Sunday, February 25, 2018

Comments by Steve Spiegel

Showing 100 of 327 comments. Show all.

  • I understand the history of psychiatry; it is the “medicalized model” of “problems with living.” I contend that the term “medical model” falsely implies medical (biological) legitimacy. In contrast, I consider the “disease model” to imply that psychiatry is describing a medical problem but that other options (like wellness) exist. Hence, “medical model” and “disease model” are not the same thing.

  • The “Medical Model” did originate with people who were critical of “Biological Psychiatry” and its form of “treatment,” but it has the opposite affect. “Biological Psychiatry” is a redundancy (since psychiatry is currently an accredited medical, biological science) that is intended to promote biological legitimacy for psychiatry. “Biological Psychiatry” replaced Freudian Psychiatry to significantly expand the range of non-medical problems that psychiatry addresses, but both forms of psychiatry seek medical (biological) science legitimacy for treating non-medical problems. Psychiatry promotes a “Disease Model” of non-medical problems; the term “Medical Model” erroneously implies that their BS has anything to do with real medical (biological) science.

  • Unfortunately, I agree. I usually describe “problems with living” as “emotional suffering” but that also tends to lack the proper connotation of severity; I described anxiety and depression as “painful” because that is more accurate. Emotional suffering is painful and extreme emotional suffering is constantly as painful as a police taser (and can thereby nullify a taser’s intended affect). The popular paradigm controls the vocabulary so challenging it can cause vocabulary problems.

    Best wishes, Steve

  • I disagree with a couple assumptions made in this article. First, I consider the “medical model” to be a misnomer; it gives credibility to the “disease model” of natural problems with living. The “medical model” falsely implies that psychiatry has any medical (biological) legitimacy. Second, I disagree with describing problems with living as “dysfunctional states.” Emotional suffering (and other natural problems with living) may be undesirable and may appear dysfunctional within our cultural paradigm, but that does not make them dysfunctional. A “dysfunctional state” implies a “mental disorder” which implies “dysfunctional biology.” Distressful experiences naturally cause painful anxiety and depressing experiences naturally cause painful depression; these experiences can be debilitating and unpleasant to witness, but they are not dysfunctional.

  • “But somehow, if you are a ‘neurological … minority’, you aren’t entitled to acceptance and accommodation, only ostracism and coercion. It’s not at all surprising that such institutionalized bullying drives people to seek death — often a better alternative than ‘treatment.’” This statement addresses my disagreement with your article. I do not believe that you are part of a “neurological minority;” we are all part of a common humanity that seeks acceptance. I understand “neurological minority” to be a positive spin on “mental ill” rather than an understanding that “mental illness” is a myth and that injustice (institutional bullying) naturally causes painful emotional suffering. I believe that injustice and the pseudoscience of psychiatry are to blame for your motivation to end your life; I hope you will instead choose to continue to advocate for social justice.

  • Thank you (and Steve) for your community service in supporting the disenfranchised. I believe that there is widespread corruption throughout mainstream “mental health” care because it defers its most fundamental understanding of “mental health” to psychiatry and psychiatry lacks legitimacy. Psychiatry pathologizes sadness (emotional pain) and other natural problems with living (behaviors considered “socially unacceptable” but not criminal); “mental illness” is a myth. I am not an Antipsychiatrist because psychiatrists are corrupt, over-prescribe drugs, and make mistakes; I am an Antipsychiatrist because “mental illness” is a harmful hoax.

  • For someone suffering emotionally, a “placebo” is hope for relief; hope is a powerful force that promotes solutions to real problems with living. For someone suffering emotionally, a “nocebo” is hopelessness for relief; hopelessness is a powerful force that hinders solving real problems in life. Neither drugs nor mechanical implants can solve real problems in life; they hinder solutions and are often powerful nocebos that can promote suicide.

  • Richard, I do not believe that there are any “necessary political alliances needed to accomplish this goal.” It would be nice if a maligned group wanted to ally with us but I do not envision that as a possibility. Political groups align with each other to advance their own causes- not because they feel a philosophical alignment. Since the stigma of a “mental illness” is worse than most others, few political groups gain any advantage by aligning with us.

