegitimate) authority by the legal system. I think your client deserves to know that this doctor holds this (pejorative) opinion of them, so that they do not entrust this person with any disclosures that could be used against them.

            “Informed consent” should include that Miranda clause “Anything you say can, and will, be used against you,” especially by doctors who cling to that “lack of insight” crap. They are already subordinating their clients’ realities.

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        • You might have noticed that Oldhead is very silent at the moment – it is because all his posts are being diverted for “pre-emptive moderation.” Because of this, Oldhead is not posting comments at all for the time being. He says he is discussing with MIA the conditions under which he would be comfortable “returning” without compromising the integrity of survivors in future discussions with “professionals.” He asks that people not badger the moderators about this and hopes to be back shortly, and that he appreciates your support.

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          • Thanks Auntie, I was wondering where oldhead was, and was hoping it was just a glitch, but pre-emptive moderation? Wow. I know oldhead rubs some folks the wrong way (hey, so do I, I’m sure) but I have never seem him post anything that would merit this recourse. I trust oldhead to not compromise his integrity. I will wait and see how this plays out to know whether I can say the same of MIA. Wow.

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    • “I recently received an email from a doctor who says that our mutual client is “lacking insight.” I assume that is because this client has not accepted they are ill as the doctor thinks they are. I am sick of “professionals” believing they know what their clients’ truths are, as if they can magically jump into the person’s body and know what is really going on.”

      Oh this is so interesting. How will/did you reply ?

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    • If “insight” causes someone to accept craziness and indulge in bizarre, out of control behaviors that could be a very bad thing–though they will more likely take their drugs. My psych drugs clouded my thoughts and feelings making me crazier than ever.

      When around my friends they marvel at how well I’m doing. My secret?

      1. Gradually tapered off my uppers and downers. Slow and steady wins the race.
      2. Rejected my diagnosis. This helps me act normally. Surprising, huh?

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    • What about addressing the gaslighting of the common citizen who speaks up for their community? I separated, no fled, from my husband and went to a psychologist who never called it or addressed it for what I now know it was; verbal and psychological covert trauma abuse so I went back to him with a “marriage” plan that he agreed to. She gave me a copy of her report and I read some things we never discussed, which I denied and she said oh don’t worry about any discrepancies – A year later he had a copy of this report and it was used to court order me to be picked up by the police, taken to court where a judge and attorney interrogated me and on to mental health strip search, drugging etc. A system to cover up a system. Slammed that door shut. Not going out on the crazy train. Your welcome community.

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      • Wow, that is truly horrifying and disgusting! I only wish I were surprised by it. One of the DSM’s primary purposes was to avoid looking for actual causes of any “mental disorder,” which of course means that the powerful get to blame the powerless and use their “reactions” against them. I only wish the Courts were more aware of how this works, because an incredible amount of damage is done by abusers using the court and “mental health” system to drive their victims further into the mud!

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  4. I would disagree with my own “Diagnosis” as there was no reliable evidence of Mental Ill Health to begin with. The Psychiatrist treating me held me responsible for the disability and disruption caused by his own treaments; and I made longterm Recovery as a result of carefully stopping the treatment.


    Non Specialist Doctor Registers in Ontario, Canada:


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  5. Eric and Shaun you are both saying specifically what I was thinking while reading this article. The insistent reframing and reinterpreting, telling others what their experience is, and assessing people as lacking in self-awareness because they disagree with said assessment, is nothing short of abusive, in my book. It is an extremely toxic combination of gaslighting and double-binding, and there is no winning here.

    Even when it is not consciously intended to be purposefully controlling, it is so the norm and standard procedure in the mh world, that I call this, without a doubt, systemic bullying. It’s very damaging to a person to be constantly challenged on their own reality, and very draining to one’s energy, ultimately sabotaging. Does this not stand to reason?

    It’s why I hate the system so much and condemn it beyond redemption–because it seems to be relentless here. I see it as a runaway train in that regard. Unless these crazy projections stop, nothing will change here. And I’m not so sure this will happen voluntarily, although I’m open to it being a possibility. That would make the inevitable and sorely needed change here so much more peaceable.

    Shaun is absolutely right, there is no need for any kind of diagnosis to provide helpful support to someone in need. I understand that “helpful support” and “being in need’ can be open to interpretation, but overall, we are in the position to help and support each other along the journey in life, when we so desire to be helped or to help others. Doesn’t have to be anything forced, we all decide for ourselves when we want to reach out.

    I don’t think it’s a fixed identity for life, unless you are in a system where this occurs, which, to my mind, would be a system to get rid of, because that would be way out of balance and, by definition, would not be allowing people to grow into their potential. And indeed, that’s what we’ve got going on now, that is just way too obvious. But in general, we help ourselves, we help each other, we encourage, cheer on, etc.

    Just for me at least, however, no re-parenting, please. That is one thing I do not need from others, that experiment has failed over and over again. Really, that’s my own job to do, and I let life guide me through that process.

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    • Ground control to Major Alex. People name diseases as they find them. For life or for a few deluded seconds. If you can’t find the light at the end of the tunnel, paint one, write one, use your imagination. Life is mostly outside of that bubble I was talking about earlier.

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      • I can see the stars from right here on Earth, Frank, where I am standing with my feet firmly on the ground.

        Life is whatever we make of it and that’s always a choice. I agree that it’s outside the bubble. The bubble is an illusion, a human projection which is fluid, not fixed, so it is changeable.

        Our imaginations can take us far. It is a vital component of our power. Got a “disease?” Create the cure. Don’t have one? Then move along, nothing to worry about here.

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      • TruthisBest, thank you for highlighting and validating this particular phrase. This has been the most challenging thing to get across, and I’m not sure this is universally experienced this way, I am realizing. I’m not really clear on that at this point.

        To be clear, however, (if it hasn’t been already) this is my main cause in all of this, what I feel is the most core shift to make, and the most challenging, which I guess is par for the course. It is deeply embedded.

