On the Mad in America podcast this week, we hear from Dr. Niall McLaren. Niall, known to many as Jock, is an Australian psychiatrist who worked for 25 years in the remote north of the country. Also an author, Jock’s latest book is entitled Natural Dualism and Mental Disorder, the Biocognitive Model in Psychiatry, and it was published in December 2021. 

Recently retired after 47 years, Jock joined me to talk about his experiences working in psychiatry and explains why the models that purport to guide psychiatric diagnosis and treatment are not what they seem.

The transcript below has been edited for length and clarity. Listen to the audio of the interview here.

James Moore: Could you tell our listeners a little bit about you and what it was that led to your career as a psychiatrist?

Jock McLaren: I’m from the rural areas of Western Australia and I studied in Perth. I’d never seen a university when I got there, I really was quite an outsider all along. Then, when I graduated, I was very interested in neurosurgery. Originally, I wanted to be a country GP [general practitioner], but then, after six months in neurosurgery, I became interested so I actually started during the surgical training. 

They put me into a term in psychiatry just to fill up three months and I realized then that was what I actually wanted. To me, psychiatry was big ideas and it was dealing with people directly as distinct from neurosurgery where they’re all unconscious. So it just went from there and I’m very happy. As you know, I’ve just retired after 47 years in psychiatry, but I don’t regret that for one second. It hasn’t been easy, but I don’t regret it.

Moore: You spent some time in the rural North of Australia, which must have presented some fairly unique challenges?

McLaren: That’s a nice way of putting it. In 1987, I left Perth and went to the Kimberley region, which is one of the most isolated parts of the English speaking world, and I was there for six years. I was married during that time, we had a baby, and the work was getting dangerous, and I thought what’s acceptable as a single bloke is not acceptable when you’ve got a family. So we moved to Darwin, which is only marginally less isolated, so I was in the North for 25 years. Then we came down South and we’ve been here in Brisbane for about 10 years.

Moore: Can you tell us a little bit about how psychiatry is practiced in Australia? Does it tend to follow a U.S./European biomedical approach?

McLaren: Yes, psychiatry here is split very much between private and public practice and university is considered public practice. I’ve never worked in a university, but of course, I’ve worked in both private and public. 

Public psychiatry is, I’m sure, exactly the same as in the U.K., a lot of the people who work in it, a lot of the psychiatrists are from the U.K. or they’ve trained there or they’ve been there. Very heavy influence from places like the Maudsley [Hospital in London] and not, I would say, a benign influence, but that’s just my opinion. 

Private practice is different. It is very much Central City Practice. There are very few private practitioners in the outlying areas and they are there essentially to make money and that’s what they do. So I was actually in private practice for the last 20 years, I think. But I was running what’s called a bulk billing practice, which means that I didn’t bill the patients directly, I’d bill the government and so I only got 85% of the fee. Whereas a full-time private practitioner can charge what he likes, some of them were charging three times the recommended fee whereas I was only getting 85% of it. 

But I was doing the sort of work I wanted to do. I was working in working class areas, with high levels of family breakdown, unemployment, drug problems, a lot of refugees, a lot of immigrants and a lot of movement. I’m sure you’ve got exactly the same in the U.K. You’ve got your private practitioners all squelched into one small area and then you’ve got this vast wasteland which is under serviced. That’s what interested me.

Moore: How are the needs of Australian First Nations people taken into account in standard practice?

McLaren: Well, I went to the Kimberley region with the express purpose of providing a service on the ground. There had never been anything like it. So I was there for six years. My job was to stop Aboriginal people from being sent down to Perth. Perth, from where I was, is further than London to Moscow and the cultural differences for Aboriginals are probably about the same. They’re completely different people, they speak different languages and there was very little understanding of them in the mental hospitals. 

Once they got into the mental hospitals, they just got the standard biological approach, the same as they would get in the hospitals in the U.K. or the U.S. And, of course, it didn’t work; they would be there stuck there for months on end.

So my job was to stop them from being sent there and in that sense, it was extremely successful. In the six years I was there, it dropped from 50 people a year being sent down to Perth to just one or two. Most of them were not admitted to hospital, they could be managed at home. If you’re on the spot, you’re moving around, making contact with the local communities, making contact with the Aboriginal people themselves and their families, you can manage things. You don’t need these big hospitals and institutions. They’re inherently inefficient and hugely expensive. So it saved the government a great deal of money, just having one psychiatrist on the spot, but it was damned hard work.

Moore: No doubt it’s better for the individual to be kept in their local community and have their needs met there rather than being sent to a place that they don’t recognize.

McLaren: There is no comparison, absolutely no comparison from their point of view. They were happy to be treated at home and I got known, people would be sitting waiting when I arrived, they knew when I was coming. We would talk and get things done, it made life a lot simpler. Unfortunately, they haven’t persisted with that model. They’ve reverted to a large extent to a more mental hospital type approach and I don’t think that’s very good. I think that’s retrograde, but that’s how it is.

Moore: You’ve written a great deal about the problems of psychiatry’s reductionist biological model. So I wondered if we could talk a little bit about your view of the shortcomings of that model?

McLaren: Well, just to tell you a little bit about my background, when I was in Perth, not long after I graduated in psychiatry, I started writing what was obviously philosophical stuff. So I then started a PhD jointly in philosophy and psychiatry. And unfortunately, when I left to go to Kimberley, I couldn’t continue and I had to give it up, I never completed the PhD. But as part of that, I had to do some undergraduate units in philosophy and there are not very many psychiatrists who have done that. I’ve maintained that interest all along, that’s what I do after hours, at work I’m a psychotherapist.

So the first thing that became obvious coming into psychiatry from neurosurgery, I realized that what the professors were saying about mental disorder and chemical imbalances, all that sort of stuff, I knew it was false. It was simply wrong. That’s where things went bad because I would say to the professor, who was a very rigid Scotsman, I’d say, ‘Well, I don’t think that’s actually right’ and he would be so angry and would then just freeze me out. That was part of the reason I left Perth because my PhD was just going nowhere. I was getting no support and I was actually getting hostility from the psychiatry department. 

So it is a fact, an established fact, there is no biological reductionist model of mental disorder, it has never been written. That’s the end of that. There is no chemical imbalance theory, it doesn’t exist. That is a trope that’s thrown around, it’s beaten up by the drug companies, it’s beaten up by the Women’s Weekly [magazines]. It’s the sort of easy thing that can appeal to the masses and it’s just ladled out and they suck it up. People do come in saying, “My doctor told me that I’ve got a chemical imbalance in the brain” and I think ‘Let’s just put that aside, let’s focus on your life as it is and we’ll see where we go from there’.

In doing that you don’t have to use drugs. I’ve personally assessed and managed well over 12,000 cases in a wide variety of settings, mostly alone, I had no support in the Kimberley, none whatsoever. A lot of Aboriginal people didn’t speak much English at all, they don’t speak English at home and I had to manage without using drugs, without ECT. I’ve never used ECT and I used minimal levels of drugs. The only time I’ve ever looked at the figures, I was actually on the third percentile of the prescription rate for antidepressants for psychiatrists. And the other 2% were psychoanalysts who don’t use drugs.

So yes, you can manage but it’s different. You’ve got to practice a different sort of psychiatry, it has to be biological, and it has to be psychological, and it has to be sociological. I put a lot of emphasis on personality assessment whereas, of course, psychiatry doesn’t have a model of personality. So there’s no biological model of mental disorder. Psychiatry doesn’t have a model of personality or personality disorder. But, I can see you’re going to say, ‘what about the biopsychosocial model?’ It doesn’t exist, that’s that.

I have just had probably my 20th paper on it rejected. Most of my papers get published, but this one has been rejected repeatedly and it says that psychiatry’s use of the biopsychosocial model meets the criteria for fraud. So I have lots of quotes from psychiatrists in the U.K., Australia and around the world, saying, ‘this is the greatest thing since sliced bread, this is wonderful, we’ve got this fantastic model, and we’re really flying high.’

Then I look at the sociology of psychiatry, I go through George Engel’s 1977 paper practically line by line and show that it has no ontology. It has no statement of his opinions. It’s got nothing. So then I have quoted from the Queensland Criminal Code Section on Fraud, and it meets those criteria.

When it was rejected, the reviewer said, “This article is not written in the form of an academic work.” Despite it having 39 citations. “It is more an opinion piece, but not one that could be credibly published in an academic journal.” That, to me, is reprehensible, but it’s also emblematic of the point the paper makes. So we’ll get it published but so much for your biopsychosocial model.

So that means that psychiatry is operating without a warrant. There isn’t a biomedical model, they talk about it. It isn’t there, who wrote it? Show me, I would love to see this thing so I could rip it to bits. I would love to see it. It doesn’t exist.

Then you have Ronald Pies in the US, editor of Psychiatric Times hammering the table saying “it’s the biopsychosocial model, this is the guide for our practice and it’s been this way for 30 years.” I’ve challenged him, show me it, produce it. He didn’t answer, they never answer. Time and time again, I challenge people to show me where it says in that paper this is my biopsychosocial model because it doesn’t say it.

So psychiatry is operating without a warrant and that is a very, very serious state of affairs.

Moore: So your view is that the biopsychosocial model is a mirage, it doesn’t really exist, maybe similarly to the chemical imbalance, it’s there to palm off difficult questions rather than something that people use in everyday practice.

McLaren: It’s a fig leaf which conceals the fact that psychiatry doesn’t have an established, articulated, publicly available model of mental disorder. It’s also a distraction, it’s hand waving. There’s that terrible sense of, ‘oh, don’t worry about the details, we’ll sort that out later.’ You hear this from academics, ‘oh that’s in the literature, you should be familiar with the literature.’ Well, actually, I am and I’m telling you, there is no model of mental disorder available to modern psychiatry, and therefore modern psychiatry fails to meet the basic criteria for a science.

Moore: Turning now to your most recent book, which you kindly shared with me, it’s entitled Natural Dualism and Mental Disorder, the Biocognitive Model in Psychiatry, and it was published very recently in December 2021.
In the book, you write: ‘The biocognitive model for psychiatry represents a total break with the past. It is highly developed, far reaching and its scope, firmly based on well-established principles from other fields of science and leads to dramatically different ways of seeing old problems. 
More to the point, it says, practically everything we are doing in psychiatry today is wrong, if not frankly, destructive. It offers a new model of treatment that shifts the focus from blind meddling with the brain’s function to seeing humans as information users with the capacity to get caught in self-sustaining mental traps. However, it also says we are dangerously irrational, which must be taken seriously. While this may be shocking, for some, we ignore it at our peril.’
I wondered if you could tell us a little bit about the biocognitive model and how it differs from the kind of thinking you were talking about in terms of diagnosis and brain chemical imbalances?

McLaren: The dominant theme in modern psychiatry is that each mental disorder is categorically unique and the job of the nosology, that’s the classification system, is to sort out these discrete entities and then ultimately they will be mapped down onto the genome. And so for each discrete mental entity, there will be a discrete error in the genome, which ultimately the goal is there will be a drug for each mental disorder. That’s what modern psychiatry is all about, that’s what it does. All of that is without warrant, that’s all there is to that. 

So the biocognitive model, and that’s just a name I tacked on to it because you’ve got to have a name, starts with the most basic fundamental principle that we are information processers as humans, but we’re very complex information processers. We’ve got these peculiar things called emotions. So that’s much more complex than something sitting on your desk that just barks at you and so we’ve got to give account for that, but we have to start with the most basic point and build up.

Psychiatry goes the other way around. They started with the clinical impressions and they’ve gone backwards. They’re going backwards all the time, and it’s not working. The biocognitive model says that there is no physical cause for mental disorder, but a psychological account is possible and it can account for all mental disorder. So mental disorder becomes a psychological phenomenon—very complicated, I don’t just say it’s simple. If it’s simple, then we’re probably wrong. Mental disorder is essentially psychological and that’s how it has to be assessed, that’s how it has to be understood, and that’s how it should be managed.

Giving people brain-destabilizing drugs, doing things like giving them ECT, implanting things into the brain, filling them with narcotic drugs, like ketamine, all that sort of stuff. The old surgery, the leucotomies, I assisted at the last leucotomy in Western Australia and at the time I was just a neurosurgery resident, I didn’t know. He said, ‘We’re doing this’, so there we are. Those things are entirely without warrant, there’s no justification, it doesn’t exist. The problem is that there are so many people who are so heavily committed to this idea that you’re fighting a rearguard action all the time.

The model isn’t meant to be simple, but the concept of self-sustaining anxiety is pretty simple. We get caught in self-reinforcing, self-sustaining traps of anxiety, but we do that in other things, too. We get caught in self-sustaining traps of aggression, and you can see one going on in Ukraine right now.

So, we get caught in self-sustaining loops, the big one is anxiety, aggression is another and depression can become a self-sustaining loop. That’s where it becomes terribly important to understand the person as a person. Why is this person in this position in life right now? And that’s the therapist’s job, is to sort that out.

Moore: Again, in the book, you point out that many of history’s great thinkers would probably today receive a host of diagnoses. So it made me wonder if that’s part of the issue, that we can’t tolerate difference anymore. Difference of behavior, difference of thought or difference of culture?

McLaren: There is this tendency to homogenize ourselves, I have this with my kids all the time. Why are you listening to that crappy music? Why do you wear your cap backwards? Things like that. Why do you homogenize yourselves? Where’s the individuality? Yeah, so that’s true.

A lot of great people were very difficult, people like Santiago Ramón y Cajal in Spain was one of my heroes because he was such a difficult person, and yet he achieved at this high level. His father took him out of school because he was such a little ratbag. They had to take him out of school and then in these days, he’d be put on drugs. That’d be the end of it.

This is why it’s very interesting. Descartes is another writer whom I admire very much, he would have been labeled as autistic. I don’t know what’s happened to us, we fear individuality.

