Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Comments by John Hoggett

Showing 100 of 1559 comments. Show all.

  • I was a member of a mental healthday centre and a lot of the members, myself included, had experienced sexual assault and family violence. This is routinely ignored by psychiatric staff. Day centre members had no reason to lie. My experience is backed up by research. While Satanic Ritual Abuse may well have been wildly exaggerated the horrors that my friends and fellow day centre members are not.

  • “Dr. Aftab’s contentions in this quote are essentially unproven – and probably unprovable – platitudes.”

    I have read some of Aftab’s work before and it mainly, perhaps entirely, consists of unproven platitudes, some of them dis-proven and roundly so. It doesn’t stop him pontificating like he is some kind of expert though, and probably getting a nice little fee for doing so.

  • The full story of the abuse you suffered, and which the so called therapists went onto do to others, reminded me of a hypnotherapist I know who has been accused of sexual assaulting two men I know. The accusations are that he used his hypnotherapy skills, possibly with drugs of some sort, to gain unwanted sexual access to handsome younger men.

    I doubt these stories are the only ones, there will be others.

  • A few years later lots of the IAPT therapists are off sick due to stress and anxiety due to impossible case loads and trying to fulfill overly managerial targets. They ache to do real work and help people but the contracts, which are nice little earners for senior managers, prevent that.

    It is a rubbish programme that fits nicely into the political and philosophical believes of the era. It looks like the government is providing help while conditions of life for many deteriorate. A psychological sticking plaster for a horrid age.

  • This is my non peer reviewed opinion:

    We had a growing number of people diagnosed with Depression and on pills since 1980, ie when Thatcher and Reagon got in power, decimated the unions, started selling off public services and reducing workers rights. This resulted in growing inequality. The encouragement to label misery as an illness and get the pills did two things:

    1 provide product for Big Pharma, paid for out of health insurance.
    2 distract people from the societal causes of their misery.

    The depression market if just about saturated but after the crash on 2008 another means was needed to individualise misery and distract from societal causes and all the varieties of Nuerodiversity does that very well. What if you are anxious, a bit out of the ordinary (and ordinary is becoming ever more closely defined) and struggle at work? Maybe it is not because work is a badly paid living Hell with ever rising cost of living but rather an inherent, possible inherited, may genetic disorder that results in you being anxious, not able to concentrate and throwing wobbles (now called Melt Downs). Great explanation that lets the boss and the state off the hook and slows down unions and community groups organizing and fighting back if you ask me.

    Well that’s my two pennyworth worth for the evening.

  • Personally I have diagnosed myself with Moody Cow Disorder and I expect Reasonable Adjustments under UK disability legislation. I find it a very helpful diagnosis when I question the validity of ADHD, Autism and Nuerodiversity with people who identify as such. My condition is every bit as real as theirs and I am just as offended by people questioning it’s validity as they are when I question the validity of their diagnosis. I don’t think anyone who does not have this diagnosis should in anyway comment or draw it into question – qed get out of jail free card init?

  • about 12 years ago I wrote a play which deconstructs psychiatry. The play is called Mental, it has a scene about ADHD and rips the construct apart in a knock about comedy manner. Now I find people writing scholarly articles about it which are much more learned, but mine version is funnier.


    Suzannah: My daughter had a problem with an educational psychologist you know. They’re a kind of therapist. The special educational needs coordinator at her school sent her to see one.
    Mark: What did they say it was, ADHD?
    John: Or was it Sadburgers, sorry, Aspergers.
    Mark: Oi, don’t’ be rude.
    John: Just because you’re a bit of train spotter does not mean you’ve got a disorder. Just a bit annoying, unless you like trains that is. Personally I think a diagnosis of Aspergers is about as useful as knowing what star sign someone is.
    Suzannah: What’s your star sign John? Are you a fire sign?
    John: As it happens, I’m Sagittarius.
    Suzannah: Ah, that explains it.
    John: Well Suzannah, I’m not really into Astrology, but it’s a lot less dangerous than a psychiatric diagnosis.
    Mark: Tell us about your daughter then Suzannah.
    Suzannah: They said she had ADHD.