        It seems there are various interpretations of what would constitute “systemic bullying” and a variety of responses to it. That’s a hard topic, but I feel it’s one of the most important conversations to have. It is so epidemic everywhere now, and creating only chaos at this point.

        There are many vital issues which are worth discussing, of course, but this systemic bullying thing is, for me, the bottom line, everything stems from that. We’re talking about human beings in the system perceived as and treated like chattel, rather than as thinking, feeling, sensitive, conscious human beings.

        I was unwittingly part of this system when I was a student and then intern, I was going by the book, which is how I lived my life at that time, by “the rules.”

        But then I had the mixed blessing to be on the receiving end of this, and that’s when I started waking up, and seeing what I had to change within me, which was to give myself permission to go by my own rules because the system had failed me in every way, that had become quite clear.

        That’s not easy because suddenly I was left to my own devices, and I had to start experimenting with life and then seeing the results day by day. That was the hard healing work, but something had to change drastically at this point, wasn’t sure what.

        So I set out on this “consciousness journey,” which was eye-opening and life-saving. Mainly amounted to learning how energy works, then I got it and started applying it in a real and grounded way, very practical.

        Those “rules” do not work, they are created to marginalize and to keep the power imbalance alive. The “law and ethics” guidebook is completely unfair here, it would need to be challenged.

        And the more I fought it and stood up for myself and began to audibly call out “discrimination,” the worse they got–and when I say “worse,” I mean really, really bad. Disgracefully so, to my way of thinking, given what their jobs are.

        I still shudder when I think about some of the responses I was given to my clear, direct, and most reasonable requests/issues/questions, etc. Then to start filing grievances and going through legal protocol, and the stonewalling this leads to. To call it unsafe is an understatement. It is downright treachery. For at least some of us, it’s been a system of no checks and balances, and the result is being drained of life force energy fighting this damn system just to get basic human needs met.

        Having to “fight” the system is simply draining, so where do we get the energy to actually create our lives, in the meantime? It is scary shit–terrifying–to be at odds with a closed system.

        We can only do better, and I hope we do soon.

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        • The legal/”justice” system works the same way. To many marginalized people, the lawyers, judges, cops, parole/probation, and prison system are all in cahoots to support and enable each others’ bad behaviors. Someone without money in the system has very little chance at attaining real justice; a parallel to this is the “mental health system,” where rich people can pay out of pocket for services and thus do not need to be stigmatized with a psychiatric label to receive treatment. They also have the easier ability to sue doctors and others who they feel have treated them badly.

          Power and authority, more often than not, is corrupt, dehumanizes and marginalizes those whom are seen as “criminals”, “mentally ill”, “thugs”, “poor”, “immigrants”–basically, anyone perceived as “the other”. This is why it is very important that the people have an equal say in how things are run and how people are held accountable. I would suggest that we have citizen boards to review police brutality cases, for example. This is also why it is so important to involve clients in their care on a equal footing, meaning they should have an active role in how the care is provided, and to be able to have access to information which would make the system more accountable for the treatment outcomes.

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          • “The legal/”justice” system works the same way. To many marginalized people, the lawyers, judges, cops, parole/probation, and prison system are all in cahoots to support and enable each others’ bad behaviors.”

            I imagine this to be true but I do not know this from personal experience because I never had any issues with the law, I do not have a legal record at all as a defendant. But I do as plaintiff in a legal mediation.

            What I do know from experience is that, in my case, the clinicians, social service agencies, advocacy agencies (including legal advocacy), department of Rehabilitation, and even ACLU (to where I took a grievance) are in cahoots to support each other against anyone challenging the system, even when doing so reasonably and with solid evidence.

            And I say this last part with confidence because I did win my EEOC mediation, even though I did not have funds at that time. I had been totally drained by private psychotherapy before having to go into the system at a critical time for me, and then “wrongfully terminated” just as I was about to transition from disability, finally (by a government sponsored voc rehab agency, no less!).

            I scoured my community for someone who would hear me that could give me the professional help I needed, and that turned out to be a senior staff attorney at a non-profit legal aid society. I was pissed and she knew it and she could still hear me to see that what I was speaking was pure truth. We connected the dots together and eventually proved that I’d been expressly discriminated against by some seriously incompetent and rather oblivious people.

            Although it did take me a few months to get to this one God-send of an attorney (who also happened to be an activist for LGBT community, so we spoke the same language when it came to social justice). Before that, I went through some frustrating and triggering (at that very sensitive time, I’d been traumatized by all this) “conversations” with attorneys who basically told me “no thanks,” while more than insinuating that I was crazy and must have done something to deserve this. And all this barely into my psych drugs withdrawal. I HAD TO WORK!

            Shaun, you noted previously my messages about personal empowerment, and it comes from these experiences. I don’t know how I did it, but I do remember being absolutely determined to get some kind of justice here. I knew they were so wrong on so many levels, and I was not going to let it rest until my truth was unequivocally validated.

            What they projected onto me because I had the “audacity” to challenge them and call them on their wickedly abusive ways would be inconceivable for me to do to another human being. For them, it was like breathing, I kid you not.

            My ACLU grievance against Dept of Rehab, however, came back after 6 months, citing simply my “psychiatric file,” received from DOR, which “clearly indicated” my “anger issues” and ” anti-authority issues,” so there was no reason to go further. I never got interviewed or anything of the kind.

            I then went to a bigly funded legal “advocacy,” agency, and they said they don’t do work like this, and suggested I “write an article” about my experiences. Then she gave me a couple of contacts, for which neither number was in service. Go figure!

            Where did these qualities they picked out for me come from, you might ask? That was a psychiatrist who had known me for 6 months only, who was my only choice at the time—private, but he took my insurance at the time, and the only one who returned my call when I was seeking help to come off psych drugs—and gave me all these labels that had never been part of my history. I had chronic anxiety and other issues which I don’t want to go into now, pretty harmless to others, mostly harmful to myself.

            And then this got passed on to the voc rehab agency without my knowing about it, and from there, to DOR.

            That’s how ACLU responded to my grievances, which were sound and I had evidence, also a witness because my partner went through all of this with me, he was catching on to the sinister quality of all this. It was sinking both our lives, and we went through protocol step by step.