Moore: I think it’s fair to say that you take the view that more psychiatric treatment has led to worse outcomes overall. So, I wonder, is there evidence that we can draw on that this is commonly the case?

McLaren: Well, if you want that, just look at Thomas Insel, the former Director of the National Institute of Mental Health. He was there for 13 years and in 2015, he gave an interview after he had left that job and he said, ‘we haven’t budged the needle at all. I’ve spent $20 billion on research, we got lots of cool papers published by cool scientists and we haven’t budged the needle for the mentally disordered one iota’. I mean, what else do you want? That’s a good enough authority, isn’t it?

Moore: He’s confirmed that again in his recent book, hasn’t he? His book doesn’t really talk very much about long term outcomes for people, and surely that should be the measure of our success at helping people with mental health struggles. Do they go on to live long, meaningful lives? And that isn’t really discussed.

McLaren: There’s always a problem in that we actually haven’t got very much to compare it with. This is why research like David Healy’s work, looking at figures from the mental hospitals 130 or 140 years ago, is so valuable. Things were a lot different then. I can remember that people did not come in and out, in and out like they do now. You did not see people on six, eight or 10 different psychiatric drugs. There were nowhere near as many people going into hospital with the same regularity, it didn’t happen.

This thing called rapid cycling manic depressive psychosis or bipolar disorder, that didn’t exist in 1976. I can tell you now, it did not exist, but it does now, why does it now? What’s changed? The only thing that’s changed is the drugs. That’s the only thing.

Moore: You quote Richard Buckminster Fuller in your book, and he said, “You never change something by fighting the existing reality, to change something, build a new model that makes the current model obsolete.” 
How do we go about making the current model obsolete when so much power shapes and controls it?

McLaren: That’s true, and that’s why I wrote the article recently, entitled, “Why Do We Lock People Up?” There’s no justification, it’s just the way it’s always been done. Why do psychiatrists have this immense civil power to lock people up, to deprive them of practically the whole of their human rights on hearsay evidence? Where does this power come from? Why is it there? What’s the justification? There is no justification, there is no model of mental disorder. This is a fabrication and it’s necessary to expose it. I’ve been knocking politely on the door for decades, you get absolutely nowhere.

That’s why I think it’s important to say, look, here’s this biopsychosocial model, here’s the law on fraud. Why is this not fraud? Why are you people not conducting a fraudulent enterprise? You must justify it.

Moore: If you had the power to make change in the way that we react and respond to people suffering all kinds of mental distress, what’s the biggest change that we could make that would dramatically reduce the number of people exposed to harm?

McLaren: The first thing is for psychiatry to accept that it does not have a model of mental disorder. Stop touting this chemical imbalance in the brain. Stop spouting things like a medical model or a biomedical model. Stop saying that basic brain research will tell us all we need to know about mental disorder. Stop saying there’s something called a biopsychosocial model, and accept that there is no model and psychiatry really needs to go back to square one.

As it happens, I have a model, I’ve put it there, you can have a look at that. You may not agree, but at least let’s start talking seriously. Instead of all sitting around saying ‘yes, we’ve got a model, haven’t we? Yes, yes, we most certainly do’. There is no model, it doesn’t exist. It’s a fraud. It’s as simple as that.

Moore: Does psychology or psychotherapy need a model to adhere to, do you think?

McLaren: Yes, you have to have a model that tells you what you’re allowed to do and what you’re not allowed to do. Otherwise, we end up with this ritual, satanic abuse, alien abduction, multiple personality, blah, blah, blah. You must have a demarcation criterion, separating valid science from fanciful nonsense, that’s terribly important.

The history of psychiatry really is a history of fanciful nonsense. I don’t know why I do this to myself, but I’m reading Andrew Scull’s book [Desperate Remedies] at the moment. Then there’s Anne Harrington’s book, Mind Fixers. I mean the information is all there, all we’ve got to do is convince people to read it, but psychiatrists won’t read the critics. They only talk to each other, they don’t talk to anybody else, and they exclude critics.

I think a lot of that goes back to Thomas Szasz, who really went too far, in my view, to say that there’s no such thing as mental disorder. He’s quoted in one of his books, he says, “soldiers who complain of mental symptoms are just trying to evade their duty.” That is such a brutal thing to say about a person with a posttraumatic state. Thomas Szasz fed mainstream psychiatry the reason to avoid critics and they’ve been doing it ever since. Psychiatrists have got to get out of their echo chamber and start accepting criticism.

Moore: Do you think there’s much chance of that actually happening? Because academic psychiatry feels quite remote and entrenched. So, will they change, do you think?

McLaren: I think it will collapse. When people like Thomas Insel say, ‘we promised you that basic research would answer all questions about mental disorder, with no questions unanswered’. That was essentially what they promised in the 1980s and 1990s.

‘These drugs’, they said, ‘are safe, they are effective. They have minimal side effects, you are silly not to take them.’ It now turns out that that is all false, and eventually, it will collapse. That’s all there is to it. I would like to be alive to see it. That’s all.

One thing that troubles me and that is what is being done to medical students and trainees in psychiatry. Essentially, they are being brainwashed. They’re being fed a line which has no justification, and I’ve asked medical students this quite a number of times. On your first lecture in psychiatry, when the professor walked in and said, ‘Welcome to psychiatry’, what was the model of mental disorder that he gave you? And they have always said ‘he didn’t, he just started talking about genomes and neurotransmitters and drugs and ECT.’

That is not science, that’s not how science is conducted, that is called brainwashing, and this is a tragedy. The majority of medical students, they’re just not interested in psychiatry and they just turn away from it. So we’re ending up with essentially second rate people, or people who’ve got ulterior motives. Somebody very bright might go into psychiatry, but he’s got his eye on an academic career, that’s what he’s got mapped out. Others go into psychiatry because they recognize that this is an easy way to make heaps of money. These are very bad justifications.

I think the way medical students are indoctrinated is reprehensible. When you go in, they should say to the students, ‘today, we’re going to talk about mental disorder.’ Question number one, is there such a thing? You’d start at that point. Unfortunately, Thomas Szasz muddied those waters rather badly, but mental disorder is a real thing, ask anybody who suffers. Soldiers and civilians who are caught in tragedies, bushfires or floods as we’ve had here in Australia. They suffer, and they suffer in the long term. That’s real.

Moore: I’m guessing that part of that indoctrination can be blamed on the pharmaceutical manufacturers. We’ve heard from previous interviews that they influence the way that textbooks are written, they influence the way that medical students are taught, so it’s kind of a self-perpetuating thing, isn’t it?

McLaren: Yes, what the soldiers call a self-licking ice cream. So the psychiatrist wants the drug money, and the drug companies want the psychiatrist to endorse their product and so this just becomes a very cozy little echo chamber and there is nothing original allowed. Nothing is allowed to threaten the status quo. That’s why Mad in America is very important because it is presenting alternative views, critical views, to a public which is being deprived of those views.

Moore: Thank you, Jock, it’s because of people like you Mad in America can air those kinds of discussions.

McLaren: Thank you very much.




MIA Reports are supported, in part, by a grant from the Open Society Foundations


  1. This interview completely misses the mark, as do most of today’s critics of the medical model. It ends up being a partial expression of the truth that will sadly go nowhere, except to an unfortunate reformist dead end.

    “You quote Richard Buckminster Fuller in your book, and he said, “You never change something by fighting the existing reality, to change something, build a new model that makes the current model obsolete.”
    How do we go about making the current model obsolete when so much power shapes and controls it?”

    My question is: why use this insightful quote of Buckminster Fuller if you’re NOT GOING TO APPLY IT TO THE CURRENT REALITY WE FACE with the oppressive medical model and the enormous power of psychiatry and Big Pharma?


    The medical model and its future is now inseparably bound up in the overall future of capitalism. They now each need the other for their existence.

    The medical model shifts people’s focus away from examining the systemic flaws within capitalism, to so-called inherent genetic flaws in the human species as the basis for all human despair and oppression in the world. AND it drugs and anesthetizes those sections of the masses (who might potentially rise up against this status quo) to render them (physically and mentally) as no longer a serious threat. All the while Big Pharma makes enormous profits and psychiatry retains such enormous power over people’s lives.


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    • Richard I always appreciate your erudite analysis of what you inspect with your genius mind. You are an exemplary.

      I suppose I am wondering why we cannot DO BOTH.

      Climate change is really soon going to be WRIT LARGE as a HUGE problem. But just because it is vast and complicated and therefore requires vast complicated answers this does not mean that an ecologist strolling along a beach, who finds an oily boulder with a beak and wings ought not DO SOMETHING for that poor mite of a seabird.

      I fear that what many campaign groups do these days is luxuriate in the impossibility of solving the big picture because it is too daunting and shrug in dismay at the impossibility of solving the little picture, the seabird, because it is not enough. So one route is too too much of a task and the other route is too too pointless seeming. One throws up one’s hands in despair and finally this alone becomes the only reason to be in a campaign, despair expression. That is not to say that this has no therapeutic value. When enough despairing souls band together they all may feel like rescued washed clean seabirds. So campaigns can become healing to campaigners. And I am not at all judging that human tendency. Huddling in groups is part of humanity’s epic story.

      I am saying we can do BOTH and even ALL THREE.

      Move towards improving the climate.

      Move towards giving each seabird what that seabirds needs for it to feel better, which may not be a burger and french fries or anything that would make you or I feel revived. All creatures thrive on uniquely different kinds of support.

      Move towards enjoying the companionship of like minded campaigners who have suffered in the same appalling ways.

      ALL three of the above are NOT the same responses.

      What is happening in all global campaigns is NO RESPONSE is workable because endless argy bargy petty in-fighting and pontificating and bickering is taking place. We DO nothing. We just make lots of noise.

      It is the human addition to the Gaia garden. Our bellowing. Meanwhile the sky is growing mercurial and the little seabird cannot find an appointment to a healer because everyone is too busy writing academic research on how to make any response of love university standard civilized.

      But there is hope. This human descent into bickering will one day arrive at everyone falling quiet, long enough to reflect better on how to separate out the three urgent concerns and meet those with courage, collectively AND independently

      We cannot have a viable collective without honouring the many differences of individuals within that collective.

      We cannot have a billowy wheat field without all the thousands of creatures that make its ecosystem balanced. Collective means difference. But that may mean that many different groups full of like minded huddles are themselves different from other groups whose people have quite alternative views. In a field this looks like nests hither and thither. It is ok to be in a nest.

      Many campaigns are nests who are saying they speak for everyone. Like psychiatry did and pharma. This speaking for everyone is making everyone uselessly bellow louder and louder. In saying….

      “You do not speak for me. You do not speak my experience”.

      As if that would even be desireable that one person miles away, a complete stranger SHOULD even TRY to speak for you. The ghastly internet jetting entitlement to speak for others is like an oil slick pasting and gluing up the feathers of each little seabird until they are unable to fly free. The best way to clean the voiceless is not to talk over them in wave after wave of influence. Wave after wave of cold polluting facts. Wave after wave of inky black poisonous research papers…

      The way to clean the seabird is to add nothing more to its distress. Be as NOTHING. Let NATURE heal her own.

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      • To various comments down at the end I must say I do not have the same zeal for “logic” at all.

        Small children seldom use “logic” or “reason” yet they thrive better than their fraught academic adult counterparts.

        Animals use no “logic” yet they live lives of unutterable peace and harmony.

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        • Diaphonous Weeping, I tend to agree with you. Maybe for some people, “logic” and “reason” are the answers. But for me, they make my head spin. I do wish people would respect those who do not necessarily think and act out of “logic” and/or “reason.” There are so many ways to process the world and so many solutions, etc. as there are people in the world. Thank you.

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          • You put a drop of sweetness in my flask as I prepare to go up a breezy, sunny, delightfully illogical mountain. How nice of you. Thank you.

            You cannot fight fire with fire, nor water with water, nor air with air, nor when it has gone monstrous can you hope to fight monstrous logic with logic. Such dizzying barbed logic becomes impenetrable, ungraspable, indigestible, and revealed as the complete opposite of an accepting fresh sunlit mountain.

            Animals can read and write and speak but they never have to in lovely unjudgemental free nature.

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          • Rebel, thank you.
            I am solemn just now because our Steve is irked at me.

            Steve, please read my comment that awaits your moderation. You will see that at no point have I EVER told anyone their way of understanding themselves was wrong.
            Steve I wrote the book on the pitfalls of having an attitude that thinks in terms of “right” or “wrong” or even “logic” . So WHY would I have any interest in telling ANYONE that they are “wrong” about themeselves?

            I am proud of who I am.
            When a person is proud of who they are this is not the same thing as when a person keeps telling other people they are wrong.

            We should ALL BE PROUD OF WHO WE ARE.

            Someone else being proud of who they are ought to mean nothing to how proud you are of you.

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        • Steve, you say elsewhere that you agree that I can have the right of my free choice to keep my diagnosis…as Barbara said herself, if I “want to”.

          That is good.

          But you say next that I cannot have my free choice to believe my doctor. Can I be allowed to believe in bad science as you might call it? Robert Whitaker was once upon a time heckled as being a promoter of research that in those early years was called bad science. We must leave each other alone to make our own choice of who our good or bad household gods are. If I build a shrine to Robert Whitaker and scatter it with rose petals and scented unctions and call him my God of good science then who is anyone to hurl a rock of dispute at what helps me be me. If I build a shrine to a doctor who is anyone else to tell me I cannot listen to them?

          I am on this planet for perhaps only a short while so who is anyone to tell me, a grown woman, that I need disciplined and directed in who I can revere?

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          • When people say…

            “You cannot be free to believe in that deity because that deity is my enemy”

            What world is being created is a violent apocalyptic world that tells people who they can and cannot love.

            It is understandable that the wounded want compassion. But compassion is a feeling first of all. It is not a logical principle.

            And as a feeling, compassion and love cannot be forced out of someone without destroying what love is.

            Like destroying the HOOVER DAM.

