Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Comments by John Hoggett

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  • 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.

  • There are high rates of psychiatric diagnosis and incarceration and forced treatment among BAME (Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority communities) either because racism drives people mad, or because BAME people are more likely to live in poverty and poverty drives people mad, or because psychiatry is racist – or a combination of all three. Yet the survivor, critical psychiatry, anti-psychiatry movements seem pretty white.

    I have thought about this for a long time and my conclusion is that this will continue until organisations have sufficient numbers of BAME people at involved in strategic positions and that white organisations go out of there way to make sure BAME stories, issues and people are represented in the organisation.

  • I read as far as, ” suicide risk assessments are well known not to work,” and laughed. It reminded me of the time when I was arrested on a Greenpeace action, when I still did Greenpeace actions. We were taken to the police station and as we were booked in the desk sergeant asked us one by one if we were suicidal? I laughed at the time and said, “So that’s how you monitor people who might be a risk to themselves?” The desk sergeant replied, “Well how else am I meant to do it?”

    I guess they do this to everyone who is arrested?

    It is a tick box exercise designed to cover the person and institution asking and nothing to do with care for the person they are monitoring.

    I should have said, “No Comment,” as I did to most of the other questions they asked.

  • Jordan Peterson is prone to depression….. While that on it’s own tells us little combine that with his harsh parental manner towards many things and his promoting physical punishment of children and I, in my putting two and two together to make five, see him as having a harsh conscience that he wants to project on the world while fighting the bogeymen of censorship driven by rebellion against his own harsh parenting.

    Unfortunately as yet I have no proof of my theory.

    As some of you may have realised he has riled me. I have a friend who acts like he is her cult leader where as I see a charlatan.

  • Jordan Peterson: a man good with words and bereft if ideas (or any that have any internal consistency at any rate). The charlatans charlatan: he charms those easily taken in with fake intellectualism and comes across as a stern Daddy, telling us all off for not reaching his rather high and impossible standards while looking credible by taking pot shots at the bogey men of political correctness (don’t hit children for example) while ignoring the real issues of inequality and injustice (the evidence that hitting children harms and is not an effective way to discipline children).

  • I am looking at the excess death stats in different countries. It shows about three times the expected deaths in the UK while covid 19 is raging. That is all I need to know.

    SAR, MERS and Ebola are proof that viruses can be beaten by good public health without vaccines.

    The UK housed all it’s homeless people at the start of the Covid 19 epidemic in the UK. S Korea dealt with it so well that it did not spread to homeless people too much with only 254 deaths so far out of a population of 51 million compared to the UK of a declared death number of 29, 000 deaths and rising in a population of 67 million.

    As I am 61 with high blood pressure and asthma I have a vested interest in public health measures controlling this virus. In 18 months, the minimum time to develop, test and distribute a vaccine, I could be dead from Covid 19. However if contact tracing is bought into the UK along with other public health measures my chance of not being infected goes up considerably.

    I am not sure what the article was about. It was a bit opaque for me. What I do know is the the UK government is using this crisis to privitise the health service, starve local councils of cash and give contracts to big business friends of theirs as well cut away at democratic accountability. That cannot be good for those suffering the brunt end of psychiatry and that is the broader point I also want to push. This is a crisis the rich will use to rip us all off and erode our rights even more and vaccine conspiracy theories are a distraction from that vital point.

  • We don’t know if vaccines will be developed and if they are that will be 18 months away.

    Right now I stand in solidarity with nurses, doctors, care staff, the elderly, people who work in factories preparing and packing food for us to eat, people who are incarcerated in prisons and psychiatric facilities and those who have lost there jobs and have little to live on.

    These are real struggles and people are unnecessarily loosing there lives.

    Vietnam – no deaths, South Korea 252 deaths, UK – 28,446 deaths, USA 68,602 deaths. The figures speak for themselves. Those that prepare and use WHO guidelines beat this virus just as they beat SARS. Those that ignore the guidelines have there citizens unnecessarily die, and that is the poor who disproportionately die and those in institutions where it can be transmitted very quickly.

  • Coronavirus is a horrendous situation: a pandemic that many countries have managed well but which many others have botched. The USA and the UK are two of the worst examples of how to handle a public health crisis where money and business comes before people’s well-being. Some countries did well by having few lockdowns but acting early, stopping people coming into the country or testing or quarantining them when they arrived. They also made sure those that needed to be financially supported were well looked after so that they could isolate without loosing income. When countries didn’t take measures to limit transmission fast the number of cases, quickly followed by the number of deaths increased exponentially.

    When people are given good information by people they trust and well supported they will accept temporary restrictions on there freedoms. That was illustrated in New Zealand which has had an exemplary response to this crisis. Without those conditions in place people question whether quarantine is justified and many on low incomes have to break it to survive and this leads to increasing cases and death rates and those deaths are disproportionately among the poor and the incarcerated.

    People are fighting back: for example Amazon workers are demanding proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and safe working conditions in the USA and other places and care workers and medical staff are demanding proper PPE too. Deaths due to coronavirus are especially high among nurses and care staff, this is a scandal as it is unnecessary as witnessed by those countries that have had few deaths by early and aggressive action.

    When people are locked up in psychiatric facilities, prisons or live in care homes infections diseases can spread through them very quickly unless appropriate infection control measures are put in place. Countries that fail to take those measures are demonstrating how little they value the lives of both those who are locked up and the staff who work in those institutions.

    Organisations that are making money out of this are big business that is close to government. For example in the UK testing for coronavirus is run by big private companies like Deloitte, a major accountancy firm, and Boots, a big pharmacy company while local councils and the NHS are kept out of contact tracing which is an essential part of dealing with coronavirus.

    This pandemic is not only a major public health crisis of our time it also shows who governments value and in the USA and UK’s it is the lives of the well off and profit for business that seems to come before all else.

    This webpage has details of countries doing well

    I like the website as it has a summary of measures that are needed to contain and hopefully eliminate Covid 19. What it lacks is any kind of social justice element and it is the people at the bottom, including survivors and users of psychiatry that need to be part of this struggle and in my opinion at the core.

  • My step mother worked with children like your son in the early 1970’s.

    Now Autism seems to mean anyone who is a bit odd.

    Yous son needs care, but different care from people with no intellectual impairments but who struggle with the social world.