Monday, September 24, 2018

Comments by Seth Farber, PhD

Showing 100 of 428 comments. Show all.

  • This is a serious discussion,Jolly, and such a broad generalization as you make is foolish, if not stupid–and it is not at all what Michael and others are saying. The point is that the disease model, the mental illness model, is harmful–and stupid.Not ALL psychotherapy is harmful. Not all therapists “prey” on others.What does that mean anyway?:How do they “prey? on their clients???
    Please note Michael IS- a therapist and he wrote,”The very brave dissident psychiatrists that I’ve personally known such as Loren Mosher, Peter Breggin, Daniel Fisher and John Weir Perry all paid dearly for breaking ranks with their fellow psychiatrists. They were ostracized as class traitors, were marginalized and mocked for their humane approaches to helping people.”
    Michael’s premise is there are humane forms of therapy.
    We might agree on this point–there are risks involved in therapy because the therapist (usually) becomes financially dependent on her clients.
    SF

  • Wow. That is quite an ambitious book.

    Psychiatrists are very dangerous. Thomas Szasz once said that on the door of every psych ward and every drug-pushing psychiatrist’s office there should be a sign–like the one Dante had emblazoned over the entrance to hell–that read:”Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Without that warning there can be no informed consent.

    It’s not surprising the psychiatrists did nothing to save you from the drugs..But the naturopaths, psychotherapists, craniosacral therapists?
    Were they too brainwashed by Psychiatry to help?

  • BigPicture,
    I happened to see this–there have been so many I stopped reading them all.
    “Homo-normalis-rationalis” is very good term–from Maslow? I like “normates” also.
    I got my PhD from CIIS in 1984. Like many students I did a “phenomenological” dissertation.
    However I got my Masters at the New School, and I worked in the mental health system.
    I agree with you. It’s worse today, but even then education (including internships) consisted in an indoctrination into a reductionist misanthropic determinist view suppressive of human potentiality.(In those days it was mostly Freudian) But I soon became an apostate. The books I wrote were strongly influenced by Laing first, then Szasz–and everything I wrote was informed by the big picture in my mind formed by my “spiritual” experiences and readings in grand thinkers, particularly Sri Aurobindo.
    I do not think words are completely inadequate–they can convey some sense of experiences beyond the realm of the senses.
    Seth

  • Amnesia,
    That is a very poignant, well written very moving horror story. Thank you for telling it. I hope you will write it up for Mad in America. Fortunately you made a “spontaneous recovery”’ from every “disorder” with which they claimed you were afflicted. But unfortunately you still suffer from the effects of your treatment. It’s not clear if you’re still with your husband but it seems your marriage survived the assault on you by psychiatry. They often do not–your husband deserves credit.

    Amnesia, yours is a cautionary tale because until you decided to withdraw from the drugs it seems you had complete trust in your psychiatrist. You trusted his authority and you assumed he had your best interests at heart–until he resorted to coercion. If you had any doubts you do not express them above. In fact if you write this up I think you should be more explicit about this–at some point your trust in him turned to an awareness that he had betrayed you. At some point you realized–either gradually or suddenly, or both–that this man in whom you placed all your trust was not helping you and did not have your best interests at heart. But until you came to this realization you were a victim of his brand of psychiatric insanity This is an important part of the story that I think you should include if you submit it to MIA.

    It is misplaced trust that leads so many Americans to become victims of the mental health system, of psychiatric drug pushers. If Americans stopped trusting psychiatrists they could avoid the harm that is currently inflicted on them. Unfortunately it’s almost impossible to find genuine support from “mental health” professionals–or anywhere. Instead in the name of mental health the mental health professions offer a variety of “medical treatments” that are harmful, debilitating and brain-damaging. If these don’t make the patient “better” more brutal treatments are used– in the 20th century psychiatry decided that the cure for “mental illness” consists in various assaults on the brain

    The goal of this system is not to provide support but to make money for the mental health professionals and their partners in the pharmaceutical industry. But if the patient does not “improve” the shock doctors are brought in–this is pure sadism unconsciously intended to torture
    and injure the patient for committing the crime of not getting “better.”

  • Ron
    Why are they not morally responsible for the consequences of the policy they implement? ( Of course they are not legally responsible. No one is.)
    Dr Joseph Biederman takes over a million dollars from Johnson and Johnson and assures them his experiment will make their “anti-psychotic” look good. He is still teaching at Harvard. Biederman invents a new disease: pediatric bipolar disorder. 100s of thousands of children who previously would have been seen as restless are now placed on toxic drugs—and have their lives ruined. Biederman is not responsible? And the APA which does not punish him for taking money–a bribe– to fudge results of experiment–they are not responsible? And Harvard which knows about this bribe and does nothing Thy are not responsible?
    Psychiatric knows about tardive dyskinesia. In 1994 the APA published Task Force report. They know most people taking neuroleptics for years will get TD—yet they continue to push neuroleptics as treatment of choice. A few years ago Bob Whitaker showed that most of the people taking neuroleptics are harmed without any benefit.
    Yet APA ignores the evidence and its president calls Bob “a menace to society.” They are not responsible for the effects of the drugs they continue to push? This goes on and on..
    No one is responsible for the consequences of destructive social policies–even when the evidence was obvious?

  • I am not talking about what you said Arjuna. Of course you did not say schizophrenics were predestined to damnation I am talking about the history, the psychic resonances, behind the distinctions you make. Of course you did not say what I said–I was explicating the deep structures beneath the surface grammar, to use an analogy. You don’t know the history.

    For centuries the mad–“schizophrenics” as we call them in most of the 20th century–were regarded as irreparably damaged, and beyond repair. They were supposedly incapable of having intimate relationships. Thus the Freudians were silent when 50,000 of them in US were lobotomized in the 1950s.

    R D Laing and the counter-culture revolutionized(at least among a subset of intellectuals and therapists) the way “schizophrenics” haD been viewed since the birth of the asylum (see Foucault)–as the ultimate Other. Yet among psychiatrists they remained the Other–the sacred symbol of Psychiatry, to quote Szasz

    Grof was influenced by the counter-cultural changes and in some respects was a leader. But he continued to perpetuate the stereotype of the “schizophrenic”–but he opened the cage. Some among the mad were not really psychotic. They were ON a journey and could be guided back. But the rest were irreparable, and had to be left to the ministrations of the psychiatric soul killers Grof still depends upon this spurious distinction. They had to continue to take the brain damaging “medication” that des5troyed their brains.

    Arjuna read what Bob Whitaker has written about the “medication.” Reade DR Peter Breggin.
    I have to run–for now.

  • No I do not accept this distinction, Arjuna. To me this is a secular version of the Augustinian idea of original sin and predestination. Psychiatry has always claimed–and the Freudians first provided a quasi-theological rationale for this–that it could tell who were saved and who were predestined to eternal torment. The great unwashed masses, particularly “psychotics” and “personality disorders”(the door was open a bit for the latter by Kohut and others in post 1960s era) could never recover. They were supposed damaged irreparably by trauma in “oral” phase of childhood/infancy.

    Grof comes from a Freudian background–as I did until I became an apostate in my last years of grad school–so this distinction is very much in his unconscious. In my own books and essays I have critiqued the psychoanalytic theology. Grof never did–and although It has lost its spiritual resonances these distinctions continue in the now dominant bio-psychiatry. Michael is old enough to remember well the disdain and contempt with which the mad were treated when the field was still psychoanalytic. Even among Jungians Perry was a black sheep FOR breaking wiTH party dogma,

    So I do not believe that there is a group of persons who have lost the capacity to exercise free will, and others who are not. Yes some people turn out to be to be more addictive than others. But we cannot identify them in advance. That is the not the vocation of the therapist in a world in which therapeutic expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies.

    The transpersonal psychology movement is itself at fault for abandoning those persons most brutally treated by the psychiatric priesthood. THey could have followed in the footsteps of Laing and Perry but by and large they did not. Grof’s compromise did not go far enough.

    I DON’T have time NOW to elaborate…

  • Hi Michael
    I see your response on email but I don’t find it here. Anyway you write “John saw how Diabasis like Agnew’s and Iward and Soteria,(not Laing’s Kingsley Hall) could divert 60-70 percent of first breaks from being in the system if they went through madness without meds in a loving setting.”

    In his books Trials of the Visionary Mind, I believe he claimed 90%. But still I always wondered about the other 10%.(Same thing with Soteria.) Perry did not say in his books why or who. So it’s interesting and encouraging to read your account and experience here.
    I have to say Perry did not fall prey to type of elitist view that characterized many in TP community–partly because of Freudian influence. Thus he opened up Diabasis to all first breaks.

    Besides Perry and Laing, Anton Boisen ought to get credit: He shows very persuasively that the “hospital patients” and the great spiritual leaders (St Paul, George Fox) were going through an identical experience. He does not take the next step because he assumes the patient has constitutional limits, just as Perry did. But I found the implications to be tantalizing.
    Seth

  • Arjuna3, I went to CIIS also–before you, before Tarnas, 1980-4.
    Yes this is very true–R D Laing was the first to make this point..
    But too often transpersonalists assume that there is a small subset of “schizophrenics” who are going through a “spiritual emergence.” Grof even at times seemed to imply that standard psychiatric treatment is fine for the real schizophrenic. Wilber in those days was even more conventional drawing a red line between the pathological pre-personal(the “schizophrenic”) and the transpersonal

    I don’t think John Weir Perry, Michael’s mentor, ever made those distinctions.Nor does Michael. Nor does my friend and former classmate Stuart Sovatsky. Is there any “psychotic episode” –breakdown– that does not present an opportunity for a spiritual breakthrough?
    Best
    Seth

  • Since when does exercising my right to free speech–and my obligation as a citizen and a psychotherapist (with 30 years experience) to help my fellow man and give my best advice—-make me a criminal?? Besides I was just drawing the conclusion from mepat’s own statements–that what helped him was love, sex and the encouragement of his psychiatrist. (I believe the drugs created a placebo effect due to his trust in his shrink.) Do not lecture me, “registeredforthissite.”

    The fact is I have faith in mepat’s capacity to meet the challenges of life. I would wager you have more faith in psychiatry. Every book Thomas Szasz ever wrote said in effect to readers:”You do not need psychiatry.” Every book by Peter Breggin said to readers: “You do not need psychiatric drugs”(and he did add warning to get off them gradually). Every book by Laing said to “psychotics”:”You are smarter than the shrinks.”

    “a choice the person must make for themselves” So that means it is criminal for me to express my opinion??. Do you realize how many people must have told poor mepat he needed the drugs and could not function without them?? And yet when I– one person– give an alternative opinion you claim that the very expression of my opinion deprives mepat of the right to choose for himself. In the name of liberty and choice you try to suppress choice and intimidate me into not expressing my alternative opinion. That is the purpose of this website–to counter the incessant psychiatric propaganda.

    It is the expression of “controversial” opinions and views that make this an exciting and important website. Thank God, there is nothing illegal about that.

  • Very good piece, Michael
    “The Emperor shivered, for he suspected they were right. But he thought, “This procession has got to go on.” So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn’t there at all.”

    I did not realize the story ended like that! Yes interesting-“The procession has got to go on.” No matter
    what the cost.
    Look at all that could be lost– the country houses, the swimming pools,private schools for kids, vacations paid for by the drug companies, the prestige of the medical specialist, the power, the billions for the drug companies… Does it matter that they,once idealists (probably), are no longer helping people? That they are doing great harm?
    The truth is not highly valued in modern society.
    “The vast majority of psychiatrists are bullshitters, uncommitted to either facts or fiction…It is not in the bullshitters’ interest to know what is true and what is false, as that knowledge of what is a fact and what is fiction hinders the capacity to use any and all powerful persuasion..” (See Bruce Levine, “Psychiatry’s Current Greatest Controversy: Fraud, Bullsh*t or What? at Mad in America)
    They don’t like lying–they would prefer not to know the truth.
    sf

  • Oldhead,
    I think the difference is — Richard conveys it aptly–is that in the 1980s the drug industry rather than the guild became the dominant influence. But the guild influence was always there and it requires using pseudo-medical treatments on “psychotics.”

    Remember in 19th century psychiatrists were managers and custodians of lunatic asylums. In order to win out over lay competition they had to appear as much like doctors as possible. In 19th century medical treatment entailed attacks on the body, whereas in 20th–as Breggin noted–it entailed direct assaults on the brain of “psychotics.”

    There were major differences after big pharm took over–you could say they were merely “quantitative” but that doesn’t make them less radical. The number of people subjected to Psychiatry is vast today as compared to the 1950s, as Bob documented in AE.

    Guild interests required shrinks pose as doctors from the start, and their attitude towards psychotics has always been disdainful and punitive–their “treatments” have always been destructive. But their influence was relatively limited. Now their influence on society is extensive and ever-increasing.
    sf

  • Hi Sandra, You write, “I have come to wonder if there is something in addition to guild pressure and Pharma influence – something inherent in the nature of clinical decision making – that creates a cognitive distortion for the physician.” I wonder what the relevance this would have. Since guild and pharma influences are so powerful and virtually ubiquitous (albeit not necessarily consciously experienced), when would this putative clinical factor even come into play? The former two influences coopted many idealistic therapists–products of the countercultural 60s– during the threshold of development of psych-pharmaceutical complex in late 1970s and 80s. (Bonnie Burstow discusses the transformation of the few idealistic young professionals into drug pushing social control agents–and their eventual apostacy.)

    On the other hand it does not seem as if the clinical factor you hypothesize adversely influenced many of those who worked at programs such as Open Dialogue or Soteria–they resisted whatever impulse they may have felt to resort to encouraging neuroleptics.
    Seth

  • Yes I agree entirely but you omitted to mention psychiatrists role as junior partners of the pharmaceutical industry which makes billions on these life-long customers. And noew psychiatrists are expanding the market for neuroleptics to include infants.
    It’s not just psychiatrists anymore–all(including other “mental health” professionals) are part of psychiatric-pharmaceutical industrial complex, which is as intractable as MIC.
    sf

  • Susan
    Opioids?: The government and medical establishment are trying to prevent even people with chronic pain from getting opioids, even though only a tiny percentage of opioid addicts got them from doctors. (Ironically NSAIDs like ibuprofen are much more harmful.)
    I think opioids make people feel too good–so the establishment doesn’t like them. They probably would be helpful for many people in a state of panic, as would benzodiazapines, but apart from financial factors, “anti-psychotics” are –like “schizophrenia” itself– a sacred symbol of psychiatry–they are integral part of metanarrative about “psychosis.”
    But my point is dissident professionals should not wait for their “patients” to weigh “the pros and cons” of neuroleptics–of a chemical lobotomy–, as some dissidents have advised here at MIA. They should act with authority as mainstream doctors do, and are expected to do, and tell their patients on the basis of experience and familiarity with the “science”,”I would advise you not to take anti-psychotics–particularly on long term basis because…”
    In a humane society they would have been phased them out of existence. As you say there are many positive alternatives…
    Seth
    http://www.sethHfarber.com

  • Thanks for the new essay Bob. I did not read all of the responses so i hope this is not redundant.I feel compelled to address a controversial issue- I brought up in response to other critics of the dominant paradigm–to Jonanna Moncrieff and Dr Larrsen-Barr. In your response to Allen Frances you wrote, “I think science is telling us that antipsychotics, on the whole, worsen long-term outcomes, even when prescribed for ‘clear cut psychiatric disorders,’ and thus, if psychiatry wants to develop evidence-based protocols, it needs to figure out how to minimize their long-term use. ”

    Some of the dissidents have been seduced by the prospect of “a middle way”–as if it is Buddhistic. You described the mildly dissident Frances ‘credo, “Prescribe them to the right patients, because for these patients the drugs can be life-saving, but curb the overuse and polypharmacy that can prove harmful to so many, particularly for those who have ordinary problems, as opposed to real psychiatric disorders. As you can see in his blog, he also sees this middle way as informed by his own clinical experience.”

    And you continue” But, here’s the rub: the “middle way” he describes is not an evidence-based practice. It is not a practice that is informed by science that tells of drugs that induce a dopamine supersensitivity, which may increase the biological vulnerability to psychosis; or of science that tells of drugs that shrink the brain, with this shrinkage associated with worse negative symptoms and functional impairment; or of animal research that tells of why antipsychotics fail over time; or of science that tells of much higher recovery rates over the long term for unmedicated patients. Those are drug effects that are not immediately visible to the clinician, but rather are made known through the illuminating powers of science, and they pertain to those with “clear cut psychiatric disorders” too.”

    Now some of the most well known dissidents in the field seem to think that there is a more reasonable patient-centered alternative to discouraging long-term use of neuroleptics. There are a number of reasons why this is not true. Let me mention two. Even if there were some patients for whom long term use of anti-psychotics were optimal, we would not be able to identify them in advance.

