Friday, February 3, 2023

Comments by MartinMc

Showing 22 of 22 comments.

  • Noted uprising. I’ll try to make comments more readable in the future.

    Human being, I agree that a lust for money and a lack of looking after our home could lead to devastating results. However, while I don’t think that capitalism is perfect I believe that it is better than Marxist ideology being widely adopted by societies. I believe that capitalism does need to be tapered or balanced by strong ethics/religious or spiritual philosophy, e.g. Buddhism, that acknowledges our human capacity for corruption and greed and tries to keep the worst aspects of our innate characteristics in check.

    I have written about this before if you want to check out my previous comments and outlined how I think corporatism is the real problem which I would define as a combination of the most ruthless aspects of capitalism and ultraprotective socialism. I believe that these two forces which I believe exist in each individual are playing out in our current societies in the shape of Big Pharma and government collaboration. I think that these two destructive forces must be addressed (This is both a personal and collective journey I think) if we are to challenge the current direction societies are going in and keep ourselves and our world balanced.

  • More left wing/anti-Trump propaganda being pushed by MIA. To me, it also indicates how MIA is allowing an ideology (We don’t want Trump as our president) to dominate over facts/evidence, i.e. there are people that are willing to go along with or promote the false psychiatric narrative and abandon truth and objective evidence to achieve the political ends that they would like to see. Also, Frank, it seems to be that you are not entirely committed to the truth but rather you wish to use whatever arguments are available and socially accepted to convince people to support your own political ideology/agenda. This makes it difficult for me to trust you if I decide to engage with you in discussions as I don’t know if you are telling the truth or if you are using whatever arguments will suffice to convince me (and possibly yourself) of your own ideological supremacy. I would rather truth and the facts, even if they hurt and challenge me and my interpretation of myself and my world, than being led along by someone else’s lies as I feel ultimately this will hurt me more and not help me operate in the world as effectively as I could do if I was given more accurate and truthful information. If we are here in MIA to call out psychiatry on its use of lies to promotes its own ideology and agenda should we not being trying to avoid this as much as possible ourselves as we build an understanding of ourselves and our society on lies this will only lead to destruction and unnecessary suffering for many people.

  • Good point, Welshtr5. MIA has been stumbling down the post-modern nihilistic path for a while now and embracing and promoting Marxist ideology as it tries to find some values and ideologies to cling to fill the nihilistic void. As someone who has been on Buddhist retreats, meditates regularly and who has listened to debates about the core teachings of the Buddha I find this article one dimensional in its anti-capitalist rhetoric. According to some interpretations/translations of Buddhism the Buddha did not speak of ‘no self’ but ‘not self’. This is an important distinction. I believe that the Buddha may have been wise enough to realise how the complete abandonment of the idea of ‘self’ was a very dangerous path to follow as once we abandon our sense of individuality and independence from the group/tribe we become a cog in the group/tribe’s plans (whatever they might be). This abandonment of ‘self’ for the greater group can feel joyous, exhilarating and following this feeling can achieve great things (I have experienced this energy on retreats and at other periods of my life when I have felt deeply connected to the world in which I live and from which I have been formed). However, as the 20th Century has particularly taught us, the abandonment of one self completed to the group/tribe that is driven by certain ideologies (Nazism, Communism) can also be and still is the most destructive force on this planet. To me, this article is one-dimensional and does not explore or investigate the complexity and variations on the different interpretations of Buddhist philosophy, the Buddha’s original teachings and how it has developed since then. Rather it uses Buddhism to try to justify and push its own Marxist/anti-capitalist agenda. It is a shame that MIA is pushing its own social justice/Marxist ideology over robust objective evidence based empirical investigation as this is the very thing it rightly lambasts psychiatry, medical professionals and pharma for doing. Hopefully the postmodern nihilistic/Marxist slide does not continue to happen as MIA will lose many people who came here for and are interested in facts and objective evidence if this continues.

  • Great article, Robert. Your deconstructions of their nonsense and non-science is first class. I’m not sure if I can wait for a new generation of psychiatrists to create a legacy for themselves though as I’m seeing it cause too much unnecessary suffering every day with people I work with who have already been through often horrific suffering. I’m running out of patience. It is monstrous what psychiatrists are doing to people (either unknowingly or knowingly). Psychiatry, as a system of beliefs and ideology, is as bad as Nazism, in my opinion and it is already killing the ‘undesirables’ 15 to 25 years before their time and chemically restraining those who are seen as deviants to social cohesion/genetic purity and it’s all done in the name of compassion and the greater good. Just like Churchill and the British did not wait for reformation and stood firmly against the evil of Nazism before it consumed all its path, I think it is about time MIA stood firmly against the evils of psychiatry and declared itself anti-psychiatry before psychiatry does any more damage to us and our societies. I know that there are good people within the field of psychiatry but its overall emphasis and focus is warped and incredibly dangerous. For me, your outline of what its ‘leaders’ think convinces me more that it is beyond reformation and dangerous ideologies must be challenged head on and not given the respect they feel they deserve. Their lies are not just ruining people’s lives but it is having a huge impact on our communities and societies. I don’t think we have time for a new generation of psychiatrists to make the necessary changes and I honestly don’t see this happening. Bad ideas die or they fester and live on. The sooner the ‘chemical imbalance’ and ‘the psychiatrist knows best’ theories die the better. Most psychiatrists are disabling and killing people and they are trying to silence people that speak the truth. Psychiatry must be stopped before it expands its empire any further. Thanks for all your efforts in being a light to many and continuously speaking the truth. Keep fighting the good fight against the evil forces that are trying to shut you down and discredit you. All the best.

  • Hi Steve, Frank and Richard,

    I’m not going to go through each point you raised but I will clarify my position in relation to comments I have made about the patriarchal and matriarchal archetypes and how I feel the pathological aspects of these archetypes manifest themselves in individuals and society. I am sorry if I miss some of the challenging questions you have posed me but I hope what I outline makes it more clear where my beliefs currently stand.

    I would see the manifestation of pathological patriarchy in our societies in rampant, self focused, ruthless capitalism.

    I would see the manifestation of pathological matriarchy in our societies in overly compassionate, ultra protective, tribalistic socialism.

    The combination of these two forces: ruthless self focused capitalism with ultra protective socialist governments can and does result in corrupt corporations and callous corporatism.

    I also believe that these patriarchal and matriarchal forces reside in each and every one of us and through individuals they manifest themselves in our systems, cultures and society.

    I believe that there is no actual human being who has managed to align these two forces perfectly for the common good although religious devotees may challenge this as there is a representation of individuals, e.g. Jesus, Mohammad, Moses, Buddha, who have been tempted by and fought off the evil within to live a life and spread a message that is seen as divine, enlightened or perfect by many who follow that path.

    I think that religions make some deep, meaningful points in relation to our inner battle with our light and dark sides. Star Wars and Lord of the Rings also provide epic tales of this ongoing battle and I think that this is why they are so popular as almost everyone can relate to the central themes of fighting the darkness within, winning this battle and choosing good or failing this battle and going over to the dark side, e.g. Anakin Skywalker becoming Darth Vader, Frodo not throwing the ring away to be destroyed in the volcano. I believe that this may be depicted as such to highlight our imperfections as individuals and emphasise the power that evil, e.g. greed, revenge, lust for power, can have on us.

    So how does this relate to my comments on matriarchy? Well, I believe that unless we are truly aware of the potential for evil within us (I believe anyone is capable of evil atrocities given certain circumstances as we have seen particularly in Nazi Germany, Stalin’s Russia, the Rwandan genocide, Mao’s China) we will be blind and potentially entrapped in committing evil acts without even realising that what we are doing is evil. I believe that if we allow the overprotective, tribalistic side of us (which I would describe as the pathological side of matriarchy) take over it could result in severe consequences for individuals who are seen as non-compliant or seen to be disrupting the social cohesion. These individuals will be forced back into line or worse. I believe that this is what most psychiatrist and many other mental health professionals do and they are rewarded handsomely by the government who state that they wish to keep society in order and care for its citizens.

    Now the desperate need for protection and to maintain social cohesion is then exploited and encouraged by ruthless, self centred capitalistic forces (pathological patriarchy) that promise governments and societies solutions to the problems these non-compliant, socially deviant individuals pose to society. The pathological sides of patriarchy and the pathological sides of matriarchy co-evolve and work in unison as they are of mutual benefit to each other. Much like biological co-evolution these two forces though initially viewed as opposing to each other can actually help each other to flourish and grow and become symbiotic in their pathological development.

    So the reason that I highlighted matriarchy as a potential pathological force is that most people seem to be aware of the dangers of the pathological side of patriarchy. I don’t believe that people are so aware of how the pathological sides of patriarchy AND matriarchy manifest themselves in us and then into our society and culture.

