Monday, September 20, 2021

Comments by Steve McCrea

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  • Higher standards would be an improvement, in that fewer truly useless drugs will get to market. But it doesn’t really address the fundamental problem in psychiatry, namely that we are dealing with subjective phenomena and pretending that we can objectively “diagnose” something that has no objective reality in the physical universe. So if we say the HAM-D scores need to be a 50% decrease from baseline, there is nothing to stop investigators from diddling with the data to create the apparency that there is such an improvement. There is also the problem of “negative” studies being buried and only the “positive” studies being published. This is, of course, anti-scientific in so many ways, including the idea that a study that proves a drug ineffective is “negative.” We SHOULD be after objective evidence, not a particular “positive” outcome. But that’s just the starter. The whole system is so corrupted, it’s hard to know what can be done to fix it.

  • Honestly, the attitude is worse than the worst of the drugs! You come in and they tell you, “Well, your brain is broken, this has nothing to do with your decisions and/or experiences, and there’s nothing you can do about it except take drugs and hope they work for you.” Talk about discouraging!!!! And then to tell you that “there are no good treatments” to your permanent brain disease? If you wanted to induce suicidal thinking, that would be a good way to get there. Very disturbing to think that is how far our “mental health” system has sunk!

  • It is hard to see what ethical standards can be applied to making a totally subjective “diagnosis” based on somewhat random, subjective criteria and “clinical judgment.” I tend to agree that the truly ethical approach to such assessments would be to simply not do them, or at a minimum, make sure everyone knows that the results are utterly subjective and only as useful as the person receiving the “assessment” chooses to find it.

  • It’s not about “assessments,” it’s about conflicts of interest. Unless those doing the “assessments” are completely free from any financial conflicts of interest, there will be both conscious and unconscious efforts to slant the data toward increased profitability. It’s not realistic to expect people to be objective when their financial well being and status are tied up in a “positive” assessment.

  • I think the real point of The Emperor’s New Clothes is not that the Emperor will become enlightened, but that those in the crowd who were afraid to say what they saw were now free to make that observation, because someone spoke up and validated what they all knew. I think that’s our role here – we have to keep pointing out that there ARE no clothes to new people who feel like something is wrong but haven’t gotten to the point where they feel OK saying it out loud. People will arrive at that point at different times and different ways, but at least when they do get there, they’ll hear someone else saying, “No, you’re not crazy. They really ARE completely clueless AND dangerous, and they ARE making your life harder instead of easier!”

  • OK, good to know. The reason I ask is that I’ve seen some excellent plans and projects funded initially and have great potential, but as soon as they have to compete with “mental health services” for actual dollars, they get defunded pretty quickly. The “mental health” industry is OK with things like this operating as a fringe or “alternative” approach, but as soon as they see their own funding threatened, the gloves tend to come off!

  • “Could have been misdiagnosed?” What a ridiculous argument they make! If you STOP the drugs and you GET INSTANTLY BETTER, they OBIVOUSLY “misdiagnosed” you, because the DRUGS WERE CAUSING THE PROBLEMS! It is well known (and is on the consumer handout) that stimulants can cause mania and/or psychosis at typical, prescribed doses in children. What’s even more stupid is that anyone with the slightest background in brain biochemistry knows that stimulants increase levels of dopamine. Psychiatry’s own self-appointed gurus have long claimed that psychosis is a result of high levels of dopamine in the brain. So they “antipsychotics,” which you were no doubt prescribed, LOWER the amount of dopamine. So you were given one drug to RAISE dopamine levels, then another to REDUCE the artificially high levels caused by the stimulants. And they say you are “in remission?” The lack of responsibility is staggering! But unfortunately, not at all rare.
    This is what happens when you “diagnose” people with purely subjective criteria. Someone’s opinion becomes “your diagnosis,” and you have nothing to argue against them except for common sense. Yet, as we see here, common sense is NOT particularly common amongst the supposed “experts” in the “mental health” system. The most obvious things in the world, such as the induction of psychotic behavior by a drug that is known to induce psychotic behavior, can be completely denied despite an again obvious “recovery” immediately following withdrawal of the offending drug.

    I’m so sorry you’ve been through this. I hope you and your family have drawn the proper conclusion that these people can’t be trusted to have your best interests or even basic logic at heart, and will stay as far away from anyone who tells you “you have X disorder” as you can possibly get.

    Humans survived for hundreds of thousands of years without brain drugs. You can, too.

  • I think it’s a little presumptuous to state that they are “effective regardless of some minor unwanted side effects.” First off, they may be effective for you, but that doesn’t mean they are effective for everyone else, and it feels like it invalidates others’ experience to say otherwise. You wouldn’t want others to tell you they don’t work at all, so I think it’s fair not to tell others that they “work” as if your experience is true for everyone.

