The Real Myth of the Schizophrenogenic Mother


No account of the history of twentieth-century psychiatry is complete without a discussion of the “schizophrenogenic mother,” a sinister figment of the imagination of misogynist psychiatrists. The “schizophrenogenic mother,” we are told, was held solely and completely responsible for the genesis of the suffering labeled “schizophrenia” in her children — at least, in those bad old days before the advent of modern psychopharmaceutical drugs and direct-to-consumer advertising.  As Allan F. Mirsky and colleagues noted in an article about the Genain Sisters, “The 1950’s was the era in which the concept of the ‘schizophrenogenic mother’ was widely accepted by some psychoanalysts (e.g. Theodore Lidz and Frieda Fromm-Reichmann).”1

In The Feminine Mystique, author Betty Friedan proclaimed:

“It was suddenly discovered that the mother could be blamed for almost everything. In every case history of a troubled child; alcoholic, suicidal, schizophrenic, psychopathic, neurotic adult; impotent, homosexual male; frigid, promiscuous female; ulcerous, asthmatic, and otherwise disturbed American, could be found a mother… Clearly something was ‘wrong’ with American women.”2

This blame-the-mother theme recurs frequently in the psychiatric literature from mid-century till fairly recently. As psychologist Stella Chess wrote in 1965:

“The standard procedure is to assume that the child’s problem is reactive to maternal handling in a one-on-one relationship… Single bits of data fitting in with these speculations are quoted as typical of the child’s feelings and the mother’s attitudes and are taken as proof of the thesis of noxious maternal attitudes as universal causation.”3

Or as John Neill, MD, observed a generation later, “It became standard practice to believe that mothers were the cause of their children’s psychosis.”4

But did psychiatrists really “blame the mother” to the exclusion of all other causes? Where did this notion come from?

As with most myths, the myth of psychiatry’s reliance on the schizophrenogenic mother has a grain of truth behind it. In a 1948 article, German psychiatrist Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, a contemporary of Freud, wrote:

“The schizophrenic is painfully distrustful and resentful of other people, due to the severe early warp and rejection he encountered in important people of his infancy and early childhood, as a rule, mainly in a schizophrenogenic mother.”5

Dr. Fromm-Reichmann was a psychoanalyst famed for her compassion and her skill in reaching even the most seemingly intractable cases of “schizophrenia” with intensive psychotherapy — and without neurotoxic drugs. The above remarks were a passing aside in a paper that wasn’t even primarily about the etiology of schizophrenia, but rather was devoted almost exclusively to the dynamics of the therapist-patient relationship.

Examination of the writings of Dr. Fromm-Reichmann’s psychoanalytically-oriented colleagues in the 1950s and ’60s reveals that from the beginning they understood perfectly well that the concept of the schizophrenogenic mother was not sufficient to explain the genesis of schizophrenia, and that this condition was most likely the product of disturbed families, not just disturbed mothers. For examples, Trude Tietze, MD wrote back in 1949 of the role of fathers:

“Very little is known about the fathers of schizophrenic children. No systematic exploration of fathers was undertaken in connection with the present study; however, eight fathers were interviewed and the impression was that they, too, had great personality difficulties. They seemed to be perfectionistic and obsessive people, as sick as their wives.”6

Similarly, psychiatrists Ruth and Theodore Lidz wrote, ““In our data, it is apparent that the paternal influences are noxious as frequently as the maternal.”7 Their findings were replicated in studies by Clardy,8 Nuffield,9 and Wahl,10 among others, and other researchers noted the role of any and all family members. Psychiatrist D.D. Jackson thought schizophrenia should be studied as a “family-borne disease involving a complicated host-vector-recipient cycle that includes much more than can be connoted by the term ‘schizophrenogenic mother.’”11 Lidz and colleagues concurred, noting:

“As our studies were uncovering serious difficulties in all areas of transactions in these families, we preferred to bring balance to the topic by directing attention to the total situation before focusing on the mother.”12

On the other hand, the mother-child relationship is arguably the most important human relationship there is. Is it really such a stretch to suggest that bad consequences may follow when this relationship goes awry?

Tietze’s paper, above, discusses the case history of a young woman with schizophrenia whose mother was obsessed with preventing her daughter from masturbating. This woman would sniff her daughter’s hands throughout the day as a spot check for masturbation, and she had two surgical mutilations performed on her infant child’s clitoris — one when the child was one year old, and one when she was two. This same woman would inspect her daughter’s vulva every night and beat her if she judged the child’s labia were “irritated.”

