It has been 10 years since psychiatrist Thomas Szasz died on September 8, 2012 at the age of 92. During his lifetime he published 35 books, and more than 700 articles, most of which were highly critical of both the theory and practice of psychiatry, which has long claimed to be a legitimate medical specialty (See Szasz, “Publications List, 1947-2009”). Depending on who is speaking, Szasz was either the heroic liberator of the so-called “mentally ill,” or a vicious critic of well-intentioned psychiatrists who only sought to restore the “mental health” of the “mentally ill.”
While other medical specialties have not had to defend their legitimacy, psychiatry has spent the last two hundred years trying to convince both medicine and the public of its medical bona fides. In the last sixty years, this has involved ignoring, attacking, misinterpreting, censoring, slandering, defaming, and smearing Szasz and his adherents. From the very beginning, psychiatry has engaged in myriad ad hominem arguments as a means to discredit his ideas.
That psychiatry has been successful in its attempts to shore up its reputation is a credit to public relations and a discredit to valid scientific inquiry. For as Szasz noted decades ago, psychiatrists are simply the high priests of the ideology that he termed the “Therapeutic State,” which is supported by one of the most violent social movements America has ever known. Szasz’s comparison of the mental health movement with the medieval Inquisition in his book The Manufacture of Madness (1970) threw flames on the raging fires of psychiatrists who did not take kindly to being compared to Inquisitors. Like politicians who claim they never said something impolitic, psychiatrists ignored that they had invited this comparison by blaming the victims (the so-called witches) through retroactively labeling the witches as “mentally ill” and thereby excusing the crimes against humanity of their persecutors (the Inquisitors).
A decade after Szasz’s death, it is time to ask several questions: (1) Has the vast research enterprise of biological psychiatry proven Szasz wrong? (2) Was Szasz successful in changing either the ideology and/or the practice of psychiatry? (3) If his viewpoint was valid, and if he was unsuccessful, what could still be done to further his vision of a non-medical, truly voluntary, confidential practice of personal “counseling” in America?
The Myth of Mental Illness
Starting in 1956, Szasz begin laying the groundwork for his attack on psychiatry with a series of articles and one important, but often overlooked, book, Pain and Pleasure. His first book in effect dealt with the crux of his lifelong crusade: the mind-body problem.
Szasz has succinctly summarized the major themes of his work in at least three places. His short 1960 article, “The Myth of Mental Illness,” contains the seeds of many of his ideas that he developed throughout his career. The 1974 revised version of the book The Myth of Mental Illness (1961) contains a “Summary” with ten major points (pp. 267-68). And Jeffrey Schaler’s website Szasz.com contains “Thomas Szasz’s Summary Statement and Manifesto” (1998) with six points.
Since Szasz has summarized his views so clearly, I see no need to dwell on them here. For those who wish a more detailed introduction to his work, please see my article, “Thomas Szasz’s History and Philosophy of Psychiatry,” in my anthology, Thomas Szasz: Moral Philosopher of Psychiatry (Seattle: Review of Existential Psychology & Psychiatry, 1997, pp. 6-69).
Modern scientific medicine is based on the idea that disease is something that affects the body, which is based on the deterministic laws of physics and biochemistry. Yet psychiatry claims that human behavior that violates social and cultural norms is caused by something in the body or brain and is treatable by the ordinary means of medicine such as drugs, electroshock, and surgery.
Szasz believed that the concept of “mental illness” was a metaphor that became literalized due to the category error of applying disease to social, moral, and political behavior. The people who are labeled mentally ill do not in fact have anything demonstrably wrong with their bodies or brains, and the standards from which they differ from others are not biological, but social, norms.
Beginning in his teens, Szasz believed that psychiatrists do not act the way that other doctors do. In treating freely chosen behavior as though the individual was not responsible, psychiatrists have violated the major principles of medical ethics and proven themselves to be adversaries of the people they claim to “help.” People whose conduct deviates from social norms are not diseased, and psychiatrists are serving the role of the state in functioning as extra-legal enforcers of social mores.
Psychiatry’s history is quite distinct from the history of medicine. In Madness and Civilization, Foucault traced the origins of psychiatry to the establishment of the Hôpital general in Paris in 1656. These were not hospitals in our sense of the word, but rather public asylums for les misérables. Szasz traces psychiatry’s origins to the widespread use of private madhouses in England, where relatives would send their unwanted family members (see Parry-Jones’s (The Trade in Lunacy).
In his Preface to the first edition of The Myth of Mental Illness (1961), Szasz wrote that he had a twofold purpose:
My first task, accordingly, is to present an essentially “destructive” analysis of the concept of mental illness and of psychiatry as a pseudomedical enterprise….My second task is to offer a “constructive” synthesis of the knowledge which I have found useful for filling the gap left by the myth of mental illness (p. x).
The Pseudomedical Model
It has become commonplace to refer to the “medical model” of mental illness characteristic of psychiatry. But Szasz’s point is that psychiatry is a pseudoscience that has adopted a pseudomedical model.
In short, real doctors do not invent fake diseases and fake diagnoses. Real doctors do not violate informed consent. Real doctors do not violate patient confidentiality. Real doctors do not violate their patients’ autonomy and treat their patients involuntarily. Real doctors do not imprison their patients. Real doctors do not force medications on their patients. Real doctors do not shock their patients involuntarily. Real doctors do not operate on their patients involuntarily. Real doctors do not invent diseases to excuse their patients for criminal behavior such as murder.
If psychiatry had in fact adopted the medical model, it would do none of these things either. Yet psychiatrists do all of these things.
Since its founding, America has been subject to scores of social movements. Some, like the abolition of slavery and the civil rights movement to end racial segregation have been considered positive.
But others have stained our history. Craniometry, eugenics, and alcohol prohibition were once popular, but have now been discredited.
Phrenology was once widely practiced and nearly cost the world the theory of evolution. Charles Darwin was nearly rejected when he applied for the five-year trip around the world of the HMS Beagle. Captain FitzRoy was an adherent to phrenology and he told Darwin that he had nearly decided to turn him down him due to the shape of his nose (Janet Browne, Charles Darwin: Voyaging, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995, pp. 160-61.)
In The Mismeasure of Man, Stephen Jay Gould deconstructed several pseudosciences guilty of biological determinism, including craniometry, the hereditarian IQ movement, and sociobiology. In his Introduction, Gould writes:
The general argument may be called biological determinism. It holds that shared behavioral norms, and the social and economic differences between human groups—primarily races, classes, and sexes—arise from inherited, inborn distinctions and that society, in this sense, is an accurate reflection of biology. This book discusses, in historical perspective, a principal theme within biological determinism: the claim that worth can be assigned to individuals and groups by measuring intelligence as a single quality (p. 52).
In Not in Our Genes Richard Lewontin, Steven Rose, and Leon Kamin unpacked the reductionistic ideas of biological psychiatry and what Szasz would call its “sacred symbol”: schizophrenia. In the Preface to the Second Edition (2017) of their work, these scientists write:
Yet for all the intense research in universities and the gigantic pharmaceutical companies (Big Pharma), and despite the huge advances in genetics, the genes and biochemistry believed to cause schizophrenia and depression remain elusive (p. xii and xiii).
In my article “No Proof Mental Illness Rooted in Biology” (2003), I said:
Psychiatrists have yet to conclusively prove that a single mental illness has a biological or physical cause, or a genetic origin. Psychiatry has yet to develop a single physical test that can determine that an individual actually has a particular mental illness. Indeed, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders uses behavior, not physical symptoms, to diagnose mental illness, and it lacks both scientific reliability and validity.
In “No Evidence Low Serotonin Causes Depression,” Mad in America’s Peter Simons reports on the recent analysis by Joanna Moncrieff and her associates, and quotes the authors:
This review suggests that the huge research effort based on the serotonin hypothesis has not produced convincing evidence of a biochemical basis to depression. This is consistent with research on many other biological markers. We suggest it is time to acknowledge that the serotonin theory of depression is not empirically substantiated.
In “The Fruitless Search for Genes in Psychiatry and Psychology” (Genetic Explanations: Sense and Nonsense, ed. Sheldon Krimsky & Jeremy Gruber, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013, pp. 94-106), Jay Joseph and Carl Ratner point out the methodological problems of twin, adoption and family studies in biological psychiatry’s research on genes. While many psychiatrists have claimed to find a gene or genes associated with mental illness, none have survived scrutiny and been replicated.
In “Major Depression: The ‘Chemical Imbalance’ Pillar is Crumbling: Is the Genetics Pillar Next?” Joseph writes:
I have shown that family, twin, adoption, and molecular genetic studies have failed to provide scientifically valid evidence that genes play a role in causing depression. Combined with the recent findings by Moncrieff and colleagues that serotonin is not associated with depression, the idea of MD as a medical condition is in serious trouble. Psychiatry’s longstanding major depression chemical imbalance and brain disease claims used to support the medical model are now crumbling. The longstanding and related “depression as a heritable disorder” claim awaits its turn.
The concept of mental illness is a brand of biological determinism. It is the attempt to explain differences in freely chosen human behavior as deterministically caused by a disease in the individual that renders the person not responsible for their conduct. Since they are deemed unresponsible, psychiatrists claim they are justified in treating the person against his or her will.
As Szasz stated for many decades, “mental illness” is the ideology used to justify a myriad of crimes against humanity in which people who have not been afforded due process and convicted in a court of law for a specific offense and imprisoned for years, tortured against their will, and released only if they agree to continue to take “chemical straitjackets” once they are out.
Szasz believed that “mental illness” was not possible, that “minds” cannot be diseased, only bodies can. If medicine was to discover that some constellation of symptoms were to be caused by a bodily disease, then this would be added to our known compendium; it would no longer be treated by psychiatrists, but by regular doctors. The prime example of this is neurosyphilis.
It should not be surprising therefore that psychiatry has not been able to produce any credible, replicable, valid evidence that any “mental illness” has a biological or genetic cause.
Biological Psychiatry Strikes Back
During the 1960s and ‘70s, Szasz had a tremendous impact on psychiatry, politics, the law, and public opinion. A seminal 1982 New York Times article by Bryce Nelson was titled, “Psychiatry’s Anxious Years: Decline in Allure; As a Career Leads to Self-Examination.”
Nelson pointed to a “disillusionment on the part of medical students over the scientific validity and practical effectiveness of the discipline,” with the number of medical students applying to psychiatry falling by half. Nelson says:
As for the general decline in psychiatry, some blame the withering criticism the field has received in recent years. One of the most outspoken critics is Dr. Thomas S. Szasz, a professor of psychiatry at the State University of New York at Syracuse. Dr. Szasz has argued for years that “these things called mental illnesses are not diseases at all but part of the vicissitudes of life,” dismissing psychiatry as a specialty without a medical cause. “In the smoke-filled rooms,” Dr. Szasz says, “time and again I’ve heard the view that Szasz has killed psychiatry. I hope so.”
Psychiatrist Stuart Yudofsky told Nelson that “there was too much emphasis on social theory rather than on the biological and pharmacological triumphs of psychiatry.”
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)
Largely in response to its declining reputation in the 1960s, psychiatry had already been at work making itself appear more like regular medicine. This involved replacing many academic Freudians with biological psychiatrists.
In 1952, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) developed its own manual called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The first edition was developed chiefly with psychiatrists who worked in mental hospitals and was designed in large part to deal with many of the problems posed by veterans of World War II.
