Peter Breggin and Michael Cornwall – Stop the Psychiatric Abuse of Children


This week on MIA Radio, we interview Drs. Peter Breggin and Michael Cornwall about their new initiative, Stop the Psychiatric Abuse of Children (SPAC!).

Peter Breggin, MD is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist and a former consultant at the National Institute of Mental Health who has been called “The Conscience of Psychiatry.” For decades, he has made successful efforts to reform the field, including bringing a stop to lobotomy and psychosurgery. He has testified before the FDA and Congress, been an expert witness in many court cases involving the pharmaceutical industry and has appeared on Oprah and 60 Minutes, among other programs.

Dr. Breggin continues to criticize psychiatric drugs and “electroconvulsive therapy,” and promotes more caring, empathic and effective therapies. To that end, with his wife Ginger, he founded the Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy, Education and Living.  He is the author of more than 20 books, most recently Guilt, Shame and Anxiety: Understanding and Overcoming Negative Emotions. Dr. Breggin maintains a private practice in Ithaca, New York where he treats adults, couples, and families with children.

Michael Cornwall, PhD has done therapy with children, teens and families since 1980 as well as specializing in therapy with people of all ages experiencing extreme states. He completed doctoral research on medication-free treatment of extreme states and is the editor of a two-volume special edition of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology on extreme states. Dr. Cornwall has been a prolific MIA blogger since 2012 and a frequent Esalen Institute workshop leader on alternative approaches to extreme states. He is the director of the SPAC! project for Dr. Breggin’s Center for Empathic Therapy.

We discuss:

  • How SPAC was started in response to the introduction of the Monarch eTNS, an electric stimulation device worn on a child’s forehead at night that is touted as an alternative to ADHD medication, which was fast-tracked by FDA with little testing
  • The extensive, downplayed adverse reactions found in testing the Monarch on children
  • How the device is purported to work to target brain activity in certain areas, but likely affects other important neural areas and how this is likely to disrupt a child’s normal brain function
  • Problems with the design of the studies on the Monarch and how deliberate intrusions into brain function make an individual child more docile but also more apathetic
  • The potential widespread adoption of the Monarch device due to a partnership between the manufacturer and a pharmacy chain, the many uses for which it is being marketed, and anticipated psychiatric prescribing of the treatment by primary care doctors
  • The nature and risks of ECT, another form of psychiatric “treatment” that targets the brain with electricity, intentionally causing a seizure and short- and long-term traumatic brain injury, and where to find ECT resources on Dr. Breggin’s website
  • Reframing “ADHD” behavior as a sign of deficiencies in the teacher, classroom, or parenting approach rather than an illness in the child. What might cause inattentiveness in a young student and how doctors typically medicate the problem as a brain disorder
  • Alternatives to high-tech interventions and drugs for helping inattentive or severely troubled youth alike, including modifications at school and entering family therapy. The importance of parents’ expressing love and discipline to change problematic behaviors, with examples from Breggin’s private practice
  • How the medical model of psychiatry discourages identifying unmet human needs in young patients and their families, and the benefits of offering trauma-informed support and connection, with examples from Cornwall’s work in the public mental health system
  • The importance of engaging children to identify what they need from adults in their lives, arming parents with new attitudes and communication tools for relating to their children, and the success they have had with such approaches
  • How listeners can learn more about SPAC! and get involved with advocacy against conventional psychiatric treatment for children and for more compassionate and commonsense alternatives. The groundswell of interest they have received from parents and a variety of online resources available on these topics
  • The right of parents to say no to dangerous drugs or devices doctors want to prescribe, and the importance of understanding the risks of resisting a medical professional’s authority or challenging a child’s school
  • Reasons for parents and teachers be optimistic that even seemingly incorrigible children can be reached.

Relevant Links

SPAC! webpage, part of Dr. Peter Breggin’s Children’s Resource Center

ECT Resource Center

Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy, Education, and Living

MIA blogs

Monarch eTNS Inspires “Stop the Psychiatric Abuse of Children!” (SPAC!)

