Psychiatry’s Medical Model: How It Traumatizes, Retraumatizes & Perverts Healing

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Before describing how psychiatry’s medical model traumatizes and retraumatizes—both overtly and insidiously—and before distinguishing genuine healing from psychiatry’s perversion of this term, I will begin by tackling the following question:

What Exactly is Psychiatry’s “Medical Model”?

Psychiatry’s medical model is essentially a disease model. While there are controversies about its definition—which I will return to—in common practice, psychiatry’s medical model consists of (1) diagnosing a person with a mental illness if the person has been assessed to have enough qualifying behaviors termed by psychiatry as symptoms, and (2) treatment consisting of eradicating as quickly as possible these symptoms. Unlike illnesses and symptoms in the rest of medicine, mental illnesses and their symptoms are voted in as such by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the guild of American psychiatrists and publisher of the DSM.

Psychiatry’s medical model traumatizes, retraumatizes and perverts healing.

Ignoring the voting issue—as well as the absence of any objective diagnostic tests—psychiatry’s imagined medical model approximates the model of the rest of medicine. In psychiatry’s medical model, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and schizophrenia are—like gonorrhea and cancer—seen as pathological conditions which are diagnosed based on symptoms, and medical treatment consists of eradicating the condition, with the idealized goal being the eradication of the cause of the pathology, and the practiced goal of eradication of its symptoms.

So, what then are controversies about the definition of psychiatry’s medical model?

Perhaps the most significant one is whether or not the medical model means an exclusive focus on biological causality and biological treatments. While psychiatry generally views mental illnesses as biological in nature—be it chemical imbalances (now a discarded theory), defective circuitry (current theory), or other theories involving brain and genetic defects—psychiatry’s medical model does not preclude the effect of psychological and social factors on biological functioning. Just as oncologists embrace the idea that genetics predisposes a person to cancer but psychological and social variables can trigger the cancer, so too does psychiatry’s medical model embrace the idea that psychosocial variables can trigger DSM mental illnesses.

The essential aspect of the medical/disease model is the designation of a phenomenon as a pathological one with treatment consisting of eradication of the pathological phenomenon or, at the very least, eradication of its symptoms.

It would surprise many people who are hostile to psychiatry’s chemical and electrical “treatments” to discover that they too may embrace a medical model if their approach accepts inattention, depressed mood, anxiety, substance abuse, and hearing voices as “illness symptoms.” Whether the treatment be antidepressants, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), vitamins, or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), these are not departures from the medical model as long as the goal is the eradication of the “symptoms” of “illness”/“disease”/“disorder”/“pathology” (or some other such term connoting defect). This is not to say that all “treatments” have equal potential for traumatization, as certainly ECT—which damages the brain and disconnects a person from memories—is going to have a more traumatizing effect than CBT (I will return later to the essence of trauma).

In one of the oddest wrinkles of psychiatry’s medical model, psychiatry officialdom tells us that their medical model does not necessarily mean that all DSM symptoms should count as illness symptoms. Specifically, psychiatrist Ronald Pies, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of the Psychiatric Times, in his article “Hearing Voices and Psychiatry’s (Real) Medical Model” writes: “Psychiatry also recognizes the cultural and religious context in which some people ‘hear voices’—and the non-pathological nature of such experiences.” Pies continues, “Thus, DSM-5 notes, ‘In some cultures, visual or auditory hallucinations with a religious content (eg, hearing God’s voice) are a normal part of religious experience.’”

Thus, similar to the medieval Catholic Church with respect to selling indulgences to expunge sins from one’s “heaven-hell record,” psychiatrists can declare an individual with DSM symptoms of pathology as not evidencing pathology. In practice, such “get-out-of-mental illness cards” are handed out with regard to (1) the political consequences of declaring individuals with such symptoms to be mentally ill (for example, preempting an attack on psychiatry by that group of people who hear God’s voice); and (2) if psychiatrists themselves have experienced DSM symptoms (for example, declaring their own inattention to a boring lecture as not a symptom of ADHD, though diagnosing their patients’ inattention to them as ADHD).

Curiously, despite Pies’ declaration that in certain instances hearing voices such as God’s voice are not evidence of mental illness, he next states: “That certain human experiences or perceptions (eg, ‘voices’) have a discernible ‘meaning,’ symbolism, or psychological significance for the patient does not mean they have no neuropathological etiology.” So, according to Pies, hearing God’s voice can be meaningful and “non-pathological” but still have a “neuropathological etiology.” The logic here, if there is any, escapes me.

