Saturday, July 11, 2020

Comments by l_e_cox

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  • All right! A namesake (I don’t know her) steps up to make a statement!
    I have heard soldiers cringe at this label as well.
    I see it as a kind of PR stunt – almost cheap – like an attempt at flattery. Whose intentions are more in question when obvious flattery is involved? Those of the flatterer, of course!
    Here in California, the signs being stuck in people’s lawns with these messages are being provided by the health care corporations themselves. In a sense they say, “Sorry, that’s all you’re going to get out of this. We can’t afford to raise your pay or give you better benefits, so better be happy with a pat on the back.”
    I’ve stood in the shoes of a relief worker. Sure, they can be considered special people. But what’s on most of their minds is: Am I doing the best job possible for the people I’m serving? In this sense, training, good organization, confident leadership, and proper infrastructure are much more important to these people than a pat on the back.

  • I find no great reassurance in this news!
    Even if “indigenous” treatments arrive in the Global North, is is doubtful that the context in which they are used in the Global South will also arrive.
    For instance, the coca leaf has been used traditionally as a stimulant (a little like coffee) for people working at high altitudes or for long hours. While coca’s derivative, cocaine, is used in the West as a street drug – an escape from reality.
    The urban West (as I am used to calling the Global North, since we often remove much of Asia from that territory) has a different approach to drugs than the traditional rural peoples of the Global South.
    Furthermore, Latin America has a bad drug abuse problem, too. As does Africa, apparently mostly from stolen (or smuggled) pharmaceuticals.
    So, we can introduce yet more drugs into the “mental health” scene here is the U.S. and elsewhere, on the basis that they are somehow “more natural” than the ones we use now (although there is also a push in the U.S. to reintroduce LSD as a therapeutic drug) when what the planet really needs is to get off drugs.
    “Traditional forms of knowledge” have left us with no particular advantage in facing the challenges that lie ahead. And the “tradition” in the West has been to strip out what workability they did have by ignoring original context. By the time Buddhism arrived in the West, it was Christianity! I don’t think traditional healing methods will fare any better here.

  • I don’t agree with Niall that “no progress” has been made to resolve the mind-body problem since René Descartes.
    It just hasn’t been made in psychiatry (except for Ian Stevenson’s work). So those who hope to find such a resolution by perusing the psych journals will be disappointed.
    As might be expected, the advances made in resolving the mind-body problem were seen as sufficiently disruptive to Medicine in general that they were strictly ignored, or invalidated if they were ever mentioned. That includes Stevenson’s work, most assuredly.
    In terms of walking forward into a real and workable understanding of mind, the mainstream has a tough problem: As it turns out, that understanding undermines many basic stable data that so many hold dear. The list only starts with “you only live once!”
    I would really like to see a change in this in my lifetime. A lot of hard work has been put into it. Perhaps we are closer to a breakthrough than it seems. I certainly hope so. Those atom bombs have been waiting patiently in their silos for all these years waiting for humanity to grow up and realize it didn’t need them any more. How much longer will their patience last?

  • Hmm…There is a section in the written interview that should occur in the audio at about 39:00 but isn’t there.
    It was an informative interview, but I would have liked to find out where all this has taken Dr. Aftab in his own viewpoints or opinions on where psychiatry came from and where it should go.
    We still have the problem of who is going to take responsibility for this part of human life if we fire Psychiatry on the basis of incompetence. Obviously, Aftab thinks the profession can be reformed. But, boy, does he have a lot of work on his hands if he decides to take that goal seriously!

  • Good to see some academic backing for this long-known truth.
    Industry-backed “consumer advocacy” groups are everywhere now. And they’re a total fraud.
    There are so many of these groups in so many fields that the internet has become seriously polluted with them. I try to find true data on the internet, and it is very difficult because of these groups. I wish they could be banned.

  • I think it’s worth chiming in on this theme, as I have a different take on it. While we have seen what are usually referred to as “welfare states” ease some of the financial and other burdens off those most struggling, it never seems to be enough. And I think that’s because the causes of these pressures lie in another group of people. I hesitate to call it a “social strata” (or class) because I’m not sure it is. But these are people who actively contribute in various ways to maintaining the disparities. From the point of view of the majority of society, these people would be called “crazy” if they operated in plain view, but they don’t. Until we find a way to identify and restrain them, or better yet, solve their “problems” in some other way, we will continue to see pressures from them to maintain disparities in society which are much worse than they really need to be.

    Another way of saying this is that the people who are currently being targeted as “mentally ill” are to a great extent actually just being preyed upon by a segment of society that really is crazy.

    That’s why I argue that we should understand the mind and its various phenomena much better than most of us do, to protect ourselves from the truly crazy ones who have somehow made a place for themselves in society from where they can prey on others. I think that understanding would give us the strength to dislodge them.

  • In my recent looks at the COVID experience, I have noticed (though I knew it already) that regular medical doctors are under this same foot (so to speak). My look included the whole drama over ventilation (which is a drug-intense procedure somewhat similar to ECT in terms of patient preparation). Doctors were not talking to patients but just throwing them on ventilators because they presented with low blood oxygen. But those patients usually died. Keeping patients off ventilation (and the very heavy drugs associated with it) results in much higher survival. But there were doctors who didn’t seem to care about that. What did those doctors care about?

    The problem is much worse in psychiatry, though.

    I disagree with Frank about the importance of language, as I’ve stated many times before. I don’t think that’s as important as doctor ignorance which has allowed the “medical model” to persist in the face of all evidence that it should be abandoned. Not only has psychiatry become invested in psychopharmaceuticals, but by so doing, it has also become invested in its own ignorance. WE should not make the same mistake! Regardless of what mental health problems should be called, we should stand firm that they should not be treated with drugs, because we’re dealing with a mind, not a body. Of course, if the body is sick, the person will suffer. And even a real doc sometimes gets that wrong. We ALL need weaning from the medical model! It in itself invites dangerous doctor behaviors, both in psychiatry and in regular medicine.

  • Ah Steve, this gets into higher-level concepts that we can toss around if we want, but I’m not sure it’s worth it. “Illness” is an intentionally vague term and always has been. Doctors have always had a sort of imperious air about them that will not soon disappear, for it is quite obvious that society as we know it supports them in this illusion.
    Social mores can change. We have had a Universal Declaration of Human Rights since 1948. The UN Rapporteur has condemned psychiatry’s barbaric practices several times, and we have laws passed to try to protect people from their worst behaviors.
    You can’t treat an entire society for an “illness.” You identify the ill people one at a time and try to make them well. If any person, any mental health worker, acts like a criminal towards others, particuarly people under his care, than he is “sick.” (That’s a possible alternate term, “sickness” instead of “illness.”) It is the job of those who can see that this is so to make it obvious to the general public. To many it already is, and they want nothing to do with psychiatry (what psychiatry fatuously calls the “stigma” problem).
    But we are up against some subtler social problems and lacks of understanding that make our job much harder. Society’s infatuation with drugs and with bodies is one problem. And the sense that we have “no alternative” is another. I don’t try to tackle all of that. But I don’t want people to think that by denying that “mental illness” exists they have solved the problem. That doesn’t solve it, and that’s really my main point on that issue.

  • As far as discarding and replacing the term, you have a valid point.
    As far as “mind” goes, before I got trained I really had no idea. I had a variety of mental experiences, but I couldn’t add them up to a concept of “mind.”
    But now that psychiatry’s own Ian Stevenson (though I’m sure some want to disown him) and his group has investigated thousands of cases of past life recall in children, it’s pretty clear that the “mind” is some sort of energetic “field” or construct that the personality carts around with it.
    Thus a mental “illness” might be called an “illness” just because there might be certain behaviors connected with it that mimic physical illness, like expressions of pain. We also have the sense of “ill will” which has to do with intention, and also a sense of “faulty or imperfect,” which could refer to almost anything. In short, calling an “illness” “mental” simply serves to signify that you aren’t talking about a physical illness. Yes, the choice of “illness” is an unfortunate cultural habit. Maybe we could successfully replace the term. But I think it’s much more important to get a better grip on what “mental” means, and also to realize who is calling the kettle black!
    Psychiatric terms (“ego” “id” “neurotic”) are so embedded in this culture that to rid us of them seems to me a task not worth attempting. I’d much rather work on getting “mental” right and watch as the language reorients itself to a more workable truth.
    We still call our planet “Earth” even though they called it that when they thought it was flat and at the center of the universe. Now we can also call it a “globe” which is a newer concept.
    Also, I would love to see psychiatry “hoist by its own petard” so to speak, as the profession contains some of the most mentally ill people I have ever run into.

  • No, I’m not talking about people who are in a coercive setting. I’m talking about people who aren’t in one and would like it to remain that way.
    I recently watched the documentary on Open Dialog (Finland) that was made several years ago. Those people do crisis intervention, but I don’t recall them ever talking about having a problem with violence. So it’s got to be very overrated as a problem.
    The other thing is, approach means a lot. A person who is scared of a dog tends to actually encourage the dog to bark and jump at them. While if you are calm and smiling, the dog will stand there and wag its tail. I am sure these “mental health workers,” more often than not, create their own violent situations. Several people on this site have noted that as part of their experience.