Like the first edition, the second (published in 1968) was spiral-bound and only about 130 pages in length. It was designed to mirror the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD-8, 1966). It added a section on “Behavior Disorders of Childhood and Adolescence” that included “Hyperkinetic reaction of childhood (or adolescence),” which “usually diminishes in adolescence.” In the next ten years, nearly 350,000 copies of this edition would be printed by the APA, indicating they had a moneymaker on their hands.
The third edition, published in 1980, marked a dramatic turn, as documented in Stuart Kirk and Herb Kutchins’ The Selling of DSM. This book ran to nearly 500 pages. The two-page section on childhood diagnoses in the second edition was now expanded to 64 pages and the number of disorders from 7 to nearly 50. The third edition sold 350,000 copies in only three years’ time. In 2016, STAT claimed that “Each edition of the DSM has sold over 1 million copies….”
The biggest scientific claim of the DSM III was that it had achieved a great degree of inter-rater reliability, that is, the likelihood that different psychiatrists would diagnose the same individual with the same disorder. But as Kirk and Kutchins pointed out, there were two problems with this claim.
The first was that they had to fudge to produce their result. For example, there are several different types of “Anxiety Disorders.” But if different psychiatrists diagnosed any one of the various anxiety disorders, reliability was rated as complete agreement. In other words, they enlarged the target from the small bullseye to the entire face of the target!
The second problem was that the claim for high reliability was false, despite many statistical shenanigans. In “The Myth of the Reliability of DSM” (“Challenging the Therapeutic State,” Part Two, ed. David Cohen, Journal of Mind and Behavior, Vol. 15, nos. 1 & 2, 1994), Kirk and Kutchins write:
No studies of the reliability of DSM as a whole when used in natural clinical settings…have shown uniformly high reliability….If, as the developers of DSM III insisted, an unreliable diagnostic system could not be reliable, there is ample reason to conclude that the latest versions of DSM as clinical tool are unreliable and therefore of questionable validity as a classification system.
In fact, reliability and validity have nothing to do with each other. You can have 100% reliability and 0% validity. And no versions of the DSM have been or can be tested for validity.
In order to test for validity, you would need to have a comparison test and there is none. Since psychiatry has never shown any mental illness to have a biological cause, there is no physical test to determine if anyone actually has such an illness. All diagnosis is done only from symptoms that are made up by groups of psychiatrists. Neither the DSM nor psychiatry itself have any validity.
Mental Health Insurance
Prior to the 1980 DSM III, it was likely that a person could see a psychiatrist or enter into voluntary psychotherapy without receiving a diagnosis. But the DSM III was designed in large part to meet the needs of insurance companies, who had been expanding their mental health coverage as a result of employee demand. It was cheaper for companies to grant expanded health coverage than raises, so many collective bargaining agreements ended with expanded health coverage.
The DSM III had given each “mental disorder” a discrete number so that insurance could be billed and reimbursement obtained. It soon became common for mental health providers of all types to give psychiatric diagnoses and to seek to collect money from insurance companies.
And mental health providers, their professional associations, and lay groups such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) began to push for state and federal “mental health insurance parity” laws. The major arguments used to convince legislators to expand insurance for mental health services were (1) mental illness is just like any other illness; (2) it will not cost anyone anything to provide mental health coverage; and (3) mental health treatments will save the economy money in the long run by increasing worker productivity.
Suffice it to say in brief that all three of these things are false, as David Cohen and I wrote in “Mental Health Insurance Parity Is An Empty Notion”:
The mantra of the mental health movement—whose major lay and professional branches, such as the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and the American Psychiatric Assn., have deep financial roots in the drug companies—has been that mental illnesses are just like physical illnesses and therefore should be covered by insurance. But mental illnesses are precisely not like physical illnesses in at least two fundamental ways: Their diagnosis bears no resemblance to diagnosis in any other branch of medicine, and mental patients routinely get treated against their will.
There is no doubt that health insurance costs have continued to increase, yet no one has even bothered to ask how much of this is due to the new coverage of mental health treatments.
In “Majority of Psychologists Dissatisfied with DSM, Unaware of Alternatives,” Ashley Bobak cites recent research that shows that psychologists’ attitudes toward the DSM have not changed in the last four decades. As Kirk and Kutchins pointed out, the American Psychological Association threatened to develop its own diagnostic manual if the American Psychiatric Association did not remove its claim that all mental disorders were biological in nature. The psychiatrists acceded, and the psychologists went along with the DSM. But Bobak writes,
Despite overall negative views of DSM, with concerns expressed related to the diagnostic categories included and its medicalization of psychosocial issues, at least 88% of psychologists surveyed use DSM at least once a month primarily for practical, billing reasons.
However much psychologists and other mental health providers may grouse about the DSM, they are still happy to use it, to collect insurance money, and to be considered part of a medical enterprise.
Is Voluntary, Confidential Counseling Still Possible?
It has been more than sixty years since Thomas Szasz laid out his twin goals of the destruction of the ideology of psychiatry and the mental health movement and the construction of the idea of a voluntary non-medical “counseling” enterprise.
In his essay, “Whither Psychiatry?” Szasz saw two possible futures for the field:
one is the neurologic-medical approach to mental illness, which, combined with the custodial, has become our contemporary community psychiatry; the other is psychoanalysis, which, together with the work of many psychotherapists and students of man, has become our quest for a science of moral man, or for a moral science (Szasz, Ideology and Insanity, Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2nd edition, 1991, pp. 227-28).
It is clear that psychiatry has chosen to continue down the road of force and fraud.
But Szasz saw in psychoanalysis, despite the many shortcomings of Freud and his followers, the value in seeking out the guidance of another person in dealing with what he called “problems in living.” He laid out his positive ideas in many books and articles, most notably The Myth of Psychotherapy (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2nd edition, 1988).
A few years before he died, Szasz was asked to contribute an article to an anthology called Existential Therapy: Legacy, Vibrancy, and Dialogue (London and New York: Routledge, 2012), edited by two British existential analysts Laura Barnett and Greg Madison. Since he had been cutting back on his writing, he demurred and suggested that I write the article summing up his views on existentialism and psychotherapy, which I did in my contribution, “The Existential ‘Therapy’ of Thomas Szasz: Existential, Yes; Therapy No” (pp. 127-40). Szasz himself commented on several drafts of my article, and chose the title himself.
In my conclusion, I wrote (pp. 136-37):
His own dialogical “cure of souls” can only be metaphorically—not literally—likened to “therapy,” and only with qualifiers. But if we understand “therapy” in his terms as the ethical practice of a philosophical dialogue, then I think it fair to say that Szasz has developed an exemplar of existential “therapy” that remains true to the principles of existential philosophy. He has, however, deliberately broken with all of the vestiges of the pseudomedical model. He wants nothing to do with the idea that psychotherapy of any type belongs within the health professions: “the psychiatrist qua health care professional is a fraud” (Szasz, Antipsychiatry: Quackery Squared, p. ix).
In his recent article, journalist Robert Whitaker has argued that psychiatry, as an institution, committed fraud with its promotion of the chemical imbalance theory of mental disorders, and called for a class action lawsuit largely based on the routine denial of informed consent (“Psychiatry, Fraud, and the Case for a Class Action Lawsuit”):
The chemical imbalance story of depression violated that obligation of honesty, and egregiously so. In lieu of information necessary for a depressed patient to give informed consent, patients—and the public—were told a false story that benefitted guild interests and the financial interests of pharmaceutical companies. In essence, a marketing story was substituted for a scientific one….A class-action suit would serve society well. It would put teeth into the legal obligation for doctors to provide “informed consent,” and for a medical discipline to provide society with information that met this standard too.
A class action suit would go far (1) to recover damages to those who have been harmed by psychiatry’s lies, and (2) to put a stop to further lies and further harm.
France faced a similar problem with a fraudulent doctor in the late 1700s. The King appointed a Royal Commission including Benjamin Franklin and the chemist Antoine Lavoisier to give a scientific opinion on the craze rocking Paris at the time: Mesmerism. After a thorough examination, the commission concluded there was no such thing as “animal magnetism” and that Mesmer’s “cures” could be attributed to the power of suggestion, or what we today would call the placebo effect. Mesmer left Paris in disgrace.
Ideally, the American Medical Association (AMA) ought to convene such a panel, since its reputation is also being harmed by the fraudulent claims that psychiatry is one of its legitimate specialties. Psychiatry is the worm in the apple of medicine.
But the AMA has in fact embraced psychiatry, with its general physicians routinely prescribing antidepressants and other drugs based upon the faulty ideology and research of psychiatry.
So it will have to be another group to put together the appropriate, unbiased experts to examine the claims and research of psychiatry and issue its report as to whether psychiatry not only has a valid medical basis, but whether this basis justifies the widespread violation of medical ethics and the routine use of imprisonment and torture.
I agree with Szasz and Hoeller with one exception. Problems in living can become so debilitating and impairing that people are unable to function in a healthy way and are severely ill. So the states of being and behaviors that are called “mental illnesses” are not just behavior that people find repugnant, off-putting, scary or immoral. They are more seriously impairing than that. Szasz didn’t pay enough attention to that fact.
I agree! Thank you Al!
States of being and behaviors are still not diseases in any objective sense. Any “impairment” is sociological (however “real”) and thus abstract. Physical damage resulting from destructive behavior or psychiatric neurotoxins can properly be called disease or illness, however.
Yes, “problems in living” can become utterly devastating. And a human being sometimes needs the help of another human being to get out of problems.
But look at what psychiatry/psychology and the mental health system are. A person goes to them (sometimes pressurised by others to go to them) in a moment of abject suffering, not knowing what to do. The person is desperate and all he wants is his pain to go away.
Whatever his problems may be (whether he is depressed, anxious, panicky, hallucinating, delusional, ruminating, has family problems or social problems), in a 45 minute session, his identity is permanently changed to a schizophrenic, a schizoaffective, a bipolar, a borderline, an ADD/ADHD individual etc. Medical records are made in his name which he has bare minimum control over. Family members are informed of “his condition”.
He knows nothing about what this will bring in the future. Social problems, legal problems, medical problems..nothing. He is just told that everything will be alright with a kind smile (till everything is not alright and those smiles turn to grimaces and the kindness turns into contempt). He does not even know the meaning of the word “gaslighting” till it happens to him and he searches for answers on the internet, because no one in real life understands anything. When he tells people he does not want to be psychiatrically categorised with such terms, he is met with condescension about how “many mental patients can’t accept their problems” as if acknowledging problems and being psychiatrically categorised are the same thing.
He is prescribed drugs which are a trap. If they are forced onto him, he is screwed, because he has no say in the matter, even if those drugs have simply removed one problem to replace it with another. If he is taking them voluntarily, the only way he can procure them is through the medical system, which means he will have to accept psychiatric categorisations, whether for insurance or other purposes, but he is always beholden to the psychiatric system and they always have power over him. He is reliant on the mercy and charity of mental health workers and family members who can turn on him in an instant when they want to. God forbid the man come from a family with less than good intentions and psychiatry will be weaponised against him.
When the man wants out, a smug POS person asks him, “Well, why do you go to psychiatry if you don’t like it?” when the guy hardly had any other options to begin with and now has no way out. When he tells a psychiatrist that his “help” is ruining his life, he is admonished and blamed for “not taking responsibility for his life” as if he brought everything on himself.
Slowly, the guy shells up. He is afraid of the world, afraid of his family, afraid of going to hospitals even for ordinary medical problems, he starts having panic attacks. He dare not tell a shrink or a shrink’s accomplices about this because he doesn’t know whether they will disease-monger about it being a part of his illness and make more observations on him and apply more categorisations on him. Basically, the guy is royally screwed.