            Ok, win some, lose some; although in this racket, no one really wins, in the end.

            Shaun, this is really what happened, I’m being as direct and honest as I know how to be, showing by example from where my statements come. It does happen to offer a different perspective than what you express below in many places.

            “This is also why it is so important to involve clients in their care on a equal footing, meaning they should have an active role in how the care is provided, and to be able to have access to information which would make the system more accountable for the treatment outcomes.”

            “Clients” need to be short term, and for a specific purpose, not to take over and control their lives. Of course they need to be in charge of their own care. You work for them, not the other way around.

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          • A couple of quick add-ons–

            First of all, where I say, “a different perspective than what you express below in many places,” I do mean *above* not below. I must have been standing on my head at the time 🙂

            Mainly, I thought it would be important to add that re this voc rehab agency, I was actually kind of becoming a superstar, I seemed to have this in me. I was terribly insecure at the time, but it was after my near-death experience, which is another story. And I truly loved the job, until they started giving me a really hard time, for reasons which were kept very vague from me, about which I scoffed.

            Point being, I was a bit out of my mind from the psych drugs withdrawal so I wasn’t so much consciously choosing my path at this point, but more like, intuitively following some kind of inner guidance, based on my extreme desire to work, and things came into my path, like a door opening. That’s exactly how I ended up at the voc rehab center.

            And I was matching people with jobs they enjoyed right and left, to the point where I had two outside job coaches and counselors call me to tell me that people were wanting to meet me, how was I doing this? Seemed I had some kind of skill here, which this voc rehab agency could have helped me foster, and that would have been win/win, everyone would have benefitted from this.

            But I had already, somehow, stepped on management’s toes, that was all that mattered to them. That’s really the issue for me. How insane is that? Their sensitive egos are more important than their clients, the people they are paid to serve and support. I was told I exhibited too much power! I was a timid but focused, very nervous 25 hour a week employee.

            In San Francisco, I found it to be standard operating procedure, over and over again, to not let clients feel their power because it is interpreted as manipulation and “need to control.” Can we say “blatant and stigmatizing projections???” ‘Cuz that’s what it is.

            My partner finally got a job in social services and discovered the exact same thing. It’s kinda jaw-dropping really, at first, to discover how deep this goes (aka truly systemic).

            And we’re talking about a rich, rich city where homelessness and mean streets abound. The city is high tech, attorney-ridden, and owned by a very powerful mental health industry, public and private. Non-profit social services abound. Wtf are they doing????????

            Ok, I’ll shut up for now and leave it at that for the time being. But I wanted to share these details because this is what I am angry about in present time, because it just seems too obvious that someone(s) are getting away with societal murder! And it is negatively impacting us all daily. Scratching my head over this. What is the solution, I do wonder?

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          • Alex,
            Thank you for sharing your story. Given the other similar stories I have heard from others, yours sadly doesn’t surprise me. All of these human created systems are abusive and manipulative on some level. History is ridden with examples of abuse. I’m not sure what the answer is, other than for each of us to focus on our own truth, advocate for what we believe in, and try to avoid re-traumatization if at all possible.

            For the course I my career I’ve worked directly with hundreds of people impacted by the legal system. They too often tell me of being railroaded by the system in one way or another. Too many are set up to fail. More recently I have been encouraged by probation departments being more flexible and understanding, but the progress has been slow. More police officers are being CIT trained, which is needed so they have a better understanding and appreciation for people who are in distressed states.

            ‘“Clients” need to be short term, and for a specific purpose, not to take over and control their lives. Of course they need to be in charge of their own care. You work for them, not the other way around”

            I agree that if this is what the client wants, it should be short-term. And what I have seen is that people who have experienced severe trauma since an early age need more time to heal. I am encouraged by EMDR as a treatment for trauma, because it helps the brain and body heal itself through bilateral stimulation. I don’t want lifetime clients. I don’t want any client feeling dependent on me.

            Unfortunately our culture supports active passivity and learned helplessness. I wish everyone felt empowered to change their lives for the better. Many feel like lost causes.

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          • “All of these human created systems are abusive and manipulative on some level. History is ridden with examples of abuse.”

            Yes, which is why we’re advocating for radical change. For me, it starts here, and then other issues will go more smoothly and things will get done better because there is better communication. Many approaches to this, it is a big process of multi-layered healing.

            “I’m not sure what the answer is, other than for each of us to focus on our own truth, advocate for what we believe in, and try to avoid re-traumatization if at all possible.”

            I believe that IS a good answer, what you say here. That would be novel, too, I believe, in a general sort of way, so I’d call it “change.” It’s a start! Good inner focus. Lots of programming and habits to break here, but it is doable.

            “More police officers are being CIT trained, which is needed so they have a better understanding and appreciation for people who are in distressed states.”

            I was around when CIT training started, and it has notable problems which only reinforce the stigma, discrimination, and marginalization.

            You’re talking about the system changing (or improving) the system, and that ain’t gonna happen, it’s not logical. That which is the problem is not going to create the solution.

            “I agree that if this is what the client wants, it should be short-term.”

            Lots to say here, but overall, I feel long term psychotherapy is harmful and does create dependence, inevitably. I’m open to discussion on this, but as of now, this has been my observation.

            “…people who have experienced severe trauma since an early age need more time to heal.”

            Yes and no, I believe. People who have experienced severe trauma since an early age have patterns and cycles to break. Healing happens in layers, and it’s up to a person’s process how they heal and by what means. Some can be extremely efficient but still have layer upon layer, depending on the history.

            There are a lot of excellent ways to heal severe trauma that have nothing to do with psychotherapy and psychology training. For me, it was the way to go, in the way of healing my spirit, my heart, and then my body/mind. Not for everyone of course and I don’t advocate energy/psychic/chakra healing for anyone not interested in this. I just offer it as an option to those who are interested or curious, and most often they are stunned with the results and what they learn in the process. Most people who can take this healing in say that they can get what feels like 5 years of therapy in one healing session. It really cuts to the chase.

