Thursday, September 21, 2017

Comments by John Hoggett

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  • I once heard someone talk about how in one small part of Rural Denmark (now I maybe wrong on the country) the community had designed an addiction service that involved family and other networks. It sounded like a variation on Open Dialogue, where family and other important people are invited to conversations with trained staff (therapists, social workers, psychiatrists etc) and those conversations might happen every day for a week or so and then tail off. Central to this model is the idea that someone needs social support and that all treatment decisions are made by discussion with all relevant parties.

    Drugs could still be prescribed in this model and attendance at meetings would be entirely voluntary. People who have been through addiction and come out the other side would probably have useful things to say as the skilled and trained helpers.

    I am interested in this model as families and communities often struggle as to what to do when someone turns to drugs and I think they need support too.

  • Peers and Peer Support: He who pays the piper plays the tune.

    Nuff said.

    Or to put it less cryptically: peer support, trained or untrained, run by psychiatric survivors and their allies and from an anti-psychiatry ideology is what I want to see. Most of the rest is co-opted nonsense which at it’s best gives service users a much needed step back into paid employment.

    There are of course a few exceptions, such as peer supported Open Dialogue in the UK, but they are rare.

  • I think this is a really interesting article. I’d like to see some other studies comparing different cultures incidences of psychotic diagnosis and see them related to their histories.

    Eric tied the high level in post war Germany to war trauma. I’d like to know if other countries that have suffered recent wars have high levels of psychotic diagnosis.

    If anyone knows of such studies please let me know.

  • I have seen many professionals who work in the system who blog and comment on this site not get a hard time from people who have been harmed by psychiatry.

    Personally I think that those who have been harmed by psychiatry have a right shout down anyone who they disagree with.

    The comments are moderated, as I know only two well, having had a few removed in my time.

    If you feel the way comments are moderated should be changed I suggest you take it up with the people who run the site.

  • We have no idea why the Dr’s concluded that it was mental illness, whatever that is? All I can assume is that they could find no physical cause and therefore assumed it was psychological in origin. I think that is an easy way out for the Dr. Much better that they say they have found no cause.

    I hear people with mental health diagnosis sometimes have physical symptoms dismissed as being psychological in origin with no or little evidence.

    I also know someone with long term chronic pain caused by real physical disease who learnt to deal with it largely by psychological and behavioural methods. So these things are often complex.

  • If you give Dr’s the power to take away someone’s rights and force drugs on them they do not want and to ignore them, which is what happens in most wards, then why would you expect what you offer to be examined by anyone outside your organisation?

    The law has given you the impression psychiatrists can do what they want. Why would they comply with people who call you to account?

  • If I post what I think needs to be done again I shall probably be banned.

    Enough of the comments, where is the action?

    Where is the organising?

    Where are the banner drops, invasions of pharmacies, Dr’s offices, Big Pharma offices, MP’s offices and schools?

    Where is the publically organised outrage?

    Breggin and co gives the info. Nothing will change until people get of thier arses and take action.

    Breggin and co will not organise the masses, they will not lead ACT UP type campaigns. It us up to us.

  • And yet UK GP’s are pleased by the increase in prescribing over the last ten years as they say the drugs are effective. They also say that there are withdrawal effects but these can be managed by coming off them slowly over a couple of months which is completely counter to what many ssri withdrwal support groups report.

    Meanwhile, in another land, I see no epidemiology that shows a reduction in days off work for depression as a result of all these extra drugs being prescribed.

    Big disconect going on here. I largely blame Time to Change, the UK big funded anti stigma campaign. Disease like any other init? Bound to drive up prescriptions, especially with a depression and austerity policies putting the majority of the population under financial stress.

    I love John Read’s work by the way.

  • I agree with the gist of your argument but I still think that the practical points outlined in the article can be fought for by those who seek reform and those that seek abolition.