    As you say the drug effects of long term use cannot be known in advance, they “are not immediately visible to the clinician.” Nor are they visible to the patient. Some clinicians think that these effects are visible to patients –if mental health professionals only ask the right questions over and over ostensibly a group of neuroleptic- responders will gradually emerge. Dr Moncrieff writes, “Psychiatrists need to support people to evaluate the pros and cons of antipsychotic treatment FOR THEMSELVES [my emphasis] and to keep doing this as they progress through different stages of their problems.” I think the effect will be that more patients’ lives will be ruined by the drugs. I will grant for arguments sake that a few genuine responders to long term use will be identified. Still we will increase the false -positives and overall do more damage. Let us remember –as Moncrieff notes–that even those genuine responders are not invulnerable to tardive dyskinesia, diabetes, akathasia, brain damage, tardive psychosis etc

    Second, I do not believe there are genuine responders to long term use of neuroleptics. There are responders to the placebo and the nocebo effects which are confounded with the positive reinforcement given to compliant patients; thus the compliant patient’s satisfaction grows with the approval of her psychiatrist–and therapist and families and friends all of whom say “Take your meds”‘ These are the ALLEGED long term responders to anti-psychotics–but they pay a high price for this social approval.,Psychiatry’s approval is conditional on patients’ compliance with the anti-psychotic regimen.

    You have said Bob that psychiatiy should commit itself to minimizing long term use of neuroleptics.
    To me this translates into a moral obligation for clinicians–particularly psychiatrists–to say to their patients,”I encourage you not to take anti-pychotics on a long term basis. I think you can do it.” And we need to realize that one cannot take a “neutral” position– as if the patient can make a decision that is itself pure, free of social influence. Thus relieving the clinician of the responsibility to take a stand. I think the idea of socially unbiased pure decision of the patient is the illusion that informs the position of otherwise strong dissidents like Joanna Moncrieff.Considering the enormous social pressures on patients to take drugs it is particularly incumbent on dissidents to say to patients, “I am confident that you will do well without needing those brain-damaging drugs.’

  • Hi JanCarol
    This is a powerful letter. I quoted it–most of it–in my response to Joanna Moncrieff’ s article in this issue of this blog–see “front page” here.. I was surprised that Joanna defended long term use of “anti-psychotics” for “some” people–in an article that cogently argued neuroleptics caused brain-damage. My response to that is like yours. The psychiatrist/therapist cannot be impartial. She either encourages or discourages dependence on harmful drugs that have NO value in long-term treatment.(Actually UI don’t think neuroleptics should be used at all)
    Seth
    [email protected]

  • Joanna, Excellent article but there is a fly in the ointment. I appreciate your immense contribution to the “counter-narrative” as Robert Whitaker calls it. As you make clear, contrary to the conventional narrative the evidence undermines the claim that “schizophrenia” is a progressive brain disease, and confirms the proposition that anti-psychotics cause brain damage. This would be no surprise to the psychiatrists who promoted these drugs in the 1950s, often praising Thorazine as a “chemical lobotomy.” Nor would be a surprise to Peter Breggin MD who argued in the early 1980s that the “therapeutic effect” of neuroleptics was a product of brain damage.

    However I must strongly object as have others have here to your statements in your last paragraph, “I still think antipsychotics can be useful, and that the benefits of treatment can sometimes outweigh the disadvantages, even in the long-term for some people.. Psychiatrists need to support people to evaluate the pros and cons of antipsychotic treatment for themselves and to keep doing this as they progress through different stages of their problems.” I also objected to Dr Larssen-Barr’s similar statement, but in her response to me (online, here) she back-pedaled and said she did not recommend long term use of of anti-psychotics.

    There are a lot of problems with this agnostic, seemingly libertarian, position. But let me ask you first: Where do you draw the line? I am sure there are patients in the 1950s who would have told you they benefited from lobotomies. Did the benefits of lobotomies outweigh the disadvantages FOR SOME PEOPLE? Should dissidents professionals have taken a wait-and see approach?(Virtually no one opposed lobotomies) Of course LONG TERM use of neuroleptics–the topic in dispute– like lobotomies produce irreversible effects.

    Although you post on the blog started by Robert Whitaker you seem to be unfamiliar with his essays on anti-psychotics. First of all, I think Bob shows there is far more evidence than you indicate about the effects of “anti-psychotics” and the advantages of avoiding long term use. He discusses that evidence and its cumulative weight in many of his articles. You repeat the same canard about the Harrow study made by Frances, Pies, Torrey et al and others which Whitaker has repeatedly refuted, along with the charge that he doesn’t understand “science.”

    It demonstrates more than a correlation. Patients who got off the drugs did so not because
    their symptoms were less severe (they were not) and thus they decided with their psychiatrists to get off the drugs (as Pies claimed) but because they were “non-compliant patients.” But the Harrow study is one of many indicating–along with Bachoven, WHO, Wunderink,Open Dialogue, to mentioin a few– that patients in general do far better without neuroleptics. https://www.madinamerica.com/mia-manual/antipsychoticsschizophrenia

    This led Whitaker to finally courageously conclude:
    “I think the scientific literature argues for using antipsychotic medications in a selective manner that seeks to minimize their long-term use….But if psychiatry is going to be “evidence-based” in its practices, and if it is going to put the interests of its patients first, then I believe it has a duty to develop selective-use protocols, which seek to minimize long-term use of antipsychotics (and other psychiatric medications). I also believe that our society should provide the resources to enable this rethinking of the drugs.”

    The moral obligation of the mental health professions to seek to minimize
    the long term use of anti-psychotics has become a meme repeated throughout Whitaker’s writings. I think it is because Bob takes this position, particularly courageous for an outsider–he is a journalist, not a mental health professional nor an MD— that he is such an irritant to people like Jeffrey Lieberman, former APA President, who called him a “menace to society.” I think all dissidents professionals should follow Whitaker in taking up this position. This puts the responsibility where it should lie–not on patients, but on psychiatrists and on society.

    Your wait and see approach is problematic for a number of reasons. I presume you agree that on the whole the costs of neuroleptics outweigh the benefits. You imply there is a small group for whom the reverse is true. These poor souls are so bad off –so severely afflicted by so called “schizophrenia ” –that the suffering the effects of brain damage (high likelihood, with varying effects) and/or tardive dyskinesia(very high incidence), diabetes,metabolic disorders,impotence, obesity, 15-20 years decrease in life span etc etc are outweighed by the benefits. That is, you claim that without neuroleptics these persons would be far worse–the same claim psychiatry makes when they are honest about the adverse effects of the drugs.

    But we have no way of knowing in advance, Joanna how to identify these alleged benefitters. (It is not true that they are the ones with most severe symptoms initially). Thus in order to minimize harm we have to discourage long term use. Of course even if there were a number of psychiatrists who discouraged long term use (there are practically none in the US) there would still be patients who would take the drugs. (I am noit advocating making them illegal.)

    I don’t believe these drugs are beneficial for anyone.There are certainly patients who claim they are benefitting, but how can you exclude the placebo effect? How can you exclude the nocebo effect–these poor patients have been terrified by doctors and authorities and parents and the media and NAMI into believing that “the meds” are their only life line to sanity, their only protection against a life time of torment by “mental illness,” by all the most horrific specters of their imagination. And they have been told by the doctors they trust–unlike the persons who read subversive blogs like this, the average person trusts her doctor– that if they take their medication they can hang on to sanity, avoid rehospitalization, quiet the demons in their mind. And everyone they know says “Take your meds.” If you think I exaggerate, re-read Kate Millett’s The Loony Bin Trip to see how her radical lesbian feminist artist friends handled Kate’s “mental illness.”

    Please read the story told by Jan Carol in response to Dr Larrsen-Barr https://www.madinamerica.com/2017/05/responding-to-claims-that-the-benefits-of-antipsychotics-outweigh-the-risks/#comment-108165
    I am going to quote the first few paragraphs. But let me say in closing some more positive words(qualified by the awareness that hope itself sadly can only be offered by the few dissidents since the psychiatric-pharmaceutical complex is unassailable)– the placebo effect is so powerful, and the therapeutic effects of social support are so potent, that I do not think it would be difficult to help patients cope without long term use of neuroleptics, unless they are already addicted. But it is professionals’ responsibility to give patients the reassurance they need that they can cope without neuroleptics (the worst of any of the drugs available, and thus in a class by themselves)–and not create more generations addicted to brain-disabling “anti-psychotics.”

    Jan Carol writes:
    ” I have a dear friend who is being killed by the drugs. She has metabolic disorder, her endocrine is shutting down (Hashimotos, adrenal fatigue), has been diagnosed with TBI, suffers huge cognitive deficits, and her opportunities and options are cascading into collapse. She has been on Seroquel for at least 20 years, and various cocktails. Her current cocktail includes 5 drugs.

    If you talk to her, she will express gratitude that she does not have intrusive delusions, that her behaviour is under control, and she is thankful for the benzo that can put her anxiety on hold for awhile, and grateful for the Z drug that helps her sleep.

    But if you get to know her, and see the 30 point IQ loss, the chronic motor dysfunctions (shaking, jerks), the thyroid difficulties, the inability to address her situation or her problems with anything more than “whatever,” and see the constant drive to suicide, self harm – you will think: this is not a well person.

    BUT HER DOCTORS AREN’T GOING THERE. They just treat her, “business as usual.”….

    That’s the difference between knowing and understanding. She hears me talk about the harm of the drugs – but is so terrified (and conditioned to be so by the drugs) and has suffered akathisia, TD and cognitive decline for at least 20 years. How could she possibly go through this to a life of freedom from the drugs?

    Where are the people to help her do this while she is worried about having enough food to eat, or how to pay her bills? This is clearly the result of long term neuroleptic and benzo use – but – how do you save her from what is killing her, when she believes so firmly that she “needs” it?…
    The drugs cause more harm than good. Especially when you take the long term view into the equation.”

    Seth Farber,Ph.D.
    http://www.sethHfarber.com

  • I cannot tell from your abstract how long beyond a year the discontinuers had gone. But the most impressive studies in Whitaker’s review lead one to expect positive results(measured behaviorally) from discontinuing would not show up before two years at the earliest.

    I wonder whether you take fully into account the pressures on patients to stay on drugs and the social isolation that can result from getting off. You do state you assess social support–but this can be subtle. For example if they are living with family members(parents or partners) who
    invalidate them or withhold support.

    I suppose in America there is a larger patients’ rights movement than there was 20 years ago and there is Internet–but still I think most people are unaware of alternatives. So their family members are not likely to support them getting off their “meds.” If there was more support it would be easier for discontinuers.

    I do not get the impression from your abstract that you fully take all the relevant factors into account–but the abstract may not give a full picture. “Few people reported being well-informed of the potential benefits and risks. .. Most experienced both benefits and adverse effects. Most (79%) had contemplated stopping AMs, and 73% reported making at least one attempt, with variable preparations, methods and outcomes described. ” The first sentence has to be an understatement. Here in US i think virtually all psychotics are told by their shrinks that it is very dangerous and harmful to go off their “meds.” So they are not warned if they do try they should do it gradually. I imagine it is about the same in NZ. Considering these pressures, it is amazing that a full 73% try to get off drugs–thus defying I would guess their shrinks.

    You imply in your article that for some people it is true that the benefits outweigh the long term costs. I do not believe it. As you also say,”Nor was the possibility that unmeasured psycho-social factors might account for the variation in outcomes these studies observed.” My theory–conviction–is that in every case like this there are these psycho-social factors attendant on the use of “medication”–and that is these factors–including placebo and nocebo– that account for the apparent long term benefits. Of course even if there were a tiny group of genuine benefitters, there would be no justification for long term use of the drug because there is no way to identify members of this group in advance. But with education and social support we could get the benefitters
    off the “meds” so they don’t have to pay the costs.

    Of course this is impossible in a mental health system controlled by the drug industry where all patients are pressured and forced to take drugs that cause a chemical lobotomy. THose who resist are labeled non-compliant and subjected to forced drugging under State orders.
    Seth

    “Since quality of life is associated with coping and social support, treatment systems cannot rely solely on medication to produce positive outcomes for those who take AMs. “

  • Well I’m pleased to see, Doctor, that you changed your position about the protocol that should govern prescription of anti-psychotic drugs.
    You had written”The only way to determine whether the benefits are outweighing the costs is to ask the individual experiencing them, and to keep asking over time. A quantitative meta-analysis cannot give us the answer.”
    But we do have enough information, enough evidence, now to infer that for “psychotics” as whole the costs of long-term use far outweigh the benefits, which you apparently recognize upon reflection because you now write,”While this blog doesn’t speak to how I think antipsychotics should be used, I would say rarely, other things tried first, full info shared (multiple times given what can be happening at first prescription), very short-term, proper monitoring to reduce and withdraw as soon as possible given all of the well-proven adverse effects, mortality rates etc that come with long-term use; much like the Finnish model. .”
    It is important that we take that position now because as Steve McCrea succinctly put it,”there is no objective way to even approach determining who the “right patients” are except by giving them the drugs and seeing what happens.” That is even if we assume there are some individuals for whom the benefits outweigh the cost–an assumption I do NOT accept– we have no way of knowing whom they are without subjecting many more individuals to these gargantuan costs.
    I agree with your argument (as I interpret it) which you make very persuasively that phenomenological inquiry greatly adds to our knowledge base, and our understanding. And that it also can be valuable as a tool for conveying information. But still the evidence we have –and it includes many autobiographical accounts–leads inexorably to the conclusion that the costs of long term use outweigh the benefits.
    I personally cannot see any one would lose if long term use were phased out entirely–except the drug industry and greedy shrinks. Yes I know there are people who claim they benefited. But I submit that these are individuals who trust the mental health system–and thus were beneficiaries of the placebo effect–and are largely unaware of all the costs. I’m sure there were many patients who believed they benefited from lobotomies.
    Hopefully your research can help elucidate WHY patients feel they benefit from long-term neuroleptic usage, i.e. chemical lobotomies. I hope you will
    explore with them their feelings about their psychiatrists and about the mental health system as a whole. Also that you will explore how taking the “anti-psychotics” influenced their relationships with their psychiatrists AND all their family members. If you ask the right questions you will be able to test my theory, my conviction, that the positive effects of anti-psychotics have nothing to do with the intrinsic (“therapeutic”) properties of the drug (at least not beyond the “side effects” convincing them it’s a powerful “medication”) and everything to do with the psychological(including the interpersonal) effects of taking their “medication.”
    Since you did not mention any questions along these lines, I hope you will consider adding such question to your inquiry. I agree it will tell us a lot more than we could learn by more conventional kinds of research. (Yes I know the converse is true–that those who have adverse effects are likely to be persons who are critical of the society in which we live–and thus less trustful of doctors.) And I look forward to learning the results. .

  • I strongly disagree with your conclusion, Dr Larsen-Barr–on scientific and ethical grounds. Although you do not mention Robert Whitaker’s name– he created this blog– your conclusion directly contradicts the implications of Bob’s surveys, and of the explicit conclusion he has drawn from them.. Dr Peter Breggin’s position is I think(I have not read him in a few years) at least as radical (compared to current practice) as Whitaker’s. You seem to be taking the Allen Frances’ position, what Frances calls “the middle way.”

    But the merit of your epistemological considerations do not abrogate the weight of the evidence–evidence of brain damage– indicating, as Whitaker has urged, the immediate necessity on humanitarian and ethical grounds of stopping and discouraging long term use of ‘anti-psychotic” drugs for all patients! (It is indicated also by Matt Stevensen above, but for some reason he seems to overlooked your conclusion.)

    You write,”The only way to determine whether the benefits are outweighing the costs is to ask the individual experiencing them, and to keep asking over time. ” No! This is a cop-out, superficially libertarian! Bob’s conclusion is not premature. If anything it is belated. Psychiatrists said quite bluntly when neuroleptics were first introduced in the mid-1950s that they produced a “chemical lobotomy.” Over and over this was said in the 1950s–in praise of the new drugs! We have long known about the ravages of tardive dyskinesia–even acknowledged by the APA in its mid-90s Task Force report. We know now about other iatrogenic effects of neuroleptics–thanks to Whitaker and Breggin.

    Your conclusion sounds fair and even libertarian —and obviously some in patients rights’ movement will applaud this position–but you are not doing patients any favor. The majority of patients are NOT well informed–unlike the psychiatric survivors who post on this blog. There is no informed consent. They are not informed about the risks of neuroleptics, the inevitable harm, and like most people they trust their “doctors”–the authorities. The information most of them will have will be given to them by liars and drug-pushers like Jeffrey Lieberman, former APA President–the same Lieberman you criticize. Patients who trust their doctors will claim the drugs help them (we know the power of the placebo effect) –but their satisfaction will not prevent them from experiencing the longer term effects of brain-damage, and the longer- term symptoms of complete social and vocational impairment.

    The small group of dissidents who post here cannot prevent the mental health colossus from continuing to push neuroleptics. But we can do our best to warn clients and advocate against anything other than very brief use of these drugs. (Other drugs are less toxic. and less discomforting.)