            In my practice, it varies and I have clients as well as students in groups where we discuss the manifesting process as a healing agent. My standard is to go with three sessions, where we discuss the issue, get to what needs shifting in present time, I prescribe exercises (usually one 5-10 minute focus exercise/day), and then they come back a week later to report how this affected their energy and the issues at hand, then we tweak if need be and go one more week, then come back for closure. That often works, or at least gets them well on their way. By this time, a shift has definitely occurred.

            Sometimes they want to go further simply because they find it so fascinating. Healing and manifesting happen simultaneously, so it’s kind of cool to follow the energy of this. And it can be life-changing, a whole new perspective from which to navigate life. That’s how one of my testimonials read. And, it is extremely efficient healing. I’ve been in practice for over 13 years now.

            This is based on tons of training I did over the years as I healed, and then from my own process, as I integrated this very mindfully. I’ve integrated several healing modalities in which I trained and became certified—the new stuff, based on ancient stuff. Worked miraculously for me, and now I’m paying it forward.

            “I am encouraged by EMDR as a treatment for trauma, because it helps the brain and body heal itself through bilateral stimulation.”

            I’ve heard people speak well of this. Anything that works and is obviously helpful to a client would be my standard of practice.

            “Unfortunately our culture supports active passivity and learned helplessness.”

            Well, I don’t—not in my life, and not in my practice.

            “I wish everyone felt empowered to change their lives for the better. Many feel like lost causes.”

            The world would certainly be a much easier and nicer place to live if everyone knew their personal power, rather than feeling hopeless or chronically frustrated thanks to these crazy messages of marginalization projected without effort or consciousness.

            I felt my cause was a lost one at one point, I’ve talked about my almost successful attempt to take my own life. I had good reason to believe it was hopeless, it all stacked up like this thanks to the messages I received from the system. I was in it hard core at that time. It’s why I call it “terrifying.”

            BUT, I was wrong, thank goodness, and I found my way, and then my power. I speak about it only to give hope to others. At one point, I had told a friend that I needed a miracle to get through the mess I was going through. Well, they occurred. I’m here, and I’m thriving. ‘Nuff said.

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          • Hi Alex,

            “I was around when CIT training started, and it has notable problems which only reinforce the stigma, discrimination, and marginalization.

            You’re talking about the system changing (or improving) the system, and that ain’t gonna happen, it’s not logical. That which is the problem is not going to create the solution.”

            I guess we have a difference of opinion here. In my experience the police have had no training in understand mental health or addiction related behaviors/symptoms, and they would get more punitive with people more quickly. They seem to be a bit more compassionate and understanding now since being CIT trained, but I understand why not everyone would see it this way. Traditional training for cops had very little mention of these topics in the past. I think it’s progress. Cops aren’t going away, so to me it’s better at least for them to notice the signs of developmental delays, autism, TBI, PTSD, cerebral palsy, etc.

            Systems do evolve and change over time. I do believe in reform, and I understand why some think it’s not possible. At one time in America women couldn’t vote and black individuals were considered property. Clearly the system has improved in some areas, and this was done over time within the three branches of government.

            “People who have experienced severe trauma since an early age have patterns and cycles to break. Healing happens in layers, and it’s up to a person’s process how they heal and by what means. Some can be extremely efficient but still have layer upon layer, depending on the history.”

            You are right, and therapy is only one possible way people can move towards healing and empowerment. I do understand that folks who are in therapy too long are prone to feel dependent upon it and maintain a weak internal locus of control. It is best, I agree, for the short-term. EMDR, for instance, can be extremely short and produce excellent results. I wish my clients had access to all the forms of healing so they could actually make a choice. Unfortunately, Medicaid covers very little else besides mainstream services.

            “I felt my cause was a lost one at one point, I’ve talked about my almost successful attempt to take my own life. I had good reason to believe it was hopeless, it all stacked up like this thanks to the messages I received from the system. I was in it hard core at that time. It’s why I call it “terrifying.”

            BUT, I was wrong, thank goodness, and I found my way, and then my power. I speak about it only to give hope to others. At one point, I had told a friend that I needed a miracle to get through the mess I was going through. Well, they occurred. I’m here, and I’m thriving. ‘Nuff said.”

            It is encouraging to hear stories like yours. I am glad you found your way through all of this. It is my hope that every trauma survivor can find their path to healing.

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          • Systems may evolve, but the basic purpose behind them generally does not. Look at the public school system. It’s initial purpose, back in the 1800s, was to create “good citizens” out of freed slaves and incoming immigrants from Ireland, China, and southern and eastern Europe. This meant teaching these kids to grow up and become good factory workers. Public education has gone through huge reforms in waves since the early 1900s, and in many ways looks very different today than it did then. And yet, the main message of school is for kids to follow the authority of the teachers, to start and stop when the bell rings, and not to create any problems. In essence, they are still training factory workers, and they don’t even remember why. The “mental health system” will be the same. Its purpose was never to heal – it was to remove problematic people from the general populace and to make a lot of money for certain people. This is not to say that individuals within this system are not sincere and even very capable in helping people figure out how to empower themselves and improve their lives. It is saying that the system will always keep such people under control or fire them if they get too far out of line, because truly empowering people challenges the power of those running the show.

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          • Hi Shaun, I do think we’re at an impasse at this point because you are very much a “systems” person, from what I can tell. You are bringing in other entities (police, Medicaid) which are all connected to the same corruption. There is “the mental health system,” and then there is THE SYSTEM, of which mh is merely a subset–“the rules of law and order and checks and balances” by which we are all supposed to live. Whereas, in reality, there is no law and order starting with our LEADERSHIP, and as I said earlier, there really are no checks and balances, all of this is an illusion, the big lie. At this point, it’s all a bust, as far as I’m concerned.

            I don’t function in this paradigm, I’ve expanded my reality beyond these illusory limitations which are 100% based on oppression and fear mongering and making us believe that “the status quo” is the only way to go; whereas it is really the least desirable and beneficial for most people on the planet, to comply with “systems thinking,” as far as our current political, economic, medical, and social services systems go. That is simply enabling corruption at this point. Creativity is the key right now, and that is a real point of power.