    It would all depend on who was leading a perticular campaign as to what the overall aim was but I would hope that both camps would cooperate on any campaign that led to less forced treatment, less drugging, less ECT and more humane compassion.

  • I was offered this. I turned it down. I had to go through so many hoops to get the offer too.

    They do it because health care in the UK is increasingly marketised. Providers compete to provide packages of healthcare. This one looks good on outcomes, if you measure them in the right way, just like the drugs do if you run the tests yourself.

  • I am just re reading your book, Psychiatry and the Business of Madness, and am struck by the section on form filling and how that effects the experience of inmates in hosptals. Whether there were drugs or not hospitals as they stand would still be a kind of soft prison with observations and locked wards and not a lot of getting to know and support people in distress.

    Today I performed at a Mental Health Arts Festival and afterwards someone said they were really glad I had written about psychiatric oppression in the programme notes.

  • That sounds like a strategic answer not a sience or ethics based one. That is, strategically psychiatry is likely to be weakened by the use of critical psychiatry arguments and allieing to critical psychiatrists and other respected professionals.

    Where as I takea an anti-psychiatry viewpoint and am willing to seek allies from critical psychiatrists and other respected proffessionals. Oddly my position partly comes from reading Mad in America which details the history of USA psychiatry and from which I came to the conclusion that psychiatry has always done more harm than good, it is not just a modern phenoma.

  • I read your post but cannot see how it relates to the article. At the moment it reads to me like you are posting about a personal bugbear that may or may not relate to it.

    Timimi runs a child and adolescent clinic where many children who would at other clinics get a diagnosis of ADHD are helped. His clinic on the whole is drug free and diagnosis free. It also has far better outcomes than most other CAMH’s clinics.

    Some of the clients come from other clinics and are on drugs and have diagnosis. Most of those, once they have heard the benefits and downside of diagnosis and drugs decide to drop them, though some decide to keep them. I therefore think that if no diagnosis, no medication and lots of conversation are all needed to help a child then that is between the parent, the child and doctor. However this was not the main point of the article.

    I can see your personal experience and opinions are counter to Timimi’s practice however the article on the whole is not about that, it is about scientific outcomes of a variety of studies. Could you therefore go back to the article and copy and paste bits of it and then tell me how your post relates to the article? That way I and perhaps others might be able to debate with you.

  • Here are the lyrics from the song in the article:

    “I took pills for my depression

    just to smother my emotions.

    Doctors said that I would need them,

    but I learned to cry without them.

    So I stopped taking the tablets,

    then I let my feelings rise up

    for my mother when she passed on,

    for my marriage when he quit me,

    left me as a single mother,

    with a hard job and no weekends.

    Now I weep without taking pills,

    yet I still feel very angry,

    and the fury seems well-founded,

    but the feelings will not hurt me.”

  • I suspect there is a difference between Bonnies’ ideas and Julie as Julie is anti therapy and Bonnie is, amongst other things, a therapist.

    I wonder if either of the two of you could elucidate on this further?

    I read Masson’s book Against Therapy and while I have some sympathy with his views. After all Soteria House was set up by a psychaitrist, run by carefully chosen people who had n training and who got to talk to a social worker about what was going on once a week yet they had brilliant outcomes.

    David Smail wrote an essay comparing therapists and prostitutes. He wrote that prostitutes sold sex and therapists sold love – or something near it.

    I am not against therapy myself but niether do I put therapists on pedastals.

  • It must be hard to be at the coal face and see all this cruelty meterred out to tramatised people.

    I congratulate you for carrying on.

    I have witnessed it myself as a friend of people who are persecuted by psychiatry – because that is what it is, a kind of persecution.

  • A quick google search and I find two articles on this, one saying CBT is no better than other forms of therapy, the other saying that it is for anxiety and depression and possible other forms of distress.

    You pays your money and you takes your choice.

    Unless you have the skills and time to in detail analyse the two articles and write up fair critiques of either.