    For example, the Canadian Diabetic Association recently published guidelines on diabetic medication prescribing (near 70% of those involved in this publication had pharma links). They sponsored a study to review adherence to these guidelines: They found that female doctors are more likely to adher to the guidelines and prescribe more meds to people. This does not bode well for the future as female doctors begin to outnumber men (and no, it’s not women in powerful positions that I have a problem with it, it’s what they will do in these positions of authority, power and influence that concerns me and if it will help or hinder the MIA cause). Now, you could make the point that ruthlessly capitalistic patriarchal forces are taking advantage of this groups’ desire to protect and care and maintain a healthy, safe and socially ordered population. Or you could also argue that this strong desire to protect, care and maintain a healthy, safe and socially ordered population is creating a market for forces to jump into. Or you could also argue that because many people are not critically self reflective and only see the good in themselves (particularly doctors, male and female) they are not aware of how compassion and protecting can become pathological, e.g. the abuser who is convinced he is only showing love to those they abuse or the mother who never lets her child out of her sight and completely smothers and disables the child with the thinking ‘that’s what love is’.

    I’m not naive to the reality of evil. We are all capable of it and we need to be aware of this so when there are forces within and around us pressuring us to commit evil acts we will not blindly go along with those forces but we shall be able to shine forth our own light and fight off those temptations. I believe that the pathological side of patriarchy is more visible as I believe that it is more ruthless, direct and blunt. The pathological side of matriarchy is less visible as it comes in the form of a wolf in sheep’s clothing and just like many people know at MIA your visit to the ‘compassionate’, ‘sweet’, ‘helpful’ doctor and the care they show you, e.g. ‘take this harmless wonder pill, my dear’, then becomes the very same person that shows it teeth and devours you in time.

    I believe that free speech, open dialogue and speaking your truth to those who hold opposing truths is one of the cornerstones that opens up the door for us to acknowledge and bring to our attention sides of us and our society that we would rather keep hidden or suppressed. Once we do speak or articulate our personal truths I believe that this is where the personal healing begins. I believe that continuous dialogue and interaction with opposing views in our society and confronting the dark shadows or underbelly of our society is where our society’s and the world’s healing begins.

    I believe that global corporatism led by those see themselves as ‘elites’ and ‘enlightened’ (who I don’t see as having addressed or paid serious attention to their shadow selves and who allow pathological matriarchal and patriarchal forces/ideas to guide their actions) could lead to the destruction of our societies and communities. I believe that this is already in process and I hope to do what I can by speaking the truth, as well as I can perceive it, to help combat these forces.

    I hope that the above makes sense and resonates with some people. I believe that a lot of what I have said is better articulated by Prof Jordan Peterson but he does not make the pharmaceutical/psychiatry connection that I have made.

    So, now I’m gonna respectfully step away from this discussion now as I’ve been here quite a bit lately and I’ve a couple of other things in my life that I need to focus on. I also feel that I have articulated my truth and my views so I will leave it at that.

    Thanks all for the interesting debates, challenges and lessons learnt as it did challenge me and then help me to articulate my ideas more clearly. By doing this I feel I have more clarity about my own ever evolving belief system. I still don’t agree with the new changes as I feel that all contributors should be wiling to be exposed to the dark underbelly (the hatred, the anger, the angst, the resentment, the distrust) that corporate greed and corrupt or unaware ‘helpers’ has created but I do appreciate the efforts to try to provide the rationale for the change. Richard, Steve and Frank, I’ll probably see you on other discussion boards in the near future and we can, no doubt, lock ideological horns again then 🙂

    Go n-eiri an bothar leat, a chairde (May the road rise to meet you, friends)

  • Hi Richard,

    Thanks for your reply. I suppose it might be good for me to outline my political belief/agenda. I would describe myself as anti-corporatism, anti-elitist and anti-globalist. I wouldn’t say I am anti-capitalist as I believe that giving people the opportunity to bargain between themselves about what they are willing to offer each other for their efforts or products while having a limited governmental or judicial process to go to if an agreed deal or contract has not been fulfilled is an essential component as I don’t just trust the market enough to correct itself. I do not believe that free trade deals across countries or globally are helpful as while we might make sure we don’t screw over our neighbour/community due to social shaming or by word of mouth and therefore loss of business, at a global level I believe corporations will be more ruthless as they won’t have as much consideration for a community they don’t belong to and they can not be socially shamed for dodgy dealings or unethical practices in the same way, for example, your local butcher would be. I would classify myself mainly as a classic liberal or perhaps libertarian in my political stance though this is mainly rather than totally as I don’t want to pigeon hole myself into one political belief system due to the complexity of many of the problems we face in the world.

    Now, I’ll go through your points Richard and point out where I feel you have misrepresented my views and you have seen some words I have written and jumped to the conclusion that I must have a racist, bigoted and sexist agenda. By doing so you have kinda proved my point when I said ‘if you dared say anything critical about the ideas or practices of a non-white or non-Western culture and you didn’t continuously whip yourself for being a white male you would be considered a ‘racist’ and a ‘sexist’.’

    I expressed some concern about the potential pathological side of the matriarchal archetype, i.e. where too much concern and protection can disable somebody. I wasn’t criticising women in this and I am all for women’s liberation and freedom of choice. With the rise of women into positions of power in the Western world (which is all good by me) they do bring with them a more natural tendency to be more interested in other people and their welfare than men. From studies of one day old babies females seem more interested in people while males seem more interested in things/objects. I was warning about the dangers of matriarchal control if not balanced with the patriarchal archetype. Also this matriarchal type of pathological compassion and protection can manifest itself in both genders, not just women. You may have noticed that I did say that pathological patriarchal control needs to be kept in check as well and is a serious problem in our world or maybe you missed this? I think taking the best from the patriarchal and matriarchal archetypes/roles and balancing them in ourselves and then society is the way forward. I think that we are currently still working on creating that balance.

    As for Trump, well from the outside looking in and as someone who is very skeptical of mainstream media I believe that the threat of Trump is very overplayed and overhyped by mainstream media. Like any person who wields considerable power, he needs to be kept in check however I do not believe that he is a racist, fascist or a homophobe and I think that his efforts to repeal Obamacare would actually do a lot to challenge psychiatric oppression not enforce it. Pharmaceutical companies and psychiatric business stand to lose a lot of money if it is repealed so I’m all for that. I’m not sure about the medical insurance system works in the US so I don’t how that will play out. I don’t know enough about his stance on abortion to comment on but I am concerned about his attitude towards climate change and his close links to the gas industries. I don’t believe he is the next Hitler as the mainstream media seems to want people to believe and I actually believe that due to his lack of financial ties to and support from the pharmaceutical industries that he could be a better ally than other presidents for those facing pharmaceutical and psychiatric oppression. I’m not that steeped in the US political scene but for me, the whole pro-Trump and anti-Trump divide looks like a deliberate tactic by mainstream media and other influential players, e.g. Big Pharma and banks, to create division and distract people from uniting to fight common enemies.

    In regards to the Democrats and Republican difference I did say ‘I know that there may be other better explanations from this I would guess that…’ I was speculating and yes, class, could be one of the better explanations for this difference. I was trying to point out that if I was a psychiatrist or pharmaceutical rep and I wanted to grow my business or clientele I might be happy to see more people vote Democrat as this seems to correlate with more diagnoses and thus more business. I’m trying to speculate, ‘If I was a pharmaceutical CEO or rep what would you be a better political environment in which to make more money and which party would I support?’ If I simply saw this data, I’d be more likely to push for the Democrats but as I said there may be better reasons for these difference as it was just a survey from Buzzfeed. I don’t want more people to be diagnosed and medicated so I’m trying to second guess the pharmaceutical/psychiatric industry, not make a definitive statement over what political party affiliation is right. I was not implying that anybody was a ‘numskull’ as I know how powerful the propaganda has been and continues to be. I believed that meds would solve anxiety and suicidal feelings I was experiencing at one stage myself.

    Your facts on which demographics are diagnosed and given psychiatric drugs are wrong in relation to ethnicity and right in terms of gender differences as far as I can tell from a brief search with a higher percentage of white people and white women on psychiatric drugs in the USA: As for ADHD diagnosis and medicating this is disproportionately white children: and white boys as I think has been highlighted here on MIA before. I’m not pro-white by the way (judging someone by their skin colour is a ridiculous way to judge somebody), I’m just pro-facts.

    Richard, I don’t mind engaging with your political analysis and how this relates to psychiatry and medication, why do you say that you ‘DO NOT want to be within a million miles of the rest of your political analysis’? Is it because you have inferred from what I have said that I am hate filled bigoted, sexist, racist? This is far from who and what I am and I don’t believe I said anything sexist or racist. I am also all for maximising individual freedom in society so I do not believe in oppression of any group of people. I don’t even believe in oppression of ideas as I believe that debating and challenging all ideas or systems of belief rather than oppressing them will result in the most beneficial and rational ideas coming to the surface.