            That is the whole point of transformation. We transform into an expanded reality. Ask anyone who has been through their dark-night-of-the-soul journey and has come out on the other side, in a new light. That’s pretty literal, and I’m certainly not the only person who can claim this. Many of us have had this path in this lifetime.

            Considering how the old systems are indeed crumbling at this point because just about everyone is feeling the extreme failure of them, I’d say we’re totally at the dawn of a new age. That’s how it goes, from Dark Ages to Renaissance. But giving police and insurance the kind of power you give them, that’s only going to keep us in the dark.

            Life on Earth offers us myriad realities, we get to pick & choose & create. I believe that once we have connected with our true self/spirit self/higher self–whatever anyone wants to call it, that which is beyond the physical, true to our hearts–then we are unlimited in our ability to create our lives our way, aligned with what is for the greater good. That is win/win.

            I have enjoyed our dialogues, Shaun, and have gotten a great deal out of them. I am going to re-focus and take a break from all this right now, let this new information process a bit while I tend to my life out here in the world. Very best wishes to you, and perhaps soon we’ll have more opportunities to compare our respective realities. In the meantime, take good care.


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          • Hi Alex,

            I certainly respect your decision to take a break from the dialogue. I have appreciated your openness and willingness to talk with me.

            Regarding systems in general, I see both good and bad. I can tell you that one reason I continue to believe that the system is worth saving is that people get their needs met through these various systems (housing, healthcare, food, clothing, shelter, jobs, education, human connection, etc).

            Also, I know that many clients come to see me because I am literally the only person they believe they can honestly share with how they really feel. Many of them feel judged or minimized by family and friends. Some have told their parents about being sexually abused and the parents denied it happened. Or they say they are depressed and their loved one asks, “Have you taken your pills?” Or they tell their friend they are anxious, and the friend offers them a beer. I could go on and on with examples of people in my clients’ lives responding in ways which are more harmful than helpful.

            They tell me therapy is a safe place where they can be honest and vulnerable.. There is definitely value in “therapy” for this very reason. There are millions of Americans who feel totally isolated and lonely, and if they can find some solace by coming to see me, feel a little less lonely/more hope, then to me it’s worth it. The system I work in is far from perfect, however I believe the human connection piece is very important–letting people know that their story matters, their suffering matters, their lives matter, their dignity matters, their basic needs matter, their existence matters. Too many of my clients have received the exact opposite message most of their lives from parents, teachers, students in school, and so forth. Chronic poverty, limited economic options, drug addiction to substances like heroin and meth–all of these issues and more my clients have had to learn to cope with. Many of these folks cannot find other options. Some go to church, but it’s not like they can easily open up about their trauma to people there. The way society currently functions American’s are pretty unhappy and lonely because too many of us are suffering in silence. This is why forums like MIA are important, as it’s one avenue for individuals who have suffered to connect with and support each other. I think this is why people go to groups like AA, too, to tell their stories and develop real human connection.

            Please don’t feel like you need to respond to all of this, but I felt it was important to shed light on my own experience and why I think the therapy I do is important to support my community in need.

            Be well and take care.

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          • Thank you, Shaun, it’s all good. I do get from where you are coming, and I feel your heart in your work, without a doubt. We’re still coming from two different mindsets and perspectives which create different realities. I think that’s the most interesting and perhaps challenging things about life–we do exist in a world of diverse realities, like it or not. That is nature, and human nature. Can we all share the planet peaceably? That’s the trillion dollar question, to my mind. And I always say, start with cultivating inner peace, and it will ripple into the world, one way or another. Peace to you.

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          • Steve,
            I don’t disagree with anything you said. Systems, like people, are flawed. I just don’t see much of a viable alternative. Systems of power have existed in all civilizations since the beginning of time. Systems keep themselves going because people are all self-interested, from top to bottom. Of course the people running the system are benefiting the most. Just look at Congress, most of these folks end up much wealthier by the end of their time in “public service”. Then they go into lobbying or some corporate enterprise to enrich themselves further.

            I often hear on MIA that the system should be abolished, but how does anyone really think this will happen when the cards are stacked against change for “the people”? The DSM and psychiatry are very powerful. Obviously, people working in these systems can get out or advocate for change, but unless everyone does this, the system will perpetuate itself or just morph into some other dysfunctional, unjust system. Change too often happens at a snails pace, unless of course we look at ADHD or childhood bipolar diagnoses…these developments have happened quite rapidly because of the powerful interests involved! The people on MIA and elsewhere don’t have the financial influence to impact the world the same way big pharma does. That is the sad and frankly depressing reality to me. The world runs by monied interests. Capitalism, like frankly all economic systems, are heavily flawed and predatory. I have yet see a system which doesn’t screw over a large group of humans. No wonder why people think, “What is the point?” I ask myself this all the time these days. I feel dejected. Corruption is everywhere, and people continue to suffer. There is genocide happening right now in Africa, yet who is outraged? People are being drugged out of their minds in the West, yet who really cares? As you can see I feel a bit dejected and pessimistic at the moment because from what I can tell the masses are being constantly distracted while the 1% who run the world do as they please, sailing in their yachts, vacationing in the Alps, going to 5 star restaurants, being chummy with “world leaders”, buying $200,000 cars, and the like. The rest of us are just trying to pay rent and survive day to day.

            I would love to see unjust systems be abolished, and it seems to me that the replacement won’t necessary be any better because inevitably the powerful in society will find a way to benefit the most.

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          • The replacement will only be better if those who replace it have different intentions in designing the new system. Otherwise, it will be “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” So we have to work on being clear ourselves about our intentions and keep that clarity as we work for change. But there is no way that change happens until/unless the reality of the current system is thoroughly exposed and discredited.