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          • You are clearly empowered to believe in your doctor – s/he may even be right! What I am saying has absolutely nothing about you or your diagnosis or your belief in your psychotic experiences as an illness or agreeing with your doctor. The objection I have is to you saying that because YOU believe your doctor and his/her diagnosis, it means other people who view it differently are “choosing to believe” something you regard essentially to be wrong. And you’re entitled to believe that, just as others are entitled to believe you are “wrong,” but most of your comments reflect an “open minded” attitude, live and let live, believe as you see fit, which I agree with. I was just pointing out that others should have the same right as you, not to be talked to as if their belief that their situation is NOT caused by biochemistry or is NOT called “schizophrenia” just because the doctor says so is irrational, which is what I was getting from your post. People don’t just have the right “believe their schizophrenia is something else,” they have every right to believe that they don’t have schizophrenia or that doctors’ “diagnosis” of schizophrenia doesn’t meet minimum scientific standards as a “diagnosis,” even if the condition described does exist.

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          • I note this morning that a “radicalised Islamist with a history of mental illness” has gone on a rampage in Norway.

            Not often we see this sort of ‘crossover’, where his ‘beliefs’ can be compounded with his ‘illness’.

            Was Tim McVeigh a ‘radicalised Christian with a history of mental illness’? Would this require all Churches to be brought under surveillance, and women wearing gold crosses to be spat on in buses? Because that seems to be the effect of this type of reporting where I live.

            I note our Premiers retraction of his “gratuitous Islamophobia” regarding the threats to his family as a result of his COVID lockdowns being like those of “Islamic Fundamentalists”.

            Still, I preach to the converted here, in that this sort of ‘hate speech’ is well understood in this forum.

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    • Richard,

      I appreciate your views. Its unfortunate how market driven psychiatry’s medical model has become.

      But arguments about psychiatry and capitalism can end up being too political: circular ones that lapse into power struggles.

      So have patience, as market forces will eventually be psychiatry’s downfall. In other words, “what makes ’em, breaks ’em” –

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    • To DW and others

      Thanks for your meaningful reply and question.

      I also strongly believe we SHOULD definitely fight for reforms and incremental changes as we militantly oppose the medical model and all forms of psychiatric oppression. We cannot and should not ignore (or put off to the future) trying to help those in the present moment being harmed by psychiatry and their medical model.

      HOWEVER, there is an important strategic orientation as to how best to carry out these day to day struggles for meaningful reform and basic protection from psychiatric harm.

      The struggle for reform MUST BE part of an overall strategy for genuine revolutionary change. AND I mean not JUST revolutionary change against the medical model, but MOST DEFINITELY to the overarching economic and political system (profit based capitalism) which gave rise to, and now perpetuates and sustains the medical model.

      If we fail to link to link these two struggles we are MISLEADING and, frankly, LYING to people about what it will actually require to end all forms of psychiatric abuse and the medical model. Without this broader strategy, people will gradually become demoralized and trapped within dead end reformist approaches to change.

      This demoralization and desperate type (narrow) reformist approaches is happening as we speak. Any careful reading of MIA blogs AND the comment section over the past decade, can see the slow (but obvious) spread of political demoralization and its impact on the content of people’s activism.

      We now have MORE THAN ENOUGH credible scientists and experts AND articulate psychiatric survivors, AND published books and journal articles, THAT THOROUGHLY EXPOSES the “chemical imbalance” theory, and ALL the harm done by the DSM, psychiatric drugs, and ALL their various components of the medical model.

      YET, psychiatry and their proliferation of drugging and forced hospitalizations, and overall public indoctrination of the “chemical imbalance” theory is continuing its spread and growth in exponential ways. THE MEDICAL MODEL IS NOW STRONGER TODAY THAN EVER AND STILL GROWING – HOW IS THIS STILL POSSIBLE?

      Those people who think psychiatry’s “house of cards” will suddenly collapse when we reach a certain mass of scientific exposures and reformist activism, are unfortunately, sadly deluding themselves and others.

      We must carefully examine the growth of the medical model (psychiatry and its colluding partner – Big Pharma) over the past 4 decades, and understand how it has evolved into a vital pillar of support for preserving the capitalist system.

      Drug corporation profits (fueled by the proliferation of psych drugging) has now become an important and necessary pillar for sustaining the U.S. economy.

      As the economic and political crisis (pre-civil war type polarization and threats of outright rebellion and possible fascism) expands in the the U.S., the medical model’s “genetic theories of original sin” take on even greater importance.

      They DO NOT want people to start examining the inherent flaws within the capitalist system, with all its trauma conditions, inequalities, periodic economic crises, and inevitable drive toward inter imperialist wars and destruction of the planet’s environment.

      They DO NOT want people to understand that their various forms of psychological distress, alienation, and despair are rooted within their daily conflicts with a grossly imperfect and traumatic environment. An environment that DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY!

      The “powers that be” benefit tremendously from having people overly focused on so-called “bad genetics” and inherent personal human flaws.

      AND most definitely, the “powers that be” benefit tremendously from having major sections of the potentially rebellious masses anesthetized by mind altering AND mind numbing psychiatric drugs.

      Over the past 4 decades, psychiatry and their medical model, has evolved to the point where its future destiny CANNOT BE SEPARATED from the future of the capitalist system. They each need the other for their existence. The capitalist ruling classes will NOT allow psychiatry to lose its current role in society nor its level of power – it’s too valuable to them. To them, we are just an “alternate reality” and an “alternate set of facts” to be relegated to the back pages of the news in their vast “marketplace of ideas.” Kept within this “vast marketplace” we are of no fundamental threat to the status quo.

      So my concluding point is as follows: We will NOT succeed in ending all forms of psychiatric abuse, or eliminate the medical model, unless we are prepared to also end the very system that sustains and perpetuates psychiatric oppression. We cannot and should not separate these two struggles – they both need to be linked together as we take on the daily struggles to help and protect potential psychiatric victims.

      There are many people who write at MIA that are aware of the connections between the medical model and capitalism. HOWEVER, they either choose, or allow themselves to be constantly sucked onto the demoralizing and dead end “path of least resistance” – a path of very pragmatic and narrow incremental change.

      Keep in mind that all this is taking place in a country that is standing on the PRECIPICE of a civil war and a quick slide into outright fascism.



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      • Richard,

        Psychiatry and the drug industry are definitely in cahoots, but I think the relationship is more symbiotic than conspiratorial. And framing issues in revolutionary terms can be alienating, especially for those who’ve been through enough already. And people relate to the personal more than the political, which is why simply spreading the word can be the best way, and sometimes the only way, to bring about lasting change –

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        • Birdsong

          I never used the word “conspiracy,” but I do frequently use the word “collusion” to describe the relationship between Big Pharma and psychiatry.

          Psychiatry in the 1960’s (as an oft disparaged and dwindling profession) was a “would be” medical specialty in a desperate search for a “science” to justify its existence and increase its power and influence.

          What they found (and unfortunately implemented on a grand scale) was a highly oppressive and harmful “pseudo-science.” And as things evolved over the past four decades, the capitalist system (as a whole) was more than a willing participant AND beneficiary in these developments

          Any careful reading of Robert Whitaker’s several books shows clear documentation of an increasing amount of collusion (on many levels) between psychiatry and Big Pharma beginning, in the 1960’s up to the very present. And all this required the ability to work within the political realm by finding the means to manipulate, and ultimately control decisions that took place at the FDA. Just examine the game of “musical chairs” that takes place where former FDA appointees end up on the boards of Big Pharma corporations and vice versa.

          People may try, in these troubling times, to focus more on the “personal more than the political,” but this is becoming increasingly impossible to do given the mounting political polarization and the high stakes in each and every political decision being made these days. We can no longer afford to NOT to be involved in the political realm of things.

          Birdsong, just listen to the Jan. 6 hearings. The word “revolution” has been repeated many times, representing many different political agendas out there. Do we want to go forward in history to a more humane and egalitarian society, or go backwards by just maintaining the status quo, or something FAR WORSE – which is where the Right Wing wants to take us?


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          • Richard,

            With all due respect, politics can be too contentious for a lot of people, especially for those just looking for safe ways to feel better. And a lot of times, people in distress don’t have the wherewithal, much less the interest in, joining political movements. It’s just not where they’re at or the language they speak. And in the final analysis, it all boils down to having access to enough information to make informed decisions, whether voting or filing prescriptions.

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          • The problem of capitalism driving psychiatry IS addressed in this interview. Mr. Moore mentions how pharmaceutical manufacturers influence the way textbooks are written and read by medical students. To which Dr. McLaren replies,“So the psychiatrist wants the drug money, and the drug companies want the psychiatrist to endorse their product…”, and “Nothing is allowed to threaten the status quo.”
            So how does this problem get solved? Through articles like this which inform the public, who then might think twice before filling prescriptions –

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      • It has been said that “The love of money is the root of all evil.”
        Evil- lies, steals and murders.
        As long as evil exists there will be people who profit from the weakness and suffering of others.
        The change must happen within the individual heart-a desire for Truth. Real knowledge is liberating.
        To the extent that Mad in America has created a platform that brings to light the real experience of those who have suffered so terribly under these systems and those working in it who see the evil and have really tried to help the suffering-those brave enough to speak the truth which is so hated by all who want to hide behind the lies in the darkness-a great service has been done. Problem is there will always be the confusion of the input of those (some intentionally) who introduce more deception- confusing and complicating the basic issues. The most educated are usually the most indoctrinated.
        It may appear that evil is conquering but there is a much greater power-at work in the minds: thoughts and actions of those who choose it. Love .This requires the giving up of selfishness-it is not cheap.
        All the material benefits, power, fame-whatever people may “gain” from giving in to evil will be swept away-it’s only temporary.
        In the end love wins. Love is not a feeling-it is truth put into action. It is always desiring and acting for what is in the best interest of others based on truth. It brings life, health , and freedom to develop and exercise the amazing potential, gifts, talents that are there in each individual. It rejoices in uplifting others-not using, degrading and crushing them.

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        • I agree, lookingUP –
          Life is as a never ending struggle between good and evil. But losing hope for eventual change would be the ultimate tragedy – and psychiatry’s ultimate victory!

          I think of every person who finds their way to MIA as a success – even if their minds aren’t changed right away – because just having them know that other approaches exist could bear fruit in their future.

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      • I have a chemical imbalance. I have hallucinations all day and night. I have schizophrenia in my family.

        Richard by all means please do make the world better. I am all for improvement. You do not say clearly how you intend to build something nicer. You give no vision of what you are wanting and what makes you feel content in your dreams. I do not speak of any metaphorical promised land where everyone feels fixed but some inkling of what you wish for in our future would be great to hear of. You see, like other commenters who want a specific political dominance endorsed, be it left or right, all I hear are the long list of complaints, which is fine to have read out so brilliantly, but it seems often easier in life to say what you do not want, never what you do. I cannot see what you are delighted for. I only hear what I assume is possibly your anger. Maybe I am wrong in my perceptions. My schizophrenia makes me a poor reader of people sometimes.

        I have been angry often in my years. But I learned something for myself. Anger is not a builder. To build you need collaboration and harmony and team spirit and community and inspiration and artistry and finance of one sort or another. Maybe you have these. Why are you not charming me and welcoming me to join in the co-creating effort?

        If someone, anyone, tells me their vision is of a better world, which is “their” world… but is equally “my” own world…I am fascinated and want to know more about why they feel that world will be heavenly for eight billion people including me. But I also may ask
        why must “I”, in my small frail form “change” in order for us to build what you possibly have in mind. To my way of regarding life…

        love is acceptance of “difference”.
        And in my notion of an improved world EVERYONE is ACCEPTED for being UNIQUE and WHO THEY ARE.

        My chemical imbalance is my difference. It is my sari, my inuit snowshoes, my grass skirt, my tattoo, my ribbons and bows.

        A community, like healthy biodiversity in a garden, is made of “different” species. Oneness is made of simple building blocks of life. Each bit is treasure. Each part matters to whole entirety. If one groups’ promotion of liberty is only found in oppressing another group then it is not liberation of the whole. If saving the world means destroying one person in it then the whole world is ruined.

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    • This was an interview, I did not control the questions. For a consideration of the role of money in the present system, you will need to wait a few months until my study of right wing extremism in the light of the biocognitive model. “Narcisso-Fascism: the psychopathology of right wing extremism” should be published in about November this year. It includes a section comparing the work of Karl Polanyi and the libertarian doctrines of Friedrich Hayek. Polanyi showed that so-called neoliberalism must result in the destruction of society itself and of the natural environment. I believe he was right but you’ll have to judge my case yourself.

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    • You seem to have no respect for the fact that Dr. McLaren actually WORKED in the field of psychiatry for almost 50 years and , from the interview, it appears that he prevented a lot of suffering for many people-keeping them out of mental hospitals, not using ECT, etc.-actually CARING for people-even at financial loss to himself.
      Richard D. Lewis-you sound very intelligent-but what have YOU done to actually help anyone being damaged /destroyed by the system.

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      • lookingUP

        I have been a political activist since the late 1960’s; that’s when I first began to question the myth of the American Dream and American Exceptualism. I quickly became a critic of the U.S capitalist/imperialist system, and I am still a firm believer that a new form of socialism is the next step that humanity must take to save the planet.

        I first became a critic of psychiatry and the medical model in the early 1990’s, and I fought its takeover of the community “mental health” system while working in a New Bedford MA. clinic (as an LMHC counselor) for 22 years. I worked with hundreds of people facing all types of severe psychological distress. I did my best to keep people away from psychiatry and their disease/drug based approaches to so-called “treatment.” In this period of time I think I helped some people – but only they could fully answer your inquiry.

        Since MIA stated a decade ago. I have 17 blogs published at this website – the very same number as Niall McLaren. You should check through these blogs to compare our approaches to not only “helping” people , but also proposing a way forward.

        I have some respect for Niall McLaren and the work he has done to help people.

