How to Explain Top Psychiatrists’ “Dr. Strangelove Exuberance” Unchecked by Reality

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Exuberant individuals who disregard societal consensus reality are routinely diagnosed by psychiatrists with bipolar disorder; however, among psychiatrists themselves, exuberance about psychiatry regardless of the reality of psychiatry’s repeated scientific failures makes one a leading psychiatrist.

While one explanation for top psychiatrists’ exuberance unchecked by reality is their financial conflicts of interest with Big Pharma, historically, not all leading psychiatrists have been drug-company shills. So, what are other explanations for this phenomenon? Before examining these other reasons, a look at two high-profile examples of this exuberance.

In the twenty-first century, there has been no higher-level psychiatrist then Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) from 2002-2015. Insel left NIMH to lead the mental health team at Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences); then in 2017, co-founded Mindstrong Health, where he promoted digital phenotyping (which, for example, includes the monitoring of patient smartphone text messages to gauge mental illness).

Insel is a prime example of a top psychiatrist with exuberance about psychiatry regardless of his awareness of the reality of its repeated failures.

“I spent 13 years at NIMH really pushing on the neuroscience and genetics of mental disorders, and when I look back on that I realize that while I think I succeeded at getting lots of really cool papers published by cool scientists at fairly large costs—I think $20 billion—I don’t think we moved the needle in reducing suicide, reducing hospitalizations, improving recovery for the tens of millions of people who have mental illness.”—Thomas Insel, quoted in 2017.
“To be clear, I have no regrets about NIMH funding for genomics and neuroscience.” —Thomas Insel, in Insel’s 2022 book Healing, xxvi.
“Whatever we’ve been doing for five decades, it ain’t working . . . . When I look at the numbers—the number of suicides, the number of disabilities, the mortality data—it’s abysmal, and it’s not getting any better.” —Thomas Insel, quoted in 2013.
“The scientific progress in our field was stunning, but while we studied the risk factors for suicide, the death rate had climbed 33 percent.” —Thomas Insel, Healing, xvii.
“. . . current treatments are as effective as some of the most widely used medications in medicine.” —Thomas Insel, Healing, xxiv.

The history of psychiatry is replete with ultimately discarded psycho-babble, bio-babble, and techno-babble. The discarding of the DSM, psychiatry’s diagnostic manual, was actually called for by Insel in 2013, and in his 2022 book Healing, he acknowledged that the chemical imbalance theory of mental illness has now been discarded. Today, he is techno-exuberant not only for digital phenotyping but for brain-circuit explanations of mental illness and for more electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), commonly called electroshock:

“The idea of mental illness as a ‘chemical imbalance’ has now given way to mental illnesses as ‘connectional’ or brain circuit disorders.” —Thomas Insel, Healing, 138.
“The approach [ECT], which induces a seizure across the full cortex in an anesthetized patient, might be akin to rebooting a computer. . . Simply zapping the cortex with electricity may seem like a Hail Mary pass, and yet it actually is effective. . . .” —Thomas Insel, Healing, 55.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 satirical film, ridicules nuclear war planning and the Cold War ideology of “mutually assured destruction.” The film also mocks nuclear war expert Dr. Strangelove, who is unfazed by the horrific consequences of nuclear weapons.

Analogous to the fictional Dr. Strangelove, Insel is aware of the adverse effects of ECT, noting that “there are serious adverse effects, including headache and memory loss” (Healing, 55); however, he is unfazed by these adverse effects. Rather, Insel is upset that “only 0.25 percent of people with depression [are] treated with ECT,” telling us that the stigma of ECT has occurred because “antipsychiatry groups have demonized it” (Healing, 146-147).

The scientific reality of ECT? As is the case historically with every psychiatric treatment, including bloodletting, there are positive anecdotal testimonials for ECT, however, ECT has not met the scientific criteria for effectiveness. A 2019 review of the research on ECT effectiveness for depression reported that there have been no randomized placebo-controlled studies since 1985, and those studies that were done prior to 1985 are of such poor quality that conclusions about efficacy are not possible. Moreover, it has been consistently shown that ECT results in serious adverse effects such as “persistent or permanent gaps in life memories, including of weddings and birthdays, somewhere between 12 and 55 per cent,” as reported by psychologist John Read in 2021, who also reported that “one in 50 patients experience ‘major adverse cardiac events.’”

When I think of Insel’s exuberance for psychiatry undaunted by abysmal outcomes and horrific adverse effects, I think of Major Kong (Slim Pickens) riding the bomb in Dr. Strangelove.