Could it be that this woman’s actions had something to do with her daughter’s problems later in life? Almost definitely. But acknowledging the role of trauma inflicted by a given individual’s mother is not the same as laying all blame for “mental illness” at the feet of motherhood.

Is the question is merely academic? No. Consider the response to an op-ed by psychologist L. Alan Sroufe that appeared in the New York Times in 2012. The piece discussed the 2009 MTA study by Brooks13 and colleagues in which 600 children with the diagnostic label “ADHD” were followed for eight years, and which found no long-term benefits of medication for this condition for any of twenty-four outcome variables. Dr. Sroufe concluded:

“The illusion that children’s behavior problems can be cured with drugs prevents us as a society from seeking the more complex solutions that will be necessary. Drugs get everyone — politicians, scientists, teachers, and parents — off the hook. Everyone except children, that is.”

Not everyone saw it that way. A reply to Dr. Sroufe’s op-ed by author Judith Warner accused him of wanting to make “A trip back to an era… when children with psychiatric ills were believed to be victims of toxic ‘schizophrenogenic mothers.’”

Neither the MTA study nor Dr. Sroufe’s op-ed made any mention at all of “schizophrenogenic mothers.” And this tempest-in-a-teapot misses the larger issue here: A large, multiyear study found no long-term benefits to powerful, brain-altering drugs that had been given to literally millions of children. These were findings that merited serious discussion — not scolding evocations of “schizophrenogenic mothers.”

More recently, an article appeared in the Washington Post recounting some of the history of Chestnut Lodge, the private institution in Maryland where Dr. Fromm-Reichmann performed her groundbreaking work. The article was largely dismissive in tone, telling readers:

“As understanding of the biological and chemical causes of mental illness grew, Chestnut Lodge’s unquestioning embrace of Freudian psychoanalysis came to look dated. Could debilitating — and occasionally dangerous — psychosis really be treated by talking about your mother?”

Aside from the fact that psychotherapy can’t be reduced to “talking about your mother,” there is still no credible evidence for a chemical or biological cause for schizophrenia or any of the other “functional disorders” commonly treated by psychiatrists. The article did not mention this fact, nor did it point to any relevant public health outcome that has improved since modern-day psychiatric drugs were introduced.

Meanwhile, since the time Fromm-Reichmann carried out her work, a mountain of evidence has accumulated linking schizophrenia to sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and a wide variety of other categories of adverse childhood experiences.14 15 16 17 The correlation between adverse childhood experiences and schizophrenia is robust, reliable, and dose dependent. It cuts across national boundaries, income brackets, and ethnic identities. It has been verified again and again in prospective cohort studies,18 population-based cross-sectional studies19, and case-control studies.20 The perpetrators of the abuse may be fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, uncles, older brothers, cousins, nonrelatives — and yes, sometimes mothers.

These studies also have shown there is no specifically “schizophrenogenic” style of parenting. Rather, any of a variety of toxic influences (some largely outside the parents’ control, such as childhood illness or death of a parent) may tip the balance towards schizophrenia or any other “mental illness.” For example, one study found that between 45% and 60% of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia had been subjected to child sexual abuse.21 (And, as the reader no doubt already knows, the great majority of childhood sexual abuse is perpetrated by men, not women.) This is a finding that ought to be greeted with alarm, not sneers about “blaming the mother.”

But it should also be greeted with hope, since child sexual abuse and other adverse childhood experiences are problems we can do something about.

The real myth of the schizophrenogenic mother is the idea that psychiatrists ever seriously promoted the idea that mothers are solely responsible for schizophrenia in their children. And this myth has for too long been used as a straw woman to divert attention from serious discussion of the role of abuse and trauma in the genesis of schizophrenia and other types of mental distress, and to promote biological explanations and pharmacological interventions for these conditions instead. It’s time to lay this myth to rest for good.