    Single-issue political groups that center on human rights or disability rights seem like our only true allies. I concur with most of your criticism of psychiatry but I do not consider it representative of a political group. Regardless, I believe that you underestimate the power (and number) of those maligned by psychiatry to avenge their abuse when they become fully aware of the nature of the hoax and reach a “critical mass.”

  • I understand Richard to say that the definition of “scientism” has two different (almost opposite) meanings and that its use to discredit science is now more common than its use to discredit pseudoscience. However, I do not want to concede the definition of “scientism” to the “establishment;” it is important to have a term that describes pseudoscientific overreach. Psychiatry is my definition of “scientism!”

  • This is a great article and a valuable community service; thank you.

    I believe that psychiatry is plagued with scientism because it is seeking the impossible; scientific legitimacy. Psychiatry seeks legitimacy as a medical science that addresses nonexistent biological (medical) malfunctioning in the minds/brains of people who experience natural emotional suffering (or other natural problem with living). Psychiatry is pseudoscience by definition; a medical (biological) science cannot address a philosophy of “mind.” Neurology is the medical science that addresses medical problems with behavior; psychiatry is “medical” pseudoscience that pathologizes natural emotional suffering (and other natural problems with living).

  • I am an Antipsychiatrist because I believe that “mental illness” is a myth promoted by psychiatry; consistently, DSM definitions of “mental disorders” generally describe natural emotional suffering (or other natural problems with living). I accept the World Health Organization definition of “mental health” as “emotional well-being” but assume that emotions are natural while the WHO considers them diseases (without any biological support).

    I am dancing a fine line with definitions. “Mental health” generally connotes something physical; in contrast, I use the term as a social judgment about the relative desirability of different emotions (and behaviors). I believe that everyone has the right to “mental health” (positive emotions). I also believe that human rights promote “emotional health” (“mental health”) and that human rights violations predominately cause “poor ‘mental health’” (emotional suffering and other natural problems with living). Consistently, I agree with MHE about the right to “mental health” (“emotional well-being”) free of human rights abuses, and support your efforts.

    However, I do not understand how “mental health” can be promoted while simultaneously accepting the legitimacy of psychiatry- a “medical science” that assumes that emotional suffering (or other natural problem with living) is instead a disease.

  • I respectfully disagree with your implication that psychiatry represents biology. Neurology represents biology while psychiatry is fundamentally pseudoscience; a biology of “mind” is pseudoscience by definition. Consistently, no DSM diagnosis will ever have a biological basis because mental distress is human biology (the natural reaction to distressful experiences)- not a disease. Our culture supports “hard science” over “soft science;” any implication of psychiatric credibility as real biology is a disservice to the disenfranchised.

  • I am an antipsychiatrist because I consider mental distress to be natural emotional suffering or other natural problem with living. Psychiatry implies that mental distress is a medical problem by virtue of it being a medical specialty; this worsens natural problems with living by ignoring real causation (and drugging real emotions).

  • I believe that Szasz was an “Antipsychiatrist” (common usage of the term) because he believed that “mental illness” was a myth. Szasz abhorred the term because he was an anti-authoritarian and supported any “contractual” relationship between adults (including one whereby a “psychiatrist” preaches mumbo jumbo).

  • “The researchers attempted to control for a number of alternative explanations, which makes their case much stronger” but did not control for the obvious explanation. It seems unbelievable that they failed to consider that growing up with parents considered “clinically depressed” is distressful (naturally causes increased emotional problems). It is not fair to children to have so many negative (depressing) messages directed at their parents; it causes inter-generational problems.

  • Well said, especially about “The unwillingness of the psychiatric profession to admit that such abuse is common and harmful, and is responsible for much of what is called “mental illness.” This is an important point; psychiatry promotes an erroneous, skewed concept of the general level of civility of our culture that denies the reality of the distressful experiences of the disenfranchised.

  • Thank you for this article; I agree that Freud advances great psychology theory especially with exposing repressed traumas. However, I understood Freud to advocate that psychosis is a medical problem (the “purview” of psychiatry) unlike neuroses (most mental distress that he considered symptomatic of natural problems with living). Moreover, it is difficult to consider Freud to be an Antipsychiatrist while his followers consider Freudian theory to be psychiatry.