    Here are the links – says no difference – says CBT probably better, at least for anxiety and depression.

    Personally I found not being in dire poverty and being part of a supportive community helped more than anything.

  • “…cognitive behavior therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, Alcoholics Anonymous, Emotions Anonymous, and Recovery International. They were all harmful and pathologizing at worst and ineffective at best,” I like a bit of icnoclasm.

    I’ve done a few of those things and sometimes they were helpful, sometimes not. I’ve also done something like Large Group Awareness Trainings and I’ve avoided other types of large group therapy experiences. One small group weekend event I left thinking the people running it were petty bullies, but I still got something out of it. Another I left as they said they were for gay men but then said we could not be out to the staff of the centre they hired as it might traumatise them – oh dear, self oppression from gay therapists, how sad.

    There is a basic bit of therapy research that says that what helps people is the relationship between the therapist and the client, as assessed by the client. I suspect that is true for Large Group Awareness Trainings. Those who are good at running groups in a senstive manner have good results, those who are bullies end up with compliant robots and people having breakdowns. Most of them however are probably cults with bullies running them. Well done you on spotting that and for exiting this one.

  • I think availability of methods to commit suicide are an important factor in reducing the incidence. The availability of certain drugs and of firearms are two things to consider on both a societal and household level.

    I can’t find information on where restricting which drugs are sold over the counter by country related to suicide rate but it would be interesting to investigate. I have not looked up how the availability of guns is correlated to suicide rate either but as the gun violence rate is related to availability of guns I suspect suicide rates are also related.

  • I have often sat with people who are psychiatric patients and within an hour they will tell me about thier truamatic histories. I ask them if the services know about this and they say no. I ask them how long they have been in services and they say 10 – 20 – 30 years. I ask why they do not tell the services and they say in so many words they do not trust them and they are not worth telling.

    So I completly agree with you about how service users so often see staff, and quite rightly so in my opinion, as untrustworthy

  • My step mum is a sick in the head drunk.

    I’m pretty mad at her (though in one of those confused, I’m sorry for her, she had a hard life, I don’t want to make her life worse, how much did I deserve all her abusive comments and being the victim of her soap opera of a life, way).

    Does she have a disease? Only in a metaphorical way:

    O Rose thou art sick.
    The invisible worm,
    That flies in the night
    In the howling storm:

    Has found out thy bed
    Of crimson joy:
    And his dark secret love
    Does thy life destroy.

    William Blake – Sick Rose – init?

  • Sami Timimi and two people who were diagnosed with autism, but who later de diagnosed themselves wrote a book called The Myth of Autism: medicalising men and boys sociall and emotional competance

    They also wrote a paper for the BMJ saying autism is not a scientifically valid or clinically useful diagnosis

    Timimi is a child and adolescent psychiatrist who has published on Mad in America. Timimi, Cabe and Gardener write that people’s individual experiences and those of them around them need to be taken into account when offering help and that a diagnosis of autism is a distraction from that. I believe there arguent is also that late capitalism demands people who have good customer service skills and those are often more feminine ways of being. Therefore boys behaviour, which in previous generations would have been fine in the workplace, are now medicalised.

    Interesting argument, I like it, many will take issue with it.

  • OMG – I just watched the vid. Horror movie meets early public health HIV AIDS add.



    If this is what Autism and Mental Health Awarness Month is about I wanna see that blockbuster movie now. Gotta be better than the last X-men movie.

    Did they really raise huge ammounts of money and say they were supporting people with autism? Surely they are a front for some wild neo-fascist, kill all people with learning disabilities, fringe group?

    Or am I wrong?

  • Neurodiversity is an interesting social movement however I have yet to see any data to back up the theory. If you have any please share.

    I do however think that people with different personalities should not be give medical labels or offered medical treatment.

  • “……….a cocktail of antidepressants, antipsychotics, and benzodiazepines at age 13…….”

