Can Psychiatry Respond to Mad Activism?

Psychiatrist Mohammed Abouelleil Rashed explores a way forward for psychiatry in responding to the Mad activism of service users.

Micah Ingle, MA
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A recent article published in the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy offers a response from psychiatry to the “Mad activism” of service users and psychiatric survivors. Dr. Mohammed Abouelleil Rashed argues for a move away from narratives of illness in psychiatry, toward alternative methods of cultivating insight and engaging in “identity-making,” with psychiatrists acting as guides rather than experts who dispense bio-medical treatments.

“A key difference between Mad activism and treatment-focused endeavors is the former’s formulation of the problem in terms of respect and recognition. What is at stake is the way in which people’s identities are publicly represented and valued, with the dominant view of madness as a disorder of the mind being seen as an affront to a positive identity. The goal is not only to reform psychiatry but to effect cultural change in the way madness is viewed,” writes Mohammed Abouelleil Rashed.

Unsplash

Since at least the 1970s, psychiatrists and philosophers have questioned the assumptions of mainstream psychiatry. From R.D. Laing’s clinical work grounded in existentialism and alternative methods of healing to the interrogation of psychiatry’s medical categories by Thomas Szasz, anti-psychiatrists have criticized psychiatry’s pathologizing of normal reactions to abnormal conditions. Likewise, the psychiatric survivor movement offered a ground-level critique of psychiatry, influenced by the gay and other social, civil rights movements.

More recently, the service user/survivor movement has continued questioning the legitimacy and authority of psychiatric expertise and assumptions about effective treatment.

The current article by psychiatrist Mohammed Abouelleil Rashed responds to these criticisms, arguing for a different understanding of clinical psychiatric work. Rashed states that the very identity of psychiatry is challenged by the notion that clients do not have a “medical condition,” and asks whether psychiatry can accommodate service users who start from this position of non-pathology.

Rashed points to the fact that psychiatrists tend to understand psychopathologies as “things” that people “have,” through a process he calls “hypostatic abstraction.” If service users/psychiatric survivors reject being pathologized in this way, then how can, or should, psychiatry respond? He highlights this challenge set forth by anti-psychiatry and what he calls “Mad activism,” framing the issue according to two questions:

  • What kind of understanding of the situation should the clinical encounter aim for?
  • What is the therapeutic aim of the encounter as a whole?

Rashed defines “hypostatic abstraction” as a way of taking an attribute of something—for example, the “roundness” of a ball and making it a separate entity. He uses the example of honey: “instead of honey is sweet we say honey possesses sweetness.” Hypostatic abstraction, then, creates a separate condition, rather than merely describing the state of something. A service user has schizophrenia, rather than is schizophrenic.

Hypostatic abstraction has value, according to Rashed, in that it allows doctors to separate medical conditions from the person: the person has a “pre-condition” state and a state of being affected by the condition. The goal is to return the individual to the pre-condition state. Also, it may help doctors avoid moral judgment because individuals possess an “illness” rather than simply being faulty, for example in some religious traditions, where a person’s suffering may relate to sinful behaviors or lifestyle. This form of abstraction has value for Rashed, but it also prevents psychiatrists from using “a different kind of language,” a language of self-creation and identity.

“And while such normative notions can be problematic if they are employed uncritically to pass judgment on other people’s lives, they can provide people with the resources to understand their suffering and their experiences in a richer, more personal, and more fulfilling way than is possible through the linguistic affordances of the hypostatic abstraction.”

One response to this challenge is for psychiatrists only to treat people who do identify as “having” a psychiatric condition. The problem with this, Rashed notes, is that many people who do not agree with this way of thinking (such as many critically-minded service users/psychiatric survivors) may still benefit from having someone to talk to who can help them navigate complex and challenging psychological issues.

Rashed argues that one way for psychiatrists to bypass the illness narrative would be to help service users develop what Rashed calls “secondary (social) insight,” compared to “primary (illness) insight.” He believes “secondary (social) insight” to be more aligned with what “Mad activists” desire from these kinds of clinical encounters. Underlying this form of insight is the belief that it is not just one’s own “problematic thoughts” or behaviors that cause the suffering, but other people’s normative reactions to so-called abnormal thoughts and behaviors.