On an intellectual level, psychiatry’s medical model is hypocritical and confusing, so much so that psychiatrists’ explanations can appear to non-psychiatrists as “grossly disorganized speech” (a DSM symptom of schizophrenia).

However, on a political level, psychiatry’s medical/disease model can be summed up rather easily: Psychiatry believes it knows the symptoms of mental illness, and when psychiatrists declare that individuals have a mental illness, psychiatry’s ideal goal is to eradicate the cause of the illness, and its practiced goal is to eradicate the symptoms of the illness.

How Does Psychiatry’s Medical Model Insidiously Retraumatize?

While psychiatric “treatments” such as ECT, surgical lobotomies, and chemical lobotomies are overtly traumatizing, the focus in this article is on the traumatizing effects of psychiatric “diagnoses.” And while it is obviously traumatizing to pathologize—as psychiatry has done—normal sexualities (such as homosexuality and bisexuality), normal temperaments (such as introversion and anti-authoritarianism), or other aspects of people’s essential nature, there is a more insidious way that all psychiatric “diagnoses” routinely traumatize.

When healthcare professionals—and this includes not only psychiatrists but primary care physicians, psychologists, and other mental health professionals—communicate to their patients the idea that their patients’ inattention, depressed mood, anxiety, substance abuse, hearing voices are “symptoms” of “mental illness,” and when patients accept a mental illness/disorder/pathology/defect label, they will be traumatized or retraumatized.

I say retraumatized because these so-called “symptoms” are not evidence of an illness/disease/disorder/pathology/defect but often are simply coping mechanisms for traumatic events; in other words, fight/flight/freeze mechanisms in reaction to violations—coping mechanisms that have become habituated and become counterproductive and dissatisfying with respect to current navigation and enjoyment of life.

The definition of trauma is controversial, but I believe that the essence of trauma is in the disconnection reaction to an event. The event may be an obviously horrific violation such as rape or lobotomy, but a physical violation is not necessary for traumatization. While a child can develop the coping mechanism of inattention in response to an abusive family, I have talked to many young people whose inattention was a coping mechanism in response to their coercive schooling which was oppressive for them. We are traumatized to the extent that the event results in the reaction of disconnection, specifically a disconnection from essential truths—including the truth of who or what violated our being, from the truth of our being, and from other truths including sociopolitical ones.

Owing to many variables—including the absence or presence of support and protection—we will be more or less vulnerable to disconnection.

If I were ten years old and a psychiatrist told me that my often arguing with adults, often refusing to comply with adults’ requests or rules, often irritating adults, and often being irritated by adults were symptoms of the mental illness of oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), and if I had no support or capacity to protect myself from this “diagnosis”—and then internalized this pathology identity—I would be traumatized. If I accepted the idea that I was mentally ill, I would be disconnected from the truth of exactly what was threatening me, the truth of my being, and the truth of why I was engaging in those behaviors that psychiatry calls “symptoms” of a “disorder.” If I accepted the psychiatrist as a legitimate scientific authority, I would also be disconnected from the truth of the essence of psychiatry. In contrast, if I was told today as an adult by a psychiatrist that because I refused to comply with illegitimate authorities that I had ODD or “authority issues,” I would be too busy laughing to be traumatized by such bullshit.

Psychiatry traumatized millions of homosexual individuals who accepted psychiatry’s “diagnosis” that they were mentally ill because of their homosexuality (with many of these individuals also traumatized via “treatments” that included ECT, castration, lobotomy and, more commonly, “aversion therapy,” in which electric shock to the genitals and/or nausea-inducing drugs were administered simultaneously with the presentation of homoerotic stimuli). However, psychiatry did not traumatize writer Gore Vidal (1925-2012) because he was confident at an early age that his homosexuality was a perfectly normal human variation and that his society had a bigoted and intolerant view of homosexuality—and he was confident that psychiatry was perfectly full of shit, which stripped psychiatry from power to traumatize him.

Psychiatry’s Perversion of Healing

Healing: Our Path from Mental Illness to Mental Health (2022) is the title of a recently published book by psychiatrist Thomas Insel, former director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The original title of this book, according to the New York Times, was Recovery: Healing the Crisis of Care in American Mental Health, and so it is no surprise that Insel uses the word healing synonymously with recovery—specifically, recovery from mental illness to mental health. And the following example from Insel’s book reveals how, for psychiatry, major “symptoms” of mental illness are behaviors which create tension for authorities, and that mental health is a state that does not create tension for authorities.

