The New Opium of the People: Why Our Mental Health Sector Has Failed


From iai News: “By sweeping the social causes of distress into the private corners of self, our mental health sector has helped stifle collective and community action. Collective suffering, after all, when fully owned and properly channelled, has always been a vital spur for social change. This was true for the civil rights movement, the women’s liberation movement, and will be true for any successful movement to come.  But by dispersing our socially caused and shared distress into different, self-residing dysfunctions, medicalisation refracts and diminishes collective experience. In this way, diagnostic tribes replace political tribes, as we identify with a given ‘mentally ill’ social grouping rather than with a particular social cause (or the interests demands of the diagnostic grouping become the one and only social cause). Once suffering has been politically defused in this way, individualised and profitable treatments then follow, emphasising on self over social reform.

Just as religion served industrial capitalism in the mid-1800s, our mental health sector now performs a similar function. Through the medicalisation, privatisation, depoliticisation, dehumanisation and commodification of distress, it has aligned ideologically with aims of the neoliberal economy, with its emphasis on individualism, political quietism, marketisation, deregulation and corporatisation success. By sedating people to the causes and solutions for their socially rooted distress – both literally and ideologically – our mental health sector has stilled the impulse for social reform, has distracted people from the real origins of their despair, has favoured results that are primarily economic, while presiding over the worst outcomes in our health care system. It is due to this our mental health sector has now surely become the new opium of the people.”

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  1. These two summary paragraphs are on their face superficial.

    While general social malaise may well be attributable to a “neoliberal economy,” the deepest forms of insanity are also an important contributing factor. Individual insane persons can also cause severe outbreaks of distress among friends and associates. If you then hire the “fox to guard the hen house” you have a perfect recipe for a general emotional – and economic – meltdown.

    I think the “new breed” of rebels need to get their noses out of Das Capital and Critical Theory books and start reading the writings of Dena Merriam!

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    • “I think the “new breed” of rebels need to get their noses out of Das Capital and Critical Theory books and start reading the writings of Dena Merriam!”

      You say this as if they are conflicting positions but Dena Merriam’s work is certainly complimentary to anticapitalist, antiracist, and anitimperialist perspectives! Remarkably, her interfaith organization of women faith leaders doesn’t preach her personal spiritual views because to do that is to negate the existence and validity of others’ religious and/or spiritual beliefs. In this way, all of our divergent religious/spiritual beliefs can be respected and honored.

      Religion and spirituality does not need to be a competition about who is right. It is also not an alternative to fighting back against harmful economic and social structures. Though it can certainly provide a moral and ethical foundation for such work.

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      • Have you read Dena’s books? I don’t care about the religious beliefs in those books. They are about past life recall and the influence of other lifetimes (sometimes called “karma”) on the present lifetime. We can’t get anywhere in psychology unless we realize this. It’s not a matter of “who is right.” It is a matter of what is really true, and what might actually work.

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        • No I haven’t read her books which are about her personal beliefs and I don’t find that kind of experience very interesting or likely to be credible.

          I have read about her interfaith work, which I do find interesting for its inclusiveness.

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          • Her books are memoirs. They are not “about her personal beliefs.” But if you don’t want to delve into Dena’s work, there is a lot of other material out there on the subject of parapsychology, and reincarnation in particular, done by real academics.

            But you illustrate my point with your own words: “I don’t find that kind of experience very interesting or likely to be credible.” This is the very data we need to understand this whole situation a lot batter, yet you for some reason have little interest in it. This is the conundrum of understanding the human mind! It tends to resist being understood.

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          • I know I am simply naive with bat**** crazy beliefs. That’s what happens to you when you’re the daughter of a Vietnam Veteran and am educated in public schools with children of Veterans. That’s just the start of it. I could say being stupid, ignorant and dumb is a blessing and maybe it is if I can at least have just a little of Jesus’ kindness, love, and forgiveness, even forgiveness towards psychiatry, etc. who have abused me to near death. Because, when I begin to practice forgiveness, I can rightfully work towards ending psychiatry, etc. because, yes, it is evil and nothing more than a tool for the devil. There are days I thank God I am just a fool. One more point, there will be no freedom for anyone until we are free of psychiatry, etc. Psychiatry, etc. as a tool of the evil of the devil is the foundation of all the other evils of which “movements” in various causes of good come about. Thank you.

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          • Rebel, my comment about batshit crazy beliefs wasn’t referring to you so I don’t really understand this response.

            And contrary to what you think, I don’t have a problem with your religious beliefs. (Richard actually started that particular discussion.) The only issue I take is with your expression of your beliefs when you suggest that what our country needs is to get right with god (and statements to that effect) because that way of expression doesn’t allow for the existence of other beliefs or no belief at all. And since many of us, myself included, have experienced religious trauma, it can be hurtful and retraumatizing when others express that what we really need is more of what we have considered harmful and abusive.

            There would likely be much less pushback against such if it was approached in a way that was more respectful of the diversity of faiths that exist, many of which do not include the concept of the Judeo-Christian God but are just as worthy of respect in religious dialogue. This would also avoid unnecessarily triggering those who have experienced abuse justified by Christian teachings. Expressions of faith can be wonderful testimony of positive personal experiences or they can stifle the sharing of diverse beliefs and experiences. The latter is all too often the case here.

            The Spirit of Dialogue is one of my favorite books. Perhaps you would enjoy it, too.

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  2. I do think James Davies sees the big picture. And the old “opium for the people” has, indeed, “partnered with” the new “opium for the people.” I guess the primary difference is the old “opium for the people” trusted in God, or an Intelligent Designer. Whereas the new “opium for the people” trusts solely in Pharmakia, which is a very anti-Holy Bible belief system.

    I’m not sure what else to say, other than to congratulate our Holy Spirit blaspheming, scientific fraud based, “mental health professions” for “presiding over the worst outcomes in our health care system.” And maybe a little reminder to both the Pharmakia trusting medical and religious industries, that trusting in God may be wiser than trusting in “fierce Pharma,” and its brainwashed, failed followers.

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  3. “This was true for the civil rights movement, the women’s liberation movement, and will be true for any successful movement to come.”

    Correction: This IS true for the civil rights movement, the women’s liberation movement, and will be true for any movement to come.”

    To be clear, these movements are ongoing and constantly losing ground in some areas even as they gain it in others. Black folk are still fighting for equality and equity. Women barely have a movement anymore such as the definition of “woman” has become a feeling or identity rather than a biological reality.

    Talking about these movements as if they are historical instead of ongoing is a method of erasure. It’s propaganda.

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      • Dude, I’m confused. So men concocted the women’s movement and white people concocted the civil rights movement?

        Of course they were influenced by the forces they were meant to deal with. Psychiatric detainment influences people to turn against psychiatry. Black people being systematically put down in the streets definitely influenced Black Lives Matter as it and other elements of racism influenced the origin of the civil rights movement. The behavior of men influences the women’s movement. For sure.

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        • You aren’t familiar with the quote attributed to a Rockefeller that they started “women’s lib?”

          Or the criminal tactic of throwing the public off their scent by concocting a fake enemy?

          Do you think “racism” against blacks was really caused by whites or “whiteness?” It was caused by criminals (who knows what color they were) to create a never-ending turmoil (they hoped) in the general population. And I’m sure those same criminals had a hand in guiding the civil rights movement.

          I don’t think we credit the criminal class with how much they are actually involved in creating these conflicts through extremely devious means. They can’t do anything useful in society, but they do a great job at muddying the waters around all sorts of issues.

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          • I believe racism was caused by the economic allure of free labor. I don’t believe whites created slavery, but they sure as hell exploited it when they bought African slaves and transported them to the Americas. I think reducing this legacy of American slavery to the “criminal class” is a convenient way of not having to deal with the actual history of slavery in this country and the legacy of such, including Jim Crow laws, the war on drugs, Biden’s famous crime bill, redlining, etc.