  • I totally agree with your criticism of this article (together with Steve); however, I am slightly less supportive of your criticism of Rossa. I agree that Rossa over-hypes the value of nutrition based on the placebo effect, but I also believe that physical health has critical value in promoting “mental health” (emotional well-being) . Emotional crises are often exasperated by biological problems with sleep (and worsened when people get sucked into the “system” while seeking sleep medication), nutritional deficits (“garbage in, garbage out”), and environmental allergens and toxins (the “mad” hatter). Consistently, better nutrition, regular sleep, reduced environmental toxins and regular exercise are biologically helpful in promoting “mental health.” It is the placebo effect supports the erroneous belief that exercise alone or improved nutrition alone can reverse the effects of distressful life circumstances.

  • Psychoanalysis is extremely valuable therapy but it is not a medical intervention. I consider psychoanalysis invaluable “psychology theory” but harmful “medical theory” because I believe psychiatry pathologizes natural problems with living (including emotional suffering). Unfortunately, the value of psychoanalysis is rapidly becoming “forgotten knowledge” as Freudian psychiatrists retire and psychiatry seeks legitimacy through a stronger connection to medical science. Nevertheless, Freudian psychiatrists could offer valuable healing services to the community by promoting psychoanalysis through creating a new field: “Therapists with a Medical Degree.” As noted by Richard, dissident psychiatrists could also address the drug epidemic that was promoted by mainstream medical science.

  • I contend that this article is biological, medical science until it switches to philosophy: “However, there are some situations that we universally think of as brain diseases that do not have characteristic and distinguishing bodily features. Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is one of these.” This statement describes our cultural ageism and a universal lack of empathy for the emotional suffering of the elderly. I agree with Szasz and do not understand how “Alzheimer’s disease” can prove him wrong.

  • I agree… but the value of science is that it is based on “scientific methodology” that is structured to reduce the confirmation bias; this includes the demand for transparency. I greatly appreciate this article for calling bullshit on what is currently passing for the scientific method in “mental health” care and for proposals to correct the pseudoscience.

  • It seems basic to our humanity that physical health (especially nutrition) directly affects brain health and that “brain health” directly affects “mental health.” However, after basic physical needs are met, it is far more human to advocate that distressful experiences cause emotional suffering rather than maintain a singular focus on physical health (either nutrition or exercise) and ignore the social experiences of the disenfranchised.

  • Thank you for this article; these are startling statistics that deserve proper attention.

    The fact that white American “mental health” is dramatically worse than others is a critical point for Psychiatry to address; why are they silent on this issue? Psychiatry proposes that “mental health” problems are medical (biological); why are white psychiatrists not primarily investigating (or apparently even concerned) about their own biological (or genetic) failings?

    These statistics prove “mental health” problems are not biological (or support an extreme anti-white prejudice).

  • “These questions would heal. They would bring us back together with the truth…” is an extremely articulate description of causation for most “mental health” problems. Psychiatry is currently deemed a medical science and thereby advocates that “mental health” problems are medical problems rather than social problems; this obscures the truth and thereby worsens “mental health” problems.

  • Science has lost its way: anything can now pass. Parsimony is the most basic principle of science: fewer assumptions make better science. Hence, the most basic principle of the philosophy of science is falsifiablility: a science theory must identify its assumptions by explaining how to disprove itself. This “science” makes so many assumptions that it is pure philosophy; prestigious science journals now let any philosophy pass for science.

  • I believe that the biopsychosocial model is standard psychology (economic and political issues are included); my problem is with what passes for biology and neuroscience. Psychiatry’s neuroscience contradicts the most fundamental principle of every science that informs it (biology, physiology, natural science and general science); it also contradicts the most basic principle of the philosophy of science.

  • Thank you for your response and again for your community service. Perhaps it is me that is misunderstanding “labels;” somehow I understood you to consider yourself a “Critical Psychiatrist.” I understand Critical Psychiatry to criticize the practice of psychiatry but support its legitimacy in addressing “madness.” I am an “Antipsychiatrist” because I am more critical of the harm caused by the illegitimacy of psychiatry in addressing natural problems with living than the resulting harmful practices.