    Must we sit by and/or interview clients about whether they like the brain-damaging toxins their trusted doctors assure them are necessary for their recovery while another generation of patients’ lives– the lives of so called “psychotics”(and even infants now, allegedly at risk for psychosis)— are destroyed? Do we need yet another generation of guinea pigs before we admit that neuroleptics ruins lives? Whether you know it or not this is what you are advocating, Dr Larsen-Barr.

    Lieberman undertook this survey in an attempt to undermine the conclusions of Bob Whitaker whom he called on the radio a couple years ago ” a menace to society.” These drugs pushing psychiatrists are a menace to society.

    Whitaker writes about the middle way you and Frances propose, “Prescribe them to the right patients, because for these patients the drugs can be life-saving, but curb the overuse and polypharmacy…But, here’s the rub: the “middle way” he describes is not an evidence-based practice…It is not a practice that is informed by science that tells of drugs that induce a dopamine supersensitivity, which may increase the biological vulnerability to psychosis; or of science that tells of drugs that shrink the brain, with this shrinkage associated with worse negative symptoms and functional impairment; or of animal research that tells of why antipsychotics fail over time; or of science that tells of much higher recovery rates over the long term for unmedicated patients. Those are drug effects that are not immediately visible to the clinician, but rather are made known through the illuminating powers of science, and they pertain to those with “clear cut psychiatric disorders” too.”

    It is imperative that all critics of psychiatry do everything they can now, before it’s too late, to discourage long-term use of neuroleptics by ALL CLIENTS. I hope you will read Robert Whitaker’s work on this topic –or if you have a critique of his findings and/or conclusion then express it directly in an article here– and reconsider your own position.
    Seth Farber, Ph.D.
    http://www.sethHfarber.com

  • Jeffrey Lieberman, former APA President, well known well rewarded drug-pusher for the pharmaceutical industry. and Stalinist-style propagandist for modern psychiatry!
    You can discount that analysis. Thanks for information Sandra.But indeed
    it is not clear why if drop-outs had worse outcomes (as expected)
    that should skew studies to show negative effects of the drugs. ??
    Lieberman is no “scientist.” He recently wrote a book–an advertisement for psychiatric drugs that will lead many people to take these poisons with false expectations–thus undermining their chances of recovering from their distress, discouragement and crises.
    Bob Whitaker reviewed Lieberman latest book here: “In sum, Lieberman recounts a story of miracle drugs arriving in psychiatry in the 1950s and 1960s, which brought hope to the hopeless and enabled people struck by serious mental illnesses to live fairly normal lives. That is a story that of course provides great comfort to the psychiatric profession. But, alas, it is belied by the science that can be dug out from psychiatry’s own journals.”
    https://www.madinamerica.com/2015/03/shrinks-self-portrait-profession/
    I disagree with the conclusions of Larsen Barr but let me address that below.
    sf

  • JanCarol
    Yes very eloquent and moving description. Thank you. AS you know–and as I think Lynne should have made clear in her article(I hope she does in her book)– most people who take “anti-psychotics” never experience this rebirth you describe. The mental death system does everything in its power to make sure they do not–typically the mental health professionals define spirituality (anything beyond the realm of rigid conventionality) as pathology, and any attempt to stop taking the drugs as “treatment-resistance.” The “mental patient” is urged to accept ahedonia and emotional blunting as normative, any enthusiasm as pathological “mania,” any sense of transcendent purpose as ‘grandiosity” etc
    Seth
    http://www.sethHfarber,com

  • Richard, You claim that I assume that the universe “is “finite” and predetermined by an a priori existence of a supernatural “God,” which you would probably say has existed “infinitely'”
    But I said the “new atheists”(whom you seem to be channeling) seem to be unfamiliar with a non-fundamentalist theology, or metaphysics . The idea that God creates the world out of nothing is a literalist (fundamentalist) interpretation of the Jewish bible or old testament. It is not the belief of David Ray Griffin a Christian (process) theologian. And this is not the position of Eastern mystics–the Upanishads– or other Western panentheism.
    Biblical literalism posits a radical dualism–God vs nothing.But an infinite God cannot be limited by nothingness.Nor could there pre-exist a realm oF meaninglessness..|
    Panentheism affirms that God manifests or “creates” the world within Godself–within the realm of no–thing, the divine abyss of infinite possibility, as Philip Sherrard calls it. Yes the universe must have always existed in some form. For panentheists God is both immanent and transcendent–there is nothing beyond or outside of consciousness which has always existed and always will exist. “Matter” itself is a form of consciousness.
    AS neo-Hindu philosopher Sri Aurobindo expressed it,”: “We are bound then to suppose that all that evolves already existed involved, passive or otherwise active, but in either case concealed from us in the shell of material Nature. The Spirit which manifests itself here in a body, must be involved from the beginning in the whole of matter and in every knot, formation and particle of matter; life, mind and whatever is above mind must be latent inactive or concealed active powers in all the operations of material energy.”

    “We have to come back to the idea of a spirit present in the universe and, if the process of its works of power and its appearance is in the steps of an evolution, there imposes itself the necessity of a previous involution.”
    https://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/the-spirit-involved-in-matter/

    It is not only human beings’ minds that that are characterized by awareness and purposive striving, but all of nature manifests qualities of sentience and purpose.Thus cosmic intelligence manifests itself from within nature, and also from outside, from the Transcendent pole of spirit.

    I don’t see what you see liberating about a universe stripped of all value, consciousness and purpose. But in any case such a universe is but a construction of the modern secular mind, which denigrates and decries it own yearning for meaning, for soul, for holiness. Long ago Carl Jung recognized this internal self-division as the “spiritual schizophrenia” of modern rational man. Madness itself, as Laing and John Weir Perry(Jung’s student) recognized, is an attempt to heal this inner rift.

  • Frank
    There is nothing laughable about Laing. He did not have an interest in “parapsychology” as a discipline__I don’t where you get your facts from.
    He has interest in vast realm of paranormal experience, and a realization that
    “madness” was a gateway potentialities to the recovery to d capacities of the human mind repressed in the modern secular world.
    Don’t look at the evidence–if it makes you uncomfortable. Pretend it doesn’t exist–pretend it’s “scientifically” . But it has now been proven by standards of modern science– in the kind of blind controlled repeatable experiments. Remote viewing for example has been proven beyond a doubt.
    Furthermore anyone with an interest in Eastern religion knows that there are all kinds of “supernatural” powers possessed by masters. there is a vast literature on this. For example, the writings of Alexanda David Neel in the 1930s, e.g. Magic and Mystery in Tibet. Anyone with a “spiritual “orientation can experience this in his/her own life.
    sf

  • But this is not an insignificant qualification, Noel:”most of the excess risk appears to be mediated by substance abuse comorbidity ” –the point then is that it is not the ‘schizophrenia” that cause the violence, and the stereotype of the wild dangerous psychotic or lunatic is a phantom of the imagination. This means it should not provide a rationale in the mind of the alarmed public for subjecting them to greater scrutiny—-which it would if “schizophrenics” were significantly more violent as the public thinks.No it is the “drug addict” who must be watched.
    The book by Torrey that oldhead cites was written when he was still a Szaszian. I cannot recall what he says, but the NAMI line is that that “mentally ill” are dangerous to themselves and others.
    But oldhead is probably referring to MacArthur Violence Study in early 1990s which got a lot of publicity.Here is conclusion based on MacArthur study: “But new research published in Clinical Psychological Science by APS Fellow Jennifer Skeem (University of California, Berkeley) and colleagues suggests that the relationship between mental illness and violence isn’t as strong we might think”
    https://www.psychologicalscience.org/publications/observer/obsonline/psychosis-and-violence-arent-strongly-linked.html#.WQRxffnyt0w
    . Torrey and Satel of course claim that study is flawed.
    I have not looked yet at the review you cite. I will..
    Seth

  • CORRECTION (I had omitted “not”)
    . The existence of telepathy, telekenesis ought NOT not to surprise anyone familiar with the findings of quantum physics, eg non-locality, quantum entanglement. As one reviewer put it,”

    CORRECTION 2
    The idea that meaning, intentionality and purpose exist only in the human mind,–whether as real or as illusory– but not in the vast realm of nature–is reductionist and quaint.

  • That is not true, Frank. There is copious evidence–reviewed by Chris Carter in his books–eg Science and Psychic Phenomena: THe Fall of the House of Skeptics.
    https://www.amazon.com/Science-Psychic-Phenomena-House-Skeptics/product-reviews/159477451X/ref=cm_cr_getr_d_paging_btm_3?ie=UTF8&reviewerType=all_reviews&sortBy=recent&pageNumber=3
    It is the commitment to a materialist ontology that leads biased critics to dismiss the evidence. Carter has another book discussing evidence for life after death, and reincarnation. The existence of telepathy, telekenesis ought to surprise anyone familiar with the findings of quantum physics, eg non-locality, quantum entanglement. As one reviewer put it,”Exploring the scandalous history of parapsychology and citing decades of research, Chris Carter shows that, contrary to mainstream belief, replicable evidence of psi phenomena exists. The controversy over parapsychology continues not because ESP and other abilities cannot be verified but because their existence challenges deeply held worldviews more strongly rooted in religious and philosophical beliefs than in hard science..”
    I also recommend the book on the topic theologian and 9/11 Truther er David Ray Griffin which not only makes the case for psi phenomena but shows that the existence of psi buttresses the panpsychic Whiteheadian view of the world of which Griffin is an exponent.
    https://www.amazon.com/Parapsychology-Philosophy-Spirituality-Exploration-Constructive/dp/0791433161/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1493451609&sr=1-1&keywords=david+ray+griffin+parapsychology
    If even matter possesses at least rudimentary consciousness(a view found in Eastern religions, also) than one would expect that consciousness can directly “perceive” or prehend “matter” or other minds. Directly means without mediation of sensory processes. One could also prehend God. Again this is consistent with quantum phenomenom. Certainly this is a more “spiritual” conception of the universe, but it is also more in accord with finding of modern science.
    The idea that meaning, intentionality and purpose exist only in the human mind, but not in the vast realm of nature–whether as real or as illusory–is reductionist and quaint. Evidence of purpose is found throughout the world– as if Mind is organizing the world seeking to manifest the higher values (love, beauty, goodness) within the world–just as forces of ignorance or evil seek to thwart this power. To deny a priori the existence of “God” shows either one is unfamiliar with modern non-fundamentalist theology and non-dogmatic mysticism or one has embraced a 19th century Newtonian materialist view of “science.”
    In my writing I argue there is interface between madness and spirituality–as R D Laing and other argued in 1960s and 70s. My 2012 book is THe Spiritual Gift of Madness
    Seth

  • Look you are avoiding the point just like Parents Opposed to Pot. There is no evidence presented that marijuana causes “psychosis” in the majority of users. Pre-psychotic persons may have a greater tendency to use marijuana.

    But my hunch is that neither marijuana nor heavy drinking are likely to be helpful to the majority of troubled persons.But Parents against Pot and you are making unwarranted claims in an effort to re-criminalize or prevent legalization and decriminalization of grass.

    Every one I knew smoked grass when I went to college early 1970s. Sometimes the pot would make one of us “paranoid”–a word carelessly used to denote anxiety that passed as the pot wore off. I did not know any one who smoked 5 marijuana cigarettes a day! My only friend who became psychotic had been smoking for a couple years before he had a breakdown. He also drank. The marijuana did not cause his breakdown. But the neuroleptics he took prevented his recovery.People who have been through wars and traumatized should not smoke pot, or take SSRIs.

    We smoked mostly on weekends when we did not have to go too school the next day. Marijuana contributed to my spiritual awakening-i saw the “crack in the coasmic egg.” I would smoke sometimes and read Kant or Hume, and see the world differently.There are very few jazz musicians who would not claim that marijuana contributed to their creativity as artists. All drugs should be used cautiously. Some should not be used at all by some people. And some
    should not be used at all on a regular or long term basis–such as “anti-psychotics” or SSRIs

    I never advocated marijuana as therapy. (I said LSD has shown some promise as a therapeutic tool –it was effective with prisoners and with non-psychotic persons.) Your claim that marijuana causes as many accidents as marijuana is absurd.It is well known marijuana does not have the same deleterious effects on coordination and risk-taking as alcohol. I do not believe that 25% of fatal accidents are people with marijuana in their system BUT NO ALCOHOL. Ai never heard of anyone stoned on pot alone who drove OVER the speed limit. Driving under the speed limit is far less dangerous. Most of us know the joke about the weed smoker stopped by the cop who think he’s stopped for speeding when he’s going 25 MPH. The problem with all your data–and of Parents against Pot–is it does not prove what you say it does.

    You write, ” Marijuana does not get to the root of the problem, only treats symptoms. Masks the problem, doesn’t treat it. Same with SSRIs. So we need better treatments and these are available if you look. The only reason alcohol is more dangerous in terms of accidents is that more people use it. But now that people have been using pot for 4 years in Washington, around 23% of their fatal accidents involve drivers with marijuana in their system.”

    . How come there is not a group called Parents against Neuroleptics or Parents against Anti-psychotics? Such a group would do a hell of a lot more good then this group of over-controlling parents who are fighting a war against the generation gap.
    Seth
    http://www.sethHfarber.com

  • Jewelfs, Do you think it is realistic or desirable to wipe out all recreation or experimental drug use among young people? How about pre-marital sex?. Should that be discouraged also?.

    Drug use does not create “mental illness. I could only read the abstract of the study you cite as I am not a member of PubMed but the abstract does not say that veterans who use cannabis are more likely to commit suicide.

    It says their is a correlation of cannabis use DISORDER and suicidal or non suicidal injury. Correlation does not mean causation. We might expect that someone who is suicidal would be more likely to do drugs–to do excessive drugs. I would bet you would find as high a correlation with excessive use of alcohol. I do not know how CUD is defined.

    But lets look at this intelligently. A vet who has been in Iraq and /OR Afghanistan and has CUD is I would bet likely to have been traumatized in the war–I think most vets have been, for various reasons–mostly the high number of innocent non-combatants they often find themselves killing.
    Is it therapeutic or harmless for traumatized unusually vulnerable vets to smoke lots of marijuana? No, of course not. What I would like to know how does the correlation of CUD and suicide compare to the daily (doctor-prescribed) use of SSRIs and suicide. I would bet the latter is higher—even controlling for “depression.”

    Although a drug like LSD has been demonstrated to have a therapeutic effect(see Stan Grof) that is only when it is used under careful supervision in controlled situations. I do not know what the veteran study concludes. But there is no evidence that marijuana is going to increase the risk of suicide in a non-traumatized population. There is evidence that SSRIs anti-depressants which are routinely prescribed will increase the suicide risk among “normal populations.

    You have the same ambiguity in the studies Bob cites,p.180. We do not know to what degree marijuana is causal. But we do know that marijuana use peaked in late 60s and 70s whereas bipolar epidemic burgeoned later. I think the data would lead the cautious researcher to advocate cautious use of recreation drugs.l Taking drugs, like having drinking, and non marital sex are integral parts of growing up. The majority of adults integrate moderate use of alcohol into their lives, and alcohol is far more dangerous (eg auto accidents) and harmful than marijuana.

    On the other hand, we know that long term use of anti-psychotics and long term use of SSRIs
    are harmful and are correlated with chronic patienthood. Parents ought to far more concerned about their children’s use of psychiatric drugs than of alcohol or marijuana. The latter like sex when approached with care can contribute to their lives–besides the negative aspects, they also have positive effects.

  • This article is sheer propaganda. We are expected to believe these victims of marijuana use had no strong pre-existing emotional problems, just because the author asserts it. A veteran, returning from a brutal war in which 23 vets a day commit suicide.. has no problems??
    Who could trust parents who want to make marijuana illegal SO THEIR CHILDREN WILL NOT SMOKE IT?? That is itself a indication to me that there IS a problem. The problem is with the parents.I have seen families like this –usually they will fight like hell to keep their kids on PSYCHIATRIC drugs.These are the kind of “normal” families R D.Laing wrote about–the normal parents are crazy as hell–every word out of their mouths seems as if it was scripted and they are TERRIFIED of their teenage or young adult children’s autonomy! See Sanity, Madness and the Family.

  • I AGREE WITH OLDHEAD. This series of articles is sensationalism, akin to Reefer Madness type propaganda. There are numerous methodological flaws–not surprising from a NAMI type group
    of parents whose agenda seems to be to stop their children from using any drugs. These anecdotes do not prove the individuals described were not already troubled before they used “pot.” The statisticsw for Colorado are dubious in light of other data. I quote from American Journal of Public Health, 2014.Here is link,http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/835272_4
    “The graphical analysis provided evidence that, before legalization, male suicides in the treated states evolved in a similar fashion to male suicides in the control states. After legalization, these trends diverged. Specifically, the male suicide rate in medical marijuana states fell, but the male suicide rate increased, albeit modestly, in the control states. Formal estimates obtained with regression analysis were consistent with the graphical analysis. These estimates suggested that the legalization of medical marijuana was associated with a 9.2% to 10.8% decrease in the suicide rate of men aged 20 through 29 years, and a 9.4% to 13.7% decrease in the suicide rate of men aged 30 through 39 years. These estimates were generally robust to adjustment for linear time trends at the state level. ”
    This is a more trustworthy and objective survey, than that done by group of over-conjtrolling parents opposed to all use– even responsible use of marijuana.