    John returns to the Tourettes syndrome symptoms.

    John: Idiots.

    Suzannah and Mark look odd at him as if he might have ADHD.

    Suzannah: The school. The special educational needs coordinator and the educational psychologist wanted to put her on Ritalin.
    John: Idiots! Ritalin’s all over schools these days, just like head lice.
    Suzannah: I know, people end up on it for life sometimes. And it makes the children look really drugged up. My daughter kept playing up and getting into trouble, but she hated her teacher and was getting bullied by the other children in her class.

    Suzannah and Mark sit down and start acting out naughty school children. Mark pulls Suzannah’s hair, she makes as if to hit him, looks at John and sits down.

    John: ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

    He barks it out like a teacher shouting out orders.
    Mark and Suzannah start sticking tongues out at each other and acting like naughty children, throwing things at each other, getting up and looking at John like he is the teacher.

    John: Attention Deficit.

    Mark speaks an aside to Suzannah.

    Mark: Thinks he knows it all.
    Suzannah: Oi, Sir, is you gay?
    John: Now, now, Suzannah, get on with your work

    Mark giggles, gets up and pushes Suzannah in a bullying way, John looks at Mark.

    John: Oi you, stop talking to your mate and pay attention boy. Attention Deficit – not paying attention. Well that’s not a disorder.

    Mark gets up and sneaks behind John, Suzannah stands up and follows him.

    John: Hyperactivity.

    Mark stands on a chair and makes like a monkey.

    John: Right, you, Mark, sit down, over there. And you, Suzannah, sit down, over there. And get on with your work.
    John: To audience Hyperactivity: Not sitting still, running around. Well that’s not a disorder. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD, its pants. ADHD, yes, ADHD it’s pants. What does ADHD mean? It’s the doctors medicalizing a particular distress. What kind of distress? Well in this case naughty boys.
    Suzannah: And a few girls.

    They start acting like naughty kids in school. Throwing things, getting up from the table and looking at John like he is the teacher.

    Mark: But mainly boys.
    John: And what do Dr’s do with naughty boys?

    Suzannah scowls at John.

    John: And girls. Give them drugs. In this case Ritalin.

    Mark and Suzannah speak in a speedy way.

    Mark: I’ve got ADHD me.
    Suzannah: I’ve got ABCD me.
    Mark: I’ve got HIJK me.
    Suzannah: I’ve got ICUP me.

    The giggle, John gives them a dirty look.

    John: Is there something you two would like to share with the rest of the class?

    They calm down, lean over table and get on with work.

    John: Ritalin has almost the same effect as cocaine. Or speed. But for some reason it slows kids down, probably because it’s poisoned their brains.
    Mark: He raises his hand. Sir, the headmaster won’t let me in school unless I’ve taken my Ritalin.
    John: Yes, well the less said about that sadistic idiot the better.
    Mark: I’m telling on you Sir. I’ll tell the headmaster you called him a sadistic idiot.
    John: Get on with your work Mark.
    Suzannah: My mum likes me to have Ritalin. When she runs out of money she takes my Ritalin off me and sells it to her mates down the pub.
    John: Now I think that is the better option. Drug free children, adults taking responsibility for their drug taking, stimulates the local economy; it’s all good! Imagine if what happens in school happened at work. You have your annual review, your appraisal, whatever. Just you and your manager in a little cubicle, and she says:

    Suzannah and Mark sit at table opposite each other. Suzannah as manager, Mark as employee.

    Suzannah: Now Mark, I’m afraid you’ve not been hitting your targets.
    Mark: Ah, sorry.
    Suzannah: I’ve been noticing that you’ve been finding it hard to concentrate. We’ve paid for you to have extra tuition on your computer and it hasn’t helped; you keep making spelling mistakes, which, as I am sure you are aware, is not acceptable in this line of work.
    Mark: Sorry.
    Suzannah: Also, Sally, the manager in sales says you’ve been wandering in there and talking to John and Sarah. Sally’s put in a complaint about you distracting them from their work.
    Mark: Oh.
    Suzannah: I’m going to recommend a referral to the occupational health team for a psychological assessment.
    John: Next thing you know they won’t let you back into work unless you’re on class B drugs.

