1. thanks for this. it is…unsettling, though not really surprising, to see many ‘liberals’ taking the pills, playing the patient game (as I call it…), pushing ‘mental health’ ideology on others…

    i can think of a few people i am acquainted with (thankfully, no one i am truly close to…) who have fallen for the friendly fascism of private practice psychiatry (for themselves) and are going down a death spiral. no one dares say ‘stop!,’ least of all the ‘experts’ at the private facilities doing shock ‘treatments,’ the outpatient psychiatrists. until i read this, i was somewhat surprised that the PhD psychotherapists weren’t doing…something, anything, to put an end to the madness…

    but your article confirms what i saw in my own misadventures and what ive long suspected about the psych guild, as a whole. the masters level lpc and the phd specialists have their roles to play in drugging and destroying and labeling outliers and the distressed, the alienated…

    and woe unto those who dare question them, any of them. ever. 🙁

  2. Brilliant analysis!

    Very interesting that “Oppositional Defiant Disorder” appeared concurrently with the rightward tilt of the US during the 1980s. And in my experience, it’s true that today the politically liberal are just as likely as those on the right to conform to psychiatry’s dogma. Perhaps more so–I see more skepticism of psychiatry on (ugh) Fox News and among Libertarians. Sen. Charles Grassley, who helped expose the role of pharma in overprescribing psychiatric drugs to children on Medicaid, is a Republican. Not sure what to make of that….

  3. I was a member of a supposedly “liberal” church that claimed to be welcoming, but that turned out to be hypocrisy. They didn’t include anyone they did not like, and this meant pushing out the poor, being unwelcoming to black people and immigrants, and of course, anyone deemed to be nutso they felt too embarrassed to include.

    A lot of groups that claim to be liberal are just hypocrites. They include only those they want to include. Snobbery prevails. The elite left, let’s say. The elite right, too.

    Oh, shall I say the Elite Antipsych community, too? Elitism is rampant.

    I am enjoying your book so much, Bruce. I even quit my job, sick of being bossed around by a 21-year-old. Time for a change.

    Even at my other job, the one I like, I hate the useless rules. I think rules are designed for those who refuse to think for themselves. They need slogans to help them make decisions that the rest of us can make just as well using common sense. Today I told my supervisor that I refuse to follow a protocol if it doesn’t apply or if it’s illogical.

    In 2011, nurses and doctors followed a protocol, water restriction, that nearly killed me. They could have done the logical thing and considered I am a lithium survivor. They did not, because they were too obedient to make a responsible, humane decision.

  4. “Euthanasia in Mental Health” approved of by all present day Regulators contacted (in the UK and Ireland):-

    Adverse Drug Reaction Warning Request Letter sent to Galway Nov. 8 1986

    ADR Warning Request ltr Pg 1

    ADR Warning Request ltr Pg 2

    ADR Warning Request Ltr Pg 3

    Irish Record Summary Sent To UK In Response:- but WITHOUT Requested ADR WARNING

    1986 Irish Record Summary Pg 1

    1986 Irish Record Summary Pg 2

    Doctors False Reasurrance Letter Nov 1986

    “Depot Antipsychotic Revisited Research Paper 1998” From Galway Psychiatrist


  5. Sorry but I think the is the wrong road to go down. To posit or imply that there is a “left wing” psychiatry which is better than “right wing” psychiatry is a ruse, conscious or not. ALL psychiatry is RIGHT WING and TOTALITARIAN in its premises and function. Any “branch” of psychiatry that professes to be “progressive” is simply a more insidious form of totalitarianism. To get distracted by some bogus left/right debate is a trap, another good cop/bad cop ploy from which we should be mature and savvy enough to abstain.

    I think Bruce should also acknowledge that when he says “anti-authoritarian” this is a buzzword for anarchist.