  • We have discussed here people who are burdened with shame and guilt for crimes or sins they did not commit.Either they feel guilty for original sin, for sex, for drugs, for not living up to their parents’ expectations.Yes they should be relieved of their burden of guilt and self-hate.

    But no one has said that they have worked with cold blooded murderers(prisoners or soldiers) and it is therapeutic to relieve them of all sense of shame or guilt–but it is implied by omission.

    Again I assert that the first group is different from the second.

    Was Dostoyevsky wrong? What about–to take a few iconic mass murderers– Hitler, Eichmann,Dr Mengele, Stalin, Kissinger, Lt Calley. Cheney, Bush? Do we really think they can and should be redeemed without feeling any guilt or shame for their crimes, their sins?? Some would say some or all of the above can or should not be forgiven or redeemed–that they should not be allowed to rejoin the human community. I think they should–all.

    But I challenge anyone here who agrees, to affirm that they should be forgiven, or that they could be rehabilitated without having first felt a profound sense of guilt, of remorse, of shame for the crimes,the sins they perpetrated. And is this not also true for those who have deliberately murdered one innocent person? Is there another route to redemption–or rehabilitation–for people who have committed heinous crimes, grievous sins??.

    Seth
    http://www.sethHfarber.com

  • Other dictionaries (Mirriam-Webster) define remorse as including feeling of guilt.
    Well you clarified what you mean about remorse–distinguishing it from regret.
    Yes there is a lot that comes up if one googles “guilt vs remorse.”
    “As nouns the difference between remorse and guilt is that remorse is a feeling of regret or sadness for doing wrong or sinning while guilt is responsibility for wrongdoing.. awareness of having done wrong”
    http://wikidiff.com/guilt/remorse.
    It’s revealing that guilt means both the objective determination that the subject was culpable of wrong-doing and the subjective painful awareness of
    having done something wrong. I am thinking of real criminals in prison–with whom I have no personal experiences, or soldiers who have killed civilians. I don’t know if you have worked with them but I think it’s very different than the experience of the mad or the worried well who are often afflicted with guilt for merely existing.
    The latter are burdened with the painful legacy of
    hundreds of years of an Augustinian culture, IN City of God Augustine
    declared ALL people deserved to burn in hell eternally, and that the souls of all perople were spiritually diseased, tainted, a viewpoint reaffirmed by Calvin and Luther– and in secular somewhat diluted form by Freud. They were guilty not for sins they committed but sins Adam committed–or in Freud’s theory the sins that their parents committed. Augustine said even the unborn actually committed the original sin “in Adam.” So today many are afflicted not by genuine guilt but by self-loathing and the feeling that one is bad and
    diseased. You give a good example of how they think””I feel like other people are more able and worthy to enjoy a pleasant day than I am. If you knew me, you’d know I’m so much more a failure and pathetic loser of a person than you could ever imagine, and that I probably deserve all the worst days possible, even to burn in hell for everything I’ve done wrong.”
    For the former group– of criminals or soldiers– I would think both remorse and guilt (and shame) are necessary for healing. Remorse implies responsibility. We don’t feel remorse for a crime committed by another. Although if it is against someone we know we can feel deep empathy and regret. An other focused restorative remorse is one side of the picture. We want Lt Calley (let alone his sociopathic superiors) and Eichmann to feel guilt as well as sorrow and empathy–because they degraded themselves as well as those they harmed. Instead of self-hatred
    it could be–perhaps that should be the therapeutic task– a disappointment with oneself. Instead of a punitive attack on oneself there should be sorrow and mourning for the loss of the innocent self. Should there not? Perhaps you would call that remorse, rather than guilt.
    \
    I saw a documentary on TV about restorative justice. The most interesting story was of the relationship between a woman who lost her son and a criminal who killed him. Strangely enough they became best friends. The criminal was car thief not a sociopath or a cold blooded murderer/ Nevertheless in his effort to escape and steal a car he shot a man in his way and her died. It seems this was the most important event in his life as well as in the mother’s. I doubt there would have been the deep reconciliation between the two if the killer had not expressed and felt guilt as well as remorse. He became the substitute for the son she could never bring back–and she visited him every week.
    Seth
    Seth Farber, Ph.D.

  • Hi Michael, I agree with most of what you say–particularly the inculcated sense of shame for not succeeding in the social rat race–the Social Darwinian paradigm.

    I remember the poignant passage in The Politics of Experience where Laing quotes Jules Henry on the humiliations inflicted on students (on “Boris” specifically) in the competitive environment in which students learn the zero-sum game. Henry concludes that “to be successful in this society one has to learn to dream of failure.” I think you are referring to inapprpriate self-hated rather than to guilt or shame that is appropriate

    I think we would all agree here at MIA to replace retributive justice with restorative justice. The former clearly implies that the perpetrator is evil–and usually is seen by many people as irredeemable. But even restorative justice must involve a sense of shame and guilt–with the hope of recovering one’s lost integrity, a desire to be forgiven. I don’t see how reconciliation can take place without these emotions.

    You write “But if we don’t have shame and guilt to keep us in check and to scare us into performing, succeeding and obeying, won’t we become irredeemable beings, sociopaths, if not lesser outright losers and failures?

    “The good news is that remorse is an emotion that is good, healthy, and healing, and can replace the function for which guilt has been employed. If we feel and express genuine remorse when we hurt ourselves or others, there’s no need to feel guilt. We can take responsibility, make amends, seek forgiveness, reconnect — and do all that without self-condemnation, self-judgement or self-punishment.”

    But if you look up remorse in dictionary it is not distinct from guilt and shame. Do you mean “regret”? Take a case that has become common. Many soldiers return from US wars tormented by remorse for having killed civilians, probably under orders. (It’s far worse if they have no remorse.). In the 1960s many became anti-war activists.

    Regret seems an anemic, shallow and ego-centric emotion–not appropriate to the severity of the violation. Shame and guilt bond us to the Other we have harmed. Would you be inclined to forgive someone who had harmed your loved one, if they felt only regret, if they were not disturbed in the depth of their soul? Shame and guilt are spiritual feelings and I don’t see how one can have a communal order without them–unless everyone was perfect. Our society today IS run by greedy sociopathic egotists and elitists…

    I think it makes more sense to reject the Augustinian tradition, as Mathew Fox did, and affirm original blessing. To put it in theological terms one is created “in the image of God.” This image cannot be destroyed, although s St Gregory if Nyssa said, it can be OBSCURED by sin. The process of restoring the image, must involve remorse (shame, guilt) and making amends and seeking forgiveness. All of these feelings and actions contribute to our living up to our calling as ministers, ambassadors, of viceregents of God/Goddess.

    The calling and the potential (the image of God) remain, regardless of the crimes one has committed–I think this is the main truth obscured by the mental death system, which offers such a reductionist view of humanity–as biochemical machines– which dismisses the idea of a vocation, let alone a divine calling. In the light of this sense of divine calling, remorse can be even greater–one has “fallen short of the glory of God.” But this can become an inspiration to make up for one’s crimes, and actualize the image of God in one’s soul, one’s psyche.
    Seth
    http://www.sethHfarber.com

  • DEEO
    “. Your ability to put down with a plethora of references assures us that you are well read”
    What makes you think I have any desire to assure you or anyone eldse that I am “well-read.” ?
    My motive was to quote an astute and renowned scholar to show that Rasselas claim that “shamanism” was a flaKY New Age” construct was not true. And to dismiss an entire spiritual tradition because of a few modern hustlers who call themselves shamans was not a serious way to investigate the phenomenon–as contrasted to the profound commentary and research of the late Professor Mircea Eliade.
    It;s clear to me that Rasselas has some sort of peeve, Maybe not ethnocentrism. Maybe he/she is a secular humanist and atheist in the tradition of Richard Dawkins and Chris Hitchens and Bill Mahr who regards all spiritual traditions as bogus. It seemse he/she read Castenada as entertainment.
    I quote Eliade because he is profound and astute, and highly respected by those with interesrt in spiritual traditions. It is presumptuous
    to claim Deeo that I quote him to show I read him. I did not give a plethora of references . I have not read that much on shamanism. I gave a few references.
    Seth

  • There may very well have been a deterioration of shamanism. The deterioration of sacred phenomenon in modern world was one of Mircea Eliade’s themes. But just because there are hustlers–whether pseudo-“shamans” or degenerated shamans– does not mean the phenomenon should be dismissed.

    I would be humble dealing with an authority, but you know a little of “shamanism” which you probably picked up in The National Enquirer and you present yourself as an authority–thus potentially leading people to avoid reading about an important spiritual tradition. You probably don’t believe in spiritual traditions anywayr.

    Shamanism is not a “New Age” construct!!. It was an integral to native American culture, as well as other indigenous cultures in N and South America and Asia. The renowned author Mircea Eliade (1907-1986), historian of religion and professor at the University of Chicago, started writing on shamanism in the 1950s. Eliade was not influenced by the “New Age.” His main book on the topic Shamanism was written in 1968. The shaman is above all an expert in ascension into the spirit world and a mediator between the natural and supernatural worlds. Eliade called shamanism “one of the archaic techniques of ecstasy ” at once mysticism, magic, and ‘religion’ in the broadest sense of the term.” He wanted to restrict the term ‘shaman’ to those who went into trances and who would address the tribe through a spirit or would visit the spirit world and return.”(https://greencardamom.github.io/BooksAndWriters/eliade.htm) But the shaman is also ” believed to cure, like all doctors, and to perform miracles of the fakir type, like all magicians […] But beyond this, he is a psychopomp, and he may also be a priest, mystic, and poet[137].”

    When thus defined, shamanism tends to occur in its purest forms in hunting and pastoral societies like those of Siberia and Central Asia, which revere a celestial High God “on the way to becoming a deus otiosus”.[138] Eliade takes the shamanism of those regions as his most representative example.

    In his examinations of shamanism, Eliade emphasizes the shaman’s attribute of regaining man’s condition before the “Fall” out of sacred time: “The most representative mystical experience of the archaic societies, that of shamanism, betrays the Nostalgia for Paradise, the desire to recover the state of freedom and beatitude before ‘the Fall’.”[135] This concern—which, by itself, is the concern of almost all religious behavior, according to Eliade—manifests itself in specific ways in shamanism.

    Anyway there are now many scholarly books out on shamanism–many by participant-observers. I hope people don’t take snide assessments of professional skeptics and religious-atheists(like Bill Mahr) to heart and do their own research.
    Seth Farber, PhD http://www.sethHfarber.com

  • You have not read any scholarly books on shamanism–I have no doubt.
    And even if some shamans are destructive that doesn’t mean you can dismiss the whole spiritual tradition., YOu are just ethno-centric. Have you read Mircea Eliade’s books on shamanism ? I’m sure you haven’t.
    Some think Eliade unfairly disparages use of hallucinogens. Havre you read McKenna’s books? Or Michael Harner’s? I’m not an expert of shamanism. I just know enough to recognize bigotry…
    Seth Farber, PhD

  • DeeeO42
    I wanted to respond to your post July 30,9:58 but I there is no “response” below it. Anyway I don’t tyhink we necessarily disagree.
    Of course “schizophrenics” get better if they are left alone. My point was that they weren’t. THus I wrote “Half of the mad, as you claim, did not get better. Most of them from the discovery of neuroleptics in the mid– 1950s onward were destroyed by the drugs—and the degradation and the ostracism.Maybe that was true in 19th century when moral treatment was still popular.” My statement “Maybe THAT is true..” was written quickly. By “that” I meant your claim that 50% got better. And even more when they actually got help.d In the WHO survey those who recovered were actually integrated into communities… in undeveloped world. Same with moral treatment, to a lesser degree..
    It does not matter whether your cohorts actually read FReud. THe views on “schizophrenia” were based on psychoanalytic theories that pervaded popular culture. The meme of the chronic severely diseased schizophrenic was taught in all the grad school programs in universities. It is impossible to over-estimate the influence of psychoanalysis throughout most of the 20th century. It has the influence bio-psychiatry does today–plus it had a literary status and social prestige that immunized it from criticism–until the end. It took brilliant intellectuals like Laing and Szasz to begin its deconstruction.
    Madness is an ambiguous phenomenon. Psychiatry constructed it as “chronic mental illness” There is no question psychiatry did not create madness but its transformed it into a disease—and above all its treatment made an acute crisis into a CHRONIC life problems. Psychoanalysis lent all its prestige into defining “schizophrenia” as chronic, incurable tragic –original sin. REad THe City of God. Read Calvin. Then read Freudians on schizophrenia. I make the link in my book Eternal Day.
    As I wrote in the 1980s.”Yesterday’s shaman is today’s chronic schizophrenic. THe kind of person who in a bygone era would hare been initiated into the vocation of shaman. medicine man, spiritual healer is today inducted into a career as a ‘chronic mental patient’–victim of the most serious mental illness known to mankind”
    Seth Farber, PhD

  • Deeeo42,
    I was not trying to establish I know more about Freudianism than you–I did not know until now how much you knew. I knew quite a lot because I was steeped in it. I went to school at the end of the Freudian era.
    Yes FReudians, psychoanalysts wanted as little to do with “schizophrenics” as possible. AS soon as they put in time in public hospitals or clinics, they set up restrictive private practices. I don’t see anything admirable about that. Anyway the public clinics were still psychoanalytically oriented. Very low expectations were held for most of the clients. Just as things began to improve a bit psychiatrists teamed up with drug companies. THe APA changed its rules so it could accept drug company money. This deregulation was happening everywhere and its motivating factor was greed–not a capitulation to NAMI’s line, though NAMI helped.

    THe mad were being drugged and crippled by drugs and the FReudians raised no objections. They thought the mad were hopeless anyway. And my point was they influenced everyone in the system into regarding the mad as incapable of intimacy..In Valenstein’s book on lobotomies he quotes a critic who said, “Even the therapists who opposed the procedure failed with amazing uniformity to give public utterance to their opposition.” Half of the mad, as you claim, did not get better. Most of them from the discovery of neuroleptics in the mid– 1950s onward were destroyed by the drugs—and the degradation and the ostracism.Maybe that was true in 19th century when moral treatment was still popular.
    Freudians’ contempt for the mad influenced everyone in the field, and probably set the stage for lobotomies and “:chemical lobotomies.” I knew these shrinks and I know the disdain and pity with which they regarded “schizophrenics.” If you read R D Laing’s revolutionary book THe Politics of Experience(1967) the shrinks he excoriates were all Freudians. Same with Szasz’s greatest book THe Manufacturer of Madness(1970) These powerful defenses of the mad were written in the Freudian era. The only change is now far more people are put on toxic drugs.
    The psychiatric wards’ view of the mad as hopeless cases who must be suppressed with drugs was heavily influenced if not created by the Psychoanalytic priesthood, the sages, the intellectual elite of society.
    But what I’m trying to get across is that how shrinks saw themselves DID matter. Freudians, with only a few exceptions, in those days were unequivocal: Schizophrenia was incurable. The best that could be done was to firm up the “schizophrenic’s egos with “supportive psychotherapy” to prevent them from being rehospitalized.(The same was tyrue of so called personality disorders–although Kohut tried yto open up psychoanalysis to wealthy “”narcissistic personality disorders.” But as far as the “psychotics” ” Freudians did not offer :intensive psychotherapy” to enable them to live fulfilling lives. I don’t have time to go into detail about the great harm done by psychoanalysts to the mad. I tried to convey a sense here.You can read more about it in my books.
    Today there are numerous methods to help the mad—and to learn from, the mad. What is lacking is the motive to do so. But I do not put the blame on the parents but on mental health professionals who have become pimps for the drug companies. If they were doing their jobs parents could be educated to be “good-enough” (Winnicott’s term)care-givers.
    Best
    Seth Farber, Ph.D. http://www.sethHfarber.com

  • BPD..Writes
    “..g Gustav Schulman, Bryce Boyer, Vamik Volkan, and Gaetano Benedetti. They have written about their work in books that are available on Amazon. Just because results aren’t written about in an academic sounding paper with university letterhead, doesn’t mean they aren’t real..”
    I don’t know where you got that idea–as if I gave a damn or even read academic journals regularly. I was a psychoanalyst in grad school. I became an apostate because of reasons I mentioned. THus I stopped reading analysts in mid 1980s. Probably the persons you mentioned were writing in mid–1980s to 1990s–by which time I’d lost interest in FReudianism. I wrote 2 books in 1990s that critiqued FReud and object relations theory which I espoused in early 1980s> but I based my critique on theorists who were popular in clinic in early 1980s. By the 1990s psychoanalysts were replaced in public sector by bio-psychiatrists….
    I was influenced by people like Laing and John Weir Perry.
    Anyway I was still optimistic in 1990s about reforming mental health system. Now it’s merged with pharmaceuticl industry…

  • Hi Fiachra,
    You know I’ve made that point, or similar point before. I don’t think people suffer from “schizophrenia.” I think they suffer from fear, despair, terror, grief, sorrow etc. Therefore a therapist or helper should not be trying to suppress
    “schizophrenia” or altered states of consciousness, but rather help the mad person feel less anxious., or help them cope with grief. Do you agree?? It’s like an LSD trip–it can be good or bad. ASC are not bad in themselves(See Laing and John Perry, fdiscussed in my last book-2012)

    Your other point is more dubious–all negative emotions or behaviors are manifestation of fear or anxiety. No I think loss creates grief which is different than fear? If e.g.you lose someone you lover you will feel grief. Do you really think fear and grief are the same?
    Seth
    http://www.sethHfarber.com

  • The Sullivan school had nothing to do with Freud. It was considered to be “interpersonal.”
    Sullivan himself had a “schizophrenic” break as a young man from which he recovered.
    THe FReudians were so rarely helpful to “schizophrenics”: because schizophrenia was said to be a severe disorder, a result of maternal deprivation during the “oral” phase that made one incapable of having intimater relationship.
    I was told this over and over when working on my PhD in late 70s and early 1980s. By promulgating this dogma Freudians did a considerable amount of harm to “schizophrenics.”THe field was Freudian and everyone followed their lead.
    Yes “psychotherapy” was for the purpose of preventing people from getting worse. Freudians said only an elect was capable of benefitting from “psychoanalysis” which was supposedly curative.
    The secular Augustinianism of Freudianism claimed “schizophrenics” were “predestined”
    to eternal loneliness, not able to form intimate relationships. So the secular Priesthood condemned the mad to eternal hell and blamed it on their parents–on secular analogue of original sin
    Seth Farber, PhD.