    How common is this?

    At this point I ask why not add a horse tranquiliser?

    These people, these so called doctors, are but legalised drug pushers.

  • I have a less jaudiced view of therapy and counselling though I have also experienced harmful practices too. I think that good practice is found inside and outside the mental health system and while there are varied prctices it has some simple principles shared by many other disciplines. I think these principles are:

    1 caring for someone
    2 trying to understand someone
    3 offering encouragement

    I think they are also found in community work, self help groups and from good freinds as well as other places.

    Peter Breggin asked his clients what it was that he did that helped and they said he cared for them until they felt they could care for themselves. That doesn’t sound like a value that is only held by therapists or counsellors, it is how we often act towards friends who are in distress such as when they are grieving after the death of someone close. Bad therapy is where the thearpist thinks they know what is best for you and that sounds like what you have experienced from the metal health system.

    Dorothy Rowe, writer and retired thearpist, was once part of a debating team that proposed the motins that Thearpy has caused more harm than good, and Jeffrey Masson wrote a book called Against Therapy, so I suspect you will have many supporters in your views. It is a debate that I think is well worth having though.

  • Thanks for telling us about your experience of the Sunrise Centre and of cults in general.

    I have a freind who is a cult survivor, mainly of religious and New Age cults. They damaged her quite considerably both emotionaly and finacially.

    I agree that one sucees story is not sufficient evidence of effectivness. I also agree that no programem should say, “You have to keep coming back.” Effective help, of any kind, leaves people feeling better and should be open to someone coming back if they want to and eventually they should leave the person moving on and not needing the programme.

    Often cults will offer something that is helpful, such as the calming down found in meditation and other religious and New Age practices, or the expression of emotion and telling of ones story to someone who listens, as found in therapy cults. Often this then ceases to help and the cult blames the person for not trying hard enough or doing the practice sufficiently. I do not think RC blames people if it does not work as they tend to be at the happy clappy end of cult behaviour, but they do stress that people should keep on with the practice of RC and stress, “Discharge,” ie expressing hurt emotions, as a route to cure. Expressing hurt emotions (having a good cry, shouting at the TV when Trump says something idiotic etc etc) is something we all do and often we feel better afterwards but it not the only thing that helps us deal with difficult situations and neither is encouraging someone to express emotion the only thing we do when trying to help someone in distress, though sitting with someone in distress and offering comfort is part of what we might do when appropriate.

    So expressing distressing emotion to someone who is listening is the hook RC has that pulls people in and it can be useful at times for some people. The push to keep repeating it as the cure, the waccy practices and the exagerated believes are the rubbish that goes along with it are what I see as the dangerous part of RC. RC people often say that groups that have progressed in society, such as women, have done so due to discharging distress and this has allowed them to achieve things. This is partly coopting consciosness raising practices which both the women’s liberation movement, the LGBT liberation movement and Paolo Friere’s work with landless peasants in Brazil stressed but is also rubbish. Women got the vote due to effective political organising and yes people may have had a good old rant and a cry when doing this but it wasn’t the only way political solidarity emerged. Political groups that engage in consciousness raising then go onto put together practical programmes such as founding LGBT phonelines, women organising pregnancy testing centres, peasants setting up trade unions or health centres. RC’ers just do more counselling. Whether their personal lives are better is a moot point and open to debate and personal annecdote but it isn’t changing the world.

    I gained from some of my time with them, I learnt some listening skills I also cringed at some of what I experienced, and am unlikely to engage with them agian. I don’t think they did me serious harm though I have seen some RC’ers with fixed grins that are just creepy.

    I am also concerned that the founder, Harvey Jackins, who is now dead, was accused of rape and sexual assault by a number of his women clients, and that the organisation had no proper investigation or democratic structure to deal with such complaints. Tim Jackins, his son, now runs the organisation. While not everyone involved in RC may know of this scandal I would be very suspicious of anyone who did know who continued to be involved.