This is not help. It’s a crock of horse manure and unfortunately many people (including those who end up as patients and their families) are too blind to see it. They are good psychiatric pets, and others are kapos for men and women who become psychiatrists/psychologists. They talk about “studies”, “brain research” and “science will find the answers” (by which time they’ll get rigor mortis). Unfortunately, many just die being that way. Other times, patients become psychologists and psychiatric nurses themselves to “change the system”, whereas if the system worked the “consumer” would have actually ended up being something like a pulmonologist or a nurse anaesthetist instead.
Honest human beings as individuals can help other human beings. A psychiatrist/psychologist and a patient will likely always just be a pet-owner and a pet-dog. It is not help at all. The relationship is not the same as a dentist and a dental patient.
Hello, I write because I need some advice.
What is better when you are at a dead end, when you are completely cornered by multiple drugs forced without consent and without wanting to tell me what they are?
You have everything against you, the family is the one who participates from when you were a baby being drugged until you were 50 years old. Without work, without strength, damaged in many ways…totally isolated, almost without support, alone and afraid. Exhausted and tired always…
Economically you can’t escape anywhere…
… What would you do?
It’s maddening to be in that situation. You need some community. Maybe you can find some on this site (or on chatrooms online). Write to some people with power. If you’re completely stuck in the system, you might need the help of someone in it to get out of it. There is a contact page here on MIA that has people who MIGHT be able to help you in some way. Can you apply for disability in your country? If you already are on it, learn something (plenty of online courses) that can provide you some sort of employment or just to take your mind off things. Even something small. Exercise. Diet. Small things in life to take your mind off things. Try to get away from that family so you have some sanity left. Stay away from places online that will make you feel even worse. There are LOTS of nasty pro-psychiatry guys online (people like your family, patients, mental health workers etc.) that will make you feel like trash. People with these problems, sometimes NEED to isolate themselves due to their situation. Nothing wrong in that.
You’re 55. Much older than me. You’ve made it this far. Just a little longer. I don’t know what else I (as a random guy on the internet) can offer.
I would also add that if you’re feeling differently at different times, it helps to write a journal. Just to remember how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking at different times so you remember things and don’t get carried away by feeling particularly bad at a given moment. It will help you to keep track of your life.
“….. Problems in living can become so debilitating and impairing that people are unable to function in a healthy way and are severely ill….”
**Could you perhaps give some examples of what you consider to be ‘acceptable functioning in a healthy way’, that are not based on social norms, political-economic requirements and culture?
With many thanks
Does it take away their severity if all are based on such things?
Problems in living I understand, Al, but there is no understanding the “sickness” metaphor. It’s like calling someone of Asian descent a gook. In my opinion, anyway. Then, are we talking about a literal “inability to function” or a misunderstanding between people? The “dysfunction” tag is insulting, and referring to ‘problems in living’ as “mental disability” is something of a complete stretch. Of course, now people have the opportunity to be “career mental patients” if they want the way they never had in the past. If any folk are desperate to be wards of the state, permanently, they can suit yourselves. As a disbeliever in “serious mental illness”, an atheist of sorts, well, I think some pasts are preferable to the future it looks like we’re headed towards.
Finally, as a last attempt before committing him permanently to an
institution, the Hazard family sent Rowland to Switzerland for treatment with the
renowned doctor, Carl Jung.
Rowland spent months with Jung where he received extensive
psychoanalysis. His physical health improved, and it seemed like his mind had
also. Dr. Jung declared Rowland cured and he began his trip home. But he got no
further than London before he drank again and remained drunk for weeks.
Broken and ashamed, Rowland returned to Geneva to Jung who declared
him “a hopeless alcoholic.” Deflated and depressed, Rowland pushed Jung asking,
“Is there nothing I can do?” and, Jung famously said, “I have only ever seen a rare
few of your type who were cured because they had a spiritual awakening”.
Rowland said to Jung, “But I have that; I go to church, I’m an elder.”
Jung then explained that he was not talking about following a religion but
that the rare cure required a “a spiritual disruption at depth.”
It was that interaction that enabled and touched the earliest part of AA—
or more accurately, pre-AA. Rowland left Geneva again seeking out a spiritual
experience and he found it in The Oxford Group in Europe. The Oxford Group was
an Evangelical Christian Group. Rowland joined up and had his spiritual
awakening. He made a commitment to the group and to helping others.
He returned to his family home in Vermont on fire with his new beliefs and
he began to proselytize, carrying this message of Christianity AND freedom from
alcoholism to his old friend, Ebby Thacher. Rowland found Ebby in jail and –note
the privilege here—made a deal with the judge to supervise Ebby for two months,
promising the judge that if he couldn’t get Ebby sobered up, they could throw
away the key.”
Ebby, got sober and reached out to Bill Wilson (co-founder of AA) who was in a hospital for alcohol poisoning. Ebby said God had helped him and he would help Bill, too. Bill resented Ebby but he couldn’t forget how his old drinking buddy looked and sounded great. So, Bill asked God, any God, if He could hear him, to help him. “I’m willing to do anything.” Suddenly, he felt he was lifted to a place of beauty, to a mountain top where a wind of clear fresh air blew straight through his soul. Only, he soon realized that wind was the spirit of God and he was transported in his mind’s eye to a place of indescribable beauty and he was delivered from the curse of alcoholism at that moment and never drank again.
I said that to point out that addiction is a mental illness, imo.
“So the states of being and behaviors that are called “mental illnesses” are not just behavior that people find repugnant, off-putting, scary or immoral. They are more seriously impairing than that. Szasz didn’t pay enough attention to that fact.” I’m not sure your comment makes any sense at all, Sir. “Impairing” to whom or who? To those who find them as you write, “repugnant, off-putting, scary or immoral”? What about the “behaviors” who are enlisted to “care” for these “repugnant, off-putting, scary or immoral” individuals? I believe that was what Dr. Hoeller so eloquently addressed in this article.
Hear, hear! 🙂
Yours is a ‘quiet part out loud’ comment that I find repugnant, immoral, scary, and off-putting.
Totalitarianism is not medicine
I would be honored to help, in anyway I can as an Illinois attorney, in the type of class action lawsuit that Bob Whitaker is proposing. There would be sub-classes, I think. I could recruit some plaintiffs for a couple of those (forensic and other involuntary patients and their families). Anyone who wants to collaborate in this, please get in touch!
I’ve got one hell of a state of IL case of 14 attempted murders, by psychiatrists and psychologists, all via various anticholinergic toxidrome poisonings – to cover up a “bad fix” on a broken bone and the medical evidence of the sexual assault of my very young child, for a religion. I’d be one of the many “widows” mentioned in the Preface of this book.
And one of the criminal ELCA hospital doctors I had the misfortune of dealing with was even eventually convicted … well, only for crimes against the state … by the FBI. But he did commit similar, but even worse crimes against other innocent patients, than i dealt with.
Are there actually ANY lawyers in IL who take cases against the psychiatrists?
Look into the Federal Code of Resident Council in public housing. Attended the International Academy of Law and Mental Health in Lyon. Some potential linkages to better information.
How on earth do you sleep at night?
I’d be really careful saying such things about these ‘inquisitors’ knowing that they can order a “Home visit with Police” (arbitrary detention with forged documents [‘verballed] for others to utter with should their be any problems) and an “acute stress reaction” (torture to have you open your mouth to put words into it). And the complaints process which results in an “unintended negative outcome” would ensure your “observable behaviour” (which is all that matters according to our Chief Psychiatrist, despite it not being possible for the ‘referrer’ to observe; ie it would require time travel and the ability to read minds) of publishing ceases.
Really appreciate the article Doc. It has ‘cracked’ something for me with regards the ‘diagnosis’ I received from a Private Clinic to allow the Insurance Company to pay the bills. This ‘diagnosis for a reason’ then released unlawfully (Federal Privacy Act) to the people who kidnapped and tortured me, and who then used that ‘diagnosis’ as a justification for their “observable behaviours” and their “after the fact due process” fraud presented to the Law Centre with their “edited” documents. It’s quite a con, to Shanghai (Blackbirding) ‘patients’ you know have received large sums of money from a report done by the Private Clinic into the hands of a waiting Shock Doc for wallet and wealth extraction. Mugging them on their way out the door, and with State resources used to aid and abet? Police dispatched to retrieve the documents proving what I am saying, to ensue the “editing” could also not be proven. That and the little ‘woopsie’ that was rudely interrupted in the E.D. by someone who “doesn’t have the stomach for it”. Sounds insane? It’s meant to Martha Mitchell……
The Minister for Health not having any concerns about this type of “editing” to make what was clearly criminal misconduct into what he would like to believe was a ‘lawful referral’ (I did ask if this type of “editing” would be possible with the Euthanasia Act he had just bulldozed through Parliament, his response was ‘get treated’) This type of criminal uttering with known fraudulent documents difficult to have anything done about when you are denied access to effective legal representation based on the fraudulent narrative that you are someone’s “Outpatient” (but we can’t tell you who your doctor is because of confidentiality [Shine Lawyers])
I might just quote you on some of this;
As Szasz stated for many decades, “mental illness” is the ideology used to justify a myriad of crimes against humanity in which people who have not been afforded due process and convicted in a court of law for a specific offense and imprisoned for years, tortured against their will, and released only if they agree to continue to take “chemical straitjackets” once they are out.
My crime? Being an anti psychiatrist (having read Szasz in the early 1990s) and speaking to a ‘therapist’ whose husband is a Shock Doc. My claim, when she tried to ‘groom’ me into the ‘treatment’ knowing I had been ‘paid out’, that I could do the same to a ‘patient’ with a ball peen hammer, but it just looks a little more brutal drawing the response of “my husband is a psychiatrist”, AND refusing to pay the ‘fee’ for ‘treatments’ once I had been paid by the Insurance Company (Money no doubt the ‘therapist’ considered her husbands right to extract from me with electricity after I had been ‘referred’….. that is arbitrarily detained requiring torture due to my refusal to speak to her [a right I actually had given she was not MY ‘therapist])
As you can imagine such blatant abuses need to be concealed from the public as it is not in their interest to know what forms of abuses are being enabled by the negligence, fraud and slander of ‘mental health services’ (most of the abuses I suffered coming not from psychiatrists, who could find nothing wrong with me, but from others concealing their abuses with the ‘diagnosis’ which had been unlawfully released from the Private Clinic).
The ability to label anyone in the community an “Outpatient” after they have been incapacitated with date rape drugs (which become their “Regular Medications” post hoc), and then request the assistance of Police with your “Outpatient” to have them open their mouth and put words into it to produce the forged documents with which to utter resulting in this type of conduct often called ‘care’
Imagine the power that comes with being able to drug him without his knowledge with date rape drugs BEFORE inducing an ‘acute stress reaction’ (resulting in a need to hit him with the chemical kosh [induced coma]) in this fashion, and then make him into an “Outpatient” whose “Regular Medications” were prescribed by a doctor who he had never met until 12 hours after he was drugged?
“If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say of this or that event, it never happened—that, surely, was more terrifying than mere torture and death?” Orwell in 1984.
The ‘after the fact due process’ via “editing” of legal narrative makes this more than possible. The ‘complaints process’ little more than a means to identify what needs to be “edited” in my State, with the denial of effective legal representation, or access to the protection of the law easily denied.
So be really careful if you ever come to Australia. I know they claim people are not ‘treated’ for their political views but ……… it’s fairly easy to ‘verbal’ the Forms and forge a fraudulent narrative which would justify you being returned in the same condition as Otto Warmbier…… that is ‘cared for’.