    Second, let’s not pretend that the side effects are always “minor!” There are many people on this site who have had awful “side effects,” including loss of sexual functioning, loss of feelings of pleasure, psychotic symptoms, suicidal and/or homicidal feelings, loss of appetite, and many more. Again, you are assuming that other people have experiences similar to yours, and I can assure you that this is by no means always or even most often the case.

    With all due respect, we work to be accepting of everyone’s experiences here. It would be appreciated if you would do the same.

    Additionally, I am not aware of ANY research ANYWHERE that identifies a particular “pathway” or “circuits” (or that even is able to objectively identify a physical “pathway” or “circuit” in any manner) that is associated with ANY DSM disorder. The psychiatric profession has finally disclaimed the “chemical imbalance” theory, only after decades of pressure from many quarters, including researchers themselves. The idea of “circuits” being involved is just another theoretical explanation that lacks supporting evidence. When I see research where a “pathway” in the brain is objectively defined and where some objective measurement of “flow” through the “pathway” is obtainable, I’ll start listening to talk about “pathways.” The psychiatric profession has spent decades manufacturing and falsifying and exaggerating or minimizing research to suit its own agenda. I don’t really care what “the experts” have to say, I want to see the research myself before I believe it.

    Finally, I will submit that, however well antidepressants or any other drug in question work for a particular person or group of people, the very idea that “mental illnesses” are purely physiological phenomena that will admit to a purely physiological cause in all or even most cases is, again, pure speculation, and indeed ignores obvious evidence to the contrary. If it’s all biology, why is it that immigrants and urban populations and people sexually abused as kids have much higher rates of schizophrenia diagnoses than the general population? Why is adult depression and anxiety associated at a 90% or better rate with childhood abuse and neglect? How do people get better without drugs or medical interventions at all? How did I overcome serious depression and anxiety with therapy, reading, and facing life’s challenges with support from friends and family and community? Do you wish to invalidate my experience by claiming that I “didn’t have depression, really” or that “it wasn’t that bad,” or is it that my brain chemistry somehow changed through my own thoughts and relationships and interactions with life? And if my brain chemistry can change (and there’s plenty of evidence that it can) through social experiences and alterations of thought and behavior patterns, why would you insist that drugs are the answer for everyone?

    How do you explain the actual PHYSICAL changes in the brain that happen with meditation or other processes that don’t involve any kind of physical intervention at all if it’s all biological?

    I am glad the drugs have worked for you. You are certainly not alone in saying that. But please, don’t try to talk down to people who have had different experiences. My belief is that “depression” isn’t even a legitimate category of “disorder” – people are depressed for a myriad of reasons, some physical, some psychological, some spiritual, some social. What works for one person doesn’t work for every other person. We all need to find our own paths. You have found yours – let other people find their own and explain to YOU how it is for them, instead of assuming you are in a position to tell the rest of us “what is true.”

  • Out of control children have been managed without a “diagnosis” or drugs since the beginning of human history. I think the problem is not so much one of “out of control children” as isolated parents lacking support. We were not willing to consider any kind of drug intervention for our boys, so we had to figure it out. Much as you did, we used dietary changes, good parenting skills, and a lot of patience. And we read a LOT about how to manage challenging children. They both turned out OK without a milligram of “treatment.” The one who had the most problems was the one who was NOT difficult as a young child! So you’re right, every child is different!

  • “True clinical depression” is completely subjective and indistinguishable from “mere sadness.” Not even the DSM has “criteria” for “clinical depression.” It sounds like a technical term, but it is literally meaningless in terms of any kind of research or statistical purposes, even within the sketchy confines of psychiatry’s own subjective “model” for understanding “mental illness.”

    I also don’t find it convincing that we ought to prescribe drugs “until something better comes along.” There are lots of people (including me) who find their own pathway out of feeling severely depressed. It is an error to assume that all “depressed” people have something wrong with them, or that all who DO have something wrong have the SAME thing wrong and need the same kind of help. “Depression” is a catch-all category that says absolutely nothing about what the person is depressed about or what can or should be done about it. When someone says “depression is a fake illness,” they don’t mean that depression doesn’t happen, they mean that “depression” is not a real entity that is valid for study and conclusions. It is not helpful to group all “depressed” or “clinically depressed” people into the same category when any two “depressed” people may have little to nothing in common with each other beyond how they happen to be feeling.