    You state that I have ’embarassed’ myself a couple of times and ‘failed miserably’. Look, Richard, all I was doing was sharing my ideas some of which were speculative rather than grounded in hard facts. I’m not looking to win anything here or to gain plaudits so I don’t feel I have failed or embarassed myself. I will let my words speak for me and see if they have any impact or resonance for people. Those who want to see a sinister hateful agenda behind them can do so if they wish. I defended Brett and James because I believed that some people saw what they expected to see from mental health ‘professionals’ but I felt that these reactions were understandable. Now, I think that the same thing has happened to me as I feel you have read far more into my words than what was actually stated. But hey this happens and your reply has given me a chance to try to prove to you that you do not need to stay away from my analyses and that I’m not as nasty and sneakily cunning as you seem to perceive me to be.

  • Oh yeah, just wanted to add this piece of research in case anyone thought I was exaggerating with the ‘liberal-leftist echo chamber universities’ remark: This suggests 90 out of every 100 professionals in academia and mental health vote Democrat and 100 out of 100 research psychologists (who a large share of the MIA staff are) vote Democrat. Echo chambers are safe places but they are not a good place for challenging and developing oneself and one’s ability to think critically and defend one’s ideas against critical alternative viewpoints. Please do not let MIA become that echo chamber.

    Also this is an interesting bit of research (though it is done by Buzzfeed which has a comparable reliability to the Lancet Psychiatry these days) where it highlights how Democrats are far more likely to be diagnosed with a ‘mental health condition’ than Republicans so while I know that there may be other better explanations from this I would guess that psychiatry, its affiliates and the pharmaceutical industry would only be delighted if more people became or voted Democrats and they would be firmly behind any policies that shut down Republican or Libertarian voices or opinions or people that aren’t steeped in bowing down to political correctedness or people’s sensitivities. I think MIA, unconsciously, may also be moving in that direction which would be a shame:

  • Thanks Sa, I’ve just started expressing myself more online after many years of self reflection, analysis of the work I do/direction I am going in and the current political/social/cultural environment in which I live. It is nice to get your feedback and this comment section/discussion has been really helpful in giving me space to express myself and my ideas. I hope to continue to do so on here.

  • Alright, I’m not just frustrated and saddened I am angry and annoyed. I do not like the direction MIA are going and the change that has just been implemented. Why wasn’t this change announced? Who are these writers that are leaving or threatening to leave? Are they mainly psychiatrists, other ‘professionals’? Are they mainly highly educated people who have spent considerable time in leftist-liberal universities? Are they mainly under 35? Are they people who see using psychiatric drugs as positive and feel criticised by people on here for their choices? Who are these people leaving or threatening to leave?

    If psychiatrists or other MH ‘professionals’ feel criticised, well they should realise that this is going to come with the territory. They need to work at gaining the trust of some of the people on here for obvious reasons. I won’t get into this again as I have made my point above.

    In reference to whether people that are leaving or threatening to leave went to liberal universities and or under 35… I say this as it strikes me that these universities are creating people who have been very protected from criticism and potentially offensive remarks due to the rise of extreme political correctedness (which started off as a positive movement to protect minorities but I feel now has morphed into a beast where it has stifled our ability to speak to each other and criticise each other’s ideas), safe spaces and micro-aggressions. I have experienced this while working within a cross-cultural psychology department where if you dared say anything critical about the ideas or practices of a non-white or non-Western culture and you didn’t continuously whip yourself for being a white male you would be considered a ‘racist’ and a ‘sexist’. How would this sort of environment be helpful to open, honest and critical discussions? And where do people go if they don’t know how to speak like this or are rejected by those they try to speak to? I believe that this type of stealth like adherence to the social norm and shutting down of debate and criticism only leads to people feeling more lonely and isolated and makes people seek out groups where their voices can be heard. As Carl Jung said, ‘Loneliness does not come from having no people around, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.’ MIA may do this to people by continuing with this new policy.

    There has been quite a few comments on the dangers of patriarchy and how it can manifest itself in aggressive control and dominance. This is something to be aware of as it has raised its ugly head in our history and continues to do so, particularly in non-Western societies where women’s rights are not equal or protected. I believe that matriarchal control is beginning to become more prominent in Western societies. This, like aggression and anger in certain situations, has its benefits, e.g. compassion and care for the most vulnerable in our societies. However it also has its dark side. This manifests itself in trying to protect everyone from danger and threats in the guise of care and compassion. I experienced this from my mother who would defend me from criticism from my father even if my father was fair and justified in his criticism. I had to move away from my mother and fly the nest to grow as an independent and strong-minded man. You need to be able to hear and learn from justified criticism to develop and defend yourself from that which is unjustified. It does not help to be constantly protected from any criticism. The world is a difficult and scary place at times and you will meet your fair share of assholes along the way so you have to put up with some criticism and challenges and have the tools and skills to face it and/or deal with it. This is particularly true if you want to make a positive difference in the world.

    I have also noted that many of the staff at MIA are young and have spent considerable length of times at the types of liberal-leftist, echo chamber universities I described above. Are you trying to bring this type of ‘enlightened’, politically correct and safe environment to MIA? Are you projecting your experiences of these environments onto this community? Also, not all of us spent so much, if any, time in liberal-leftist environments where we learnt this ultra politically correct, extreme cultural sensitive art form and many of us just know how to speak our minds in straightforward, plain language which used to be common parlance but now is deemed offensive to many and causes severe triggering. For example, it seems like you can’t even say to people they are overweight or just plain ‘fat’ anymore as it’s all about ‘fat pride’. This is not helping people and I feel that pharmaceutical companies are happy with this turn of events as it means people more easily accept the weight gain from their drugs rather than people seeing their weight gain as unpleasant, unhelpful and unhealthy. It seems to me that leftist-liberal universities are turning many people, particularly white men, into cowering, guilt ridden, wimps (has this ‘triggered’ anyone? :)) who virtue signal by showing how culturally sensitive and enlightened they are. I should know. I did this for a while but I have opened my eyes to how damaging shutting down discussions can be by looking and expecting offense or to be offended and then playing the intellectual hero when you call it out.

    And the reason I mention the possibility that people who are on psychiatric drugs being offended and leaving the sites is because trying to remove stigma about taking psychiatric drugs is exactly what pharmaceutical companies want and what they have been working towards. They and psychiatry don’t want society or people to feel bad about taking these drugs and they promote the idea that we shouldn’t judge or criticise people who ‘need’ these drugs. Well, if there are people leaving or thinking of leaving who feel criticised on here for taking drugs and this is helping to change MIA policy well then MIA is playing directly into the hands of the pharmaceutical industry and psychiatry and is beginning to be co-opted by it. As you are probably aware the pharmaceutical and psychiatric industries definitely see MIA as a threat so I would speculate that they have plans to try to damage MIA’s reputation or format. It’s costing them business. There may be people amongst those threatening to leave who are not who or what they seem as well.

    I hope that MIA tries to remain apolitical as this battle against the pharmaceutical industry, psychiatry, its supporters and those tagging along for the ride needs support from all sides. From what I have seen at MIA it verges towards the left and progressivism, which if it goes too far from the centre ends up verging away from liberalism and progressivism and into regressivism and dominant matriarchal control. I would put dominant patriarchal control on the far right. It seems like everyone sees the danger of the far right but not as many see the danger of the far left as it raps itself in the ‘noble’ cause of tolerance,social cohesion and compassion. If acting on these virtues go too far without balancing them with criticism and judgement people and societies can end up in some pretty dark places.

    I hope that MIA can balance itself and not feel it has to continuously protect everyone from everyone else as this is also how psychiatry justified and continues to justify its status and approaches and look where that has got us. Let this be a space where people can grow and learn through passionate exchanges and where freedom of expression takes precedence over people’s feelings and let the individuals and the community decide, as much as possible, where the line is drawn, not MIA staff. I really feel that starting out on the direction you have chosen is a very slippery slope and I hope that you can prevent these slips before it leads to disastrous consequences.

  • Hi all,

    I am saddened and frustrated to see the direction MIA are looking to take following this discussion. I do not believe it is the best interests of MIA and those have come to participate here to change the current format. I defended the post by James and the comments by Brett initially and the efforts they are making. I stand by this defence and support for both of them. However I do not see the need for any changes due to the feedback from both of them. I say this as people have already outlined the need for people to be able to respond to any posts/comments and not give those deemed ‘professionals’ a safe space from criticism/anger/frustration/challenges/resentment, etc. I think ‘professionals’ hearing and experiencing some of this may actually reveal to them the depth of suffering their professions have caused. From working with psychiatrists especially I know that they can often be in an echo chamber of praise and ego massaging. I know that some ‘professionals’ may not have contributed much, if anything, to this suffering but inevitably some guilt by association/representation is going to come up. (Note: by putting ‘professionals’ in inverted commas I am not questioning Brett and James’ professionalism rather highlighting how hard this term is to define in the first place and where you would put people like myself who has a lived experience, a MSc Psychology degree and now works as a paid peer).