    Mark pretends to pick up a phone.

    Mark: Hello, is that Unison? My line manager is refusing to let me into the office unless I take Ritalin. I agree. It’s an abuse of my human rights. What can I do?
    John: There’d be an outcry!
    Suzannah: Unless you’re a kid of course, when a doctor can give you a dodgy diagnosis and force you to take class B drugs, possibly for the rest of your life.
    John: Mind you, some people like that!
    Suzannah: My daughter doesn’t pay attention and plays up when she’s bored or angry.
    Mark: I wonder if lot of kids diagnosed with ADHD are like that?
    John: Hey, lets not look at that, just in case someone starts to wonder why the kids are so bored and angry at the world.

  • 40 years ago I knew a woman who fled a very violent man. She had a breakdown and the people who gave her sanctury called the services as they did not know what to do. She was sectioned, detained, seperated from her kids and drugged up. The hospital had no interest in the reason for her breakdown. When she calmed down she was sent back to her very violent husband. Luckily her friends once again helped her escape, this time with better preparation and she went very quickly into a womens refuge.

    I doubt my friends story or the story in the blog is unusual.

  • Thanks for raising this important issue. In the early 90’s I met a man who had suffered, “electric shock “therapy.” He said don’t ever do it. I had no intention of doing any such thing.

    Your school and psychiatrist were evil. People deserve compensation for these sorts of harms. Sadly that is unlikely to happen.

  • Your experiences are horrible, you have my sympathy. However I think the original comment was aimed at psychiatrists and researchers who make very good livings poisoning people or doing useless research while people like you are ignored, shunned or locked up and drugged.

    I personally would like all the money these people get taken back and given to you and people who support people like you.

  • Your view is the one I like the most:

    Follow the money, as ever, is the motto here.

    Peterson has made a small fortune peddling his strict Daddy self help rubbish and he and his publisher needed another book to consolidate his fortune. The benzo story added to the drama and as in all his mutterings there is no coherence, just what passes for intelligent thought.

  • I liked the whole article till it got to this point:

    “They propose that this kind of research could inform public policy efforts to combat social and economic inequality and the deleterious mental health effects that can result from such “toxic” environments.”

    It is fine to propose this sort of research. It would be good sociology, anthropology and have an impact on lessening the present drug based model. But it is naive to think that public policy will change from academic research alone. Those street children in Brazil will only go when the poor organize and rise up to get rid of the rich in those gated communities. They need to be aiming this research at those who fight poverty, not those that enable it such as governments. The researchers are revealing there own class background by making this statement. They are middle class academics hoping to influence and then implement policy for the ruling class. They are not the oppressed.

  • Speak for yourself luv. I’m as mad as a hatter.

    I quite like calling myself the names my oppressors call me. It takes the sting out and shows society that their standards are just ideas that can and are constantly remade.

    There is a strong disability rights movement that says peoole are disabled because of society excluding people with impairments. The antipsychiatry movement could be seen as part of that just as it could be seen as part of the prison abolition movement.

  • Excellent chapter.

    I am heartened by the description of what happens in Italy where hospitalization is very limited and where community support with big service user input is common.

    In this blog I write about a project I was involved in which enabled service users to imagine what a service created by them would be like. It sounds remarkably like what happens in Italy.

  • I agree. I also think that there are therputic communities within the prison system that are humane and effective and also that psychiatric drugs are dolled out on prison wards.

    I think we need to hear from inmates from both institutions as well as looking at outcomes from both. They all sound pretty dismal to me.

  • In the UK a few years ago the government kept banging on about how employment was good for people’s mental health. They used this to push conditionality, where by people had to go to ridiculous lengths to look for jobs, applying for 30 jobs a week for example and going on mickey mouse training courses, to get benefits. If they don’t comply they are sanctioned. So thanks for unearthing this research to show that this is all built on a lie.

  • I love this as it uses one of my core principles, which is to turn complex sounding ideas into plain English (or as some physicist once said, if you can’t explain it to an eight year old you probably don’t know what you are on about). Most therapy is based on a few simple ideas really so I am glad you are making that explicit.

