Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Comments by Malene

Showing 84 of 84 comments.

  • Colin,

    You claim that you have been unfairly judged, although the only thing you have been judged based on is what you have told us yourself. The violence you have described engaging in at a Danish locked unit is horrifying to many of us. A number of us here have walked away from locked wards feeling deeply scarred from the experience. In my case – I have described it as being “kicked while I was down”.

    I will never, ever forgive them as they stood in a circle, giving me an ultimatum that terrified, humiliated, and dehumanized me out of my mind. It is 6 years ago, and I can still start to shake in terror when I remember that moment. it took a few years to move out of the thinking that i deserved the cruelty perpetrated by “psychiatric nurses”, now, I am just angry. You don’t like the anger? It is an anger that was started by nurses who felt justified in using non-dramatic coercion.

    The anger you hear from me is the anger of someone whose sense of self was hurt doing exactly the type of “non-dramatic” coercion you referred to. Now, I tell you point blank i was damaged in that interaction. You can choose to invalidate that story, I am sure you have a vested interest in not hearing about the damage. But let me be clear, I am sure that by far most of the people you have used “non-dramatic” coercion with feel deeply violated, just as I did. This is not to mention the violation of those you have to physically subdue – I am sure their experience of violation is comparable to rape.

    Now, I would like you to consider for just 2 minutes the pain of each of those people. Pain that you took part in perpetrating.

    You come in to this site defending “treatments” that do more harm than good. Then you claim that no one else can do it as well as what you do. And then you get surprised when someone gets pissed at hearing the arrogance.

    If you truly want to learn something better then I suggest you work hard to learn non-violent ways to interact with your patients, instead of defending the violence. There are quite a few options on the market today that does not propose to work through violence.

    As far as the treatment protocol that you outlined for me, I highly doubt I would have been hospitalized in DK. If I had been, there would have been no financial reward in trying to keep me, and I would have been released fairly soon, as you mentioned. I believe that prescribing seroquel to me was then and remains now deeply irresponsible. I have several very high risk factors for diabetes already. Seroquel for any amount of time would almost guarantee that I got diabetes. That is irresponsible to prescribe based on a one time emotional breakdown – even if that break down is extreme. Have an emotional break down – go to the hospital and add diabetes to the mix – not right. Now, the doctors failed to inform me of the risk of diabetes as they prescribed several medications that would easily cause it. They prescribed the medications knowing of the risk factors I had for diabetes.

    I could maybe imagine a benzo and an ssri, given that I have zero history of substance dependency.

    Ultimately, I needed a bit of kindness and some understanding that I had just experienced something I was not equipped to handle. Nothing more and nothing less. I didn’t need the dehumanization. I didnt need the coercion. I didnt need the fear tactics. I didnt need the medications. I needed one human being to sit down next to me and express kindness. Not one single person in the 72 hours I was there had the inclination to offer that kindness. They had time for coercion. They had time to force horrific amounts of medications down my throat, they did not have even 30 minutes for kindness.

    So, really Colin, consider the violation of your “non-dramatic coercion”. Consider how many people still start to tear up 5 or 10 years after you have used it and forgotten all about it – because for you, hey, its just in a days work. For the people you did it too, it is a horrific violation of personhood.


  • Sinead,

    I love your writing and your insight. You have so much more patience than I do. You also have an ability to simultaneously express your disgust with violence in psychiatry without letting your anger in the way. I admire that.


  • Colin,

    I simply reflected the violence you described right back at you. You didnt like the mirror I held up?

    There are a lot of people on this site who have been the victims of abuse at hospital locked wards, and we generally have very little respect for those who wants to perpetuate the violence.

    Now, I get it. You have no comprehension that what you represent is wrong. You are arrogantly certain of yourself that you are doing nothing wrong. You have never stopped to truly, genuinely consider how many people find their personhood, their sense of self destroyed on your locked ward.

    Your lack of awareness does not excuse the daily engagement in violence that you so easily describe. Your description of a “non-dramatic” altercation where someone is forced to acquiesce based on a superior show of force made me nauseated in it’s inherent violence. You described it as non-dramatic. I saw deep violence – the kind of violence that destroys a persons sense of self. I was further horrified by the fact that you didnt even consider the harm such a use of force would cause.

    So, no, I feel no shame for holding up the mirror for you. The aggression that is cruel and unusual is the one you have described engaging in. The fact that you have gotten to the place where you take it for granted is horrifying.

    I love the Danish common sense, but i am also aware that DK have a few stains on their conscience. The ease with which they discriminate against foreigners is one such stain. Clearly, the way locked psychiatric units functions is another.

    I doubt you will find anyone here sympathetic to your point of view though. If you want people clapping their cute little hands at your ability to handle all these terrible patients you might want to reconsider if this is the place for you.


  • Colin, Your writing horrifies me. I love Danish common sense, love and revere it. It seems that this common sense has turned to darkness, violence and cruelty in psychiatric units. I also happen to know that the patients in your units of horror over there have even fewer legal options of recourse than we do over here.

    You claim that faced with overwhelming odds most people aquiesce and no actual violence ensues. You describe this as “non-dramatic”. I am very certain that inside the victim of this show of force it is a deeply traumatizing and dramatic experience. One that you clearly have zero understanding or compassion for. I would also expect that after your locked unit have abused your power against someone so aggrievously this person is not likely to ever show any type of trust in any of you, and a million times more likely to want a violent revenge – thus perpetuating the violence. And frankly, using that type of coercion, you deserve to have your ass kicked.

    You might have forced a person to aquiesce, but that does not mean you have broken the person. In some cases I have no doubt you do break a persons resistance completely. This person will never again be the same of course. It is their sense of self you break.

    You mentioned that a couple of your co-workers have ended up with PTSD through working on the psychiatric units. I wonder how many patients have ended up with PTSD by being unlucky enough to be put there. I suspect hundreds if not thousands – just based on what you tell us.

    So, when you describe your fear of the patients I tend to think of this as I think of sharks. People are terrified of sharks. There are almost 400 shark species, only three of them really attack humans – but people are terrified of all sharks. There are approximately 10-12 shark attacks world wide a year. Yet humans kill thousands of sharks every year. We are the aggressors against the sharks, they are the ones who should be afraid.

    In much the same way you and your fellow nurses are the agressors on the locked units. Sometimes your aggression comes full circle and patients answer in kind. Surprising, huh? That doesnt change the fact that the aggression and cruelty starts with you. For each nurse with PTSD there are most likely 300 patients with PTSD. So, yea, I am more interested in seeing protection for the 300. I am more interested in the well being of the 300.

    Colin, naeste gang du faar en roevfuld haaber jeg at du kan huske at du har fuldt ud fortjent den. Og hvis den roevfuld goer at du ikke laengere kan arbejde paa et psychiatrisk hospital saa har de i det mindste slaabbet af med en til voldelig roev.


  • Hey Duane,

    I think we essentially agree. It should be exceedingly difficult to rob someone of their freedom based on “mental illness”. Judges should be involved, I can easily agree with that. I think there are situations when decisions have to be made quickly and we might not be able to get someone to a judge instantly, but in principle I completely agree with you. I also agree that we should have good options available when we decide to force someone into treatment. Options that are not currently available. Our current hospitals are not valid options.


  • Hey Sandy

    You asked: “in an ideal world what would I have liked to do for the woman talking to her voices”.

    In an ideal world, I do not think her situation would have ever gotten so far out. In an ideal world there would have been people involved in her life, whom she trusted, that could have prevented this ever coming to that point.

    I think it was a lack of people whom she trusted that made her completely withdraw. In an ideal world she would have been offered qualified help by kind and respectful helpers well before it came to the point it did.

    If she refused the help then I could imagine one or two people getting assigned to go by her daily hang out spots on an every day basis making sure she had food and clothing. Making sure to take her to shelter again and again until it sunk in to her clouded self that there were options she could rely on. Then I think she would have started to take advantage of those options on an ongoing basis and help could then become many faceted. No force would be needed then. She wasn’t self destructive just lost in a world of voices.

    So far I have never met a human being who didnt want or long for kindness and caring when things are difficult. If they are shown that kindness, caring, non-judgmentalism and respect then I would hazard the opinion that 99.9999% of people will want to take advantage of assistance. The problem is that
    the system is inherently judgmental and disrespectful.

    I have a question for you too Sandy. Let’s say that by some miracle we managed to completely reform the system. In the new system there were probably not nearly the need for psychiatrists with an MD because lets just say that 1/100 the amount of medications would be prescribed. Which means only 1 in 100 psychiatrists remained. Would you be willing to take a drastic pay cut to remain working in the industry but not as an MD? or would you leave the industry and use your MD in a different capacity?If you would not be willing to take a drastic pay cut, can you see how that sets you up to maintain status quo?

    When I refer to a drastic paycut then I can tell you that in this area people working in the mental health field without an MD typically makes from $12-$30 an hour.

  • Hey Duane,

    I remember a woman a few years back who spent a lot of time talking with her voices. She lived on the street and her whole existence was preoccupied with the voices. She often was unable to find food for herself, and by the time she was put on a 72 hour hold followed by a 2 week hold her clothes had rotted off her body so that her privates were showing. Never mind the indecency – it was cold out. Something she seemed to not even really notice.

    There were resources available in the community for homeless people that would give her access to food, shelter and clothing, but she was too far gone to take advantage of those resources.

    Now, I hear you – force is wrong. Even worse, what we had to offer this woman after using force sucked fish.

    The woman in question clearly met a legal definition of “severe mental illness”, in that this definition specifically stipulates a person who is unable to provide food, clothing or shelter for themselves.

    The reason that I can accept the use of force in such an extreme example is because I think it is just as wrong to ignore this level of suffering. I am the type of person that if I see a wounded animal on the side of the street i stop. Even if I just see a lost dog I stop. I cant live with myself if I ignore it. If I come across someone on a highway that has a flat tire I stop my car and ask if I can help. I can’t turn away from a woman who stands around talking to the voices, with her privates showing, and unable to realize how hungry she is because of how loudly the voices are screaming. I am sorry, I cant ignore the suffering.