“It can also be called ‘social’ insight since by foregrounding the social manifestations of one’s mental states and behavior, one can develop a more complex understanding of surrounding norms and expectations (without having to agree with them).”

This form of insight is similar to the revolutionary thought of Paulo Freire and his notion of cultivating “critical consciousness.” Rather than asking people to believe that they possess a mental illness, it may be helpful to assist service users in understanding the social context they exist within and why people are responding to them in the way they are, which may contribute to the suffering they experience.

Although these clinical encounters may not be able to solve the social and economic issues (which require collective, structural change), cultivating this form of insight may at least help individuals to “reduce opportunities for conflict, which in turn can reduce the number of unwanted admissions to mental health units.”

Rashed argues that secondary (social) insight can be therapeutic, as well, as it moves from symptom management to “identity-making.” Although some service users and psychiatric survivors may reject the illness narrative, that does not mean they do not struggle with experiences that are difficult to understand and integrate into one’s identity, such as intense emotions and “delusional” phenomena.

One suggestion Rashed makes to psychiatrists is that they familiarize themselves with groups of people who offer “counter-narratives” to mainstream psychiatry, such as “healing voices,” “dangerous gifts,” and “spiritual emergencies.” These kinds of counter-narratives to identity-making coming out of alternative service user movements can assist psychiatrists in acting as a guide in clinical encounters to different forms of self-creation, rather than simply an expert diagnosing and attempting to treat illnesses.

Using these narratives as a base, in addition to service users’ thoughts about their experiences, can help psychiatrists enact a more humanistic form of mental healthcare, as opposed to the pathologizing of traditional psychiatry.

Rashed does note that some individuals may experience too much communicative and interpersonal difficulty to engage in this clinical guidance and identity-making. Still, he suggests that psychiatrists should not give up on the potential for them to heal to the point of being able to participate in this process.

He concludes:

“The challenge of Mad activism provided an opportunity to rethink the basic framing of the clinical encounter. I have argued that secondary insight and identity-making are key concepts that can be explicitly adopted alongside primary insight and symptom control. But to rethink the clinical encounter is not to rethink the entirety of mental health practice.”

“There are several questions that I have not touched upon or only minimally so. For example, what role do diagnostic practices have, if any, in encounters framed by secondary insight and identity-making? What should happen with persons who appear to lack capacity for certain decisions and who present a risk to themselves or to others? What role is there for symptom control alongside identity-making, and what ethical problems does this raise? What sort of additional training do clinicians need in order to be able to work with the concepts suggested here? All of these are important questions, but we can now reconsider them in light of the concepts advanced in this paper, and in the context of a clinical encounter that endeavors to accommodate the challenge of Mad activism.”

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Rashed, M. (2020). The identity of psychiatry and the challenge of mad activism: Rethinking the clinical encounter. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. (Link)

37 COMMENTS

  1. Psychiatry is a eugenics movement in waiting for fascism to bring it to life. It can BS as much as it likes, that is what it is.

    Mean while

    Court of justice of the European Union

    Press Release 22 January 2020

    https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2020-01/cp200006en.pdf

    “Both cases concern the legality of the EMA’s decisions to grant, under Regulation No 1049/2001, access to a number of documents, namely toxicology reports and a clinical study report (the reports at issue), submitted by the appellants in the context of their MA applications relating to two medicinal products, one for human use (Case C-175/18 P) and the other for veterinary use (Case C-178/18 P). In the present case, after authorising the placing on the market of those medicinal products, the EMA decided to disclose the content of those reports to third parties, subject to some redactions. Unlike the appellants, who claimed that those reports should benefit from a presumption of confidentiality in their entirety, the EMA contended that, apart from the information that had already been redacted, those reports were not confidential.”

    EMA – European Medicines Agency

  2. “A key difference between Mad activism and treatment-focused endeavors is the former’s formulation of the problem in terms of respect and recognition. What is at stake is the way in which people’s identities are publicly represented and valued, with the dominant view of madness as a disorder of the mind being seen as an affront to a positive identity. The goal is not only to reform psychiatry but to effect cultural change in the way madness is viewed,” writes Mohammed Abouelleil Rashed.