High-profile psychiatrists’ exuberance over psychiatric treatments regardless of scientific realities is not new.

In the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century, the most well-known American physician who treated the “mad” was Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Rush is often referred to as “the father of American psychiatry,” and his image long adorned the seal of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the guild of American psychiatrists. Rush proclaimed himself a slave abolitionist though he had owned a slave, and his views on race included the idea that blackness in skin color was caused by leprosy, and so he advocated “curing” skin color.

Based on an earlier bio-babble theory that irregular convulsive action of the blood vessels was the cause of madness (and other diseases), Rush was an enthusiastic proponent of what was called “depletion therapy,” which included aggressive bloodletting, notes Gerry Greenstone in “The History of Bloodletting” (BC Medical Journal, 2010). Greenstone tells us: “Dr. Benjamin Rush (1745–1813) was one of the most controversial phy­sicians in his time. He was arrogant and paternalistic . . . and devoted much time to the problem of mental illness.” Greenstone reports that Rush removed “extraordinary amounts of blood and often bled patients several times,” and he maintained his exuberance about bloodletting even when other physicians were beginning to doubt its wisdom. “Some doctors,” Greenstone notes, “referred to his practices as ‘murderous.’”

How to Explain Top Psychiatrists’ Exuberance Unchecked by Reality

In “What Can Physicians Learn from Benjamin Rush, Blood, and the Red Cross?” (Hektoen International: A Journal of Medical Humanities, 2020), Ryan Hill notes, “Despite the adamant opposition he encountered from many of his contemporaries, Dr. Benjamin Rush was undeterred.” Hill points out, “During Rush’s day . . . many began to look at the practice with great skepticism, if not rejecting it outright . . . . It was obvious to many of Rush’s contemporaries, who took a much more objective view of bloodletting, that the practice was doing more harm than good.”

Hill then asks and attempts to answer two questions that are highly relevant to contemporary psychiatry:

“So, given this shift in thinking, why did Dr. Rush, one of the most brilliant and educated men of his day, hold on to this near-obsolete practice so unswervingly, even in the face of opposing evidence? Taking the question a bit further, is there anything physicians can learn from his apparent intransigence today?”

One answer, Hill tells us, is provided by Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), which explains why many scientists do not abandon their current paradigm even in the face of data showing the paradigm is incorrect. Hill concludes, “Perhaps Rush was stubborn, and maybe even self-righteous, but it was likely his inability to comprehend the shifting paradigm, rather than sheer stubbornness that tethered him so closely to the age-old belief in depletion therapy.”

Another explanation offered by Hill is that overconfidence is a “common human bias” against questioning outdated techniques. In the history of psychiatry, from Rush to Insel, psychiatrists who can project extreme confidence are more likely to move into leadership roles. This phenomenon exists in other areas of life, including the military leaders and political advisors satirized in Dr. Strangelove, and it also exists in business, as described by Susan Cain in Quiet (2012). Cain reports how the Harvard Business School information session on how to be a good class participant instructs: “Speak with conviction. Even if you believe something only fifty-five percent, say it as if you believe it a hundred percent.” Projecting confidence that is unjustified by reality can make one a leader in many areas of US society.

Hill also offers the explanation of confirmation bias for why Rush would not let go of bloodletting. Hill defines confirmation bias as: “when people form a hypothesis and then gather information to support it, rather than looking at data objectively before forming a conclusion.” Specifically, Rush was animated by those patients who survived and somehow improved after bloodletting, stating, “Never before did I experience such a sublime joy as I now felt in contemplating the success of my remedies.” Owing to confirmation bias, Hill notes, “Despite the fact that he had seen countless deaths, he claimed that he had never lost a patient he had bled. . . . His confirmation bias, a natural human tendency, clouded his views, creating an affirming interpretation of the evidence.” Confirmation bias is a major explanation for why contemporary psychiatrists won’t let go of their treatments despite evidence of ineffectiveness and troubling adverse effects.

Why Psychiatrists Not in Denial Stay Quiet

Why don’t more psychiatrists who are aware of scientific realities call out those exuberant top psychiatrists who continue to be unchecked by reality?

One explanation is the culture of psychiatry. This is evidenced by the 2010 article “Bloodletting 1854,” published by the American Journal of Psychiatry (AJP), the official journal of the APA. Authored by psychiatrist Marshall Garrick, this article provides a window to the cultural values of psychiatry, and how self-serving rationalizations are considered artful diplomacy.