    Now, I think we need plenty of non-coercive options. I think the options we currently have are horrific. I think our current systems should be trashed so we can start over. If we do it right, then maybe we wouldn’t have to use coercion in above mentioned example. If we do it right maybe she would have never gotten so far out to start with.

    But, in examples that are this extreme I will rather show my caring and do something – even if initially that something is not what the person claims they want, than I will ignore someone who so clearly needs help.

    So, you are right, we have rights. Coercion is wrong. I agree. But, I think there are extreme examples of human beings who so clearly needs help, even if initially they are unable to accept the help. I am not prepared to ignore their need either.

    As for above mentioned woman, she was on a 2 week hold in a hospital and was force medicated. Then she came to the half way house I worked for an additional 2 weeks. During the two weeks in our house she did not express not wanting the medications. After that I don’t know what happened to her. When she left our house she was still officially homeless although we had hooked her up with some community resources. When she left she seemed able to feed herself, realize if she was hungry and perform daily actions related to hygiene. She was also able to hold a conversation that included thinking about the future and taking care of herself. I think a lot more should have been done for her – in fact, I think we should have had the mandate and resources to make certain we got her permanent shelter as well as someone to make certain she continued to make certain she could feed herself.

    Again, i dont like our current options in this situation. I dont like the medications. I hate the hospitals. The half way house were I worked was only marginally better. I will even say that the people who decided to hold the woman in question might have been more upset about the indecency and nudity than motivated by a sincere wish to help her. It was a conservative community, those old church bitties got an eyeful.

    Still, could there be a place were we can meet? I will rather use some force than I will ignore the suffering of above mentioned individual – is that a point of view you can relate to or respect? Or, do you think I should be willing to just turn a blind eye and drive on?


  • Thanks Steve,

    As I was mulling over this thread again, I should add a comment about the difference between the US system and the Danish system – if indeed I am correct that this this guy is Danish, I would almost stake money on it though.

    The big difference lies in – money. In the US working nurses are often upper middle class, and doctors are relatively rich. Hospitals and insurance companies all need to make money, they need to turn a profit. Of course treatment decisions are influenced by this gluttony of money in the US.

    In Denmark nurses makes solid money, and so do the doctors, but they don’t get rich. The hospitals are all state run, which means they have zero financial incentive to hold on to people.

    In the US hospitals have financial incentive to hold on to those with insurance, and no financial incentive to hold on to those without insurance, lets not pretend that this isnt a consideration. On top of that doctors sometimes gets additional financial incentives to prescribe certain medications.

    Now, in the US multi-medication cocktails are extremely common. For instance, six years ago i was held on a 72 hour hold. This was the one and only time in my life I was hospitalized, and it was for suicidality – not psychosis. I was prescribed an SSRI, a benzodiazepine, risperdal, seroquel, lyrica plus one other anti convulsant I forgot the name of. I had never before taken psychiatric meds and _never_ ised recreational drugs. I was prescribed all medications in relatively high dosages. For instance, they tried to increase seroquel to 600 mg, although I completely refused that, so they lowered it to 300 mg.

    Most people even over here would agree that this is ridiculous, but it is not that uncommon over here. I suspect these medications are not handed out like candy in Denmark. I suspect this for two reasons: I respect and know intimately the inherent common sense of the Danish soul, and the doctors do not have a financial incentive to medicate in to oblivion. The doctors over here do have financial incentive to medicate irresponsibly.

    All of this said, the clear and obvious disrespect Colin showed for the people he is trying to help was like nails on chalk board for me. Even more so due to the just as obvious ignorance to the fact that he was extremely disrespectful. Breathtakingly disrespectful. Colin, you have a long path in front of you – that is if you don’t run screaming away from this site. I suspect some of the survivors here will make mince meat of you.


  • Hello Colin,

    Just out of curiosity, did I notice misspellings that indicated that you are from Denmark? I think I did.

    First of all, let me say with 100% certainty, the use of coercion is always and inherently traumatic, disrespectful and wrong. That is not to say that there might not be some extreme examples of when it is necessary, but those examples have to be extreme.

    I also think it has to be seen as an inherent failure of the care takers when and if coercion is used.That means if you use coercion then you have failed in your duty to that human being, and you should be doing some soul searching to find out what you could have done better.

    I would highly recommend that you spend some time reflecting on your own emotions each time you felt that coercion was necessary, because you were an acting participant and your emotions would necessarily play a role in the situation. Now, if the person mentioned above knew with certainty that you would never have the power to medicate him against his will, and you managed to establish a connection with him, do you think that the power plays and interactions would have been different?

    Secondly, your attitude that “hey, we have to be used to be demonized” is also inherently disrespectful and dehumanizing. It completely disregards why those you are trying to help might feel upset enough with you to “demonize” you. I suspect they sometimes have good reason to be very upset with you. If you ignore that then you abuse your power. I would suggest you find some humility – in all the power you, have are still fallible, and you make mistakes. When you have power over others then those mistakes have a exponentially bigger impact.

    Thirdly, you claim that there is no power hunger at play when you choose to use coercion. I still hold that there is a huge power differential inherent in the relationship. Just the fact that you are capable of using coercion if you deem it necessary shows the inherent power differential. Please do not fool yourself into thinking that human beings are not apt to sometimes take advantage of the power they have. They might not do it out of a perverse desire for power – for instance I think fear is a much more common reason why nurses like yourself sometimes abuse their power. That said, the second someone has all the power in a relationship is the second someone sometimes will abuse that power. It is just human nature.

    Finally Colin, be careful that your humanity is not trained out of you. I suspect you are on the wrong track – the track that sometimes, maybe unknowingly, dehumanize those you are trying to help. Denmark has a proud heritage in the humanities, tap in to it. Tap further into the humanistic currents in psychology. There is no excuse for the obvious disrespect shown above to those you are trying to help.


  • Ok, it is annoying when we run out of “reply” buttons in the middle of a thread, but here goes.


    In regards to the people who wants to stay on the medications because they feel or believe that it is helping them, I hear you.

    However, lets not forget that we know for certain that the medications cause a whole lot of side effects – obesity, diabetes, shrinking brain matter, high blood pressure etc. etc. It is an impressive list of side effects – so even if someone feels that the medications helps them emotionally there is reason to be really cautious with those medications.

    Now, that said, I agree with you. If someone feels that the medications really help them, and they prefer this option to other options, then at this time I do not think we should push our agenda on them. While we might not want to “push” our agenda of getting off medications on others, we should however make certain that they are given other options, that they are on the smallest dosage possible, and that the option to taper off the medications are always available to them.

    I would much rather that we spend our resources on how to go forward, and the system needs a major overhaul. I wonder how many fewer people would be put on those medications if we had a humanistic system to respond to people in crisis. And, if we offered actual kind and caring help to get their feet under themselves, I wonder if people would be on smaller dosages and stay on the medications for shorter times than what we currently see. I think it is a failure of gigantic proportions of our mental health system that so many people are on those medications – a failure that the leaders of our system must own.

    I will also say this to you again, you should be very careful of your own cognitive dissonance. You have a vested interest in believing in the system you represent. If you started to really check in to how many people experienced being harmed by what you represent then I suspect you would have to go through a very dark night of the soul.


  • Anonymous, I couldn’t disagree more. While I believe that I strictly speaking should not have been committed, the fact that it happened is the least of my complaints. If I had received help after I was committed then I would have been ok with it. I do believe that acutely suicidal people should be helped not to do the act. Most acutely suicidal people usually think better of their plans after a relatively short time frame. They want to get away from the pain. Help then should consist of some way to get the pain under control. Stopping the self destruction is a valid concern.

    No, I have been around enough people in distress to know that there are a few extreme situations where taking away a person’s self determination briefly will help them find the strength to rebuild after the crisis is better managed.

    The problem is that we do not offer valid help after the 72 hour hold has been initiated, in fact the help we offer does more damage, and is managed by power hungry people without the right training.


  • Sure, the all powerful psychiatrists doesnt like to have their power questioned. Certainly; I as someone who has been in the system am easy to discredit. So might you be if you are not busy kissing up to the right *sses.

    Does that mean we should give up on the fight?

    I dont think so.

  • Hey Sinead,

    Ran out of reply buttons above, but I wanted to reply to your comment about involuntary commitment being the law.

    Yes, it is the law, and in the absolute most extreme cases it makes sense. Violence to self or others, or the inability to care for the most basic of ones own needs can necessitate involuntary commitment. The problem is that the law as it currently exists is very easy to take advantage of. It gives an inordinate amount of power to people that we know are already dehumanizing those they should be caring for.

    In my case, yes, there was enough suicidal intent to warrant a 72 hour hold. However; I took myself to the hospital and asked for help. This means that they should not have utilized a 72 hour hold. I was also out of the most acute suicidal tendency within about 50 hours and should have been let go at that point, I was not. In fact, I had to get the lawyers involved to get them to rethink the idea of extending with a 2 week hold.

    This is the only time in my life when i honestly believe that the fact I had insurance was not in my favor. Had i not had insurance and thus a way to pay for the hold I would have been out of there in 24 hours; 12 if they were busy.

    So, Yes, it is the law. It is a law that is all too often abused by those in power. For that reason it is a law that needs to be changed.

  • Hey Anonymous,

    Well, I was asking for help at that moment. I shouldn’t have been committed, and if the person I had spoken to had any kind of ethics, I wouldn’t have been. So right there, if the person in front of me had been “real”, things would have worked out better.

    That doesn’t change the fact that I did ask for help. Instead of help I got dehumanization, degradation and a ridiculous and irresponsible amount of medications. I will never forgive the corrupt hospital system for kicking me while I was down. But I did want a kind and understanding person to listen to me. That would have been “help”.


  • David,

    I noticed that you said something directed to me above, and I wanted to answer you. I am really sorry to say this, but your replies are usually so long, verbose and confusing that I am lost early on in the writing, and skip what you have to say. I think that is sad, because I suspect you have something valuable to say, I am just not quite sure what. I would really recommend you start to edit yourself a bit, and consider how to get your thoughts across with clarity.


