Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Comments by BeyondLabeling a.k.a. Jonah

Showing 774 of 774 comments.

  • @ tusu,

    I believe you are mis-characterizing this website, as you say there is a “party line at MIA,” and, in my opinion, it is a big mistake, that you conflate issues of autism with issues of so-called “schizophrenia.”

    About autism:

    In my humble opinion (that is based on my admittedly non-professional study of the subject — as a mere ‘lay’ observer): A diagnosis of “autism” can certainly be considered a valid diagnosis, if/when given by a well-qualified expert (who need not be a psychiatrist).

    (And, note: Yes, there are self-described “antipsychiatry” commenters posting here — and bloggers as well; but, I do not call myself that…)

    Frankly, I say without any hesitance whatsoever, with respect to autism, there is no “party line” here, at MIA.

    In fact, before reading this comment thread, this evening, I never saw any commenter here at MIA denying the existence of autism.

    Think about that: Before this evening, I’d noticed not even one MIA commenter denying the existence of autism.

    Such is, of course, also to say, that: To my knowledge, up to now, no MIA bloggers have blogged here in a way that denies the existence of autism.

    But, now (this evening), in reading through this particular comment thread, I see a commenter who’s denying its existence; and (by way of reading his comments), I’ve become aware that, apparently, on MIA, there is one ‘foreign correspondent’ (Sami Timimi) who may have written a book in which the existence of autism is denied.

    So, now, I ask you…

    How is it that I’ve been visiting this website for more than two years, and, until now, I never even knew there were people who denied the existence of autism?

    (My own best answer to that question, is: Obviously, there is no ‘party line’ here that’s denying its existence.)

    There is not any ‘party line’ here, at MIA, regarding the causes of autism either.

    Really, I believe there is no ‘party line’ here regarding autism.

    But, about so-called “schizophrenia”:

    There are various more or less subtly ‘agreed upon’ views of the “schizophrenia” concept presented on MIA.

    First of all, many folk here (including I) insist that “schizophrenia” is a bucket term — and, truly, not a scientifically reliable diagnosis, at all.

    Many folk here (such as I) furthermore consider the “schizophrenia” label to be a source of far more grief than good, in the world; and, because we know the label is scientifically unreliable, we basically shun the label (and do our best to encourage others to do likewise).

    (Really, I consider the “schizophrenia” label to be a needless — thus, tragic — albatross around the necks of the vast majority of folk who are stuck with it…)

    Also, many folk here (such as I) believe, that most cases of supposed “schizophrenia” would not be long-term conditions, but they are made into long-term, debilitating iatrogenic conditions by modern/conventional psychiatric ‘treatment’ (in the form of constant/’heavy’ neuroleptic drugging).

    Finally, many folk here (such as I) believe that the scientific studies suggesting genetic causes of “schizophrenia” are, at best, terribly flimsy; however, some (such as I) believe, that maybe some few ‘cases’ (a relatively small percentage) of presumed “schizophrenia” are related to certain genetic anomalies.

    (I fully expect, that no one here will censure me for saying that; I’ve seen comments by various folk who agree…)

    You say, “For me, genetics has formed a powerful bridge to understanding what is really going on in these disorders, and guided me toward more effective communication, and most of all understanding. Out of understanding comes respect, and effective help.”

    I am very curious about that statement.

    To me, it seems that whatever is called “schizophrenia” may be the effects of any number of countless causes, many of which are experiential and environmental.

    I am very curious to know: To what extent do you believe that whatever is called “schizophrenia” is genetically caused?

    And, what evidence exactly leads you to your conclusions, in regards to such supposed causation?

    Again, I say, good that you are dialoguing, and thank you, in advance, for your answers.



  • “I replied quite a bit. What else do I have to reply to, in order to meet your measure?”

    @ tusu,

    Now, yes, on this page, you have replied quite a bit (I see that).

    So, you are dialoguing here, at MIA. Very good.

    By this point, I have only briefly studied your most recent comments.

    Some of what you’re saying suggests you may believe that autism is genetically caused. (And, not only autism…)

    In your comment, above, on November 1, 2014 at 10:04 pm, you say “developmental delay, schizophrenia, autism and unipolar depression have a common genetic basis,” and, to conclude your comment below, on November 1, 2014 at 9:54 pm, you say “Yes, many people have both autism and psychosis, and that makes perfect sense looking at which genes cause each.”

    I wonder, do you really mean to say that genes cause all that’s described by such labeling???

    It seems to me, that you are strongly suggesting, that gene damage causes autism (especially as you’re saying, above, that “Several study designs revealed concerns with comparing mutations in non-autistic to autistic people. And when this was done, yes, actually, there were ‘typical’ types of mutations that occurred only in the autistic people. So while one study found 279 different de novo mutations, the mutations were STILL clustering on specific genes. Study 25284784 is on mutations. Numerous studies reaching the same conclusion, this one being typical. These mutations occur in the individual, and are not inherited from the parent”).

    I certainly do believe gene damage can cause autism.

    And, of course, that must be, in most instances, gene damage caused by environmental toxins — considering the rate of increase in autism cases, in recent decades… (Some of that increased rate of incidence must be due to ‘diagnostic inflation,’ but not all of it is…)

    Your stated notion, that everything designated “developmental delay, schizophrenia […] and unipolar depression” is genetically determined and has “a common genetic basis” is quite far-fetched, in my opinion.

    E.g., whatever happens to be labeled “unipolar depression” may be caused by any number of factors. (Most commonly, learned helplessness is a major factor.)

    Childhood trauma is often (but not always) a major factor behind what is ultimately is called “schizophrenia.”

    I could go on, but instead I’ll wait for your response…



  • “I don’t have to agree with everything a potential ally agrees with to work with them, just find common cause…”


    That much of what you’re saying, I agree with entirely, as long as you’re not talking about making a pact with the devil (and I don’t read you as suggesting we should do that).

    (In fact, now that it’s clear, you’re aiming to state that prison abolitionists make better allies than Allen Frances, OK, I get what you’re saying…)

    Thanks for the clarifications.



  • @ uprising,

    I believe the MIA blogger Adam Urato, MD, has done a noteworthy job of addressing the issue of autism, here, on this website.

    See, for example, his first blog post:

    (That post initiated an interesting comment dialogue, as do many MIA blog posts.)

    I think most people who comment on this website agree that there is a good deal of valuable information gathering happening here.

    But, of course, that does not mean every ostensibly ‘scientific’ study that’s mentioned here is equally valuable (nor even valid).

    I would like to think that the news editor (Rob Wipond) is open to having any study he mentions questioned.

    On the other hand, we have commenter ‘tusu’ who has recently begun posting comments — (three MIA comments by this point) — the first one claiming that there’s no dialogue happening on this website.

    “There is no ‘dialogue’ with Mad In America. None. To even SUGGEST there is any dialogue anywhere NEAR Mad in America is ridiculous. It is all about one view, and that is NO treatment.”

    A number of commenters (including I) responded to that first comment of tusu’s — that claim… of there supposedly being no dialogue here; tusu never replied.

    If tusu doesn’t reply here, on this page, then I’ll simply conclude tusu isn’t actually wanting to notice the dialogue happening on this website — that tusu is not wishing to engage in dialogue here; and, maybe (just maybe) tusu’s stated opinion, that dialogue is supposedly not happening at Mad in America, is just an effect of tusu’s own confirmation bias.

    Tusu may be, indeed, creating a self-fulling prophecy — to the extent that tusu is not willing to dialogue.

    If tusu is demonstrating confirmation bias and a tendency to create self-fulfilling prophecies, I suppose that might diminish tusu’s claims of having noted substantial neurological differences in the brain scans he studied… (Tusu states: “There ARE anatomical differences – profound ones in severe autism, mild and small ones in mild autism.”)

    By the way (for whatever my own inexpert opinion is worth, which may not be a whole lot), imho, in most ways, autism does not compare well with most other so-called “psychiatric disorders” — as I believe that, probably, there are legitimate biological markers for some cases of autism.

    Again, I recommend that blog post by Adam Urato — and the subsequent comment discussion…



  • “…Prison is very expensive and it doesn’t work.”

    Fiachra and John,

    Prisons (especially in the U.S.) are expensive and have wound up working, in various ways, poorly, in most instances; here (in the U.S.) the prisons are largely filled with folk who arguably should not be there… because they’ve not been convicted of violent crimes.

    Their sentencing lacked imagination.

    (Note: Generally speaking, I believe in ‘restorative justice’ — wherein convicted ‘criminals’ receive creative sentences so that they can ‘make good’ in the aftermath and wake of the harms they’ve caused… I.e., imo, ideally, most ‘criminals’ should be led, by the courts, to take actions in ways that considerably benefit the victims of their crimes.)

    Prisons are, however, necessary… to protect society from criminals who’ve proven to be especially violent. Or, do you disagree?

    I encourage you to consider the question I posed in my earlier comment (on October 31, 2014 at 10:51 am).

    Consider that news story (regarding the capture of Eric Frein), and tell me, can our society (here in the U.S.) entirely do away with prisons? To me, it seems quite obvious that we can’t do away with all of them.

    I sincerely wonder, do you disagree? If you disagree, what would you do with a man such as Frein, as opposed to keeping him in prison?

    Looking forward to an answer from yourselves or anyone else who, perhaps, believes (as Fiachra) that prison “doesn’t work.”



  • Excerpted from an article at (dated Sep 10, 2012):

    ‘Human Cost’

    “The billions J&J made had a terrible human cost,” Bob Hilliard, one of Banks’s lawyers, said in an e-mailed statement. “This drug caused female breasts to grow on little boys around the country. Their childhoods were stolen, but billions were made.”

    J&J and Janssen’s marketing of Risperdal has also been the subject of government investigations and lawsuits.

    The U.S. has been investigating Risperdal sales practices since 2004, including allegations that the company marketed the drug for unapproved uses, J&J executives said in a regulatory filing.

    J&J officials reached an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to pay as much as $2.2 billion to resolve probes of its sales of drugs, including Risperdal, according to people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg News reported earlier this year.

    The company last month agreed to pay $181 million to resolve claims by 36 states that it improperly marketed and advertised Risperdal and Invega, another antipsychotic.

  • “So what practical steps can we take to defeat the Murphy Bill and oppose Allen Frances’s Great Compromise?” […] Let us join Mia Mingus in believing in ourselves and each other enough to reject Allen Frances’ Great Compromise and carry forth with our “civil war” — a non-violent struggle to build a true alternative to the institutional-industrial complex”

    Justin, absolutely, I join you in opposing Allen Frances’s Great Compromise.

    But, I do not view Mia Mingus’s program as offering the alternative or solution, to issues being raised Francis.

    In fact, much as I get that she has a big heart, Mingus loses me, as she advocates “abolishing prisons.”

    Just look at the following news story, from this morning, and tell me, can our society do away with prisons?

    Eric Frein Shackled With Slain Trooper’s Handcuffs After Capture

    Oct 31, 2014, 6:41 AM ET


    A self-trained survivalist was shackled in the handcuffs used by a Pennsylvania state trooper he allegedly killed in an ambush last month, the state police commissioner said during a news conference.

    U.S. Marshals captured Eric Frein outside an abandoned hangar at Birchwood-Pocono Airport near Tannersville, Pa., about 6 p.m. Thursday, State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said.

    “They ordered him to surrender, to get down and raise his hands,” he said.

    Frein, 31, was then placed in the handcuffs used by Cpl. Bryon Dickson, who was killed in the September 12th shooting at the barracks in Blooming Grove, said Noonan. He was then driven in Dickson’s police vehicle to those same barracks and held there until he was moved to the Pike County Correctional Facility overnight…

    I count myself as one amongst millions in this country who are rightly glad to see that man (Frien) handcuffed and sent to jail or prison, awaiting trial.

    Surely, many will call for him to be executed. I will disagree with those calls, because I oppose the death penalty in all instances.

    Simply (presuming he’s to be found guilty of murdering the trooper), I think he should be imprisoned for life, without possibility of parole (whether or not some ‘mh’ professional — ‘expert witness’ — argues that he was abused as a child and/or was ‘insane’ or “mentally ill” at the time of committing his crime).

    Allen Francis is being foolish, as he declares “deprisoning the mentally ill should be an appealing common banner.”

    Let’s not diminish the power of our arguments similarly by pretending that no one should be imprisoned.



  • “If we want to rant against the oppression of the institutional-industrial complex, we need to back up our beliefs with specific political and personal actions that offer a practical alternative. Allen Frances has offered his practical proposal for a Great Compromise. It offers mental health advocates access to billions of dollars through a new War on Mental Illness that would replace the failed War on Drugs. In fact, this new war has already begun. Standing on the side lines is no longer an option. Rep Tim Murphy already has us in his sights — and he is no paper tiger! If we don’t respond, we will soon enter a brave new world of high tech coercive psychiatry.”

    Justin, well said.



  • @ dengster,

    I agree with Bonnie (and then some), as she says “Well put.”

    You’ve written a truly beautiful comment.

    Frankly, I am someone who has no interest in seeking ‘services’ from the ‘mh’ system, nor do I recommend to anyone that s/he seek ‘services’ from it (simply, my experiences as a “patient” within the ‘mh’ system were so averse, that, as soon as I got away from it, over 25 years ago, I knew I’d never go back).

    However, I can empathize with many people who are seeking help within the ‘mh’ system and can sympathize with many who are seeking a ‘next step’ beyond it.

    Your comment is so very well-stated, I wound up looking at your ‘comment history’ and happened to find this from you (in a comment you posted under Corinna West’s blog post titled “Are You Committed to Eliminating Labels and Medications With Emotional Distress?”):

    ‘I have searched high and low for an alternative doc who takes Medicare with no luck. I have also searched high and low for a therapist who takes Medicare or my secondary insurance who incorporate mindfulness Buddhist practices into therapy with no luck. There are no people who I know of who have learned and practiced intentional peer support in the Northern Virginia area or in Sarasota, FL. All of the people who have been trained in peer support in Northern Virginia have been trained and work within the traditional mental health system. Almost all peer specialists who I know of are not very active in pursuing the rights of their peers within the m h system because they are so low on the totem pole in the system and have so little systemic power that they are afraid to rock the boat. As far as using a “business model” to provide viable and effective alternatives, I’m not too excited.’

    Apparently, you are on the East Coast (I am on the West Coast), and I am not a trained ‘peer specialist’ (nor would I ever become one), but, as a long-time practitioner of Buddhism (and self-described “Buddhist”), my aim is increasingly to reach out to psychiatric survivors — as a friend online; and, in that way, maybe I could be of some assistance to you (and you might be able to help me, no less, through simply being an online friend).

    I have occasionally mentioned that I am a Buddhist, in my MIA comments. Something I’ve not (until now) mentioned in comments, is that my connection to Buddhist ‘community’ has long been limited to communications online…

    That is because, there was a local Buddhist lay community to which I had belonged (for roughly seven years), but I was, one day, suddenly ‘outed’ as someone who is “supposed to be on medications” by a ‘leader’ to whom I’d confided about my ‘history’ as a ‘patient’ of psychiatry. (I had done nothing to prompt his ‘outing’ me; on the contrary, when I’d met him he was a psychiatrically ‘diagnosed’ person who was eschewing psychiatry, so I confided to him, about my psychiatric ‘history’; six years later, he went back to psychiatry and, I guess, felt compelled to to try to drag me back into it…)

    I felt so unsettled by that experience, I left that group.

    (Note: I was ‘outed’ by that ‘leader’ only seven years after I’d eschewed psychiatry. It was 1996, the Internet was just in its infancy, so it could have become an extremely difficult/isolating experience; however, I wound up meeting my wife-to-be — who is now my ‘ex’ — at exactly that same time; she’d not been a part of that community; so, I simply maintained my Buddhist practice, on my own, and moved on with my life, with her…)

    I am (many years later), a single dad, raising his teenage daughter — and, now more than ever, interested in studying and practicing Buddhism.

    And, I believe it could be helpful (really, mutually helpful) to simply exchange email with other psychiatric survivors who share that interest, in Buddhism, in common.

    Please, if you are at all interested in discussing Buddhism (and, really, I put this out to anyone else who may, likewise, fit the bill of ‘psychiatric survivor interested in Buddhism’), do feel free to contact me via email: [email protected]

    Again, great comment…



  • @ acidpop5,

    One who reads your words can only, at best, begin to imagine how scarey and infuriating (and, I imagine, confusing) it must have been for you to have been forced to live in such an environment, as you’re describing…

    But, for me, above all else, your story is infuriating to consider.

    That is in part because I am the parent of a young woman, an adolescent, 17 years old; and, as I was, at age 21, ‘held’ against my will, by psychiatry, to be stuck with neuroleptic-filled IV needles and tagged with psychiatric labeling, I have unforgettable recollections of harrowing experiences, being ‘psychiatrized’ (including further, similar experiences, over the course of a couple years’ time).

    Those were terribly traumatizing experiences; and, so, there’s nothing now (nothing whatsoever) that could possibly stop me from protecting my daughter against being ‘treated’ by psychiatrists. She will never wind up in a psychiatric “hospital” (as I did) — at least, not as long as I live and breathe…

    And, what you’re describing is another kind of ‘treatment’ facility, I don’t know if it was called a “hospital,” but it was a place for kids, that could only exist, because of the so-called “diagnoses” that psychiatrists provided…

    I presume that place still exists.

    And, yes, I certainly recall you explaining in MIA comments previously, that your journey, as a ‘patient’ of psychiatry, began when you were a very young woman.

    I am reminded of what you explained previously, by my reading of your story above — and can’t help but shake my head now, having read these further recollections you’re providing — feeling the immense travesty of it all.

    Especially, as I read your story in the context of the blog post, by Dr. Allen Frances, which has been brought to our attention, by Corinna, I am struck by a sense of that travesty — and how it goes ignored…

    (I wonder, is it possible that Dr. Frances — who was the lead author of the 4rth edition of the DSM — knows nothing of the existence of places, such as that which you’re describing?)

    Surely, many young people are still being ‘treated’ as you were ‘treated’ by psychiatry, and many are being ‘treated’ as I was…

    Yet, in that October 20, 2014 Huffington Post article, Dr. Francis explains,

    “Coercion is an even more contentious topic, but one that also has a common-sense common ground. When, more than 50 years ago, Tom Szasz began to fight for patient empowerment, freedom, and dignity, the main threat to these was a snake-pit state hospital system that warehoused more than 600,000 patients, usually involuntarily and often inappropriately. That system no longer exists. There are now only about 65,000 psychiatric beds in the entire country, and the problem is finding a way into the hospital, not finding a way out.

    “Anti-psychiatrists are fighting the last war. Psychiatric coercion has become largely a paper tiger: rare, short-term, and usually a well-meaning attempt to help the person avoid the real modern-day coercive threat of imprisonment.”

    Perhaps, too many times, in my MIA comments, I’ve mentioned that I was first ‘held’ by psychiatry after frisbeeing a number cheap plates at my parents’ garage door. Here, one more time, I mention that, such was the ‘incident’ that led to my ‘treatment’ — only to insist, that: Yes, I regret having thrown those dishes, but I threw them at a garage door — not at any person; and, I wish I could ‘only’ have been talked to, by someone who could have listened to me, back then.

    And/or, if literally no one could have come to my aid, by ‘just’ listening to me, I wish could have had my day in court — instead of being convinced to meet with an E.R. psychiatrist…

    Despite all of Dr. Francis’s fear-mongering, concerning the dangers of jails, I would have much preferred to be jailed (as opposed to meeting a psychiatrist).

    Of course, there may have been a danger of meeting a psychiatrist in jail; s/he could possibly have ordered me forcibly drugged, there; and, that would have been a horrible fate, I’m sure; but, had I ‘only’ been promised my day in court, I would have happily risked jail time, in awaiting that day.

    I could have avoided so much trauma that way (so could my family and friends have avoided much trauma).

    Sorry to have gone on this way…

    It’s good to see you again posting comments relating your own experiences with psychiatry…



  • “I see the anti-treatment groups as promoting a death sentence for the severely mentally ill.”

    @ tusu,

    I don’t see “anti-treatment groups” anywhere on this website.

    But, maybe I misunderstand your meaning, as you’re applying that label?

    “Anti-treatment” suggests, to my mind, a movement that would strive to prevent people from receiving treatment. (I’ve never seen anyone — let alone any group — express such sentiments on this MIA website.)

    Perhaps, you have an idea of what “anti-treatment groups” means, that I don’t understand. Can you please explain what you mean when you use that term.

    Thanks in advance.



    P.S. — As you say, “There is no ‘dialogue’ with Mad In America. None. To even SUGGEST there is any dialogue anywhere NEAR Mad in America is ridiculous. It is all about one view, and that is NO treatment,” I think maybe you are failing to realize, that: of the two persons whose views are being featured in the ‘dialogue’ above, one is a psychiatrist who is actually promoting ‘treatment’ in a very big way (indeed, he’s stumping for more “AOT” — court-0rdered ‘assisted outpatient treatment’), and the other person is someone who describes himself as accustomed to taking psychiatric ‘meds’ (‘treatment’) and benefiting from doing so…

  • Allen Frances calls for “deprisoning the mentally ill.”

    It’s an outrageous proposal — for many reasons — not least of all this one: It gives psychiatrists all the power in the world, to determine which prisoners supposedly should be in prison as opposed to which prisoners supposedly shouldn’t be…

    “Mentally ill” is a label that can only be applied by psychiatry (as the supposed existence of ‘mental illness’ can only be confirmed by psychiatrists).

    And, what does “mentally ill” even mean?

    Here’s the concluding paragraph (and link) from an article that I’ve recommended previously, in MIA comments (I do so again now, as it’s quite good, imo, and perfectly apropos):

    “Who Is Mentally Ill?” It’s unclear what counts as ‘mental illness.’

    Published on December 12, 2013

    by Steven Reidbord, M.D. in Sacramento Street Psychiatry

    “Since “mentally ill” obscures as much as it clarifies, perhaps no one should be labeled this way. Indeed, only in psychiatry can a person be declared ill by someone else. In the rest of medicine, it’s self-descriptive. In my view, “the mentally ill” harbors too many unstated implications and vaguely shared assumptions regarding whom we are talking about. Legal restrictions and entitlements should be based on more concrete standards — and actually, they are. “Mental illness” is more of a rhetorical flourish, a bit of hand-waving when it’s difficult or inconvenient to pin down specifics.”

  • “The answer to mentally distressed people in prison is to not lock them up and to provide decent housing, benefits, jobs etc etc, not to force psychiatry on them.”

    John Hoggett,

    In that last line of yours, you’re making no sense, imo, and (because I know from reading many 0f your MIA comments, that you are an intelligent person) I can’t help but wonder: Do you mean to say what I think you are saying there? Or, am I misunderstanding you? Do you believe that anyone who is arguably “mentally distressed” should not be locked up in prison?

    Personally, I think prison should be reserved mainly for violent criminals.

    With few exceptions, I oppose, in principle, the imprisonment of those who’ve not been convicted of considerably violent crimes. (Among the exceptions: I will not oppose the imprisonment of those who’ve ‘just’ been found guilty of a conspiracy to commit or incite such violence.)

    Imo, violent criminals may need to be imprisoned.

    Any policy to remove such persons from prison, only because they seem “mentally distressed” there, would be a certain mistake, imo.

    Along those lines, I can’t help but strongly object to Allen Frances’s expressed call (in his blog post, above) to begin “deprisoning the mentally ill.”

    That call of his is 100% propaganda (inspired by NAMI and E Fuller Torrey’s TAC) designed to encourage the transfer of as many as 1,000,000 prisoners into the so-called “care” of psychiatry… via ‘mental health courts’ and mandatory (court-ordered) “AOT”.

    (I’m sure a significant proportion of those prisoners should not be in prison, because they were not convicted of violent crimes; but, Frances refers to “half a million severely ill patients in prison for nuisance crimes.” I do not think that stat reflects reality, at all, and I do not believe anyone should get a ‘pass’ out of prison, nor either should anyone receive a ‘Do Not Go to Prison’ ticket, merely because s/he’s been ‘diagnosed’ as supposedly “mentally ill.”)

    To reverse the rampant imprisonment of people in the U.S. who should not be in prison will require decriminalization of ‘illicit’ drug use.

    That other sort of policy (ostensibly “deprisoning the mentally ill”) is just a ruse, of psychiatry, that’s benefits no one, except psychiatrists and Big Pharma.



  • P.S. — To whoever may be interested (as I highly doubt that Allen Frances will be responding to my comments):

    First of all, I suggest, check out: “Community Treatment Orders Don’t Work”

    For those who may not know, court-ordered “AOT” (“assisted outpatient treatment”) in the U.S. is roughly the equivalent of what’s called “CTO” (“community treatment orders”) in the U.K..

    …Over a year ago (maybe it was nearly two years back), on Twitter, to Dr. Allen Frances (@AllenFrancesMD) I ‘tweeted’ a necessarily brief — and perfectly courteous message — that included my recommendation, to, please, take a moment and look into the following Youtube link (It’s a 17 minute Youtube video, in which a woman from the U.K. — now, tragically, deceased — speaks of the effects of the depot injections she was getting, as a result of her “CTO”):

    “Depot injection robs artist of her creativity”

    I encouraged him to “See the ‘uploader’ notes after watching the video.”

    Not surprisingly, I received no response from Dr. Frances…

    Here, as follows, are those Youtube uploader notes (copied and pasted):

    “A video about a patient of psychiatry who has been forced to have depot injections of anti-psychotic medication for years and who feels she has been unable to escape from the diagnosis of being psychotic. Having been on this medication she feels she has lost her inspiration and motivation to be an artist and has been living in constant fear of being taken back to hospital if she does not comply with what she is told to do.

    “Since I filmed this and put this up on here this woman was put on a considerably higher level of medication after she tried to withdraw but experienced serious withdrawal effects and was taken back into hospital. Once she was allowed out she became more depressed, feeling more trapped in the system and bound to take medication that she felt was doing her a lot of harm and stopped her from having the energy or motivation to do anything. Very sadly around Christmas-time she took her own life. She will be missed by many and her death will be grieved by those who knew her. She was not helped by psychiatry as they did not treat her as an individual with any potential. They did not know her as a person and did not know how she really felt about hardly anything. They diagnosed her, drugged her and ignored and neglected her. They did not appreciate her as an artist or a person as they did not bother to find out or treat her with respect. A very sad loss and a very depressing insight into how someone’s life can become worse once caught up in a system who are supposed to help and even believe they are helping .. and that as Jean said is a serious delusion.. .”

    And, here is a copy and paste of a recent comment from the Youtuber (Sian whitehead) who uploaded the video:

    2 months ago

    “This lady’s name is Jean Cozens. In May 2014 I attended the inquest into her death and the Coroner declared it an open verdict not suicide. Jean’s psychiatrists was at the inquest and her evidence was that she put Jean on the medication with her welfare in mind. When the verdict was announced she smiled as it meant she did not have to worry that she had a suicide on her record. The inquest was more of a cover up as to how Jean died. She was found hanging but the psychiatrist and the mental health Trust South London and Maudsley did what they could to persuade the coroner that she did not mean to take her own life. I was disgusted with what I heard at the inquest and I have sent a complaint to S.L.A.M. They did not bother to reply to my complaint after the inquest. Yet.”

  • “We have half a million severely ill patients in prison for nuisance crimes that easily could have been avoided had they received adequate treatment and housing. Sleeping on a stoop, stealing a Coke, or shouting on a street can get the person arrested. Once arrested, not being able to make bail and/or not fitting in well with jail routine leads to prolonged incarceration and, too frequently, crazy-making solitary confinement. The U.S. today is probably the worst place and worst time ever to suffer from a severe mental illness.” [emphasis added]

    Dr. Frances,

    Where do you get that statistic? (I seriously wonder.) Please, do tell.

    And, please, consider this: Surely, the U.S. today cannot reasonably be called “the worst place and worst time ever to suffer from a [presumed] severe mental illness.”

    (Frankly, I consider the concept of “severe mental illness” to be nothing more or less than a socio-political construct, which serves no one — except for those who wish to force psychiatric “treatment” on ‘others’ who’s behaviors they find ‘abnormal’ thus unacceptable; oh, and it serves to gain and sustain government so-called “assistance” for such individuals, once they’ve been permanently dis-abled by such psychiatric “treatment”.)

    But, clearly, the worst place and time was Germany, leading up to and during the 2nd World War — as individuals identified that way were being euthanized there, then; and, in the U.S., in the 1940’s and 1950’s, at least 40,000 individuals (supposedly ‘severely mentally ill’) were lobotomized. Hence, that seems like a worse time, than now, to be viewed and ‘treated’ as ‘severely mentally ill’ in this country (the U.S.).

    In fact, as you’re now enthusiastically promoting increased reliance on court-ordered, so-called “assisted outpatient treatment,” you should take a look at Australia. From all that I hear of current Australian psychiatry (as there is no Bill of Rights in Australia nor any rough equivalent of such), court-ordered “outpatient treatment” is proving to be quite the rage, Down Under. Far more Aussie citizens, per capita, than here in the U.S., are now are being, as “outpatients,” forcibly ‘treated’ with I.V. psychiatric drugs (neuroleptics, a.k.a., so-called “antipsychotics”); they’re being forcibly drugged, in their homes… (that is, when they are not ‘just’ allowing themselves to be dutifully coerced into swallowing the pill form of such chemicals — which we all know now for a fact are literally shrinking “patients'” brains, at least 1% every year that they’re used… and which we know are creating, moreover, obesity, diabetes, deadly metabolic disease… when administered continually for any considerable amount of time).

    But, back to my first question: Where did you come up with that statistic, that I’ve emphasized, by adding bold print, above?

    Pray, do tell. Answer me just that one question, in response to my comment, and I will be be very grateful…



  • Alex,

    Thanks for your very kind words. I appreciate your comment expressions — including your use of words — and deeply respect you for how far you’ve traveled personally (and for how far you continue to travel); that is, you’ve clearly traveled far, in the direction of embracing and embodying your own discovered truths; and, in becoming always more certainly a person wholly true to himself, you set a good example for me and for others.

    Regarding this question (about what led to your first encounters with psychiatry),

    “I wanted support as I tried to sort things out for myself. I never threw anything, but I felt like it every moment, and because I wasn’t raging as would have probably been healthier for me, I resisted and instead, I became disabled from harboring inside of me volcanoes of anxiety. So by not externalizing my rage, I suffered from extreme self-punishment. Do you think they might be two sides of the same coin?”

    Do I think they might be two sides of the same coin (as in, being roughly similar to the emotional and/or family-dynamic conflicts that had led to my being introduced — the hard way — to psychiatry)? lol

    Absolutely, yes, in a way… (At least, I can relate to the anxiety you’re describing.)

    I would never have chosen to see psychiatrist, had I not been pressured by family and friends, to do so, after I’d smashed all those plates…

    Actually, I was totally skeptical of psychiatry, by that point — was, essentially, at least as ‘antipsychiatry’ as anyone I knew, at that time…

    However, lead up to that time, I had been, occasionally, consulting a certain therapist.

    I.e., prior to that time that I’d chosen to throw those plates, at my parent’s garage door, I was ‘in therapy’ off and on; and, I can still well recall, my #1 reason for choosing to go to therapy, in college, was that: I had come to experiencing (ever since high school) a kind of near-constant ‘free-floating’ anxiety (it was then, to me, ‘unexplainable’).

    My therapist was a very well-meaning person, but her chosen style was entirely non-directive, so our ‘sessions’ got me nowhere…

    I would eventually quite going to her — having come to presume that all my anxiety was nothing more or less than the function of my ‘artistic’ sensitivity to the historical ‘age’ I was living in.

    I came to conclude, that it was ‘just’ the effect of my sensitivity to the then-ever-present Cold War threats, of nuclear annihilation…

    (There was, then so much ‘Super-Power’ sabre rattling, in the news — and related, quite horrifying films depicting ‘nuclear winter’ …on TV and in the theaters.)

    I would increasingly focus upon those threats (eventually, 24/7), and my anxiety, as a result, grew worse — of course.

    Albert Einstein had famously said “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”

    I went in search of that new way of thinking — in order to hopefully survive those threats, of nuclear winter.

    Though I liked my therapist, and she did, on occasion, offer me bits of good practical advice, I did not share with her the extent of my fears of nuclear war; and, I got no sense from her that she could ‘teach’ me what I needed to know, in terms of a new way of thinking…

    At last, I wound up attempting to write a novel, featuring a considerably more ‘entertaining’ (fictionalized) version of myself (his sense of all my ‘nuclear anxieties’ were, in some ways, comical).

    I projected myself into that character, my story’s protagonist — a young psychiatrist; he could be very serious, in ways… and would, in the end (i.e., by the last chapter) reject his own chosen profession, psychiatry — especially, all the nonsense that it represents in the criminal justice system…

    Note: From the time I was a kid, I had been deeply struck by such powerful impressions of Institutional Psychiatry, as had bee offered by films such as “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Frances” (which came out when I was in college0; but, like most folk, I thought those were depictions of past transgressions, on the part of Psychiatry.

    I was mainly aiming to opposed the ‘forensic psychiatry’ that’s practiced in our legal system — especially, what I believe is the insanity of the “insanity” defense.

    I really had no understanding whatsoever, back then, about all the ‘medical’ harms that were still being caused by psychiatry.

    When I smashed those dishes, I was (I knew) ‘acting crazy’; and, I guess, arguably, then, when I smashed those dishes, I may have been, unconsciously, calling for a more thorough understanding of psychiatry — a direct experience of it.

    Thus, I stumbled into my own personal ‘education’ regarding the nature of forced psychiatric ‘treatment’ — and thereby gained much subsequently raised awareness, of what has been, indeed, the ongoing ‘history’ of such harms…

    I consider myself very fortunate, having prepared myself, in advance, to reject psychiatry; my unfinished novel remained instructive for me; but, I would not have consciously wish for such encounters…

    Such experiences, as I experienced, with psychiatry, were not the worst that psychiatry has to offer; but, on even my worst enemies, I would not wish those sorts of experiences, which I had…

    No one should have to learn of such things irl — ‘in real life’ (the hard way).



  • ‘98% of treatment is “voluntary,” or would be if people could make real choices. So yes, Frances is right that arguing about 2% is a paper tiger, if this was an isolated isssue. But he doesn’t understand that the people arguing about the 2% are using it to make a whole bunch of bullshit false claims that confuse people when making decisions about the 98% of “voluntary” mental health care.’


    Maybe I’m misreading you, but you seem to be saying that “the people arguing about the 2% [forced psychiatric ‘treatments’] are using it to make a whole bunch of bullshit false claims.”

    Are they all doing so, really, you think? (I don’t think so…)

    As I am one who argues that forced psychiatric ‘treatments’ — especially, in terms of forced drugging, forced ECT, forced psychosurgery and other neuro-invasive ‘treatments’ — are truly de-humanizing procedures that function mainly as a convenience for psychiatrists and for “hospital” workers and for concerned family members of “involuntary patients”; such ‘treatments’ create, at best, “patient” subservience that may create a temporary sense of ‘peace’ in the psychiatric ‘ward’; but, such ‘treatments’ are ultimately abusive, terribly humiliating; they represent a unique form of personal defilement (ostensibly designed to help “patients”) that rivals the indignity of any form of rape and cannot, imo, ultimately be justified.

    Anyone can be far better treated by other measures — non-violent measure…

    So, I see that you say, of yourself, “I have not finalized my opinions on forced treatment,” that’s fine. But, I question your saying “I agree fully informed consent is needed” — because any forced and/or coerced ‘treatment’ puts an instant end to the possibility of informed consent.

    If you haven’t already done so, I highly recommend studying David Cohen’s great MIA blog post, of just a few days ago (October 21, 2014) “It’s the Coercion, Stupid!”



  • Great comment Alex.

    I agree with everything you say in it and particularly appreciate these powerful lines,

    “Capitalizing on misfortune, further breaking a broken spirit, domestic and social disease, high priced bureaucrats concealing truth, building an empire from all this. To me, that is what I would call ‘an extreme state,’ and it is systemic and extremely dangerous.”

    However, I feel it’s important to point out, that many folk (possibly the majority) first encountering psychiatry, are not broken spirits.

    (I myself was certainly not a broken spirit when I encountered it.)

    Many, upon first meeting up with psychiatry, are quite like the child described by MissEmpoweredByNonPsychiatry — perhaps, momentarily troubled, but in no way broken.

    Though I was legally an adult (twenty-one years old), and that did create special challenges for my family, I was quite like her son, whom she described as acting “Crazy” …suddenly throwing his first-ever public tantrum.

    Obviously, he was not a broken spirit, at that time (far from it).

    Nor was I, at age twenty-one, when I chose to take a stack of cheap plates and frisbee them, one by one, at my parents’ garage door…

    (I had never previously behaved as the ‘rebel’ in my family; only, my adopted siblings had.)

    So, yes, the system (of psychiatry) is designed to attract ‘broken spirits,’ but it is also designed to appeal to the most influential ‘leaders’ in conventionally oriented family systems, who have discovered that one of their own is seemingly ‘out-of-control’ and/or is apparently just ‘not himself’ (or, ‘not herself’) and is coming to more or less directly challenge key aspects of what have been long-held consensual ‘truths’ in that family — and thus is threatening the status quo hierarchy of relationships, in that family system.

    I was in no way a broken spirit when I encountered psychiatry, but the system (of psychiatry) that I encountered (at age 21) was clearly designed to ‘treat’ me as one; and, it was precisely that system, which you’re describing.

    It was designed to perceive my spirit as ‘broken’ (this completely mistaken view of me appealed to my family, as it ‘justified’ their view that I absolutely ‘needed’ psychiatry); moreover, the psychiatric ‘treatment’ I received was determined to break my spirit — no question about it.

    I was ‘treated’ (first, in the E.R. and in two different “hospital” settings, thereafter) in ways to break my spirit. This was perfectly clear to me, beginning with the first forced drugging (in the E.R.) that began my ‘treatment’ regimen.

    Like you, I got a lot out of reading MissEmpoweredByNonPsychiatry’s comment.

    I read it a number of times — and finally Googled her last lines (which probably should have been sandwiched in quotation marks), reminding myself that they’re from a Disney song, in movie that was once a favorite of my daughter…


    That makes MissEmpoweredByNonPsychiatry’s comment no less meaningful.



  • “There are quite a few staff who are aware of the charade of ‘mental illness’ but they choose (like i do) to stay and try to help shift things in tiny stages away from the medical paradigm. I have seen some of these shifts in my time.”


    I find those lines chilling, as I presume that thousands of psychiatric “hospital” workers, in every country, are likewise aware of that charade and, probably, most of them, likewise, aim to “shift things in tiny stages away from the medical paradigm.” But, a shift in tiny stages seems a very far cry from what’s really needed.

    These “consumers” need to hear the truth, imho.

    So, I wonder, are you completely honest and up front with the “consumers” whom you’re assigned to serve?

    For instance, have you been sharing your blog post (above) with the inmates who are being called “mentally ill” (“consumers”) in your “hospital”?

    Your blog post is very good, Tracey, so I hope you are sharing it with them…



    P.S. — I most definitely agree with commenter oldhead’s expressed view, in his comment (on September 7, 2014 at 9:40 pm) about your use of the term “consumer.” You work with “involuntary patients,” Tracey; they are “consumers” of psychiatric ‘services’ much like ducks and geese destined to become foie gras are “consumers” of corn.

  • P.S. — Still pondering how Allen Frances claims there are “half a million severely ill patients in prison for nuisance crimes,” so I just followed a link, above, to his Huffington Post blog, that’s titled “Stigmatizing and Shunning the Severely Ill.”

    It’s dated not quite three months ago.

    It begins:

    “We are civilized people in the United States. We don’t set up leper colonies or concentration camps or psychiatric snake pits to banish people with severe mental illness. Instead we send them to jail or prison — almost 400,000 of them, more than 10 times the number receiving care in hospitals. And we also blithely ignore the fact that additional hundreds of thousands live homeless on the streets or in squalid housing and have little or no access to treatment.”

    “400,000.” Huh?

    Did the the number of prisoners with “severe mental illness” in this country jump by literally 100,000 since late July?

    Again, I’m wondering: Where is Allen Frances coming up with these statistics?

  • Corinna hi,

    Basically, I agree with your post, and I’m very impressed by your chart, and I quite appreciate your emphasizing (in bold print) these following sentiments,

    “Well, the thing is, most emotional distress is not an illness. Calling it an illness is not a great way to help most people. Therein lies the difference. It’s not a civil war, it’s one view of science vs. another view of science.”

    But, why, after that (just a bit further down), do you wind up offering a couple of paragraphs from Frances and then say, “Agreed. The problem is well stated”?

    You are referring there to two paragraphs by Frances, and I think the 2nd paragraph may be stated well enough, but the 1st one is very questionable, imo.

    Let’s look for a moment, at that one paragraph.

    Says Allen France,

    “Here is the cruel paradox: Those who need help can’t get it. We have half a million severely ill patients in prison for nuisance crimes that easily could have been avoided had they received adequate treatment and housing. Sleeping on a stoop, stealing a Coke, or shouting on a street can get a person arrested. Once arrested, not being able to make bail and/or not fitting in well with jail routine leads to prolonged incarceration and, too frequently, crazy-making solitary confinement. The U.S. today is probably the worst place and worst time ever to suffer from a severe mental illness.”

    About his last sentence, in that paragraph (“The U.S. today is probably the worst place and worst time ever to suffer from a severe mental illness”), I can’t help but firmly disagree, for I believe that, in the U.S., “the worst time ever to [be viewed as suffering] from a severe mental illness” was during the era of lobotomies — the 1940’s and 50’s. (Approximately 40,000 lobotomies were ‘performed’ in this country.)

    And, of course, the worst place and time ever be perceived as suffering a “severe mental illness” was Germany, in the middle of that same era (during the WW2).

    (We all know, quite well what happened to ostensibly “severely mentally ill” people in Hitler’s Germany.)

    I know, as far as psychiatric ‘treatment’ goes, we have all kinds of horrors going on still, today, in this country; e.g., there is still a lot of coerced “brief hospitalization” (which causes far more damage that Frances is willing to admit), and their is court-ordered ‘treatment’ for “outpatients”; not for a moment do I wish to downplay the harms of such abuse.

    But, in comparison to the those other times and places (especially, WW2 Germany), most individuals who today are viewed as “suffering from a severe mental illness” actually have a rather fair shot at seeing through and escaping the worst horrors that psychiatry could offer them.

    Particularly, with today’s Internet, the average person can rather easily discover ‘alternate’ views of such sufferings — including ‘alternate’ forms of ‘treatment’.

    And, then, I can’t help but wonder about this line one: “We have half a million severely ill patients in prison for nuisance crimes that easily could have been avoided had they received adequate treatment and housing.”

    Corinna, he keeps referring to “severely ill patients,” as he’s (apparently) meaning to refer to individuals who are arguably suffering ‘psychoses’. (Personally, I’d prefer to say, rather: he’s apparently referring to extremely emotionally distressed and/or acutely confused individuals.)

    Of course, it should go without saying, there should not be prison sentencing for any individuals who have committed mere “nuisance crimes” — let alone for such individuals whose emotional and psychological sufferings may be so severe that they are genuinely quite out of touch with reality; having precipitated only committed mere “nuisance crimes,” they should be treated far more mercifully.

    But, I seriously question this statistic: “half a million severely ill patients in prison for nuisance crimes”

    Half a million???

    I would quite appreciate it if you or anyone else can help me to understand where that 1/2 million stat comes from…

    To me, it seems like it must be from NAMI and/or TAC (E Fuller Torrey) and purely false propaganda.

    It seems a total impossibility to me; but, I wonder, to what extent should we accept any number even close to that one (500,000) as truly reflecting an approximate of how many people, officially identified as “severely mentally ill,” are currently populating our (U.S.) prisons — and indeed for having committed “nuisance crimes” and nothing worse.

    Anyone who knows more about this, please, feel free to reply.



  • One more brief comment here, following up on my two preceding comments, that were in response to the comment (on October 22, 2014 at 11:09 pm) by ‘TheSystemIsBroken.’

    (There is more thought rattling around in my head, and it’s preventing me from going to sleep, so I will say this much more…)

    While my first response to ‘TheSystemIsBroken’ was to state that I agree with every single word in that October 22, 2014 at 11:09 pm comment, and my second response was to emphasize my agreement, most especially, with the second to last sentence in that comment… Now, actually, upon further consideration, that second to last sentence is somewhat problematic, I think, because there are various ways of interpreting it.

    Here it is again,

    ‘If we want to keep people who are deemed “mentally ill” out of prison, the way to do that is not to lock them up elsewhere- it’s to focus on the decriminalization of drug use and other nonviolent crimes.’

    Actually, the beginning of that sentence could seem to suggest that “we” may want to keep everyone who’s been deemed “mentally ill” out of prison.

    Certainly, that’s not what I want to do.

    That it is not what I want to do, is really what I was trying to get at in my last comment (on October 23, 2014 at 12:32 am).

    Really, I do not think anyone’s presumed “mental illness,” of any kind, should ever be considered as some kind of ‘excuse’ for committing violent crimes — nor either as an ‘excuse’ for committing non-violent crimes…

    Which brings me, at last, to this:

    That sentence ends by referring to, “focus on the decriminalization of drug use and other nonviolent crimes.”

    Actually, I am all for the decriminalization of drug use, but I am not for decriminalization of other nonviolent crimes, broadly speaking.

    Simply, I think, with few exceptions, sentencing for non-violent crimes should be dealt with in ways that do not involve prison sentences.

  • ‘If we want to keep people who are deemed “mentally ill” out of prison, the way to do that is not to lock them up elsewhere- it’s to focus on the decriminalization of drug use and other nonviolent crimes.’

    @ TheSystemIsBroken,

    I agree with your comment (on October 22, 2014 at 11:09), especially that line, which I’ve quoted and placed in italics, above.

    But there’s a problem that your comment doesn’t address — that is, many people are (for any number of reasons) deemed “mentally ill” after being convicted of a crime and sent to prison.

    The ‘mh’ system (led by psychiatrists) sets up shop in prison systems — so that, upon entering prison or shortly thereafter, each prisoner is “screened” for supposed “mental illness.”

    In fact, prisoners may be “screened” for “mental illness” numerous times, in prison — within a relatively short time after beginning to serve their sentence.

    Being supposedly “mentally ill,” they are prescribed psychiatric drugs; if they take those ‘meds’ dutifully and behave as “model prisoners,” they may be offered shorter sentences, based on an agreement to enter a ‘diversion program’ that’ll keep them seeing a psychiatrist and taking those ‘meds’ after their release.

    Technically speaking, that’s how a lot of supposedly “mentally ill” people get out of prison.

    Imho, they shouldn’t have been in prison, in the first place, if they were convicted of non-violent crimes; but, of course, some were convicted of violent crimes…

    Hence, more stats wind up created, that connect “mental illness” with violence; and, more people with a history of having committed violent crimes wind up at least partially ‘excused’ (including being excused from serving out their full sentences, in prison), based on their having been, in prison ‘discovered’ to be — supposedly — “mentally ill.”

    (Of course, the psychiatrists who run that racket should be imprisoned.)



  • Here’s my conclusion with a few added words and typos removed 🙂

    …In my most optimistically wild imaginings, I picture someday (hopefully soon) up-and-coming psychiatrists, though trained in their residency to administer court-ordered AOT (so-called “assisted outpatient treatment”), could be somehow awakened, en masse, to all the worst folly of their chosen profession — perhaps, indeed, awakened by role-models, in the form of elder psychiatrists who’d begun choosing, together, to practice psychiatry while yet renouncing all psychiatric (‘medical’) coercion…

    I realize that may be a mere dream.

  • “My point about alternative programs is that when the police are called, the person will be taken somewhere. Where do you think that should be?”

    Dr. Steingard,

    Thanks for your further reply. My answer your question is a bit meandering, but has a point or two worth considering, I think, so…

    Imho, what’s needed, first and foremost, is a signed (contractual) agreement, from each and every client who enters the ‘alternative program’; that contract would be in large print and could be read aloud to each incoming ‘client’; it could go a long way to help the people with the ‘alternative program,’ to mainly avoid calling the police, but, yes, any ‘mh’ pro (presuming s/he is licensed) is obligated to call the police if/when a client seems to be seriously threatening violence.

    (That sort of ‘due diligence’ would be expected of ‘mh’ pros providing ‘alternative programs’ as much any other ‘mh’ pros.)

    (Note: By your saying ‘alternative programs,’ I believe this indicates programs representing alternatives to psychiatry, but maybe it means more than that? Maybe it means these people running the program aren’t necessarily licensed ‘mh’ pros. Maybe they aren’t even pros. Maybe they’re volunteering ‘alternative’ services…)

    I think, ideally, any good ‘alternative-to-psychiatry’ program would, from the start, with each prospective new client, lay out and explain a standard set of ‘rules’ in a contract…

    They’d be clearly detailed parameters, describing what is unacceptable behavior for that program (and, perhaps, would articulate specific expectations of what would be considered self-responsible behavior).

    Certainly, the contract would call for non-violent, non-threatening behavior; it would also articulate the possible consequences of ones failing to live up to those expectations.

    It would explain criteria for being put out of the program — as well as, beyond that, criteria for ultimately calling the police.

    The ‘client’ is thus entering a contractual agreement — including, in particular, his/her recognition and acceptance that, the police will be called in the event of considerable acts of violence and/or any arguably serious threats of violence.

    And, since the goal of the program is to be an ‘alternative-to-psychiatry,’ one thing that would be explained to each new ‘client’ would be, that it is in all ways an alternative to psychiatry; hence, along these lines, there would be, at last, a statement to this effect: If/when we may ever have occasion to call the police to remove a client from our program, we will request that the police view the client just as they would any other citizen — just as capable of surviving time in jail, to await a fair trial — and, of course, just as deserving of his/her day in court — a real court — not a ‘mh court’ (i.e., were we ever to find ourselves needing to call the police, to remove ‘client’ from these premises, we’d do our very best to convey to the police that no ‘mh’ judge need become involved).

    Imho, the very best ‘alternatives programs’ (in terms of being alternatives to psychiatry) would necessarily require contracts of that sort, which laid out a clear sense of having deliberate plans to avoid calling upon any psychiatrist(s) who practice or encourage ‘medical’ coercion.

    Of course, I well understand, such contracts would not appeal to some folk.

    And, note: Personally, I have no use whatsoever for psychiatric drugs, but I think some individuals may have occasion to benefit from short-term use of small doses of certain psychiatric drugs; hence, I could easily picture a psychiatrist who renounces and denounces any and all ‘medical’ coercion being considered, by some ‘alternative programs,’ an allied provider of services.

    Finally, about your parenthetical conclusion, I have heard of ‘talk’ therapists who’ve chosen to never retire; staying vital by enjoying their work, they lived long lives and went on practicing their almost to the day they drew their very last breath.

    If you’re feeling old, maybe it’s what your job is doing to you; perhaps, you could think of retiring from psychiatry yet start a new career, along those lines, as you’ve expressed enthusiasm for the Open Dialogue program.

    And, don’t forget Loren Mosher M.D.,

    “…the therapeutic relationship which is the single most important thing. And if you have been a cop, you know, that is, some kind of a social controller and using force, then it becomes nearly impossible to change roles into the role — the traditional role of the physician as healer advocate for his or her patient. And so I think that that — we should stay out of the job of being police. That’s why we have police. So they can do that job, and it’s not our job. Now, if because of some altered state of consciousness, somebody is about to do themselves grievous harm or someone else grievous harm, well then, I would stop them in whatever way I needed to. I would probably prefer to do it with the police, but if it came to it, I guess I would do it. In my career I have never committed anyone. It just is — I make it my business to form the kind of relationship that the person will — that we can establish a ongoing treatment plan that is acceptable to both of us. And that may you avoid getting into the fight around whatever. And, you know, our job is to be healers, not fighters.”


    Or, maybe go in the direction of personal (life) coaching, as did the retired psychiatrist, Nelson Borelli, M.D.,

    “I have never treated anyone against his/her will, let alone initiate or pursue any civil commitment procedures. When people ask me how I can treat mentally ill patients if am so critical about the mental illness concept, I tell them I do not treat mental illnesses but I treat people who come to me with complaints often attributed to “mental illnesses”. Persons who request and contract with me for my psychiatric service, are, by sociopolitical convention, “mentally well” persons.

    The bulk of the time I spend with patients is pointing at their tendency to try to convince me they are mentally ill, at least partially. In more conventional terms, my service consists in pointing at “defenses”, or in popular terminology, “cop outs”. Many consulters, particularly the public aid recipients, quickly fire me and go to a psychiatrist who “believes in mental illness.””


    Of course, you can’t go back in time and undo the ‘medical’ coercion you’ve practiced, but it would be great, I think, if — before retiring from psychiatry — you could see your way clear to officially renouncing ‘medical’ coercion…

    You could then stand up, in defense of anyone in your care who wishes to be free from their current ‘medical’ slavery.

    (Much as I doubt you’ll do that, I hold out hope, you could.)

    In my most optimistically wild imaginings, I picture someday (hopefully soon) up-and-coming psychiatrists, though trained in their residency to administer court-ordered AOT (so-called “assisted outpatient treatment”), could be awakened, en masse, to the folly of their chosen professional, by role-models, in the form of elder psychiatrist who’d begin choosing, together, to renounce ‘medical’ coercion…

    I realize that may be a mere dream.



  • Dr. Steingard,

    Thank you for your response. You explain,

    “I think any one who offers services but who limits those services to certain people or who asks people to leave or who ever calls the police because a person can not conform his/her behavior to the requirements of that program, is participating in coercion. At the panel on alternative approaches, virtually everyone admitted to doing this at some point.”

    To hopefully clarify the nature of what we’re discussing, here I’ll offer you just a couple more questions, regarding that passage, of your comment reply.

    First Q: Do you really believe that “any one who offers services but who limits those services to certain people or who asks people to leave […] is participating in coercion”?

    (Honestly, that does not describe coercion in my view. No. Not at all. On the contrary, that describes a totally common practice, in of many kinds of service oriented businesses. It describes someone being discerning when it comes to deciding whom s/he will or will not choose to serve. There is no implication of coercion there, whatsoever — not at all, in my view. Really, emphatically, I must say, that’s not coercion.)

    (And, to me, it seems quite perfectly understandable, that “At the panel on alternative approaches, virtually everyone admitted to doing this at some point” — if “this” refers to “[limiting] services to certain people” or sometimes “[asking] people to leave.”)

    Second Q: As you are saying “who ever calls the police because a person can not conform his/her behavior to the requirements of that program, is participating in coercion,” I say yes, true, absolutely, that is coercion; however, shouldn’t we presume that, “At the panel on alternative approaches, virtually everyone admitted to doing this at some point” in response to certain perceived ‘imminent threats’ of serious violence from that person?

    When providing ‘mental health services,’ one must (by law) report serious threats of violence to the police; and, indeed, people who work in the ‘mh’ field (even those who practice ‘alternative approaches’ to ‘mh’ issues) may, as some point, wind up needing to call for police help, for a client may be truly threatening to cause considerable harm. (In the course of the careers, of most ‘mh’ workers offering ‘alternative approaches,’ I imagine that happens only very infrequently — if at all — because most of those folk are not in so-called “hospital” settings.)

    In any case, yes, calling the police is introducing coercion; but, it is not at all necessary introducing ‘medical’ coercion.

    I believe we should stick to the topic, at hand — that is, imho, the pseudo-scientific claims of psychiatry (including the sham that is its medical model) and the intrinsically immoral nature of medical-coercive psychiatry.

    For countless reasons (including but not limited to the fact that psychiatry’s medical model is a sham), I believe psychiatric ‘medical treatment’ (i.e., psychotropic drugs, ECT, psychosurgery) should never be administered through coercion or force.

    You speak of psychiatry’s medical model, explaining, in your comment reply “For many years, I accepted the constructs of mental illness and within that construct, the imposition of force makes some sense – one is “treating” the individual.” Then, after a bit of insistence that you “never took lightly what was clearly an enormous responsibility and authority given to me at a very young age,” you continue “As I increasingly reject this model, the authority is harder to hold so you ask why am I still here? Fair question and for now, I am taking the utterly hubristic notion that if not me, it would be someone one else.”


    Frankly, Dr. Steingard, that doesn’t strike me as a highly principled stance (at all).

    That’s a horrible reason, imho; really, it seems to me (from what you’re saying), you’re working ways that advance ‘treatment’ procedures including ‘medical’ regimens that must totally contradict what you’ve come to believe would, ideally, be ‘best practices’ in your profession.

    Or, maybe I’m somehow just totally misinterpreting your response?


    Hopefully, you can realize how your reply is not offering even the least ‘rational’ sense of why you continue to practice medical-coercive psychiatry; at the point that you state “why am I still here? Fair question and for now, I am taking the utterly hubristic notion that if not me, it would be someone one else,” you are basically admitting you have no good reason to continue such work. You could let someone else do it.

    The truly feeble nature of your defense of your own coercive practices of ‘medicine’ (at least, if I understand what you’re saying) just doesn’t compute; I mean, it seems totally at odds with your own stated sense of thoughtfully plying your trade; ethically, it is no defense whatsoever; in fact, it seems a very cynical attitude.

    Maybe some readers will feel I’m being too hard on you.

    You may or may not choose to reply to my comment, but I hope you will do so if I have somehow misinterpreted your words.

    Whether or not you do, I continue to hold out some hope, you’ll come up with a way (sooner rather than later) to completely end your participation in coercive ‘medical’ practices…



  • Sandra Steingard, M.D.,

    You say in your comment to David (on October 21, 2014 at 7:38 pm), “I have acknowledged that I am a practicing psychiatrist who at times participates in the process of coercing people into hospital settings, I would gladly give up this power.”

    A number of questions came mind, as soon as I read what you’re saying there.

    First Q: Besides being a practicing psychiatrist who at times participates in the process of coercing people into ‘hospital’ settings, are you not moreover a practicing psychiatrist who at times participates in the process of coercing people into accepting ‘treatment’ in the form of psychotropic drugs (e.g., neuroleptics)?

    Second Q: Is it even possible to be a practicing psychiatrist who at times participates in the process of coercing people into ‘hospital’ settings without also being, simultaneously, a psychiatrist who participates in the process of coercing people into accepting ‘treatment’ in the form of psychotropic drugs?

    Third Q: With respect to your saying that you are “a practicing psychiatrist who at times participates in the process of coercing people into hospital settings,” what do you mean, as you go on, to say you “would gladly give up this power”?

    (I may be wrong, but it seems to me, as I read that line, there’s something missing. I mean, it seems you could be a lot more clear in what you’re saying here, were you to explain briefly why you won’t give give up that power. I mean, it seems to me you’re suggesting that something is holding you up, keeping you from doing what you say you “would gladly” do.)

    Fourth Q: Frankly, I wonder, why don’t you do what you say you would gladly do, by honestly declaring “I am now giving up this power!”?

    And, about your asking David, “If psychiatry were no longer the instrument of coercion in the setting it serves now, what do you suggest as the replacement?”

    Of course, David can speak for himself in answering that question, but here I am taking a quick crack at it (I hope you don’t mind):

    Psychiatry ‘serves’ a number of settings (i.e., psychiatrists practice psychiatry not only in so-called “hospital” settings); if psychiatry were no longer an instrument of coercion in any of those settings, there would (I believe) be a considerable increased demand for various kinds of ‘counselors’.

    I think that, almost inevitably, a lot of those ‘counselors’ would be designated as ‘mental health’ specialists; however, I’d hope that quite a few of them would not be designated as such, because, personally, I am quite skeptical of ‘mh’ pros of virtually every kind, including ‘mh’ counselors — as they tend, in a pinch, to become subservient to the practice and/or views of psychiatrists.

    So, if there came an end to medical-coercive psychiatry, I presume there’d be a considerably increased demand for counselors; hopefully there could be many counselors whose specialty would be defined not in terms of “mental health” — but along the lines of ‘problem solving specialists’ (they’d be trained to help clients solve ‘problems in living’) or else ‘solution finding specialists’ (to help clients find creative ways of moving forward, in life).

    Some could be social workers.

    Also, if there came an end to medical-coercive psychiatry, I believe there’d still be psychiatrists — only they would not be allowed to impose their ‘treatments’ on anyone.

    So, in fact, I think there could be an increased demand for psychiatrists; over time, there could be increased demand for truly understanding psychiatrists, who’d be far more effective in addressing problems of living, that some clients wish to frame as ‘mh’ issues and some clients would view as requiring help that only a licensed physician could offer; i.e., psychiatry could possibly become a fairly respect worthy profession, if psychiatrists could not resort to coercion, could not impose their ‘treatments’ on anyone.

    At least, that’s what I speculate…



  • David,

    Thanks for your reply. About “Ultimate Truth”: I strive to avoid latching on to reductionist explanations, in complex matters, yet I do believe there is usually one key factor (or maybe two or three combined) that quite well explains the existence of a society’s ugliest and seemingly most intractable problems, and I believe such factors tend to vary little, from one major problem to the next.

    For example (one such problem now on my mind, as it was raised by MIA blogger Jonathan Keyes, in comments under MIA blogger Richard D. Lewis’s most recent blog post):

    There are “…350,000 people with mental illness in prisons and about 35,000 in hospitals” in the United States. (Or else, as a recent article, on the website, recently declared, “There Are 10 Times More Mentally Ill People Behind Bars Than in State Hospitals.”)

    How we choose to frame our problems can be the main problem, and often it is; for some frames, though they present real facts, do little more than promote dangerous myths – such as the myth (or myths) of ‘mental illness.’

    I believe there is typically a key factor (or set of factors), the exposure of which, can virtually explode the various myth(s) of “mental illness” that convince folk, that those ‘problems in living’ (as Szasz described) are what the typically assigned ‘authorities’ on such matters say they are…

    Such key factors are what I call the Ultimate Truths, usually having to do with more or less unspoken greed and/or avarice, representing mainly unspoken power struggles, that most of the top players involved are all but agreeing outright, amongst themselves, to brush under the carpet.

    Interpersonal battles will be waged, sometimes to the death – but quietly – usually at the expense of sacrificing innocent lives… as those players strive to become Kings or Queens of their hill; interpersonal battles… politely expressed… and all the while, the lives of innocents are at stake.

    The Kings, Queens (and would be Kings and Queens) smile and say “Hey…,” as their discussions become increasingly circular — eventually trailing off altogether. (They move on to matters more personally satisfying.) It happens continually in family systems — and in whole societies…

    Those Kings and Queens, in Psychiatry, are Emperors and Empresses with no clothes – as are those who hope to replace them…

    Few common folk will ever choose to call their views naked lies, lest they’d wind up inciting a rebellion of otherwise ‘compliant’ identified “patients” of psychiatry. To speak up could also get them deemed “crazy Scientologists” (or else, just plain “crazy”).

    [Note: I am not a Scientologist, nor will I ever be one.]

    Hence, most folk wind up turning a blind eye to this fact, that biopsychiatry, which is based on pseudo science, is an increasingly influential force in our justice system; most folk could hardly care less.

    Indeed, some become champions of that psuedo science, while forever aiming to pass themselves off as devotees of real science — in that realm of biopsychiatry… because, whether or not they fully realize it, they are clinging to and disseminating heaps of B.S. — claiming to promote “mental health” — not so much to help others — but to help themselves… primarily to maintain and gain rank in their existing social circles.