Specifically, Garrick tells us, “I came across an April 1854 article in the American Journal of Insanity (forerunner of AJP) that made me feel much pride as a psychiatrist.” This 1854 article, “Bloodletting in Mental Disorders” was authored by Pliny Earle, one of the founders of the group that would become the APA. In 2010, Garrick explains why this article provided him with pride as a psychiatrist:

“It is striking how delicate and diplomatic Dr. Earle was in showing respect for the memory of Benjamin Rush while expressing disagreement with Dr. Rush’s advocacy of bloodletting. Dr. Earle artfully allowed that maybe the causes of some mental disorders were different during Dr. Rush’s era, compared with the mid-19th century, and that that had led to different treatment practices. Dr. Earle, I believe, demonstrated skill as a leader trying to improve the treatment of mental health disorders while avoiding unnecessarily tarnishing the memory of Benjamin Rush, a founding father of the country and an esteemed physician who published the first textbook on mental illness in the United States.”

This begs the following question: Was Pliny Earle’s excuse for Rush—“the causes of some mental disorders were different during Dr. Rush’s era, compared with the mid-19th century”—admirably “delicate and diplomatic,” or was it self-serving bullshit? In other words, Pliny Earle, Marshall Garrick, and all politically astute psychiatrists are concerned about tarnishing the memory of the father of American psychiatry because that tarnishes their profession of psychiatry.

Finally, how much progress has psychiatry made since Rush’s era? Rush actually invented two mechanical devices to treat madness: a “tranquilizing chair” to slow down the fluid movement of agitated patients, and a “gyrator” in which patients were strapped down, immobilized, and spun to stimulate blood circulation. While Rush’s exuberant attachment to bloodletting resulted in the unnecessary deaths of many patients, Rush’s own inventions to treat mental illness, though barbaric, likely resulted in less long-term physical damage than psychiatry’s treatments, not only in the late twentieth century but today.

Specifically, while no doubt Rush’s devices were physically unpleasant and psychologically traumatizing for many patients, these treatments likely resulted in far less irreversible physical damage than the twentieth century treatments of insulin coma therapy and lobotomy. Furthermore, in contrast to twenty-first century ECT and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), it is likely that after patients were freed from Rush’s tranquilizing chair and gyrator, they could still, unlike many ECT patients, remember their birthday, and unlike many former SSRI patients, they did not suffer from iatrogenic permanent sexual dysfunction, today called post-SSRI sexual dysfunction (PSSD).

Leading psychiatrists appear to be unfazed that their mental illness theories and treatments are repeatedly proven to be scientifically invalid and discarded. However, politically astute psychiatrists will forever be concerned that the general public will finally catch on that their claim that “psychiatry is a young science making great progress” is nothing more than exuberance unchecked by reality.

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

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28 COMMENTS

  1. While “…politically astute psychiatrists will forever be concerned that the general public will finally catch on that their claim that ‘psychiatry is a young science making great progress’ is nothing more than exuberance unchecked by reality.”

    Words of wisdom, thank you Bruce. And let’s pray for the day when the majority of humanity awakens to this sad truthful reality.

    For goodness sakes, us “too school for cool” independent psychopharmacology researchers and critical psychiatry people, have even shown the medical evidence of the iatrogenic etiology of “the sacred symbol of psychiatry.”

    The positive symptoms of “schizophrenia” can be created, via anticholinergic toxidrome. And the negative symptoms can be created, via neuroleptic induced deficit disorder.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxidrome
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroleptic-induced_deficit_syndrome

    Thank you, as always, for your truth speaking wisdom, Bruce.

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  2. Confirmation bias undoubtedly is behind much (it not all) of psychiatry’s long history of intractable hubris.

    However, I tend to think there’s something much more primal involved: VANITY —

    And here’s a hint: an inflated ego (something I consider one of its job requirements) is often the most fragile, and therefore has the most to lose…

    Thomas Insel is a latter-day Benjamin Rush. IMHO.

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  3. Another reason could be human beings’ natural fear of having their world view collapse, especially when their sense of who they are in the world comes from believing in it, against all evidence to the contrary.

    And this is what makes psychiatry more religion than science.

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    • Psychiatry strikes me as being not so much a single religion as a gallimaufry of more or less ephemeral cults, each with its own wise guru (e.g. Freud, Jung, Skinner, Ellis, Janov, Beck, Kramer, Insel) and his disciples. Right now CBT seems to be riding the crest of popularity, for reasons still mysterious to me; what are the verifiable proofs for its validity and manifest superiority to other brands of “therapy?”

