Abolition Must Include Psychiatry

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From the Disability Visibility Project: “There is a dangerous tale in the United States, one based on a myth of the deinstitutionalization of psychiatric asylums. Through this story, we are told that the asylum died and is a thing of the past. We are told that, now, ‘patients’ have rights, are treated with human dignity, and are not criminalized for their neurodivergence. We’re told that restraints and forcible medication only happen in ‘extreme’ cases. We’re told that the mental health care system is here to help us, support us, and ‘treat’ us. And now, when abolition has entered mainstream discourse, we’re told that this very system should be considered an alternative to incarceration in jails and prisons. But those of us who have survived psychiatric incarceration know that not only did the asylum never die — it is, and always was, another prison. Knowing the truth of these myths, we work towards writing a new story.”

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41 COMMENTS

  1. Abolition should begin with abolishing psychiatry. Since the psychiatristic profession is full of hypocrites, who claim to be “helpers,” but are in reality nothing more than stigmatizers and neurotoxic poisoners. I do agree, the private prison industrial complex is a hot mess.

    But psychiatry and psychology attack innocent people, largely abuse survivors. And an industry that systemically attacks abuse survivors/non-criminals, under the false guise of “help.” Then proceeds to stigmatize and neurotoxic poison them, is a completely hypocritical industry.

    Psychiatry needs to be abolished. Its DSM “bible” theology, and resulting systemic crimes against humanity, have destroyed the rule of law in America. It’s primarily a child abuse and rape covering up – pedophile empowerment – industry, by DSM design. Resulting in us all now living in a “pedophile empire.” And the DSM “bible” thumpers are killing 8 million innocent people every year.

    https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/01/23/18820633.php?fbclid=IwAR2-cgZPcEvbz7yFqMuUwneIuaqGleGiOzackY4N2sPeVXolwmEga5iKxdo
    https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/04/heal-for-life/
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-child-does-not-have-bipolar-disorder/201402/dsm-5-and-child-neglect-and-abuse-1
    https://www.amazon.com/Pedophilia-Empire-Chapter-Introduction-Disorder-ebook/dp/B0773QHGPT
    https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/directors/thomas-insel/blog/2015/mortality-and-mental-disorders.shtml

    Psychiatry needs to be abolished.

    • Well SE, it cannot be reformed, so it seems there is only one course to take.
      We should be defunding psyciatry and it’s politicians, and putting the money into enriched environments.
      Schools should be geared towards ALL types of children, instead of chemically altering them.
      Horrid, just horrid and no matter how faithful the public is to psychiatry, a conscious human that is able to reason and think for themselves would never think it okay to drug children.

      And one knows, whenever psychiatry is under a scope, their defense is, BUT “look at that guy who talks to himself” and of late is mention of killings.
      They never mention the many deaths and suicides from their hopeless and hopeless making inventions, their empty propaganda.
      I cannot refer to it as their “belief”, because it is not possible after years of training and meeting people that one could possibly “believe” in their practice. It must take guts or empty space to be staunchly sticking to lies.

      • Yes, sam, psychiatry needs to be defunded.

        The “mental health” workers need to be taken out of our schools. They think the well behaved children, who surprise their school by getting 100% on their state standardized tests, need to be drugged by psychiatrists.

        Any kind of crime – against children or adults – is acceptable to the “mental health professionals,” in order to maintain “the status quo,” according to a Lutheran psychologist.

        No, their corrupt, unsustainable, and un-Constitutional, system needs to be taken down. The entire DSM “bible” theology is un-Constitutional and anti-American.

  2. Yes, psychiatry needs to be abolished. But this can only be done with a clear analysis, and on that count I give mixed grades here, as some contradictions seem to remain.

    …a national grassroots organization led by and for folks with lived experience of mental illness, Disability, trauma, and neurodivergence. Their work specializes in building peer support collectives and community mental health care structures outside of state-sanctioned systems of “care”

    Much of this trendy-sounding terminology comes straight from the psychiatric playbook — the most blatant being the reference to “lived experience of mental illness.” This contributes to the internal oppession fomented by psychiatry, as a self-definition of having “mental illness” is about the most destructive self-identification there is; you cannot talk seriously about abolishing psychiatry while accepting its primary lie, the existence of mental illness.