  • There is no study that shows particularly spectacular results from psychoanalysis. What the literature shows is that therapy with any orientation is very helpful(as is peer support) is the therapist expects the client to get better and forms a good relationship. THe only analysts I know who got “spectacular” results were Bertram Karom, and those trained by him—for the reasons I mention –not because FReudian theory is superior. To what “body of evidence”
    do you refer???
    The fact is for all of its history vpsychoanalysts –with a few exceptions–took the position that schizophrenia” was incurable, and that all that could be achieved was better ability to cope. But to love and experience intimacy? No– according to Freud and Freudians (with the few exceptions)– that was impossible . It was not even allowed to offer analysis to “schizophrenics.” Freudians have a disgraceful record, and they do not deserve your praise.
    Your sanguine view of Freudianism is unwarranted. Read Final Analysis by Jeffrey Masson, an apostate from psychoanalytic faith, famous for his expose of Freud. I discuss some of the successful approaches in my last book.
    Seth Farber, Ph.D., THe Spiritual Gift of Madness

  • Thanks for your comments, Dana,
    Many of the posters here do not have any kind of strategy for preventing psychiatrists from ruining patients” lives by labeling them “psychotic”: and putting them on and keeping them on neuroleptics. Drugs like benzo’s or Neurontin can play an invaluable role.
    If a patent is given only a drug for anxiety it makes it virtually impossible to OTHER-IZE them. THeir problem is defined as fear, anxiety—not schizophrenia. Of course long term use of benzo’s can be harmful. But it attenuates the line between the worried walking and dreaded “schizophrenics.” Plus benzos rarely trurn people into zombies. THis is why nursing home inmates are given Zyprexa, not Valium.
    What is missing from this discussion is 1) Patents on benzo’s are less likely to become convinced they suffer from “mental illness” rather than problems of living, THis means they will regard benzo’s as crisis drugs. 2) Patients should have the right to choose less destructive drug. Not to accede to shrinks.
    By evading these issues our posters are not contributing to preventing patients from becoming chronIc patients. By obscuring differences between benzos and neuroleptics, posters are contributing to perpetuating use of psychologically and physiologically most toxic dRUGS In America. Read WhitaKer’s work on drugs.
    What dominates today is neuroleptics–the most dangerous drugs on mArket.
    Chemomonster speaks eloquently–but he is not alone. THe posters have avoided issues raised by others on psychiatric drugs. I submit that the single-most important ISSUE for therapist is preventing the otherizing of patients and getting them off “anti-psychotics.” While the harm inflicted by all psychiatric must be addressed, one must also address: How to get patients off of neuroleptics that ruin their lives. And short term use of benzo’s and other drugs like Neurontin should be offered to patients as alternative to neuoroleptics and Other-izing patIENTS as psychotics.
    I will take a look at The Cult of Pharmacology–It looks impOrtant. THe industrY doMINATES THE whole medical fiELd., I am awaRE that the whole medical field is dominated by big Pharma. THus chemotherapy makes pAtients sicker but it is highly lucrative for doctors and pharm industry, Cancer is lucrative. These issue cannot be addressed in isolation, Read Foucault But of course Psychiatry has nothing to do with medicine–but with problems in living
    . Like cancer, “schizophrenics,” will not be” cured” by therapy or “medicine.” Not when billions of dollars can be made by keeping people sick or unable to function. “Schizophrenia” is a myth, there is no such thing–there are only problems of living. Normals take drugs for anxiety. They are less risky long term treatments but if you get thrown into loony bin you should be able to ask for Valium as alternative to far more toxic stupefying Zyprexa. THe greater advantage is Valium. That way you can’t be labeled “schizophrenic”– you can’t be Other-ized.
    Seth Farber, PhD

  • Thanks for your comments, Dana,
    Many of the posters here do not have any kind of strategy for preventing psychiatrists from ruining patients” lives by labeling them “psychotic”: and putting them on and keeping them on neuroleptics. Drugs like benzo’s or Neurontin can play an invaluable role.
    If a patent is given only a drug for anxiety it makes it virtually impossible to OTHER-IZE them. THeir problem is defined as fear, anxiety—not schizophrenia. Of course long term use of benzo’s can be harmful. But it attenuates the line between the worried walking and dreaded “schizophrenics.” Plus benzos rarely trurn people into zombies. THis is why nursing home inmates are given Zyprexa, not Valium.
    What is missing from this discussion is 1) Patents on benzo’s are less likely to become convinced they suffer from “mental illness” rather than problems of living, THis means they will regard benzo’s as crisis drugs. 2) Patients should have the right to choose less destructive drug. Not to accede to shrinks.
    By evading these issues our posters are not contributing to preventing patients from becoming chronIc patients. By obscuring differences between benzos and neuroleptics, posters are contributing to perpetuating use of psychologically and physiologically most toxic dRUGS In America. Read WhitaKer’s work on drugs.
    What dominates today is neuroleptics–the most dangerous drugs on mArket.
    Chemomonster speaks eloquently–but he is not alone. THe posters have avoided issues raised by others on psychiatric drugs. I submit that the single-most important ISSUE for therapist is preventing the otherizing of patients and getting them off “anti-psychotics.” While the harm inflicted by all psychiatric must be addressed, one must also address: How to get patients off of neuroleptics that ruin their lives. And short term use of benzo’s and other drugs like Neurontin should be offered to patients as alternative to neuoroleptics and Other-izing patIENTS as psychotics.
    I will take a look at The Cult of Pharmacology–It looks impOrtant. THe industrY doMINATES THE whole medical fiELd., I am awaRE that the whole medical field is dominated by big Pharma. THus chemotherapy makes pAtients sicker but it is highly lucrative for doctors and pharm industry, Cancer is lucrative. These issue cannot be addressed in isolation, Read Foucault But of course Psychiatry has nothing to do with medicine–but with problems in living
    . Like cancer, “schizophrenics,” will not be” cured” by therapy or “medicine.” Not when billions of dollars can be made by keeping people sick or unable to function. “Schizophrenia” is a myth, there is no such thing–there are only problems of living. Normals take drugs for anxiety. They are less risky long term treatments but if you get thrown into loony bin you should be able to ask for Valium as alternative to far more toxic stupefying Zyprexa. THe greater advantage is Valium. That way you can’t be labeled “schizophrenic”– you can’t be Other-ized.
    Seth Farber, PhD

  • Thanks for your comments, Dana,
    Many of the posters here do not have any kind of strategy for preventing psychiatrists from ruining patients” lives by labeling them “psychotic”: and putting them on and keeping them on neuroleptics. Drugs like benzo’s or Neurontin can play an invaluable role.
    If a patent is given only a drug for anxiety it makes it virtually impossible to OTHER-IZE them. THeir problem is defined as fear, anxiety—not schizophrenia. Of course long term use of benzo’s can be harmful. But it attenuates the line between the worried walking and dreaded “schizophrenics.” Plus benzos rarely trurn people into zombies. THis is why nursing home inmates are given Zyprexa, not Valium.
    What is missing from this discussion is 1) Patents on benzo’s are less likely to become convinced they suffer from “mental illness” rather than problems of living, THis means they will regard benzo’s as crisis drugs. 2) Patients should have the right to choose less destructive drug. Not to accede to shrinks.
    By evading these issues our posters are not contributing to preventing patients from becoming chronIc patients. By obscuring differences between benzos and neuroleptics, posters are contributing to perpetuating use of psychologically and physiologically most toxic dRUGS In America. Read WhitaKer’s work on drugs.
    What dominates today is neuroleptics–the most dangerous drugs on mArket.
    Chemomonster speaks eloquently–but he is not alone. THe posters have avoided issues raised by others on psychiatric drugs. I submit that the single-most important ISSUE for therapist is preventing the otherizing of patients and getting them off “anti-psychotics.” While the harm inflicted by all psychiatric must be addressed, one must also address: How to get patients off of neuroleptics that ruin their lives. And short term use of benzo’s and other drugs like Neurontin should be offered to patients as alternative to neuoroleptics and Other-izing patIENTS as psychotics.
    I will take a look at The Cult of Pharmacology–It looks impOrtant. THe industrY doMINATES THE whole medical fiELd., I am awaRE that the whole medical field is dominated by big Pharma. THus chemotherapy makes pAtients sicker but it is highly lucrative for doctors and pharm industry, Cancer is lucrative. These issue cannot be addressed in isolation, Read Foucault But of course Psychiatry has nothing to do with medicine–but with problems in living
    . Like cancer, “schizophrenics,” will not be” cured” by therapy or “medicine.” Not when billions of dollars can be made by keeping people sick or unable to function. “Schizophrenia” is a myth, there is no such thing–there are only problems of living. Normals take drugs for anxiety. They are less risky long term treatments but if you get thrown into loony bin you should be able to ask for Valium as alternative to far more toxic stupefying Zyprexa. THe greater advantage is Valium. That way you can’t be labeled “schizophrenic”– you can’t be Other-ized.
    Seth Farber, PhD

  • It’s not always possible to avoid. Most of the people in these places would rather be home. But either they don’t have family to arrange out-patient treatment for them–and they are declared incompetent and appointed a “guardian” who puts them in a nursing home. OR they do have family. Their adult children don’t care about their freedom or quality of life. They figure they are “safer” in a nursing home. Which is true in narrow sense–they are less likely to wander around and fall and break a bone. If they die sooner, it seems natural so the family is happy.
    I have talked to people in nursing homes. I have never heard of any who are not on “anti-psychotics”– neuroleptic drug–, which are probably more harmful than benzos. Not only do they cause many undesirable effects(eg diabetes) but with elderly population they invariably cause tardive dyskinesia, a disorder with symptoms like Parkinson’s that make patients shake uncontrollably–they also significantly shorten life span.

    So any patient on benzos is not on them as alternative to neuroleptics like Zyprexa but in addition to neuroleptics. The problem with benzos is that like alcohol patients like them and they make patients more garrulous–harder to control.

    The new findings that benzos are likely to increase risk of dementia means that alternatives to drugs must be found for treatment of anxiety and insomnia. This would entail therapy or herbal or vitamin supplements. But this would be a radical shift in paradigm—and a major threat to the pharmaceutical industry. Thus it won’t happen. There are probably les malignant drugs but nursing homes will not stop prescribing atypical neuroleptics, for the reason I mentioned and also because they are the most powerful way to shut up an ebullient patient. Nursing staff wants docile quiet patients, not people who are enjoying life. The latter presents too much of a threat. Such a patient may want to talk to other patients, or take a walk–but the more mobile a patient is, the greater the risk of breaking a bone. Thus patients will continue to be prescribed Zyprexa AND Xanax.
    Seth Farber, Ph.D.

  • It’s a corporate-government plot. As a toxic industrial b y-product fluoride would be difficult and costly to dispose of. So corporations came up with a great idea. Dump it in the water reservoirs for Americans citizens to ingest– and claim it prevents tooth decay. They saved millions of dollars.
    (It
    may slightly decrease tooth decay when placed on the teeth, but it is a toxin when absorded into mucous membranes.)Seth Farber, Ph.D.

  • Colin, I don’t have time for such a dialogue. Besides as you say I am not interested in having discussions that I already have had hundreds of times with other people who were acolytes of the medical model. Indeed I WOULD like to “help [you] see the error of [your] ways,” but I know it’s a hopeless task. Thus you and I, Colin, are like two ships passing in the night. The difference is I hear you on deck singing a song that I’ve heard a million times before. Whereas I am shouting at you something unfamiliar: “Abandon your leaky rotten vessel! There is room for you on ours.” I’d even send you a life boat. But alas since you are perched somewhere comfortable and safe you have no desire to abandon the old ship.
    It’s odd you see me as narrow-minded and rigid because I see you and others who espouse the medical model as narrow-minded and rigid and imprisoned within the parameters of a paradigm that ought to have been abandoned long ago. All I can say positively about your position is that you defend it eloquently, very smoothly with perfect command over syntax and an unusual amount of color. What you defend is mostly an unimaginative colorless paradigm that continues to serve as a rationale for an oppressive mental health system increasingly dependent(at least in America) on the pharmaceutical industry
    You missed my point. I am not advocating better prognosis. I am advocating no prognoses. I am saying as long as professionals make prognoses and encode expectations in their writings, their discussions, their pronouncements, these expectations will continue to act as self fulfilling prophecies except by those who rebel against and reject their prognoses–all of them. For example over and over you keep saying “less severe cases of schizophrenia open better chances for reducing or quitting medicine than severe cases.” It has been branded on the cells of your brain that there are more severe cases and less severe cases of “schizophrenia”—INDEPENDENT of the way these “cases” are regarded by professionals. Horsesh–t! AS I wrote years ago “Yesterday’s shaman is today’s chronic schizophrenic.” It was the craziest people, the maddest of the mad, who became shamans in another age.
    Today many become activists. I am bored by the studies but they confirm my spiritual development and hermeneutic paradigm. http://www.sethHfarber.com Furthermore there are numerous activists in the “mental patients liberation movement” (as it was first called) who were labeled ‘schizophrenic” and told they had a life long illness. In fact these were the leaders of the movement, not the “mild cases.” The APA always took the position that “schizophrenia” was incurable. (To answer your question the different groups in the Harrow study had different labels, such as “bipolar” which was always considered less severe than “schizophrenia.)
    You have no way of determining who is the “most severe.” You declare those least severe who get off the drugs—it’s merely a tautology. When mental patients rights leaders attacked the Establishment, neo-conservatives wrote books and claimed these activists can’t speak for “schizophrenics”, because they were not schizophrenics–they were misdiagnosed! Of course they had to be–the tautology must be preserved: Those who get off the “meds” and get “better” were not severe cases.
    . No one has ever established that psychiatrists diagnoses have any reliability, nor any predictive validity except insofar as they are self fulfilling prophecies. That is they have only seemed to be reliable because professionals have suppressed and oppressed and destroyed the brains of “schizophrenics” throughout the 20th century and beyond. You missed the point of the the essay I quoted. It is not the prognosis should be based on behavior. It is that the behavior of “the mentally ill,” the deviants, is influenced by those very prognoses. I wrote, “[Institutional Mental Health] fails to see how its own WAY OF UNDERSTANDING THE OTHER enters into the event. It is as if its particular way of understanding has no historical or social ramifications. It is as if psychiatrically labeled individuals are deaf to the discourse that Institutional Mental Health articulates through a variety of media, institutions, groups and individuals. Mental illness is a cultural artifact, the end result of a particular kind of highly structured dialogue between socially empowered experts and socially disenfranchised, psychiatrically stigmatized individuals. ”
    In the medical model there are no “problems in living.” Every such apparent problem is really a symptom of a disease. In your country (UK?) the medical model allows somewhat more room for change but it has the same ideological functions. In America millions of people are being destroyed by the medical model. I developed a developmental model based on Laing and others. All the data or most fits within my paradigm. http://www.sethHfarber.com
    Regards,
    Seth

  • Colin,
    I cannot discuss treatment of “schizophrenia” in England or Australia. But your discussion of prognosis is irrelevant in America. THe APA position was throughout the 1990s and before that “schizophrenia” was a chronic illness from which n o one recovered. (I’m not sure what it us today–probably the same.)I know this from working in clinics throughout the 1980s, from reading the literature, and from talking to persons who had been diagnosed as schizophrenics.