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      • CBT is psychology’s answer to psychiatry’s drugs: a supposedly ‘quick fix’ that disregards the emotions driving a person’s behavior.

        It’s probably seen as a cost-effective way of making people into robots.

        I consider religions cults that have gone mainstream.

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      • Joel, just about anything I have read by or about Carl Jung suggests to me that, like any other great spiritual teacher, he sought to empower people to find the Light/Kingdom/Freedom/God/Consciousness within themselves rather than following others, and not to profit from anyone’s ignorance, as false “gurus” may do.

        It seems the very word “guru” comes from the Sanskrit for “weighty,” “grave,” but enlightenment may be expected to cause a lightening up, laughter and humor. Certainly, the elder Jung, at least, seemed to have a perpetual gleam in his eye, as though he realized and accepted that the joke was on him, and on all of us, and that “God is comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh,” even if Jung never put it quite like that.

        “Matter of Heart:” https://g.co/kgs/5wgFjYz

        “There is no coming to Consciousness without pain,” I believe he realized.

        “Enlightenment is the end of suffering,” I believe Buddha realized.

        “If you had not suffered as you have, there would be no depth to you as a human being, no humility, no compassion. You would not be reading this now. Suffering cracks open the shell of ego, and then comes a point when it has served its purpose. Suffering is necessary until you realize it is unnecessary.”

        Eckhart Tolle, in ” Stillness Speaks.”

        https://youtu.be/Deq_1lg9Dlo?si=zkI0hACs55CKT7Cn

        I believe Jesus’s central message, for the most part so desperately and disastrously misunderstood until now, was the same, and that no matter how he phrased it, most folks, and almost all MEN, just couldn’t, wouldn’t and didn’t get it:

        “Deny thy [false, ego] self!”

        “You are the Light of the World [presumably what we now call ‘Formless Consciousness’]!”

        “The Kingdom [of “God”/”the Father”/”Heaven”/”the Heavens – presumably meaning, just as Tolle suggests, “the realm of formless consciousness” ] is within you!”

        I am not familiar with the work of the others you mentioned, Joel, but feel I must just suggest that I know of no grounds for suspecting that Carl Jung wished to be seen as anyone’s guru, but to the contrary.

        I have searched for but not yet found a letter he supposedly wrote in which he self-effacingly pointed out that the content of his own visions (or spiritual experiences) was not important – to each his own, kind of thing.

        Instead, I found the following about a fascinating letter he wrote a fellow countryman of mine which supports my opinions about the great man’s genuine humility, and his humor about his own limitations.

        https://www.themarginalian.org/2015/02/02/carl-jung-ulysses-james-joyce-review-letter/

        “The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”

        I see Jung as having become that candle, or, rather that flame of Consciousness which, when it comes into contact with a person who has suffered enough to be ready for transformation, can so ignite the other as to bring about their alchemical transmutation to Consciousness, also, along with her/him – certainly not as some mere sheep or follower in her/his shadow, but as that student who should always exceed their erstwhile teacher.

        “As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.” – Carl Jung.

        “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” – Gospel of John, 14:12.

        I don’t see Jesus as having tried to establish any religion, either, any more than Jung or any other great teacher did or does. Rather, I attribute the foundation of Judeo-Paulianity to Saul/Paul, and to the Emperor Constantine, at Nicaea.

        Rather, I see Jesus, like Jung and all the great teachers, wishing we would each become our own guru, much like Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha, for example.

        “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” — Carl Jung.

        “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” — Carl Jung.

        “Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love, but always meeting ourselves.” ― James Joyce, “Ulysses.”

        ‘“But why on earth,” you may ask, “should it be necessary for man to achieve, by hook or by crook, a higher level of consciousness? This is truly the crucial question, and I do not find the answer easy. Instead… I can only make a confession of faith:

        I believe that, after thousands and millions of years, someone had to realize that this wonderful world of mountains and oceans, suns and moons, galaxies and nebulae, plants and animals, exists. From a low hill in the Athi plains of East Africa I once watched the vast herds of wild animals grazing in soundless stillness, as they had done from time immemorial, touched only by the breath of the primeval world. I felt then as if I were the first man, the first creature, to know that all this is. The entire world round me was still in its primeval state; it did not know that it was. And then, in that one moment in which I came to know, the world sprang into being; without that moment it would never have been. All Nature seeks this goal and finds it fulfilled in man, but only in the most highly developed and most fully conscious man.’ (CW 9i, §177).