  • Thank you for all of your community service in support of the disenfranchised; however, not so much in this post. I contend that psychiatry is a (harmful) philosophy that masquerades as a medical science and that it is illogical to defend psychiatry (or any medical science) based on philosophy. Wittgenstein implicitly rejects psychiatry and other “real” medical sciences when challenging “physicalism” because physicalism is the foundation of medical science. You explain how the DSM categorizes social welfare problems, but thereafter you continue to assume that they are somehow medical problems anyway (the subject of psychiatry). It is difficult for cultural leaders to imagine the natural emotional suffering (pain) of the disenfranchised; they have different experiences. However, tagging social welfare problems as medical problems is staggeringly oppressive for the disenfranchised; it promotes suicide. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive (C.S. Lewis).”

  • “The question becomes why, if both mental ‘illnesses’ and physical illnesses are equivalent, only the ‘mental’ ones justify force.” Your answer (and Szasz’ answer) has a great deal of truth to it (psychiatry plays a major role of social control) but it is not the most understandable answer. “Mental illnesses” are believed to cause a lack of “normal, healthy” judgment; thus, society (led by psychiatry) protects patients (and society) from themselves. This is consistent with the “insanity” defense against criminal prosecution and how we portend to treat children. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive (C.S. Lewis).”

  • Thank you for your in-depth scientific analysis; I always appreciate truth.

    The power of placebos and especially nocebos is greatly underestimated/misunderstood.

    Moreover, all studies shorter than 5-10 years are predicated on the assumption that depression is a disease. Otherwise, it would be assumed that any study shorter than 5 years would be unable to assess whether outcomes were due to the effects of the drugs or a reduction of depression. Light doses of morphine can outperform “antidepressants” during most trial periods but will worsen depression significantly over time.

  • Well said; I always appreciate your comments.

    I believe that the only way to undermine the DSM (psychiatry) without “running afoul of the worship of ‘medical science'” is to challenge its legitimacy as a medical science. A medical science is (by definition) a biological science and a biological science that addresses a philosophy of “mind” is pseudoscience by definition. I believe that our greatest allies are medical students who “bash” psychiatry as “not a real medical science;” they have credibility. Medical students will defend the integrity of medical science (before they become more vested in its defense); students are more reverent of the truth. I am planning to take my protest against psychiatry to the local medical school and protest near the student union.

    Best wishes, Steve

  • Nothing has changed. “The emerging view is that the more overt psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia…often reflect underlying issues and conflicts in the lives of the sufferers. Most mental health experts today reject classical Freudian explanations for mental illness, such as repressed sexuality or a domineering mother or father.” I rarely defend Freud but a childhood environment of trauma (physical and sexual) remain the largest cause of “mental health” problems (if Freud’s “domineering” parents are today’s “abusive” parents).

  • I am cheering: congratulations on bringing some tiny bit of justice to those abused at Oak Ridge and others similarly treated; their “‘treatments” have now been “officially” explained as “torture!”

    I am also cheering because all legal briefs used to support a legal challenge to solitary confinement as torture in prisons should be stronger legal support for a challenge to its use as coerced “therapy!”

    Does the public have access to archive photos of the torture?

  • Thank you for forty years of community service and the formation of the Coalition against Psychiatric Assault.

    This is a great article in introducing significant problems caused by different definitions of “antipsychiatry.” I understand “antipsychiatry” to have two meanings; the first is related to being “against” the field of psychiatry (as lacking legitimacy as a medical science) and the second is being “against” the practice of psychiatry (for coercion and pushing drugs). Unfortunately, linguistics is about usage (and the power to define usage) and the power currently seems in the hands of reformists; defines “antipsychiatry” as “an approach to mental disorders that makes use of concepts derived from existentialism, psychoanalysis, and sociological theory.” I advocate against the legitimacy of psychiatry as a medical science and will continue to use “antipsychiatry” to connote abolition rather than reform.

    I have followed your work and wanted to join the Coalition against Psychiatric Assault because the organization’s name is the most articulate (and I agree with the website). However, while you contend that CAPA is open to everyone who advocates abolishing psychiatry, the guidelines (being voted into the group after attending two meetings) restrict most abolitionists.

    Best wishes, Steve

  • I agree with your original comment; I do not accept the term “mad” to describe my mental distress. The first definition of “mad” at is “mentally disturbed; deranged; insane; demented;” none of this describes my natural reaction to traumatic injustice.

    However, I did review the MindFreedom manifesto and believe that it needs revising. It does not clearly state that the medical model is a false narrative and it is too long (and redundant).