  • You can talk about the anguish of the physically ill or the desperation of the impoverished, but those both make sense as normal reactions and I don’t consider those “mental illnesses.”
    But what do you call a doctor who would prescribe a child harmful drugs because he doesn’t much like to sit still? I would call that “doctor” “mentally ill!” I wouldn’t call him physically ill. I wouldn’t call him emotionally distressed (though that is a possible alternate description) and I wouldn’t treat him for his problem the way psychiatry treats us. For me, they are the leading examples of the most flagrantly mentally ill.

  • You ask what mental illness looks like. Then you tel me what the “treatment of the mentally ill” looks like. Well, from my point of view, you are telling me, in those descriptions of “treatment,” what mental illness really looks like.
    The “treatment” is worse than the “sickness” because we have allowed criminal psychopaths to be in charge of “mental health!”
    I agree it would be better to just leave people alone, if the “treatment” is the current system. We have some examples of better treatments, but most of psychiatry doesn’t want to use them. Just makes our point more obvious.

  • In the English language, the term “ill” or “illness” has never been limited to the body. This is partly because people used to be more “superstitious” about what caused physical illness. But it also reflects the recognizable fact that something can be “wrong” with a person even though their body seems healthy.
    Tolerance of different mental reactions is fine. But if your baby is screaming because something is bothering him that isn’t really there, you want to be able to do something about it. And if you can observe well enough to get an idea what is causing the reaction, then you can do something about it, if you have that training.
    The use of “mental illness” to accuse people who “act odd” of being unfit for human society is a whole different matter. But there is a piece of reality attached to the term that shouldn’t be overlooked.

  • If I were a therapist or something like that I can see wanting to have some way of finding out where a new client was at mentally and emotionally, to help me plan out what to do with the person, or to help me decide to say, “sorry, I just can’t help you.”
    But what an appalling thing to discover that this desire to “know before you go” would deteriorate into a “suicide risk assessment!”
    This just goes to show how clueless the “experts” in the field still are, after all the opportunities we’ve given them to “smarten up!” I might chalk it all up to pure stubborn self-importance. Too bad.

  • Wow! All comments are in italics! OK…
    The subject of mental health and mental “illness” has at its core real phenomena. They are actually quite common, although they affect some people much more than others. These phenomena were not well-understood. Today most people still don’t understand them well at all. It is this lack of basic knowledge that allowed psychiatry to step in and tell society, “we’ll handle this for you.”
    They couldn’t handle it, of course. A lot of them were more loony than the people they locked up and tortured! And the fact that a much better understanding of mental health is now possible only serves to emphasize the psychoses of psychiatry.
    The socioeconomic environment of the individual IS an important predictor of dramatized mental “illness.” And those reactions are, basically, “normal.” But the core phenomena that underlie mental operation and subsequent behaviors lie deeper than the immediate environment. Because of this, those phenomena inhibit our progress in leveling the socioeconomic playing field. Mental illness is part of the reason why those disparities are held in place by people “in power.” And even if we succeeded in leveling that playing field, problems of mental health would still be with us. We may note that indigenous cultures had those problems, even where socioeconomic differences were minimal. Leveling the field is a “sane” thing to do, but will only happen if we learn how to bring sanity to our planet.

  • I see this discussion as somewhat glossing over the whole problem of lack of bravery in humans, as well as lack of understanding on the part of mental health professionals. This due partly to a few references to “evolution” which I don’t think has any bearing on this subject.
    My argument is, on the one hand, that mental health professionals need to be trained to be “brave” in situations where they are dealing directly with people who are “acting strange.” We have all experienced situations like this. It is really not that uncommon. But most of us are not trained to maintain control in such situations in a professional manner. Mental health workers should be. And that means minimal use of force, as use of violent force or threats just escalates the situation, which is widely understood to be the case.
    On the other hand, “acting strange” should not serve as a justification for the cowardly act of forceful restraint and injection, especially on the part of mental health professionals. We have to confront some of the less noble human traits in this regard. There is an element of psychosis in the action of restraining and drugging the “psychotic!”
    I was interested in the distinction made between drug use and mental illness. I always considered drug use a form, or symptom, of mental illness. It’s one reason, after all, that some people “feel better” after taking a placebo. The pill gives the person a reason to feel better, an external cause, as they have lost track of their own cause in such matters. Of course, an illicit drug habit tends to result in over-spending for more drugs, and then the temptation to steal, and thus to commit violent acts. I would like to see if the study took into account what exactly the person was arrested for doing and in what context.
    As for meds, I would have thought they would have increased the chances for rearrest, not decreased them. These meds have violence as one of their (side) effects. But most in this study weren’t on meds, or they were attempting to “self-medicate.”
    So I’m not sure what the point of all this is. Drug abuse, mental illness and “acting strange” are all correlated. Society wants those people off the streets and out of sight, and they hire mental health workers and police to do that. Society dictates the way those people are handled, as much as do the workers who must deal with such people directly. If the results are damaging, then it is society which is psychotic, not just the police or the mental health workers, or the “mentally ill.”
    Outcomes from interventions can be improved by re-training the people who engage in such interventions. That much is clear from the Open Dialog experience in Finland. But who will re-train the rest of society? Last I knew, Open Dialog was only in use in very limited areas. Yet it works much better than “standard” interventions. So we have a problem in society in general as well as in the field of psychiatry. It could be seen, itself, as a kind of psychosis.

  • Most here agree that psychiatry is not the answer.
    But that’s not the same as saying that mental health is not a problem.
    If it weren’t a problem, then psychiatry would have failed in its attempt to step up and claim this subject as theirs. There would have been no money in it for them, and they would have slithered off to find something else to do that paid better.
    Almost everyone I’ve met in this context agrees that “mental health” is more than a marketing gimmick. People really do get mentally “sick” just like people get physically sick. And possibly even for similar reasons.
    From my point of view, our continued failure to step into this area and tell psychiatry to “please leave” speaks to a basic weakness in most of us: We don’t understand the subject well enough.
    I must say that in recent webinars I’ve watched, I’ve seen psychiatrists who are troubled with the terrible legacy of their field and want to improve it. I have learned about “interventions” like Open Dialog which seems much more promising as a crisis intervention method than what is done in most communities. Yet those few “good guys” don’t have sufficient understanding of their subject or their situation to change the field. It would probably be better for them to very publicly and noisily leave the profession. There is still psychology, after all, as well as other practices, some of which are much more embracive.
    For me, the problem of understanding has to do primarily with the medical model. On the one hand, it is obviously incorrect to apply a medical model to mental health. Unless you believe that all important mental processes occur in the brain, a biological organ. On the other hand, this belief and this model are very seductive. Part of understanding the problem is understanding why that is. This understanding informs us concerning the power of doctors in society, and suggests a path towards a better “balance of power” you might say. Without this understanding, how can we stand up to the power of psychiatry as an idea?

  • Another way of looking at this, from the point of view of a “relatively new mental health professional” is: Why’d didn’t I learn this in school?
    I have not been through any academic psychology training, so I don’t know what that entails. I know that my training includes drills to handle people who are “being difficult” and that means you really drill this with one or more students, with at least one of them acting “unruly,” and you drill it until you can handle that person smoothly, including moderate use of physical force if needed to control the person.
    I can understand the reluctance of anyone to handle a person who appears to be “out of control.” But people in this business – which includes cops – should be trained in basic good control until they are reasonably confident that they can put in good control when a situation seems out of control.
    Are students being taught this? I have no idea if they are.
    If they aren’t (as you have implied), why not? Does academic psychology know anyhing about controlling another person without hurting them or yourself? Maybe not! Perhaps there are huge gaps in psychology theory and practice that need to be filled!

  • If you challenge the mainstream, your acceptance on the mainstream platforms goes to hell, of course. That doesn’t mean you lose a platform entirely, though. Dr. Breggin still has a website, and this site is willing to publish his writings. Same is true for the others, I believe. It’s not true for everyone. I know some people who died early, got put in jail or in other ways shut down…

    Even though Breggin and the others are cut off from the mainstream, I still put extra value in what they have to say, just because of their credentials. And I think others do, too.

  • Here’s an example that is already very much out on the internet: Past life recall. Would you be willing to look into this subject on the internet (or by other means, though these days the internet is certainly primary)? That’s the kind of willingness I’m talking about. That’s the kind of willingness that the mainstream just doesn’t have.

    When I look at people “talking” on the internet, it is usually in the form of telling their own story. I think this is a more valuable form of communication than trying to tell someone else’s story for them. The internet gives us ways to tell our own stories (people do it on this site all the time) and that is something valuable about it. You see enough different people telling their stories and you begin to build up an overall picture of common experience. Researchers, journalists, etc., are given a special license to tell other people’s stories for them. This can be helpful if the others could not speak for themselves. But it can be harmful if the “professional” has an agenda that he or she is filtering these stories through. We can realize, though, that while the “professional” may appear to be speaking for others, he in reality is also telling his own story.