    One principles of the anti-psychiatry collective I am currently working with states that “Mental illness” is a semantically absurd concept which falsely conflates the abstraction known as the “mind” with the physical brain to mislead people into believing they have literal diseases. (It’s a mouthful but it’s worth it.)

    Some people use the term “mental illness” in a cavalier manner, knowing it’s not a literal reality, with a “you know what I mean” sort of attitude. Except even they don’t know what they mean. I have some issues with the concept of “neurodiversity” as well, at least the way “it” gets mixed into the psychiatric labeling system (depending on how one defines “it” and whether “it” exists at all other than as a philosophical construct).

    But this is a side issue — my main emphasis is on the “mental illness” reference, especially without quotes. For me it goes beyond the semantically absurd term to the assumption of a category, i.e. the assumption that there is an “it,” not just that “it” has been misnamed.

    Rejecting psychiatric concepts and labels is an important part of creating a general consciousness that psychiatry is illegitimate and absurd, and leading to its ultimate abolition.

    Their work specializes in building peer support collectives and community mental health care structures…

    No no no — this is replacing one oppressive system with a variation based on the same contradictory logic. “Peer support” is a psychiatric term which reeks with demeaning implications and supports the myth that “correcting” individuals’ mindsets is the solution, rather than eradicating the system which creates the mindset.

    • Agree OH,
      I agree that everything and everyone, every word, becomes suspect when psychiatry also uses them. In fact, we need a new language, new expression, along with certain principles as the guiding speech.
      Psychiatry’s use of Peers, one wonders why did they see the value? Was it because peers actually understand at a human level? And then, if Peers are actually “helpful”, why are they not paid equally or more? Although power and money corrupt, so does belonging to a corrupt business model. I can see peers valuable if they keep a focus on how to get people away from the psychiatrists. It is no longer a peer of the subject, if the peer practices a brand of psychiatry. Then he is a peer of psychiatry, and supports the shrink.
      Perhaps that was the purpose. If we “adopt” the little peers, we can probably convert them.

      • The “peer movement” was mostly created to undermine the “patients’ liberation” movement that was effectively undermining psychiatry’s bottom line in the 70s or so. They never did value “peers,” but they wanted to coopt those who were objecting by allowing them a limited role and paying them a little money. They gave the idea that “peers” would have an influence on policy and practice, but in reality, they were expected to toe the party line and not do anything “radical” like suggesting that people might be better off without “taking their meds.” That’s my read on the situation.

        • Hot damn Steve, you’re definitely learning your anti-psychiatry history somewhere — this analysis of “peerdom” would be hard if not impossible to find via Google, Twitter, Wikipedia & probably FB.

          For a definitive 1st hand account of what the “peer” thing is about for real check out Stephen Gilbert’s MIA comment history; you might have to search for the link…

        • Thank you. I assumed that if psychiatry is at the helm, it’s not possible to be oneself.
          When I worked as a hairstylist, we sold products and had 15 different shampoos. Being young, I of course questioned the 15 brands all claiming to do this and that, but ultimately leaving you with nice hair. I also figured that sooner or later, someone will say the question where I have to spew BS…sure enough, a man who was a client of a co-worker asked “what are the differences between the shampoos?” I felt very pressured, because I knew he was putting me on the spot purposely, so I said, “well, to tell you the truth, they pretty much all do the same thing, so it’s down to preference” and I added, “it’s a bit like big pharma and the drug racket, if it did not kill the bunnies, it’s okay to get in your eyes”. He looked really pissed off and after he left I got shit from the co-worker because the guy was a psychiatrist.