And I note that there were more than 27 identifiable ‘errors’ that occurred in the processing of my FOI application…. all with a negative consequence for me. Imagine the statistical probability of that? 27 X 26 X 25 X …….. and then I find out I’m not the only one? I’d be suspicious (as opposed to the “suspect on reasonable grounds” standard removed from law by our Chief Psychiatrist. Care to see the letter?) if that wasn’t the justification for incarceration and forced drugging/electricity.
Removed for moderation.
In his recent article, journalist Robert Whitaker has argued that psychiatry, as an institution, committed fraud with its promotion of the chemical imbalance theory of mental disorders.
What the author neglects to point out, and is at the crux of Szasz’s teaching, is that psychiatry does not simply “commit” fraud, it is fraudulent in its very essence, i.e. the notion of “mental illness” itself.
As for the three posited questions:
(1) “Biological psychiatry” is simply a pharma-serving extension of the original fraud of psychiatry, i.e. the notion that the metaphor “mntal illness” is identical to an objective disease. (Szasz mentions “spring fever” in the same sense.) Logically speaking, if “mental illness” is impossible and absurd, any purported “treatments” for a non-existent disease are just as absurd, no matter how “scientific.”
(2) What psychiatry’s “ideology” might be depends on the beholder I suppose. However if it were to take to heart the lessons of Szasz it would dissolve itself as a branch of medicine, if not entirely, since the term very term “psychiatry” implies the existence of “mental disease.” I don’t pay much attention to the “practice” of psychiatry other than to note its essential fraudulence in principle, and I doubt changing psychiatric practice or ideology was a main goal of Szasz, as opposed to critiquing the entire context.
(3) The only way to end psychiatric fraud is to discredit the entire foundation upon which the institution rests. Human interaction must no longer be considered a “specialty.”
People need to know much more about Thomas Szasz, especially at this time when the Mental Health Movement if exploding. CA Governor Gavin Newsom has gotten his Care Courts Psychiatric Police State law passed and support for this in the legislature was near unanimous. Most people believe that everyone is on some Mental Health Spectrum and that they should be disclosing their affairs to psychotherapist and that we need more psychotherapists.
Positive Disintegration, by Kazimierz Dabrowski, 1964, Intro by Jason Aronson.
Like Thomas Szasz, author of Myths of Mental Illness, Dabrowski rejects the medical model of “illness” for psychiatric disorder. Szasz’s definition of psychiatric disorder as “disturbances in patterns of living” is congenial to Dabrowski’s point of view, but Dabrowski regards slight psychiatric disorders as necessary for personality development and would not consider them wrong patterns.
Szasz in Hungary and Dabrowski in Poland. We here in CA and the US are using the concept of Mental Illness in exactly the same way that had been the norm in the Communist East Block.
People must wise up and start fighting back!
Great Article Keith!
Good comments in general Joshua.
Totalitarianism is the essence of “mental health.” Unwanted behavior is attacked as “unhealthy,” which helps mask the political nature of the process.
Very true Yinyang!
Thanks Keith. It has been a long time since I have seen you.
It was an honor for me to have had the opportunity to lunch with Dr. Szasz once when I was in Syracuse. He was completely as advertised. But the reason I am commenting is to mention my article, Why Clients Should Not Take Psychotherapists into Their Confidence,
ISPS-US Newsletter: Winter, 2006/2007, Volume 7, Issue 3. It is available on the web at http://psychrights.org/Articles/GottsteinOnConfidentialityInISPSNewsletterMarch2007.pdf
Nice Mr Gottstein,
Confidentiality is a farce in Australia, and there are those that know it, and those that don’t.
An example; I attempt to access documentation showing criminal misconduct by a Community Nurse……. and a Law Centre makes an application for unredacted documents which they have a right to inspect upon provision of a ‘confidentiality agreement’ (the documents are to be provided unredacted with the areas not to be released to their client highlighted and a reason given. In my instance the two areas were that I had been labelled an “Outpatient” before the Community Nurse called the Police to ‘assist’ him in causing an ‘acute stress reaction’ [a crime under our criminal code. Procure the apprehension or detention of a person not suffering from a mental illness 3 years prison.] AND that I had been ‘spiked’ with date rape drugs to incapacitate me, and enable a weapon and some cannabis to be planted on me for police to find. Long story, but they wanted it to look like a Police referral due to a lack of a right to make a lawful referral) As you can imagine putting in writing that they would like my ‘legal representatives’ to remain silent on these offences would……. you get the picture, careful what you put in writing.
So the hospital did what they called “editing” which consisted of changing the legal narrative to suit the story they wanted the documents to tell. Included in these documents was some particularly embarrassing information which had been dragged out of an archived file, and included in such a way as to release that information for no other reason that to character assassinate. Not that this wasn’t expected, when I pointed out to the person who did the “editing” that what she was doing was criminals she made it clear that the State would “fucking destroy” me and my family….. which they have.
This all water under the bridge though….. I manage to survive the vicious psychological assault on me, and still happen to have the documents which Police were charged with retrieving before the “edited” set were sent to the Law Centre. A bit silly leaving someone with documents demonstrating that you have provided fraudulent legal narrative to a lawyer (unless……. long story too).
However, in that time between me escaping the Police chasing me for the documents and me then turning up in a Police station with them….. (“your not meant to have these” “I could arrest you for having them” and a failed referral to mental health for my “hallucinations” because a psychologist had seen the documents and it isn’t a “hallucination” to claim you have been ‘spiked’ when you have documented proof of the event)….. major problem because the ‘cover up’ had already been done and here am I with proof of the cover up trying to access the protection of the law, while they are trying to hand me over to mental health to finish the ‘job’ of silencing me.
Point being that the psychologist who has told police when I turned up in their station with the documented proof of the ‘spiking’ (and arbitrary detention) and they had tried to have me referred, later claimed that the telephone call I had with him from the station “never happened” (it was obvious he was lying and we both knew it, mainly because he said he was afraid for his family. A favorite tactic here to go after peoples families).
The significant point here though was that this psychologist then began asking me questions for the police “Who else has got the documents?” Now I understand from your article that there are many varied situations where these people are breaching the trust and confidence of their clients’ (in fact in Australia I think that as a result of Lawyer X/Nicola Gobbo and High Court decision 47 of 2010 ACC v Stoddart “no spousal privilege in common law” the whole confidentiality notion is an absolute myth believed by the public, and known by others to be fantasy), but is it the case that the Police in pursuit of perverting the course of justice, and obstructing justice (ie covering up for ‘doctors’ up to mischief in the hospitals) should be allowed to use such therapeutic relationships to gain access to information they would otherwise not gain access to? I mean I get it that they are falsely calling people “Outpatients” and this opens up a world of opportunities for them in regards what can be done to citizens and concealed as ‘medical care’ (the chemical kosh, electricity, and well, sadly many don’t survive. Need more money for mental health and more legal powers for ‘early interventions’)
I ask this because they also had to have someone break into my ‘home’ and steal my laptop to find out who else I had been communicating with and who may also have viewed the documents which were of such concern to certain individuals, the people who are “editing” legal narratives and creating after the fact due process document sets, and concealing human rights abuses and criminal conduct by public officers..
The Police would have found it difficult to apply for a warrant to search my property given they were concealing crimes for criminals, and assisting to make it look like ‘medicine’. Not leaving a paper trail when your providing material assistance to criminals a fairly good idea, given the difficulties caused when your “editing” goes awry.
So not only is confidentiality being breached in ‘good faith’ situations (as in your article), it is being used to obtain information to conceal public sector misconduct, and criminal offences by police when they are asked for assistance with an “Outpatient” (that is anyone who a Community Nurse calls them and says is an “Outpatient”. No need for a psychiatrist, a diagnosis, or anything else, just he wants the person snatched out of their bed and interrogated whilst stupefied without their knowledge with date rape drugs [later to become their “Regular Medications”. Once the documents are “edited” it all looks legit and the victims are being “fucking destroyed” for complaining)
I understand that the UN Convention against the use of Torture hasn’t been ratified by the US so you may not be familiar with the Articles. There is meant to be a mechanism whereby citizens can make a complaint about being tortured without reprisals against them their families or witnesses. This mechanism doesn’t work because the ‘treatment’ for complaining about being arbitrarily detained and tortured is to be ‘treated’ by the people who arbitrarily detained and tortured you. See the above re the Police flagging’ complainants for referral should they attempt to access the protection of the law.
Have you ever heard of such things? I know it sounds crazy and well, there are criminals who have tried to make it look that way, and in some ways they’ve done a good job. Police using psychologists to obtain information to conceal crimes for criminals? If you’d have seen the Senior Constable go pale when he realised what he had on his hands lol…….. a ‘restructuring’ for him, and another failed ‘unintended negative outcome’ for me.
I suppose in some ways it’s a rather crude means of enabling State sanctioned arbitrary detentions and torture.
I note the mention of a similar technique in the writings of Frantz Fanon, that is the “psychiatrists who boasted in front of us of their elegant method of overcoming ‘resistance'” (of the prisoners who had ‘confessed’ and all of whom were then guillotined p. 229 Wretched of the Earth).
The victim is ‘spiked’ with date rape drugs (later to become their “Regular Medications”) and when they collapse, Police assistance is sought from a Community Nurse who tells them that the person who has collapsed as a result of the ‘spiking’ is his “Outpatient”.
Once Police assistance has been procured, the victim can then have the knife and cannabis planted on them for police to find, much to the shock of the person who is now about to be woken at the point of a weapon, and acutely stressed.
Police can then cause the required “acute stress reaction” with a vicious beating, and then immediately hand the victim over to the Community Nurse for a mental health ‘assessment’. This could consist of the questions police would like answered, but that they can’t ask because of the ‘spiking’ and ‘acute stress reaction’ actually constituting an act of torture. Though if it looks like ‘medical care’ we could then ……?
So they have the Community Nurse ask the questions, and it appears to be part of some form of ‘medical assessment’. (where did you get the drugs? Did you make threats to harm so and so? Examples of such questions unrelated to any form of psychological assessment common, though done to obtain ‘leverage’ with the victims) The Community Nurse in my instance trying a number of tacks to have me confess to something in front of police, and then shifting when I asked to speak to a lawyer or my doctor or family member (even ensuring I could not get access to my daughters telephone number while they ‘cared’ for me.)
Police can remain present whilst the questions are asked because they are merely ensuring the safety of the Authorised Mental Health Practitioner (from the violent, psychotic, drug abusing, wife beater, mental patient….. or at least they will be once the ‘verbal’ has been done), and not part of the ‘assessment’ process.
Though police can rough the victims up a bit at certain points of the interrogation should the critical questions not get answered. Mock execution or a threat to have them pack raped in the cells both techniques considered ‘coercive’ and NOT acts of torture, but merely a “poor choice of words” to quote the Police Commissioner, and rightly so. One party aware they aren’t really going to do it, the other in a more vulnerable position not so sure…… and therefore a little acutely stressed.
Once Police have the answers they wish, the Community Nurse can then ‘verbal’ the necessary Forms (that is fabricate a statutory declaration with vague statements which don’t meet the standard set out in the Oaths, Affidavits and Statutory Declarations Act), and have Police transport the victim to a hospital where a waiting Doctor can observe their response to being subjected to torture, and have them ‘chemically restrained’ for their ‘agitation’.
