Comments by Ron Thompson

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  • Ron Thompson
    A little history from an ex-patient who is not technically a survivor, because I had a good experience with psychiatry, based NOT on the fake biological model but on the psychoanalytic model, psychoanalysis being a fancy word for a sophisticated interpersonal model, supplemented by an excellent reading list, particularly books by Karen Horney. If i had the same serious problem now i had then, I do not doubt that psychiatric drugs and the mindset that goes with them would have destroyed me.
    From 1993 on, about 4 yrs after my initiation into the field (which came about when I found that a former classmate fell into the psych system about the same time I did but had never emerged, and finally died prematurely in 1995), I found myself asking the question again and again, “Why Doesn’t It Make Any difference?” This was in response to several meetings and lectures I attended in which the harm and atrocities described as the result of psychiatric brutality and toxic drugs gave me knots in my stomach (not that I’m complaining about that – what i heard needed to be heard), but which I soon came to realize led to … NOTHING, no tangible political results of any kind.
    The several organizations of which I became a Board member over some 15 years (including the ACLU) or a Trustee (Bazelon Center), and other orgs I was part of, weren’t accomplishing anything beyond the (admittedly useful) function of providing a place where ex-patients and dissident professionals could find their activist identities and meet with like-minded others. This was no small thing, but hardly the ultimate result sought.
    Over time I formed my opinion of WHY these people were so impressive as individuals, but so unsuccessful as advocates, as were the organizations they belonged to.
    Except for one area, I won’t go into all my conclusions here. That one area involves ideas that continue to intrigue me, but that i have never seen adopted as a political strategy by any organization.
    One I discussed with some colleagues recently. I thought ex-pats and dps (dissident professionals) should have opposed Insurance Parity in the 1990’s unless it was limited to VOLUNTARY psychiatric coverage. This seemingly obvious argument was never made, but I’d still like to suggest to insurance companies that they drop coverage for involuntary care – that whoever wants the involuntary care should pay for it.
    Second I’ve mentioned calling for the POWER of prescribing psych drugs to be limited to psychiatrists
    and taken away from real doctors. The purpose is to focus accountability.
    Third, I suggest that the subject of calling for Psychiatry to be dropped from the American Medical Association be at least raised and discussed if not stridently demanded, on the grounds that their subject matter is NOT shown to be grounded in biology, even if it “looks” or “feels” the way to many. And even if large numbers of people, for complex psychological reasons, welcome, demand, and are reassured by
    a “diagnosis” which explains their distress, but does not place the primary or ultimate burden on them to deal with it.
    Related to this, I would at least call into questions all campaigns against ‘stigma’, and stop giving these efforts a free ride as benign in purpose, when they are usually a cover for persuading people to accept lifelong drugging, or even a cover for advocacy of more involuntary treatment. (Last Sunday morning, CBS’s otherwise excellent weekly program had a long piece on more ‘respect’ for mental patients, including a probably drugged sister of actress Glen Close, who seemed to be slurring her words while embracing her diagnosis, and the appalling psychiatrist Kay Redfield Jamison, who applauds being personally force-treated if her bi-polar condition gets out of hand in the view of others).
    Fourth, I would like to see a model Law drafted and then advocated for in various State legislatures and Congress, that gives abused and outraged ex-patients at least the chance to prove in court what was abusively or wrongly done to them, and the possibility of legal compensation.
    None of the above four ideas, let alone all of them, have ever been part of the Mission Statement of any organization I know of.
    [I’m glad to submit a pic if i know how]

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