    Best wishes, Steve

  • You are an articulate advocate for the disenfranchised; you deserve admiration for your community service. It is extremely valuable to “bear witness” to the cruelty of our current “mental health care” system and comforting the disenfranchised. Your story is an inspiration.

    “So little compassion, understanding and humanity. When and how is the system going to change?” I contend that the system will change with the advocacy of thousands of people working independently to create a critical mass that de-legitimizes psychiatry and its medical model. I believe that your writing supports a “social welfare model” of mental distress- a natural response to social injustice (I blogged about the “social welfare model” here at MIA on 1/17/17). Consistently, “delusional thinking” is “a protective coping strategy which has been helpful and adaptive for this patient.”

    Understanding natural emotions is difficult in our cultures. I had no idea emotions were physical until the warm energy that motivated my happy youth slowly turned to a nondescript aversion after experiencing extreme traumatic injustice. The mental aversion of extremely distressful experiences is naturally painful; emotional suffering is not a disease.

    Best wishes, Steve

    PS- A single caveat: psychiatry only purports “biological reductionism.” Psychiatry lacks any scientific validity; its “biological reductionism” is pure pseudoscience and any reference to psychiatry should be placed in quotes.

  • Thank you for this article; “forgotten knowledge” is a problem in psychology/psychiatry. I consider dream interpretation (based on simile and metaphor) to be an extremely valuable tool in retrieving memories of extremely traumatic injustices that are typically too painful for recall. I consider it extremely important to “mental health” to recall traumatic injustices in order to neutralize and counter them. I believe that the value of dream interpretation is forgotten knowledge because it is part of Freudian theory that is no longer accepted. It is also forgotten knowledge because the “false memory syndrome” fad of the nineties damaged the credibility of dream interpretation.

    Respectfully, Steve

  • Thank you for your community service. I believe that mental distress is a social welfare problem rather than a medical problem; a medical (biological) science that addresses a social “philosophy of mind” is fundamentally pseudoscience. Pathologizing natural emotional suffering worsens outcomes; counselors and social workers should lead “mental health” care with family physicians prescribing drugs (that address the emotional pain and sleep problems caused by emotional suffering). Psychiatry only makes sense if mental distress is a medical problem; psychiatry is THE problem if mental distress is not a medical (biological) problem.

  • Thank you for your community service and this eloquent, engaging, insightful essay.

    However, I believe that you are creating a false dichotomy when juxtaposing “accepting responsibility for overcoming distress” against “identifying as having a biological, chemical brain disease.” I believe that accepting responsibility for personal “mental health care” is critical but that is not the same as taking responsibility for traumatic injustices. The disenfranchised are rarely responsible for the “life circumstances” that cause emotional suffering- mental distress; emotional suffering is not a brain disease (psychiatry has no scientific validity). I agree with Thomas Szasz who advocated that “mental illness” is a tool used to subjugate the disenfranchised (blaming the victims of cultural abuse).

    Best wishes, Steve

  • Thank you for promoting civil dialogue among critics of “mental health care” and forty years of service to the community. While I agree that deep polarization is harming our country, I respectfully disagree with a basic assumption of your article. Although you describe most critics on the “other side” of DJ Jaffe’s world, a large number of critics have a more fundamental, theoretical criticism of psychiatry. Many critics contend that psychiatry addresses social welfare problems and thus lacks any validity as a medical science. They contend that it significantly harms community “mental health” to treat the social welfare problems of the disenfranchised (“problems with living”) as if addressing diseases. More to the point, many critics contend that the legitimacy of psychiatry and its concept of “mental illness” is the main problem with “mental health care.”

    Best wishes, Steve

  • I understand appreciating “critical psychiatry” for providing most of the academic support for abolishing psychiatry; however, our goals are radically different. The “tenets of psychiatry are faulty… (anti-psychiatrists) see reform as having a tendency, irrespective of intent, to reinforce the status quo (Burstow, MIA, 10/26/2014).”

    A slash is punctuation used to identify “non-contrasting terms.” Anti-psychiatry and critical psychiatry may be non-contrasting terms under specific circumstances: “anti-psychiatry/critical psychiatry” believe that psychiatrists over-prescribe drugs.” However, anti-psychiatry and critical psychiatry are philosophically contrasting terms that should not be combined.

  • Congratulations; your scholarship is quite a feat and quite a legacy!