The only real problem is concealing the ‘spiking’ and the lie to Police regarding the status of the citizen contained in the documents (this is where the ‘confidentiality’ of the citizen becomes important to the hospital administrators). Both of these offences easily concealed from someone who is now being ‘treated’ as a ‘patient’ (despite the law clearly stating they are a “referred person” until the psychiatrist removes their right to consent. Like your going to complain in the locked ward and risk the blow to the head with the chemicals? That and the 4 weeks of dribble therapy and incarceration which follows?)
This same doctor can also write a prescription for the date rape drugs administered without the victims knowledge 12 hours before their interrogation by the Community Nurse and Police. It doesn’t matter that they had no knowledge of the victim before the drugs were administered covertly, they would have given permission for them to be administered anyway, a mere formality. Police, nurses and bus drivers now preferred prescribers for covert administration of date rape drugs.
Should the victim actually not end up being given the ‘dribble therapy’ (chemical kosh) ordered by the doctor before they are ‘assessed’ (“Agitation and Arousal” medication sheet) by the Consultant Psychiatrist (who in most cases would be examining someone unconscious with enough anti psychotics to lay an elephant out for a week) and released because there was never anything wrong with them other than the result of the ‘spiking’ and the ‘acute stress reaction’ then the documents can be “edited” before they are examined by the victims ‘legal representative’.
As I say, it’s crude but effective. The ability to make any citizen into an “Outpatient” after they have been incapacitated with the date rape drugs, and then use police to cause the ‘acute stress reaction’ to have the victims talk when they might otherwise (a) not take the stupefying/intoxicating drugs willingly, and (b) would not answer any questions without having effective legal representation (or a family member acting in their interests, ie next of kin) present is effective in a number of ways.
Police can claim that all they were aware of was that they were to ‘restrain’ a mental patient in possession of a knife and illicit drugs, and the Community Nurse can then use Police to have the victim delivered to his hospital and claim to his colleagues that he has merely done a ‘police referral’ (rather than have them become aware of his means of torturing and kidnapping citizens, and fabricating the justification on his Forms with the corrupt practice of ‘verballing’).
The FOI Officer did pick it up what the Community Nurse had don when I made application for the documents. She then called the person who had ‘spiked’ me and they began conspiring to have me sign documents that would make me into a ‘patient’ post hoc, and concealed the evidence/ proof of the offending. Their “editing” of legal narrative and trying to retrieve the documents I had already obtained via FOI showing the ‘spiking’ and that I had been made an “Outpatient” before they even left the hospital (though I note concealing the fact they had no referral source, and that their ‘preferred guardian/next of kin wasn’t actually the person who had ‘spiked’ me for their convenience).
The response to these matters by the Chief Psychiatrist in his letter are very interesting. I mean given the availability of such methods when asking questions of our Politicians in Parliamentary inquiries etc (they totally unaware they are “Outpatients” or what their “regular medications” are that is put into their food or drink without their knowledge……… and that the Chief Psychiatrist is oblivious to the criminal nature of such conduct…… removing the protections of “reasonable grounds” , and requiring only a ‘suspicion’ for detention by a Community Nurse (and his chosen ‘police’)
So whilst they only wanted to ask me some questions about the family conflict which had upset my wife, and was resulting in me leaving my home due to the threats from her family, this could be put to some better uses with people who have a tendency to not want to answer the questions they are asked (see for example the avoidance of a question to the Minister for Health when I asked him about the possibility of this document “editing” ‘after the fact due process’ and his new Euthanasia Law ‘protections’).
I mean it’s not like those who have been ‘assisted’ under such laws are going to be in any position to be making complaints, and their chosen ‘legal representatives’ and family members are not going to even see the documents before they are “edited” to create the preferred legal narrative so…….? Where there’s a will,…….. there’s relatives.
Note that one of the benefits of commissioning these offences is that the medical records of the person who has been incapacitated can now be released because they can’t consent to their release, and it is an ’emergency’. The law does cover such situations in that you can’t commit an offence (intoxication by deception. stupefy with intent) to make what was unlawful appear to be lawful but …….. whose going to complain? The person who is now being ‘treated’ for their complaining with unwanted brain damaging chemicals and electricity 3 times a week?
Jim – excellent article and great points.
**What are your thoughts on (major) law firms hiring psychologists to work inside the law firm itself and encouraging its own lawyers/firm-partners, to talk to them?
Indeed, what are your views on a somewhat long-term trend of psychiatrists-psychologists advising lawyers, the judiciary, law firms and the legal profession at large, on how to (diagnose) and manage: their stress, their own legal practice careers, their associates-partners lawyers and client-legal services?
I don’t think people should expect confidentiality. Big Law is a meat grinder and I don’t think hiring psychologists to help people tolerate being ground up is the solution.
I’ve realised that your article doesn’t apply to the situations which I am speaking about Mr Gottstein.
In my situation I wasn’t actually a ‘client’ of the ‘therapist’, and she was merely claiming to act as a ‘confidential informant’ for the State by releasing my medical records (part of a compensation claim against my employer, the State) from a Private Clinic which does legal medico reports for the Courts, once I had been incapacitated with date rape drugs and arbitrarily detained.
The Senior Medical Officer who made the date rape drugs into my “Regular Medications” after I had been ‘verballed’ and transported by police, had asked the ‘therapist’ for access to my medical records, which she had planned to have with her at her day job, just in case she was asked by someone about them……
My issue with this though is that I had an agreement with the psychiatrist at the Private Clinic (I understand the US system is different), that he would protect MY medical records from such releases.
Given that this Clinic does a lot of reports for the courts one would imagine it would need more than a telephone call from someone to a ‘therapist’ to have such records of ex clients released without their consent? (though there is the argument that I was incapable of providing my consent to the release due to the plan to have me incapacitated with date rape drugs).
So what about the situation where a ‘therapist’ is acting as a ‘confidential informant’ for the State (as suggested by Mr Deacon) to release information held in trust by a Private Clinic?
Is the ‘therapist’ not breaching their obligations to their ‘client’, their employer (the Clinic psychiatrist) AND the relationship of the Clinic with the Courts?
And is the State not guilty of reprehensible conduct in knowingly encouraging the clinic psychologist to do as she did and be involved in sanctioning atrocious breaches of the sworn duty of every medical professional to discharge all duties imposed on them faithfully and according to law without favour or affection, malice or ill-will?
I am paraphrasing the decision of the High Court in regards Lawyer X/Nicola Gobbo here.
I know based on the evidence I have at hand, the State was more than prepared to use ‘mental health treatments’ to ensure the protection of their ‘confidential informant’. That and the “editing” of legal narrative of documents relating to the arbitrary detention and interrogation of me whilst stupefied with date rape drugs without my knowledge provided to lawyers who had a right to examine unredacted documents. Imagine the ‘potential’ if ‘confidential informants’ can being ‘spiking’ the people they are informing on despite only having a Masters degree in psychology? Doctor will write a prescription for them post hoc?
Though personally I think it was nothing more than a method of concealing the appalling breach of trust by the ‘therapist’ AND the fact that all of the ‘clients’ at the Private Clinic should have been informed that their medical records were being compromised in this manner as a matter of ‘public interest disclosure’. The potential for ‘reputational damage’ to those who had records held in trust by the Clinic clear for all to see….. once the cover up had been exposed. Though would this not cause a large number of problems for the Courts as well as the Clinic?
And should the State really be allowing such ‘unintended negative outcomes’ to occur in the name of protecting ‘confidential informants’? A clever means of procuring police services to assist in the concealment of public sector misconduct though. Make the claim that the person you have conspired to commit offences and human rights abuses with is a ‘confidential informant’, and there is no end of ‘assistance’ available from police.
The Mental Health Law Centre even obtaining authority to forge and utter with a letter from the ‘Chief Psychiatrist’ (once they had checked with me that I didn’t still have the ‘documents’ proving what I am alleging)……. now that’s real power.
This is starting to make John Merrick look like Miss Universe.
A State informant (therapist) working with ‘clients’ in a Private Clinic that provides legal medico reports for defense attorneys? Releasing the medical records of ‘ex clients’ on request (and for a small fee)? Prepared to arrange ‘spikings’ with date rape drugs and then have police cause an ‘acute stress reaction’ to have them answer questions in front of Police? There’s a term for that…. and its not ‘healthcare’.
The link to the Private Clinic concealed by having the Senior Medical Officer call the informant at the University, and NOT at the Clinic. The records however came from the Private Clinic. This all arranged the night before when the plan to have me incapacitated with date rape drugs and plant items for police to find was hatched.
I scratched my head over why they didn’t call the MHERL immediately from the clinic given the ‘danger’ I posed, and instead had my wife return home to ‘spike’ me and then call MHERL in the morning at 9am when the ‘therapist’ was at her ‘day job’. Once police were procured by mental health services to cause the ‘acute stress reaction’, the items required by police could then be planted (ie the knife and some cannabis)
My my, It seems the “elegant method” described by Frantz Fanon is being used against the ‘enemies of the State’ ……. that is people otherwise called citizens.
No wonder police were concerned about “who else has the documents?” and were prepared to threaten and intimidate a psychologist to have him ask the questions….. and steal my laptop to find out who I had been communicating with.
Sorry to all those exposed to these criminals acting as public officers……. I had no idea they would do that, and well given the cover up of the State it seems it never happened despite the proof now being available. I understand your fears now……. unintended negative outcomes with ‘after the fact due process’ via “editing” of legal narratives. That and ‘legal representatives’ prepared to throw their clients under a bus for an increase in their funding for ‘access to the law’ programs lol
“It is quite literally disquieting that our work has become increasingly threatened by the pressures to release private information about our patients”
“Please take the time to respond to Jim’s piece with
your experiences of these threats and how you have
managed them in your work with patients or, if
you are a patient, how these pressures have made
(or not made) their way into your treatment.”
My first situation not relevant because I was not a ‘patient’ in a therapeutic relationship with the clinic psychologist, and the release of my medical records was not a passive act as a result of a request from someone else. It was planned out (incapacitate and have the target taken into custody first, then release the information) and concealed by creating the appearance that the information had been requested by the State.
The second situation I would raise would be the way that Police threatened the psychologist who I had been speaking with to say that the attempt to refer me for trying to report the offences I had been subjected to “never happened”.
The documents containing the ‘confidential informants’ name from the Private Clinic obviously a concern for the State, and they thought that Police had retrieved them…… so they were not only having the psychologist release information about his patient, but they were actively providing him with questions they required an answer to. “Who else has got the documents?”….. and when I told him, I don’t think he was looking forward to informing his ‘handlers’. The list was rather long, and keep in mind they had forged and uttered with a letter from the Chief Psychiatrist by this time. Literally anything justified to protect the ‘informant’.
The psychologist became concerned once I confronted him with his ‘unethical behaviour’ and said he was afraid for his family. And I can understand that given I had sat for nearly two years with him telling him how the threat from the Operations Manager to “fucking destroy” me and my family for trying to make a complaint about being arbitrarily detained and tortured had been carried out.
The problem being that he would be aware that discussing such conduct as a result of reading the article could quite easily result in his identity being released (he is after all a ‘thief’ among ‘thieves’), and he would find that the demand that he say “it never happened” had been breached may result in harm to his family.
The first rule of Backstabbers Club is you do not talk about Backstabbers Club.
“Snitches get stitches”
So I doubt you will be hearing the whole story about the pressures to release information about clients anytime soon. This method of corrupting the Courts a benefit in the short term to Police and others who obtain a benefit from corrupting the judicial system in this manner.
I say the short term because we have historic examples of where this type of conduct progresses to.