    So it is an attempt to reform the non mad as to how they view madness. But in effect, we would now not be “depressed”, but a person with “depression”. A person not “bipolar”, but with bi-polar, and so on.

    All attempts are anti-stigma talk.
    The only anti-stigma tool in existence is to get rid of the DSM. No one should hold the rights to calling another being an ass and have it stick legally.

    It is becoming an issue for several reasons. No one is getting ‘better’.
    Survivors are speaking.
    There are now many survivors of stupid diagnosis and harmful drugs.
    Less of us are willing to buy products.
    We will have many more survivors in years to come, from all the kids on drugs.

    Psychiatry might be shocked when those millions of kids realize what happened.

    • The DSM is in fact nothing more than a CATALOG of BILLING CODES. All of the bogus “diagnoses” in it were either invented, or created. Nothing in it was discovered. So-called “mental illnesses” are exactly as real as presents from Santa Claus, but not more real.
      And trust me, “sam plover”. I think you might be a bit naive.
      Psychiatry & psychiatrists absolutely DO NOT CARE what happens “when those millions of kids realize what happened.” If they cared at all, then they wouldn’t have done what they did in the first place. Psychiatrists are GREEDY, and IGNORANT, and POWER-HUNGRY, but they are NOT stupid….
      Look at the DSM. It’s a brilliant hoax….

  3. Dr. Rashed’s article that describes identity problems for psychiatry from challenges to its legitimacy is confusing to me. Dr. Rashed advocates that clinicians obscure this crisis by distancing themselves from medical science rather than addressing logical criticisms to psychiatry’s validity.

  4. Yes! It is a misinformed society that makes it difficult for those with DSM labels. And so, how did it come to be this way? Well, there’s not an easy answer!

    It seems to me that much of the misinformation is generated through psychology in all kinds of endless avenues possible! For this I could write a book!

    Psychiatry, to me, is (and has been) misdirected from its inception (another book!). The truth is that they need to go back to school to call themselves something else. Psychiatry themselves are ridiculed by society for making disastrous treatment mistakes!!! They have never corrected themselves.

    There needs to be a breakthrough through outside influences! There needs to be something new from someone else.

    That’s a tough thing to swallow!

    • Now see cidrols, all those labels keep increasing.
      Why would that be?
      Why would those labels interfere with someone on all human rights levels?
      Making employers leery, causing people to lose their kids to an angry son in law,
      losing kids, losing freedoms, getting horrible demeaning second rate medical care.
      It became an issue because it affects people in ALL areas of systems.

      It is the strangest thing that this happens.
      The real criminals never see a shrink. Why would a person looking to improve themselves,
      be punished on all levels?
      There is not even a rational explanation. And no, we will not put the blame on those systems.
      A shrink is under NO obligation to assign labels, not without asking if you want one, and explaining
      how it will affect the patient.
      Most people go quite innocently to shrinks. There is no warning on their door.
      Everyone knows what “police” means and one does not take their crimes to the cops.
      So in the end, we still have lots of rights as criminals, not so much with shrinks.

      Psychiatry does not need more school. They are not employable material, hence they chose psychiatry.

  5. Can Psychiatry Respond to Mad Activism? I doubt it.

    I am appalled at psychiatry and psychology because both the psychologists and psychiatrists attack child abuse survivors, and their concerned family members, so they may profiteer off of covering up child abuse on a massive societal scale. And all this systemic child abuse covering up, of course, also functions to aid, abet, and empower the pedophiles and child sex traffickers. Thus these crimes are detrimental to our entire society.

    https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/01/23/18820633.php?fbclid=IwAR2-cgZPcEvbz7yFqMuUwneIuaqGleGiOzackY4N2sPeVXolwmEga5iKxdo
    https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/04/heal-for-life/
    https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Culture-Wars-Reclaiming-Prayer/dp/1598868330
    https://www.amazon.com/Pedophilia-Empire-Chapter-Introduction-Disorder-ebook/dp/B0773QHGPT
    https://community.healthimpactnews.com/topic/4576/america-1-in-child-sex-trafficking-and-pedophilia-cps-and-foster-care-are-the-pipelines

    I am appalled by psychiatry because their DSM is a child abuse covering up “bible,” by design.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-child-does-not-have-bipolar-disorder/201402/dsm-5-and-child-neglect-and-abuse-1

    I am appalled by psychiatry and psychology because they believe utilizing gossip from pedophiles constitutes “appropriate medical care.”