    • Ok oldhead, it was Kennedy who gave the speech at the APA meeting that suddenly no longer exists. Bruce points out the article that Jay Joseph wrote about the debate concerning the killing of the feeble minded that appeared in 1942. I still can’t find my copy but this article presents everything that needs to be known.

      By the way, I don’t have internet at this point.

      I just did some research on google and what it said is that the article pretty much gives Kennedy’s opinions about the topic that he expressed at the meeting in 1941. Of course, when you google Kennedy’s keynote address what you find is that it can’t be found! So, the article that Bruce points out is all that we will have.

  6. szasz was right wing libertarian, to the core…and he provided such cogent analysis+deconstruction of ‘mental illness’ and all things psyc-related…

    well, even tho i lean towards new deal type ‘progressivism’ (read: contain conflict by building the middle class, upward mobility, gov’t programs, reducing but not eliminating inequality and crazy insane concentration of wealth…), I ‘get’ where Dr.Szasz is ‘coming from,’ in some of his essays, books, etc., and…

    -sigh- one must make room for dissenting, challening voices, especially when the dissenting, challenging voices belong to brilliant people. agree, disagree, shrug it off and go think about something, anything else…whatever…

    one must at least let the ideas, concepts, voices have some space in the inner-dialogue, inner-analysis.

    • I’m significantly “left” of you, if that means anything consistent anymore, but I recognize and laud Szasz for providing the basic deconstruction of psychiatry that made anti-psychiatry thought and consciousness possible and relevant — even though the people being labeled and drugged are primarily victims of the capitalist system he championed. So we thank him for that and cherish it as a gift; however we still need to put psychiatry into context and identify it as a tool of systemic oppression which serves a particular class. I think they call it a paradox.

  7. Bruce,

    the superficial analysis you state about the Right isn’t anymore helpful than when the Right spews the same about the Left. I may have moved to the center, but my wife’s and my upbringing on the Right, its focus on individualism, independence and pulling oneself up by the bootstraps is what gave us the fortitude to homeschool our son through his graduation when our family all thought we were crazy. We produced a world-class scholar who is in his PhD residency at one of the elite schools in the Boston area.

    And so when my wife began to show signs of distress from her childhood abuse, I may have felt overwhelmed at first, but I never felt out of my league to figure out how best to help my wife as we walked thru the healing process together. And as we both healed and grew and learned, I realized the elitist experts who openly sneered at me were full of crap for the most part.

    I’ve learned a lot from the Left, especially since it isn’t my default position, but to suggest that all our ails regarding this subject are from the ‘authoritarian’ Right and the ‘state-corporatist rulers’ is a simplistic misreading of that position in my opinion. There are anti-authoritarian tendencies on both sides of the spectrum just as there is the tendency to mindlessly follow authorities: they simply come from different perspectives and beliefs.


  8. “Establishment psychiatry has historically been supported by the ruling elite in return for meeting the elite’s needs to maintain the societal hierarchy and political status quo….” Apparently this has always been the function of the “mental health professionals”?

    And this means the “mental health” workers are not performing a “medical” function, but an unjust, outside the law, sociopolitical function. Which means they are NOT actually medically “diagnosing” people, they are merely stigmatizing people with “invalid” labels, for people who claim themselves to be the “elite.”

    Someone needs to educate the “mental health” workers, since they have delusions of grandeur they’re real “counselors” and “doctors” participating in “real” medicine. When in reality, they are nothing but the “omnipotent moral busy bodies” that C.S. Lewis forewarned us about. And I do agree, “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.”

    And I will say, since America was founded on the belief that “all people are created as equal, with certain inalienable rights ….” Writings which deny the existence of some sort of “elite” class, who has the right to behave outside the law, or have “mental health” workers do such for them. I still believe today, what I believed in late 2001, the wrong bankers are currently in charge of America.

    And I still don’t understand why the “mental health” workers think 9/11, and the never ending wars that resulted from that event, are good things. Except those wars are bankrupting and destroying America, which is apparently to goal of the globalist “elite,” thus also the goal of their US “mental health” minion.