    For some folk, these MIA discussions are mainly political exercises – personal politics – these circular discussions… (Here I am speaking of those who maintain that maintaining some level of ‘medical’ coercion is absolutely necessary.)

    In fact, all that the majority of psychiatrists are doing (whether or not they’ll ever completely realize it) is pretending to be scientific while sharing, amongst themselves, a common desire to control the seemingly out-of-control ‘Other’ (and, though they won’t discuss this, they’re typically fearing nothing and no one more than the ‘Other’ who’s seemingly threatening to take over their own families and maybe even their own minds).

    “TUT” (‘The Ultimate Truth’). I recommend announcing (and celebrating) its exposure, as such, whenever and wherever it is exposed — because it is just too seldom exposed…

    So, though you say you have no access to any Ultimate Truth, but you do (I say), and I encourage you, say “tut-tut” the next time you hear someone aiming to defend psychiatric psuedo science and the coercive policies that it serves.

    That the coercion depends on the pseudoscience and vice versa is The Ultimate Truth, of Psychiatry and it is exposed by your blog post (above).

    Oh, and I have (moments before beginning this comment) finished reading your previous MIA blog post (“ADHD in France and America”). It is quite good, informative; it, too, reads very well (as though a good dialogue or interview). Really, it exposes the pseudo science of Psychiatry very well — and, in particular, the extreme pseudo science of American (APA-approved)Psychiatry.

    I’ll recommend it to anyone who is interested in a cross-cultural view of how child psychiatry is being practiced.

    (While drug ‘treatment’ of “ADHD” is its focus, much of what you’re saying there applies to other childhood ‘diagnoses’ in psychiatry as well – most especially to the ‘diagnosis’ of so-called “childhood bipolar disorder.”)

    (Note: I’d also recommend, to anyone who reads that blog post, read the brief comment discussion below that post. It is interesting. The commenter Tyler expresses what I feel are very genuine and meaningful concerns.)

    Yes, I will email you (if I can just figure out that email address you’re offering 🙂

    (This probably would have been an email had I not been somewhat confused by the email address you posted.)

    Thanks again for the comment reply… and for the invitation to email.



    P.S. – At first, I hesitated to post this comment, feeling some might disapprove of it, in ways. Then, I remembered that their disapproval would not be my problem. 🙂

    (I think to myself: ‘Let them disapprove! Let them even say “tut-tut” if they wish…’)

  • David,

    Wow (and wow again). Really… wow (three times).

    Somehow, you have just managed to articulate in this blog post of yours (above) the Ultimate Truth, about Psychiatry!

    And, you did it with fewer than 1,000 words — so clearly spoken…

    This blog post of yours is a definite keeper — (wow, again, truly); it’s one to share with anyone who can read English and has at least half a mind to know the ultimate Truth about Psychiatry… because it is so clearly stated.

    I will be sure to do my best, to spread this blog post of yours far and wide — and, in particular, will pass it along (at least, casually) to those ‘mh’ pros, communicating online, who, I notice — despite their claims of being ‘critical’ of psychiatry — continue to defend some supposedly ‘limited’ practice of psychiatric coercion and/or support, in particular, the some supposedly ‘limited’ use, of the direct assaults with drugs (’emergency forced drugging’) that’s sanctioned in every psychiatric “hospital” and in hospital E.R.s (‘Emergency Rooms’) everywhere.

    (I considered myself a critic of psychiatry prior to my actually meeting up with medical-coercive psychiatry, at age twenty-one; but, it was such an assault, as that — and a few more subsequent, similar assaults, in the course of two years’ time — that led me to really understand the nature of the Beast that is medical-coercive Psychiatry.

    (Sometimes, I wonder if anyone can really understand the nature of that Beast without having been clobbered by it — or without having had a beloved friend or relative quite blatantly clobbered and destroyed by it.)

    I sort of wonder how you came to your understanding of the nature of medical-coercive psychiatry; I think you may be somewhat new to MIA? But, your bio indicates you’ve been on this path for quite a while. (After reading your post, just moments ago, I clicked on your name, read your brief bio and discovered that you have posted one blog previously.Your bio is intriguing, and I’m now eager to go and read your previous post — indeed, will do so immediately after posting this comment.)

    Well, maybe I’ve heard mention of your name previously (I’m not sure), but I have not, prior to now, noticed your presence here, on this website…; so, welcome!

    Thanks for posting! …and thus putting the Ultimate Truth of Psychiatry it into such a clear-spoken message! Keep up the great work!



  • P.P.S — If such a person was given the option and did choose to receive counseling, I would hope that the counselor could have the good sense to explain to that person (in case #2) something to this effect:

    “Just because someone tells someone to go jump off a cliff, doesn’t mean that person should go jump off a cliff. (We all know this, right?! It’s what our mothers taught us, when we were just kids… Well…) Along those same lines, if a ‘command hallucination’ tells you to break into someone’s home and steal a Bible, that doesn’t mean you should go ahead and do it. (I guess you understand that now.)”

  • P.S. — About my recommending non-medical counseling, in my comment, above, please, understand, I would not want any sort of counseling to be forced on anyone, here I am actually suggesting a possible option that’s offered the defense counsel — as opposed to automatically ordering a convicted ‘criminal’ to do prison time; it’s an option, as a way to essentially reduce the severity of sentencing…

  • Jonathan Keyes offers two hypothetical situations (on October 20, 2014 at 4:54 pm); I know he’s offering them to another commenter, but, oh well; I can’t resist offering the following response…

    Hypothetical Situation #1

    “A man is in his home going through some delusions that his parents are aliens and they need to be killed. He actively starts hitting and attacking them. Police would likely be called…but where should he go? Does he deserve to be tried in front of a court and put in prison for this episode?”

    To answer Jonathan’s first question, above, I must say…

    Actually, there could be no way of knowing for certain whether (or to what extent) such a hypothetical man truly believed that his parents were aliens — as opposed to this possibility, that he was just claiming to believe that his parents were aliens.

    Likewise (and, possibly, more to the point), there’s no way of knowing, to what extent such a man had truly believed they ‘needed to be killed.’

    A man could have just been claiming to have believed such nonsense, because he had surrendered to a passionate urge to attack his parents, and now has been arrested, and he knows (just like most people who have access to mainstream media news and the Internet know) there have been past cases wherein individuals (and their defense lawyers) have entered an ‘insanity’ plea, claiming that the defendant had come to believe that certain other individuals (those whom they attacked) were ‘space-invaders’ (“aliens”) who ‘needed to be killed.’

    Haven’t most folk heard of such stories, by now? Yes…

    But, putting that aside (indeed, putting aside the question of what he actually believed), dealing with what would be the verifiable facts of his case (not speculations about what supposed delusions he supposedly believed that supposedly led him to commit such a crime), just addressing the hypothetically verifiable facts, I say: Most definitely, that man should go to jail — to await a fair trial.

    Furthermore (because it’s remotely possible that such a man could be as totally confused as he claims to be), for his own protection, he should — and almost certainly would — be kept in his own cell and completely separate from the general population, of prisoners, at all times.

    Jonathan asks, “Does he deserve to be tried in front of a court and put in prison for this episode?”

    Absolutely, he deserves to be tried in front of a court (a real criminal court, not some kangaroo “mental health” court).

    Whether or not he should be put in prison should be left up to the judge, at the time of sentencing.

    If a man such as that pleads ‘insanity,’ then he will not get off any easier; even and especially if he winds up being deemed “not guilty by reason of insanity,” he’ll be totally screwed by the so-called “mental health” system.

    Hypothetical Situation #2

    “…someone is on the street with command hallucinations telling him to break into a house and find a Bible? What should happen if they do that? Prison for breaking and entering?”

    Again, I must say, there’s no way of knowing for certain whether (or to what extent) that person has actually been motivated by ‘hallucinations’ to commit such a crime. There may or may not have been what you (Jonathan) call “command hallucinations” telling that person to commit that crime. But, even if there were such “command hallucinations” being created, in that person’s mind, why should that matter?

    Did that person not know that s/he was committing a crime? Breaking and entering is a crime that most people well understand is a crime; if they commit that crime, they should be ready and willing to be arrested and face a judge (and, ideally, a jury) at a fair trial (i.e., not some in some ‘mh court’ judge, in a ‘trial’ orchestrated by the whims of psychiatrists).

    In response to Jonathan’s question, “Prison for breaking and entering?”

    This hypothetical (case #2) is a non-violent offense and arguably a petty offense (that is, if the only damage done was the theft of a Bible). I am all for mercifully sentencing people who commit such crimes.

    Though I would be much more willing to see that person briefly jailed, awaiting a swift trail, than I would be willing to see that person forcibly “hospitalized,” no way would I wish to see that person sentenced in a way that led to being imprisoned.

    (It’s really a very, very, very different sort of case than case #1.)

    If s/he literally had done nothing but enter someone’s home illegally and take a Bible, and I was aware that a coming verdict in the case could be somewhat harsh, I’d be (and, I presume others would be) quite adamant in calling for mercy…

    Certainly, no prison — maybe parole, including, perhaps, some mandatory non-medical counseling.

  • P.S. — @ gardenlisa,

    If you are interested in finding a personal coach for your son, were I you, I’d Google these four words: “William Glasser Choice Theory”

    (Note: Dr. Glasser was a psychiatrist who developed a clear method of helping people, that effectively teaches self-responsibility, the importance of making healthy choices; he was not into prescribing drugs, nor was he into “hospitalizing” people.)

  • “I know many of you won’t like what I have to say, but…”


    From what you’re saying, it seems maybe you’re worried about being judged here, but it’s hard for me to imagine that anyone could read your comments, by this point, and come to judge you.

    Anyone who reads all your comments fully should realize, you’re doing the best that you know how to do, and you’re learning as you go along.

    (Of course, I’m only one person, speaking only for himself; others may feel differently.)

    (I suppose someone could possibly judge you, upon read your comments, because this is the Internet, after all; there’s always the possibility of being judged here, even over the smallest of matters.)


    I hope you don’t mind me saying, I think, from what you’re describing, that it’s most important that your son be viewed as someone who can become fully self-responsible, in time — and (moreover) happy.

    I know what I’m saying could seem presumptuous, I could seem as though someone lacking enough understanding, to offer suggestions; but, were I you, I’d think of this time, currently, as your son’s low point, in life.

    He has hit ‘rock-bottom’ (from all you’re describing).

    I would do everything possible to begin developing complete faith that he will get better and better, from this point forward — if only gradually (beginning now).

    This may seem like wishful thinking, but it needn’t be that; you can develop a plan, which helps to make it so…

    I would develop a plan and assure myself that any set-backs will only be temporary.

    Essential to that plan, is that, beginning now, I would envision my son becoming a fully self-responsible man; toward that end, I’d become absolutely determined to methodically encourage my son to become more self-responsible.

    I would do that by offering him healthy choices.

    In one of your comments (I believe it may have been on a different MIA comment thread) you mentioned mild autism.

    Possibly, that indicates his troubles began in his gut (i.e., sensitivities in his digestive tract).

    And, here (in your comment above), you say “He would often stand in front of the refrigerator, with the door open for an hour or more, tapping something over and over.”

    Perhaps, he was doing what we all do, as we’re trying to find something satisfying to eat? …only, he may be somewhat more perplexed than most people are when they stand there.

    He has to learn how to eat in a way that is right for him.

    That takes time — and initiative.

    In my humble opinion, he has to learn that others have raised themselves up from roughly where he is in his life, now.

    He needs to realize, happiness is possible.

    He’ll need to well consider and make healthy choices… that can effectively take care of himself physically and take care the environment in which he’s living… because his environment is mirroring his life condition.

    The more he can take responsibility for the condition of his environment (of course, at first, he may need help caring for it), and the more he can learn to make healthy choices, eating and caring for his own physical hygiene (even if/when those positive changes come gradually), the more you’ll see improvements in his life condition overall, his ability to experience happiness.

    And, he may need help from an understanding personal coach, to get him moving in those directions.

    In any even, he must be offered choices.

    Everything you’ve said has indicated that, all along, you’ve been doing the best that you know how to do for your son.

    I fully trust you’ll continue doing so.



  • “I would not want my sons to be living together if one was psychotic.”

    Rossa hi,

    With all due respect, I can’t help but wonder: Why are you using the “psychotic” label to describe commenter gardenlisa’s son?

    I have (earlier today) read all of gardenlisa’s comments (i.e., all that she’s posted on this website); and, like you yourself describe, I too have been following the comment discussion that’s been generated by gardenlisa’s comments here on this page.

    Also, I agree with you as you indicate that markps2’s suggestion is correct: from all gardenlisa describes (not only in this MIA comment thread but also in previous MIA comment threads), there may be some considerable potential for violence erupting, between the two of gardenlisa’s sons who are now living together, as long as those sons continue to live together with no clear resolution of their differences.

    (Please, note prominently: As I speak of their differences, I am refusing to presume that all the problems between them are derived from just one of them; though, yes her family is now apparently most troubled by their most seemingly troublesome one-time identified “patient” — who is notably, as well, from gardenlisa’s description, a victim of psychiatric abuse.)

    Actually, I deeply respect gardenlisa, for she is very sincerely striving to resist initiating another psychiatric “hospitalization” for her son.

    That continuing resistance of hers is very good for one and all, imho.

    Moreover, it’s very good, I think, that none of her comments ever refer to “psychosis” (she literally never refers to “psychosis” nor calls anyone “psychotic” — at least, not thus far — in any of her MIA commenting).

    I don’t know what her thinking is, regarding that label, but I view it as worse than needless, as it is (imo) inevitably personally damaging.

    I am very glad that markps2 completely opposes forced drugging, but I do not agree with him as he claims, “If you are reasonable you would see the need for forced hospitalization.” (Note: he was not referring to gardenlisa’s son, at that point; she had not yet posted her first comment on this page.)

    It’s my conviction, that no one should ever be “hospitalized” (and, certainly not against his/her own will) for emotional, psychological and/or behavioral issues — nor either for any kind of relationship difficulties, whether in and amongst family systems or elsewhere.

    Clearly, from what she says in her comments, gardenlisa’s son who was formerly accepting his role as psychiatric “patient” is now rejecting it. To reject that role should be his right, no matter what…

    It’s a very smart move, on his part, that he is rejecting it (as I believe he is rejecting it, based on my readings of his mom’s MIA comments) and is rejecting “hospitalization”.

    No less, I think he should refuse to allow himself to buy into psychiatry’s labels — including that “psychotic” label, which you’ve now casually placed upon him.

    I know you mean well, but many people claim to have been “psychotic” — and describe having gotten over the sufferings that that label implied (and, furthermore, others may accept they are over those sufferings); but, somehow the “psychotic” label continues to haunt them.

    After all, many folk will never accept as ‘fully recovered’ any friend or relative who was ever once officially deemed “psychotic”; and, so, I think that any and all seeming validation, claimed verification and acceptance of that label should be avoided.

    Let’s leave ‘hospitals’ for actual medical issues and let’s find language that’s not pathologizing, to describe our human experiences.

    Even when encountering individuals who want to be called “psychotic” (some folk who I otherwise respect seem to enjoy claiming that label, as a fairly descriptive reflection of their own experiences), I will not accede to join them; I will not refer to them nor to their experiences in that way…

    (Always I keep the terms “psychotic” and “psychosis” sandwiched in quotation marked or inverted commas.)

    Likewise, while some claim to have had positive experiences, in psychiatric “hospitals” (especially amongst those few who experienced no psychiatric coercion), I know far more people claim to have had negative experiences in them — including, of course, countless “patients” who’ve been “involuntarily committed”.

    And, I can’t help but question the various accounts I hear of supposedly “positive” psychiatric “hospital” experiences…

    (Note: I believe that many who’ve been involuntarily and coercively ‘treated’ by psychiatry claim to have had positive experiences in psychiatric “hospitals” mainly to avoid ‘medical’ persecution by their doctors, family and/or ‘friends’ — or else, are simply suffering from Stockholm syndrome, which is a very real and serious psychological problem, that is often caused by medical-coercive psychiatry.)

    I believe such “hospitals” (and, in particular, “involuntary hospitalizations”) cannot reasonably be expected to teach any “patient” either how to better understand themselves or how to relate better to others.

    Nor either does the classic psychiatric “hospital” designation of “psychotic” teach anyone anything…

    Please, forgive me for having gone on and on more than I probably should (perhaps, I am beating a dead horse); I guess this is an extension of my earlier entreaties, to you (of more than a year ago), to consider the many potentially negative consequences of your referring to your son with use of the term “schizophrenia”.

    But, I realize you are doing your best and am truly wishing you and yours well, always…



  • Richard,

    I agree entirely with your last comment (on October 19, 2014 at 3:34 pm).

    You are quite right as you say, at last, to Jonathan Keyes: “Your stand lacks moral consistency.”

    I would just add, that, while it seems to me Jonathan has many good intentions, Jonathan’s ‘stand’ (such as you are referring to his stand against any and all police involvement in the “hospital” where he works), is, above all else, self-serving; and/or, it is a stand taken more on behalf of his fellow psychiatric “hospital” workers, than it is a stand taken on behalf of the psychiatric “patients” he is claiming to serve, by taking that stand.

    I presume a majority of psychiatric “hospital” workers love to think of their workplace as their own domain, that’s immune from police interventions…

    After all, no police interventions means less oversight of “hospital” workers themselves.

    Jonathan explains, “Any survivor story here strikes me as a blatant abuse of power. I am against any blatant abuse of power.”

    But, even when there is not blatant abuse of power, there is a lot of subtle abuse of power in psychiatric “hospital” settings.

    Much of that abuse provokes seeming threats of violence, from “patients” who are involuntarily “hospitalized”.

    Few psychiatric “hospital” workers will openly call for authoritative oversight, of such.

    Well-trained police could mediate such conflicts — and, as they would be trained to listen carefully to one and all (including the “patient” who supposedly is creating a scene), they could even be authorized to make arrests against abusive “hospital” workers, who may, in fact, be responsible for inciting violence.

    In various comments to Jonathan, over the past more than a year since he first began posting here at MIA, I have mentioned the following study (he has never replied to my doing so),

    “Some very interesting information has come to light following a study which has been conducted and published by Dr. Chris Papadopoulos…”

    “The study, a brainchild of Professor Len Bowers who leads a research programme into conflict and containment within acute psychiatric wards at the Institute of Psychiatry (Kings College London), suggests that it is the ward staff, and not the patients, who play the key role in influencing how much conflict and containment occur on psychiatric wards.

    “Conflict events include violence, verbal abuse, rule breaking, use of alcohol or illegal drugs, self-harm, medication refusal and absconding by patients. Containment events are what staff do to deal with the conflict event, such as giving medication, secluding a patient, or manually restraining them…”


    Consider the possibility of well-trained police being called to ‘containment events’ wherein a “patient” was claiming to have been provoked by some “hospital” worker(s).

    Very few “hospital” workers would ever choose to call for police, in such instances; and, I do not doubt that the majority of ‘containment events’ in psychiatric “hospitals” are provoked by “hospital” workers…

    Whether or not Jonathan would ever admit it, I believe that is why Jonathan does not say, at last, that he’d quite happily lobby to have specially trained/unarmed police intervene, when “hospital” workers make claims of serious threats coming from “patients”.

    Most psychiatric “hospital” workers surely appreciate the power that’s given them, to quell all seeming threats by way of forced drugging.


    Jonathan exclaims (on October 19, 2014 at 11:41 am), “‘I will fight you or any others who try to suggest that hospitals should now have police involvement in matters of violence.”

    To me, that ‘stand’ of his is morally indefensible but quite understandable.



  • Additionally, in reference to my last comment, above (on October 19, 2014 at 2:20 pm):

    Beyond their being afforded what should be considered an inalienable human right to refuse neuro-invasive procedures, individuals who are quite seriously threatening to commit violence against others (and who are, thus, rightfully detained by police), when seeming especially confused and/or troubled emotionally (perhaps, suffering significant cognitive impairment) should, of course, be segregated from the general population of the jail (or the prison) to which they are delivered.

    And, they should be offered special counseling there.

    But, they should be afforded the right to refuse any counseling that they wish to refuse; and, most certainly, they should be afforded the right to refuse psychiatry.

  • All forced neuro-invasive procedures should be abolished.

    After that point at which anyone becomes perfectly convinced (such as I am perfectly convinced) that any and all forced neuro-invasive procedures are a violation of ones humanity, one may, of course, ask oneself: How can any modern society (and/or any family) best address the seemingly very real threats of violence that may be posed by a potentially deeply emotionally troubled (and, perhaps, also severely cognitively impaired) individual member of that society (and/or family)?

    Typically, such individuals are perceived as suffering a ‘mental disorder.’ Very unfortunately, now more than ever, societies everywhere surrender themselves to the whims of Psychiatry; that leads countless seemingly troubled individuals (including, sadly, millions of young folk) to receiving “diagnoses” of supposed “serious mental illness.”

    Once those “diagnoses” are given, psychiatrists take over.

    At that point, those supposedly “mentally ill” individuals are given no true recourse to justice.

    Fortunately, there are at least a few wise leaders in the world, who hold positions of authority, who are in a position to see through that travesty.

    Please see, for example, the “Statement by Mr. Juan E Mendez Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment” (March 4, 2013):

    “Under the European Convention on Human Rights, mental disorder must be of a certain severity in order to justify detention. I believe that the severity of the [supposed] mental illness cannot justify detention nor can it be justified by a motivation to protect the safety of the person or of others. Furthermore, deprivation of liberty that is based on the grounds of a disability and that inflicts severe pain or suffering falls under the scope of the Convention against Torture.”

    In my humble opinion, only the severity of ones crime and/or the verifiable proof of an intent to commit that crime can justify ones detention.

    No claims of “mental disorder” or “mental illness” should dissuade a society from allowing the police to detain individuals who prove to be seriously threatening.

    But, I do believe that there should be police who are specially trained in detaining individuals who are seemingly especially confused and/or emotional and are, perhaps, being called by some folk “mentally disordered” or “mentally ill.”

  • @ Richard D. Lewis and Jonathan Keyes and all others who are participants in this convo,

    In Jonathan’s most recent comment (on October 19, 2014 at 11:41 am), he states,

    ‘I will fight you or any others who try to suggest that hospitals should now have police involvement in matters of violence.’

    The comment to which Jonathan is replying (Richard’s comment on October 19, 2014 at 12:16 am), contains Richard’s adamant conveyance of what is, in my opinion, a perfectly reasonable view, that the police should, of course, be allowed to address extreme threats of violence within psychiatric “hospital” settings and elsewhere.

    Richard wrote,

    ‘Jonathan, as much as I dislike the police, I am forced to call them when I am robbed or assaulted. I avoid them at all costs and barely tolerate them when I have to deal with them.

    A person labeled as “mentally ill” needs to learn how to negotiate the world when they are not forced inside the psych wards; this is an important matter of present day survival. And that means learning how to avoid the police, and learning how to deal with them when confronted by them. If they are breaking the law they need to know that they will have to contend with the police.’

    I agree with that sentiment of Richard’s (except, were it my comment, I’d wish to be clear that some forms of ‘law-breaking’ behavior are quite justifiable).

    Indeed, I deeply appreciate Richard’s blog post and his subsequent comments — especially, that most recent comment to Jonathan Keyes.

    I most completely agree with Richard, as he conveys his sense of consternation, in realizing that Jonathan aims, essentially, to make psychiatric “hospitals” into police-free zones… because I do not believe that anyone should be considered ‘above the law’ — not “patients” nor “hospital” workers.

    (Also, I should add: I believe there can be police who are specially trained to address “hospital” incidents.)

    But, to clarify my own position, here I am taking the liberty of repeating myself verbatim (by providing the most essential excerpts of my first comment above) because I wish to avoid the pitfalls of engaging in a ‘force versus no-force’ argument (even and especially to Richard, who has suggested that Jonathan’s argumentation has included evasiveness — such as a “straw man” — I suggest we stay on point):

    Force may indeed sometimes be needed, to defend individuals (or, perhaps, to defend a number of individuals) who may be vulnerable to a particular person who proves to be threatening.

    But, what kind of force?

    I completely object to force that is designed to be in any way brain-disabling.

    Hence, of course, I object to forced use of neuroleptic drugs (so-called “antipsychotic medication”) and forced use of any other kind of psychotropic drug… and forced use of ECT… and use of tasers.

    In my opinion, there are always better ways of containing people who seem threatening.

    Behavioral interventions should never come by way of forced neuro-invasive procedures…

    Simple as that.



  • P.S. — @ boans,

    I only saw your last comment, after posting my last comment; so, here I will comment just this much further:

    The ‘trap’ that you’re describing exists, of course, not only in your country — but, more or less, wherever psychiatric “hospitals” exist — and wherever, nowadays, court-ordered so-called “outpatient treatment” exists.

    In fact, that trap you’re describing is the very essence of medical-coercive psychiatry, everywhere….

  • @ boans,

    Though I’ve never been to your country, and I can’t reasonably claim to know much about it, I do know (mainly from documentaries) that it (Australia) is a beautiful place (i.e., the terrain itself is gorgeous); and, I’ve long been intrigued by what I’ve read of the traditional ways of the Aboriginal people.

    But, then there’s Australian government — that’s apparently fast becoming Big Brother.

    What is desperately needed in your country is a Bill of Rights.

    The most basic human rights, in every modern industrialized country are now threatened by the machinations of medical-coercive psychiatry — but nowhere more than in your country… because there exists no Bill of Rights.

    Honestly, were I you (or anyone else in Australia likewise ‘marked’ by psychiatry), I would seriously consider any and all possibilities of expatriating to a country with less hostile laws.

    But, as long as you remain there, please, continue to tell of what you’re observing of the goings on, in the realm of Aussie psychiatry…

    Rest assured, you are serving us all well, here in the U.S. (i.e., you’re serving psychiatric survivors here), as you’re helping us to know what utterly criminal practices modern psychiatry itself can and does lead to, once it has gone totally unchecked by a Bill of Rights.

    Thank you again for your contributions to these MIA conversations. Stay strong whatever you do.



  • @ boans,

    Thank you for contributing to this conversation. I have never heard of a “code black,” but what you are describing is what I experienced, in the following way (on the occasion of being forcibly “hospitalized” the first time):

    In a sideroom (of the E.R. — “emergency room”), after being ‘evaluated’ with a battery of questions, I was told to lay down on a gurney, and I do so. A chaplain sat beside, holding my hand. Then, in came two orderlies armed with a syringe. I screamed, “NO!!!” as they moved the chaplain aside, held me down, pulled down my pants and shot me up, with neuroleptics (so-called “antipsychotic medications”).


    There was no conceivable ’emergency’ — only the psychiatrist’s claim that I was supposedly “a danger” to myself, because I’d answered “Yes” to a question, “Do you believe you’ll die and be reborn in a new life.” (Or, maybe the question was, “Do you wish you’ll die and be reborn in a new life.” I have forgotten their exact wording.) In no way was I literally planning to die, at that time. I was not suicidal.

    And, hours later, after awakening from that forced drugging, again I’d be forcibly drugged.

    Who knows what kind of ’emergency’ they were claiming to perceive, at that point. (I was not told why they were forcibly drugging me and never saw my medical records, of that time.)

    I agree with boans.

    There is nothing but a pretense of rights-to-refuse forced drugging.

    That right is non-existent, in reality.

    The article that you (Jonathan) presented in defense of your views (i.e., the article “The Right to Treatment and the Right to Refuse Treatment” by Lloyd I. Sederer, M.D.) is just political posturing.

    It’s title describes nothing more or less than the ultimate, most frequently heard self-congratulatory lies of medical-coercive psychiatry.

    In practice, psychiatrists and their ‘helpers’ in “hospitals” can and do very frequently call for forced druggings — especially that of any sort of momentarily ‘resistant’ individuals…

    Any “patient” is seen to be presenting an “emergency” when appearing as though ‘resisting’ in any way whatsoever.

    Along those same lines, “patients” are very frequently coerced into allowing themselves to be drugged with pills in psychiatric “hospitals” (i.e., they are led to ‘voluntarily’ swallow pills) by transmission of veiled and not so veiled threats, that they will be forcibly drugged if they do not go along to get along.

    I suppose, if you like, you can consider your “hospital” a rare oasis of ‘righteous’ applications of ‘mh’ law; but, think twice before continuing to propagate the classic lies being told by Lloyd I. Sederer, M.D..

    The title of his article (“The Right to Treatment and the Right to Refuse Treatment”) is, at best, wishful thinking, in most psychiatric “hospital” settings.

    In most psych “hospitals,” in the minds of psych-techs, talk such as that reflects nothing but nonsense, to be laughed at…

    It is just plain B.S. in actual practice.



  • In this comment, as follows, I’m posting the conclusion of my preceding comment, to Jonathan Keyes… as it wound up posting in way that I had not intended it to appear. (It nested within a block quote, so here it’s in a more entirely readable format.)


    Again, note the last three words, in the passage of California law, above; the last three words: “treatment and evaluation”

    And, realize: To secure a California 5150 (a 72-hour “hold”), no court order (i.e., no judge) is required.

    Again, a 5150 is for “treatment and evaluation.”

    When “evaluation” suggests that “psychosis” is what the “patient” is experiencing, “treatment” quite often includes forced and/or coerced drugging.

    A judge is required for extended “holds,” beyond 72-hours; but, the judge often sees a “patient” who’s been forcibly drugged in that initial 72-hour period.

    I know that to be the case, from repeated experiences (over the course of two years, that began in the mid 1980s).

    Please, don’t claim to know what you don’t know; especially when it comes to ‘mh’ laws, speak only of you know in your own experience, in your own state…

    And, offer clear citations of the laws themselves (not loosely written, broad statements, from Wikipedia).



  • Jonathan Keyes,

    Do you actually think that very loosely worded passage from Wikipedia, which you’ve quoted, represents the truth of ‘mh’ law as it’s applied everywhere?

    Perhaps, it reflects what you’ve seen, thus far, of ‘mh’ laws, where you live and work. Maybe.

    (Really, I don’t know the laws in your state, so I say maybe that Wikipedia passage is an accurate reflection of them.)

    Actually, I’m willing to presume, that passage in Wikipedia (from all that you say) does reflect your general observations, as a part-time psychiatric “hospital” worker, of psychiatric “hospitalization” — as it may reflect key aspects of ‘mh’ law in your state; but, it does not reflect the realities of psychiatric “hospitalization” and the guiding laws of such in many U.S. states (and it certainly does not reflect ‘mh’ laws and corresponding psychiatric practices globally).

    Frankly, I would like to think your citation of a terribly weak passage in Wikipedia is ‘just’ an indication that you are sadly mis-informed (not that your are deliberately misleading); you are relying on your personal experiences and on Wikipedia in a way that is incredibly careless; for, you posture yourself as an authority on psychiatric “hospitalization” (you have been doing that here, on this MIA website, ever since you posted your first blog).

    But, you are not an authority on anything but your limited experiences. You are spreading ‘facts’ regarding ‘mh’ law that are just plain wrong (seriously wrong — critically wrong) as you seem to suggest they reflect ‘mh’ law everywhere.

    I have been pointing this out to you ever since you posted your first MIA blog post; but, to this point, what I say to you never has sunk in…

    If your readers should have the sad misfortune of taking you to be a legitimate authority on ‘mh’ law, they will be led to believe that psychiatrists have little or no power to choose to forcibly drug the “patients” whom they ‘care’ for; and, that is a dangerous lack of understanding.

    They will believe psychiatric “hospitalization” rarely ever leads to forced drugging without court orders from a judge.

    You must stop and think about what you’re doing, in that respect…

    Please, get this: To suggest that psychiatrists cannot unilaterally choose to forcibly drug “patients” and/or coerce “patients” into taking drugs, is just plain wrong (except maybe where you live and work and in a limited number of states that have ‘mh’ laws similar to yours).

    Why do you think that your psychiatric “hospital” is governed by a universal reality?

    Is it because you are believing everything you read in Wikipedia?

    Please, get this, Jonathan: You have cited a classic misleading statement about psychiatry, from Wikipedia. (There are a lot of those, on the Wikipedia website.)

    What Wikipedia is suggesting, in the passage you’re citing, is simply not true for many ‘mh’ system jurisdictions; I guess it represents what you’ve observed in your little corner of the world, so you continue to spread your supposedly authoritative view of your psychiatric “hospitals” generally — as though your view is fairly representative view of all psychiatric “hospitals” everywhere.

    Really, I am choosing to presume that you are not being deliberately misleading.

    In these regards, you are, perhaps, ‘just’ suffering from confirmation bias.

    But, I cannot fail to point this out to you, because what you’re saying can lead to tragedy.

    If I seem to be making a big deal about this, I am — because I want you to finally get this: It is wrong to downplay the power of psychiatrists and the dangers of forced “hospitalization”.

    You are continually down-playing those dangers; that is what you’re doing (whether you realize it or not) ever since you posted your first MIA blog post; you’ve been continuing to misinform MIA readers, by explaining that psychiatrists cannot forcibly treat “patients” without court orders; you say a judge is required. Perhaps, that is the case, where you live and work. But, it is absolutely not the case everywhere.

    You seem to think that your observation of psychiatric “hospitalizations” are representative of psychiatric “hospitalization” generally speaking. That’s mistaken thinking and misleading speaking.

    Now, I well know I’m repeating myself in this comment, in so many ways, but that’s because I just can’t understand: Why do you continue to preach from a position of such limited knowledge?

    And, why speak of laws without offering citations of the laws themselves?

    E.g., you reference the year 1975… suggesting the existence of law(s) enshrined then, which would make it virtually impossible for psychiatrists to order forced druggings.

    Please, know: Your referencing a year (1975) does nothing for me.

    Cite a law, why don’t you?!

    Why remain so nebulous? Why keep up this nonsense, which you keep up, suggesting that my experiences of having been repeatedly forcibly drugged by psychiatrists — without court orders — were somehow illegal and unusual “treatments”?

    Numerous times, I have pointed out that you are wrong about this matter.

    Why are you relying on a generalized statement in Wikipedia to inform you regarding these laws, Jonathan?

    These are state laws, varying from one state to the next.

    While civil commitment laws in the U.S. are, to some extent, uniformly guided by U.S. Supreme Court decisions, the passage you cite from Wikipedia quote is simply incorrect — as applied to much (probably most) of the U.S. — and certainly wrong if taken to suggest the way ‘mh’ laws work in the rest of the world.

    It’s bad information you’re spreading…

    You’re not describing a true reflection of how involuntary drugging happens, in many instances — e.g., not in my experience — nor in the experience of literally millions of others who’ve been subjected to it…

    Countless thousands “hospitalized” on relatively “brief holds” in my state are forcibly drugged without court orders, every year.


    Again, I say: maybe what you are saying applies to the laws in your state. I don’t know.

    At last, please, just consider the Welfare and Institutions Code, of California State, regarding “Detention of Mentally Disordered Persons for Evaluation and Treatment” (note prominently the word “treatment” and note also, that: many states have modeled their own ‘mh’ laws on California law).

    California / Welfare and Institutions Code – WIC / ARTICLE 1. Detention of Mentally Disordered Persons for Evaluation and Treatment [5150. – 5157.] / Section 5150.

    Section 5150. (Amended by Stats. 1980, Ch. 968, Sec. 1.)
    Cite as: Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §5150.

    When any person, as a result of mental disorder, is a danger to others, or to himself or herself, or gravely disabled, a peace officer, member of the attending staff, as defined by regulation, of an evaluation facility designated by the county, designated members of a mobile crisis team provided by Section 5651.7, or other professional person designated by the county may, upon probable cause, take, or cause to be taken, the person into custody and place him or her in a facility designated by the county and approved by the State Department of Mental Health as a facility for 72-hour treatment and evaluation…–Inst-Code-Section-5150/text.html

    Jonathan, again, note the last three words, in the passage of California law, above; the last three words: “treatment and evaluation

    And, realize: To secure a California 5150 (a 72-hour “hold”), no court order (i.e., no judge) is required.

    Again, a 5150 is for “treatment and evaluation.”

    When “evaluation” suggests that “psychosis” is what the “patient” is experiencing, “treatment” quite often includes forced and/or coerced drugging.

    A judge is required for extended “holds,” beyond 72-hours; but, the judge often sees a “patient” who’s been forcibly drugged in that initial 72-hour period.

    I know that to be the case, from repeated experiences (over the course of two years, that began in the mid 1980s).

    Please, don’t claim to know what you don’t know; especially when it comes to ‘mh’ laws, speak only of you know in your own experience, in your own state…

    And, offer clear citations of the laws themselves (not loosely written, broad statements, from Wikipedia).



  • Oh, wait…

    In my preceding comment (above), I’ve described Jonathan Keyes as being “a part-time worker in a psych “hospital” that is apparently (from what he describes) actually quite unique for its tendency to ‘treat’ its “patients” in a way that’s relatively humane.”

    On second thought, I really should have inserted at least an asterisk — a bit of a qualifying statement there.

    E.g., could well have added these words: “many of…”

    Such is to say, here I’m correcting myself, referring to Jonathan’s “hospital” as being apparently unique for its tendency to ‘treat’ many of its “patients” in a way that’s relatively humane.”

    After all, meanwhile, of course, we know…

    While Jonathan will not say he has ever been in the practice of “treating” his “patients” forcibly (because he does not use the word “treat” to describe the forced druggings that he’s participated in; according to him, that’s not “treatment” at all), I am now, suddenly, once again recalling those forced druggings, which he has referred to…

    That is, I realize: I should not have said, in my preceding comment (on October 18, 2014 at 6:46 am), that Jonathan’s “hospital” has a tendency to ‘treat’ its “patients” in a way that’s relatively humane.

    That’s was too generous of me — really somewhat inaccurate — broadly speaking…

    Jonathan has described his participating in (and has persistently aimed to defend) certain forced druggings, in his “hospital” setting.

    That’s really my ultimate concern with his practices.

    (How could I have forgotten it even ‘just’ momentarily?)

  • ‘Of course, the question of “protecting” someone who is suicidal from him/herself is a much thornier issue. But even so, the same thinking applies: even if you decide it is OK to detain a person for self protection, it should not take away their right to consent or refuse medical treatment, in particular, the drug-based pseudo-”treatments” that are usually enforced on every detained person in the psych ward.’

    Steve, that’s very well said.

    And, yet, in response (on October 17, 2014 at 9:43 pm), Jonathan Keyes explains,

    ‘People who are suicidal are generally never “forced” to take a drug based “treatment.” You can only be forced if you have been committed by a judge and it is very rare for a suicidal and non-psychotic person to be committed.

    However, suicidal folks are coerced by doctors into taking psychiatric drugs without full informed consent and without presenting alternatives- something that is seriously wrong.’

    I’ll tell you what I think is ‘seriously wrong’ — is that first short paragraph of Jonathan’s…

    Really, it’s totally wrong (except maybe in the province where Jonathan lives).

    Jonathan continues to repeat such notions (he has done it many times on this website); again and again, he’s getting his facts wrong about this. I have told him previously that he’s wrong; indeed, I have detailed that: First of all, individual “patients” of psychiatry are frequently called “a danger to himself or herself” for errant reasons; this is to say, for instance, over the course of their careers, many countless psychiatrists will view many of their “patients” as ‘suicidal’ who are not at all truly suicidal.

    That’s how I first wound up “hospitalized” by a psychiatrist, nearly three decades ago. (I have briefly detailed, in more than one MIA comment, how that happened. And, that would not be the last time that I’d be forcibly “hospitalized” as a result of being falsely painted as someone presenting “a danger to himself…”)

    Each time I was “hospitalized” against my will, it would come ultimately as the result of my being falsely accused of being a danger to myself. And, each time, I’d be forcibly drugged. Never was I committed by a judge.

    Jonathan consistently fails to acknowledge that this happens.

    Perhaps, in Jonathan’s “hospital” setting, people who are viewed as ‘suicidal’ are treated with the relative degree of respect that he’s describing, but why does he generalize?

    Ever since reading Jonathan’s first MIA blog post (“Inpatient Hospitalization: An Inside Perspective” November 30, 2013), I’ve noticed that Jonathan tends to express his views of psychiatric “hospitals” in a way that is generally speaking, as though he believes the protocols of his own “hospital” are representative of the protocols of all psychiatric “hosptials” everywhere.

    They aren’t.

    His views of psychiatric “hospitalization” are not at all representative of psychiatric “hospitalization” generally; they are not universally applicable.

    He has a couple of years’ experience as a part-time worker in a psych “hospital” that is apparently (from what he describes) actually quite unique for its tendency to ‘treat’ its “patients” in a way that’s relatively humane.

    His experiences and observations of psych “hospital” settings are thus quite limited.

    I wish he’d stop aiming to speak/write as though he’s an authority on all matters of psychiatric “hospitalization” everywhere.



  • Richard,

    Your responses to Jonathan are good, but I’ve become convinced that nothing will cut through the ignorance that he’s spreading, as he persistently aims to ‘justify’ his practice of forcibly drugging those so-called “patients” in his “hospital” whom he believes pose a particular threat to others and or to themselves.

    (Jonathan Keyes — in his first MIA blog post: “I have taken part in restraining individuals and delivering injections of medications to patients who become severely hostile, threatening or self-destructive.”)

    Again, Richard, thank you…



  • Seth,

    Once, not quite twenty years ago, I bought a bed — thinking I was ready to sleep in a bed.

    But, I wasn’t. I couldn’t.

    And, ever since then (which is to say, in the more than one full quarter-century that has passed, since the last time I was involuntarily “hospitalized” by a psychiatrist), I have rarely ever slept in a bed — only, at best, on foam mattresses that have been laid on the floor.

    Most often (like now), I have not even slept on foam mattresses, because they can seem too much like a bed.

    Beds, to me, are not an invitation to sleep…

    That is because of my unforgettable experiences of being strapped into beds and forcibly drugged in beds, in various “hospitals” were so horrifying.

    In fact, my first night of “hospital” experience was spent strapped down on a bed, in isolation, forcibly drugged, and my second night, I was placed in a large room with roughly a dozen beds. I couldn’t sleep that night — because the environment was so strange, so foreign and unfriendly.

    All the other men were sleeping, except one, who somehow realized I was awake.

    He got off his bed, walked slowly over to mine, stood over me, and stared at me — and finally explained to me that he was being “hospitalized” for a “homicidal psychosis.”

    (Of course, I was terrified by him, and I’m sure that it was his intention to scare me…)

    To be perfectly honest: rarely do I sleep well…

    Like now, I am sitting on my ‘bedroom’ floor, at a few minutes past 2:00 a.m. and am speechless, as this is a blog post that you’ve written is unlike any other.

    I am wide awake — not sleeping, considering what I’ve just read…

    But, thank you. As tragic as Gloria’s story is, you have shown us the dignity of her life.

    I am praying that she will soon be living with Jeff.

    Thank you for sharing with us her humanity and Jeff’s — and yours.



  • Richard,

    Great blog post (and thanks for the kind mention).

    It’s good to have allies — i.e., genuine defenders of justice — on the inside; you are one such person, and I feel fortunate to have ‘met’ you via the online discussions that are generated by this MIA website, it bloggers and commenters.

    I have only one matter to critique, of your post:

    Force may indeed sometimes be needed, to defend individuals (or, perhaps, to defend a number of individuals) who may be vulnerable to a particular person who proves to be threatening.

    But, what kind of force?

    I completely object to force that is designed to be in any way brain-disabling.

    Hence, of course, I object to forced use of neuroleptic drugs (so-called “antipsychotic medication”) and forced use of any other kind of psychotropic drug… and forced use of ECT… and use of tasers.

    In my opinion, there are always better ways of containing people who seem threatening.

    May all forced psychiatric ‘medical treatment’ (whether it’s by use of syringes filled with psych-drugs or it’s by machines delivering ECT — or, as it was in the past, by knives and picks designed for performing lobotomies) become a thing of the past (sooner rather than later).

    Behavioral interventions should never come by way of forced neuro-invasive procedures

    Simple as that.



  • @ truth and @ boans (and whoever else may be interested),

    In a brief comment above (on October 13, 2014 at 4:30 pm), I indicated that I’d be posting my replies to you down here, later in the day — but never did… until now.

    And, by now, I am feeling rather burnt out on my own words (that happens not infrequently, after posting any considerable number of MIA comments); so, this will be my last MIA comment for a while, and I won’t say much in it.

    Mainly, I’m choosing to offer two links, to videos that I find inspiring.

    They are both fairly popular videos, so you’ve probably seen them, but maybe not, and they are worth watching more than once, imo.

    The first is a 2008 commencement address, at Harvard University, given by J. K. Rowling:

    The second is an address given in July of last year, by the recent Nobel Peace Prize winner, human rights activist Malala Yousafzai (she happens to be speaking to a U.N. Youth Assembly, on her sixteenth birthday):

    [Note: In one of my comments, above, yesterday, I offered a few words about my general sense of academia (e.g., my inclination to warn young people, beware what they’re learning in college) including the fact that I’m proudly a college drop-out. Here I’ll add, I tend to be most skeptical of the education offered to Ivy League students. But, I am a strong believer in the power of education to advance the underprivileged, so I fully support the message of Malala, and it was a truly exceptional address, that was given by the authoress of the Harry Potter series, imho…]

    With respect to the issues you two raise in your comments, because I am now feeling at such a loss of words (and, really, must take a bit of break from not only from visiting MIA, but from the Internet generally), I will only say here, that: I deeply respect your expressions of truth (very much so); and, I do believe in the rule of good laws…

    Psych-rights laws are most definitely not good enough now (of course, that’s putting it mildly), but we can improve them, I feel.

    I think Ted Chabasinski and Phil Hickey are entirely correct in suggesting that ECT can be abolished.

    I think the history of the meteoric rise and fall of the lobotomy is instructive.

    [Note: Imho, commenter Belinda offers much insight into these issues, and I am aware that Australia is in terrible shape, as far as psych-rights are concerned, but I take issue with her expressed view (October 12, 2014 at 2:19 am) that lobotomies are making a “massive comeback” in Australia. (If Belinda or anyone else has information about the current stats on how many lobotomies are being performed, please post links.)]

    I believe the process of accomplishing that fete, of abolishing ECT, will require eliciting supporting views from a fair number of psychiatrists — most who prescribe psych-drugs.

    I don’t believe psych-drugs will ever be abolished (except for some of them, when proven individually to be considerably more harmful than the others).

    Richard D. Lewis, in his most recent comment (on October 14, 2014 at 12:20 am), expressed his long-term vision, describing that,

    “After generations in the future have completed successful tapering from all psychiatric drugs and all harmful and coercive forms of “treatment” are outlawed and abolished, psychiatry as a profession will simply wither away because no one will have any use for it. Those formerly interested in it will find other more productive and helpful things to do with their life.”

    I don’t believe psychiatry will wither away. I think there will always be psychiatrists, because there will always be a certain demand for psych-drugs.

    But, psych-drug prescribing could be greatly curtailed, in time — somewhat like cigarette smoking has been curtailed here in the U.S.. (I believe some of the legal and social mechanisms that led to reduced smoking could be applied to psych-drugs.)

    In any event, let’s keep fighting a good fight, that can improve psych-rights laws.

    And, never lose hope, that justice will eventually prevail…



    P.S. — Philip Hickey, thanks for another great blog post!

  • P.P.P.S. — Imho, we live in an extremely imperfect democracy — a democracy which is, in many ways now, utterly failing to be democratic. I think there are signs of emergent fascism in this country. And, the country may possibly give way, one day, entirely to fascism; but, imho, that hasn’t happened yet, and it won’t happen if enough of us come to respect the Bill of Rights and the power of good laws (which are, necessarily, aimed at defending and upholding its principles).

  • P.P.S. — About your saying “Have you taken on the role of the grand inquisitor and do you really believe we live in a democracy ?”

    You had previously thanked me for my having suggested to you a couple questions to ask yourself.

    I guess it was overkill to ask a question or two after that… offered too many question, I guess, at last… won’t ask you any more questions.

    Respectfully, J.

  • “Let them voluntarily cease from practicing at least coercive psychiatry…”

    Amen to that!! 🙂


    You think I’m overreacting, but I don’t think so.

    Simply, I am an advocate of non-violence. I have been, formally, since I was a teen (and informally even before then); thus, when, at age 21, I chose to throw plates, I went outside and threw them at a garage door (being quite certain that no one was in my line of fire).

    Also, I am totally opposed to every kind of involuntary neuro-invasive procedure — including use of tasers.

    So, I don’t feel I’ve overreacted here; and, until now, I’ve simply enjoyed reading your MIA comments… had never (before now) seen you or anyone posting advice to commit acts of violence on this website.

    And, what “derogatory labels” and “disrespect” are you referring to??? Really, I have no idea, and I’m quite sorry you feel I’ve been disrespectful.

    For any way that I have been disrespectful toward you, I quite apologize, sincerely, as you have been respectful toward me, and I’ve meant you no disrespect.

    Finally, about academia: I was raised in an academic atmosphere, but it was never for me; I am totally unimpressed by academia and am actually an autodiadact; anything I say that seems somehow ‘academic’ is just what I’ve read or observed entirely on my own; in fact, I advise young people to beware of what they’re taught in college (as I’m proudly a college drop-out).

    Oh, and, Fred, whenever I say “respectfully,” I most definitely mean it, in all sincerity; however, I’m well aware that when I’m ‘arguing’ with someone, it can seem to that person like I don’t mean it…

    Again, yes to “Let them voluntarily cease from practicing at least coercive psychiatry…”



  • “Don’t let anyone tell you to endanger yourself or other peers.”


    That’s excellent advice (that one line); indeed, I judge it your best advice of all, thus far, in this entire conversation. I’ll take it, thanks — because it perfectly contradicts your incitement to taser psychiatrists.

    You begin your comment by saying “I am reconsidering,” but I don’t see what you mean by that, as you are, by this point, continuing your encouragements to establish an “International Taser a Psychiatrist Day.” That is incitement to commit terrorism, Fred. I strongly suggest you completely rethink what you’re advocating, in that respect; imho, you need to continue your process of reconsidering…

    And, along those lines, one thing you could possibly do, is carefully study the difference between these two terms: ‘deterrence’ and ‘interdiction’

    I’m sure you know what they mean, but I suggest you place them side by side and seriously consider their differences…

    Many who become quite fired up with bold plans to hopefully ‘right wrongs’ fail to make any distinction between those concepts (at their own peril and at the expense of sacrificing innocent lives).

    The failure to distinguish between would be strategies of deterrence, on the one hand, and strategies of interdiction, on the other hand… has led to much needless harm, throughout history.

    Terrorists especially (but not only terrorists, many ignorant lawmakers who claim to stand for ‘law and order’ as well as muddleheaded war-planners) tend to lose sight of the difference between these two concepts, and their doing so leads to all sorts of unanticipated and/or unacknowledged ‘collateral damage.’

    It’s irresponsible of you, and I think you’re failing to make that distinction as you say “These psychiatrists I have seen seem to me for the most part to be above average cowardly. They may back off when they start to get tasered . At least back off the children.”

    You imagine that a psych-survivor who’d taser a psychiatrist would be saving children in the process? I think quite the contrary. Such an individual would be leading more psychiatrists to drug more children more heavily.

    You say “I see psychiatrists much like hitler’s ss.” (Fred, that’s such an extreme statement.) Again, you’re failing to make distinctions.

    I think you are currently demonizing psychiatrists as a group, and far more harm than good will come of your continuing to do so; I pray you will realize, soon enough, that every psychiatrist is an individual, and at least a small minority of them are actually quite genuinely caring and decent human beings (but, of course, they’re not perfect, because no one is).

    Observe the very real distinctions between the various psychiatrists who have expressed themselves (their professional views and practices) via their blogging on this website (that’s what I suggest).

    Surely, one or two of them could appeal to you as, in fact, a decent human being who does not deserve to be tased?

    I leave you with that question. But, frankly, you should feel no compulsion to answer it, as I don’t need an answer from you, and I am aiming to discuss other matters in my next comment(s) here — later today.



  • @ boans,

    Thanks for chiming in! I quite agree with you — except as you say “I think that psychiatry should be and can be abolished,” because I don’t believe it can be abolished. (Simply not possible to abolish psychiatry in a democratic/pluralistic/secular society. It just won’t happen.)

    See my parenthetical ‘challenge’ in my comment above (on October 11, 2014 at 10:21 am).



  • @ truth,

    Thank you for your further reply (on October 13, 2014 at 4:03 am).

    And, @ boans, thanks for your kind words.

    I’ll be responding with another comment or two, as soon as I have a moment to gather my thoughts and write one. (That’ll be some time later today.)

    You’ll find my further comment(s) at (or near) the bottom of this page; I’ll post them there, as I think we may be running out of comment reply buttons up here.



  • @ truth,

    Excellent reply. I love everything you’re saying here, in your latest comment (on October 12, 2014 at 3:18 pm); but, to be clear, I must state, your first paragraph suggests to me, you may have misunderstood me…

    You’ve apparently taken my wording as indicative of some kind of wishful thinking. (?)

    Please know, I do believe that laws can be passed, which will effectively restrict psychiatrists against doing harm.

    I do believe that is a long road to hoe (as I said).

    But, really, I do not advocate waiting around in hopes that such laws shall pass.

    I think we should take action, to find capable people who can help us to craft such laws (Ted Chabasinki is one such person, he has the expertise and experience, and from his commenting, above, I think he may be ready for a new campaign…). Once those laws are crafted, we should together take action to gain popular support for them, so they can be successfully passed.

    I agree with Phil Hickey, in his simply put comment reply to Ted Chabasinski (on October 12, 2014 at 11:41 am), as he said: “Ted, Thanks for coming in. It [(ECT)] is definitely a weak spot in psychiatry’s armor.”

    And, I agree with the over all gist of your comment.

    Therefore, as you conclude by asking, “So, how does one choose to be “selective” in choosing what harms need to be eradicated?” …the first thought that comes to mind, is this: ‘Let’s eradicate ECT.’

    I believe in the rule of good laws, ultimately.

    I believe good legislation could eradicate ECT.

    Crafting such legislation requires, of course, requires lawyers.

    As far as I know, here in California, there’s no better lawyer than Ted for this sort of thing.

    Educating the public (including but not limited to key legislators) is ultimately necessary.

    Non-violent direct action may be needed.

    I don’t know what I personally can do, because my responsibilities at home significantly limit my ability to travel. (I’m a single dad, currently living on a relatively limited income — and am caring for not only my daughter but also my elderly dad.) Most of what I can do is whatever I can do from home and/or in my local area.

    You or anyone else who’s interested in discussing non-violent prospects for eradicating ECT, please feel free to contact me: [email protected]

    Thanks for your pointed comment replies…



  • “Jonah,
    I personally take responsibility for all my comments. Sometimes I joke this time I’m as serious as a supreme court judge. Nobody is going to torture children as young as 2 with electricity or brain damaging drugs let alone successfully continue to hold hostage an entire population of people with pseudo -science based torture techniques without being as they step it up opposed with stepped up counter measures to address the emergency which has been escalating.”


    I am sincerely hoping you will reconsider what you’re saying there.

    Please, think this through (i.e., take some time to contemplate your last two comments, including that one, above) and contemplate what I’m saying, as follows:

    You wrote (on October 12, 2014 at 1:40 pm), “I’d like to declare an international Taser a Psychiatrist Day the day the opportunity presents itself. Don’t be recognized and don’t get caught.”

    Ask yourself, first of all: Do I really wish to indict all psychiatrists equally because reportedly some psychiatrist(s) somewhere electro-shocked a two-year-old?

    (I ask you that question because your proposal in your comment on October 12, 2014 at 1:40 pm seems to suggest that you’d call for a day in which all psychiatrist would equally become potential targets of taser attack.)

    Now, ask yourself, specifically: Do I really wish to call for threats of violence (attack by use of tasers) against all psychiatrists?

    And, if you answer ‘Yes’ to that 2nd question, then ask yourself: What harm would I do to my fellow psychiatric survivors by forwarding this plan?

    I am dead serious, Fred, when I say this: Your plan is a very bad one, in all ways.

    Your plan, which (as you put it) is “to declare an international Taser a Psychiatrist Day the day the opportunity presents itself. Don’t be recognized and don’t get caught,” to whatever extent it could be proved a genuine threat, being implemented by any number of activists, would only add to society’s fear of ‘mental patients’ and former ‘mental patients’ — thus driving many of us all the more deeply into hiding (because, indeed, many or most of us already feel, that we are forced to live largely in hiding, due to the inherent stigma of being ‘mental patients’ and ‘formal mental patients’). Do you wish to produce that effect?

    Much as I feel the utmost sympathy for how you were harmed by psychiatry and much as it pains me to know that countless numbers of kids are currently being harmed by psychiatry, I am not at all “in Solidarity” with you, at this point — because you are advocating violence (indeed, violence against some who may be quite innocent of the crimes you’re aiming to deter); and, moreover, you are advocating utter irresponsibility.

    (Oh, and, by the way, you suggest I should take a look at videos of the late activist, Russel Means. I have, in the past, studied some of the writings of Russel Means. Some of what he said made a lot of sense to me, but not all of it did…)

    To me, it seems that psychiatric survivors (such as you and I) could do well to plan thoughtful campaigns of non-violent direct action.

    I’m not sure, but maybe I would seriously consider taking part in some sort of non-violent direct action that required anonymity. (Maintaining anonymity is something that I feel benefits me and many other psych-abuse survivors.)

    I think you may be using your real name here in your MIA commenting.

    But, here you’re simultaneously promoting violence and saying “Don’t be recognized and don’t get caught”; in my view, that is a classic expression of cowardice, actually.

    You begin this comment of yours (above), saying “Jonah, I personally take responsibility for all my comments.”

    Well, if you think violence is somehow necessary to combat the harms of psychiatry, and if you are going to take action, violently, …then you take responsibility for your actions.

    That’s what I recommend. Take responsibility from beginning to end.

    After all, the biggest problem for so many people who are ‘mental patients’ or former ‘mental patients,’ is that society views us as (A) potentially “a danger” and as (B) incapable of being responsible for our own actions.

    Please, don’t be encouraging the spread of such seemingly endless ignorance.

    Rethink your proposition.

    If you cannot imagine creative ways of fighting psychiatry’s violence with non-violence, then, at the very least, encourage taking responsibility — full self-responsibility.

    Anything less would be %100 folly, in my opinion.



    P.S. — Fred, I deeply believe, that each and every psychiatrist is an individual and should be treated as one — because, as a psychiatric survivor, I know the many needless harms caused by the ways conventional psychiatrists tend to depersonalize “patients” and their issues. Not all psychiatrists are monsters — which is to say, for instance, not all of them would approve of electro-shocking a two-year-old child. Probably, only an extremely small number of psychiatrists would approve of that…

  • “My educated opinion is that the general public overwhelmingly sees electroshock as damaging and barbaric. But our movement, because of its virtual takeover by the “mental health” system, has not acted on this.”


    I’m sure you’re right about that, but there’s more to the story (I’m sure, you well realize).

    You know as well as anyone what I’m going to say here about psychiatry and the current resurgence of its widespread use of ECT, but I say it anyway:

    Psychiatry is a global cult led by thousands of physician-psychiatrists who are all fully dedicated to battling so-called “mental illness” (which is actually a metaphor suggesting the existence of more or less seemingly ‘serious’ and/or relatively ‘disturbing’ psychological and/or emotional issues).

    The vast majority of those physician-psychiatrists view human life and its problems neurocentrically (i.e., generally speaking, they see our own brains as the prime directors of each one of us, so a ‘mal-functioning’ or ‘disordered’ or ‘diseased’ brain must be what’s causing most of our problems).

    Hence, countless problems of life that are addressed by physician-psychiatrists tend to be perceived, by these physician-psychiatrists, as organic problems, of their “patients'” brains; and, yet, these physician-psychiatrists do not truly understand the brain.

    Few of them examine the brains of any “patient”; indeed, there are no ‘biological markers’ — let alone neurological markers — which can definitively prove the existence of any “mental illness”; and, really, the human brain, generally speaking, is mainly a mystery to most psychiatrists.

    In fact, most of them have only a very basic — even crude — working knowledge of the brain; for, few amongst them are trained neurologists after all.

    (And, really, even neurologists have only relatively limited understandings of the human brain, as compared to other physician-specialists who concentrate on the ‘disease’ of other organs — because the brain is such a complex organ, far more complex than any other.)


    Those who seek answers to problems of life through Psychiatry are usually perceived, by their psychiatrists, as most likely having some form of so-called “mental illness” that is also said to be a “brain disorder” — regardless of these facts, that: The brains of psychiatric “patients” are only very rarely examined, and no official diagnosis of “mental illness” is ever proven, as originating in the brain.

    What’s going on here? Well, it’s really a faith-based cult — Psychiatry is. Its faith being in the notion that countless problems of life are, indeed, neuro-centered.

    Increasingly, for the past half-century, its practitioners have come to push ‘medicine’ in the form of psychotropic drugs, which act directly on the central nervous system generally and the brain specifically; usually, these drugs are delivered by pills… sometimes by syringe (when the claim is made that application of force is necessary).

    But, also, there’s ECT.

    ECT ‘providers’ represent a relatively minor cult within the Psychiatry cult.

    It’s relatively minor, as, not too long ago, there were movements that largely discredited the use of ECT.

    But, as psychiatry has come under increasing fire for its ‘overuse’ of psychotropic drugs, ECT ‘providing’ physician-psychiatrists have become emboldened, pushing ECT as “in a sense, the penicillin of psychiatry.”

    [That line is from David Healy and Edward Shorter’s book, Shock Therapy: A History of Electroconvulsive Treatment in Mental Illness (2007) — the writing of which, was, according to, financed by Max Fink. (“Public records show Fink’s foundation paid the authors $34,000 to write this book.”) ]

    Were it not for KOL psychiatrists such as Healy and Shorter taking their lead from Max Fink, promoting his views and following in his footsteps (Healy directs an ECT clinic), I am certain that ECT would not be making the resurgence that is making…

    I believe that Healy (along with his cohort Shorter) paints himself as such an undying critic of Big Pharma and as the ultimate psychiatrist-man-on-a-mission rooting out distorted research results, he becomes an incredibly popular writer amongst so many critics of Big Pharma, within the ‘mh’ field, his promotions of ECT automatically take on a sense of legitimacy.

    I know there are a number of frequent MIA commenters who greatly appreciate Healy’s books; but, most have not read his ‘history’ of ECT.

    In my humble opinion, those who wish to abolish ECT should seriously consider picking it up and studying at a library (as I did, because I would not at all wish to pay for such garbage); they should study it and then decide whether or not it doesn’t make sense to boycott his writing altogether. I suggest, those who wish to boycott his writings (as do I) can come together and have a small bonfire, burning any and all of his books that they’ve come to collect…

    And/or, they could each have their own small bonfire, of that kind — recorded on video — uploaded to Youtube.

    After all, certainly, there are other books by writers whose styles of writings are just as good or better (truly, I feel there are far more entirely credible and compelling writers), who likewise write critically of Big Pharma and the many problems of applied psychopharmacology.



  • @ truth,

    Surely, you must understand that nothing I’ve said has been to defend David Healy’s work.