  • Hey Sinead,

    I really appreciate the work you are doing. Unfortunately, I lost the job i had, and am not in a position to do what you are doing, but I am thrilled to learn that there are people like you out there.

    I wish when they committed me on a 72 hour hold that one time, I really wish I had met someone like you. The story might have had a different ending if I had.

    You are right of course, the staff needs to learn to do things differently. The attitudes that we hear during staff meetings / change of shift meetings are trained in to the staff, and can be trained out of them. I just think it will take a lot before that happens.

    You are right, it keeps intact a power structure, based on the fears of staff.

    As far as the “he/she is so borderline and will do xyz”, I am not sure it would have worked where I was at to ask the reporter to describe in detail why they were to say that. I remember some conversations with a reporter taking a lot of apparent joy in describing what they would refer to as “borderline behaviors”, and actually sounding like the gossiping neighbors or junior high girls back stabbing others. I am not sure how that trap could be avoided. I could imagine a conversation about why we staff found this person difficult to work with, and how that impacted us would work. I can also imagine a conversation about what we think the person in crisis genuinely needed and how we could best provide it would work.

    Either way, it all comes back to attitudes, the use of language and finding ways to approach those who needs a bit of help from a kind, caring and respectful place.


  • Cledwyn,

    I too know of people who have gotten help from the medications. They are people I know well personally and with in confidence, yes, they have gotten help from psychiatry.

    It is a lot more complex than just blaming the medications, big pharma and the doctors.

    I think the best we can do is keep an attitude of curiosity to find the best ways to move forward and help as many as possible.

    I also think the medications should be “last” resort instead as they are now, first resort. The medications should then be in the smallest dose possible, and not necessarily long term.

    But before we focus on the medications I think we need to focus on the toxic attitudes we see in psychiatry – the attitudes that allow for coercion and dehumanization.


  • Hey Sandy,

    I too ran out of reply buttons above. I think language is a direct reflection of attitude. We can’t hide our attitude, no matter how hard we try to be “objective”. Currently the pathologizing attitudes are trained into practitioners. They are encouraged.

    Here are a couple of examples that I have observed during my own work in a half way house for people in crisis. I worked there for about one year. I was never able to subscribe to the attitudes towards those we were trying to help, and I lost the job.

    I remember one time I came in to work with a shift change happening. A new person in the house was immediately described as “so borderline, really be careful with her she will split the whole house up.” The more experienced staff member who described this one person in this way did it with an eye roll. A discussion ensued about how to keep this person under control, and what was generally wrong with this person. I hadn’t even met the person yet when this happened.

    During another situation a woman was assigned primarily to me. As I read through her charts release papers from the hospital I read that she “had presented as dramatic and histrionic”. When I spoke with the person she spoke of heart break, and emotions she simple wasn’t equipped to handle. Given her situation, the emotions were not that hard to understand.

    I also remember some situations where someone was referred to as “floridly psychotic”, or “so manic it took three of us to keep up”.

    If I were to interpret those ways of talking about people in distress. I think the person who referred to someone as “extremely borderline” was frustrated, maybe even angry and certainly overwhelmed.

    I think the heartbroken person was met with irritation or annoyance. There certainly wasn’t much patience with her heart break.

    The person referred to as psychotic was often a little scary to be around, and if not scary then certainly so difficult to follow that it felt confusing trying to help him or her. An experience of helplessness or frustration because this person keeps not getting better is also common and will reveal itself in the language.

    These are the staff emotions – yet, not one single staff meeting were dedicated to help the staff get a better grip on their reactions. Is it the person in distress’s fault or responsibility how staff reacts to them? How is this way to talk about people better than the meanest girls gossiping in junior high?

    Were these ways of talking about someone in distress objective? Professional? Helpful? I am sorry, but this is what happens during staff meetings and it should be stopped.

    It is much different when my girlfriend and I share how someone we tried to help touched us, or how difficult we find it to some times be a good helper. “I had a tough day today”. “I wish I did this better”. “It is hard for me to watch xyz”. Is different from the examples above.

    As far as the ingrained attitudes you saw in Finland? Well, I was raised in Scandinavia and very humanistic and socialistic attitudes are common. In spite of that, there is plenty of dehumanizing behaviors going on over there as well. In the mental health field it takes really excellent training and ongoing support not to fall prey to the difficulty of the job.

    In the US, we have the movements from Diana Fosha and Sue Johnson offering some alternatives at least within psychology. We need to focus on humanism and attachment theory.


  • mjk, I am so sorry for what you went through. I am sure it is hard to convey the horror in words. Like you, I think touch, to be held. Comfort and love must have a place in clinical settings. We know already how important, vital a component of health it is. Infants die without it for crying out loud. Yet, we are scared, more so in this country than in many other countries.

    I think, there are a lot of steps we need to take before that kind of healing will be available in clinical settings.

    But you are right, we all crave it. It is normal. For people to not have been able to respond appropriately to your very human need is horrible.

    I am sorry.

  • Ok, then, Sandy it is.
    I should give fair warning, I am no less opinionated when using first names. We can blame it on my grandmother – among the first few women in her country to ever demand equality. She was a significant role model in my life.

    I think there is a huge difference between talking to a trusted friend about someone,and what happens in “clinical meetings”.

    For instance, my best friend works with autistic children. She often talks to me about feeling heart broken when a teenager struggles to communicate. In this situation we are talking about her heart break – about how she is impacted. We are not talking about what is wrong with the teenager she is trying to help, rather about how she handles her own sadness at seeing suffering.

    I wish that is what would be going on during various staff meetings etc. But truth is, it isn’t. Diagnosis are discussed, what is wrong with a person, and most importantly, what the clinical setting can do to control this person – now that is all discussed. When a staff member refers to something wrong with the person in distress the staff member is not ever encouraged to look at their own emotions – the person in distress has a diagnosis and what is wrong with that person is fair game to discuss.

    None of this is the least bit helpful. None of it fosters a therapeutic environment. It doesn’t foster caring, concern, humanity or dignity.

    Besides, how can a person in distress ever truly get better if they are not 100% involved in the process?

  • Dr. Steingard,

    This little comment rushed me quickly in to reality – the reality of how distorted psychiatry as it works right now has gotten.

    When I was in junior high we sometimes got together and gossiped, you are not that much older than me, I bet your remember it. Us girls, whispering, talking, giggling. The girls I hung with were by and large very sweet and we didn’t go down the mean paths. I remember how we also often talked about how it “wasn’t really ok to talk about others when they weren’t there”. There was usually someone who were willing to stand up for someone else who wasn’t present. As I said, the girls I hung with really had good hearts. Remember those conversations?

    How on earth can we hope to be of help to someone in distress if we talk about them about their backs? How can we keep trust intact? How can we collaborate on finding best solutions? How can staff meetings, or meetings without the person we are trying to help ever be anything other than an insult, demeaning and dehumanizing?

    Can you mention just one positive thing that comes from talking about someone in distress behind their back? Actually, let me rephrase that, can you mention just one positive thing that comes from talking about anyone behind their back? Why should it be different when talking about a person in distress.

    No, Dr. Steingard, this is exactly why we need drastic changes, a revolution.

    And the staff? The staff needs the training and the ongoing support so they have the tools to continue to see those they are helping as first of all human beings – human beings who might not be so hard to understand.


  • Dr. Steingard,

    Bravo, and welcome to what might end up being an interesting journey for you.

    You mentioned the fundamental difference between listening to a person’s story to diagnose and treat symptoms vs. what you saw in Finland. To listen to someone in order to diagnose and treat them creates an “other” that is diminished. IE, you are here because you are less than me, you are sick and have less value. I am the almighty, the one in power, the healthy one that can fix you.

    Where as talking with someone about their crisis just to talk to them communicates “I am here because I care about you. We are in this together. We are all uniquely human”. Talking with someone just to talk to them also necessitates listening to them about how they like to feel better. Which means finding a way through the wilderness must be collaborative.

    In the current psychiatric system the worst problem is not medications, although I tend to think medications pose a big problem. The worst problem is the attitude that is trained into the professionals for years; it is an attitude which is largely now unconscious because it has never been challenged. when we train people to “be objective” we also train them to “objectify”. Apart from the fact that no one is truly “objective”, it is nonsense to begin with. If we look at little deeper at the attitudes I refer to though I think we can trace it back to some experiences on behalf of the staff.

    Dealing with people in crisis is often very difficult. It can be scary and overwhelming. It includes dealing with strong emotions on the part of the person in crisis, and strong emotions in others have a tendency to stir strong emotions in ourselves. So what emotions do the staff often feel?

    Maybe even disgust?
    Irritation / annoyance?

    How is the staff trained to handle these emotions? Can you see how these emotions play into a staff meeting conversation? When the staff discusses the apparent “sick” behavior of a patient – what feelings are underneath all the dehumanizing talk?

    Is it the patients fault that the staff feel those emotions? How can a therapeutic environment be created when the staff feels emotions like the ones above?

    In how many million little ways do staff in current psychiatric hospitals display attitudes that are inherently dehumanizing? Monday or Tuesday when you return to work how many times do you see someone dehumanize a patient? How often do you feel the stirrings of fear or other emotions that push you towards dehumanizing the person in front of you?

    It is ingrained in the system, deeply ingrained.


  • I love this. I also do not think the issue with medications are completely black and white. Sometimes the drugs allow people to find their feet if used short term. Others genuinely feel their lives have been made better with the drugs. We need to respect those experiences as well. Hopefully the doctors prescribe the lowest effective dose to those folks – full well knowing that the medications are also toxic. Hopefully people are informed of the toxicity. We know they are not currently informed though, and that is one thing we MUST change.

    For millions the drugs and the demeaning attitudes we met in psychiatric units were horrific and traumatizing. My own experience was one of “being kicked while I was down”. I wish I could find every single person who did the kicking and hold them responsible. I can’t of course.