    I also like the idea that, “A market economy requires ongoing selling to sustain itself. It needs consumers to feel a bit better, but not in any sustained way, so they keep coming back for more.” As that is my experience of therapy.

    Conversely if I on a retreat, an intense group experience, my whole outlook changes and after I leave I cope with the world much better for a while. So I can see how the Open Dialogue and other community based approaches could work, they reflect my experience of groups being encouraged to get to know and struggle with each other to the benefit of all of them.

  • I think your comments on IAPT are intetesting in the context of previous chapters on neoliberalism. The same target cuture, excessive managerialism and dire results are found in teaching. Good teachers leave or are pressired out, teachers do not set the class, they ate expected to teach lesson plans set by year heads. Teachers and pupils are micromanaged and fed up, just like IAPT clients and therapists.

  • At the most TMS is a sophisticated placebo procedure. Expensive treatment requiring assessment by a well paid expert, big impressive machine that makes muscles move by magic that you are told calibrates the machine to your particular brain, then treatments that are expensive with the machine and technicians every day for a few weeks and which cause people to feel disorientated, maybe have headaches and such like discombobulation. Who wouldn’t feel better for a while with all that attention? Just as long as you don’t get the brain damage…..

  • ” There are over 500 different forms of therapy documented and every year new ones come on stream.” A bit like religions then. As a young man my friends and I joked about inventing a new religion. Now a days we would joke about inventing a new therapy.

    I met a therapist a few years ago who worked on IAPT. They were doing a bit of admin for the team and did there own analysis of the data. They found out that they got lots of returners. If it worked so well that wouldn’t happen of course. The manager was not pleased….

  • I am utturly shocked by the TMS advocates in these coments. Their comments are junk science at there worst. It reminds me of the kind of “science” proposed by homeopathy or dowsing. You cannot map the mind with any kind of electric stimulation to show which bits cause u happiness and then use any kind of electromagnectic stimulation to clear brain pathways so that new and nicer ones form. This is dangerous junk science.

    If you really could clear brain pathways then you could by accident clear the ones that say what someones name is or where they live. Then they may decide they are called simething else or live next door.

    If you really believe TMS clears brain pathways you are saying it causes brain damage and that brain damage stops people feling miserable. Lets hope real doctors see that for the dangerous sham it is.

  • You can’t clear pathways in the brain, only damage them.

    Brains change all the time. Any teacher will tell you that. New pathways ate created as a person learns something new. Teachers do not use electricity to help people have space in there brain to learn more maths.

    If you have been told tms clears pathways in the brain you have been lied to. It probably works on a placebo effect at the most.

  • It is a superb essay. It is very generous of the authhor to publish it here for free.

    I was wondering about the low number of commments compared to some other blogs. My guess is that the subject of this chapter, which is about how the politics of the last forty years have influenced both the psyche, culture and the development of mental health and other services, is not of direct relevence to the lives of those harmed by psychiatry. For myself I think that the broad background of the ploitics of the last forty years is important in understanding how the harms of psychiatry have expanded so that we now talk routinely of, “Mental health, ” and so many are on damaging and addictive drugs.

    What I would like to see more if is how the neoliberal model has influenced and degraded the commisioning and implimentation of services and also what part the left plays in all this.

    Neoliberalism trimphed because the left failed and continue to fail. Inequality is still growing. Inequality is also related to trade union membership. More equal countries have more trade unionists per head of population. Yet trade unions are weak as we can see from both there reactions to both austerity and the covid 19 crisis.

    The bigger question for me is how much can we really change psychiatry without changing society?

  • Hm, I am a gardener by trade. I have a client who is a doctor, a consultant in ICU as it happens, which means he is of importance in treating server coronavirus cases at the moment. I call him Andy as that is what he seems to want to be called. Although it must be said I call him Dr Andy to my friends as he is rather cute and I harbour a Chic Lit fantasy of him rescuing me as I mow over my toes one day and we miraculously end up married – sigh, one can dream. Meanwhile I need to order some aconites for his garden (not to mention getting a life…)

  • If you are saying autism is an identity, a social group that people identify with and find use from then diagnosis is irrelevent.