    I do not accept a medical model. For deconstruction of such a model read Thomas Szasz–too many books to pick a couple. For the defense of a crisis model, read R D Laing (I’d recommend The Politics of Experience and Sanity, Madness and the Family) and John Weir Perry ( Trials of the Visionary Mind is a good place to start) and my first book (probably my first book , Madness, Heresy and the Rumor of Angels–1993 and my 2012 book, The Spiritual Gift of Madness). And read Leaving Home by Jay Haley. And Psychosis and Spirituality edited by Isabelle Clarke.

    Let me clear up a few points. People don’t stay on neuroleptics because they make them feel good, like cocaine. They stay on them because psychiatrists tell them they will be rehospitalized if they don’t. I say they are addicted because after being on neuroleptics for, say, a year or so, one will in all probability have intense withdrawal symptoms if one tries to get off. (This will of course be interpreted by the shrink as the return of “the illness”) These confounding variable vitiate your ludicrous claim that only “severe” schizophrenics will stay on the drugs. People who trust their psychiatrists, or are scared of rehospitalization, often are hooked on the drugs–even if their schizophrenia is “mild.”

    \ No no no! I said Wunderink was a randomized study. THe majority of people who were taken off the drugs were chosen randomly. There was a small subset who CHOSE to get off the drugs later. To quote Whitaker”this was a randomized study designed to see which treatment protocol produced better outcomes.” Randomized studies are considered gold standard–of course with neuroleptics’ awful side effects such a study cannot be blind. But that fact only strengthens our arguments because non-drugged clients did not have the advantage of a placebo effect.

    Our main differences are philosophical. My paradigm is not medical–as stated. It is nonsense to interpret a spiritual crisis as a medical problem–and proclivity to being labeled schizophrenics proves nothing. For 2 reasons 1) Some persons re more sensitive than others–that MAY be genetic trait 2)) Joseph Jay shows in Mad in America that the studies that claim “sc hizophrenia” is genetically transmitted were flawed. But even if Joseph was wrong it does not prove as potential shaman is REALLY a schizophrenic., See “Shamans and Acute Schizophrenia” by J Silverman in American Anthropologist, 1967.

    As to prognosis, it cannot be separated from behavior. This is just like quantum physics. How the person behaves depends upon how he/she is observed. Observation influences behavior–which you could argue explains better than drugs in Harrow’s survey why some patients don’t recover . Please see my article in 1990 but still relevant–and reprinted online http://www.academyanalyticarts.org/farber-institutional-mental-health
    I will quote from it.” This is the fundamental hermeneutical insight. Objectivism obscures this reality, it pursues the illusory Enlightenment ideal of the “detached’ scientist, unmindful of the historical roots of this ideal, unmindful of the social consequences of the futile attempt to realize it. Gadamer wrote, ‘In this objectivism the understander is seen.., not in relationship to the hermeneutical situation and the constant operativeness of history in his own consciousness, but in such a way as to imply that his own understanding does not enter into the event” (p. 28). … Institutional Mental Health acts as if its own understanding does not enter into the event. It focuses its lenses upon the Others, the deviants, and professes to possess objective knowledge about their situation and their destinies. It fails to see how its own way of understanding the Other enters into the event. It is as if its particular way of understanding has no historical or social ramifications. It is as if psychiatrically labeled individuals are deaf to the discourse that Institutional Mental Health articulates through a variety of media, institutions, groups and individuals. Mental illness is a cultural artifact, the end result of a particular kind of highly structured dialogue between socially empowered experts and socially disenfranchised, psychiatrically stigmatized individuals. ”

    Well I’m pleasantly surprised to hear that you were one of the people who proved the mental health Establishment the APA, wrong. I assumed you were working for the system. Hopefully if you are you are encouraging clients and telling them long term use of neuroleptics is unnecessary and harmful.
    Seth
    http://www.sethHfarber.com

  • Colin, Alex
    Alex, Read Whitaker’s articles, not Colin’s summaries. There arfe sa range of opinion on this blog, all critical of mental health system.
    Colin writes” One of these unknowns is why and how schizophrenia manifests in individuals in such idiosyncratic ways, as to make most attempts at prognosis, little better than a lottery. ” I don’t know what world you lived in Colin but I talked to 1000s of mental patients in the 1990s when I was most active. Virtually all were told they had a life-long disease from which tyhey would never recover. But your criticism are never of mental health professionals. YOu even concluded that patients got better without drugs,
    and yet when I told you that the APA party line said drugs were necessary just to keep patients from getting worse, you have nothing to say. The evidence of TD and brain damage from the drugs don’t bother you. YOu cheery pick what suits your fancy and have no criticisms of the harm inflicted on patients by APA policies. You assume the good will of shrinks when all the evidence points to opposite conclusion. You live in a bubble–and refuse to admit that your statement is insulting to patients. Again ” One of these unknowns is why and how schizophrenia manifests in individuals in such idiosyncratic ways, as to make most attempts at prognosis, little better than a lottery. ” NO NO NO. It’s not a lottery. The party line has always been that no schizophrenic can recover. It manifests in an idiosyncratic way because “it” is not an illness. It is a spiritual crisis that gets labeled schizophrenia. There is no mystery.
    YOu leave out all the relevant factors. You write “it would be a natural tendency that anyone who could go off meds without relapsing too harshly probably would do so with time, whilst those who experienced insurmountable problems whenever they tried, would probably remain on medicine either by choice or by coercion.” This is because the drugs are addictive. IT is also because some people are more trusting of their psychiatrists than others. The latter is what those of us critical of the system are trying to change. AS they lose their faith in psychiatry,patients have a better chance of getting off the drugs, rejecting the no hope diagnoses and getting better. You don’t even bother to read the randomized experiment which provide evidence the drugs undermine recovery/
    In 2013 Bob looked at new studies.I directed your attention to them buT you ignored them. Bob writes,”Wunderink has now provided psychiatry with a randomized study of long-term outcomes. In his study of adults with a first episode of psychosis, all patients were stabilized on antipsychotics for six months (n=128), and then they were randomized either to a “drug discontinuation/drug reduction” arm (the DR group), or to standard drug maintenance (the MT group.) In other words, this was a randomized study designed to see which treatment protocol produced better outcomes: tapering first-episode patients from their antipsychotics (or down to a low dose), or standard drug maintenance, at usual doses.” At the end of 7 years the low dose or no dose had a full recovery rate of about 40% vs 17.6% for the medicated group
    Since this study was randomized it leads to interpretation that the drugs impede long term recovery as the author concluded, ” “Antipsychotic postsynaptic blockade of the dopamine signaling system, particularly of the mesocortical and mesolimbic tracts, not only might prevent and redress psychotic derangements but also might compromise important mental functions, such as alertness, curiosity, drive, and activity levels, and aspects of executive functional capacity to some extent.”
    Bob also discusses Open Dialogue.https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/07/harrow-wunkerlink-open-dialogue-an-evidence-based-mandate-for-a-new-standard-of-care/ No matter how you slice it there is no justification for long term use of “anti-psychotics.” Bob concedes that there are a small subset that might require them–20%–but I have argued that is because we don’t have a more flexible treatment model and sufficient resources in social and financial support.
    Seth Farber, Ph.D.

  • Colin, Alright, you make a more modest case, and acknowledge that the study at least shows that “anti-psychotics” don’t make a difference in long term successful
    outcomes. It certainly was claim of psychiatric industry for years that unless “schizophrenics” remained on neuroleptics they would decompensate and get worse. (Now many psychiatrists claim that neuroleptics are “neuro-protective.” )

    For example, in 1992 the APA published a book length Task Force Report on tardive dyskinesia. They acknowledged that a prevalence rate of 30–57% of tardive dyskinesia of patients who were on “anti-psychotics” (the range was great because many cases are masked by increasing the dosage of the neuroleptic) but still insisted long term administration of neuroleptics was the treatment of choice because “schizophrenia” was so devastating. Just showing patients got better without drugs debunked APA’s rationale for using drugs–to prevent patients from getting worse..

    There were other studies that were ignored.
    David Cohen wrote in special issue of The Journal of Mind and Behavior (1994, Vol 15 No’s 1–2))”Considerable evidence from controlled random assignment studies clearly shows that GIVEN THE PROPER SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT, most newly identified schizophrenics can be treated successfully with little or no psychotropic medication”(p144). Yet the APA and almost all psychiatrists ignored this evidence and continued to inflict TD and other disabling disorders on “schizophrenics.”
    How many million people people developed TD over the years because of the APA’s policies is anyone’s guess but TD reached
    epidemic proportions?

    I deon’t know how you define “less sick” but you originally claimed sicker clients took more “medication.” If your statement is not a tautology–meaningless–you need an operational definition of less sick–basically it comes down to appearances. My point is that many patients–no matter how “sick”– stopped taking the drugs not because they were less sick but because they did not like the side effects. Its side effects were as troubling to “severe” cases as
    to “mild ” cases. Also even mild cases were exhorted by their shrinks to take neuroleptics. Therefore there is no basis for your original contention that the phenomenon of undrugged patients getting better can be explained away with the claim that they were mild cases who needed less drugs and therefore took less.

    My own experience brought me into touch with many persons who were given prognoses of life-long illness who became activists and in conventional terms could be said to have recovered from “severe schizophrenia.” The Establishment’s response to high functioning activists was if they got better they were not really that sick to begin with. My point is this claim was used to justify long term use of drugs that were unnecessary and extremely harmful. Your original claim seemed to be that kind of apologetic: Patients who get off the drugs were obviously mild cases. It’s just not so. You wrote that ” severe schizophrenia and the tendency to use medicine correlate, whilst milder schizophrenia correlates with a diminished tendency to resort to medicine.”

    Yes there could have been other unknown factors that explained recovery in Harrow’s survey. By 1990 there was sufficient evidence, taking the TD epidemic into account, for the APA to recommend against long term use of neuroleptics.. Yet they continued to do the opposite, breaking the Hippocratic oath.

    Furthermore subsequent studie to Harrow’s discussed by Whitaker on this blog
    were randomized controlled studies–they showed that long term use of neuroleptics impeded the recovery process. I know that recovery was also impeded by self-fulfilling prophecies like “You have a life-long illness for which there is no cure.” This “prognosis,” repeated over and over by psychiatrists destroyed many patients lives. The ones I knew who got better got off the drugs and away from the mental death system.
    Your own practice may be more like Bert Karon’s or the Sullivanians than like the typical psychiatrist who followed the APA party line: “There is no cure for schizophrenia yet patients must take brain damaging drugs or they will get much worse.” I hope it is.
    Seth Farber, Ph.D.
    http://www.sethHfarber.com

  • “all we can conclude from the Harrow study is that severe schizophrenia and the tendency to use medicine correlate, whilst milder schizophrenia correlates with a diminished tendency to resort to medicine. That is of course exactly how it ought to be – one should only take medicine if one can’t manage without it.”
    This is a self-serving explanation that is clearly at odds with the facts. It is often the persons who manifest the most symptoms who refuse to take their “meds.” They are not eager beavers. Out-patient commitment was based upon the idea that many “sick” patients will refuse to take “anti-psychotics.” The last figure I read was 70%–70% of “schizophrenics” were “treatment-resistant.” If all those patients have such mild symptoms why must they be forced to take drugs? And if they have severe symptoms how come they are resistant? People don’t like to take “anti-psychotics” because they have such virulent “side-effects”–one might as well argue that “sicker” have even less tolerance for side-effects. Considering the wide-spread phenomenon of “non-compliance” as shrinks call it, the idea that the difference in outcome can be explained b y the likelihood that “sicker” patience are more likely to take neuroleptics
    is unpersuasive. Furthermore it does not explain the results of the WHO studies, or the more recent studies Whitaker surveys in articles on this website.
    The fact that you so easily dismiss the impact of eugenics only testifies to you own ignorance. Read The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould or The Legacy of Malthus by Alan Chase,
    Seth Farber, PhD.
    http://www.sethHfarber.com

  • Rossa, Richard, Yes well Bob is following in the tradition of Thomas Szasz–and R D Laing for that
    matter. They were the professionals to bring “schizophrenia” “out of the shadows.” Szasz put his finger on the mark when he titled his book, Schizophrenia: The Sacred Symbol of Psychiatry.

    I think Richard Lewis is absolutely correct. I would add to it Szasz’s point that the belief in the construct of “schizophrenia” (and other “psychoses”) is the symbolic key to saving Psychiatry. Frances reminds me of the 19th century when psychiatrists were fighting to get control of the “lunatic asylums.”
    This was before Freud made it possible for psychiatry to colonize everyday life, and pathologize “normal” people . Frances’ middle way, is a rearguard battle. “Leave normal people alone” he is saying, “but we psychiatrists are the rightful custodians of the seriously mentally ill who need our medical treatments.”
    The 19th century psychiatrists were fighting against “lay” people who operated institutions, including the “moral reformers” who had a far better “recovery rate” in institutions for “lunatics.” Today Frances is fighting non-medicalist therapists and peer support groups in the survivors’ movement with the same message, “We are the rightful custodians of the mentally ill.”
    But as Richard notes these middle ground positions must b e exposed. Psychiatry is a sham–it would have fallen decades ago but it sold its soul to the multibillion dollar pharmaceutical industry which has turned America into a nation of people addicted to the most poisonous drugs.
    IT is the “lunatics” now who are leading the battle against these corrupt institutions. The “extremists” hope to see the fall of the psychiatric- pharmaceutical industrial complex and the revival of the tradition of mutual aid and
    indigenous healers.
    Seth Farber, PhD
    http://www.sethHfarber.com

  • Kayla, I don’t what you meant to write–“sesible” is not a word. Sensible. But your perceptive and ironic comments add to Philip’s article by showing the absurdity of Frances’ project. I have not read Frances’s latest piece. But it has longed seemed obvious that Frances is aiming his weapons at “psychotics” and those who don’t urge them to take neuroleptics. These were the original victims of psychiatry–particularly “schizophrenics:”– and Frances is really interested in “saving normal” or more aptly saving normals and containing and controlling the real abnormals, or saving schizophrenia, “the sacred symbol of psychiatry”, to quote Szasz. In other words saving schizophrenia is the same project AS saving normal. I don’t k now what his motivation is–probably a sentimental attachment to the paradigm, as Thomas Kuhn would say. It’s obvious as Hickey points out there are no scientific grounds for the distinction. If pressed he’d probably say something specious and banal like the good clinician is not merely a scientist but an artist—as if a real artist is a poisoner and not a radical social critic –like Artaud.
    Seth Farber, Ph.D. The Spiritual Gift of Madness…

  • Brooke,
    Thank you.
    Yes I think it’s easy for most people, with a little help, to escape the vise of Psychiatry. But not after–as Bob Whitaker has argued–they’ve been on neuroleptics for 20+ years.
    THe problem is it seems it harder for society as a whole to escape the vise of normal people–of the various centers of powers . Thus as Laing became convinced we re on a very pernicious trajectory—as a society governed by elites– that is leading to the extinction of humanity.Today it is not the threat of nuclear war which is threatening but environmental destruction, particularly from global warming. For this reason and others I am more worried about humanity’s prospect for the next hundred
    years….
    Seth

  • Oldhead,
    Hi. Thanks
    Yes I think that is what Steve Spiegel meant but I don’t think he was clear.
    It goes back to Szasz and “the myth of mental illness” which reigned supreme during the long era of the dominance of psychoanalysis.
    The term’mental illness was always the stigmata inflicted upon those who had extreme experiences and came to attention of the experts. Once the label was applied the long string of violation of constitutional rights followed.
    Seth

  • Steve,
    I agree with you if you are making the Szaszian point that even non-biological medical models like the psychoanalytical medical model
    (which Szasz debunked again and again) are mystifying and harmful. Today people think that biology psychiatry is the only medical model. But as soon as one talks about a mental disorder ot illness one is using a medical model–the root metaphor is “illness.”
    However you write, ” I do not believe that it is important to identify “’essentialist’ views” of biological etiologies to directly connect biological etiologies with prognosis pessimism and worse outcomes.” I don’t understand why you say it is unimportant. Unnecessary perhaps,s but it certainly strengthens the argument for
    using alternatives to drugging–which is today virtually the only “treatment” recommended for people who end up in the “mental health” system.
    Seth Farber, Ph.D.