        I like to believe Jung may have learned towards the end that, even without any dream interpretation or anything else, his sheer, intent, compassionate, deep, listening presence, alone, had the potential to enable anyone (willing) to heal themselves of virtually anything psychic/emotional/physical – and that we all share that same potential, but only once we cast aside all judgment, at least for then.

        Joel, I hope you understand: I just could not let Jung be seen as anyone’s guru – possibly any more than you could!

        Best wishes.

        Tom.

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  4. Isn’t this really nothing but the science of making people think you have a solution, and then if it doesn’t work, you can tag on that more research, more money, etc. needs to be put into it.

    Too intelligent to fall for it? you can be deemed non compliant, or if not tagged with a diagnosis yet, not schooled regarding appropriate treatment.

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  5. Excellent article, building on the great job that Robert Whitaker has done documenting this concept in his books and on this website. Unfortunately a similar hubris frequently seems to extend to other specialties of medicine as well, as well as in various other parts of our culture. Pointing it out helps us collectively be more aware of the situation and hopefully the emperors slowly start to realize that they are wearing no clothes

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    • Karl, have you not heard of false equivalency?

      You seem intent on downplaying the fact that psychiatry can be uniquely harmful to people physically, psychologically and reputationally. In other words, it can ruin lives.

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      • Birdsong – I have zero intent to downplay the significant harm caused by psychiatry. However I think that the harms would not be accepted in a society that did not have certain parallel problems going on. One book that opened my eyes a lot was:

        “Sickening: How Big Pharma Broke American Health Care and How We Can Repair It,” by Harvard professor and physician John Abramson.

        Dr. Abramson has sat in on a lot of lawsuits against big pharma by injured parties and has had access to lots of internal pharma corporate data. He shares a lot of details about how unconscionably corrupt pharma is, and the medical journals too. The situation is similar and parallel to what Bob Whitaker details in his books regarding the field of psychiatry.

        American society has selfish and even sociopathic traits, with publicly traded companies and other organizations seeing no problem internalizing profits and externalizing costs to society. Curiously this seems to have accelerated in the 80s under Reagan, around the time that psychiatry seems to have taken additional turns for the worse with big pharma taking over and the APA leaning into the biomedical model of mental health.

        These and other facts do not lessen anything that psychiatry has done but do add context. And the goal remains to lessen the harm.

        I suspect that I may continue to be the target of your comments despite the fact that I think that you and I probably more similar and more on the same team than you may realize, despite the fact that I am a psych NP

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        • Karl, I don’t need to be educated about what happened in 1980’s American society and psychiatry; I lived through it.

          I’m also well-acquainted with Dr. Breggin’s outstanding work representing people in court who’ve been harmed by Big Pharma’s psychiatric drugs.

          So, I think I understand a little something about context.

          What I don’t understand is why you feel like a target when I respond critically to your comments; that’s what critical discussion is all about; you’re being an NP has nothing to do with it, although if you didn’t have skin in the game I don’t think you feel like a target.

          FYI: taking things too personally often clouds judgment.

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    • Psychiatry stands alone because of its capacity to negatively affect how people perceive themselves; its perverted view of the human psyche makes it grotesquely unique.

      You can read all the books you want, but there comes a point where you have to stop looking at injustice impersonally.

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      • Clarification: Psychiatry stands apart from other medical specialties because unlike other medical specialties, it is not based on objective reality, it is based on junk science and wishful thinking. Just look up “Thomas Insel” to see for yourself.

        Even calling psychiatry a “medical specialty” is dubious — that is unless you consider drug pushing a medical specialty.

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  6. To be “unchecked by reality” is pathognomonic of psychosis, according to some psychiatrists. To put it delicately, Insel is a high-functioning arrogant nerd lunatic psychiatrist with mediocre aptitude for psychological insight, a very dangerous species, blithely cutting a huge damage swath through society and history like a long track tornado of good intentions. Maybe self-administered ECT would reboot his CPU. Doctor, heal thyself. Truly excellent article, BTW. Spot on.

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  7. I just had an email sent to my head – “I’m in pieces and those pieces are walking”. And then she printed off my thoughts. “Fact, fact, fact: I feel terror”. Mice
    run
    from
    Box to Box to Box! Have a nice day Enola. Oh.
    She terminates in nihilism, in a particular ‘impossible’.
    Fact fact fact: born of ashtrays, I am born of bone civilizations. These are terrible, terrible themselves.