            I’m sort of stunned by your assertion that there is some sort of organized criminal endeavor behind Black people wanting freedom and equity after experiencing centuries of systemic oppression. I have walked through the Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis where Martin Luther King, Jr was killed. I’ve stood next to the shell of a burned out bus that was involved in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. You can’t walk through there with a dry eye. Or at least, I don’t think anyone with a heart could possibly visit that site and be a witness to the history presented and not be permanently effected.

            But I also have a Black grandchild whose Blackness she cannot escape and which is the first thing people notice. She has been othered since birth by people who see a Black child instead of a child as my white grandchildren are seen. This is not the behavior of criminals. This is behavior that many white people think is ok, think is totally innocuous. Who laugh and insist they didn’t mean anything by it when confronted but for Black folk is their daily existence. Being seen as Black before being seen as human. White people insist they aren’t racist. White people refuse to acknowledge and deal with their own implicit biases and then turn around and call my grand baby “scrub brush” because of her kinky curly hair. Other white people have pressured my daughter into trying straightening my grand baby’s hair “just to see what it would look like”. Because her Blackness isn’t enough. They want to know what she would look like if she were white. Because whiteness is the rubric by which all other colors are measured in this culture.

            So, no. I don’t think the Civil Rights Movement is or was orchestrated by criminals who just want us to be at each other’s throats and keep people against each other. I see first hand how my grandchildren are seen and treated differently and it burns me up alive when white people refuse to deal with their own shit. She isn’t another Black person shot by police. She isn’t a number or statistic or random data point. She is my flesh and blood! My baby’s baby! And maybe it’s wrong that it’s taken THAT to wake me up to these horrors. I’d like to think I was pretty strongly anti-racist before she came along. But what I’ve witnessed is that systemic racism is a collection of harms. It is harms written into laws, it is harms baked into cultural norms, and it is an awful lot of white people who claim not to be racist but whom still see Blackness first and foremost before they see that precious child. Every Black man and woman who was mowed down in the streets, or stopped and frisked, or didn’t get a job because of their name sounded too ethnic… They are ALL somebody’s child. Somebody’s grandchild. Their lives are in the hands of a majority of white people who desperately want to believe they are colorblind and that racism is a thing of the past.

            I have no time for this bullshit. I cannot say it loudly enough or often enough that Black Lives Fucking Matter. And the only criminal class involved is the white majority exercising power while denying they implicit roles in maintaining such.

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          • As for the women’s liberation movement, that came about because of the historical male dominance over female bodied people that continues to this day. It isn’t because the Rockefeller’s or some other criminal class wants men and women at each other’s throats. It is because men have and continue to use their physical size and cultural dominance to keep women in line.

            It is rape. It’s cat calls. It’s domestic violence. It’s financial control. It is pay inequality. It’s the mommy track vs the career track. It’s unpaid domestic labor. It’s medicine being based on research predominantly performed on male bodies. It’s gendered stereotypes of what it means to be male or female. It’s the positively Victorian legal ownership of Britney Spears by her father! (and the thousands of conservatorship cases like hers only coming to light because of her bravery!) It’s the colonization of the female psyche and the female body. It’s surrogacy and infant adoption and the exploitation of poor women’s wombs and the transfer of children from the poor to the well off. It’s women knowing we won’t be believed when we tell our stories of harm. It’s the concentration of power. It’s police and doctors and courtrooms and jobs where we must do our best to not have any sort of emotional experience and to mimic male ways of displaying dominance lest we be pathologized, psychiatrized, or fired.

            This isn’t the Rockefeller’s exploiting anything. This is the historical and ongoing fight by women for equality for women to own our bodies, our minds, our sexuality, our lives. We want to be free of male dominance. To be free of proscribed rules and stereotypes about what it means to be properly feminine. To be free of exploitation of our bodies. To be free to direct our lives without being labeled, pathologized, or psychiatrized. And lastly for men to be free of the same restrictions that perpetuates toxic masculinity.

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          • kindredspirit, you have every right to believe as you wish about these issues. But you express the conventional wisdom about how and why these movements came about, and so far, acting on those theories have not effected a lasting change.

            I think it is time to inspect some other theories about this that take deeper causes into account. That’s why I advocate for people to look into the subject of Spirit. It leads to deeper causes.

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          • It seems utterly confusing to me why you would not credit women with starting and maintaining an effort to strengthen women’s rights, or darker skinned people with starting and maintaining an effort to strengthen the rights of the darker-skinned population. It’s not just “conventional wisdom,” it is plain old logic. Whether other less savory individuals or groups may have done their best to coopt such movements is an entirely different question, but I think it’s pretty insulting to women to suggest that the monumental struggle to get the right to vote, to be protected from rape and violence, to raise their children, to be able to be employed and paid as men are, to be able to dress as they wish (I just read an article how two lady motorcyclists in the 1910s were repeatedly ARRESTED as the crossed the USA for wearing pants!), to use birth control, and on and on, is the result of some sort of manipulation and control by antisocial personalities. Are we then to conclude that absent such provocation, women would have been happy with their lots as second class citizens (or actually, non-citizens who could not even vote) and never gotten together as a group to try and make things better for themselves and society as a whole?

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          • I know, Steve. These ideas which I give voice to are preposterous on their face. But I have seen people maintain these ideas as facts with the utmost seriousness!

            I am not trying to say that these movements, once started, were not supported by people of high integrity and good intentions. I am not saying that anyone who ever thought, “let’s start a movement to improve our situation” was a fool or a criminal.

            But I am saying that many “social movements” have involved a lot of conflict (often to the point of warfare or murder) and making whole groups wrong for their beliefs or attitudes, and such activities, to me, show signs of criminal insanity.

            Following is a typical example of what one can be exposed to if one noses around overmuch into these issues:

            “While trying to recruit Aaron Russo for the CFR (Council on Foreign Relations), Nicholas Rockefeller told him that his family foundation created women’s liberation using mass media control as part of a long-term plan to enslave humanity.”

            Do we know that this is true? No, we don’t.
            Does there seem to be some effort on this planet to “enslave” us? There does to me! So, where does it come from? Who’s behind it?

            The Rockefellers are one known family of swindlers. Who knows what motivated them down through the generations? But I know that 1) psychopaths exist in positions of power and 2) if they didn’t, things would be better. So I am willing to stretch a point in the hopes that it will motivate others to stretch their thinking beyond normal limits. Things on Earth really are stranger than they appear! Of that I am quite certain!

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          • I’m not arguing against 1) or 2). I’m saying that Carrie Nation and Jane Addams and Emma Goldman and Emmeline Pankhurst and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were not all stooges of the Rockefellers. Like I said, attempts to coopt such movements are very common, but it seems obvious to me that such a movement is a natural outgrowth of oppression. It is exceedingly unlikely that those in control would undermine their own control by creating more rights for those they have a natural interest in continuing to oppress. It also makes zero sense that the Rockefellers would free people in order to enslave them. Why not just keep them enslaved? Though it DOES make sense that they might want to claim responsibility for something they had nothing to do with, something our “antisocial” types very typically love to do. Just because a Rockefeller said it doesn’t make it true!

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    • Movements are movements; but there is only one movement that will free all the people. And it is when we end psychiatry. I would say “abolish” but right now that may be a controversial word. So, I say end psychiatry, once and for all— it is the movement to end all movements. Guaranteed. Thank you.

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      • I am all for abolishing psychiatry. It won’t happen until we change the cultural approach to those in distress, no matter how unscientific it is. It serves a purpose – social control. That’s why it is so powerful. Calling for an end to psychiatry without understanding the need for and working toward a different cultural response to distress first is either naivety or cruelty. I’m going to be charitable and suggest that most are simply naive to the bigger picture of why systems of social control exist and how we can influence them for positive change.