  • What I have noticed here, though it is much more obvious in society in general, is that if you have a degree in a subject – medicine in particular – and enough chutzpah (audacity) to make your opinions known, then “the system” will give you a platform to communicate from, and you are the one who gets heard.
    Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that your ideas or opinions were any more worthwhile than anyone else’s. So what we get on this site, which is much more obvious in the mainstream, is psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists and social workers trying to tell us what works and what doesn’t in the field of mental health.
    I think a fundamental tenet of the “patient’s” rights movement, as well as the civil rights movement and several other grassroots-type movements is that the recipients of the “care” should also be heard and their experiences taken seriously.
    As an uncertified intellectual, I run into this problem all the time. For those with important stories that have no aspirations to intellectuality, their potential contributions tend to go unnoticed unless someone at least on the level of “journalist” seeks them out and gives them a voice. That is part of the magic of Robert’s work, and this website.
    With all that said, I have run into many “fringe” psychiatrists who I’ve never seen mentioned in the mainstream, and don’t tend to be treated on sites like this, either: Eric Berne, John E. Mack and Ian Stevenson are three that come to mind. I am sure there are others. But they are but the tip of the iceberg of a huge number of persons who have looked with varying degrees of carefulness at the human condition, reported their findings, and been promptly forgotten by everyone except those who ran across those reports and were profoundly affected by them. I have not seen many of those people covered here, either.
    To cut this short, this is how I see it: Neither “radical” psychiatry, nor probably psychology either, are going to dig us out from underneath the great mass of misunderstanding regarding the human condition. That goes also for biology or neuroscience. But a willingness to look beyond the usual boundaries, beyond the familiar footworn platforms of our times and of times past, could bring new interest, new and interesting confusions, and new answers to the subject before us. And I, for one, would welcome that.

  • Wow! These comments are already filled up, and some very long!
    I will try to comment briefly on two points: 1) growing up, and 2) liberty.
    Any being, any movement or idea, has the potential to grow, as a baby has the potential to become an adult. But then the adult grows old and dies, and so may movements and ideas, unless individuals in their midst find some way to keep them alive and growing across generations.
    The “first generation” of this movement has already started to disappear. Did they leave any instructions on how to move ahead? I only know of one who I have studied who did. Perhaps I am ignorant of others, but I judge this to be unusual.
    I work with a group that seeks to stop psychiatric abuses. Each member has a role. And then, they have their day jobs and their other pursuits. To keep up with and to make sense of all the issues plaguing society is hard. We should expect this, perhaps, of our thought leaders. But for many of us, it is simply too much data to assimilate and integrate.
    In this sense, “growth” can only be achieved by finding better ways to pass the struggle on to the next generation, and better ways to assimilate and integrate data. And those are big subjects!
    Now: If I were “free” of the death-and-birth cycle, would it be easier for me to “grow” and maintain that growth? I hope it is obvious why I might answer “Yes!” So, this may be one form of “liberty” worth aiming for, but hardly ever directly mentioned in Western culture.
    In the case of racism and the related practices of class (in the West), caste (in the East) and all manner of variations, this seems to be a situation where we need to grow enough to begin to see a true road to liberty, then grow some more to have the courage to walk down that road. Temptations to deny liberty are at every hand! The road there is worth traveling, but is not an easy one to walk.
    I commend anyone who takes the time to get involved in these issues; many never do. I would encourage them to open their intellectual horizons as wide as they can. But at this time, this in not something we can expect everyone to do. For most, one small step forward is all they are prepared to take. Can we offer them that opportunity?

  • I was very glad to hear directly from these researchers, especially Dr. Kirsch. He thinks ECT should be banned, and of course most of us here certainly agree with that.
    But he also made several other comments that should impact our understanding of how people with “subjective” conditions respond to “treatment.”
    In particular he noted that while (psycho)therapy probably shouldn’t be reduced to the status of “placebo,” placebos obviously often function as therapies. If that doesn’t take the whole subject of subjective experience at least a bit out of the brain, I don’t know what does.
    As I have expressed before – and I might mention that there is even a team of psychiatrists looking into this through the lens of past life recall in children – all evidence points to the fact that the mind is not the brain. Never should these two things be confused!

  • I know that the people in my group often spend hours and hours on training just to get to the point there they feel comfortable helping another student. Then some of those will go out and feel courageous enough to apply what they learned to a stranger. Well, that’s a little step forward.
    But I don’t know many who work as full time social workers or similar jobs like that in marginalized communities. That’s hard work! I know my dad tried it when he was young, and he told me it was too much for him. The suffering was more than he could confront.
    But here and there a courageous person or group has gone out and caused real changes. I know of a priest in Africa who has had success in raising the economic standards in the communities he serves using not much more than a little secular booklet. They will give up, of course, if their help turns out to be false. So we must train people in helping technologies we know work and that they are willing to apply.

  • I have a clue. But it’s a real process. For the most part it’s done one person at a time, one step at a time. It requires a high willingness to communicate one-on-one.
    There are some steps that can be taken that involve getting someone to read some printed information. But even those approaches require someone going out into the community, handing them some material, and asking them to read it.
    Ironically, this has sometimes been done by police (I am thinking of South Africa and Colombia) with pretty good results.
    But ultimately, the work is one-on-one.

  • It should be noted that these researchers were a lecturer in “pedagogy” (education) and what appears to be a psychologist. The paper uses a rather “thick” (difficult to penetrate) terminology, as is common in academia. This study was undertaken in the context of a program of “psychoeducation” being carried out in their school system. The researchers seem sympathetic to the students’ points of view. In other words, they view the internalization of mental problems by psychiatry as essentially incorrect.
    “Feedback” and “looping” are engineering terms. It is all right with me that engineering principles are applied to human problems. After all, engineers are humans, too (I hope). But do the non-engineers who use such terms really know what they mean?
    I didn’t read the whole paper. But it seems as though certain basic understandings about language are being overlooked or are missing from all this. After all, psychiatry (for the most part) uses words in their terminology that have been around in the English (or German, or whatever) language for years and have always had common meanings, not just technical meanings. Well, the kids have to take all this and make some sense of it. And their attempts seem to veer in the direction of better understanding. But it’s hard for me to believe that this whole process doesn’t result in a considerable amount of confusion for them. Goodness knows, the intention to confuse (on the part of psychiatry) seems to be there very obviously. And when “education” and marketing only serve to confuse, then we can guess that their motives are less than pure.
    In some ways, the paper was addressing a very arcane bit of social theory. Its context may be more revealing than its content.

  • Well, we know from long experience that people can voice beliefs and convictions that they never act on and can also harbor unvoiced beliefs and convictions which they actually do act on.
    Perhaps someday more people will learn to be more honest. In some people’s minds life is just one big poker game.

  • I am certain that the current brain-based model for the mind is a huge help to the people in medicine and the pharmaceutical industry who want to make drugs THE treatment for “mental illness.”
    I have seen people who are not even trained or experienced in this subject speak or write in articles that the brain model of the mind is fact, when it is at best a shallow-minded theory being used to promote several linked but critically flawed viewpoints about life that have only resulted in putting more control (and profit) in the hands of Big Medicine.
    Dare I say that we are in the midst of witnessing only the latest in a long series of power grabs on the part of Medicine. Though this particular community aims its criticism at psychiatry (traditionally the greatest abuser) we cannot totally ignore the silence of the rest of the medical community on the subject of psychiatry as well as the control measures that we have recently been subjected to.
    And they all rest on the “obvious fact” that biology equals life, that human equals animal, and that brain equals mind. The voluminous evidences to the contrary have been effectively swept under the rug for the great majority of the public, though much of this data survives on the internet, freely available and as relevant today as it ever was.
    The psychology and social work community KNOW that what these days is called “talk therapy” and also goes by various different names is an essential part of recovery for most people who experience difficulties uncomfortable enough to seek help. Yet they feel compelled by some sense that “it must be right” to explain the effectiveness of real therapies, nutrition, and similar approaches in terms of brain operation. They should be rejecting the model! It IS incorrect, after all. In another world at another time, I wouldn’t have to say this and feel like I was p***ing into the wind. That’s how far south we’ve gone as a people and as a planet. It is telling, perhaps, to know that since the 1960s the US NIMH (National Institute for Mental Health) has been handing out huge grants to social work students to continue their training. My own father received such a grant.
    I’m sorry if this seems too strident, but I’m afraid the way out of endless illness – particularly what they call mental illness – does not go the way of the biological/medical model. Can we at least have a discussion about this? Or is it just too “fringe?”

  • This seems to be an example of “hoisted by your own petard.”
    At least some of these researchers seem surprised at the outcome that their own procedures presented to them. They are either naïve or feigning ignorance of reality. We have only been saying this about these drugs for – how long now? 30, 40 , 50 years?