        In this historical period where class contradictions in the world have reached such a perilous point of intensity, I have little patience with people (who should know better) pointing everyone in the direction of *reforming* institutions and systems (like psychiatry and capitalism) when the real world evidence says they now belong in the dustbin of history.


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      • Drugs are generally controlled, subject to FDA approval. These psych meds should not be approved, not be on the market.

        I would not try to outlaw psychotherapy. It is after all just consenting adults talking to each other. But we should not be allowing our government to license it. We don’t license Channelers, Fortune Tellers, or Faith Healers. We should not allow our government to license Psychotherapists either. The problems created by psychotherapy because it is licensed are huge.


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  2. Hi Jock,
    thank you for an interesting interview.

    I wish you had elucidated your biocognitive model more within the interview…and perhaps I’m obtuse, but why did you include ‘bio’ in the model’s name at all when it appears you wanted to get away from biological explanations of mental disorder?: “The biocognitive model says that there is no physical cause for mental disorder, but a psychological account is possible and it can account for all mental disorder. So mental disorder becomes a psychological phenomenon.”

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    • This was an interview, I did not choose the questions. The biocognitive model is offered as a complete alternative to the so- called biomedical model which is just an excuse for psychiatrists to pal up with drug companies. You are probably aware there is no such thing as a “biomedical model,” it does not exist, I showed that in Psychiatry as Ideology. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry 2013, 15: 7-18. Likewise, the so-called biopsychosocial model attributed to George Engel is a mirage, bordering on fraud, as it was never written. The absence of a guiding model of mental disorder allows psychiatry and their drug company allies to operate in an “anything goes” atmosphere, where drugs of addiction are touted as the latest, sure-fire “cure” of the “disease” of depression, at the same time as they are pushing TCMS, anti-inflammatories and still more drugs. My model specifically says that mental disorder is almost entirely psychological so psychological methods of management are the only viable option. However, mainstream psychiatry has sold itself as having a reductionist science of mental disorder and there can be no withdrawal from this position without swarms of professors being forced to admit they were wrong. My experience of professors is they would rather pull their tongues out with pliers than admit they were wrong. But the good news is this: for the first time in its history, psychiatry has an articulated, publicly-available and testable model of mental disorder. Only time will tell whether it gets 1% of the air-time given to the “biopsychosocial Model” and the incompatible “biomedical model.”

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  3. There is a chemical imbalance in me. My schizophrenia is genetic. That is a fact. It is my fact. I say this not to any one person or any one psychiatrist. This is not a response to the podcast psychiatrist who seems like a lovely person.

    I am the expert of my illness not any pontificating past or future non schizophrenic psychiatrist who may never have suffered unending hallucinations and delusions and paranoia at a severe and chronic and unfixable level for decades. Why MIA likes to interview non schizophrenia sufferers to be interviewed experts on something they do not experience is a bit of a mystery to me.

    I have no wish to tell anyone at the MIA website that they do not have trauma but have hallucinations and agnosia. I would never tell ANYONE what they feel is the matter with them. It would be rude to assume that level of insight into a total stranger. I would
    N E V E R
    tell anyone that what they know of themselves was a lie.

    Even if Lord Budha or Krisna told them that they had sinned and they needed to fast all day to get pure. If a person has A N Y belief about themselves that heals them of THEIR OWN anguish, EVEN if it is a belief there IS a chemical imbalance I would walk with them. I would walk with them. I would walk with them.

    Treating anyone with shitty medicines that do not help IS as much a problem as smoking or alcohol dependency. Rotten threatments need reformed. We did not nannyingly tell people they had to change their beliefs about who they are when we encouraged them to quit smoking.

    It vaguely amuses me that a podcast wanting to “discuss ALTERNATIVES to psychiatry” turns again and again and again to PSYCHIATRISTS to be GODS.

    It might be better advertized as discussing alternatives to psychosis.

    Which in future might be turned into “alternatives to having a breakdown”. That sound super duper….until you actually do feel you are having a real breakdown night and day. A breakdown that is interwoven with every atom of your cellular atomic body and even affects your electrolites and hormones and genes.

    The body is a real thing that is morphing its cells in cell division every second. The body has billions of chemicals that go ape in flight or fight. Chemicals in everyone are never perfectly balanced. They are always in a fluid fluctuation. It is absurd to say nobody has any. But I am happy to be THE ONLY schizophrenic. Maybe I shall now get a nice anthropologist and linguist to caringly listen to my choice of knowing who I am. My one person schizophrenia is my culture. I say this to biodiversity sneering humanity…

    “How will you protect your culture if you do not support EVERY individual’s culture?”

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  4. Ego and money are a powerful combination. But that’s psychiatry. No heart and soul. It doesn’t belong in medicine.

    Dr. McLaren believes psychiatry’s current model (or lack thereof) will eventually collapse. But I believe its collapse will be from its own weight, yet not from within –

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  5. I feel that McLaren hasn’t carefully looked at the latest literature on the biopsychosocial model. See for example the following relatively new (2021) article that describes how interrelationships among the three biopsychosocial factors CAN be understood because these factors can be conceptually separated, defined, and measured:

    Karunamuni, N., Imayama, I., & Goonetilleke, D. (2021). Pathways to well-being: Untangling the causal relationships among biopsychosocial variables. Social Science & Medicine, 272, 112846.

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    • This paper does not have a mechanism for integration of the various factors in B, P and S. For that reason, it is not a model in the terms demanded by philosophy of science. However, mainstream psychiatry tells the world that “Yes, we have a model, here it is, Engel wrote it in 1977.” That stops the criticism. But that claim is false, they don’t have the model because it doesn’t exist. So no amount of embellishing or fancy names or anything will alter that fact. These authors were trying to build a superstructure on a mirage.

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        • Dr. McLaren: In your comment here, what do you mean by “a mechanism for integration”? Can you define that and give some examples? In this interview, I really like most of what you say and also I agree with things like how the biological model does not make any sense at all and that psychologically people get caught up in self-sustaining loops. I also agree that medical students are brainwashed, etc., which is such an unfortunate situation. But to make progress, instead of completely denying the biopsychosocial model, what we need to do is to carefully examine what exactly is meant by biological, social and psychological factors in the biopsychosocial model (i.e., define them, etc., and see how they influence each other). For example, studies show that psychological factors (e.g. getting caught up in self-sustaining loops, which is about getting caught up in rumination, worries, etc.), brings about changes in body physiology as well as changes in the brain and these changes reverse when these psychological issues are addressed etc – this is even evident in animal studies. There is much more I can write about, and as I see it, clearly understanding these types things can take us a long way in understanding broader mental health issues.

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          • As a wise person once said, “Never attribute to malice that which is easily explained by stupidity.”

            To quote the Toe Cutter in Mad Max, “What a wonderful philosophy ya have”. There’s been a terrible accident, it must have been down to stupidity rather than malice? Especially when the State is prepared to “edit” the motive for that malice out of existence AFTER they have allowed matters to run their course.

            The Abraham test does seem to be the only method of testing what is in the heart, as opposed to what is in the head via the mouth. Verbal trickery a great tool for the frauds, not so good for the victims of those frauds.

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  6. Dr. McLaren treats people with respect, not like objects to be chemically fiddled with.
    PTSD is real, but it’s not an illness or “disorder”. Post traumatic stress YES, “disorder”, NO.
    If I bump my leg, I might get a bruise, but bruises aren’t “diseases”. The same goes for the psyche.

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      • In my 44yrs as a graduated psychiatrist, I was head of a unit authorised to receive detained patients for 3 yrs only. In that time, I dramatically reduced the bed occupancy and the mean duration of admission, to the point where it was possible to close one ward. Also, no ECT was used. However, my position was made untenable by, among many others, the nursing union who saw jobs disappearing. When I left, everything went back to normal. It is possible to practice public psychiatry with minimal reliance on detention but the forces arrayed behind the current concept of “mental disease” are enormous, there are untold hundreds of billions at stake, share prices, union jobs, professional jealousies (yes, that includes psychologists), and above all, the egos of the legions of academic psychiatrists who are making a killing with their so-called “biomedical model.” The one that doesn’t exist. And governments just go along with this, as long as it doesn’t get on 60 Minutes, they don’t care what happens. Governments cannot gain votes by being nice to criminals and mental patients, they can only lose them.

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        • You’ve mentioned several times that you never did ECT on a patient. That is commendable…but why mention it so many times unless you believe that it is inherently abusive to do ECT on anyone? And if you believe that, are you willing to stand up to your colleagues who continue to use it and continue to gaslight patients by saying it’s a very effective treatment with a low risk profile? That there are dozens of studies showing how effective it is and how many lives it has saved?

          I was abused by Psychiatry for 35 years including ECT 15 years ago, after which I was blamed for not “getting better” and slapped with a borderline diagnosis and then coerced into cocktails of increasingly toxic drugs including antipsychotics, when I had never been psychotic, I had been angry about what they were doing to me. Now I can’t even go to a doctor because they look at me like I’m crazy when I talk about being a psychiatric survivor and they make me do depression and screenings when I’m there because I’m limping so bad I can’t walk anymore, they to push Zoloft and whatever else on me and tell me I should pay out of pocket and find someone to do ketamine therapy and pay someone else on out of pocket to do internal family systems therapy while I get the ketamine when they have a basic cluelessness about referring me back to people that I have been very clear have abused me for decades and telling me I should give them what little money I have left probably for more abuse, and I can’t even get an advanced directive because I don’t have any family members so there’s absolutely no guarantee that more ECT won’t be done on me.

          Do you agree that ECT causes brain damage, and if so, how do we get Psychiatry as a profession to stop doing it to people?

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          • It’s not my intention to be confrontational, but I’ve spent some time on the subreddit, r/antipsychiatry, which is infiltrated on a daily basis by medical students in training to be psychiatrists. On a daily basis they confront psychiatric survivors on the sub, claim that survivors don’t know what they’re talking about, that the treatments are safe and effective, including ECT. This leads me to think that nothing is changing as far as the next generation of psychiatrists, and unfortunately, psychiatric survivors, despite the fact that they are the only ones with first-hand experience of the treatments, are outinely told that they are not credible sources of information, that they are misinformed and biased. There seems to be a very basic disconnect wherein people training to be psychiatrists don’t understand that psychiatric patients/former patients possess the most relevant information (because it’s based on first-hand experience) about the dangers of psychiatric treatments.
            I know that the new generation of psychiatrists will not listen to psychiatric survivors, so it is up to the people that they do listen to and do respect to to implore them to stop doing ECT and other damaging treatments. Or at the very least to do it after full informed consent is provided. I believe if anyone were given the full information about the risks of ECT and it was truly left up to them whether to go through with it or not, almost no one would choose to have ECT, no matter how much pain they were in.

            In my case, I agreed to it based on bad information from the psychiatrist who would recommended it. When I told him prior to agreeing to the treatment, that I had done some reading and read that many people experience memory problems afterward, he told me that he had never had a patient experience memory loss after ECT, and he’d been doing ECT as one of the chief psychiatrists in the hospital where it was done for several decades.

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  7. I have a great deal of admiration for Thomas Szasz, but I don’t think the problem is that he, as you put it, went too far. If anything, he didn’t go far enough. The so-called biopsychosocial model was not a mirage so much as it was a sham. So now you come up with this biocognitive model. What’s that supposed to be? The lesser sham? I dunno. I kind of think there is an equality among shams, and one sham is more or less equal to another. Thomas Szasz exposed the lie fostered by psychiatry, that “mental illness” has a “physical” existence. Had he gone far enough, psychiatry would be exposed for the fraudulent practice that it actually is. If “mental illness” is not actually disease, no amount of education is going to make its would-be “healers” physicians. Religion masquerading as science is still religion.

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      • Szasz, would not declare himself as “anti-psychiatry,” perhaps because he was not really thoroughly opposed to the medical model, and/or did not want psychiatry to be stripped of its medical license or legitimacy as a so-called medical discipline.

        Szasz’s right wing (pro capitalist) form of libertarianism blinded him from uniting (in the 1960’s) his profoundly valuable and radical critique of aspects of the medical model with the rising anti-imperialist, Black Liberation, and rising women’s liberation movements. This was a major missed historical opportunity to advance the overall struggle against psychiatric abuse.

        Where was Szasz’s critique of Big Pharma colluding with psychiatry’s growing proliferation of psychiatric drugging and their totally corrupt way of testing (with ghost writers and manipulated data etc.)? After all, apparently everyone has a right to sell what they want, when they want, and make billions of dollars at the expense of doing enormous harm to millions of psychiatric victims.

        AND everyone apparently has a right to declare themselves a religion, even when they function in reality as a dangerous cult. AND why not work with, and unite with them against psychiatry, because (in their ‘religious” view) psychiatry competes with their same base of potential recruits. Never mind the fact, that connecting the movement against psychiatric abuse with this dangerous cult, has created enormous obstacles (including being discredited by association), which still plagues our movement to this very day.

        Szasz was a complex historical figure who made major contributions to exposing aspects of the medical model, but he also had major shortcomings that limited his ability to have a much greater impact on ending psychiatric abuse. Unfortunately today, Dr. Peter Breggin suffers from some of the same type (as Szasz) of ideological and political shortcomings that now makes him much more of a liability to our movement than an asset.


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        • Your understanding of Szasz is spotty. As he put it, he was not anti-psychiatry for the same reason he was not anti-Catholic, though he was an atheist. He believed that people had the right to embrace any belief system or practice if voluntary.

          Many times Szasz wrote emphatically about the misogyny and racism of psychiatry, as well as the drug war. Germaine Greer called him “the great man.” Szasz was virtually the lone, and certainly the most prominent, voice in psychiatry opposing treating of homosexuality as a disease. (I attended a packed and enthusiastic venue in San Francisco when Szasz attacked the Dan White verdict.)

          Socialist countries have a horrible history of employing psychiatry oppressively, as they do other aspects of the state.