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        • I thank God for my naivety. I don’t think anyone would say I am cruel. I do have my moments of selfishness when I say ill-intentioned things. I appreciate your charity, but to those of us who know psychiatry is inherently evil and a tool of the devil know that ending psychiatry would make all these movement unnecessary and extinct. For although my lifetime, I have seen many movements and variations of movements; some more laden with goodness and truth than others. Unfortunately, also many movements start off with good intentions but fall into the trap of just error, greedy or hubris prone humans. And then there are movements that start off in the hands of these greedy, error, or hubris prone humans. They convince those who want to follow them they have their best interests at heart and that they are allegedly “agents for change.” But, it is all lies and deceptions and the poor souls who believed them are basically conned. Just like psychiatry. Just like psychiatry. That is why focusing on getting rid of psychiatry will get rid of all these movements that do nothing really for no-body and pit people against people for no good reason. Movements sound good, but, in the end they are divisive and destructive. We need to concentrate on ending psychiatry and not worry about what will replace it. That defeats the purpose. Worry just clouds our perception until we doubt if we can accomplish what we need to do. We do not need different cultural responses. We need each other. Psychiatry’s goal is to keep us apart. To think otherwise is to fall into their trap and they win. We can not let psychiatry win. We must work towards ending psychiatry now. This should be our only goal or we will fail. Thank you.

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          • “but to those of us who know psychiatry is inherently evil and a tool of the devil know that ending psychiatry would make all these movement unnecessary and extinct.”

            Abolishing psychiatry will not end racism, it will not end sexism, it will not end socioeconomic inequality, it will not end war, it will not end domestic violence, it will not end poverty or hunger or climate change. Abolishing psychiatry will only end psychiatry. It will not mean people automatically know how to help each other when they’re distressed. Ending psychiatry won’t put food in bellies or roofs over heads or shoes on feet. It won’t provide a living wage or meaningful work. It won’t protect the abused from their abusers.

            Ending psychiatry is only one part of a very dynamic process of changing our culture to be more humane, caring and equitable so that the people in it actually want to live.

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  4. This is an interesting article. Some would probably agree that it is capitalism that is allegedly sedating the population. Now to borrow a 1960’s slang term, that’s a “COP-OUT.” This is not directed to any police or first responders. It just means that the author may not have utilized intelligent analysis or synthesis. I think the author might ne trying to compare the “mental health sector” as he calls it, but what he forgets is that the “mental health sector” as we know it today is a “cult” and bears all the qualities of a “cult” and not a religion. He quotes Karl Marx’s famous statement, “Religion is the opiate of the people.” But, let’s be harbingers of truth, religion has never been the opiate; it serves a useful purpose across all societies, etc. but, the “mental health sector” does fill the bill at the “opiate of the people.” not only with its drugs, but also it therapies, treatments, adult daycare centers, and all the etc. I believe that what we see in the “mental health sector” bears more of a resemblance to Huxley’s “Brave New World” and Orwell’s “1984” not capitalism. And all economic and political systems are vulnerable to both Huxley’s “Brave New World” and Orwell’s “1984.” Actually those two draconian novels describe psychiatry in a nutshell. I, only, wish when I began my “lived experience” in psychiatry, I had remembered what those two books had taught me. Thank you.

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  5. this ties in nicely with Szasz’s characterization of psychiatry (maybe the talking parts of the mental health guild, too?) as a religion. Not only is psychiatry a religion, in Szasz’s view, it is a “false religion” that both competes with and undermines real religions (I’m thinking those would be the ones that actually contribute to the common good for the masses). and so…

    I do think limiting the scope of the “debunking” to psychiatry and friends’ roles in -capitalist- (especially neoliberal) economies very much…misses the point, as another poster has already explained. The USSR had notorious “psycho-prisons” for dissidents labeled with whatever flavor of “schizophrenia” (I seem to recall reading that “sluggish schizophrenia” was a USSR specialty, but I could be mistaken) and then confined and drugged. China currently uses their psychiatric establishment to further oppress minority groups, when the powers that be feel so inclined. Cuba’s health system has an extensive mental health component, as well.

    Psychiatry is all about slavery and social control. The religious aspects are secondary, but significant, nonetheless. The pills-a-go go approach to “mental health” that is apparently the norm all over the world in the 21st century drives up costs, risks, and results in death from all sorts of causes on a regular basis. My hope is that at the -obvious- damage that “mental health treatment” causes individuals, families, and entire societies will one day lead to the abolition of psychiatry. to paraphrase Szasz, once again: psychiatry cannot be reformed. It must be abolished. 🙂

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  6. Good job james Davies.
    As long as people keep talking about it, is a good thing. Hopefully to get to a few teenagers and young parents to encourage them to think.

    Religion is alive and well, and married psychiatry. People like power and where best to get it than from those with less power.

    How different are humans from animals in that regard. That is really all there is, except a few powerless that won’t lay down without a fight.

    So no, business can’t be as usual because you never know when it bites you in the ass. Always knowing you’re doing something inherently false, that is the life of shrinks and those who overpower the weak. Perhaps to the end and perhaps it never nags the conscience, since often you have to suffer yourself in order to realize what you did wrong.

    And so I am glad if even one family is saved from charlatans through education.

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    • sam plover, Please forgive me, but you are only partially right. First, yes, religion is alive and well. There is no way to destroy religion in all its many forms, although there may be some who desire to do that. It is not that psychiatry and religion are married; it is that psychiatry is its own religion, apart from any others, although like all religions, it has borrowed from them. In a way, psychiatry is a cult, but, there is no actual one person to lead them or keep them together like Jim Jones or Koresh in Waco, TX in the 1990s. I think what now holds psychiatry together is the allure of drugs as a ritual, along with psychotherapy to supplant and uphold the use of drugs. There are certain rituals involved; the intake interview, the diagnosis, the bi-weekly sessions, the med reviews and a whole host of other activities. Yes, psychiatry is a religion apart from Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hindu. In many ways, it mixes new age, and both eastern and western religions along with dubious and fake science. And of course, add the drugs and psychotherapy and you have a powder keg. And, it is, I dare say, the perfect religion for the twenty-first century. That is why we must end it NOW. Thank you.

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  7. Kindred Spirit: Perhaps, although I am a strong believer in Jesus and that He died for my sins, etc. (I put the etc. in there, because there are whole creeds that express this in longer detail) I do my best to express that these are my beliefs and I do not expect everyone to have the same or similar beliefs or agree with me. In a way that would be against my beliefs, in that God has given us the free will to choose our belief system. As far as “pushback” no matter what one thinks or believes on religion or anything else, one should not base his or her comments or life on the “pushback” of others. If one does this, sadly, psychiatry, etc. has taken hold. I am sorry for those have been traumatized by any religious belief system. Unfortunately, all religions are made of humans, who still, in this time can say and do horrific, abusive things to each other and many times they hide this horrific abuse behind the tenets and rituals of the many religions of the Earth. Although, the comment about “bat**** crazy beliefs” was not referring to me and I appreciate that, I felt compelled to speak for all those who may feel hurt by comments such as that. I just want to say Christians or anyone who professes almost any religion have “bat**** crazy beliefs.” For me, I do believe that I have been saved by Jesus Christ and not just from my sins, but from psychiatry, etc. which I consider both evil and sinful. I do not expect anyone to think like I do. I welcome those who would disagree as much as those who would agree. I can not stop being who I am and thinking and believing, etc. as I do. That is what got me into the psych drug world mess in the first place. And, of course, that includes my belief in Jesus Christ as My Personal Savior. I don’t know what else to say. I mean to hurt no one, but I can not stop being whom I was created to be. Thank you.