    Imo, his promotions of ECT and his practice of ECT and, above all else, his consistent denial of the harms caused by ECT, are ultimately indefensible — especially, as he aspires to paint himself as one of the world’s top experts on how it is that adverse effects of other ‘medical’ treatments (specifically, drugs) tend to be denied by those who profit from peddling them.

    And, about psychiatry: Simply, I don’t believe it can be abolished, so I conclude it needn’t be abolished.

    I presume there are ways its standards of practice can eventually be legally ‘regulated’ such that its practitioners are more or less restrained, by law, against doing harm; but, that is a long road to hoe.

    I do agree with Ted Chabasinki (on October 9, 2014 at 3:46 pm) as he says “a concerted campaign against shock, focusing on parts of the country most likely to respond, could lead to its abolishment.”

    Finally, as I’m on the topic of ‘truisms’ (having just mentioned my appreciation for one that was offered by Sinead, in a comment, above), I feel I must say, to you, I can’t see your quote from Unen Ameji as being an example of an entirely realistic truism (maybe it is a difficult quote to translate precisely from her own language?), because I do believe that the ability to make compromises is a necessity; even the most ethical people compromise, in ways, at times. They must.

    But, they do not compromise their own most deeply held values.

    Along those lines, I wonder if Robert Whitaker has not, perhaps, been somewhat compromising his own deepest values as a dedicated science-journalist, as he’s doing so much to support shock-doc David Healy’s work, as a researcher of adverse drug effects.

    I say that because, frankly, I do not find Healy to be a credible researcher of adverse psychopharmaceutical drug effects, as I do see a considerable (imho, quite blatant) conflict of interest, in the fact that he runs an ECT clinic and promotes ECT as being, in many instances, the ideal alternative to psychopharmacology.

    Really, I see him as being completely incapable of being objective, considering his consistent denials of the damage done by ECT and his consistent blaming of all complaints of such, as being mis-attributed adverse drug effects.

    I believe Healy is (for whatever reasons, I really don’t know) literally incapable of admitting that ECT causes lasting harm. I think it’s unnecessary for me to belabor that point any further here, especially as I’ve recently expressed it in various comments under Pat Bracken’s recent MIA blog post.

    Suffice it to say only, that Healy and his ECT ‘history’ book co-author (Shorter) call ECT, “in a sense, the penicillin of psychiatry.”

    That’s absolutely outrageous, imo.

    I would be very happy to see Robert Whitaker addressing this issue; imho, he might need to raise it at some point, should more MIA commenters begin challenging Healy directly, under his MIA blog posts, regarding his consistent denial of the harms that ECT causes.



  • “EVEN an asshole can be helpful– in certain circumstances, that is.”

    hahaha lol 😀


    I haven’t time now to respond completely — will almost certainly attempt later to formulate a response that’s more fully meaningful than this one, but I will say that I’ve read over your comment a couple of times, in order to hopefully understand you more fully and must say, that line of yours (quoted above, in italics) made me laugh out loud, each time.

    Because imo it’s such a good line (really tickles my funny bone) and seems such an obviously useful truism, I cannot help but wonder why I’d never heard it previously? Did you think it up yourself?

    I tend to figure it’s virtually impossible to come up with any really clever new truism that’s not actually already in use, because an Internet search can typically prove that others have used every conceivable turn of phrase before us.

    So, I wound up Googling “an asshole can be helpful” and came up with only 5 results.

    From that point of view, I congratulate you, concluding you’re amongst its earliest of users; and, really, it’s not just those five words in succession, it’s that entire line of yours, with the additional five word phrase at the end (the entire ten-word line) which is so funny and perfectly true, imo…

    Of course, persistent contemplations and/or convo on matters of psychiatry and its usual methods, can all-too-easily become sadly dispiriting.

    Today, fortunately, after posting my preceding comments, I was able to make time for a long hike, and that was really necessary, to clear my mind…

    Thanks for giving me something to laugh about, afterward; I deeply appreciate the moments of levity.



  • @ truth,

    First of all, I will say this (and I hope you can take it to heart):

    Your contributions to this discussion are incredibly valuable; each and every one of your comments is full of priceless, purely instructive first-hand observations, concerning ECT.

    But, now I add this:

    I can’t help but disagree with a couple of thing you’re saying….

    1. You say (in your comment on October 10, 2014 at 9:09 pm), “Bottom line: psychiatry needs to be abolished. It is a cancer, a plague on humanity that contributes to countless deaths and un unmitigated suffering.”

    Imho, psychiatry does not need to be abolished, nor can it be abolished.

    Here I will say just a few words about that…

    Much as I agree, generally speaking, psychiatry is doing far more harm than good in the world (and, that means, in fact, I believe most psychiatrists are doing far more harm than good), I don’t believe that literally all forms of psychiatry practice are bad. (Most of them are, but not all of them are.)

    I can count on only one hand the number of living psychiatrists whom I’ve heard of, who I think might be practicing in really entirely efficacious ways.

    So, to be sure, I think the profession is mainly populated by quacks.

    And, yet, really, I don’t believe there is even a snowball’s chance in hell that psychiatry is going to be abolished.

    Psychiatry will not be abolished, ever — at least, not in any democratic, pluralistic society.

    (Note: I can remotely imagine the possibility, that psychiatry could eventually be abolished, in some non-Westernized country — that would be either a dictatorship or a autocracy — as the result of the edict of some dictator or group of elite leaders coming to oppose it, on religious grounds. Meanwhile, I challenge anyone to offer me even one reasonable hypothetical scenario in which psychiatry could be abolished here in the U.S. or in any other established, functioning democracy. I’m sorry, but I don’t see that happening under any circumstances.)

    2. You begin your latest comment (above) by saying, “I hate to say it, but fear seems to silence even the kind or well-meaning…”

    Again, I want you to know, I find your comments highly instructive — including this one (on October 11, 2014 at 2:27 am). I appreciate very much the points you’re making… including the point, that fear rules many people, effectively silencing them.

    However, there is another factor in play, which should not be ignored, that is: In the course of attempting to hopefully solve problems, most people are quite willing to make certain ‘compromises’ that they well realize shall entail a substantial possibility of creating harmful outcomes — and maybe even a certainty that some amount of harm shall be created…

    People are often willing to accept that some amount of ‘collateral damage’ will be created as a result of their actions.

    They allow for such possibilities, in many instances, not because they are being ruled by fear; to the contrary, many people (perhaps, most) will choose to make such ‘compromises’ while very sincerely believing, that their ‘compromise’ shall ultimately guarantee the creation of considerably more good than harm.

    I will give you just one example, here, of what I’m talking about, as it relates to this MIA website (you are probably aware of this already):

    On the bottom right-hand corner of this web page is promotion for, an organization founded by David Healy, that’s aiming to solicit personal account of adverse reactions to prescription drugs.

    On the website “About” web page (under the heading “Our Medical and Research Team”) one sees — below David Healy’s profile — amongst others, the profile of Robert Whitaker (who is, of course, the founder of this website).

    Whitaker well knows the history of ECT and knows the harms it causes — and does a superb job of summarizing the essence of these matters — in his book, Mad in America; and, yet he chooses to ally himself with Healy, at least to the extent of agreeing to become an integral part of that “Medical and Research Team” and then placing that portal to at the bottom right hand corner of every web page on this website.

    In fact, I’m willing to bet there is no one on planet Earth (nor then either is there anyone in the Universe) who’s currently doing more to promote RxISK (other than Healy himself…) because this MIA website gets a lot of daily views, and most of those views are from people with certain complaints about ‘meds’ of various kinds, and this site is highly regarded by plenty of folk who are fairly serious critical thinkers.

    Healy, though he heads an ECT clinic (and, of course, Whitaker is well aware of that) gains a lot of credibility this way; indeed, that signia, link and search engine, at the bottom right hand corner of this page, all lend Healy tremendous credibility, in the eyes of countless MIA readers, I’m sure.

    So, my point…

    While I don’t claim to know Robert Whitaker personally, I have met him briefly, and my impression of him (including the impression gained from reading his writing and watching and listening to his talks that are posted online) is that, in his career, he’s not being ruled by fear, at all.

    Nor, by the way, do I believe he is a particularly ‘selfish’ or ‘self-serving’ person.

    Rather, I think he’s a very bright guy — and a well-meaning guy — who has made a calculated decision, in teaming up with a prominent shock-doc (Healy).

    That is because, besides being a shock-doc, Healy is a popular critic of Big Pharma.

    I believe, Whitaker most likely made that decision to become a part of RxISK (and to promote prominently on this website) while sincerely believing it would lead to the creation of considerably more good than harm.

    Is it a decision that I know for certain I would not have made, had I been in Whitaker’s shoes.

    No way would I have done so.

    I think it was a very poor decision, on Whitaker’s part, and I would hope that there could, at the very least, be an additional portal created, next to the portal, that would lead to the collection of adverse reactions to ECT. (Of course, I would not trust Healy or his organization with the task of collecting of such data.)



  • “They broke me I was terrified and it was ongoing with no one to understand what I went through or believe me. I only knew this could happen again…”


    Thankfully I never experienced ECT, and I’m sorry you did….

    From all I’ve read of what it is, I realize ECT is an utterly inane form of ‘treatment’; and, forced ECT is surely the worst abomination now being practiced by psychiatrists; I am so glad I’ve never been subjected to it myself; but, actually, what you’re describing there (in the lines I’ve quoted, above) is familiar to me, for it’s a fair description of how I felt, upon being forcibly ‘treated’ with psychiatric drugs (four times in the course of two years).

    If you’ve read my comments previously, you know: that way back in my early twenties (going on nearly three decades ago).

    I hope you can forgive me, as I’m going to recount some of those experiences here, because something about your story is leading me to explore my own, once again; I guess it’s reading about how your dad came to apologize…

    I can’t reasonably blame my parents for what I went through in the first “hospitalization” I experienced, because they had good reason to be worried about me (I was the “easy kid” in the family, who’d suddenly thrown a stack of plates, one by one, at the garage door, in my parents’ backyard); they had perfectly good reason to think I’d gone totally nuts, and they could not have anticipated the sort of ‘treatment’ I’d receive through the ‘courtesy’ of their health insurance plan (it was purely horrendous ‘treatment’).

    I was perceived as ‘psychotic’ — not only because I was reported to have broken all those plates; but, also because the psychiatrist had been told that I believed I was Bob Dylan.

    You see, I’d been listening to a lot of old Dylan music, and I was feeling rebellious, like Dylan… And, a trusted relative came to me after I’d broken those plates and asked me, “do you feel like anyone else, not yourself,” and I had answered, “I feel like Bob Dylan.”

    (That relative, I noticed, spent a long time with the E.R. psychiatrist, making sure I’d be well ‘cared for’ — surely with the best of intentions. Then, years later, I’d find out from him, that he’d thought I had actually come to believe that I was Bob Dylan.)

    In the course of being “hospitalized,” that first time, I was massively ‘medicated’ — put in restraints and forcibly drugged by syringe (twice on the first day — and would spend that night tied down, on a bed, in seclusion) and was eventually fed a variety of pills, until… a bit over a week’s time passed, I’d be released from that place… utter messed up, as the direct effect of that ‘treatment’ I’d been receiving.

    I cannot possibly explain, in few words, how totally screwed up that place was and how messed up I was when I came out of there. Only, I can say, my experience there felt as though, all along, that of having my brain literally cooked in a pressure cooker.

    In that last day or two, I was being drugged less heavily; but, I figure, considering how heavily I had been drugged, there must have been some ‘meds’ in my bloodstream…

    And, in any case, I wound up, quite unexpectedly, experiencing myself as somehow emotionally ‘uncorked’ as I was leaving that place; indeed, within minutes, I’d begin raging at my mom (as I had never done previously nor ever again afterward), because, I discovered, my parents (who’d arrived precisely as I was exiting) were, in fact, perfectly certain that I needed to be immediately “re-hospitalized,” in that house of horrors.

    That is to say, they wanted me put back in; and, so they were doing everything possible to have the night ‘orderly’ take me back in.

    But, he wouldn’t (apparently, he couldn’t). It was late at night, and the psychiatrist was gone; no one in that “hospital” could or would take me back in; so, somehow, by phone, my parents located another “hospital” that would receive me…

    My parents called some friends of mine, who had helped them in getting me into the first place; they rushed to the scene, I got into their car, and off we drove, to a new venue…

    (I can still recall the sense of feeling ‘uncorked’ during that car drive; it led me to prattling on, about my various observations of the “hospital” I’d just left — and the “patients” therein…)

    In the new venue (the new “hospitalization”), I’d be yet again restrained, forcibly drugged by syringe, put in seclusion and let out of seclusion the next day — again, to take pills… but this time not just for days, for weeks on end — nearly two months…

    (I.e., the ‘treatment’ in the 2n place was little different from the 1st place, but it went on for a much longer period of time…)

    It was during that 2nd “hospitalization” I’d receive my official ‘diagnosis’ (note: I have never known which doctor gave it to me; I was told of it, by a nurse); my parents and I were told, my ‘diagnosis’ indicated the existence of a “brain disorder” a “serious mental illness” requiring a lifetime of psychiatric ‘care’ (you know, so-called “medications”).

    Now, in retrospect, more than ever, beyond any shadow of a doubt, I’m absolutely certain that there was never any good reason for me to have been “medicated” at all, ever — let alone forcibly.

    Simply, that’s how “patients” are broken down and kept under control, when being “hospitalized” against their will, upon having first been perceived as (theoretically) ‘psychotic’.

    Really, I don’t think “psychotic” at all well-described my state of being, until after my first days of being ‘treated’ by medical-coercive psychiatry.

    That is to say, I believe the restraints and the forced drugging of that first “hospitalization” were making me crazy, in way that could well have led me to be perceived as ‘psychotic’; I really was not well-described as such beforehand, I think; but, I do understand why my parents thought I needed that first “hospitalization” …and then “re-hospitalization,” as I had broken those plates and was not at all myself, seemingly; and, they could not understand that the horrible shape I was in…

    The raging I did, at my mom, when I found that she and my dad were striving to get me put back in… (my dad was off trying to find a pay phone, as I raged at my mom) was all due to my having been literally tortured with massive doses of absolutely mind-twisting psychiatric drugs.


    After the second “hospital” experience, which lasted nearly two months, I’d be totally broken down, in every way. Completely demoralized.

    A couple of years later, as an ‘outpatient,’ I’d stop taking the pills I was being prescribed…

    I would flush them down the toilet in my apartment; and, despite the fact that I was bothering no one, I’d wind up “re-hospitalized” then …because, very naively, I’d told the same relative whom I’d told that I felt like Bob Dylan (I really looked up this relative), that I’d thrown ‘my meds’ down the toilet, as they were, I felt, slowly killing me; I told this trusted and well-meaning relative that — and, also, that, if I had gone on taking any more of those pills, I might wind up taking all of them at once.

    I was being entirely honest — and, thus, incredibly naive…

    It truly seemed to me, that I could no longer stand to take any ‘meds’ — and would rather be dead than go on taking them. I should have kept that information to myself entirely.

    But, I was not in any distress whatsoever, and I wanted to my friends and family to understand, I was much happier now than I had ever been in the past two years, since first being “hospitalized”.

    As I explained, to my relative, that I’d flushed the ‘meds’ down the toilet and was feeling certain that such was for the best, unfortunately, that did not sit well my relative — nor with the relatives (including my parents) with whom this relative subsequently spoke…

    Nor would any of my friends relate well to these facts concerning my new found autonomy from psychiatry and ‘meds’.

    Considering they all knew me now according to this psychiatric label, which indicates “serious mental illness,” of course…

    Soon, everyone I knew was confronting me, urging me to go consult with a psychiatrist (they were considering that maybe I needed to see a new one); and, sadly, I eventually did so, because, naively, I thought I could effectively assure him, that I was OK without those so-called medications…

    You write about your dad, “Years later when he was 90 years old he said to me that he found out I had been telling the truth and the authorities were wrong that he made a mistake and was sorry…”

    I was “hospitalized” against my will four times altogether — each time as a result of one psychiatrist or another gathering false information and/or twisting the meanings of my words, in order to described me as someone supposedly at serious risk of harming himself (“a danger to himself”).

    From what you describe of your ECT experiences, I guess you were a minor; so, all it took to get you “hospitalized” was a parent’s signature.

    Of course, it was a terrible ordeal that you went through, having been forcibly ‘treated’ with ECT.

    As I say, I never received ECT, but I was broken down with ‘meds’ repeatedly; and, I can certainly relate to your having been “hospitalized” on false charges.

    But, imho, you’re ultimately really fortunate to have had a dad who was, in the end, so fully willing to admit his own error, as you indicate he was. (I envy you that aspect of your story, really.)

    My mother (may she rest in peace) was, after all, a good listener, so she’d eventually allow me to tell her of the “hospital” ordeals I suffered, including my having been put in restraints and forcibly drugged, and I could tell she understood me when I told her that those assaults had felt like being raped.

    She was clearly sympathetic with my sense of having been deeply traumatized by those experiences, so she eventually acknowledged, that, obviously, the psychiatrists had been wrong — at least, in the sense that they had insisted I could not survive without their so-called “medications”.

    I know she never meant to have any harm come to me. She truly loved me and was taking action in ways that she believed were in my best interest. I am very fortunate to have had such a genuinely well-meaning mom.

    But, no one in my family — not my mom nor my dad nor my siblings nor any of my other relatives nor either any of my friends who’d all participated in getting me repeatedly “hospitalized” — ever apologized to me.

    (And, I highly doubt that any of them ever will.)

    So, I must constantly remind myself, that: In choosing to break those plates as I did, I was acting ‘crazy’ in a way that seemed to warrant “hospitalization.”

    Afterward, all the further seeming ‘craziness’ came from my being tortured with psychiatric ‘treatments’; that would, quite inevitably, appear to observers (family and friends) as though the effects of “serious mental illness.”

    And, no one would much care that psychiatrists had lied and/or twisted my words in order to claim I was supposedly a danger to myself, because, really, they all truly believed I was in desperate need of the ‘care’ of those psychiatrists.

    Thank you for sharing your story…



  • “This is especially true for people who aren’t bipolar, but had a hypomanic episode on an anti-depressant.”

    @ wileywitch,

    “Bipolar,” as the term is applied to ‘diagnose’ countless ‘patients’ of psychiatry and an army of colluding ‘mh’ pros, is forever an abstraction — very vaguely conceived.

    I understand, from what you’re saying, that you feel you were wrongly called “bipolar,” because you were tagged with that label only as a result of experiencing what you agree to call “a hypomanic episode” that was apparently the result of taking prescribed “anti-depressants.”

    But, why should anyone be called “bipolar”?

    For example, let’s say an adolescent or young adult — or anyone else for that matter — chooses to push the limits of his or her own personal capacities, aiming to more fully consciously and deliberately experience and make the most of life… by mainly staying awake for an unusually long period of time. Let’s say, in a quest to be more ‘productive’ and/or ‘creative,’ s/he may come to experiment with eschewing sleep at night — and instead of bedding down at all, grabs only an hour or two of naps, during the day.

    Let’s say s/he does that for a week or more — and, in that time, eventually comes to feel more entirely alive and positively awake than s/he can ever recall feeling previously.

    Perhaps, during that time, s/he’s come to certain genuinely meaningful conclusions, about the limits of the sort of parenting s/he received, as a child.

    Maybe, too, in feeling so much more awake, s/he becomes far more sensitive to the workings of her own bodily processes than s/he has ever been previously — and, by feeling those processes, realizes (beyond any shadow of a doubt), that s/he’s spent too many years eating far too much ‘fast food’ (really, in all reality, it is junk food that s/he’s been living on, for years), so s/he winds up deciding to just plain stop eating that food…

    And, nonetheless, s/he’s failing to realize, that, of course, a healthy replacement diet is, quite soon, going to be entirely necessary; hence, she, is in effect, largely (but not entirely) fasting.

    After a couple of weeks, s/he’s lost a considerable amount of weight and is becoming a bit ‘ungrounded’ in her ways of relating.

    And, at last, s/he is experiencing life as somewhat more ‘dreamy’ than usual; though, really, s/he’s not delusional (at least, not any more delusional than the average ‘seeker’ who’s likewise happily toying with newly adopted — ‘spiritual’ — ways of perceiving life’s possibilities).

    I supposed, s/he could, at that point, be called “hypomanic” fairly reasonably.

    But, is s/he “bipolar”?

    In my view (as far as I can tell from experience and observation), the truth is, literally anyone could choose to become seemingly “hypomanic,” that way; and, really, “bipolar” is just a label, an abstraction.



  • “…ultimately, perhaps, this whole essay is just a reflection of the insanity, fragmentation, and obsession with labeling and categorizing of our mental health system, or mental illness system, depending on your point of view.”


    Another fine blog post that reads well — except as you get to your very last sentence (imo). Of course, it’s possible I’m misreading you, in those concluding lines, but you seem to express doubts as to whether there would really be much difference, after all, were you to hand in your State-sanctioned credentials and then put up a shingle, advertising yourself as an unlicensed personal coach (as opposed to a licensed psychotherapist).

    Prior to that point, your blog regards your psychotherapist’s licensing, so you are openly pondering, in clear/concise terms, an array of very real and potentially insurmountable issues for any would be licensed therapist who is totally awake to the realities of psych-survivor issues (as you are awake to them); and, moreover, you possesses an awakened conscience.

    Hence, throughout the brunt of your blog post, you’re addressing consequential issues, pertaining to what are increasingly intractable problems throughout the system, issues that can’t help but plague the all conscious professionals now striving to earn a living as licensed ‘mental health’ pros…

    That’s not to say I think I know what’s best for you (but, I will say I do appreciate Richard D. Lewis’s four points of advice, in his comment on October 7, 2014 at 9:58 pm and also Alex’s advice in his comment on October 7, 2014 at 12:06 pm… oh, and also Sharon Cretsinger’s October 7, 2014 at 7:48 pm comment is very powerful and moving, but it doesn’t necessarily apply to you, as it seems to me, from my limited readings of your online offerings, you aren’t a psych-survivor).

    Anyway, I think you’re getting a lot experienced advice on this page, you’d do well to take many of the comments to heart, and though I’d not want such a ‘mh’ license of any kind, that’s just me; I’d not judge you for keeping yours, because…

    I think there are really are (rare) individuals who do far more good than harm working in the ‘mh’ system (of course, they are those who are willing to buck the system, from within, as Richard D. Lewis describes); I know there are a number of such individuals who are associated with MIA, as bloggers and commenters; but, I just know that I personally would never choose to work (note even for a moment) in any way that ever required me to seemingly affirm for anyone the supposed reality of his or her psychiatric so-called “diagnosis” or “diagnoses” (committee-approved label/s).

    To encourage people to go on believing in those totally pseudo scientific ‘diagnoses’ — suggesting they and/or others whom they know should or can be well described as “mentally-ill” or “-disordered” makes no sense whatsoever to me. To prop up the medical model in that way would be contrary to every bone and ligament in my body.

    (Of course, there are folk with verifiable neurological disorders who some therapists may address in the course of developing a career.)

    In any case, it’s more than obvious from reading your words, you are a man with considerable integrity, so I’m quite sure you’ll make the best possible choice, that’s in accord with your Path (and your conscience).



  • @ truth,

    Reading (and rereading) both of your comments on this page, I can’t help but want to say: hey, what you’re saying makes a lot of sense.

    Thankfully I never received any ECT, but from what little I know about it, I believe it most certainly can have highly confounding effects; it seems to me, the combined effects of long-term use of psych ‘meds’ and even ‘just’ a relatively limited course of ECT could produce unanticipated, negative synergistic effects.

    However, the human brain does have a lot of inherent capacity to reform damaged neural pathways.

    Much of the healing that I experienced, in the months following my final withdrawal from psych ‘meds’ (more than 25 years ago) came from having and maintaining faith, that I could and would heal, soon enough.

    I was coming off a lot of ‘meds’ then; however, fortunately, I had not been on all of them for long… (and, all told, I’d been ‘medicated’ for only three and a half years).

    Yet, the healing did take patience.

    I wonder, have you read Linda Andre? Imo, you have a much to offer psychiatric survivors by telling your story, as did she (in book form) and as you are telling it, at least in part, here.

    I have gotten a lot out of telling bits and pieces of my own (‘psychiatric-survivor’) story through MIA comments. Along those lines, I hope you can realize that you are a gifted writer, as is Monica. (I mention her writing to you, because I see, from what you’re saying, you admire what she’s done with her writing.)

    If you don’t have your own personal blog, I wonder, have you ever considered starting one, as she did? (Note: I tried to start a blog and did not go far with it, so I know it would be daunting for anyone to imagine aiming at emulating blogging success, of the kind that Monica has achieved, and I wouldn’t suggest that anyone one try to do that. In fact, I don’t like my own writing, and the mere act of comparing my writing to anyone else’s is almost certainly not useful for me; so, it’s not my intent to compare your writing to anyone’s either; but, your writing is clear (hopefully, you realize that); and, imo, this site could well use more contributors who are striving to transcend not only enduring effects of psych ‘med’ withdrawal but also confounding ECT effects. So, please, even as Monica has suggested there are other websites that help more specifically with issues of withdrawal from ‘meds’, do keep posting here, in these comment threads.

    Please, do continue to share whatever you wish to share, whenever you feel the inclination. And, whatever you do, don’t let that gift of yours for communicating with words ever wither or go to waste.

    Take Good Care…



  • “I’m in general agreement with pretty much everything you said…”

    Hey Monica,

    Thanks for your concurring reply! (Good to be in agreement; but, of course, I would have been fine with disagreement as well, for I am ‘in general agreement with pretty much everything you said’ in your comment reply to me also… :))

    (By the way, in case you missed it, in that last parenthetical sentence, there’s a bit of very direct and deliberate mimicry for you!)

    There are (I know you well realize) brilliant systems of mimicry — including age-old systems — such as yoga (which I recall you mentioning, you’ve come to practice and appreciate for its healing powers).

    One can’t possibly spent time online without realizing there’s a lot of mimicry all over the Internet — e.g., call and response tweets and re-tweets — repetition of messages (for better and for worse).

    Repetition that apparently lacks any individuality whatsoever may be the kind to most seriously avoid; after all, what you’re saying at last is especially important; it bears repeating imo (so, here’s one last bit of deliberate mimicry before I go):

    “…ultimately if we individuate successfully we bring all we learn together in a completely unique way and cannot rely on anyone else ever having done that before.”

    Yes, well said! If that was a tweet, I’d retweet it!




  • Brenda,

    Great post! (Short but sweet.) Your story is poignant, and the brief trailer to “What Happened to You?” is very promising.

    I have occasionally mentioned, in my MIA comments, that, at age 21, I threw a bunch of cheap plates from the kitchen cupboard, at my parents’ garage door, in their backyard.

    I have described, the next morning I consented to allow myself to be driven by my friends to a nearby E.R., where I’d have my first encounter with medical-coercive psychiatry.

    I was quite nervous and somewhat sleep-deprived, but in no way whatsoever was I being combative, nor would I become in any way combative in that E.R., but I would eventually be tied down there, on a gurney, to be forcibly injected with so-called “antipsychotic” drugs (nueroleptics).

    I was then swiftly carted off, in an ambulance, to a nearby”hospitalized” against my will… and, just hours later, forcibly drugged again — no one ever asking why I’d thrown those plates.

    Days later, as they were having me pop a variety of pills (more neuroleptics mainly) in that “hospital,” I’d beg to be provided a therapist to speak with, but that would not be allowed.

    I’d wind up, from that point forward, “hospitalized” in two settings — for nearly two months altogether… and would never, in all that time, be provided even a moment of personal ‘talk’ therapy.

    Years later, my mom would explain that she was told by her contacts, in that “hospital”: I could not receive therapy then, because therapy could not help me.

    She was told that, before any therapist could work with me, I’d need to be “stabilized” with “medication”. (She said they called it “sealing the patient.”)

    In fact, I would eventually be provided a bit of ‘out-patient’ therapy; but, that was mainly designed to acquaint me with my newly discovered ‘need’ for constant “medical” help, in the form of daily pills… and designed to ‘help’ me to fully accept this supposed ‘fact’: I was now known to be afflicted with a serious “mental illness” — a “disorder” widely considered to be genetic in origins.

    I’d soon hear from one friend of mine, that his older brother (a massage therapist) had suggested to him, that, probably, something had happened in my childhood, which led to my eventual moments of personal crisis.

    Such a notion was completely at odds with everything that I and my family were being led to believe, by psychiatry.

    For years, no one ever asked me why I’d thrown those plates.

    I rarely speak of why I did. Sometimes, in my comments, on this website, I’ve mentioned why…

    But, there were a number of combined reasons, and I’ve only shared some.

    I hope you will please excuse the indulgence of my sharing all that, about my own story, here.

    And, please, excuse me, as I’m going to post even more… because, “What Happened to You?” is such a compelling question, and only moments prior to logging on to this website and seeing the brief intro your post (which had apparently just appeared at the atop the Home page), I’d been writing and sending, in an email message to fellow psychiatric survivor friend, the following recollections [note: here I’ll formally sign off, respectfully, saying thank you, Brenda, for posting such a wonderfully inspiring blog post):

    …surely, WWII provided a most outstanding case of victors writing history, here in this country.

    Here, we are all taught, from a very early age, that we were ‘The Good Guys’ — period — case closed. (Just forget about the all that firebombing we did, in Germany and Japan. Forget about the two atomic bombs we dropped…)

    (Note: As it happens, i grew up in a house where U.S. ‘American’ History books of all kinds were standing around, on shelves…)

    Really, ever since i was a very small child, it has struck me as incredibly bizarre (truly, outrageous) that we ‘Americans’ are taught, by our school systems, that we’re the world’s ‘knights in shining armor’ …because (i can recall) my earliest half-way conscious exposures to the ‘news’ on television (i.e., memories from age two+) that led me intuitively to sense (and, i well knew, consciously, by the time i was just four years old) that, the Vietnam War was nothing more or less for us than the purest folly, ideological and needless, a devastating exercise in futility.

    Of course, it helped that my parents were opposed to that war.

    Back in those days, ‘body-counts’ were reported, in the evening news broadcasts, on network TV, in this country, as though the scoring of distant sporting events.

    ‘We Americans’ were expected to approve of the jobs our leaders were doing, as long as considerably more Viet Cong were reported killed than South Vietnamese and U.S./American soldiers.

    Fortunately, my parents were wise enough to oppose that war.

    But, i should point out: they were not inclined to have us watching those news reports during dinnertime.

    I watched those daily death tallies in TV news reports, only when i’d eat over at the house of this one-and-only neighborhood friend i had — a schoolmate who lived a few blocks away.

    As we ate his mom’s mac and cheese or hamburger dinners, I was always attempting to understand why it was happening; why was that war happening?

    Eventually, it was, in large part, that same very same sort of — really quite deep and persistent — questioning (and, really, also quietly perplexed horror), but with respect to my pondering the nuclear arms race, at its height (30,000 nuclear warheads on each side, by the time i was twenty-one years old), which would lead me to ‘explode’ momentarily (throwing plates against my parents’ garage door), at age 21.5.

    No less, in those moments, i was quite aware of my coming to simultaneously (at last!) rebel against the way i’d been raised, during that above-mentioned time…

    Such is to say, i had, in my mind’s eye, been going back in time, for a number of weeks, late at night; these were deliberately conjured ‘age-regressing’ efforts, leading me to re-experience sensually feelings i’d had throughout the height of the Vietnam War (as a kid, in the late Sixties and early Seventies); i was listening to a lot of old Dylan music — and Joan Baez, then… and began conjuring, unexpectedly, an unending sense of being overwhelmed by my older brother at home, threatened and humiliated, almost constantly… and the sense of futility… in that there was so much contradictory ignorance and just plain incompetence coming from our Dad, who had never had any dad around when he was a kid.

    My brother was four years older than i, he knew how to find my weaknesses and push my buttons… and did so for a number of years, back then, non-stop, day and after day.

    My dad’s interventions were entirely ineffective, and often he was just not around… because, of course, he was working.

    My mom could protect me — but only when i was able to stay by her side; so, i was “Mamma’s Boy” (according my brother).

    I had always been far more frail than he — skinny as a rail… and was in all respects “the easy kid” in our family (that’s how my mom described me), as i was so quiet.

    Sometimes, my mom would encourage me to “get angry” at my brother, but she never told me how (i guess, in saying “get angry” she was hoping i’d find a way to voice some direct opposition to him, as opposed to my just plain hiding or whining to my parents, about his behaviors); but, as a kid, i only got angry at him one time: I was either ten or eleven years old and a was finally feeling totally fed up with being humiliated by him. He was going at it, pushing my buttons, and i suddenly picked up my plate of spaghetti and meat sauce and tossed it, hard as i could, in his direction. It hit the opposite wall, in the living room.

    As the plate was flying, i shouted at my brother, calling him “N—-R!!!” (Note: There are no African Americans in our family; but, you should know, i come from a family of ‘liberals’ and ‘progressives’ …all who fully supported the Civil Rights movement; hence, in those days, the “N-word” was, as far as i knew, the very WORST possible label that anyone could ever use to describe anyone else.)

    My dad wasn’t around, at that time. My mom immediately sent me to my room — which was not a harsh punishment, of course, but it was unheard of, because it was not my nature to require ‘punishing’ of any kind…

    I mean, my brother was sent there (to our shared bedroom) not infrequently; it was not a horrible punishment for him; it didn’t modify his behaviors; and, i wasn’t to be kept there long very long after throwing that plate of spaghetti…

    But, should i have been ‘punished’ at all, I wonder?

    As a parent, now, I can’t help but think about how I would have parented myself differently.

    In retrospect, i think my mom should have just had me cool off, in there, for a brief bit of time, sure — but then should have come in and praised me.

    She could have docked me somehow very mildly (maybe taking 50 cents out of my allowance) for using the “N-word”; she could have then suggested some better words to use while explaining it was wrong to throw the plate. But, no less, she could have praised me for finally getting clearly pissed. (Then, after praising me, she could have told me i had to clean up the mess i’d made.)

    I actually think it would have been good had i been taught how to effectively ‘fight’ my brother — with words.

    In those days, he was always putting me down with the most humiliating terms, which left me feeling small and degraded.

    (I strongly feel that the psychiatric labels eventually used to describe me were quite like ‘medical’ versions of my brothers terms for me.)

    Indeed, like my later being told of the theoretical genetic defects that had supposedly created my supposed “mental illness,” my brother, when we were young, would frequently tell me, “You were never supposed to be born” …because he well knew that my mom had had miscarriages as well as still-births before i was born; she’d had a number of them… and there were complications with my birth, which required special medical procedures; i would not have survived otherwise.

    In retrospect, i think i should have been led, by my parents, to realize, that: i could well have chosen to counter my brother’s arguments against my existence, with the fact that he was adopted.

    I.e., to his “You were never supposed to be born,” i could have countered “You weren’t supposed to be a part of this family,” but i well understood his sensitivity to that subject; indeed, even the suggestion of such, now, seems taboo; the nature of such a suggestion seems too cruel…

    But, would it have been any more cruel than what he was getting away with, really?

    From a very young age, much as my brother was inclined to taunt me and overwhelm me with half-veiled threats of violence, i felt sorry for my brother, that he was adopted, so i would not have countered his taunts by referencing the fact he was adopted; and, my parents would have never allowed me to get away with repeating such a phrase as, “You weren’t supposed to be a part of this family.”

    He he’d receive years of therapy, to deal with his anger around that issue. (It’s quite common for adopted kids to hold a lot of anger, considering their feelings that they were rejected by their ‘real’ parents.)

    And, there was our younger sister (who, like my brother, was also adopted by my parents as a newborn infant); i would need to consider how any expressed negative attitude toward adoptions could effect her, and she came along when i was not quite four years old.

    By that point, had i in any way slighted my brother for his being adopted, it would have been a slight of our younger sister, too, and, as a kid, i always felt very protective of her.

  • “To See a Professional or Not”


    Over the years, since I put psychiatry out my life, there have been many times that I’ve found myself happily sitting and reading J Krishnamurti’s writings and his transcribed talks… (and, recently, as well, watching and listening to his recorded talks, some of which can be easily accessed online, via Youtube). His conversations are always, I find, good reminders that the ‘ultimate guru’ resides within ones own life.

    But, his message can seem somewhat self-contradictory, because, really he was himself a kind of guru (albeit one who would not ever choose to describe himself as such and who would, in many ways, refuse to put himself on a pedestal), and he was forever offering advice — but a very, very basic kind of advice… to look within.

    I guess I’d call him an ‘anti-guru’ guru — and do consider him to have been a very ‘safe guru’ …because, after all, he was a gentle man, who, it seems to me (from what I can tell, through studying his writings and talks), really had no desire whatsoever to control others and no interest in recommending any particular creed nor any practices other than the most basic sort of meditation.

    I think his message was quite basic and sincere, and it could easily become the basis for anyone’s beginning to develop a healthy, daily meditation practice, free from dogma of any kind.

    That said, I do think his message can tend to obscure this fact, that people tend to learn by mimicry, and nearly every form of discipline has had its masters, and some of those masters have been great teachers who inspired their students to excel in their field.

    Every society, if it is to thrive in the best sense, can and will produce at least some few prominent leaders, in every field of professional endeavor, to model excellence; and, excellent character can be modeled; indeed, kids need some amount of more or less direct exposure to wise/self-responsible adult role models, in order to become themselves, soon enough, wise and self-responsible adults.

    So, I do not take J Krishnamurti’s message to the extreme. I have looked for wise counsel at various points in my life, and I think, with respect to the question that’s implied in the title of your blog post (“To See a Professional or Not”), it depends on what kind of professional we’re talking about.

    For anyone who’s on the fence, wondering whether or not to begin seeing a licensed ‘mental health’ professional, I say: caveat emptor (“Let the buyer beware”).

    In the majority of instances, their training is not great (I do not hesitate to conclude, often it is quite bad); and, not only that…

    Also, the licensing of ‘mental health’ pros tends to make them literally a hazard to many (if not most) of their clients, especially those clients whose expressions (of thoughts, emotions and/or behaviors) seem in any way particularly worrisome or troubling.

    Licensed ‘mental health’ pros are all required to report — to law-enforcement authorities and/or to psychiatry — clients who seem to be ‘a danger to themselves’ or ‘a danger to others.’

    Of course, those criteria are vague, they reflect highly subjective judgement calls, and (I know all-too-well, from repeated personal experiences, now thankfully decades past), of course, it’s not unusual for licensed ‘mental health’ professionals to judge a client as “a danger to himself/herself” mainly because s/he’s ‘confessed’ to being (or, perhaps, has been ‘outed’ as) someone who’s lately refusing to be ‘medicated’ with prescribed psychiatric drugs.

    This was long before the advent of the Internet. I had no knowledge of anyone successfully eschewing psychiatry after having been forced into accepting it (as I had been forced into accepting it); and, everyone I knew had been programmed to believe that the psychiatric labeling I’d received meant that I literally could not survive without psych ‘meds,’ so ridding my life of those ‘meds’ required my choosing to end therapy and put a considerable distance between myself and all the ‘mental health’ professionals amongst my family and friends (there were more than a few).

    As a result, I would become an ‘outsider’ of sorts; but, that was not necessarily a bad thing; and, after a few years, I did find myself consulting with various non-licensed professionals (‘healers’ such as massage therapists… and also yoga teachers… and ‘life coaches’ and hypnotherapists), some of whom were quite helpful for a time.

    Wow, look at the time! (I need to go catch at least a couple hours of sleep…)

    Thanks for a positively thought-provoking blog post, Monica (I see it’s been generating some moving comments, I may respond briefly to one or two of them, just a bit later today).



  • Sinead,

    Thanks much for your further response.

    I sincerely appreciate your sharing those recollections of having talked that ‘patient’ out of accepting ECT; it’s a wonderful story, which strongly suggests you’ve long felt (rightly) that ECT is potentially quite dangerous.

    But, about your saying “I am on the same page with the ONE victim of forced ECT that you somehow know I have talked to,” …I’m scratching my head.

    I don’t get why you say that, Sinead.

    After all, there should be no sense of mystery about how I know this, as I already told you: “I am aware that you’ve spoken with one victim of forced ECT — at least, via comments on this website.”

    Of course, that simply meant, I can recall seeing your exchange of comments under his blog post, in late December, as I was also posting comments on that page too, at that time. (In fact, I recall you’d offered some very informative comments in regards to issues surrounding the topic of that post.)

    You describe yourself as being on the same page as that MIA blogger…

    However, I can’t help but wonder: are you really entirely on the same page with him when it comes to ECT generally? …because he’s worked to abolish its use in California; and, meanwhile, you say “I think that being against ECT is a natural response, but there are many medical and surgical treatments that make me queasy, or cringe…”

    Maybe I’m misinterpreting you, but your saying that suggests to my mind that you are probably not on the same page with ECT abolitionists. (Note: I do count myself amongst such folk, as I believe ECT is such an ultimately dangerous crap shoot, no one should be licensed to administer it.)

    And, frankly, I don’t get your wild (shouting, all-caps) enthusiasm for Healy and your insistence that he’s an indispensable ally.

    To me, as far as his professional practices go (from what I can tell, by way of my online study of them): but for the fact that he enjoys jousting with Big Pharma and its minion, he seems a fairly conventional psychiatrist, in most ways.

    He’s a fairly classic, modern ‘biopsychiatrist’ — promoting his own genetic theories of “mental illness” …whilst believing “schizophrenia” is a perfectly legitimate/valid diagnosis (a real disease) that shall inevitably require periods of psychiatric drugging as well as shal, in some instances, positively call for electro-shock/ECT.

    (He also suggests drugs and/or ECT for ‘mania’.)

    All the while, he paints himself as a long-suffering “heretic,” opposed to Big Pharma; and, he is one, certainly, as compared to psychiatrists who never question Big Pharma; but, he paints himself the Lone Ranger (battling Big Pharma), even as he’s standing on the shoulders of those who came before him (e.g., Peter Breggin).

    After reading this last comment of yours, I watched Healy speaking in the video he posted on his latest MIA blog post, and I think it’s sad; he’s appearing there a bit of a shambles, way overplaying his ‘victim’ card.

    (To one extent or another, he’s been doing that for years. I suppose he gains sympathy from his fans that way?)

    To the extent that he really is a heretic, he’s not the ultimate heretic amongst psychiatrists — not at all. Breggin is far more ‘heretic’ than Healy… being that Breggin began his fight with Big Pharma long before Healy (of course, being that Healy is younger than Breggin, that’s not Healy’s fault), and, more to the point: Breggin altogether opposes the use of psych ‘meds’ and totally opposes ECT and encourages the complete rejection of psych labeling to boot!

    (Probably, it goes without saying, Szasz was the ultimate ‘heretic’ amongst psychiatrists — because he was the first psychiatrist to completely reject the medical model, and he totally opposed psychiatric coercion.)

    Finally, you indicate that Healy’s no longer ordering ECT, and I don’t know why you say that… (Have you any documentation, in those regards, or is that speculation? maybe wishful thinking?)

    Surely, your heart is in the right place, Sinead, that’s more than obvious, as it seems to me that you know ECT should be abolished, but you’re painting Healy as some kind of Savior nonetheless, because you view him a Giant in the fight against Big Pharma; I don’t view him as such; indeed, I view him as a perp of classic psychiatric abuse (note: you say, at last “please consider what is at stake for everyone not lucky enough to choose their ‘poison’” so, again, I point out: Healy argues that forced psychiatric drugging is, at times, necessary).

    I think Bracken is moving in the right direction (and I think you do not realize, he is far and away less of a ‘biopsychiatrist’ than is Healy); Healy supports and upholds the medical model (Bracken not so much); and, Bracken is, for my money, a far better communicator.

    But, that’s just my personal opinion.

    I have carefully read both of his papers that are posted above. The first one reflects a pipe dream, I think; the second one is more compelling.

    But, please understand: Bracken is no hero, in my view, nor is any other psychiatrist — i.e., not Breggin (who once was a hero in my eyes) nor even Szasz.

    It seems to me you are indicating that Healy is a hero in your eyes? (I could be wrong about that, I may be misinterpreting your final, all-caps expressions, but if he is a hero of yours, that’s fine, go with it…

    From the unmistakeable passion of your expressions, with respect to your concerns regarding the tragic impact of psych ‘meds’ on our society, I do feel your heart is in exactly the right place, and however you view Healy is fine with me.

    I was just addressing you (in my first comment to you) with a mind to hopefully elevate the ‘moral’ status of Bracken, in your eyes somewhat (and, indeed, elevate him over Healy), because, much as I do agree with your concerns, my own first concerns regard use of coercion and force, in the ‘treatment’ of so-called “mental patients”; and, yes, I find it a travesty that Healy, a psychiatrist who makes it a point to solicit and to consider as quite legitimate countless complaints about ‘med’ effects, is someone who refuses to acknowledge any and all complaints that lasting damage is being caused by his own ‘treatment’ specialty, ECT.

    I will let this convo rest now… fully respecting your right to view Healy and his contributions to this movement however you wish.

    Be Well Always…



  • “I do believe some people can be very contradictory in their belief system…


    Before I address that point you are making, about contradictions, I must say thanks for the welcome back and for alerting me to your comment under Jonanna Moncrieff’s August 26 blog post. I had not been aware of it, and, now, having read that comment of yours, I must say, I quite appreciate your kind gesture, offering to speak with my dad and vouch for me any time! (That’s really very kind of you, very thoughtful.) You also ask a couple question of me, there. I’ll ponder them just a bit more, then respond with a comment (or maybe an email) later tonight or tomorrow.

    About being contradictory…

    You mention an intention to remain “scientific” in your evaluations. In the context of this discussion, wherein the value of the work of Pat Bracken is being compared to that of the work of David Healy, I think it’s important to recognize, that Healy is a researcher who’s most often claiming to prove himself as a critic of Big Pharma; hence, he strives to develop a special expertise in knowing the downsides (a.k.a., “side-effects”) of psychopharmacology. I believe, in most instances, he’s not going to shun these various pharmaceuticals; he’s in no way ‘anti-psychopharmocolgy,’ nor does he reject the traditional psychiatric ‘diagnoses’ (labels); but, all the time, his running themes suggest that he’s uncovering ‘negative’ effects such drugs. Meanwhile, there is his resounding approval of and support for ECT; and, he runs an ECT clinic; and, whenever presented with claims that ECT is causing lasting damage (enduring “side-effect”), he counters those claims, denying they are valid… while typically insisting they are coming from “patients” who are actually experiencing negative psych ‘med’ effects. He does this quite regularly — never conceding that ECT can create lasting damage.

    To me, he hasn’t the capacity to be objective, and I don’t trust the results of his research. (If you wish, you can see my further comments on this matter, including a couple of links that I recommend, at the bottom of this page.)

    For whatever it may be worth, here I’ll add: I’m on a big ‘focus’ kick lately — aiming to be more focused, in every aspect of my life.

    So, in the interest of staying focused, I’d like to do my best to keep the content of my MIA comments fairly well directed on the context of the discussions being raised by the bloggers and address other commenters who are fairly well staying on topic; your above-mentioned questions to me may be out of context, relative to Dr Moncrieff’s post; hence, I may email you instead of post a comment reply on that page.

    I’ll have to go back to that page, take a moment to read that blog post by Dr Moncrieff… and then decide how to respond. (To whatever extent that I can, I will reply to your questions in a way that utilizes the topics raised by the blogger… that is, if I can find a way to weave the various themes together in a relatively natural way, such that I can leave at least a brief comment reply for you there — at the bottom of that page.)

    Expect a comment reply there or else an email, sometime in the next 24 hrs.



  • Sinead,

    Thank you very much for clearly articulated comment reply. Imo, you and I are basically in agreement about much of what we’re discussing, especially as you say, at last, “I would never refer anyone to a psychiatrist, much less seek one out for my own issues.” However, it’s true that you (and I, too) will, at times, refer certain individuals to certain writings of certain psychiatrists…

    In fact, I don’t fault you at all for your recommending those books by Healy, which you’ve found so useful for the way in which they confirm your observations as a professional; you should recommend them, as they are illuminating, in your view. And, I want to emphasize this (before going further): The sense I get from reading your comments (including your comment on October 4, 2014 at 3:30 pm, to Dr Goldstein), is that you are surely doing your clients immense good, in your ways of working with them. In fact, I suspect you do enormous good in your work.

    Only, we do disagree about Healy’s ultimate legacy — particularly when it comes to the effects of his being a ‘schock-doc’; and (to be perfectly frank), from what you’re saying, I think you are uninformed about the true nature of ECT.

    From what you’re saying, I gather you’ve not ever been exposed to anyone who, to your knowledge, has spoken of being harmed by ECT.

    Yet, I presume you must realize, there are many people who say that they’ve been seriously harmed by ECT. (Surely, you must realize that’s true, I image.)

    (Actually, I am aware that you’ve spoken with one victim of forced ECT — at least, via comments on this website; but, from what you’re saying, I conclude you never discussed his experiences of ECT with him.)

    Also, you may or may not realize: there are quite a few individuals who’ve committed suicide not long after receiving ECT; I can think of a couple of them who were well-known ‘celebrities’ in the world of literature. They may or may not have complained of ECT’s effects, but (I believe, without a doubt) the effects of ECT do, at times, drive psychiatric “patients” to committing suicide.

    But, on the other hand, many people have been positively helped (even ‘saved’) by ECT, according to their own reports.

    This is what makes the procedure so controversial, that: there are such mixed reviews.

    Many say they’ve been greatly helped by ECT, but many people who’ve received ECT feel they’ve been harmed terribly by it, and I deeply believe many have indeed been harmed by it, quite…

    By this point, I myself have only had conversations with a relatively small number of such individuals, and their personal stories, of having been harmed by ECT, are, to my mind, entirely convincing.

    ECT-providers (‘shock-docs’) are, generally speaking, notorious for flatly denying the existence of any such harm.

    Healy is one such a doctor.

    In Healy’s view, it is psychopharmacology alone that can and does often wind up causing considerable harm to “patients” of psychiatry. (However, note: Healy finds some applications of psychopharmacology to be quite useful — and does sometimes recommend its forced application.)

    I think Healy’s calls for genuinely careful/minimal/judicious use of psychopharmacology should not to be dismissed (they are valuable recommendation, because they are harm-reducing recommendations) except at the point that he’ll recommend involuntarily received (i.e., forced) applications…

    All of psychiatry’s forced use of psychopharmacology is wrong. (I am totally opposed to any and all forced brain ‘treatments’ that are ‘prescribed’ for so-called “mental illness.”)

    And, I believe Healy’s pat denials of the harms caused by ECT (whether it’s conscious or unconscious denial, I really don’t know) are inexcusable.

    There is no doubt in my mind about this: harms that ECT (not infrequently) causes can be personally devastating…

    Indeed, all the more devastating for those who are harmed by ECT, is this fact, that ECT providers will not acknowledge it ECT can cause harm…

    This denial on the part of ECT providers leads countless vulnerable souls to accept the recommendation that they should receive ECT.

    Afterward, if/when they feel harmed by it, they find themselves in a no-man’s-land, haunted by a deep sense of being personally damaged… and enduring the experience of being rebuffed by their doctors, once they complain about such effects; to be left with a long-enduring sense of having been ‘taken’ is then virtually guaranteed.

    ECT providers (such as Healy) are uniform in their responses to claims of harm being done by ECT; once that very real harm that can be done by ECT becomes an issue, they become defensive if not ‘just’ stone-faced.

    So, yes…

    Healy’s standard line, to those who insist they’ve been damaged by ECT, is that (here I paraphrase): there are no negative/lasting effects of modern-day ECT treatments; any seemingly negative effects will pass after six weeks’ time, and any other negative effects that (to the “patient”) seem to last longer, are not really ECT effects.

    Consistently, Healy insists that such “patients” are mis-attributing enduring effects of harm that was actually done by psychopharmacology, to ECT. (And, of course, ostensibly, he’s referring there to drug ‘treatment’ that “patients” had been prescribed by previous doctors… who were not properly versed in how to judiciously prescribe ‘meds’ as is he.)

    I’ve seen Healy engage in such automatically defensive conversations online.

    Frankly, because Healy is so totally dedicated to denying the cause and effect relationships that potentially discomfiting ECT “patients” report to him (here I’m referring to causes and effect regarding how they’ve, indeed, quite likely been harmed by ECT), I do not find Healy to be a credible researcher.

    He accepts countless complaints about psychopharmacology effects, as valid — but invalidates complaints about ECT effects (most especially, long-term ECT effects).

    More than anything, its that aspect of his professional practices, which leads me to compare him to Pat Bracken in a way that is quite unfavorable. (I.e., in my way of comparing the two, Bracken is the better man and the more efficacious professional, by far. Of course, being that I don’t know either of these men personally, I can’t claim to be any kind of ‘ultimate judge’ of their work, but…)

    My sense from what little I do know of them, through my exposure to their writings and talks online, is that Bracken, as a psychiatric ‘therapist’ …will always be superior to Healy, because Bracken (as far as can tell from reading his writings) is the rare psychiatrist who will be genuinely careful to listen to his “patients” — and will not dismiss the observations of his “patients” to defend his own interests and positions.

    I strongly suggest taking time to carefully study the offerings at both of the following two links:

    “Book Review: Shock Therapy by David Healy, Edward Shorter (and Max Fink)”

    “Linda Andre’s New Book, “Doctors of Deception: What They Don’t Want You to Know About Shock Treatment,” Just Out From Rutgers University Press!”

    That first link offers a very thorough analysis of Healy and Shorter’s book on the history of ECT, which I mentioned in my first comment to you, above. (I have read most of that book, and I think it’s a disgrace, as it is such a one-sided take — pro-ECT all the way.)

    That 2nd link refers to a book that is widely considered excellent, by survivors of bad ECT experiences. As you have never exposed yourself to anyone who (to your knowledge) had a bad experience with ECT, I strongly recommend your taking some time to read carefully through the comments of that 2nd link.

    Again, Sinead, thanks much for your very clear reply.



  • Sinead,

    Regarding the passage of your comment (on October 4, 2014 at 1:44 pm) wherein you write,

    …Dr. Bracken fails to confront the only real cause for the “crisis of confidence in psychiatry”.

    There is a history lesson here. The psychiatrist who has done the most thorough job of documenting it is, Dr. David Healy. I am amongst the 30+ year mental health professionals who can attest to every misstep Dr Healy points out, that was taken by psychiatrists that has led to the scourge that is a very close runner up to the AIDS travesty in America. In other words, Psychiatrists, themselves, led the way to exploiting vulnerable people for obscene profit.

    IF no one can accurately question the behavior of licensed medical doctors– except the brotherhood of licensed medical doctors– AND this brotherhood persecutes as a heretic, any doctor daring to expose the scam that is literally killing people, then what exactly IS the medical specialty known as, psychiatry? Psychiatry, to any health care professional who was trained and educated before the pharmaceutical industry took over as major educators and financial support for doctors; to us, psychiatry IS a cult with mafia backing…

    Sinead, I appreciate your critiques of psychiatry, emphasizing, as you do, this reality, of psychiatrists’ general lack of credibility, as physicians. They are good critiques you’re offering, imo.

    You emphasize the way psychiatrists have, in the main, sold out, to Big Pharma — and how their selling-out was largely a result of their being relatively poorly trained and/or under-practiced, in real medicine, as a rule (in comparison to other licensed physicians). I agree with you, on that.

    But, I seriously question: do you mean to paint the psychiatrist, David Healy, as some kind of heroic “heretic” and place him somehow morally ‘above’ Pat Bracken? (That seems to be your intent.)

    While I personally view psychiatry as being, at best, a superfluous profession (it’s really unnecessary, in my opinion, so I have no use for it), I can say, hypothetically speaking, were I ever to be again forced into accepting the professional ‘help’ of a psychiatrist, the blogger posting on this page (Bracken) could well appeal to me, as an ‘OK’ choice of psychiatrist; he’d be acceptable to me — if I was being legally compelled to consult a psychiatrist.

    On the contrary, Healy would be amongst the very last choices (of any psychiatrist living today, whom I know of) that I’d ever recommend to anyone, under any circumstance.

    I would not ever recommend his ‘services’ to anyone, under any circumstance, because, after all, he’s a true-believer in the supposed ‘good’ of electro convulsive “therapy” (a.k.a., “shock treatment”).

    In fact, Healy is a major promoter of ECT… even runs a shock ‘therapy’ clinic.

    His professional views of ‘best’ practices in psychiatry are, to some extent, chronicled in his book, which he co-authored, with Edward Shorter, Shock Therapy: A History of Electroconvulsive Treatment in Mental Illness (2007).

    (It’s really an ECT industry promotional tome — the writing of which was reportedly funded by one of the world’s foremost shock-docs.)

    Here, as follows, are just a few excerpts of that book, by Healy and Shorter:

    “Our research convinces us that ECT is an important, responsible, and reliable therapy that deserves to be more widely used…”

    “…there should be little controversy over whether it is safe or effective. Somatic therapies like ECT easily trump anything in the psychopharmaceutical medicine chest as the most effective treatment for such severe illnesses as melancholic depression, catatonia, or manic excitement; it also has a place in the treatment of schizophrenia…”

    “ECT is, in a sense, the penicillin of psychiatry. We would be baffled if the benefits of penicillin were not widely touted in the patients’ world, lauded by the press, and accepted as a matter of fact by medical doctors. Why has this not happened with ECT? The question is especially important because there are a great many people with depression who do not respond to antidepressant drugs.”

    Along with his co-author (Shorter), Healy calls ECT, “in a sense, the penicillin of psychiatry.” In my humble opinion, that’s an absolutely outrageous line — which, in and of itself, tells me that I’d never want myself (nor anyone whom I care for) to have anything to do with Healy.

    If, perhaps, you are unfamiliar with the well-chronicled problems of ECT, I suggest to you the following link — to an article that was authored by John Read and Richard Bentall, “The effectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy: A literature review” (2010):

    [Note: As it happens, Bentall was once a student of Healy.]

    Consider, if nothing else, the summarized ‘Conclusion’ of that paper, which (on its first page) reads, in part:

    “Given the strong evidence (summarised here) of persistent and, for some, permanent brain dysfunction, primarily evidenced in the form of retro-grade and anterograde amnesia. and the evidence of a slight but significant increased risk of death, the cost-benefit analysis for ECT is so poor that its use cannot be scientifically justified.”

    Essentially, Healy can be considered a ‘heretic’ when it comes to his critiquing Big Pharma in its failure to come clean, in regards to the real effects of its drugs; yet, meanwhile, he has not the least interest turning that critical eye of his to the harmful effects of his own, most beloved psychiatric tool of choice (ECT) in psychiatry’s ongoing, ever-lasting battle against so-called “mental illness”; Healy has nothing but praise for electro-shock/ECT…

    Of course, we all know certain unflattering terms that are used to assail the quality of character of one who is apparently choosing to condemn certain decidedly bad practices amongst his/her colleagues whilst nonetheless turning a blind eye (and even highly praising) equally bad practices that just happen to provide the basis for his/her own income.

    Some such terms, of course, come to mind, as I write about Healy’s love of ECT; but I will not include any terms of derision, in my MIA comments, for then there would be the risk of having my comments removed (as they could become less than civil in the view of the MIA moderators). Just, please, understand, Sinead, I have not the least respect for Healy, as a professional; but, I do not mean to critique your views overall; indeed, I quite appreciate your professionally informed, clearly impassioned commenting, in this discussion and elsewhere on this website (including the extent to which you are here challenging the expressed views of MIA’s newest blogger, Pat Bracken).



  • Dr. Bracken,


    As a psychiatric survivor who is now thankfully more than a quarter-century free from psychiatry and its ‘meds’ — and who is also minimally familiar with your work as a psychiatrist (that is, I have exposure to various selections of your writings and talks online), I say without hesitance, thank you for your work’s message, I am truly glad to see you posting on this website.

    Though I wish you’d keep the terms “mental illness” and “patient” sandwiched in quotation marks, what you offer here, in your first posting, is positively meaningful (and is, I believe, fairly representative of the over message in your work). It’s a good sample of your professional wisdom overall.

    But, regarding your suggestion, that what you’re describing could somehow become the (really, incredibly bright) dawn of a new chapter in psychiatry, well, I feel certain you are expressing an impossible dream.

    Psychiatry cannot be what you want it to be, Dr Bracken, because most psychiatrists (unlike you) haven’t got the capacity to work in the way you’re describing. Most haven’t the self-awareness or the disposition, so they will never be even minimally what you hope they will be.

    And, the profession of psychiatry, as a whole, is just too far gone, down the road of ‘brain worship’ (thus, psychopharmacology-worship… and, for some psychiatrists, ECT worship) already; its practitioners have become (almost without exception) individuals who have no measurable interest practicing anything like the hermeneutics that you’re suggesting — nor anything even remotely comparable.

    Psychiatrists are not often also liberal arts majors, Dr Bracken; they’re not lovers of great works of art, in the way you may be (some may collect art, I knew one who did, but he did not appreciate artists in the sense that your are describing); they are mainly folk who are awed by the latest brain science and by the now-standard, digitized color images that are created by brain-scan machines, fMRIs.

    So, what you’re offering, in your encouragements (toward a world of psychiatry that would embrace hermeneutics), is really quite overly-optimistic, I think; it’s your dream/vision of what, I suppose, plenty of psychiatrists could ideally be in some alternate universe.

    They’d be medical specialists who are adept at understanding the products of our life as would a great art historian understand Picasso’s most celebrated paintings! Wonderful…; but remember: in this universe, psychiatrists are (most of them) working directly or indirectly for governments — indeed, for government agencies that are unsurpassed by any other government agencies in their tendency toward bureaucracy.

    In fact, these are agencies guided by laws, which are designed to control individuals’ thoughts, feelings and behaviors… at the expense of sacrificing their civil liberties.

    Psychiatry is, above all else, a key System of Control, in modern/industrialized/secular societies; and, thus, rarely ever do any psychiatrists work entirely on behalf of their “patients” (they can’t).

    Always, psychiatrists are beholden to the dictates of the System of Control, which guides their practices — which means there’s a constant threat of forced ‘treatment’ behind even their kindest offerings.

    The psychiatric “patient” must ultimately bow down to the dictates of a State, which fears ‘deviance’ above all else, and it will always be psychiatrists, first and foremost, who will make sure that every “patient” in the ‘care’ of psychiatry does so…

    To be marked as a psychiatric “patient” is almost always to be viewed (especially, by strangers) as potentially threatening, by society. Thus, no psychiatric “patient” can speak entirely freely about being a psychiatric “patient” …and their lives will inevitably be largely a mystery to their psychiatrists, as the “patient” who somehow ultimately ‘fails’ to ‘properly’ (in the eyes of psychiatry) present a current image of himself/herself that conforms and abides with the psychiatrists’ sense of propriety, will be subject to medical incarceration and forced or coerced brain treatments.

    The “patient” of psychiatry must largely remain in hiding, as compared to others, who are not “patients” of psychiatry… because always are ways of being shafted by society, when one is known as a “patient” of psychiatry; and, there’s some implied coercion, in the psychiatrists’ officially prescribed recommendations, always.

    This is all to say, in most instances, “patients” of psychiatry will not be fully known or understood by anyone — least of all their psychiatrists.