  • Kermit,

    How exciting that you get to participate in those conferences and be on the forefront of what is hopefully an amazing paradigm shift in the years to come. Thank you for making efforts to share that with us.

    It might be hard to follow along with the frustration that some of us feel with Dr Moffic. You have spoken with Dr. Moffic in person and he has been able to say the right things to convince you that he genuinely wants change, but I will say that his behavior on this site has not been consistent with such a statement.

    I can understand allowing everyone a seat on the bus. Maybe Dr. Moffic will awaken and at that point maybe he will have something to contribute. I just ask that he is not allowed to be in the drivers seat, because right now, he will drive us right back into the medications. He has not yet had the courage to face the essential, destructiveness he represents. Please, lets do set limits and say NO, loudly NO. Yes, yelling NO to the old paradigms – the paradigms that Dr. Moffic still represents and try to sell on this site. Even if it is out of not understanding, even if it is not deliberate we still need to say NO.

    In other words – sure, allow him on the bus, but please, I beg, put some boundaries in place. Much worse than Dr. Moffic getting his tender little pride hurt is the re-traumatization he represents for survivors, imho.


  • Dr. Moffic,

    Your inability to acknowledge the horrific damages done by your chosen field, and by prescribing psychiatrists like yourself is a slap in the face of every survivor here.

    It is disrespectful and insensitive (and that is me moderating myself).

    You keep claiming that you have something we should learn from you, but you have refused to tell us what that is. Even worse, in my book, you are much more focused on what we should learn from you than you are on what you can learn from us.

    So, let me be clear on what I see here. You told us that you had more than 400 patients at any given time in your practice. Let’s just hazard a guess and say that amounted to approximately 2600 people a year, over a 20 year career that would amount to 52000 people that you have medicated.

    Lets be ridiculously conservative and say that 30% of those people developed physical and / or emotional reactions to your medications that caused them further damage. In this I include obesity, diabetes and other physical ailments as well as the mental side effects that we know are there. 30% of 52000 people is 15600 people whose lives you have destroyed. 15600 people who were traumatized, drugged and damaged by you. How many of those were children?

    Frankly, if you want to be on a site like this – then it is time that you listen to and learn from us. Lets think of those 15600 people. Lets stop thinking about how you are getting hurt, but lets think of the 15600. We, Stevie boy, we are the 15600. The 15600 people who are absolutely furious, who wants to be acknowledged for the damage done. No, you have nothing to offer us Stevie.

    Until or unless you genuinely want to learn from us. Until or unless you can acknowledge the horrors, until that happens, you have nothing to offer.


  • Hey Philroy,

    I completely agree actually. As a helper, paraprofessional and volunteer, I have been in situations where behaviors or symptoms of those I was there to help scared or overwhelmed me. I have learned a few things from those situations. I have also been in the situation where my reactions scared someone else. Although I do not and did not then see a reason to be “scared”, I know that is how they felt.

    If I get scared, that is my problem. I do not have the right to dehumanize the person that is scaring me.

    If I get scared I need to get support so I can remain a human when I try to offer help. We tend to respond to our fear by labeling, belittling and ultimately drugging someone if we feel fear or overwhelm when interacting with them. This is not ok.

    Sometimes I have seen medications help, and it should be an individual choice if that is an avenue to pursue.

    Yes, we need systems in place to help those who are in crisis, with various behaviors that can be overwhelming, without dehumanizing them in the process. It will take a while to develop such systems. Unfortunately, we will make little progress as long as people are unaware of how horrific the degradation of psychiatry as it works today is.


  • Duane,

    I too find Dr. Moffic completely out of line. His lack of comprehension of the damages done within his profession is probably what makes it so impossible to get any place positive with this person. He has shown no genuine desire to learn from others.

    Dear Moderators and Owners of this site,

    I would like to know if there is a limit to how much apologetics of psychiatry we have to listen to?

    Dr. Moffic’s underhanded distortions, obfuscations and indirect attacks on us are over the top IMHO, and funnily enough really rivals $cientology techniques to muddy the waters and undermine their detractors. I know I have no rights to any decisions here, but I would ask, from the bottom of my heart that his ability to write here could be a little better moderated.

    I say this, while remaining more than willing to engage with those of differing opinions from myself – including prescribing psychiatrists. I would just hope there would be a limit to what we will accept from those psychiatrists.

    Again, I say this respectfully. It is not my decision, but it is endlessly frustrating to witness this person work so hard to undermine the questioning into his field and the experiences of survivors.

    We spend our time defending ourselves and exposing the words of Dr. Moffic, rather than focusing on positive ways to move forward. It has reached a level that is not healthy.


  • Stevie,

    And, I will say again. Just as I will continue to speak for a free Tibet, even if all of the Chinese people are hurt by such speech, just as much will I speak against what you stand for, even if every single psychiatrist is hurt by such speech.

    I know hypocrisy when I see it. Psychiatry, psychology or religion, I have seen a lot of exactly this kind of hypocrisy and you quoting religion just makes it even more obvious.

    Respect is earned.


  • Stevie,

    You are the only one who has ever claimed to feel hurt. I don’t feel hurt by you. I feel disgust towards you. I also find it entertaining and funny to expose you for what you are. So no, the only one who claims to feel hurt is you. You only claim to feel hurt when our criticism of everything you stand for gets a little too close to home.

    As far as agreeing with each other, I have a very high threshold for disagreeing. Which is why I suggested we engage in an honest attempt to understand each others point of view. If you were genuine in your endeavors on this site then you would have engaged with me, and who knows, we might both have learned and grown. You are the one who didn’t have the guts.


  • Stevie,

    Well, I am sorry for being so obviously hmm, should I call it confused? (because I am not confused at all, this is what I expected, and I think you are clear as a whistle) It seems that your stated purpose of coming here is greatly at odds with your actions.

    You state that you come here because you would like to see psychiatry grow – Yet, you have not at any time told us how you would like psychiatry to grow, or what you do in order to assist in this endeavor.

    You state that you come here to learn from us, yet you do not have the time or inclination to ask us questions or try to understand our point of view.

    You state that you would like us to learn from you, but you don’t want to tell us what it is you would like us to learn from you.

    You state that you are not here to “defend” psychiatry – yet you claim to be personally insulted and hurt when we demand change a little too loudly. Then you go on and associate all psychiatry’s detractors with $cientology, as a way to undermine our desire for change.

    You state that you genuinely want an exchange for the betterment and growth of all. Given how far apart our positions seemingly are, such an exchange would take work, effort and genuineness. Then you go on to tell us that you don’t have the time to engage in such a genuine exchange.

    Now, Stevie, What do you think my word(s) to describe you would be?


  • Hey Duane,

    You know, if you listen to the Chinese government then we are not allowed to express the opinion that the Chinese have no business in Tibet, because that opinion is deeply hurtful to all the Chinese people. Same argument of course.


  • Dr. Moffic,

    If you are genuinely here to exchange in a dialogue why not start by answering the 9 questions I asked above. They were specifically directed at you. They might go a long way towards building some bridges – or outlining exactly where we differ and why. We clearly will not end up at the same place – but we might end up with more appreciation for each other’s point of view.


  • Dr. Moffic,

    Well, it ought to be clear by now what my attitude is to $cientology. If you want references to my work in the anti cult field – I will be more than happy to provide them.

    When we talk about the survivor movement, then I do not see why we even have to speculate in whether or not people belong to $cientology, unless they publicly announce themselves as such. What does it actually matter? Using $cientology as a way to invalidate those of us who hates psychiatry is a fallacy of “guilt by association”.

    I am not even 100% anti medications – I know some folks that feel they were helped by medications and I respect that. I am 110% against the prevailing attitudes within psychiatry – those are the attitudes that dehumanize those they are trying to help. Attitudes that I have seen in spades from you and Dr. Steingaard. Attitudes that allow psychiatrists to force feed people on medications unhindered. Attitudes that uses force, lies and humiliation at psychiatric units. Attitudes that pathologize and diminish those that are hurting. Attitudes that focus only on medications as a way to offer help. Attitudes that glorify medications without even a hint of critical thinking. And finally, attitudes that sometimes use chemical restraint or prescribe into insanity. Those attitudes do not use “good medicine”. They do not aid in healing, they just do damage.

    Now, I reached out a hand to you above – it was meant as a genuine attempt to communicate, and maybe, possibly (I dont know) find some common ground. I notice that you didnt as of yet take the time to answer.

    Which leads me to the question – are you genuinely interested in a dialogue that you can learn from as well? Or, are you more interested in defending psychiatry?


  • Steve,

    At the moment I do not see psychiatry as a cult – that does not in any way excuse psychiatry or make it any better, I just do not see that they fit the description of a cult. If you want to make a detailed analysis based on current knowledge of how cults work for me to compare with then I might be convinced otherwise. I suggest using the BITE model.

    As far as what is or isn’t a cult there actually is solid information about what makes one group a cult and others not, but you are right there are also plenty of grey areas. Most religions are obviously not cults though – thank God. That said, certain groups do not deserve the name “religion”, because their destructiveness and the horror they leave behind is such that they are incredibly dangerous. Scientology is such a group.


  • Hey Sonia,

    Thanks for the nice feedback. I have not read the PT website or Dr. Moffic’s contributions on that site. I posed above questions to (probably naively) further the communication and understanding between Dr. Moffic and myself and maybe other survivors as well. Which means, if Dr. Moffic has an interest in furthering our dialogue, and understanding then I would need for him to answer those questions directly.

    At the moment, based on what I have seen from Dr. Moffic so far he has zero credibility with me. I suspect he is here to defend psychiatry, the status quo and himself. I also suspect he deliberately uses shame to reach his goals, IE “you are hurting me”. If Dr. Moffic really does want to improve psychiatry then I would hope that he would be willing to engage in a genuine exchange with the purpose of learning from each other. That is why I decided to set my emotional gut reactions to the side and ask Dr. Moffic the questions above. We will see if he has an interest in answering me.