    The problem with diagnosis is that people diagnosed seldom have choice over the treatment offered and those treatments can often be irrelevent, timewasting or harmful.

  • I think your economic analysis is true. There maybe a class issue too. The diagnosers are middle class professionals but maybe the diagnosed are more likely to be working class?

    It would of course be possible to reward the clinics that refuse to diagnose and drug by giving them goid reviews and punish those that drug and diagnose children with banner drops and office invasions. It just takes enough of us to do it.

  • ” hidden message that the ASD was the reason they were bullied (i.e. their “disorder” caused others to treat them badly)” a nice bit of victim blaming going on there. Reminds me of my step mother saying she was horrible to me because I never fought back when she was horrible to me.

    As the for ADOS assessment I think this one is better and maybe more valid

    Or indeed any personality quizz in any women’s magazine over the last fifty years.

  • Your story is an excellent and tragic example of how psychiatries main function is to stop people from thinking about why people are distressed.

    I hope one day you will come off the lithium and ditch the diagnosis.

    Good luck with the novel.

  • “Because psychosocial risk factors are more amenable than their genetic counterparts to remediation by social policy, this should be good news.” Not to governments intent on making the rich richer. This is ample argument to see why the bio model is predominant. Or do you want psychiatrists to become militant socialists?

    You can see similar forces at play when Freud disavowed his seduction theory, ie that unhappiness is largely caused by child sexual assault, because male doctors gave him the cold shoulder cwhen he went on about it in public. Instead he said survivors, mainly women, imagined it because secretly they fancied there parents. It eas a sick theory designed to keep his standing with his professional peers and psychiatries insistence on bio explanations of distress despite the contrary evidence is a similar ploy to keep in with the powerful and keep getting the dosh.

  • “…we cannot match the power and influence that comes from resource-rich bodies like the pharmaceutical industry; hence we are only able to make marginal differences.”

    There’s the rub. Websites like thus are important, as is Timimi’s work as an example of what can be done (though survivor led services do just as well when they emerge) with a bit of common sense but to achieve big change needs smart strategy, a huge movement and perhaps the death of capitalism?

  • Brilliant as usual.

    “What this evidence seems to be telling us is that what we wrap up in special expert-sounding language has more to do with everyday human experiences than any special knowledge,” is my conclusion about therapy. Or as the old song goes:

    “Don’t you mind people grinnin’ in your face
    Don’t mind people grinnin’ in your face
    You just bear this in mind, a true friend is hard to find
    Don’t you mind people grinnin’ in your face

    You know your mother would talk about you
    Your own sisters and your brothers too
    They just don’t care how you’re tryin’ to live
    They’ll talk about you still
    Yes, but bear, ooh, this in mind, a true friend is hard to find
    Don’t you mind people grinnin’ in your face
    Don’t you mind people grinnin’ in your face
    Don’t you mind people grinnin’ in your face
    Oh, just bear, ooh this in mind, a true friend is hard to find

    Don’t you mind people grinnin’ in your face
    You know they’ll jump you up and down
    They’ll carry you all ’round and ’round
    Just as soon as your back is turned
    They’ll be tryin’ to crush you down
    Yes, but bear this in mind, a true friend is hard to find
    Don’t you mind people grinnin’ in your face
    Don’t mind people grinnin’ in your face
    Don’t mind people grinnin’ in your face, oh, Lord
    And just bear this in mind, a true friend is hard to find
    Don’t you mind people grinnin’ in your face”

    Or, ” Resilience,” as they like to say these days.

  • I think Open Dialogue is a way of running a meeting. It was developed by mental health practitioners but the principles are found elsewhere. Let’s free it from it’s psychiatric bounds. If school counsellors can do it so can others. If someone is distressed don’t call services, call a meeting and find some facilitators.

  • I love Timimi’s work. This is the clearest expression I have read by anyone working in the psychiatric industry that it is all dangerous bunkum. It is refreshing to see it clearly laid out.