    I am appalled by psychiatry and psychology because the psychologists and psychiatrists think distress caused by 9/11/2001 is distress caused by a “chemical imbalance” in a person’s brain. But the psychologists and psychiatrists do lie about their insane belief system to their clients, actually they lie incessantly about everything.

    I am appalled at psychologists and psychiatrists because they believe dreams, thoughts, and gut instincts are “psychosis.” In other words, they believe everyone is “psychotic.” Psychologists and psychiatrists believe a dream about the Holy Spirit is a “Holy Spirit voice,” a twisted belief system which is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, and the only unforgivable sin in the Holy Bible.

    I am appalled by psychologists and psychiatrists who illegally drug people up for belief in God in America, while lying through their teeth, claiming they are a “holistic, Christian talk therapist.” One cannot get much more hypocritical than that. Dante’s inferno awaits?

    I am appalled by psychologists and psychiatrists for taking over, and destroying, my childhood, formerly Christian religion, and maybe all religions? With their “dirty little secret of the two original educated professions.”

    I am appalled by psychiatry because the psychiatrists neurotoxic poison innocent people. They create “psychosis,” via antidepressant and/or antipsychotic induced anticholinergic toxidrome. But they lie to their clients and their families, claiming this drug induced toxidrome is any number of “lifelong, incurable, genetic mental illnesses.” These lies, of course, are intended to take away hope, and these lies do destroy marriages.

    I am appalled by psychiatrists and psychologists because they are grown adults who attack and neurotoxic poison little children en mass. They’ve already misdiagnosed the adverse effects of the antidepressants and/or ADHD drugs as “bipolar” in a million American children.

    https://www.alternet.org/2010/04/are_prozac_and_other_psychiatric_drugs_causing_the_astonishing_rise_of_mental_illness_in_america/

    And their response to Whitaker for pointing out all this malpractice, was to take this disclaimer out of the DSM5, ensuring infinitely more malpractice. If the psychiatrists had ethics, they would have added the ADHD drugs to this DSM-IV-TR disclaimer instead.

    “Note: Manic-like episodes that are clearly caused by somatic antidepressant treatment (e.g., medication, electroconvulsive therapy, light therapy) should not count toward a diagnosis of Bipolar I Disorder.”

    I am appalled by a psychiatrist because he believes the best way to help a healing child abuse survivor, four years after the abuse, is to neurotoxic poison the healing child.

    I am appalled by psychiatrists and psychologists because they are mandatory reporters of child abuse, who do not report child abuse, as required by law.

    I am appalled by psychiatrists and psychologists because they do not utilize their malpractice insurance to pay for their malpractice. And they never say they are sorry.

    I am appalled by the DSM deluded school social workers because they believe that when a child abuse survivor has healed, and gone from remedial reading in first grade, after the abuse, to getting 100% on his state standardized tests in eighth grade. It is once the child has healed, that the school social worker feels the need to try to get her grubby little hands on the intelligent and well behaved child. A psychologist agreed that attacking the best and brightest American children is needed, to maintain the upside down and backwards world in which we now all live, otherwise known as the “status quo.”

    I am appalled at a psychologist because, since I was forced to paint the truth about these systemic crimes of the “mental health” industry. When I had a show of my work, instead of contemplating the need for real change, when faced with the “too truthful” reality of the harm the “mental health” workers are doing. A psychologist said he wanted to give me an ‘artist of the year’ award. Then he comes up with a bullshit “art manager” contract, which would allow him, in reality, to steal everything I created, my story, and take control of all my money, my lawyers, and accountants. No thanks, deceitful, and delusions of grandeur filled psychologist. I recognize a slavery contract when I read one. Criminals, the lot of them.