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          • I like that, Steve, about different intentions infused into whatever is destined to replace the current corrupt (and disabled, I’d say, to be honest) network of systems. I’d say just about everything would have to be different than what we have going on now, if we expect to make manifest a world in which everyone’s needs are respected and met, and not a bunch of societies divided up into those who are “worthy” and “not worthy,” or what have you, based on how compliant they are with the “rules of society” and who does and does not challenge it simply with their way of being.

            This current society in which we live is corrupt and failing. So perhaps these “rules” (norms) should be challenged, and I believe that’s what activism is all about.

            People need freedom of choice, of expression, of creativity, and of simply being, in order to thrive, and I believe these are basic human rights. A humane system would honor this unequivocally, including a sound and universally supportive family system, rather than one in which an identified patient is created. That’s where all the splitting begins, along with internal struggles, and imbalance is born.

            A sound society would honor uniqueness, rather than shun, ridicule, and marginalized it, not to mention turning it into pathology. That is spirit-killing and leads to suffering and untimely death.

            Shaun, you make it sound hopeless. Of course there are viable alternatives. When old things break down, new things spring forth. I believe that’s pretty elementary. Are you aware of the power you are giving to the system with all you are saying here? You are feeding the system hardily.

            I’ve heard many therapists say “there will always be abuse in society”–to abuse victims! Is that really how we want to respond? Not a lot of empathy there, to say the least. Nor hope, if you ask me.

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          • Steve,
            “The replacement will only be better if those who replace it have different intentions in designing the new system.”

            There’s a proverb, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” https://fee.org/articles/3-policies-with-good-intentions-and-tragic-results/

            “But there is no way that change happens until/unless the reality of the current system is thoroughly exposed and discredited.”

            I do agree with you. I just wish the audience was larger, and hopefully continuing to shed light on these injustices will move us closer to real change. Also, in my estimation much of the problem lies in that the majority of people are still content enough to engage in the current system.

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    • Thank you for sharing this, klh. I like the idea of personal constructions as a way to view a person’s subjective experience. Another example of where we don’t have to pathologize to help a person process their experiences in a meaningful way.

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  6. Of course there are “psychosocial consequences of diagnostic labeling and stigma” which … [damage] relationships and [distance people] from friends and family.”

    Stigma is defined as “a mark of disgrace or infamy; a stain or reproach, as on one’s reputation.” Defamation is defined as “the action of damaging the good reputation of someone; slander or libel.” Stigma, especially with made up diseases that are known and confessed by the head of NIMH to be “invalid,” is defamation. Both stigma and defamation unjustly destroy a person’s reputation. Defamation is illegal, by the way. Stigmatizing people with “invalid” DSM disorders should be illegal as well.

    How in the world, the entire so called “mental health industry,” could not have the insight or foresight to realize what they’ve been doing is morally repugnant, is staggering. And they still haven’t figured this out. How long does it take for these people to overcome their delusional beliefs in the “invalid” DSM disorders?

    “Person-centered approaches that involve working with openness, respect, and desire for partnership show more promise.” A statement of the blatantly obvious, or what us non-DSM deluded call common sense.

    “Central to this idea is the privileging of the individual’s framework and understanding of their experience with an aim to work within that understanding rather than paternalistically imposing the views of psychiatry.” Wow, we have to teach the “mental health professionals” to try to actually help people with their real life concerns. By the way, “paternalistically imposing the views of psychiatry” on people, and force drugging all who don’t buy into the scientific fraud based “views of psychiatry,” is also known as gas lighting a person. Which is a known form of mental abuse, not “mental health care.”

    From Wiki, “Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim’s belief.[1][2]

    “Instances may range from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. [Like massively poisoning people with the psychiatric drugs.] The term owes its origin to the 1938 Patrick Hamilton play Gas Light and its 1940 and 1944 film adaptations. The term has been used in clinical and research literature,[3][4] as well as in political commentary.[5][6]”

    This is evidence you psychologists should actually be well aware of the fact your behavior is morally repugnant and mental abuse, not “mental health care.” And the number one actual function of today’s so called “mental health” industries is covering up child abuse, according to your own medical literature.


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  7. I was gaslighted and court ordered to mental health by my verbally and psychologically abusive husband. There one doctor, with no discussion, drugged me and on the way out, another said my civil rights were being violated. I had an MD comment about my mental health when I went back to him for help with the side effects of fluoroquinolones that he prescribed. I went to another for the nerve pain after taking Cipro and he asked if I felt like I was in a deep dark pit and couldn’t get out. I was never given a label face to face but with people who behave like that? Who’s delusional?

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  8. I mostly agree with oldheads position, to anyone outside all this it would look extreme. But my opinion has been ground out through my own deep, horrific, very very painful experience of psychiatry. oldhead’s position is right. If you doubt me get yourself drugged, get unsuspecting/unknowing akathisia, sectioned/coercively detained and forced onto olanzapine/polypharmacy and into deeper akathisia and you will find out, how, what on the outside looks like an ‘extreme’ position is forged.
    Now, file on 4 on BBC radio 4 I only listened to the first 10 or so mins of this before falling asleep (wow):


    A 17 year old teenager was put on sertraline and hung himself a short number of days later.

    Have mentioned on here before that sertraline is a killer.

    Why ?

    Because it inhibits two important drug metbolising enzymes: CYP2D6 and CYP3A4

    This causes drug toxicity which leads to akathisia.



    Then you have to look at the food stuff which also inhibit . Did he drink black tea and that is just for starters?

    “Plenty of research suggests that drinking tea is healthful, but research also shows that black tea can have powerful inhibitory effects on the P450 drug-metabolizing system. In a laboratory study performed by Canadian researchers, black tea was found to be a more powerful inhibitor of the enzymes than single-ingredient herbal teas such as St. John’s wort, goldenseal, feverfew, or cat’s claw.5 Herbal tea blends were second only to black tea in their inhibitory effects. While the researchers said it is difficult to extrapolate the findings and precisely apply them to humans, they do believe the study accurately identified products for low or high levels of drug interactions.”



    The gene test to establish the phenotype of metablosing enzymes has been around a long time and as I have posted many times before on the BBC website from 18 years ago:


    “One day it may be considered unethical not to carry out such tests routinely to avoid exposing individuals to doses of drugs that could be ineffective or even harmful to them.”