          Szasz also supported economic freedom for all people. He was a courageous man.

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          • Nicmart

            There is a huge difference between being tolerant of people’s right to their own spirituality, AND the existence of a highly oppressive institution. such as psychiatry. When it comes to evaluating and acting against oppressive institutions, a “live and let live” approach is a cowardly moral abandonment of principle.

            Yes, I would give kudos to Szasz for his stance on homosexuality and his related criticism of psychiatry. BUT I would hardly call his stance on the cold blooded murderer, Dan White, some sort of courageous moral high ground. This is just plain moral sensibility – 101.

            As to the so-called use of psychiatric oppression under socialism, your historical definition of countries that were indeed genuinely “socialist” would probably radically differ from mine. The Soviet Union, for example, was a “state capitalist” type regime when they used some of these oppressive means of social control.


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          • Nicmart

            You said: “Szasz also supported economic freedom for all people.”

            What if a section (or class of people) representing 10 percent of the population controls 70 percent of all the wealth in a country, and the bottom 50 percent of the society controls only 2 percent of the wealth?

            AND what if this same class (at the top) makes all the rules in society, that more often then not, totally benefits the interests of that same top 10 percent?

            Is this really “economic FREEDOM [my emphasis] for all people…”?

            It is these sort of very vague political platitudes (throwing around words like “freedom”) repeated by Right leaning Libertarians (like Szasz), that have no real meaning when tested in the concrete world.

            OR should I say, they really become political justifications for continuing all the enormous inequalities in a class based “*free*market” capitalist system.


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  8. Dr. McLaren; Thank you for your lifetime of courage, commitment, empathy, care, and compassion. For consistently challenging a system where in my experience, the apparent absence of these qualities, and injudicious use of highly toxic drugs, is detrimental to patient ‘care’ and outcomes.

    I found this podcast to be deeply moving.

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  9. Mental disorder is essentially psychological and that’s how it has to be assessed, that’s how it has to be understood, and that’s how it should be managed. Wow Jock- that’s just so lifted me up- like i knew you were good, but that’s like their’s nothing more real than that. That deserves this Jock- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOnde5c7OG8
    I just cant get past, or beyond, if its not Psyche-“Logic”,- How!, can it, make Sense!
    There it is , that’s the real of it, There’s no games with Logic.
    What is the concept of Logic?
    “Logic is the study of correct reasoning”. Logic pertains to all subjects, since people can reason about anything they can think about. Politics, the arts, literature, business, the sciences, and everyday problems are all subjects open to reasoning. Reasons are in answers, and answers are in reasons- answers heal people- knowing heals people- not knowing- not being comfortable in the knowing- or with the knowing- that’s what troubles people. Ya gotta know to be ok- hey, ya know.

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    • Logic is the study of valid inference. I use the concept of dual-valued logic pioneered by Leibnitz and brought to modern form by George Boole (a heroic figure) to build the basis of the biocognitive model. Trouble is, human logical processes are inherently biased, so we have to take that into account to build a model of mind, then of mental disorder. That applies to the political establishment just as much as to anybody else, the fact that they live in big houses doesn’t guarantee they make sense. But that’s the system in force now, that’s what we have to deal with.

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      • Why bother forming a model of a “mental disorder?” The term is already so biased and polluted it’s not worth trying to rescue. Why not simply help people identify what they want to change about themselves and help them find a way to do it? Or work to alter the known social conditions which create such emotional distress in the first place? Why not work on building a world that respects people’s mental/emotional condition instead of making diseases out of them?

        Humans’ biases will not ever allow for a rational “model of the mind,” let alone of “mental disorders,” in my humble opinion. It’s a case of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle brought to life: as soon as a mind starts studying “the mind,” the mind itself is altered by the process.

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        • “Why not simply help people identify what they want to change about themselves and help them find a way to do it?”

          I’ve often said I need a personal coach, not a psychotherapist.

          My central criteria for evaluating a therapeutic framework, medication, or any other type of intervention is: Did it solve the perceived problem?

          I’d go further than that and ask WHOSE perceived problem did it solve?

          I think current psychiatry is not solving individuals’ problems. It’s serving a capitalist system first: Generating profits. Affirming Big Pharma. Affirming a preferred social order capitalism needs to function smoothly.

          As pure capitalism (amost any “pure” system, really) tends to leave a lot of collateral damage in its wake, so, too, does modern psychiatry. It follows.

          Psychiatry has ceased to focus on the individual. It’s important to recognize the systems surrounding the individual. But, yes. Ultimately, therapy should be improving the individual’s ability to function & survive as independently as possible, often in spite of those systems.

          PS. I want a t-shirt that says “Dangerously Irrational,” written in 70s-style script with butterfly & flower art from the same era.

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          • “Why not help people identify what they want to change about themselves”…etc etc

            I am not wanting to seem a pest but there is an assumption prevalent in society right now that says people want to change who they are but that they maybe just don’t know it. They let out little telltale “signs” of needing to change…as if they are disassociated from their own body and their body has become a village informant to them, as if the person is a village idiot who does know stuff about their own body and its secret “signs”. In the onlooker this can take on a religious quality of speculating about the body in the way priests used to keep a close eye on everyone’s soul and its language of secret “signs”, portents that only a cardinal could decode or discern, specific blemiishes as if sins in the person. Therapy signs. I do not mind qualified therapists reading body language, but not Nanny Knickers who works at the grocery store, or Mr Know it all in the bakery aisle. Therapy has spread into common “rational” chitchat in a way that surgery would never be allowed to spread beyond its controlled environment.

            It becomes a form of intimacy to study “signs” in a person. But whst if the person is not needing to change? What if they are happy being who they already are? Is this refusal to change an even more glaring “sign?” of something worse or more urgently needing changed? A sin?. Is the refusal to change or obey the notion that the body has given “signs” of yearning to change, is this rebuttal a rejection of the speculators need to strike up intimacy in a lonely cold world?

            We are all grown ups. If we long for changing ourselves I think we can just get on and do it ourselves. Many people do not want to change. Rather they prefer to feel they are all sorted and perfect. But perfection is lonely. And so the search for intimacy comes through helping other people to change. But given that intimacy ought to be loving and therefore accepting of difference, if the other is expected to be not themselves but changed, then it cannot be intimacy. It is perhaps then a way for the critic or “sign” reader or change prompter… to AVOID INTIMACY.

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          • People who don’t want to change anything should be left alone. I was assuming we were talking about a person seeking assistance. I see no need for an outside “professional” to label their experiences as “mental disorders.” I think it should be up to the person seeking help to define what they want to change and whether or not a particular approach is of interest or appears to be “working.” I hope that is clearer. No one should be forced to entertain “help” for something they don’t want help with, nor should someone else be able to define what “help” looks like for a particular person.

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          • “People who don’t want to change anything should be left alone. I was assuming we were talking about a person seeking assistance. I see no need for an outside “professional” to label their experiences as “mental disorders.””

            You mean that if someone thought that I should discuss a decision I had made with a ‘therapist’ (not MY therapist), and I didn’t see a need that they should leave me alone?

            Or should they then, as a result of my refusal to speak, have me ‘spiked’ with date rape drugs, plant a knife on me and have a Community Nurse make a diagnosis of me over the phone, change my status to his “outpatient” and then call police to induce an ‘acute stress reaction’? You’ll talk to a ‘mental health professional’ now matey. 7 hours of interrogation and they don’t tell you that your under the influence of a stupefying drug whilst they intimidate and threaten you and your family…….. there’s a name for that but they prefer euphemisms.

            I mean, I know it’s criminal (s. 336 of the Criminal Code procuring the apprehension or detention of a person not suffering from am mental illness. 305A intoxication by deception, and ….. it’s a long list) but fortunately the Police simply refuse to perform their duty when presented with the proof, and allow the complainant to be ‘fuking destroyed’ for attempting to seek legal advice.

            You get left alone then lol. The protection of the law not available to the people police flag as being the property of liars and frauds. For some quack who does have the stomach for it to have an unintended negative outcome with you.

            I can see a problem when every decision being made in our community requires an ‘assessment’ by a ‘therapist’ before the citizen is allowed to proceed. Or is this reserved for only those more important decisions? You know, when your “potential for damage to reputation and meaningful relationships” requires that you have three mental health workers and two armed police drag you from your bed and throw you into a police van in front of your in laws and neighbors?

            “it’s okay, there not arresting him, just taking him to the locked ward of a mental institution for a ‘chemical kosh’ because he won’t talk and disagreed with someone. I know he isn’t a ‘patient’ and doesn’t have a psychiatrist [so doesn’t have a mental illness by definition of the Act] but the magic of fraud will soon see that rectified”.

            We need some legal mechanism to ensure people don’t damage their reputations, without some form of ‘assistance’ or as they call it ‘help’.

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          • Feral and Steve,

            Who says an individual cannot freely choose to belong to any religious or political affiliation they choose to?

            Who says an individual cannot freely choose to make a poor choice or mixed up choice that they do not feel any need to change?

            Who says an individual cannot freely choose to keep their diagnosis that they got from a professional, if they want to?

            An individual is free to choose to keep any understanding of them that they prefer.

            An individual is free to believe a shaman who tells them they are full of leopard jaws if they prefer. Does this make them nuts?

            Does an individual who is free to believe not in a shaman but a yoga practitioner seem nuts if they believe in balancing beautifully?

            Does an individual who is free to believe in a psychiatrist telling them a diagnosis seem nuts for wanting their free choice to prefer that way if understanding themselves?

            Do all these nutty people who have made nutty choices not get left in peace to grow through those choices? Are they not allowed to be nuts? Must we scapegoat them? Lock them up? Give them a little something not of their choosing in their cocoa?

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          • I certainly never said any of those things. What I DID say is that DOCTORS should not be able to tell YOU or ME or ANYONE ELSE what is “wrong” with them when they have no idea or scientific or even intuitive basis for their claims. I get frustrated when you claim I am saying that you have no right to choose your label. I have literally NEVER said that. I have said that no one ELSE has the right to label YOU (or anyone else) without your (or their) agreement. I hope the distinction is now clear.

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          • PS. I want a t-shirt that says “Dangerously Irrational,” written in 70s-style script with butterfly & flower art from the same era.


            On the issue of the need for a model of mental disorder (and the question of whose problem does it solve. Great point.) I once again borrow from Carlin.

            The difference between a manic and a lunatic is that a maniac will beat 12 people to death with a steel dildo. The lunatic will do it whilst wearing a Bugs Bunny suit.

            Whilst I understand how this perpetuates the myth of the dangerous mental patient (achieved with a verbal these days), it also points out how important the distinction between categories is….. NOT. It just makes the slander more difficult to deconstruct whilst the health of the individual being ‘treated’ deteriorates. And isn’t Carlin entitled to get in on the act as much as anyone else? hmmmm he does have a point you know lol

            I like to think about how the Community Nurse who I would never have spoken to realised that by slandering me (that is lying to police and telling them I was his “Outpatient”, and in possession of a knife [planted as ‘insurance’ against police shooting me whilst having me roughed up. I don’t think they were sure how I would react given the fact they had ‘spiked’ me with date rape drugs. Well, that’s what it said on the paperwork anyway. “unsure of how he will react on waking”]) that they would be much more likely to give me a kicking and thus make it more likely that I would speak to him and allow him to “verbal me up” on his fraudulent Forms. Not a lot of redemption for ‘mental illness’ when even the practitioners are only using it to harm people to make their job easier.

            Imagine, the State is still uttering with those fraudulent Forms 12 years later. I don’t think Perry Mason could defend the fraud on those Forms, though all they do is ensure they deny access to be allowed to question their fraud, and continue uttering. Which means I can’t get a divorce because I asked which set of documents they were going to lodge in the Federal Courts, the fraudulent set [“edited” they wrongly call them. It,s not “editing” to remove the ‘spiking’ and the lie to police to procure my person, it’s fraud] or the real ones?

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          • boans,

            “Not a lot of redemption for ‘mental illness’ when even the practitioners are only using it to harm people to make their job easier.”


            This extends to non-psychiatric medical practitioners. They have all become armchair psychiatrists, thanks to Pfizer’s “generously” donated GAD-7 (anxiety) & PHQ-9 (depression) scales.

            Endocrinologists, hematologists, gastroenterologists… All feel empowered to diagnose “difficult” patients as mentally ill, rather than admit they are choosing who is healed vs. harmed based on:

            1. Their own lack of competence in their field. If they can’t solve it, it must not be real.
            2. Whether or not they like and/or identify with the patient. Whether the patient is a “good” patient, according to their subjective standards.

            Psychiatry has introduced mass psychosis into the entire medical profession. Rationally, any medical practitioner should look at the PHQ-9 and think, “But this would diagnose overactive bladder as depression. It’s useless.”

            However, they WANT to believe that scale has relevance. They WANT to believe they can legitimately pass off this patient they dislike to another specialist. (This, of course, would not be ethical even if the patient was experiencing depression, anxiety, or even active psychosis. But they conveniently overlook that part.)

            My own personal experience over a decade and the experiences of friends & family leads me to believe that 90% of the time, psychiatry harms more often than it helps, with its DSM V & its plethora of addicting, useless chemicals which lead to a multitude of enduring side effects.

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          • This reminds me of a friend who had a problem with his throat, and who ended up in hospital as a result of bleeding. His self appointed psychiatrist on the ‘list’ for payment by his insurance company ……….. until the insurance ran out. The $200 handshakes stop, your out on the street.

            He was then sent home with a bottle of anti psychotics and not capable of doing much but dribble down the front of his pyjamas. His sister eventually throwing the ‘pills’ down the toilet, and he got better quite quickly.

            He put a 44 magnum to his mouth about a year ago now, and made sure that there was nothing for a psychiatrist to profit from. Probably concerned about ending up being used for ‘insurance extraction’ until there was nothing left to extract.