  • I would say that there IS a consensual psychiatric model. That model assumes that 1) there are such things as “mental illnesses” which are distinguishable from “normal” conditions. 2) these “illnesses” can be “diagnosed” by “professionals” with sufficient training. 3) there are “treatments” available for these “illnesses” that can “reduce the symptoms” of the “illnesses.” 4) These “illnesses” are essentially physiological in nature and inhere in the person experiencing them rather than in the environment/culture or in the relationship between the environment/culture and the person. 5) That these “disorders” can be described and “diagnosed” using the DSM or the ICD or some other “diagnostic system.” 6) That these are “medical” problems that need to be handled by “services” provided by “medical providers” and paid for by insurance. 7) That sometimes, these “disorders” become so unmanageable that “treatment” must be forced on unwilling participants “for their own good.”

    Admittedly, there are plenty of free-floating and irrational interpretations that are pulled out when necessary, but I’d say all of these interpretations are expected to fit into the above. As a former “mental health” professional, I can attest that violating these tenets results in hostility and in some cases even shunning by the system insiders. Not sure how “consensual” it is, but it certainly seems to be expected that people will agree to these basic tenets, and in fact, clients/patients are “diagnosed” as more serious to the degree that they deny the “validity of their diagnosis.” It’s pretty solid in my view.

  • A model is useful only to the degree that it correctly explains predicts the effects of actions we take into the future. The psychiatric model explains nothing, obscures real causes, and fails to predict even the success or failure of its own interventions. Therapy models to date similarly fail to account for observable facts nor are they able to predict the outcomes of their own interventions. I’ve got nothing against models, but they need to work!

  • The other big question that is almost always avoided is, WHAT should the endpoint be? Is a “reduction in symptoms” really the result that is wanted? Is making a person “Less depressed” a legitimate outcome? Would we not want to look at “quality of life” variables as being more important to the client?

    Plus, Irving Kirsch’s work has showed clearly that the FDA rule of submitting two positive studies out of ALL studies being done totally skews the results. How much research is never even released because it doesn’t say what the manufacturer wants it to say? How many drugs are on the market as “safe and effective” when the TOTALITY of the data says that it doesn’t really work or is far more dangerous than claimed (Viiox being a great example)?

    There is much to be answered for in the area of “scientific” research, especially when it comes to psych drugs.

  • Harrow’s study showed that “psychotic” patients with WORSE prognoses did BETTER off drugs than the people with BETTER prognoses did ON drugs. So the idea that those with “less illness” go off the drugs is a marketing scheme. It’s not true.

    I think the answer to the question is either 1) because it doesn’t work, or 2) because the “cure” is worse than the “disease.” As Hemmingway quipped, “It was a brilliant cure but we lost the patient.”

  • As I’ve stated before, the whole idea of “shared decision making” suggests that the CURRENT model is “non-shared decision making,” which equates to THE DOCTOR GETS TO DECIDE! In other words, “Shared decision making” means the DOCTOR deigns to “allow” the patient to “have a voice” in deciding what will happen to his/her OWN BODY! Something is VERY wrong with this whole idea!

  • I’m not sure the system is “broken,” I think it just has hidden objectives that most of us find abhorrent!

    I had the same experience as you back in the 70s. I had a therapist, we met once a week, we talked about my motivations and barriers to my success, we reviewed some traumatic history, I practiced new ways of thinking and acting – no drugs were considered or needed! And I never got an official “diagnosis” from my therapist, though I’m sure she had to submit one to get reimbursed. It just wasn’t important. I wasn’t considered “ill,” I was considered one of the smart ones who realized that he could make his life better. My therapist and I both agreed that it is a lot saner to seek support than to continue pretending things are OK. It was a very supportive relationship – no “stigma” involved, and no drugs needed or wanted.

  • I agree. The news and entertainment media are also a HUGE part of why “everyone believes” in chemical imbalances, while even the most cynical psychiatrists nowadays have to admit it’s kind of a crock of horseshit. The message is out there in many forms, and I think a lot of people get their “Truth” from movies and TV shows. It is a lot to battle!

  • I don’t see this so much as a dilemma. The simple expedient is to treat people who present as dangerous based only on the dangerousness of their behavior, not on any presumed “mental illness.” The truth is, one could say that any person committing a crime is on some level “crazy” because they are risking prison for some drama they want/need to act out. What is to distinguish someone who is willing to hold up a convenience store from the lady who tossed the baby out the window? The only real criterion that makes sense is to say that they did harm or threatened harm to others, and are therefore held in custody until that situation is resolved. “Mental illness” doesn’t have to enter into it at all. And even if we do decide we can “hold” someone for these subjective and legally vague and rhetorically nonsensical “illnesses,” it does not follow that they can/should be forced into “treatment” against their will. Their job is to demonstrate that they are no longer dangerous.