    I think coming here you have to expect some serious challenges and criticism. Kindredspirit has shared her story (who I feel did the main pushing back) and highlighted why she pushes back against authority as she does. This is really understandable. If ‘professionals’ aren’t willing to participate in a discussion forum because they feel that there is some hostility towards them when they do, then I really question whether these ‘professionals’ should be working with people who have been incredibly damaged by the system or authorities in the first place. Inevitably some of the angry, criticism, resentment will be transferred to the ‘professional’. If a ‘professional’ can not tolerate this reaction or decides to chastise the person for it or has the inability to work through it with the person then I really question whether they are in the right profession.

    This pushing back against authority or the system is what you can expect from people screwed over by the system or authority. For example, I went to a ward community meeting last week and told people I am a peer support worker with a certain organisation. A woman had previous experience with this organisation where she said they played a role in getting her kids taken off her and she told me to ‘f off’. Now I felt hurt by this as it hurts to be told that but I had to steady myself and try to see what I represented to her. The woman left the meeting shortly after that. I will probably be at the meeting again next week again and I may see her again. I won’t be avoiding interaction with her. I will be trying to gain her trust in whatever way I can by being open, authentic and compassionate in my approach with her but she may never trust this organisation again. That will not stop me trying to get to know her story and trying to show her that I am on her side and in her corner.

    Brett and James, I know that you both have worked hard to become psychologists and you may not get much recognition or praise from your colleagues who are steeped in the medical model and you probably both come up against challenges with colleagues and management and now here you both are getting challenges and criticism from those you are trying to help. You could have been or could be like Dr Monique Faleafa, who is the deputy chair of the NZ Psychology Board, executive director of a major mental health provider in NZ, gets to travel all over the world and who also received the prestigious NZ Order of Merit amongst other continuous pats on the back for promoting the idea of ‘mental illness’ and the need for early intervention. But you probably ain’t ever gonna get this sort of public recognition/reward while fighting for the MIA cause and you will get lambasted by all sides at times. However, to use a Biblical analogy, this is your cross to carry. Trying to change the way things are currently done is not going to be an easy fight. Instead of warning professionals away from this site because of the perceived culture perhaps just make them aware of this by explaining how some people and commentators here are very skeptical of any ‘professional’ due to their horrific experiences. Instead of considering the need for MIA to alter its forum how about ‘professionals’ show a bit more understanding and commit to working that bit harder to earn the trust and respect of those that they are trying to help.

    I still think that comments that you both said were missed and that there was some sharp or edgy criticism but that is going to come with the territory. You also have some comments of thanks, praise and encouragement (These are the people helping you carry the cross). I do not feel that MIA needs to step in and change the way things are done currently as from what I have seen the community here seems to be able to moderate themselves well through civil, passionate discourse and exchange of ideas. I fear this change will take away the edginess and will stifle free speech expression. By doing so MIA can shape itself to be an almost perfect circle of tolerance and appropriateness but you may also shave off the people from these edges and those are the ones whose voices have been silenced previously and this could do it again. Brave New World springs to mind here…

    So yeah I don’t see the need for any changes. ‘Professionals’ need to be aware of the environment they may enter into and be ready for hearing from people who their profession has either abused or been complicit in allowing the abuse to happen. If psychology and psychologists want to be seen as more distant from psychiatry well that is up to psychology and psychologists to do so. Brett and James, I hope that you can continue to be role models and advocates for the changes that are needed within psychology and the mental health field. Good luck on your journeys and please keep inviting colleagues/acquaintances this way. While it might not be a typical welcome, e.g. you may find a person who will tell you,in some sense, to ‘f off’, if they continue to make efforts and show that they are committed to the cause they will be given a ‘céad míle fáilte’ (Irish for a ‘hundred thousand welcomes’)

    Changing the format could also affect comments on posts such as those as Vlado whose ideas/advice I criticised myself. If he could have switched to the ‘no comment’ section I believe that his advice, which I and others saw as dangerous and dubious, would have been left unchallenged and could have influenced more people.

    Please let the community moderate itself as much as possible and do not change the current format Robert and Emmeline.

  • Kindredspirit, thanks for reply and further clarification. I can understand your position and I’m glad that there are people like yourself pushing back against authority while I’m also glad to find people like James and Brett in positions of authority who seem committed to truth. I think that Jordan Peterson expands on a lot of what I have mentioned and I hope you enjoy checking out what he has to say as he really drives home the importance of meaning of experiences/myths/legends/religious stories.

  • Brett, I believe that you have made some really great points on here. I think that some people do not make any distinction between psychology and psychiatry as you have noted and that they see them as two signs of the same coin, i.e. authoritarian systems of coercion and control. I do believe that psychology as a profession does need to distance itself more from psychiatry and I believe you when you are saying that you are doing more than 99% of the people in your profession to achieve this and how important the MIA mission is for you. I have noticed that there are some people on this site who if they sense a whiff of a person expressing some authority on the reality of human behaviour they will attempt to tear that person’s argument apart. This is understandable given some people’s experiences with those who have been in authority. I believe that Kindred Spirit is hearing what she expects to hear from those in authority as she states: ‘All I personally hear from Brett and James are demands to respect their authority,’ ‘I am the result of years and years of harm by the mental health industry’ and in previous posts she talks about ‘Having been a child victim of horrific chronic abuses’. Kindred Spirit, it seems perfectly reasonable to me for you to have the belief that all authorities are bad. To me, this is how you come across in these posts. You have been incredibly let down by those who were authoritative figures in your life but please do not put James and Brett in this same category as from what I have read they do not strike me as authoritative figures who are out to force their views or opinions on others. For example, from James: ‘There is no doubt that the lack of empathy for others’ ideas and curiosities is one of the greatest atrocities the world has ever known.’
    ‘I believe youth should be heard and respected for whatever ideas they hold.’
    ‘My kids have a right to their feelings, thoughts, and perceptions no matter what they are’
    ‘Again, as a teacher, it behooves you to consider what all your students are saying, and understand what is driving what they say and think.’
    ‘Ultimately, every human being has the potential to learn from every human being.’
    ‘Kids can provide countless insights for their parents, as I have learned repeatedly over the years.’
    And Brett: ‘There is a mountain of evidence attesting to the power of therapy that involves helping these individuals come to a new understanding of reality, not by me authoritatively persuading them that my way of thinking is right and theirs is wrong, but by encouraging them to change their behavior to learn for themselves what the nature of reality is.’

    They are both emphasising how if you challenge people’s belief systems in an open minded, respectful and compassionate way you can safely guide them back to a closer version of reality where they will find it easier to operate in the world. James and Brett have both highlighted how this takes exploration to see why the person believes what they believe and from what I have read from both of them they are both willing to be corrected in their own belief system or to allow new possibilities in as long as it doesn’t contravene facts that we can safely say we know about reality. For me, having a better grasp of the reality of the world in which we exist helps us to operate more constructively and cohesively and also helps us to form a far better understanding of ourselves and our experiences. This explains to me why psychiatry and its central message about chemical imbalances causing ‘mental illness’ is so destructive as it has no basis in reality and thus if we believe it we begin to live this lie as well taking us away from figuring out the real reasons for our distress. Psychology is not psychiatry and I do believe this distinction is important but, as I have stated earlier, I do believe psychological associations need to make this distinction more apparent. I think that James and Brett can and do help in this. I believe that psychology as a therapeutic endeavour really does try to align itself with scientific reality far more than psychiatry has ever done. While it does need to be approached with skepticism there is valuable and beneficial information to be gained and spread from this field of inquiry.

    Also I don’t find the word ‘delusional’ offensive and I know other people who do not either. Sometimes I have been ‘delusional’, i.e. my views about certain facts about the world were completely removed from the actual facts. The word itself does not bother me. It is the context in which it is used that can be dangerous, i.e. with anybody who wants you to believe delusions that they believe, e.g. the reason for your distress is because of a ‘chemical imbalance’ and these harmless pills will help sort it out. In other contexts where it is me being delusional and a person who has a better grasp of the facts we are speaking about points this out to me, well, that’s ok by me and could be really helpful. I would also hope that Brett and James can admit that they can be delusional at times as well and I think that they would given what I have read from each of them. The danger with psychiatry and the vast majority of psychiatrists is their inability to do this. As long as psychology and psychologists maintain their humility and as James points out as long as they admit they know certain things but they know less than they don’t know it should be kept it check.

    So Brett and James, I would say keep up the good work and keep rocking that boat within the field of psychology and getting the MIA message about the harms of psychiatry and the biomedical model across and now that you are in the positions that you are both in I hope that you will use that influence to the upmost.

    KindredSpirit, I enjoyed reading your challenges and your readiness to question the concepts of ‘truth’ and ‘reality’. I apologise if this post is presumptuous of me based on the few comments I have read from you. However I think that there are dangers of completing throwing out the idea of an objective reality and moving into postmodernist ideology and its overriding emphasis on the evil of authority/power systems. I would cite Sam Harris as one of my heroes too as he helped open my eyes to some of the hypocrisy and inconsistencies within religion. I was raised Catholic then moved away from it but am now slowly back on a deeper more meaningful journey to my Christian roots which are grounded more in the power and truth of metaphors/images/ideas while not drifting away from science too much. One of my current heroes is Prof Jordan Peterson who I would recommend to anyone on here and who provides a great insight to and critique of the dangers of postmodernist ideology and the abandonment of objective reality and objective morality. His second podcast with Sam Harris is particularly good.