  • I looked up ISPS – the International Society for Psychologial and Social approaches to Psychosis.

    There websites states, “ISPS is an international organization promoting psychotherapy and psychological treatments for persons with psychosis (a term which includes persons diagnosed with “schizophrenia”).”

    Having found out what the organisation is I am left wondering what this crock of drug poisoning shit that the article you review was published in thier journal? It sounds more like drug company marketing blurb than anything to do with psychological or social approachs to helping people in distress.

  • I knew a good worker who was part of a very small group that did theatre based consultancy to help service users get more of what they wante (we put on plays about how bad psychiatry is, they watched and then discussed them. The service users grew in confidence and supported each other better as a result). I wrote a stinking letter about her employer to the local paper explaining how badly a freind was being treated. She resigned as she felt personally attacked.

    You can’t run with the hare and the houds, as Dr Ragins is finding out.

  • thanks Richard.

    I think you can learn a lot from RC, specifically how to improve you ability to listen to people and how to sit with people in distress in a useful way but I also think there is a whole wierd philosophy and ways of working that risk being open to not being scrutinsed, are hierachical and open to abuse.

    I really want programmes for people who want support in coming of psychiatric drugs. I especially want to see them run by people who are actively criticising psychiatry. I think group work is important. I think there are many models for learning and practicing those skills. RC is one I have reservations about.

  • I agree.

    I like the UK psychiatrists statement that psychiatric diagnsosis is potentially damanging and that there are already alternatives such as psychological formulation. Which sounds a bit like gobblebegook until you realise that psychological formulation means asking someone what thier problems is, what might have caused it and what might help? Which is no more than most of us can do most of the time.

  • I like the sound of the centre and it’s mission to help people come off psychiatric drugs. I do think that services such as these are essential for this movement to flourish. However I am suspicious of Re-evaluation Counseling. I am all in favour of effective self help therapy and other methods but Harvey Jackins, the founder of Re-evaluation Counseling was a sex pest and the techniques of Re-evaluation Counseling lend themselves to wierd and waccy methods. I wish the author good luck but I would love to hear user expereinces of this project.

    While the old concerns about Re-evaluation Counseling may not be relevant to this organisation they do concern me sufficiently to post an old Mind Freedom article about it, in which they call it a cult

  • I’d appreciate it if Robert Whittiker could comment on the studies D S Goel, MD mentions as he seems to have the best grasp of such things.

    Annecdotaly I know a family who want thier adult son medicated with clozapine and he wants to come off it. He tells me of all the things that drive him mad. He tells me the services know nothing of these things. Same old story I’ve heard many time from other people. He is applying to the Open Dialogue programme in London where he hopes his traumas will be taken seriously and the drugs will be prescribed in a way that takes his wishes into account, which is what seems to be happening on these new Norwiegian wards.

  • I went to the London conference on Open Dialogue. It was a very friendly affair.

    I spoke to all sorts of people including a nurse who had trained in Open Dialogue and was doing that work three days a week. He liked his doing the work. He also did two days doing other work, which is what the majority of his colleagues does, and he hates it.

    He found out I was from Reading. He said the person who was his best man at his wedding was there, in Prospect Park Hospital, the local psychiatric hospital. He knows how inadaquate, damaging and bad his friends treatment is and is powerless to do anything, though he talks to his freind on the phone and internet quite often (his friend does not want to see him face to face often as it reminds him of the life he has lost).

    I wonder if Dr Ragins has any advice to that might be of any solace to the nurse who has for three days a week found a way of helping people in distress that uses few drugs and on the whole is democratic but for the rest of the week has to give out drugs, fill in forms and on the whole ignore people, some of whom are forced to be on wards where they do not want to be? Leave his job? Go part time on the Open Dialogue work and get a part time job on to compensate the loss of earnings? Found a militant anti-psychiatry campaign? Start using the drugs to slow some of his psychiatrist colleagues down?