    Of course, help of many kinds can be offered, and people who don’t find a way to alter their circumstances might be incarcerated for some period of time, but that’s the same for any kind of criminal behavior. I’m all for completely decoupling the idea of holding someone for being “a danger to self or others” and the idea of them needing “treatment” of some kind. There is simply no way to figure out who is/isn’t “mentally ill,” let alone who will “benefit from treatment.” That being the case, it seems beyond unethical to force “treatment” on someone based on these totally subjective labels, especially when it’s entirely possible that the “treatment” you’re forcing on them may kill them before their time!

  • I have had similar epiphanies many times in my life. When “everyone knows” that something is “accepted practice” and no one ever provides another perspective, sometimes some very weird or dangerous or just plain oppressive things seem “normal” and people who don’t adapt “abnormal.” Sometimes it’s very odd looking back on it that I’d ever accepted that viewpoint, that the obvious injustice or irrationality of it did not just smack me in the head before the scales fell from my eyes!

  • I found 9.

    The others are probably “antipsychotics” like Risperdal and Seroquel that act on both the serotonin and dopamine systems. It appears that messing with serotonin is what causes the increase in suicidal thoughts/behavior in some of the people who use them. Not that this deters doctors from prescribing them by the millions, mind you. But we all knew that!

  • Again, why the “shared decision making?” I don’t SHARE decision making with my doctor or medical provider. S/he gives me information and advice and I MAKE THE DECISION. There is no sharing, it’s my call, every time. Why is this glaring violation of the rights and the self-respect of so-called “mental health consumers” not obvious to anyone looking at the situation? The very concept infantilizes the clients. And remember, we’re not talking about the client choosing to “share decision-making” with their doctor. We’re trying to convince the DOCTOR that s/he is not entitled to just do whatever the f*&k they want to the client without his/her approval. The argument is now, “Gosh, don’t you think you might CONSULT the client before YOU decide what you’re going to do to them?” This is totally ass-backwards in my world. I will never see a medical professional who thinks s/he gets to tell me what to do, and I’m glad that I have the privilege and the skills to carry out that intention. But many people don’t even see or understand what is being done here, let alone have the courage and ability, or even the legal right in many cases, to tell the doctor to go stick it where the sun don’t shine. That is not an acceptable situation!

  • Of course, I agree with you that most such people are indeed quite uncomfortable. But there appears to me to be a small but solid cadre of folks who actually are quite comfortable believing they are “helping” even when all the evidence points the other way. They are very blithe about explaining away anything that doesn’t support their viewpoint, and seem quite comfortable as long as there are enough people around them to support their viewpoint. Admittedly, there is a lot of anxiety underlying their apparent ease, and that comes up when they are challenged, but their “comfort zone” appears to be quite compatible with people being harmed “for their own good.”

  • The thing about this is, Buddhism and other spiritual approaches aren’t “treatment.” I don’t have a knee-jerk negative response to the idea of “alternatives,” but if they are “alternatives,” they should be alternatives to viewing emotional distress as “mental illness” and alternatives to pretending to provide “treatment” in the medical sense for problems that are not medical in nature.

  • The FDA is populated by people who are part of the drug industry. That’s what I meant by my comment. We need people who don’t have a financial interest in the outcome. There are plenty of scientists in other fields who know enough to evaluate the studies – they don’t have to be doctors or drug company investigators, in fact, we’d be better off if those evaluating drugs had zero attachment to the medical field or drug research at all.

  • I am sure that stuff like “neural atrophy” and other physiological phenomena both result from and contribute to what the DSM refers to as “mental illness.” I’m not familiar with the concept of neural atrophy, but it seems like it suggests that trauma causes certain kinds of neurons not to grow or to die off. This would not be at all surprising. There is also literal brain damage that comes from taking neuroleptics or other “psychoactive drugs” like stimulants or “antidepressants.” There are also real diseases like an underactive thyroid or Lyme disease or other conditions that directly affect people’s mental/emotional functioning. And of course, the fact that one has a chronic or terminal disease going on affects one’s psychological well being as well. So it’s very complicated. I don’t think a person severely traumatized in childhood can ever get to a point where their childhood traumatization is not relevant or impactful in their lives, probably on a physiological as well as a psychological/spiritual level. We know that traumatized people are more likely to contract or develop physiological ills, even controlling for ineffectual pseudo-medical interventions by psychiatrists and their subordinates. So there is a physiological effect of trauma, and there is a psychological effect of physical illness. It’s all interconnected, and we’re better off just focusing on individual situations and what works for a particular person rather than trying to generalize about “illnesses” that are not objectively discernible.

  • I have never said that there is no biological contribution to what is called “mental illness.” I am only opposed to ASSUMING that any one “mental illness” as defined by the DSM is CAUSED by “bad biology.” I’m not even saying that SOME cases of what is called “mental illness” are NOT caused by “bad biology.” My main point is that something defined entirely by a list of social/emotional/behavioral indicators is VERY UNLIKELY to have a biological cause in all or even most cases.