    God, man, I can never post a short post 🙂 Finally, I think as Rage Against the Machine said it’s important to ‘Know your enemy’ but we also gotta know our allies in this battle as well and for me, James and Brett definitely are.

  • Vlado, man, I really think that you keep digging your own grave and making me even more suspicious of your agenda. It seems like you are trying the pulling at the heartstrings tactic again with the reference to the family difficulties and scaremongering with your reference to the dangers of street drugs. Now wait, where have I heard these sort of tactics before?…Oh that’s right, the pharmaceutical and psychiatric industries.

    Maybe you should think about all the families who lost their loved ones 20 to 25 years too soon because of some of the neuroleptic drugs you advocate for or maybe you should think about all the 1477 families whose family member took their own lives while on this drug (see:

    As for ‘street substances’. Well, I worked with people using heroin for years. When they heard a bad patch was going around that was causing serious problems and it was coming from a particular dealer people would avoid this dealer and he’d either have to sort his batch out or lose business. Big Pharma and psychiatrists do not seem to care if people die or have serious complications from the drugs they deal out as there’s always people coming back due to misinformation or forced back due to our current system. I would say that these drugs are more dangerous once you start on them as it is not just dependency that will make them hard to quit but the weight of the law behind psychiatry as well. People following your advice could very well end up on this deadly conveyer belt as well.

    You are ‘very surprised at how adamant [I am] against a technique that does work’. Vlado, you can do whatever you want with your body but when you become a blogger on MIA you are in a position of influence where you have now used it to give advice based on your experience to people. I don’t see how you are surprised by my reply if you know anything about this site or have read reliable research on these drugs. I am not at all surprised that people are anti-psychiatry and anti-psychiatric meds having spent a bit of time on MIA and read works by researchers I have already mentioned. Again this suggests to me that you are either very naïve or confused but mostly I think that you have another more sinister agenda in pushing these drugs.

  • The cat,

    This was referring to the idea of Ativan being available over-the-counter in society as it currently is, i.e with all the misinformation about Ativan and the current respect and authority that phamacists are given. If all the accurate and reliable scientific evidence or information was provided for Ativan, i.e. its high rate of ineffectiveness, the list of all the effects it has, and if there was no marketing allowed for this dangerous drug and most people saw pharmacists and pharmacies as dangerous as illegal drug dealers so had a great deal of skepticism about what they were selling in their drug stores then I think Ativan may be safe for over-the-counter. Until those things change (which is incredibly unlikely) I believe Ativan being available over-the-counter would be disastrous for people and society.

  • Hi Vlado,
    You don’t portray the facts as ‘incredibly simple’. I find this remark arrogant and it applies that I have somehow been confused by what you have said rather than what you have said being confusing. I can handle inconsistency here and there but you have been very inconsistent in how you have described yourself and your story. One minute you are saying that you have left the ‘bipolar/mentally ill’ label behind then the next you are saying that you are a ‘patient’ and not a ‘normal’ person and aligning yourself with the ‘mentally ill’. You also mention ‘a lot of people without symptoms’ indicating that you still believe in the medical/disease model. To me this indicates that you have not left the ‘bipolar/mentally ill’ label behind. You see yourself as part of a ‘subset’ of people that experience ‘mania’. Every human being can potentially experience mania given certain circumstances. This is a fact of life. You are not special in this but it seems like you want or need to be seen as so. The things you have been consistent with is your support, not ‘alluding to’, for having Ativan available over the counter. You mentioned it three times in two posts or replies to comments after your posts.

    Secondly benzos, SSRIs and neuroleptics (I’m refusing to use ‘anti-depressants’ and ‘anti-psychotics’ and use the language that we have been conditioned to) are all potentially harmful and addictive drugs and there is no evidence that SSRIs are anymore clinically effective than a placebo. Who said ‘wishing it away’ is the way to treat experiences of mania? I listed giving it time as a thing that could work along with other things that involve action not just sitting there. The drugs you have listed bring YOU down from your experiences of mania and they work well for YOU in combination. It seems like you are still pushing drugs as the cure/remedy for your supposed ‘illness’. Have you ever sat and reflecting what it would be like for other people and society if Ativan was seen as a safe enough drug to be sold over the counter? Again I don’t like what you are selling and you are reaffirming some of my initial suspicions.

    And how do you know what I have and haven’t been through? I said that people don’t need to go through what you have been through to know that the drugs ARE the problem not that I’ve never been through my own extreme states. And anyway going through your own extreme experiences doesn’t make you an expert to guide everyone else in theirs. I know plenty of peers who still push ‘the drugs worked for me so it’s best to do what your doctor says’ agenda and have been co-opted by the mainstream medical model. Thankfully we have some dedicated researchers like Robert Whitaker and Peter Gotzsche who can help people make truly informed decisions about the options they take which is grounded in much better evidence and reasoning that your advice.

    There are a couple of areas that still ring alarms bells for me and strike me as tactics similar to what I have seen by the pharma industry. Firstly, there is a bit of scaremongering and calls for the need for early pharmacological intervention. You say: ‘The perseverance of mania outside the range of a few weeks or months is called schizophrenia, and permanent institutionalization is still a real threat.’ So you are saying that if you don’t treat the mania with drugs this could happen. While in reality and in most people’s cases if you do treat extreme experiences with drugs it actually leads to long term prescriptions of these drugs and rising disabilities as documented by Robert Whitaker and other researchers. You then seem to emphasise how terrible the experiences of mania are and try to pull on heart strings to get the treatments you want available. Again this is another tactic of the pharmaceutical and psychiatric industries. Yes life experiences are bloody tough but boo bloody hoo that you can’t get want you want, OK, as there are other people apart from yourself who will be incredibly damaged if they followed the ‘consistent’ treatments you advocate for. I believe in freedom of choice so you can do whatever the hell you want with your mind, body and spirit and you can live with the consequences, not other people.

    Vlado, your reply still has alarm bells ringing for me and I really don’t know what your agenda is. If you are for real then I’d recommend taking some time out, do some more reflection and study, try to really think about what would be the consequences of your advice and try to figure out how you see yourself, i.e. do you see yourself as ‘ill’/’patient’/in a certain ‘subset’, and are you truly ready to leave the ‘bipolar/mentally ill’ label behind?

    Frankly, from what I have read I don’t trust your reasoning or what you are selling and I don’t think other people should either but they can make up their own minds on that.

  • From the comment section I don’t know if people had read the same article as I have read. It seems because James is a child psychologist some people immediately think that he is some malevolent enforcer of social control/norms. Do people make the distinction between psychiatry (a field I am firmly against and which has no scientific basis for its claims) and psychology (a field that has meaning making as one of its primary focuses and, which while I feel that it should do more to challenge psychiatry, is still far more scientifically and morally legitimate than psychiatry)? I have outlined my points in relation to this further in an exchange with Matt Stephenson here so I won’t get into this further:

    A couple of commentators have particular concern with this sentence: “One fundamental mistake I believe is repeatedly made today when it comes to working with those who feel disenfranchised, marginalized, discounted, or discriminated against is believing that the opposite response must be the best response.” Have you read the whole paragraph which outlines what James meant by this, i.e. the dangers of abandoning truth and reality. I’ll give an example of this as this is what I interpreted it to mean and how negating the truth is dangerous. Please correct me if I am wrong in this James or if this example doesn’t fit what you meant.

    Recently it has been shown that Pacific Islander Youth report have three times as many suicide attempts as NZ European youth who are the majority population in New Zealannd. A clinical psychologist (and this is where I have a problem with psychology/psychologists and their attachment to the medical model) and chief executive of an organisation for Pacific people experiencing distress, Dr Monique Faleafa, said that this was because of the underdiagnosis of ‘mental illness’ and the stigma attached to talking about ‘mental illness’ and asking for help from your doctor. She failed to report or didn’t know that Pacific youth are sexually abused at three times the rate of NZ European youth, are over three times as likely to experience violence in the home, 3 times as likely to be overweight/obese and 4 times more likely to have fast food 4 or more time per week. They are also far more likely to come from a deprived area. Now, let’s say that a Pacific kid who has experienced all these things comes and says my suicidal feelings are caused by a ‘mental illness’ (biological reductionism). I would guess that most of the people on here would say it’s definitely not because of a ‘chemical imbalance’ as this has been discounted and discredited many times on here and many people would ask the kid questions about how they have come to think of their distress in this way. Now, say the kid says that my distress is caused by ‘systematic racism/oppression/being disenfranchised by the dominant NZ Europeans who have all the power’ (social/cultural theory). From the comments I have seen I think most people would see this as a reasonable interpretation of his distress and would say find it reasonable to agree that ‘it’s the corrupt social/cultural system that has created your problems’. Of what benefit is it to the kid if we stop asking questions because we have come to see his answers as reasonable enough or because they fit with our own models of how the world/system/society operates?