Insel tells us, “When my son showed every sign of ADHD,” he and his wife initially tried non-medication methods that were unsuccessful, but then a “child psychiatrist friend recommended a pilot trial of methylphenidate (sold under the trade name Ritalin).” After Insel’s son was given Ritalin, Insel reports, “Within a few hours we watched our whirling dervish slow down, put away his toys, and begin to listen for the first time. We were stunned. But our son was unimpressed. We asked him about the medication a week later. His response remains one of the most convincing statements I have ever heard about psychopharmacology.” Insel’s son’s response? “Doesn’t do much for me, Dad, but it makes everybody else a lot nicer.” For Insel, that may be healing but not by my definition of it.

There are of course psychiatric patients who state that acquiring a psychiatric diagnosis and receiving biochemical-electrical treatments helped them feel better. For some people, it can “feel better” to accept a socially acceptable label of defectiveness (be that label one of sinner or mentally ill) and then comply with the procedures of authorities (be they clergy or doctors). There is the “feeling better” relief that comes from being believing that one has become more socially acceptable; and for some people, their biochemical-electrical treatments can numb their pain (or function as a placebo that fulfills their expectations of pain relief). All of this, for some people, can “feel better,” at least initially.

The experience that some people report of “feeling better” following their acceptance of a psychiatric diagnosis and compliance with treatment is not synonymous with healing. Healing is about reconnecting and becoming more whole. In our culture, many people have never experienced the pleasure and power of truly healing, and so they cannot make this distinction. In a sane society, mental health professionals would know the difference, but we do not live in a sane society.

Among mental health professionals, it is especially common for psychiatrists—because of their medical schooling socialization—not to make this distinction between “feeling better” and true healing. Those few psychiatrists who do make this distinction are likely subject to ostracism by their colleagues—and vulnerable to retraumatization. I say retraumatization because becoming a psychiatrist is—in common with substance abuse, inattention, and voice hearing—likely a coping mechanism to control pain, often the pain of a dysfunctional family of origin.

So, how does deconstructing psychiatry’s medical model and understanding how it traumatizes and retraumatizes help us to heal?

Being traumatized means being disconnected, including being disconnected from one’s own being, from others, and from other aspects of life; and the beginning of healing from trauma requires stripping power away from disconnecting violators. The stripping of power from a disconnecting violator is a necessary first step to reconnecting, but it is not sufficient, as it only opens the door to healing. The good news is that once the door is opened, there are as many reconnecting paths to wholeness as there are different human temperaments and cognitive styles.

***

Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.

73 COMMENTS

    • Joshua nails it again –

      “…the idea of “healing” trivializes people and their complaints. It’s how they get induced into discussing their affairs with psychotherapists.”

      EXACTLY!!!
      But have you considered using the word “seduce”, rather than “induce”?
      I think “seduce” better describes psychotherapy’s process of “mind f***k” –

          • Precisely. We must identify the real problem here. People often need help recovering from bad events, but they aren’t “diseased,” nor are the social conditions we allow and encourage something we should all feel OK about and be subject to “diagnosis” if we try to fight them!

        • Someone might need to recuperate from an illness or an assault, or to rebuild their affairs after a hurricane. But Recovery implies innate internal moral defect.

          In the 12 step programs this came specifically from the Frank Buchman moral rearmament movement. Buchman got run out of the United States because he was a Nazi sympathizer. And he was already denounced by the Roman Catholic Church. Bill Wilson does generally acknowledge his sources, but he declined to acknowledge Buchman.

          Then Buchman got run out of Great Britain and he ended up in South Africa. Then he was run out of there too.

          The last stand of his movement was “Up With People”, a conservative response to things like Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar, which usually played to captive audiences, like high schools.

          Today the 12 step groups are the spiritual heirs to Frank Buchman.

          Joshua

          • The term “recover” is often used in terms of injuries or illnesses. It is the assumption that a mental/emotional challenge is an “illness” of some sort in the individual that needs to be challeneged. And I would submit that many people need help “recovering” or “recuperating” from the assault on their lives and their integrity that psychiatry itself has perpetrated!

          • Steve McCrea says, “…many people need help “recovering” or “recuperating” from the assault on their lives and their integrity that psychiatry itself has perpetrated!”

            This should be shouted from the rooftops!