  • What I said was not intended as a “personal attack,” registered… It was intended as advice. Acidpop had the same reaction as I did. Maybe there is something else you are not saying but you tell us you hate the SSRIs but you must take them because of a “shitty person” in your life. It
    makes no sense to blame another person–unless there are circumstances you chose not to reveal.
    Anyway you write. “I could quote several of your posts from your posting history and make similar insinuations about you as well. ” I don’t know how you could since I have not talked about my personal life here, and I don’t take SSRIs.(Maybe you have me confused with someone else) But if you think you could give me some insights into m y life based on my posts feel free to comment.
    Good luck,
    Seth

  • there is something wrong with your story. I tyhink acidpop is write. IT’s not the drug, it is the “shitty”
    person you are addicted to. YOLu are doing this to yoiurself. And hyou’re leaving something out. YOLu could get off SSRI’s more slowly. There are 100s of books. Instead you say

    “I may take an SSRI (which I wouldn’t have to if I didn’t have a certain shitty person (and family problems) in my life who causes me tension) out of desperation, but I never want to be on them for more than two or 3 months. It’s okay for a short period of time. Other than that, I would rather be dead than be on SSRIs. Life to me is meaningless, with the kind of side effects SRIs have in me.”?
    You are doing this to yourself. And you blame it on “the shitty person.” Either end relationship with shitty person or stop complaining abolut him beding “shitty person” olr sert new limits. YOU arfe doing this to yourself and playikng victim …
    Seth http://www.sethHfarber.com

  • This is eloquent and forceful critique, often astute.Congratulations. However I think it misses several points.
    First the Murphy bill and scapegoating of the “mentally ill” is not an example of “hysteria reaching the federal government,” and it ought not to be seen in isolation–it is part of the trend to elimination of democratic processes in the US and transformation of the US into a distinctive kind of totalitarian state. It should not be viewed in isolation from NSA intrusion into ALL Americans lives.
    Second the author implies that the chaos and violence that give rise to the Bill are random, or the byproduct of other processes such as growing inequality. The author writes,”the more chaos and violence within society the more governments and frightened citizens will continue to look for something and someone to blame.” Although the chaos is certainly partly due to social processes like growing inequality it is also true that the problem entails the DELIBERATE creation of violence and chaos in order to justify authoritarian measures that undermine the foundations of democracy.
    For example there is the administration of SSRIs by psychiatrists to unstable and rebellious teenagers despite the fact that it is known that SSRI–popular anti-depressants push many people–even a small but significant group of non-violent people -over the edge into insanity and homicidal rage. This has been documented in books by Dr Peter Breggin, Dr David Healy and Ann Blake Tracy, Ph.D. among others.
    Third, the question must be asked of the acts of violence used to justify these bills, such as schoolyard killings or other mass killings:Did these children or young people kids act alone on their own initiative?. There is reason to suspect that in many cases the official story is dubious. From Columbine to the Batman shooter to Sandy Hook, there are reasons for suspicion. Why for example in the Batman shooting did numerous witnesses report seeing a second shooter who was never apprehended? And in Sandy Hook was it possible for Adam Lanza to shoot so many bullets in such a brief time each time scoring a bull’s eye? Or was Lanza a patsy? The exploration of these inconsistencies can be found on youtube or on the excellent website http://www.globalresearch.ca.
    Anyone who thinks my suspicions are those of a crackpot “conspiracy theorist” should read the real story of CIA agent Frank Olson (murdered by CIA).or the history of MK-Ultra or read John Hall’s new book Guinea Pigs or read the numerous literature by those associated with the 9/11 Truth movement, including books by theologian David Ray Griffin and Kevin Barrett.My point is that we may be dealing with deliberate creation of chaos and violence either by intelligence agencies or rogue elements within these agencies in order to scare the population into supporting greater surveillance and control–particularly of the” deviant”— and the dissident (protesters), I would add–as Hunter points out– by State agencies, as well as by psychiatrists and other mental health professionals who demand more power to do exactly the things that create disturbed youngsters.
    Finally I’m surprised no one pointed out that psychiatrist Thomas Szasz was the first to draw an analogy between the mental health system and the Inquisition. The late Dr Szasz argued in The Manufacture of Madness that the witches were not traumatized citizens at all. Szasz would probably say that the interpretation above is akin to the modern day psychiatric explanation for the witch hunts– that the witches were unhappy mentally ill people. Szasz argues that they were indigenous healers, women, who were perceived as a threat to the Church. I think subsequent scholarship bears out Szasz’s interpretation.
    Despite my criticism the article was a well written and forceful critique of psychiatric labeling and Murphy’s project. Seth Farber, PhD http://www.sethHfarber.com

  • Of course there is a famous right-libertarian talk show host who has large audience and opposes the shadow government in America: Alex Jones. I was on his show two years ago attacking the Therapeutic State. His influence is limited because he is considered a conspiracy theorist and crackpot. On the “extreme” (Chomskyist) left if this show was done with gravitas I’m sure Amy Goodman would cover it on Democracy Now. Also I’m sure there would be a lawyer for Center for Constitutional Rights who would oppose. THe ACLU has become part of the establishment but CCR, lawyers for Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange, has many interns one of whom with CCR backing would get behind this cause. You could also get Green Party candidate DR Jill Stein(MD) for what it’s worth to oppose it. There are also many small libertarian groups who would oppose it. This could revive the long slumbering movement(outside of anti-psychiatry sites like this–excuse the term) against coercion in psychiatry to become active again.
    Seth Farber, Ph.D., http://www.sethHfarber.com
    P.S. I think this is too divisive an issue for someone like Sanders( for whom I will vote, despite his imitations) to herald. It’s far more radical than the high price of prescription drugs. He sticks to several issues for which there is widespread support. Remember Sanders supported the bombing of Serbia and the war in Afghanistan. HE will likely define this as an issue for experts. (It;s worth a try—he might help to publicize it.) Rand Paul is far more likely, particularly since he can’t win>

  • Dr Lawhern, Nobody here is advocating nihilism but our values are completely different from your. I can’t help but start with one of our more successful “drop-outs.” Timothy Leary himself who coined the phrase, “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” Now it is true that most of the 60s’ generation ended up conforming. Leary dropped out. He even dropped out of CIA. And he made a living for himself writing books and giving speeches. And preaching his odd ideas. Ram Das was less marginal but he also rejected the egotism of capitalism, and embraced Hinduism.
    But admittedly we are talking about individuals. But there are other such individuals–like Alex. Or the “schizophrenics” wshose true stories I tell in my books. (See website.)
    You write:”Psychiatrists are not the inventors or (despite the large egos of some of the worst of their profession) the custodians of the term “normal”. The rest of us are.” Not exactly true. Shrinks play a major role. Until 1973 professionals considered homosexuality an illness. But that years things changed. Gay psychiatrists were tired of being marginalized and said so. They lobbied for change. AS a result the APA took a vote and decided by a narrow margin homosexuality was no longer an illness!!
    Alex IS too optimistic –the competitive corporate society we live in is so obsessed with making money that the elite is doing nothing about global warming. AS a result humanity may be extinct in 50-100 years. What kind of INSANE society is THAT?? Put the normates in the loony bin and let the inmates run the asylum (i.e. society). That is the only genuine solution. Psychiatrist R D Laing suggested that in 1967. How right he was!
    Seth Farber, PhD. http://www.sethHfarber.com

  • Paula,
    I wan to defend humanbeing against the psychiatrist thelonikousmonk. It was the latter whose posts were filled with ad hominem arguments and attacks on you and Bob Whitaker. He says,”Do you know what is “normal” and what is not, and how to measure it? Shall we say all are normal and just inappropriately “labeled”? ”
    In the light of that usurpation, humanbeing statement was very appropriate. He/she
    wrote: “I wouldn’t in a million years be what is considered ‘normal’ in this society.

    What is ‘normal’ and who defines it?
    You?”

    That is not name calling. It is pointing out that psychiatrists have taken it upon themselves to define legitimacy. It is arbitrary at best. And humanbeing has an answer–not always available: drop out, don’t concede that huge power
    to the psychiatric Priesthood.
    Seth Farber, Ph.D

  • Thelonius,
    It’s not clear what your point is. You have nothing condtructive to contribute so you attack the messengers. Yu are wrong–the truth in itself can lead to great changes. Read for example Laura DElano’s story–in numerous articles here. Or my own books show how people have gotten better merely by getting off the drugs.
    It seems pointless to continue with you because you probably
    won’t work with those who need the mist. AS I fdiscovered n,any created it themselves,
    Seth Farber,Ph.D. http://www.sethHfarber.com

  • Hi Julie, I think this is a very good point often overlooked. Therapy is a business. I remember when I worked in a clinic before my position against drowning people in psychiatric drugs made me unemployable. I was scolded for telling a 21 client he was getting better (his presenting problem of depression was pretty much gone) and I reduced him to every other week. The supervising psychologist said this was irresponsible, even though it made my client feel even better. The supervisor was a Freudian and Freudians did that all the time, Tannan Dineen in her brilliant book discusses the techniques for Manufacturing Victims. There are many.

    The only alternative to this is to reorganize the economy–and the cultural premises upon which it is based. The false premise is that someone who does something is “earning her keep” even if its building bombs or putting black pot smokers in prison.

    Another premise that should be integral to therapy is the client not the therapist should be the judge on when to stop. It’s the clinics who have the interest in keeping the revenue source flowing. And that create a tendency to manufacture victims. The whole economic arrangement militates against the client’s good, the common good. This is true in almost every realm, so that income should not be entirely dependent on doing “work”–since so much work is destructive of the social good.

    So I don’t see that CBT is any worse than other modalities. The best are short term. And another premise, alluded to– there are many things therapeutic from becoming part of a group, to acquiring a pet, to falling in love. Things happen which is why passage of time is often as effective as therapy.

    But I must admit in the 1980s I found doing family therapy was a very effective modality. For all the reason mentioned. The therapist focused on the present, not the irreversible past. Therapy was intended to be short. Salvador Minuchin whom I studied with (1980s) advocated every other week for a few months, Haley’s maximum was a few weeks. And best of all there was no patient. The patient was the family.

    The most important goal was to extricate “patient” from “Identified Patient” role. This carried lasting benefits—a sense of abiding self respect. But it worked in the short term too. Minuchin did acknowledge there were dysfunctional families–but they were comprised of individuals whose strengths went unacknowledged in the pathologizing world of individual therapy in most cases.

    Minuchin became famous in the 1970s because he had a 95% cure rate with anorexics.
    For Minuchin–similar to R D. Laing–everything that happened in the family was about power. Since Susie’s parents did everything FOR her—a typical enmeshed family— not eating became her only way of asserting herself. I remember great videos of Minuchin sitting down to eat with the family and urging Susie not to eat. TYpically Minuchin would prevent the parents from assuming control over Susie as in “Susie you must eat your dinner or you will die.” Susxie was trapped in the role of ID. As soon as Minuchin normalized HER behavior and defined the parents as extremely intrusive, Susie felt free to develop more creative ways to assert herself. Then Minuchin would work on teaching Mom and Dad to do things together as husband and wife. Again the emphasis is on strengths, not “pathology” and on the present not the past. In just a few months you had “borderline personality disorders” and “narcissistic personality disorders “cured.”

    Whereas I had been taught as a psychoanalyst these was incurable. This was a revolution.. This could not last –it was not lucrative. When the drug companies were invited to take over, Susie was put on half a dozen drugs, and defined as a borderline with an eating disorder.

    Nothing can last as long as we live in a corporate dominated society. Dysfunctional therapy and the new Jim Crow and near term extinction global warming etc etc are themselves merely symptoms of capitalism which itself is a manifestation of a society based on the illusion that every person is a skin encapsulated ego. The solution here is based on a metaphysical shift in each soul. This is an issue raised by few therapist. These were the questions R D Laing raised in The Politics of Experience.
    Seth Farber, Ph.D., The Spiritual Gift of Madness: The Failure of Psychiatry and the Rise of the Mad Pride Movement

  • I just want to remind you that Szasz was a life-long member of the Libertarian Party. His mentors were von Mises and Von Hayek and American founders, so you are not talking about Michel Foucault. Although oddly Foucault thought Szasz’s work was important.
    You can find an affirmation of equality both on the right and left. Gordon Wood wrote The Radicalism of the American Revolution. The expansion of the welfare state represents a failure—a point made also by Christopher Lasch in The Revolt of the Elites. This is a long story but to pretend Szasz’s work has nothing to do with the rights and responsibilities of citizenship may be an interesting exercise but it turns Szasz into an armchair intellectual. It may pacify shrinks and academics but it is far more important to discuss what are–or were the unique potentialities of the American experiment–and its failures.
    I am not a conservative but I think John Dean (who turned in his boss,Nixon), a collaborator with Goldwater right before the latter’s death was correct to say in his recent books that conservatives in America are pseudo-conservatives. They don’t stand for any principles except greed. Anyway I agreed with Szasz it was far better to teach a man to fish, than to give him a fish.
    Szasz undersestimated the harm done to the country by the super wealthy elites–and he failed to note that these questions obsessed the mad who took their citizenship more seriously than most people. But he realized the harm done by psychiatric do-gooders. To put in in other terms Szasz realized that “the New Classs” (e.g. mental health professionals in public sector) did not serve the common good, a point even a Marxist could concede.
    Seth Farber, Ph.D.

  • I just want to remind you that Szasz was a life-long member of the Libertarian Party. His mentors were von Mises and Von Hayek and American founders, so you are not talking about Michel Foucault. Although oddly Foucault thought Szasz’s work was important.
    You can find an affirmation of equality both on the right and left. Gordon Wood wrote The Radicalism of the American Revolution. The expansion of the welfare state represents a failure—a point made also by Christopher Lasch in The Revolt of the Elites. This is a long story but to pretend Szasz’s work has nothing to do with the rights and responsibilities of citizenship may be an interesting exercise but it turns Szasz into an armchair intellectual. It may pacify shrinks and academics but it is far more important to discuss what are–or were the unique potentialities of the American experiment–and its failures.
    I am not a conservative but I think John Dean (who turned in his boss,Nixon), a collaborator with Goldwater right before the latter’s death was correct to say in his recent books that conservatives in America are pseudo-conservatives. They don’t stand for any principles except greed. Anyway I agreed with Szasz it was far better to teach a man to fish, than to give him a fish.
    Szasz undersestimated the harm done to the country by the super wealthy elites–and he failed to note that these questions obsessed the mad who took their citizenship more seriously than most people. But he realized the harm done by psychiatric do-gooders. To put in in other terms Szasz realized that the New Classs did not serve the common good, a point even a Marxist could concede.
    Seth Farber, Ph.D.

  • Trailler
    You force me to read MF’s piece again, and it bores me!. Yes I agree his intention were benign but there is no awareness of how indignant Szasz was as an American citizen at the treatment of the mad. You can find many references in Szasz but most are to the “foundering father” of our country.

    This idea to depict Szasz as an Epicurean is a fine way to take away the teeth from Szasz’s writings. Compare him to Paine or Jefferson or Madison or Lincoln–because it is obvious that is the tradition Tom identified with. And his project was to recover the basis of American Republic. Also compare him to the abolitionists. THis is why Szasz’s writing sizzle: He is an American patriot defending our tradition. His best book in the years before he died was Slavery and Psychiatry.

    Epicurus was not a fighter standing up for the rights of man. And IF MF presented Tom that way he would have been jeered not feted. He reduced Szasz to what I consider an irrelevancy and this he threatened no one b ut he makes Szasz’s project worth no more than a footnote in history at best.

    In 1991 Tom wrote a forward to my 1973 book–oddly since the book had a Laingian theme. One of my argument was the people who escaped the system
    were having spiritual death-rebirth experience that were pathologized by Psychiatry. Szasz may have disagreed but he did not even mention it in his Foreword. What was important to him was I showed how destructive the system was. He did criticize my subjects for seeking help from Psychiatry in the first place. In my opinion both Laing and Szasz made huge contribution.

    The broader perspectives: Laing was a critic of modern society. Szasz was infuriated because he was a believer in the basic principles
    of the American republic. That is why Szasz simmers with anger whereas MF’s version of Szasz puts one to sleep. The moral indignation is gone.