            Unfortunately he sent a text message to the wrong person (Bill next to Boans in the telephone contacts, and I only found out at his funeral), and instead of me going and finding him, his sister called around. Expensive clean up too, for the sake of putting his head in a wheat bag first.

            And the absolute mess our hospital system is in? It’s not the result of a lack of money, or that there aren’t some pretty smart people working within the system. It seems that the situation has got to a point where it’s more beneficial to make it a mess, and have government throw money at it for fear of loosing elections. The question of what they are going to do about the mess is always….. and I mean always, answered with a budget figure. They’ll match your 50 million, and raise to another 10. Like a casino lol, speaking of which the money laundering has been on hold while they repair their reputation with a free concert or two. Our government “totally obsessed with secrecy”, damning reports disappearing before anyone gets the chance to read them etc.

            I must say I was glad to see that it wasn’t about how rich you are as to whether you find yourself being ‘mental healthed’. Our Treasurer needing to flee the State before being referred by Police to mental health for ‘treatment’….. and of course this was a ‘private matter’ once his actions made the paper. Obviously he was aware of what would be done to him if he ended up having his ‘status’ changed. It was after all HIS government that had found the loophole in the MH Act and was exploting it for political purposes. Best he seek ‘healthcare’ in another State for his ‘Bipolar disorder’. Not that the ‘new mob’ have done anything but call them the government of cover ups, and then continued to conceal the cover ups once elected. Meet the new Boss, same as the old Boss.


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    • See my piece on “Why do we lock people up,” MIA 21.03.2022 . My critique of Szasz consists of two chapters in (2012). The Mind-Body Problem Explained: The Biocognitive Model for Psychiatry. He was, by any estimation, a seriously flawed character, full of contradictions. Despite the claims made on his behalf, he had no positive effect on psychiatry as it exists, I think he actually made things worse because it hardened attitudes all round. We’ll have to wait for history’s judgement on him but it won’t be as kind as he and his disciples believe.

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      • Niall and others

        Let me prefaced my following comment with this statement. Niall McLaren comes across as a well meaning critic of psychiatry with some partial truths about what is wrong with the medical model. If I ever encountered a psychiatrist (God forbid!) in a hospital or jail, I would much prefer it were him (and a few other writers at MIA) than anyone else out there. BUT, when it comes to proposing the way forward, there are serious problems and contradictions in his analysis.

        Niall said: ” Despite the claims made on his {Szasz} behalf, he had no positive effect on psychiatry as it exists, I think he actually made things worse because it hardened attitudes all round.”

        What should we make of this highly confused comment?

        First off, Szasz’s greatest accomplishment was his brilliant presentation of the “myth of mental illness.” Should we really expect it to have a “positive” effect on such a backward and oppressive institution, other than educating the public and other potential victims, and perhaps, creating conditions within psychiatry for it to begin to split apart and be rendered less able to cause harm to people.

        AND, the second half of Niall’s above comment: “…he [Szasz] actually made things worse because it hardened attitudes all round.” is simply a recipe for telling people to AVOID exposing the truth about something because it could potentially polarize people who become more firm in their belief system.

        So what should we conclude from this? That it is better to remain silent and NOT tell the truth about oppressive theories or practice, and essentially “bury our heads in the sand” and hope things somehow get better by presenting tiny “bits and pieces” of truth, with the wish that people MAGICALLY put it altogether somewhere and sometime in the future. With this type of approach in the historical account of political change movements, NO human progress would have ever occurred.

        Yes, Szasz’s shortcomings were many – as I outlined a few above. BUT his exposure (as far as it went) of the “myth of mental illness” should be UPHELD AND CELEBRATED, because it has helped create more favorable conditions for true anti-psychiatry (and anti medical model) activists to unite that struggle with other social justice movements for more revolutionary systemic change in the future.

        Niall can talk about the “profit” hungry drug corporations and the fact that psychiatry and Big Pharma have misused their “power” etc. etc… BUT he is not willing to ever identify the fact that ALL THIS is taking place within a highly oppressive class based – profit based – capitalist/imperialist system.

        QUESTIONS: 1) Can psychiatry and the medical model be fundamentally changed and/or eliminated (your choice) WITHIN the current evolution of modern capitalism?
        2) Are they (psychiatry and capitalism) so mutually dependent on the other, that their future existence and trajectory in history cannot be separated?
        3) Isn’t it beyond the time to educate people about the truth of this symbiotic relationship, instead of FEARING that it’s TOO POLITICAL or might somehow lead to more POLARIZATION etc.?

        For Niall (to knowingly) leave out this kind of analysis and fail to address these kind of issues, is MISLEADING, and sadly ends up essentially LYING (regardless of intentions) to the masses about what we are truly up against in this insane world.

        The “polarization” that Niall and others fear so much, is happening at an accelerated pace (for many reasons) in this country (and others in Europe), AND BY REMAINING SILENT OR HALF STEPPING WITH THE TRUTH, it will do NOTHING except allow the forces of oppression and MORE authoritarianism to get STRONGER!

        We can and must do better than this!


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        • I agree with everything you’ve said here, Richard.

          I only wish I’d been aware of the work of Thomas Szasz decades ago. Perhaps if his work hardened attitudes of certain people, that was a sign that he was correct, that he was exposing uncomfortable (for some) truths.

          I also agree that there is no way to separate psychiatry from the capitalist system. When I was younger, I didn’t see how any of what I experienced in the mental health system was political, but looking back, it’s easy to see it. The systems that are in place will not be made less harmful by “tinkering around the edges”, or, as you said, half-stepping.

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  10. Not quite sure how to feel about hearing, at age 55, after 15 years of psychiatry-induced disability, that there is no chemical imbalance theory, no personality disorder, no medical model. It’s not like I can bring this information to the people who harmed me catastrophically and seek recompense.

    And I don’t think the massive drugging of patients that happened as a result of the (non-existent) chemical imbalance theory can be blamed on the woman’s weekly.
    The woman’s weekly didn’t make billions off it .

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  11. Daiphanous, You say, “There is a chemical imbalance in me. My schizophrenia is genetic.”

    With all due respect, there is no evidence that this exists, and in particular, no evidence that it is genetic.

    Betram Karon often speaks to this. Here is one of his videos.

    Karon has talked about seeing the symptoms of what is being called mental illness. He worked with US troops during WWII who had become catatonic after sustained battle. I’ve listened to interviews where they talk about this. This was during the Battle of the Bulge, during the depths of winter. The German offensive had been halted fairly quickly. But then there was still the matter of taking back all the ground they had taken. So troops were out there in fox holes in deep snow. And they were saying that their greatest fear was that if they were shot, that they would not die, but that they would only be wounded and then that they would eventually freeze to death.

    So Karon explains that what we call Mental Illness is something like this. There is not any prior existing brain chemistry issue, or any genetic issue, or any moral issue. The supposed patient’s response to the situation is in fact perfectly rational and life affirming.

    The matter then falls to us to try and understand what in fact the situation is. and to help the party see that there is nothing whatsoever wrong with them or wrong with their response.

    My own view on this though is that this is only likely when a path of redress for serious wrongs can be established, so that the abused party can be publicly vindicated.


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    • With all due respect there is no evidence that we exist.

      Reality, in my opinion is A MIRAGE. That means any arguing over what may not be visible without a high power electron microscope in every individual’s quirky unique brain is a bickering argument that is itself like an illness.

      If a trans person can say they have chemical imbalances that come from hormones then who are you to tell them chemical imbalances do not exist? Why do we not just respect the self understanding the individual has and leave it at that.

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  12. Am ordering the book. Dr Mclaren what do you think of Nassir Ghaemi and his philosophy that there are essentially 2 psychiatric illnesses that are valid and fully amenable to treatment including medications:schizophrenia and manic depressive illness?

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    • How does he rationalize these as “valid illnesses” when there is no objective means to determine who “has” such “illnesses?” And by extension, how can these be “treated” when we are unable to distinguish those with the “illness” from those who have other problems or no problems going on?

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    • I don’t accept the term “illness” in relation to mental distress or disturbance, it begs the question of causation. I don’t accept the categorical system of diagnosis (see Chap. 8 of “Humanizing Madness” from 2007). I don’t accept that psychiatric “illnesses” are valid, i.e. they reflect the underlying reality, nor that the criteria are reliable; nor that they are the sorts of things for which drugs and ECT are the appropriate response, nor that these “treatments” are effective. Apart from that, Dr Ghaemi is a nice chap.

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        • When the Hoover Dam explodes in there will be a hundred or more catatonically depressed and psychotically manic people with no homes whatsoever and a million fit and healthy people shattered with instant ptsd. Beyond that event will be an enormous biblically global flood with Japanese style billious Tsunamis.
          Everyone will be touched by grief and loss. Disaster systems need to be ready and in place to pick up the pieces. Whilst I like much of what antipsychiatry is trying to do I feel BALANCE, whilst it is the least glamouous option, is always the most wise way forward. Essentially see it as being like two countries, like, randomly picked, lets say Italy and Ireland. The population of one wants traditional psychiatry. The population of the other wants antipsychiatry. Difference is to be celebrated. As it presents a free choice. Choice is BALANCING.

          Walter I like what you brought to the Arthurian table.

          I have to withdraw for a while.

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  13. Hello Dr. McLaren, I enjoyed reading your article and agree with all of it. I am a retired psychotherapist and still have hope of changing the mental health delivery system to rely less on drugs. Francine Shapiro discovered the beneficial effect of Bi-lateral stimulation of the brain, but she did not achieve the potential of this discovery. Conscious Rapid Eye Movement has a life restoring ability to dissolve the emotional effects of past traumas. She created an institution that graduates therapists who charge $100 to $250 per session. Yet REM is a natural state in the brain. One researcher called it a dishwasher for the brain. This needs to be available to millions of people at no or low cost.
    When I developed a Self-Help version of EMDR, I decided to focus on earlier childhood trauma. But the program has been used for CPTSD, panic attacks, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, grief, generalized anxiety, medical trauma and even Police, Military and Crime Victim abuse. It is my hope that my not-for-profit program can serve as a template and someday programs will be developed to address every one of these traumas more specifically. Meanwhile, word is slowly spreading that for many people this program is a life saver. Please take a look at the website, where it is downloadable at: Se-REM.com. You have a much bigger platform to initiate change in this system. Please write to me and allow me to give you a copy. I welcome your participation.
    Take care, David B., LCSW (retired trauma therapist).

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  14. Niall & James – you’ve done a good job judging by the comments section – many intelligent and responsive remarks. Since psychiatry started in the 19th century we have found a great deal of biological disorders mixed in with psychiatry – such as dementia, what we once called “imbecility”, autism, etc etc. These have gradually been weeded out of psychiatry and handed over to the department of neurology etc. This process Foucault refers to as “depsychiatricization”. Once we have completed this weeding out process we are left with folk who have some disruptions in their primary intersubjectivity; their innate ability to read and respond to others in their local culture spontaneously. The enactivists, especially the radical enactivists (Hutto et al), propose that mental health professionals do away with any efforts to “know about” their “clients” (or whatever word suits), and instead focus on developing their own “know how” skills so they can re-engage these people in their primary intersubjectivity. Seikkula’s open dialogue is a method – which he refers to as “a way of life” (2011, p. 185) – that has helped people recover from psychosis by facilitating the recovery of primary intersubjectivity with their social network (and vice versa). Subsequently, the University of Jyväskylä in Finland is conducting research on treating trauma, marital difficulties, and other problems using the same approach.

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  15. Yaeh, I dunno that the work in the Kimberley is going to be remembered with fondness at some point in the future.

    Seems to me that doubling the prison population, and setting up a 16 bed psychiatric unit to deal with people who may have legitimate claims to land might just be seen for what it actually is…… and it ain’t ‘medicine’ (phew, at least the Scientologists held back the forced sterilisations without parental consent clause. Not that it was going to be applied based on skin color). Those cute little puppies on the “Psychiatric Assistance Dogs” website replaced by Rhodesian Ridgebacks reminiscent of the ‘treatments’ in Abu Ghraib. Horses for courses I guess. As long as they don’t actually see what’s happening, then I guess it isn’t. And there’s nothing that the State can’t “edit” out of existence.

    Care to read a couple of letters I have here Jock?

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  16. What a lot of comments here! First, I agree with Diaphonous Weeping, in how can you prove that we exist? We could be a mirage or in my opinion, I could be just a figment of my imagination.
    Second, In my opinion, just accusing capitilism and the right wing is probably no solution to the problem. Yes, there is something going on between Big Pharma and Psychiatry, but also between Big Pharma and Traditional Medicine. We, so easily forget how much the liberals and the left wing actively promote “mental health values.” And, this is increasing, especially after covid. And, like most everything else, the mass media is assisting. I am not here to vindicate either capitilism or the right wing, but it is always a big mistake to not realize the influence of liberals and the left wing. I can’t see how socialism would be any better in dealing with this issue, except that maybe Big Pharma, Psychiatry, and Traditional Medicine would all probably be “arms of the government” which is a frightening thought.
    Fourth, it is true that each person has the right to choose the best way to live their life. It is each person’s right to make a path for him or herself and to make their own mistakes. (And I don’t like saying this truth, “even it kills them.”) That also means each person has the right to believe whatever they want to about their condition or non-condition. Not one of us knows or should know the path or purpose of another or interfere in that path or purpose. Each person must come to his or her own as to his or her own self-knowledge.
    Finally, in my personal opinion, the political solution is no solution. Activism and grass-roots and all that related stuff brings nothing. If we honestly feel this is an issue we must dispense with all this stuff outside of ourselves and look within ourselves. That is my opinion and that is why we continue to spin our wheels and everything either stays the same or gets outside. I don’t care what they said in that old TV Show, “The X-Files” “The Truth is not Out there.” “The Truth is In There.” that is inside each one of us. Thank you.