        • People’s stupidity and cruelty gets on my nerves. And DON’T be calling THAT a “disorder”. But I have to admit, jerks and sadists make me sick. That’s why I steer clear of the psych industry.
          As some people say, and they may be right, “God must love jerks. He made so many of them” –

      • If someone or something is bugging me, it means one thing – IT BUGS ME! And so what? It doesn’t mean I or anyone else “needs recovery”. So please spare me some therapist’s self serving compassion who needs to go back to school to learn one thing – school can be an irritating place, to say the least –

        One thing that never occurs to a lot of therapists is that sometimes figuring out why someone or something is bugging you is a waste of time. But it isn’t for them! Now why would that be??? Humm…….

        I’m not interested jumping on some (idiot) therapist’s “therapy” bandwagon, twisting myself into an emotional pretzel just to fund their “therapeutic” flavor of the month. And guess what? THAT BUGS THEM!

        • And school’s not the only irritating place. The world’s full of irritating people and places. It’s the world we live in. Big deal. The trick is to figure out a way to make it work for you, WITHOUT ending up in some “therapist’s office”, who’s gonna bug you more and drive you crazy asking stupid questions like, “Now, why does that bother you?”
          Need I say more? Yes. If someone or something is bugging you, STAY AWAY FROM (most) THERAPISTS –

          • It pays to be practical. Case in point:

            Psychiatrists: 95-99% stupid and cruel –
            Psychologists et al:
            40% stupid and cruel –
            40% stupid and nice –
            20% smart, wise, and kind –

            But all three cost you plenty, in more ways than one. So – what’s your best bet? Stay home and do crossword puzzles. You just might forget your troubles, and if you don’t, you won’t have lost much, and maybe learn some self respect, which is a lot more valuable than some (idiot) “therapists’s” crazy idea of “healing” –

  1. Dr. Levine,

    Thank you so much your excellent article. I think it’s fantastic and I hope some psychiatrists find time to read it. But I suspect most psychiatrists are too disconnected to see themselves in what you say – and you say everything that needs to be said about psychiatry and it’s farcical DSM. And thank you for pointing out the difference between healing and just “feeling better”, as all most psychiatrists do, imo, is retraumatize through diagnoses and then anesthetize with their drugs. And I’ve always sensed most psychiatrists are profoundly disconnected from their own uncomfortable feelings, which then manifests in their using social control over others, i.e. diagnoses and drugs. And I especially appreciate your mentioning that becoming a psychiatrist is just as much a coping mechanism as anything else, because to think like a psychiatrist, imo, means disowning, consciously or unconsciously, one’s own feelings. And this is why, imo, seeing others struggle is so offensive to most psychiatrists. It’s almost like they’ve developed an allergy to difficult emotions, and projecting these onto others with diagnoses and drugs acts as their safety valve –

    Thank you again and again and again,
    Birdsong

  2. A good exposure of what is wrong and oppressive with the medical model.

    “chemical imbalances (now a discarded theory)”

    While a few psychiatric leaders have publicly disavowed the “chemical imbalance” theory, it is simply not true that this theory has been “discarded” by the medical model.

    There are still hundreds of so-called legitimate medical online websites and clinical service descriptions of “mental health treatment” facilities that repeat a version of the “chemical imbalance” theory.

    And I would rightfully speculate that the unscientific theory of so-called “chemical imbalances” is repeated literally hundreds of thousands of times every day in psychiatrist’s and clinical therapist’s offices in the U.S. and around the world.

    Promotion of the “chemical imbalance” theory is perhaps the world’s largest and most expensive (several hundred billion dollars worth of advertising) disinformation program in human history.

    All this rivals “the big lie” about who won the 2020 presidential election. So many people, including Trump himself, have repeated this lie AND SO DESPERATELY want to believe it, that IT IS NOW PERMANENTLY embedded in their consensus reality.

    Richard

  3. “I have talked to many young people whose inattention was a coping mechanism in response to their coercive schooling which was oppressive for them.”

    This was my experience. Teachers regularly scolded and humiliated me for not following their methods to a T, even when my own invented methods resulted in the correct answers and in half the time. They eventually turned a straight-A student into a high school dropout. It felt like I was part of some twisted experiment designed to find out what happens when authorities punish gifted, creative kids for their unusual abilities and independence.

    Later I was repeatedly retraumatized by mental health professionals who don’t have a f***ing clue what creativity looks like, nor that whatever it looks like to their unimaginative minds, it isn’t a disorder.

    My own path to healing from both the trauma of my oppressive schooling and the added retraumatization the mental health industry foisted on me has been painful, arduous and seemingly unending. But your work is helping Bruce, so thank you.

    • Plus I figured out what they were talking about in minutes, or already knew about it, and yet we continued to ‘study’ the material for months!!! There was nothing to pay attention to. It was about as exciting as watching rocks eroding or paint drying. If it hadn’t been for daydreaming and doodling, I’d have probably done myself in by third grade!