          Now I could have explained that this shampoo opens the cuticle of the hair and infuses it with plant based hair repair, and that the next chemical listed, closes the cuticle and locks in the repair, allowing it to continue to do it’s bouncy magic.
          But THEN, what am I supposed to say regarding the next 14 shampoos? Anyway, even back then, yes I could sell, but I did not want to for that stupid dollar. And I also did not appreciate the “peer” pressure, to conform to a main ideal, to tell folks a bunch of stuff that was printed by the maker, which was the BS.
          I know now that the shrink was playing, and that I got him good, yet that was not my intent 🙂
          Of course if I gave him the science behind the shampoo it says nothing that he can prove wrong or correct. In retrospect, I should have told him it works on the neurotransmitter within the hairshaft, and to allow 6 weeks to see a change to wonderful hair.

      • The entire concept of “peerdom” is insidiously demeaning and the very use of the term reflects a caste mentality, something I wonder why more people don’t seem to notice (or care about?). If someone is “on your level” ( i.e. a “peer”) there is an implied power higher than both of you — but the “peer” rhetoric generally obscures that power relationship, and discourages critical examinations thereof.

        • Absolutely OH. Appreciate Steve’s and your input here. I think people don’t notice until it is pointed out and this is why, comments such as yours are needed for people to become conscious or more conscious. It is never a wasted effort to try and get people to think, and to think rationally, critically.
          Keep peeling back the layers of that onion that makes people cry.

  3. Institutional psychiatry, the so-called public “mental health” system, needs abolition. Getting people out of jails and prisons was the same lame excuse which brought on the psychiatric prison system, and expanded it, in an infinitely chronic direction, in the first place. People tend to be, however, freer in punitive institutions than in “medical” ones–so long as force is the order of the day. The poor houses and work shops of yesterday are long gone, but not so the psychiatric plantation system. Tear the fake hospital/real prisons down, and let people be. Tolerance begins at home.

  4. OK lets read the fine print — or in this case the footnotes of the “abolitionist” article cited above:

    Though psychiatry is a fundamentally violent system, there are some psychiatric drugs that are effective for some folks (though the structural, cultural trauma creating distressed manifestations of neurodivergence needs to be prioritized). We are not anti-medication, and do not advocate people stop taking medications that are useful to them. We believe, however, that the creation and evolution of psych medications could feasibly be taken over by post-psychiatric entities that recognize/build upon the small wisdom that has incidentally come out of this violent structure.

    So let me get this right — they’re not anti-drug, as long as THEY hand out the drugs in the utopian post-capitalist future.

    This is NOT an “abolitionist” position, or even an anti-psychiatry position, it is a pro-Pharma position. And in the end, though it contains some insights regarding the connections between psychiatry, slavery and prisons, this article is no more “abolitionist” than Laing was “antipsychiatry.”

    • Oldhead and others

      “Though psychiatry is a fundamentally violent system, there are some psychiatric drugs that are effective for some folks (though the structural, cultural trauma creating distressed manifestations of neurodivergence needs to be prioritized). We are not anti-medication, and do not advocate people stop taking medications that are useful to them. We believe, however, that the creation and evolution of psych medications could feasibly be taken over by post-psychiatric entities that recognize/build upon the small wisdom that has incidentally come out of this violent structure.”

      You said the following about the above statement: “This is NOT an “abolitionist” position, or even an anti-psychiatry position, it is a pro-Pharma position.”

      There is nothing fundamentally “pro-pharma” or anti-abolitionist in their above statement.

      People taking psych drugs should have a RIGHT to continue taking them if they choose. And some people DO report some benefits from taking them, especially in the short term. AND even though the fundamental history of the development and use of these drugs has been oppressive, the fact that they might have some very selective use in the future, does NOT mean that this group is supporting the continuation of psychiatric oppression.

      This group, Project LENS (I think that is their name), is a very positive group that should be SUPPORTED as part of the anti-psychiatry trend. There are some of their choices of language regarding “peers” and other choices of things to emphasize that I might quibble with, but this group MUST and SHOULD be supported.

      To denigrate or condemn this group is a fundamental error in political orientation.

      This group in a very positive way puts the struggle against psychiatry and psychiatric oppression in the context of the history of capitalism and imperialism, AND links its history to slavery, racial oppression, and the prison system.