  • This issue is made more difficult for me by the re-framing of certain concepts like “disability.” I ran into a similar problem recently when I attended some online discussions about race. The discussants seemed to be saying that they wanted to reject all traditional meanings of the word “race” yet still use the word. Similarly here, it seems there is an attempt to reject our normal concepts of “disability” while still using the term.
    From the viewpoint of someone who is “not disabled,” there is an inherent problem with “help” in that it may be rejected even though, from our moral or ethical viewpoint, help should be given. Would you not help a person who had fallen while crossing the street to get up and continue to the other side, no matter their protests about how they would “rather do it myself?”
    Of course, what we are running into more often is a system that doesn’t really know how to help, yet for some reason feels compelled to do so, clashing with a public that knows the help offered is false, yet stands the constant risk of being forced to accept that false help, with the refusal taken as proof that they need it. This idea on the part of the helper might be workable if the help were not false. Most health care workers would probably leave their jobs if it were clear to them that they were not really helping. So they are bombarded with propaganda to convince them that they are.
    Thus, to me, finding “interventions” (I hate that term!) that really do help is part of the battle here, particularly at the ground level where workers meet “patients.”
    When it becomes this difficult, though, to get the higher-level persons who fund or control the “helping” institutions to change the practices of those institutions, it raises questions for me such as, 1) are they really in control? and 2) do they really care?
    In a political setting you always have considerations of expediency and economics. Even though people in government and politics are trained in universities and can converse in a very intellectual way, this doesn’t mean that they actually share the interests, concerns, or even understandings, of others who came up through that same system. Did they get into politics to serve – or be served? One always has to wonder. And the political environment does not usually favor putting humanitarian concerns ahead of other ones.
    My impression is that the people who care will have to make the changes they want through their own personal efforts. Though our political systems give lip service to the issue of Human Rights, there seems to be an abiding sense that they cannot really afford to implement such rights. It’s almost as if going down that road would take them in a direction they really don’t want to go. If that’s true, then we are essentially on our own regarding such issues. The next question becomes: Can the intellectuals who support humanitarian reforms step away from their books and keyboards and classrooms long enough to actually lend a hand that’s going to make a difference, or does the real responsibility for action devolve to the victims of institutional inhumanity? I’d like to think we can help, but I know from personal experience how uncomfortable that can be.

  • Thank you for this! I had been unaware of his study, even though it seems it was published over 6 months ago. It only confirms what we already knew, but I’m glad it did, as these are people with academic credentials.
    In spite of the authors’ desire for “better data” it seems the results of these studies would indicate that it would in fact be unethical to do a double-blind study or anything like that on ECT. The drug studies are bad enough. Of course, if psychiatrists would agree to be the study subjects (they wouldn’t)…I might be persuaded to look favorably on that particular study.

  • This guy is obviously a man of good intentions.
    He saw what one form of totalitarian rule was doing to so many people with ordinary problems.
    Our system in the U.S. seems so different – yet the psychiatric practices are so similar.
    From this we can perhaps infer or realize that the problem of “mental health” goes beyond the problems of the various economic and social systems different nations have adopted. It signals a higher level of common experience and community.
    “Human rights” is a valuable idea. But it is essentially a legal idea. It does not really speak to the higher common experience, except in an indirect sort of way. Law and the legal context is a very agreed-on thing on this planet. Thus, we work through law and human rights concepts to limit the damage done by the ignorant and the insane who wish to call themselves “healers.”
    But that doesn’t get us real healing, except to the extent that being left alone can heal, which it sometimes can. Without a better understanding of the human condition, better ways to heal ourselves from it won’t be possible.
    Yet, I must honor this man. He has pointed us in a saner direction.

  • Well, snowy, you have put a lot of time into finding out what I’m all about! I appreciate your kind words.
    You haven’t discovered my blog yet – perhaps it’s just as well.
    Although I have had some small experience with psychologists and psychiatrists, I came to this issue “through the back door,” you might say.
    In other words, someone who I respected told me, “this is an important issue and you should pay attention to it” (not quite in those words) and so I have.
    I, too, lived in the “rabbit hole” for a time, but it was dark and musty down there, and after a while I was beginning to forget which way was up. So these days I only peer in occasionally. I was never in need of “enlightenment” from that direction particulalry. That had already happened. I was interested in what the people who practically live down there were talking about, and wondered if I could convince any of them to be a little more sane about it. But most of them, like so many of us, are very very stuck.
    My friends counseled me to find something to do that might be more productive. And basically, they were right.
    California is beginning to open back up again, but I don’t expect this area – Sacramento – to exactly lead the way. Too many here are content with their delusions. They can’t tell where the delusions are coming from. All they know is that they “make sense.” The only real service I feel I can be at this point is to add my voice to those who keep reminding us, “no, psychiatry does NOT make sense!”
    I am just a research volunteer on the team that is trying to get ECT banned (outlawed) in California. But I know for sure we will keep trying. We’d like to target the drugs directly as well, but know that whole paradigm is too ingrained in society at this point. Some day that will change, we hope.

  • Treatment Advocacy Center is the group that wants to restore more involuntary commitments. I found the quoted article. It has no date or author.
    The problem with all this is that there is, technically, some credibility to what they are saying the situation is (the first bullet point). However, at this time “treatment” is just a special form of being locked up or having your neck crushed until you stop breathing. The people in meetings are being “logical.” The people on the ground are being reactive. Unthinking reaction doesn’t save lives; it kills people, or at least their souls.
    If I were certain that if I walked into the “mental health” system I would walk out a happier and healthier person, I would voluntarily commit myself! But what doctors and policy makers are really so out of touch with reality to think that is what happens in the “mental health” system?
    On “conspiracy theory”: This phrase has been around for over 100 years, but went in to much heaver use (per Google’s N-Gram Viewer) during the 1960s, particularly as it was applied to people who questioned the findings of the Warren Report on who shot JFK. I was nine years old when that happened. I have seen so much evidence – haven’t we all? – that contradicts the conclusions of that report! And yet Wikipedia and of course the “mainstream” still to this day report the Warren Commission findings as fact! And we are then laughed at for thinking they are all trying to hide something!
    The biggest problem with conspiracy theories is similar to what is happening now with COVID-19. Instead of clearing the air and making the real truth clear to everybody, they just create more upset. The closest thing I know in modern times to an attempt to actually settle past deceit on the part of governments was the Truth and Reconciliation process done in South Africa. No other society on this planet, from what I know, has ever tried anything like this. It is so needed throughout the planet at this point!
    We need to stay rational and take actions that are effective to get through this crisis and many to come. Those who don’t care are on the brink of giving the doctors and their governments tools that will only create more patients, not more sanity. I only hope that there are enough out there who take effective actions to prevent the current situation from deteriorating even further. I have things I want to achieve this lifetime, and they cannot be achieved in the absence of basic human rights.

  • You are entitled to your opinions for sure, but your “obvious crap” might not be my “obvious crap.”
    There are plenty of people I know who have learned to live with all the downside aspects of life on planet Earth and still remain well and happy. And most of them have had therapy! Not the kind most of us think about, but therapy of a sort nonetheless.
    It’s a very hopeless attitude to think that there is nothing we can do to help each other when we hit rough spots or even to move up to whole new levels of ability. There are things we can do to help each other. You don’t even need to be a psychologist to do them!

  • It’s not like emotional (mental) trauma is a new idea. I dare say (because I’m not extensively trained) that trauma is the foundation on which many therapies are built. Probably the biggest problem those therapies suffer from today is that psychiatry has rejected them. So now it’s an uphill battle to get people into therapy, to stick to it long enough, and to somehow get it paid for.
    Of course, it would be helpful if these therapies were more effective. But we seem to spend very little time these days actually talking about what is effective at making people well and happy. This may be because there are many practitioners who think that no such therapy exists!
    It’s a shame that psychology now has to fight to make its voice heard over the seemingly general public clamor for a pill that will make everything better. Of course, psychiatry had its hand in instilling this expectation in the public.
    It seems to me the only solution is a better-educated public. It is one thing to know it is vital to avoid psychiatric treatment. It is quite another to know what you really should do if you feel you need help. Some of the best resources have been reduced to derogatory terms by persons who probably don’t have our best interests in mind…
    Can this website play a role in changing that situation?

  • Trauma is a basic element of life in a body!
    But you want real trauma? To get a hint of what it looks like, inspect the torture machines used during the Middle Ages. Or imagine being burned at the stake! (To say nothing of watching it happen to your mother or daughter).
    ECT has also done a pretty good job at imitating real trauma.
    Losing an income? Losing a job? Yes, “traumatic” in our world, but not at the same level.
    At this point, psychiatry is totally hopeless to deal with this issue.
    And psychology still has so much to learn!
    The average person, “treatment” survivor or not, remains largely befuddled.
    I yearn for a day when this will not be so.