Show 21 footnotes

  1. Mirsky, A.F., Bieliauskas, L.A., French, L.M., & Duncan, C.M. (2017). Genain Quadruplets. In Wenzel, (Ed.), SAGE encyclopedia of abnormal and clinical psychology (1521). SAGE Publishing
  2. Friedan, B. (1963). The Feminine Mystique. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, p.189
  3. Chess, S. (1965). Mal de meré. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 34, 613-614
  4. Neill, J. Whatever became of the schizophrenogenic mother? American Journal of Psychotherapy, 44, 499-505
  5. Fromm-Reichmann, F. (1948). Notes on the development of treatment of schizophrenics by psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Psychiatry, 11, 263-273
  6. Tietze, T. (1949). A study of the mothers of schizophrenic patients. Psychiatry, 12, 55-65
  7. Lidz, R.W., & T. Lidz. (1949). The family environment of schizophrenic patients. American Journal of Psychiatry, 106, 332-345
  8. Clardy, E.R. (1951). A study on the development and course of schizophrenia in children. Psychiatric Quarterly, 25, 81-90
  9. Nuffield, E.J.A. (1951). The schizogenic mother. Medical Journal of Australia, 2, 283-286
  10. Wahl, C.W. (1954). Some antecedent factors in the family history of schizophrenics. American Journal of Psychiatry, 110, 668-676
  11. Jackson, D.D. (1957). A note on the importance of trauma in the genesis of schizophrenia
  12. Lidz, T., Cornelison, A.R., Singer, M.T., Schafer, S., & Fleck, S. (1964). The mothers of schizophrenic patients. In T. Lidz, S. Fleck, & A.R. Cornelison (Eds.), Schizophrenia and the family (290-335). New York: International Universities Press
  13. Brooks, S.G., S.P. Hinshaw, J.M. Swanson, L.E. Arnold, B. Vitiello, P.S. Jensen… and the MTA Cooperative Group. (2009). The MTA at 8 years: Prospective follow-up of children treated for combined-type ADHD in a multisite study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 48, 484-500
  14. Read, J., Bentall, R.P., & Fosse, R. (2009). Time to abandon the bio-bio-bio model of psychosis: Exploring the epigenetic and psychological mechanisms that lead to psychotic symptoms. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, 18, 299-310
  15. Sidell, L., Mule, A., La Barbera, D., & Murray, R.M. (2012). Do child abuse and maltreatment increase risk of schizophrenia? Psychiatry Investigation, 9, 87-99
  16. Varese, F., Smeets, M., Drukker, M., Lieverse, R., Lataster, T., Viechtbauer, W. & Bentall, R.P. (2012). Childhood adversities increase the risk of psychosis: A meta-analysis of patient-control, prospective and cross-sectional studies. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 38, 661-671
  17. Bailey, T., Alvarez-Jimenez, M., Garcia-Sanchez, A.M., Hulbert, C., Barlow, E., & S. Bendall. (2018). Childhood trauma is associated with severity of hallucinations and delusions in psychotic disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 44, 1111-1122
  18. Cutajar., M., Mullen, P.E., Ogloff, J.R., Thomas, S.D., Wells, D.L., & Spartaro, J. (2010). Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders in a cohort of sexually abused children.  Archives of General Psychiatry, 67, 1114-1119
  19. Shevlin, M., Houston, J.E., Dorahy, M.J., & Adamson, G. (2008). Cumulative trauma and psychosis: An analysis of the National Comorbidity Survey and the British Psychiatric Morbidity Survey. Schizophrenia Bulletin 34, 93-99
  20. Fennig, S., Horesh, N., Aloni, D., Apter, A.,  Weizman, A., & Fennig, S. (2005). Life events and suicidality in adolescents with schizophrenia. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 14, 454-460
  21. Friedman, S., Smith, L., Fogel, D., Paradis, C., Viswanathan, R., Ackerman, R., & Trappler, B. (2002). The incidence and influence of early traumatic life events in patients with panic disorder. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 16, 259-272


  1. Thank you for this article Dr. Hahn. Nice to have more specialists of legitimate sciences writing for MIA.

    With the many adults involved in the life of today’s child there are plenty of potential abusers other than the parents.

    My brother and I were emotionally abused by a teacher we both had different years. My parents never found out till we were teens. We thought our folks approved of Mrs. I’s behaviors and teachings. They had no idea and were upset when we told them.

    SomeoneElse and others here could share how their children were abused without their knowledge or consent. So blaming the mom or parents is a gross oversimplification. Often unjust.

    Though this article points out the problem was less common than represented. Psychiatrists are misrepresenting their own history even as they misrepresent what they know about the human brain.

    Report comment

  2. “..Dr. Fromm-Reichmann was a psychoanalyst famed for her compassion and her skill in reaching even the most seemingly intractable cases of “schizophrenia” with intensive psychotherapy — and without neurotoxic drugs..”

    I was eventually diagnosed as such a dreadful “schizophrenic”.

    To overcome my “Schizophrenia” I had to do two things.

    1. Come off my Neuroleptics very S L O W L Y.
    2. Come to terms with the HIGH ANXIETY of my Neuroleptic Withdrawal, which I achieved through recognising its Dynamic.