    A survivor of psychiatry might write something similar but with justified anger and venom.

    I have been reading interviews with Raul Vaneigem, an anarchist who was central to the Situationists (an anarchist movement whose hay day was the 1960’s) and whose book The Revolution of Everyday Life was essential reading for those involved in the uprising in Paris in 1968. Timimi’s text reminds me of many of the concepts central to situationist ideas that Vaneigem talks and writes about, for example he said this on an interview; “I just do what I can to see that resistance to market exploitation is transformed into an offensive of life, and that an art of living sweeps away the ruins of oppression.”

    That modern society is so sick that it takes our desires for happiness and our refusal to face the misery of everyday life that late capitalism provides and then sells that desire back to us as fake and poisonous medicine, then locks some of up and forces these poisons us is a sick culmination of what Vaneigem and the situationists called “The Specticle”, ie the all enveloping miasma that is late capitalism.

    Perhaps to end psychiatry capitalism needs also to end?

  • I agree that we cannot always leave this to family and friends. People are often overwhelmed by working long hours in insecure work places these days to provide care for anyone, never mind people who are going off the deep end.

    However DP Hunter in there book Tracksuits, Traumas and Class Traitors puts forward the idea that all state, “Support,” services (psychiatry, benefits, social services, children’s services etc) are about control of the working class and are evermore likely to be so. In the book he describes how as an adult, when he had a breakdown, his friends supported him by sitting with him on a round the clock rota for several weeks. He was insistent on them not calling services and he had been through them, which large sections of the book are about.
    We know it is possible to support people through crisis, but we also know that people are often overwhelmed by the demands of our increasingly unequal society, ill equipped with the patience or knowledge of how to deal with someone in crisis, or might have contributed to it.

    I suspect DP Hunter, as an anarchist, would call the support they received as Mutual Aid. While I cannot see many people setting up mutual aid collectives to support those in crisis I can see that it would be possible to do. The principles of Soteria House and even Open Dialogue are reproducible by unpaid volunteers with a little training.

    If services were to be run by the state, before or after any revolution (I for one see the world moving away from communism and whatever people may consider the left to be that it is getting progressively weaker) they would have to have a high degree of user/survivor/community input and control for any coercive, medical based model to not be instigated.

  • For me, as a Greenpeace activist, it was a bit of a laugh. For me, who at the time was also running The Rose and Thorn Theatre company, a “mental health” consultancy, it was quite revealing in a not very nice way.

    We put on a play about section 136 based on service user/survivor experiences.

    We didn’t concentrate on what the police did but I got one story of someone who was detained under section 136 by the police, taken to the hospital 136 suite and then no once actually came to “asses” her. I presume she was taken off the street, or from her home, by a police person, maybe asked if she was suicidal, taken to hospital, locked up for half a day or so and ignored and then sent home.

    This woman’s story illustrates what this is all about. It is about taking people who are distressed away so that they do not disturb the public, asking them if they want to kill themselves so the people taking them away can show they did the job get paid and justify the agencies exorbitant fees and then ignoring the person in distress and letting those that caused the distress get away with it.

    “This person is ill, we have taken her to a place of safety, we are dealing with it, go home now, move along please.”

  • Good article. My guess is suicide assessments are to help organisations not be criticized if a, “Client,” kills themselves.

    I was once arrested for sitting on the top of Houses of Parliament, ie the Palace of Westminster (Greenpeace protest – natch). When the police processed us before locking us in the cells, it was 2am by then, they asked all sorts of pertinent (name, address, any known illnesses or disabilities) and impertinent questions such as are you thinking of killing yourself. I laughed, as I was interested in what in the UK is called Section 136, where the police detain you for reasons of mental health and thought this is probably what they ask a distressed person when they take them off the street before taking them to the hospital or putting them in the cells. The policeman checking me in asked why I laughed, so I replied I wondered how they did that assessment. He replied, “Well how else am I supposed to know?” I could have given him an answer but really they just wanted to tick the tick sheet and lock me up. As long as that was done it didn’t matter if me or anyone else tried to kill themselves as they were covered – job done. Time for a tea break and wait till the end of the shift.