  • This approach is better than “modern” psychiatry. But then, psychiatry, as an industry, is not interested in people getting better.
    The therapy model discussed here is a classical approach that used to be part of psychoanalysis (or so I’ve heard). But it is limited. It isn’t the entire answer. Perhaps NO approach has the entire answer, but I know of some that go way beyond this type of therapy in depth and effectiveness.
    We will always have a problem with “sickness”: How badly does the “healer” need his patients to be sick? After all, as long as they are “sick” they remain patients (if they can afford it). When they get well, they go away. Normally, if the patient wants to get well more than the “healer” wants them to stay sick, then they’ll get well. Otherwise, they’ll stay sick. Unfortunately, some people prefer to go through life in a more-or-less disabled state. And that includes “healers!” And that is the real problem with sickness: Sick “healers.” I don’t think doctors should be paid until their patient leaves, well and happy.

  • I think it’s risky to place too much emphasis on the name of the “system.”
    People can make almost any system work for them if they want it enough. And criminals can make almost any system work against the general public.
    Unfortunately, we live in a time that tends to favor the criminal in certain situations. There have been many such times.
    The only answer I see is to make people in general, if not the leaders in particular, less inclined to turn criminal.
    Like in this pandemic: Your best defense is to have a strong immune system.
    Well, how do you build an “immune system” against criminality? That’s the challenge, but I think it’s the best approach if we really want to see more good results and less destructive “solutions.”
    I personally would like to see any industry that can be tempted to produce the situation that its products “solve” be made not-for-profit and so have to be supported by donations. But this is not the total answer. Look at all the “charitable” foundations that invest in big business and donate money in ways that serve their own purposes.
    Many hospitals are not-for-profit, but that doesn’t prevent them from using the same dangerous psychiatric procedures that other “health care” providers use.
    Factually, we live in what amounts to quite a deep hole. It will take a lot of work to climb out of it.

  • Note to web admin: I’m getting underlining of all comment text in my browser (Firefox). Can this be fixed?
    This is good work, done with careful attention to detail. I hope it gets the desired result.
    My group drafted a piece of legislation making delivering ECT a criminal offense. But when California got locked down, we could not realistically follow through on it. We will try again.

  • This was certainly sensitive to the emotional issues that have been rising into view over many decades and made much worse by government reactions such as the one we are currently experiencing.
    But to blame it all on “capitalism,” though chic, I don’t think is helpful. We need a target we can actually deal with and do something about.
    And that target, I believe, lies in the field of better understanding the human condition. The morally-depraved corporate board member and the homeless meth addict share more in common, as human beings, than one might at first suspect. The addict, if anything, is being more honest about his situation than the corporate criminal. But we have to progress to a place where we can effectively handle both of them. Psychiatry, if anything, epitomizes the “ascent” of a group of mostly crazy people to a quite high level of prestige (and pay) in this society. I think they are using corporate and government resources more than the other way around. Yes, corporate produces psych drugs and weapons of war. But it also produces pots and pans and clothes and shoes and houses. Take the insanity out of it, and it might be a workable system. Same way with government. But this all relies on our ability to understand, and then do something about, the human condition. I believe this understanding is closer than many here realize.

  • This is a long article – which means I didn’t read all of it carefully.
    I was alerted to this problem when I ran across an LA Times article about a man who was “saved” by being forced into an institution. (It has religious connotations, now that I think about it.)
    It might be noted that Bedlam was not necessarily the “first” lunatic asylum. It had been a regular hospital for several centuries before it started admitting “the insane.” But such places were also known in the Islamic world from very early times.
    Community Mental Health, though it led to “deinstitutionalization,” was very much pushed by the psychiatric institutions of that time, such as the NIHM. As I understand it, their goal was to make “mental health” more of a popular subject, and thus greatly increase their access to “patients.” Now that mental health care is generally seen as a type of medical care, and so covered by most insurance policies, their patient access problem may be largely solved.
    The real problem has always been psychiatry. And it has been a considerable problem, given their ability to win over governments and publics with grand talk about “solutions” that have never been proven to be workable.
    Social class considerations have always been a huge problem in this field, as well as many others. We are quick to label a beggar, or even someone just having a hard time holding a job, as “mentally ill.” We are slow to realize how mental, emotional and moral instabilities reach all the way up to the highest ranks of government and the professions. Which “mental health issue” is really the most important to solve? The poor ex-athlete that got addicted to pain killers and is now homeless? Or the maniacal (if theoretical) big pharma board member (or consulting psychiatrist – less theoretical) who thinks it’s more important to make money on drugs that don’t work than to find real, lasting answers to the problems we all face in life?
    So the emphasis in this field is upside-down from my point of view, and the “lower classes” (whatever that means) on this planet tend to feel it the worst.

  • A pure anarchist simply believes that things would work better without the existence of a central state power structure. Older cultures on Earth could be said to be “anarchist” to the extent that they had no permanent central control system.
    Of course, any criminal can destroy and say it was because of his political philosophy. Most criminals, however, have no political philosophy.
    The traditional “Right” believes less government is better. I think Trump tries to identify with that sentiment. I have no idea how much he believes it.
    The problem I see with modern times is that “government” is no longer the only centralized control system on the planet. But it gets all the attention as if it were the only such system. What about Corporate? What about Crime? All these systems today, it seems to me, are trying to muscle in and get a part of the action. Corporate has done very well for itself using Marketing, PR, and a few private security forces here and there. Crime survives by feeding on our fears and creating the apparancy of a dangerous environment. They are rumored to be as organized as Corporate. I don’t believe that, but I know they employ private security forces! Crime and Corporate tend to cross in people’s minds. Yet there are many honest people in Corporate and in Government who want to do the right thing. To the extent that they select criminals to advise them, they of course end up not doing the right thing.

  • I don’t particularly agree with the idea of having a “panel of experts” or Commission or anything like that to determine the “fitness to serve” of any political official. After all, we have elections every few years through which the public is expected to make this decision.
    In the business world many of us have had to endure monthly, quarterly or annual “reviews” which seek to determine whether one should get a raise, be promoted, or perhaps be demoted or fired. Done right, such procedures only seek to answer one question: Are you doing your job?
    In the political world, there is no real “job description,” particularly for the office of President. But if I were to set up a review process for the President, that’s what I would have to ask: “Are you doing your job?”
    There are people who I know personally who seriously think Trump is leading this nation out of economic and societal troubles that were taking us closer and closer to disaster. These people think that ALL the serious flak that Trump gets is politically-motivated. That is, it comes from a bunch of “hard losers” who thought they could maintain control at the federal level but could not. I don’t have enough hard data to be able to tell the true situation when it comes to Trump. And I doubt anyone else does; I really wish they’d just skip it and start talking about something more important.
    It may be noted, though I may be incorrect about this, that most of the public bad impressions about Trump (or anything else they desire to deride) is being originated by the mainstream media or their supporters or allies. Remember that this is the same media that features numerous ads for psych drugs, and supports psychiatry and the whole “medical model” quite thoroughly. We are relying on this same source to tell us the truth about Trump? Or about anything else, for that matter? Why? To the extent that this is occurring, it doesn’t make sense.
    At this point, the main reason the media exists is to make us feel powerless, crazy, and buy things that make us “feel better.” Trust it at your own risk; I don’t.
    I think we should let the political process handle Trump. As far as I’m concerned, all this stuff about his fitness to remain in office amounts to nothing more than the pot calling the kettle black. I’d fire all of them and start over, if I could. I don’t think any of them are doing their jobs!

  • This is a good point: Who gets to define “dangerous behavior?” I don’t wear a mask when I go out. Am I indulging in “dangerous behavior?” I have ridden a bicycle without a helmet. Is that “dangerous behavior?” I once want out onto a sandstone bridge in Utah. The drop down was about 600 feet. I had someone take a picture of me doing a jumping jack. Was that “dangerous behavior?”
    This is actually a key “power” that anyone seeking to control or in the business of managing people can attempt to have conferred on himself: The power to decide if someone else is “dangerous” or not. The whole concept of that 25th Amendment is a bit alarming to me. But those who created it considered it a real possibility that a president could become disabled in some way yet not volunteer to step down. It is not an amendment about “dangerous behavior.”

  • Doctors, including psychiatrists, have a sort of “special place” in society because they know things about you that others don’t know and can do things with you that others can’t. They have special professional privileges with their clients which are supposedly guarded by a professional code of ethics. If a professional turns criminal he would normally be barred from continuing to practice. For some reason, this has not happened to many psychiatrists. Psychiatrists, in particular, can develop “leverage” with clients (which may include, by the way, people in politics or their family members) because of confidences some clients share with their doctors.
    This is over and above the general societal tendency to give the body more importance than it is due and the mind more mystery than it actually has. In this sense they are a kind of modern magician or witch doctor and can cultivate acceptance in society way beyond their actual contributions (or even in spite of destructive behaviors).
    You could actually say something similar about political leaders!