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  17. My other comment seems to have disappeared so I’ll say again that human rights abuses, which I experienced for 35 years, will keep happening without systemic change. Children, the elderly, the vulnerable will continue to be drugged, labeled and sectioned as punishment for not keeping inside societal lines of normalcy/acceptability.

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  18. And KateL,

    What you say is happening as California Governor Gavin Newsom and his Secretary of Health and Human Services Mark Ghaly are pushing through their plan to intern the homeless and subject them to court ordered drugging.


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  19. Sometimes, I think the discussions get a little cloudy because laws and morays can vary from nation to nation and even within a nation from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. This has a tendency to complicate interpretations and responses. And when you add on the layer that each one of us possesses our own unique belief system, education, talents, skills, etc. that can really complicate matters even more so. I don’t know the answer, but we need to realize that we all come from different places, as it were and may respond differently. So, I guess the answer is patience, understanding and kindness. No matter what, we sure do need a lot more kindness in this world. Thank you.

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  20. Hi Richard, I respect all your efforts stated in your post. Would you (and others), at least take a look at my website: Se-REM.com. This is a not-for-profit project that has a potential of changing mental health delivery in a profound way. I am interested in your (and other’s) feedback and participation.
    Take care, David B., LCSW (retired trauma therapist).

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    • “This is a not-for-profit project that has a potential of changing mental health delivery in a profound way”


      “I have little patience with people (who should know better) pointing everyone in the direction of *reforming* institutions and systems (like psychiatry and capitalism) when the real world evidence says they now belong in the dustbin of history.”

      I mean, I’m not going to ‘check it out’ but…… I’ve seen a lot of attempts to cover the stench from what is left of the Weekend at Bernies corpse of psychiatry being forced on it’s unwitting victims who are increasing in large numbers by the day. Mainly down to the ability to force ‘treatment’ on people in the community. The enabling of this type of human rights abuse resulting in an ‘explosion’ of ‘inmates’ [thought criminals, religious zealots, morally corrupt individuals, political ‘problems’, corruption complainants, etc pretty much the ‘crew’ selected by the National Socialists and their Shutzstaffel] who live outside the ‘prison’.

      Though always, and I mean always, living in fear of being snatched from their bed after being drugged without their knowledge for refusing to speak to their ‘procurers’ [they don’t like the term kidnappers, and prefer euphemisms such as ‘unintended negative outcomes’]. Anything justifiable in the pursuit of having such people ‘treated’. And I mean anything.

      And the effect of always living in fear of your State?

      Paranoia strikes deep
      Into your life it will creep
      It’s starts when your always afraid
      Step outta line, the man come and take you away


      Good news is, we’ve seen the results of walking this path before. And there’s huge profits to be made from war. As the suggestion for ‘strip poker’ by Boris Johnson at G7 shows. happy smiling people with the profits from Ukraine on the table up for grabs. Where next?

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  21. I don’t think that I will ever be convinced that political action is the answer to the problem of psychiatry. Also, it seems to me that socialism will be no better than capitialism, it just changes the locus of power; however, in my opinion, the power will be even less, as they say, in the hands of the people. The problem with all this is that there are as many variables as there are people. In my opinion, though, we do need to speak more about the damage that the drugs can do. However, we do face the problem that no matter what we say many won’t or can’t hear us. Right now, this world is full of discordant cacophany and sadly there are lots of angry people around about this and that. At this point in time, it is very difficult to be heard above the noise. But nothing lasts forever. Our time will come. We just need to develop a calm heart and patient mind. Cultivating peace and thinking in love and forgiveness wouldn’t hurt either. Thank you.

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  22. “I don’t know what’s happened to us, we fear individuality.”

    I wonder if this is the problem then why bother psychotherapy that requires another person’s presence and input?

    I think one of the problems is the western view of “individualism” is failing (which was created for production and wealth making of capitalism). Now, we are realizing that we need is a real balance of individualism and universalism of humanity in the person. We fear of universality. Just use “we” in a sentence in this comment section, and you will see people go berserk! even though everybody knows “we” is just figuratively speech word not literal meaning!

    The huge oscillating of high and low emotional dysregulation seems to me is high on individual and low of collectivism. And often, people recover during collectivism phase – with others’ support and love! and often we put people in hospital and increase their isolation that created the issue in the first place!

    Almost everybody who recovered from mental health agrees: the common denominator is love and acceptance. So in fact Dr. with due respect, individualism alone is the problem not the solution!

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    • Although, I agree that love is basically the antidote to the current mental illness system, in my opinion, love originates in the concept of individuality. We must realize that each person has a unique brain/mind, soul, spirit, body and each person has a unique mission, purpose, ideal, etc. to fulfill. One of the main problems with our present systms of psychiatry/mental health-illness and especially our education, government, and even healthcare system is that it completely disregards the individual in favor of some sort of fictionalized average or most to one size fits all. Until we realy begin to value the individual for what he or she is and the contributions that person is to make to society and the world, we will fai, be in distress and have many of the societal problems we have. No, it is not a panacea, but it is an excellent start. In fact, I can say that much of my recovery from what I experienced as a “patient” in the system has occurred when I have acknowledged and accepted my uniqueness and individuality. Much of my pain and backsliding has occurred when I think of myself as part of some sort of “collective.” In my opinion, each of one of us is meant to live and be as individuals and from that point we freely share and give our love. If we refuse our uniqueness and individuality, all we have is pain and anguish and are subject to any fad or trend that may be ill-concieved and painful to the body, mind, brain and spirit of each person. Although I may disagree with the Dr. on much, I do agree the solution does and will always rely with the individual. Thank you.

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      • The most rapid brain development is in the first 3 years of life.it is said that character is mostly formed in the first 7 years. In this “society” people have been indoctrinated into being workers/producers-human resources to keep the economy going. What if it was taught that, if you are going to have children-to love and teach and nurture them is your most important job? To instill in the child that they are loved and of value and help them realize and develop their talents. The family is the basic unit of society. It is there, I believe, that preventing mental illness is possible. My father was a Doctor-his career was his life, my mother was trained as a nurse -but then had 5 children, She was bitter about having had to give up her career-became an alcoholic . After a suicide attempt at age 16 they put me in a mental hospital where I was forcibly injected with Thorazine tied down, locked up-tortured. There are sadistic people that work in those places.That was just the beginning of 18 years in and out of the system with no where to turn.My parents(although wealthy) put me on SSI when I was 19 so they would never have to support me-my mother said I was “too sick” to be in their home as she descended further into her alcoholism I didn’t know what love was-only that I some how deserved to be punished for just existing.
        Where is love? I believe it exists-but my pain is all I seem to know.People talk -but I am always alone. maybe it’s brain damage from the ECT I was given.

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        • lookingUP, Very sorry for what you experienced. Yes there are sadistic people working in the psychiatric system. They claim to provide ‘help’ to someone in distress or emotional pain but their so-called ‘help’ is to label, disempower, shame, blame and punish instead. I’m thankful for professionals with integrity and ethics who speak out like Dr. McLaren.

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        • What you describe is just laziness on the part of the psychiatrist. As a “patient” I have seen that too many times and not just “psychiatrists.” Unfortunately, in some instances the only time a patient gets to see the doctor, either a “psychiatrist” or otherwise, it is to get criticized because you are not doing/acting like the psychiatrist, etc. thinks you should. Thank you.

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      • @Rebel.
        I agree with you.

        I am not born in the west and grew up extremely collective society (talk about mindforkery). If in the western mindset, depression is the best for defense against whatever life is throwing at people; in collective mindset, it is dissociation of the self altogether (you are erased for the masses). If guilt/shame is a thing in the individualism society; in the collective it is lack of empathy vs tribal. Maybe this is why life is not as valued in a lot of these countries.

        So I got you.

        I came here in the west and adapted quite successfully in my mental health but not without first breaking through the collective mindset but I also realized that thinking as individual to the extreme is not the solution! This is the biggest scam sold in capitalism society. The individual is so great and unique and such. Where in the collectivism, if you are in pain, you are shown a person who has it worse than you to silence you.

        What I am saying is this: we are individuals but also social/attached to others and we cannot really just run in life with one wheel.

        When a baby is born, they cry for attachment. We as adult we cry for attachment but we also need our space, selfhood, individualism, BOUNDARIES! and creative force but we also need others just as much TO LEARN, to challenge our mind, to become more conscious of our environment including others.

        it is not one or the other as it is sold to us. It is both and moderately and consciously.

        So I do not disagree with you at all. I am promoting moderation of the mind and its environment (environment including others – humans).

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        • Thank you. Actually, anything can be taken to the extreme to the detriment of either the individual or society or both. I am just uncomfortable with the word, “collective.” In my way of thinking, it is reminscent of “communism” and as a child of the “Cold War” I guess I must resist. Yes, individuals do need other people. We, as humans, can not survive alone. We are not meant to survive alone. But, it is my opinion, that we must meet each other as “individuals.” It is only when I am an individual and respect myself as such and I respect you as an individual, that a true relationship can really result. Thank you.

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        • dogworld,

          I found this documentary extremely enlightening in regards your comment.


          The Century of the Self.

          I think about the attack on the Capitol and these words by Freud regarding the First World War

          “the saddest thing is that this is exactly the way we should have expected people to behave from our knowledge about psychoanalysis” S. Freud. “governments had unleashed the primitive forces in human beings, and no one seemed to know how to stop them”

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          • Do you believe what the media is spewing out about the “attack on the Capitol”?? THAT is propaganda. The golden rule in practice in politics :”Who ever has the gold rules”
            The powers that be are simply working to pit citizens against each other -that is part of the Marxist agenda. Marxism has been taught in all the schools in this country- and the present “educated” elite are acting as programmed.
            Anyone who wants to think and reason things out for themselves-who believes in the conscience and granting freedom of choice to the individual is the enemy.
            Freud who had a Jewish background was an atheist. I believe, as he said,- there are dark forces at work people(at work in governments/organized religions/educational and medical institutions: through the minds of individuals having succumbed to the “dark forces” But
            they do not HAVE to control us That is why we were given a conscience and a will-the power to choose. Obviously Freud himself succumbed to the dark forces within himself ,his philosophy in life that caused him to make nicotine and cocaine his god, his refuge. The meaning of the word “worship” is: anything to which you give the highest worth. “Sigmund Freud was a heavy smoker with a 20-cigar/day habit. In 1923, a diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma of the palate was made, for which he underwent a lengthy ordeal which span a total of 16 years. During this period, he bluntly refused to quit smoking. Freud consulted many specialists (otolaryngologists, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, prosthodontists and general surgeons), during the course of his ordeal with oral cancer. He underwent 34 surgical procedures before his eventual death in 1939 through euthanasia.( It is possible that the lesion that progressively and very slowly eroded the splanchnocranial structures of Freud was not a bona-fide cancerous malignancy, but rather, the necrotizing effect of cocaine use that has been previously reported to be responsible for some massive facial destructive lesions.)
            I do not choose to listen to or adhere to any of the ideas of this man.
            I see people in their comments saying socialism is the answer. Socialism is a transitional state between capitalism and communism. Do you mean a Marxist, Leninist socialist state-or socialist state like China? “educated liberal opinion is today more or less unanimous in its agreement (with) Marx’s basic thesis” on the flaws of capitalism. But this is true only if “educated liberal opinion” simply does not care about tyranny.

            But Marxism in practice didn’t work out so well. Communist regimes produced the greatest ideological carnage in human history, killing more than a hundred million people in the last century. The seeds of tyranny were there from the start in the idealogy.
            The United States started out as a REPUBLIC-“a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them” A democracy is basically MOB RULE. The next step is communism.
            I am grateful, at least up until now, that in this country-despite what my parents-( who were devotees of the medical system) and what the medical (psychiatric) system ,false religions and abusive people have inflicted upon me through my own weakness and ignorance-I was able to run from it-and try to learn how to strengthen the damaged/weakened frontal lobe of my brain-which is the seat of spirituality, morality, altruism, the will(the power to choose), empathy and the conscience.
            Anything that damages/bypasses the frontal lobe of the brain will ultimately take away the individuality , the personality, the very being of the individual. Psyche drugs/alcohol/drugs in general-(prescription and non prescription) processed foods, certain forms of music and media-any form of hypnotic influence-which includes almost all media(TV is called the “home hypnotist”), city life, pollution, etc…….
            I have not had to take any drug for over 30 years-i live in my own simple home in a quiet/peaceful environment-lots of trees and singing birds a place to work and grow things .I still try to reach out and help others if I can despite my damage. I wanted to provide a place of refuge for likeminded people who need to heal- but I have found that most people do not want to face the truth , especially about themselves. They would rather drug/numb themselves through some addiction or just let the media mesmerize/turn off the rational mind -to somehow bypass their own reasoning powers to avoid the pain of trying to face reality(yes I believe there is reality. There is right and wrong. There is cause and effect-every (thought, word and) action has a reaction)People would just rather follow the dogma of some powerful leader/political or religious or entertainer To just go with the flow, follow the crowd trying to escape the reality of being responsible for their own choices. I was raised doing these things and have lived much of my life doing most of the above. I do not consider myself better than anyone else-I know there are far stronger/better people than myself-and I want to follow their example. I want to fight for something better, in my thoughts/words and actions. Something enduring that I believe I have had glimpses of.
            Laws-physical and moral are meant to protect us from what is harmful. We can choose to seek truth and find those boundaries. We don’t have to let evil take over. We can exercise the most important gift we were given-the power to choose. Choose good and not evil. And if you fall-get up and keep choosing good-you are worth it. There never was and will never be a person just like you. It is upstream but Love wins

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          • lookingUP

            Do you believe what the media is spewing out about the “attack on the Capitol”?? THAT is propaganda. The golden rule in practice in politics :”Who ever has the gold rules”

            Nope, I don’t believe what the media is spewing out, and to quote Chomsky

            “The media is to democracy, what the bludgeon is to the totalitarian state.”

            You write regarding democracy that;

            “A democracy is basically MOB RULE. The next step is communism.”