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  8. Kindred Spirit and Sam Mccrea, My comments about ending psychiatry deals with my belief that psychiatry is or represents the ultimate evil and thus, getting rid of it would mean that all “movements” as we seem to know in these last few centuries would be unnecessary. In my opinion, psychiatry, etc. with all its drugs, therapies, and blah, blah, blah, has penetrated society and culture so much, it has given rise to most of the problems we do face. Now, I am aware that many these problems did exist before the formalization of psychiatry, etc. I believe l. e. cox has suggested that psychiatry, etc. has been around in many shapes and forms since the beginning of time. That could be, if you consider, psychiatry, etc. to be an extension or manifestation of the devil (or satan.) That is why I hold such an opinion. Sometimes, we are unaware how pervasive psychiatry, etc. and how its evil has penetrated into the very essences of our world. That is why I say what I say. Thank you.

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    • Humans make decisions. They have values, priorities, fears, desires, etc. Most of the ills of society come from humans making destructive decisions due to their lack of perspective or courage or their fears or desires to dominate others. The problem with psychiatry is that they don’t recognize this fact and instead try to pretend that these ills are the result of “bad brain chemistry,” as if people will suddenly all cooperate and be productive and stop hurting each other if only their serotonin levels were fixed! Psychiatry is about forced invalidation of reality, and about blaming people’s brains instead of helping them learn how to live better.

      Removing psychiatry will not stop people from being violent, racist, abusive or neglectful to their children or other charges, thoughtless, sexist, or otherwise obnoxious. It WILL stop psychiatrists and Big Pharma from making money off pretending that they have “treatments” for these social ills. It WILL stop people being incarcerated and “treated” against their will based on these pretenses.

      Improving society as a whole will depend on a lot of people working together. Eliminating psychiatry will be a positive step, but there is a lot more that we need to face up to before we have a functioning society. That’s my view.

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      • Steve Mccrea, I appreciate and respect your view. In your post, you do make some excellent points, especially, as far as the lies about the fact that “mental illnesses” are caused by “bad brain chemistry.” And, yes, that does take people off the hook for their “bad behaviors.” Perhaps the whole idea of “mental illness” in and of itself takes people off the hook for their “bad behaviors” or even their “uncomfortable emotions or thoughts” or even their “bad headache moments or days.” Yes, I do consider psychiatry as evil. The Bible states that the “love of money is the root of all evil.” Perhaps, if the Bible was written in the 21st Century, it would add “psychiatry, too.” The problem with psychiatry and its parent, psychology, is that over the years, both have developed systems based on identifying our alleged defects and flaws. And with psychiatry, our alleged “mental illnesses.” Yes, no matter what we do, each one of us will always have our “flaws.” I do know this emphasis on our “flaws” is basically a societal and cultural epidemic (for lack of a better word.) I realize some do blame Christianity with its teaching on sin. I confess I do not know and will leave that to enlightened theologians. But, I do know this emphasis on basically our defectiveness harms us in so many ways. We need “systems” or something to help us learn and discover our natural strengths, our natural giftedness. Psychiatry has taught us to think in terms of what we can’t do, our limitations; not what we can do, our potentialities. That is why I think ending psychiatry, etc. will help if not end all the suffering that you and Kindred Spirit, speak of, but at the very least, it will diminish it. Yes, many times, one’s strengths do not necessarily jive with the society or culture, one has been born into, at any one time in history. So, yes, there is truth that even in ending psychiatry, many of the problems, we have, as a society, will still remain. But, we need to start somewhere. I think that start should be with the ending of psychiatry. When that occurs, I think all the rest of what you alluded to will be much easier to solve and conquer. I hope now you can see why I have said what I did. Thank you.

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      • You should know that I don’t totally agree with this.

        It is a reasonable point of view about life. But my data suggest that anti-social personalities, when protected or supported instead of exposed and hindered, do harm in society way out of proportion to their numbers.

        “Most of the ills of society come from humans making destructive decisions due to their lack of perspective or courage or their fears or desires to dominate others.”

        OK. But what gives them that lack of perspective, lack of courage, fears or desire to dominate? It can often be traced back to an anti-social personality. Psychiatry currently protects such personalities as much as they can. Without that protection, that facade of legitimacy, they would become much less dangerous.

        This is a very important reason why I am against psychiatry. It goes way beyond the fact that they “don’t understand” or are greedy. A lot of people don’t understand a lot of stuff, and a lot of people are greedy. But they don’t do the damage that psychiatry has done on this planet.

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        • Ah, but where does the “antisocial personality” come from? Personalities are not completely fixed, in my view. They are affected by experience! Suppose one could RID society of most of the antisocial types, by handling their fears and historical trauma, while containing those who were simply unable/unwilling to behave in a social manner? Or do you think people are just born antisocial, nothing they or anyone can do about it?

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          • This all fits into why people interested in psychology should also be interested in Spirit. From the data I am aware of, some people, as spiritual beings, became prone to antisocial behavior a long time ago. The cure also involves undoing that ancient problem they are stuck in that makes them fight anyone and everyone around them as if they were enemies. A person who has no reality on Spirit would think these ideas are silly.

            The key, then, is to prevent such personalities from attaining positions is society where they can have undue power over others. This seems “unfair” or “discriminatory.” Well, we do it to people we call “criminals” all the time! It’s just that there are a strata of anti-socials who are smart enough to elude the justice system: psychiatrists and their ilk. It would be unfair to good people who happen to venture into the world of psychiatry to prevent them from continuing with their work. So “are you a psychiatrist?” is not an adequate test. The best test, in our society, involves 1) ascertaining that they have committed crimes and 2) ascertaining that they are of this personality type. There are several tests for it, Robert Hare’s being perhaps the best-known.

            There have been many psychiatrists who have been removed from practice based on their crimes alone, but seeing as how they work to protect each other, and currently control the personality assessment business, the above ideas are currently impractical, and our job becomes trying to convince society that their work is criminal while they busily try to convince society that their work is OK. Though I like to think we are making progress, outwardly we appear to be losing this battle.

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    • I agree with you, rebel, in many ways.
      Perhaps when you say “end psychiatry” it means something different to you than what it means to Steve, or others.
      From my perspective, it would be more proper to state the goal as: “Remove all power from the profession currently called “psychiatry” and its practitioners, then find a way to shut out from positions of power all people such as those practitioners, and others in other fields which they have enabled to do harm in the name of help, and find a way for relatively sane people of good intentions to retain power in society, and perhaps some day abolish the madness that motivates those clearly insane beings.”
      The wording needs work.
      But I am trying to convey a concept that I think is correct but that is not totally easy to understand.
      Part of the problem is that many people today have no real concept of Spirit, or if they do, they don’t think it is important. Christians (along with many others who have studied religion) at least have some concept of it. So a Christian can conceive that a person could somehow be convinced to do the Devil’s work. My understanding of how this happens is a little different, as it involves Spirit, but no particular Devil.

      The point is, such persons exist. And they should not be allowed to rule over others! It comes out bad every time. We can imagine that modern psychiatry (known, perhaps, by other names in other times and places) was set up by such people to give them a legitimate facade behind which they could do their evil. And so it, as a profession, attracts such people (along with a few well-intentioned people here and there). Thus to really abolish that profession would deprive such persons of their major power base on Earth. But it would not abolish such persons. Plenty of them, for various reasons of opportunity or intellect, did not make it into psychiatry, and so go about their evil activities in less obvious ways. But to take the power away from psychiatry on Earth would be huge, and to think that psychiatrists, or people very much like them, have not been involved in many of the most despicable activities throughout human history would be naive. If their influence on Earth could be drastically reduced, in theory at least, the planet could become a much calmer place. We might still have all the problems they left us with, but we would have a fighting chance of solving them. If we continue to tolerate such beings in positions of power, I don’t think Earth has a chance.