    Less than 3 years later I decided to re immigrate back to the England so I went to visit a local priest to ask him for a character reference. Which he provided:-

    But, in his 1986 Character Reference Letter the local priest seems to suggest that I had been very well – over the period of time my Consultant Psychiatrist considered me to be a hopeless “Schizophrenic”.

    Report comment

  3. “For example, one study found that between 45% and 60% of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia had been subjected to child sexual abuse.21 (And, as the reader no doubt already knows, the great majority of childhood sexual abuse is perpetrated by men, not women.) This is a finding that ought to be greeted with alarm, not sneers about ‘blaming the mother.'”

    As the mother of a child abuse survivor, who did get my child away from the child molesters fairly quickly, and close down a school where there may have been lots of child abuse going on. I was also able to keep an insane psychiatrist, who thought the best way to help a healing child abuse survivor, who’d been abused four years prior to the medical evidence of the abuse finally being handed over to me, from neurotoxic poisoning my child. Plus, I was able to keep an insane school social worker, who wanted to get her grubby little hands on my child, once he had healed – because he was intelligent – away from my child, too.

    My child did end up graduating from university Phi Beta Kappa, in addition to winning a psychology award. His psychology professors literally gushed about how psychologically healthy my child was at his graduation.

    So I would highly recommend caution in regards to anyone saying child abuse causes “schizophrenia.”

    The more likely reality is that, since NO “mental health” workers may EVER bill ANY insurance company for EVER helping ANY child abuse survivor EVER, unless the “mental health” workers first misdiagnose all child abuse survivors.

    It is highly likely that lots and lots of child abuse survivors were misdiagnosed as “schizophrenic.” Although, today, “the prevalence of childhood trauma exposure within borderline personality disorder patients has been evidenced to be as high as 92% (Yen et al., 2002). Within individuals diagnosed with psychotic or affective disorders, it reaches 82% (Larsson et al., 2012).”

    So this inability of our “mental health” workers to bill insurance companies to help child abuse survivors, has resulted in the likely misdiagnoses of lots and lots of child abuse survivors, with lots and lots of the “invalid” DSM disorders. Covering up child abuse is the number one actual societal function of today’s “mental health” industries.

    And we here all know that the ADHD drugs and antidepressants can create the “bipolar” symptoms. And the neuroleptics/antipsychotics and antidepressants can create the positive symptoms of “schizophrenia,” via anticholinergic toxidrome. And the neuroleptics can also create the negative symptoms of “schizophrenia,” via neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome. So most “schizophrenia” actually likely has an iatrogenic etiology, since the treatments create the symptoms of the disease.

    “But it should also be greeted with hope, since child sexual abuse and other adverse childhood experiences are problems we can do something about.” Yes, we need to get the “mental health” workers out of the child abuse covering up business. And our police need to actually start arresting the child molesters.

    By the way, the psychologists are just as guilty as the psychiatrists, when it comes to their systemic child abuse covering up crimes.

    Report comment

    • “grubby little hands”

      That is exactly what it seems like.
      Besides, why would anyone want more abuse? People hurt for a reason. Lets hurt them more by shocking them….ooops, shocking will become too obvious, we need pills that are silent, pills that create stupor and then we can say the stupor is part of the illness.
      Psychiatry started crazy and needed people to join.
      It feels good to have a bunch of little ones to make one look good. The phony esteem syndrome.

      Report comment

      • Personally, I think psychiatry/psychology was likely the paternalistic, “silent” solution to the too public, getting rid of witch hunting, problem. But that’s because it’s been my child abuse covering up childhood religion, that has repeatedly sicked psychologists on me.

        I don’t have proof that psychology/psychiatry is the “silent” replacement for witch hunting, just my theory. Since the psychologists/psychiatrists do fulfill the same role for the paternalistic religions, that the witch hunters did – blame the women, to cover up the sins of the men.

        But I don’t believe God is dumb enough to fall for that, I believe all will be judged fairly by God.

        Report comment

        • What we may see is eugenacist psychiatrists making the case that once damaged they can’t recover and should be sterilized. They don’t care about the deed past done. They see the deed done as potentially passed on and the only way to stop it is to sterilize it. You see these eugenacist psychiatrists of the not so long past using the word: It, to describe people they label.