    Now if you see Szasz as a subversive and citizen in the tradition of abolitionists you can understand his anger. You can also come up with a more cogent explanation for why there are so few Szaszian psychiatrists. You poo-poo it, Trailler, but it is critical. Szasz was silenced, Leifer was fired. He had tenure so they paid him his check but thery would not allow him to teach medical students.Psychiatry did not want people going around calling it bogus medicine and unAmerican in the tradition of slave-owners. Had Szasz been allowed to teach–I repeat-you’d have 100s–at least– of Szaszian psychiatrists, antibodies to the Psychiatric suppression of liberty, contractual psychiatrists who refused to become servants of the state. That is why Szasz “failed” and any other explanation is just a cover-up for Psychiatry. AS to shirking responsibility of freedom–that is why I said there would be 100s of Szaszian psychiatrists, rather than the APA would have switched to a Szaszian model.
    Seth Farber, PhD. , http://www.sethHfarber.com

  • Thanks Trailler
    Basically I just wanted to point out that Szasz was censored by the academy. If you want to construe Szasz as a philosopher offering intellectual nostrums like Epicurus, that’s fine. That is not how the majority of people on this page, including me, see him. He was a psychiatric abolitionist– a fairly recent book was Slavery and Freedom. That sets the bar higher.
    But even so—and you ignore my main point to retreat again to a realm of abstractions–had SUNY not prevented Szasz from teaching and hsd Szasz’s supporters not been fired, I submit you would have 100s of Szaszian
    psychiatrists today fighting against coercive psychiatry and Michael would not be writing books comparing him unfavorably to Epicurus. He might have a different critique, but those on this page would agree the country would be better off.
    Seth

  • Hi Paula,
    Good to see you.
    ” I read them in connection with my attempts to assist eight women (only women volunteered bravely to do this) who each filed a complaint with the American Psychiatric Association’s Ethics Committee about damage done to her — or in one case, to her brother, leading to his death — that had all begun with being given DSM-IV labels.”
    This is exactly what I have found. It is still the medical model that is at the root of the problem. And as you say it has consequences for people in all areas of their life. I could give other examples. For example an elderly acquaintance in a nursing home (She’s perfectly lucid when I talk to her) who cannot get medical treatment because she is told it’s “all in her head.”
    And irony of irony the lady had great pain from arthritis that she used to alleviate with Vicodin. SNow she can’t get any narcotics to alleviate her pain because they say she’s an addict. I say it’s ironic because they force her to take neuroleptics. She lost her rent controlled apartment when she was given a guardian–and a new DSM label. I could tell you of even more ghastly cases, the woman who was blinded by her deranged violent roommate in a state hospital (Trenton Psychiatric Hospital where Joseph Cotton once reigned does not protect their non dangerous clients from criminals and NJ passed a law exempting themselves from liability) where she did not belong because she had Medicare and the schizophrenic label. Her presenting problem was “OCD.” And the labels never go away. They follow the patient like scarlet letters….. I could go on and on.
    Seth Farber, PhD., [email protected] The Spiritual Gift of Madness: The Failure of Psychiatry and the Rise of the Mad Pride Movement Inner Traditions, 2012)
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Spiritual-Gift-Madness-Psychiatry/dp/159477448X

  • Mary
    It took me 15 minutes to discover Lars Martensson died in 2009. There is very little written on him, perhaps less in English. I could not even find a single obituary. (Nothing on Wikipedia.) He wasone of the most eloquent writers on neuroleptic drugs, a pioneer—too little known here, and too little is known about him. I have no idea how old he was. I can infer over 70. That’s all.
    Seth

  • Trailller-vous,
    Of course one can’t reduce Szaszx work to one central idea. But if you look at all his books, including his more recent book Slavery and Psychiatry (2006?)it seems clear to me that the civil rights of those persons who become mental patient is a central concern of Szasz and one he argues for better than anyone else. Szasz wrote as a citizen–one who had inherited the legacy of the founders, and fought to advance and protect it.
    I was looking over Michael’s article and he says at the end that Szasz failed–a poor choice of words–because people are afraid of responsibility Erich Fromm said that all his life. This is interesting because Michael implied Szasz had a thick concept of freedom, and that it included freedom to, as well as freedom from. I agree.
    I think that was one of the weaknesses (I don’t want to say”failures”) of Szasz–unlike Fromm he never filled that in. I don’t think he ever discussed what he did with his clients, how he inspired them to embrace freedom–never includes one discussion.
    But what would success mean for Szasz?. I think Michael has defined it too high But he not completely off. It would have meant there was a large school of Szaszian psychiatrists and psychiatrists influenced by Szasz in America. (And other professionals, as a consequence.) Face it. There are almost none. Jeffrety Schaler PhD his protege is a psychologist, Ron Leifer MD was a neo-Szaszian (he is a progressive, not a libertarian but he was unable to get a job teaching and then among those who write there are about 10 professionals influenced by him. They write here and include me, David Cohen, probably Bruce Levine. Peter Breggin, MD is the only psychiatrist strongly influenced by Szasz (he was his student)–but they don’t talk to each other. MICHAEL IS RIGHT FOR THE WRONG REASONS. Szasz
    was silenced by SUNY, SYRACUSE. They would not allow him to speak publicly to med students after THe Myth of Mental Illness was published. HAD SZASZ NOT BEEN SILENCED CUNY WOULD HAVE BECOME A CENTER OF SZASZIAN THOUGHT. Hollander knew that and that is why he silenced Szasz and fired Ron Leifer and ERnest Becker. HAd Szasz not been silenced I believe there would be at least a thousand Szaszian and Szasz influenced psychiatrists today. They would be an influential minority.
    Process theology is esoteric but thanks to Claremont Institute there
    are a few thousand clergy and educators who believe in process theology.Schools of theology spread because they had a center where students went to learn, e.g., University of Chicago (Eliade), Union Theological (a range of liberal theologians often with radical political views), Princeton Theological–a center for Calvinism. (I realize the limits of the analogy but imagine thousands of med students taking Szasz’s classes at a public University! ) Michael fails to take into account that if Szasz failed it was because the establishment put a sock in his mouth and made sure his influence was restricted to those hyper- intellectuals who read his books–not medical students with a desire for another perspective. (Laing was slightly more successful since some of his students created a Laingian space at Duquesne University. I am critical of the reduction of Laing’s thought to phenomenology)
    Part of the tragedy of the mental health system stems from the fact that in the late 1970s Psychiatry willingly placed their power in the pharmaceutical companies–they changed their rules so they could accept drug money. Had Szasz not been silenced there would be a large faction fighting this, screaming when Dr Joe Biederman took millions of dollars from Johnson and Johnson to propagate a new illness: childhood(“pediatric”) bipolar disorder–and said Risperadol(made by J and J) was the best treatment.(His test was bogus.) Biederman should have gone to prison—-think of all the very active kids who are labeled bipolar and kept on drugs forever. Instead he went to teach in Florida. Harvard found him an embarrassment and fired him. As he basks on the beaches in the Florida sun I hope he thinks of the millions of kids whose lives he has ruined. If a 3 year old has a temper tantrum instead of being sent o his room, parents are taught to put her on strong drugs–Risperadol is an “anti-psychotic” and it causes diabetes, cardiovascular problems, tardive dyskinesia, and apathy. Great training for a career as a mental patient. The same kid who in 1970 would have been sent to his room.
    Michael points out that recently the British counterpart to the APA endorsed Szaszian ideas–rejected the medical model– without mentioning Szasz. This is evidence that Szasz’s ideas would have spread here among psychiatrists if he wasn’t silenced.
    Trailler writes:”The notion that the issue of psychiatrists refusing to release patients has most to do with either violence or inability of the patient to care for himself is hyper-proclaimed. What goes on most often is that psychiatrists want you to thank them or want your “friends and family” to see who’s boss, so that they will know who to call when they tire of you.” It is true that hospital psychiatrists make the decision. While the psychological factors Trailler mentions are true there is a stronger systemic factor. The patient will be kept there if there are empty beds and Medicaid will pay the bill. Then the shrinks and the staff will see danger and pathology—and money, money money.
    Seth Farber, Ph.D.
    http://www.sethHfarber.com

  • You have to translate the description of Continuity of Care from psychobabble–in American Journal of Public Health, to English to realize
    how it functions and what its goal is. (It really is necessary to do this because many people don’t know.) “The purpose of outreach and transitional residential programs is to enhance clients’ “housing readiness” by encouraging the sobriety and compliance with psychiatric treatment considered essential for successful transition to permanent housing. ” “Compliance with psychiatric treatment” means willingness to take (toxic) psychiatric drugs. The goal is conformity with the medical model and clients for the pharmaceutical companies. And “housing readiness”means subservience to the “mental health” authorities.

    Housing First is given a little money thus illustrating that a policy of tokenism is now implemented, unlike the years when Loren Mosher toiled unsuccessfully to get funding for non-drug programs after he was fired from NIMH as punishment for the success of Soteria Project. But while token programs may continue to provide necessities to the socially marginalized many more persons will be conscripted into programs where they will be forced to “comply” with “psychiatric treatment” thus expanding the market for drug companies and psychiatric drug pushers. How will those who don’t want to pay the price of tardive dsykinesia, heart attacks, strokes and diabetes etc survive? Will they be forced to choose living on the street as the alternative? It may very well be a lesser evil. It is moot whether they will live any longer in our cold wet climes, but at least they will retain their dignity, at least they will not succumb to psychiatric slavery–as Szasz put it.
    Seth Farber, Ph.D.
    http://www.sethHfarber.com

  • It’s not even predicated on “principle of recovery.” In the early 1990s the APA did a Task Force report on tardive dyskinesia. They finally bluntly acknowledged it caused TD in most long term users but they said “schizophrenia” was such a dreadful disease and the risk of decompensation without “meds” so high that patients had to learn to live with TD. Now we know this is bs, that the neuroleptics
    reduce chances of recovery and over time increase chances of hospitalization. But it doesn’t matter. The party line is psychotics have to live with diabetes, amputation, heart attacks etc because the “psychoses” are such dreadful diseases. In fact in violation of constitutional prohibition
    against cruel and unusual punishment, ” non-compliant” patients will be forced to ingest these poisons. Hail to Moloch!
    Seth Farber,Ph.D.

  • I can answer that here. Gloria has not seen an ophthalmologist who has training in restoring vision to remaining eye. Disability Rights said they would use their power to make sure Gloria was taken to a master eye surgeon\ophthalmologist.
    On this past Saturday Gloria woke up and could see!! That proved the previous eye surgeon was wrong. Her sight only lasted 10 hours/. But it is all the more reason to demand Gloria be taken to a top ophthalmologist in NJ/NY! CALL DISABILITY RIGHTS AND DEMAND THEY USE THEIR POWER SO GLORIA CAN SEE AN OPHTHALMOOGIST.
    AS for Christie, Trenton is threatening to take Gloria back there. Gloria wants to be in a group residence near Jeff–in Brooklyn or Manhattan, hopefully for visually impaired not the mental death system
    Trenton Psych is 1) dangerous and 2) It is a place for warehousing
    the “mentally ill” jut like in the 50s and 40s and before . Gloria deserves better.
    More details on Julie’s page.
    Seth Farber, Ph.D.

  • Laing popularized this idea in his most underrated and most well known book The Politics of Experience (1967). A year later Julian Silverman wrote “Shamanism and Acute Schizophrenia,” published in American Anthropologist. Anyone who has read on shamanism can’t help but see the parallels between the neophyte shaman’s initiation and psychotic “breakdown.” Mircea Eliade
    wrote before Prigogone but the point was the same. “The return to primordial chaos” makes possible a new creation. The shamanic initiation often involves the experience of having one’s body torn apart
    and then reconstituted. My first book, Madness, Heresy and the Rumor of Angels: The Revolt Against the Mental Health System provided more evidence for this argument. Oddly Szasz wrote the Foreword to my book despite its Laingian strains. (It seems for a few years after Laing premature death Tom’s feelings toward Laing had softened.) I could go on citing more and more evidence. My latest book focuses more on madness and social change, but it does discuss those who saw madness as individually regenerative–John Weir Perry, Anton Boisen etc. The same argument could be made for Douglas’ crisis–although he wasn’t labeled “schizophrenic.”.
    But most people are caught–captured– during this time of vulnerability, or put themselves in the hands of the psychiatric butchers. Thus as I wrote “yesterday’s shaman is today’s chronic schizophrenic.” Whereas a breakdown used to be a prelude to a breakthrough, and frequently still is–as people from Laing to Whitaker have shown the mental health sysatem defines any crisis as symptom of a mental illness and inducts the souls in crisis into careers (Goffman) as chronic mental patients. No one in grad school even reads Laing or chaos theory today. The patients are drugged, indoctrinated, terrified and cajoled into
    accepting the identity of the chronic mental patient. Until the psychiatric-pharmaceutical complex is destroyed, the extraordinary spiritual potential of our great spirits or of modest but keenly sensitive souls will continue to be destroyed by the “mediocre minds” (Einstein) who are certain that their impoverished vision of human possibility must be foisted on everyone as “reality.” Those who propagate this vision of reality currently have no motive to change–like the MIC, or PIC the PPIC is big business. AS Peter Breggin showed in Toxic PsychiatryPsychiatry made its deal with the Devil in the late 70s. Now it’s up to those modern shamans who escape psychiatry’s clutches to bring the system down.
    Seth Farber, Ph.D.
    http://www.sethHfarber.com

  • Sure thanks you could send this to any reporter in Philadelphia, or I’ll send it. (It contains link to TRenton Times). I’ll talk to anyone (212 560-7288)The lawyer problem is difficult because Gloria is incoherent now., They’ve driven her crazy. And she doesn’t want to sue. It would take a canny lawyer. Disability Rights says they think they have a lawyer. I’m told a D.R. lawyer would not go for blood–she’d mediate between government and Gloria. So it would take a smart lawyer to understand Gloria’s ambivalence.
    SF
    [email protected]

  • Joe, I don’t know the details but skimming those reports I get the feeling that had Gloria been more cooperative I might very well have been able to get Gloria out of there by talking to MHLS attorney which I offered to do– but she did not want me to intervene because she trusted the system, and did not want me to alienate them. It’s hard to say. Gloria lived in a group home. After the assault Jeff found out they kept her room (the brother sent her disability money over there each month–even though he had stopped talking to Gloria) for 5 months.. I don’t know if Gloria was on CEPP but the group home held on to her room for 5 months. Maybe they expected Gloria to be released in 6 months–but when they did not hear from Trenton they gave away her room. The shrinks at Trenton and the judge kept Gloria at Trenton going on 7 months. WE expected her to be released in June then in August but each time the hospital said Gloria was “too sick” to function—in a group home!!. I think it was all about money. he MHLS lawyer probably said nothing—but no one was looking over him. Would that have made a difference? So it sounds like they were violating the spirit of those agreements. They should have let her go back to group home but Trenton said she wasn’t “communicating.” She WAS taking showers. She kept to herself, talked to Jeff 5 times a day, and patiently waited for the authorities to decide her fate. Like a little lamb led to the slaughter…. I don’t know what to make of it.
    Seth

  • Hi Joe,
    Jeff doesn’t have access to a computer, nor the discipline to read all this. I wrote the article.
    I am Seth Farber, a dissident psychologist. (See above)
    Probably the editor removed my reference to Cotton after I submitted article. I am well aware of what Cotton did.
    What you say is exactly right: Gloria received the opposite of what was promised. And now we can’t even get her a lawyer.
    I do not know what you mean in the 2nd paragraph You describe “Conditional Extension Pending Placement status.” They kept Gloria in a state mental hospital for over 4 months–over 6 months. I thought they should have returned her to her group home0–she was not dangerous. Are you saying they were under an obligation to do so?. The judge authorized psychiatrists’ insistence that she needed more treatment. Gloria would not let me talk to her MHLSK lawyer because she trusted the system.
    If you want to talk to Jeff he’d be pleased to get any support., He’s at 718-338-3234
    Seth Farber, PhD
    http://www.sethHfarber.com

  • That the so-called mentally ill are incapable of intimacy was a dogma of the version of the medical model taught when I was in grad school–psychoanalysis. Those who fit into that category were a wide swathe, not only “schizophrenics” but all the personality disorders. For example borderline, narcissistic personality disorder etc. These people according the psychoanalytic narrative were injured in their early “oral” phase of life. Therefore they could never love. They were frozen in a schizoid state. R D Laing first book–The Divifrf took this awful position–a position Laing soon strongly repudiated (although not necessarily the “Laingians.”
    Besides Laing and Szasz and a few mavericks the first school to reject this perspective were the original family therapists, people like Jay Haley, Carl Whitaker, Savador Minuchin. The did not believe pathology was inside an individual. In fact the identified patient was often the most aware.
    SF

  • “There must be others – lawyers, doctors and mental health professionals, human rights activists/organisations, politicians even, people in authority, who would wish to do something to address this particular injustice.” Yes but I’m wondering if they exist in NJ.
    IT is such a right-wing state–exemplified by their fat Governor… But my goal of writing this article and going on radio (besides educating on how f-ed up the mental health system and society) is to get Gloria a lawyer.
    Now that she’s blinded she doesn’t qualify to go back to halfway house. If we don’t get her a lawyer she may very well end up back in the state mental hospital. She should not been in group home either but…
    SF
    Someone (Julie) started a FB page–Hope for Gloria.

  • Ted, Yes and the other social institutions show the same indifference.
    There may be no recourse for Gloria–as extreme as her situation is. Dennis Feld tells me he’s won cases like this. But it seems the lawyers in NJ are all mercenaries. And they don’t want to gamble on a case they might lose, a case that would require expert witnesses. Although a good lawyer could win and make money as well as doing a good deed it would be a gamble—for a number of reasons.The two main reasons are Gloria is a mental patient, and a state hospital has limited sovereign immunity.
    That would require a lawyer with a social conscience—and I don’t know if they exist in Jersey. Which means the hospital could be guilty of criminal negligence but since Gloria can’t afford to pay a lawyer she remain at mercy of Trenton Hospital in whose custody she still is. She is in rehab now but always accompanied by an orderly from Trenton.
    Seth