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      • l e cox, To be honest, I am not sure exactly how to “end psychiatry.” I just know it needs to be done. I also know there are lots of intelligent people how there who have been harmed by psychiatry or love someone that has been harmed by psychiatry and I believe there millions of ideas out there might work. I also believe in the Power of Prayer. As far as the “anti-social personality” I do not know not if these people are born that way or are they acquire it after. Perhaps, it is a little of both. somehow get turned around and some that never do. Could there be a little bit of “anti-social personality” in each one of us? I hope not and yet, there are so many… who seemed so destined until they usually meet that one particular person who changes their life and helps them get on the right track. However, I do believe we are born with certain unique natural talents, skill, etc. It seems that we must discover what they are. Each person must thus, discover their own unique treasure. When we find them, we can choose to use them for good or bad. Of course, there are those who are prevented from discovering them, are too scared to acknowledge, or get lost, for whatever reason, on the road to discovering them. The latter can make someone vulnerable to psychiatrists, etc. or maybe vulnerable to stress-related diseases. We like to think that it’s bad diet or a couch potato lifestyle or whatever; but many times it just natural talent-frustration. Of course, natural talent-frustration might cause someone to adopt some of those behaviors, too. And, let’s not forget the psych drugs that can make almost anyone who takes them vulnerable to anything and everything that comes along. Anyway, that’s just my opinion. Thank you.

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  9. l e. cox, You make some very important points. However, as the “anti-social personality” goes. I would say not all “anti-social personalities” are psychiatrists. Some are in government, education, other forms of healthcare, mass media, big tech, pharma, business, even some movements and cults. And, I am sad to say, even some religious and spiritually based institutions. But, you are right about Spirit, although I might say God, but, even in Christianity, we speak of the Spirit Indwelling in You. Once, when I was in college, I heard a nun tell a story of a young woman who was basically distressed about almost everything. She said she met this nun, who left a small note one day. The note read, “Try God.” According to the story, this young woman did. Now, all was immediately or ever completely hunky-dory, but, it seemed when problems came her way, as they do, she was more able to deal with them. I must have forgotten that as I plunged myself in to the evil “rabbit hole” of psych world. I may have a more conventional view of religion, but, I totally agree with you; we do need “Spirit” whether you call it God or Jesus or something else. Thank you.

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    • It is true what you say about these toxic personalities existing everywhere. But in psychiatry, it seems, they find the chance to really “shine.” In many other professions, they merely taint the reputations of others who are trying to do honest work. In the field of psychiatry they have created a “profession” that is universally reviled. At least, this is how I see the situation.

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  10. Steve McCrea, I think perhaps there may be some misunderstandings here. I really don’t think anyone is trying to discredit women or anyone else. However, as to origins of any movement, good or bad there are always questions. Many times, the full stories of their origin grow confused and muddled as the years pass by since they began; just like our own personal memories. And, as usual, there are always conflicts amongst who thinks started what. Perhaps, in many cases, it may not actually be that important as to who started something or how it started. (Sometimes, it might be.) As far as the women’s movement, there are still some intelligent women who are still not in agreement with its purposes. As a woman myself, I do see all sides. We may think that all women would in favor of such a movement, but, for many, there are trade-offs and some women have not necessarily felt comfortable with that. Personally, I prefer change, without movements, if possible, cause with many movements, somewhere along the way, someone usually puts “junk” in the game as they say. Those of us in our zeal to end psychiatry can learn both from the positives and negatives of all these “movements” that have gone before us and for some, still continue. Also, please, remember, as far as “movements” people check in and out, go hither and thither. Nothing is constant. What may have fueled the women’s movement in the early 70’s may not even be of concern now. Some people who may been associated with the movement back then, may want to distance themselves now. Things change from day to day and each person is unique. Women, as they say, are not a monolith. Women are not one group who think the same or react the same. It is important to be aware that each person is unique in their reaction to the events of the nation, the world, even their own community. I think the best thing each one us can do is listen to the best of our ability and withhold judgement to the best of our ability. This way, each one of us can learn from each other and this way each one of us can contribute to a better world. There can be no diversity unless there is diversity of opinion. Thank you.

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    • I am not arguing the merits of the women’s movement, which is a much bigger topic than I can cover here. I’m simply saying that it is diminishing to the women who sacrificed their reputations and in some cases their lives to get the right to vote and many other rights as listed above, and more, to suggest that they were somehow dupes of some other forces. Women are certainly not monolithic, and I did not even vaguely suggest that in my comments. I dispute the idea that women were not the progenitors of their own movement toward freedom and civil rights. It seems nonsensical to me.

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      • I think all these “arguments” mean well, with good and salient points coming from all; but, please forgive me we really need to get back to the lies of mental health and psychiatry, etc. We have a nation, a world, in the grips of this evil, false religion and the rituals are damaging, if not killing many. Like, I said, earlier, it will probably not be any type of climate change or any of the other things we thought would cause the human species extinction; but this, this lie of mental health/mental illness—as promulgated by these psychiatrists and their buddies with their debilitating, damaging, destructive, disabling, even deadly drugs reinforced with their “therapies, etc.” Please let’s return to discussing the evils of psychiatry, etc. Like I said earlier, it is the parent of all the other evils. Let’s not take our eye off the ball or psychiatry will win and we lose—-very big-time! Thank you.

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    • “Perhaps, in many cases, it may not actually be that important as to who started something or how it started.”

      Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. I have nothing else to add except to say of course women are not a monolith. Plenty of them are willing to side with their oppressors in pursuit of perceived protection or power.

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      • Unfortunately, people, even on a personal level, do repeat their own personal history; until it hits them in the face and they make the changes in their life they need to. And, sadly, this can be true for the history of any group from “micro” to “macro”. We are still human, aren’t we. And, I am trying to figure out whom you mean are the oppressors, especially, in regards to women. Perhaps, men or perhaps other women. And, since, we are stuck with both on the planet, we must learn to live with them. And, also since, if we want the human species to continue, we must learn to live with men; because that is how we are meant to reproduce. I am not sure about the oppressed versus the oppressors. If one considers oneself oppressed, doesn’t that lessen their options. It also means there must be someone who is oppressing them. Perhaps, it is time we break free from such antiquated, stereotypical, and self-defeating terms and allow ourselves to live as we were meant to live on Earth. I realize that this sounds shallow, naive and definitely uneducated; but, as long we think of ourselves as oppressed, there will be someone available to take on the role of the oppressor. And who knows who that person could be tomorrow? Thank you.

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        • Hi, Rebel,

          Are you staying that you DON’T think men as a class have oppressed women throughout history, and continue to do so? I’m not talking about individual men, though many individuals do act oppressively. But do you realize that it was legal for a man to rape his wife until very recently? That there was very little legal protection for a woman being beaten prior to the 1970s? That women could not vote until 1920? These are very obvious manifestations. When one looks at more subtle forms of oppression, they are rampant, even today. Let’s look at the question of sexual activity. What do you call a woman who chooses to sleep with multiple men? Slut, whore, bitch, tramp, hooker. What do you call a man who sleeps with multiple women? Stud, player, ladies’ man, heartthrob. There are no negative words for men who sleep around. There are no positive words for women who sleep around. Why does that happen? Why are women shamed for being sexual beings, while men are applauded for it?

          I could go on. There is real oppression out there. Enslavement of black people isn’t just a consideration. They were literally slaves, bought and sold human beings. I find it very hard to understand how this can not be obvious to anyone living on this planet. Women have been oppressed as a class by men as a class. It’s just a fact of life. Are you saying women should just have had a better attitude toward being treated as second class citizens (or non-citizens, as I said before, since they were not even allowed to vote)? If psychiatry is oppressive and its “patients” are targets of that oppression, why wouldn’t the same apply to other groups?