      An anti-psychiatry movement CANNOT and SHOULD NOT be built in a cocoon, separate from the social and political realities facing people in today’s world. Psychiatry, in today’s world, is inseparable from the profit based capitalist system, and the future and destiny of these two institutional entities are clearly intertwined.

      To downplay or avoid this reality would be a huge political mistake, and would hold us back from advancing our cause against all forms of psychiatric oppression.

      Richard

      • Thanks Richard. Good points. I do have an issue with the term “psych drugs”
        As you might have noticed, GP’s are encouraged to script them for pain, and GP’s prescribe a ton of “psych drugs”, plus leave their “opinions” on med charts, which then follow you to the next specialist or doc. And which actually affects your treatment right down to whether the janitor will sweep your hospital room, or if a doc cares enough to write the truth about a condition, which in turn makes a nurse treat you like crap. Innuendo among the medical profession is as good as gold, mostly because colleagues and nurses are afraid to speak up. In fact it is impossible unless you want to look for another vocation.

        So in reality we don’t need psychiatry, except for confinement. So as long as “psych drugs” carry with them a meaning of “mental illness”, we have not accomplished anything.

        • Sam

          Yes, you are right in what you are saying.

          We should never call psych drugs “medications” because this will only validate the unscientific and oppressive Medical Model that this terminology reinforces.

          Psych drugs are nothing more than mind altering substances, just like pot and other street drugs.

          This does not mean they should never be used, or that that they might not provide some type of short term positive effect on someone’s psychological distress. However, we must be clear that they ARE NOT “medicating” some type of brain “disease” or “disorder.”

          It is quite fine that people raised questions about some of the language used by the Project LENS group, but why trash the central core of their very radical critique of psychiatry and capitalist society?

          Richard

          • I’m trying not to trash, I’m trying to cause attention to the little loopholes that allows psychiatry and medicine to practice exactly as they have been.
            All these systems just need little cracks. And guaranteed there always will be. And it NEVER stays at or about “those people who choose to take drugs”.
            I honestly dislike dissing every story, article, or word. But there are weasels that get into every nook and cranny, so ultimately, nothing ever changes.
            It seems all the radicals think the radical are being too radical and so we don’t even wind up with reform, let alone abolition.

            And all that while a doctor is asking for “human rights” at the UN which is not making a dent.

            Yes, people can take the psych drugs. But what are they made for? That “mental illness”? Or what words to we insert for those who choose. Can they also choose their own descriptors/dagnosis of why they chose? Or does the guy in the white coat give his invented garble.

          • And just clarify my above point about psych drugs and people’s right to use them if they choose to:

            while they are mind altering substances, they are some of the most dangerous mind altering substances available for human consumption. In most cases they are toxic to the human body and brain function, and have major complications with withdrawal.

            And while some people MAY possibly achieve some very short term benefit, there is no scientific evidence that they work in the ways that Big Pharma advertises them with their hundreds of billions of dollars of PR propaganda. And these drugs have documented evidence of very negative long term consequences.

            Richard

          • Sam

            You said: “Yes, people can take the psych drugs. But what are they made for? That “mental illness”? Or what words to we insert for those who choose. Can they also choose their own descriptors/dagnosis of why they chose? Or does the guy in the white coat give his invented garble.”

            Yes, I believe it is necessary and appropriate to challenge the use of all Medical Model language, and especially the use of DSM diagnoses. But we also need to recognize and support the core arguments and essence of certain emerging political organizations, especially when they correctly combine an anti-psychiatry and anti-capitalist critique.

            Richard

          • I honestly dislike dissing every story, article, or word. But there are weasels that get into every nook and cranny, so ultimately, nothing ever changes.

            That’s why we need to be here Sam. Since the vast majority of MIA articles support psychiatry in some way it’s inevitable that some will see our deconstructions as “negative,” however we’re just calling ’em as we see ’em.

            In this case we have a group of so-called “abolitionists” capitalizing on “peer” activities, and promising to keep the drug pipeline flowing in a “post-psychiatric” world. And we have Richard minimizing that, and ignoring that this is a group of “alternative service providers,” not anti-psychiatry activists. They may be “better” than many other “service providers,” but they still seek to replicate the structures of the system under a different name, still focusing on the individual while ignoring the system, except for some revolutionary rhetoric.