  • If there is anything that is a clear goal of most who write here and post comments, it is to get rid of psychiatry as we know it. It is troubling to me to find people who think that a Mental Health System needs psychiatrists. It does not!
    Our basic suggestion for “reforming” the current mental health system, then, is: Ban psychiatry from practicing in it!
    I think of anyone who argues against this as either poorly-informed or a psychiatric sympathizer.
    It is really hard to tell the difference sometimes, but we tend to assume that everyone (I think particularly of lawmakers) has the same data that we have, and they don’t. Psychiatry as it re-imagined itself during the last 150 years or so has become a criminal operation, and it should be banned from practice for the same reasons that any criminal operation would be pushed out of systems or groups that were trying to be honest and do good. That government (in particular) has continued to embrace psychiatry only serves to open the door to the accusation (well-founded perhaps) that government is not necessarily trying to be honest or good!
    With the criminals out of the picture, there might still be some room for “reform.”
    Of course, there are those who think that the whole concept of “mental health” is just a con game aimed at cheating people out of their inherent right to be different. I don’t go that far, because that’s not what I see around me.
    There are others who would insist that the problem of mental health is essentially not a secular problem, as it inevitably involves the spirit. But I see no church willing to step forward to fill this need.
    So I conclude that, while we will continue to have a “mental health” system, it will basically be a lie until it:
    1) Gets rid of psychiatry and current psychiatric practices.
    2) Shows that it can actually make people “mentally well,” which is to say happy and competent.

    I see no reason to beat around the bush on the subject of psychiatry. It has more than amply condemned itself. Beyond that, what we do with our Mental Health System depends mostly on how happy, healthy, able and free we really want to be.

  • My training and experience has led me to believe that “possession by Jinn” could be a phenomenon that is literally possible, though probably not as frequent as some wish it were. I have heard stories of disembodied entities “bothering” people (usually children) in their area, and these stories were from reputable sources. Part of the psychiatric operation is to cut us off from huge portions of the truth, and we should be more aware of that aspect of what they are trying to do.

  • Wow, what a piece of work!
    I often mention this “problem” with psychiatry. There was perhaps a short time (the early 1800s?) when psychiatrists believed in souls. Now they claim to not know what they are, or even if they exist.
    And they spit at and shout down the only subject to come up with a workable answer to this question every chance they get! I wonder what their real goal is, seeing that, if they wanted to be “doctors of the soul” they certainly could be such, and make an honest living of it, too.

  • This was a difficult read for me, with all its legal parlance.
    What is obvious to me from this discussion is not only how confused our legal and justice systems have always been, but also how confused most of us remain as individuals about these issues.
    Most people still agree that a person “guilty” of a “crime” should be “punished.” This is actually the social basis, I think, for the continued acceptance of psychiatric practices, the “crime” in that case being “mentally ill.” The punishment is delivered in the guise of “treatment,” but so little concern is placed on whether people (patients) actually get well, that it seems most find the whole process acceptable anyway, just as it is with “criminals,” even though punishment does not stop crime.
    It is interesting to me that my studies of these issues have led towards the inescapable conclusion that crime and lack of mental well-being are closely related phenomena, particularly if we limit our idea of “crime” to the more destructive behaviors.
    Neither of these phenomena actually solve using punishment as the “treatment.” But punishment still garners enormous social support for use in all sorts of situations, including in schools (via grades) and in business (via competition). There is something about punishment that lots of people like (until, maybe, they have to experience it themselves).
    Thus I see a broader social issue clouding the whole arena of how communities and governments should respond when an individual dramatizes “bad behavior.” Most still see “punishment” as the only answer, and do not understand the causes of these behaviors well enough to realize that a more effective response is possible.

  • Though a bit verbose, I agree with the sentiment here. There’s this whole narrative of how accepting the “correct” label can help you live with your condition. This wouldn’t be so sad except for the fact that it seems to work for some people. I would guess that this is due to a cognitive shift, a sort of new level of self-awareness that goes with realizing something is seriously wrong. I could be incorrect about this, but it’s really hard for me to believe that it’s the drugs, because mental state is, in the last analysis, senior to drugs.

    But because this works for some people, it’s been sold to them as a coping mechanism. And while we have no right, I suppose, to deny anyone the right to cope, I’d really like to see more opportunities for people to handle their situations once and for all. To be totally free of “episodes” or whatever was bothering them. And drugs don’t do that, and they never will.

    So, I just want to keep things clear. We can enter the system, recognize that we’re in some sort of serious trouble, and learn to cope with it. But right now, that’s all the system – at it’s best – can do. And the only reason it can’t do better is because it’s being run by people who prefer things the way they are and don’t really want people to permanently get well. If I found a system that made me permanently more able and happier, leading, say, to an increase in my personal wealth, I’d make sure to use some of that newfound wealth to support that system. Wouldn’t you? But right now psychiatry doesn’t even envision that. And so they turn away from all the better ways to make their patients well.

    Society “discriminates” because it is being kept ignorant of those better ways. If society in general were properly educated about the mind, the current scene would have to change; it would almost certainly improve.

  • In theory, a person who is already in a hospital, or under supervision of a doctor, should have a better chance of surviving this thing. Yet the first deaths are in a psych ward. That just means that these “doctors” aren’t really doing their jobs! I don’t need to see Medicine go public (like in the UK). It might help a bit, or even a lot, but the point is to make Medicine more effective. And to provide effective alternatives to Medicine where it obviously isn’t indicated. Psychiatry should not even involve Medicine. If your body is sick, you should go to a doctor or similar body health specialist. Why would you go to a doctor if just your mind was “sick?” They’ve been running this line on us that mental health is just a form of body health. And we bought it! Of course we need our bodies healthy. A lot of “mental health” problems would end more or less completely if those affected were physically healthy. But other such problems wouldn’t. So I think it should be clear that this appeal is being made because psychiatry is incompetent, not because mental patients are naturally more susceptible to disease. You can be very physically healthy and still have mental issues. But it is true that under current conditions, those patients are much more vulnerable. For most of us, though, I think it would improve our mental health to get back to work.

  • This is a good example of the double-edged sword involved with the current pandemic handlings. This man is in quarantine, basically, which should contribute to saving his life and the lives of others, if he got infected. Yet he gets “no fresh air, no sunlight, no opportunity for exercise.” That’s the perfect formula for making a person sick! This man should at least be getting nutritional support for his immune system. His psychiatrist, as a doctor, should be aware of this. But most aren’t. It is very sad, but madincanada should be working to get her son out of there so he can get some real help.
    What I see happening more broadly is an attempt to turn us all into captives, like this man really is. Maybe the stay-at-home strategy is working. But I wouldn’t count on it. Per all the articles I’ve read, you can’t expect to develop really good immunity to a virus until you’ve been infected by it. So the handling is to strengthen our immune systems so that when we finally do get infected, we have the best chance possible to survive. A lot of bad things kill people. We can be cautious, but we can’t stop living. That’s the same thing as agreeing to die, isn’t it?

  • I just see these studies as an attempt by psychiatry to “fight back.” Our criticism of them is that they have no lab tests for their “illnesses.” So they are trying to figure out some lab tests!
    But I see too many writers taking these “diagnoses” seriously, as Dr. Caplan points out these studies do.
    That’s at the core of our problem in calling for major changes in the mental health system. We don’t want to give up those diagnoses!
    This isn’t entirely misguided. After all, you can see a behavior and call it something. You can see someone running and call them a “runner.” Then they are walking and become a “walker.” Then they sit down and become a “sitter.” It might be useful for someone who shows a pattern of behavior that is always repeating. But still, all you really get is a description of behavior. You don’t really get a “diagnosis.” But psychiatrists are trying to prove they are doctors. Well, if they want to treat people with medicine (or nutrition for that matter) why are they in psychiatry? Why would you expect the psyche to respond to medicine? Their whole framework of thinking is irrational and actually exemplifies real mental illness better than most of their DSM entries do.
    Our problem is that people really do have problems that can best be understood as “mental.” We need a better understanding of that whole phenomenon.
    I see too many people talking about alternative treatments for all those same old tired diagnoses. What about alternative understandings that would lead in the direction of really effective treatments for problems that really bother people? Obviously, this goes beyond medicine and the brain. It’s not even their territory. We have to take it back from them.

  • I agree with most of this.
    The only benefit of such a study might be to highlight the relative benefits of a less “medical” approach.
    The study does not adequately cover the issue of society’s treatment of “undesirables” and so makes some basic assumptions that might well be false.
    The tone of the introductory paragraphs seems overly sentimental. It hints at a better approach, yet in the end fails to fully vindicate that approach. Even if that particular institution were the perfect model of care, the chances that we could reproduce that today in our world are not very high.
    And I don’t think we need historical studies to tell us the answers; we just need to open our eyes and look.