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          • We could spend hours and even centuries discussing this. I am very well aware of the history between men and women throughout the centuries. I am well aware of all things that men have done to women. My issue is not this. In fact, this is where I am being completely and totally misunderstood. I am not addressing the issues of any one particular “group” at all; which is why I am mystified why you keep bringing up this about what has happened between men and women. Actually, my issue is completely about the terms; “oppressed and oppressor.” If we, no matter who we are or our present or past grievance (and there are many valid grievances across time) only thinks of ourselves as being “oppressed” we develop a history of that when we are able to “overthrow” one “oppressor” another is ready and waiting to take his or her place. We must stop thinking of ourselves or, in fact, any one group as being “oppressed” even psychiatric patients or former patients. I know this can get other people’s ire up; as it seems controversial. And, I guess it is. But, when we think of ourselves as “oppressed” or a particular group as “oppressed” we invite further oppression and there is no chance of freedom. We must think of ourselves as free, everyday, or we will fall victim to oppression in all its forms. Thinking of oneself as “oppressed” is a trap we need to avoid; especially in the twenty-first century. I am sorry that you misunderstood me. I hope this clears things up. However, this is my opinion and I realize that you may not agree. Thank you.

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          • I appreciate the clarification, and I do understand what you’re saying – in the end, it is not helpful to identify as “oppressed” and to blame “oppressors” for your condition. What I am concerned about is not an individual’s attitude, but a recognition that oppression is a very real thing that actually happens to people, regardless of what attitude they assume. It’s a delicate balance, but oppression really does exist and needs to be called out for what it is. Otherwise, saying “don’t view yourself as oppressed” becomes another form of oppression – we are not only told how to identify, but we are blamed for not having a “positive attitude” and told our reactions to the very real oppressions that have and continue to occur to us are the problem, rather than recognizing and attacking the oppressive attitudes in those doing the oppressing! It does not help anyone to be told that you are “inviting oppression” by identifying that women, dark skinned people, or psychiatric “patients” are being victimized by those in power. As much as I believe in empowering people to take charge of their lives, the real story of how we got where we are and what forces are arrayed against us needs to be told. I don’t see it as “identifying as oppressed” to say, “Men are allowed to get away with a lot of shit in this society that women can’t.” It’s just plain facing reality.

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          • Steve, you make some of these things sound like they’re mainly historical oppressions. We both know it’s effectively still legal for men rape their wives. It is effectively still legal for men to beat, spank, and/or otherwise punish their intimate partners. More than 50% of “mass” shootings with four or more victims are cases of domestic violence and perpetrated almost entirely by male intimate partners. Men commit 97% of violent gun related crime.

            Britney Spears hasn’t spoken up because she didn’t think she would be believed. These invalidating comments are a very potent example of what often awaits women who speak about their suffering as a result of abuse and trauma. Indeed, Britney Spears mother Lynne’s attorney confirmed this isn’t the first time Britney has told the court she doesn’t feel heard about the abuse she is experiencing. The attorney reminded the court of Britney’s private testimony in court in 2019 to the same effect. Britney was very brave in speaking up publicly given that this kind of flat out denial of women’s testimony is so pervasive.

            And when women seriously struggle in the aftermath of abuse, instead of empathy, we often find ourselves on the receiving end of shame, judgement, commentary about our lack of motivation or strength or attacks on our character.

            This conversation couldn’t illustrate these points better.

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          • I agree 100%. I was using the most concrete and unrefutable examples. I have worked with domestic abuse victims for decades and it is very clear that men and women doing exactly the same thing gets a very different response. There are way too many examples to cite here.

            In fact, one of the huge and appropriate criticisms of psychiatry comes from feminist writers in the 70s and later on. (Probably earlier, too, but I just haven’t read them yet.) They point out that many manifestations of surviving abuse at the hands of men, often sexual partners or husbands, are treated as “mental illnesses” by the very male-centric system. I’d suggest that anyone who wants to get rid of psychiatry needs to be aware of the deep and fundamental connections between psychiatry and the intentional oppression of women who speak up and try to have power in our society.

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          • Rebel, this isn’t about individuals and their feelings. This is about fighting back against realities that are ongoing as demonstrated by statistics when viewing groups of people. Recognizing and validating realities provides the beginning of a framework for changing those realities. It’s frankly delusional to think a person can be free of the conditions of oppression by simply believing it. Britney Spears as a perfect example cannot just “positive vibes” her way out of her conservatorship.

            People get to name their own realities whether or not it is uncomfortable for others to hear that those realities exist.

            When things happen disproportionately to one group of people than another, it creates oppressive conditions for the effected group. Those oppressive conditions often translate into distress. And it is the DUTY of those not experiencing those oppressions to recognize and assist the affected population. But often the people not effected instead actively deny the conditions of the effected group. This is what is meant by privilege. Privileged groups often work very hard to systematically deny the conditions of the effected group in the very ways you are doing now. This is the mechanism by which oppressions continue to be perpetuated.

            Frankly, it’s evil by your own definition.

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          • Steve, you said “it is not helpful to identify as “oppressed” and to blame “oppressors” for your condition.”

            I don’t know that I agree with this statement. I think that this treads awfully close to the victim blaming tactics that are so pervasive in our culture.

            I think, rather, that a powerful facilitator to healing from oppression occurs when an individual who HAS ACTUALLY BEEN OPPRESSED is able to put those oppressions into context, label them for what they are, and actively shed the shame and stigma that are heaped upon those who have been and maybe currently are still being oppressed in various ways.

            It is not a blaming attitude for black men to name police officers as oppressors. One only need to look at the data to see that it is backed up by statistics showing that black people and black men especially are DISPROPORTIONATELY singled out for being stopped on the road for minor infractions, stopped and frisked on the street, reported by homeowners for walking through a neighborhood.

            I myself left the neighborhood app NextDoor years ago after my neighbors in Columbia, Md made a complaint about black juveniles doing nothing worse than walking down the street in broad daylight. Columbia is known for its intentional diversity, both economic and racial. And yet my fellow (mostly) white homeowners were posting porch cam video of random black teens walking down the street as suspicious activity. In other cases, doing nothing other than walking or jogging has caused the police to be called on black people. Or for vigilantes to shoot such people as happened with Ahmaud Avery last year in Georgia.

            This is oppression. These encounters lead to loss of life in far too many cases. In best case scenarios, these encounters lead to disproportionate drug arrests even though white people use drugs at the same rates.

            When we deny other people’s oppressed and marginalized identities and refer to their correctly naming their oppressions as “blaming”, we become the oppressors.

            So I think we need to tread VERY carefully when we are inclined to agree with a sentiment expressed from a position of privilege that having an oppressed or marginalized identity is blaming others for our condition. Because there are well documented conditions for which the only way out is to name the oppression for what it is and fight like hell for our rights. That’s what keen psychiatric survivors do. It what astute disability rights advocates do. Its what those fighting for police reform and prison reform are doing. It’s what women largely were doing before third wave feminism nearly destroyed the movement.