      • Richard knows he as a professional has no business trying to dictate how AP survivors conduct their politics. His comments also show why it is necessary for survivors to have their own AP organizations based on their own experiences.

        I encourage anti-psychiatry survivors to remember YOU are the reason the AP movement is necessary. We must pursue our own goals and analyses. Survivors who agree should contact us at [email protected]

        I repeat, to construe these two articles as anti-psychiatry or abolitionist in any way makes a mockery of what survivor-based AP organizing seeks to achieve. The “peer” industry is NOT the anti-psychiatry movement.

        I will not argue with Richard or any other professional over the right and necessity of survivors to control their own movement. These discussions are best held among survivors, away from MIA and other public venues.

        • I think whatever Richard got out of the article is probably valid. It speaks to him and some of the big issues that our societies are grappling with. I do see that it is a great article, but I do not see it as “abolitionist”.
          I respect what Richard gets out of it, and possibly he cannot see the contradictions I see, but those contradictions keep on affecting people.
          There is indeed a need for AP. There is a need to stand by, and up for, what survivors or those who continue to be up against the paradigm experience.

          I’m not arguing about whether the article has a great slant. I am simply pointing out contradictions. And I see that group as being valuable, and see it as a step in the general direction. HOWEVER, I am thinking that if I sat in their office and presented my experiences, how would they, and would they understand the system, as it happens to individuals?
          The system does not have to be “violent” in order to cause great havoc. In fact, the less violent, the more insidious, the more eroding.
          It is quite a shocker when one comes face to face with “power”. Power that sits quietly and you don’t know it’s existence until you know it’s existence.

          So far I’m not experiencing minimizing by Richard, I do experience that he is focused on the parts that speak to him. And that is fine by me, since I am focusing on which parts I take issue with. And in that way, my voice is valuable, since I’m not here to convert anyone, but rather hope we all educate /validate in one way or another.

        • Oldhead stated the following:

          “Richard knows he as a professional has no business trying to dictate how AP survivors conduct their politics. His comments also show why it is necessary for survivors to have their own AP organizations based on their own experiences.”

          The comment section at MIA is meant to have important dialogue around critical questions confronting ALL of us as it pertains to the Medical Model and its connection to an increasingly chaotic and oppressive world.

          Oldhead chooses to now emphasize the contradictions between survivors and professionals as a way to avoid and cut off having principled dialogue over how to evaluate an important emerging anti-psychiatry group on college campuses.

          Ironically enough here, I am the one who is DEFENDING an important SURVIVOR based organization against unfair and inaccurate criticism.

          Long before I became a counselor in a community based “mental health” clinic, I was an an anti-capitalist revolutionary activist. For several decades I fought against psychiatry’s Medical Model takeover of a community support system.

          Psychiatry and their Medical Model is now a major pillar propping up and enforcing an oppressive class based capitalist system. The struggle against psychiatry and their Medical Model (LED by psych survivors) is a critically important conduit of resistance and activism against capitalist oppression.

          EVERYONE (survivor and non-survivor) should be intensely invested and concerned about advancing the cause against psychiatry and all forms of psychiatric oppression.

          Richard

        • Oldhead states: “I repeat, to construe these two articles as anti-psychiatry or abolitionist in any way makes a mockery of what survivor-based AP organizing seeks to achieve. The “peer” industry is NOT the anti-psychiatry movement.”

          I would repeat (from my above comment):

          “To denigrate or condemn this group is a fundamental error in political orientation.

          “This group in a very positive way puts the struggle against psychiatry and psychiatric oppression in the context of the history of capitalism and imperialism, AND links its history to slavery, racial oppression, and the prison system.”

          Shouldn’t every effort be made to UNITE with this group of anti-psychiatry activists, while also struggling with some of their “peer” based language?

          Should we not have a fundamental orientation of “unite all who can be united” as an organizing approach to building a movement against psychiatric oppression?