    As far as inputting links – just copy and paste the url, the software on the site will make it a link.

    On scientology, they are a vicious, horrific cult. At this moment I do not see psychiatry as a cult, although I am willing to be proven wrong if someone can do a detailed analysis with current knowledge of how cults work. That does not excuse or validate psychiatry, it just doesnt fit the description of a cult. I know scientology agree with some of our ideas about medications but they are very dangerous. Getting associated with scientology hurts our credibility.

  • Dr. Moffic,

    What is it you would like us to learn from you?
    What would you and your friends require to feel more “welcome”?
    What changes would you like to see in psychiatry?
    What is your understanding in regards to the reason why so many people on this site expresses rage against psychiatry?
    Do you understand the difference between anger expressed directly at you, and anger expressed at what you stand for or defend?
    Is it possible to express anger or disgust at what you stand for and not have you take it personally?
    Do you see anything positive in the anger expressed against psychiatry? Please explain.
    Do you want to ask me or anyone else who are critical of you any questions of this type? If yes, what are they?
    Do you have an interest in learning from us? Please explain. Maybe even take some or all of these questions and work them in to a blog post.


  • Dr. Moffic,

    In regards to “why hurt someone if you can avoid it”. First of all, my comments are not designed to hurt you. They are designed to question you – and maybe even challenge you to question yourself. I suspect the questions I bring up can be painful though. If there is a place in you that is human enough to know that the system you represent has done untold damage to others then those questions would indeed be painful to you. I would say that is good news actually.

    In the end, the questions I raise are not at all about you, but about the system that you represent. Making it about you is really amazingly self centered.

    In regards to people’s mental health – sure it can be improved. What improvements would you like to see?

    Do you understand that people who have been hospitalized sees the hospitals as deeply abusive?

    Do you understand why they see those hospitals as abusive?

    The improvements I want to see? Well, they are not so much improvements – rather I would like to see the system completely dismantled and run by peers. Let the MD’s and the other professionals work under those they are trying to help.

    In regards to the anger –
    The only way we will see changes that are significant enough is if we use the anger constructively. We are not talking about nice, cute little “improvements”, we are talking about revolution. In this revolution you can join us, but beware you will not be at the top of the pyramid, your degree will keep you from that. Or, you can oppose us. Right now you are in an oppositional stance due to your lack of understanding of where we come from.


  • Hey Cledwyn,

    I agree with a lot of what you are saying actually.

    I agree that there are a lot of rank and file scientologists who do not know what it is they are supporting. That said they are still being kept under control by $cientology, but some of them are even not involved enough in the church to be all that damaged by it. That still does not change what $cientology is and what they do – which is a horror.

    I tend to think that $cientology and psychiatry each do exactly the same thing. Psychiatry might be a larger animal and so they leave more debris, but there is essentially no difference in how the two work. You are also right that $cientology’s survivors get more attention than the survivors of psychiatry – we need to do better at getting our message out.

    All I am saying is – lets not replace one abusive system; psychiatry, with another abusive system; $cientology.

  • Hey Duane,

    First off, I do not read anything you wrote as an attack on me. I read a desire to defend people that you consider good, hard working people that work for something we all agree on.

    I want to start by saying that I know a lot about $cientology and the inner workings of high demand, high control groups. Plenty enough to comment – and then some.

    Let me clarify a few things –

    First off, I said that $cientology is intelligent and I meant it. Their machine is huge, and they have several front groups that are only indirectly related to the mother church. CCHR is one of those front groups. Now, CCHR and all its members play a role for $cientology, if only to enhance their image.

    As an aside – $cientology purchased CAN which stands for Cult Awareness Network a long time ago. They use this now as a front group professing to fight against cults. It is sickening, because there really are few cults that are more destructive than $cientology.

    I do not think that everyone involved with CCHR are scientologists, and I am sure many of them have no clue what $cientology does behind closed doors. One of the things $cientology works hard on is their image – they do not want to be known as the vicious group that they are.

    This still leaves me with the knowledge that $cientology is as vicious and dangerous as the psychiatry we fight against. The affiliation between CCHR and $cientology is not indirect – $cientology bankrolls CCHR, and the top members of CCHR are mostly scientologists.

    I believe that if we make the mistake to work together with $cientology then we risk replacing one abusive system with one just as bad. I think it is important to stand up and inform those who fight for our cause, but think $cientology brings something to the table about the organization behind $cientology and what it stands for.

    If you follow the Lisa McPherson link, and then click on the description of “introspection rundown” you will see some of the thinking behind $cientology, and some of the things they do not want made public. Just a little bit of it. It should be enough to make you queasy though.


  • No, Dr. Moffic, Really, I did not misspell your name on purpose. Nor did it dawn on me that you were commenting only under your first name.

    I get royally furious at you because I see you defend the abuse that goes on in the name of psychiatry all around the country. Then you get your tender little feelings hurt when we stand up to the abuse. From what I see, you act like the play ground bully who starts to cry when one of those you bullied all of a sudden had enough and stands up to you.

    So, I have a few questions for you.

    First, you said words on this site can be “abusive”, do you mean to compare any stings my words may carry to the abuse of being incarcerated, dehumanized, force fed horrific medications, sometimes put in four point restraints? And if the medications are not force fed then they are injected in the backside with nice big needles into people that really do not want those medications. Do you honestly think this is comparable?

    Now, I also really wonder Dr. Moffic, why do you come here? There has got to be something that you would like to get out of coming here – something positive that you imagine can come from these interactions – I wonder what it is? No, really, I genuinely wonder. Maybe, if we are to honestly try to communicate I need to understand what you come here for. I can’t promise I will give it, but I can promise I will try to understand it.


  • Duane,

    I suspect this is slightly outside of the scope of this web site, but I will give a brief opinion and some resources.

    *sigh*, I have been through abuse more than once in my life and am also a survivor of a destructive cult. In the process of becoming free of the cult I studied how cults work in extensive detail.

    When I refer to a cult I specifically mean a group of two or more people with a centralized leadership that uses specific techniques to gain and keep control over their members. Those techniques are often referred to as “mind control”, and the groups in daily vernacular are referred to as “cults”. I usually refer to “high control, high demand groups”, and by that I mean specifically groups that gain an ungodly control over their members. If you want more of what I have written on the subject please email me directly.

    Please note that when I refer to certain groups as high control, high demand I do not care what their actual beliefs are, and some of those groups are not religious in their ideological foundation. I simply refer to the techniques they use to gain and keep control over their members.

    Most of the larger and more “successful” high control, high demand groups have spin off groups that in some ways are involved in the community and espousing one or several of their dogma’s but are not completely part of the church or official group set up. They do this to soften their image and to troll for more adherents. Think about it – take someone who has been abused by psychiatry, who is looking for a way to get involved with opposing psychiatry. This person will be a poster child for the original groups dogma with a touching personal story. This person will also be quite easy to slowly induct into the group that controls the strings behind the front group.

    Now, when you go to those front groups you will indeed see members that are not church members. But they will be very open to the church behind the scenes. They play a part. The real goal though is to get more adherents. I also believe that $cientology deliberately and consciously want to replace psychiatry, after all there is a lot of money in psychiatry.

    Now, to comment specifically on $cientology, they are in my well studied mind, the most organized, intelligent and successful of high control, high demand groups out there. They are also the most vicious. The horrors they have put their members through are truly shocking, and easily rivals the horrors done by psychiatry. Seriously, don’t take my resources for it – just do a search on scientology survivors and read their stories. Incarceration is daily fare for $cientology. You said “what would be illegal”, and you would be right. That hasn’t stopped them yet.


    And here for some resources:
    The site that gives a lot of scientology resources:

    Steven Hassan’s BITE Model of mind control:

    And just one survivors story because I know it is easy for me to find – Monica Pignotti’s survivor story:

  • Did it even dawn on you that when I mentioned the Lisa McPherson case they incarcerated her and starved her to death? They starved her to death? Do you get that? When the ME got to her she was malnourished, died from starvation, had big bug bites and were filthy. She was incarcerated for months to get in to that state. While she is the one who died her story is NOT unique among those who survived $cientology.

    Those who incarcerated her were never prosecuted. These are the people you want to team up with? They might now have the legal right to incarcerate her and kill her, but they still did it and there were no consequences.

    They tortured her to death – but they are your friend? Really?


  • Stop.Psychiatry,

    I get what you meant, and I still vehemently disagree. $cientology might not have the legal right to incarcerate and torture – yet they do those acts unopposed every single day. No organization that incarcerates and tortures others are “my friend” in any kind of fight.

    The extremeness, the tortures and the horrors perpetrated by $cientology dimishes and invalidates our case. We do better distancing ourselves as far away from them as we possibly can.


  • What? You will rather give the power to incarcerate and torture to $cientology than to the church of psychiatry? What does it matter what the organization is called if it tortures people? I am not against or for any organizations – I am against torture. I am against abusive actions. I am against use of force and cruelty. I don’t care what the organization that uses force and cruelty is called, I am against it.

    *You* might have been harmed by psychiatry – so have I. That does not diminish the stories of torture that comes out from a different organization. To claim that the organization that tortured you is more worth of objection because it was you who were tortured is – strange.

    Lisa McPherson’s story is just one of thousands that are on the market about $cientology. Folks, she was starved to death due to having a psychotic episode. Human sacrifice? You Bet! And not a one time event for $cientology either. Those who did it were never prosecuted – they were too powerful in Clearwater where it happened.

    No, I stand against torture and abuse in all its forms. If you have been wounded by psychiatry so should you. Torture and abuse is not unique. Come on folks – the history of humanity is littered with these type of stories. Our stories – painful as they are to us – are almost pedestrian. This makes it so much more important to fight back. The commonness of it all makes it worse, more horrifying. In some ways torture and abuse is “normal”, to the point that often well meaning people can’t distinguish the difference because it is so damn common.

    The beast is cruelty.
    The beast is torture.
    The beast is abusiveness.
    The beast is lack of empathy
    The beast is lack of genuine concern for others.