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  11. First, here is some statistical analysis of medical specialties in an article by the AMA which discusses which genders go into which branch of medicine. I got this information by googling “medical specialties by gender.” I believe this is mostly from data from the years 2004-2013. I will list the women first: Family Med: 58%; Psychiatry: 57%; Pediatrics: 75% Ob/Gyn: 85%. Men: Surgery:59%; Emergency Medicine: 62%; Anesthesiology: 63%; Radiology: 73%; Internal Medicine: 54%. Overall, in that time period 57.5% women completed their residency versus 49%. Now, there is a lot to unpack here and the entire article is available to read on-line. But, it appears to equate that the fight against psychiatry is related to the fight against women’s oppression is least in the 21st century, a “non-starter.” I know from my personal experience that I have had both male and female psychiatrists and both male and female therapists. But, since, and I quote, “Rebel, this isn’t about individuals and their feelings.” You see, I guess that is where there are obvious differences. Everything in this world boils down to the individual. The individual is the paramount figure in society, because of the family. Individuals make up families and families are the most important segment of society. In my opinion, if one segment of society is “oppressed” then all are “oppressed.” Even, the alleged “oppressors” are oppressed. But, I am also of the opinion that no matter what I say, there are those who will find fault and try to state the my opinions “by my own definition are evil.” Still that goes back to what I said. We can not be free as long as one group considers itself oppressed and another then, by definition, must be considered the oppressors. This just divides people into “us versus them” and each person is then forced to “pick sides” We must progress forward. Yes, there is still suffering and pain and abuse; but, to frame it as oppressor versus oppressed will not free the oppressed or punish the oppressed. It will just pit groups against groups and no problems will be solved and we will just go backwards. If we want to go forwards, we need to stop thinking of ourselves in those two terms and celebrate our unique individuality as our common humanity. This is my opinion. Please stop haranguing me for my opinion, whether you agree or not. Thank you.

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    • I can’t agree with your conclusions from this data. The fact that women are more likely to go into psychiatry does not mean psychiatry does not discriminate against women. This is where the individual vs. group viewpoint comes into play. The women as individuals are most definitely women, but they are buying into and implementing a model which at its core is discriminatory towards women. They are participating in an oppressive SYSTEM, regardless of their individual orientation, and after being trained in this system and surrounded by this system and criticized and sometimes attacked when they stray from the expectations of the system, they eventually quit or comply with the system. And if the system is based on assumptions that are sexist or racist or whatever, that person, regardless of sex or race or whatever, will enforce these norms and internalize them without even noticing that they exist.

      Let’s take the example of “Borderline Personality Disorder.” The description of this label generally encompasses typical reactions of a person who has been abused and/or neglected intermittently from early life onwards. They are describe as having difficulty trusting people, having volatile emotions, using indirect (“manipulative”) approaches to get their needs met, having a hard time maintaining relationships, anxious, distractible, etc. I worked for years with foster children, and a large number of kids fit these descriptions. So what does the system say to DO with that person? Whether male or female, younger or older, black or white, feminist or not, the system says you DIAGNOSE this person and then you TREAT them. The person is identified as having a “dysfunction” and the fact that they have been abused/neglected, placed in foster care, moved around, separated from siblings and extended family, currently in an overcrowded foster placement lacking in affection, had their schooling interrupted and had to move repeatedly and lost friends and support people every time, is of no actual interest or consequence. Since a third of women are sexually molested or sexually assaulted in their lifetimes, and a quarter experience physical abuse from a domestic or dating partner, not to mention the myriad day to day abuses and “microagressions” women have to put up with, ignoring these experiences is highly invalidating and destructive to any effort to actually be of assistance to people who get these labels. In fact, having been labeled “borderline” opens them up to an entirely new brand of oppression, with of I am confident you are quite aware.

      The fact that your psychiatrist happens to be female has absolutely zero effect on this process. They are trained just the same as their male counterparts, and generally believe that “Borderline personality disorder” is a real thing that can be “diagnosed,” and that this person needs “treatment,” normally in the form of drugs and some kind of other-directed “therapy” like DBT. The person that abused her is considered “normal” and never gets identified, let alone “treated.”

      So the SYSTEM is discriminating against women, whether or not the practitioner is female. Unless the practitioner him/herself becomes aware of the anti-female, anti-abuse-victim mentality built into every aspect of the system of “diagnosis” and “treatment,” the practitioner will continue to perpetuate this mentality, regardless of the sex of the practitioner. That’s how systemic bias work. It transcends the intentions and experiences of the individual.

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      • This whole business is a huge issue in society right now, on many levels.
        My problem with the above is this concept of “system.” What “system?” This is a generalization that leaves us with no target, no way to correct the wrongs or fight back.

        I have been mentioning psychopaths a lot in my recent posts. Yesterday I went back and reviewed the conventional data on this subject. I found new interviews posted, (Sandra L. Brown) and a recently-made documentary on narcissistic abuse in relationships. Sandra asserts that psychopathy “is the biggest public health problem in this country.” So there are some people who are pursuing this subject and are seeing it for what it is!

        What we have when we think in terms of psychopathy rather than “systems” is actual individual targets for correction. And furthermore, all the data I have suggest that psychopaths are what make the “system” seem so oppressive, when it does seem that way. Psychopaths are experts in hiding themselves, of removing themselves from the conversation. Don’t let that happen here! That a certain percentage of people in society are broken makes a lot more sense to me than saying the whole society is broken. And it leads to a possible way out.

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        • Here’s the thing, though. Even if we eliminate the psychopathic types from our society, they have created ways of doing business that require sociopathic behavior in order to succeed. For instance, we could eliminate all the sociopaths from the field of psychiatry, but we have millions and millions of people who still believe that these “diagnoses” and “treatments” make sense, and these people will continue to pound this false data into those they train, and very little will change.

          The sociopathic types prevent positive change, so eliminating or restricting their reach makes positive change more possible. But there needs to be a concerted effort by the pro-socially-oriented people to create systems that don’t reward sociopathic behavior.

          Just as an example, I’ve always thought that “reading groups” were a horrible way to teach kids to read. It requires them to “sound out” words they don’t understand, and to pronounce words correctly that they have never said out loud before. There is little to no emphasis on actually understanding the passage being read, and those who decline to read out loud are shamed for it. I could go on.

          But those who apply “reading groups” believe wholeheartedly that it is a viable approach! They would be upset if someone told them differently. “It’s how we’ve always done it.” “How would they learn to read otherwise? How would we KNOW they were learning?” It doesn’t require a sociopath to continue this process, because everyone believes it’s necessary without really thinking about it. So there is a massive re-education and re-creation that would need to happen if we wanted reading instruction to improve. It’s true, this process would be much easier without the destructive people who are interested in control and punishment rather than education. But the system they are implementing continues to be oppressive, even if none of the teachers are personally sociopathic in the least.

          This same thinking can be applied to any system you’d like to think of. There are expectations, rewards, penalties, restrictions, processes, agreements, etc. that determine how the particular activity will be conducted. These systems have a “life of their own” in a sense – a complete turnover of staff can occur without the business/agency culture changing in any significant way. That’s what I’m talking about. Some people like to destroy stuff and people, and will try to twist whatever system that exists to their nefarious purposes. But that’s not the whole story. People need to learn how to communicate and work together as a group to improve or retool or trash the group agreements that exist but don’t really work very well, or to create new agreements. This takes a lot more than just getting rid of the bad players, IMHO.

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          • Steve, I think it’s been shown that eliminating sociopathy from a scene improves the scene. You may be aware of something I’m not aware of, but my understanding is that when a person really disconnects from a sociopathic spouse of friend, they actually do heal. If sociopaths were prevented from entering the field of psychiatry, the good-hearted people would take it over, and it would start working for the benefit of all. And I believe the same is true of businesses and governments. It doesn’t happen like a light switch, but it does happen.

            We have to remember that the sociopath does not just work to do evil, but also to hold back those trying to do good. If the ones trying to do good were not held back any more, they would triumph.

            There are documented instances of this, even in history.

            If this is your concern about those that dwell on the problem of sociopathy – the inevitable inertia of the broken systems they leave behind – I invite you to reconsider. A broken system can be repaired, when no one is preventing the repair man from doing his job! That is how I understand life to work. I will not detail examples here, but I believe they can be found.