  • Yes, a historical study based only on documentation from one point of view is unlikely to lead us to a full picture of what actually went on.
    And though I am prepared to believe that this institution may have provided something resembling humane care, I am not prepared to believe that about asylums in general, and particularly about any institutions operated by psychiatrists.
    That there was no financial incentive at this particular institution to do much more than provide rest and release as soon as possible, that is no longer the current financial model in most institutions. After all, that asylum is gone now, is it not?

  • I support the above sentiments.
    Though hinted at, a notable absence is any data on how the patients were treated. But the hint (that they were simply allowed to rest, eat, and follow some sort of non-challenging level of activity) gives us a hint of what we should have done with our mental health system, rather than deliver it into the hands of modern psychiatry.
    I live in California and am part of a group that monitors state-level legislation on the subject of mental health. There have been at least 27 pieces of legislation introduced so far this year! I don’t know how this compares to legislation on other issues, but to me it seems like a lot of attention is being paid to this. And from what I can tell so far, most politicians are assuming that our “mental health” system actually produces mental health. If it did, this would be an entirely different discussion.
    Why don’t we still have something like an asylum system if it worked as well as this research indicates? I know that our research indicates that German asylums were in a terrible state by the early 1900s, and institutions such as Bedlam have for long periods had a less than honorable reputation. Was the older model of care disappearing because it worked?
    When it comes to psychiatry, I would not at all doubt that to be the case.

  • I was interested in this article mostly for the concept behind it, not so much for how things turned out in this particular case, which was just a bit predictable.
    My viewpoint and training suggest that a philosophical approach to the problems of the mind is an absolute necessity. In other words, concepts of God, of Spirit, of Matter, of “life” (biology), of Mankind, of groups, of sex and of oneself all impinge themselves on the mind and contribute to any resulting happy or unhappy mental consequences. Of course, a workable therapy must also be worked out. But it has been!
    It’s just considered anathema by the psychiatric community for reasons that they could probably explain a lot better than I could.

  • It’s true that this has been shown to be the case over and over in these events. But that can’t be the only factor. There are millions of kids on these drugs and the vast majority don’t flip out in this manner. Many more, as a proportion, simply kill themselves. But there’s no doubt this is an important factor that could be eliminated if we could get all to realize what a fiasco these drugs really are.

  • I see this as an attempt by the mental health system to walk away from its responsibilities in this matter.
    That we might support this flight only indicates that all our data shows that system doing more harm than good.
    But these people are using the traditional paradigms for “mental illness” and “treatment” which have never worked – always been faulty. So while seemingly avoiding the disaster of letting the mental health system get even more involved in “preventing” antisocial behaviors that they know absolutely nothing about, we get nowhere in understanding why such incidents do happen or what if anything should be done about it.
    I think that when a person points any kind of deadly weapon at another person when the other person is unarmed and shows no violent intentions, that person has gone temporarily insane and may be about to commit murder. We don’t expect any system, particularly the current mental health system, to be able to predict when such events might occur. Probably, good top-notch police work could do more to prevent such disasters than any sort of “teen screen” fiasco or similar “preventative intervention.”
    But that’s only because the police understand criminals better than most of us do.
    If we all understood the dynamics of these events much better, not only would the current mental health system no longer be run by psychiatrists, but we’d be on our way to solving a lot of other societal problems, too. What this points out most clearly to me is the gross lack of understanding of these events by the people who should understand them quite well.

  • I only want to point out that although many of us think of “illness” as meaning a medical problem, more broadly it only means “condition of being unhealthy.” There is no need to reduce the experience of “mental illness” to a fiction to make our point. Our central problem is that we need “mental treatments” that actually make people well and happy. Such treatments actually exist. Although nutrition is involved with some of them, medicine is involved with none of them. They exist, yet have largely been rejected by the mental health community in general and psychiatry in particular. And that’s the point. Psychiatry has turned its back on people with mental or emotional problems in favor of making a quick buck. It has always been that way with psychiatry. We have to find ways to limit their ability to harm until such time as we can replace them.

  • I would not be surprised if there is not a single person running for office who is willing enough and aware enough to oppose the psychiatric system.
    I certainly haven’t run across any. But these people are not total fools. They have probably met dysfunctional people (if not some actual psychiatrists) and they know that “mental illness” is not just something someone made up, it’s something that really affects people. They just have been fooled into believing that psychiatry takes care of this, when there could be nothing further from the truth.
    The “illness” equals “medical” problem is perhaps a weakness in our language. But I don’t think that most people who write on this subject, even the ones who post comments here, understand what the mind really is or what to do about it. Psychology doesn’t know.
    My 65 years of living have resulted in no great respect for politics or politicians. Yet they are part of our society; we can’t just write them off. They get elected and they create laws that shape how we experience life. I am not very into being a voter these days, but if I were, I would want to somehow support those who are willing to speak up for basic human rights. I’m actually surprised that Bernie has taken this stand on this issue. Of course it doesn’t go far enough, but we are trying to restrain these people as best we can until we can find a way to replace them with saner beings. Right now, it’s an insane system. We have to do more than just fight it; we need to replace it with something saner, and that boils down to saner people.

  • You actually make a good point here. But I am concerned about how many people are clueless about all this, even people in these professions. They have no right to be clueless, but I can see how it could happen.
    While this lady could be seen as an accomplice to those who kill with pills, ECT and other “treatments,” I would prefer to keep the focus on those directly responsible for those deaths. I figure if we can keep the pressure on, people who speak in public about such things will eventually get the point that supporting these people is untenable.

  • The question remains: What to do about these guys?
    They obviously fill some sort of socioeconomic need or they couldn’t find work. Currently, psychiatry rates as one of the most highly-paid “professions” in the U.S.; probably similarly elsewhere.
    It seems to me we will have to doggedly work to knock out from under them all the props they currently use to make themselves seem so valuable.
    – We should push hard on the fact that non-psychiatric interventions are more effective at reducing or eliminating anti-social behaviors.
    – We should de-mystify the mind as much as possible, so that it is widely understood and techniques based on that understanding are in wide use.
    – We should push the benefits of honesty and decency in society, in all their forms. Because obviously, psychiatry has powerful supporters who don’t believe in honesty and decency. If they didn’t they would either be out of work, or they would adapt to an honest way of making a living.
    – We should continue to push for a total respect for human rights in all sectors of society, and educate people in general about what their rights are.
    – We should work to break the societal dependence on drugs as quick fixes for personal problems. We have these drugs because they help in emergencies. We need to show the public that they don’t need to be on a medication to be healthy and happy.

    I wanted to list these out, because I think it is clear that some of these are not easy to accomplish. Fault-finding and exposees are all well and good. But in the long run, we need solutions that work that can totally replace what’s going on currently in the field of “mental health” all across this planet.

  • This was interesting for me. What it tells me most is, it doesn’t really matter where your heart is; most people just don’t have a clue. It seems studying Psychology really doesn’t help that much in that direction, either. I’m an electronics technician whose parents studied to be social workers. I wasn’t happy with what my college-educated parents had to offer me in terms of understanding life, so I went out and studied all sorts of subjects from all sorts of sources instead of going to college. I consider myself very lucky to have made any progress at all in the direction of getting a clue. I found a subject which could be considered a humanities subject that actually seems to help people consistently. And this is a very unusual thing, as subjects like psychology, economics, history and business management don’t seem to be designed to help anyone. They only end up helping when the people involved really want to help. Those guys will pick out the parts of their subject that seem most helpful, and come up with a helpful subject.
    I also feel very fortunate to have studied science, technology and engineering. Because in those fields, if a technology doesn’t work, it is discarded. The humanities have never been run that way.

    I don’t think we should put this beautiful black woman down for trying to make things work. Because most of us don’t have a clue, either. The only reason my life includes any hope or happiness is because I know it is possible to get a clue. Who knows, it could happen to you, too!

  • We have known almost forever that nutrition and emotional attitude are related. Have you ever tried having a rational conversation with a starving person?
    I can’t quite tell from the context, but the term “nutritional psychiatry” sounds really bizarre to me.
    I know that there must be a portion of psychiatry that hopes to someday redeem itself, and this may be some small attempt to move in that direction. The one thing you can say about vitamin therapy is that it doesn’t totally invalidate the mind-is-brain theory that has been used to justify drugs, psychosurgery and ECT to “treat” mental problems.
    But the fact is that most people who have been successfully using nutritional therapies have become much more interested in the gut biome as a source of numerous non-optimum conditions, “mental problems” being only one type.
    Anyone who tries to treat the mind by treating the brain, no matter what we call them, will get it wrong because that is not a workable model.
    Our main problem with psychiatry, of course, has not been their treatment model but the fact – supported now by long years of evidence – that they don’t really care if their patients get better or not.

  • “Siberia Bill” – officially, the Alaska Mental Health Enabling Act. It was intended to set up an independently-run mental health system in the territory of Alaska. Per the Wikipedia article on it, the bill was “innocuous” but used by several groups as an example of creeping loss of freedoms in the U.S. The bill would have established a Trust to finance the Alaskan facilities, funded by potential revenues generated by a million acres of Alaskan land. Provisions were included for treating citizens of the lower 48 states on a reciprocal basis. It doesn’t sound that innocuous to me, particularly considering what has rolled out since that time.