    However, I do not understand one concluding remark: “May they help us slowly but surely turn antipsychiatry/critical psychiatry into an accepted form of knowledge.” I do not understand including “critical psychiatry;” I thought you made a strong case for anti-psychiatry (an abolitionist movement) and understand “critical psychiatry” to be a reformist movement. I do not understand how to reform psychiatry (a “medical science”) from pathologizing natural emotional suffering (seeking medical legitimacy).

    Best wishes, Steve Spiegel

  • Thank you for your community service in challenging NAMI corruption; however, I disagree with you, Frank and Oldhead about making NAMI a focus of criticism. Our society holds medical science in highest esteem; it seems ill-advised to focus criticism of mainstream “mental health” care at NAMI for advocating support for medical science (and their “medicines”).

    I contend that the harm caused by mainstream “mental health care” can be directly attributed to legitimized pseudoscience: psychiatry accepted as a legitimate medical science. Medical schools are having problems with students who “bash psychiatry as not real medical science;” these students are our greatest allies. Medical schools legitimizing psychiatry is our greatest and weakest enemy since they pride themselves on real science.

  • Thank you for your community service; your work has insured you a prestigious place in history!

    However, I respectfully disagree with one premise. In 1980, psychiatry abandoned Freudian Theory and lumped neuroses (problems with living) together with their established “diseases” (psychoses); thus, psychiatry “doubled-down” on the “disease model” rather than “adopted” it. Addressing neuroses (social welfare problems) hurt psychiatry’s legitimacy as a medical science so they redefined them as psychoses- medical problems (and abandoned Freudian Theory). Psychiatry has always been based on the “disease model” since it considers itself a medical science.

    Your recommendation is a good one; challenge medical students on the legitimacy of their science (or their field). I advocate that mental distress is a social welfare problem and that “First, do no harm” is impossible when believing that natural human suffering from traumatic injustices (or physical problems) is a disease.

    Thank you for allowing me to comment on your article and your work in challenging the harm of long-term drug “therapy.”

    Best wishes, Steve Spiegel

  • Psychology’s neuroscience is pure pseudoscience; it contradicts the most basic principle of every science that informs it. Psychology’s neuroscience contradicts the most fundamental tenet of biology, physiology, natural science and general science theory; it also contradicts the most fundamental principle of the philosophy of science.

    Psychology’s neuroscience uses neuroscience research to support the status quo, but the foundation of the research is all pseudoscience. Thereafter, they are comfortable describing how addictive drugs can “capture the individual’s motivation system” but cannot explain what the hell it means to “capture” a motivation system?

  • “One fundamental mistake I believe is repeatedly made today when it comes to working with those who feel disenfranchised, marginalized, discounted, or discriminated against is believing that the opposite response must be the best response.”

    This sentence clearly states the problem. Those “who feel disenfranchised” are at the bottom of a social pecking order of emotional abuse; their “unusual beliefs and behaviors” generally reflect the emotional pain. The “opposite response” is by far “the best response:” emotional support is the best response to traumatic injustice (and behaviors that reflect emotional suffering). It is difficult to empathize with emotional suffering without experiencing true misfortune; emotional suffering is not a disease. Believing emotional suffering to be unnatural leads counselors to discount the distress caused by traumatic injustice and to exaggerate their ability to solve a client’s distressful life circumstances. If a child writes a parent a note “I hate miself,” the parent should not be thinking that their child has a spelling problem.

  • This article clarifies what confuses me about popular criticism of psychology at this website. I am an anti-psychiatrist because psychiatry is pseudoscience; it has no legitimate (scientific) connection to neuroscience and biology (biological reductionism). In contrast, the author (and most psychology critics) wrongly assumes that psychiatry represents a biological reductionism perspective. Critics understand that psychiatry is without scientific support but they seem fearful that real neuroscience might eventually support psychiatry instead of assuming that real neuroscience will prove psychiatry wrong!

  • I said repeatedly that physical health directly affects “mental health,” and that prior to understanding the basics of nutrition, nutritional deficiencies were the main source of “mental health” problems. What is trite is arguing that nutritional deficiencies that were understood centuries ago could still be the main source of “mental health” problems. You are suggesting that psychiatry should morph into gastroenterology without support from gastroenterologists.