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  8. What about the explanation that psychiatry is a profession that attracts lunatics, and that “leading” psychiatrists tend to be the leading lunatics?

    It’s funny that when almost anyone who should be educated in this regard talks about what could only be described as white collar crime, that they leave out the biggest known cause of crime of any sort – per their own researchers – psychopathy.

    A person who gleefully watches – or participates – while a “patient” is being slowly tortured or killed is a psychopath or a sociopath. Isn’t that pretty clear? And while this might be a bit over the top in describing your “average” modern psychiatrist, many contributors to these pages have met such individuals, much to their regret.

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    • Absolutely!!!

      I think there’s something’s seriously wrong with people who aren’t profoundly alarmed by what can happen in the name of ‘mental health’.

      But thankfully, more and more people are finally learning how psychiatry’s been taking them for a ride and choosing to leave it before finding themselves in a ditch.

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    • Larry – I think that many or most of us who work in mental health have either a bit of mental health issues of our own, or have had people very close to use with mental health struggles. Lots of ADHD, lots of personality disorder.

      Specifically in psychiatry training, I have heard that psychiatrists and medical doctors in general are told to keep extreme emotional boundaries with patients as a way of protecting themselves from emotional entanglement, to a degree that can at times seem dehumanizing to the patient. Reading stories of patient harm, and having patients tell me that no provider has listened to them or tried to consider their preferences in 15 or more years of treatment .. I am not sure what to say about that. It certainly sounds like sociopathy. People with sociopathic traits are more drawn to fields with money, power, and prestige … like medicine. I hope deep inside of me that doctors who have watched their patients suffer or die do not do so with glee, although indifference is just a lesser degree of the same

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      • It sounds like they are training sociopathic traits into people!

        The only thing that made me effective as a therapist was my willingness to let down my barriers and feel what the client/”helpee” was feeling. That is completely what guided how I would intervene. If a person can’t do that and still “maintain boundaries,” they have no business trying to help anyone emotionally. They need to get their own help first!

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      • “…I have heard that psychiatrists and medical doctors in general are told to keep extreme emotional boundaries with patients as a way of protecting themselves.”

        Karl, once again you seem to be making excuses for psychiatry’s cruelties.

        There are good reasons why so many people have psychiatric horror stories, and they are the same reasons why MIA has existed for the last fourteen years.

        I suggest you imagine yourself in your patients’ shoes. Maybe then you might learn that good intentions are not good excuses.

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  9. This essay was published on 6 June, the anniversary of the passing from us of Carl Jung, and the birthday, I believe, of Rommel’s wife – a fact which played no small part in how D-Day, 6 June, 1944, unfolded – for all of us.

    We humans slaughtered one another in vast numbers in France on that “longest day” 80 years ago.

    We are still doing it, and often still for religious/ideological differences as well as for money.

    It’s been said that the difference between religious and spiritual people is that the latter don’t kill each other.

    It’s also been said that, while the former fear hell, the latter have been through it.

    Perhaps when we have all suffered enough will we all lose any appetite for any suffering or for inflicting any suffering on other creatures?

    Perhaps then we will no longer see us and them, but only us?

    Psychiatrists who seemed to lack an understanding of themselves seemed to see me as so different from them that they caused or allowed all kinds of immense and lasting harm to me.

    If I still cannot see that they, those psychiatrists and those who did their bidding, even when clearly against the law, are essentially no different from me, I don’t see how I can truly help them – and that is to say, help us.

    And for as long as I fail to comprehend that we are all in this together, what good can come from all the injuries visited upon me, or any of us?

    “For we are all as God made us, and many of us much worse,” said Cervantes’s Sancho Panza.

    “No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.” – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.

    Either we are indeed all absolutely equal or we are not, as I see it.

    I believe we are, and that being a human being is a desperately, desperately difficult task for everyone, and that, ultimately, and however many human lifetimes it may take any of us, we must all suffer equally until we suffer no more.

    Perhaps the most glaringly obvious errors and excesses of some of us have been necessary for all of us to question ourselves?

    I believe the sooner we appreciate this, the sooner we can all quit suffering, and causing others to suffer.

    And it’s a long, long time now since Thomas Szasz so clearly pointed out some incontrovertible, if perhaps too-obvious-to-be-seen facts about coercive, state-sanctioned psycho-pharmacology.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvpkLvxsspg

    Peace and prosperity, comfort and joy, love and laughter.

    And thank you for yet another most remarkable essay.

    Tom.

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