          Report comment

        • Witch hunts.
          I wonder if psychiatry would label the hunters and burners as the mentally ill, or the witches. Wow a toss up lol.
          And indeed, the witch hunters are psychiatry of today. In the old days (not long ago as far as history) we looked at claims and behaviours, and wow, we might have even made stuff up about those people just to get some sadistic feeding from watching the poor souls get dragged to market.
          Then they graduated to more ‘sane’ forms of getting rid of, dealing with weirdos. They used “science”, to only kill parts. The parts they thought were responsible.
          Then, low and behold, a few people felt it was barbaric, so they figured out that searing the brain from the inside and causing neuron death, so that a living shell is left, seems to work for most of idiotic society.
          How the witch hunters felt okay about the hunts and stacking of wood, is beyond me.
          How a psychiatrist feels okay about causing death in brains is beyond me.
          The ability and power to hurt others without showing remorse, is an evil, not a “mental illness”.
          To get a licence from institutions to commit evil is incredible. There are no boards that protect “witches”. We continue the same outcry that witch burning caused. The same outcry that lobotomies caused.
          The practice of identifying “misfits” continues, the practice of ousting them in one form or another continues and is now disguising itself as help, as a search for the cause of “witching”.
          Still ruled by the same suspicions, absolutely NOTHING has changed and always marvel that in general, people seem satisfied that burning stopped, or that lobotomies in the “visible knife form” stopped.

          The part of society that makes the identifications and deals with the ousting is the pathogen that we have been trying to deal with, to try and integrate a kind of mentality where we are not thinking black and white, where powers are not used upon the powerless in destructive ways.
          We are proving the destructiveness, talking about it, but no parts of governments are willing to come up with a plan to protect.

          IF, If at least we could simply call it what IT is. A form of social control, where humans simply are much more brutal than other animals.
          But the attempt at balance, a mostly unconscious one, is a HUGE flop.

          There is absolutely no argument that psychiatry can give, that makes their practice look rational.
          And there won’t be, no matter how far they look. In fact, the more they look, the more it will resemble the practice it is.
          It can’t even be disguised.
          If someone in authority wants my fear or respect, they will need to earn it. Simply having authority is not enough.

          Report comment

    • Someone Else,

      I support the complete nonexistence of “Schizophrenia” as a disease or a condition. But I do support the idea that a person might need help in dealing with trauma.

      I don’t support the long term invalide idea of even non drug support.

      I attend Peer groups in London in the UK and I’ve seen people completely falling apart get back on their feet again, consistently, with a little bit of genuine help.

      The Peer movement wants people well, and doesn’t get paid or have anything to benefit from keeping people sick.

      Report comment

  4. Interesting article.

    The problem, however, is that there is no such thing as “schizophrenia.” Obviously it would be wrong to blame mothers for causing “schizophrenia” even if such a thing were real. But it is not. Simply put, so-called “schizophrenia” is, as Thomas Szasz so eloquently articulated, the sacred symbol of psychiatry.

    Report comment

    • There are young people who start acting oddly. For whatever reason.

      Mom has always been worried about looking Normal and Blending in. It bugged me how looking good was more important than being good on the inside.

      I was a weird child. Too eccentric and imaginative. Used to throw ugly tantrums and they drove my folks nuts since everyone at church condemned them for not punishing me severely enough.

      Before kindergarten my folks took me to an educational center that ran tests. I drew a woman as they requested. The skirt was “too long” according to them.

      They asked me why I disliked preschool. I used a big word when I told them. “Responsibilities.” Tongue clucking and note taking.

      They told my parents it was their fault I was messed up. Using big words I obviously didn’t know because they forced me to. Drawing women wearing long skirts meant my parents made me feel ashamed of my legs.

      My mom was very upset. She has told me since she always knew there was something wrong and weird about me. The center blamed my environment. The bio-model blamed heredity which she claimed came from Dad’s side too.

      Why is being Weird the unpardonable sin? Lots of “normal” people do rotten things all the time. But if their cruel, selfish behaviors are socially appropriate and NORMAL everyone is fine with that.

      Report comment

  5. I saw this blurb in an interview of Bonnie Burstow (rip) in the national post.

    “Psychiatry assumes things to be biological that are not. When we say ‘mental health’,” Dr Burstow tells me, “it’s saying that the problems people have are to do with a disease.” In her view, “they’re not”.

    There’s disagreement among medical professionals on this.
    There’s some evidence that disorders tend to run in families, with twin studies suggesting that bipolar disorder is “among the most heritable of medical disorders”.
    Prof Pariante, of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, believes that it is simply a matter of time before mental health conditions are proven to be genetically influenced (at least in part).

    The anti-psychiatry movement rejects this.