    The stigma of being a “patient” of psychiatry is crippling in a way that most psychiatrists cannot admit to themselves; and, then there’s the stigma of psychiatric labeling…

    Dr Bracken, few psychiatrists can or will ever feel free to fully enter the ‘world’ of their “patients” — especially, not those who are called “seriously mentally ill.”

    Most psychiatrist fear that world terribly.

    The psychiatrist is not a shaman, after all; s/he has not been ‘initiated’ into — has no knowledge of — the ‘underworld’ …that’s so well known by so many “chronic patients” of psychiatry; the shaman (i.e., real shaman) knows how to transcend that realm, overcoming any tendency toward living a life of persisting fears and anxiety, because s/he has face and overcome fear-of-death itself.

    I’m not sure if you can understand the importance of that (probably, you can, but most psychiatrists can’t); most people who can appreciate what I am saying here will know what I mean, as I say: Psychiatrists are mainly bound to be and remain forever inept, at their work, with so-called “psychotic” people… because they have no first-hand, lived experience, no first-hand knowledge, of how to transcend ‘psychosis’ without resort to psychopharmacology.

    And, consider this: The practice of shamanism (which, in modern times, has largely been replaced by psychiatry) was never traditionally a full-time job. The shaman was only a part-time shaman (traditionally); s/he was also a hunter and/or a gatherer — as well as, unusually, an artisan.

    The psychiatrist, of course, is forever dependent upon being a psychiatrist (which typically requires pedaling emotionally and mentally suppressive drugs) to earn a living; and, in all eras and places where psychiatrists have put up a shingle, to earn a living, while they have worked full-time doing so, at most, only partially have they worked for the good of their “patients”; for, they are working to support themselves and their own families firstly, and, then, secondarily, they work for their society and for the families of “patients” who wish for nothing more or less than seeing the so-called “mental illness” of the identified “patient” controlled — which means the “patient” must be subdued — most often, chemically (if not by electric shocks).

    (The “patient” of psychiatry is to be made subservient, to one and all; she is not to be encouraged to live a life of full self-expression, as did Picasso! Goodness, no…)

    So, society allows the psychiatrist to earn his/her living by scheduling periodic fifteen minute sessions, to consult with “patients” on “medication” effects and so-called “side-effects” …adjusting ‘meds’ …as the “patient” slowly succumbs to “medication” induces metabolic disease and brain-shrinkage; and, that is it.

    (I know that describes psychiatric practices here in the U.S. more than anywhere else, including where you live, but…)

    Frankly, precisely because psychiatry has hit such lows here in this country, it is very easy to shun psychiatry altogether.

    So, instead of psychiatry, I suggest the Ways of shamanism and Buddhism and yoga — all without government involvements. (Other psychiatric survivors have come to appreciate religious faiths and spiritual traditions, that work well for them…)

    And, yes, that Way of yours (the hermeneutics that you describe) sounds perfectly good, too; however, much as I can and do appreciate the vision for psychiatry that you’re aiming to encourage, there’s just no way that it will happen on any considerable scale, because psychiatry has always been more or less obsessed with materialist-reductionist theories and labels (called “diagnoses”), and those theories and labels work best for the government control systems.

    I assure you, no society can train professionals to appreciate human life and culture as you appreciate them; and, without a doubt, psychiatry will never adopt a great Way for knowing and appreciating the lives of “patients” in the way that you do…

    Sorry to bust your bubble.




    P.S. — Much as I appreciate its over all message, I think your post fails to convey the reductionism that’s inherent in psychiatric labels. So, here’s a blog post that I recommend:

  • “I would say that about 1 person per 1000 might be genuinely ‘schizophrenic’, the same as genuinely ‘Manic Depressive’.”


    Question: Why would you say that?


    What would it be, to be “genuinely ‘schizophrenic'” or “genuinely ‘Manic Depressive'”?

    At what point is anyone’s life (or presumed life-condition) genuinely well-described by either of those labels (“schizophrenic” and “Manic Depressive”)?

    In my many years of considering them (and also the label “bipolar disorder,” which many people use interchangeably, with “Manic Depressive), I’ve never been able to view them as anything better than extremely blunt instruments.

    The divisions between the phenomena that they are supposed to suggest are vague (hence, there is the nearly all-purpose cross-over label, “schizoaffective disorder”).

    I have found not the least bit of credible, scientific evidence, which could lead me to conclude that there is a ‘genuine’ version of any of these supposed “mental illnesses.”

    I sincerely wonder why you or anyone else (including Dr Moncrieff, whose work I generally admire) who is (as you really obviously are) so basically well-informed on these issues, winds up concluding that such nosology is at all credible or positively meaningful.



    P.S. — In relation to my expressed questions and concerns, please, when you have a moment, consider the brief ‘Argument’ and ‘Conclusion’ of a paper titled “Psychiatric diagnoses are not mental processes: Wittgenstein on conceptual confusion” (2012) by coauthors Rosenman and Nasti — via the following link:

  • Correction — inadvertently left out a key word (“not”).

    Here’s what I’d meant to write:

    That sort of ‘medical treatment,’ which Jonathan describes, I recall not unusually began with psych-techs pinning down “patients” and forcing neuroleptic drugs into their veins, via syringe.

  • Jonathan Keyes refers to “multiple high doses of meds that lead to numerous health and wellbeing complications” and also to “meds radically changed, stopped and started, upped or reduced radically, all with severe ramifications.”

    That reminds me of my own (quite long-ago) experiences and observations, of psychiatric “hospital” protocols, which led to my relatively brief (three-and-a-half-years) in the ‘care’ of psychiatrists.

    That sort of ‘medical treatment,’ which Jonathan describes, I recall unusually began with psych-techs pinning down “patients” and forcing neuroleptic drugs into their veins, via syringe.

    Those effects of those so-called “antipsychotic” drugs are unpredictable; they can have what are called “paradoxical” effects; i.e., they can create an apparent ‘psychosis’ where none truly exists previously.

    That is what happened in my case.

    (In fact, I was — twice in one day — forcibly drugged, in exactly that way; for, I’d been “hospitalized” against my will, having been called a “danger to himself”; that verdict came as a result of my answering “Yes” to this truly inane so-called ‘psychiatric assessment’ question, “Do you think you are going to die and be reborn?” Or, come to think of it, maybe the question was “Do you wish to die and be reborn?” Honestly, it was such a long time ago, I am finally forgetting…)

    “And yes,” explained Jonathan Keyes, in his first MIA blog post, “I have taken part in restraining individuals and delivering injections of medications to patients who become severely hostile, threatening or self-destructive.

  • Dr. Steingard,

    To clear my mind and focus on practical matters, at home, I was taking a bit of off from visiting this website (it’s been roughly a month away). Now, upon visiting it briefly, considering only your blog post and the comment thread it has inspired, feel I may need another month off…

    But, please, don’t take offense at my saying that. I had at first intended to take two month off; and, my issue, this feeling irked by some of what I read in your post, is my issue; it’s my choice to read your words; and, I see considerable value to be gained in studying them, contemplating your evolving ways of thinking about your professional role as psychiatrist.

    I appreciate that you’ve generated much meaningful discussion on this page.

    Now, I’ve entered the conversation a bit late and don’t necessarily expect any replies, but commenter Nijinsky has indicated in a subsequent comment, below (on September 30, 2014 at 12:03 pm), that he won’t be responding to your comment replies, but it is such a compelling reply you’ve offered him here. At least, to my way of reading it, I find it begs for a response, so I’ve decided to take the liberty of responding to it, just briefly with a question. It’s very nearly the exact same question I asked you in a comment under your February 17, 2014 MIA blog post. Here I’m repeating it, for it comes to mind as your saying to Nijinsky “I think our goals are similar – to find respectful ways of helping people that do not include any form of intervention that the person rejects.”

    (That’s such a compelling line you’ve offered him, I feel — a wonderful line, really…)

    That leads to my question, Dr. Steingard, which is simply this:

    Should we presume that, perhaps, you’ve come to a turning point, in your career? I.e., you’ll no longer order nor condone any forced drugging of anyone, and you’ll not support coercive drugging (nor any other forced or coercive brain ‘treatment’) in any instances?

    I certainly hope that’s the case…



  • Frank,

    Excellent points you’re making about the intended audience for Michael’s address; and, from me, here’s a resounding ‘Yes!’ to your conclusion.

    (It deserves serious far more serious consideration than it gets from Michael, in his address; and, it certainly bears repeating…)

    “If Szaszianism means abolition of forced psychiatry, I think it high time we tried it.”)




  • Suzanne,

    Thanks for sharing the link to the TEDx talk by Phil Borges. I’ve seen the promo and outtakes from his upcoming film (“Crazywise”) and found them compelling, so I’ll surely watch the Youtube you’re recommending, as soon as i have 14 extra minutes. 🙂

    Like you and like the commenter ‘uprising’ (above), I quite appreciate what Rossa Forbes has (in her comment, on August 28, 2014 at 2:52 am) brought to this discussion, of Michael Fontaine’s address to the APA.

    For Michael to have said, parenthetically, in his address, that, “In antiquity, the shamanic model was only believed in by the lower classes and because it is obsolete today, it does not interest us here” …is somewhat outrageous, I feel.

    (It is a statement so perfectly emblematic of the precise sort of intellectual and economic elitism, that forever stinks up the halls, of that much vaunted but truly decrepit organization, the American Psychiatric Association).

    Psychiatry, which is often government-funded, has long been trampling traditional non-Western healing traditions, in the name of ‘treating’ so-called “mental illness.”

    Though I put no faith whatsoever in any government’s ‘mental health system,’ I am sympathetic with certain views of a number of activists who, as self-described ‘mh’ reformers, express themselves, their activist ideals and their professional agendas, through their blogging, on this MIA website.

    Richard D. Lewis is one such individual, who’s views I mainly appreciate. But, he is quite skeptical about talk of ‘spiritual’ healing. Therefore, not long ago, I recommended a Youtube video to him, which I will recommend here, again… for whomever might be interested.

    It is a talk, just 21 minutes long — by an ethnographer, named William Sax:

    That Youtube is titled “Healing and Psychiatry in South Asia”

    Upon recommending it to Richard, I mentioned to him: Somewhere near the middle of Sax’s talk, there is a concession that he makes to bio-psychiatry, which may be obligatory and which I think is unnecessary; but, otherwise, I find it to be an excellent and important talk.

    Perhaps, Michael Fontaine should watch it.



  • @ RonW

    Considering your comment (on August 29, 2014 at 1:31 am), I suggest to you a paper, by Steven P.R. Rose, as food for thought:

    “Human agency in the neurocentric age”

    (Under the title, appears a very brief synopsis: “Philosophers and scientists resort to dualistic explanations to reconcile the age‐old dichotomy between determinism and ‘free will’, but agency is an integral part of human biology.”)

    Rose is emeritus Professor of Biology and Neurobiology at the Open University and Gresham College, London.

    You can access the full paper via the following link:

    In my opinion, it’s well worth reading.



  • @ wileywitch,

    I appreciate your sharing that experience, but it raises many question in my mind.

    For example, I’m wondering, what sort of disturbance were you causing that led your friend to call the police? (Were you ‘disturbing the peace’ in some way?)

    And, as you’re referring to that experience, as what you call your “first episode of psychosis,” and you explain that, “unnecessary force was used” by the police… and then conclude by stating, “…I think it’s important to also recognize that it’s sometimes the best anyone could do to restrain a person in the throes of psychosis and it can be in that person’s best interest at the time,” …reading all that leads me to wondering, were you also forcibly drugged? (I’m guessing you were, because I believe forced drugging is the standard form of ‘care’ for most people who are arrested and said to be “psychotic”.)

    Also, I wonder, as you now look back to that time, when your friend was calling the police, do you believe you were delusional?

    I’m guessing you probably believe that you were delusional, because, almost certainly, you realize that, technically speaking, every psychosis is characterized by some supposed delusion(s).

    I.e., according to standard definitions of ‘psychosis,’ delusion(s) must be present; there’s no ‘psychosis’ if there’s no delusion(s).

    So, finally, I’m wondering: If, looking back to that time, you do believe you were delusional, do you believe you were so very delusional that, in lieu of calling the police, literally no kind gesture from anyone could have led you back to a relatively self-controlled (and, perhaps, even peace-loving) state of mind?

    Of course, you needn’t answer any of my questions.

    Just wanted to convey my curiosity.



  • “Whose failure is Michael actually talking about?”


    Let’s see if I can field your question…

    As mentioned in my previous comments (above), Michael begins by informing his APA listeners, that Szasz killed himself, and he offers no further words about that. Then, he suggests that Szasz lived and died unnoticed (even though he admits afterward, that Szasz was once the most famous psychiatrist in the world). And, finally, his two concluding paragraphs begin by stating “Szasz failed” and “Szaszianism has failed.”

    Oh, and let’s not forget, that the title of his address is: “On Religious and Psychiatric Atheism: The Success of Epicurus, the Failure of Thomas Szasz.”

    (Yes, the fact is, the last five words in Michael’s title are “the Failure of Thomas Szasz.”)

    Of course, you can feel free to disagree with me (maybe I’m just jumping to conclusions or, perhaps, being too literal in my interpretations); perhaps, you think maybe he’s being ironic when he paints Szasz a failure? I don’t know.

    But, to be quite honest, I don’t think there’s even a hint of irony in his tone.

    In fact, I must say, my only way to answer your question, is by simply pointing to those facts, which I’ve pointed out, above…

    From those fact, I can’t help but conclude: Without a doubt, Michael is talking about what he believes was “the failure of Thomas Szasz ” (and, yes, this is what the prevailing, status quo mindset, at the APA likes to hear).

    Again, no need to agree with me; and, admittedly, I could be completely missing some coded (‘contrary’ or ‘counterculture’) message in the body of his text, that you are detecting.

    Maybe he can tell us if that’s the case.



  • RK,

    Thanks much for your feedback on my comment. It’s quite meaningful; and, though I never had the honor of meeting Thomas Szasz, I feel I ‘know’ him well enough, by reading his writings and through listening to and watching him, in various online media, that I can trust, from what you’re saying, you really did know him personally, for what you’re saying about his views matches my sense of his message, as I’ve gathered it over the years…

    And, from what I ‘know’ of him, I fully agree with your assessment of his character. (Indeed, you say “He was an honest man, courageous and a true hero.” Yes, he was.) But, I’m still inclined to feel ultimately negative about Michael Fontaine’s use of the concluding phrases “Szasz failed” and “Szaszianism has failed.” That is because, to whatever small extent that I can actually well fathom the life of Szasz (and his message), as it’s conveyed through his career, as a writer (i.e., to the extent that I’ve understood his work, from the roughly half dozen books that I’ve read by him and by the videos of his talks that I’ve watched and the podcasts I’ve listened to and from many of the essays he wrote and from interviews with him, which were transcribed), the way I see the legacy of work left behind, by Szasz, no way did he fail in any considerable sense whatsoever. Not at all.

    He was an extremely successful teacher.

    He left what is virtually a library of wisdom behind, that is literally priceless. It has already saved and enriched the lives of countless souls (including myself); it will continue doing so, endlessly, on into future…

    In my opinion, Michael Fontaine does not ‘get’ Szasz (the way you clearly do).

    Otherwise, he would not have repeatedly indicated, that Szasz supposedly failed.

    Again, thanks very much for your comment reply, and I do sincerley hope to find that you’ll continue commenting here, on this website, especially when there are conversations on Szasz.



  • “Some of us, Jonah, would strike a stance in opposition to psychiatry. For lack of a better term, let me call such a stance ‘anti-psychiatry’.”


    I think that’s great. Really. Not for a moment would I ever begrudge you that choice (nor would I begrudge anyone else the choice), …to take that stance and to adopt that moniker.

    Imho, it’s wonderful that you have such a focused sense of purpose, and I have no reason to suggest you won’t do a great deal of good in developing strategies for moving forward along those lines.

    Far be it from me, to suggest, to anyone that it’s ‘wrong’ to take such a tack.

    (In fact, quite the contrary. Please know, that: from the bottom of my heart, I wish you only the very best possible successes in your endeavors, along those lines.)

    And. regarding your having conveyed to me, these following sentiments,

    “I think it safe to say that there is no need for today’s anti-psychiatry activist to have pursued psychiatry as a career choice. In fact, doing so would be kind of hypocritical, don’t you think?”

    Frank, I cannot possibly answer that question, because… not even for a single instant would I ever claim to know what “today’s anti-psychiatrist activist” should or should not be doing.

    The question of what any individual who’s describing himself or herself that way (such as you describe yourself) should or should not have pursued as a career choice is a question for others who describe themselves similarly. It’s not a question anyone should put to me, because I don’t know even the least bit of anything at all, about what it takes to be such an activist.

    Really, I have no way of knowing.

    Please, understand, Frank, though I find myself appreciating a great deal of what I read from various folk who identify themselves (as you are identifying yourself) “anti-psychiatry” and from folk who may then also (as you do) “strike a stance in opposition to psychiatry,” those forms of activism are not my forms of activism; they’re not my way.

    So, really, you might just as well be asking me questions such as, ‘Jonah, what do you believe are the most positively congruent professions for Christians to ply? And, Jonah, don’t you think it’s hypocritical for Christians to become soldiers of war?’

    (My point there, Frank, if it is not entirely self-evident: While those may be very interesting questions, I would not be able to provide meaningful answers to them, because I am not a ‘believer’ — am not a Christian.)

    As for your saying,

    “There is less hypocrisy involved in a protest by the 99 % to the policies of the 1 % than there is in the sympathies of the few one percenters who would identify with the 99 %.”

    I’m not exactly sure what you mean by that, but I will say this in response: While it does concern me to know, of the extent to which capital wealth, in this country, is now continually moving away from the masses and toward a relative few, I believe it’s a terrible mistake to attempt to judge the quality of anyone’s personal character based on the amount of income s/he manages to generate.

    In fact, if income inequality was my foremost personal ’cause’, I would not hesitate to very deliberately seek to find individuals with a great deal of wealth who were willing to help me, in promoting that ’cause’.

    (But, I would be careful to avoid accepting such help from anyone whom I could find was somehow promoting values that were pretty much antithetical to my own. That is to say, I would ‘vet’ such individuals, to the best of my ability, to determine that they weren’t, indeed, using my ’cause’ to white-wash a checkered history of malfeasance.)

    And, really, my bottom line: I aim to be open to the possibility of creating alliances with those who are sincerely interested in my own first ’cause’ — which is that, of outlawing forced brain-altering procedures; I have found that some ‘anti-psychiatry’ folk do not support this ’cause’. (Truly, I’ve noticed, that some people articulate wonderful ‘anti-psychiatry’ talk, yet, when push comes to shove, it becomes clear, they believe, that ’emergency forced drugging’ with neuroleptics is sometimes justifiable.)

    I insist there is never justification for forcing psychotropic drugs (nor for forcing any other nuero-intrusive, mind-altering procedures) on anyone.

    I say, let’s put an end to such forced ‘treatment’; and, I will put aside differences, in many instances — gladly extending an olive branch — when finding someone’s choosing to sincerely support this particular ’cause’ with me…



  • The following passage is from the writings of Benjamin Rush (the ‘Father of American Psychiatry,’ whose bust is pictured on the masthead of the American Psychiatric Association):

    “A propensity to believe every report which reaches the ear, whether true or false, probable or improbable, our author denominates a “disease in the principle faith.” Whether our readers will concur in regarding this state of mind as a real disease or not, they can entertain no doubt as to its existence, nor will they deny that it frequently operates as a public nuisance. The following is an excellent description of it.

    Persons affected with this disease in the principle of faith, as far as relates to human testimony, believe and report every thing they hear. They are incapable of comparing dates and circumstances, and tell stories of the most improbable and incongruous nature. Sometimes they propogate stories that are probable, but false; and thus deceive their friends and the public. There is scarcely a village or city, that does not contain one or more persons affected with this disease. Horace describes a man of that character in Rome, of the name of Apella. The predisposition of such persons to believe what is neither true, nor probable, is often sported with by their acquaintances, by which means their stories often gain a currency through whole communities.

    It is probable the confinement of persons afflicted with this malady, immediately after they hear any thing new, might cure them. Perhaps ridicule might assist this remedy. I think I once saw it effectual in an old quidnune during the revolutionary war.”


  • Someone, please send the following memo to the great psychiatrists of the APA… RE: Michael Fontaine’s “…comparison of the philosophic psychiatry of Thomas Szasz to the psychiatric philosophy of Epicurus in May 2014 at the 167th annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in New York City. Because Szasz had died late in 2012…”

    If, since the time of Szasz’s passing, that talk (by Fontaine) has been the one and only talk, that the APA has, thus far, scheduled, on the topic of Szasz’s body of work, then shame on you all.

    That talk concludes with phrases such as, “In short, Szasz failed…” and “The other reason Szaszianism has failed is because…” (Those are the leading lines in each of Fontaine’s last two paragraphs.)

    No one should read Mr. Fontaine’s address (which, according to its title and on its face seems designed only to compare and contrast Szasz and the ancient Greek philosopher, Epicurus) and presume that the speaker was not editorializing, in major ways, to essentially bolster the status quo APA party-line, on Szasz.

    His first line begins, “When the American psychiatrist Thomas Szasz killed himself a year and a half ago…” — which could, of course, easily be heard (and read), as suggesting, that Szasz died a defeated man.

    (I see at least one commenter before me — Seth Farber — has raised this issue. And, in response, Michael Fontaine has explained, briefly, that he actually views Szasz’s death as being akin to that of the death of Socrates. Surely, that’s a positively flattering take on Szasz’s ultimate choice, to have expedited his own death; however, there is every reason to believe, that Szasz was choosing to die for practical reasons; he was suffering physically in ways; and, no such comparison, to Socrates, appears in the address that Fontaine offered the APA.)

    In fact, there is nothing but seeming failure, that Fontaine paints, in his APA address, on Szasz’s and Epicurus…

    His first paragraph begins,

    “When the American psychiatrist Thomas Szasz killed himself a year and a half ago at the age of 92, I thought there would be a global outpouring in psychiatric circles of sympathy or scorn. Instead, his death was largely met with silence, a silence as deafening as the one that attended the second half of his long, prolific, and polemical career.”

    Deafening silence?

    Please, just Google the following line of words: death of thomas szasz obit obituary

    When I do that, Google does a search offering 146,000 results. Surely, that’s not deafening silence.

    Fontaine continues,

    “Szasz’ name didn’t show up at all in the APA program last year, and this presentation of mine is apparently the only one to mention him this year. This silent treatment has, ironically enough, and surely against his will, forced him to fulfill the ancient Epicurean ambition to live and die unnoticed…”

    Szasz lived and died unnoticed?


    Thomas Szasz certainly did not live and die unnoticed.

    Of course, Fontaine know that — which is probably why he continues (barely two or three sentences later) by explaining, that,

    “From the 1960s through the 1980s, Dr. Thomas Szasz (1920-2012) was the most famous psychiatrist on earth.”

    Szasz was a literally a giant — in the realm of modern philosophy, as it pertains to freedom and free will and medical ethics.

    For generations to come, he will be carefully studied by academics and others — but, most especially, by countless psychiatric survivors, as his legacy only continues to spread…

    The APA, meanwhile, is a perfect authoritarian echo chamber — the ultimate bastion of psychiatric abusers. (Just look how that organization continues to use a bust of Benjamin Rush as their masthead. Szasz pointed out, that Rush, who is widely considered “The Father of American Psychiatry,” believed that, a tendency to bear false witness — to lie — and/or a tendency to believe everything that one is told, …is basically a kind of disease.)

    So, there’s really no wonder, that an invited speaker could get away with giving an address, at the APA, which so entirely suggests that Szasz died a virtual nobody.



  • A quick correction (as I inadvertently cut a few words out of one sentence). Those last thoughts, of mine, should have read as follows:

    I will ‘just’ do my best, to do whatever I can, to put an end to unwanted neuro-invasive procedures — most especially, when there’s no actual proof that such procedures are addressing actual physical diseases (as opposed to merely suppressing unpopular thoughts, feelings and/or behaviors).

  • “…why in the world don’t you consider yourself anti-psychiatry? I ask this not to give you a hard time, which I most assuredly don’t want to do, but because your words carry great weight with those who consider themselves “survivors.” […] I hope you reconsider your reluctance to identify as anti-psychiatry.”

    @ oldhead,

    Seeing that David has, by this point, responded to only one comment, I suspect your comment may go answered. But, it is a good question — that regards labeling.

    So, while I can’t answer for David, here I answer it from my own viewpoint.

    (Actually, I could answer it in a number of ways.)

    I’ll answer it now, in the following way:

    @ oldhead, you could have put that same good question, of yours, to Thomas Szasz (and, throughout his career, many people did exactly that). If you had done so, at any time in the past 15 years (prior to his passing, two years ago), he might have directed you to his book, Antipsychiatry: Quackery Squared (2009).

    Not long after it was first published, one reviewer, upon giving it the highest possible appraisal (‘five stars’), explained,

    “In this book of entirely new material, Dr Szasz sets the record straight for those who might inaccurately associate him with antipsychiatry, and lays bare both the quackery of some of the most cited icons of this misnomer movement, and the manner in which they consistently failed, or refused, to eschew the coercion and excuse-making emblematic of the psychiatry from which they purportedly broke.”

    There, rather clearly articulated, in so few words, is reason enough to not call myself “antipsychiatry” — I feel.

    And, it is the same reasoning that I was alluding to, as I offered the following lines, in my comment to David, above (on August 25, 2014 at 9:08 pm):

    “…like you, I don’t call myself “antipsychiatry”; after all, I don’t hope to put an end to the profession. (I ‘just’ pray for an end to its use of forced and coerced psychiatric ‘medical’ treatment.)”

    Really, I think psychiatry is foundering, but we will inevitably see the psychiatric profession continue to seek ways of ‘legitimizing’ itself for a long while, into the future. Yes, we can rather easily dissect their best arguments favoring their own supposed legitimacy; and, we should do so…

    But, it is the coerced and forced ‘treatment’ of so-called “patients” of psychiatry, that makes psychiatry so dangerous.

    And, I believe that was Szasz’s postion.

    So, let’s imagine for a moment, that psychiatry itself could be abolished. Would not the majority of psychologists then come to agree, to step in and approve of such ‘medical’ practices, as the forcing of certain “hospital” patients to accept unwanted intrusions, upon the workings of their brains? (I think they would.)

    So, what then? We call ourselves “antipsychology”?

    Surely, you get my point (of course, David may or may not agree with me): I will ‘just’ do my whatever I can to put an end to unwanted neuro-invasive procedures — most especially, when there’s no actual proof that such procedures are addressing actual physical diseases (as opposed to merely suppressing unpopular thought, feelings and/or behaviors) .



  • @ oldhead,

    Thanks, that’s perfectly good feedback you’ve offered — very fitting, considering what I wrote. Unfortunately, there’s far more to the story than I can post in comments. In fact, now, after getting a night’s sleep and coming back to this page, reading your comment then reviewing what I wrote, I’m smiling, shaking my head and laughing at myself — telling myself, never should have posted that comment, at all…

    Really, it’s embarrassingly wordy and (worse) never really gets to the point.

    I can’t get to the point. The problem is, even though I am an anonymous poster, it is such a very personal matter, I can’t possibly say what’s necessary here, to make it entirely clear for readers…

    (So, actually, I quite regret having posted it.)

    But, since I did post it, I will say this much more: My dad has done his best.

    I am grateful to him for all that he’s given me.



  • David,

    Great blog post. And, great timing for me, personally, as my dad is recently accusing me of having a “relationship with Scientology.”

    That “relationship with Scientology” phrase marks such an outrageousstatement, on my dad’s part, it leaves me shaking my head and wishing to jump up and down, with a sign, explaining, to all the world, this one plain fact, that: I have no relationship whatsoever with Scientology – absolutely none whatsoever. Zero.

    I have never had any relationship with Scientology. Absolutely have nothad any relationship with it, ever.

    But, I do appreciate much of what I’ve seen, online, of the work of CCHR; so, I do not completely rule out the possibility of someday befriending a Scientologist; and, this expressed attitude of mine is ultimately troubling for my dad.

    My dad has, in fact, recently, very directly asked me to state that I will never befriend any Scientologist. (Apparently, my doing that could be step toward reversing the recent change he made to the family trust.) I responded, “I’m sorry, Dad, but I refuse to say that.” This seeming intransigence, on my part, apparently threatens to become the ultimate bane of our relationship – as father and son.

    Really, no kidding, it seems that the fact, that I will not foreswear any and all possible interactions with individuals known to be Scientologists, is, to my dad’s aging mind, an indication of some horrible ‘sign’ that I may be succumbing, to the forces of the ‘dark side’ (or something of that sort).

    Indeed, for the past year or so, he is literally coming to conduct a witch hunt, in his own house, for he is very recently he’s insisting that I supposedly said I do have Scientologist friends.

    He thinks I said I do, yet I insist I don’t, and my saying that now makes him doubly suspicious. I think, in his mind, I am literally becoming the witch of Scientology.

    It’s so sadly reminiscent of how I was addressed by him, more than a quarter-century ago, when he was wholeheartedly aiming to convince me that psychiatric so-called “diagnosis” of “mental illness,” which I’d received a couple of years previous, at age 21, had somehow established that I am genetically defective, with some problem from my mom’s side of the family.

    My brain is supposedly defective – according to those psychiatric speculations. (Of course, you know how psychiatrists speculate that way.)

    My dad had taken those psychiatric speculations to be the Truth; and, he explained as much, to me, at that time, by insisting “This problem with your brain is probably something you got from your Mom’s side of the family…”

    In his view, then, I was being overly ‘emotional’; and, yes, I could have been viewed that way, quite easily, especially by him… as I was attempting to express to him, what was then, my increasingly desperate sense of horror and disgust, regarding the so-called “side-effects” of the drugs I was being ‘prescribed’ (they were a torturous brew).

    They were, of course, not just drugs which I being prescribed; I was being coerced into swallowing a handful of pills, daily — not being allowed to refuse them. If I did not take them, I would not have a home, I would be homeless or processed back into a psychiatric “hospital” via the local Emergency Room.

    To my dad, I was being overly emotional then; and, his interpretation of those ‘emotional’ expressions, was, that they were the effects of “mental illness” – supposedly from my mom’s side of the family. That is to say, I had been given a certain “diagnosis” by psychiatry, which confirmed his own assessments, that I was unduly ‘emotional,’ so he clung to it…

    Three and a half years after my introduction to medical-coercive psychiatry, I’d, once and for all (forever) eschew that “diagnosis” of “mental illness” and successfully put all those ‘meds’ completely out of my life.

    The keys to doing so successfully were all in the careful planning for the inevitable period of withdrawals. (E.g., I wound up attending many Twelve Step meetings and usually said nothing to anyone about what kind of drugs I was withdrawing from…)

    I maintain, that never did I need any psychiatric drugs.

    It was so long ago, that I came to successfully renounce my ‘treatment’ by psychiatry; it’s almost as though another lifetime altogether. I have not had any psych ‘meds’ in my body for more than 25 years, nor have I consulted any psychiatrist, in all that time.

    But, in the past couple of years, I have periodically called upon a family therapist (‘FT’) who has known my family for many years, hoping he can get my dad to let go of what I see as this mildly ‘paranoid’ obsession, of his, wherein he views me as suffering a supposed ‘susceptibility’ to Scientology. To him, I ostensibly suffer that way, as I am (what my dad calls) a “crusader against psychiatry.”

    Actually, I may seem like a ‘crusader against psychiatry’ to him; however, like you, I don’t call myself “antipsychiatry”; after all, I don’t hope to put an end to the profession. (I ‘just’ pray for an end to its use of forced and coerced psychiatric ‘medical’ treatment.)

    So, OK, my dad believes that Scientologists are the world’s leading crusaders against psychiatry, and he fears I could wind up (A) becoming a Scientologist – and then wind up (B) after he dies, giving some portion of his estate to Scientology; hence, he has even gone as far as to change the terms of the family trust, which will manage his estate; now, any money from his estate that comes to me is to be monitored and controlled by my brother and sister. (I.e., any spending of that money that I do will need come with their approval.)

    Note: In my last 1:1 session with FT, just over a week ago, FT began by explaining, that my dad is now “very concerned about your relationship with Scientology.” So, I think this problem, in my dad’s mind, is only worsening; and, at last, I’ve come to wonder: how many people who know me through my father have been told, by him, that I have a relationship with Scientology?

    None of his friends and associates ever talk to me, so I won’t find out from them whether that’s their belief, about me; but, I’m starting to think that maybe they all have been given that impression, by my dad – the impression that I have a “relationship with Scientology.”

    (Indeed, my sister has, just recently, in a long-distance phone call, asked me, “Are you really into Scientology?” From this point of view, next time I find my dad making the claim, that I supposedly do have such a relationship, I will be much more entirely clear and firm, explaining to him – in lingo that he and his friends can well understand: ‘I am not now nor have I ever been a member of the Church of Scientology.’ Then, I will ask him, does he want to know if I’ve ever associatedwith anyone who is a member?)

    Frankly, I have associated with a couple of guys who were formerly members of the Church of Scientology.

    They were entirely ‘anti-Scientology’ when I knew them. They were former Scientologists, who had lost a whole lot of money to the Church of Scientology (tens of thousands of dollars), and they were campaigning, personally, to let non-Scientologists in on the fact, of how membership in the Church of Scientology can become an incredible drain on the finances, even of members who can hardly afford to pay their own rent.

    So, in response to my sister’s above-mentioned query, a couple of weeks ago, I told my dad about those two guys, who were friends of mine, years ago. In doing so, I was aiming to reassure him, that I am not someone who would ever give any money to Scientology; but, he apparently misunderstood me, I think; for, regardless of what I say, he thinks I have friends who are currently Scientologists; does he want me to ‘name names’ perhaps?

    And, on that note, I feel I must repeat, just briefly, what I’ve said above: Really, I am in no way principally opposed to befriending anyone just because s/he happens to be a Scientologist.

    From reading your blog post, I know you’ll understand what I mean, as I say: Friends of my dad were ‘red-baited’ when he was a young man, so you’d think he would know better than to subject me to these “monitor and control” measures.

    It’s unfortunate, my dad has long been under the impression, that anyone who has ever suffered abuse, at the hands of psychiatry and who thereafter actively lobbies, online, for an end to such abuse, is somehow vulnerable to being ‘seduced’ into Scientology…

    Certainly, I know that is not true in my case – because I know I cannot be ‘converted’ to Scientology.

    It was over 25 years ago, I read quite enough of the LRH #1 best-seller – Dianetics – to become entirely convinced, forever, that I wasn’t interested in L Ron Hubbard’s teachings. And, countless revelations about his beliefs and the legacy of his organization, which have been published since then, only serve to further prove, beyond any shadow of a doubt, to my mind, that I am not interested in becoming a Scientologist.

    Not long after my purchasing and browsing that LRH book, in a local bookstore, I turned in a completely different direction, became a Buddhist and have been a Buddhist ever since; that is to say, I have been a Buddhist for the past 25 years, and I will always be a Buddhist. Period.

    And – as the particular form of Buddhism to which I’m devoted explains (here I paraphrase): The best one can do, to demonstrate respect for Buddhism itself, is to do ones utmost, always, to respect and salute the inherent buddha nature that exists in everyone, regardless of whatever may be that person’s current beliefs.

    Indeed, the basic idea is, in this particular form of Buddhist practice, is that (again, I paraphrase): As a devotee (of Buddhism’s Lotus Sutra), one salutes the reality of anyone’s and everyone’s inherent buddha nature (that is to say, ones deepest inner wisdom) and, in essence, is, at that time, predicting that person’s eventual attainment of Buddhahood.

    For that reason (if for no other reason), I feel, it’s essentially a ‘religious mandate’ that I’m following – and the mandate of every Buddhist who is likewise devoted to the Lotus Sutra – to stay as open as I can, to the possibility of befriending literally anyone…

    “Fear not” says the upraised palm of all those classic Buddha statues!


    See some great images, of the “fear not” Buddha here:

    Really, I don’t need my dad’s money (he thinks I do need it, but he’s wrong about that); I am deeply praying for my dad’s enlightenment more than ever, especially because he has become so confused about who I am; perhaps, toward that end, I’ll have him read your blog post, above.

    Again, David, great blog post! I salute you for all the great work you’ve already done, as an activist, in your lifetime; your buddha nature is very plain-to-see, in the immense wisdom, born of experience, that’s expressed through your words…

    Be Well Always…



  • Jonathan Keyes (MIA Author), in his comment, above (on August 15, 2014 at 2:05 pm), said:

    A while back I was talking to a friend who had become profoundly anxious, panicked, confused, sad and overwhelmed. Someone could call that state “Major Depression.” She felt like hurting herself. She was strongly considering hospitalization. I told her that she would likely receive benzos while in hospital, a prescription for antidepressants and then discharge within a few days.

    Instead, we developed a circle of friends that could be with her for a few days. We offered her cups of herbal tea, massage, some flower essences, good home cooked food, support. Within a couple days she felt much better and was no longer suicidal and “clinically depressed.” I wish we could recerate that experience for anyone going through a dark time. I get that that is not possible for all people.

    But at the core of me, it frustrates me that the meme of “getting help” and “treatment” has been comandeered by doctors who’s only solace thay can offer is a drug.

    Apparently, he’s saying that, for someone to be prescribed “benzos while in hospital, a prescription for antidepressants and then discharge within a few days” is to be “comandeered by doctors who’s only solace thay can offer is a drug.”

    Really, I think Jonathan should have warned his friend about how some folk have wound up commandeered far worse in his “hospital” by a therapist.

    After all, eight and a half months ago (on November 30, 2013), in his first MIA blog post, titled “Inpatient Hospitalization: An Inside Perspective”), Jonathan explained:

    As a therapist my main job is to listen to patients, help them navigate the maze of inpatient hospitalization, and offer them support and comfort measures. I also help patients if they become severely agitated. I spend time trying to hear their concerns, sometimes helping them find a comfortable and safe space to vent. And yes, I have taken part in restraining individuals and delivering injections of medications to patients who become severely hostile, threatening or self-destructive.

    (No matter how many times I go back to that first MIA blog post of his, I never cease to feel terribly frustrated, as I come to those lines; so, please forgive me, as I steal Jonathan’s phrase “At the core of me, it frustrates me…”)

    At the core of me, it frustrates me to know, that frequently, here, in these MIA comment threads, is an MIA blogger, who’s a therapist, who’s fully inclined to put out, on the one hand, messages of perfectly sublime compassion (e.g., above, in his reference to a friend, whom he felt so determined to shield against any “hospitalization” that would include “benzos while in hospital, a prescription for antidepressants and then discharge within a few days”), while, on the other hand, he explains, that it’s supposedly quite necessary for him to forcibly inject “medications” (i.e., neuroleptics) into some of his “patients” veins, in that same “hospital”. I’m sorry, but I just can’t get over the fact, that a therapist would do such a thing, as that….

    To me, it seems such a completely inappropriate duty for a therapist.

    And, to know that Jonathan is, moreover, someone who (by his own description) briefly took neuroleptics and found their effects making him want to kill himself.

    So, he knows the horrors of these drugs…

    And, in a comment (on May 24, 2014 at 10:32 am), he wrote:

    I agree we have to honor both sides of the issue and have courteous and open dialogue with people who strongly support using psych drugs in their life.

    At the same time, it is hard to play the balance of being open, while still reporting the strong dangers of these drugs. Very challenging indeed when you see some of the harm they have caused.

    In fact, quite recently (on July 25, 2014 at 8:12 pm), Jonathan posted this,

    So in a hospital, a clinic or a doctor’s office, someone is handed a bottle of neuroleptics that they are supposed to take every day. These are heavy tranquilizers. And they become quickly habituated to them. Maybe stay on them for a few weeks, a month or two or longer. And then maybe half of them say, nah- these are awful. Dump em. Stop taking them. And then…

    Everything goes to pieces. The withdrawal effects are a nightmare for most folks and tend to cause psychosis, espeically for those who have been susceptible to extreme states. And then some of them get suicidal and violent. “Its the illness” some say. Hell no. You take 300 mg of seroquel a day for a few months and then stop suddenly. See what happens. I’m guessing I would go fully ape shit.

    Yes, exactly! (In fact, I implore MIA readers to review that last passage, which I’ve excerpted, because I think it proves — beyond any shadow of a doubt — that Jonathan does understand some of the worst effects of these drugs, far better than most people who work in psychiatric “hospital” settings…)

    So, I can’t help but wonder: How is it, that Jonathan (a person with so much insight into such harms that are caused by neuroleptics) can maintain, that sometimes the ‘right’ thing to do, is to forcibly inject a person with such drugs?

    Truly, I am baffled by his refusal to concede, that it’s clearly wrong to force these drugs on people. And, I am not only baffled by that, but I am troubled to know that he is actually a therapist. To me, it seems therapists should not engage in such activities, and I have never heard of any other therapists forcibly drugging people.

    But, if this is what therapists are expected to do when they work in “hospitals,” then no wonder there’s no way for any “involuntarily hospitalized” person to avoid being “medicated”.

    Recently (on June 8, 2014 at 10:33 pm), MIA author, Andrew L. Yoder, who is a social worker, posted a comment, in which he stated,

    I am a social worker, engaged most often in individual counseling directed by the individual, not by my agenda. I’m not able to write and say that my education was a waste, because it wasn’t. Never in school was I indoctrinated in a medical model. In fact there was little at odds with the very passions and missions that drive the community here at MIA. Maybe “social work” is vastly different that psychiatry or psychology in its education or professionalism. But I feel left out when I am written off by my label as a “professional.” I need you and every other member of this community and the consumer movement as partners and allies. But I also think you need professionals like me. I don’t believe in coercive, or directive, or authoritarian structures of interactions with other people, and I carry those values out in the small agency I work for, celebrating the ways in which the agency upholds those values and challenging and pushing the agency in the instances where it does not.

    I really appreciate what Andrew says there, and he explained to me, in an MIA comment exchange, weeks ago, that social workers absolutely do not forcibly drug anyone.

    He seemed to be indicating, that it’s a universal reality, in social work, that the social workers are not authorized to ‘medicate’ anyone.

    Why would a therapist be allowed to forcibly drug someone? Are there not therapists’ codes of conduct, which forbid this?

    Honestly, I don’t expect a clear answer from Jonathan. I know he feels that, when he’s forcibly drugging someone, it is for that person’s own good; he thinks he’s preventing that person from being tased by the police…

    I do not want anyone tased…

    But, I cannot read Jonathan Keyes’s comments about tasing without shaking my head and wondering, is tasing really more horrible than forced drugging???

    Question: Are there not any therapists who are MIA readers or bloggers who can explain to me how it is, that a therapist would be charged with forcibly drugging people?

    What is the reasoning behind such hiring practices?

    And, why would any therapist choose such a job?

    It just seems so totally wrong…



  • “Anxiety, neither medical nor divine, is a phase in any process preceding mastery. Anxiety comes of not knowing, just as calm comes of knowing, and experience is that hillock that lays between one and the other.”


    I quite appreciate those lines that you’ve offered, regarding anxiety.

    Perhaps, to expand on what you’re saying there (being more entirely clear about the development of calm), one could add this much more: The cessation of anxiety (‘calm’) can also come from our learning how to be OK with not knowing

    (Right now, I can’t help but recall, a cousin of mine brought me, in the “hospital” where I was first interned, a small note book, in which she had scribbled a bit of practical advice from the late Alan Watts, on how to be OK with not knowing…)

    Indeed, almost any would be seemingly ‘negative’ emotion can be effectively ‘pre-empted’ by (A) realizing, in truth, how much we actually do not now know, while (B) simultaneously assuring ourselves that we can rest assured that we are alright — for now — not knowing…

    We can tell ourselves, ‘I may come to know more of what can be known later and can be OK with whatever it is, that I do come to know, then. I am OK now, and I will be OK then…’

    To practice and rely upon such self assurances, could be called “developing faith in ones own inner resources.”

    (That was the gist of the advice from Alan Watts, that was brought to me, by my cousin. It was perfectly good advice, which I still appreciate, to this day; but, it did not prepare me for the literally torturous effects of having my veins flooded with massive doses, of a variety of neuroleptic drugs, which I was not allowed to reject…)

    You also write, in your comment,

    “If psychiatry is going to continue with these brutal unwanted interventions that disrupt peoples lives, I think we need the kind of collective that would defend people from such psychiatric assaults.”

    I presume you must be aware of the work of (that is a well-established organization dedicated to such work). Maybe you are envisioning a different sort of operation, but how would it differ, I wonder?

    You also write,

    “I’m really not keen on encouraging folk to take their infantile drama queen scenarios with them to the ER. That’s the difference between medicine and psychiatry. There may be a place to throw a so called emotional crisis, but a medical hospital is simply not the place to do so.”

    I fully agree with those lines — except, I would not choose to describe people who are psychiatrized via the ER as those who “take their infantile drama queen scenarios with them to the ER.”

    (Note: I can and do chuckle now, as I read that description, of yours, probably because there is just a bit of truth to it, in my experience and/or observations; nonetheless…)

    Really, never would I have gone to the ER, at age 21.5 had I not been faced with a ‘family intervention’ providing immense pressure to go. It was pressure from my family and friends; I was only twenty-one and had never contemplated abandoning everyone I knew to preserve my own freedom; and, I had come to feel, that, quite likely, they’d wind up seeking the ‘help’ of a mobile ‘PET’ team, to come and ‘psychologically evaluate’ me as a candidate to be taken away, by force.

    (You know, the proverbial ‘men in white suits.’)

    To imagine such as a fate, as that, seemed to me, at that time, far more threatening (and, frankly, much more wholly embarrassing) than ‘just’ conceding, at last, to ride along with my friends, to the ER.

    Quite naively, I had come to think, at last, that: ‘Hey, I’ll be able to ease the worries of my family and friends, by going to the ER, where I can talk my way out of any untoward scenario…’

    Now, in retrospect, I figure, at that particular period, in time, there would have been no ‘PET’ team available to make any ‘house calls,’ in our area…

    This brings me to the fact, that, of course, it’s possible to be errant, in convincing ourselves that we’re OK and that we’ll be OK.

    Knowing that some people can do this, is what convinces many people to support coercive psychiatry. In effect, they are saying, “That person, over there, simply doesn’t know what’s best for himself (or herself).”

    But, the truth is, anyone can advise himself or herself wrongly.

    Anyone can think, ‘Nothing can do me considerable harm now…’ even as s/he walks directly into what is actually an extremely harmful trap; and, along those lines, frankly, Frank, for the past nearly three decades (i.e., since the time of my conceding, under pressure from family and friends, to ‘voluntarily’ visit and speak with the ER psychiatrist), I have strongly regretted my decision to go to the ER…

    Like you, now, I certainly would not encourage anyone to bring any “emotional crisis” to an ER; I believe only undeniably real medical emergencies should be brought to an ER…



  • “It’s the coercion that’s the problem.”

    @ oldhead,

    I concur entirely with that conclusion. When it comes to psychiatry, though many problems abound, all of them pale in significance, when compared to that one.

    And, I do think, that: if that worst-of-all problems, in psychiatry, can be creatively resolved, then the other problems of psychiatry will more or less naturally find their own positive resolutions…

    Hence, for my own part, I aim to stay as entirely focused, as possible, on that one problem, of coercion, in psychiatry.



  • @ Prisoners Dilema,

    That’s a great comment (on August 12, 2014, at 6:42 pm). I agree with it entirely, and it’s perfect, in that it’s concise and hits the nail on the head.

    I’m hoping Richard reads it and can appreciate it, too.

    I think he should be able to appreciate, because he explained, at the end of his podcast conversation, with Peter Breggin, just a week ago:

    “The online mutual support movement – and it is a movement – is very strong, very positive; and, what we hear in that movement and in sites that are providing… mutual support …is that ‘I am no longer alone…’”

    Thanks much for chiming in and offering your two cents to this convo…



  • P.S. — Please…

    No one should read my comment (above, to madmom) as suggesting, that I might somehow believe that it could be a wise move, to punch anyone, in an ER. (I absolutely do not believe that would ever be the wise thing to do.)

    In case I was, perhaps, not entirely clear, here I explain my above comment more fully:

    My comment to madmom was simply aiming to convey, that I do know, from first hand experience, that: becoming trapped and then getting forcibly drugged, in an ER, can very readily generate a sudden rage in the victim (a.k.a., “the patient”) who has received such drugging.

    I know, that person can be in relatively good humor and can even be calm — until being forcibly drugged; at that point, there can be a rage that comes on quite fast, overtaking literally every nerve cell, in that person’s body; and, it can be a rage which shall in no way dissipate before that person has actually gone deeply into an unconscious state (as the full effects of the so-called “antipsychotic” drug finally takes over).

    And, s/he may not necessarily enter that deeply unconscious state, until at least fifteen minutes (or, perhaps, until even more time than that) has passed.

    Now, of course, I am not an ‘expert’ on such matters; simply, that was my own experience (my all-too-unforgettable, nightmarish experience) of being introduced to to the ways of ER psychiatry, nearly three decades ago…

    But, I can’t help but assume that many people who are trapped and forcibly drugged wind up similarly enraged.

    Probably, almost any fairly seasoned ER staff person has notices such effects…

    Hence, I would think, it should come as no surprise whatsoever, to an ER staff, that any “patient” of theirs, who has been forcibly drugged in their ER would, if released from mechanical restraints too soon after that drugging, attempt to take a swing at somebody.

    That’s all I was attempting to say, in my comment to madmom, above.



  • “ER’s are no place for people with psychosis. The staff are not trained to handle people in altered states with competence and compassion. They use force and they project their fear, burn-out, and anger onto patients with bizarre behavior, making their patients much worse. We need to eliminate ER’s as the default place where people in altered states are taken to and build a network of crisis management, respite homes, and Soteria houses.”


    I completely agree with that statement, and my heart goes out to you and your family, as every further detail you’ve come to offer here, in your MIA comments, of your daughter’s ongoing ordeals, so strongly indicates, that your daughter’s plight has been caused mainly by iatrogenic effects.

    But, her ordeals began as you’d found her behavior troubling, after she’d been smoking marijuana.

    You seem to be saying, that she punched a nurse in the face immediately after being forcibly drugged with neuroleptics. In my view, no one should ever be drugged that way. No one should be forcibly drugged.

    And, imo, no one who has, perhaps, had a bad reaction to pot should be drugged at all, with neuroleptics. (Surely, that forced drugging she received was with neuroleptics.)

    Imho, a good lawyer would have argued, that the punch, from your daughter, which landed in the face of that nurse, never would have been thrown had the nurse and others working with the nurse, in the ER, followed their own established procedures.

    The practice of forcibly drugging people is barbaric. Once that barbarity has occurred, it can only be the responsibility of those who commit that barbarity, to keep the victim of that barbarity mechanically restrained.

    Your husband, upon seeing his daughter in mechanical restraints, very understandably objected to his daughter being mechanically restrained (that’s an entirely natural response, on his part), but he could not have understood the potential dangers of releasing her immediately from those restraints. The ER staff should have well understood those dangers.

    She was released from the mechanical restraints, threw a punch and was subsequently charged with assault.

    Was she found guilty of assault? (From what you’re describing, I believe she should not have been found guilty.) That she was charged with assault means, I believe, that she received a trial, yes?

    Of course, you needn’t offer more details here than you feel comfortable offering, but I am wondering whether she received a trial, and, if so, what was the precise verdict she received (you seem to be indicating that she was found guilty of assaulting that nurse, but was there no argument from her lawyer, that your daughter had been forcibly drugged and thus was experiencing a form of diminished capacity that was truly no fault of her own?); and, what sort of sentencing did she receive (I’m seriously wondering)?

    Frankly, I know almost nothing about criminal law, yet I imagine, had I been her lawyer, I would have emphasized, that: your daughter tried to leave the ER, and they would not allow her to leave.

    I would have argued, that they (the ER staff) were thus kidnapping her; but, moreover, they had forcibly drugged her, and hospital procedures demand that a forcibly drugged person be kept in mechanical restraints for a given period of time; and, those procedures were violated by staff…

    Also, before any trial began, I might ask you privately, in confidence: what was your daughter’s demeanor before she was forcibly drugged? I.e., prior to her being trapped in the ER and prior to her being forcibly drugged, had she been threatening anyone in that ER with physical violence?

    (Of course, if she had not been threatening anyone there, then we can conclude, fairly reasonably, that it was her ‘treatment’ that had compelled her to become momentarily combative.)

    For whatever it may be worth, briefly, here I’ll share, a bit of my own experience, of having been forcibly drugged, in an ER, at age 21.5 (nearly three decades ago).

    The forced drugging was preceded by my being essentially trapped there.

    That is to say, like your daughter, I wanted to leave and tried to walk out…

    I thought I would be successful doing so; but, just as I got through the doorway, my exit was thwarted by a large ‘security guard’ who led me back in, by the arm.

    I had not been in any way at all threatening to anyone there, nor had I even exhibited any anger; only, I had been somewhat nervous (naturally) …but was attempting to remain humored.

    And, except for my having attempted to walk out, I was cooperating entirely… even as I was escorted into a small side-room and encouraged to lay down, with a Chaplain seated beside me, holding my hand.

    In fact, as he held my hand, suddenly, I was entirely calm — until, just moments later, in came the psych-techs, to do their dirty deed.

    Within moments, the Chaplain was stepping aside, and I was being attacked with their hypodermic needle.

    I screamed “NO!” …and very shortly afterward, I was to become absolutely infuriated.

    I mean, that experience triggered such incredible anger within me — to an extent, that I had never been previously, in my entire life, to that point, ever experienced.

    It took a quite while — in retrospect, I’m guessing it was roughly 15 minutes — for the drugging to take complete hold of me, such that I’d eventually go unconscious.

    And, really, I was so totally enraged by that ‘treatment’ before going totally unconscious, I can only now begin to imagine how I might have attempted to fight back, had they come to unstrap me prior to that time (i.e., prior to going completely unconscious).

    Surely, I would have done anything I possibly could have done, to get those people to back off entirely, so I could hopefully run, making my escape.

    Being a guy, I wouldn’t have punched the nurse if the nurse was a female, but if the nurse was a male, and I’d felt that throwing a punch could have helped me to get away, then probably I would have thrown a punch…



  • “I would just have to ask, if mental illness is an impossibility why would one not oppose as fraudulent an industry based on “curing” it? Again, the concretization of metaphor is contrary to the rules of both language and logic…”

    @ oldhead,

    First… psychiatry is not an industry based on “curing” anything; mainly, psychiatry aims to control ___ (fill-in-the-blank).

    (I believe many psychiatrists will agree with me, on that; a large proportion — perhaps, even a majority — of psychiatrists will readily admit, that they have no ‘cures’ for anyone.)

    Second… one needn’t believe in the existence of ‘mental illness’ to be either (A) a psychiatrist or (B) a supporter of the ‘critical psychiatry’ movement (or both A and B).

    Some psychiatrists quite openly eschew the medical model and stick with the notion, that they’re addressing, in practice, various sorts of more or less pernicious sufferings, which they may deem ‘mental disorder’ and/or ’emotional disorder’ (and, lately, quite a few speak in terms of “distress” instead of “disorder”) …all the while that they honestly maintain, that they are not, in fact, addressing genuine physical illnesses.

    And, so, one can question or even oppose psychiatry’s medical model and still welcome the psychiatric ‘treatment’ of some people, including with psych-drugs.

    I guess that ‘treatment’ can be called “medical treatment,” especially if and when it does include prescribed psychopharmacology and other mind-altering and brain-altering procedures.

    And, we know (all too well), most psychiatrists do insist, that such ‘treatment,’ of some of those above-mentioned ‘sufferings,’ is helpful — and, perhaps, even literally life-saving — for some people.

    From my reading of his work, I believe Bob Whitaker is supportive of some psychiatrists, who work along those lines — especially, psychiatrists who work in concert with the ‘Open Dialogue’ program, which began in Western Lapland…

    Probably, I haven’t offered anything here that you don’t already know, but it’s the best answer I can give, to your comment reply…



  • In one of my comments above (on August 9, 2014 at 12:15 pm), I signed off parenthetically:

    “Thus ends ‘Part One’ of my response to Richard’s last comment to me. I will offer my ‘Part Two’ by posting another comment, sometime in the next 48 hours, as time permits…”

    Here’s ‘Part Two’ — as follows:

    …In one MIA comment, recently, I mentioned, that: I don’t fully agree with anyone here…

    To expand, on that thought, now I add, that: I’ve found, in the course of participating in conversations regarding psychiatry, generally — whether the exchange takes place on this MIA website or elsewhere (usually, for me, it has been online, but sometimes in person): I do not agree with anyone all of the time; and, yet… some folk with whom I’m disagreeing, I’ll come to greatly appreciate — may even come to highly admire, in ways…

    Richard, I’m finding, is one such individual.

    Despite strongly disagreeing with something(s) he’s said, Richard Lawhern is, I feel, in ways, an admirable person. (And, note: He mentioned in his comment, above, he doesn’t mind being spoken of, in the third person, so I feel I’m not being rude, as I speak of him this way…)

    I can’t yet be sure as to exactly how much Richard disagrees with me (he has been somewhat unspecific), yet I get that he does disagree considerably; hence, his last comment to me (on August 5, 2014, at 1:58 pm) seemed to suggest, that he was quite done speaking with me.

    Indeed, I took that last comment, of his, to me, as stating, that he really does not wish to be my friend.

    Even so, I continued to study his expressions, online… and find he may have a lot of good to offer many MIA readers — even as I know he has a lot to learn from MIA, as well. (Seems to me, he’d learn from studying this website’s offerings more carefully than he has, to now; in particular, he should read Bob Whitaker’s posts. But, also (I think) the MIA site designers could well learn from Richard, by realizing that he’s asking good questions (on August 9, 2014 at 3:05 pm), some of which could be converted into MIA ‘FAQs’.

    (I believe the moderator has stated that she intends to create a ‘FAQ’ page.)

    Richard’s style of communicating may be overly ‘authoritative’ for some readers, most especially when he’s speaking with ‘anti-psychiatry’ readers (who are naturally anti-authoritarian). He could easily alienate many readers with his tendency to offer instructions. And, he tends to take criticisms too personally.

    So, whether or not it’s true, that Richard can appeal to many here, I’ve found, in the course of my reading some of Richard’s writings online, and upon, yesterday, listening to his talk with Peter Breggin, I’m quite liking Richard — largely because he is highly critical of psychiatry (as am I) but also because, it seems to me, I could learn some valuable lessons from taking some of what he says, to heart…

    I could possibly gain some real ground, in life, by learning from someone like Richard, how to become a more fully effective human being, in the world, at large…

    And, I am listening to Richard, as he speaks, on the merits, of reaching out to folk who are not psychiatric survivors — as I have become, more and more, a ‘hermit’ in recent years, ‘speaking’ mostly online — mainly with psychiatric survivors; many of these folk have done me great good, and I appreciate them; but, Richard, who exhibits what are apparently very contrary qualities of character (as compared to most psychiatric survivors whom I’ve ‘met’ online), can also do me good, I think.

    Though I don’t intend to emulate Richard or model myself after him, I’m listening carefully to what he has to say. I’m studying his words — separating the wheat from the chaff.

    So, if he could not imagine being a friend, I would nonetheless hope he could ‘just’ continue our conversations, by email.

    I gladly invite him to email me here: [email protected]

    In any event, he knows that I took his suggestions, to read his proposal; he knows I appreciated it — and am also critical of some of it; now, if he reads my words (in this comment) and can appreciate the fact, that I also took his suggestion, to listen to his talk with Peter Breggin, and I’ve positively appraised that interview…, maybe he can take my suggestion, to study what can be found, at the following links:

    “Forced Psychiatric Drugging”:

    “MindFreedom – Fighting Back Against Human Rights Abuses in the Mental Health System”:

    Also, there are links that I could offer him, regarding highly successful non-medical ways of addressing ‘psychosis’ experiences. (Many of those links have come to me via this MIA website.) I would like to offer him such links and would value any opportunity to discuss their contents with him, as I believe Richard is terribly undereducated in some ways.

    He is apparently embracing an out-moded view of ‘psychosis’ experiences; and, one can readily gather, from his comments, he knows far too little about the history of the the psych-rights movement, in the U.S.; however, I think Richard does well to advise (on August 9, 2014 at 3:05 pm): “I hope you can find a way to create allies among other people who differ in some details of whatever approach you work out.”

    Suggesting to anyone whom we’ve just ‘met’ briefly, online, to accept our invitation to ‘be friends,’ may be far too much to suggest; so, I may have scared him away with that suggestion; and, I could easily read Richard’s last words to me as a final brush off.

    Nonetheless, here I am doing my best to encourage Richard to please realize, that I would very happily explore, with him, the possibility, that we could casually exchange online links, to hopefully remain open to the possibility, we might eventually learn a good deal from one another…

    Enough already… 🙂



  • “What exactly is really being said when it’s said that this site isn’t “anti-psychiatry” because to be honest I don’t get it. Is it a matter of supplying credentials as to not be seen as a wacko or something ?”


    I believe it’s perfectly reasonable to say this site is not “anti-psychiatry” — but that, it is quite critical of psychiatry.

    After all, it’s Bob Whitaker’s site; and, when reading Bob’s writings (carefully), one finds that he is never conveying an ‘anti-psychiatry’ message.

    Bob is a science writer, who takes his study of science very seriously (i.e., he is inclined to point out flawed science, as such, when he sees it).

    So… He conveys a message about psychiatry, that is not flattering, because he can’t help but realize the truly outstanding lack of good science behind many (or most) of psychiatry’s standard practices, past and present.

    In terms of psychiatry’s history, he refuses to white wash the profession’s checkered past (including its connection to the eugenics movement, of the early 20th Century).

    And, having spent the last 20 years or so writing on matters to do with psychiatry’s current practices, he is ultimately well-versed in psychiatry’s shortcomings and is especially skeptical of the influence that Big Pharma has had on most of its practitioners, in modern times; hence, most often, he is bound to be highly critical of what have become standard practices in psychiatry.

    But, he is not opposed to psychiatry itself — only hoping for an end to its worst (most in-efficacious) ways of ‘treatment.’

    See, for example his blog post “Harrow + Wunderink + Open Dialogue = An Evidence-based Mandate for A New Standard of Care”:

    Along those lines, Bob has apparently befriended at least a small handful of psychiatrists (including the blogger on this page) who identify with the ‘critical psychiatry’ movement (which has been advance by the ‘Critical Psychiatry Network’ in the U.K.).




  • “Jonah — I wouldn’t waste my energy with a part two, but it’s your energy.”

    @ oldhead,

    While strongly disagreeing with Richard Lawhern, in considerable ways, I do welcome Richard’s input here, in these MIA comment threads, and I believe that some of his views are well worth considering.

    I encourage you to listen to his conversation with Peter Breggin, which was posted just this past week, online. You can find it via the following link:

    Richard has genuine insights to offer, into how it is, that psychiatry tends to very negatively impact its ‘patients’ with its various ‘diagnoses’ of supposed ‘psychosomatic disorders,’ especially when those ‘patients’ actually turn out to be, in fact, suffering from real biological diseases.

    Over many years, Richard has, in essence, devoted himself to helping people who are in need of good physicians’ care, as they are in real physical pain, the source of which can be elusive.

    Now, that helping journey brings him to exposing certain miseries caused psychiatric ‘diagnostics.’