FDA Approves Using Electricity All Night Long on Children’s Brains


  1. Thank you Miranda,
    Thanks to Dr Breggin and Michael and MIA.
    Such a dire need to oppose this insanity.
    It is more and more looking as if some whacky brains are on the loose, experimenting on anything and everything and everyone.
    It is curious what resides in these minds pf psychiatry to be so injurious, so callous with other minds and bodies.
    It seems as if they have no conscious, no rationality, and perhaps it is that, that keeps them experimenting.
    Perhaps the DSM was developed exactly from this inability to feel for others?

    They are correct about “mental illness” and have been looking in all the wrong places. Because if behaviour and thoughts, proves an MI, it is more than obvious that psychiatry should be stopped.
    We can’t drug them because they have enough apathy for everyone.

    I can’t lump ALL psychiatry in this, I realize that there are psychiatrists who are starting to be embarrassed but it is still not about empathy or rationality for the ones that are embarrassed.
    So I guess, if you as a psychiatrist do not rise to the occasion to stop the madness you display, then you are a part of it. In hindsight, I do lump them all together.

    Any drug treatment and any singling out done to children should be unethical. They should never be the target of some lunatics running free and even blessed by non rational governments.

    I am beginning to realize that top magazines have no interest in helping to expose this.
    I just read an article in the New York Times, a rather benign article called the “7 stages of man”, a completely benign article, yet within it I noticed
    “The Biological machinery that gives boys an advantage in math and spatial tasks may predispose them to learning and developmental disorders…….”
    We have adopted language from psychiatry and use it to describe evolutionary function and adaptations of mankind as “disorders”.

    It would be a miracle to see a top magazine be gutsy enough to expose psychiatry. In the least in their “neutrality based reporting”, they might add, “this article is not reflective of our magazines beliefs or opinion”
    But you never know, perhaps children mean more to the owners of a magazine, than to psychiatrists.
    It is obvious psychiatry does not care about the children. That smile is pasted on and not real.

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    • Psychiatry’s primary goal is covering up child abuse. Based upon their “bible,” which does NOT allow ANY child abuse survivor to EVER be “helped” by ANY “mental health professional” EVER.

      I agree, “It is obvious psychiatry does not care about the children.” No, psychiatry wants to profiteer off of defaming and trying to murder all the ethical American banking families, and our children, for the globalist banksters.

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      • Hi, I am a survivor of psychiatry and child abuse. It’s been 16 years since I first got trapped in the psychiatric system. The offender was my biological father. My mother was murdered by psychiatry. We escaped my biological father for the first ten years of my life. When psychiatry really began to debilitate my mother, I encountered my biological father. I fought the effects of the drugs for many years and am finally back. I’ve been rehabbing my body and mind for two years since and can finally remember it all. My mother was taken from me completely finally seven years ago.

        The horror I have here in my full comprehension. It is deafening. How is this still happening? My mother and I were completely fine on our own. She was a very talented scientist. One of the greatest minds of her time, I feel. And more importantly she was the most wonderful mom.

        I am back. Now I find my mother murdered.

        I am in total agreement with you.

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  2. According to the front-line psychiatry to cure a schizophrenic episode of psychosis we have to not just mindlessly giving young people antipsychotics, but use any limitations of the human body, such as holes in teeth, anal fissures, skin abrasions etc. for applying antipsychotics in order to get a strong effect with a small amount of chemicals, and in order not to burn a hole in the stomach, first of all.
    With subsequent treatment of the affected area of ​​the skin or nerve with alcohol (or other antiseptic), this is my point.

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  3. Thank you Miranda for this compelling interview. Wow, this craziness is staggering! It was bad enough there are 5 main adverse events reported but the additional ones Dr. Cornwall noted are very scary, such as “rapid heartbeat”. I just finished reading Anatomy of an Epidemic and realize what a courageous man Dr. Breggin is to have bravely gone against mainstream psychiatry.

    A HUGE thanks to Dr. Breggin and Dr. Cornwall for continually investigating and speaking out to protect people and especially young children from these alarming practices so carelessly foisted upon children. Please keep up the excellent work and God bless you both!!

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