Clients regularly hint in passing at what’s causing their distress. The hints we get from a client help us determine which of these many causes are more probable than the others or maybe even which is the cause. Nor is it hard to hear these hints, if we train ourselves to listen for them. Responding to causal hints with a spirit of inquiry and careful talking points deepens the work.
When fault is not placed on the right people, innocent people are left vulnerable and alone. They may also begin to question their ability to trust their own feelings and perceptions. When you refuse to blame the people who are legitimately at fault, you gaslight the people their actions are injuring, piling on additional hurt and making it much harder for the wounded to heal.
What inherent benefits may exist for identifying oneself as mentally ill? Many patients actually hope for a diagnosis. Once granted that special status, they then inform everyone around them—friends, family, the HR department—so that everyone can get on board and act accordingly, altering any expectations they might otherwise have for this person.
There is a large-scale failure to appreciate the risks involved in taking drugs that alter brain function on a long-term basis. The fact that it has taken single-minded and dedicated campaigners, many of them users of the drugs concerned, to bring these effects to the attention of the scientific and professional community is shameful.
Influential psychiatrists recently called on the NHS to make a faux schizophrenia test available to patients and their families. What is most astounding about this is the complete lack of pretense. "We are so certain of our power and righteousness that we are going to tell you to your face that we are lying, and yet, we will still get our way."
Ultimately, the FDA Advisory Committee recommended approval of brexanolone by a 17-1 member vote. I was the only NO vote. I voted NO because as the sole Consumer Representative on the committee I didn’t believe the company had demonstrated that the potential benefits outweighed the potential for harm.
How can we restore something as essential to the healing and helping process as knowing what is going on? If your client has an actual biological problem, he needs one sort of help. If he hates his job, he needs another sort of help. It is absurd (and not okay) that a helper would look only at putative “symptoms” and not at what’s going on.
Without a capacity for delusional thinking, official religions likely couldn’t have thrived, and civilizations couldn’t have developed and flourished. So I conclude that the formula of two parts rationality plus one part delusionality was essential in helping man to ultimately outcompete all other species.
After three randomized trials inclusive of only 247 women, and with side effects that include loss of consciousness, brexanolone has been approved for the treatment of postpartum depression. Because of the drug’s risk profile, women must receive the 60-hour infusion under medical supervision and “cannot function as her child(ren)’s primary caregiver.”
Psychiatric censorship tries to hide the damaging effects of psychiatric drugs from everyone, including psychiatrists who happen to go looking for useful information. Just for fun, let's take a look at how far psychiatry will go when a bit of truth escapes from one of its own publications and must be deleted in clumsy desperation.
There is little denying the power of story… until our own stories get taken from us, positioned against us, and used to determine our value as some sort of human commodity. We deserve to have our stories heard and to hear the stories of others, but on our own terms, without being fetishized or controlled, and without competition for paltry awards and recognition.
It is with great pleasure that I announce that Mad in Sweden launches today. The number of people receiving a psychiatric diagnosis in Sweden has increased dramatically in recent years, and the need for alternative perspectives to today’s biomedical and pharmacologically oriented paradigm of mental health has never been greater.
Ruling on a class action lawsuit brought against the nation’s largest health insurer, Judge Spero concluded that it had adopted treatment guidelines focused on saving costs through limiting coverage to the management of acute mental health episodes. How much psychotherapy does a person need to achieve meaningful and lasting change in their emotional outlook?
Psychotherapy could, and really ought to, promote itself as the best investigative tool around for understanding emotional health and problems in living. That would change its footing, putting it on much more solid ground. I’m calling this redefined version of psychotherapy multi-lens therapy, to put the emphasis on where it ought to have been put all along: investigating.
If you’re in a “helping” profession, remember this: it is really arrogant to assume that you know enough to be able to decide what’s helpful for other people. The best thing you can do to help is advocate for people being treated well — which starts with asking them what they need — and say out loud that the harmful ways they’re being treated aren’t okay.
School-based strategies such as the “talk to your doctor” campaign about any childhood problem have been extremely effective in helping the pharmaceutical industry to marginalize traditional child-rearing practices and replace them with advice from mental health “experts” and the use of dangerous drugs. These campaigns are reminiscent of now-illegal vintage tobacco ads in which doctors endorsed cigarette smoking.
European citizens from 27 different countries will soon go to the polls to elect their representatives in the European Parliament for the next five years. As an advocacy organisation, we see those elections as an opportunity to call on current and future European leaders and policymakers to bring mental health to the heart of European policies.
In an internet email discussion among a large group of supposedly enlightened mental health professionals, few came forward to outright condemn or ban ECT. One participant responded to my comments with, "It worries me how this debate gets so polarized." This refusal to say or to accept something polarizing is a hallmark of most so-called reformers in the field of mental health.
Imagine being a parent at a meeting with educators to discuss Johnny's academics or behavior. Suddenly, your child’s teacher is telling you that he needs to see a doctor for an assessment of a suspected “mental disorder,” which usually leads to a prescription for medication. Warned of “the risks against failing to intervene,” you will likely acquiesce.
It is important to illuminate the authoritarian nature of mental health professionals—especially those who have not rebelled in any way against their professional socialization. Here I will summarize an analysis from the Journal of Medical Ethics on the variables in “contemporary medical culture” that produce doctors who are authoritarian and harmful.
How do we explain the high demand for mind-numbing chemicals in America? Is it due to the development of new, improved "medications"? Is it due to the invention of new "diagnoses"? Is it due to life here becoming more stressful and traumatic? Or is it something else? Have we become less tolerant of distress?
One “side effect” of meds is that they can reinforce people’s passivity towards their emotions, obscuring an understanding of themselves as having agency, as being the active creators of their lives — including their emotional lives. This has to be on the table in talking with clients about whether they want medications to be part of their development picture.
The conversation about what truly constitutes “autism” is an ongoing one. Although I resist the label personally, I do not begrudge anyone for identifying as autistic, or seeking out an autism diagnosis. Leaving this discussion within the domain of medicine is limiting. That’s why a new discourse is emerging, not among doctors, but among activists who push for autistic self-advocacy.
I believe that those who understand psychiatry’s self-serving claims and want to be most effective in a campaign of re-education must never lose sight of the critical role of language in the forming of public opinion. Here I will use the example of stigma to illustrate psychiatry's “War of the Words.”
I am often contacted by organizations seeking help with documenting how their efforts make a statistically significant difference when it comes to their clients’ success. Let’s take a look at some of the essential aspects that must be considered for those seeking documentation of evidence-based treatment.