    Who cares if the beast calls itself psychiatry, scientology, nazism or any other name.


  • I knew I would remember the name. Lisa McPherson was killed by $cientology in 1995. She was put in isolation and incarcerated when she showed psychotic behavior. She died from malnutrition following this incarceration.

    Here is more information about her story:

    $cientology is probably one of the most vicious cults currently on the marked. They have destroyed countless lives. I would even go so far as to say that them “championing” our cause is highly detrimental to us. People can’t and shouldn’t take $cientology seriously with anything they say. Their motives are clearly to become the “new psychiatry”, they want the money. This is not what we are about, and we would do well actively separating ourselves from $cientology.


  • Steve,

    We have a few MD’s here who still actively prescribe medications in great numbers. These people need – as do we all – to believe that their work is worthy and so they defend themselves and the status quo. They might try to prescribe a little less. They might be aware that there is some over prescribing going on. They are not as of yet aware that the very system they defend is horribly abusive and should be dismantled completely.

    I agree with you, we need experienced mental health workers to help us establish better systems. Those mental health workers must work closely with those they are helping and the survivors to make certain that the new systems are ethical. We do not need the people who defend their current practices. We do not need apologetics, or MD’s who are so completely unaware that they espouse abusive attitudes that they come on to this site and continue to abuse. (hello Dr Steingaard and Dr. Moffitt).


  • Ai, Ai, Ai, has anyone ever read any survivor stories from people leaving $cientology? They are at least as bad – if not worse than psychiatry. They are just not as prevalent so there aren’t as many stories of lives destroyed.

    They too have a history of incarcerating people in need of support. They use things like sleep and food deprivation to “heal” people. Some have even died during those extended efforts to heal them. The net is awash with those stories and they are as horrific as that which we fight.

    The reason $cientology is against psychiatry is because they want people to come to them instead. Its a power game. Lets not replace one horrific and torturous system with another that does the same.


  • Hey Duane,

    Yes, it is so obvious, isn’t it? We have had attachment based information for what 60 or 70 years now. For some reason they had all this focus on attachment in babies and children as we realized that they would literally die without touch and attachment. Yet, this was not developed further than to the knowledge of babies. So strange. Thankfully that is about to change, although the attachment based therapies are still seen as “rebellious”.

    Funny thing is – they show better results in both short term and long term studies than most other therapies out there – including CBT. Of course, this isn’t going to make the drug companies a lot of money. And the therapy is usually a little more long term than CBT so the insurance companies wont like it.

    I suspect that will keep the attachment based therapies on the outskirts of their profession for a little while longer.

  • Wow, Ted. You have a gift with words. This is a battle cry. For months now I have wanted to find a way to fight back. To stand up and say “HEY, That wasn’t OK”.

    This site is nice. But standing alone it will have very little impact. Those MD’s who might be starting to realize that their system is corrupt is given plenty of leeway to continue to defend that which is indefensible. In other words, this site is too nice, with too many pretty words.

    In my efforts to find a way to become an activist:
    I called NAMI and asked them some questions – but it seemed they had zero interest.

    I spent a night surfing around the web wondering if there were any ways someone like me could file a complaint against the hospital. That only got me confused. What if we could find hundreds of people wanting to file complaints against individual hospitals? What if we could find thousands?

    I called a couple of lawyers and were informed about the statute of limitations – sorry, no dice there.

    I spent some time surfing online wondering if there were others actively fighting back locally that I could join. Wasted effort.

    I am not that far away from you Ted, and I am ready, chomping at the bit, to find a way to fight back. So far I have not really found any one that I could join with, and alone I am just a lonely loon with an idea.

  • Hey Duane,

    In the mental health field I have found that attachment based therapists practicing therapies developed by Diana Fosha and Sue Johnson seems to focus exactly on that. Finally official psychotherapy is waking up to this reality.

    Those practitioners focusing on developing those modalities also seems to be the naturally empathic people that have naturally known all their life that it is love that heals.


  • I Love this: “when somebody gets better, psychiatrists thank the drug and congratulate themselves on saving the world, when somebody gets worse, they express their sorrow at the worsening of the natural course of the mental illness and congratulate themselves on the fact it would have been even worse without drugs.”

    You are so right! What will it take to get these psychiatrists to reality test their own assumptions? How do we cut through the self satisfied, demeaning, dehumanizing bullshit the doctors throw our way?

    It reminds me of a saying that my best friend favors. She worked for around 20 years around doctors before changing careers. Her saying was: “what is the difference between a doctor and God? God knows he is not a doctor”.

  • Ted,

    I am really sorry. Your story is very strong, and poignant, but I am so sorry you had to live through that. It sounds like you have landed on your feet, which is a miracle. You must be a very strong person.

    After reading this I went on google and just put in Dr. Lauretta Bender. Her wiki write up is ugh, but one little paragraph caught my interest:

    “Bender, who shocked 100 children, the youngest of whom was 3, abandoned the use of ECT in the 1950s. She is best known as the co-developer of a widely used neuropsychological test that bears her name, not as a pioneer in the use of ECT on children. That work was discredited by researchers who found that the children she treated either showed no improvement or got worse.”

    Isn’t it strange that the children didn’t “get better”? Wonder of wonder’s. Rape, violence, cruelty, isolation, dehumanization and discrediting does not help people become stronger human’s.

    I wonder why.

    I wonder – how much have we actually learned from the 1950’s. We still discredit, dehumanize and pathologize. Psychiatry still uses violence and force, and then blames it on the “bad choices” of those that suffer.

    Mostly, my heart bleeds for the children that had to live through this.


  • Money, Money, Money, Must be funny, in the rich’s man’s world!

    I agree with Ted anger, outrage and stronger reactions are warranted. We need the anger to affect some kind of change.

    We need strong grass roots organizations that band together and use outrage to change things. We need parades, strength, pride and the focus to challenge the money. We need a big and loud enough mouth piece that the media gets interested to hear what we say. We need to challenge not just the medication crap that is going on, but the attitudes that are so prevalent that makes it so darn easy to discredit us when we speak up.

    We need hospitals that are held accountable.
    We need doctors that are held accountable.
    We need therapists that are held accountable.

    Right now what we have is a quiet whisper. A murmur in the ranks. When a few of us get angry enough to sound louder we are easily dismissed by the status quo as too extreme, after all, we are mentally ill, right?

    I think we need to band together more, get more organized, get angry enough to be loud, and start to take massive action.

  • Exactly! you talk to them. So accurate a description.

    Have you tried talking WITH “them”? Or, even better have you tried to shut up and listen to “them”? Has it ever occurred to you that what “they” know is as important as what you know?

    Even better, have you tried to take all your preconceived notions and set them to the side because you are so busy listening to “them”?

    Has it ever occurred to you that truly, there is not that much difference between you and “them”? Why do you refer to your patients as “them” anyways? You need the distance?

    I can say that truly there is not much difference between those we consider “seriously mentally ill” and myself because the work I have done has led me to sit, listen and talk with human’s that have that label. When I had conversations with those human beings I had no agenda – I had no need to push a medication. It made for a much better listening experience.

    Dr. Steingard, I have said it before. The true attitude you have to your patients come out unconsciously in your choice of words. The sad part is you seem so incredibly oblivious to it.


  • Hey Mark,

    Well, as a funny aside, here is a youtube video that addresses just that.

    Seriously though, I put more responsibility on the doctors than you do. They are phoning it in, not doing their best. Not sufficiently engaged to truly care. That’s not ok with me. When you have this large an impact on people’s lives, make as good a living as the doctors do, then that also bestows a lot of responsibility. A responsibility they are not living up to. This man you mentioned above had several of his years lampooned by doctors who does not care enough. Maybe this is an example of the negatives of doctors who are taught to keep a rather large “professional distance” between themselves and their patients. The doctors who prescribed and destroyed several years of this mans life doesn’t even get one sleepless night as a result of their irresponsible actions. Again, not ok.

    Sorry, this isn’t just a thing of “we are doing our best in this difficult wicked world”. That abdicates the very real responsibility that comes with the title, the education and the income.

    Anyways, hope the youtube link brings a smile to someone’s face. It is pretty funny.


  • It seems to me this study is so flawed as to be completely meaningless.

    I do not know if DID is an existing disorder, I am willing to accept it on others authority that it is. However, it is just as obvious to me that at least some experienced being brainwashed in to believing they had it, when they didn’t.

    The brainwashing they were subjected to is very close to the brainwashing used in destructive high control / high demand groups (IE cults).

    Those who were brainwashed to believe that they had DID believed with every part of their being that the diagnosis was correct. This means the only way to mimic the brain scans on those who might not have DID, but are acting it, is to have subjects who are true believers. It would be completely unethical to use brainwashing to make a person believe they had DID for the purpose of research.

    IE, this research does not actually test those who are brainwashed and so there is no valid comparison in the brain scans.

    This research provides zero valid data, what a waste.


  • Hey Ruby,

    I really found that the psychiatrists who posts here seems conflicted. I think they actually might begin to see some of Bob Whitaker’s points and that is why they get involved here. However, it seems to me that they are so entrenched in attitudes that are intrinsically damaging, and I find that they seem completely and totally oblivious to the fact. Unfortunately, the change we need in the psychiatric system is not a small adjustment. It is not even just a change in how we use medications.

    We need a drastic and complete change in attitudes and understanding. We need a completely new system.

    It is a good point actually, because as I read Corinna’s post she advocated making the change by being the change. That is a good point, and I love it.

    We actually desperately need the professionals, the psychiatrists – which is one of the reasons I think we get so upset. We can’t do it without them. Unfortunately, we also can’t do it with them as long as they remain so ignorant to the damage they do. Like the Catholic priests they can’t plead innocence. They can’t claim “but I don’t do it”. They are part of the system that does it, and that makes them culpable.

    Even more so, their attitudes that they are so extremely unaware of. Those attitudes cut those they are trying to help to shreds. Dr. Steingard is another example of a psychiatrist here who seems completely unaware of how intrinsically damaging her attitudes are. I suspect she can’t allow herself to see it.