    I hope you see the difference between a biological CAUSE that is consistent for all cases vs. a biological ASPECT that is present in some of the cases, which may or may not be causal. There are biological similarities between people who are feeling aggressive, as an example – elevated cortisol levels, for instance. But that doesn’t mean that elevated cortisol levels CAUSED the person to behave aggressively. It could be a cause, an effect, or simply a correlate of the body’s preparedness for fighting. It is biological, but “aggression” is not an “illness” caused by high cortisol levels.

    Does that make more sense?

  • I agree 100%. If a plumber promised to fix your leaky pipe, then ended up flooding your basement, and “fixed” that by burning down your house, they would owe you the cost of replacing everything they ruined, plus additional for the inconvenience and emotional turmoil you experienced as a result. Why would this NOT apply to psychiatrists? If you are paying them to improve your “mental health,” and it observably gets worse, and your physical health deteriorates as well due to their “treatments,” at what point are they responsible for damages? Seems like simple breach of contract to me for starters, with aggravating factors involved with worsening instead of improving your condition. I guess normal rules of contract don’t apply to psychiatrists?


    I enjoy the exchange of views, and I do think political parties have some bearing on decisions to enforce “treatment” on people just because they happen to be homeless. I do want to make sure this doesn’t shift off onto a philosophical argument about which political party is “better.” Let’s keep focused on the issue of the article, planning to “force homeless into ‘treatment.'”

  • You’re right, of course. Psychiatry has not failed, it has succeeded admirably. People are just confused as to its aims. If it were designed to help people be more effective in managing their lives, it would be a failure. But if the purpose is to deflect attention from the real issues and blame the victims of abuse and oppression for their adverse reactions, meanwhile making boatloads of money, it has been an unqualified success.

  • I loved this article! It really gets to the heart of these eugenic, racial superiority themes, which have been around for centuries, probably millennia. It’s a bit shocking even to me how the exact same language is used today that was used 1-200 years ago. It goes to show that the real problem with psychiatry, and our society at large, isn’t a failure of honest people to understand the issues, the real problem is certain people believing they are superior to other people and looking for “science” to justify their continuing acts of oppression.

  • I can see that. Self-desensitization seems like it’s very possible. But if someone is going to try and help someone else, listening is the starting point. I agree 100% that there is no special advantage to using “EMDR” or other “specialized” procedures. There are some tricks or techniques that can be used to help someone feel safe to share, but the basic is not trying to tell the other person what to do or think, but instead listening to their story. I’ve certainly seen writing, art, music, pets, etc. serve an equally valuable role to a “therapist,” or to a listening and caring friend. Whatever works is what works, and therapists have no corner on the market of “helpfulness.”

  • It is a certainty that the action of Benzos is very, very similar to the action of alcohol on the brain. Both affect primarily the GABA system, and benzos have long been used as a controlled way to withdraw alcoholics from alcohol dependence without bringing on possible deadly withdrawal effects. I am quite certain it would work the other way if it were tried. So taking benzos is very similar to drinking. The only big difference is dosage control, and of course, lots of people increase their benzo dosage beyond what is prescribed. They are sold as street drugs, too. The one time I served on a jury, the defense tried to get his client off of a DUII by pointing out that he was taking Valium and that the effects were almost indistinguishable from alcohol. They are very close to being mimics of each other.

  • Not sure what you’re saying here. What is there “more” than the fact that the therapist is listening non-judgmentally and interestedly? I know there are a few techniques tossed in there, such as the concept that if a trauma doesn’t lift, there is an earlier one of a similar nature that needs to be examined. But I’m saying the eye movement or tapping or whatever seems extraneous. Are you saying that “tapping” and that sort of thing was a staple of folk wisdom for a long time? I’d be very interested to hear what you have to share on that point.

  • The best plan, I think, is generally to refuse them politely. Remind them that you have a right to refuse medical treatment, and you’re choosing to decline. This would only be a problem if you are already on their “radar” as a “crazy person” (oops, I mean “Person suffering from mental illness!”), in which case, I think a very careful lying strategy would probably be safest. “Have you had difficulty sleeping?” “No, not at all. Sleeping great!” Etc. If you read up on the so-called “symptoms” of what they’re screening you for, it’s pretty easy to stay ahead of them.

  • You are talking individuals vs. societies. Societies can agree on pretty distorted things without needing the “leadership” of a sociopathic person. You have a very rose-colored view of society if you think that simply removing bad players will suddenly make people bright and perceptive and assertive and planful. Doesn’t Dianetics suggest that people have to deal with their own traumatic pasts before they can become rational? Do you really think everyone will suddenly become rational just because intentional oppression by individuals is removed? With respect, I don’t. People working as groups is a totally different thing than individuals getting out from under oppressive control of other individuals. At least, that’s my take on it. Surely, the concept of mis-education and distorted belief systems in the minds of people of good will is real and meaningful to you?

