I Am a Critical Psychiatrist


From MJH Life Sciences: “I am heartened by those who are working for change. I have been fortunate to connect to a larger network of people‚ÄĒprofessionals as well as people with lived experience of extreme distress‚ÄĒwho are working hard to change the paradigm of care. They are pushing back against the pathologizing discourse that is so dominant‚ÄĒwhere almost every uncomfortable human experience is conceived as representing a medical condition. They understand that many experiences labeled as ‘disorders’ are understandable reactions to life experiences rather than evidence of dysfunctions within the people having them… It is an uphill struggle, but their work inspires me to be a better doctor and a better person. These days, many of the people who are teaching me are not psychiatrists. In fact, those who have taught me the most in the past few years are the one who have lived experience‚ÄĒwho have been the subjects of psychiatric care but have found their recovery elsewhere.

My personal view of psychiatry is that we need to acknowledge and embrace humility. We need to become as curious about how to stop the drugs we prescribe as we are in how to start them.2 As a profession, we have done harm, often with the best of intentions. This is a hard narrative when we live in a culture that values spin over content. Messages of humility can be viewed as indications of incompetence or weakness. It takes strength to acknowledge uncertainty and to remain humble and transparent about the limitations of our profession. There is so much we do not know about the struggles of those who consult us.”

Article →­


  1. “At this point I might begin to sound like one of my patients‚ÄĒsomeone who has beliefs that are not shared by others.”

    Sounds like a line from Chekovs’ Ward 6 Dr Steingard. I found your extended concerns regarding Industrial Agriculture interesting given this might be contributing to the expansion of the need for psychiatric services.

    “The pharmaceutical industry sells drugs to farmers, allowing them to raise livestock in horrific conditions so that they can produce more food that makes people sick, bolstering the market for still more drugs.”

    The pharmaceutical industry sells drugs to the State (distributed by psychiatrists), allowing them to raise workers in horrific conditions so they can produce profit and in the process make people sick, bolstering the market for more drugs?

    I note that the cruelty to animals and the cruelty to humans seems to be part of a desensitisation process one undergoes. Starting to feel like you “sound like one of your patients” is a symptom that should be checked before intervention is required. Don’t ever start feeling empathy, it’s not good for your mental health

    It’ll end in tears as my mother in law always used to say.

    Report comment

  2. “They understand that many experiences labeled as ‚Äėdisorders‚Äô are understandable reactions to life experiences rather than evidence of dysfunctions within the people having them‚Ķ”

    And thankfully there are a few good psychiatrists out there with compassion, insight and integrity!
    Thanks Dr. Steingard.

    Report comment

  3. In order to qualify you must have prescribed the drugs and in particular with “antipsychotics” you must have known very early on they they were damaging to the patients, they are utterly vile drugs from the get go. I very much doubt any patient reporting back would be positive about the dreadful draining of life experience. So my questions: How long did you continue to prescribe and if you still precribe why do you do it and why would you want to continue to call yourself a psychiatrist at all ?

    For me it’s really problematic that people call themselves critical psychiatrists work in the same system and subject people to the vile neurotoxic killer drugs. Why would they do that and not do something else – is it the money, the control, that they can get away with a foot in both worlds, what ?

    Report comment