This man to be charged with causing damage to police property (the motor vehicle they mowed him down with damaged, and the boots which will require cleaning to remove blood and hair) once he is brought out of the induced coma (snow job whilst documents are “edited”).
Causing such ‘acute stress reactions’ (especially in people who have been ‘spiked’ with date rape drugs) and calling them “Outpatients” (wrongly) seems to me to open up a whole new arena of interrogation techniques. Though I also note the use of such methods in Algeria under the French colonial system. See Frantz Fanon Wretched of the Earth.
What surprised me was the amount of people aware that it is being done. That is, the ‘relationship’ between police and their ‘confidential informants’ at mental health services. So much that they have placed a ‘mental health professional’ into every police station in the State….that should really come in handy to do referrals of citizens once they exhibit signs of ‘illness’ after being acutely stress reacted, and arrange to have the date rape drugs covertly administered into their “Regular Medications” using the ‘after the fact due process’ “editing” method.
Difficult work, but there are those who have the stomach for it.
The problem with Thomas Szasz and continually advocating his views is that he was right but he wasn’t correct.
He was right to say that the disease model is incorrect, but he did not offer an alternative (problems in living is nice, but what does it mean? What causes a person to have problems that they need the services of an assumed expert to solve those problems? Does this assumed expert (Szasz) have the knowledge/expertise to do this? If so, what his expertise based on?).
As Dr Niall McLaren has shown in his works, Szasz would and could not acknowledge mental disorder (not illness) is real as he did not have a model to account for it. Rather, he painted himself into a corner which, whilst successful for his clients, could not be applied or articulated as a general model of mental distress and how to overcome it. His selection process was, well, selective in that he would speak to clients on the phone before he decided which ones he could help. McLaren further critiques Szasz in his works concluding that Szasz just did not get human distress and and often assumed people with mental disorders were lying.
Thus, as mentioned, Szasz was right and I have defended his ideas and will still do so, but he is not immune to criticism (no one is). Indeed, it is worth asking why have Szasz’s ideas not penetrated psychiatry and become a successful theory to replace the medical one he rightfully criticised. The simplest answer is that he did not have a theory about mental disorder.
I contend that, if, in years to come, people are still holding Szasz and his works as the most pertinent criticisms of psychiatry, then the field has not and cannot advance and this will be a sad state of affairs. It is important to learn from Szasz and acknowledge his contribution to the destruction of a myth, but also crucial to learn from his mistakes.
You don’t get Szasz at all apparently.
There is no such thing as a “mental disorder” because the mind is not a thing, period. It is not subject to physical laws and does not take on physical characteristics such as “order” or “disease.”
To claim that Szasz — a practicing psychoanalyst — did not acknowledge the existence of stress is equally specious.
“Mental illness” is an exercise in semantic obfuscation. Further, to assume that there are medical “cures” for the stress created by a toxic capitalist culture is an exercise in totalitarian thought. (How about the Oppression Model?)
The only proper place for psychiatry to “advance” is into the dustbin of history.
I get Szasz to the point of publishing work defending him and nowhere have I stated he did not acknowledge the existence of stress. Nor have I ever advocated medical “cures” for any sort of mental distress, so if you are trying to tar me with that brush, please provide some evidence. Although I do, and this is entirely in line with Szasz but a position rarely occupied by today’s so called liberals or people who claim they identify with Szasz, believe in a free market for drugs which, if a person feels the taking of alleviates their mental distress, so be it.
You are getting your terms mixed up- there is no such thing as mental illness, with the obvious Szaszian/medical caveat that disease can cause mental dysfunction, which puts it in the realm of neurology, which is basically the crux of his argument.
However mental disorder (not illness) is entirely possible and entirely rational when the processes involved are defined correctly.
Absolutely the mind is not a physical thing. But then what are you referring to when you use the term “it”? This is the question which Szasz could not answer because he did not articulate a theory of mind (and as I mentioned, he could not once he declared his position). I also claim you cannot answer it without reverting to behaviourism or some form of materialism (against Szasz’s views), unless you have an articulated theory of how the brain (a physical thing) results in mental events (non-physical but still very much real), and then crucially, how they interact.
The fact is there are things called mental events which we reify today as the mind (true the word mind may change but mental events will always be there) which can cause dysfunction.
I have read and watched countless “experts” in their field talk about what the mind is without ever articulating a theory of how the brain leads to mental events, and the only person who has a deeply articulated theory on this matter is Dr Niall McLaren whose work, if you are familiar with, is quintessential to my comments here and position.
Indeed, I would recommend you read his work on the advancement of psychiatry and offer some criticisms. But also note how he articulates the dualistic nature of the universe in agreement with what you virtually describe in your first paragraph. Within this framework (his Biocognitive model), he accounts for the process of mental disorder (again, not illness) which acknowledges the biological necessity of the brain, but whose roots are based primarily in the psychological (mental) realm. By way of analogy, your computer can become corrupted by software whilst the hardware remains relatively intact.
Advancement of psychiatry is necessary because it would simply be reinvented if it did not exist.
However mental disorder (not illness) is entirely possible and entirely rational when the processes involved are defined correctly.
Nope. Both terms are equally impossible, because, again, the mind is not a thing, it is a concept. Show me where Szasz said anything of the sort. (Quotes would help.)
“Mental disorder” has been previously described here as a “weasel word” used to skew the discussion.
Absolutely the mind is not a physical thing. But then what are you referring to when you use the term “it”? This is the question which Szasz could not answer…
Non-physical abstractions also are described by the pronoun “it.” This is a question Szasz never needed to ask as the answer is obvious.
Your concern seems to be less with the specifics of Szaszian theory than with pushing your own. However, Szasz didn’t need a “theory of mind,” or to emulate psychiatry in any way; His mission was to thoroughly deconstruct the notion of “mental illness,” which is the basis for the existence of psychiatry as a field of pseudo-medicine. And it was accomplished, even though some “supporters” of Szasz don’t get what he was saying.
Advancement of psychiatry is necessary because it would simply be reinvented if it did not exist.
Doesn’t say much for your respect for the ability of humans to evolve and learn from our mistakes.
PS The brain is the switchboard for the mind, designed to channel information from a non-physical framework to a physical one. Of course to grasp this first requires one to shed his/her assumptions about many things.
I’m glad your “nope” is the final word on it, and everyone can just stop any kind of work to elucidate mental processes (that we collectively call the mind), how they come about, and how they interact with the brain, and what to do when people suffer with them.
Indeed, you have sorted everything with such a powerful nope. Except you haven’t sorted anything.
Why do you assume I would be quoting Szasz? This is the problem here really; peoples’ inability to criticise Szasz or even allow the idea of criticising him to be entertained. Every so often someone will become enthralled by his writings, decide to write about them and we all remind ourselves that mental illness is an incorrect term (which critic of psychiatry does not know this by now?). There are other critics of psychiatry to read, including those who criticise Szasz, and, as much of a shock as this may be, can advance Szasz’s ideas intellectually.
Simply Google advance to update your understanding of the word and then you will have a better grasp of what that paragraph in my previous comment means-here is one definition- “a development or improvement.”
As I have stated in my previous comments, these are the theories (as I understand them) of Dr Niall McLaren, which, if you read his work, could perhaps offer more constructive criticism. Indeed, your last paragraph is virtually 100% in line with his biocognitive model (the brain is the physical framework). If this is your own theory, then where have you articulated it? If it is someone else’s theory, whose is it? I am not trying to advance any of my own theories but have read and listened to others to try get an informed and balanced view.
We don’t need “critics” of psychiatry. We don’t need more “models.” We need anti-psychiatry activists.
I’m in two minds about all this.
I agree overall with your assessment of the situation.
When does the Sea of Fog stop? For to have survived living in Public Housing while discovering the roll the Federal Code plays I though would be grounds for empowering the democratic process. The Advocates in Kentucky Taking Action Against Mental Illness became a viable 501.c3 only to be destroyed I would have thought would be a wake up call. Where to go for legal help that understands the nature of what is happening? Frederich’s Wanderer above the Sea of Fog seemingly requires of the citizen labelled to understand the systems from a legal context? Is it time for the vessel to come home to the Port? To understand the creativity? Celebrate the Gifts?
Say what? Some sellout group comes to its foregone conclusion and that’s a “wake up call”? Why weren’t these “advocates” taking action against PSYCHIATRY?
Jim, I appreciate you and the great work you have done. The fact is, as I teach my students, therapists are a branch of law enforcement. When the circumstances arise, therapists cease being therapeutic and become police. By requirement, as the ethics code dictates. Interestingly, lawyers and clergy are privileged and are not members of law enforcement. But therapists are police. Most clients, I imagine, do not know that.
Brett, that is a very insightful perspective. I would also suggest most therapists do not see themselves that way, though.
Psychiatry has little to do with “science” or “medicine” but really is bound by the legal system as with other so called “mental health experts” they are deemed worthy and responsible for the actions of the patient- a point Szaz made over and over.
A cancer patient can decide to stop chemo at any time and stop all treatment for the cancer, yet if a MI patient does then the “experts” can deem that MI as danger to themselves or others and incarcerate that MI; all for the benefit of the MI and for society. Psychiatry takes the humanity and the rights of the MI to make an informed decision.
“Interestingly, lawyers and clergy are privileged and are not members of law enforcement. But therapists are police. Most clients, I imagine, do not know that.”
Lawyers? Paid informants for Police? I certainly know of some lawyers who are not being as “zealous” regarding ensuring the human rights of certain people are protected, instead preferring that legal narrative is “edited” before they make what is a ‘flawed complaint’ (with plausible deniability) to the relevant authorities…… and then ensuring that the ‘client’ is left making complaints to their colleagues about their disgraceful and vile conduct…. knowing it will go absolutely nowhere. In fact, our local “access to the law” pro bono program is funded directly by Police. How ‘elegant’. (no conflict of interest there right?)
As I have said elsewhere, the whole ‘confidentiality’ and ‘privileged communications’ fell in Australia as a direct result of a High Court decision. If you can use “coercive methods” (I hope you understand what is meant by this term) on a persons wife/husband to have them testify or provide ‘evidence’ against them, does this not mean there are NO privileged communications? Lets not put it to the test, because it might be best that most ‘clients’ are not aware of that fact?
The reason Vic Police can say with confidence that the Lawyer X situation will never happen again is because it has been decided that there is no client confidentiality. The reference I gave above to the “elegant method of overcoming ‘resistance'” by Frantz Fanon has been deemed acceptable in Australia (despite the comments by the Appeals Court Judges) regarding the “fundamental and appalling breaches of EF’s obligations as counsel to her clients and of EF’s duties to the court.”
This Machiavellian approach to these matters reminiscent of the ‘war’ waged by the French govt against their ‘enemies’ in Algeria. The paranoia of our ‘elected representatives’ being seen in the enabling of means of arbitrary detentions and torture under the Mental Health Act, and the problems associated with that concealed via ‘after the fact due process’ and “editing” of legal narrative ignored by ‘legal representatives’ whilst ‘alternative arrangements’ are made. (police telling me “it might be best I don’t know about that”) The refusal to take evidence/proof of criminal misconduct by public officers, and return complaints as having “insufficient evidence”? And doing ‘mental health referrals’ of anyone who has such proof? But things are terrible in China.
And I don’t know that the ‘eavesdropping’ on the ‘confessional’ was invented by therapists. “Would you spy on your brother? Would you eat your dead brothers flesh? Nay, yeah would abhor it” The breach of trust and confidence known about some time ago (though quite a revelation, as you suggest)
In fact, isn’t that why it’s called ‘the oldest trick in the Book?’? Getting someone they trust to poison them, because they would hardly ‘eat’ the ‘apple’ if it were offered by Satan himself?