  • Here’s the thing, though. Even if we eliminate the psychopathic types from our society, they have created ways of doing business that require sociopathic behavior in order to succeed. For instance, we could eliminate all the sociopaths from the field of psychiatry, but we have millions and millions of people who still believe that these “diagnoses” and “treatments” make sense, and these people will continue to pound this false data into those they train, and very little will change.

    The sociopathic types prevent positive change, so eliminating or restricting their reach makes positive change more possible. But there needs to be a concerted effort by the pro-socially-oriented people to create systems that don’t reward sociopathic behavior.

    Just as an example, I’ve always thought that “reading groups” were a horrible way to teach kids to read. It requires them to “sound out” words they don’t understand, and to pronounce words correctly that they have never said out loud before. There is little to no emphasis on actually understanding the passage being read, and those who decline to read out loud are shamed for it. I could go on.

    But those who apply “reading groups” believe wholeheartedly that it is a viable approach! They would be upset if someone told them differently. “It’s how we’ve always done it.” “How would they learn to read otherwise? How would we KNOW they were learning?” It doesn’t require a sociopath to continue this process, because everyone believes it’s necessary without really thinking about it. So there is a massive re-education and re-creation that would need to happen if we wanted reading instruction to improve. It’s true, this process would be much easier without the destructive people who are interested in control and punishment rather than education. But the system they are implementing continues to be oppressive, even if none of the teachers are personally sociopathic in the least.

    This same thinking can be applied to any system you’d like to think of. There are expectations, rewards, penalties, restrictions, processes, agreements, etc. that determine how the particular activity will be conducted. These systems have a “life of their own” in a sense – a complete turnover of staff can occur without the business/agency culture changing in any significant way. That’s what I’m talking about. Some people like to destroy stuff and people, and will try to twist whatever system that exists to their nefarious purposes. But that’s not the whole story. People need to learn how to communicate and work together as a group to improve or retool or trash the group agreements that exist but don’t really work very well, or to create new agreements. This takes a lot more than just getting rid of the bad players, IMHO.

  • I will choose to take your words as honest and not intended to hurt. But they do hurt. I think it best we abandon this discussion. It appears that we are unable to understand each others’ words, which is OK. But I can never agree to “keep women’s stuff” out of it when in my view it has been built in from the start. Obviously, you are unable to see what I am looking at, and that’s OK. But let’s not take it personally that we disagree on these points.

  • I can’t agree with your conclusions from this data. The fact that women are more likely to go into psychiatry does not mean psychiatry does not discriminate against women. This is where the individual vs. group viewpoint comes into play. The women as individuals are most definitely women, but they are buying into and implementing a model which at its core is discriminatory towards women. They are participating in an oppressive SYSTEM, regardless of their individual orientation, and after being trained in this system and surrounded by this system and criticized and sometimes attacked when they stray from the expectations of the system, they eventually quit or comply with the system. And if the system is based on assumptions that are sexist or racist or whatever, that person, regardless of sex or race or whatever, will enforce these norms and internalize them without even noticing that they exist.

    Let’s take the example of “Borderline Personality Disorder.” The description of this label generally encompasses typical reactions of a person who has been abused and/or neglected intermittently from early life onwards. They are describe as having difficulty trusting people, having volatile emotions, using indirect (“manipulative”) approaches to get their needs met, having a hard time maintaining relationships, anxious, distractible, etc. I worked for years with foster children, and a large number of kids fit these descriptions. So what does the system say to DO with that person? Whether male or female, younger or older, black or white, feminist or not, the system says you DIAGNOSE this person and then you TREAT them. The person is identified as having a “dysfunction” and the fact that they have been abused/neglected, placed in foster care, moved around, separated from siblings and extended family, currently in an overcrowded foster placement lacking in affection, had their schooling interrupted and had to move repeatedly and lost friends and support people every time, is of no actual interest or consequence. Since a third of women are sexually molested or sexually assaulted in their lifetimes, and a quarter experience physical abuse from a domestic or dating partner, not to mention the myriad day to day abuses and “microagressions” women have to put up with, ignoring these experiences is highly invalidating and destructive to any effort to actually be of assistance to people who get these labels. In fact, having been labeled “borderline” opens them up to an entirely new brand of oppression, with of I am confident you are quite aware.

    The fact that your psychiatrist happens to be female has absolutely zero effect on this process. They are trained just the same as their male counterparts, and generally believe that “Borderline personality disorder” is a real thing that can be “diagnosed,” and that this person needs “treatment,” normally in the form of drugs and some kind of other-directed “therapy” like DBT. The person that abused her is considered “normal” and never gets identified, let alone “treated.”