    Psychiatry clings to proving links. So no, we have not come along at all.
    And psychiatry will indeed prove links, because they work backwards. So it will be convincing to those who can’t think past their nose, and that deficit is what psychiatry has relied on all along, unless of course it is indeed psychiatry that has such narrow vision.
    I can assure anyone that blablah chemicals and splotches in spects will be different from the chosen “norm”. There will also be links within families.
    But we all knew that and it is not science. Of course we know nurture produces chemicals. Of course the parent might have similar patterns.
    The results of the scans etc are AFTER the fact, and not a CAUSE.
    Like the diagnosis of MI, the label was designed to fit the “disease”. The label itself has no science. The science has to be found after it’s creation.
    You don’t create diseases.
    Someone up high does not want to admit that the diseases were made up to fit the ones outside of a classified norm. Like “neurotypical”.
    People suffer emotionally. These are not diseases, despite links found AFTER the presentation of behaviours.

    No one would mind psychiatry ‘helping’ out if it was of genuine concern with the attitude that personality and suffering across a wide spectrum.
    But they conceived the imaginary line of normal, and the “mind diseases” that fall outside of their own constructed norms.
    Is psychiatry saying they NEVER suffer? So if that is true, are they normal? If they get a divorce or are rejected, what do they feel? They must have feelings. Let us assume they are able to hurt emotionally, do they recover quicker than the “diseased” people? We might say their resilience is stronger?
    So is lack of resilience a disease?
    Learned behaviour, it’s thoughts and emotions are obviously linked to families and cultures/ society.
    It STILL does NOT make it a disease or disorder.
    IF the client feels disordered and even if dysfunctional, it is still in emotion and thought.

    Psychiatry has to keep inventing and reinventing to try and prove something. The fact is, psychiatry still has to prove that it is something called “mental illness” that is the opposite of something “normal”.
    The responses in behaviour are the most natural result in the context of the person and if not, then we have to wonder if a shrink’s response to an agitated patient is a natural response.

    Psychiatry I fear is too needy for esteem that they can only ever get from each other. I looked on twitter and saw responses from a science guy at McGill towards Bonnie’s scholarship and it was as if written by an angry arrogant 18 year old.
    I have rarely seen MI clients talk like that. It was insulting and nasty. Within that comment was fear, anger, intolerance. So if MI exists, it exists in every one of us, we just do not own the rights to diagnose and also cannot diagnose those who would not come to us. The truly nutty ones never worry about their MI, nor do they think anything is wrong.

    Report comment

    • Speaking Chinese also runs in families. Do you think there may be genetic roots?

      They can’t even find genetic vulnerabilities for heart disease or most cancers. There are a few clearly genetic diseases, but even physiological diseases are influenced heavily by environmental impacts. To suggest that “mental health” is analogous is pretty ridiculous.

      Report comment

      • Besides Steve,
        Why would any so called links be force treated? With barbaric treatments where people are tied down? I think of Don Weitz’s “insulin treatments”, where he begged them to stop, and they would not, but rather the nurse described his begging as “whining”, “dramatical”. They kept it up until he had no power left to protest.
        Like beating a dog until it no longer cries.
        Now of course, today a shrink would say that Don’s treatment was not fair or right, but the shrink would still employ harmful treatments, he just does not inform the public. He would also defend the ongoing treatments, saying it was needed for the public or client safety, despite that practice being applied to just about anyone that is not relaxed. The only people that ever inform the public are the clients and some professionals with scruples.
        A man in Saskatchewan brought his 80 something mom to ER last year and stayed with her until he had to go to work. She was very ill, had liver and other issues.
        He came back to check on her that day and she was loopy and spastic. They had given her Haldol.
        He wanted answers and was told she had been agitated. The son said there were no signs at all, but that she had been in pain. 2 months later, this poor old woman was at home, still suffering the aftereffects on top of her diseases.
        I was STUNNED. I knew then that one cannot even go to a hospital with real illness.
        A nurse in that same province made a post on facebook regarding a nursing home that her grandfather had died in, citing extreme lack of care.
        She was brought before the college and humiliated and fired. She is not allowed to bring med issues to the public, only internal. Of course we know that there is no way in the world that ALL psychiatrists or ALL medical people agree with the heinous practices that occur.
        And this is where scruples come in. People would rather keep their jobs than call out mistreatment or abuse. To drug an 80 year old with Haldol is sheer abuse. They could have easily tried a valium or sleeping pill in low dose before resorting to a mean nasty drug.

        This blurb from the National Post interview.
        “The majority of psychiatrists remain unconvinced about anti-psychiatry, though. Allan Young, chair of the Psychopharmacology Special Committee of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, tells me the anti-psychiatry movement “waxes and wanes” over time.
        He considers anti-psychiatrists outliers, calling them “a mixed bag of diverse groups” encompassing everyone from “’flat earth’ types with odd ideas about health to, at the other end, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals”.