    That said, I suspect most of them got in to psychiatry because they wanted to help. Its gotta be a bit of a bitter pill to swallow when we tell them that they do more harm than good. And if they have put in considerable years in to their profession then it is probably almost impossible to reach them with that message. It becomes a typical situation of cognitive dissonance, they are completely unable to process the consequences if they truly heard us.

    Cognitive dissonance theory tells us that they must find some other explanation, and what is easier than to blame those that are the weakest.

    There are also some typical powers of thought reform that are at work I think. It is funny because Dr. Moffic seems aware of some of those types of influence in his writing. He refers to Lifton’s works several times. However, he seems equally oblivious to how it pertains to him and his work. To me it is absolutely obvious and clear as day.

    I understand it is infuriating. Clearly, I got furious at Dr. Moffic. Trust me, what I posted was the edited out, watered down version. What my fingers actually wanted to say would have been removed – and I respect that. I think it is important to remember that we can’t really come here to heal. We must do that some other place. If we render ourselves too vulnerable on a board like this then we get hurt. We can only come here to stand up for what we believe in. This might be healing on it’s own, but that can’t be the main point.

  • LOL, Now, that is convenient. Poor little itty bitty psychiatrist shouldn’t have to digest all this anger. He can afford a nice long vacation somewhere gorgeous where he doesn’t have to consider the lives he has hurt. Or, those who will hold him responsible for his actions.

  • Stephany,

    I know how easy it is to get hurt or angry on a site like this. I encourage you to consider that the moderators have to walk quite a tight rope. In order for the actual message to carry a wide appeal they have to make it an environment both for those who have been harmed by the system and for those who might be part of the system but who might want to try and do better. Its not an easy tight rope for them to walk.


  • Ohh, and Dr. Moffic, in regards to your comments about practicing medicine without a license. I suggest a nice little doze of humility. (If humility is something you don’t think is needed for you then maybe we can find a nice large needle, hold you down and stick it in your butt).

    First of all Dr. Moffic, MD does not stand for medical deity – even though many MD’s seem to think so. You are not God’s.

    I personally went off every single one of those nasty medications that were forced down my throat in the hospital. I did it without the supervision of a doctor.

    I knew myself and my body enough to know that what I had been given was far out ridiculous. Incidentally, three psychiatrists have later agreed with me on that judgment.

    Let’s start to have some respect for those who actually have to live with the effect of the medications, shall we? They know a lot better what is right for their bodies than you do – in spite of your fancy degree.


  • Dr. Moffic,

    And I say again, your lack of self insight is really quite astounding. The system you want to defend is often highly abusive. Those of us who posts from anger has been damaged within that system. Actual, long term damage. Remember first do no harm? Harm was done! You have no right what-so-ever to tell us how to approach talking with those who represents an abusive system. It is time for some humility from the Dr’s that harmed us.

    We don’t need nice little improvements, slight adjustments in the system. We need a revolution. A couple of revolutionary giants come to mind – Martin Luther King and Mahatma Ghandi. Now, those two giants were non-violent, but if you read their writing – they were ANGRY. It was a healthy anger, an anger that sparked real change. It was a righteous anger.

    Well, Dr. Moffic, I am angry, pissed, furious, enraged at the treatment I got by the system you represent. If you want to try and defend it, then I am sorry, you become one of those who abused me. I will get over the anger eventually I am sure. But never, ever expect me to sing kumbahya with those who abuse others. Forgiveness can only truly be offered when the person who did wrong takes responsibility and genuinely asks for it. Otherwise, we can overcome the anger, eventually let it go, but forgiveness? Not So Much.

    Dr. Moffic, if you honestly want to learn how to improve the system you defend then I suggest you first set out to learn from those who were harmed by the system. That means you need to set aside the defense of the system completely. You can’t defend abusiveness.

    Otherwise, well at best, you are simply a cog in the system. A brain washed pawn with your prescription pad. Again, I suggest you look in to cognitive dissonance as a theory. It applies. At worst, you are knowingly making a solid living abusing others.

    Again, I will compare the United States Psychiatric system with the Catholic church. Sure, there are good priests out there, priests who doesn’t molest young children. Those priests have to realize that if they took steps to hide what happened then they are responsible. And in the end, the organization they represent did some real horrors. They have to be part of taking responsibility for the horrors perpetrated by their organization – even if they didn’t themselves do anything wrong.

    Well, Dr. Moffic, if you want to be someone who is not an abuser you need some of that same self insight and understanding into the system you are part of.

    And yes, you might have the humility to understand and accept some of the anger coming your way.


  • Kermit,

    I appreciate you taking the time to outline the thoughts here. I admire Mr. Whitakers desire to reach the medical community with his message, and respect that is why we have psychiatrist’s here. I am also grateful that my at times snarky, irritable or even outright self righteously angry posts have not been removed. After all, if we can reach the psychiatrists we might have the biggest chances of reform.

    Incidentally, I have a story I might be interested in seeing posted here. Where do I go with that?

  • The comment about trying psychiatric medications were a snark based on the lack of self insight Dr. Moffic shows when he defends the system.

    I don’t actually care if Dr. Moffic has tried those nasty medications himself – I care that he starts to understand that the system he represents is intrinsically violent and abusive.

    Incidentally – Dr. Moffic, and any else who wants to defend the psychiatric system, I suggest you read about cognitive dissonance. Then spend ohh maybe an hour to try and consider why I would refer to that theory in this conversation.

  • Dr. Moffic,

    I don’t see the comments as a “way to bash psychiatry yet again”. I think those of us who have experienced the dark side of psychiatry has a right to be angry at the system. I think our anger is appropriately placed against the system that abused us. I think, as long as there isn’t a complete revolution of the system then those who represent the system should have enough self insight to understand why we might despise the system you represent.

    A good comparison is with those who were sexually abused by priests in the Catholic church. Their anger is appropriately directed at the priests who did the abuse, at the supervisors who covered it up, and at the organization that not only allowed it to happen, but encouraged the cover up. The same system who now acts as if they are victimized by the righteous anger coming their direction.

    So, Dr Moffic, our anger at psychiatry is justified, appropriate and righteous. If, as a representative of that system it makes you uncomfortable then I suggest you try a little self insight. (and if self insight is too difficult a task, maybe you want to try the toxins you prescribe for others?) Because, frankly, if you dont get it that the anger is justified then you are suffering from a delusional disorder of some type!


  • Dear Keren,

    You should start to do some research – hard, ongoing research on your own. Here are some of the things I suggest you get really get absorbed in finding out –

    How often do people with schizophrenia recover on their own without medications? I have heard that more than 80% of people can recover from schizophrenia without medical intervention, and just given some time. I am not certain of that number though, so I suggest researching it. I have also heard that people are much more likely to spontaneously recover if they do NOT use medications. Again, I suggest you really research the science though.

    Start to research and explore other ways to help your son manage his life and control his difficult symptoms.

    Here is the difficult news for you. 99% of current “wisdom” says that your son must be on these medications and most likely for the rest of his life. This means you will have an uphill battle when talking with professionals, but really, you need professionals and their additional knowledge to guide you. This means you need intelligence and knowledge. Intelligence to do the research in depth on your own and the knowledge that comes from the research. You also need a lot of strength – this is going to be hard work. In fact, I suspect you might have to get to a place where you might know more than a lot of doctors.

    I would start with google, read everything you can find on how to handle schizophrenia without medications. When you have tapped out google, I would make a list of current scientists and activists who has written about the subject and go to the library. You might also go to a University library and start to read some of the scientific papers the MD’s read. If you don’t understand the technical writing, bring a laptop to look up words.

    All this information will help you find, interview and choose doctors. There won’t be any magical helpers in asking on a large forum like this. And really, you don’t know any of us from adam, taking advice on a board like this on life changing decisions like this is not safe.

    Good luck.


  • Here is a thought. A definition of a cult is a group of people with clear leadership who uses specific methods to gain and keep control over others. In this case pharmacological companies and certain doctors with clear knowledge to the contrary who stands to benefit financially by not being honest are the cult leaders.

    The cult members are the unfortunate patients, and certain doctors being kept in the dark who follow blindly where authority leads.

    In his book Combatting Cult Mind Control, Steven Hassan describe his BITE model of how cult leaders control their membership. The methods to keep cult members under control include –

    Behavioral Controls – Certain behaviors are rewarded others are punished or a person is threatened with dire consequences if the behavior is not continued. In this case behavioral control could easily be the push towards taking medications by an authority. Behavioral control also includes the rewards drug companies give doctors who are good pre-scriber’s, the rewards doctors give patients who faithfully swallow the pills and the “you are very sick” ideology.

    Information Control – Certain information is deliberately with held, distorted or invalidated. IE, drugs are described incorrectly. Side effects are deliberately ignored and swept under the carpet. Effectiveness of drugs is lied about, and off label prescribing encouraged.

    Thought Control – certain ideas and dogmas are heavily advocated for. Threats such as you or your family will get sick, die, not live to your potential etc are used to keep the person’s thoughts under control. Previously “normal” things are redefined. IE, I am having a bad day, feeling sad and tearful can become you are severely mentally ill and need medications. Or, the promotion of the “sick brain” idea to the exclusion of all other ideas. Testing other hypothesis strongly discouraged – IE, I wonder what will happen if the doctor help me to get off the medication is a hypothesis that is discouraged. There can often be a clear difference in use of language. For instance someone might start to refer to a disease rather than an experience of feeling sad.

    Emotional Control – Phobia indoctrination – IE if you stop the medication you will get very sick and terrible things can or will happen. Emotional experiences engineered to validate incorrect ideas. In this case, a patient who is not helped to taper off drugs might go off the drugs all at once and have withdrawal symptoms thus incorrectly validating the doctors dx. Emotional control can also include a doctor being threatened with discharge from a job if he doesn’t prescribe according to ideology, or if he questions the status quo.