    Lucky for me, lots of people now know that banksters who needed bailouts, then went off stealing “trillions worth of houses,” who have made a mockery of our monetary system, are not good, nor should they be considered the “elite.”

    As to the left-right paradigm to which you refer, it strikes me that’s nothing but a divide to conquer, war against the people, confuse and misinform the people, tactic of these bad banking globalist “elite.” Who want a one world banking system, which is a requirement in the communist manifesto, meaning these globalist banksters are actually communists, or leftist, not the traditional right wing. The whole left-right paradigm is misinformation and messed up, IMHO.

    But it is these never ending war mongering and profiteering, fiscally irresponsible, bailout needing, home stealing, communist, globalist banksters who today’s “mental health” workers have been working for since at least 2001, in reality since 1913. Meaning our “mental health” workers are actually extreme leftist communists, not “right wing psychiatry.” Since the “elite” globalist bankers they work for are actually communists, despite their claims to the contrary.

    Rule and control with deception, fraud, and lies, is the tactic of the globalist “elite,” as well as their “mental health” minion.

  9. Conduct Disorder is not just applied to belligerent kids with criminal tendencies. It’s also applied to kids who’ve grown up with severe abuse and have become large enough to hit back and defend themselves. Suddenly parents who’ve been beating their kids for ages get hit back, the parents call the police on their kid, and the kid is charged with criminal assault, labeled with conduct disorder, drugged into compliance, and dumped back into the situation that caused them so much harm to begin with.

    The underlying message is that you will learn to appreciate being abused and you will love your abusers or worse will happen to you at the hands of the state. The state has learned that its best to kneecap potential dissidents and those who fight back against abuse at as early an age as possible. Intervene early, fuck up any chance that kid has to develop some sense of stable identity, convince them they are bad children who will become bad people. It’s no fucking wonder so many kids kill themselves. And then you get feel good antisuicide warnings about smart phones driving kids to suicide. What a fucking farce.

  10. Great article. I’d like to think Bruce for bringing some of these matters to our attention. Just think, what if the “mental health” authorities, as they have with so-called and bogus ADHD, came up with an adult form of ODD. People might never be seen as adult enough to disobey bad orders. Another potential bombshell is the designation anti-social personality disorder. Here you’ve got a label they attach to borderline criminal activities, so long as those activities are not instituted by federal governments. In Russia, and some places in eastern Europe, disagreeing with the government is seen as a “mental health disorder”. Pussy Riot, for example, was prosecuted for Hooliganism. While in America you’ve got the Patriot Act, I’m not going to put it past the authorities to come up with a “mental health” label that might serve the same purposes. In so far as children and adolescents are concerned, what with ODD, CD, ADHD, etc., they’ve already got those labels, and they are used to keep youngsters in their place and powerless. It’s not a big step at all, as is done sometimes, to extend such oppression to some segments of the adult population.

  11. “By seeing differently, we do differently.”
    James Hillman

    “My war – and I have yet to win a decisive battle – is with the modes of thought that and conditioned feelings that prevail in psychology and therefore also in the way we think and feel about our being. Of these conditions none are more tyrannical than the convictions that clamp the mind and heart into positivistic science (geneticism and computerism), economics (bottom-line capitalism), and single-minded faith (fundamentalism).”

    James Hillman

  12. I think it’s essential to realize that what passes for “the left” today is for the most part NOT a true left, based on overthrowing capitalism as it’s raison d’etre. In fact as far as overthrowing psychiatry is concerned this faux-left is perhaps our biggest impediment, and accepts psychiatry hook line and sinker. Look at fuckin’ Bernie and his calls for more $$ for “mental health” — this is what we’re up against, with even our supposed comrades throwing us up against the wall. Need I say more? With “friends” like these Sean Hannity is not my greatest concern. One Murphy is gone but the other one is still going strong.

