Integrating Academic Inquiry and Reformist Activism in Psychiatry


From Psychiatric Times/Conversations in Critical Psychiatry: “I got to know Dr [Scott] Waterman through the Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry—an organization I would recommend to all readers—and I have been impressed with his intellectual rigor in the course of our interactions. He began his career with research interests in the neurobiological foundations of childhood-onset mental illness but eventually shifted his academic focus to philosophy of psychiatry. I became more acquainted with Dr [Sandra] Steingard’s ideas after I read Critical Psychiatry: Controversies and Clinical Implications, published earlier last year. The volume presents an overview of the critical psychiatry movement with impressive clarity and is highly accessible to clinicians and trainees. The happy coincidence that these two intelligent and accomplished psychiatrists are married allowed me to engage them in this joint interview where their complementary views, side by side, make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.”

Interview →­


  1. Our greatest question should be, not what to do about “misfits”, but why and how we label people that we see as distinctly different than ourselves.
    And how and why, this labelling has become a legal entity, no longer just name calling.
    Even at it’s most minor impact, the pompousness of people to label in a medical, political and legal manner those who are “different”, proposes that there is a norm and that the labelers are the normal of society.

    Anyone that actually believes this practice to have any validity, has not the ability to “reason”.

    “mommy, what is normal?”
    Answer that one. It makes no difference if you tell your child that normal means, not suffering, not being suicidal, hearing things, not being “dysfunctional”.
    On all things, the “normal” have to pass a judgment about what society needs to remain normal.
    It must be embarrassing to sit in a chair and look at another human and hand them that label. At that moment, the most egotistical and pompous thing happens. With one human believing they represent society.
    Children can prove this falsity, one does not learn “normal”, until exposed to information. Where you get stuck however, without further growth is quite the phenomena.
    Psychiatry is in a delusion. It is quite difficult for a brain to see opposites and try to arrive at conclusions. We have to wonder, do we need absolute conclusion? What do we do in the meantime, if what is here at the moment is not working?
    Do we abandon? Or do we just kind of sit on a fence?

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