    I am appalled by psychiatrists because they kill 8 million people a year, based on their “invalid” DSM disorders.

    https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/directors/thomas-insel/blog/2015/mortality-and-mental-disorders.shtml
    https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/directors/thomas-insel/blog/2013/transforming-diagnosis.shtml

    That would mean the psychiatrists have been waging an ongoing psychiatric holocaust that has killed about 400 million members of Western civilization over the past fifty years. And their unneeded drugging of the elderly is killing 500,000 elderly a year.

    https://www.naturalnews.com/049860_psych_drugs_medical_holocaust_Big_Pharma.html

    I am appalled by psychiatrists and psychologists who have wasted billions in taxpayer money, in order to attempt to prove their “bullshit” DSM belief system.

    https://www.wired.com/2010/12/ff_dsmv/

    Our society would be much better off if we got rid of the scientific fraud based, primarily child abuse covering up, psychiatric and psychological industries. And if we started arresting the child molesters and child sex traffickers instead. And most definitely, industries which have intentionally, and systemically, been harming child abuse survivors for profit for over a century, should not be the industries our society entrusts to help our child abuse survivors any longer.

    But the psychologists and psychiatrists can be glad to learn that their deluded belief that child abuse survivors can never heal is dead wrong. If a mother is able to get her child away from the abusers quickly, and keep her child away from the insanity spewing “mental health” workers. That child can go on to graduate from university Phi Beta Kappa, in addition to winning a psychology award. I was also able to terrify the school, where some of the abuse may have occurred, into closing it’s doors forever, on of all days, 6.6.06. Innocent schools don’t close for no reason.

    Is there a psychiatric response? Other than that psychiatrists and psychologists want to murder me, because I’m the loving and concerned mother of a child abuse survivor? And they want to steal all my work and money, because I painted the “too truthful,” “insightful,” “work of smart female,” “prophetic,” but appalling, truth about your industries?

  6. Micah, thank you for this excellent article!

    The author acknowledges that the very identity of psychiatry requires psychological struggles to be considered medical illnesses. From this perspective, psychological struggles are diagnosed as “mental disorders” and viewed by psychiatrists as “things” people “have.”

    He also understands that critics of psychiatry reject being pathologized in this way, and frames the issue according to two questions: (1) What kind of understanding of the situation should the clinical encounter aim for?, and (2) What is the therapeutic aim of the encounter as a whole?

    Well, it’s a start. But he ignores the most directly relevant and important question: are psychological struggles actually valid medical illnesses, real “things” people “have”?

    We all know the answer: no, they are not. A massive scientific enterprise, despite rampant fraud and misconduct and public deception, has failed to produce any convincing evidence that psychological struggles are medical illnesses. DSM diagnoses are invented concepts, not real illnesses, that people only “have” in a hypothetical sense. And these concepts are neither reliable nor valid, which means they are not scientifically credible. But, as demonstrated even by an author like this who seems somewhat enlightened, psychiatry cannot acknowledge this reality because doing so is an existential threat to its credibility and existence.

    To acknowledge this reality is to ask, why should medical doctors assist people with psychological struggles that are not medical in nature? The obvious answer to this question hits too close to home. And so this is the best even the most progressive voices in psychiatry can do: ask their field to be open-minded, and call for openness to alternative perspectives, while retaining their identity as medical doctors who treat “patients” suffering from “symptoms” caused by DSM-invented “mental illnesses” that are assumed to exist not because there is any valid scientific or humanistic reason to believe this, but because their credibility and paycheck depend on this assumption.

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair

  7. So, in essence, what this piece amounts to is an open admission that psychiatry intends to monitor survivor spaces so that they can gather info to be used to find new ways to put people in the system. I find this sentence really worrying : “But to rethink the clinical encounter is not to rethink the entirety of mental health practice.”

    • “But to rethink the clinical encounter is not to rethink the entirety of mental health practice” unless, of course, you happen to be antipsychiatry or mad movement. I don’t think there is anything these people might do to prevent close encounters of the awkward kind. I don’t think it is this admission on a shrink or twos part that is entirely a bad thing either. They could also, that is, envision a world that excluded us, and/or our input, entirely.

    • Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.

      Yep, we need to recognise that our respective communities hate us. When they look at me they see their failure to behave in a manner befitting a human. They don’t want to be seen as people who would torture and kidnap, and then try to murder to conceal the truth. They are desperate to do good deeds, so much so they will impose their reality on others via the use of force. Not unlike a rapist.