  • I think a lot of good workers leave due to frustration and being ground down.

    I think the essential skills on top of those of being caring and understanding of clients are those of being a community worker, trade union activist and political activist. At the very low level of being caring to clients those skills maybe needed if the dehumanising effect of working for psychiatric services are to b countered.

    Consider when the author says, “focus on building protective factors (e.g. safe housing, money for necessities and emergencies..” and then consider what that means in the age of Trump? Housing shortages and homelessness with low wages and precarious work patterns mean safe housing and money for necessities and emergencies are not avaialable for a lot of poeple and poverty is the biggest risk factor for getting a diagnosis for mental illness.

    Being a part of fighting back against what I shall call the stinking rich is an essential part of being a good worker who supports those who are mentally distressed.

  • “Specifically, mental disorder is a biological disturbance of brain function, presumed to be at the level of neurotransmitters and caused by genetic disorders. Thus, the treatment of all mental disorder, as a physical disorder of the brain, is necessarily physical in nature: chemicals to correct a chemical imbalance, you could say, or if that fails, electrical currents to induce seizures, implanted electrodes, powerful magnetic fields, hyperthermia and, in the extreme, neurosurgery to disconnect parts of the brain.

    This is the standard view of psychiatry as it is taught in all medical schools in the world and adopted by all major professional psychiatric bodies throughout the world.”

    And that has to change.

  • “The only appropriate training is to have lived it yourself (psychosis) but good luck if you lived it yourself getting certified by the deeply entrenched education mafia as being qualified.”

    I think there are records and personal experiences of people being helped by those who have not been through the kind of distress that gets labelled as psychosis. However I recently went to a conference on Peer Supported Open Dialogue where it was said that the peer supporters, who were trained and integral parts of the teams, often said the most helpful things to the clients as they had indeed been through it themselves. I suspect there position of training people who have been through psychosis and of employing them as equals is unusual. It does give me hope though.

    As a gay men I find the company of other supportive gay men means a lot more to me than anyone else, no matter how much they try to understand, but I wouldn’t completely right off non gay people when they offer support to me. I think it is likely to be the same for madness

  • When I was involved in anti-psychiatry campaigning, and not just posting comments on websites, I ended up thinking we needed to create some alternative services. These being:

    1 advocacy for people trapped by psychiatry, especiallly those forced to take drugs they didn’t want
    2 support services such as counselling and psychiatry free open dialogue type help
    3 drug reduction and withdrawal services

    I thought that doing that and publisising them as necersarry because psychiatry was harmful would make a powerful statement. I also found the quite a few people in the organisation I was working with were in need of these services. They were prone to crisis and forced to take damaging drugs by services.

  • I have a concern about the first sentence of the article:
    “By law people can now be forced to take medication once they’ve been discharged and are living back in the community, if they have had several hospital admissions for psychosis.”

    I think this refers to community treatment orders. I think the law is slightly more complicated than that. You maybe discharged with a conditions. One condition might be that you take the drugs. You might decide to not follow the conditions. The mind website has the following if you decide not to follow the conditions of a CTO:
    “What happens if I don’t follow the conditions?
    If you don’t follow the conditions, your responsible clinician may:

    change the conditions or the support you receive if there is a problem with them, or
    return you to hospital
    You cannot be recalled just because you don’t agree to medical treatment. As long as you have capacity to consent to treatment, you can only be given treatment if you consent to it. But there are different rules if you are recalled to hospital or do not have capacity. (See our page on recall to hospital to find out more.)”

    The page on recall to hospital says:
    “When can I be recalled to hospital?
    You can be recalled to any hospital if your responsible clinician thinks that:

    you need medical treatment in hospital for your mental disorder, and
    there would be risk of harm to your health or safety or to others if you are not recalled
    You can only be recalled if you meet both criteria. For example, you cannot be recalled just because you stop taking your medication. But if you stop taking your medication, and your responsible clinician thinks that you will get unwell, they can recall you.”