      • No kidding. The irony is that smart kids don’t need to be coerced to learn. They are self-motivated and suck up information like a sponge, they just aren’t keen on being forced to sit still while the teacher tries to drill meaningless facts and figures into them.

          • When I dropped out of high school, I didn’t spend my free time smoking weed and playing video games, I went to libraries, museums and art galleries! Clearly I was still motivated to learn, despite the education system’s apparent campaign aimed at extinguishing curiosity.

            Bruce has written a lot about anti-authoritarians. At first it didn’t seem to fit because I wasn’t the classic rebel who mouthed off to teachers and smoked in the bathroom, I sat in the corner daydreaming and drawing. But I came to realize that in my own quiet way I was a rebel in that I always refused to allow anyone else to force their values and beliefs onto me, and while that showed a lot of strength, I still paid a high price for it.

            I had no idea that by seeking help from the mental healthcare system for my alienation and angst, I was jumping out of the pan and into the fire.

    • “One in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a wage.” -Buckminster Fuller

      Ol’ Bucky’s been gone for 40 years and is more right than ever. In our education system’s zeal to get results (read: good scores on standardized exams), it has so often handicapped the creative misfits who are capable of solving problems that others haven’t even noticed yet.

      IMO there is a direct correlation between our inability to solve humanity’s many looming existential threats, and how our education systems and healthcare systems act in lockstep to suppress and pathologize the divergent minds who might otherwise have helped inoculate us from those threats and other troubles that arise out of groupthink.

      As is often said in recording studios: “garbage in, garbage out.”
      You’re never going to get a good sounding mix if the individual tracks sound like crap.

      • Nikhto says, “I didn’t spend my free time smoking weed or playing video games. I went to libraries, museums and art galleries”, and, “I wasn’t the classic rebel…”, and “I had no idea that by seeking help from the mental health care system for my alienation and angst I was jumping from the frying pan and into the fire.” –

        I didn’t smoke weed or play video games either. Nor was I a classic rebel. But I did frequent libraries and spend hours reading. Museums and art galleries weren’t an option – way too far.

        From an early age, I sensed the mental health care system wasn’t the answer. Then a series of severe traumas happened (that I did not create) alienating me from myself. And any remaining faith I had in myself was further obscured by psychiatrists, therapists, and their dastardly psych drugs –

    • I can relate to what you say, Nikhto.

      Although my nursery school was great (lots of free play, sing-a-longs and story time), kindergarten and beyond were a shock. I didn’t do well until my teens, but then the cramming, regurgitation, and insane amounts of tests and homework did its own damage.
      And I was also shocked when I learned the DSM has its own “diagnosis” and billing code for what it calls “School Refusal”. That’s almost as bad as ODD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder. It makes me believe what coercive schooling starts, psychiatry finishes –
      Good luck to you, Nikhto ~
      Birdsong

  4. The problem is not with depression, death or whatever which is seen as non convenient. The problem are the convenient people who wants to get rid of psychological basis by using false medical empiricism, materialism in medical disguise to build CAPITALISM or whatever ego system without the proper attitude toward psychological reality. This is cult of cynical materialism, ego heroism, in which, psychological people are persecuted for the truth they bring to empty materialistic barbarians. And mental health of the physical people without character is the problem. Psyche is not physicality, it rules the physics. Medical empiricism is a road to nowhere. It is a business. Mental health is the problem, this is cult of empty consumerism and materialism without the psychological basis. Mental health is not sth good and pathology is not sth bad, in the first place. Thi sis not theology. And when someone use theolgical basis of monotheism to create a conevnient materialism without politheistic imagination, he is using God for satanic works. Even if it is beyond the monotheistic reality of being. It is a sin againts the psyche. Do not use monotheistic god to ban the psyche for building a capitalism/socialism or whatever cult of ego.

  5. The angels let me know that my many hidden fans were wondering about me.

    I am returned to tell my fans that I thrive.

    Thank you Sam Ruck for being lovely you. Thankyou to those distant supporters whom the angels know about and tell me of. I understand how hard it is to speak openly.

    Follow your own guiding star and listen to nobody but your own knowing.

    Know that I am aware of your goodness.

    I must leave to focus on my ideas.

    Love and more love.

    DW.