    So the SYSTEM is discriminating against women, whether or not the practitioner is female. Unless the practitioner him/herself becomes aware of the anti-female, anti-abuse-victim mentality built into every aspect of the system of “diagnosis” and “treatment,” the practitioner will continue to perpetuate this mentality, regardless of the sex of the practitioner. That’s how systemic bias work. It transcends the intentions and experiences of the individual.

  • I appreciate the clarification, and I do understand what you’re saying – in the end, it is not helpful to identify as “oppressed” and to blame “oppressors” for your condition. What I am concerned about is not an individual’s attitude, but a recognition that oppression is a very real thing that actually happens to people, regardless of what attitude they assume. It’s a delicate balance, but oppression really does exist and needs to be called out for what it is. Otherwise, saying “don’t view yourself as oppressed” becomes another form of oppression – we are not only told how to identify, but we are blamed for not having a “positive attitude” and told our reactions to the very real oppressions that have and continue to occur to us are the problem, rather than recognizing and attacking the oppressive attitudes in those doing the oppressing! It does not help anyone to be told that you are “inviting oppression” by identifying that women, dark skinned people, or psychiatric “patients” are being victimized by those in power. As much as I believe in empowering people to take charge of their lives, the real story of how we got where we are and what forces are arrayed against us needs to be told. I don’t see it as “identifying as oppressed” to say, “Men are allowed to get away with a lot of shit in this society that women can’t.” It’s just plain facing reality.

  • I agree 100%. I was using the most concrete and unrefutable examples. I have worked with domestic abuse victims for decades and it is very clear that men and women doing exactly the same thing gets a very different response. There are way too many examples to cite here.

    In fact, one of the huge and appropriate criticisms of psychiatry comes from feminist writers in the 70s and later on. (Probably earlier, too, but I just haven’t read them yet.) They point out that many manifestations of surviving abuse at the hands of men, often sexual partners or husbands, are treated as “mental illnesses” by the very male-centric system. I’d suggest that anyone who wants to get rid of psychiatry needs to be aware of the deep and fundamental connections between psychiatry and the intentional oppression of women who speak up and try to have power in our society.

  • Hi, Rebel,

    Are you staying that you DON’T think men as a class have oppressed women throughout history, and continue to do so? I’m not talking about individual men, though many individuals do act oppressively. But do you realize that it was legal for a man to rape his wife until very recently? That there was very little legal protection for a woman being beaten prior to the 1970s? That women could not vote until 1920? These are very obvious manifestations. When one looks at more subtle forms of oppression, they are rampant, even today. Let’s look at the question of sexual activity. What do you call a woman who chooses to sleep with multiple men? Slut, whore, bitch, tramp, hooker. What do you call a man who sleeps with multiple women? Stud, player, ladies’ man, heartthrob. There are no negative words for men who sleep around. There are no positive words for women who sleep around. Why does that happen? Why are women shamed for being sexual beings, while men are applauded for it?

    I could go on. There is real oppression out there. Enslavement of black people isn’t just a consideration. They were literally slaves, bought and sold human beings. I find it very hard to understand how this can not be obvious to anyone living on this planet. Women have been oppressed as a class by men as a class. It’s just a fact of life. Are you saying women should just have had a better attitude toward being treated as second class citizens (or non-citizens, as I said before, since they were not even allowed to vote)? If psychiatry is oppressive and its “patients” are targets of that oppression, why wouldn’t the same apply to other groups?

  • I’m not arguing against 1) or 2). I’m saying that Carrie Nation and Jane Addams and Emma Goldman and Emmeline Pankhurst and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were not all stooges of the Rockefellers. Like I said, attempts to coopt such movements are very common, but it seems obvious to me that such a movement is a natural outgrowth of oppression. It is exceedingly unlikely that those in control would undermine their own control by creating more rights for those they have a natural interest in continuing to oppress. It also makes zero sense that the Rockefellers would free people in order to enslave them. Why not just keep them enslaved? Though it DOES make sense that they might want to claim responsibility for something they had nothing to do with, something our “antisocial” types very typically love to do. Just because a Rockefeller said it doesn’t make it true!

  • I am not arguing the merits of the women’s movement, which is a much bigger topic than I can cover here. I’m simply saying that it is diminishing to the women who sacrificed their reputations and in some cases their lives to get the right to vote and many other rights as listed above, and more, to suggest that they were somehow dupes of some other forces. Women are certainly not monolithic, and I did not even vaguely suggest that in my comments. I dispute the idea that women were not the progenitors of their own movement toward freedom and civil rights. It seems nonsensical to me.