      Given the authors name I wondered about his approach to these questions and found myself reading Al Qalam (the pen) or Nun. In the introduction to the surah is written

      “Our Prophet was the sanest and wisest of men: those who could not understand him called him mad or possessed. So, in every age, it is the habit of the world to call Truth Falsehood and Wisdom Madness, and on the other hand, to exalt Selfishness as Planning, and Arrogance as Power. The contrast is shown up between the two kinds of men and their inner worth.
      Let the good carry on their work, in spite of the abuse of the Companions of Evil: let all remember Allah, before Whom all men are on trial”

      I think Rashed is possibly trying to bring these Companions of Evil back to the path, and recognise that their actions will be seen for what they are. Watch as they try to destroy what they do not understand.
      I thin k there might also be a recognition of the levels of fraud and slander in his chosen profession as a result of the Arrogance and Selfishness of the people attracted to it.

  8. What do we call the historical attempts to control groups of people, evolving to masses?
    Not just a few here and there…We are talking millions and millions.
    The sneaky manner in which it evolved to include millions of children?
    To drug kids is to create the feed for the pathogen that eats from live bodies.
    It’s a phenomena really. To live such a short life, yet live it as a parasite,
    one who lives through prescriptions of Ritalin, antipsychotics, all proven in harms.
    Yet as if the evidence is not heard. We truly have a ton of idiots among us, running this
    fine bunch of sheeple.
    People who can engineer bridges, yet can’t think past their own patch of cement.
    Phenomenal.

  9. While Psychiatrist Mohammed Abouelleil Rashed puts forth his “article” I suspect the thought leaders of psychiatry are aware that “psychiatry is at its core, a toxic form of oppression that needs to be ended” , yet they rack their brains on how to perpetuate globally, an expanding crimes against humanity, eugenic, robbery, torture , murder enterprise on people from the cradle to the premature grave. Furthermore one of psychiatry’s real reactions to activism against psychiatry is to double down repeatedly out of fear that a growing number of survivors and I’m thankfully one of them that would at the very least insist that electric shock “treatments” be abolished as well as the rest of psychiatry’s poisonous distributions, coercions ,and activities in their entirety and for all of it to arrive and stay permanently into the dust heap of history. With Neurenberg like trials for the criminals and reparations awarded to psychiatry’s countless victims.
    So now they are trying to meld psychiatry with fields the public thinks are rock solid legitimate like for example neurology ( btw neurology’s original founder was openly into eugenics). So now we have the “new and exciting field of “psychiatric neurology”. Probably other meldings with psychiatry exist or are in the works . Extricating the excrement from more excrement is not a fun job, but letting psychiatry go on unopposed even just for the oppressive torture it did to me personally for decades is not gona happen. They done it to countless millions and they continue to expand the oppressive holocaustic scapegoating,torturous, eugenic ,enterprise . G-d help us we need divine intervention the people are asleep ,poor, drugged, coerced and only George Carlin the comedian understands ,”they don’t care about us, at all, at all, at all” “It’s a big club and we ain’t in it” “They call it the American Dream cause you gotta be asleep to believe it.”

    • Exactly. I’m surprised some people are for neurology, it is obvious that it is the next thing they want to duck behind because the present is looking shady.
      There are so many shrinks who dislike each other, especially on the diagnosis aspect. They fight like little kids about the things that are supposed to be factual.

  10. Some very few psychiatrists are helpful to service users.

    I doubt the rest will be converted by reading this material, or they would already have transformed. The dogmas of the medical model are ingrained, and where they are not, the drugs are effective in controlling clients. Psychiatry involves years of training and expense with a need for repayment.

    • Yes Don, and psychiatry has one thing absolutely correct and that is how people
      tend to lack insight. I speak from experience and know exactly the times insight came to me and
      continues to come to me.
      In psychiatric circles, they suffer from it bigtime and being the age I am,
      I realize that insight does not come to everyone, or it comes when faced with something
      that affects one on a personal level.
      There might be the issue in that they are so busy being validated each day…each day they get another client to prove to themselves that MI exists. One can easily live within this delusion forever, especially if the food is there.
      But in reality, there are enough educated people to see a bigger picture, the stuff psychiatry tells them no longer holds water.
      The only thing keeping it in place is dependency on lifestyles, poverty and suffering, not honesty.
      I am satisfied that anyone with a curious mind will definitely not cling to the narrow view they defend like screaming banchees.