    So if I am right then the law is slightly more complex and subtle, though still bad, than the article says.

    I have little experience around this and there will be people who know more than me. I would however advise talking to an advocate if you are on a CTO and want to come off or reduce medication. Please do not just accept what the Dr’s say and give up.

  • I agree with your statement as the story seemed to have little proof to link between nutritional suppliments and behaviour.

    The way I read it the improvement came when the drugs were carefully withdrawn, which was at the same time as the micronutrients were added to his diet. So it is impossible to know what was more important.

    I think nutrition is worth investigating but this story as I read it has no evicence that shows any effect. At the very least nutrients will do a whole lot less harm than drugs though.

    As far as I know the story on what to eat is pretty simple: eat a varied diet, mainly plant based, don’t over do the refined sugar or fats. There is some evidence that some people do better with dietry suplimentation but maybe that reflects the poor nature of people’s diets with cheap fat and sugar being at the core of so many people’s eating habits these days? To my mind that is probably about the influence of Big Agribusiness and the food industry and supermarkets.

    I think behaviour that gets labelled ADHD has a whole host of causes. Some children have a lot of challanges. Some don’t fit in with school. Some children, especially boys, can be difficult to parent, or a right handful, as we say in the UK, but they then calm down as they grow up. That may have happened here and to my mind is just as convincing on the evidence given as any micronutrient theory.

    I like the altrnative to drugs aspect of the piece but I also find the publishing of trade marked product a bit worrying. There are other blogs about diet on this site that I find more convincing.

    I’m glad that they boy is doing well and has escaped the dead hand of psychaitry.

  • I’m not sure what your point is Rossa. From what I can understand some people want gender free pronouns. Proff Peterson does not like that. It sounds like the gender free people are promoting freedom of speach and the Proff thinks it has gone too far. None of that debate seems to me to be about, “the regressive-left currently engages in social control by trying to shut all free speech and engage in thought-control through authoritarian political means.” It sounds more like politics as normal. It might be irritating if you are on either side of the debate but hardly authoritarian as there are few sanctions in place for what to me seems a quite mile demand – that people be called what they want to be called.

  • I think that depends on how you define self help. All those books repeat themselves endlessly and offer trite advice as if they were pearls of wisdom.

    A book giving basic advice on how to withdraw from psyche drugs in a safe a manner as possible published under the name of Pschiatric Survivor Press would be something else.

  • I think community workers are also worth reaching out to so I add them to the list that Phil has generated as potential allies. They often have contact with distressed people and see the outcome of people taking psyche drugs or being in contact with psychiatry. The alternatives of social support are natural to them.

    I think the development of alternatives (counselling, therapy, Open Dialogue type work, sancturies, drug withdrawel services and advocacy groups) under anti-psychiatry names are something I would like to see. So often these services are seen as complimentary to psychiatry but organising them and saying we are providing them because psychaitry is damaging would be powerful statement. One of the most powerful things the Black Panthers did was provide breakfast for children in schools. A breakfast club is not radical, one done under that name was. A self help group for people who are distressed is not a powerful symbol, one done under the name of Speak Out Against Psychiatry would be.

  • Eek, and I thought we had reached peak benzo idiocy a few decades ago.

    Guess not, esp judging from all those dead celebraties who died on prescription drugs (Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Amy Winehouse…..)

    At least this discussion bought the revolutionaries out, though I am a bit of a lazy anarchist these days….

  • I think, though I have not checked, that more women and up psychiatrised then men and more boys than girls.

    Women have less power than men and might therefore be more likely to be distressed but boys behaviour is less likely to fit into job roles these days.

    Well that’s the theory. I’m not too attached to it, but I find it interesting

  • I think you have been very lucky when you decided to be open about your expereinces of psychiatric oppression. While I think that this can sometimes be the way oppression ends, though it is only one tactic, I also think that people often need support in order to do it.