    • Well, it’s essential to realize that ‘liberal’ and ‘left’ aren’t the same thing, and Bruce kind of made that distinction right in the title. As a far I’ve experience as a lefty Green Party voter, I often find more in common with libertarians than with democrats – at least in the capital region, which is politically toxic. The upper coasts tend to have more actual lefties.

      The Democratic Party is decidedly NOT left wing though, largely thanks to Third Way types like (the) Clinton(s) and Obama. Jimmy Carter was the last Democratic president who could be remotely called left. I call this new faux left the social justice left. They use a few token issues and special interest groups to get the public worked up over some social outrage, and then watch the money and votes pour in. The social justice left has embraced the idea that “helping” people against their will is “for their own good” because it fits certain narratives like their desire for gun control and they don’t mind kicking an already marginalized group under the bus in order to meet their political goal. The same with abortion or gay rights or the needs of communities of color, what have you. They exploit various demographic groups with promises of token change in exchange for voting in more of the same further enabling both the war state and increasing corporate takeover of government as long as they can secure the pork spending for their constituencies.

      • I know of almost NO remaining truly left wing organizations by any rational definition. I’m hoping it’s just a matter of regrouping. The Greens do not call for the overthrow of capitalism. I agree with the term “social justice left” or at least get your drift. But the Democratic Party has NEVER had a leftist candidate — and still won’t have one if Bernie wins the nomination. They have always been one of the two ruling capitalist parties and they will shoot us down in the street in an instant if they decide it’s in their interest. I don’t consider this “hard line,” I just consider it consistent, and realistic.

    • Kinda duh. Left liberal is not left wing. Bernie may call himself a socialist, all the same, he’s a mainstream politician. As is, the question becomes which politician best serves the interests of multinational corporations. Get the corporate money out of politics and you will have done a service to humanity. Right now, both political parties are bought and sold by the multinationals.

      Government of, by, and for the rich, or government of, by, and for the ‘middle classes’? Either way, something is missing. You need government of, by, and for the people, all the people, or else you’re double dealing. I don’t need a representative, really. Not when I can represent myself. Vicarious living in excess can never be living.

  13. Oppressive, toxic personalities (aka bullies, abusers) in positions of power and authority, which marginalize, censor, and generally sabotage others, can come from anywhere along the political spectrum. Some might be overt and on their sleeve about it, unapologetic, while others are more duplicitous and covert about their prejudice, virtually in denial of it while practicing it actively–the now proverbial “cognitive dissonance.”

    These are what cause problems for people, and for society at large, and drain anyone and anything in sight. I don’t believe it has anything to do with political leanings, labels, or philosophy. This is way beyond that. I think it’s an extreme lack of sense of self, which can only define itself in relation to others–specifically, it seeks to define itself as “superior” in relation to “inferior others.” (A shadow projection, of course).

    • I find it very sad that anyone would call another human being “toxic.” Where is the poison? Where is the radiation or dangerous germs? I would never call another human being “toxic” since that is really a euphemism for mentally ill or personality disordered. By all means there are toxic workplaces and toxic social situations, but no human being is toxic. It is a pseudo-diagnosis. What is behind it? It is a declaration of that person’s inferiority, and denial of their human worthiness. Why claim that a person is diseased? It’s really okay not to like another person, or to fail to understand that person. Why can’t we leave it at that, rather than excuse our dislike by calling the disliked person “toxic”? We may not feel comfortable with our own feelings, or our lack of empathy, but just leave it at that without claiming the person is diseased.

      • Toxic personality, to me, occurs when someone thrives on deceving, manipulating, and sabotaging others. It is control at all cost, with no regard for anyone but themselves. It is the relentless pursuit of and the creating of problems, rather than solving them, and sabotaging to truth, love and kindness.

        I looked up “toxic” and found this in urbandictionary.com, which is generally my meaning–


        It is not my intention to insult anyone, but simply to identify an aspect of our society which I feel is all-too-prevalent and problematic, causing choas, confusion, and a lot of deep hurt and trauma. That’s my personal perspective on the matter. I’ve known quite a few people who fit this description to a tee. But my point here is that when people like this hold positions of authority and power, I’d call it the root of the problem.