    I used this link in my complaint to the GMC to state that there is no such thing as a one size fits all dose, when they replied that my coercied drugs were within the stated normal dose. They ignored this information.

    I’d like to think that someone, some where gives this above information to the family of the 17 year old boy… BBC researchers?

    oldhead – keep posting.

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    • The way I’m looking at it, “the system” is not at all for the greater good. It is for the good of a few at the expense of most others. When something is truly for the greater good, then no one is excluded and everyone prospers because we’re all part of the collective, no way around that, I believe.

      We can’t always see the bigger picture–we are human, after all, with subjective perspectives–so we have to use our intuition. It also helps to have a way to guide oneself in life, from an internal locus of control, rather than to rely on others for their information. That is true freedom, and I believe it is for the greater good for everyone to feel free, that’s my personal belief. It’s a matter of getting there, and that’s the journey of awakening.

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  9. Although I hear some oppositional defiant disorder symptoms in what you say, to me”The system, the greater good, the big picture, the end justifies the means”? Manipulation -propaganda along with “love, love, love” and family trumping truth within that family and I divorced. This discussion is going no where nor will there be any change because the real culprits will never be addressed.

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    • “Although I hear some oppositional defiant disorder symptoms in what you say”

      Um…not sure what to make of this, but I had to chuckle at the irony of it. Although, in reality, sounds like programming to me.

      I’ve gotten in my abusers’ face, btw, and have spoken my truth to every last one of them–in my family, and in the mh system. It was not at all easy and naturally there was tons of resistance to hearing me, and I had to really trust a hard process. But in the end it was extremely beneficial for everyone concerned, and created amazing changes for all of us.

      Truth is healing, freeing, and it breaks the system. But what I have found is that you have to use your own voice–which is empowering–and not rely on others to speak for you, which amounts to chronic dependence.

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      • Alex, I spoke up 18 years ago without my former spouse standing up for me. Not one person who faced their abusers came back and had the guts to speak truth to me face to face. Dews they really care about their fellow mankind? Does drugging someone who can’t remember a conversation count? Hypnosis, implanting, NLP or whatever one considers waking up doesn’t sound like freedom to think or remember. Obviously, no one ever speaks for me, however they do know where I stand. I could spend all day discussing the abuses that you perceive as chronic dependence. I suppose the book of labels which includes defiant something or other is programmed for the readers to believe which would make an interesting mental health behavior study, chuckling with you. Yes, truth is healing but not if it’s hidden around some dark corner.

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        • TruthisBest, I apologize if I came across as flip or insensitive. I was having a hard time understanding what you were meaning by that and felt it was ironic that I was being faced with “diagnostic symptoms” after not living with a diagnosis of any kind for over 10 years now–other than maybe a touch of post traumatic stress from time to time thanks to my stint in the system, although fortunately that is pretty minimal at this time.

          But to read what you wrote on a website like this, where we admonish DSM diagnoses (and ODD being one of the more controversial ones) is what struck me as particularly ironic, that’s all I meant.

          In any event, you seem like you’re in a lot of pain and I am sorry for that, and I certainly didn’t mean to add to it or imply anything that is not true about you. I was speaking in general when I said “you have to use your voice,” I should have said “we each have to use our own voice.”

          And yes, some people can be monstrously abusive and have no remorse about it, it’s both sad and maddening. It’s a pretty fucked up world, I think we more than likely all agree on that by now. I believe that’s what we’re looking to help heal, somehow. That’s *my* expressed intention, in any event. Best regards.

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    • I was thinking about our dialogue this morning, TruthisBest, and felt moved to once again copy & paste here my one of my favorite quotes. I’m not sure if I’m responding to what I’m feeling at present or to something in your energy based on what you say here. Maybe both, I’m not sure, but it doesn’t matter.

      What I find myself extremely moved by is your obvious courage and fortitude. I know the gaslighting thing well, that was my abuse, too, and it was long-term because I was raised this way and didn’t know any different for a long time, until well along my healing path. That was a rude awakening, but it was a powerful healing opportunity, so I addressed it. And it was also brutal because it seems to be inherently accompanied by negative gossip and kind of herding a community against one of its own. It’s quite the matrix, truly insidious. I feel you here.

      I heard someone once say that it was like having an eggbeater in your brain, to which I related wholeheartedly. Crazy-making! Which is the idea, and it works.

      But I truly believe that we can heal and get that eggbeater out of us. There is a lot of online guidance for this, check out YouTube and do a search for “healing from gaslighting” or ‘healing from narcissistic abuse.” Lots and lots of great info on this, really helped me.

      I’ve been working on that for years and my peace has returned to me for the most part. Although I do have to take good care of myself and do my energy work, because of the sheer density of this energy. Can make life more challenging than it need be, imo. So it’s a delicate balance, keeps me on my toes.

      I wish for you that same peace. I wish that for everyone that has suffered at the hands of abusive gaslighters–and there are tons of us, it seems!

      Anyway, here’s the quote and I hope it resonates with you or at least with someone who reads this. Blessings to you.

      This is from Marianne Williamson’s A Return to Love:

      “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

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  10. A person I know told me about a young relative’s suicide. This young woman first had received a trauma diagnosis, which she as a survivor of childhood trauma thought was ok. The next doctor, however, gave her a bipolar diagnosis. Then the young woman started to protest against this latest diagnosis, and because of her protests she was given a personality diagnosis, which had as a consequence that she took her own life.