          And when important political differences emerge in discussions in the MIA comment section, why is it now appropriate to SUDDENLY advocate for those discussions to somehow continue in some PRIVATE forum?

          Richard

      • To help clarify what I have been admonishing Richard about (admonishing because it was not the first time this had been pointed out to him):

        The following was written by legendary movement writer and organizer Judi Chamberlin to explain the reasons that the then-“Mental Patients” Liberation Movement adopted its policy of excluding professionals as voting members (though we always have been open to working with non-survivors who have supported our goals).

        Guiding Principles of the Movement Exclusion of Non-Patients

        In the United States, former patients have found that they work best when they exclude mental health professionals (and other non-patients) from their organizations. There are several reasons why the movement has grown in this direction – a direction which began to develop in the early 1970’s, influenced by the black, women’s and gay liberation movements.

        Among the major organizing principles of these movements were self definition and self-determination. Black people felt that white people could not truly understand their experiences; women felt similarly about men; homosexuals similarly about heterosexuals. As these groups evolved, they moved from defining themselves to setting their own priorities.

        To mental patients who began to organize, these principles seemed equally valid. Their own perceptions about “mental illness” were diametrically opposed to those of the general public, and even more so to those of mental health professionals. It seemed sensible, therefore, not to let non-patients into ex-patient organizations or to permit them to dictate an organization’s goals.

        There were also practical reasons for excluding non-patients. Those groups that did not exclude non-patients from membership almost always quickly dropped their liberation aspects and became reformist. In addition, such groups rapidly moved away from ex-patient control, with the tiny minority of non-patient members taking on leadership roles and setting future goals and directions.

        These experiences served as powerful examples to newly-forming ex-patient organizations that mixed membership was indeed destructive. In attempting to solve these organizational problems, group members began to recognize a pattern they referred to as “mentalism” and “sane chauvinism,” a set of assumptions which most people seemed to hold about mental patients: that they were incompetent, unable to do things for themselves, constantly in need of supervision and assistance, unpredictable, likely to be violent or irrational, and so forth. Not only did the general public express mentalist ideas; so did ex-patients themselves. These crippling stereotypes became recognized as a form of internalized oppression. The struggle against internalized oppression and mentalism generally was seen as best accomplished in groups composed exclusively of patients, through the process of consciousness-raising (borrowed from the women’s movement).

        This should adequately explain where conscious AP survivors stand on professionals and other non-survivors having a hand in our decision-making. Also why we choose not to endlessly explain ourselves to non-survivors. And it is why I would prefer to continue this conversation in person with any survivors who see a need to pursue it further.

        • OH, I think even as “those with experience” it is important to realize no two experiences are ever the same, and so basic principles are needed to always come back to.

          After all, this is how psychiatry organizes, even though many disagree with each other, but they mostly keep their shit “internal” within the organization, or within themselves.
          But they always adhere to one principle. “mental illness”. I honestly think that Richard and myself, or OH have way more in common that one shrink with another.
          And really, if one is not AP, I’m not sure that they are against other oppressive systems.

  5. “The abolition of psychiatry does not mean that no one is allowed to identify with psychiatric diagnoses that they feel serve them, or that no one is allowed to continue taking psychiatric medications they find effective². It does mean, however, that the notion of ‘mental illness’ was invented to pathologize logical responses to the stress and trauma that are omnipresent in a world brutalized by colonialism and capitalism.”
    I hate to be obsessive and nitpicky, but I’m not sure if we would keep the labels, or are the writers suggesting that psychiatry needs to be abolished, but the DSM can stay? And what is this “diagnosis” nonsense? Obviously if psychiatry has no meaning, neither do invented “diagnonsense”. I’m sure that would be a time to EDUCATE people in using more specific language, rather than saying “I’m feeling “bi-polar” today” or “MY “BI-POLAR” is the problem”

    “Though psychiatry is a fundamentally violent system, there are some psychiatric drugs that are effective for some folks (though the structural, cultural trauma creating distressed manifestations of neurodivergence needs to be prioritized). We are not anti-medication, and do not advocate people stop taking medications that are useful to them. We believe, however, that the creation and evolution of psych medications could feasibly be taken over by post-psychiatric entities that recognize/build upon the small wisdom that has incidentally come out of this violent structure.”