    (Perhaps, unfortunately, he does not yet understand that none of psychiatry’s “major mental disorders” are valid medical diagnoses. Perhaps, he can come to understand the truth of this, in due time? Maybe we can help him to understand this, sooner rather than later, if we do not first drive him away from these MIA comment threads. I am hoping he will not be driven away…)

    Whether or not one finds all of Richards views agreeable (and whether or not one is inclined to appreciate his way of hopefully motivating readers to ‘organize’ themselves and create viable game-plans for affecting social policy), I believe he is a very capable ‘thinker’; he demonstrates a fair capacity for understanding the harms done by psychiatry, and he can provide MIA readers valuable insights, at least when sharing what he does genuinely understand, of certain aspects of psychiatric quackery.

    In any case, I will be responding further (by no later than tomorrow morning, at the latest) to address Richard with my ‘Part Two.’

    Thanks for your feedback.



  • Richard Lawhern, Ph.D. (MIA Author) on August 5, 2014, at 1:58 pm, began his last comment reply, to me, by stating:

    “Jonah, I can relate to some of what you say — and for other elements, maybe not so much…”

    Richard offered a number of interesting thoughts, in that comment of his; so, various possible responses came instantly to mind.

    I chose to delay my responding (and debated within my own mind whether I should reply at all — or whether I should just choose to refrain from replying too quickly) …noting how he’d signed off, with such finality.

    And, as it happened, I was totally busied these past few days, with pressing matters at home, so it was easy to conclude, that Richard’s comment didn’t seem calling for any reply, from me; but, here, I am, now, responding — and speaking of Richard in the third person…

    One commenter has recently suggested that it is rude for me to speak of another poster in the third person; but, as Richard did end his comment, to me, by firmly stating, “Enough, already. I’m DONE!” …I take those words — and his entire comment — as strongly implying, that, in fact, he does not wish to be a friend (the suggestion that maybe we could be friends had been the overall gist of my last comment to him).

    So, for now, I speak to MIA readers, about that third person…

    Richard Lawhern apparently wants to do nothing more or less in these comment threads than to kick proverbial a** …hopefully motivating and encouraging people to take action, based on a clear game plan, of their own devising or of someone else’s devising (not his own).

    “Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way!” says the title of his proposal posted a bit less than a year ago, at

    For MIA readers who have not yet seen that proposal, of Richard’s, if you are, perhaps, interested in doing so, you can find it via the following link:

    I offered my initial response to that proposal, in my first comment to Richard, posted above, now a bit over a week ago (on July 30, 2014 at 10:26 pm). There, I stated (and, now, please, forgive me my repeating the brunt of that comment, of mine, here….),

    “While I am not someone who expects that the ‘mh’ system will be significantly revamped any time soon and, generally speaking, I read the U.S. Constitution (and, especially the Bill of Rights) as strongly suggesting, that government should not ever have been placed in a position of judging anyone’s ‘mental health’; thus, I believe no state should be licensing any professionals to impose their views of ‘mental health’ on anyone…, I am, nonetheless, impressed by your level of passion for what you are forwarding.

    Because I know that there will always be a ‘mh’ system, of one kind or another, I think your proposal could possibly catalyze positive initiatives, harm reducing initiatives, which would spare us from at least some of the current, considerable harms now being perpetrated by devotees of the American Psychiatric Association and others who wield their latest edition of the DSM…

    Your proposal is notable for its really comprehensive quality of thought, and I am guessing the amount of energy that you’ve put into already must be to be nothing short of cyclonic; I vote that your proposal be posted to this MIA website, so readers can comment upon it.

    Meanwhile, I encourage MIA readers and bloggers to give it a look…”

    Subsequently, the MIA commenter Cannotsay2013 (on July 30, 2014 at 10:46 pm) offered a fair bit of critique, of Richard’s proposal. (By this point, no one else in this comment thread has commented upon it.) Cannotsay’s criticism — essentially, that we cannot reasonably expect the ‘mh’ system to be revamped by its makers — is a perfectly good one, I think. I agree with Cannotsay, in these regards, including as he critiques specifically Richard’s proposal’s paragraph, which suggests, “5. Find a law firm which represents mental health clients in malpractice, negligence and reckless endangerment suits. Volunteer 10% of your professional time to help patients who have been harmed by doctors using DSM-5 category labels or practices unsupported by even rudimentary research…” Cannotsay points out the unlikelihood of establishing ‘malpractrice’ claims against doctors who are engaging in whatever has come to be widely considered ‘standard medical practices.’

    (Of course, pharmaceutical companies can be — and have been — successfully sued, in class-action suits, for their having knowingly misled prescribers and others; but, those suits do nothing to change ‘diagnostic’ practices; and, Richard’s proposal first and foremost regards the problems inherent in psychiatric ‘diagnostic’ systems — most especially, in the ever-expanding DSM…)

    But, in my opinion, the most problematic part of Richard’s proposal is in a different paragraph; it is in that passage, which reads, as follows…

    “c. Lest I be accused of advocating for the replacement of neurology by psychotherapy or counseling, we should also acknowledge a second reality. Talking therapies and counseling have little to offer patients who suffer from major cognitive disorganization now characterized as psychosis, delusions, paranoia, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, borderline personality, or violent sociopathic behavior. This reality has been known since double-blind trials of psychotherapy protocols in the 1950s. Thus existing medications—with all of their real faults and dangers—may have an ongoing role in the management of severe mental dysfunction…”

    “Talking therapies and counseling have little to offer patients who suffer from major cognitive disorganization now characterized as psychosis, delusions, paranoia, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, borderline personality, or violent sociopathic behavior.” Really???

    I believe certain “medications” — taken voluntarily — may do some limited/brief, appreciable good for some “patients” whose experiences may wind up described by such terms.

    But, personally, I cannot help but wonder whether those “medications” for those individuals are ever entirely necessary; in fact, I doubt they are ever entirely necessary, except as those individuals are made increasingly dependent on those “medications” (by forcing them and/or coercing them to accept such ‘treatment’) and as no good alternatives (including safe haven and positively effective counseling) are offered.

    Richard is just plain wrong to state, that “Talking therapies and counseling have little to offer” those “patients.”

    (Thus ends ‘Part One’ of my response to Richard’s last comment to me. I will offer my ‘Part Two’ by posting another comment, sometime in the next 48 hours, as time permits…)



  • P.S. — Correcting a typo…

    Here, more precisely transcribed, are the lines, from Camus, which I offered above:

    “Don’t walk in front of me
    I may not follow
    Don’t walk behind me
    I may not lead
    Walk beside me
    And just be my friend”

  • Richard Lawhern, Ph.D. writes: “If I may add: it may be useful […] to send mail to the publisher or site administration, requesting that a blog be set up for development of an action plan to end forced psychiatric treatment.”


    That’s a very good/productive idea, and I deeply appreciate your suggesting it.

    I wonder, would Bob Whitaker and the MIA staff choose to go along with it?

    (I.e., in essence, would Bob and his staff give, regularly, on their home page, a platform, to those who are advancing the cause of abolishing forced psychiatric ‘treatment’? I suspect that their doing so might be too much to ask. I think it’s more possible that such would be ‘anti-forced-treatment’ bloggers might be encouraged to start a conversation in the MIA forum… where, of course, their discussion wouldn’t receive much attention from most MIA readers.)

    I think it’s a good idea, worth presenting; however, I somewhat doubt that Bob would take the bait… (maybe I’m wrong to anticipate his response).

    Bob is an exceedingly decent guy (I have met him briefly and was impressed by his humility); but, I’m not sure if he’s ready to oppose forced psychiatry, and I doubt he would wish to make himself vulnerable to charges, that he is using his website as a way to advance ‘antipsychiatry’ sentiments.

    Like you, I know that opposing forced psychiatric ‘treatment’ needn’t be considered opposing psychiatry itself; but, quite naturally, many self-described antipsychiatry folk are going to be happy to join this cause…

    KOLs in mainstream psychiatry will naturally do everything possible to paint all such individuals as ‘crazy’ — and worse.

    So, I think Bob will probably not give a platform to ‘anti-forced-psychiatry’ people.

    As for your saying this: “I believe somebody will also need to take responsibility for assembling a consensus position and plan from the discussions — or they will otherwise prove endless and ultimately futile. I’m willing to contribute to the process, but I’m not professionally qualified to lead it.”

    A consensus position and plan is good for any potentially unified group that is formed by a common cause. I don’t see such a group present here, in these comment threads — which is not say I’m doubtful that a relatively small group that’s completely opposed to forced psychiatric ‘treatment’ could be created from amongst some of the commenters here.

    But, frankly, Richard, I think this should go without saying: No one needs to be a professional, in order to be considered a leader, in any movement for human rights (which this is); it is quite enough for anyone to listen carefully, to those who know firsthand the hell that is typically caused by forced ‘treatment’; in the course of carefully listening, one can become, to some considerable extent, a lay expert on the matter; and, as for building a group consensus on opposing forced psychiatry, I don’t foresee a time when any one person (“somebody”) — nor even any two or three people — shall wind up assuming such a role.

    On the contrary, I believe the campaign against medical-coercive psychiatry has always been and will always be (henceforth, evolving, over time) led by quite a number of folk, who are all leading, simultaneously…

    There shall be, I believe, more and more of them coming forth, with the advancing powers, of the Internet (as long as there remains a modicum of freedom to express oneself here).

    And, one more thing…

    As you have authored a proposal titled “Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way! (A Layman Perspective on Change),” and it is a meaningful proposal, which you have put a lot of thought into, I wonder…

    Now, as you are proposing “an action plan to end forced psychiatric treatment” (and, believe me, I am more than willing to listen to any ideas that come to mind, for you, along these lines), I think the task may be somewhat more formidable than you realize.

    Thousands of people have been working on that task, over many years; for some, it has been the work of a lifetime; I have long been a supporter — but not on the ‘front line’; I guess to join the ‘front line,’ it would take befriending those who are already working on that task, out in the open. I have always wished to maintain my anonymity. Maybe that will not always be the case.

    But, how could I be any sort of effective leader amongst so many folk who seem to enjoy gatherings, I wonder?

    I enjoy peace and quiet, mainly.

    Ever since I was a child (back in the 70’s), there have been two wooden placard hangings in the kitchen, of my parents’ home, where I grew up. My mother hung them there.

    The first one reads:

    “Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”

    (Those are the words of Henry David Thoreau.)

    The second wooden placard reads:

    “Don’t walk in front of me
    I many not follow
    Don’t walk behind me
    I may not lead
    Walk beside me
    And just be my friend”

    (Those are the words of Albert Camus.)

    Richard, both of those placards speak to me quite personally, I feel.

    I.e., they convey — in so few words — significant and undeniable aspects of my personality; in fact, more and more, as I grow older, I resonate with those two messages; hence, as I post comments online opposing forced psychiatry (and was also blogging, in that vein, in a personal blog, just a bit, in years past), still, I don’t know many people irl (‘in real life’ — beyond online conversating) who oppose it.

    Indeed, it seems to me, most families I have known, have had family members or are friends with other families who have had one of their own forcibly ‘committed’ to psychiatry and thus forcibly ‘treated’ by psychiatry; and, that forced ‘treatment’ has, in the eyes of those people, seemed ‘necessary’ forever after.

    (In my experience and observation: By far, most people who ‘commit’ someone else to an “involuntary hospitalization” shall never come to realize or ‘confess’ that, indeed, more harm than good was done in the process.)

    So, whether online or irl, though I am hoping always to find more and more people who are willing to offer at least their moral support — if not also their leadership skills — to the long-running battle against forced psychiatry, I am, all the moreso, ‘just’ hoping to make friends of people who are like-minded in that way…

    I am heartened to sense, from your comment, that you may be (at least to some small extent) volunteering to be one such person…



  • “It’s OK to look for joy rather than justice.”


    Great comment.

    I wholeheartedly agree with everything you say in it (and you say it much better than I ever could). Only, it does seem to me, necessary to point out, that the advice “It’s OK to look for joy rather than justice” is something to say to individuals — especially, when they are overwhelmed by their own tendency to take themselves too seriously (this is something I’ve done, at times).

    Also, this too requires saying: there are times when seeking justice is necessary, when it is absolutely called for (because some situations are so utterly devoid of justice, they literally beg for justice); but, in any case, I feel we should do our utmost to bring dignity to our calls for justice; that should never preclude our ability to bring joy…

    And, in fact, along those lines, I’d say, it’s necessary to look for joy while fighting for justice.

    Joy, in the here and now.

    We must (I believe, for our own well being) strive to find appreciation for the genuine ‘goods’ that we have access to, in this very moment.

    And, again, in each moment, continue striving to realize all the good, in what we (as individuals) have already accomplished… no matter how seemingly ‘trivial’ or small these accomplishments may seem to others.

    In fact, anyone who becomes somehow entirely bent on seeking long-term goals, huge goals, high and might goals, to hopefully change or destroy a seemingly ‘all-powerful’ system (and anyone who is aiming to ‘just’ buck such a system) must learn to look for joy, all along the way… because ‘seriousness’ and/or anger can only take a person so far, before it winds up eating away at his or her soul, entirely.

    In fact, anger — though it has, of course, sometimes been a catalyst for accomplishing great deeds — can only take a person so far before it becomes his or her own worst enemy.

    Tapping into ones own sense of righteous indignation can be a great starting point for seeking justice.

    But, he most effective social justice activists have always been those who became most fully capable of accessing joy daily.

    I think your comment is good because it lends a feeling, that you wish to share your joy…

    That is what makes it such a good comment, I feel.

    If we can’t learn to readily access our joy and strive to share it with others, we probably won’t do a whole lot, in the long run, to relay the fullness of our sorrow, with respect to what we’ve already lost to psychiatry…

    Psychiatry’s countless crimes against humanity, that it has committed (including those crimes committed by its most ‘well-meaning’ servants) throughout the long history of its War on so-called “Mental Illness” will never be truly justified; there can never be proper restitution paid to all of Psychiatry’s many victims.

    But, we’ll just continue to be the losers, in that war, if we can’t find good ways to access and share joy all along.

    And, by the way, before I go on further, in this vein, to be perfectly honest, I should admit, here I am doing my best to offer myself a pep talk — as I need one, really.

    I.e., by this point, in my life, I’m not a good example of someone who can find joy everywhere he goes, but I’d like to be able to practice what I’m preaching here, in these regards.

    The Mad Pride movement was apparently created with joy as an inspiration.

    I quite like this video featuring the late John McCarthy (of Mad Pride in Ireland):

    Just know, I really do like your comment quite a lot…



    And, P.S. —

    I also quite like the following poem by John (that’s titled “Abuse”):


    You have: rotated us, dunked us,
    beat us, tied us, chained us, locked us,
    deserted us, desecrated us, drugged us,
    disgraced us, insulin ated us, shocked us,
    ignored us, propagandised us, lied, put
    your knives under our eyes detached our
    lobes, stole our memories you are still at
    it now. Chemical, not ice pick, but as
    cold as ever.
    You have failed us.
    You have caused us to be
    feared. To be afraid. Ashamed of who
    we are. Through your arrogant educated
    ignorance you have labelled us, made
    a disease of life, while you guess and vote
    your pitiless hands thrust into the air
    salute delves into our souls.
    Your diagnostic box our living,
    breathing, lifeless, coffin soul pallbearer!
    Your incorrect guess, my fault!

    Does failure teach you nothing
    except to fail again. Or are you
    as corrupt as some say you are. Your
    hands chemically stained from the
    pockets you pick to sustain you.

    Failure of force as care obvious except
    to you who thrive on the abuse you feed
    from. Opinion as fact! Supported by do
    gooders who never touched a tormented
    soul, but know the law. Capacity judged as
    those innocents before savagely damaged.
    Similar law that protected the church while
    a previous generation of do gooders pruned
    themselves in the reflected glory of the abusers
    held in high station by an older generation of educated
    ignorance. Belief not knowledge, bible to
    DSM, guess to access my soul how you
    feel about how we feel impacts so much
    on us ; on you. Not at all.

    Your call protected by law your co-conspirators
    as Nuremburg plead orders, the job, family to
    feed, as defence. Drugged up, dumbed down,
    shaking, shivering, tardive dyskinesia, akathisia
    by injection without request from Hammar
    nightingales trained to abuse in the name of
    care. Blind indifference to consequence.
    Not much longer:
    we are beginning to stand, we will not take it in
    ass from ye any longer. We will not compliantly
    turn and bend; you will face us now when we
    refuse to be used.

  • @ chrisreed,

    In your comment to Richard, on August 2, 2014 at 10:21 pm, you write:

    “I would like to add here that my family situation was put into a bit of turmoil when one family member “recovered” her memory and accused another family member of sexual molestation in her childhood. Thanks for the opportunity to clarify my position.”

    With all due respect, though you say “Thanks for the opportunity to clarify my position,” I think you would need to elaborate just a bit, on what you’re saying there, in order to clarify your position. (Really, your comment is quite minimalistic, so it’s difficult to know exactly what you’re saying, in it.) Indeed, if you are to elaborate, you might want to begin by explaining, “This is my position on…” (fill in the blank).

    I’m not sure, but I think you are probably indicating, that you had a situation in your family, wherein one of your family members had announced a supposedly “recovered” memory of having been sexually molested by another family member, and that it eventually proved, after all, to be an utterly false memory (i.e., no such molestation occurred, in reality).

    Many years ago, I was well acquainted with a family wherein that sort of scenario played out; in fact, I was well acquainted with the ‘healer’ who had ‘helped’ two sisters to come up with, what were supposedly “recovered” memories. (She was the worst ‘healer’ I’ve ever met, as she was fully inclined to project her own experiences, of having been molested, by her father, into the lives of her clients.) These two sisters came up with matching “memories” of having been, as infants, improperly caressed by their father (who was a physician).

    After a few months of treating their dad like a pariah, they both realized that no molestation had occurred.

    It was a serious disruption in their family, at the time, but it was completely resolved.

    Years later, I went to school to become a hypnotherapist, and we were told that we must not ever attempt to “recover” a client’s memories.

    Memories that are ostensibly “recovered” by ‘therapy’ are typically developed through the ‘leading questions’ of the ‘therapist’; usually, the ‘therapist’ doesn’t even realize that s/he is leading the client, that way.

    Such “recovered” memories are bound to be false memories.

    However, some people do have repressed memories — including, perhaps, memories of having been abused or otherwise traumatized. Such individuals may eventually ‘recover’ those memories, on their own. (My admittedly limited studies of formal research, on that phenomenon, suggest that it’s actually a rather rare experience.)

    In fact, the research that I’ve studied, on this subject, suggests that most people can rather easily recall, in their own mind’s eye, their own past traumatic experiences.

    But, many people do suppress their own traumatic experiences (‘suppression’ is a conscious and deliberate process).

    That suppression is a ‘coping mechanism’ — which can eventually get in the way of living a full life.

    That is why I made a point of agreeing with the commenter (truharlow) who raised the topic of suppression (on July 31, 2014 at 10:16 pm).

    Richard later expressed considerable disagreement with truharlow’s comment.

    However, I actually believe, that, had Richard failed to note that truharlow was speaking of suppression, not repression.

    So, had he been reading truharlow’s comment more closely, he may not have disagreed — at least, not to the extent that he did.

    After all, I believe Richard is saying something very similar to truharlow, to begin (on July 28, 2014 at 2:37 pm), as he (Richard) asks “How can the distressed consciousness be helped or healed — or more realistically, how can we suppress entrenched interests for long enough to learn how?”

    I believe that’s actually a good use of the word “suppress” and a good question.

    It was a couple of days later (on July 31, 2014 at 10:16 pm), that truharlow said: “What we really need is strength. We need to realize that trauma is the source of our differences. Our dissociation from ourself and our suppressed memories keep us afraid.”

    I believe truharlow was thereby agree with Richard’s

    And, in considering the full context, of what truharlow posted, I believe truharlow offers a good use of the word “suppress” – especially because I believe, that many who have been seriously traumatized by forced psychiatric ‘treatment’ are inclined to suppress those memories.

    (I.e., in a sense, they deliberately ‘shove down’ and ‘hide’ those memories, to their own ultimate detriment.)

    Also, I do know (and have always known), that my having been bullied for years, as a young child had the effects of an ongoing trauma, which was one major factor leading to an eventual, sudden (and very brief) expression of rage, at age 21.5 – that would be defined instead as an expression of ‘psychosis,’ by the psychiatrist whom I was then urged to meet with, at a nearby E.R..

    Though I was not in any way enraged by the time of that visit to the E.R., I would gain there my first experience of being forcibly drugged. It was an incredibly traumatic experience, which I soon thereafter came to suppress, largely because no one whom I knew, back then, would even begin to confirm what I knew, about that ‘treatment’ — that it was absolutely uncalled for and ultimately abusive.

    (Note: Fewer than twelve hours later, I’d be yet again forcibly drugged. No one ever told me why. As far as I could tell, the psych-techs simply decided to ‘teach me a lesson’ because, apparently, they’d learned from one “patient,” that I’d mentioned to him: “I can’t tell the ‘patients’ from the staff.”)

    For many years, I suppressed my experiences, of being forcibly drugged as well – for the same reasons, that I knew no one who would accept, they were completely unnecessary forms of ‘treatment’ that were incredibly abusive.

    Anyway, I do think Richard went a bit off track, by critiquing truharlow’s comment, which mentioned “suppressed memories.”

    Richard’s critique gave examples of infamous cases of ‘therapists’ who led kids to produce false memories, yet no one ever claimed those ‘memories’ had been suppressed; the claims were that they had been ‘repressed’ memories.

    (There is really an huge difference between (a) stating that someone’s memories have been ‘recovered’ after being ‘repressed’ and (b) on the one hand, stating that someone has been ‘suppressing’ certain memories…)

    So, if I understand your very brief comment about the “recovered” memories of your family member, you certainly have good (really excellent) reason to be totally skeptical of “recovered” memories generally. I, too, am totally skeptical of them…

    Nonetheless, again, emphatically, I must insist, this is true: For many years I suppressed (i.e., deliberately ‘shoved down’ and hid) my memories of having been abused by medical-coercive psychiatry.

    Unfortunately, many people do that; many psychiatric survivors conclude, that they have no choice but to suppress their own memories of having been abused by medical-coercive psychiatry, because they find no one around who’s willing to fully accept this truth, that never should they have been forcibly ‘treated’.

    I find these are not necessarily easy matters to clarify in a comment form; but, hopefully, I have made all my points here, in a way that is fairly clear…



  • Frank,

    I completely agree with your comment (on August 2, 2014 at 10:06 pm), and it is very well stated.

    It is an excellent reply to Richard’s amazing line (that was directed to Chris).

    Richard explains: “I don’t think we can argue usefully that the delusional loners who kill school children are mentally healthy.”

    To reiterate your main point, Frank, here’s my reply to that line (i.e., what follows is actually my reply to Richard):

    I don’t think we can argue usefully that anyone who kills school children is ‘mentally healthy,’ nor do I think we can argue usefully that anyone who kills school children is ‘mentally ill.’

    However, sadly, tragically and not unexpectedly (if we are being perfectly honest with ourselves), some number of kids who are told that they are “mentally ill” by psychiatrists will thus wind up becoming mass murderers; for, the notion that they are given, that they are “mentally ill,” will be a constant thorn in the side of most kids, and the “medications” that they’re prescribed for their supposed “mental illness” will be no great balm, as no psychiatric drug can reasonably be expected to have merely welcomed effects (all psychotropic drugs can have unpleasant as well as personally destabilizing effects).

    By virtue of these facts — and the fact that all kids, by their exposure to news media, well know, extreme violence is often attributed to ‘mental illness’ –, not a few kids who are officially deemed and ‘treated’ as ‘mentally ill’ shall, of course, come to feel so alienated by their ‘mentally ill’ status and by its accompanying ‘treatment,’ they will entertain fantasies of lashing out violently and will imagine using ‘mental illness’ as their excuse for doing so; some few will lash out, in very extreme ways.

    That’s simply inevitable — because millions of kids are being officially deemed “mentally ill” and ‘treated’ with psychotropic drugs.

    It’s incredibly sad — but undeniable.

    Imho, one of the best bits of wisdom that any parent can offer, to his or her kids, is this:

    No matter what anyone says to you, you are not ‘mentally ill,’ and you will never be ‘mentally ill.’ There is no such thing as ‘mental illness’ in reality; but, yes, there are people who may be more or less emotionally troubled and/or confused about their place in the world.

    I tell my child the truth, that way, while explaining, that, I believe, undoubtedly, many people could benefit from professional counseling — presuming the counselor would be someone who can listen well and who knows how to offer suggestions that are positively meaningful and laden with good sense.

    Unfortunately, the vast majority of licensed counselors are inclined to favor the views of psychiatry.

    As a parent, I strongly recommend against sending kids to any psychiatrist who is in the practice of assigning DSM ‘diagnostic’ labels and prescribing drugs.

    I will recommend certain counselors or therapists who are absolutely inclined to reject the psychiatric (medical model) paradigm, knowing it is a complete sham.



  • “…quite a number of psychiatrists rebelled during the 1970s from the then-prevailing orthodoxy that hearing voices or feeling observed by hostile unknown strangers was uniformly caused by early childhood trauma. Then-available modalities of psychotherapy had very little if any effectiveness in moderating or managing the bizarre experiences and acts of people believed to be schizophrenic.”


    I’m not sure what you mean to say, by your offering me that last sentence (in italics, above).

    It suggests to me, that, perhaps, you have not yet exposed yourself to the writings of Bob Whitaker (whose website this is). Of course, if I’m right about that, it reflects no crime on your part (but it would tell me you need to do some more studying of these subjects).

    Also, about that sentence: It suggests to me, you have not done much studying of this website over all — considering all that has been shared here, on this site, regarding that ‘diagnosis’ of “schizophrenia”; e.g., there are numerous mentions here of people who received that “schizophrenia” label, who very successfully overcame the issues that led them to receiving that label… sometimes with psychotherapy.

    Really, study the work of Loren Mosher, much of which spanned the 1970’s.


    Also, you might wish to study the following article, which is by yet another an MIA foreign correspondent…

    “Is Schizophrenia Really a Brain Disease?”
    by Paris Williams, PhD | June 23, 2012

    And, in any case, please know: I do not believe that, “hearing voices or feeling observed by hostile unknown strangers [is] uniformly caused by early childhood trauma.”

    So, please, don’t think I’m suggesting that such experiences (which are often called “symptoms” of “schizophrenia”) are uniformly caused by early childhood trauma — nor that there is any ‘uniform’ explanation for such experiences…

    But I do believe that such experiences are often caused primarily by traumatic events (whether in childhood or later) as well as by any number of factors, especially factors of any kind that may lead to ‘extreme’ isolation — especially, when one can find no ultimately creative outlet for expression.

    In childhood (or young adult life), one can very easily wind up being bullied, in any number of ways — sometimes day after day for months or even years — merely for appearing in any way awkward, anxious or simply different.

    That kind of treatment (whether it comes from inside ones home or outside or both) can have more or less devastating effects on the young person’s psyche.

    In particular, I point out: Bullying can cause such isolation, as leads to ‘psychosis…’ and can eventually lead to such effects, as you’re describing.

    I’d offer you another link (it’s link to a recently posted page, here at MIA, featuring this heading, “Childhood Bullying Linked to Psychosis”), but it only speaks in terms of ‘psychosis’ being ‘linked’ to childhood bullying — not caused by it; and, it is a rather small study…

    At last, you should please not doubt, that I well know, there are many reasons that people can wind up seemingly ‘psychotic.’

    Study up on Loren Mosher’s life and how he came to renounce his APA membership.

    Google “Loren Mosher resignation letter.”



  • “Jonah, it seems to me as if you are trying to place me in the position of either agreeing with everything you say, or being run out of the forum for heresy.”


    I’m smiling and chuckling to myself, as I read those lines… because you are so very wrong about my intent (and about my ability to affect your standing in this forum).

    Let me first assure you, here, now, in all sincerity, that: I don’t expect you to agree with everything I say.

    (Really, in fact, not only don’t I expect you or anyone else here to agree with everything I say… indeed, to get you or anyone else here to agree with me on most matters, is not my goal, ever, with respect to anyone, as I offer my comments, on this website.)

    I have been offering my comments, here, at MIA, off and on, for over two years. In all that time, certainly, never have I found anyone who agrees with everything I say, and I fully expect that trend to continue. (I fully presume I will never find anyone who does agree with me entirely, on these issues.)

    Simply, I do my best here to forward my #1 highest priority ‘item’ — when it comes to speaking of ‘reform’ in the ‘mh’ realm: End all forced ‘medical treatment’ of ‘mh’ issues — especially, all forced injections of psychotropic drugs and other forced neuro-invasive procedures.

    To me, it seems (from my readings, of the history of psychiatry), claims of what are supposedly existing (but, in fact, are just seeming) “brain defects” amongst “patients,” in the realm of psychiatry, tend to be quite spurious; in fact, quite often, brain injuries caused by psychiatric ‘treatments’ (psych ‘meds’ and ECT) have been viewed as ‘signs’ of “mental illness.”

    It happens quite often, in ‘scientific’ research.

    Indeed, when most people in our society offer their own observations, of what little they know, of “severe mental health issues,” what they are often referring to, in fact, is what they’ve observed of iatrogenic effects (i.e., the many terrible effects of psychiatric ‘care’).

    To base ones view of “severe mental health issues” on what seems to cause what seems to be “schizophrenia,” in many instances (or most instances), lay students of the subject and ‘noted’ researchers come to the conclusion: This seems to be caused by “brain defects.”

    Immense tragedies result.

    You needn’t agree.

    Simply, I would ask you to show us your proof of what you say “seems” to be the “brain defect” that’s causing what you and others call “schizophrenia”; I will be happy to keep an open mind, as I study whatever articles you can offer me, along those lines.

    Meanwhile, I maintain that “schizophrenia” is an incredibly misleading term, describing many (countless) possible experiences. (The causes of such an endless array of phenomena can, thus, be limitless.) And, the label “schizophrenia” is attached to most folk who receive it, without regard for the effects that the label itself can create (because, of course, there are horrible expectations, that are usually associated with that label).

    You or anyone else who reads my comment might, with good reason, call any part or all of what I’m saying my ‘orthodoxy’; but, in terms of ‘mh’ reforms, again, all I ask for is an end to forced ‘medical treatment.’

    That means, I completely oppose forced “mental health” ‘medical treatment’ of any kind.

    In my humble opinion, and according to last year’s statement by Mr. Juan E Mendez (the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment), it is perfectly reasonable to completely opposed such ‘treatment,’ as it is so horribly invasive (mind-altering, brain-altering and potentially brain-damaging), it amounts to torture.

    Indeed, I was literally tortured by such ‘treatment’; hence, I feel quite strongly about this issue.

    And, I have always known that my having been bullied as a young child had an enormous impact on my life; ever since I was viewed as ‘psychotic’ by psychiatrists, at age twenty-one (nearly three decades ago), I have known that that bullying played an huge role in my becoming seemingly ‘psychotic’ back then.

    But, no one would listen to anything I had to say about my childhood.

    In my humble opinion, that no one would listen to me (they would only drug me) was a function of systemic denial.

    Today, I choose to reject those denials, regardless of how well-meaning may be the messengers of such.

    I urge you, please, don’t you take that passion of mine, in any way personally.



  • Here’s a very simple overview of the important difference between two basic concepts in psychology, that have been mentioned in this comment thread (above):

    “What is the difference between repressed memories and suppressed memories?

    Repressed memory : A repressed memory is the memory of a traumatic event unconsciously retained in the mind, where it is said to adversely affect conscious thought, desire, and action

    Suppressed Memory: Conscious exclusion of unacceptable desires, thoughts, or memories from the mind.”


  • Richard Lawhern, Ph.D. writes: “For whatever this is worth, neither am I saying that all severely disabling mental health issues are a consequence of brain chemistry defects. But some people DO seem to be dealing with such defects. I think it’s a mistake to leave these people in darkness by proclaiming that “dissociation” of childhood traumas accounts for the great bulk of severe mental health issues. The evidence for that proposition seems weak, at least from the reading I’ve done as a layman over the past 30 years.”


    I have quoted you verbatim there (in italics, above) while nonetheless very deliberately putting your repeated use of the word “seems” in bold print.

    Seems, to me, you’re not providing convincing arguments…

    Frankly, I believe psychiatry is a system designed to deny the realities of how it is, that many of the most “severely disabling mental health issues” that it addresses are a consequence of having been abused (not necessarily by their parents).

    You say, “I think it’s a mistake to leave these people in darkness by proclaiming that “dissociation” of childhood traumas accounts for the great bulk of severe mental health issues.”

    You say, “The evidence for that proposition seems weak, at least from the reading I’ve done as a layman over the past 30 years.”

    Most of the “patients” who tend to receive psychiatry’s most damning labels have (in my observation) been seriously abused, more or less, throughout their lives (or throughout considerable portions of their lives).

    Psychiatry becomes their ultimate abuser, most especially when it resorts to forced ‘treatment’ — especially, bodily intrusions.

    Many of those individuals never find their way out of their ‘victim role’ — because their tendency is to survive by way of suppressing most of their experiences, of having been abused.

    (Again — and more emphatically — I say: It’s not necessarily abuse by parents.)

    You suggest that you have studied ‘mh’ issues, as a layman, for the past thirty years.

    So have I, and — except for my agreement, with you, that psychiatry’s current ‘diagnostic’ tools are pure garbage — I have come to very different conclusion than you have, regarding the supposed “severe mental heath issues.”

    It seems to me, that your conclusions, about what may be causing most ‘mh’ problems that lead to ‘diagnoses’ of supposedly ‘severe’ conditions, are coming from hunches (i.e., in your view, brain defects seem to be causing them, oftentimes).

    I can’t help but conclude (from what you’re saying in your comments), that, for the past 30 years, you have relied on the typical sort of ‘mental health’ research (wrongly called “literature”) that’s, of course, going to deny the effects of critically dysfunctional parenting and other forms of critically stressful, trauma producing, experiences, including abuse of virtually all kinds, that often comes from outside the home.

    These days, especially, bullying in schools can be absolutely vicious and devastating for those who are subjected to it.

    In my humble opinion, you would do well to study, at length, the effects of that phenomenon — and realize how medical-coercive psychiatry can readily becomes ones ultimate bully…

    Whether it happens inside the home or outside the home (or both), bullying is the most commonly ignored (or denied) factor leading to seemingly “serious mental health issues.” Carefully study the effects of bullying.

    Until you do so, I suspect your language will continue to be steeped in the usual prejudices of that worst-of-all ‘mh’ professions (psychiatry), which you are aiming to critique.



    P.S. — Richard,

    From my reading of your response to commenter truharlow (on August 2, 2014 at 8:53 am ), I think you might be confusing these terms “suppression” and “repression” (you should study those terms, to clearly distinguish them from one another).

    truharlow writes,

    “What we really need is strength. We need to realize that trauma is the source of our differences. Our dissociation from ourself and our suppressed memories keep us afraid. Society keeps us afraid and ashamed of our trauma, of our anxiety. This fear of being different can escalate symptoms of mental illness. “Mental illness”

    It is designed to oppress us, take away out power, our voice. There is a cure. It is realizing there are suppressed memories. We have hidden these memories to protect ourselves, but once we realize how past traumas have influenced “symptoms” we can become whole.”

    I think truharlow is quite right, about that.

    Today’s psychiatry (as opposed to some psychiatry, in the past, which also failed, in its own ways) is especially ‘good’ at ‘helping’ its “patients” to suppress their memories, of having been abused (most especially, their memories of having been abused by psychiatry itself).

    Nonetheless, I agree with you, as you refer to issues related to the misleading heading of “schizophrenia,” to this extent: you’re right to say “I merely point out that there seem to be no one-size-fits-all methods or solutions for problems of this type.”

    Along those lines, I encourage you to utilize the following link, to view what (in my opinion) is a fascinating film, featuring one of MIA’s foreign correspondents, Rufus May:

    That film is titled “The Doctor Who Hears Voices.”

  • “Jonah, I don’t accept your comparison of the use of tazers to the use of electro-convulsive shock.”


    I don’t make that comparison anywhere. (Seems to me, that, somehow, you have misread my comments, in those regards.)

    And, with respect to what you offer, as “an observation which I believe is from either Mark Twain or humorist Will Rogers: it is usually a mistake to attribute to conspiracy, behaviors that are equally plausible as outcomes of simple human cussedness,” please understand, I see so many countless conflicting opinions being posted on this MIA website, that, by this point, I could not possibly view anyone who is posting (comments or blogs) here as ‘conspiring’ with anyone else.

    But, generally speaking, I do tend to see a Machiavellian tendency in those who come to defend forced psychotropic drugging.

    Perhaps, they conspire with the status quo way of doing things — as do most people — quite naturally.

    In any case, I very much appreciate your parting words and feel they are well worth repeating here:

    “We aren’t going to settle these differences in perspective tonight. And likely not in ten years. But if we do not begin a process of organizing to support change in psychiatric practice, then I believe we will ultimately change nothing.”

    Thanks for the exchange.



  • “Again, you are outsourcing how to work with people who are violent and “ill” to police and are de facto endorsing those types of methods of working with that population in the name of purity.”


    On the contrary, it seems, to me, the justice system (and, in particular, the jail systems) wind up outsourcing to psychiatrists and others who operate psychiatric “hospitals” (such as the “hospital” which pays your salary); the justice system sends you your “patients” who really should be charged with criminal offenses.

    In my opinion, that does a great disservice to “patients” who have committed no crimes (and, certainly, that degree of innocence describes the majority of folk who are called “patients” in psychiatric “hospitals”).

    Often, violent offenders wind up “hospitalized” and ‘excused’ for their violence — based on psychiatric “diagnoses” that suggest those individuals could not possibly have known better.

    Society mainly accepts that state of affairs, so many people who should be behind bars or who, perhaps, should be working to provide restitution for their crimes, are deemed “mentally ill” and are effectively ‘excused’ from criminal prosecution; of course, many of those folk will, at first, welcome and appreciate that seeming ‘mercy’ that’s being afforded them, by the intervention of ‘medical’ quacks (the psychiatrists); but, in most instances, sooner or later, they realize, they’ve actually made a deal with the ‘Devil’.

    Most of them are tagged with indelible psychiatric labels, which make them into lifelong wards of the Therapeutic State.

    In most instances, that’s a fate far worse than any that would have come from ‘just’ facing the music, in the sense of staying with an arrest, accepting a bit of jail time — and looking forward to a subsequent trial. Even a possible guilty verdict and sentencing will not lead to the sort of harms that are typically suffered, as one becomes a “mental patient” who ostensibly has very little or no free will.

    RE “Would you also suggest that we ban the use of guns, bean bag guns and nightsticks for police officers? These are the weapons of choice that police use for dealing with violent people.”

    Jonathan, I very deeply believe that’s possible; police who take “patients” from hospitals (i.e., take them to jail cells, which may be padded rooms) can be trained to completely avoid resorting to use of guns and nightsticks, against such individuals.

    There could be specially trained teams of police, who are charged with that responsibility.

    Please, understand, I deeply feel, this would lead to much better outcomes — and even a lot of genuinely good outcomes — for one and all…



  • By the way, Jonathan, about your stating, this ~~> “I want to be clear that since you have asked me not to use euphemisms like force (I’ll call it forced drugging),” that’s great, imho.

    Your doing that will be a big help, in making your positions, on this subject, more clearly understood, by MIA readers, I think.

    And, again, as for your saying, this ~~> “I would ask you not to use euphemisms like “police” and instead call it forced electro-shocking,” really, that’s just your way of being nonsensical — either creating a diversion from the content of my comments — or, maybe, it’s the effect of your having been seriously traumatized, by seeing a “patient” tazered.

    It could be that, I believe.

    So, in fact, when I use the term “police” in reference to “hospital” settings, please, presume I’m referring to police who have been completely forbidden, by law, from using their tazers, on anyone, there. Indeed, presume the police who are summoned to a “hospital” setting will know they should leave their tazers at home — that they’ll literally lose their jobs if they come to tazer any of the “patients” whom they apprehend in “hospital” to deliver to jail.

    Really, I would be more than happy to fight for the passage of such laws…



  • I want to be clear that since you have asked me not to use euphemisms like force (I’ll call it forced drugging), I would ask you not to use euphemisms like “police” and instead call it forced electro-shocking.


    I believe that tazers are your go-to strawman….

    Or, are you not aware, it’s quite possible to create laws (clearly legislating) that the police must not use tazers, in certain settings.

    I submit to you, it would not be particularly difficult to create absolute restrictions against police using tazers on any person who is being transferred from a “hospital,” into a specially equipped jail setting.

    Really, I have no idea how many times (or, in how many ways) I need wind up repeat the following, to you: I cannot see any justification for any use of tazers.

    When I speak of calling for police help, in these instances, which you’re detailing, I mean, simply this: The “hospital” staff physically restrains someone who has become terribly assaultive and/or threatening, and they summon the police to charge that person with that crime and deliver that person to jail, where s/he can be assigned legal counsel as well as other forms of counsel (if s/he wants that) in addition to legal counsel.

    Please, stop with the talk of tazering. Though I’m sure it was very traumatic for you to have seen someone tazered, you needn’t believe that calling for police = tazering.

    Really, there could be laws passed, which strictly forbid the police from tazering your “patients”.



  • Richard,

    RE “Please understand that I am fully aware of the reality that mental hospitals do harm to the less disordered by mixing them with the seriously deranged and by medicating them with drugs whose effects are in some people toxic. But we cannot focus on the civil rights of the inmates of such facilities alone. We must also give attention to the civil rights of the larger society which we ask to support our disabled.”


    To your saying that, I can’t help but come to suspect that what you’re aiming for — is promoting an ‘instrumentalism’ …of the Machiavellian kind.

    Likewise, there’s the pragmatism of Jonathan Keyes. (He explains, in his comment, addressed to Sandra Steingard, above, on July 29, 2014 at 12:04 am: “At core, I am a pragmatist. I would rather see psychiatric prescription patterns becoming much more cautious. I would like to see the use of force…”)

    About Machiavelli, we can read online,

    “Although never directly stated in [his book, The Prince], ‘the end justifies the means’ is often quoted as indicative of the Pragmatism or Instrumentalism that underlies Machiavelli’s philosophy. He also touched on totalitarian themes, arguing that the state is merely an instrument for the benefit of the ruler, who should have no qualms at using whatever means are at his disposal to keep the citizenry suppressed. Unlike Plato and Aristotle, though, Machiavelli was not looking to describe the ideal society, merely to present a guide to getting and preserving power and the status quo.”


    Based on what you are saying here, now, I would not recommend you to anyone who has ever been forcibly “hospitalized” — as I see your attitude, as expressed, in this latest comment, of yours, as professing a desire for policies that would come, at the complete detriment of millions of people who have been, unfortunately, labeled by psychiatry, in ways that make them vulnerable to the potential tyranny of the majority.

    And RE “To demand that each “mad” man or woman receive free support and housing for the rest of their lives without qualification or condition is simply unrealistic in the world as we find it.”

    I don’t know why you say that to me. Surely, no one can read my comments on this MIA website and assume that I am wanting to promote the creation of such a ‘support’ system. You are speaking there, of a Welfare State (which I oppose, in all its forms).


    Finally, I’ll add this: personally, believe that ‘madness’ comes in a zillion shapes and sizes and degrees of severity (e.g., many of our politicians, who are ostensibly the makers of public policy, in this country are, in my view, far more dangerously ‘mad’ than most of the supposedly ‘mad’ people who are locked in psychiatric “hospitals” around the country).

    Indeed, I think you’re a bit ‘mad’ for believing you can lead a complete reformation of the ‘mh’ system; but, that’s just my opinion, and it is not meant to be an insult; I admire your passion and appreciate much of what you say — especially about the shortcomings of psychiatry.

    Therefore, in no way shall I fault you for being seemingly ‘mad’ in that way (of believing your proposal could lead to a complete reformation of the ‘mh’ system).

    And, as far as the sorts of ‘madness’ that winds up being ‘treated’ in most psychiatric “hospitals” goes, I think that, probably, the majority of ‘cases’ are drug and alcohol related; they could be healed rather quickly, if only those individuals were led to realize the harms being caused them by their drug(s) of choice.

    Others who seemingly go ‘mad’ may have good reasons for doing so, but I think no person’s seeming ‘madness’ needs be particularly debilitating for long; imho, the average ‘case’ would not last for more than a couple of months, at most, were it not for the usual sort of ‘help’ that is given, by psychiatry!

    Thank you for your response.



  • I said above “And, many people who wind up deemed “psychotic” by psychiatrists would be better off in jail.”

    To be clear, of course, I meant to indicate that, many people who have committed crimes that typically warrant jailing wind up deemed “psychotic” and are, thus, sent to “hospitals” instead of jail.

    I think that’s wrong. It’s bad for everyone, ultimately.

    Imho, everyone who has apparently committed a crime should be afforded the benefits of legal counsel and a proper court trial; for prisoners awaiting trial, the jail systems should be equipped with padded cells, and there should be some availability of counselors (preferably experts in navigating such problems of life), and, for those individuals who seem most psychological and/or emotionally disturbed, there could be professional licensed to prescribe certain sedatives (relative mild ones, as compared to the ‘heavy tranquilizers’ that are forced on “patients” in “hospital” settings) to be used only by those who choose to use them voluntarily.

  • “First of all, that violent individual needs to be taken out of hospital restraints and placed into handcuffs and then transported to a jail while in a highly agitated state while police remove all their weapons and tazers. That is just not a likely or realistic scenario for police.”


    RE “That is just not a likely or realistic scenario for police.

    What you’re saying there may be true, currently (I’m conceding it may not be a likely or realistic scenario currently, according to standard protocols, which have, by this point, become a matter of convention); but, what is mere convention need not remain convention forever.

    Imho, the jails need to maintain a place for people who are especially ‘agitated’ and, perhaps, are especially confused.

    And, of course, I realize that some people who are viewed as ‘psychotic’ are going to be much better cared for, in some “hospital” setting, than they would be in any jail system.

    However, really, I know that many people who are deemed “psychotic” by psychiatrists would do best were they to be simply sent home.

    And, many people who wind up deemed “psychotic” by psychiatrists would be better off in jail.

    Really, I cannot count how many times, over the years, I’ve looked, in retrospect, back… (to my early twenties) and have considered my experiences with medical-coercive psychiatry (especially, how I was forcibly drugged and then labeled indelibly, with “diagnoses” suggesting I am forever ‘seriously mentally ill’) …and, in looking back, I’ve wished, wistfully:

    ‘If only I could have, from the start, been charged with a crime and placed in jail, to be promised my day in court — as opposed to being ‘treated’ for supposed ‘psychosis’ by psychiatrists!’

    Jonathan, imho, there are situations, wherein some people are apparently in need of professional help, because they are very confused, very disoriented; and, most police are not well trained to deal with such people; but, your opposition to involving the police is too extreme; and, I maintain, that: Never should anyone be forcibly drugged into submission.

    Such druggings create far more harm than good, in the long run…

    That’s my view anyway…



  • P.S. — Here’s a minor correction, to clarify my position on forced drugging:

    I wrote, in my comment above (on August 1, 2014 at 3:27 pm) “I believe that no one should ever be forcibly subjected to psychotropic drugging (nor should anyone be forcibly subjected to any other form of ‘brain treatment’).”

    Actually, that parenthetical statement should include an asterisk, as it requires an addendum; for, it is forced psychotropic drugging (and other forms of invasive psychiatric brain-tampering) that I’m opposed to; but, on the other hand, in my opinion, there are some (rare) neurological conditions that could possibly warrant force drugging, of a different kind.

    At least, there is one example of a such a condition, that I know of, which is malaria.

    Malaria is a very real disease, which affects the brain, and it can become very serious, when gone untreated by antibiotics.

    A psychiatrist whom I was debating (online) pointed out, to me, that: Not infrequently, in climates where malaria frequently occurs, physicians will encounter malaria patients who are “delirious” and apparently do not want to be medicated; so, they will forcibly inject such patients with antibiotics; and (the psychiatrist whom I was debating, explained) soon thereafter, those physicians find themselves being thanked by those patients.

    As compared to forced psychotropic drugging, I see that as a very different sort of situation, because there are no forced psychotropic drugs in the equation and because malaria is a clearly identifiable disease, which adversely affects the brain; i.e., unlike so-called “mental disorders” and so-called “mental illnesses,” the presence of that real disease, malaria, can be very objectively identified, it’s treatment (an antibiotic) is real medicine, that precisely cures the disease.

  • “When conversation, space, food and comfort measures have been offered; when listening, allowing for strong and intense emotions to be expressed, and a person is still threatening or engaged in strong harm to other patients and staff…I support forced drugging.”


    Thanks for your reply. I’m sure you can guess (from our previous exchanges, in these comment threads) that my response to you will include this: I do not support forced psychotropic drugging in that instance, which you’re describing — nor in any other instances (as I have explained to you previously).

    Additionally, here I’ll remark, regarding that scenario, which you are describing (in that italicized quote, that’s now topping this comment of mine): Jonathan, to me, you seem to be describing a person who is refusing to accept the ‘help’ even of the most seemingly reasonable kinds; so, maybe s/he is just plain totally fed up with psychiatric ‘help’ generally — with good reason.

    And, though I would not recommend to such a person, that s/he become violent (nor would I attempt to ‘justify’ any violence, on anyone’s part, that’s not absolutely necessary, as a means of effective self-defense), a careful study of that person’s refusals to accept the ‘help’ you’re describing may prove that person’s resistance well warranted.

    In fact, I believe, if s/he is aware that s/he is actually being threatened with forced drugging (and, indeed, all “patients” in psychiatric “hospitals” know that they do risk being forcibly drugged if/when they may become ‘resistant’ to staff), then I can certainly empathize with that person’s refusal to accept the ‘help’ you’re describing.

    After all, who are these people who are doing the ‘helping’ that you’re describing?

    Do they ‘deserve’ the cooperation of the “patient” whom you’re describing?

    Have they been asked, by that person, for such ‘help’ as you’re describing?

    Again, Jonathan (as I have pointed out, in my comments, to you, previously): In many instances, ‘violence’ and ‘threats of violence’ — especially, in psychiatric “hospitals” — are vagaries, that are, subjectively perceived.

    Most ‘containment events’ within psychiatric “hospital wards” are provoked by “hospital” staff members.

    So, about that person whom you’re describing: Maybe, on some level, s/he would actually prefer to be jailed — perhaps, to (hopefully) receive a day in court — as opposed to being “hospitalized” by yourself and others… who, of course, can’t help but treat every “patient” in your “hospital” as though, at best, ‘mentally ill’ …and/or, at least, as though ‘needing’ some (ostensibly ‘therapeutic’) form of attention, which s/he may ultimately find ultimately unwarranted — if not also unjust.

    Furthermore, we should be clear, that that sort of scenario, which you’re describing, does not describe the only sort of psychiatric “patient” whom you’ve indicated should be forcibly drugged.

    E.g., you’ve written in one MIA comment (on June 21, 2014 at 5:25 pm),

    Recently, a man who had been in prison for a number of years for numerous crimes was brought from jail to our ER because he was “decompensating”. He then proceeded to attack ER nurses, injuring one by kicking her hard in the chest. Really challenging cases and ERs have really crappy ways of working with people in these situations. Restraints? Forced meds? Then what?

    In my opinion, one huge problem with your reasoning, in these discussions, is that, when you do aim to engage in dialogue, you are forever coming back to comments like this one (which you’ve offered, above): “You have suggested police should be involved when violence happens. I completely disagree. If given these horrible choices, I will choose a forced drug over tazers and bullets.”

    That’s an absurd point, that you make (again and again); it’s nothing more than specious rhetoric, imho, …because, obviously, those aren’t the only choices.

    You say to me (above),

    By saying you support police involvement, do you support using 50,000 volts of electricity to subdue people who are violent and “mentally ill”? Do you support police drawing guns to threaten those who are violent and “mentally ill”? These are the awful choices we are left with.

    That’s just absurd, really.

    I don’t support any use of tazers (“50,000 volts of electricity”) and don’t support shooting anyone’s shooting anyone else with a gun, except as an absolute last resort means of saving the lives of innocents, so I would not expect the police to be drawing their guns, in the situations you describe.

    Imho, it would not be especially difficult for trained “hospital” staff to subdue and physically restrain the “patients” you’re describing, with mechanical restraints, as they await the police… who could agree to leave their guns in their vehicle; they could take such individuals, still in those physical restraints, out of the “hospital” — to be processed into the justice system.

    Really, I am totally against the existence of psychiatric “hospitals,” because I know such places will keep people locked inside and ‘medically treated’ against their will; and, I am most totally against the use of such places, as an ‘alternative’ settings for individuals who are supposedly prone to violence.

    There are incredibly massive psychological and emotional harms done to other “patients” in those settings (“patients” who may be very gentle by nature), as you wind up mixing them in, with persons who are accused of violent crimes and who may even be ‘diagnosed’ with ‘homicidal psychosis’ etc.; truly, imho, it’s just insane to propose that all these people should be mixed together in “hospital” settings.

    And, in any case, I believe that no one should ever be forcibly subjected to psychotropic drugging (nor should anyone be forcibly subjected to any other form of ‘brain treatment’).

    There should be no forced psychotropic drugging in the jails either, of course; sadly, individuals are made to seem as though “mental patients” by the way they are forcibly drugged in E.R.’s; they wind up ‘diagnosed’ with some supposed ‘mental disorder’; then, if/when they do wind up in jail, they wind up ‘treated’ as ‘mentally ill’ there; it’s a most vicious sort of double-jeopardy…

    Imho, everyone should have the right to be formally charged with a crime and jailed …as opposed to being forcibly ‘treated’ by psychiatry.



  • Jonathan Keyes writes, to me:

    Are you pro-forced electro shocking (I.e.tazering)? I know you are not but by suggesting police should be involved in these cases you are de facto agreeing to the idea of “treating” mental illness/violence with electro-shocking.

    I am as much pro “forced drugging” as you are pro “forced electro shocking”… Which is not at all…

    That’s a false equivalency, which Jonathan is offering.

    Jonathan is someone who actually participates in forced IM (neuroleptic) drugging of some “patients” in the the hospital setting where he works; I, on the other hand, do not participate in any tazering of anyone.

    And, in no way am I doing what he’s saying, in terms of de facto agreeing to the idea of “treating” mental illness/violence with electro-shocking.

    I am not in any way agreeing to that. (Absolutely not.)

    But, Jonathan is quite correct in deducing that I am opposed to the use of tazers. Perhaps, I have mentioned that, to him previously… (i.e., I am opposed to their use in any and all instances — just like I’m opposed to forced psychotropic drugging in all instances).

    That I would choose to call the police for help, in certain situations, does not at all mean that I would endorse their use of tazers, ever.

    And, I would fully expect, that, were some “hospital” worker to be in need of calling the police, that professional and his or her fellow associates could, if they so wished, in their professional capacity, choose to effectively physically restrain (i.e., with mechanical restraints — not with chemical restraints) the person who was to be placed under arrest and taken away, so there would be no seeming need for the police to come with guns drawn, and there would be no seeming ‘need’ for the police to taze that individual.

    (Note: If I was working in an E.R. or “hospital,” calling the police to arrest anyone who is not very clearly violating the law, would be a last resort — until that point at which the individual became, in my view, really very seriously threatening and/or assaultive. At that point, I would view the person as seriously violating the law and as someone who posed a danger to others in that setting; I would not hesitate to call the police, at that point. But, I would offer any really very extremely ‘agitated’ person being tended to, in that setting, the possibility of voluntarily taking a mild sedative, to calm down, instead of becoming a serious threat. Again, my emphasis: I would not want anyone to be arrested unless or until it was clear, that s/he committed an obvious crime and/or was becoming very seriously threatening…)

    Please, see my following comment, which I shall post momentarily, below, for further details of my view of all this…

  • “I would also offer an olive branch to others who revile any and all government judgements of the mentally and emotionally distressed. I share the view that government should not — under most circumstances — be empowered to lock people up for being deranged or disordered, so long as they do not comprise a threat of violence.”


    Those lines, of yours, in your reply, are entirely key — and, in my view, require a certain clarification, on your part.

    I would like to know…

    Do you mean to say, that, in your view, people who seem ‘deranged and disordered’ and ‘violent’ should be ‘locked up’ and also ‘treated’ as though they are ‘ill’ — and, thus, as though they supposedly require drugging — e.g., so-called “antipsychotic” drugs (neuroleptics)?

    To be more concise, I am wondering, do you support the forced ‘medical treatment’ (e.g., forced IM/neuroleptic drugging) of “patients,” in any instance?

    Notably, you have directed your comment to me and to Jonathan Keyes. And, in his comment, that’s directed to the blogger (Sandra Steingard, M.D.), above (on July 29, 2014 at 12:04 am), Jonathan states,

    “At core, I am a pragmatist. I would rather see psychiatric prescription patterns becoming much more cautious. I would like to see the use of force and restraints used only in rare cases of violence.”

    Here, as follows, I’ll briefly scrutinize that last sentence of his (i.e., his statement, that “I would like to see the use of force and restraints used only in rare cases of violence”):

    Jonathan Keyes explains, “I would like to see the use of force and restraints used only in rare cases of violence.”

    What does that mean, really?

    Jonathan refers to “the use of force and restraints” even as, we all know (I mean, it’s simply undeniable, that) any application of ‘restraints’ represents, in and of itself, a use of force.

    Of course, ‘restraints’ (in these conversations) represents, in and of itself, a use of force.

    Hence, I submit to you, that, when Jonathan says “the use of force,” there, in his comment to the blogger, what Jonathan really means to say, is this: the use of forced psychotropic drugging — and, more specifically, he means forced drugging with neuroleptics (so-called “heavy tranquilizers”), delivered intravenously (via the ultimate jab, of syringe, a hollow needle) whilst that “patient” is being physically restrained — held down — by the weight of a number of “hospital” workers, such as himself.

    So, when Jonathan says, “At core, I am a pragmatist. I would rather see psychiatric prescription patterns becoming much more cautious. I would like to see the use of force and restraints used only in rare cases of violence,” what I believe he really means to say, is that: He would ‘like to see the use of forced drugging and restraints used only in rare cases of violence.’


    “I would like to see the use of force and restraints used only in rare cases of violence,” writes Jonathan; yet, of course, he means to say “forced drugging…”

    Indeed, he’s forever confusing this issue, of ‘force,’ in his comments (as do so many people who likewise defend forced drugging) by his failing to acknowledge what kind of force he’s talking about…

    In fact, it’s the forced drugging and the other forced ‘medical’ procedures, in psychiatry, that have always presented the worst problems, in psychiatry.

    Certainly, Jonathan knows that; and, yet he won’t say that, as forced drugging is what he’s talking about and defending.

    He won’t come out and say, honestly “I would like to see the use of forced drugging…” no way, not unless, perhaps, he’s directly questioned (challenged, really, as I am basically challenging him here) to say that such is, in fact, precisely what he’s actually talking about, as he speaks of force, in his comment, to Sandra Steingard, above…

    Rarely is he ever challenged, as far as i can tell; i think almost no one does ever challenge his support of forced drugging, on this website… (I find that sort of strange, until i remind myself of how stealthy and evasive he can be, in how he speaks of these issues… e.g., his claiming, in one comment, to me, months ago, that he supposedly doesn’t “treat” people unwillingly, because, after all, in his view, the forced IM druggings of “patients” who are ostensibly ‘violent’ does not, in his view, amount to treatment.)

    What is most incredible to me, is that, by his own accounts, Jonathan has, himself, voluntarily experienced neuroleptic drugs (briefly).

    He found their effect so totally aversive (they caused him to feel suicidal), so he immediately quit taking them and would never take them again. (That’s not an unusual experience for people who enter the realm of psychiatry when they are not in the midst of a seeming emergency.)

    Jonathan found that the neuroleptics, in his own system, created a sense that he wanted to kill himself; and, yet, he does join his “hospital” worker comrades, when they force such drugs into the veins of other people, because (he says) those people are “violent.” (The irony of that would be laughable if it was not so tragic.)

    He is totally opposed to calling the police, to arrest and take away violent people, from any “hospital” setting…

    I would strongly suggest to you and to anyone else who is interested in these issues: Just study the most recent literature on violence in psychiatric “hospital” settings, and you will find that: mainly, when there is any considerable threat of violence, from a “patient” who’s being ‘held’ on a psychiatric ward, it’s because the staff has provoked that person. And, indeed, imminent threats of forced IM druggings tend to make that “patient” who is to be forcibly drugged appear as though s/he is a ‘violent’ or ‘threatening’ person.

    So, consider how very easy it is to claim that the “patient” who has been forcibly drugged presented a threat to others and/or to himself/herself.

    Then, after that person has been forcibly drugged, it’s all too view him or her as ‘mentally ill’.

    I submit to you, there is never any justice in forcibly drugging anyone into submission.

    And, there is always a lot of harm that is caused in the process of forcibly drugging people into submission. (Most of that harm can easily be ignored by anyone who wishes to ignore it.)

    Now I will say no more, as the more I write about this, the more inclined I am to upset myself; and, I’ve got to avoid doing that, so I can get on with my day…

    But, again, Richard, I would like to know…

    Do you mean to say, that, in your view, people who seem ‘deranged and disordered’ and ‘violent’ should be ‘locked up’ and also ‘treated’ as though they are ‘ill’ — and, thus, as though they supposedly require forced drugging?

    I look forward to your reply.



  • @ truharlow,

    Your comment is meaningful, and your first blog post (I just now visited your WordPress site) is good. (Though, I will say, it could be even better, as it needs just a bit of proof reading.) Good luck with that new blog of yours, and thanks for offering your commenting here, to offer your insights…



  • Richard,

    I have looked over your proposal at and find it to be quite interesting. You speak there (in no uncertain terms) of the shortfallings of the current ‘mh’ diagnostics system and of what you believe is an absolutely undeniably pressing need for, ‘the structured and managed development of a new professional standard for characterizing human emotional and mental distress. We might call this standard something like “Compendium of Mental Health Assessment and Practice” (CMHAP).’

    While I am not someone who expects that the ‘mh’ system will be significantly revamped any time soon and, generally speaking, I read the U.S. Constitution (and, especially the Bill of Rights) as strongly suggesting, that government should not ever have been placed in a position of judging anyone’s ‘mental health’; thus, I believe no state should be licensing any professionals to impose their views of ‘mental health’ on anyone…, I am, nonetheless, impressed by your level of passion for what you are forwarding.

    Because I know that there will always be a ‘mh’ system, of one kind or another, I think your proposal could possibly catalyze positive initiatives, harm reducing initiatives, which would spare us from at least some of the current, considerable harms now being perpetrated by devotees of the American Psychiatric Association and others who wield their latest edition of the DSM…

    Your proposal is notable for its really comprehensive quality of thought, and I am guessing the amount of energy that you’ve put into already must be to be nothing short of cyclonic; I vote that your proposal be posted to this MIA website, so readers can comment upon it.

    Meanwhile, I encourage MIA readers and bloggers to give it a look.



  • “There are times when it’s irresponsible not to restrain someone on behalf of everyone involved. Abolition doesn’t have to forbid that.”

    @ wileywitch,

    I quite agree with you.

    And, thank you for sharing that personal experience, which your family had with your uncle.