  6. Where to start. I hesitate to give a medical opinion but will anyway. So what does the DSM in psychiatry serve? Having a psychiatric diagnosis can absolve someone of a bad conscience. In that regard it serves a patient’s interests (if he indeed regrets something). So Yes, as the authors note, some patients are comfortable with a DSM label. At the same time, a DSM label can be used against a patient. For instance, because the patient has been diagnosed as unstable and a potential threat, the courts can treat him as such though he has committed no crime. So a DSM label morally can cut both ways.

    Like crime has penalties and these are circumscribed by the State, having a psychiatric diagnosis means taking one’s medicine — this at the discretion of the courts for a patient who rejects his diagnosis.

    So where does the hospital end and the State begin? When does the caregiver become the prosecutor? I have seen doctors rush from one role to the other without literally giving one thought for the rights of the patient. (Instead of jail, patients are condemned to years of forcible injections and with this the problems that come with exposure to powerful neuroleptics, metabolic syndrome, etc.)

    An interesting article. It raises so many questions. When does the evaluative authority of a psychiatrist become invested in convincing the patient that his troubles conform to a DSM diagnosed delusional system and are not real. A victim of online harassment can currently be diagnosed as bipolar two with ‘ideas of reference.’ This is gaslighting. ADHD can also have many false positives.

    Hello DW. Glad you are back.

    • I am not back per se. So I will make it brief. What do the DSM opposition make of dysphoria? Are the people with that condition not allowed to perceive their condition in ways that medicine can be helpful to? I am not taking any “sides” with regard to any of these hot potatos. I am just a bit autistic about any debates anywhere, about any subject, that seems to be coming more from emotional free choice but are perhaps embarrassed to own that. I believe our emotional free choice should be top of the pinnacle in society. But what happens is one sectors “consensus opinion” righteous idea of a choice gets pushed on another sector, or worse still, on individuals happily minding their own business and merely trying to thrive in their individual free choices. What everyone wants is not that “the world” be made “ideal” first “so that” their individual choice can be utterly enshined as good for that individual, but instead what everyone wants is to skip that laborious “fix the world first by changing everyone in it” bit. What everyone really desires is their own individual emotional wants and wishes and needs and desires to just be loved as much as they themselves love them.

      We are lectured into thinking we must must must change everyone else first before we can be who we are. That perspective can be an excuse to bully and it can be a waste of time, since mostly imposed change is bitterly resented. Imposed change seldom leads to wellbeing. The only thing the world needs is for humans to stop warring and instead prioritize their individual free choices as it is mainly these lovely free choices that lead to wellbeing.

      But some have as their individual choice a compulsion to rule the world by giving everyone a list of their ideologically perfect choices. MIA is clever to spot this about too many professionals but in my view MIA recycles an idea that there is a set vision for the world. This is not rare. It is breaking out like a rash in all campaigns but it risks developing into yet another “everyone gotta change” message. I am not so convinced it will ever work. So I prefer the vision to put you as an individual free choser at the centre of what matters.

      I must away now Dear Ones. I retreat now. Waves on the horizon.

      The global flood is coming. When I know not. A year, a decade, two decades? But it is coming for sure. Have a contingency plan. The world will be suddenly redesigned by nature not governments. Become a tin collecting preppy. Learn to anchor to structures, abseil and surf. Fitness will reward everyone anyways.

  7. I found the comment Insel’s son made regarding Ritalin interesting. “It doesn’t do much for me Dad but it makes everybody else a lot nicer.” Seems to me, given such a comment, Insel should explore his son views on how he’s treated. Maybe he’s more active that he naturally would be because he’s agitated. Maybe he agitated because people have been treating him in ways that are hurtful.

  8. Wow, great to hear this so well articulated. I now know I have been living with Complex PTSD. I’m 68 years old and have been having issues all my life. Misdiagnosed, mistreated under the “chemical imbalance” BS. Alcoholic. obese anger/relationship issues, anxiety, depression all treatment resistant under the medical model but responding nicely to drug free tools to uncover and heal the real wounds buried in the subconscious. Using the insights from Pete Walker’s book “Complex PTSD from Surviving to Thriving” facilitating healing with Hypnosis, EFT Tapping and many other drug free tools I am feeling better than ever, better than I ever thought I could.

  9. “Thus, similar to the medieval Catholic Church with respect to selling indulgences to expunge sins from one’s “heaven-hell record,” psychiatrists can declare an individual with DSM symptoms of pathology as not evidencing pathology.”

    Psychiatry and Catholicism have much in common: beliefs that non believers like me may consider delusional and a basis in sexism with historic predominance practiced my white male leaders. Both even tote a bible.