    They are not “psychiatric drugs”, since regular medicine hands them out also…. neither are they “medications”, so of course it stands to reason that you cannot be anti-medication.

    And if you believe there is some wisdom in psychiatry, I might suggest that it is a wishful magical thinking that perhaps it can be reformed. Everyone has a bit of wisdom in them. Not everyone is a blatant lier.

  6. Also while I’m at it, particular attention to this
    “though the structural, cultural trauma creating distressed manifestations of neurodivergence needs to be prioritized)”.

    “neurodivergent” The latest buzzword.
    You know, the fact that we are different from each other,
    and the fact I might not be able to spell or do math makes me “neurodivergent”. I guess so does not being able to play soccer?
    Got a pill for that neurodivergence? That “post psychiatric” lot who now won’t let someone make a decision in court because they chose to call themselves and others “neurodivergent”?
    Psst, guess what, he is “neurodivergent” so he cannot be trusted to make his own decisions.

  7. Richard, I find the article contradictory. Perhaps you think I’m slamming the whole article, and I am now tempted to when I see the writers referring to “psychiatric diagnoses” (wondering how that can occur without psychiatry, keeping in mind, we are at a point when psychiatry itself is not needed for it affecting you)

    “The abolition of psychiatry does not mean that no one is allowed to identify with psychiatric diagnoses”

    ” We are not anti-medication, and do not advocate people stop taking medications that are useful to them.
    We believe, however, that the creation and evolution of psych medications could feasibly be taken over by post-psychiatric entities that recognize/build upon the small wisdom that has incidentally come out of this violent structure.”

    This quote confuses me, beyond the obvious word “medication”.

    The next lines are rather jumbled and I think it might be due to the word “however”. It has no place there.
    Are they suggesting that this- “creation and evolution of psych “medications”……feasibly…..”taken over by post-psychiatric entities”-is a good thing?

    Who is responsible for the “creation and evolution of psych “medication”? Who the hell is taking this over?
    There are lots of “entities” that are part of and with psychiatry. My greatest experience of psychiatry have not had anything to do with a psychiatrist.
    So we know that “entities” are just more psychiatry. And within it is not wisdom, but prejudice.

    • Sam

      Yes, there is some lack of clarity and contradictions in their writings, but let’s look at the sentences you have the most issues with.

      “The abolition of psychiatry does not mean that no one is allowed to identify with psychiatric diagnoses”

      Here, I do NOT believe they are supporting the DSM. I think they recognize that (in the immediate aftermath of a post psychiatry world) some people will still choose (perhaps for a period of time) to identify as, let’s say, “bi-polar.” And that it would be incorrect to CONDEMN them for this. It will probably take many decades to completely root out the damage done by the pervasiveness of Medical Model thinking. After all, they have literally spent several hundred billion dollars in the world’s single greatest PR campaign regarding the hoax of “chemical imbalances,” DSM diagnoses, and other Medical Model propaganda.

      Even now we have some people who are quite critical of the Medical Model who still want to hang on to, or “own” in a new way, some DSM diagnosis. There have been personal stories like this published at MIA where people try to turn a DSM diagnosis into some type of “new” thing. Of course, I’m with you and believe this language must be thoroughly exposed and (over time) completely rooted out in our society.

      Now let’s look at the other quotes you had the most issues with:

      ” We are not anti-medication, and do not advocate people stop taking medications that are useful to them.
      We believe, however, that the creation and evolution of psych medications could feasibly be taken over by post-psychiatric entities that recognize/build upon the small wisdom that has incidentally come out of this violent structure.”

      I believe there main point here is that people SHOULD NOT be made to feel LESS THAN because they still think they need or depend on a psych drugs to cope with a very stressful and oppressive world. It will probably take several decades in a post psychiatry world to slowly root out people’s dependency on these type of drugs.