    It must have been a terrifying experience for all involved, but I guess it could have been worse…

    Of course, your uncle’s behavior (as you’ve briefly described it) fully warranted his apprehension (of course, it did); and, the outcome which you detail just briefly (“my very strong mother and stepfather and two very big neighbors took him to the hospital and helped to hold him down while the staff gave him a shot of thorazine”) may have been unavoidable.

    After all, your uncle was, at that point (when he arrived, at your childhood home), quite extremely deranged and threatening. (One can’t read your comment without coming to that conclusion, imho.)

    So, your mom and step-dad and neighbors forcibly restrained him and took him to the “hospital” where he was further forcibly restrained and forcibly drugged into submission.

    What troubles me, about your story, is that your uncle was forcibly drugged.

    I say that largely because, in my early twenties, I was forcibly drugged, and that led to my being seemingly quite ‘mentally ill’ (i.e., the forced drugging was terribly debilitating, in many ways); I was not allowed to ‘just’ be myself, in safe setting. (That would have been ideal.) I was made into a seemingly ‘seriously ill’ person, beginning with forced druggings… and was soon officially labeled, by psychiatrists, in ways to suggest I was supposedly “seriously mentally ill” — and supposedly always will be that.

    (I successfully got away from psychiatry — and put all of its ‘meds’ out of my life — forever.)

    Now, it has been more than twenty-five years since the last time I had any psych ‘meds’ in my body; and, never have I felt any need for such ‘meds’.

    The forced drugging was horrifying and created horrible effects.

    As far as I know, our society offers families no other way (no ‘alternatives treatment’) for tending to one of their own, who has come to express such completely addled, drug-induced, violent behaviors, such as your uncle displayed.

    My behaviors which led to my being forcibly drugged seemed scarey to my family and friends, but I could be reasoned with, I did go peacefully, with them, to the “hospital,” and, by the time we got there, I was nervous; but, I was fully capable of being social and was in no way whatsoever threatening anyone. (I would be called “a danger to himself,” by the psychiatrist, in order for him to ‘justify’ a “involuntary hospitalization” and forced drugging.)

    My family and friends didn’t know any better.

    Likewise, from what you’re saying, I’m led to believe that your mom and step-father and neighbors did the very best that they could for one and all, in that situation, which you’ve described, in your comment — especially, because, most likely, had they instead involved the police, the police may have serious harmed (and maybe even would have killed) your uncle.

    In fact, from what you’re saying, the situation was probably so dire, so totally urgent, there was no time to call the police nor time to wait for the police had they been called.

    But, had the police been called and had they quickly arrived, even if they could have successfully apprehended your uncle before anyone was seriously injured, all things considered, they would have done with him precisely what your mom and step-dad and neighbors did with him. They would have brought him to a an E.R. or psychiatric “hospital,” where he would have been physically restrained to be forcibly injected with neuroleptics (whether Thorazine or some other so-called “antipsychotic medication”).

    The commenter who has already replied to your comment, explains her view, that “Abolitionists would forbid such practices even when completely warranted as in the situation you describe here. Their rule seems to be that the only grounds for intervention are AFTER a criminal act has been committed. It’s an untenable position and will never be taken seriously.”

    Actually, a criminal act had been committed; maybe a number of criminal acts had been committed; from your description of your uncle’s behavior (specifically, that he was “tearing up the house”), of course, he could well have been charge with a crime.

    He was destroying your parents’ property. That’s a crime.

    In fact, his mere presence in their house could be considered a crime, had he ‘only’ refused your parents’ requests to leave their property. (I.e., hypothetically speaking, even had he not seemed threatening, he could have been apprehended by the police and charged with the crime, of trespassing.)

    But, in any case, as regards the blogger’s blog post (on “Anti-psychiatry”) and the commenter’s view of abolitionists:

    I know a number of people who consider themselves ‘abolitionists’ (including myself).

    Some self-described psychiatric abolitionists call for the abolition of psychiatry itself (I don’t do that). Some call only for the abolition of unwanted psychiatric interventions (that describes my position).

    I don’t know anyone who holds such a view, as the commenter is describing (on July 30, 2014 at 12:20 am).

    Our justice system has means for preventing crimes before they’d occur (e.g., judges can issue ‘restraining orders’ against individuals who have come to threaten their family members or others), and self-described psychiatric abolitionists understand this.

    Truly threatening expressions can, of course, be considered criminal behavior.

    You say, of your uncle, “He had been labeled as schizophrenic and fit the description well and was on PCP when he showed up at our house with the ice pick.”

    Clearly, he was threatening.

    Especially, as you detail, that, when he was let in to the house he “proceeded to scream “Ladybug, ladybug, your house is on fire, your children are going to burn,” while tearing up the house,” I really think your family and neighbor’s did their best with him, at the time; really, I do.

    Only, I wonder, what impact had that “schizophrenia” label created, in his mind? I wonder, how long prior to that time had been labeled that way. How had been ‘treated’ as a result. And, did that ‘treatment’ and that label not contribute to his, ultimate, all too evident, derangement, which he displayed that day?

    (Of course, I am not expecting you to answer my questions; I am just putting them out there…)

    Finally, I wonder why aren’t there alternatives to forced drugging, when such an emergency arises?

    Though your uncle was apparently experiencing a PCP-induced condition, what if your uncle’s worst miseries were, indeed, mainly derived from the effects that neuroleptic drugs had upon him?

    I strongly believe society should offer alternatives to forced psychotropic drugging — even and especially when an individual family member is really undeniably deranged and threatening.

    It seems to me, from what you’ve shared, there was a terrible tragedy that occurred, in your family — a terrible trauma (at the very least) — even though, from what what you’re saying, I gather that your family and neighbors did their best.

    Again, thank you for sharing that personal story…



  • “I have practiced holding the thought and waiting for the next person to finish yapping before speaking and have gotten better at it.”

    LOL (Please, don’t misread my laughter; i love the whole comment; it’s brilliant.)

  • “Without the neurochemical state XYZ, one wouldn’t have the sensations/perceptions. If you want to argue mind vs. brain, I’m too bored to continue.”


    You had asked me a question, I gave you my best possible answer, and your reply to me begins, “Jonah, this is really getting tedious.” What? Are you serious? I don’t get that, at all. It’s as though I have been keeping you from an important engagement. And, yet, you had asked me a question.

    I was merely responding to your question, that you posed, for me…

    In my view, nothing in my reply can be considered mean-spirited, it is merely a philosophical point of dispute — yes, regarding “mind vs. brain”; so, you don’t care to have that conversation, fine; but, you could have offered a somewhat gracious reply, no?

    I mean, I was kind enough to answer you, while taking care to avoid being less than thoughtful; I stayed on point, offering nothing but my best response, in reasoned terms, without resort to characterizations of you; and, I have never been demeaning to you; I have only remarked on how rude you are to me.

    Frankly, I’ve gotten to the point, with you, that I do my best to ignore your comments — because you seem incapable of engaging with me, in a civil way. You initiate dialogue, again and again, in the aim of attacking me, my views and/or my writing style.

    Here, this time, as you’d asked me a question, I figured: ‘Well, maybe she can be kind this time, in her reply.’

    What would kindness look like, coming from you? I don’t even know.

    But, e.g., I think it could have been nice, had you, at least, begun with some gesture of graciousness, like “Thanks for the reply.”

    But, you didn’t.

    Of course, you didn’t — you never do.

    And, in fact, you end your reply by asking me, “Have you considered the possibility that you’re just not that interesting?”


    Did I somehow deserve such a slam?

    (I wonder, Francesca, really…)

    Do you, Francesca, have any idea how many times you have engaged me in comments, and then, as I’ve replied quite reasonably/rationally, you’ve just plain slammed me, deliberately insulting me and my commenting?

    Really, I wonder, why you do that and why you attempt to engage me, at all?

    I am guessing this is not really about me. (Of whom do I remind you, I wonder? You say, “Your assumption that if I don’t agree with you then I don’t understand you is both amusing and reminiscent of the psychiatric approach.” Do I remind you of one of your psychiatrists, maybe?)

    Wouldn’t you like to just refrain from reading my comments, as you repeatedly tell me, in so many ways, that my comments are boring to you?

    As you’ve previously suggested I am “verbose,” and now you suggest I am uninteresting and boring, I recommend to you, Francesca: just don’t read my comments anymore. (Really, I mean that.) In fact, I strongly suggest, if you can’t apologize for having been rude, to me, this time, then just ignore me, and I’ll ignore you — from now on.

    And, if you can’t ignore me, please, just cease attempting to engage me in conversation. Don’t ask me any more questions — because, I feel, by now, convinced, that you are bound and determined to do your best to make me look ‘bad’ (honestly, I know not why); so, I figure, if you’re attempting to engage me, in comment conversations while knowing I am just ignoring you, that will be you doing your best to make me appear as though less than civil.

    So… I’d quite appreciate if you could just ignore my comments, from this point forward if you cannot apologize — because, honestly, Francesca, I find your habit of deliberately shaming me is getting old.

    Take Good Care, Francesca, in any event…

    I Wish You Well (quite sincerely).



    P.S. — Francesca,

    Regarding your statement, that “Without the neurochemical state XYZ, one wouldn’t have the sensations/perceptions”:

    Of course, in any given instance, that may or may not be demonstrably true, but, again, remember: I was speaking of ‘psychosis’ — because Jill was speaking in terms of “psychosis”; imo, ‘psychosis’ is too broad a set of phenomena to be described, as if ‘it’ is caused by a few simple neuro-chemical reactions.

    But, for a somewhat simpler phenomena, such as that, of which I spoke, in my second comment to Jill: ‘fear’ (that is often a subset of ‘psychosis’):

    Even if/when on can clearly establish, that “Without the neurochemical state XYZ, one wouldn’t have the sensations/perceptions” that are suggestive of ‘fear,’ that proof will not, in and of itself, be convincing evidence, that XYZ has created those sensations/perceptions.

    (I was attempting to say to you the same thing, in my preceding comment, above.)

    I know what I’m saying there, at last, about your “XYZ” may seem complicated, so it may seem boring to you, but maybe you’ll think differently of it, in the morning!

    I.e., if you revisit this comment, after a good night’s sleep — or at another time — it could actually seem interesting. (Just maybe.) But, sometimes, my writing can be overly complicated.

    In any case, I have done my very best to respond in a meaningful ways, while being purely civil; hopefully, I have succeeded…

    Respectfully, J.

  • Francesca,

    I am guessing (from how you are responding to my comments to Jill Littrell) that, once again, you’re critiquing my stated views without actually having read them full through (or without reading them carefully).

    Or, perhaps, you read only my ‘P.S.’ — skipping over my first comment, which I’d attached it to?

    My comments regarded Jill’s proclamation regarding “psychosis”.

    She stated “I’m pretty convinced by the story that psychosis reflects deficit fast-spiking GABA interneurons and hypo-function of NMDA receptors. The Australians are saying that Bipolar I is also about NMDA receptors.”

    You use the phrase “neurochemical state Y is found to be responsible for what we term mental state Z.”

    It’s my opinion (which is, I believe, an opinion shared by many folk here, at MIA, who likewise contribute their thoughts regarding what they call “psychosis” …and who also speak of ‘lived experiences’ of “psychosis”), that “psychosis” is an ‘umbrella term’ referring to literally countless phenomena; hence, ‘psychosis’ could not possibly fit into your seemingly logical model.

    I.e., reasonably speaking, ‘psychosis’ cannot be defined as a “mental state Z”; and, furthermore, ‘psychosis’ cannot be proven to be caused by a “neurochemical state Y.”

    In fact, I am flabbergasted to find Jill proposing that she knows otherwise.

    Simply put, the concept of ‘psychosis’ is not at all easily contained. The variety of phenomena associated with that concept is potentially boundless. (That is essentially what I pointed out, to begin — in so many words — in that first comment, which I posted, to Jill… on July 28, 2014 at 10:25 am.)

    To find Jill explaining “I’m pretty convinced by the story that psychosis reflects deficit fast-spiking GABA interneurons and hypo-function of NMDA receptors” leaves me shaking my head, in wonder, even now.

    According to my sense of what ‘psychosis’ can be (which is such an incredibly vast array of experiences, that no combination of words could ever fully describe them), my way of reading that statement of Jill’s winds up ultimately boggling my mind. (Really, each time I come back to it and reread it, it has that effect.)

    Now, about your stating “The scientific fact that the brain creates our sensations and perceptions seems to threaten an awful lot of people,” I feel I must ask you: Is that a fact?

    The brain creates our sensations and perceptions, really?

    I ask you that; and, then, I must admit, I’m being rhetorical — because, in truth, I know what you are calling a fact, there, is not a fact.

    What you offering, there, is not a fact at all — but rather the basis of an ideology (indeed, a rather incredibly popular ideology, these days).

    In fact, the brain processes our sensations and perceptions. (That’s saying something really quite different from what you’re saying.)

    When one changes the verb in a sentence, the entire meaning of that sentence can be revolutionized — as can be our way of thinking, about reality…

    Imho, Francesca, you inserted the verb “create” in sentence where it should not be placed, unless you wish to confuse your readers, as to the nature of reality. (And, certainly, you don’t want to do that…)

    You say the brain creates our sensations and perceptions; that is to effectively negate these following facts:

    We are all individuals who are, to varying degrees, more or less deeply affected, all throughout our lives, by the activities of others; and, each of us possesses (whether or not we are are aware of it) a significant amount of free will, which can allow us to choose what we shall believe and to choose how much (or what) we will or will not allow ourselves to see, feel, taste, smell and hear…

    I could go on, in this vein, but I won’t — as you have previously suggested that I can be overly verbose (and I can be, at times, that’s true).

    Thank you for your expressed interest in my views. I have very much appreciated this opportunity to respond.



  • Andrew,

    Thanks for your reply.

    In response, first, briefly, I emphasize this: That comment exchange that we had, this weekend, was very positive, imho, especially as you established (as you say here), that you “don’t believe in forced treatment.”

    That is so very key, imho…

    And, actually, you were even more specific than that, in a good way (I feel). Here is the excerpt from what I feel is the most important comment reply that you offered me (on July 26, 2014 at 4:37 pm),

    …You asked: “Are you, perhaps, inclined to defend what many “hospital” workers propose, is the supposed ‘necessity’ of so-called “emergency” forced IM (neuroleptic) drugging?”

    My answer: No. With no qualification.

    You also asked: “And, here’s one more question, if you are so inclined: Do you ever order and/or administer such drugging?”

    My answer: No. Never. As a clinical social worker, I am not able to prescribe medications, and would not do so if I was able.

    That’s a very important, heartening reply, by you, I feel — especially as it is so clearly straightforward.

    In all ways, it leads me to believe, that you are, indeed, bound to be, over all, an unusually good influence, upon those whom you encounter, in the course of working your E.R. job — especially, those who do feel that forced IM drugging is sometimes absolutely necessary; you’ll inevitably encounter such folk, in your work, at times.

    MIA blogger, Jonathan Keyes is one such individual.

    He has told me, recently in an MIA comment (on June 21, 2014 at 7:50 pm),

    “Yes, I have taken part in restraining individuals who are being given IMs when they have become violent. I have said that before. But I have never said I have done this as any form of “treatment.””

    Source: See:

    Imho, he minces words there and confuses the issue, by claiming that such forced IM drugging, which he supports and assists, is supposedly not treatment.

    (Here I’m shaking my head as I consider that statement, of his.)

    Generally speaking, I find your expressions and your values, in comparison, much more reasonable and satisfying to discuss.

    I am much happier to engage in comments with you…

    So, about your balking, when commenters (including I, myself) suggest that there are “pro coercive psychiatry” bloggers here, at MIA…

    I see what you’re saying, and your analogy (referencing the issue of abortion) is interesting, because it would seem (if I’m not mistaken) to favor those who call for “choice” …i.e., those who favor women’s rights — i.e., the perceived right to maintain and defend ones choice, including ones possible choice to end ones own pregnancy (over the objections, of what others claim, are the fetuses’ right to life).

    Well, I think it is reasonable to call that position “pro-Choice” and the opposing position “anti-Choice” (and, perhaps, there are various “limited-Choice” positions in between those two camps).

    Psychiatrists, generally speaking, are notorious for their tendency to want to dictate ‘treatment’ — if possible; they often feel that they must drastically restrict “patients'” choices, even reject “patients'” objections to treatment (e.g., by submitting them to forced psychiatric drugging).

    Medical-coercive psychiatry (which is part and parcel of most psychiatrist’s practices) is all about restricting “patient” choices, that way.

    Dr. Steingard, I will call “pro medical-coercive psychiatry” for sure.

    After all, anyone can see how, in so many ways, her “Coercion” blog post and accompanying comments suggest, that she works in a capacity that, at times, leaves her “patients” no choice but accept that they will be “medicated,” regardless of their possible objections.

    So, now, I’m reconsidering this fact, that you say (in one comment, above): “By talking about “pro coercive psychiatry” you’ve built up a nice straw man to knock down, because I don’t believe you can point to anyone here who is any such thing.”

    And, as I think about that term “pro coercive psychiatry,” I just don’t see it as you do.

    To me, it seems a very reasonable way to describe anyone who unmistakeably defends the presumed ‘right’ — and/or the legal empowerment and official ‘duty’ — of psychiatrists, to force their ‘treatments’ on any number of “patients”.

    Can we not call such psychiatrist (as, for example, Dr. Steingard) “pro medical-coercive psychiatry”?

    To me, it seems obvious, Dr. Steingard defends medical-coercive psychiatry, so she is pro medical-coercive psychiatry.

    I sincerely wonder if you’ll object to my saying that…



  • P.S. — On my comment, above…

    (Regarding this statement by Jill Litrell, Ph.D.: “I’m pretty convinced by the story that psychosis reflects deficit fast-spiking GABA interneurons and hypo-function of NMDA receptors. The Australians are saying that Bipolar I is also about NMDA receptors.”)

    …about my having stated this parenthetically: “Note: that such chemicals may be, in some instances, causative factors, I cannot reasonably deny. But…”

    Upon further reflection, I will re-state myself, as follows: …that such neuro-chemical phenomena may be, in some instances, causative factors for some limited number of aspects of some of what is sometimes called “psychosis,” I cannot reasonably deny. But, there are so many interrelated aspects of what may be called “psychosis” — and so many of those phenomena are clearly life-supporting in nature…

    Hence, I hope that someday soon, bio-psych professors can begin to come to a consensus, in which they agree to respect the intrinsic wisdom that’s inherent in human emotions — even in seemingly ‘extreme’ emotions.

    Seemingly ‘extreme’ emotions can be difficult to endure, and they can be associated with confused thinking, but they can be very positively informative; and, in my experience, they are most easy to interpret and do pass best when they are not treated as a form of pathology…

    Therefore, I would suggest, to any student of biology whose focus could become ‘mental health’: Please, do not fail to take into account, this much, about what is oft-called “psychosis”:

    These phenomena are quite often directly associated with ‘fight/flight’ responses; and, yes, those are nervous system functions, which can become a cause of personal distress and/or distress to others; but, there can be very good reasons that those responses have come into play, in a person’s life.

    So, though we have, in modern pharmacies, all kinds of pills (and liquids) for reversing and preventing ‘fight/flight’ responses, bear in mind: Such responses are, of course, triggered by fear.

    Fear is the underlying factor…

    One could reasonably call fear itself a mere chemical response, in the brain.

    But, let’s ask ourselves: What good reason can anyone have for attempting to define fear itself as an effect that’s caused neuro-chemically?

    To me, it seems, there are all sorts of ‘political’ reasons for doing that — all sorts of reasons that are essentially working in the service of individuals who may be, indeed, responsible for causing the fearful person to be fearful…

    The idea that fear is a mere chemical response, in the brain, serves institutions that profit from fear-mongering and which aim to deny that their so-called ‘care’ actually causes much or most of the fear that it’s aiming to ‘treat’ after all.

    Of course, I’m not suggesting we should deny the reality of any chemical processes, that exist in the human brain.

    But, those processes are all guided by the context of ones human experience, by human perceptions, by learned human behaviors.

    Unless someone has become so very extremely scared — so fearful — that his or her actions seem to completely belie any sense that some sort of compassionate person or persons (who can, perhaps, eventually offer a bit of EMDR instruction or CBT or ‘just’ offer the consolation that understanding helpers bring naturally, when they have been there themselves, in fear, at one time, and are now fully confident, their worst fears are behind them) could help… if one cannot possibly be consoled by compassionate listening, by careful attention, by deeply considered human caring… if s/he’s become so overwhelmed with fear, seemingly to a ‘point of no return’ from it… if, despite all genuine efforts to offer that person real protection from harm, s/he literally cannot get to sleep, at all… or else, she’s become literally paralyzed with fear… unless one comes to that sort of (really quite rare and desperate) point, with truly overwhelming fear and is, indeed, literally pleading for a pill (or a liquid) to gain momentary relief from the strain of such fear, then where is the humanity, in responding with drugs?

    Probably, from what I’m saying there, someone could think I’d be one to deny people their right to ‘medicate’ their fears away, but I’m not…

    Only, I do believe that there are countless excellent natural remedies for seemingly ‘excessive’ fear; and, I do believe that fear underlies much of what’s deemed “psychosis”; and, I really do wonder: Are there not enough drugs for remedying fear, in pharmacies, already?



  • “I’m pretty convinced by the story that psychosis reflects deficit fast-spiking GABA interneurons and hypo-function of NMDA receptors. The Australians are saying that Bipolar I is also about NMDA receptors.”


    Thanks for proving to me that I am still capable of being perfectly surprised (even shocked), by just how unalterably consistent and doggedly persistent some ‘mental health’ theoreticians can be, in forwarding their purely chemical (a.k.a. ‘biological’) views of everything loosely called “psychosis”.

    When speaking of that truly unutterably broad range of phenomena that are vaguely referred to and configured all, together, under that umbrella term, “psychosis,” are there no other causes than those which you’ve mentioned, above.

    (Note: that such chemicals may be, in some instances, causative factors, I cannot reasonably deny. But…)

    Have you no sense that prolonged sleep-deprivation can be also be a major causative factor, of what is sometimes called “psychosis”?

    Have you no sense that some of what is called “psychosis” is actually quite revelatory in nature?

    And, what shall we make of the fact, that so much seeming ‘psychosis’ — and so much of the content of ones personal thoughts and feelings related to ones own experience of a seeming ‘psychosis’ — is often precipitated by and related to some kind of more or less severe personal trauma?

    I ask you: What is the point of your focusing so fixedly on a few chemicals that seem to be more evident, in some instances, when some people are viewed as experiencing ‘psychosis’?

    Frankly, if you are hoping for the discovery or development of a chemical ‘antidote’ for ‘psychosis,’ I think you are barking up the wrong tree.

    And, really, I find it a jaw-dropping experience, to read your latest comment, here.

    That you have been blogging on this MIA website now more than two and a half years (since January 22, 2012) and are still forwarding such amazingly reductionist chemical explanations for ‘psychosis’ is really almost beyond belief…



  • “I’m for the removal of forced psychiatry, and treating the rest by having some accountability being administered. Much of the tissue appears functional, but that bit of cancer that is contained within is doing too much damage to be ignored any longer.”

    Very well stated, Boans!

  • “By talking about “pro coercive psychiatry” you’ve built up a nice straw man to knock down, because I don’t believe you can point to anyone here who is any such thing.”


    A strawman?

    I think you are wrong about that, Andrew. (And I really don’t know why you would say it).

    Please, see the the blogger’s stated position (i.e., Dr. Sandra Steingard’s position) on coercion, in her May 17, 2012 MIA blog post, that’s titled “Coercion”.

    Therein, she writes:

    “I am a psychiatrist who believes that involuntary treatment is rarely effective in the long run.

    I am also a psychiatrist who sometimes forces people into hospitals against their will. I have patients who are on court ordered outpatient treatment and this may include the requirement to take medications that I prescribe.

    I do not select or screen the people I treat. I work as a community psychiatrist and I am sometimes asked to see people who do not want to talk to me.

    I do not want to overly dramatize or assert that all people who are in extreme distress are dangerous, but I do know that there are some who are.

    Some of the people who I send to hospitals against their will would be in jail if they were not in a psychiatric hospital.”

    By reading not only that brief excerpt from her “Coercion” blog post, but also her comments on that page, it becomes entirely clear, that she practices and defends medical-coercive psychiatry.



  • P.S. — Andrew,

    Upon a bit more reflection, here’s what’s coming to mind, regarding our comment exchange.

    About my having said this, to you, “Honestly, I cannot understand your decision, if what you’re saying is that you chose to ‘medicalize’ that man, keeping him out of the justice system…,” and your having responded by saying, “I respect what you say here and in your explanation that preceded it. I don’t know if I made the right decision…”:

    Well, actually, if I’m not mistaken, it seems, to me, from your ultimate descriptions of the situation, you did not keep that guy out of the justice system; the police kept him out of the justice system (according to their refusal to press charges and make a formal arrest). They would not place him in jail, even had you insisted that they should. (I believe that’s what you’re indicating.)

    If you are quite certain that the police would not take that guy to jail, your only options were to (A) send the guy home or (B) have him “involuntarily hospitalized.”

    And, frankly, if there was literally no way to get that guy locked up, in jail nor otherwise turned over to the justice system, at that point, then, considering what a genuinely serious danger he was presenting to his neighbor (you say he had actually tried to set his neighbor’s house on fire), had I been in your shoes, I would have ordered the “involuntary hospitalization” for that man, as you did, and I would do my best to realize, that i had no better option.

    But, like you, probably, I would lose sleep over that decision.

    So, now, I’d like to think that, had I been you, I would do my best to follow-up on the man’s fate, finding out where that “involuntary hospitalization” really took him. (You have speculated as to where it took him, but I would want to really learn about what became of him, were I the one who’d made the decision of ordering it.)

    After all, I would actually want him to wind up in the justice system, facing charges, soon enough… as I think that would be for his own good.

    You may find yourself disagreeing with me, about that.

    After all, you say, “my experience of the justice system is that it is a horrific nightmare of abuse rivaling anything we experience in the mental health system.”

    But, I think that may be your misconception; I’m inclined to believe that it is always best for a person who has committed a serious crime to face justice; it’s good for society, as well as for that person; so, it may actually be a good thing, that you are uncertain, as to whether or not you made the right decision, because I’m inclined to feel, that maybe your sense of feeling conflicted about that decision could possibly reflect a niggling reality, that you are, in moments, denying; and, that is: Any person who known to have committed a crime actually deserves his or her day in court. S/he will actually benefit from facing justice, as opposed to being, perhaps, summarily ‘excused’ for what s/he did, based on the quackery of some psychiatrist’s mumbo-jumbo ‘diagnosis’ of so-called “mental illness.”

    I would be interested to know what you think about what I’ve said here, at last. (Maybe you’ll actually agree with me, but I don’t know.)

    My last comment to you was expressed as a last comment, so I won’t take it personally if you don’t reply to this one; but, hopefully, you’re still tuned into this comment thread.

    In any case, I’ll presume that maybe you are still tuned in to it, and I’ll checking for your reply.



  • Andrew,

    Thanks for your further reply (on July 26, 2014 at 4:37 pm). It’s very thorough, in the sense that you answered my questions clearly.

    Yes, I read that first blog post of yours (the one about your feeling that you might have to quit your “residential facility” job). I read it when you posted it. I recall myself hoping that you would quit that job — thereby making the decision that could allow you to live with integrity. Now, from what you’re saying, that’s what you did, exactly…

    So, now, finding yourself working a somewhat unique sort of E.R. job, in a relatively small community, you’ve explained, most basically (in your earlier comment, above), “I am in the position of making a decision about involuntarily hospitalizing someone or not, I am not encouraged to hospitalize in fact I’m discouraged from doing so.”

    Imho, that is a very important position you’re in, because an E.R. is going to be a necessity, in any community, of any half-way significant size; and, I get it, that someone is going to have to work in such a job, as the one which you’re working; therefore, everything you’re saying, in this comment thread has led me to believe that you’re really the best man to be working in that E.R. job, of yours.

    Though it is a job where you’re going to be expected to order the involuntary “hospitalization” of certain “patients” when you perceive them as presenting “extreme” scenarios, you can advise against forced drugging.

    Indeed, you are completely opposed to forced drugging; and, you are not ever positioned to do any forced drugging nor order any forced drugging, of anyone. That’s all very important, imho, because it allows you to live and work, in integrity with your values. (Good to know that your position has nothing to do with those functions.)

    From everything you’re saying, at last, Andrew, I salute you.

    Though I could nitpick and say that, when you’re speaking of people who’ve been ‘medicalized’ against their will, you could do well to keep terms like “medication” and “hospitalization” sandwiched in quotation marks. But, I won’t go there now… 😉

    Instead, I say to you, carry on…

    From reading your explanations of your work (to this point), it seems to me you’re doing a lot of good.

    Many people who, had they shown up in most other E.R.s, would be “hospitalized,” wind up avoiding “hospitalization” when they meet up with you; thus, you’re keeping them out of harm’s way for sure.

    I encourage you to keep writing about your work experiences.

    More power to you, and may your views and values spread to E.R’s everywhere…



  • P.S. — Andrew,

    Upon reading through the comment reply that I posted to you, just moments ago (on July 26, 2014 at 3:18 pm), I see that I mistakenly left out my third question.

    So, here it is, presented, actually, as a small cluster of inter-related questions (and, of course, you should feel no pressure to answer them, but I am curious):

    To your knowledge, what has become of that man? Was he forcibly drugged? Was he ever formally charged with a crime?

  • Andrew,

    Thank you for your reply (on July 26, 2014 at 11:49 am). As it could not possibly be more well written, here, in response, I’ll point out, first of all, that I am struck by your writing skills. I quite admire them. I’ve been led to feel this way, previously, in the course of reading some of your posts (I’ve read you only sporadically) here on this website.

    Your comment demonstrates a really formidable facility, you surely possess, for expressing yourself well, in written words.

    All that you say, I find, flows well and, though it can be meandering, actually presents your thoughts (including those which present a sense of uncertainty, which is genuinely self-questioning) in a truly organized/comprehensive way.

    So, I really do admire how you write out your thoughts; and, furthermore, I genuinely appreciate all that you shared in your comment.

    But, for me, it was missing something; that is, an answer to my question (or, a clear answer to it). I.e., again, I find that, imho, you’ve failed to focus, staying on point, regarding the question at hand. I presented a very specific question — a question that could actually be answered with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ or a ‘sometimes’ (which would really equate with a ‘yes’).

    You gave me a rather generalized answer, that never hit the nail on its head.

    Here, once again, is my question:

    Are you, perhaps, inclined to defend what many “hospital” workers propose, is the supposed ‘necessity’ of so-called “emergency” forced IM (neuroleptic) drugging?

    And, here’s one more question, if you are so inclined: Do you ever order and/or administer such drugging?

    From all that you’re saying, to this point, I well understand that you are not someone who wants to carelessly “hospitalize” people against their will, but you do “hospitalize” some people against their will.

    You gave me what you described as one of “these extremely rare situations of a genuine clear danger to other people in the community” coming in to the emergency room, where you work and are responsible for deciding whether or not “involuntary hospitalization” should be ordered.

    I am someone who, as a young man, was “hospitalized” against his will a small handful of times; the doctors called me “a danger to himself.” At the time, did not view myself as a danger to anyone (including myself); and, all these years later, I feel only more certain, that I was never a danger to anyone…

    They called me “a danger to himself” for various reasons that, I think, all were driven by their subservience to psychiatry’s ‘medical model’ and their abject failure to realize, I was going through a period of time, in my life, that included processes, which I needed to go through and which I should have had every right to go through, on my own…

    Imho, the individual whom you described was another sort of ‘case’ altogether (if you described him accurately, and I have no reason to believe that you didn’t describe him accurately). He was a very considerable danger to others. (And, by extension, he was a danger to himself.) Indeed, presuming your account of his state of mind, his beliefs and his behaviors, is al accurate, then I would not hesitate to call him criminally insane. Imho, such people should absolutely never be ‘mainstreamed’ (i.e., if, by chance, the police bring such an individual to a community E.R., someone working in your position should insist he should be charged with his alleged crimes and should go to straight to jail); someone who committed a serious crime — a violent crime — such as attempting to burn down a neighbor’s house — must be charged with that crime and managed through the justice system.

    Therein, he should be placed in the custody of specialists (who needn’t be medical specialists), who can work with him, until that time, at which he regains his senses.

    Ideally, he should be assigned a special advocate, who specializes in dealing with people who are psychologically and/or emotionally disturbed.

    He should, of course, be provided a defense attorney, too; so, he can be encouraged that he’ll get a fair trial, to determine his guilt or innocence; and, if found guilty, he should be formally sentenced.

    Of course, because I wasn’t there, and as I’ve never worked in the capacity that you work in, I can’t claim to be an ‘authority’ on any of this; but, from all you’re describing, were I you, I would not have wanted that guy kept around, at all — for the sake of real patients. (His mere presence would be a threat. You say you like the guy, maybe because you’ve seen him at others time, when he was threatening no one. But, just consider all the harm to others’ nerves, that can be done, by officially ‘medicalizing’ a guy like that, as opposed to placing him under arrest; what a really scarey guy like that does to the nerves of those who are suffering real medical emergencies and who have harmed no one…)

    Honestly, I cannot understand your decision, if what you’re saying is that you chose to ‘medicalize’ that man, keeping him out of the justice system…

    Ugh, I hate to think of it. Really.

    But, now, in any case, once again, I present my two questions — and add a third:

    Are you, perhaps, inclined to defend what many “hospital” workers propose, is the supposed ‘necessity’ of so-called “emergency” forced IM (neuroleptic) drugging?

    And, if you are so inclined: Do you ever order and/or administer such drugging?

    Sorry if it seems as though I’m putting you on the spot, but just know, I do get that you are a man with a conscience, who sincerely struggles with these issues, while in the midst of genuinely aiming to do ‘the right thing.’



  • Andrew,

    What you’re saying there is clarifying, it makes sense; and, yes, surely, there are people who’ll stand very firm in declaring high praise and over all appreciation for what they feel has been the ‘good’ that they’ve gotten from using any number of psych drugs, of various sorts — including neuroleptics. (Though, some neuroleptics seem unlikely to receive such reviews, in any instances; e.g., I’ve yet to hear of the existence of even one person who describes any love for Haldol.)

    So… OK… Considering these facts, you have concluded, in your first comment (above):

    “Somehow we have to make room for everyone’s individual experiences. The goal, I believe and the value I hope we can share, is for individual freedom to make uncoerced, fully informed choices about ones own body. That’s what I want.”

    I can certainly agree with you on all that; those are great values, well-stated, imho; but, do you really mean what you’re saying there?

    Or, are you, perhaps, inclined to defend what many “hospital” workers propose, is the supposed ‘necessity’ of so-called “emergency” forced IM (neuroleptic) drugging?

    I sincerely hope that you can see what a contradiction it would be, to declare such values as those, which you are declaring, if, meanwhile, you’d actually agree with ‘mh’ pros who are claim it’s their ‘right’ or their justifiable ‘duty’ to forcibly drug into submission, supposed “emergency” cases.



  • Ron,
    Thanks so much for that information. Clearly, I stand corrected, on that point, I’d made, about neuroleptics not being ‘black-market’ drugs. The article you linked to is very informative, as well as very disturbing. Frankly, reading what it has to say comes as shocking news, to me, because, personally, I found neuroleptics to be so unpleasant, I only ever ‘chose’ to take them as a way to avoid the terribly misconceived ‘compassion’ of those who would insist that I must be “re-hospitalized” if I refused them; and, ‘street drugs’ have never had any appeal to me; so, all I can think as I read that article, is ‘Heaven help these people…’

  • Donna,

    I must admit, that, without reading this latest comment of yours (and then, afterward, for a 2nd time this evening, reading through Ragins’ entire blog post on ‘AOT’), I never could have understood how it was, that you ultimately came to interpret Mark Ragins’ blog on ‘AOT’ as you have interpreted it.

    Because you do interpret it, as containing what you call a “not so hidden message” that, Mark is supposedly saying (to those who are pushing for ‘AOT’) “you’ll be sorry,” indeed, I can understand why you appreciate that blog post (considering how you’ve interpreted it).

    But, quite emphatically, I must say, Donna, I think you are misreading it, as I don’t read such a hidden message in it, at all. Not in the least.

    Imho, there is no such message in it, anywhere.

    Just look at the last few lines… (I.e., I remind you, that Ragins concludes that blog, “In putting together analysis and recommendations our advocacy goal should not be to make it seem impossible to implement AOT successfully or to over-regulate it or include “poison pills” to sabotage it. We need to collaborate in an honest attempt to address a variety of serious concerns as we move forwards in implementing AOT…”)

    From the point of view, in which I read that blog (now twice this evening), all I see is, here’s man who is playing both sides of the field, saying “I personally wouldn’t want to be involved in it” even as, nonetheless, he’s doing all that he can to advance it, while hoping against hope that his recommendations for ‘best practices’ will be followed by those who administer it.

    Honestly, I see that as rather strange, but it is never surprising to me, to find another strangely conceived proposal coming from a psychiatrist. (The field is notorious for producing countless strange proposals.)

    But, again, I will say, I do get that you view it quite differently.

    So, hey… We can just agree to disagree, this time, and just leave it at that..

    By the way, I always value your passion and never doubt your sincerity…



  • Steve,

    Thanks for taking the time to offer those clarifications. They are very helpful.

    I think, yes, we are in agreement, on most matters.

    But, about my critiquing Mark Ragins for his decision to not respond to comments for the past seven months, I feel that was warranted, given that his blog post stated “Maybe mental health workers need to do better at engaging people and collaborating with them and working on goals they think are important.”

    Imho, had I read David Healy saying such a thing, I would have been no less inclined to pipe up, point out the irony…

    Again, Steve, thank much for your clarifications…

    Best to you and yours…



  • Donna,

    Thanks for your reply. In accord with your urgings, I have just now finished re-reading the entirety of Mark Ragins’ blog post on ‘AOT,’ and guess what: I am, more than ever before, fully convinced, that I’m quite right to say, that he is supporting and embracing ‘AOT’.

    Of course, he is.

    Indeed, in his concluding paragraph, he is perfectly insistent, regarding his support of it, as he writes: “In putting together analysis and recommendations our advocacy goal should not be to make it seem impossible to implement AOT successfully or to over-regulate it or include “poison pills” to sabotage it. We need to collaborate in an honest attempt to address a variety of serious concerns as we move forwards in implementing AOT.”

    To me, that says one thing: He is appointing himself a cheerleader for ‘AOT’.

    It’s ‘all systems go’ — ‘AOT’ all the way (for Mark).

    How much more clear could his aims possibly be stated?

    Frankly, I don’t know what more to say.

    Oh, wait, I guess I can add these two quick points, about the “Editorial note” at the end…

    First, I think it’s great that (according to that editorial note) someone who read Mark’s analysis of how to implement ‘AOT’ actually wound up voting against implementation.

    But, that said, nothing alters the fact that Mark’s analysis is actually aiming for implementation.

    Second, I hope Mark’s family emergency was not too serious a matter (the “Editorial note” mentioned, that he’d had a family emergency and would not be responding to comments).

    One would think that maybe he could have responded to a few comments, at some point, in the past seven months; but, never mind. (I’ve already pressed that point far enough.)

    Really, Donna, I hope you can please understand, I am serious when I say I wish him and his family well, as I am harboring no ill will whatsoever toward him… nor either, of course, toward anyone in his family.

    I actually think he’s a fairly well-meaning guy (from what I read, in his writings, here, on this MIA website). But, as you well know (and as most nearly everyone who describes himself/herself as a psychiatric survivor can attest, from their experiences with psychiatry): The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    There are many psychiatrists with plenty of good intentions.

    And, so… I hope you get, that my criticisms of his work are nothing at all personal. Simply, whereas he supports ‘AOT’, I am quite opposed to ‘AOT’, and I am not particularly impressed by his online communications skills.

    (And, I think his “five step plan for reducing social isolation” is a bad idea, especially because it’s all about spreading his ‘psychiatric’ views, which are quite steeped in ‘medical model’ nonsense.)

    Again, Donna, thanks for your input.



  • Donna writes, “Therefore, I suggest you go back and read the AOT article you cite by Dr. Ragins and the editorial explanation at the end and see if you don’t feel a bit sheepish about branding Dr. Ragins as a fascist AOT promoter when the opposite is true.”


    Please, look at what your are saying.

    You are accusing me of “branding Dr. Ragins as a fascist…”

    Never have I done such a thing. Never.

    And, as far as your saying that you appreciate the man’s work, and you think he has responded well the spread of ‘AOT’ — fine. Those are your opinions, and certainly you are entitled to them.

    Meanwhile, as for your suggestion that I should review his blog post, on ‘AOT,’ all I need do is present here, for your consideration, the 2nd sentence — to show you where I’ve drawn my line, concluding that Ragins is not opposing ‘AOT’; he is supporting it…

    He writes:

    “The time for contentious advocacy aimed at stopping AOT has ended and the time for collaborative advocacy aimed at implementing AOT as well as possible is upon us.”

    Reading just that sentence, it seems fairly strait-forward to me, what he’s up to…


    I’m sorry, Donna, but there is no need for me to reread the rest of that blog; I have already read it once (when it was first posted), and it sickens me, for I believe the time for collaboratively advocacy aimed at implementing ‘AOT’ is never, and the time for contentious advocacy aimed at stopping ‘AOT’ has just begun.

    Thanks for your input.



  • Steve,

    To be quite honest, I’m baffled by your saying this: “I agree 100%. Thank you for saying that.”

    Apparently, you are saying that to Francesca Allan, who is saying to commenter Silly “I agree completely with your criticism.” If I’m not mistaken, Francesca seems to be saying that she agrees with Silly’s criticism of me. And, that criticism of me, by Silly, is Silly’s claim that, supposedly, I (Jonah) am “constantly attacking people from the community.”

    I think Silly’s claim, as such, is completely unfounded. I have challenged Silly to offer examples, and Silly responds by offering no examples whatsoever. (Silly just says to me we should not speak to one another anymore. I figure, OK, whatever…)

    But Steve…

    I don’t believe I’ve attacked anyone. I was just (in my first comment, on this thread: July 24, 2014 at 12:02 am) being critical of the blogger, in so many ways point out the sheer irony, that his blog post criticizes ‘mh’ workers who are disinterested in dialogue (he comes to saying “Maybe mental health workers need to do better at engaging people and collaborating with them and working on goals they think are important”), yet in the past several months, he had not responded to any MIA commenters, at all. Not even once.

    In fact, those two comments, that he has now posted on this page, represent the first time this year, that he has deigned to respond to any MIA commenters. (Albeit, he has only posted three blogs, this year, thus far.)

    And, just consider: This particular blog post of his is all about promoting community outreach, especially for young men, who may be overly isolated and supposedly potentially violent, so I was considering his recent embrace of ‘AOT’ (he accepts it as a fait accompli), and I was wondering (to myself), about the kinds of young men who might be affected by his “five step plan for reducing social isolation” that begins with “Outreach”.

    I think to myself: ‘Is Mark really capable of knowing the needs of such men? I believe he is talking mainly about those who could be the most alienated and angry youth in the country. He’s proposing a need to reach such troubled youths; and, yet, he seems incapable even of addressing the relatively civil audience, of commenters, here at MIA.’

    Notably, it was just shortly after I posted my comment, which conveyed my concern, that, there he was…

    The blogger proceeded to post two comment replies, here on this thread. He had not done that since last December.

    As you know, one of the replies is to you. Hence, I would think that you might have some appreciation for the obvious catalyzing effect, of my first blog post, in this comment thread (which Silly seems to suggest is an ‘attack’).

    Imho, Kermit did not remove my comment (it remains posted), because he knows it’s not an attack. (It’s a brief critique.)

    And, imo, that critical comment of mine was spot on, at that point, in which I was posting it. I feel that it had a really good effect, after all. (Imho, it got Mark Ragins to engage somewhat, with his MIA readers. Wonderful.)

    I respect your views, always; so, I’m very curious about your reply to the two commenters, above, who are apparently criticizing me. You say “I agree 100%.”

    You agree 100% with what exactly?

    Would be helpful if you could please clarify.

    Thanks in advance.



  • “I’m not actually sure if anyone I’ve ever known has ever had truly informed consent before taking a psychiatric medication.”


    That’s an important point you’re making. You call it an “aside,” but I think it’s your best (most important) point, and I’m glad you’re making it — because (A) the concept of ‘informed consent’ is a far more abstract ideal than most who discuss it are usually acknowledging or admit (i.e., it can be difficult to know exactly what true informed consent would look like, and I doubt there will ever be a consensus on that), and (B) most prescribers have a very hearty confidence in certain drugs and a strong desire prescribe certain drug regimens; they believe their “patients” will benefit from consuming those pharmaceuticals; thus, they are going to down-play the potential negative effects of their favorite drugs. That’s simply reality. So, I’m glad you’ve raised that issue.

    On the other hand, I think your comment is unintentionally misleading.

    After all, you are speaking of psychopharmacology in a very general sense. (E.g., you say “I have known people who have elected psych drugs short term during a period where they felt they were in accute distress, and have spoken with them after the distress subsided and they stopped taking the drugs. Sometimes, almost surprisingly to my mind, they continue to maintain that selective use of the drugs was extremely helpful to them in getting through a seemingly unbearable distress state.”)

    You speak generally of psych drugs, but this is not a general discussion, of all psych drugs.

    So (to respond just briefly to what you are saying): Yes, of course, there are plenty of people who report that their psych drugs are having wondrous, positive effects in their lives. I see that’s especially true of many people, when they first begin using benzos.

    I mean, yes, the ‘anti-anxiety’ drugs can seem to help some people, immensely, at first (that is, before their addictive properties have come into play).

    Meanwhile, this comment thread regards a blog post that’s deliberately quite focused on just one class of psychiatric drugs. Tt is all about neuroleptic drugs (and only neuroleptic drugs).

    Your comment is not at all focused that way, so it is confusing the conversation here.

    That is to say, imho, after you offer that one great/important “aside” (about ‘informed consent’), you are, in effect going off subject and not really addressing matters at hand, at all.

    I cannot possibly overstate this fact: Neuroleptics (the so-called “antipsychotic” drugs) can produce horrible effects, unlike any other drugs; they are all variously unpleasant, in ways, for most people who take them.

    Though some people do report that their use of neuroleptics has ‘controlled’ their ‘psychosis,’ they will also say that these drugs have negative effects.

    That is why they never become ‘street’ drugs. (I.e., you won’t ever find black-market drug dealers pushing them, but you will find them pushing lots of of other illegally peddled psychiatric drugs, amphetamines, benzos, etc..)

    Let’s stay on the subject of neuroleptics here, in this comment thread.

    It’s a critically important topic, imo… (which is not to say that their aren’t serious problems with the other classes of psychopharmaceuticals).



  • Cannotsay,

    Here is how you’ve influenced my thinking, in this conversation:

    I believe you’re right about this: To a considerable extent, a measurable proportion of the American public has been literally shamed into minimizing their use of cigarettes. (Of course, all Americans who are old enough to recall life in pre-Clinton era know that cigarette smoking was much more prevalent back then; but, I was not thinking about the ‘shame’ that had caused such a shift. I was not thinking about that prior to engaging in this particular MIA comment convo, wherein you have brought up and have emphasized that factor.)


    Now, I’m thinking: It’s true, a sense of being ‘ashamed’ of using psychiatric drugs could, in some instances, be a helpful thing.


    I totally agree with Steve McCrea’s comment, above (on July 24, 2014 at 5:00 pm). And, also, I totally agree with his comment, of 23 minutes earlier, that’s way up above (on July 24, 2014 at 4:37 pm ).

    His way of thinking about all this is very clear, imho.

    You can see the earlier comment via the following link:

    Psychiatric drugs are harming far more people than they’re helping, but in very many instances (if not most instances), the users of such have little or no understanding, that they could come to living well without them.

    And, most people who use such drugs don’t know most of the risks of using them on a long-term basis.

    There are highly effective (and easily conveyed) ways of communicating the nature of those risks to the users of such drugs (including ‘just’ sharing with them an appreciation for this MIA website) that could lead them to vital information, which could be lifesaving…

    It may make some people uncomfortable, at first, to learn that many people who thought they needed such drugs are finding that didn’t need them and are now taking steps to put them out of their lives; and, yet making users uncomfortable with such ‘news’ needn’t requiring shaming them.

    I will save my all deliberately ‘shaming’ talk (and my ‘moralizing’) for the pushers of such drugs and, of course, for the various ‘mh’ pros who not only push but also force such drugs on people…

    Unless you have have pressing questions, I’m feeling done with this thread of convo…

    But, don’t get me wrong, there is an extent to which I appreciate your hard-nosed approach, and it’s good that we have found some common ground, above.

    Again, be well…



  • Cannotsay,

    I appreciate that you’re an anti-authoritarian, highly skeptical of medical ‘authorities’ and of all others who may, likewise, hang their university diplomas on their office walls, as though offering up proof, that they really know what they’re talking about (and to suggest that they’ll necessarily work in ethical ways). And, yes, I appreciate Laura’s latest blog post and the article that inspired it.

    I come from a family wherein degrees in ‘higher learning’ are prized. Early in my teens, it began dawning on me, most seemingly ‘intellectual’ opinions, that most ‘well-educated’ people have, are actually borrowed.

    Very few people who I met in college were independent thinkers. (I went to a highly regarded public university.) During my first years, as an undergraduate, I came to the conclusion, that university degrees are usually meaningless, except as a way to ‘impress’ others (including, of course, potential employers… so, I can’t help but admit, many degrees can be quite useful, practically speaking).

    I actually feel that I learned more from a brief (one year) program in a trade school (for budding hypnotherapists) than I ever learned, in my years of college.

    So, I can consider you a kindred spirit, in ways, because you are such a skeptic, when it comes to academics; and (like you describe of yourself), it was by my own ways of reasoning, at a young age, that I came to eschew ‘illicit’ drugs as well cigarettes; I eventually came to limit my alcohol intake to almost zero; and, like you, I know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that: I never would have been someone who would ever have agreed to take psychiatric drugs, had they not been literally forced upon me.

    So, I think we might share a number of key ‘personality traits’ in common (if not merely attitudes).

    But, I am very much inclined to want to extend as much compassion as I can, to as many people, as I possibly can. Sometimes, that aspect of my personality has caused me a considerable amount of grief — because it can lead me to experiencing ‘compassion fatigue’ — and has led me to winding up ‘burned’ (if not just ‘burned out’) by some people, who’ve found ways to take advantage of that ‘soft’ side of me.

    However, compassion can have a ‘hard’ side! (There is tough love, that can be good for a person.) I believe, as I’ve aged, I have developed an ability to ‘harden’ my approach to those who are seemingly ‘too needy’ when necessary. To some extent, I’ve learned how to ‘harden’ myself, by interacting with and observing the ways of those who are typically far more naturally inclined, than I, to be ‘tough guys’ than I…

    Perhaps, you are one such person, because I think it is possible, that some of your ‘toughness’ is rubbing off on me. (Some, not all… :))

    (Indeed, I might offer you one more comment reply, near the bottom of this comment thread, wherein I’ll very briefly point out how you have influenced my thinking, somewhat, in this particular thread of conversation.)

    In any case, I do care to point out here, at last, about your comment to me, that I quite like the 2nd paragraph.

    It’s well worth repeating here,

    “I give you that the situation of foster children and military veterans is different. I would add to this group seniors in nursing homes who are given neuroleptics to “be calmed down”. While these three groups of people were not “technically” forced on drugs, they didn’t have a choice to say no to the drugs either. A member of the armed forces who would try to say “no” to an army psychiatrist would be court martialed. So to all these, and others who would find themselves in “I had no choice” type of situations, I would offer them support to come out of the drugs if that’s what they chose to do once they are in a position to say no. In fact, I would fight very hard for their right to say no as well.”

    To me, that paragraph of yours speaks volumes, because it proves for me (at least momentarily), that: Despite all your black-and-white, hard-nosed talk (in your first comments, of this comment thread) about your supposedly having no compassion whatsoever for people who take psychiatric drugs voluntarily (and considering your having said all such people deserve to be shamed), I see now that actually you’re willing to admit, that there are plenty of people who have technically been ‘voluntary’ users of such drugs yet who really had no real choice in the matter, so you “would offer them support to come out of the drugs if that’s what they chose” and “would fight very hard for their right to say no as well.”

    So, you are not a heartless villain after all! Yea! 🙂

    I’ve probably gone on too long here…

    No need to reply to my many words, if there’s no further clarifications to make…

    Be well, Sir…



  • For whatever it may or may not be worth, here’s a further consideration…

    I explained (above, on July 24, 2014 at 1:46 am), that: “From the point of view, that he would write about the harms of extreme isolation, I’d think he would be someone who could actually interact with his readers.”

    Now, upon returning to my perch, in front of my computer monitor, where I find myself again contemplating this entire thread of comments on this web page (as the thread is continuing to develop), I now think to myself, it would have been better had I posted the following line, instead: From the point of view, that he would write about the potential harms of extreme isolation, I’d think he would be someone who could actually interact with his readers.

    There, in adding the word “potential,” I am wishing to emphasize, that, the commenters who posted before me all did a great job of registering their sense of the limitations of Dr. Ragins’ blog post, but there is this one further limitation of his exposition, that I think deserves some amount of scrutiny: It pretty much fails to acknowledge, that some young people actually benefit from being quite isolated, in ways.

    So, maybe, to be more clear, I should not have referred to “extreme isolation,” at all — (maybe) — as I believe almost anything one calls “extreme,” in terms of ‘conditions’ or behaviors, which are discussed, in these blogs and comment threads, on this website, will almost certainly be viewed as requiring some sort of intervention.

    ‘Extreme isolation’ will mean different things to different people who are not aiming to hammer out social policies regarding extreme violence; and I believe, depending upon what is causing ones isolation, no matter how extreme, it need not necessarily need be considered a harmful thing.

    Though it could appear concerning, it need not necessarily be of serious concern; indeed, it could become a great source of creativity for that seemingly ‘extremely isolated’ individual.

    In fact, the more I consider this, the more I think it’s true, that: Unfortunately, calling almost anything “extreme” — especially, when in the midst of discussion about so-called “mental health” matters (e.g., when speaking of “extreme states”), we will make that phenomenon sound as though something that’s quite problematic.

    Again, I am glad that the blogger (Mark Ragins) has, at last, come to engage with his readers. (Some thoughtful engagement with one or two commenters is, imho, much better than no engagement at all.)



  • “Yes. We invite authors to engage in dialogue, but we do not require it. It’s nice when they can, but to require it would eliminate some of the very people who’s writing we hope to attract.”


    I completely and totally appreciate what you’re saying there, in those lines that I have placed in italics, above. It’s perfectly reasonable of MIA to establish such a policy for its bloggers, imho.


    RE “But incivility, righteousness, and moralism will stop forward movement every time, IMHO. They give a momentary sense of satisfaction, and short-lived sense of accomplishment, and ultimately leave everyone where they started, and angrier for it.”

    Quite honestly, I do my very best, in my MIA comments, to refrain from offering incivility in my comments.

    But, sometimes, what is or is not ‘civil’ or ‘uncivil’ is in the eye of the beholder. (Months ago, you and I shared a very civil discussion, via email, in which we discussed that point, at length.)

    Righteousness and moralism (both) present another matter, really (I think).

    For instance (regarding the matter of righteousness): There is something called “righteous indignation” that can be a very liberating form of expression, for one and all. I will not refrain from channeling that, in my comments, when the spirit moves me.

    As for moralism, that is something I generally prefer to avoid indulging in, for it does tend to turn people off; quite often, it comes off as arrogance.

    However, as I feel very passionately about issues pertaining to medical-coercive psychiatry, and because I do believe that forcing psychiatric brain ‘treatments’ on “patients” is an utterly immoral act, I cannot expect myself (and no one should expect me) to refrain, at all times, from moralizing, in my comments…

    Sometimes, I do moralize.

    Certainly, morality itself (while it is so very subjectively perceived and as it comes in a zillion shapes, forms and degrees of certitude) cannot be considered ‘a bad thing, necessarily’ to include in ones MIA comments.

    Considering that, you are well aware of much of the harm that psychiatry has done to so many individuals, I believe that you and the others who help to run this MIA website (which I greatly appreciate) should be ultimately willing to accept, that some of your readers shall become commenters who will sometimes express, in their comments, both their sense of righteous indignation and their personal sense of morality.

    As a psychiatric survivor (especially, as a survivor of forced neuroleptic drugging), I think it is necessary, for ones healing process, to allow oneself, at times, to address psychiatrists (especially those who promote and/or defend forced ‘treatment’) with a reasonable degree of righteous indignation and moral ‘outrage’.

    Almost certainly, you can come to accept that necessity (I imagine).

    Though, you can, of course, tell me if you feel otherwise…

    And, yes, of course, it is possible that such ‘outrage’ can cross a line, becoming truly uncivil. Again, I must say: I do my best here to refrain from being uncivil, but ‘civil’ versus ‘uncivil’ is subjectively perceived and is a black and white form of judgement…

    Sometimes there are shades of grey…

    I suppose maybe I went (into a grey area) in my first comment, on this thread.

    I am glad to see that the blogger has been prompted to offer at least a couple of comments, in reply to his commenters, so I feel my first comment has actually had something of a positive impact.



  • P.S. — Philip,

    About your description of what psychiatrists and others call “antipsychotics”:

    You say, “They are neuroleptics in the sense that they “grab hold” of the nervous system and have a marked tranquilizing effect.”

    Were I you, I’d consider go just a bit further, to be clear.

    That is, considering the context in which you are using the word “tranquilizing,” I would have it appear like this ~~> ‘tranquilizing’ … (putting it in between inverted commas).

    After all, medical-coercive psychiatry does provide genuine tranquilizing effects, ever.

    Genuinely tranquilizing effects would produce true tranquility.

    To describe that experience, consider the following brief passage, from page 3, of The Morals of Seneca,

    …The great blessings of mankind are within us, and within our reach; but we shut our eyes, and, like people in the dark, we fall foul upon the very thing we search for, without finding it. “Tranquillity is a certain equality of mind, which no condition of fortune can either exalt or depress.” Nothing can make it less, for it is the state of human perfection; it raises us as high as we can go, and makes every man his own supporter; whereas he that is borne up by anything else, may fall. He that judges aright, and perseveres in it, enjoys a perpetual calm; he takes a true prospect of things; he observes an order, measure, a decorum, in all his actions; he has a benevolence in his nature; he squares his life according to reason, and draws to himself love and admiration. Without a certain and an unchangeable judgment all the rest is but fluctuation; but “he that always wills, and wills the same thing, is undoubtedly in the right.” Liberty and serenity of mind must necessarily ensue upon the mastering of those things which either allure or affright us, when instead of those flashing pleasures (which, even at the best, are most vain and hurtful together) we shall find ourselves possessed of joys transporting and everlasting.

    Seneca lived from 4 B.C.-65 A.D.. He knew nothing of the effects of psychiatry’s ‘tranquilizing’ drugs, which do not provide tranquility, truly; and, no drug can provide tranquility, truly — but least of all neuroleptics.

  • Dear Philip,

    Wow. This is another excellent blog post!

    You mentioned an earlier blog post titled “Agitation and Neuroleptics.” I’ve not yet read it (but I will after posting this comment). Perhaps, to some extent, it addresses this one point, which I am hoping you can address somewhere directly:

    You explain (above), that, besides ‘tranquilizing’ effects, “Neuroleptic drugs also give rise later to a wide range of devastating adverse effects, including a marked increase in movement and agitation – but that’s a different issue.” Imho, from personal experience, it is not a different issue. As I see it, most psychiatrists and most people working in psychiatric “hospitals” are quite content to know that neuroleptics (so-called “antipsychotics”) are having such effects.

    Those devastating adverse effect are precisely those effects, which effectively and totally break down the mind and the body and the will of those “patients” who are otherwise going to persist in objecting to their “involuntary hold” (i.e., their extra-legal, psychiatrized captivity) and their unwanted ‘medical care’ generally.

    Imho, it is, most often, more than anything else, the experience of those devastatingly adverse effects (oft-called “side effects”) that are most instrumental in creating the iatrogenic Stockholm syndrome, which will make a person who has had the great misfortune of being officially deemed “psychotic,” into a lifetime “patient” of psychiatry.

    (That is my observation, anyway.)

    I thank you for your incisive blogging…



  • P.S. — In my comment, directly above, I explained, about Mark Ragins M.D., that “he became a promoter of court-ordered psychiatric ‘treatment’ (see his previous blogs).”

    To be clear, I should have inserted the word “outpatient”; I inadvertently left out the word “outpatient” …as I was referring to Ragins’ recently declared support of ‘AOT’ (so-called “assisted outpatient treatment”).

  • “You’re constantly attacking people from the community.”

    E. Silly,

    That is a really serious accusation. I ask you to, please, back it up, with examples.

    I mean, who, in your opinion, have I attacked? (In my view, I’ve not attacked anyone, but you say I am “constantly attacking people from the community.” Constantly? Wow. As I say, I don’t see myself attacking anyone…)

    If you cannot give clear examples of what you mean, by that, then it is purely your attempting to smear me again, with false accusations — your ad hominem (attacking me).

    And about your saying: “Often you don’t address them directly, but talk about them in the third person. This is not at all respectful.” Often talking about who, in the third person? And, this is a problem for you, really?

    I don’t know what you’re talking about, except if you are referring to my first comment on this thread, where I was referring to Mark Ragins M.D. in the third person, only because he is not engaging in anyone here in comment dialogue! …and (as I pointed out, above) he has not engaged any MIA commenter in any comment dialogue for months.

    Of course, there is no imperative whatsoever — no MIA rule — that requires any blogger to address commenters…

    And, there are other MIA bloggers who do not respond to comments.

    But, imho, because Mark Ragins M.D. is ostensibly promoting community outreach, he should be able to interact, as though a member of this community.

    From the point of view, that he would write about the harms of extreme isolation, I’d think he would be someone who could actually interact with his readers.

    I would think he could offer his most thoughtful commenters just a bit of respect, that way.

    There was a time when he did that, and I appreciated it. (Indeed, was happy to interact with him, in comments.)

    But, afterward, he became a promoter of court-ordered psychiatric ‘treatment’ (see his previous blogs) and simultaneously has become incapable of dialoguing with commenters.

    So, you say “This is not at all respectful,” but, frankly, I did not address my comment (above) to Mark Ragins M.D. because I feel he is not being respectful, by repeatedly failing to attend to his commenters’ questions.

    Addressing someone who promotes psychiatric coercion, who will not address anyone back, who will not dialogue, seems a waste of time to me (and even seems somewhat foolish).

    Again, Silly, about your saying that I am attacking people, I urge you to back up your accusations with examples of what you are referring to. They are serious accusations…



  • “My life today is full of meaning and purpose, of pain and joy and anguish and connection and fear and love and passion, and this is a fact I savor daily. Today, I am fully human. Today, I belong.”

    Laura, I am always encouraged by your blogging! Always. You are one of my most top/favorite bloggers, here, at MIA for sure.