It might explain though why a ‘therapist’ (with a Masters degree no less) is advising citizens to ‘spike’ others with date rape drugs and plant specific items for Police to find once they are called to ‘assist’ with causing ‘acute stress reactions’. Only ‘law enforcement’ would be aware of (as it was put to me) “what to tell them” (and what to plant to overcome the legal protections from acts of torture) The issue of changing citizens status to “Outpatient” before leaving the hospital still a problem, though one the State is prepared to ignore despite being presented with the proof of both the forging AND uttering by public officers.
The more recent development of ‘mental health professionals’ available at every Police station no doubt a bonus. That will fix the problems of people exercising their rights to silence, bodily integrity etc…… Especially when they have a colleague at the hospital (like a real doctor) to write prescriptions for drugs administered without knowledge and minus any right to do so.
The post hoc concealment of their offending will of course never be prosecuted because police will no doubt refuse to take the proof and find “insufficient evidence”, and the documents will be “edited” before
being examined by anyone else, especially ‘legal representatives’. We did see this with one aboriginal man who was tortured by police and then taken to the E.D. for ‘treatment’ once they had broken his ribs whilst restraining him, and tazered him in the lower spine 15(?) times during ‘questioning’? The Corruption watchdog only releasing the video after significant pressure was put on them to do so ‘in the public interest’. (and they present matters of the same nature occurring in Ukraine as being ‘atrocities’? It’s different when the questions are asked in Russian apparently, a ‘cultural’ thing)
It’s a shame our Police are not held to the same standards as our Football Clubs.
Interesting question regarding the use of ‘therapists’ in law firms above. Clever way of getting around a certain set of issues cause by ethical requirements. Especially given the list of ‘exclusions’ in Mr Gottsteins article.
It really does seem that ‘confidentiality’ is being so weaponized that it is difficult to even imagine a situation where the laws relating to “privacy” are even worth the paper they have been written on (and then rewritten without Parliamentary approval for convenience ala Chief Psychiatrist style of “suspect on reasonable grounds” becomes “‘suspect’ on grounds we believe to be reasonable”). Simply incapacitate the person you want to gain access to the records of, and then ‘reverse’ the direction of the telephone calls for a “they called me” defense. Worst case scenario, “edit” the documentation.
What do you do when public officers and the victims legal representatives are the only ones who are aware of the existence of proof of human rights abuses? Slandering the person attempting to make a complaint is one method used in this State (Police releasing the criminal record of the aboriginal man they tortured before the release of the video causing significant damage to his reputation). They can deny their clients access to that proof and work with the public officers concealing their human rights abuses, and the ‘client’ would never know the proof was there……… and it could all be justified through a claim of confidentiality (you did after all sign the agreement…. allowing your ‘legal representative’ to conspire against you and conceal the torture you were subjected to right?).
Conspiring to pervert the course of justice knowing the ‘client’ will never get access to the proof, and they trusted their legal representatives? Fools.
The big questions are: Is this what you want therapists to be? Is this what society wants them to be? Is this what therapists want to be?
You could create a profession that would help people cope with all the complicated rules involved in the various games of life. They would do what many therapists do now, but they would not be therapists. In some way they would be an extension of the practice of modern medicine, which controls symptoms rather than correcting the root cause.
For people to be real therapists they would need to learn how to locate and handle the root cause of the problem. Currently most are not taught to do that.
I’ve never heard this idea stated so succinctly. No wonder patients have “problems trusting therapists”. Makes perfect sense.
Thomas Szasz has proved himself relevant today as he did decades ago since with all the genetic research and all the studies of imaging under fMRI the experts have found NOTHING! In the 1960’s a great effort was made to push psychiatry into the realm of “standardized medicine”- that is streamlining and creating a treatment standard and efficient treatment protocols with guidelines. Think of it as what McDonalds did to the food industry- one size fits all no matter what city or state.
But psychiatry is a poor lender of sorts, since human beings (and their behavior) do not fit a into any clear standardized model like with a wrist fracture in one person is likely to be the same or similar in the next person and the treatment the same. The Practice Based Evidence clinical setting in which the psychiatrist can do as he pleases individually patient to patient was eliminated. Now if a MI patient is labeled bipolar I then the psychiatrist MUST prescribe BOTH a mood stabilizer & and a anti-psychotic together due to guideline changes in 2003! Just as the roll out of the new atypicals second generation began. AND according to APA guidelines the practitioner must prescribe the NEWEST drug on the market!
It seems like the jest of the “myth” is what is diagnosed as “mental illness” according to current methodologies is nothing more than non-conformist, anti-social, immoral behavior according to Szaszism? And there is no known biological or physiological cause of this? Yet one lay observation of a TBI should dispel that notion. When you see someone’s mental capacity, behavior, and changes in the “mind” occur when the brain is injured, that is evidence of an illness, is it not? So why cannot that be the case with causes not as evident as a TBI, but is related to complex trauma? As with most things, the truth is somewhere in the middle, with social/environmental, biological, physiological causes producing symptoms which are real and exist, just as the unseen mind is real and exists, and can become unhealthy, and therefore “ill.” Argue semantics about calling it an illness, but let’s not jump off the deep end of atheistic beliefs about the existence of something when there is clear and convincing evidence of its existence.
“It seems like the jest of the “myth” is what is diagnosed as “mental illness” according to current methodologies is nothing more than non-conformist, anti-social, immoral behavior according to Szaszism?”
Mmmm I don’t think so, but there are people here who know his work much better that me who will no doubt respond.
But speaking of ‘morality policing’ (justified because someone may have something we wished were an illness and would like to ‘treat’ them for it) I note a backlash against the ‘morality police’ (Gašt-e Eršād) in Iran as a result of a ‘death in custody’ of Mahsa Amini.
Oh wait, wrong news article. This one escaped any real public scrutiny because the Minister was ‘shocked’ to hear such things were occurring. Probably like our Minister, “you can’t listen to them, they’re mental patients”.
Though the idea of protesting about such matters in this place seems …….. well, the use of microwave weapons by our police at protests to ‘burn’ people is discouraging to say the least (see the questions asked, and a refusal to answer by police at the Parliamentary Inquiry into protests about covid lockdowns)
Talking about such matters enough grounds for an “Outpatient” to be ‘referred’ by police for ‘treatment’. And as you can see from the above article, you don’t want to be having your head beaten by mental health services. The ‘side effects’ can be quite severe, and in fact at times constitute the ‘illness’ they claim to be ‘treating’?
“had been sedated with psychotropic drugs and fallen on at least one occasion, but failed to take appropriate action”
Not everyone has the stomach for it, and I suppose this being the reason the Minister finds it easier to look away…. and then be ‘shocked’ when someone presents her with the proof which can not be “edited” for legal and public consumption. Be careful though, because making complaints can see you “fucking destroyed” once you have been “edited” and made into an “Outpatient” while the whole community looks away because they are afraid for their families.
Few people aware of the amount of power handed to ‘mental health services’ by our ‘elected representatives’. Wear your Hijab.
The fact hat you put “mind” in quotes indicates that you understand somewhere that it is an abstraction, and cannot have physical characteristics.
The brain helps process the contents of the mind in a material framework; it does not equate to the mind or create the messages the mind conveys. If the brain is damaged this function can be altered or inhibited, but this is physical, not “mental” damage, which is a contradiction in terms.
Just so I am clear about all this ‘confidentiality’ issue. (and keep in mind I speak in the Australian context)
A Private Clinic where psychiatrists produce legal-medico reports for the Courts, (and has clients that include the wealthiest man in the country, and politicians accused of corruption) can employ a psychologist (with a Masters degree no less) who, in a situation where they have arranged to have the person who has had a report written by the clinic psychiatrist ‘spiked’ with date rape drugs (to incapacitate the ‘client’, though even this would be a misuse of the term given I wasn’t even a client) can then, if a Community Nurse calls her (as opposed to her calling the Community Nurse and requesting a ‘police referral’ with an “acute stress reaction” via the use of a ‘throw down’ knife and some cannabis planted once the ‘client’ has collapsed from the date rape drugs) release their medical records to the Community Nurse because the ‘client’ is not capable of consenting to that release of their confidential medical records?
The Community Nurse can now justify any and all actions against his “Outpatient” (see what I did there? Chief Psychiatrist does it too, that is anyone snatched from their bed by mental health services automatically becomes an “Outpatient” even before being examined and then ‘verballed up’) because he has forged the Forms to enable Police to transport the person they have just beaten senseless because an “Outpatient” (or as a result of a ‘verbal’ a ‘violent psychotic drug abusing wife beater in possession of a knife’) needed an ‘assessment’ by a psychiatrist?
One issue being that the Community Nurse is supposed to make the referral to the ‘treating psychiatrist’ of the ‘client’ at the Private Clinic (but that is just part of the smoke and mirrors), and not his own hospital where the Senior Medical Officer can sort the paperwork out and make the drugs use to ‘spike’ the ‘client’ into their “Regular Medications” and hopefully have them hit over the head with a chemical kosh before they are asked any questions by the Consultant Psychiatrist (questions such as’ How did you get here?’, and ‘Who is your doctor?’ or ‘What drugs are you taking?’….. as opposed to writing down the ‘billing codes’ released unlawfully by the clinic psychologist with a Masters degree no less, before silencing the complaints of the ‘client’. SMO writes in email to the Office of Chief Psychiatrist “He was breathing threats of litigation before I even spoke to him” No shit Einstein, I had just been tortured and kidnapped, and now he wants me to remove my clothes to insert objects into my mouth or anus without my consent? And is prepared to use force if necessary?)
It’s much easier on the paperwork if the ‘client’ is dribbling in a cell when they are ‘assessed’. It saves having to pass on those written complaints, which can be thrown into the trash. (‘You want access to a pen? No can do, because the information about where they are kept is confidential’. Fortunate I kept my copy of a serious allegation of misconduct, whilst the hospital tried to cover their lack of records by asking me for a copy of the document they had disposed of and which may be required by the Commission, making it a serious offence to dispose of it. More ‘after the fact due process’ via “editing”)
I’d have thought with such ‘confidential’ information, the Private Clinic would have been a little more careful about the methods being used to release that to the general public via the public hospital system….. especially given that this was one report of three, which were never tested in the courts for validity.
So my ‘diagnosis for a purpose’ was unlawfully released for another purpose…… to smash my head in with chemicals and electricity for shit they made up on the spot.
Nice, and I’m so glad I’m probably not the only one they have done this to. Because it just doesn’t seem to fit with the law. Well, unless you accept the rewritten version produced by the Chief Psychiatrist for the Law Centre, where he makes everyone into an ‘inpatient’ or an ‘outpatient’….. which means no-one has any human or civil rights……. which the lawyers I have approached seem to be quite content with (well there was that one who was concerned about me having the documents police failed to retrieve, who said “but I thought you were mad, but you’ve got the proof”….. which then became ‘that’ll be $3500 for telling you how expensive my time is, pay in advance’…… Which reminds me of the psychiatrist when I said these matters have made me suicidal….. ‘I’ll have to ask you to pay in advance’ “First, do no harm…….. to your bank balance”)
Seriously though, the claim above is that psychologists are not bound by the rules of confidentiality, but to me this release of medical records from a Private Clinic which writes such legal-medico reports is lawful? We have a Federal Privacy Act which certainly has some issues but …….. psychiatric reports handed over because a Community Nurse called and asked for access?