    There are risks to being open about a history of psychiatric abuse, sometimes serious risks. Risks of loosing a job for example and this can have serious economic consequences.

    Rather than urging people to be out I would urge people to consider the consequences and do so if they think it useful and a risk worth taking but not if they think it isn’t. I would also encourage people to take part in and set up of supportive institutions, such as the Hearing Voices Network, or preferably more radical organisations, that can give support to those who want to take this step. Jaqui Dillon is a member of the Hearing Voices Network and very out about her psychiatric survivor history. She has a lot of support and I suspect a lot of her income is from self employment.

    I do not think this is a tactic for everyone. I think that the LGBT liberation movement was quite strong with many other tactics, including direct action, when it adopted coming out as a strategy where as the psychiatric survivor movement seems fairly weak at the moment.

  • I think it is more complicated. I think labour, and specifically trade unions, have not adapted to the new conditions.

    For example I know a teacher who was bullied at work. Bullying of teachers is now endemic in the UK due to the constant monitoring of pupils and teachers and the league tables and comptetion between schools which has turned many heads into petty tyrants. Meanwhile unions reps are distant. They will help you in your harrasement case against the boss but they don’t bring teachers together to talk over what it is like being a teacher now and encourage them to support each other in resisting the petty beurocracy. My freind went off work with stress and gets prescribed drugs, luckily not anti-depressants as they make her ill, but beta blockers to deal with her racing heart.

    I think labour lost in the 70’s. Work becomes more stressful, as did the rest of life. Unions and other labour organisations have not regrouped and come up with new strategies and inequality got ever worse.

    Paolo Friere outlined a way of working that involved getting marginlised groups together to ask the three basic questions:
    1 what is life like round here?
    2 how do you feel about that?
    3 what shall we do about it?

    Although more broad strategies are also needed I think that to regroup trade unions and other left groups need to do a lot of the kind of work that Friere outlined. Without that basic work when people feel distressed they fall into the hands of psychiatry and psyche drug prescribing GP’s.

    I can see how anti-stigma campaigns do fall into the analysis that you wrote in your blog. The anti-stigama campaigns say it is OK to be distressed, just go to the GP. The GP prescribes drugs and maybe six weeks CBT when what you realy need is solidarity at work and a better place to live with lower rents. Sp the anti-stigma campaigns may help stop the distress turning into organised rebellion.

    I find it interesting that shortly before this blog was published another was published about Open Dialogue and social justice where Friere’s name was used. But then mental distress is so often the outcome of the abuse of power

    Sorry my reply is terse. I feel you deserve a fuller response than the one I have given but I hope my meanings are clear.

  • “dialogic, relational and peer approach are the most democratic and non-violating ways I have found to respond.”

    Who is to pay for these?

    Either people campaign for the state to pay or money is found for independant groups to provide.

    Current power structures want drugging and incarceration as it makes money for the rich.

  • Have you got the figures on that?

    I generally trust Timimi but I have not checked on that. Though I maybe remembering what he wrote wrongly. He writes on ADHD and Austism, which I believe diagnosis which are disproportionately given to boys.

    I tried to look it up and found more behaviour disorders amongst boys but found the rest of the article hard to interpret

  • I find this quote interesting: “Capitalism needs psychiatry to impose social control because it fears working-class revolt. The greater the threat, the greater the need for repression.”

    Bio-psychiatry and mass drugging took off after Reagan and Thatcher were elected. Market regulation was reduced, state assets sold off, unions systematically reduced in power.

    There was a battle between capital and labour in the 1970’s and labour lost. So bio-psychiatry rose as the corporations had more power but under this analysis maybe more psychiatry is needed by capital to keep the working class from rebelling against the sale of state, ie shared, assests, cutting of benefits and growing inequality?