    I really mean that…

    And, maybe it is because you are one of my favorites, I’ll ask you to please, excuse me, as offer just a wee bit of criticism. I tend to want perfection from every writer who I feel is capable of achieving the heights of greatness with his or her writing (and I do view you as such a writer), so now I must offer this one point, somewhat critical of what seems, to me, a confusing phrase that you utilize, on occasion:

    It is ~~> “the gift of psychiatric liberation.”

    Imho, that’s a confusing expression.

    To illustrate my point: Just think for a moment, how, in the 1970’s, one could have been hailing the gift of women’s liberation.

    Consider how those two words — women’s + liberation — come together, to celebrate women.

    Hence, “the gift of psychiatric liberation” can seem, at first glance, to celebrate all things ‘psychiatric’ — indeed, seems to suggest, that whatever is psychiatric must be liberating.

    Meanwhile, surely, what you mean to refer to, is the gift of being liberated from psychiatry (or, one could reasonably say, “the gift of having been liberated from psychiatry’s grip” or “…from psychiatry’s strangle hold”).

    Sorry if it seems that I’m nitpicking here, but I’ve seen you use that same phrase (“psychiatric liberation” previously), and though it bothered me, I said nothing. Now, I’m just speaking up offering my sense of it… 🙂

    Of course, you needn’t agree! And, in any case, I remain your faithful fan…



  • “Maybe mental health workers need to do better at engaging people and collaborating with them and working on goals they think are important.”


    How ironic, that line comes from the psychiatrist-blogger who, nearly two full days after posting his blog, has not offered a single response to any commenter. (And, by the way, every commenter, thus far, has been quite civil, while providing very considerable insights.)

    Well, in fact, Mark Ragins M.D. did not reply to any commenter in his previous blog post, ever — nor in his blog post prior to that one.

    According to the man’s brief bio, “His practice has been grounded in 20 years+ with some of the most underserved and difficult to engage people in our community.”

    Again, there’s the irony.

    As I would say, he has, himself become one of the most difficult to engage people in our MIA online community.

    Personally, as he seems incapable of engaging here, in dialogue, I don’t know why he thinks he can presume to blog, as an authority on matters pertaining to the needs for more outreach, in the greater community, at large.

    Imho, considering his complete absence from this comment thread, his blog post becomes more and more meaningless by the hour…



  • “In capitalism, no sale happens without demand, no matter how strong the supply side is. Save those of us who were forcibly drugged and labeled, most consumption of psychotropic drugs is voluntary.”


    Should we hold no compassion for the countless (millions) of people, in our country, who’ve come to dutifully consume psychiatric drugs only after having been ‘authoritatively’ told, by their doctors, that they are afflicted with “mental disorders” which need to be ‘treated’ with psychiatric drugs?

    And, what about kids who are started on psychiatric drugs, with no real say in the matter?

    Indeed, a disproportionate percentage of foster kids are prescribed such drugs. Many of them will eventually develop severe tardive dyskinesia as a result. Does our capitalist society as a whole owe them nothing? Should we show them no special mercy?

    What about adults who’ve long been dependent on psychiatric drugs, having been started on psychiatric drugs, as kids?

    According to your own experiences, do you personally have any clear idea, of just how difficult it can be to quit taking a handful of prescribed psychotropics, after being on them for fully a decade or more?

    How many folk can successfully come off all such drugs (i.e., a long-term regimen of ‘poly-pharmacy’) without spending a considerable amount of time being literally disabled — in the sense of being, for many months (maybe even a number of years) unable to work a full time job?

    Also, an huge number of soldiers, while serving in our military, after multiple tours of duty, have become psychiatric prescription drug addicts. (Of course, their doctors don’t call them addicts.) Should we think of their fate, as such, in your terms… i.e., that’s just supply and demand, their being volunteer personnel; their addictions to ‘meds’ are completely a matter of their own voluntary choice?

    Should we shame these people, to get them to quit? (To shame someone is to suggest that s/he’s been ‘bad’ — or that there’s something intrinsically wrong with him or her.)

    Do you think they are all worthy of being shamed? We should look upon all of these people as equally ‘bad’ or ‘guilty’ for ‘voluntarily’ consuming such drugs?

    I really do wonder if you can find in your heart no particular compassion for any of these folk…



  • E. Silly,

    You claim that I am “…an agent provocateur […] discrediting the group of people in the antipsychiatry movement who have different views than Scientology…”

    Are you kidding?

    That you are saying such a thing is in every way utterly absurd — and worse.

    In fact, for you to say that is actually slanderous — because (of course, you know) it can be very damaging to ones reputation, to be viewed as a believer in and/or a defender of Scientology.

    (I know you know that’s true, based on my seeing how you are painting others, as defenders of Scientology.)

    I have never defended the views of Scientology.

    Who is the agent provocateur, really?

    I suggest you look in a mirror.



  • Frank,

    RE “There’s just a point when I’ve had my share of bellyaching, and I want to smile for a change.”

    You wish to avoid spending a lot of time complaining about your own misfortunes and would discourage others from spending their lives complaining about their misfortunes. (If that’s what you mean, then we have a point of agreement; to live in a mode of ongoing ‘complaint’ can be really unattractive and misery-producing.)

    RE “I know a lot of people who are, after the war between the states, still waiting for their forty acres and a mule…”

    I presume you’re saying you wouldn’t want to be one of those people; and, I’m guessing you wouldn’t want to advance their cause, of seeking reparations. (You can tell me if I’m presuming too much.)

    But, apparently, you’re affirming, that you could support “reparations, after all, for the violence and disruption that comes of forced psychiatric treatment.”

    If so, then I say ‘Here, here!’

    I mean, if I’m reading you correctly, then there’s a point (or two) of agreement between us.



  • @ uprising,

    In watching these back and forth comments, between you and Frank, at last, I’ve come to wonder if maybe you two are having trouble seeing eye to eye largely because he’s against “entitlements,” and you are not seeking entitlements but, perhaps, would welcome reparations?

    So, I wonder if Frank would support a movement that called for reparations (for those who’ve been, in various ways and to varying degrees, disabled… by the traumatizing, stigmatizing and physiologically damaging ‘care’ of psychiatrists).



    P.S. — See the blogging of Tina Minkowitz, Esq….

    “Méndez also states that reparations are due to survivors, and that the reparations framework “opens new possibilities for holistic social processes that foster appreciation of the lived experiences of persons, including measures of satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition, and the repeal of inconsistent legal provisions.””


    “Psychiatric survivors and allies can inform themselves about the right to a remedy and reparation and start making the arguments in advocacy. Since the concept in international law is broader than the general public may be aware of, we need to find the right words that will appeal to a sense of justice and community-building…”

  • Attention: All who care about the integrity of dialogue, in these MIA comment threads, please be aware of the possibility that we could have an agent provocateur amongst us currently…

    Wikipedia explains (about agent provocateurs) that:

    They “may be acting out of [their] own sense of nationalism/duty or may be employed by the police or other entity to discredit or harm another group (e.g., peaceful protest or demonstration) by provoking them […] thus, undermining the protest or demonstration as whole.”

    And, note: That same Wikipedia entry also explains “To prevent infiltration by agents provocateurs, the organizers of large or controversial assemblies may deploy and coordinate demonstration marshals, also called stewards.”

    I think, perhaps, already, some of the most positively intelligent, conscientious and thoughtful commenters here, on this website, are playing that role, of steward; and, sometimes the moderators have been playing that role, too (which is great).

    But, the problem persists, so…

    I suggest, that, unless or until that time, at which this issue is worked out, each one of can just continue to remind one another of the utter foolishness of anyone who claims to be ‘antipsychiatry’ while nonetheless going about smearing good people who are genuinely striving to reveal the harms done by psychiatry.

    And, oh, yes, by the way, dear commenter, E. Silly,

    I do see your point; apparently some poster in an obscure online psych forum (i.e., just one single individual on the entire Internet) did somehow confuse the theories and writings of a rare excellent psychiatrist (William Glasser, M.D.) with the far more questionable theories and writings of Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard.

    Question: Why does it not surprise me, that you of all people, were able to dig that up, that bit of trivia???

    (Please, don’t answer that question, as it was rhetorical.)

    If you or anyone else may, perhaps, be interested in learning more about Dr William Glasser, here is a link to an audio podcast offering a tribute to him, by Dr. Peter Breggin (who has always been very careful to distance himself from Scientology and CCHR).

    Be well, Sir or Maam…



  • “I’ve since become a huge fan of yoga and it literally rehabbed me from complete muscle atrophy, up out of bed and into the world again. I can feel it healing my nervous system as well…it’s an astonishing process to be this sensitive to what is going on in our bodies…but that is what this process allows for.”

    Wonderful (and inspiring).


  • Someone Else,

    My first comment (to Bruce, above) expressed my interest in finding a community of people (at least, online) who are decidedly un-interested in using mind-altering substances; for, it has been so many years (roughly three decades) since I last used any ‘illicit’ substance — and two and a half decades since I successfully put all psychiatric drugs out of my life, once and for all. And, I rarely drink alcohol.

    But, that doesn’t mean I judge those who deeply feel that they need psych ‘meds’ of some kind, in order to function — nor that I judge those who enjoy an occasional drink or two, in the evenings; and, about your feeling discriminated against, as a cigarette smoker (and being that you’re someone who struggles to quit smoking), please don’t think I’d judge you for that…

    But, I am interested in making connections with people who are somewhat spiritually oriented (by their own definition) and who are decidedly interested in living their lives without use of psych ‘meds’ and without using any other significantly mind-altering substances. (I say “significantly mind-altering” to indicate those substances, which could easily be used as intoxicants.)

    How do I square my desire to be so discerning, with this fact, that I really don’t judge anyone for having an occasional alcoholic beverage?

    Well, I think I cannot reasonably judge people for occasionally having a drink or two, because doing so is so very common, in social settings, of so many kinds…

    But, I will encourage people to experiment with self-explorations that might call for extended periods of ‘complete sobriety’ — and will encourage you (or anyone else who struggles with an addiction to cigarettes) to quit smoking… if you’ll accept that encouragement.

    E.g., here, imo, is a good video about how to create a successful strategy for overcoming any habit that could be considered a negative addiction… That video refers to the strategy of William Glasser’s book, Positive Addiction. Glasser is a very rare — sensible — psychiatrist. (He also wrote the classic, Warning: Psychiatry Can Be Hazardous to Your Mental Health.)]

    In fact, I would be happy to have you or anyone else who is interested in overcoming ‘negative’ habits, to contact me via email: [email protected]

    RE your concluding words, “To staying strong, getting stronger, and being virtuous. To freedom and justice for all. To a return of truthfulness and mutual respect in this world.”

    Someone Else, that’s an excellent toast!! Truly, I love it. Thank you for offering it.

    (So, I’m raising my glass of apple juice to those lofty sentiments, now that it’s past 5 pm where I am… :))



  • “…all people should have a right to “just say no,” to all psychoactive drugs, including psychiatry’s drugs.”

    Absolutely, I agree…

    However, Someone Else, RE “I agree with Jonah, although confess I am not quite as virtuous as he”

    Pu-leeze, let’s not go there, OK… :))

    (Now, what I’m going to say about that is probably obvious to you, but I say it just to be clear…)

    Someone Else, the relative ‘virtues’ of most folk cannot be in any way accurately judged, in comparison to one another — especially, not via online commenting; and, real virtuousness has never been established, based ones developing a personal aversion to mind-altering substances!

    (Note: As with many others who have developed such an aversion, that aversion of mine evolved, across time, from a relatively young age, based on a host of factors, many of which were fairly ‘selfish’ — or, at least, self-preserving — in nature.)

    It has been many years since I attended 12 Step meetings (to overcome my addiction to psychiatric drugs), but I well recall meeting many who were once ‘hard-core’ addicts, who had come to develop very solid personal character (far more solid than mine, by this point).

    And, I know, a person may have come to use this or that mind-altering substance, to excess, during a given period of his or her life, but our learning of that will say nothing, in truth, about whether or not s/he has or has not become an especially ‘virtuous’ person after all — as compared to the next individual whom, we find, has always been far more determined to remain free from such substances.

    (Of course, statistically, it’s true, that: One who spends a whole lot of time ‘high’ and/or drunk is going to thereby significantly reduce the odds that s/he’ll be a ‘high-functioning’ person during that time; but, on the other hand, clearly, some folk who have virtually always been ‘clean’ and sober are anything but particularly virtuous.)

    In the course of a lifetime, I figure, everyone develops ‘strengths’ (which could be deemed “virtues”) and ‘weaknesses’ (which may be called “vices”), but the overall balance or imbalance of ones strengths versus weaknesses may be ultimately impossible to fathom, at last…

    So, most folk I will refrain from judging.

    But, Someone Else, I will say this to your: I have read your personal story of surviving psychiatric abuse, through your comments; and, from my doing so, I figure you may be, by this point, considerably stronger (i.e., more virtuous) than I am, in ways. I say that because I do relate to your story of having been persecuted by psychiatry, based upon your religious beliefs; and, I think, to some extent, I allowed psychiatry to limit my own beliefs, in ways that you did not…

    In any case, now, I tip glass of grape juice and offer up this toast: Let’s, both of us, stay strong — and get stronger — being virtuous, each according to our own faith…



  • Bruce,

    Great essay, very well-written and quite thought-provoking; but, I must disagree with Micheal Pollan, to the extent, that he seems to be suggesting, that all Americans love mind-altering drugs. (You quote him in the end, “…could it be that we hate the fact that we love drugs?”) Of course, not all of us do love them…

    I, for one, have long felt that I am better off without them. (When I was in high school and college, I smoked pot a few times, and occasionally I’d drink. I have had just a few drinks since then…)

    I haven’t had any caffeine drinks in many years.

    Sometimes, I’ll go for a bit of chocolate (I guess that’s sort of mind-altering).

    Otherwise, I am ‘drug-free’ (in terms of rejecting mind-altering substances); and, as I grow older and read of so many countless tragedies being caused by psychotropic drugs, I feel more and more grateful for this fact all the time: Now a quarter of century has passed since any psychiatric drug was in my body.

    For me, life is MUCH better with a mind and body free from such substances — and free from ‘illicit’ mind-altering drugs as well; and, I know I’m not alone in feeling this way.

    But, yes, it’s true, many Americans love certain mind-altering drugs, and/or they love to push them on others (which is, of course, a terribly sad truth, that I know all too well, from personal experience).

    I wish there were gathering places where one could find refuge from all that…

    I mean, while it seems to me fair, to insist that adults should have a right to do what they wish with their own minds and bodies, I think it would be great if there was an online place (at least) for people who choose to completely eschew all mind-altering substances; if you or any MIA readers know of such a place, please post and let me know…

    I’d greatly appreciate that…



  • Tristano,
    Great introduction!
    I appreciate your story and your views on “mental illness” very much; only, I wonder what you mean as you say this, “And I don’t believe in the existence of mind either.” Perhaps, you could elaborate on that point, in your next blog post? In any case, I am looking forward to more posts from you…

  • P.S. — Richard, a correction is in order, so my apologies:

    I am sorry… I mistakenly indicated (in my comment, above) that Jonathan Keyes has referred to “patients” in his “hospital” as being “on vacation.” And, upon reviewing his comments, I’m realizing Keyes did not say that.

    After posting my comment, it has occurred to me, that was something said by an MIA commenter (not Keyes) who, if I recall correctly, may have been playing with Keyes’s words and changing the context of something Keyes said…

    What Keyes has said (according to his own reports) to some of the “inpatients” in his “hospital” was this: “If only Medicaid was paying for a trip to Hawaii for you instead of sitting in this hospital and coerced to take a drug that will do nothing to help…”

    There’s really nothing wrong with him saying that, imho; however, I do feel that his message, as such (which is to say, his message of seeming opposition to medical coercion,) lacks congruence; for, it is my belief, that, in his being a ‘counselor’ who is ostensibly opposing coercive ‘medicine,’ Jonathan should not also be claiming a ‘right’ or a ‘duty’ to forcibly drug “patients” under any circumstances, at all (regardless of whether he believes they may pose a threat to themselves or others).

    Imho (plain and simple): No good counselor ever forces psychotropic drugs on anyone. (That seems like the most basic common sense rule of thumb, to me.)

    Keyes does seem determined to work in the role of counselor, so I strongly suggest, if he is to continue working in psychiatric “hospitals” and is not going to stand principally opposed to all forced IM drugging, then he might do well to (at least) leave that dirty work to others.

    (I am quite grossed out, to imagine a ‘counselor’ forcibly ‘tranquilizing’ people…)

    (And, so, unless or until Keyes sees the light and becomes principally opposed to forced IM drugging, I can’t imagine how he would ever be someone whom I’d choose to ‘break bread’ with…)

    Respectfully, J.

  • “I hope you can come up with a better term (than “enemy”) to describe a person like Jonathan Keyes who blogs here and with whom you have had sharp disagreements on the issue of force.”


    Thank you for your very considerate reply, including your invitation to sit down and ‘break bread’ with you…

    You and I have disagreed on some issues regarding ‘mental health care,’ and also (I’ve briefly mentioned to you) I do not share your ultimate political goals; for, I believe you are dreaming an impossible dream…

    (In a comment reply, to me, on June 18, 2014 at 8:48 pm, you explained: “My political goals are for the elimination of all forms of exploitation and oppression that are part of class society in this historical era. Until we get beyond a profit based economic system we will be plagued with the multiple forms of physical and psychological violence in the world…” In response, on June 19, 2014 at 4:59 am, I replied, “I suppose, in your mind’s eye, [that’s] a kind of perfect ‘Heaven on Earth,’ that’s beautiful to you, but I consider it quite an impossible dream.”)

    More than a few of your MIA comments have included brief critiques of capitalism — or, perhaps, critiques of ‘extreme’ capitalism.

    Though I do not worship capitalism, I believe that, as long as large societies exist, profit-based economies will exist; so, my best hope for the world (economically speaking) is that, democratic systems can regulate such economies, in ways that implement positively forward-thinking, sutainable values.

    (Imho, every society should be expected to care about the well-being of its own young people, at the very least; and, such concerns should lead to forward-thinking strategies, of a sustainable kind…)

    Many libertarian values appeal to me, especially in terms of ‘mh’ issuges; but, I am not purely a libertarian; so, I presume you and I can agree on much but will continue to have certain disagreements; and, in any case, I know for sure, that you would not, under any circumstance, forcibly inject me with mind-altering drugs, nor would you ever recommend that anyone should do that to me.

    (In my above comment to you — and, more than a couple of times previously, in my comments, you’ve read my opposition to forced brain ‘treatments,’ and you’ve come to assure me, that, “we share the same views on the issue of force.”)

    Neither one of us would ever recommend that anyone be forcibly injected with psychotropic drugs, of any kind; and, both of us are completely opposed to ECT.

    That’s great.

    That is why I can easily imagine sitting down and ‘breaking bread’ with you. Hopefully, we shall do that soon enough.

    Conversely, I cannot imagine choosing to ‘break bread’ with Jonathan Keyes (who admits that he does, at times, resort to forcibly drugging “patients” in his “hospital” when he cannot successfully “de-escalate” them).

    Richard, you must please understand: I don’t really worry that Jonathan would try to drug me, but these sorts of discussions, involving such matters of personal freedom (and ‘health freedom’), touch upon some deeply disturbing memories, of having been tortured (literally) by psych-techs wielding hypodermic needles…

    These discussions require my ability to feel into the past, they require the freedom to become fully animated, and I could not feel free to be fully animated in any casual, face to face discussions with anyone who does what Jonathan Keyes does for a living (in terms of his forcibly drugging people).


    Perhaps, were we (you and I) to arrange for a meeting, to ‘break bread’ with Jonathan, then he would agree to leave his neuroleptic-filled needles at home (and, probably, he would be required to do so, by law).

    Probably, in any case, he could not hope to succeed in tackling me and tying my down and drugging me without the presence of his fellow “hospital” colleagues; and, yet, what good could ‘breaking bread’ with him do me?

    ‘Breaking bread’ is something political opponents do, at times; but, why would I wish to meet with Jonathan Keyes, that way?

    Imho, he is my political enemy (I know you don’t like that word); and, from reading his views, as expressed, on this website, I can imagine no way of getting through to him — especially, as I now realize, that he knows, from his own, firsthand experiences, that neuroleptic drugs can cause a person to become suicidal.

    (Note prominently, Richard: Imho, that firsthand experience of his should lead him to realize, that it’s never OK to force such drugs on anyone.)

    And, moreover, he is not a straight-shooter, in my view.

    When it comes to his discussions of forced drugging, he can be very evasive and, I would hasten to say, obtuse. (Mainly, he refuses to discuss the details of his work, as such; OK, I can live with that; but, when he can be drawn in to discussing it, at all, he tends to mince words. E.g., just consider his insisting, that he does not “treat” anyone forcibly. That is patently absurd…)

    Imho, there are countless contradictions, in how he speaks, of his work…

    In one of his comments, not long ago, he referred to an instance, in which a “patient” in his “hospital” E.R. was supposedly “violent” because he was supposedly “decompensating” and thus supposedly had to be forcibly drugged…

    “Recently, a man who had been in prison for a number of years for numerous crimes was brought from jail to our ER because he was “decompensating”. He then proceeded to attack ER nurses, injuring one by kicking her hard in the chest.”


    I ask you (so you can ask Jonathan when you ‘break bread’ with him): Why does he use that psycho-babble, saying that man was “decompensating,” and why couldn’t that man be handcuffed (not drugged) and sent back to jail?

    In fact, considering his very persistent defense of forced IM (neuroleptic-filled syringe) drugging and how he repeatedly insists, that the police should never be called to arrest any supposedly violent person in a “hospital…” (by his own minimalist descriptions, of what might lead him to forcibly drug someone, it’s clear, he always prefers to resort to forced IM drugging, always… as opposed to calling the police), I can’t help but think of Jonathan Keyes as promoting a most sadly dystopian (‘medical’) future, in his dreams of reforming “hospital” life for “psychiatric inpatients” — as he is so averse to calling the police, ever; he is, of course, living above the law.

    And, he has explained, more than once, that: He frequently tells his “patients,” that they are “on vacation” in his “hospital” (to me, that line of his is so foolish, so utterly trivializing and offensive, no words can adequately describe my ultimate feelings of just plain wanting to keep him at a distance).

    To me, Jonathan Keyes comes off, in my reading of his “hospital” work, as just about the last person blogging, on this website, whom I’d ever ‘break bread’ with….

    So, I do not foresee ‘breaking bread’ with him any time soon (and, that’s putting it kindly).

    Again, Richard, I thank you for your very considerate reply…



  • Richard,

    Imho, it’s a significant shift of tactical positioning you’ve taken (coming to embrace the ‘anti-psychiatry’ folk), and I feel it’s a good one for you. It will make you considerably more effective as an activist, I think.

    I, myself, have no love of psychiatry, but I’m not totally against psychiatry, so I don’t call myself “antipsychiatry.” (But, often, I do think to myself ‘I hate psychiatry,’ and I sometimes say that aloud.)

    The thing is, I think psychiatrists should have a right to be psychiatrists, and I have no beef against some psychiatrists.

    However, many psychiatrists do many of their “patients” more harm than good, imo; and, I am most concerned with medical-coercive psychiatry; I think that should be abolished, definitely; so…

    RE “Some close allies who do not yet share the totality of our goals (for example, those that still support the use of “force” in extreme circumstances, or the more limited use of psychiatric drugs) should NOT be called our “enemy.” We should never resort to “demonizing” all psychiatrists or other partial believers in the medical model who are working in today’s mental health system.”

    Richard, in any criminal justice system, there can be positively justified uses of force; and, I believe, in some medical environments (e.g., the emergency rooms, of real hospitals), there are, at times, “extreme circumstances” wherein certain limited uses of force are justified – but only if/when designed to momentarily physically restrain and/or just very briefly detain someone (e.g., when an individual seems to be threatening violence and an E.R. staff is determining whether or not it shall be necessary to involve the police). That is different from invasive kinds of force – which I oppose entirely.

    Such is to say, sometimes the use “force” can be justified, by real hospital workers, imho – but only in terms of mechanical restraints; and, imho, “mental hospitals” are not real hospitals, and any unwanted imposition of neuro-invasive so-called “medical care” must be opposed — everywhere. (I actually think you agree with me, on that point; but, I view those who administer such ‘care’ as ‘enemies.’)

    Individuals who choose to work at jobs requiring that they ‘must’ sometimes forcibly tamper with a person’s brain functions (and/or individuals who work at jobs, which ‘require’ that they order such forcible ‘care’) shall always appear as potential ‘enemies’ to me – most especially, when they are on the job; and, they will be political enemies to me for as long as they aim to defend such practices. [Note — I have emphasized previously (and now do so again): Of course, they are not ‘mortal enemies,’ in my view. (Imho, that should go without saying…)]

    And, I agree with your first commenter (Donna), as she points out, that: Some people who choose jobs in the realm of psychiatry are literally evil people. I think the field attracts evil people for various reasons. (Here I speak of ‘evil people,’ referring to those who deliberately seek to subjugate and destroy the lives of identified “patients” who are viewed as ‘others’ and who are basically defenseless…)

    One way to limit the harms done by such individuals: Eliminate forced brain-invasive ‘treatment’.

    Forced brain ‘treatments’ are never necessary, imho; they are a convenient way to totally overwhelm and control someone; and, in so doing, they typically crush that person’s sense of dignity.

    Always, there are reasonable alternatives to such “medical treatment” (or such “care” or such supposed “prevention of violence” …or whatever else it may be deemed by those who administer it).

    Why are those ‘mh’ pros viewed as ‘enemies’ by me (and not by me alone but by many psychiatric survivors)?

    Those who choose to involve themselves in forcibly tampering with others’ brains represent a potentially serious threat to anyone who is labeled as I have been labeled; and, they are violators of human dignity.

    Some say they have no other choice; it is supposedly their only way to prevent violence.

    But, every time they restrain someone, to forcibly plunge a needle into that person’s veins, they are committing a very serious act of aggression, imho — most terrible form of violence. (Likewise, when they forcibly restrain and shock people with electricity…)

    But, to my mind, they can certainly redeem themselves; especially, those who are genuinely well-intentioned, are committing forgivable acts, I think…

    That is why I have said before (and say again now): Very possibly, I could befriend a psychiatrist or any other associated ‘mh’ professional who makes a point of quitting (renouncing and denouncing) his/her practice of forcibly tampering with “patients'” brains.

    When any psychiatrist and/or psychiatric helper ‘sees the light,’ that way — such that they permanently resolve to completely dis-involve themselves with and cease their support of any and all forced neuro-invasive ‘treatments’ –, then I’ll no longer view them as ‘enemies’ – and could even consider them friends (if not just well-respected allies in the cause of opposing medical-coercive psychiatry and upholding human dignity).



  • Further to my point:

    “Users would be well advised that much of the pro/con sentiment is a result of differing definitions of prostitution rather than differences on how to deal with a specific defined type of prostitution, and that if the definition was standardized much of the conflict might disappear…”

    –John Ince, Attorney and Leader of the Sex Party, in a May 10, 2007 e-mail to


  • “Prostitution is not sex therapy…”


    Of course, not all prostitution is sex therapy; but, imho, some prostitution is, in effect, sex therapy.

    For instance, there are thousands of ‘massage therapists’ in this country who illegally perform sex acts on their clients. (Note: Quite honestly, this is something I’m aware of, from what I’ve been told; I went to school to become a massage therapist, so I have had friends who’ve described working in this way…)

    They know: If they were to have the misfortune of being caught in a police sting, they’d be charged with illegally ‘soliciting sex’ — i.e., prostitution.

    So, they do their best to screen their clients and maintain ongoing business relationships with trusted clients. In effect, they develop business friendships, which are therapeutic.

    Would you disagree — and say that such individuals (who are, of course, not formally trained ‘sex therapists’) are actually incapable of providing postively therapeutic sexual services?

    Richard, perhaps, you are using the term “prostitution” in a way that requires defining, because, from gathering how you’re using that term, I’m inclined to believe you have a more narrow, potentially anachronistic (if not highly politicized and/or bourgeois) view of these matters; but, honestly, I am hoping to avoid drawing such conclusions, as I may be failing to follow your reasoning only because your use of the term “prostitution” is not clear .

    So, I respectfully wonder, Richard: In your view, how is “prostitution” best defined?

    And, would it or would it not be fair to call those ‘massage therapists’ whom I’ve mentioned, above, “prostitutes”?

  • Kermit,

    Thank you for your input here (on July 14, 2014 at 9:03 pm); I’m glad you’ve stepped in, to defend Sheila Matthews, as I believe commenter E. Lie Silly is way out of line, on this matter.

    By this point, it seems E. Lie Silly is apparently purely determined to crusade against Scientology and has decided that the best way to do this, is with innuendo and by smearing everyone who has had the courage to stand up and associate himself/herself with CCHR.

    Indeed, s/he is attempting to lead a witch hunt (for Scientology members) in these MIA comment threads.

    As someone who, long ago, was, himself, treated by psychiatry, as a witch (to be either drowned or burned with ‘heavy meds’), I find that sort of crusading to be reminiscent of NAMI’s tactics, really completely disgraceful behavior.

    Imho, some of the very best alternatives to psychiatry are faith-based belief systems (because, in fact, psychiatry itself is a kind of religion); imho, no one who is seeking refuge from psychiatry should be judged or persecuted for finding his/her way to Scientology; and, this should be a forum where everyone is truly welcome to believe in whatever faith they choose to believe…



  • P.S. — Richard,

    You mention slavery, and it’s true, that prostitution can become a form of slavery. But, have you never heard of the archetype of the divine prostitute?

    In contrast to your suggestion, that prostitution must somehow necessarily be all about the continuation of class oppression, please consider the significance of Lara…:

    Lara — (Acca Larentia) Etruscan goddess of sexuality in whose worship sacred prostitution played an important role. A semi-divine prostitute, she passed into Roman mythology as a benefactress of the lower classes and as the she-wolf foster-mother of Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. Her festival, the Larentalia, took place annually on December 23rd


  • “Why is it so hard to envision a world where people no longer sell themselves for sex?”


    In my last comment to you (above), I indicated that it was my preference to put the matter of prostitution aside and just stay ‘on topic’ (re psychiatry and ECT); however, now I’m feeling compelled to ask you a simple question, regarding your views of prostitution; and, this does tie in to ‘mental health system’ issues.

    Here’s my question: In your opinion, is ‘sex therapy’ never a good thing?

    (Note: Personally, I’m absolutely convinced that it can be a very good thing — i.e., perfectly therapeutic — for all involved, in some instances. From this point of view, that sex therapy can sometimes be a good thing for all involved, I believe, surely, there must be unlicensed providers of that same good service, who would thus be called “prostitutes” by society. Such is not to deny, that: Of course, sadly, many countless “prostitutes” are terribly exploited.)

    Again, I must say, there are many forms of prostitution.

    Surely, some forms are not at all bad…



  • P.S. — Richard,

    Your view of prostitution does not enhance your argument against ECT, I think (especially, because there are so many forms of prostitution); but, I will not elaborate on that issue; I’d rather stay on topic.

    E.g., have you seen the meta-analysis of ECT (“The effectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy: A literature review”) that was done by John Read and Richard Bentall?

    Here’s their conclusion:

    “Given the strong evidence (summarised here) of persistent and, for some, permanent brain dysfunction, primarily evidenced in the form of retrograde and anterograde amnesia. and the evidence of a slight but significant increased risk of death, the cost-benefit analysis for ECT is so poor that its use cannot be scientifically justified.”

    Also, notably, they declare, “Neither author has any financial conflicts of interest in relation to this paper.”

  • Richard,

    Francesca says to you and me (above),

    “I’m quite serious about what I said before. It is actually disturbing to me to see psychiatric survivors being bullies.”

    That is purely an ad hominem attack (as there is nothing ‘bullying’ in your comments or mine); and, quite seriously, I think one big problem that Francesca has, is that she doesn’t read her critics’ comments carefully.

    We can see that happening in this instance.

    After all, from studying Francesca’s comment, that she addressed to you and me, above (on July 13, 2014 at 9:43 pm), I presume that she could not have actually read through my comment, which she is ostensibly replying to; for, her response to you and me indicates, that she’s paying no attention whatsoever to the passage I offered from Peter Breggin’s book, including these lines, “I have never seen or heard, or read of a single individual whose ECT was prematurely terminated on the grounds that he had changed his mind after experiencing the treatment and no longer wanted it. Most so-called voluntary ECT patients, therefore, become truly involuntary as soon as they experience its devastating effects. At first they are involuntary because their protests are ignored. Later they become involuntary because they are too brain-damaged to protest their worsening condition.”

    Surely, if Francesca had read that passage, she could not have written in response, to you and me, that,

    “The major complaint most of us have against the psychiatric system is being denied choices and not being listened to. Yet here we are doing exactly the same thing to some of our comrades.”

    She could not have written that, had she read the passage that I offered from Peter Breggin’s book, as that passage explains, very clearly, that, actually, any and all ECT “patients” who find that their initial ECT ‘treatment’ has been especially aversive will be denied the choice of discontinuing their full course of ECT ‘treatments’ — their objections will not be heard; they will not be listened to… (as soon as their ‘treatment’ begins, any objections they voice will be ignored and overridden by their doctor).

    How ironic, that Francesca is calling us “bullies” and that she’s accusing us of aiming to restrict reasonable choices, when, in fact, all I was doing is forwarding that information from Peter Breggin’s highly authoritative viewpoint, wherein he is explaining, that: Generally speaking, ECT “patients” do not make informed choices; they can’t; and, really, such is the nature of that beast (ECT), that will not change.

    Again, I emphasize: Every indication is that, Francesca is probably not reading through my comments; but, she is drawing conclusions about them (and now calling you and me “bullies”) nonetheless… It’s not the first time I’ve had such problems with her, in these MIA threads.

    (She has previously replied to a comment of mine, which she said she did not actually read; indeed, she explained that she does not like “reading verbose and redundant comments”).


    Really, I have always been respectful toward her, and I think she’s just not willing to consider or acknowledge, that anyone who is disagreeing with her may have a good point.



  • Richard,

    I agree with you entirely, on this matter.

    ECT is a terrible, brain-damaging, crap shoot, and advocates refuse to admit the truth of this.

    So, though it’s true, some who receive ECT report ‘good’ results; and, advocates of the procedure claim that it should be OK, as long as there’s “informed consent,” nonetheless, the procedure should be banned, imho.

    After all, many who are typically considered ‘good candidates’ for ‘voluntary’ ECT are often people who are locked up, against their will (so any ostensibly “voluntary treatment” that they’d ‘choose’ to receive may be chosen, indeed, mainly as way to hopefully put a quick end to their drug ‘treatment’ and ‘medical’ incarceration); and, most candidates tend to be individuals who are living more or less at their wits’ end.

    Frequently, they are individuals who’ve attempted suicide.

    So, ‘voluntary’ ECT candidates are usually individuals who feel that they have nothing to lose, in accepting the risks of the procedure, for think, ECT could bring an instant end to their troubles; they feel anything would be preferable to what they are currently experiencing.

    I.e., they are — at the point of ‘volunteering’ for such ‘treatment’ — desperate souls, who may be all too easily persuaded by the projected optimism, of true-believing ECT providers, like MIA blogger David Healy.

    I’m sure many of Healy’s ECT “patients” are drawn in, by his book, which he co-authored, with Edward Shorter, Shock Therapy: A History of Electroconvulsive Treatment in Mental Illness.

    In it, they can read,

    “Our research convinces us that ECT is an important, responsible, and reliable therapy that deserves to be more widely used…”


    “…there should be little controversy over whether it is safe or effective. Somatic therapies like ECT easily trump anything in the psychopharmaceutical medicine chest as the most effective treatment for such severe illnesses as melancholic depression, catatonia, or manic excitement; it also has a place in the treatment of schizophrenia,”


    “Why today, seventy years after its discovery, is ECT highly stigmatized, both among patients and many physicians? ECT is, in a sense, the penicillin of psychiatry. We would be baffled if the benefits of penicillin were not widely touted in the patients’ world, lauded by the press, and accepted as a matter of fact by medical doctors. Why has this not happened with ECT? The question is especially important because there are a great many people with depression who do not respond to antidepressant drugs.”

    All things considered, I am inclined to suspect (because ECT is known to be associated with somewhat increased suicide rates) that a relatively sizeable percentage of ‘voluntary’ ECT “patients” have agreed to accept ECT ‘treatments’ while secretly assuring themselves, that: They can ‘just’ commit suicide if the results wind up being particularly unpleasant.

    But, what they may fail to understand, is the drastic extent to which they will be, at first, completely disabled by ECT — and how: Once their course of ECT ‘treatments’ begins, there’ll be no way for them (nor for any ECT “patient”) to call it quits. (According to Dr. Peter Breggin, that’s the ultimate rub, when it comes to any and all talk of supposed “informed consent” for ECT…)

    Here, as follows, is a key paragraph from page 205 of Breggin’s book, Electroshock, its brain-disabling effects (1979), which well explains that point:

    “Even if it were possible to give voluntary, informed consent during a patient’s stay in a mental hospital, and even if ECT advocates made its hazards known beforehand, electroshock presents a special problem that effectively rules out consent in most or all cases. Despite giving initial consent to the treatment, the patient typically tries to reject it when he begins to experience the onset of an acute organic brain syndrome. His fear and outrage are always ignored, and often he is drugged, isolated and/or given extended ECT treatments, until rendered unable to protest with any strength or coherence. As the patient passes from abject terror to incoherence, his psychiatrist may use his growing mental incompetence to justify further treatment on the grounds that the patient is too irrational to know what is good for him. I have never seen or heard, or read of a single individual whose ECT was prematurely terminated on the grounds that he had changed his mind after experiencing the treatment and no longer wanted it. Most so-called voluntary ECT patients, therefore, become truly involuntary as soon as they experience its devastating effects. At first they are involuntary because their protests are ignored. Later they become involuntary because they are too brain-damaged to protest their worsening condition.”

    Richard, keep fighting the good fight…



  • I am familiar with that web page, Francesca.

    What Jeffrey Schaler explains there, is that, “Thomas Szasz is not now nor has he ever been a Scientologist or a member of the Church of Scientology…”

    (Of course, we should ignore this fact, that that web page is referring to Szasz as though he was still alive and kicking, as that page is apparently more than ten years old, and we know Szasz passed away not quite two years ago now — in September of 2012.)

    In any case, I think it’s reasonable to say, that Szasz was “associated with Scientology,” not only by way of his co-founding CCHR (which is run by Scientology) — but also by his having allowed his own name to be used, by CCHR, in the honoring of its award recipients… and, also, by his accepting invitations to speak, at certain CCHR-sponsored events.

    How often he did that, I don’t know; but, see the following brief (but, imo, quite wonderful) video, titled “CCHR Co-Founder Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus”

    There you can see Szasz speaking at what must be a CCHR-sponsored function. (I say it must be CCHR-sponsored, because the CCHR logo adorns the podium, at which he’s standing.)

    Also, if you have time, I suggest you watch “Psychiatry the fraud” in which (opening credits explain) the featured speaker is “Dr. Jeffrey Schaler, Psychologist and Professor at American University, 2006 Thomas Szasz Award Winner”

    (Judging from the obvious visual similarities in the backgrounds, of both those brief video talks, and judging from the appearance of the speakers, I believe, probably, they are from a single CCHR-sponsored event, of eight years ago.)

    I am no expert on Szasz (nor on CCHR or Scientology); simply, as far as I know, from what I’ve gathered thus far on the Web, Szasz never distanced himself from CCHR.

    And, personally, I don’t think that he should have, as I have never heard of any wrongs being done to anyone, by CCHR; in fact, some of the videos that CCHR have posted online are very well done, positively informative.



  • P.S. — Steve,

    Of course, I well realize that Bob Whitaker is basically indicating, in his comment, above, that he would not allow such a person to post a blog on this website (being that the blogger is someone known to be directly associated with Scientology), but I think Bob could well use a bit of a wake-up call on this matter.

    Would Thomas Szasz (himself a CCHR co-founder) in being associated with Scientology, have been denied an opportunity to post a blog on this website, I sincerely wonder?



  • Steve,

    Your entire comment (and every other comments that you’ve posted in this string) is very well said.

    RE “There is a member of CCHR Oregon who has been a faithful and hard-working volunteer from the beginning, but at no time have I heard any promotion of Scientology as a religion from him or anyone else.”

    I think it would be absolutely great if you could, perhaps, kindly persuade that person to submit a blog post to the MIA editor, so s/he could offer the MIA community his/her own view of this situation.



  • Richard,

    Thanks for your kind words of encouragement, at the end of your comment, and please excuse me, as I press on, here, just a bit further, with my point of view…

    Your ostensibly very logical positions, now re-stated, in this thread of comments, to Steve, continue to draw my attention. I.e., here, as follows, I am replying not just to your comment reply to me; I am remarking, critically, upon your latest reply to Steve (above, on July 8, 2014 at 9:00 pm).

    I feel compelled to do this, as you are making a certain amount of good sense, in some ways, but you are also, I believe, nonetheless, failing to acknowledge the ‘elephants in the room.’

    That is to say: Though you now say to me “you are correct that there are some cult like characteristics to psychiatry and NAMI, I don’t think they fit the entire definition of a full fledged cult,” I strongly disagree, and I sincerely believe you are actually associating with some dangerous cult leaders, who are blogging, here on this MIA website.

    To illustrate this point of mine, what I am doing in this comment, as follows, is simply quoting your own words (the one paragraph that seemingly jumps out at me, which you’ve just posted, to Steve); only, I’m substituting the words “medical-coercive Psychiatry” for your word (“Scientology”).

    “If one views [medical-coercive Psychiatry] as a dangerous cult that does serious harm to its members, and especially makes it extremely difficult for people to leave their organization (according to numerous personal accounts by former members), then it makes sense for MIA to not want such an organization having open access to promote its views on this public website. Such an organization could use MIA as a public forum to promote its own backward agenda and recruit members into its nefarious clutches.”

    Also, Richard, I offer you your own concluding words to Steve (but with my couple of bracketed changes, which are, again, simply to bring your attention to the ‘elephants in the room’):

    “To the extent that I understand what MIA’s standards for publication and related code of ethics are, I am convinced that [medical-coercive Psychiatry] could not meet that standard. It is for this reason that I [would] support their decision to bar [medical-coercive Psychiatry] and its front group [NAMI].”

    Though you needn’t feel pressured to offer a response, Richard, I sincerely wonder if my perceptions, as such, are fully meaningful to you. (I wonder, because you have recently said to me, in a comment, that you actually are opposed psychiatry’s uses of force. You indicate that, reading my ‘story’ of psychiatric “treatment” through my comments has had a significant impact. Since you say that, I presume you really are coming to understand how such ‘treatment’ tends to overwhelm “patients” who are subjected to it — how it can easily make them into slaves of Psychiatry… at least for some number of weeks, months or years.)

    Remember, when introduced to medical-coercive psychiatry, I was not someone who believed that psychiatry was a legitimate field of medicine; but, I was repeatedly forcibly drugged — until, at last, I could not help but lose my sense of self and finally surrender…

    Tell me: How many victims of Scientology were literally forcibly drugged into believing that they could not possible survive without their religion?



    P.S. — Please see:

  • “I personally would not blog here or invest my time in promoting this website if it was in ANY way connected to Scientology or any other cult like organization. I believe I am not the only blogger here who feels this way.”


    Do you not see Psychiatry as a “cult like” organization? And, do you not view NAMI as a “cult like” organization, that’s funded mainly by Big Pharma, to promote Psychiatry? (Of course, you well know, that there are bloggers on this MIA website who are leaders in NAMI; so, unless you say otherwise, I’m going to presume, from what you’re saying in your comment, that you do not view NAMI as “cult like.” But, I do view NAMI that way, and I know many others who do, likewise…)

    The Psychopharmaceutical Industrial Complex (PPIC) has created a vast web of cult like organizations.

    Of course, I know that, as you eschew ‘Biological Psychiatry’ (hence, you may describe that currently prevailing/most-dominant realm of psychiatry, as “cult like”).

    Frankly, I see all of the “mental health system” as cult like; and, certainly, medical-coercive Psychiatry, which maintains its ultimately forceful dominance over that system, is, of course cult like. I feel it’s quite reasonable to say that, because medical-coercive Psychiatry preserves for itself the ‘right’ to forcibly alter the brain function of those whom it declares “seriously ill” — while showing no proof whatsoever of any existing illness. It is a very dangerous cult, indeed — far more dangerous than is any officially declared ‘religious’ organization… because it can and does literally force “patients” into accepting “medications” that make them appear as though ‘ill’.

    (Here I tip my hat to the cult like family — and the even more cult like educational system — that lent me enough good sense to eschew Psychiatry, not too long after it sunk its poison-filled fangs into my life.)

    Respectfully, I leave you to ponder your above-mentioned, self-described absolute aversion to all “cult like” organizations… and offer the following passage from a very good series of articles, by Evelyn Pringle, titled “The Psychopharmaceutical Industrial Complex” (it’s from the 3rd article in her series of five articles, all of which I think you’ll appreciate).

    The Psychopharmaceutical Industrial Complex (PPIC) is a symbiotic system composed of the American Psychiatric Association, the pharmaceutical industry, public relations and advertising firms, patient support organizations, the National Institute of Mental Health, managed care organizations, and the flow of resources and money among these groups, according to an October 1, 2009 paper in the Journal of Mental Health Counseling, by Dr Thomas Murray, director of Counseling and Disability Services at the University of North Caroline School of Art.

    Murray’s paper draws parallels between cult indoctrination and PPIC techniques and notes the similarities between cult members and mental health consumers who are vulnerable to losing their identities to the PPIC.

    The PPIC and “its adherence to the disease model pervades mainstream culture and greatly impacts psychotherapy,” he says. “Consequently, the effects of the PPIC may have resulted in some psychiatric consumers adopting disease-model messages in ways similar to cult indoctrination.”

    “Consumer adoption of the disease model can create obstacles to treatment when hope is fundamental,” he advises.

    Murray says his most difficult cases “involve clients who have in essence been drawn into the PPIC and have become resigned to the disease model with little sense of empowerment to overcome their emotional problems.”

    “These are the consumers who have little self-efficacy and little hope that they have options other than to suffer,” he reports.

    “Insurance companies rely on pharmaceuticals to contain costs (and limit psychotherapy sessions), and reimbursement depends on a diagnosis of a diseased brain,” Murray notes.

  • “…perhaps the correct term is that I am “ANTI-OPPRESSION!””


    I appreciate that sentiment of yours and do trust you mean it.

    You say it sincerely, no doubt; but, almost anyone could say that about himself/herself, and it would not necessarily mean what it means to you, for it is actually a rather vague self-description.

    On the other hand, in your comment, of a few minutes prior, above (on June 24, 2014 at 7:11 pm), you were being more specific, as you suggested, that “Anti-f0rced-treatment” might be a label you could choose, to describe yourself.

    That interest me; for, certainly, that label is one that I’ll choose to describe myself.

    (I call myself “BeyondLabeling” as a way to eschew psychiatric labels.)

    But, I wonder, what does “Anti-f0rced-treatment” mean to you?

    I ask …because recently I’ve discovered that someone who works in a “hospital” could possibly claim, that he does not support forced “treatment” (in fact, he may insist that “I have never forcibly “treated” anyone…”); and, yet, when pressed, that same person admits to supporting and engaging in what’s often called “emergency forced drugging.”


    He just doesn’t consider his use of force to be “treatment” because, he explains, it’s ‘only’ a means of preventing apparent threats of violence in the “hospital” he works in…

    So, what’s your position on such ’emergency forced drugging,’ Steve? I am wondering, as I enjoy reading your comments; they are always very thoughtful, and when I read them, I tend to think: ‘Here is someone who’s apparently a reformer of the “mh” system, who actually is making sense to me!’

    [Note: Imho, one such as I, who has no faith whatsoever that psychiatry can be significantly reformed without taking away its power to force itself on “patients,” will tend also to be disinterested in strategies of ‘reform’ of the ‘mh’ system generally; but, I would not care to discourage those, such as yourself, who are dedicated to reducing the harms caused by the ‘mh’ system. You may even consider yourself a reformer of the ‘mh’ system. Just don’t hold your breath, expecting me to become an advocate of reforming the ‘mh’ system (as I think the State should not be dispensing ‘mental health care’ of any kind; it should not be judging our thoughts, at all, imho).]

    But, in any case, Steve, as you have indicated, that you may describe yourself as “Anti-f0rced-treatment,” then, please, what is your position on “emergency forced drugging”?



  • Someone else,

    Thank you so much for offering your comment (on June 20, 2014 at 11:23 pm). I wrote a rather lengthy reply to it and somehow hit the wrong button just, so the page suddenly disappeared. That happened just moments ago.

    Now, I haven’t time to reconstruct my thoughts, so I will post again, to you — probably that will be at the bottom of this page — sometime in the next 24 hours or so…



  • Donna,

    Just now, I’m back from a brief time-out (was away from this MIA website for roughly the past 36 hrs), and I am noticing your latest comments on this thread… and feel it important to tell you: Despite what your detractor says, you are making a lot of good sense, in your comments — most especially in your last comment, above (on June 23, 2014 at 12:06 am).

    Your detractor’s reply is proof of her desire to paint you as someone who is not making sense; perhaps, she actually believes you are not making sense; but, I assure you, if that’s the case, then that is just your detractor’s opinion.

    Also, please know, I appreciate your mentions (in more than one of your comments) of my stated dilemma — i.e., your expressions of sympathy… for my feeling, that, really, there’s probably no point in attempting to dialogue with someone who is quite clearly (by her own admission) automatically prejudging whatever I post.

    That person chooses to comment negatively on what I write while explaining that she has not actually read it. What can we say, after all, to a person who peppers a comment thread with countless comments, offering her opinions (including critiques of our own ways of expressing ourselves), when she will not actually take the time to really hear us — to listen?

    Repeatedly, she tells us she’s not reading what we have to say, yet she’s commenting on our views nonetheless…

    Someone who is determined to argue but who repeatedly indicates s/he is actually ignoring what we have to say is really not someone worth dialoguing with, imho.

    (Note: The detractor asked me a couple of good, pointed questions, above — regarding my views on the issue of suicide. I answered those questions, as best I could, briefly; and, she had nothing to say, in response, except to insist that my writing is not worth reading… And, she suggested that, if I was unwilling to speak with her, so be it. She is plainly being absurd.)

    I think, sometimes, people do not care to admit, that they don’t wish to speak with us; they really just want to speak at us — or speak over us…

    I was speaking with her — and was carefully responding to her questions…

    I am not doing so now — because, I do my best with such persons.

    But, there comes a point at which I feel, that doing my best is going to be just letting go, moving on…

    Unless or until I find that a person is willing to apologize for being so discourteous, I will ignore — as dialoguing is not possible when a person won’t consider what I’m saying…

    I guess, if it comes to my attention that s/he’s somehow totally misrepresenting reality in ways, then, maybe, for the sake of MIA readers, some further comment may be required.


    Imho, the main thing that requires constant bearing in mind, Donna, as we engage in discussions on this website: Some people think there is “a movement” taking shape, here, in these comment threads; other people think that there should be “a movement” taking shape here. People who hold such these views of what is or what is ‘supposed to be’ happening here will naturally become frustrated when they do not see that happening…

    But, they won’t see it happen, imho; they can’t… because, in point of fact, there is no single (‘unified’) “movement” being expressed in these MIA blogs. So, of course, neither is there one (‘unified’) “movement” that’s going to emerge, in the comment threads.

    There will be no such singular “movement” that will take shape …not here, on this website anyway.

    According to Bob Whitaker’s personal mission for it, this website provides a forum for discussion about “Science, Psychiatry and Community.”

    So, people may speak of “our movement” here — as though there was an understanding of what that means…

    I, myself, came to speak, at last, of “this movement for social justice,” in my first comment, above — as that’s the movement that I feel animates my own expressions here.

    Meanwhile, some others speak of “the psychiatric reform movement.”

    That’s fine for them, but not for me…

    “The psychiatric reform movement” does not interest me. This is not to suggest, that I believe its proponents are ‘bad’ people. (Not at all.) Simply, I feel that that is a movement, which holds no interest for me, as my experiences with and observations of psychiatry have proven to me, that Psychiatry is a religion, in which I have no faith whatsoever.

    I can’t get excited about that “psychiatric reform movement,” at all; I have no interest in joining any “psychiatric reform movement,” just like I have no interest in joining most other religion’s reform movements. (I will do my best to contribute to reform, within the realm of my own religion, of Buddhism.)

    And, let’s make no mistake (I believe you agree, when I point out): Psychiatry is a religion.

    Frankly, imo, it is a terrible religion over all; and, yet, there are some decent people involved in it; and, certainly, I don’t begrudge anyone the right to practice and follow it.

    What I do object to — nay, what I most strongly oppose — are any and all of its believers’ claims, that they supposedly have a ‘right’ to impose their faith on others…

    The worst dangers that Psychiatry presents, arise from the fact, that its believers are, everywhere, in ‘secular’ societies, co-opting the powers of the State and wielding evermore considerable influence in the courts (not to mention, the school systems, public health care system, prison systems) such that, there is no one alive today, in our society, who’s well-being is well protected from its deadly influence.

    I am willing to bet that your detractor absolutely hates it, when you refer to the “mental death profession” as such — because she describes herself as an advocate of the “psychiatric reform movement.”

    She may know it is well described that way; however, that would not matter to her, I think.

    After all, we read this,

    Francesca Allan on June 21, 2014 at 12:47 am said:

    The issue isn’t whether the phrase is accurate or not. What’s being discussed is whether that terminology is helpful to our cause. Many (including myself) believe it is not.

    She speaks of “our cause” as though her cause is everyone else’s cause; but, of course, it’s not.

    Again, emphatically: I am not seeking “psychiatric reform,” I am seeking to end all unwanted impositions of psychiatry — to end the scourge of forced ‘treatments’ of Psychiatry, such as those which were imposed on myself, in my early twenties…

    I consider myself an abolitionist, because I am completely opposed to psychiatric slavery.

    As an abolitionist, I have no problem with letting psychiatrists be psychiatrists; only, the should keep their practice to themselves and those who truly wish to be ‘treated’ by them.

    And, personally, I do feel that accurate phrasing is important. (Imho, it is quite important.)

    In fact, I find it almost unfathomable, to consider what Francesca is saying, in that brief comment of hers, above.

    Apparently, she thinks I should not speak of having been brain raped, only because that would upset psychiatrists whom she cares to draw to her movement.

    So, here we must realize, we are dealing with someone who deeply disagrees with us.

    In her view, we should not call a spade a spade… because her goal is to “reform” psychiatry.

    I think you must realize, it’s inevitable that we will have detractors (you will and I will and others who are similarly critical of psychiatry will) because we are so out-spoken, exposing the lies and the criminality of that profession; have no doubt, you are doing a great thing, studying these issues and relaying what you learn; hopefully, others get as much out of reading your comments as I do…

    Your comments are full of great insights, Donna. Thank you for offering them…

    Hopefully, in this comment, I have not been too verbose…



  • Oh, right now, there’s one more nagging thing, on my mind, about all this…

    So, I add this one question, which I’d meant to offer you (Jonathan Keyes) in my comment, above…

    As regards your reference to, “the hundreds and hundreds of interventions that I have been involved in, I have almost always been able to help someone to deescalate…

    Question: Can you please estimate, what percentage of those ‘deescalations’ were, to some extent, about leading a “patient” to realize, that s/he should ‘just’ go ahead and ‘voluntarily’ swallow some kind of pill?

    I feel I must ask you that question; for, in the psychiatric “hospitals” that I was introduced to (albeit, this was decades ago), the ward’s strong-men could seemingly only relax, upon knowing that every supposed “danger” was being eliminated by ways of convincing the “patients” of the ‘good’ in being “compliant” with the doctors’ orders.

    And, most ‘containment events’ came about, as a result of some “patient” refusing to ‘voluntarily’ swallow the pills that were being prescribed ‘for his/her own good’ — i.e., full submission, in terms of accepting ones ‘treatment’ was usually the only way to avoid forced drugging; and, a lot of the “hospital” staff were quite good at very kindly convincing almost any would be ‘resistant’ “patient” of the need to ‘just’ go-along-to-get-along, that way…

    I presume you know, that that kind of ‘deescalation’ is extremely common, in “hospital” settings…

  • “Yes, I have taken part in restraining individuals who are being given IMs when they have become violent. I have said that before. But I have never said I have done this as any form of “treatment.””


    In your blogging, you have described the forced IM (intramuscular) drugging, that you do, as “delivering injections of medications to patients,” yet you insist, that we must not call it “treatment.”

    Such wordplay seems like a case of what I consider ‘teenage’ argumentation.

    Perhaps, you know I am a parent (as I have mentioned this, in my MIA comments). I am in the midst of raising a teenager, as a single dad; and, what you are doing with your words is what I won’t allow her to do.

    I mean, I will call her out, any time she comes up, with that sort of thing.

    I will do this with humor, and then she and I laugh…

    Here, with you, I am finding no humor…

    I mean, this is all quite serious, imho.

    You do, by your own admission, on occasion, at work, wind up forcibly “delivering” what you call “medications” to people whom you refer to, as “patients.” Furthermore, here you remind us, that this “delivering” seems necessary, to you, because these “patients” have become (in your view) “violent”.

    I wonder, would they appear “violent” if they weren’t being forcibly ‘held’ by you and your associates, in your “hospital”?

    You and I have been down this road, in our conversations previously.

    I think that truly demonstrably violent people — i.e., those who are doing considerable harm to others — are calling (perhaps, unconsciously) for a kind of help that “hospital” workers can’t provide. They may need to be faced with criminal charges and placed behind bars.

    And, simultaneously, I know, that: Some highly credible academic studies, of psychiatric “hospital” settings strongly suggest, that most ‘containment events’ in so-called psychiatric “hospital wards” are actually provoked by staff.


    (Note: I have offered you that link previously, and I have referred you to that study, by mentioning its conclusions to you, on more that one occasion; thus far, you’ve never responded to my doing so…)

    And, of course, Jonathan, we can reasonably presume, that it is neuroleptic drugs (a.k.a., “antipsychotics”) that you are forcibly “delivering” into “patients” veins.

    I find it fascinating (and, quite frankly, quite extremely disturbing — even horrifying) to now know, that, actually, you do this forced “delivering” of neuroleptics, even while knowing, from your own firsthand experience, that such drugs can make a person suicidal. (You have, in this comment thread, offered that revelation — by describing your own brief experience, having voluntarily taken ‘antipsychotic’ drugs. You say they made you feel that way, so you simply ceased taking them; of course, its great that you were afforded that option, to just put them out of your life — no fuss, no muss…)

    Meanwhile, you allow yourself to write, “I have never forcibly “treated” anyone with injectable drugs.”

    Now, I don’t know why you say that…

    Indeed, to me, all that you are saying, taken together, seems as though a lot of less than forthright speaking — and, really, an excellent example of specious reasoning.


    Perhaps, you should be a lawyer? maybe even, eventually, a Supreme Court Justice…

    After all, your reasoning here reminds me of Antonin Scalia’s infamous defense of waterboarding. (Note: For our foreign MIA readers, who may not know, Scalia is the Senior Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, known to be quite reactionary, in most of his rulings…)

    Scalia once explained, without even batting an eyebrow, that, in his view, water-boarding cannot be considered cruel and unusual punishment, in the eyes of the Court, as it’s not intended to be punishment, it’s intended as a technique for extracting information.

    That may or may not seem as entirely objectionable to you, as it does to me.

    But, coming back to you… as for your stated refusal to use straight-jackets on “patients” in “hospitals,” that’s quite perfectly well and good, imho — truly — as long as you’re working in a “hospital”; after all, frankly, I would hope you could find far better alternatives, in your E.R. — as that’s where you have said “patients” may become “violent”.

    I’ve said previously and say again now, emphatically: I do not believe there should be psychiatric “hospitals”; and, I have never recommend putting anyone in a straight-jacket, in any “hospital” situation.

    As for your saying this: “In the hundreds and hundreds of interventions that I have been involved in, I have almost always been able to help someone to deescalate. Sadly, there are cases where that just doesn’t work,” again, I recommend, you might consider working in the prison system.

    That is a legitimate system of control (unlike the ‘mental health’ system) — because it is guided by real court procedures, which are defended by our Constitution and it’s Bill of Rights.

    You could take your counseling skills to the prisons, I think; for, there are all sorts of occasions to ‘de-escalate’ people there; and, in prisons, they need professional peace-makers, such as you’re describing yourself, to be…

    Or else, maybe you could just find more people who are interested in your holistic health offerings — in your private practice. (I think you’ve explained that you offer acupuncture? Or, maybe I’m wrong about that; but, in any case, I think acupuncture could be much better for you… and for everyone — much, much better than “delivering” injectable IM “antipsychotic” drugs.)

    What else can I say?

    Well, I think helping to de-escalate troubled people (i.e., reducing tensions without resorting to use of ‘tranqulizing’ drugs) is a good thing to do, Jonathan. I’m glad to think of you engaging your energies that way. Only, I find, this fact, that you can (even as ‘just’ a seemingly last resort, at times) wind up forcibly “delivering” into a “patient” drugs, that (I now see) you very well know can cause a person to become suicidal.

    That you, in fact, well know this… (that these sorts of drugs, which you wind up helping to forcibly ‘deliver’ can have such horrendous effects) is just so incredibly disconcerting…

    I really need to take a walk now — and may need to take a somewhat long break from this back and forth convo, for now…

    Will certainly check for any possible replies, by this time tomorrow…



  • Jonathan Keyes,

    You should reread your own blogging.

    You, Jonathan, wrote: “…yes, I have taken part in restraining individuals and delivering injections of medications to patients who become severely hostile, threatening or self-destructive.”

    That quote is from a blog you posted on this MIA website (November 30, 2013). …See:

    Meanwhile, yes, as explained, above, I offered one single scenario wherein I could imagine recommending use of a straight-jacket; very importantly, note:

    First of all, that was not in a “hospital” setting.

    In that hypothetical situation (presented to me by another MIA commenter), I was told of a prison inmate who was continually beating himself/herself in the face, and it was explained to me, that s/he was totally inconsolable.

    In my humble opinion, under those circumstances, resorting to use of a straight-jacket, in a padded room, until s/he settles down — and offering understanding company all the while — is a better alternative than forced drugging.



  • Again, Jonathan Keyes, I feel it is important, to emphasize:

    You were misrepresenting my views.

    You should, please, understand, I was speaking of prisons, where people are locked up, as a result of having been processed through the criminal justice system; also, there are people who are locked up by that system, having been charged with crimes, and they are awaiting their trials.

    You took those conversations out of context — as what you said was suggesting, that I would somehow recommend that psychiatric “hospitals” should put people in isolation…

    But, I don’t believe anyone should be put in isolation; and I don’t believe that psychiatric “hospitals” should exist…

    Psychiatric “hospitalization” (which is, of course, much more accurately described, here in the U.S., as an un-Constitutional incarceration, wherein psychiatrists shall forcibly ‘treat’ a person whom they are claiming, without proof, is “mentally ill”) is something you have never experienced first hand, and that represents your good fortune; but, that you know, to some considerable extent, how very aversive psychiatric drugs for supposed ‘psychosis’ can be — that you know, first hand, that they can easily create suicidal tendencies — should lead you to realize that forced psychiatric ‘treatments’ are a terrible crap shoot…

    How many individuals have been driven to suicide by such ‘treatment,’ we shall never know for sure — because their deaths will not be officially counted, as caused by their ‘treatment’; their deaths will be attributed to their own supposed ‘pre-existing suicidal tendencies.’