    This of course is a very quick overview of some of the controls in cults – all controls exist throughout our society but are increased in cults. I would expect some of it in the medical field, but has it gone too far? Are we dealing with a very large scale destructive organization in the medical field?

    Ohh, and cult members in this case could even be Doctors who are indoctrinated to prescribe – Cognitive Dissonance will keep them obedient to their training. (Dr. Steingard, this is one for you) Cognitive dissonance is a huge part of what keeps cult members in their respective groups for so long. Think of Heavens Gate. First the members were isolated and waited for the aliens to transport them to outer space. Then their thinking and language as it related to the aliens were completely controlled. Sexual thoughts were not allowed – so, the men were encouraged to castrate themselves. First they allowed the isolation to happen. Then they rejigged their thinking to the extreme. Finally, suicide didn’t seem so extreme. Each successive step made it more likely that cognitive dissonance would keep them taking the next step.

    Listed control taken from the book: Combatting Cult Mind Control by Steven Hassan.

    Sorry I didnt take the time to do a full accurate quotation deal, I am not (currently) in school and not a scientist.


  • Thanks Alice,

    I am naive – I admit, I am horribly naive. It is strange, because there has been some trauma in my life, and I remain naive.

    I am just now starting to resurface after having lived through the trauma of a psychiatric hospitalization 6 years ago. Trust me, it was a bad experience. As I try to work through what happened, I keep thinking that those who did wrong could probably be taught something and would want to do better – right?

    So, Yes, I warn you, I am naive. I called the hospital that I was hospitalized at and told them I had written some things about my experience at their fine institution. I offered to let them read it to see if they could learn something from my experience.

    They seemed less than interested. And, much in line with my previous experience at this wonderful institution it seemed to me that their attitudes reflected a disregard for my experiences – IE, it was because there was something wrong with me that I didn’t enjoy their particular brand of torture.

    Which is the problem in a nut shell – Once we have been hospitalized it is easy to invalidate our experiences. Labels abound, we are “difficult”, must make us borderline, right? We are psychotic and don’t know what we are saying. It is due to the mental illness that we don’t get it that the horrific amounts of poison being rammed down our throats aren’t appreciated. We are damaged, worthless, less than human. It is ok to dehumanize us.

    It is a powerful hold those institutions have over us, and in society in general. As long as we are shamed, made to believe we are horribly ill or that there is something wrong with us for not enjoying our psychiatric treatment we will be less outspoken. As long as we are less outspoken these fine institutions will not be forced to make a change.

    The strange thing is, I desperately want to become involved now. I want to lead the charge with an outcry – but where do I go to do that? I am even willing to volunteer my time to fight against abuse happening in mental health, but there seems no place, no foundation for me to work from.

    I have told very, very few people about the hospitalization though. My mom doesn’t know. Two friends and my therapist knows, that is it. If I become outspoken I will have to live with the stigma, but I am willing to do it. I just need some platform to work from.

    I am outside all statutes of limitations so I can’t sue the hospital. I would love to though, just on principle. Not for the money, but for the effect, the discussion.


  • Well, Dr. Steingard,

    It is not that I didn’t “like” your answers, it is that you didn’t answer my questions at all. You answered around my questions, and avoided them completely. Then you stopped the conversation.

    The more you spoke, the more hypocrisy I noticed. That was sad.

    I suppose you need to defend the system you represent. Even when it isn’t defensible.


  • Dr. Steingard,

    Funny, right after submitting above writing I started to think about the “what if’s” when a doctor does not know, and cannot know for certain if a treatment might work or not. Of course, I speak from my own perspective – while I have been suicidal before I have never been psychotic. When I was forcibly hospitalized I was kept longer than was medically necessary (I was unlucky enough to have insurance), I was force fed 2 anti psychotics, 3 anti seizure medications, an SSRI and a benzodiazepine. Three doctors have later told me that it was extremely excessive. I was also refused access to herbal supplements I knew worked – St. Johns wort, b-complex and others.

    I am obese and 4 of the medications I was forced to take had a potential to cause weight gain and diabetes. I maintained during my hospitalization that I needed NONE of them. Yet, it was a prerequisite for me to be discharged that I be “med compliant”. I had to get the lawyers involved to get discharged. I had insurance and frankly they were going to hold me as long as possible. It took the legal professional one brief conversation with the doctor and miracle of miracles, I went from very dangerous to discharged in seconds flat.

    Had the doctor discussed possible side effects, and had I been given a choice between someone to talk to or the medications I would not have chosen the medications. Someone to talk to would have been the responsible treatment. In fact, I asked for someone to talk to and was told that they did not have those resources. When it comes to general medical treatment then I believe it is the doctors responsibility to discuss all options, effects, risks and side effects. Then let me choose. I was not given that option. If that discussion has been honestly had then I can live with some risk. If that discussion has not been had, then how DARE the doctor take that risk on my behalf???? I cry foul. It is not your risk to assume. You will NOT live with the results.

    So, yes, you are right. When you come with your almighty prescription pad and you FORCE medications down my throat, then my standards will be extremely high, probably almost impossible for safety. And, if you misuse your power to prescribe then I hold you responsible – I might even blame you if you don’t get it right the first time. Yes, I blame the doctor who treated me in the hospital. I wish I could find him and let him have a piece of my mind. I would blame him, I would want to make him feel frozen in terror of ever prescribing again. Actually, I want his medical license revoked.

    Incidentally, I did whatever I needed to do to get out of the hell-hole called a hospital, and then I went of every single medication right away, and I did not need them.

    The much more important part of my writing above you did not address.

    Which is, when doctors do not assume responsibility for the treatments they offer or sometimes force on their patients, then they tend to blame it on something other than their treatment if a patient does not get better. It is not a good treatment that strangely doesn’t work. It is a bad treatment in this case. I hold that if a patient does not get better then the treatment is wrong, and it is the doctors responsibility to come up with something better.

    While I do not believe in shame and blame, I do believe in responsibility, and it is NEVER the patients responsibility or fault if a specific treatment doesn’t work. It is the doctors. Especially, ohh, especially, when and if you have the power to force feed me the toxins.

    I would love for you to read above post once more and hear your response to responsibility. Because that is much more important to me than actually arguing over whether or not the doctor could know if a treatment would work or not.

    Thanks for the time you are taking.


  • Dr. Steingard,

    Thank you for taking the time to reply. I want to first let you know that I do not believe that medications are always wrong for everyone. This is not my argument.

    My discomfort with your writing is very different. First, I notice that you seem to genuinely want to continue to improve your treatments and are open to listening to those of us who believe that reform is necessary and I want to stand up and applaud, cheer and thank you on my crying knees.

    Then I notice seemingly unconscious language that clearly shows the divide between you and me and I get uncomfortable.

    To me, if a treatment doesn’t help someone then the treatment was wrong – always and unequivocally. If that same treatment caused even one undesirable side effect, then the doctor failed in their duty to “first do no harm”. I suspect though that if a doctor were to really understand this then they would become frozen in fear of their prescription pad.

    Now, I am sorry to say this, but to me, doctors are humans. (ohh gasp, ohh horror, I know). Being humans doctors are prone to human emotions and reactions.

    What happens in the real world when a patient is difficult to deal with and resistant to the best efforts of the doctor to help? Come on, lets be honest here. How often does the doctor blame the patient for not improving? After all, the doctor did their best with all their tools. These tools were known as “good treatments”, it was just this one patient who didn’t improve – not the doctors fault and certainly not the treatments fault. Right?

    I see remnants of this when you refer to a “good treatment” that just didn’t help one patient. I hear the claim that it wasn’t the treatment’s fault, rather some other reason that this patient didn’t get better. In the real world Dr. Steingard, the patients gets blamed when they don’t improve. This opens the door to abusive attitudes by staff and doctors. That again opens the door to the horror I experienced in the hospital, and that I have heard many others describe.

    So, lets be clear. If the treatment didn’t work, then the treatment was wrong. Maybe under slightly different circumstances that treatment might have worked, but it was the wrong treatment for this person at this time. If the treatment caused unfortunate side effects then the doctor should have been more careful with the prescription. That is responsibility. In the cases when doctors prescribe medications to those on a psychiatric hold this responsibility become even more total. The patient literally does not have the right to say no to the medications that might be erroneously prescribed.

    This isn’t blame – it is responsibility. When that responsibility is fully realized then I suspect that doctors will become so careful of their prescription pads that other options must be explored in more detail.

  • Dr. Steingard,

    I applaud your efforts to question your own practice, but I will admit to feeling some discomfort reading your article.

    After volunteering in the psychology field for years as a paraprofessional I heard stories from long term clients of the psychiatric field that they felt uncared for or dehumanized by the system. I heard tales of terrible side effects, or downright mistreatment and hurt over what the hospitals did.

    Then horror of horrors I had the chance to experience that system from inside myself. A true unadulterated horror that was. You ask me to not place blame. I respect that. I suspect blame will not lead to change.

    What about responsibility? Who is responsible when we over-medicate, or act abusively to those in psychiatric hospitals? Indeed, so often they are under lock and key and can’t defend themselves. Not to mention that at least while the hospitalization is going on, it is reasonable to assume that the patient does not have the strength to protect themselves against those who profess to want to help.

    It feels “not quite good enough” for the doctors or representatives of that abusive system to say “well, we are doing our best”. I really want the doctors to admit that the system is severely broken.

    I say this not to place blame. I have met wonderful people that represented the psychiatric system both before and after my own unfortunate experience. I don’t want anyone to feel blame or shame. I ask for responsibility because without it we can’t start to make changes.

    So, Dr. Steingard, as you ask me not to blame you, or the doctors who were horribly irresponsible in how they medicated me. I also ask you to take full responsibility for not over-medicating, or not takeing away a person’s right to self determination without full cause, or act abusively to a person with some mental health challenges. Because I happen to know that these things happen every single day in psychiatric hospitals across the US. I will take my request one further and ask you to speak up if you see your colleagues mistreat a patient.

    And, while I do not want shame and blame, please excuse me if at least for a while I get angry when I see a psychiatrist or other psychiatric worker abuse their power.