    Combine the two, Catholicism and psychiatry? Could there be worse mental torture? What the god’s phallus did I do to deserve this hell life?

    If your god is a man, your religion is sexist.

    When your “bible” is clearly written by men, it is not written by any god and is fallible.

  10. First, this is a very interesting article with a lot of important observations. Second, we must remember how much psychiatry, etc. has influenced our society and world, so that even mass media, all politics, government, education, all health care, etc. are now all suspect. We must also remember that if we see “lies” in others and in our institutions, it only reflects the lies we tell ourselves. I am concerned that Insel’s son sees that the effect of the drug, Ritalin, is more for those around him than for him. Actually, although I am concerned about the damage Ritalin could do to him, I am very pleased with his intense self and worldy awareness at such a young age. I think “healing” is a wonderful word, but it has been so perverted by many in the psychiatric, traditional medicine, and other health care that it has a) beginning to lose its meaning and b) if a person really wants healing they must go elswhere than psychiatry, traditional medicine and related health care. There are other avenues that really heal. Finally, I will addres the term of “neurodivergent.” At first, I was completely skeptical of it. I, still, wish there was better, more accurate word to use. In fact, at least some conditions addressed under the “rubric” of “neurodivergent” are not listed in the DSM at all. To me, this could very well prove their legitamacy. I have been concerned about the “neurodivergent vs. neurotypical” aspect of this. However, in an odd sort of way, it answers a lot of questions for those who might be considered “neurodivergent” and for their family members, friends, etc. I am still not sure if the workplace as we know it accepts all the different aspects of this. My other worry is that people who can be described by the conditions of “neurodivergence” will either get misdiagnosed as an alleged mental illness or might be subject to dangerous psychiatric, mind-altering which at the very least does nothing for them and/or could damge them significantly. In a very significant way, being diagnosed or self-diagnosed as one of the “neurodivergent conditions” is far better and gives more lucidity to someone’s life than most present alleged psychiatric/mental illness diagnoses. A few of these do end up as “alleged mental illnesses” but we need to be very careful to make those not described as “alleged mental illnesses” do not end up this way. We would lose a lot of uniquely gifted people if that became the case. Thank you.

  11. I overdosed as a youth. At hospital my limbs were shackled on a tilted hospital bed and a bicycle inner tube was used to wash out my stomach. Were the shackles needed? I know I would have thrashed and hit at the doctors who were trying to save me in that emergency. There were three other suicidees in the queue. The nurse was gentle. The doctors were stern. The process taught me never to do that stupid gesture again. Over the years I have many similar impulses but that initial lingering experience always gave me a brake on being so reckless. If the professional staff had been mommies and stroked my wrist and not been as they had to be I would not be here to be saying this. Professionalism does sometimes mean doing harsh things to save someone. I have no ire towards professionals for being who they are if this is accord with the highest good. I have never yet met a psychiatrist or psychotherapist or psychologist or nurse or doctor who was not just a human being to me.

  12. Great stuff – thank you for the write-up.

    Taking a step back, I would offer that perhaps our overall “medical model” is the problem – not simply psychiatry’s version of it. The western medical model is all but useless for chronic disease, focusing on symptoms rather than root causes. Some lucky folks with cancer end up cured, but you’d be hard-pressed to name another chronic disease for which a cure via western medicine is possible. Instead we treat symptoms, often quite marginally. That this sounds precisely like psychiatry’s approach isn’t a coincidence.

    Folks like Gabor Maté have convincingly argued that dis-eases such as cancer and autoimmune conditions are the result of childhood trauma – or more specifically, the result of coping patterns (i.e. personality characteristics) which were necessitated by the trauma. Treating the symptoms (e.g. joint inflammation in RA) doesn’t address causality at all.

    • terry.baranski says, “The western medical model is all but useless for chronic disease, focusing on symptoms rather than root causes” –

      I agree. Much of western medicine has devolved into a pill factory, and prescribing drugs makes most psychiatrists feel like they’re playing in the big leagues.

      By the time my mother passed at age 91, she had a shoebox full of questionable prescriptions. Since I saw so many in her age group like her, I started thinking of them as the “shoebox generation”. But now I think this applies to every generation.

      And thank you for mentioning Gabor Mate’. I wholeheartedly agree with his ideas about childhood trauma.

      I have found acupuncture to be very helpful for many things both physical and “psychological” –

      • And my mother wasn’t on any psychiatric “medications”. She didn’t have any so-called “psych problems”.

        Turns out you don’t have to be on psych drugs to have a shoebox full of “treatments” for this, that, or the other thing. Because that’s what western medicine is – pills and bills!