        I think we are the “flat earth types”, with “odd ideas”. Notice he says “health”, since he considers heath to be part of harmful drugs and ECT and leather straps to hold those dangerous mental people down.
        If Allan Young had scruples, he would say that he is not pleased with the harmful drugs, yet is at a loss. However, all he does is stick to the program that has enough evidence to prove harms. Also this Allan has no designs on addressing the millions of kids put on meds against their will. He obviously can’t pretend that those kids are a danger to him or themselves.
        So Allan instead tries to convince the public which does not have the ability/desire to look further. And THAT is what shrinks depend on. They are a sneaky bunch.
        As if stuck in their adolescent discontent and idealism. And highly manipulative.
        Even GP’s know and talk about the malpractice that goes on in psychiatry and yet the malpractice itself has become to be known as treatment.
        Absolutely nothing has changed since 100 years ago, except like everything else, it has become worse.

        Report comment

    • Good points Sam…”Is psychiatry saying they NEVER suffer?” Yes I often wonder about that, are they somehow impervious to traumas and adversities??

      To quote Dr. Breggin’s wisdom and benevolence ““In therapy, I often share my personal experiences to make clear that we are all much alike in both misery and recovery.”

      But unfortunately most psychiatrists are NOT interested in understanding or helping but instead are intent on passing judgement on someone for feeling/acting the same way they would if they faced similar circumstances.

      Report comment

      • The biggest problem within psychiatry are their narrow views.
        The kind of world they preach is not humanly possible.
        They are views that come from non thinkers, almost childlike except for the biases, hatred and judgment.
        Truly a bunch of weirdos, content with ruining others?

        Report comment

  6. My mother had to put up with that jive back when I was first symptomatic. Fortunately, she no longer put up with it after finding out I was simply B3 dependent and likely low in zinc. (I was in school in Michigan’s copper country during my first bonkers period)

    Report comment

  7. What ever happened to “little Albert”?

    Did he find himself in the office of a psychotherapist at the age of 30 having his fear and anxiety about “furry animals” being diagnosed as issues related to his Oedipus Complex? The anxiety the patient feels regarding the furry animals appears to be related to anxiety caused by transferance of his fears about touching his mothers pussy. Fist full of drugs and years of psychotherapy and it may be resolved?

    See it was caused by his mother.

    Report comment

  8. Thank you, Patrick Hahn, for this thoughtful and important article! If people are interested in empirical research that is a documentation of the vast extent of mother-blame, I refer them to:
    Caplan, Paula J., & Hall-McCorquodale, Ian. Mother-blaming in major clinical journals. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 55, 1985, 345 353.
    Caplan, Paula J. & Hall-McCorquodale, Ian. The scapegoating of mothers: A call for change. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 55, 1985, 610 613.
    I followed this research with a wider-ranging book about mother blame,,aps,112&sr=8-1-spell&linkCode=li1&tag=whejohandja0d-20&linkId=ebbdc31e3728055aed59ab0b60631dc4&language=en_US in which, among much else, I address the myth of the schizophrenogenic mother.
    Later, I wrote:
    Caplan, Paula J. (2007). Mocking Mom: Joke or hate speech?, Vol. 1, No. 4. June 23.
    And as for the whole, absurd and dangerous concept of “schizophrenia” itself, you’ll find this insider’s story about how all psychiatric diagnostic categories are invented and then falsely claimed to be scientific in

    Report comment

  9. An article by Joseph Biederman and a colleague makes my point perfectly. In a commentary on psychologist Jay Joseph’s devastating review of family, twin, and adoption studies of ADHD, they write:

    “Moreover, Joseph fails to show that psychosocial theories can stigmatize families. We recall the now-discredited theory of the schizophrenogenic mother which burdened an entire generation of mothers of schizophrenic patients.”

    Biederman, as you all no doubt probably know, has built a career on diagnosing toddlers with “bipolar disorder” and drugging them with major tranquilizers.

    Here’s the link to the article:

    Report comment

      • I agree.

        The whole “blame-the-mother” or “blame the parent” argument is a lovely example of a false dichotomy. If a child is having problems, do we blame the mother (or the parents) or do we drug the child?

        Here’s an idea — of a child is having problems, instead of drugging the child or arguing over who is to blame, how about we look for solutions?

        I believe any family therapist worth his or her salt will tell you the purpose of family therapy is not to assign blame to a specific individual — it is to get the family members to look at patterns of interaction that are not productive, and replace them with those that are.

        And if your therapist feels otherwise, I would suggest getting a new therapist.