      And we cannot forget that there are MAJOR withdrawal issues with coming off of these drugs, and it can sometimes take people several years to be successful in totally becoming drug free. We must have compassion and support for people going through these difficult struggles, not ever fall into some type of “pill shaming” them.

      And, in particular, the phrase “…post-psychiatric entities that recognize/build upon the small wisdom that has incidentally come out of this violent structure.”

      Here they are clearly describing the Medical Model and psychiatry as a “violent structure,” BUT indicating that even violent structures or oppressive institutions can by “accident” or “incidentally” create something that may have a useful, or helpful, purpose for some people. Here I am thinking that they might be referring to the creation and use of so-called “anti-psychotic” drugs, or perhaps, even Benzos.

      “Anti-psychotic drugs” for a small sample of people can be helpful as a very short term aid for some one experiencing an extreme psychological crisis. The same could be said for a very brief use of a drug like a benzodiazepine, when some one is experiencing very intense and overwhelming emotions, and are totally unable to relax and go to sleep. Even after psychiatry and the Medical Model is abolished, along with capitalist system that created and sustains these institutions, these type of drugs may have a very selective use in rare situations.

      Obviously, we know the long term use of these drugs are quite harmful on many physical and psychological levels. And psychiatry and their Medical Model must be condemned, organized against, and ultimately abolished for crimes related to the prolific prescribing of these drugs around the world.

      So how I interpret their use of the word “wisdom,” is that even out of something very violent and oppressive occasionally in history a tiny particle of “wisdom” is learned that may be useful for future generations. Now, I would probably choose to use different phrases and terminology to make these type of points in analyzing the aftermath of a world oppressed by psychiatry, but there is NOTHING intrinsically wrong with the points this group is making.

      AND MOST DEFINITELY, there is NO REASON to denigrate or condemn this group for the heart of their message and their purpose for organizing against the Medical Model. We should support this group and reach out to them for further dialogue and opportunities to unite in our common struggle against psychiatry and the oppressive Medical Model.

      Richard

      • “AND MOST DEFINITELY, there is NO REASON to denigrate or condemn this group for the heart of their message and their purpose for organizing against the Medical Model.”

        Is to disagree with parts of an article “denigrating” or condemning? And I happen to agree, I think the “ideal” is to try and get groups together that have basic principles, as long as those principles are adhered to. I’m sure you are not willing to drop some of your principles just to keep things running smoothly. Many psychiatrists do that now, they disagree with their colleagues, but still don’t want to rock the boat.

        I understand how and why you see the points you mentioned the way you do and I said how I see them. I see them as possibly having value in the way you see them and the way I see them. There is nothing wrong with me being careful as to what I am about to agree to, and that carefulness is not “denigrating”.

  8. Sam

    Thanks for the response.

    I was mainly referring to the way Oldhead chose to describe this group. He said:

    “I repeat, to construe these two articles as anti-psychiatry or abolitionist in any way makes a mockery of what survivor-based AP organizing seeks to achieve.”

    I believe this to be a grossly unfair way to describe this group. And this approach in no way helps us understand who are our real friends and enemies in this world, let alone how to find ways to unite people.

    Richard

    • I’m sure we have all stood firmly by what we believe. I think psychiatry might think it is grossly unfair to them as how the article presents them.
      If you align with what the group stands for, great. Perhaps it is more the general political stance that makes sense to you.
      “groups” identify themselves by principles they hold. I see nothing amiss about OH’s statement.
      Personally I cannot see an abolitionist group and it’s members identifying with anything psychiatry.

      • I think the hook for me is that anyone who recognizes psychiatry is messed up and is doing damage is someone I want to engage with. Most “antipsyciatry” people have had less radical views earlier in their lives/careers. We don’t like to believe that a social institution is actually intending the opposite of what it purports to be doing. That is an awareness that occurs only after long examination of the facts, unless someone is thrown into the system and experiences it directly and undeniably, and even for the latter, it often takes a long time to come to full awareness. This group appears to have come a long way down the path to understanding what is wrong with psychiatry. My view is we should welcome such folks and try to help them see further, rather than criticizing them for not being “antipsychiatry enough” to meet our exacting standards.

        That’s my take on it.

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