    • Oldhead is right. Everything “mad” goes hand in glove with psychiatry. Szasz was mostly right. Laing was wrong. Foucault… it’s complicated.

      The simple point to remember is that psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery that masquerades as a medical profession, so-called “mental illness” is a myth, and so-called “chemical imbalances” are a hoax. The other simple point to remember is that psychiatry cannot be reformed, criticized, or improved upon. Like slavery, it must be abolished.

      • Too broad a brush on Laing, plus he & Szasz were often talking about different things. In the end Laing was neither truly anti-psychiatry nor truly anti-capitalist.

        Also, while slavery comparisons are often valid, and psychiatry’s literal function historically as a tool of slavemasters is a fact, psychiatry’s currrent purpose cannot be reduced to simply being a form of slavery.

        But these are not sound bite topics, and for the most part I agree with your summation.

        • Laing took a more rightward (and drunken) turn, post sixties, and Szasz, he was never truly antipsychiatry either, not, anyway, if you don’t equate psychiatry with forced treatment. Szasz was also *cough* what they call an ‘anticommunist’ (i.e. pro-capitalist. How do you say? Oh, yeah. One who often sided with the bosses and robber barons.

          I don’t know about reducing one to the other, but I do know that comparative studies, such as those conducted by Thomas Szasz, have their place, and if one compares, relatively speaking, the one with other, that is psychiatric slavery with chattel slavery, it could be said to be a form of the same. Of course, the degrees of difference, in one from the other, are still quite large, but all in all, the similarities connect them.

    • Haven’t they done enough already? Now it’s suggested they can claim, colonise and compromise the survivor or mad movement, exactly what they have done to the hearing voices movement here in my own home state of Australia. I’ve heard enough…

      “But to rethink the clinical encounter is not to rethink the entirety of mental health practice”

      It is and it must be, that is to say if we need clinical encounters at all… The whole premise of this paper is a joke, the two sides can’t ever be reconciled and why would we want to anyway?
      Psychiatry would corrupt the Mad movement and we would end up with just another soft arm of psychiatry. I can’t believe the arrogance of this quack to even suggest this, it’s unbelievable!

  11. Psychiatric power, the title of one of Michel Foucault’s lectures, is the real culprit here.

    I don’t think one should be so simplistic as to cast psychiatry in the role of the devil’s doctrine. Psychiatry could have done nothing without a whole lot of help from legislators, communities, families and allied professionals.

    R.D. Laing supported deinstitutionalization. Thomas Szasz supported the idea of “adult orphanages”, albeit devoid of force and compulsion. These are too very different positions.

    Antipsychiatry: Quackery Squared, in my opinion, is not a book I would laud highly. It puts, as one might note, Szasz squarely in the psychiatry camp. Castigating Laing and leftists professionals, all lumped in the same boat, it allows the enemies of change plenty of fodder, and fodder that could even be turned against Szasz on occasion.

    If the antipsychiatry mantle has passed from psychiatrists, playing the role of antishrink, to psychiatric survivors and other professionals, I don’t think this is a bad thing at all. That point ascertained, it certainly doesn’t displace psychiatry from its lofty position at the head of the quackery department.

  12. Although it isn’t spelled out quite so explicitly, there’s an ASSUMED idea here, that you’re either a “mad activist”, or else you’re “pro-psychiatry”…. I’m NEITHER. I think “mad activism” is a bogus and false label.
    I’m not “mad”, I’m not “mad” at all. Why should I be? And I’m not “pro-psychiatry”, either. Psychiatry is GENOCIDE. And “mad pride” is YOUR SHAME, not mine….

      • Then there must also be such a thing as taking other people too seriously, Frank….
        With too few exceptions, psychiatrists take themselves WAY, WAY, way too seriously….
        My gripe with the phrase/word/label of “anti-psychiatry” is that it gives psychiatry too much credibility and legitimacy….
        Psychiatry is a pseudoscience, a drug racket, and a mechanism of social control….
        Are you suggesting, Frank, that I’m an as-yet un-reformed “fool”….????….

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