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  11. Thank you kind author and good luck with your goals,
    the summarized article is indeed a valid piece of science for people associated with the victims systemically. My mother would be a very good candidate for “forced reading and acknowledging”, lol.
    But within the careful, and to me subjectively only, maybe, formulations, that indeed seem to carry on in the pseudo-intellectual domination attempts of the psychiatrist.
    The detrimental effects of neuroleptics, the the negative effects that can arise even within the consenting individual and the potential for escalation from authorities and pseudo-authorities are for me, by now more like a morbid fascination of an entirely unasked for hobby, but anyway are well known to the victims.
    One problem, i see here is, that none of these approaches can deal in a meaningful way with the unquantifiable possibilites that can happen to the victim within what so falsely is described as schizophrenia.
    Leaving aside the numerous occasions in which an unwelcome, but publicaly negative event is false and after the effect “diagnosed” as schizophrenia, while the entity to be protected from scrutiny or something similar has a quite logical and/or personal connection to the initial victim.
    By missinterpreting the, under different circumstances valuable, but de facto non existent right to privacy and anonymity, towards consequently not evidencing and analysing the reality within the victim is existing, the reality he is experiencing and the actions and reaction the victim and environment enact actually, no scientifical progress can be derived from those methods and the victim is in both cases alone with disprovement of false thoughts and definition of a reality it can successfully share with the imagined others.
    Yep, indeed, factually to me, living in THE reality is individual by design, and any possible common truth is quite difficult to find for all beings alive and therefore “schizophrenia” is a gradual mode of thinking for all.
    In fact translating schizophrenia directly (so i have learned) leads to “cleaved filters”. Indeed, i have consented to have enough “symptoms” of the described feelings actually in, sorry i forgot which textbook i could agree with then.
    Since DSM, loosely translated means only crossing beliefs in form of a handbook, i want to ask how those feelings encompass in any way having ones filters cleaved.
    In Germany, the study of psychiatry was only aviable to A grade students. Even in comparably nice school setting like the german Gymnasium, not a crowed that is highly sought of nor individuals widely known for their sozialisation talents.
    But factually here the A grade means only that they are allowed to study this pseudo-scientific garbage, not that they are actually in any way superior in knowledge about anyone else really with a comparable school education.
    Anyway, i want to agree, if i read correctly that, the “diagnostical disagreement” can be very empowering, but it leads to potentially grave consequences should the victim not be able to evade further harrassment by psychiatric entities and their supporter and exploiters.
    If this fails and the victim is not able to live in world that at least seems to it to support and value it, the possibility of actual self- or hurt to innocients increases with every real or perceived escalation in the worst case, maybe.
    To me the simplest way to reduce misuse and abuse and distrust, would be to give up on any form of shadow court proceedings, giving the victim the chance to choose between truly (to him) helpful form and doses of medication or not at its liberty, free choice of lawyer AND compulsory specialist for laws applicable and realities experienced within victim and entities and events defining it as a person to be labeled/accused in anyway.

    For scholars of psychology (losely logics / workings understandable of the soul) it might indeed be a very good idea to systematically and listen and interact and publish the physical realities and feelings and believes of labeled and nominally offended entities.
    But the definition of a reality that is in fact commonly consentuable on, would need at least for now
    need qualifications in multiple scientific and maybe other disciplines, indeed.
    A to me funny fact of hearing and reading about people enduring psychosis or whatever one wants to call it, is that there seems to a high correlation within what some victims want/have to believe and holywood movies, which they probably havent even seen.
    Also, an quite easy reproducable fact of the subjectivity of the victims enviromnent and harrassers, is the “prior knowledge” of the label and imagined knowledge when the victim secretly denies “taking THEIR medizine” showing the same approval in said others as truly or falsely claiming to not take the de facto quite poisonous, but only weak narcoleptic, quite adequately named neuroleptics.
    Sorry, for doing the Mad Professor unasked, but here, i have quite some hope for change to something good or better.
    I have been institutionalised under the claim of being dangerous to others quite often now, at first for beating someone quite well known and dangerous in its potential to vex and influence my life negatively and then next to every time, police tried to harrass me while being homeless without any criminal offence dreamed up by police or others leading even to court hearings.
    I was not able to even report a perceived criminal act of others to the effect of factual paperwork done or anything else but trying to subdue me some way or the other.
    I seem to have had an angel to be prepared for that intellectually and emotionally quite well, but for people of less education pursueing family members with money and social experience and morals in the bank it could easily lead to the system being able to define sub-groups or individuals as dangerous at liberty in an increasing manner.
    For young girls being singled out that way can be torturing and quite often fatal,
    trying to impose such an obvious crazy assed pseudo-discipline obligation towards shut up or be lab rat in a weapons world like the USA will get fucking ugly and already is, if i understand correctly.

    Ok, enough trying to flirt with cute young girls, sorries again.
    Take good care and network and do try not to attack persons or groups but states of more or less times true or false knowledges/believes and systemic facts disadvantageous for the status quo in real power.
    Dissenting people loosing faith and reasons to cooperate will steadily grow, but people, truly trying to improve the real world within mutual advantageous settings and goals between imagined sub-structures of society.
    OK, i am offsky now and again, i will not try to interact here anymore, it is too crazy for people that know reductive materialists do not needlessly give into realising with anyone they do not seem to need.

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  12. Paula Caplan made a great point. I would love to explore this study further, but I ask, what happens if you perceive yourself as mentally ill, that is, if you believe the doctors, or your family is totally convinced? You might then accept the disabled label, you are forced into unemployment for life and poverty, and a lifetime (a shortened one!) of drugging and maybe even shock.

    My hope is to reach as many people as possible, in whatever stage of that diagnosis they are in, and help them turn around. This may mean convincing someone to cancel the very first mental health appointment. If we are lucky. Most, though, are married to the System in some way and it’s tough to help them see beyond it.

    There’s an interesting tidbit in this story about seeing your doctor as incompetent. You may also get bad treatment at the hands of “staff,” and start to doubt that they are really the gods they make themselves out to be. This is only the beginning.

    There is a danger, though, inherent in this because getting a doc who is obviously incompetent might lead to your ending up in the hands of one you consider “better.” The good doc/bad doc mentality is pervasive throughout MH and Medicine in general. So many times I heard, “That one was bad…go to this one instead!” So many people I knew thought that they only needed a “better doc” or “better hospital.” I was like that for years, or more likely, decades. It was like waiting for Elijah the Prophet who never shows up at the Seder. Oh well, next year, if we keep on singing the same song. (I think the ritual is built in to the Seder to make a point.)

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