    In my view disenfranchisement/financial hardship does not justify sexual abuse or violence towards your children and all the postmodern/cultural/social relativistic theories in the world will not convince me otherwise. Also people may cite cultural reasons for the maltreatment of their children, like female genital mutilation, in some countries. Now if someone says that this is justified within someone else’s culture but not our own are we then not guilty of the ‘racism of lower expectations’? Or is this seen as an acceptable form of racism today due to our creeping postmodernist/moral relativistic way of seeing the world? Where do you think this will lead?

    James said ‘failure to label children’s healthy or reality-based ideas for what they are could lead to dire consequences down the road in regards to their relationships, jobs, living situation, health, and well-being.’ In the example above, failure to explore the kid’s interpretation of their reality a bit more could lead to lifelong suppression of the horrors he experienced and develop into misdirected anger at and suspicion of NZ Europeans rather than angry at his family for the cruelty they put him through. Psychiatry has been accused of silencing child abuse and I definitely think this is the case but could we be guilty of it as well if we chose to always believe or not challenge what the person, especially a kid, is saying/believing.

    And people may respond, ‘well you wouldn’t understand disenfranchisement/distress, etc…’ Well, I’m Irish born and bred. We have a long history of it but I don’t blame my historical issues of colonial oppression or Catholic authoritarianism for how I act in the world today. I’m aware of them and I have learnt from them but I am not hung up on them. I take responsibility and I try to accurately pinpoint who and what is causing me and society harm in the world at the moment and in this life. Psychiatric drugs almost killed me so psychiatry is one of those problems and so is postmodernism ideology as James points out that if we ‘let go of the search and promulgation of wisdom, knowledge, and authority altogether, and assume that the world would work just fine if everyone was okay with how you or I perceived it. That’s a recipe for mass chaos.’ Also I believe that postmodernist/relativistic views of seeing the world also allow the ‘chemical imbalance’ view to keep growing as no matter what the facts are or what reliable scientific evidence says if we take the view that whatever a person believes is as close to reality as anyone else’s views what’s wrong with saying I have a ‘brain disease’, ‘mental illness’ or ‘chemical imbalance’? I believe that people should really be aware of the dangers of postmodernist/moral relativistic thinking as I believe that if it becomes more prevalent in society and within MIA it risks created friction and division and solipsistic thinking and I think that elitists/globalists/Big Pharma are well aware of the power of certain ideologies.

    James, I found your post on an obviously sensitive topic excellent and it was delivered with wise compassion and a commitment to truth and reality. For example your sentence: ‘No one has a corner on the truth. But we all have an obligation to do our best to seek it out and provide it, especially in situations in which someone is struggling or in need of formation, as with youth. ‘ I think people seem to have missed this.

    I feel that for anyone who wants to know more about the dangers of postmodernist ideology and where our society will inevitably end up if this takes a hold (as it has already done in most US universities) check out Professor Jordan Peterson and his critiques on postmodernism. I believe that psychology/psychologists still have a lot to offer but they need to disavow themselves from psychiatry and make stronger stands against it if you want people to trust you and create a distinction between the two disciplines. I believe that the likes of James are part of this group who are making a stand while still remaining committed to truth so I admire him for that.

  • Hi Vlado, I thought I’d highlight some of your comments on MIA so far and as you really have me confused and your comments also have started alarm bells ringing for me. So here are some of your comments:

    Critical of medical/psychiatric model (mainly from your first post):
    ‘What’s scary is that a fallible doctor, relying on a manual that pathologizes any and every behavior or emotion, determines whether we’re acute or chronic. It’s unclear to me how they sleep at night.’

    ‘Not knowing anything about psychiatry and trusting these people were real doctors’

    ‘I’ve come a long way in the years since and have rejected the bipolar/mentally ill label.’

    ‘What I am is someone capable of experiencing mania. And for that reason alone, psychiatry wishes to hold onto me forever.’

    Vlado, was this a way of gaining a platform on MadInAmerica, then gradually you begin to throw in the comments below:

    Support for Ativan:

    ‘At long last they gave me the sedative, Ativan, which if available in stores would have saved me all this trouble.’

    ‘If I could get Ativan over the counter, there would be no doctor.’

    ‘I wish Ativan was available over the counter. I know a couple of those tablets make me fall asleep every single time. But releasing Ativan to the masses subverts psychiatrists and they’re not in favor of anything that takes away the power of their pen and pad.’

    I have just read about how there is $7 billion on average to be made when a drug goes from prescription to over-the-counter. Funny how Ativan’s patent has expired and is not as profitable anymore? Is this your agenda or are you so blind to the lack of effectiveness Ativan has outside of your own experiences and the incredible amount of damage it causes. Maybe you should check out: or You are either incredibly self-centred to wish these were available over the counter or are pushing Ativan as part of your agenda?

    Support for meds:

    ‘Either an anti-psych or benzo enables me to sleep, lessening the effects of mania’

    ‘The lesson is not to fight with doctors but to ask for the highest dose they’re willing to prescribe of a combination of antipsychotics.’
    Vlado, following this advice can and does kill people!!!!

    ‘nothing works better than 6 mg of Risperdal and 200 mg of Seroquel’
    For you, maybe. For others, it’s been a disaster

    ‘you have to go through a case of extreme sleep deprivation to understand that the drugs are not the problem; they are the solution’
    No, you don’t. You can just read and study the likes of the works of Peter Gotzsche, Robert Whitaker, etc. You don’t have to have been a ‘peer’ or have had a ‘lived experience’ to realise the drugs ARE the problem

    ‘Half the people in a psych ward legitimately cannot sleep and need drugs’
    Seriously?!? In my current role I regularly visit a psych ward. I wouldn’t sleep either if I knew at any second I could be forcibly held down and drugged, could have my human rights taken away or could be given ECT involuntarily but no, your solution is not to address why people aren’t sleeping just drug them or yourself up so you can sleep…

    ‘in my opinion they don’t sufficiently address the short-term, acute need for medication which is psychiatry’s single main-stay as an institution.. This is the bread-and-butter use case for why psychiatry should exist.’
    A lot of people’s journey on the destructive psychiatric merry go round starts when they have acute needs for help/support and given drugs for this and you are saying that this starting point is legitimate…really???!!!!

    ‘By this definition, the system is absolutely nuts. That’s why, to me, a reforms-based approach to dealing with the ills makes more sense than talking down the medicine, which is legitimately helpful to those who have a need.’
    Have you read anything on MIA about the science for the ‘medicine’, i.e. dangerous and destructive drugs?

    Confusion or lack of consistency over how you label or diagnose yourself and your experiences after saying that ‘you have rejected the bipolar/mentally ill label:
    ‘I’m a patient struggling to figure out what works and what doesn’t.’
    A ‘patient’: so you haven’t left the ‘bipolar/mentally ill’ label behind? or you forgot that this was part of your narrative/script?

    ‘What is the appropriate level of antipsychotics necessary to come down from a bipolar mania?’
    Again – ‘bipolar/mentally ill’ label left behind?

    Support for more insurance/more access to services/more money for psychiatry/Big Pharma:
    ‘If you have insurance, they want to keep you as long as possible. If you don’t or have bad insurance as I had, you’re not a priority and decisions are made based on dollars and cents as opposed to common sense. I was furious that even though I didn’t exhibit common symptoms of mania, had a place to stay, they still treated me like a zombie and held me against my will. It’s how they make money, bodies to beds. Until we have a single-payer system of insurance, this system won’t change.’
    Big Pharma and psychiatry would love this $$$$$$$$$

    ‘Money is at the root of this system. My old doctor charged $175/30 min..’
    More insurance, more $$$$$ for psychiatry/Big Pharma

    Support for psychiatry:
    ‘The point of MadInAmerica, and where you and I have common ground, is how far psychiatry has strayed from its mission statement.’

    ‘As for psych being a “junk science”, most consider mania, depression, psychosis, to be real medical conditions when diagnosed correctly.’
    Consensus doesn’t equal fact/’science’

    ‘I have yet to see an article on M.I.A. about how to come back to “baseline” without meds. I’m sure it’s possible as our ancestors didn’t have these drugs available; I just don’t know how at this point. And in relieving these short-term conditions, I don’t believe psych is a junk science.’
    Vlado, this is an insult to many contributors to MIA who have produced many articles highlighting alternatives to meds to help with distress. And how about just time? Or finding some good, trustworthy, authentic and supportive people in your life to be with you during times of distress to help bring you back down? Or how about getting out into the bush/forest/green spaces? Or finding a safe, warm comfortable places where you can breathe/switch off? Or how about talking about the meaning and depth of your distress? All ways of coming back to ‘baseline’ and who decides this ‘baseline’ anyway? Again, have you read anything on MIA? Have you searched for anything in relation to distress?

    ‘There IS a place for anti-psychotic drugs even if we agree that anti-depressants and benzos are sham. If psychiatry was all-bad, why would it still be around in 2017? I needed professional advice on how best to sleep/reduce the mania and that dialogue was missing until the very end.’