      • Hear hear Birdsong! Such a shame about the over-prescribing that your mother was subjected to. And I’m sure at no point did any of her physicians carefully examine any possible harmful interactions between these drugs. (Then again, we don’t have studies on drug interactions anyway – because why would Pharma pay for such research – so I guess it wouldn’t have made a difference.)

        • terry.baranski,
          You’re right. Her doctors didn’t mention drug interactions, or even side effects. But as for side effects, she was put on something for cholesterol and within a week or so it was as if she had full blown dementia. And I happened to read about this side effect from a non-medical magazine!
          A lot of the prescriptions out now aren’t as necessary as the doctors would have us think –

  13. Steve wrote:


    The term “recover” is often used in terms of injuries or illnesses. It is the assumption that a mental/emotional challenge is an “illness” of some sort in the individual that needs to be challeneged. And I would submit that many people need help “recovering” or “recuperating” from the assault on their lives and their integrity that psychiatry itself has perpetrated!

    Yes, this is true, some do use the word “recover” in this manner. I for one though am careful not to use it that way anymore.

    Rick Warren says that his Saddle-Back Church is a Second Chance Grace Place, and that “Everybody Needs Recovery”. So he has made this needing Recovery into the new Original Sin. And Original Sin has always worked like this, making yourself guilty of an offense, Rebelling Against God, which you never committed.

    Inspired by Warren, many churches have outreach ministries which target the poor. And they tell them what amounts to, “Jesus has so much pity for you that he wants to give you a second chance. All he wants from you in return is that you admit that it was your own fault for screwing up your first chance.”

    And so every chance I get I tell these ministries and their clients, “If someone has been treated with dignity and respect and allowed to develop and apply their abilities, then it is very unlikely that they would ever develop a problem with drugs or alcohol.” And I would add to this now the corollary that they would be unlikely to fall prey to the mental health system either.

    People need justice, not repentance and salvation. Serious gevenance should be addressed in a lawyer’s office. But the doctrine of Original Sin is based on this premise of universal guilt. Just like today Recovery is based on this is ideal of universal defect.

    So no, I do not use Recovery in other ways because that would play into the interpretations of those who promote this Rick Warren and Frank Buchman usage.

    Where I live, our County Mental Health Dept has all day long meetings with the evangelical recovery ministries, and then the director will proclaim that, “Recovery is at the core of everything we do.”

    So our Country Government is embracing Warren’s new version of original sin.

    Entertainment industry people get into trouble with drugs and alcohol all the time. But it is treated as a medial problem, not a moral problem. But entertainment people often have access to large independent income streams. It is only with the poor that chemical addiction is treated as a moral problem and a need for salvation.

    Joshua

  14. The problem is not with depression, death or whatever which is seen as non convenient. The problem are the convenient people who wants to get rid of psychological basis by using false medical empiricism, materialism in medical disguise to build CAPITALISM or whatever ego system without the proper attitude toward psychological reality. This is cult of cynical materialism, ego heroism, in which, psychological people are persecuted for the truth they bring to empty materialistic barbarians. And mental health of the physical people without character is the problem. Psyche is not physicality, it rules the physics. Medical empiricism is a road to nowhere. It is a business. Mental health is the problem, this is cult of empty consumerism and materialism without the psychological basis. Mental health is not sth good and pathology is not sth bad, in the first place. Thi sis not theology. And when someone use theolgical basis of monotheism to create a conevnient materialism without politheistic imagination, he is using God for satanic works. Even if it is beyond the monotheistic reality of being. It is a sin againts the psyche. Do not use monotheistic god to ban the psyche for building a capitalism/socialism or whatever cult of ego. https://btcmethplug.com/

  15. Great to see such a precise article. In fact I was having severe problems with retraumatisation from psychiatry and specifically sought out help and found this article. However, without hopefully disparaging the skills of the author here, by this point its well known, at least in these circles, what the modus operandi of psychiatry is. We need to take the bold step of just replacing all of it. In fact this now happening internationally – https://liberation-map.michaelzfreeman.org/ … There has also been talk of reparations and all that. I’ve felt a need for justice, even punishment of the perpetrators. That may come in time but the first step is to end these atrocities now or as soon as possible to stop anyone else being subjected to these horrors. It is happening. For example Argentina passed a law in 2010 (see the map) that sent abusive psychiatry crashing to the ground in an entire country. But how many of us have heard of this ? We need to hear more about these successes and how its possible to actually get rid of perverted psychiatry now and forever.

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