        My concern relevant to this website is when mh clincians have these personality traits, and I’ve known quite a few of these, too, professionally and personally. Which would make it “toxic psychotherapy.” I believe that is epidemic, and why I pursue this line of reasoning, to raise awareness about this and bring light to the situation, largely based on my experience, but also based on the experience of others which I’ve read about, including yours, Julie. You’ve often spoken of abusive therapists, and this is what I’d call “toxic,” because vulnerability is exploited and it does harm, and in exchange for this “service,” the clincian gets paid. That’s about as toxic as it gets.

        And don’t get me started on politics, which is what sadly sets the example for toxic hypocrisy in our society.

        Indeed, I’m sure there is wounding there, I know there is. But often people deny their own wounding, and at least unconsciously, in turn, they inflict it on others. It’s quite common, and it harms people and damages communities. It’s what I perceive most of this “clinical work” to be, in the end–unconscious therapist transfers their wounds to unsuspecting client. I believe that is the end result of most psychotherapy at present.

        There is no excuse for abuse. Absolutely none.

        • I have known people who were cruel and manipulative. My high school best friend was like that. I had a therapist like that. Both fit the narcissist description. It was very difficult dealing with them. I still refuse to call either of them diseased or toxic. I refuse to excuse their bad behavior by blaming a disease.

          • I never said or implied disease, that’s not my way of thinking. I believe it is a learned behavior and life/relationship strategy. To heal it, we’d have to unlearn it, break negative self-beliefs and thought habits, practice unrelenting self-compassion and compassion for others, and find our way back to trust and integrity. That’s a big transformation, but it’s doable if so desired. It’s the essence of heart healing and spirit mending.

            Narcissistic is another word used to describe what I mean. “Malignant narcissism” has become common to refer to this way of being, as in “to malign.”

            Narcissistic abuse has become a common theme in today’s society, and there is tons on YouTube about this which I have found to be extremely insightful and healing. People are waking up to what this means and how it has affected so many of us, and how to heal it so that we don’t keep repeating this relationship pattern, beating ourselves up, or paying it forward.

            And as my original post states–aka bully, abuser (which we can often be our own, from internalizing this). Whatever word or phrase with which anyone feels best describes this for them, with which one is comfortable. A thorn by any other name is just as prickly…

          • If it’s something you heal from, then yes, you’re implying disease or disorder. I have seen those complaints about these so-called narcissists. The anti-narc community loves to separate the world into two halves, the Evil Narcs, and those that aren’t Narcs. They’ll even go so far as to say it’s contagious and that you have to stay away from them or you’ll “catch” it. This is demonizing people, othering them. It’s pretty easy to say, “He’s a narcissist,” spread that around, and then, the poor guy is alone and isolated. That ain’t healing.

          • “Narcissism” is just a description of a way of behaving, nothing more or less. A pretty obnoxious way, admittedly, but it’s just a description. Anyone who thinks that people fall into two classes, “good” and “evil,” will not be very successful in understanding human behavior.

            As one wise person once said, “There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it ill behooves any of us to talk about the rest of us.”

          • Also, in the Urban Dictionary site you supplied the URL to, I was appalled and amused by the commonly misspelled word “lose” spelled as “loose.”

            I have to laugh. This error is all over weightwatchers.com as well. But in a dictionary, too?

          • “If it’s something you heal from, then yes, you’re implying disease or disorder.”

            Nope, it implies an “imbalance,” which is human, we all go in and out of balance and everyone has things to heal. Any particularly challenging day or event/experience can throw us out of balance, and the remedy is healing (bringing into balance). That is universal and no one is immune from this.