  • I clearly state that nutrition greatly influences “mental health” in the first sentence and assume that it was the predominate influence circa Hippocrates. However, today in the US, socially distressful experiences are the predominate cause of mental distress. What I said was illogical is replacing the old medical model (of mystery diseases) with a new one based on dietary problems. Consistently, a new medical model paradigm of dietary problems continues to advocate that injustice and socially distressful experiences do not affect “mental health.”

  • I advocate a free, unified alternative therapies program that includes Nutritional Therapy because better nutrition (better physical health) promotes better “mental health” ( However, claiming that mental distress is caused by nutritional deficiencies and solved by improved nutrition is advocating a new “medical model” that seems illogical for numerous reasons.

  • I also believe that John Read has done valuable work but I criticize his questioning whether we are should “soften our criticism of psychiatry” to reach more psychiatrists. Psychiatry is a medical science causing great harm to the community by leading the treatment of human suffering as a medical problem; psychiatry is a medical perspective of human suffering. Softening criticism of psychiatry affords them some level of credibility in addressing human suffering; this is counter-productive. All of the harm caused by psychiatry is founded on the erroneous assumption that mental distress is a medical problem that often alludes self-awareness.

  • This statement is completely true: “The terminology of psychiatry’s disease model permeates what are actually severe problems in living.” In contrast, I consider the ISPS use of the term “psychotic mental disorder” to describe mental distress in terminology of psychiatry. ISPS implies that “mental disorders” are medical problems that are better addressed through non-medical therapies (social welfare therapies). Consistently, John Read advocates this position when considering whether to work with psychiatry.

    It is harmful to the “mental health” of the community to treat “problems with living” as medical problems; consistently, it is wrong to give psychiatry (a medical profession) any credibility in addressing “psychosis.”

  • What I believe:
    “Depression and anxiety may be familiar to all of us to some degree, but … I think that true psychotic experiences are rare” “True psychotic experiences are rare” because the extreme distressfulness of the experiences that produce “psychotic experiences” are rare.

    “Therefore I do not think it makes sense to suggest that psychosis is on a continuum with normal experience.” “True psychotic experiences are rare” on a bell-curve that plots the distressfulness of experiences (of distressful life circumstances); they are the extreme end of “a continuum with normal experience.”

    “What attracted me to psychiatry … is the intuition that mental disorder has something profound to teach us about the nature of being human.” Good intuition on your part; mental distress teaches us that emotions are feelings that are understood physically rather than intellectually. Extreme mental distress teaches us that the brain has a natural aversion to distressful experiences. Natural emotional suffering from extremely distressful experiences is experienced by the brain as averse- similarly to extreme physical pain (except it does not subside like physical pain). Mental distress is human nature; human aversion to mental distress naturally motivates behavior to avoid distressful experiences. The problem arises when the brain cannot find a behavior to relieve the distress; “fight or flight” will not solve most modern distressful experiences.

    “And it does this not by reflecting brain abnormalities, but by consisting of extreme, bizarre, usually dysfunctional and sometimes unfathomable manifestations of human agency.” I would have totally agreed with this sentence until I experienced a reversal of fortune in early adulthood; thereafter, I found my “bizarre” and often “dysfunctional” behavior to completely understandable. The commanding emotional pain of psychosis is analogous to extreme physical pain that does not subside; if you want to understand psychosis, submit to physical torture for a couple months.

    When a person lives “on top of the stack” (as I did during my youth), it is hard to imagine what life feels like “at the bottom of the pecking order” (as I did for a couple decades).

    Best wishes, Steve

  • This would be great news if mental distress is a disease that cures itself without intervention and only gets worse when the natural emotions being expressed are heavily drugged for extended periods.

    The real Open Dialogue is successful because it tries to assist people in solving real “problems with living” within the context of a clients life (at their home with their family/roommates). The real Open Dialogue tries not to pull people out of their lives and put them in an institution and expect their lives to be better when they return home (as if a disease is cured).

    This spinoff and others in the US seem doomed to failure for three reasons: 1) clients can rarely solve their real “problems with living” while believing that they are medical problems, 2) clients can rarely solve their real “problems with living” while isolated in a mental institution, and 3) the treatments are expensive and opposed by most psychiatrists.

    This spinoff and others in the US miss the central characteristic of the real Open Dialogue that makes it successful; extreme mental distress is natural emotional suffering rather than a medical problem.