        Report comment

          • I was fascinated by the investigation into the causes of madness (and negative outcomes) at the “looney gas building” by Norris and Gettler.

            Tetraethyllead ending up being ‘blamed’. What struck me though was the use of a scientific method to identify the culprit which has no politics, its a chemical and nothing more. The company didn’t want it to be the cause of the insanity in the workers and did everything they could to conceal the fact.

            Does the mental health industry not find themselves in a similar position these days? Where the science is saying one thing, but the ‘industry’ is denying the facts and playing politics to lay the ‘blame’ on those who are having toxins shoved down their throats as a result of a loophole in the law? (the Mental Health Act).

            They did end up removing lead from petrol in 1978. I guess I won’t live to see the day when they finally show these drugs to be more dangerous than lead or smoking, but I sure am glad I was one of the first to know 🙂

            Remove the politics and encourage the use of a scientific method rather than corrupting the regulatory authorities, the media and politicians. They are using the ‘psychology of religion’ to corrupt scientific endeavors.

            Report comment

          • Identifying abuse, gaslighting, family dysfunction and injustice is necessary in order to know one’s truth and also the direction of their healing. One person’s healing will affect everyone around them one way or another. Truth always trumps denial, when it comes to power.

            Report comment

        • Sometimes parents can be so self-absorbed and needy, a kid can grow up believing they are responsible for others at their own sacrifice. Some households can practice toxic, marginalizing dynamics based on all kinds of judgments and prejudices, and become very unsafe for some children, so they grow up in chronic fear and anxiety, feeling as though they don’t belong anywhere, and that can turn into living with chronic terror and dread. How parents respond to life issues, problems and crises is how a child learns by example.

          It’s usually not simply the pattern of communication that is the issue but more so what beliefs are behind negative communication, and how this influences what a child grows up believing about themselves and the world, based on the parents’ influence. If the child is particularly senstive and can pick up energy easily (which many children are like this and grow up to become very intuitive adults), then they will more than likely carry within them any unexpressed or unresolved conflict until it is acknowledged what the root cause of this is or it will persist. In order to solve a problem, it is important to know the root of it and address it as such. Real and true change (aka healing) is made at the core, not topically.

          Last thing someone who is healing needs is denial of how their childhood environment plays a role in shaping their self-image and self-regard. I believe that is universal. Not all parents have a “parental instinct.”

          Report comment

          • I did want to add that of course we are all human and far from perfect. We all make mistakes in order to learn from them and do better as we go along, growing in self-awareness. And we all have the capacity to self-forgive and to make postive changes from within that will translate into an improved world. Keyword: ALL.

            Report comment

  10. My mother had to endure her share of this when a psychologist decided that (a.) I was a schizophrenic and (b.) it was due to some kind of parental fumbling on her part. It wasn’t until a number of years later that I found out I’d been poisoned by copper-contaminated drinking water that made me dysperceptive as a result.

    Report comment

    • So you didn’t suffer from “schizophrenia.” You suffered from copper poisoning.

      You raise an excellent point. Any disease can affect one’s mental state. All too often, people with actual somatic illnesses are diagnosed with “schizophrenia: or some other “mental illness” and then given drugs which mask their problems or make them worse, rather than having the actual cause of their distress attended to.

      I hope you have been able to recover from your illness.

      Report comment

  11. It became quite apparent to me that mankind is mad, and mad has many forms, many expressions. We witness children being drugged by the millions, against their will, with not even possible consent, this is done to them by grown men and women, all involved in the care of the child or youth.

    What are we to think of the people who don’t even give this a second thought? That think it is somehow normal to do this thing to children and youth?

    These kids and youth who are told they are disordered? How did psychiatry go so nuts in an age when they should know better? When they as adults should know that it is not okay to do the things they do to anyone.

    We have a lot to worry about when lunatics, disillusioned people are allowed to run the world. The government are controlled by the narrative, as was the state controlled by the church.

    My kid’s great great great great grandma in 1697 was accused of being a witch. Was she a witch? She had to pay 20 dollars to the church and 10 dollars to the poor. History says that she was twice sentenced to death at age 67. Her spouse was also sentenced twice to death.
    It started with whispers in church. No “state” was there to disagree with the church and even if they had, it would have been a kangaroo court.

    Psychiatry and it’s followers are all involved in the same witch hunts. So we can see it will only become worse. Only education to the young can at least save some from this complete lunatic practice of naming kids and their parents or family as defective.

    Calling people witches, defective, ill disordered, it is all simply the lunatic powerful against the vulnerable.

    Report comment