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          • You are talking individuals vs. societies. Societies can agree on pretty distorted things without needing the “leadership” of a sociopathic person. You have a very rose-colored view of society if you think that simply removing bad players will suddenly make people bright and perceptive and assertive and planful. Doesn’t Dianetics suggest that people have to deal with their own traumatic pasts before they can become rational? Do you really think everyone will suddenly become rational just because intentional oppression by individuals is removed? With respect, I don’t. People working as groups is a totally different thing than individuals getting out from under oppressive control of other individuals. At least, that’s my take on it. Surely, the concept of mis-education and distorted belief systems in the minds of people of good will is real and meaningful to you?

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          • At this level (stopping psychiatric malpractice), we are dealing with the subject of Ethics. And according to our Ethics, the suppressives must be removed from the environment before healing can occur (the healing technology, such as Dianetics, can then be applied). The suppressives will not allow healing (repair) to occur! I have become healthier just from knowing this, and dealing with suppressives in my own environment appropriately. I have heard of businesses recovering, and I have seen the stories of people who have recovered from toxic relationships.

            Of course if the systems have become very broken, then much repair will be needed. And there is the promise of a much more rational and creative future, which is what our technologies are all about. But the first step is to get in ethics! And that means getting the suppressives off the lines, and keeping them away. The technology of ethics was not totally put together until the 1970s, while Dianetics came out in the 1950s. An important reason that my group had difficulties in the early years was because its procedures for dealing with suppressives had not been fully developed.

            You may if you wish, edit down or edit out my references to some of these technical details. I was trying to keep my comments on a more broadly understandable level by using only more mainstream terms (like psychopath) and people (like Sandra Brown). But I think it is significant that she gives this problem a similar level of importance to that given to it by the church. She finds psychopathy a very fundamental barrier to healing, and everything I have studied agrees with this conclusion.

            And yes, I do have a “rose-colored” view of society! People are basically good. They are capable of great works and great achievements when psychopaths are not allowed to obstruct them. And while this is little more than a hopeful dream today, I do not put an emphasis on “the system” because I think that without psychopathy, the system would become a rather minor problem.

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        • When you realize that the very people running the various systems, you learn to operate between the systems. You walk invisibly and quietly and mind your own business. Yes, you know have a task, a purpose to assist in the elimination of say, the psychiatric system—probably the most extensive and influencing—yet, you know not to bring attention to yourself—because the goal is to win against this system (like other systems) led by a small, but powerful group of psychopaths and sociopaths. I know that this can be misunderstood; but, in this world, you must take care of yourself or all the good unleashed to end a system, such as psychiatry will be an end in itself. Thank you.

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    • Rebel, I want to make something very clear here. You are not being harangued for your opinions. Each side continues to engage and to be rebutted. This is how debate works until one side or the other either decides to agree to disagree and walks away or changes their view based on new data. This is not a personal attack even if it feels uncomfortable when others continue to push back against your assertions. You aren’t being held hostage and interrogated either. You are making claims and those claims are being challenged.

      There are a lot of times that I walk away from a conversation when it gets to this point because I don’t have time to argue indefinitely, or I feel like it isn’t going to be productive and I’ve made my points. But there’s nothing respectable about accusing others of haranguing you simply because they don’t back down and continue to challenge your assertions. I know this makes people in positions of privilege uncomfortable when their assertions are challenged and their opponent won’t back down. But we’re all grown ups here and we can handle discomfort.

      As for the data you presented, this is cherry-picking. There is no relation between women becoming psychiatrists and women being oppressed by the system of victim blaming. Frequently, the women who make it through medical school and residency are already massively privileged financially and they participate in the continued marginalization of women whose circumstances they haven’t ever experienced and don’t have to understand. Economically and racially privileged women are overrepresented among the professional class. And economically and racially privileged people are massively overrepresented among those who graduate from top tier universities and medical schools. It is reasonable to make the assertion that a woman who has grown up in a stable, middle or upper middle class home, graduated high school, gone on to university and then medical school is going to struggle to understand the life experiences of a woman who was in and out of foster care and other institutions as a child, was serially abused, was a child bride and child mother, didn’t even attend high school much less graduate, lost her kids, multiple times divorced, etc.

      So let’s compare apples to apples when we are talking about oppression because my life experiences, just like those of other marginalized populations, are little understood by the majority of doctors or others among the professional class, most of whom don’t know how to even begin to empathize with someone like me or a black kid from the hood or an immigrant like my husband. These inequalities are what intersectionality intends to address.

      I am talking about pushing back against harm by the dominant culture and yes, those who might otherwise be oppressed often side with the oppressors either because their privilege overall allows them to or because they’ve made a calculated decision in pursuit of safety and/or personal power.

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      • Kindred Spirit, Please this is no offense to you. Each one of us has a right to our individual opinions. That is what makes each one of us unique. Please see what I have posted to Steve McCrea. I agree to disagree and I shall continue to disagree. I apologize if anyone has taken offense to what I have said; but I shall not discuss this issue any further. Sadly, this type of disagreement can accidently hurtful. I don’t want to be hurtful to anyone. Please forgive me if I have hurt anyone. Thank you.

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  12. Steve McCrea, I am so very sorry that you can not agree with my conclusion from the data which only signifies to me that you are unable to see how far we women have come in this society. This society is not perfect. But, there are societies in this world that the women can only wish they had the freedom that we as women do in the United States and most of the western world. The type of thinking that you espouse only seeks to return women to bygone eras when for instance women did not yet have the right to vote. I, personally, will not stand for it. Neither will other women. My very first job was a women in a male prison; that was my very first job. I have been abused by both women and men in jobs, as a patient, etc. This is not as clear-cut as you claim it is. Sadly, that which you espouse panders to the very people who would return to those previous times and divide women from men amongst other divisions in our nation and the world. I am sorry, but your words are painful to me. Please re-think what you have said. Our fight is against psychiatry, only. When that fight is finished because psychiatry has been ended, we should rejoice. We need to keep this “women’s stuff” out of it!!!!!!! IT ABSOLUTELY ONLY HURTS OUR CAUSE!!!! I am patently sick of this garbage!! I am free and if someone does not feel free, I will gladly guide their way. GOD HELP US ALL NOW!!!!!!! Thank you.

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    • I will choose to take your words as honest and not intended to hurt. But they do hurt. I think it best we abandon this discussion. It appears that we are unable to understand each others’ words, which is OK. But I can never agree to “keep women’s stuff” out of it when in my view it has been built in from the start. Obviously, you are unable to see what I am looking at, and that’s OK. But let’s not take it personally that we disagree on these points.

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      • I agree. I did not intend to hurt, but, unfortunately, I felt hurt, also. I think this is why I struck back the way I did. I do appreciate different views on almost anything, but, I confess, when I have a viewpoint I am very stuck on it and sometimes I do expect others to follow my viewpoint. I don’t even discuss politics with my mother! I think my issue is not that we disagree, but, that, in “civil discourse” I have been taught that we give credence to the other’s viewpoint by saying, “You may be right, but…” I was as guilty as anyone to leave out such phrasing. As debates get heated, this happens. I saw the basis for your opinion and yes, I disagreed. But, I felt that not only did no one see the basis for my opinion; but were considering my less than intelligent, uneducated, or worse for my opinion. Disagreement is great and definitely necessary, especially, as we work to figure out how to deal with psychiatry and the suffering caused by psychiatry and how to end it. Sometimes, we need a consensus and sometimes we don’t. Each one of us does speak from our experiences. Many times, “we just need to agree to disagree” and move on. This is my last post on this matter and I apologize if anyone felt offended or hurt. I was hurting, also, but that does not excuse me and my words. Please forgive me. Thank you.

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