    ‘It’s a major problem in how far they’ve strayed from the basics of their profession.’ – subtle support here where you are saying it’s a good profession really, it’s just lost its way a bit, poor psychiatry like the paedophile priest that was sent to the next diocese and not punished because ya know, he’ll be ok in the next one, he just needs time to reform…

    Psychiatry’s tactics of ‘we will find the underlying biological cause soon, just give us more time’:
    ‘Until neuroscience identifies what causes psychosis or depression, little of psychiatry has any scientific merit. Instead it’s an art form where all too many of the practitioners are poor in practice, in large part because they haven’t seen enough genuine patients that can function drug-free at a high level.’
    Who the hell are ‘genuine patients’ and who gets to decide this? The experienced psychiatrists/doctors? You?

    Attempt to de-legitimise anti-psychiatry movement:
    The anti-psych movement will NOT gain ground until those numbers grow or until someone goes deeper into explaining why these drugs are harmful.’
    Vlado: seriously?!?? have you read anything by the likes of Robert Whitaker, Peter Gotzsche, David Healy, Peter Breggin, Joanna Moncrieff – are their analyses not deep enough for you?

    Vlado, from what I have read I don’t trust what you are trying to sell. You are either very confused or using extremely solipsistic or self-centred ways of seeing and responding to distress or you have another agenda that involves defending psychiatry, pushing more medical insurance coverage and supporting some really harmful and destructive drugs. Big Pharma is very skilled at trying to infiltrate organisations and plant seeds of doubt here and there. It uses social media to its advantages and identifies and responds to threats. MIA is definitely a threat – I wonder if this is what is happening here? Just a thought…

  • Hi Matt,

    I won’t get into another long discussion here. I’ll check out the discussion groups to explore more. It seems we are talking more about reliability of knowledge/information here. I agree that the profession of psychology and the information coming from here needs to be treated with scepticism and caution as it has its flaws, has engaged in systematic unethical practices and is still too cosy with psychiatry and the biomedical model. In saying that I don’t think it has tarnished its scientific or ethical standing as much as psychiatry has. I would recommend people visiting a psychologist (given no other information about the ‘professional’) before I would recommend a visit to a psychiatrist (which in the current environment I wouldn’t recommend unless I had reliable information that the psychiatrist was progressive, holistic and took a drug-oriented rather than a disease-oriented approach to suffering and distress). There is the potential for damage and misinformation from visiting a psychologist and this needs to be acknowledged compared to not visiting any ‘professional’. If the profession of psychology does distance itself from psychiatry (like I think the British Psychological Society is doing) it might be able to redeem itself and its standing. Psychology and psychiatry are often linked and people don’t make a distinction so much between the two. Previously I thought that was because people were confused about what these professionals did. I now see that it’s because they work together so much, talk similar languages, e.g. obsession with diagnosis/assessments, and can be involved in coercive and unethical practices. For me, the profession of psychology and psychologists need to keep make consistent efforts to make a stand against the nonsense and non-science of psychiatry and its unethical practices and not just tag along for the ride. Otherwise I can’t see the point of encouraging people to check out or chat with these ‘professionals’ (without any knowledge about the actual ‘professional’).

    I think psychology and psychologists can still offer a lot and may be a great source of support for establishing insights into cause and effect and promoting alternative approaches (e.g. John Read and his research on ECT and the trauma/’psychosis’ link and the Open Dialogue approach developed and researched by Jaakko Seikkulla) but I can see how psychology and psychologists can overplay, overcharge and oversell its importance and its reliability and how people don’t want anything to do with it or them when they see through this. I’ll keep reflecting on this as I am potentially looking to go down the path of a clinical psychology career and these sort of conversations are useful on that journey to keep groupthink in check.

    Thanks for the links and the information, Matt. I’ll check out Paris’s writings and it might be good for me to get in touch with him to see if we could potentially meet at some stage. I’ll also check out the forums as I find the exchange of ideas from different perspectives a great way of letting go of some of my own, taking on new ones or making my own ideas/concepts stand up and flourish when they are scrutinised and challenged.

    Turned into a bit of a longer post than I initially set out to write 🙂 better crack on with applying some of this new knowledge now…

  • Thanks Matt, your feedback is appreciated,

    I’d like to reply to a few of your comments:

    I see that we agree on most areas. I can see how people could be more attuned to anything ‘bad’ and how this links to attachment theory and our understanding of relationships and our expectations of how people will relate to us. I also noted your point on the current mental health system in the US. I’m not so sure New Zealand is a million miles away from there as it is another country that allows direct to consumer pharmaceutical advertising and where Big Pharma and psychiatry are partners selling ‘mental illness’ for their mutual benefit. There is a huge amount of overdrugging here as well and it has become the first and only line of treatment in many cases. I know that there are a few progressive psychiatrists about, it’s just finding them which can be difficult.

    I would say that I trust the field of psychology far more than I trust the field of psychiatry. This may be due to my own education in psychology and perhaps I am biased but I do feel that it hasn’t been taken over by the biomedical model to the extent that psychiatry has. That said some psychological associations and psychologists have gone for the ride on the coattails of psychiatry over the last 40 to 50 years and in my eyes that has tarnished its reputation as a reputable scientific and ethical discipline. It does seem that some organisations such as the British Psychological Society (BPS) are getting behind new and progressive approaches, e.g. the BPS president supporting and promoting the Open Dialogue approach, and then you see the likes of the British psychologists, Prof John Read (who you mentioned), Dr Philip Hickey and Dr Gary Sidley, speaking out against psychiatry and its unscientific practices but I’m not sure if they represent a small minority or a larger size in the British psychological services. Maybe psychology has tarnished its reputation so much in the US that it deserves its criticisms and to be treated with extreme caution as outlined by Holzman. However I feel some of her criticisms are unjustified.

    Holzman seems to criticise psychology for labelling, testing, categorising our mental activity and behaviors and having ‘profound disinterest in its own history’. While I’m skeptical about labelling, testing and categorising I don’t have any real problem with them as long as these are fair, accurate and beneficial for my wellbeing and my ability to operate in the world and make sense of my experiences. I agree with Holzman that psychology can be used as a system of control, can narrow the realms of what is seen as acceptable or appropriate and that a desperation to know can lead to wrong assumptions. However psychology can be and is used for helping to identify cause and effect when it comes to distress/suffering and helping to understand and predict patterns of behaviour. Holzman also criticises the use of ‘normal’ development. Again as I stated in my previous reply expanding the range of what we deem as ‘normal’ would be useful but I don’t think the concept of ‘normal’ will ever disappear or become redundant as it’s central to having some level of predictability and stability in a world that is consistently changing from moment to moment. I also studied Psychology in the UK and one of the mandatory modules was ‘Historical and Conceptual Issues in Psychology’ so I don’t really think that the discipline has a ‘profound disinterest in its own history’. Holzman seems to indicate that psychology has had a profound negative impact on US society. I feel that it is not the discipline itself that is flawed or that trying to use scientific methods to contribute to our understanding the human mind and behaviour is flawed but rather that as humans we have the capacity to use some of the greatest tools and knowledge we have for unethical ends. I agree that psychology will probably never have the same scientific standing as physics and chemistry in terms of hard sciences but I don’t think that it means that it should follow a different path than adhering to the scientific method. This lack of similarity to physics and chemistry does not stop us using the reliable knowledge gathered by those working in the field of psychology to help us make sense of distress, identify what may or may not be causing it and highlight some potentially beneficial ways of lessening the distress we experience. If the profession decides to continuously go along with and profit from the biomedical approach to distress and doesn’t stand up to and challenge the profession of psychiatry well then it’s probably worth abandoning it and calling it out as a sham scientific discipline and an unethical and unhelpful profession. I still have some confidence in the discipline of psychology and its usefulness but I can see that it does have a bit of work to redeem itself and its reputation.

    Yeah I think that is important to stay humble but not appearing so. There are enough people virtue signalling in today’s world that it would be hard to compete with anyway 🙂

  • I found some of the points helpful in this article particularly around challenging the biomedical paradigm when it comes to ‘schizophrenia’, ‘psychotic’ experiences and how we define and draw meaning from altered states of consciousness. I believe that exploring what these experiences mean through open enquiry and ‘I don’t know but am willing to explore’ mentality is a useful way to discover their significance. I’m not sure about promoting the idea that some people who have experienced altered states may be more in tune or sensitive to stimuli in their environment. Their experiences may be different but I don’t believe that there is enough evidence (both scientifically and at an experiential level) to assert that people who experience altered states are different from the rest of humanity or somehow special. There is lack of support for any genetic link for ‘schizophrenia’ or ‘psychosis’ and most evidence suggests that environmental circumstances are the most likely factor that contribute to experiencing altered states (check out Dr John Read on YouTube for an insight into the trauma/altered states link). This suggests that increased emotional or sensory sensitivity, particularly in relation to human interaction, develops mainly as a result of experience. I would suggest that this is an adaptive strategy as it makes sense that sensory awareness becomes more heighten due to the potential for negative consequences, e.g. a repeat of trauma. If you do not become alert to the threats, particularly from people, in your environment after experiencing trauma this seems like a maladaptive coping mechanism. Although it could also be argued that becoming desensitised to your environment or experiences, (maybe ‘disassociating’ or escaping your sensations) particularly if you are experiencing ongoing abuse is a useful (particularly short term) strategy as well. My point here is that becoming more sensitive to stimuli could be a reaction to circumstances and a useful one as well.