  • I urge you to take a closer look. Mr. Hubbard has recognized this problem since 1950. We came into this movement very early in its development, helping to defeat the “Siberia Bill” in 1956. We now have content on TV and the internet, so you can learn more about the subject in the safety of your own home. It’s great to be “left alone,” but that’s not the world we live in today. In a world full of connections, communications, and interdependency, we need criminality out of the picture. And we are dedicated to working towards that end.

  • As a Scientologist, I have to deal regularly with the general ignorance in society about the subject I am studying, as well as the occasional barb flung by those who believe the falsehoods advanced by those who wish this subject would just disappear. Those falsehoods have for the most part been advanced by institutional psychiatry and its supporters. Are we suddenly willing to trust their data on this subject when they have gotten everything else so seriously wrong? Scientology should be part of this discussion, but it can’t properly be as long as so many of us don’t know what it really is.

  • In a sense this is the real “mental health crisis” in the world today: That so many people are convinced that they need authoritarian (which is to say, basically criminal) actions to handle situations in society that “we don’t have answers for yet.” The authoritarians are poised to continue to move in on governments (in particular) and other sectors of society that don’t know how to deal with the situations modern life is throwing at them. To the extent that this world remains technologically advanced, the authoritarians have an advantage and will continue to make inroads. A lot of people are rather sure that this will continue and we will end up losing our freedoms to an advanced technological society with anti-people weapons too dangerous to be confronted. Those people don’t realize that Earth is different and that we fully intend to handle this and take Earth in a new direction. Our work remains badly fragmented, but I do think that we can get better organized, find the best ways forward, and make it happen.

  • Again, I urge readers to look for themselves. Don’t rely on old misconceptions put in place with the help of (guess who?) psychiatry. I don’t see it as an “entanglement” to ally myself with a group that is working for a world without war, crime and insanity. Check out their streaming video site and decide for yourself. Don’t trust your enemies to tell you who you shouldn’t trust!

  • If you’re looking for “easy” you’re on the wrong website! THEY reach the people with expensive marketing campaigns including appearances by “experts” on news shows and relentless advertising. We don’t have those kinds of resources, but we have some good and very informative material on the internet, and on DVDs. It’s a matter of contacting people and getting the material into their hands. I wouldn’t describe it as “easy.” But for something really worth doing, we might have to put aside “easy” and just keep working at it.

  • As far as Scientology goes, I think it’s high time those who avoided the subject in the past but want to see positive change on the planet take another look at this group, what they teach, and what they are trying to achieve. We all know that psychiatry is one of the biggest enemies of this group. Why? Informing yourself is now even easier since they now have a TV channel and streaming video website. This subject is a perfect example of how criminal psychiatrists have kept like-minded persons from working together with outrageous and untruthful accusations against one of the strongest groups opposing them. Who really wants that divide to continue?

  • These are all good points. Those commonly referred to as “opinion leaders” normally rise to their positions through the institutions of academia.
    It is not even that “ordinary people” are stupid or are totally barred from access to good data. It’s just that they expect people working in academia to help them sort out these issues and make them understandable. In a big and complex society it is not unreasonable to expect that some people in the group would specialize in this function. But of course that means that if those people are successfully misled, then all who depend on them for this purpose will also be misled. And so in the absence of a fully ethical academic community, we find the need for the ability to observe, think and act independently of the opinions of others. And while some may find it difficult or impossible to acquire that ability, it certainly is a valuable ability to have.

  • I don’t expect academia to educate the masses. I just don’t want to write them off as totally worthless. I have heard that government officials and other “professional” people listen to academia. That’s why I want to see criminality stripped out of that sector. People in academia are supposed to act ethically, and they really should, as should all of us.
    We educate the masses with real grassroots programs. There are many out there already.

  • The group I’m currently a part of is working on a project to get ECT banned in California. It looks like we will start with a ban on ECT on minors. Similar projects are being worked on in several other states in the U.S.
    With actions directed towards getting governments to act to protect human rights, we have a strategy that we hope will slow down the rate of abuse.
    But there have been LOTS of laws written to protect human rights. Yet human rights continue to be violated. So it is clear that this strategy alone cannot succeed, if what we want is a planet where all people act sanely and ethically towards each other.
    Assuming that we can (and we can!) understand this problem sufficiently to know exactly what needs to be done to achieve this higher goal, the work needed to make that happen still remains very daunting.
    But we have found that educational activities are a broad fundamental. These include informing people of what their rights are, which “answers” being pushed at them are criminal and which are sane, and various non-violent actions they can take to protect themselves from the criminal elements that exist at every strata of our society.
    In time we expect to be able to render those criminal elements harmless, for the most part.
    But that work requires more than mere education, and is obviously very far from complete.
    It would be helpful if we could get the academic community to “let us in.” There are already many dissident voices, even a few psychiatrists. So we should not assume that academia is totally in the criminals’ pocket, nor should we assume that about any agency or business, although in some cases the facts are pretty damning. I think if we see it as a problem with criminality in all the strata of society, then we can work in the direction of weeding that out rather than trying to totally replace those institutions just to get them to start acting sanely.

  • I have never seen someone successfully “deprogram” themselves. There is a technology that accomplishes it, but it requires a group effort. Any idea that we can get through this without sound organizations with strong memberships is misguided, I believe. THEY are organized. We have to do better than that.

  • “De-programming” as a name for the desired activity has been compromised by people who kidnapped and tortured people who had joined various religious movements, calling it “deprogramming.”

    The data on how mental programming was actually accomplished is too incredible for most people to believe. But the closest activity we have like that on Earth is psychiatry, particularly when they use hypnosis. This is a Manchurian Candidate sort of scenario. Of course, hypnosis does not have to be used for evil purposes, but it can be.

  • But the desire of the community to preserve itself is at the crux of this involuntary commitment/treatment issue. From the community’s point of view, an individual does not have a “right” to act destructively if that action violates the rights of others (current list of rights is per the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948). To maintain a good balance between the needs and desires of the individual and those of the community requires a higher degree of sanity in society, and particularly among its leaders. And by definition, this has to be a self-determined change for each individual.

    Meanwhile, we push for saner practices based mostly on human rights concepts in a world that remains largely insane. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep pushing for reform. But it does mean that this push should be paralleled by a push to find and deliver workable mental treatments on this planet. They do exist.

  • Steve’s ideas about what is going on with people that we call the “mental” part of life are the closest to what I have learned. The only reason it seems “difficult to prove” is that most people are unaware of the work being done in this area. There is a cultural bias favoring the brain model that has been very difficult to change. Perhaps the most visible “alternative” work that I am aware of concerns past lives, which is basically a for-sure phenomenon at this point. This work alone destroys the brain model. There are even real psychiatrists working in this area. Yet it remains “fringe.”

    Elements of the psychiatric community are gradually pulling away from drugs and ECT as they are increasingly exposed as coercive, damaging, and unsuccessful. But as a group, they are not pulling away from the brain model. And we won’t get it right until we do. The “health” of the mind does not depend on treating the brain in any way. It is that simple. The mind is a whole new world, and these doctors and the people supporting them don’t want to go there. Programming? Yes, that’s an important element of the new model. Should the old model become totally untenable, programming is probably what the advocates for a new model will focus on. But that’s a machine viewpoint of life. It does not fit the human condition, either.

  • This article has spotted the basic pattern of how those who want a super-controlled society are rolling out their plans.
    I don’t see any group on the scene that has been more effective than CCHR at reining in the psychiatric aspect of this strategy, which is a very key part of it. If you are going to coerce a society through the subject of mental health, then you need “experts” who are willing to cooperate in doing your dirty work. CCHR is trying to take the subject of mental health away from the criminal psychiatrists. I think it deserves our support.
    But what I also see here is a lack of understanding regarding what the bigger picture is, and why people like those psychiatrists could ever rise to the status of “mental health experts” while so obviously getting no real results. And that lack of understanding leads to an incorrect estimation of effort of what it will take to turn the whole scene around.
    The technologies discussed above are not the only ones under development. And though the drug model for treatment currently holds sway, I am sure other strategies are being developed, should they be needed. It is not enough to play cat-and-mouse with these monsters. We must take away their power forever. It is a huge job, and it will require considerable organization.
    I just want to make sure readers have some concept of the magnitude of the problem we are up against.

  • Dr. Breggin makes the point about diet/nutrition several times in his article. It is a huge issue (and hard to believe not in some way related) as bad diet and nutrition are being promoted to us at every turn these days, even as the “smart” people are going organic. Any doctor should look at diet and sleep before doing anything else (except maybe in severe cases, but we’re talking about ADHD), and many doctors and psychologists are. Psychiatry is way out in left field on this one, but that’s only to be expected in their case.