            Abusive behavior throws people–and societies–out of balance. My only intention here is to call it out for the sake of helping to create a more just, kind, balanced and unconditionally supportive world, which takes self-awareness on everyone’s part. Anything else is irrelevant to me ♥

      • Wow. Julie, Thank you for saying this. I really needed to hear that right now.
        On a side note, my mother recently called me “The Other.” I don’t think she meant it in a nice way – more like, “this is why no one wants to talk to you” – but it’s a badge I wear proudly.

        I wonder if people who identify as liberals tend to be pro-psychiatry because they see all mental health services as “helping” services? It’s just convenient, if they see someone suffering, to say, “go over there and get some help from the helping people.” And then they can stop thinking about it, without considering what psychiatry’s “help” entails.

        • I knew people who refused to talk to me, stating that I should only talk to a therapist. I other words, they were able to quickly excuse themselves by claiming they didn’t have expertise on the commonplace life issues I was experiencing. Why? I was a mental patient having these issues. Like regular ole stuff like isolation and loneliness were somehow different because I was an MP. So that, of course, was very isolating having been told over and over that I’m not worth listening to, that only a therapist could put up with me, etc. I’ve learned that this was just a way to get rid of me.

          • It is a way to get rid of you because people who’ve absorbed a great deal of harm often exude their distress even subconsciously.

            We are damaged goods clearly. We live in a throwaway culture. Just look at all the old people tucked away in homes. Out of sight out of mind.

            Critical psychiatry facilitates more of the same. It is faux activism. It makes me sick.

            End psychiatric abuse NOW!

  14. “We all have a bit of a Nazi inside us,”
    it is in the NT bible as well. kill and burn the useless (tree)


    If you are being given shit in your life (dung in the story), maybe it is Jesus trying to fertilize you so you produce something. (joke)

    Psychiatry does the opposite of dung-fertilizer for a plant, it poisons people while calling it medicine, and those around the mental patient for some reason still believe the confidence trick, urge their loved one to take the medicine.


  15. Dr. Levine, maybe you want to take a look at the expanded edition of The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, released a week ago and edited by Bandy Lee. The book in both its editions has elicited the condemnation of the American Psychiatric Association due to the “Goldwater Rule”, which some psychiatrists feel is secondary to the ethical risks from this Presidency.

    Someone on this site should review the book.



  16. I’ve read this piece several times now, and like many many articles on this site it is both incredibly validating and also gives me a solid explanation, a sort of “name” for what I have felt for decades was just wrong. This is why I so appreciate this website. It’s changed my life (for the far, far better).

  17. Usually the mental health system, and especially psychotherapy, are associated with a type of liberal. Locally they are always trying to turn poverty and homelessness into a need for therapy, and drugging.

    Those of us on the margins, survivors, we need to organize so that we can act and thus gain some credibility and gain some legal standing.

  18. But more completely understood, the entire mental health system is extremely reactionary. And especially with Psychotherapy and Recovery, it is intended to make people neurotic.

    Deleuze and Guattari call this “Oedipalizing.” The schizo is the one who resists this.

  19. I thought psychiatry and screwed up mental health had nothing to do with politics.

    Here in Brazil, liberals may be even worse than conservatives when it comes to defend the psychiatric system. By the way, everyone in my family is leftist and they all try to push the psychiatric agenda on me (even because it was them who put me in a psychiatric hospital 5 years ago). And when it comes to politics, they all love Lula, PT, Che Guevara, feminism, LGBT, environmental issues, anti-racism programs, political correctedness and all those post-modernist movements, but when it comes to psychiatry, they’re like “oh, you really have to obbey to your psychiatrist. He knows everything about you. Just take the pills as prescribed. We love you!”

    But the same thing is true for conservatives. Many people who voted on Bolsonaro love psychiatry. That’s what I observed from people I met on internet who came talk to me about my videos on YouTube. Many of them are conservatives who screw up their “schizophrenic” sons or daughters by being overly authoritative.

    I don’t think tyrany is a matter of just politics. Not seeing the other side of things is never good.