I know as matters progressed, and ‘alternative arrangements’ were being made for my ‘health care’, my wife did say there had been some problems at the Clinic she attended for a means to have me ‘talk’ (ie Torture for Dummies). But I had no idea it was a ‘library’ for anyone claiming to be a ‘mental health professional’ to access with a phone call. The Private Clinic psychologist even taking my medical records to her day job at the University counselling service in anticipation of the call from the hospital, once I had been ‘detained’.
Anyone see the problem I can with this? They would if I said it was done in China. Not so much in a place with Euthanasia Laws and ‘after the fact due process’ via “editing” of legal narratives, and denial of access to effective legal representation.
Australians value a Rule of Law ……… ?
Great article! Thomas Szasz was about the only person to take the kind of position that was needed, and his loss has proven to this very moment to be irreplaceable. I don’t think the absence of anybody else would be so noticeable today. There seems to be a great temerity setting in when it comes to calling what is obviously fraud fraud.
“Mental health care”, with the excessive availability of the “mental illness” excuse, is like fly-paper to flies. With so much money going into the evasion of responsibility, how does anybody who has been there regain “the straight and narrow”? I don’t have the answers. I’d just like to see more and more people get out of this “unwellness” system we have made for ourselves. Surely, a place of belonging and significance can be found for this “displaced” population or that, can’t it?
The leap from “normal anxiety” to “anxiety disease” is not that great. Ditto, from the incidental blues to “major depressive disorder”. All it takes is a scribble on a prescription pad. Come on, whatever happened to freedom of choice? There are other paths, other directions…How many “mental health” professionals does it take to come up with one?
Speak of the devil — I believe Frank B was the poster who originally used the term “weasel word” to describe the term “mental disorder” as an attempt to blur the lines around the term “mental illness.”
Pardon me, I got weasel word from Thomas Szasz. I think it is a very appropriate word to use in some instances, especially where people would blur the lines protecting our constitutional rights from the shallow excuses they use to take them away from us.
I didn’t know that was Szasz’s own term, all the more telling that it was!
This is not only a great article in terms of presenting Thomas Szasz’s perspective but it is a very timely article given a new resurgence in the mental health movement given the mass shootings that have taken place recently; as well as; the suicide of certain well known persons whose death is characterized having “lost their life to the disease of mental illness”. Dr. Hoeller’s article serves as an excellent introductory piece of writing for anyone who is genuinely interested in the thinking of Thomas Szasz. Well done Dr. Hoeller!
I suggest people simply go to Szasz.com if they want to understand Szasz. Dr. Szasz can explain his theories better than any of those who purport to do so for him.
I am happy to learn a little more about Szasz, as I have never read him and probably never will.
If the above depiction of his ideas is fair, then I would consider him an “extremist” in his field. I find the idea that all “mental illness” is simply voluntary disliked behavior doesn’t hold water.
By refusing to entertain the idea that Spirit might be a valid phenomenon, one limits too much the range of possible explanations for Man’s troubles. Does the psychopath “volunteer” to go through life deceitful because he is afraid all others are out to do him in? Do the simply forgetful or easily distracted volunteer to be that way? I think not!
And do “real” doctors never treat their patients against their will, force them to take unwanted medicines, or lock them in their rooms? I think not.
“Real” medical doctors are siding with psychiatrists for a reason, which I believe amounts to them both being in on a similar scam. Of course, broken arms need to be set, wounds need to be cleaned and sewn up, and babies need to be delivered. But I think most modern doctors would prefer that nurses or technicians perform those jobs. They are there to sell medicines and other treatments to the public and the insurance companies so they can make big salaries because they are so good at protecting our bodies.
But it’s a scam. They aren’t protecting us at all. They are protecting their own miserable selves from life in the poor house, and that’s about all. Many of them deserve life in the poor house. They have turned their backs to, if not supported, a host of environmental poisons, including many of their own medicines, simply because it was not profitable to speak up against those dangers. They have, as a profession, let down the entire population of Earth.
If Szasz had a vision of mental therapy being totally voluntary, then I think he downplayed the seriousness of the situations that many find themselves in. Would many if not most current patients do better left alone? Yes. But not all of them. If a psychopath is found in my apartment building, I don’t want him to be left alone.
And while many doctors appear to be willfully ignorant, some of them are probably struggling with their ignorance and would like to actually help people. It would be sad indeed if the healing professions could never be brought to the point where people like that could thrive as doctors.
I find the idea that all “mental illness” is simply voluntary disliked behavior doesn’t hold water.
If that’s what you got from this blog it reaffirms my statement that people should learn about Szasz directly, not via “interpreters.”
“Mental illness” does NOT EXIST period. The mind is an abstraction and is not subject to physical qualities such as “disease” (or color, or texture). This is a semantic con job.
What makes you so certain that what you assert is true?
Have you seen these principles successfully applied?
I have seen the principles I have studied successfully applied. It is the only reason I use them. I am not interested in ideology for its own sake.
We need knowledge that works. A mind can become corrupted and unusable and it can also be restored. People need this knowledge. It does no good to tell them that what they are experiencing is “does not exist period.”
I think we’re talking about semantics here. Obviously, mental DISTRESS exists, difficult EMOTIONS exist, dysfunctional BEHAVIOR exists. But to call a mind “ill” in the same sense as a body is “ill” is a logical fallacy, which is what Szaz was talking about. If there are ways of helping with mental/emotional distress that folks are aware of, we absolutely need to engage with these approaches. But it’s not a MEDICAL problem. The mind can’t be “ill,” as it is not a thing of the physical universe. The term “illness” is an analogy or metaphor that can’t literally be true.
I appreciate you trying to defuse any potential blowups based on the meaning of words. But I get the clear impression from this poster that he or she believes that the whole idea that anyone can become mentally “ill” or mentally “healthy” is the mistake we are making that allows psychiatry into our lives. And I disagree with that.
Psychiatrists stepped in to fill a need in society. They did not do it in a noble or honest way, but that need was not that noble or that honest, either. It was, however, a real need. If we want psychiatry to go away, we need to replace it with something better. We can’t just say that all the people who think mental illness is a fiction imposed upon us by some evil ruling class are right and everyone else is wrong. We can’t solve the problem by running away from it or refusing to accept its existence.
By the way, I don’t consider the mind non-physical, That is the spirit. The mind is composed of “invisible” energy (like radio) but is quite real and can be affected by electronics and indirectly by damaging the body.
If we’re going to talk spiritual, I’d consider the mind to be more of a relationship or interface between body and spirit. I would still maintain “Mind” is not something that has a location in space or in the brain as psychiatry and related disciplines assume. What’s going on at a micro-microscopic level (electrons and fields and so forth) is beyond my current understanding, but it’s absolutely certain that “treating” the body per se is not going to be effective at this level.
It is silly, of course, to pretend that people don’t feel depressed or anxious, or behave in irrational ways that are not productive based on past experiences. I just don’t consider such things to be “illness” in the sense that a specific and measurable part of the BODY is somehow out of whack! The definition of “illness” is very problematic if we’re talking about disturbances in an electrical field around the body, let alone the damage to the “spirit” (whatever one considers that to be), which to me seems to be the main reason for the kinds of emotions and behavior that are currently identified as “mental illness” by the crackpots who created the DSM. I seriously think we need to get far away from that term, as it’s been claimed completely by the DSM propagandists, and doesn’t really describe the situation in terms that the average person can wrap their heads around.
I can appreciate your viewpoint on this.
There are a lot of imperfect language choices that we have to deal with in this world. The word “ill” or “illness” as used in English today does have enough breadth of meaning to include phenomena that are not body-related. Our constant use of the word to describe body problems does color its meaning, however.
My original interest in this site was using it as a way to keep up with research and events regarding psychiatry without having to comb through academic journals, etc., myself. I am doing this to assist a group that I volunteer for.
But what has struck me the most about our response to psychiatry, both at this website and in the broader public sphere, is our unwillingness to disagree with the basic assumptions that psychiatry promotes for what is really going on with the “psyche” and what can be done about it.
I offer my view, not as a personal opinion or belief, but as my best rendition of the results of research that has actually taken place and is only unreported because it was not done by a member of academia or if it was, was refused publication and so exists only in the form of popular or scholarly books written by the researchers.
I may at times misinterpret the materials I have studied, but my hope was to find others who have also studied these materials, or encourage others to do so, so that we could have a real discussion based on our understandings of the work that has already been done to answer some of these questions.
When I characterize the psyche or the mind as I do, it is based on materials I have studied and research that has been done verifying that this model is workable. Though this information may be described as “religious” the bulk of what I have studied was done in a secular context, and does not require any particular article of faith. In fact, the most basic aspects of this model have been described by real academics who do get their work published in real academic journals. Those people just haven’t developed their subject to the point where they have a technology that can be used to test their theories.
My experience in communicating this information to people outside of my church has been frustrating, though predictable. However, my basic purpose is to just “put it out there” so that others interested in the subject realize that this viewpoint exists and the information behind it is available if they wish to look into it further.
That said, I am totally convinced that a failure to consult the type of information that modern, non-medical researchers have been producing will result in a failure to ever resolve the problem of “mental health” regardless of what words we use for it.
I am also aware that many people would prefer that certain problems never be resolved because it gives them something to do, or may even define their place in life. I don’t think this particular problem should be one that endures to the end of time. Mental breakdowns of various kinds WILL plague us forever. But I personally am ready to implement workable methods for fixing those breakdowns. Those methods do in fact exist today, regardless of the various academic voices asserting that “we haven’t figured it out yet.”
Ways to help people get a grip on their own moments of “irrationality” and the reasons behind them, to manage to set boundaries on those who would harm us regardless of how they try to resist, as well as means to address ACTUAL health problems that are observable and can be addressed by physiological means, are all very welcome and needed. I do think it naïve to imagine that the death of psychiatry would lead to a sudden move to sanity and peace and good communication and respect in the world. But it sure would help NOT to have them around trying to make it worse by creating pretend “solutions” based on a complete misunderstanding (often an intentional one) of what a human being and a mind actually might be. We most definitely need to be working on real ways for people to learn to respect each other, to not react out of fear and hatred, to detect and avoid people who are dangerous to them, etc. But I don’t see physiological interventions being more than a tiny part of that approach. I don’t think we disagree on that point.
“I seriously think we need to get far away from that term (“mental illness”), as it’s been claimed completely by the DSM propagandists, and doesn’t really describe the situation in terms that the average person can wrap their heads around.”
So what about the term “mental health”? I can give hundreds of examples of people who, trying to deal with the stigma they are experiencing with their diagnoses, are now suffering from “mental health”. I assume they mean mental health issues when they write such statements, but it also reeks of a one for one transplant. That is, using another term deals with the destruction of their ‘normal identity’.
I think that’s even worse! When we are suffering from “mental health,” the syntactical and semantic world has really been stood on its head!
“But it sure would help NOT to have them around trying to make it worse by creating pretend “solutions” based on a complete misunderstanding (often an intentional one) of what a human being and a mind actually might be.”
“Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm. But the harm does not interest them” T.S. Eliot.
re the shift to ‘mental health’. It seems to have gone from something you don’t want (mental illness) to something you do (mental health). Like the Scandinavian story about Lutfisk…… sold as rotten fish to the Finns, who then tell the Swedes that it tastes good and sell it back to them for a profit. They’re still eating that crap and simply don’t want to admit they were conned lol
Why get your Szaszian education from a middleman? Check out Szasz himself.
Here’s the full link: http://www.szasz.com