            In my State we have never seen anything that looks like a democracy then. We are ruled by an elite who tell the government what laws they require to be passed, and who use the ‘bludgeon’ of the State to deal with any ‘resistance’. The ‘mob’ would have their heads beaten in should they ever try to rule. A call for a fair days pay for a fair days work was met with a law denying the right of three or more people to meet in a public place without a permit from the State.

            I’ve no doubt this suits some people, and in fact suits many who don’t rock the boat. The same was true in National Socialist Germany ….. for a while at least. The most basic of Marxist philosophy seen there in the extraction of labour power and into the coffers of a select group of individuals. The way that came about, as I am informed from the media spewing out, was a process of gradual leading astray. First they came for the lunatics and no one said anything ……… so the grey buses got bigger in number.

            And it does seem to be the case in my State that the government has little respect for the people who elect them if they are prepared to turn our Police who are charged with the protection of citizens into a force not dissimilar in appearance to the Shutzstaffel who protected the interests of the State over the population.

            A report of corruption to police will require action to be taken against the mental defective/Jew/communist/terrorist making the complaint. Not that I have a problem with such places (my resistance beaten out of me by the State with 12 years of vicious gaslighting and the “fuking destruction” of my family and career), I just never wanted to live in one. My own government can not acknowledge this attack on me because ….. hey is that Neville Chamberlain I see? brb I want a selfie lol

            You write;

            “I live in my own simple home in a quiet/peaceful environment-lots of trees and singing birds a place to work and grow things .I still try to reach out and help others if I can despite my damage”

            You and I have a lot in common it would seem. I was trying to live in my own simple home and was introduced to mental health services because I wouldn’t speak to A psychologist (note not MY psychologist) at a clinic for a fee. Arrangements were made to ensure that should she demand I pay her money for discussing my issues with my wife and her family, I would be subjected to acts of torture and inconvenienced by having police lock me in a cage and force drug me. Kind of lucky someone noticed I didn’t actually meet the standards set out in the MH Act before they ‘snowed’ me (a term for what they do to basically all ‘patients’ on arrival at the reeducation facilities here), and that the ‘verballed’ Forms were nothing more than twisted slander prepared for later uttering should I try and complain.

            Anyway, I get it. These people have found a way to use the resources of the taxpayer for their own ends. Identify someone with a few bucks, and if they refuse to have electricity put to their heads, have police pick your ‘patient’ up and deliver them to a hospital for you. I’m sure they will open their wallets once they realise what can actually be done to them and called ‘medicine’.

            And as stated the Police will not provide the protection of the law because they don’t even have a copy of the Criminal Code anymore, and simply do what they are ordered to do by their superiors. Human rights lawyers? Kind of a misnomer that one, with no human rights what are they actually being paid for? I have a letter from Lawyers for Human Rights telling me they don’t actually help anyone who has had their human rights abused, and a letter from the Commissioner for Human Rights saying that they don’t accept complaints about torture, but will take a complaint should I be discriminated against by a baker who refuses to make my wedding cake for me and my ‘husband’.

            Report to the Ombudsman which…… well, the problem is that if the Minister authorises the acts of torture then a complaint can go nowhere. Despite Article 2 [3] of the Convention (must be with the lost Criminal Code that document?). And try having something done while your being force injected with a ‘chemical kosh’ and your ‘legal representative’ AND the statutory authority charged with your protection sit on their hands while it’s done.

            Still, we look at the footage of what happened all those years ago and like they told me about my delusional claims “they wouldn’t do that”. This a justification for not looking, and then they can make such a false claim. Wait, i’ll be back….. i’m sure i saw Neville Chamberlain walk past that door again…….

            And you know the people who annoy me most are those that say you need to be nice. People won’t help you unless your liked. Well, you know what, they aren’t human rights if it’s about being liked. If disagreeing with my wife is justification for torture and kidnapping then something has gone seriously wrong. For $200 of my money she has managed to have a psychologist who didn’t like my attitude to ECTs (due to her husband being a Shock Doc) dismantle my life. And all it took was a phone call to a Community Nurse who then calls police and lies about me being his “Outpatient”.

            I don’t want to be liked, I want to be treated fairly. This Community Nurse is a criminal who has harmed a lot of other people while these slanderers fuking destroyed me for speaking the truth. Nice to be able to bring the police on board with your criminal enterprise. Ask the National Socialist’s …. oh that’s right, you can’t. They got to meet Albert Pierrepoint.

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  23. You put your finger on the central problem, which is that mainstream psychiatry doesn’t have a model that can incorporate the various facets of human existence. All they have is a reductionist biological model which says that only biology counts. Sure, some psychiatrists pay lip service to the so-called biopsychosocial model (the one that Engel never wrote) but they don’t know what this means. How are psychological factors to be incorporated in a model that doesn’t recognise psychological factors? If you ask a psychiatrist this, any psychiatrist, they will simply stare at you blankly then change the subject (and probably give you the label “borderline”, even though practically none of them know what the border was or how the expression arose).
    They don’t even have a means of assessing people as individuals, I have stood in hospitals in half a dozen countries and watched nurses going through a check-list, ticking boxes and then handing the form to a psychiatrist who quickly scans it, maybe asks one or two brief questions, scribbles a diagnosis somewhere, writes a script and walks away, job done. That’s not psychiatry. This is entirely driven by psychiatry’s inability to deal with the mental aspect of humans, they don’t even have a model of mind, let alone a model of mental disorder, or personality or of personality disorder. And this they call the “science of mental illness.”

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    • “I have stood in hospitals in half a dozen countries and watched nurses going through a check-list, ticking boxes and then handing the form to a psychiatrist who quickly scans it, maybe asks one or two brief questions, scribbles a diagnosis somewhere, writes a script and walks away, job done. That’s not psychiatry.”

      Actually that is psychiatry today, and I have medical proof in my family’s medical records that both the psychologic and psychiatric industries are easily recognized malpractice cover uppers, and easily recognized child abuse cover uppers, as well.

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  24. If this is true then at least one of these
    doctors is MAD:-

    .”..Over 40% of Irish adults have a mental health disorder and one in ten have attempted suicide – MU, NCI and Trinity College research…”

    :…The researchers, 1. Dr Philip Hyland, Department of Psychology, Maynooth University, 2. Dr Robert Fox of National College of Ireland, and 3. Dr Frédérique Vallières of Trinity College screened people for 12 mental health disorders and asked them about lifetime history of attempted suicide….”

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  25. Here is a quote from a book by Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) (a philosopher famous for his work in “social reform’-described as one of the “architects of modern society’) “The Impact of Science on Society” written in 1952.(pg.61-62)
    “It is to be expected that advances in psychology and physiology will give governments much more control over individual mentality than they now have even in totalitarian countries. Fichte laid down that education should aim at destroying free will , so that, after pupils have left school, they shall be incapable, throughout the rest of their lives , of thinking or acting otherwise than as their schoolmasters would have wished…..DIET , INJECTIONS., and INJUNCTIONS will combine, from a very early age, to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers that be will become psychologically impossible.”
    It was all planned!!

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  26. Lookingup, You speak a lot of truth in your comments. I am of the opinion that the “isms” are basically like drugs, designed to to what drugs do; i. e. psychiatric drugs, alcohol, illegal drugs– numb the mind, the brain, the body. In many ways, “socialism” is the worst because it seems both innocent and alluring to a population who have become disgusted with present circumstances, i.e. capitalism. But we no longer really have capitalism now. We are beginning to border on an “oligarchy” which is what Russia and China have gone to— after their bouts of communism. The other thing we must be extremely careful about is our continuing criticism of psychiatry in negative ways. Psychiatry is no institution of angels, but sometimes we can so easily become guilty of the same behavior they exhibit. This is neither helpful or fruitful and in the end we lose—super bigtime. I applaud your no drug life of thirty years and that you live in a nice cottage with birds singing nearby. It is when we shead our anger, forgive our tormenters (psychiatry, etc.) and ourselves for our involvement in psychiatry that we can be free and hear the birds singing again. Not everyday do the birds sing for me outside, but they are beginning to sing more and more. Thank you.

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    • Thank you so much Rebel and Boans(and others) (and especially Dr. McLaren) for your kindness in reading and responding to the comments.I want you to know I read your comments and try to understand.Rebel you seem like a kind soul. Boans-I wonder what country you live in. You have been through terrible injustice-I hear you-and what happened to your friend who killed himself is beyond sad. man’s inhumanity to man. The heart of people whose consciences have been turned off -can be cruel indeed-incomprehensibly cruel. I pray mine will be more and more awakened to a higher way. I have such inner resistance to trying to express my thoughts and feelings -or share some info that strikes me as true. I tried for so many years-as I somehow survived to the point of starting to bring the chaos of trauma bottled up in my mind from years and years of experiences-jumping out of the frying pan into the fire over and over and over -as the old song goes-“looking for love in all the wrong places”..tried turning to my family (when my mother started drinking when I was age 2-after she had just had her 5th child-along with other circumstances -she decided I was a devil because I had difficulty adjusting and thus began my role in the family-bad and evil child to be blamed for everything wrong)-I tried to ‘connect” and communicate-hoping for healing /reconciliation-wanting to love and forgive-finding that anything I said was considered “hate,mentally ill,bad, abusive…”they would not let me out of the box they had put me in plus they had official mental health diagnoses(from my years of hospitalizations) to confirm they were right-nothing was ever allowed to be brought to the light the facade was never to be disturbed.I had been “cancelled” from all their family vacations/get togethers since I was 16 . I actually stumbled into a Hindu religion at age 16 after running away from the mental institution I had been incarcerated into by my parents after I had made a suicide attempt -where I was drugged up with Thorazine and when I resisted-was tied down , locked up and given more.It was actually a miracle that I was able to run away from there. The Hindu religion I stumbled into (a “temple”)in downtown San Diego,CA is VERY misogynistic(what did I know at age 16-completely traumatized and vulnerable-at least they took me in) There I was exploited(mostly out on the streets collecting money and doing slave labor year after year-unless I had a mental breakdown-at which time I was kicked out on the street and after going through abuse on the streets in that condition-would end up in a mental institution where I would have to go through the trauma of being locked up /drugged up-then released with no where to go but back to the religion-which was all I knew. I would have tried to leave sooner but my mother who was Irish and raised Catholic (plus was an alcoholic) would never let me go “home”-but would tell me to go back to the temple-and even convince them to take me back when they didn’t want me. There I would try to work off my bad karma(I was told I must have been very evil in my past life!)-rising at 3 or 4am everyday-endless chanting and doing what I was told. They told me my problem was that “I think too much”(you’re not supposed to think-just chant(interesting that in Hinduism/Catholicism/Muslim and other religious systems there is chanting on prayer beads as well as hypnotic music,etc.-which puts the mind in a state that by passes the frontal lobe-plus there is taught absolute dedication to some leader-guru/pope/priest or prophet who is “god on earth’ who you are to obey without question-DO NOT THINK FOR YOURSELF OR TRY TO REASON FROM CAUSE TO EFFECT-which you can’t do anyways from all the chanting/etc.-and in my case unending trauma) In the arranged marriage I later had at age 30-I was told by him that I was “too intelligent for a woman’-it was taught that women had smaller brains and were actually a lower birth (ideally a man should avoid all contact with women-she being an enemy that might drag a man down through lust and cause him to have to take a lower birth on the reincarnation scale.) I came out of that religion in my 30’s(after 18 years-and alone with 2 small children) because of trying to think-and I have been trying to think ever since!
      But I have to be honest-I think I am going to die from social isolation and loneliness-especially after losing my beloved daughter at the age of 19 from a car accident(actually from mistakes made in the hospital that caused septic shock)-
      After all-who can relate to people who go through so many experiences with no where to turn-it all piles up in your mind . I want to write a book-but my feelings that no one will care and the feeling that there is so much there it’s like an avalanche of memories that I have tried to process-paralyzes me. I have a lot of insights I want to share-hoping it might help even one person.

      We must connect somehow.

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      • Wow, I can’t imagine the pain of losing a child. I mean I know I haven’t seen my daughter or grandchildren for more than a decade, but I feel that somehow, they will be okay. Just as long as they (my daughter) don’t listen to the truth about what they observed all those years ago.

        Just a couple of points about Muslims.

        “there is chanting on prayer beads as well as hypnotic music,etc”

        Music is considered haram in Islam. “Music is the Quran of Satan. Dancing, clapping and whistling are his prayers” (Ibn al Qayyim).

        Which might seem like a strange comment coming from me, given my love of music. To me, it seems of little use to enforce a ban on all music in my life, if it serves as a distraction from what is in my heart. Consider the man who reaps profits from his visits to the Mosque during Ramadan, and who boasts that he will go to heaven because he didn’t eat a jellybean during daylight hours? I think sometimes the priorities might get a little confusing. It does however say that the test will show who it is that truly believes, and who are the hypocrites.

        Something along the lines of ‘they will make excuses when it’s time to fight. If you win they will speak of how their desire to join you was strong (and where’s my share of the spoils), and if you loose they speak of how wise they were in not joining you’. A little like the ‘bet each way’ of psychiatry lol. If it works, doctor was clever, if it doesn’t your illness is the problem.

        “plus there is taught absolute dedication to some leader-guru/pope/priest or prophet who is “god on earth’ who you are to obey without question”

        Actually Muhammad (saw) taught the exact opposite to this, that “there is no god but God”, and that you are free to choose, even make very bad choices.

        But I get why you might believe these things, and why organised religion isn’t for you.

        “We must connect somehow.”

        I wonder if we aren’t already?

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  27. I just want to reiterate that my comment or goal in life is not to say individualism is better than collectivist/community/familial/society or vice versa etc. Only that as I quote myself here from my initial comment: “Now, we are realizing that what we need is a real balance of between individualism and universalism of humanity in the person.” The key word is these two oscillating phenomena must be recognized in the person!

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