  • It seems utterly confusing to me why you would not credit women with starting and maintaining an effort to strengthen women’s rights, or darker skinned people with starting and maintaining an effort to strengthen the rights of the darker-skinned population. It’s not just “conventional wisdom,” it is plain old logic. Whether other less savory individuals or groups may have done their best to coopt such movements is an entirely different question, but I think it’s pretty insulting to women to suggest that the monumental struggle to get the right to vote, to be protected from rape and violence, to raise their children, to be able to be employed and paid as men are, to be able to dress as they wish (I just read an article how two lady motorcyclists in the 1910s were repeatedly ARRESTED as the crossed the USA for wearing pants!), to use birth control, and on and on, is the result of some sort of manipulation and control by antisocial personalities. Are we then to conclude that absent such provocation, women would have been happy with their lots as second class citizens (or actually, non-citizens who could not even vote) and never gotten together as a group to try and make things better for themselves and society as a whole?

  • Ah, but where does the “antisocial personality” come from? Personalities are not completely fixed, in my view. They are affected by experience! Suppose one could RID society of most of the antisocial types, by handling their fears and historical trauma, while containing those who were simply unable/unwilling to behave in a social manner? Or do you think people are just born antisocial, nothing they or anyone can do about it?

  • I agree. A truly culturally aware approach would START by trying to learn from the culture we are encountering, and being humble enough to understand that they have much to teach us. The “schizophrenia” recovery rate is 10 times better in the “developing” world. Our “thought leaders” have tried their best to explain this away, instead of finding out what they’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong. That’s the real problem. However gently it is framed, we Westerners believe our culture is superior and that these “primitive” people need to learn how to do it our way.

  • Humans make decisions. They have values, priorities, fears, desires, etc. Most of the ills of society come from humans making destructive decisions due to their lack of perspective or courage or their fears or desires to dominate others. The problem with psychiatry is that they don’t recognize this fact and instead try to pretend that these ills are the result of “bad brain chemistry,” as if people will suddenly all cooperate and be productive and stop hurting each other if only their serotonin levels were fixed! Psychiatry is about forced invalidation of reality, and about blaming people’s brains instead of helping them learn how to live better.

    Removing psychiatry will not stop people from being violent, racist, abusive or neglectful to their children or other charges, thoughtless, sexist, or otherwise obnoxious. It WILL stop psychiatrists and Big Pharma from making money off pretending that they have “treatments” for these social ills. It WILL stop people being incarcerated and “treated” against their will based on these pretenses.

    Improving society as a whole will depend on a lot of people working together. Eliminating psychiatry will be a positive step, but there is a lot more that we need to face up to before we have a functioning society. That’s my view.

  • Is it not possible that a headache is a part of the traumatic experience chain being examined? I have found that I and others I’m working with will have a pain that comes up when thinking about a certain event, which usually resolves upon relating what happened in its entirety, sometimes several times before I get it all resolved.

  • Oh, believe me, I agree with your observation! I have to fight to have “informed consent” many times when I see any kind of mainstream medical practitioner. I avoid MD’s like the plague for that very reason! And when I am forced by circumstances to talk to one, I start them off with a preamble that I am going to listen to their advice and make my own decisions, and if that’s a problem for them, let me know right now and I’ll find another practitioner. I rarely have to do so, but I have. You have to be an advocate any time you go see an allopathic physician. Some of the younger ones seem a little better, but I assume they’re going to be arrogant and self-absorbed until proven otherwise.


    I am getting concerned that this conversation is getting off topic and entering into one of those areas where people have strong emotions and where finding agreement is very difficult. This thread is about EMDR and should remain about EMDR. We do often allow conversations to wander off into other areas, as long as it is a productive discussion where people are learning and explaining thing to each other. When it degenerates into trading positions and making generalized statements without actual information or experience to share, that’s going too far. I know different people have had very different experiences with CCHR and the Church of Scientology, but this is really not the place to have that argument. I want to respect different people’s experiences, but I expect all of us to respect each others’ experiences as well. So I am not going to allow this to degenerate into a sparring match about the merits of a particular group or organization. I would ask you to keep to your personal experiences and respect and understand that others may have had different experiences.

    I hope I’m being clear. Comments need to be productive, or they will be moderated as “off topic.”

    Let’s get back to talking about EMDR!


  • You know, that’s a great point I never thought of! If someone is a client of a doctor or other professional, the doctor works for THEM! There is no “shared decision making,” the decisions are made BY THE CLIENT! And the interesting part is that the alternative to “shared decision making” is cutting the client out of the loop entirely! We’re supposed to be excited by the prospect that the PROFESSIONAL will deign to “share” decision making with the client. Whereas the CLIENT should be the one deciding whether s/he wants to follow the advice of the “professional” in every case.