    Stephen suggests that heightened sensitivity, e.g. being ‘highly susceptible to the subtle meanings they encountered’, is a characteristic of ‘neuro-atypical’ people. The idea that there are ‘neuro-atypical’ and ‘neuro-typical’ people refocuses our attention on brain differences rather than paying more attention to the adaptiveness and usefulness of heightened sensitivity particularly when there has been periods of trauma in your life. It verges on reinforcing the idea that there is an ‘us’ (people who identify as people who have experienced altered states of consciousness) and ‘them’ (people who haven’t experienced this, aren’t aware of experiencing altered states of consciousness or don’t identify with that experience) are just born with different sensitivities to/ways of processing information in the world. Also I don’t agree with the statement that ‘It is not so much the trauma that is the problem but our stories about it’. It bloody matters that it happened. This is as good as saying it’s all ‘mind over matter’. Our stories about experiences AND our actual experiences matter and personally, I think the actual events (the truth as far as we can tell) are more important than our narratives about them.

    So that’s first, but also I feel that Stephen’s approach also risks throwing the baby out with the bath water when he is very critical of ‘Western’ culture (however that is defined, I presume this would be in relation the societies/cultures of North America, Oz, NZ and Western Europe) and science and scientists. Right, Western society is far from perfect but it also has loads going for it, e.g. the promotion and upholding of universal human rights, the promotion and upholding of liberal values, strong secular democracies, strong safety nets and welfare systems (more so in Western Europe I think) freedom of speech and expression laws, the freedom to be a bloody individual and express yourself in whatever manner you choose with the ultimate restrictions being that you abide by universal human rights. I know life can be and can feel hard in Western societies (I’m born in Ireland, have lived in England and currently live in New Zealand) and life does shit on you at times and we are still working on those safety nets but tell that to someone who has grown up in a society where they don’t promote or protect human rights, restrict freedom of speech and your ability to be an individual and which don’t have any government safety nets so the only ‘safety’ you have is to return to the group who may be causing you the problems in your life in the first place. It seems like Stephen is calling for an embracing and return to ‘older cultures’ and that we should return to older styles of how we used to do things, e.g. ‘Older cultures would spend a great deal of time training this group of people as a cultural resource’. There may be some truth in this when it comes to demedicalising emotional/psychological distress and I realise the outcomes for people diagnosed with ‘schizophrenia’ in places like Nigeria are so much better than in the U.S. In the West we really have it wrong when it comes to our treatment and medicalisation of emotional/psychological distress and how we have allowed Big Pharma and psychiatry dictate and sell us this mdoel but we’ve got so many other things right and look at us now communicating across the oceans right now because we have the opportunity, time, space and resources to do so. The cynicism towards new cultures, e.g. Western societies, and the romanticising of older cultures can be dangerous and damaging especially when it comes to progress. (Check out ‘The Culture Cult’ by Robert Sandall for a description of this). I think that in Western societies we are beginning to wake up to the realities of the dysfunctioning way we have medicalised psychological and emotional distress and I think the tide will turn to better ways and approaches especially with the efforts by people who are beginning to wake up across the Western world. Don’t give up on ‘Western’ culture yet (which I think ideally stands for truly secular and liberal democracies, a commitment to human rights, a celebration of the individual and a strong safety net to protect people from the misfortunes and trauma that life can bring – Check out Professor of Clinical Psychology, Dr Jordan Peterson on YouTube for a enlightened and passionate defence of what the West stands for). Also I do not agree that in Western societies that ‘the entire therapeutic process, in nearly every instance, is to make them fit in whether through use of drugs or not’ or that ‘All that the person’s community and family want is for them to not trouble them – they want them to be like everyone else, to fit in.’ For me, this is a very cynical view of society and people’s (therapists, people who take on helping roles) and family’s intentions. This is far from everyone’s experience and families and therapists (from my experience) can and do encourage people to truly embrace their individuality despite other forces telling you to fit in.

    Also I don’t agree with Stephen’s heavy criticism of science and scientists. Yes, scientists can’t give us all the answers and humility is important in this regard but the scientific method and scientists who follow that method can produce and enlighten us with reliable knowledge. What we do with that knowledge is then up to us and will require the study of other areas of life, e.g. philosophy/religion, art, poetry, music, numerous other disciplines along with our experiential learning. To propose that ‘Earth System Science proponents think humans are the only seriously intelligent life form on the planet. Period’ is an unfair and very speculative view on these people as I know ecologists and other environmental scientists who while they don’t fully endorse the Gaia hypothesis are very open to the idea that other species are very intelligent life forms. Also I am saddened by the statement, ‘Tremendous humility is an essential quality in any scientist, but in fact extremely rare to encounter’ and the fact that no one has followed up or criticised this comment. What about Dr John Read, Dr Peter Gotzsche, Prof David Healy, Dr Joanna Moncrieff, Dr Sandra Steingaard, Dr Bruce Levine, Dr Phil Hickey, Robert Whitaker, Dr Carina Hakansson, Dr Olga Runciman, Dr Jaakko Seikulla, (who I’d say are happy to say they are scientists or at least proud advocates of the scientific method) to name but a few. These guys strike me as pretty humble and anyway what’s the obsession with appearing humble. If you are confident in your beliefs/knowledge you have available why not express yourself confidently. If people see you as arrogant but your information/knowledge is helpful, beneficial or reliable let people think what they will of you as it is the information that is most important.

    Stephen may be doing some great work and his approach may be of huge benefit to some people but I’m not convinced as I don’t think a lot of it will be helpful and as a fan of evidence to help show effectiveness I’d like to see this before drawing any firm conclusions. Also I agree with Stephen that essentially there is no such thing as ‘normal’ in that it is a social construction for judging or measuring behaviour or aspects of our world. I can see where it can cause problems if we are overly rigid in what we perceive as ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ but I also think that it is a very useful and helpful concept to have as well as it helps to decipher problems in our world, e.g. blood tests, what healthy functioning of the heart/lungs/brain/kidneys looks like, that it is normal that the sun rises in the morning and the day has 24 hours in it. It helps us to keep some track on what is ‘normal’ and what we can expect to happen and gives our world some sense of order which I feel is necessary for some sort of peaceful existence as to live in absolute chaos/disorder does not seem, to me, to be a peaceful or beneficial way to exist either. Maybe it’s the balance between chaos and order that we need to live a fulfilling and meaningful live and I think having some sense of normality that is not too rigid can be a helpful part of this. (Prof Jordan Peterson speaks about this as well and has done more thinking about and research into this area than I have)

    So hey, this is my first post on MIA. I have been reading articles on here for a while. It has been truly enlightening and has helped me understand psychological/emotional distress on a much better and broader. This is particularly helpful in my current role as a peer support worker. I have posted this detailed comment for two reasons mainly. One to combat what I see as the cynicism towards Western culture and the other to defend the scientific method and scientists. I’m proud and lucky to have been born into and grown up in a Western society (with all the shit that life throws at you in the process) and have been given the opportunities and chances I have been given. There is always work to do and it’s far from perfect (it’s pretty tricky developing a society that promotes individual freedom and liberty while also promoting individual and social responsibility and from my experiences we aren’t doing too bad in Western societies) and it’s our job to take on that challenge to see if we can make it better for ourselves, our families, communities, societies and our world. I feel that the scientific method is a really useful tool for establishing and gaining reliable knowledge. It can help tell us what ourselves and the world is made of and what relationship (if any) certain forces have with each other. It won’t tell us all we need to know and it is very difficult for science to tell us how to act in the world and that’s why we need other regions of knowledge, e.g. philosophy/religion, to guide us. Maybe psychiatry has helped to corrupt people’s views on science because of its claims about being a ‘science’ and using ‘evidence’ to justify its systematic abuse. However I don’t think psychiatry is even a science and it does not adhere to the scientific method. Thomas Szasz wrote the book, ‘Psychiatry: the science of lies’. I would go further and call it ‘Psychiatry: the pseudoscience of lies’. Great work is being done by scientists through adherence to the scientific method and I think that we should continue to work together with noble scientists and use the scientific method to help understand what is going on in our world rather than lambast science and scientists because psychiatry used an association with science to its advantage.

    Thanks for putting this piece together, Matt, Stephen and Paris. While I may not agree with a lot of what was posted in the article it was great to read it to see what other perspectives are out there and it prompted me to post for my first comment.

    Good luck to all on their journey and their attempts to find ways to operate in this complex thing we call ‘life’,