    I am speaking of a phenomena, that most “hospital” workers must deny; for, countless souls are lost to such suicides…

    Again, I suggest, to you you and others, especially, as you are in the position of being a counselor: Get out of the business of forcing psychiatric ‘treatment’ on people.



  • Bear in mind, Jonathan Keyes, I don’t believe psychiatric “hospitals” should exists; and, yet, I know that closing such facilities would put many people (such as yourself) out of work; but, really, I think you (and, maybe almost anyone, who is drawn to the sort of “hospital” work that you do) would be a good person to work in the prison system. I say that in all seriousness. I am not being facetious as I say that; I am being quite serious. From all you say of yourself, it seems to me that you would enjoy the challenges of such work; and, your counseling skill would be well used there…

  • Jonathan Keyes,

    You are misrepresenting my views.

    Someone on this website had asked me what I would recommend if I was working in a prison and found that a prisoner was suddenly brutalizing himself/herself, by hitting himself/herself repeatedly in the face.

    I said I would consider the use of a straight-jacket and a padded room, in that instance; but, I added, quite clearly and unequivocally, that no way would I leave that person alone.

    I added, that I would seek someone who could well listen to that person, who could hopefully get to the point of being trusted, to offer good counseling.

    Eventually, the person would tire of trying to hit himself/herself in the face; and, of course, then, the straight-jacket would be removed.

    For a convicted criminals, who are in prison and suddenly self-harming that way, such suggestions as these seem to me much more sensible than turning to forced drugging.



  • “My experience simply was the blasé normal case of going to a psychiatrist, having a 10 minute conversation, and then being prescribed a drug. The drug made me feel truly out of my body, panicked and suicidal. I think in many ways it’s very lucky that I did not tolerate it and that I did not go back to ask for a different one.”

    Jonathan Keyes,

    What your are saying, in this latest comment of yours (on June 21, 2014 at 3:09 pm, in reply to Donna), is very surprising to me. I am sitting here wondering, to myself, ‘Did I simply miss his having mentioned this previously?’

    I mean, Jonathan, have you ever mentioned those personal experiences previously, on this website?

    I am literally dumb-founded — because, for the life of me, I cannot imagine how it is, that someone who has experienced such negative effect from psych drugs, would become a persona who forcibly drugs people?

    Though your comment is brief, all that you’re saying is shocking to me, really — especially, as you say, “The drug made me feel truly out of my body, panicked and suicidal. I think in many ways it’s very lucky that I did not tolerate it and that I did not go back to ask for a different one.”

    Wow, lucky you! …that you had been afforded that option.

    But, how terribly sad, I feel, to know that you can somehow ‘justify’ forcing those drugs on “patients” in your “hospital” job.

    I am praying for your enlightenment — now more than ever…



  • @ uprising and Steve and boans,

    Thank you for you thoughtful replies, in response to my comment detailing why I feel it’s perfectly reasonable to state, that: I was brain-raped by psychiatry…


    @ Francesca,

    Thanks for your response as well. I have posted my overall sense of it (as well as offered my answers to the questions you’ve posed, to me) in a comment below (on June 21, 2014 at 1:11 pm). You can find that comment of mine with this link:



  • “And in your scenario does forced treatment include all forced intervention? What are your thoughts on suicide prevention? Grabbing someone off a bridge railing is using force.”


    First of all, I want to thank you for your preceding comment response to me (I’m referring to your comment, above, on June 21, 2014 at 12:41 am). You began that comment, “Hi, Jonah. I didn’t read your whole comment but the boldface type caught my eye…” That’s a very interesting way to begin a comment, imho. It is really very interesting…

    But, please understand, I am not offended, that you didn’t read my full comment; for, I do grant you, that, I had not begun that comment by directing it to you, so you should have felt no compelling reason to pay it full attention to it, from the start.

    Only, I think, that you did not read my whole comment and yet did offer your response to it, should suggest to me, that, maybe I need be careful to avoid putting too much effort into dialoguing with you, in comment threads — as dialogue can’t happen unless people are actually demonstrably willing and able to carefully listen to (or read) each others’ expressions.

    From your having said you did not read my whole comment while, nonetheless, responding to it with your views, I can’t help but gather, that, probably, (A) You have your own somewhat politicized agenda regarding psychiatry, which you are determined to forward; (B) the details of my experiences within the realm of psychiatry — as well as the details of experiences of others who likewise describe having been brain-raped by psychiatry — are not of particular interest to you; and (C) your attention span for reading may be limited.

    That is all to say, my takeaway from reading your earlier comment response, to me, which explains that you didn’t read my comment in full, is that: I should not hope or expect you’ll want to engage, in any real dialogue with me, as you may be paying very little attention to what I’m saying.

    Now, on the other hand, I see you’re asking me a couple of brief and interesting questions (now copied and pasted, in italics, at the top of this comment).

    As they are interesting to me, I’ll answer those questions… but will not expect your full attention (even as, now, I promise you, that I am, for your sake, going to be as very brief, direct and to the point, as I possibly can):

    Mainly, Francesca, you should understand about me, I do not oppose force in all instances; I do oppose forcing psychiatry on people.

    I will elaborate on that point, in answer to your two questions…


    I posted my comment to Jonathan Keyes (on June 20, 2014 at 2:53 pm), and, in reply, you ask me,

    “And in your scenario does forced treatment include all forced intervention?”

    My answer:

    Imo, psychiatrists should not be allowed to force their so-called “treatments” on anyone. The world we live in would be a much better (safer and more happy) place, I believe, if the only psychiatry that could be practiced was the sort that is voluntarily accepted and which can be rejected very easily, at any time.

    I am not opposed to the existence of psychiatric ‘care’ that is voluntarily accepted — and quite easily rejected.

    OK, so…

    Now, Francesca, moving on, to your 2nd question.

    You asked me, “What are your thoughts on suicide prevention? Grabbing someone off a bridge railing is using force.”

    My thoughts on suicide prevention cannot be summarized in just a few words, as there are so many various sorts of suicide attempts; some of them, I believe, should not be prohibited, for I do believe that broad prohibitions against suicide are a terrible mistake; broad prohibitions against suicide cause far more harm than good. In fact, I believe they cause more suicides than they prevent, in the long run.

    Meanwhile, I do think some kinds of interventions against some suicide attempts can be called for, they are ethical and are truly compassionate and quite reasonable.

    E.g, about your saying, that, “Grabbing someone off a bridge railing is using force.”

    Again, I must say, my positions on use of force, regard psychiatry; I am opposed to all forced ‘treatments’ by psychiatry.

    Imho, psychiatrists should not be allowed to order anyone into their ‘care’ — nor either should they be allowed to keep people unwillingly in their ‘care’ — ever.

    I am most particularly opposed to any and all unwanted brain ‘treatments’ — as I believe “no” should mean “no” when it comes to any attempts to inject people, against their objections, with psychotropic drugs. (Naturally, I am opposed to forcing ECT on people, as well.)

    Such is not to say, that I believe people who work in an E.R. have no right to defend themselves.

    Only, I believe they can do it without forcing invasive procedures.

    And, imho, of course, there should be laws against killing oneself in public — mainly because of the truly dangerous spectacle that can be created by such behavior.

    I say, the police should be legally allowed to restrain people against killing themselves publicly; and, imo, at such times, the State can offer such individuals counseling. (I am against State funded ‘mental health care’; I’m not against State funded counseling for problems in living — as long as it is not forced on people.)

    Again, my bottom line, as far as these MIA discussions (on ‘Science, Psychiatry and Community’): Simply, abolish medical-coercive psychiatry; that means, put a permanent end to psychiatrists’ practices of forcing and threatening to force psychiatric ‘treatment’ on people.

    That really means, first and foremost:

    Let’s put an end to their practice of brain-rape.



  • “calling the whole practice slavery does a disservice to people who choose to take psychiatric drugs, who choose to enter hospitals, who choose to remain on psych drugs because coming off them may prove too challenging, etc.”

    Jonathan Keyes,

    Why do you feel you need to say that, I wonder?

    Please, carefully reread Ted’s brief comment (which you are apparently replying to); I think you are misreading it.

    Ted explains, quite clearly (and I fully agree with him): “…we need to take away the power of psychiatry to force its unwanted interventions on people. But I don’t see how that can be done from within. We (survivors and others) are in the same situation as all other oppressed groups. Slavery wasn’t ended by finding more kind slaveowners.”

    Can you not understand what Ted is calling slavery there?

    I have said this previously in my MIA comments, but it bears repeating:

    It is medical-coercive psychiatry that must be abolished.

    No forced drugging — nor forced ‘treatments’ of any other kind.



  • P.S. — a minor clarification: I began my comment, above, by recalling how, upon first being introduced to medical-coercive psychiatry “I would offer a long series of yes or no questions.”

    I had meant to write this: I would be offered a long series of yes or no questions…

  • @ uprising,

    Thank you so much for your contributions to this discussion — most especially this last comment of yours. My intro to medical-coercive psychiatry was at age 21.5 (nearly three decades ago). Having conceded to pressures from family and friends, to allow myself to be met by a psychiatrist in an E.R., I would offer a long series of yes or no questions; the last of those questions were offered by an assistant of the psychiatrist (my guess is, probably a resident).

    In every which way, I had been insisting, honestly, to the psychiatrist, that I had no intentions to harm myself. So, there should have been no problem, at last, when I was asked by his assistant “Do you think you are going to die and be reborn…?” I answered “Yes.”

    To me, that “Yes” seemed like the best possible answer.

    But, now, that answer of mine was taken as an indication that I was supposedly “a danger” to myself. (I.e., it became the psychiatrist’s license to “hospitalize” me against my will.)

    The nearest unoccupied psychiatric “hospital” beds were in another facility, barely a mile away; but, he would need to transport me by ambulance; no one explained any of this to me. I did not know that my fate had been sealed that way, that I would be strapped to a guerney to be forcibly injected with neuroleptic drugs. And, I was calm as I lay on that guerney before being strapped down. I felt safe momentarily, as there was a Chaplain sitting beside me, holding my hand.

    But, two men came in, to tie me down. I screamed “NO!” as I saw their needle, but to no avail.

    It took a while before my mind would go totally unconscious, so the ambulance ride was a horrific experience, in which I could not help but struggle against the straps; and, as they’d put a face mask on me (which is, I guess a safe-guard against “patients” who are spitting), there’s no way I would have appeared human to the ambulance driver, his partner — nor to my mom, who was riding along with me. Frankly, I could not help but hate her in those moments — as she was the one who had done the most to arrange for my ‘meeting’ with the E.R. psychiatrist. Indeed, surely, as I struggled, she could tell that I was furious with her; so, despite my being heavily ‘tranquilized’ then, it remains an incredibly nightmarish, indelibly etched memory…

    I’d awaken slowly, hours later, alone, in a bed, in the “hospital”; someone came in to have me sign a paper; I don’t recall what it was, but I don’t recall it being explained to me, and I doubt that I could have made sense of it then myself, considering I was still feeling drugged; but, it may have been a contract to allow the attending psychiatrist permission to speak with my family.

    (Ironically, my parents would later complain, that he was very hard to reach — and mainly failed to return their calls.)

    Soon, I’d be on my feet. I’d wind up wandering into a ‘day room’ where, after a very brief exchange of words with a “patient” there (nothing too extraordinary, I’d just mentioned that I was having a hard time discerning the difference between “patients” and staff; he went away; and, in retrospect, I think it may have been to report my having said that); two psych-techs would come in, to silently lead me, by my arm, into small room where, without a word spoken to me, again, I’d be tied down and forcibly injected.

    So, that forced ‘medical treatment’ had happened twice, that day.

    All of my friends and family had done what they thought was right; and, I had agreed to cooperate; yet, upon entering the realm of medical-psychiatry, I was being treated worse than most pound dogs are treated, when entering the pound…

    Months later, I could only begin to get through to a single family member (my Mom), that all that ‘medical treatment’ had been, in fact, terribly abusive.

    How did I finally get through to her? I did so by explaining, as clearly as possible, in a letter, that I felt as though I had been raped — indeed, repeatedly raped…

    The effects of not only those two attacks with IV needles (their liquid nueroleptic drugs being repeatedly pumped into my veins) — but also the neuroleptic pills, that I’d later be told I had no choice but to swallow… All those toxic chemicals created extraordinarily torturous effect, after all… truly incredible disorientation — the walls and the ceiling seemed as though breathing — and, worst of all, akathisia (which cannot be adequately described for the sake of warning those who’ve never felt it). The accompanying suicidal feelings, which I had never in my life previously experienced, would not be taken seriously by anyone.

    That is to say, I mentioned those feelings to my dad, as I spoke with him on a pay phone; and, he relayed his concerns, about this, to the attending psychiatrist; that psychiatrists, in turn, spoke with me — and, from that conversation, he concluded (and explained to my parents), that I was supposedly just trying to gain sympathy!

    Of course, you can imagine, how horrified I was to find that my parents wanted me to stay longer than the roughly two weeks that was permitted by my ‘hold’; as I was being released, the psychiatrist would make himself unavailable to their calls; and, they were fully unwilling to take me home; likewise, my friends; none would even momentarily consider taking me in…

    So, I had to choose between being homeless or conceding to be “re-hospitalized” in another facility…

    Within hours of arriving there, I would be again forcibly drugged…

    Now, I know there are many countless individuals who have experienced far worse, at the hands of psychiatrists and their assistants than I.

    But, surely I have the right to declare, that I was being seriously abused by psychiatry (in more ways that one) — for weeks, that turned into months; and, indeed, it’s perfectly fair to say, that I was repeatedly brain-raped.

    Again, thank you, uprising; your commenting has allowed me to relay my sense of some those gawd-awful memories of medical-coercive psychiatry, which, as you can see, are recollections that come back to haunt me, even to this day…

    Francesca, if you have read my comment to this point, please get just this much, at least: No one in this movement for social justice should be choosing the words for defining the experiences of anyone else…

    I will reserve the right to speak my own mind and define my own experiences…



  • P.P.S. — Richard,

    I appreciate your offering what you’ve called your “political goals,” as you explain, “My political goals are for the elimination of all forms of exploitation and oppression that are part of class society in this historical era. Until we get beyond a profit based economic system we will be plagued with the multiple forms of physical and psychological violence in the world…” Really, I appreciate your offering that, yet I don’t believe it’s a reasonable vision at all; and, I have no idea why you call those “political goals.”

    To me, it seems your dream that you’ve offered. (It’s somewhat like Martin Luther King Jr’s dream, as he said, “I have a dream” or like Isaiah 11:6, “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.” ) It’s your ultimate hope — for some would be quite incredibly far-distant future; it is, I suppose, in your mind’s eye, a kind of perfect ‘Heaven on Earth,’ that’s beautiful to you, but I consider it quite an impossible dream (surely, I’m not the only one who’ll read it as such); and, in any case, I feel you must realize, it is out of the realm of practical discussions; it has nothing to do with the here and now, imho.

    But, about your adding, more specifically this,

    “I envision a world in the future without psychiatry, therapy, or any other type of power relationship over other human beings. I want to take part in a movement that will bring us closer to that goal…”

    Richard, I think all we need to do, to get to that point, is to reach it in our own lives, by doing our best to step away from the State run ‘mh’ system — and by encouraging others to do likewise; imo, the State is bound to wreak massive havoc wherever it’s ostensibly attempting to provide ‘mental health care’ …for a myriad of reasons.

    A State-run ‘mh’ system must forever dictate and violently enforce what it considers acceptable thoughts, feelings and behaviors; it defines that as ‘normalcy’ and demands that its subjects stick to those ways of being…

    A kind of theocracy is created, wherein the most prestigious, licensed ‘mh’ pros, in their being considered supposedly ‘qualified’ to define ‘normalcy,’ come to enforce the prohibition of whatever supposed “disorders” supposedly account for decidedly “abnormal” and “deviant” behaviors; they make the latest lists of supposedly ‘healthy’ as opposed to ‘unhealthy’ thoughts, feelings and behaviors appear as though needed guidlines for living well.

    Wherever the State involves itself, that way, more harm shall be done — surely.

    I suggest (to you and any other therapist who likewise hope for and end to the Therapeutic State) just turn in your badge — and counsel those who come to you, as you would a friend in need.

    Open your own ministry; preach your gospel; insist that the State should have nothing to do with dictating or enforcing anyone’s ways of thinking…



  • P.S. — Richard,

    Are you sure Phil Thomas has conveyed a view, that forced psychotropic drugging may be necessary at times? Knowing he’s a foremost leader in the ‘critical psychiatry’ movement, I certainly feel he should be opposed to such practices, so that’s something I was asking him about, in my comments, under one of his blog posts. I cared to read his position on this matter.

    To my recollection, he never replied to those comments of mine.

  • “Question: Do you think it is helpful or will lead to more opportunities to use persuasion to win over these people, to label them as your enemy? I believe you stated, the other day, that anyone who holds such an outlook, or is in a position to enforce such an act, is your enemy. Correct me if I am wrong.”


    Thanks for your reply, which included those questions. In this comment I am attempting to clarify.

    I will begin by answering your first question (“Do you think it is helpful or will lead to more opportunities to use persuasion to win over these people, to label them as your enemy?”).

    Yes, I do think it is helpful and can lead to more such opportunities — definitely, yes.

    In so many ways and for so many reasons, I think it can be useful to clearly identify our enemies — but only when it’s done thoughtfully; and, I believe I am doing it very thoughtfully.

    Right now, you are helping me to advance my view of those who I consider my enemies and why I consider them that. And, I fully presume that others shall read this — including some of my enemies; and, they will come to better understand my positions, precisely as you come to better understand…

    About labeling certain people as my “enemy,” please realize (it seems you may not have understood me): I was referring strictly to people who are in the practice of forcing mind-altering ‘medical treatments’ on others — in particular, brain-invasive (‘psychotropic’) drugs.

    To me, such people are ‘the enemy’ — as they represent a significant threat to people who have been labeled by psychiatry as I have; but, of course, it should go without saying, I’m not speaking here of ‘mortal enemies’ — nor either am I speaking necessarily of permanent enemies.

    I am speaking of people whom I distrust — for good reason — based on personal experiences.

    Meanwhile, I should add, that: I believe that some enemies can become friends in the long run.

    So, I appreciate your saying in your comment to me, let’s “unite all who can be united” …to “reduce psychiatric abuse.”

    You explain, “…I am raising the possibility of uniting with some psychiatrists who may not be ready to see psychiatry go out of existence but will fight against psychiatric abuse. All successful liberation movements have employed such strategies.”

    You continue, “So concretely, in your case, how could you, Jonah, find a way to unite (on some level) with Dr. Philip Thomas, for example. He is a member of the Critical Psychiatry Network which is very critical of the Biological Psychiatry trend, but he still clings to a position that says in certain extreme situations sedative drugs may be forcefully needed to restrain some one. This is also the position of Jonathan Keyes who also blogs here…

    Richard, most pointedly: Phil Thomas has done a lot of good, and my understanding of Phil Thomas is that he is not a practicing clinician, so I feel he can’t possibly be my enemy.

    Jonathan Keyes, on the other hand, I do consider an enemy — because he forcibly drugs people in the psychiatric “hospital” where he works; and, at last, please understand, Richard, I choose to use that word (“enemy”) only because you had referred to Biological Psychiatry, as “THE enemy for our movement.” [That was in your blog post (atop this web page), you explained: “Some writers at MIA have suggested that to treat “Biological Psychiatry” as a target, or as THE enemy for our movement, might be confusing because of a commonly accepted interpretation of the word “biological.””]

    Oh, and here I should emphasize, that: I was one of those individuals who found that term (“Biological Psychiatry”) confusing; so, yes, there was a comment of mine, more than a year ago, in which I thanked you for clearly explaining what you had meant, as you’d used it repeatedly. I thanked you for the history lesson, and I even said your use of the term now made sense to me.

    And, from what you were describing, of the history of that term, I clearly indicated, that: I, too, consider myself an opponent of that trend in psychiatry. But, nonetheless, I concluded, that: I am, first and foremost, an opponent of medical-coercive psychiatry.

    (And, Richard, note: Much as I do appreciate your history-of-psychiatry lessons, the term “Biological Psychiatry” remains a bit irksome, in my mind; I find it’s confusing to me, as I can’t easily retain all your historical reasons for using it, and I have to keep reminding myself of what all it means to you; and, so, I figure it will confuse whoever does not know the history of psychiatry — because, as you well know, “biological” has another meaning altogether, in most people’s minds. But, really, now, I would prefer to avoid belaboring these points. You seem relatively unconcerned with that fact, and I believe you view the term as undeniably useful and permanently fixed in meaning, even as I don’t agree that any label has a fixed meaing. Simply, I’m willing to say, OK, let’s move on; I can let it go; imo, it’s really not worth arguing about.)

    So, anyway, Richard, further on the “enemies” label and my reasons for using it:

    Richard, you also wrote in a comment, on June 16, 2014 at 8:07 pm (above), to commenter Fiachra: “I believe we can be critical of the “rest” of psychiatry, even those who are still influenced by Biological Psychiatry, without pushing them into the camp of the enemy.”

    You see, it was because you were speaking again of
    “Biological Psychiatry” as the enemy,” that I felt it might be good to identify those whom I consider my ‘enemies’; in that way, I would (hopefully) advance the conversation, in my preferred direction (that is, toward opposing medical-coercive psychiatry, generally — and, especially, it’s practice of forced drugging); I would do that, by identifying those whom I consider my enemies.

    So, here I’m copying and pasting precisely what I stated the other day, in those regards. (It was in my comment on June 17, 2014 at 3:03 pm.) I explained to Francesca Allan,

    …the most offensive thing (imho) in psychiatry is the hubris of someone who would choose to tamper with another person’s brain, against that person’s objections.

    To me, in discussions of psychiatry, the ‘enemy’ is anyone who would approve of such ‘medical’ treatment.

    It matters very little to me whether or not we conclude, that such a person is a supporter of what Richard calls “biological psychiatry.”

    And, of course, when I speak here, in terms of identifying ‘enemies,’ I mean to say, there are these people whom I choose to hold at arms distance, as I pray for their enlightenment. I am wishing such individuals all the best — really — harboring no ill will whatsoever…

    Richard, I have offered you this comment, to hopefully answer your question, and I pray this has been clarifying…

    For further clarification, see my comment to Andrew Yoder, near the bottom of this page (if you have not already seen it, here: )

    Wow, there’s a lot of great conversation, that you’ve inspired by posting your blog — many great comments, on this page…

    So, thank you for this latest blog post and also for your responsiveness, replying to comments!

    I look forward to reading your blog’s ‘Part 2’



  • Andrew,

    Great comment.

    In particular, I love your question: “What are the values we stand for?”

    I guess, to answer that question, each one of us who’s interested in answering it, must first answer a first-person version of it, to our own satisfaction, eh? That is to say, each one must ask himself or herself: “What are the values that I stand for?” Moreover, we may need to ask ourselves, “Which principles do I most value?” And, “Which do refuse to compromise?”

    When involved in discussions of so-called “mental health” (and “mental health treatments” or “care”), I value, above all else, this notion, that “No means no!”

    Based on indelible memories, of personal experiences (now going on three decades ago), my recollections of having been forcibly drugged in psychiatric “hospitals,” I can definitely relate to women raise that very basic and essential cry for respect — and justice.

    Hence, when it comes to considerations of ‘mental health treatments,’ I place the highest value on acknowledging, providing and defending an inalienable right to informed consent.

    That’s a value which I absolutely refuse to compromise. (E.g., I find is beyond absurd – it is just plain hypocritical – when anyone working in the ‘mental health’ system claims to value informed consent and yet turns out to be someone who engages in the practice of forcibly ‘tranquilizing’ certain “patients”; I find that ultimately compromised position, to be preposterous — and, really, a terrible insult to the intelligence, of psychiatric survivors — particularly survivors of forced drugging and other forms of psychiatric torture, of all kinds…)

    Realizing the extraordinary harms that can be caused by forced ‘mental health treatment,’ I’ve come to conclude, that: Truly respecting the principle of informed consent is absolutely essential.

    Yes, I place the highest value on respecting informed consent.

    Anyone who truly respect that principle, I consider an ally.



  • “Yes, you have mischaracterized my position. I do not believe there are two distinct classes or different schools of thought in psychiatry, as if there is one that is good and the other bad.”


    OK, then, I am sorry; please, forgive me, Richard, for mischaracterizing your position. And, by the way, it is I (BeyondLabeling a.k.a. Jonah), not Duane, whom you’re addressing. (Lately, I’ve not seen Duane posting comments.)

    Now, to avoid misrepresenting your position, I am presenting what I see as the crux of your argument, in your own words:

    I believe Biological Psychiatry is the clear dominant and overriding trend in psychiatry. To not recognize the significance of these changes in psychiatry over the past several decades is to underestimate what we are up against.

    When the sale of a single drug, Abilify, grosses more income than Google in a single year then this is clearly not your mother’s or grandmother’s psychiatry anymore.

    So there is the dominant trend of Biological Psychiatry and an eclectic hodgepodge of theories and practice in the rest, including some clearly “critical psychiatry” elements; some who write at MIA.

    We need to know what we are up against and how to approach people based on how they come at these questions. Some people within psychiatry can be won over to stand against psychiatric oppression, including all forms of forced treatment. Is it not worth the effort to unite with some of these people? Isn’t possible they can be a force for change?


    Richard, from that reply of yours, I now see, that your primary intent is to do your best, to ‘just’ provide kindling for a popular movement, that would be guided by the central themes of this MIA website!

    I.e., now I’m realizing, your intention is to effectively bring to this MIA-inspired movement, the help of psychiatrists who would be willing to challenge the dominance of pharmacological approaches to providing ‘mental health’ care.

    (Hopefully, I’m not again mischaracterizing your position by my saying all that…)

    That’s fine and good, Richard! Speaking only for myself, I’ll tell you: As I like you, and I deeply respect your opposition to forced drugging, I’ll be happy to do whatever seems reasonable, to join you in that cause; only, in forwarding that cause, I think it could make more sense for me to say I’m challenging the dominance of pharma-psychiatry (not “bio psychiatry”).

    Simply put, Richard: No matter how many ways you explain the origins of the term “bio psychiatry,” and no matter how you describe the implications and uses of that term, I find it confuses people.

    It requires all sorts of explanations, which many (or most) people, these days, haven’t time and attention enough to gather…

    So, though you are providing a lot of great fodder for illuminating discussion, here in relatively tiny realm of this website, which is fully dedicated to flushing out issues pertaining to ‘mh’ care, I think we need to be much more clear with folk representing the general public, if we are to make any immediate and clear sense, when out and about, speaking with them…

    I mean, personally, I will not choose to go around harping about problems with “bio psychiatry” — only because I feel that “bio psychiatry” is an intrinsically misleading label, which requires the exposition of many thousands of words, in order to make it well understood.

    Now, all this is not to say, that I believe you’re ‘wrong’ — nor that I’m expecting to change your mind or your methods.

    Simply, imho, you would be much more automatically understood, were you to speak very directly of the harms caused by Big Pharma’s impact on the ‘mh’ system — and, along those lines, refer to the devastating impacts, the ultimate societal tragedy, that is caused by this fact, that ‘mh’ systems everywhere have come to be dominated by pharma-psychiatry.

    Your banner says “Down with bio psychiatry!”

    Mine says “Down with pharma-psychiatry!”

    Same difference, but I think mine is more easily understood by the general public.



  • Andrew, thank you for sharing your experiences here. This is a very good blog post, which clearly addresses much of the understandable distress, that so many feel when they hear someone say, that ‘mental illness’ is a myth (and/or, a metaphor). I’m glad that you shared it.

    And, about your experiences, of having been positively helped by ‘talk therapy’:

    It seems to me, from what you describe, you lucked into finding an usually good therapist; and, it is very fortunate that, prior to meeting her, you were never ‘treated’ in any way against your will, in the ‘mental health’ system.

    You are extremely fortunate for never having been forcibly drugged. (I cannot even begin to adequately express how I feel my life would be different, had I not been forcibly drugged when in crisis, in my early twenties. Had I been instead carefully listened to and otherwise treated with a modicum of respect — had I been asked for my opinion of what sort of care might be good for me, my life would have gone so much differently. There would have been so much less grief to endure, after all, in the long run, not only for myself… but also for my family.)

    And, indeed, even this fact, that you were never forcibly ‘held’ (for so-called “treatment and observation”) and never stuck with a label while being ‘held’ made it possible for you to receive good therapy, I think — and made it possible for your therapist to treat you as genuinely capable human being.

    From all that you’ve shared, of your experiences within the ‘mh’ system, I believe you should consider yourself a very lucky man…



  • “I don’t see how non-biological psychiatry could be forced upon anybody. Involuntary talk therapy doesn’t really make any sense.”

    Francesca Allan,

    Your failure to fathom how it is, that ‘non-biological psychiatry’ could be forced on people, is no fault of your own.

    On the contrary, you are, imho, simply expressing the effect of confusing nosology. Richard has sincerely attempted, with his blog post (above), to create an iron clad (very strong) argument, in favor of this notion, that: There are two quite separate and distinct classes, of psychiatrist (or, two very different schools of thought in psychiatry), and he has not proven his point…

    He has not done a good job of it (despite the best of intentions). Maybe his next blog post will offer needed clarifications.

    So, I think your stated confusion is key to this discussion — because, imho, it is Richard’s fault, not yours. And, I agree with your conclusion, that “Involuntary talk therapy doesn’t really make any sense.”

    Few people could imagine that what is presumed to be ‘non-biological psychiatry’ could be forced on people.

    I think what you’re saying, goes a long way toward explaining why no careful observers of psychiatry can reasonably hope to view psychiatrists as falling neatly into two separate camps (nor will they ever divide themselves into two camps) — ‘biological psychiatry’ and ‘non-biological psychiatry.’

    The confusion you express is that same, that many could easily feel, when speaking with Richard about ‘biological psychiatry’; you are failing to understand, that: In Richard’s proposed scheme, “the rest” of psychiatrists (i.e., those who, ostensibly, are not ‘biological psychiatrists’) most definitely can be prescribers of psychiatric drugs.

    And, in fact, they can forcibly drug their “patients”.

    Only, their stated reasons for doing so would be different from the stated reasons of psychiatrists whom Richard refers to as ‘biological psychiatrists.’

    Note: Richard has previously suggested, that he does not approve of forced drugging (and I deeply appreciate his stance, as such); he conveyed that point, in recent comments to me, under Daniel Mackler’s latest blog post; he has my utmost respect for having come to the point, that he can convey such a view to his readers; but, apparently, he is nonetheless willing to befriend psychiatrists who order such drugging.

    Those who order and condoned forced brain-altering ‘treatments’ are not ‘the enemy’ — according to Richard, currently…

    ‘Biological psychiatrists’ are ‘the enemy’ (to Richard).

    And (to Richard), ‘biological psychiatrists’ are those who promote theories of genetically caused “mental illness” and/or “mental disorder.”

    Of course, I could be misreading him or over-simplifying his views, as I reiterate them; I hope he will correct me if I am doing so; but, in any case, I believe he views “the rest” of psychiatrists (i.e., ‘non-biological psychiatrists’) as those whose work may or may not consist, mainly, in the practice of prescribing psychotropic drugs; and, such psychiatrists (whom he feels are not ‘the enemy’) may or may not be providers of talk therapy.

    What sets these psychiatrists apart from ‘biological psychiatrists’ (according to Richard), is that: They are inclined to eschew theories of genetic determinism; indeed, they’re quite willing to presume, that most (if not all) of what’s typically called “mental illness” and “mental disorders” amount to the effects of traumatic experiences and/or environment stressors…

    I believe that is what Richard is suggesting, ultimately.

    But, in any case, most nearly all psychiatrists condoned forced drugging…

    And, frankly, to me, that’s the main problem with psychiatry.

    Oh, and, by the way, Francesca, I have read you explaining, in one of your comments, somewhere on this page, that you’re fine with the concept of “mental disorder.” Likewise, I have no problem with that term, except I believe that psychiatry has made it into something of a farce…

    The term “mental disorder” is usable, I think, to describe a state of reported mental confusion.

    Meanwhile, the DSM or ICD (‘official’) lists of supposed “mental disorders” are an utter crock, over all, imho…

    They are, especially, because they speak of so many so-called “mental disorders” while suggesting theories of supposed “heritability” — which becomes genetic determinism. They are offensive theories. So, I fully sympathize with Richard’s general sense of disgust with (and his clear disdain for) what he calls “biological psychiatry.”

    However, the most offensive thing (imho) in psychiatry is the hubris of someone who would choose to tamper with another person’s brain, against that person’s objections.

    To me, in discussions of psychiatry, the ‘enemy’ is anyone who would approve of such ‘medical’ treatment.

    It matters very little to me whether or not we conclude, that such a person is a supporter of what Richard calls “biological psychiatry.”

    And, of course, when I speak here, in terms of identifying ‘enemies,’ I mean to say, there are these people whom I choose to hold at arms distance, as I pray for their enlightenment. I am wishing such individuals all the best — really — harboring no ill will whatsoever…



  • @ oldhead,

    Thanks for feeling my pain! As you demonstrate your empathic skills to be in working order and as you’ve directed them toward me, I feel no need to label you a psychopath… 🙂

    (Really, I am going to avoid calling anyone that, in these conversations, from this point forward…)


    @ B,

    Thanks for your further replies.

    Yes, I know that nearly everyone ‘others’ certain people, at times…

    And, you well describe the evolutionary psychology (which includes ‘survival mechanisms’), that could account for such behavior.

    But, imho, there are some people who do this habitually — far more than others; some people make a life of this ‘othering’ behavior; perhaps, they make their livings with it, so it becomes like second nature. (E.g., here now I’m thinking of many psychiatrists.)

    Their minds are constantly seeking to establish the existence of ‘us’ versus ‘them’ dichotomies…

    (At times, I have done this, in my own mind.)

    Sometimes, upon discovering that a person’s mind is constantly working that way, we find that s/he is utilizing that behavior to amass considerable power in society. S/he is gaining considerable social status or wealth. S/he may show no true concern for anyone who may be harmed in the process. I’m inclined to view that person as someone deserving of these labels, which we’re discussing…

    Meanwhile, as we’ve progressed in this conversation, it becomes more clear to me, that you may be saying, that: in your view, ‘psychopathy’ is defined by this third criteria, that is: an unusual propensity for manipulating others.

    That’s helpful to know; and, yes, I realize that’s typically key to what’s meant by that term…

    Sorry to hear that you had a partner who manifested such qualities in relationship, to you.

    You mention studying Robert Hare. I have studied a bit of his work (have one of his books lying around here somewhere but right now can’t find it). I think maybe I deliberately put him aside, but I can’t recall why I’ve put him aside, it could have been due to his expressing a strong inclination to propose, that ‘psychopathy’ is ‘intrinsic’ (and/or that it will never yield to interventions).

    (Note: You say psychological interventions can’t work, and I have no doubt that most such interventions fail to significantly change the behaviors of the sort of persons who could be well described by your three criteria; but, I think that’s because, here we are talking about systematic interventions. Of course, they’d be unlikely to work — as would interventions attempted by close relations and lovers; but, what about interventions by masters of human relations… and genuinely wanted interventions… and interventions that would be initiated for ultimately selfless reason. Someone who is quite wise, who, perhaps, wields a philosophy of life that’s basically unassailable, who is reaching out, as a friend who can demonstrate a way to truly add to that individual’s ability to work efficaciously, amongst others…)

    The seeming ‘fate’ of not all but many people who live with those three main criteria for your definition of psychopathy, is to wind up rather unhappy, in ways…

    They may find a religion (or, at least, a ‘religious’ sense) that actually renews their faith in themselves — and in humanity.

    Some such people, as those whose behaviors are well described by your three criteria could possibly make their way to the top of a religious organization’s hierarchy — just for the sake power, status and/or wealth — i.e., only to prove they’re incapable of changing, after all.

    But, I don’t think that would always be the case…

    Some, in the course of devoting themselves, to a new faith, benefit from meeting with individuals who have truly mastered themselves and have come to live a life of relative selflessness.

    (Note: By this point, in my life, no way would I describe myself as such a master; and, yet, there are a few people whom I have met, who I would describe as such… only a few.)

    On the other hand, most people who attempt ‘psychological interventions’ are themselves professional manipulators, and their motivations are anything but selfless.

    About Hare: I cannot recall what he says (right now, I could Google him, to remind myself, but I won’t…); I can only recall, that I wound up deliberately putting his book aside, so here I’m imaging, based on my reading of your view of ‘psychopathy’ (and my sense that you’re suggesting, that you basically concur with Hare), probably he defines much or all psychopathy as fate and as fixed.

    Of course, people are born with various behavioral propensities, that could be viewed, as enduring — but not, imho, propensities which prove a person to be, now and forevermore, filled with guile. Those features (‘fated and fixed’) seems to be a major feature of psychopathy, in the eyes of many.

    But, my belief is, that anyone can change for the better — given some sort of ideal impetus for doing so…



  • “People whom I’d call sociopaths or psychopaths don’t care about others’ feelings, opinions, etc and they don’t really find it necessary to be loved or appreciated on a deep personal level.”


    RE — “sociopaths” or “psychopaths” — Thanks for the clarification, of your view (or your usage of these terms), that: 1. “sociopaths or psychopaths don’t care about others’ feelings, opinions, etc” and 2. “they don’t really find it necessary to be loved or appreciated on a deep personal level.”

    Imo, it’s perfectly fine that you use those terms that way, as those are popular conceptions, of what these terms mean; many people use these terms to describe certain individuals (and, sometimes, even to describe themselves) exactly as you do.

    But, these terms, as I use them, don’t necessarily mean that, to me.

    Here why I say that (I’ll explain just briefly how I use this kind of psychological labeling, when I do resort to using it, at all):

    Imo psychopathy does refer to those who could be called ‘sociopaths’ (apparently you feel the same) and, yet…

    I think of psychopathy as more suggestive of a demonstrated potential for ultimately sadistic, violent behaviors and/or machinations; that would be, in it’s most extreme manifestation, akin to someone the like of any of the most brutal dictators that the world has known…

    In it’s less blatantly obvious forms, psychopathy is ‘just’ characterized by a habitual practice of ‘othering’ (people who are being ‘othered’ are not being viewed as worthy of complete respect, their needs being considered as forever secondary, and often their needs are utterly disregarded). This ‘othering’ may be a very private practice; i.e., few people may know if it, as it goes on; maybe no one knows of it.

    So, someone whom I think of as ‘a complete psychopath’ is someone who, seemingly, as a rule, is always thinking of his/her own needs before the needs of others.

    I know there are some people who become very ‘high functioning’ psychopaths (‘psychopathy’ may become virtually a badge of honor to them).

    Meanwhile, as I have explained (above), when it comes to psychopathy, I will not tend to think some people are just ‘inherently’ this way. (“Born that way” is the common phrase.)

    They may feel that is the case, but I don’t believe it is.

    Next (I realize you describe yourself as a neuroscientist, and I don’t know if what I am going to say now will sound ‘airy-fairy’ to you or ‘new agey’ or otherwise less than fully ‘scientific,’ but my way of conceptualizing human character, I think of, as a ‘Buddhistic’ in nature), imho, any truly careful observation of people, in time, suggests, that: All aspects of human personality exist as potentials in everyone, and when any ‘characteristic’ way of being comes to manifest, it does so in varying degrees, from moment to moment — never being completely this way or completely that way — and never being absolutely set in stone; so, I when I use psychological labels, it is not to be black and white, all or nothing…

    Human personality characteristics that are supposedly ‘pure’ this or that are a thing of legend and mythology, imho.

    Imho, we are all, in our character, subject to change, depending how we are — for better and for worse — touched by others…

    Psychological labeling, once it is taken too completely seriously (as though the ultimate word of a Creator on High), tends to make people appear as though their ways of being are somehow permanently fixed.

    Deference to labels implying such fixedness doesn’t bother some people (some are plainly pleased by the labels they’ve garnered — even and especially some who are called “psychopaths”); but, I believe they can all get in the way of our seeing reality for what it truly is…

    And, I believe what’s most important to understand about these labels is that they will always mean different things to different people.

    So, really, it’s possible that we can be better understood, in conversations such as these, when we just dispensed with them, at last.

    That is what I’m doing now — very respectfully (and with great appreciation for all you’ve shared of your views).

    And, of course, it’s true, from what you’re saying (i.e., by gathering your two main criteria for describing certain people, as “sociopaths” or “psychopaths”), in speaking of Lanza and Roger, those labels may not well apply…



  • Just one more connected factor — a form of conditioning — that I have, to this point, in my commenting on this thread, failed to emphasize…

    RE: Most of these ‘school-shooter’ guys, who were, at one point or another, ‘treated’ by psychiatry: Isn’t it likely that most were deeply affected by the truly unconfirmed (but ideologically imposed) belief, that there was something intrinsically wrong with their brains — and, perhaps, wrong with them genetically.

    Those beliefs, as transmitted through ones experiences, in the realm of psychiatry, can become, in ways, psychologically crippling; they can also become something of an ‘excuse’ for ones breaking the law and/or for anti-social behavior (to varying degrees and in any number of ways).

    I can still well recall myself, in my early twenties, seriously asking a young psychiatrist, who’d been appointed to my case: ‘Do you think you could write me a note, excusing me for my traffic ticket, based on my mental illness?’

    Today, I’m embarrassed even to admit here, anonymously, that I ever spoke of myself as someone with a “mental illness” (not to disrespect people who believe that that term fits what they are experiencing). Simply, it seems to me such a sad confession, to admit that I would have spoken of myself that way — while knowing in my heart, that I did not believe in the concept; but, it is all the more embarrassing, to admit having been someone who’d once hoped to get out of a moving violation, by using the ‘diagnosis’ of such, as an excuse…

    But, hey, I needn’t be overly concerned with my online image, I think; I can offer that anecdote, as it’s a personal experience, that well makes my point.

    And, by the way, when, now, decades later, I recollect, looking back on myself, in those years, it seems to me undeniably obvious, I was then being made somewhat stupid by the cocktail of psych drugs that was being prescribed for me (theoretically to ‘treat’ a “mental illness” that would supposedly be with me forever).

    Surely, there was, in fact, a degree to which my level of intelligence was being lowered, by psych drugs; and, that may have, in part, accounted for why I would have requested such a note from that young psychiatrist.

  • “…without proper investigation of these cases, including medical histories, it’d be very difficult to understand if there is any rhyme or reason to it.”[typo corrected]


    Great to see you jumping in…

    RE ‘rhyme or reason,’ it seems to me, we can make fairly good educated guesses, as to what went wrong, in some of these guys’ lives.

    We can, based entirely on documentation that’s been posted online; indeed, I believe, in some instances, it’s easy to establish, that psych drugs were not primarily to blame for an outbreak of extreme violence…

    You and I are largely agreeing, on these points… But, I see we are using psychological language differently, which suggests a need for me to be more clear when I do use such…

    So, here, as follows, I aim to clarify…

    I offered my comments in this thread, using the terms narcissism and psychopathy, as descriptors of effects, not causes (imho, the primary causes exist in how a person has been conditioned, beginning in ones family, to relate). And, by the way, I was thinking mainly of Adam Lanza and Elliot Rodger; to me, these terms describe prominent features of their personalities and ways of being, that are described online…

    One can rather easily gather a lot of revealing material online, to make fair educated guesses, as to how such tendencies developed, in both of these guys, over time…

    So, I don’t mean to refer to any supposed ‘intrinsic’ conditions, when referring to psychopathy and to narcissism. (Some people employ such terms to suggest ‘intrinsic’ conditions; but, I don’t…) I take them as referring to learned behavioral patterns. We needn’t necessarily agree on that point, in order to find common ground, in discussing these matters; in fact, we should know, that we can disagree on it and put it aside, as there are a number of ways, of ‘expertly’ defining such terms. For instance, Wikipedia presents them, and there we see a variety of meanings, that they can suggest. One needn’t buy into all of them — or any of them. To me, some make sense, others don’t…

    For, I view them as effects of family system and/or cultural conditioning (that can occur outside the house, in school — as well as, these days, online).

    To me, the concept of ‘malignant narcissism’ is quite useful in this conversation, and it makes sense to say, that such constitutes a certain type of psychopathy, wherein an individual is quite interested in ‘appearing’ a certain way, to others. (So, though you say, “people with psychopathic tendencies don’t care about their social relationships or lack thereof,” I respectfully disagree.)

    Additionally, this somewhat old fashioned concept of an “inferiority complex” applies — especially, to describe cases such as that of Adam Lanza and Elliot Rodger… (I suggest, readers who are interested in coming to a somewhat clearer understanding, of what went wrong with either one or both of those guys should know the meaning of that term. Google that term.)

    Arguably, both these individuals became psychopathic and narcissistic, over time — due to an unchecked inferiority complex, which found no creative solutions, just growing bitterness and resentments and devastating isolation…

    But, the narcissism was ultimately more plain to see, in the case of Elliot Rodger. (It was made abundantly clear, in his writings and Youtube videos.)



  • P.S. — In my preceding comment, I very deliberately mentioned benzos (because reportedly Adam Lanza was taking Xanax) and mentioned resistance to “antipsychotics” (because Elliot Roger had reportedly refused to take Risperdal). What I should have mentioned, in that same breath, was SSRIs. Ever since the Columbine shooting, many school-shooters have been described as individuals who had been prescribed them; and, I think their use could be a contributing factor, in such violence…

    But, again, all things considered, I feel it’s foolish to say, that “…it’s the psych drugs that are causing people to do these terrible things.”

  • “…it’s the psych drugs that are causing people to do these terrible things.”

    Is that your ultimate conclusion, Stephen Gilbert? Seriously?

    Such a terribly pat (reductionist) explanation…

    Knowing you are an intelligent guy, I can’t help but wonder, to what extent you really mean it? (I.e., can you not clearly see what an incredibly over-simplified conclusion you’ve offered there?)

    “…it’s the psych drugs that are causing people to do these terrible things.”

    Actually, I presume you well know that that can’t possibly be true (at least, not in many instances); so, have you stopped to consider the potential impact of putting out such an over-simplified view?

    “…it’s the psych drugs that are causing people to do these terrible things.”

    Personally, I find that to be a terribly irresponsible statement…

    I would end my comment there, Stephen, but, as I feel very strongly about this, here I am taking the liberty of continuing, with what was originally the beginning of my reply to you, as I’d first sat down to write it out…

    Stephen, here (on June 12, 2014 at 9:35 am) you are expressing a view, which some MIA readers and bloggers may share; but, imho, it is plainly a narrow view, which, I presume can (as it gains traction, in popular culture) quite possibly encourage the perpetration of ever-more extreme school violence.

    I mean, common sense should tell us, that there are at least a few potential school-shooters out there — primarily young men — who are currently sitting on a fence (figuratively speaking); they have not yet fully decided whether they intend to kill (not knowing when or whether they shall act out their violent fantasies).

    If they are individuals who have been ‘treated’ with psych ‘meds’ and are increasingly led to believe, that our society is coming to blame such ‘meds’ for the violence inflicted by school-shooters, then — in their hating those ‘meds’ — they may actually feel it is ‘right’ to go forward with plans to commit outrageous violence…

    And, so, that simplistic statement of yours (“…it’s the psych drugs that are causing people to do these terrible things.”) seems a foolish one.

    I must conclude, whoever says such a thing is either completely failing to fathom the sociological and psychological underpinnings of such crimes — or else, is knowingly over-simplifying, just to express a sincere dislike of psychiatric drugs.

    “…it’s the psych drugs that are causing people to do these terrible things.” It’s a flippant statement, that should be seriously reconsidered and/or amended with any number of caveats…

    And, by the way, mostly, I agree with your sentiments, as expressed in your MIA comments (and I, myself, believe, that most psychiatric drugs prescriptions, these days, are doing more harm than good).

    I’m always interested in reading your viewpoints, knowing that you are a psychiatric survivor who became a chaplain (and who has worked in other capacities?) within the state “hospital” system.

    You do MIA readers and bloggers an invaluable service, by commenting on what you’ve observe at your work, for you write without blinders and have explained, that you’re constitutionally opposed to psychiatric “hospital” worker violence (i.e., it is my understanding, from reading your comments, that you’ve told your superiors in no uncertain terms, they should not, under any circumstances, ask you to participate in the administration of forced ‘treatment’, etc.).

    I deeply respect your contributions to these comment threads; your are mainly contributing to the enlightenment of MIA readers…

    But, in this instance, I quite disagree with your conclusion (which I’ve placed in between quotation marks, now a number of times, above).

    One more time…

    “…it’s the psych drugs that are causing people to do these terrible things.”

    That can’t possibly be true, as stated.

    A far more true-to-life conclusion would express something along the lines, that: An enormous — and growing — boat-load of evidence has come to suggest, that psych-drugs may be a significant contributing factor, in more than a few instances…

    Likewise, one could reasonably say something along these lines: ‘If we study their “histories” as presented through the media, we find that many school shooters have been prescribed psych “medications” at some point, in recent years. Some have been taking psych ‘meds’ regularly; some had not been doing so — perhaps, because they were being prescribed certain benzos, to be taken on an ‘as needed’ basis; some had been essentially refusing to accept a course of ‘daily meds’ (perhaps, including so-called “antipsychotics”). Some are known to have recently quit taking psych ‘meds’ — quite possibly, but not necessarily, against the advice of their prescribing doc.

    Each case requires scrutiny…

    About Adam Lanza: From my readings of various press reports, it seems that he had declined to take any ‘meds’ — except, perhaps, Xanax. (And, maybe he was addicted to Xanax — taking more than his doc prescribed.)

    Frankly, from reading his dad’s words, in the New Yorker, I think it is quite possible that Adam Lanza was using Xanax — and, maybe he had come to ‘abuse’ it (that is just speculation); he was reportedly very sensitive to psych ‘meds’; his use of that drug may have contributed significantly to his ultimately evil behavior.

    But, no way would I conclude that any ‘med’ was ultimately responsible for his crimes… No way.

    All evidence suggests he’d been imagining himself committing extreme violence for years — and had methodically planned his crimes…

    And, consider how his passion for violent fantasies was encouraged, by his use of ‘shooter’ type video games. (No, I will not blame his violence on those games; but, they were a significant contributing factor, imo.)

    At last, I think his mom had taken on more than she could handle, especially as Adam reached his late teens. (Imho, one can hardly come to any other conclusion, upon reading the material — and listening to the seven and a half minute audio recording of Adam himself — at the links I offered, in my first comment, above.)

    Her son had clearly developed an extremely deep/entrenched sense of resentment (really, the murder of his mom strongly suggests it was seething hatred) toward the way in which he had been raised, as the audio recording makes perfectly clear, that: He identified very strongly with a domesticated chimp, that had quite suddenly become absolutely vicious. (Who knows whether he had ever mentioned his keen interest, in that news story, to anyone who knew him? I really wonder…)

    So, at last, when he was, for three months, allowed to live completely isolated, in his room, within his mom’s house, Adam apparently came to him to communicate with his mom (even when she was in that house) only by email; meanwhile, she discouraged her ex-husband (Adam’s father) from fully participating, in Adam’s life, as a parent, at that time… (That is, according to the father’s account, in the New Yorker article.)

    Reportedly, Adam had ultimately blacked out his windows and put pictures up, in his room, of the corpses dead children… Imho, anyone who now gathers these facts can very reasonably say, his mom was, by that point, way out of her depth — to put it mildly. (I’d say, she was in a state of ‘denial,’ that could well have been, in itself, considered, very much to blame.)

    Because I believe justice should be an ideal that our society does not abandon or take lightly, I like to think, had Adam Lanza’s mom somehow managed to survive, she would have been put on trial — for some kind of negligence…

    Though, not being a lawyer, I’m not sure what the precise charges against her would be — as her son was, technically, an adult. (He was not a child, in her care.)

    But, I would not put all the blame on her; I might put some of the blame on the ‘mental health’ pro(s) who were encouraging Adam to take psych ‘meds’ instead of finding ways to connect with him.

    And, though he was incredibly psychologically disturbed, I would not call him “insane” — as that is a legal term, implying that one does not know ‘right’ from ‘wrong’.

    Imho, it doesn’t matter that he was once labeled with “Asperger disorder.” (Imho, that label — like all psychiatric labels, more or less — is misleading.) The bottom line, I’d say : Imho, Adam Lanza had come to develop an “inferiority complex,” which was never properly addressed.

    It festered throughout his teen years — and eventually turned into a kind of ‘malignant narcissism’ and ‘psychopathy’ via the fact that, at last, he wound up “morally alone.” (That is a term from the writings of Albert Camus.)

    He finally got to the point, that he was connecting with no one — not even a pet, at all (not even at a distance) and had, I presume, not even the least bit of desire to connect. Only a desire to destroy.

    No matter what the official report comes to say, I know, for certain, I’ll not wind up ascribing his violence to some psych drug(s) he may have been taking, nor will I suggest he should have been taking some sort of psych drug(s); however, perfectly clear (and this should go without sayin), is that: Whatever sort of ‘mental health care’ he had been receiving, it did him no good whatsoever in the long run.

    I just pray that society, as a whole, will not come to judge him as having been a “mentally ill” person who supposedly lacked “medication” of some kind. All things considered, I imagine, surely, you must share that last sentiment with me…

    Stephen, thank you for having posted such that comment!

    It really got me thinking…



  • P.S. — My apologies for how ‘overly-italicized’ my comment above appears… The entire second half is in italics. That’s a mistake — wholly unintended. (At that point, I had meant to italicize just one word: “exclusive”.)

  • Shiela hi,

    First, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all the good work that you are doing, with your organization, AbleChild.

    As someone who, himself, as an adolescent, was, against his own strongly voiced objections, forcibly drugged by psychiatrists — and as one who would, for three and a half years thereafter, struggle (at points desperately) to remove psychiatrists and their ‘meds’ from his own life, I thank you, very sincerely, for your work; also, as a parent (my daughter is now in her teens), I cannot possibly overstate how much I appreciate you for your organization’s activities.

    (Note: At that point, when I was ‘introduced’ to medical-coercive psychiatry, I was actually able to object — as I was no longer a child; I was 21 and a half years old. In retrospect, I believe my personal crisis, at that time, could reasonably have been called ‘delayed teenage rebellion.’ And, it did involve a degree of perceptible ‘extreme states’ — which would lead me to be deemed, by psychiatrists, “psychotic”.)

    Also, I must add here, specifically, I think it’s great that you and your organization are taking such an active interest in matters pertaining to the Sandy Hook massacre, its potential causes and effects (as presented in this blog post of yours and as you’ve written about previously); I think this is a perfectly excellent blog post you’re presenting MIA readers.

    My sense is, that most people, in our society, when recalling the Sandy Hook massacre, will, unfortunately, prefer to believe that, mainly, so-called “mental illness” was to blame…

    Supposedly, it was “mental illness” gone “untreated” that best describes the cause(s) of Adam Lanza’s acts of unspeakable depravity.

    That is the narrative that most people in our society will buy into — because it suggests the most seemingly ‘easy’ preventive measures, to be deployed against the development, of future tragedies, of would be similar nature.

    ‘Just be sure to identify and “medicate” kids who are “at risk” — before they lash out…’

    Of course, that’s a terribly deluded ‘social’ policy, which, if implemented, will only make matters worse.

    But, I will question how you seem to suggest, that there may be no good reason whatsoever for the current delay of the release, of a full official report.

    You write,

    Assistant Child Advocate, Faith Von Winkel, advised Ablechild that the report may not be completed for another year, explaining that the apparent reason for the delay is because multiple children were killed. This makes no sense.

    The Child Advocate’s office is not reviewing multiple files of the children killed at Sandy Hook but, rather, is focusing on the records of Adam Lanza. Von Winkel further advised Ablechild that “we cannot put out a report that in any way would hurt the families of Sandy Hook.”

    Seriously? What part of Adam Lanza’s school and mental health records would “hurt” the families of Sandy Hook? The same argument can be made that the families are being hurt because the Child Advocate’s office has failed to provide information that may have contributed to Lanza’s deadly actions.

    Actually, to me, it seems very understandable that there is a delay; for, any poorly conceived report would, indeed, harm the people of Sandy Hook — and would harm the public trust, generally.

    And, though I do not trust bureaucracies (and tend to be mainly skeptical of almost any state’s Child Advocacy office), I can imagine, that: Possibly, the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission (SHAC) and the State Child Advocate’s office are delaying publication of their report for good reasons…

    After all, the information-gathering process, in such an incredibly impactful and complex event, as the Sandy Hook massacre, can easily take on a life of its own, in the press — which may lead to discovery of truly vital facts, that are essentially ‘game-changing’ in nature; the meeting of originally promised deadlines toward publishing an official report may then become impossible.

    The original deadline may well reflect a clearly unreasonable goal.

    Newly revealed information that’s released to the general press, on almost any major event, could make the initial drafts of an official report obsolete. I believe, that such has, almost certainly, become the case, in this instance. Here is why I say that…

    One game-changing news story came out five months ago — which, unfortunately (or, predictably) was missed by most major/main-stream media outlets. (To its credit, USA Today reported this, but I don’t believe any other major newspapers did — nor any major television news networks either; I could be wrong about that; there may have been reporting that I missed; but, anyway…) I’m referring to the revelation, just this past January, that: One year prior to his horrific crimes, Adam Lanza had spoken, on the air, to a radio show host, in way that, in retrospect, is really very revealing of his motivations.

    See the following article:

    I am not a big fan of the New York Daily News,; it can often be over-the-top (sensationalist) in its approach to reporting; however, sometimes it does a fair job of ‘scooping’ the main-stream press. This past January 15, it did that, as it posted online (at the above link) a very informative article, which includes (at the bottom of that web page) a link to the seven and a half minute audio recording, of that radio call-in by Adam Lanza.

    (Emphatically, I must say: If you go to that web page, be sure to listen to the seven and a half minute SoundCloud audio recording, that’s linked at the bottom of the page.)

    Then, two months later (just three months ago), the New Yorker magazine published conclusions of a reporter’s exclusive interviews with Adam Lanza’s father; that was also very informative — as Peter Lanza had not previously spoken, at length, to the press.

    (BTW — note: The New Yorker article is, I feel, highly informative; nonetheless, it is significantly flawed, imho; e.g., it includes certain passages — in particular, a couple of terribly misleading references to people who receive psychiatry’s “schizophrenia” label — that I find quite objectionable.)


    I suspect that your and/or anyone else who carefully reads those two articles, that I’ve offered links to (above), will realize: It would actually have been a mistake for the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission (SHAC) and the State Child Advocate’s office to rush, toward their first deadline, to publish an official report.

    (But, in fact, I don’t necessarily trust them to do the right thing and publish all the pertinent facts, at their disposal; so, surely, it’s important and necessary that there be well-informed people and organizations — such as you and yours — actively holding their feet to the flames, metaphorically speaking.)

    Carry on, in your good work…

    And, thank you again…



  • “I should have posted this comment as a general comment on the article itself. I wish to clarify that my comment was not intended to be directed at you personally.”

    Jonathan Dosick, thank you for that clarification.
    And, by the way, I do appreciate your sincere desire to dialogue. Hence, I’m eager to see your answer to uprising’s response, to you — re your having raised this issue, of what you apparently consider to be (in Daniel Mackler’s blog post?) an excess of “black and white, absolutist thinking.”
    Respectfully, ~J

  • Jonathan Dosick,


    I am totally baffled by your comment.

    I don’t see how it applies to my comment — at all. (In fact, upon first reading it, I was wondering if maybe you’d used the wrong reply button? …but then I thought, ‘No, if he had done that, he would have offered a quick clarifying post afterward.’)

    Sir, you seem as though offering some serious criticisms, of my contributions to this conversation; yet, you offer no specifics…

    So, with all due respect, why did you choose to reply to my comment, by lamenting that people are “just talking at each other,” I wonder? That people wind up “talking at each other” happens occasionally , in these MIA comment threads, it’s par for the course, I think. However, whenever I’m commenting here, on this website, I do so with a very sincere intent to dialogue, and I feel my exchanges (e.g., with Richard, above) demonstrate that intent of mine, rather well. (Truly, I can’t see any way that I’ve engaged in a process of “talking at” anyone, in any of my comments.)

    Also, you caution against “the absolute “Othering” of any group – be it those who are opposed to the psychiatric system (long the victims of such action), or, conversely, those seen as involved in any way with that system.” Imho, that’s great advice, to offer… But, I’m very curious to know, how did my ways of commenting elicit such advice?

    Have I been “Othering” any group, in my comments?

    (Note prominently: The way I read my own expressions, they are anything but “Othering”; in fact, in one of my comments, I spoke of how it felt to be “Othered”; I know how that feels; and, so I am totally against “Othering” people…; so, for instance, in various comments, on this page, I have offered my positive sense, of a number of psychiatrists.)

    You conclude by saying “I find it discouraging to see so much black and white, absolutist thinking here, which erodes the meaningful discussion of ideas.” Jonathan, for the life of me, quite honestly, I don’t know why you say that to me. In my view, I’ve not contributed any ‘black and white, absolutist thinking’ to any MIA conversations (not on this page, nor anywhere else on this site).

    Your brief criticisms provide not one example of what you’re referring to; so, please, be clear, offer me examples (even one example) of what I’ve said, which, in your mind represents the shutting down of dialogue and/or ‘black and white, absolutist thinking.’

    Thanks in advance for your response… (which I know will come and will be thoughtful, as I know you are interested in dialoguing, and I am, too).

    Looking forward to your response…



  • “We want to bring people into these discussions so that they can examine some deeply held beliefs. Demonzing those inviduals will not be helpful to that goal.”

    Dr Steingard,

    When power-hungry and malevolent people find their way to positions of power and authority, I think that ‘demonizing’ them could be a good thing to do. It could save a lot of innocent people from falling under their spell and becoming victims of their treachery. And, I think the field of psychiatry has long been a magnet for power-hungry and malevolent people — as well as for naive people…

    My sense about you, is that you are a bit naive in ways — but that is certainly not a crime nor any kind of condemnable attribute.

    And, about ‘demonizing’ people: As it happens, actually, I don’t believe any individual is being demonized here (not in Daniels blog post nor either in any of the comments that have been inspired by it). Though, I do get that some people could read Daniels post the wrong way. They could presume that Daniel is completely demonizing everyone in your entire profession; however, I don’t read his words that way, at all, and I find most of the comments on this page are very clarifying after all…

    That includes your comments. You’re determined to stick it out, here at MIA, sincerely listening to psychiatric survivors share their stories of having been harmed by psychiatry — and overcoming the inherent limits of your professional conditioning, as a psychiatrist. That’s great, and it’s also great that you hope others, in your field, do likewise — because I see, in deed, you have come a long way.

    But, please, excuse me, as I offer a bit of criticism:

    Reading your recent blog post wherein you relay the commencement address, that you recently gave at Goddard College, I found myself simultaneously impressed by your sincere humility and taken aback by very brief anecdote you offered.

    You spoke fondly of a long-time client who’d referred to you as a friend. (You referred to him as a “patient” who was in your waiting room.) I was taken aback by that reference for a myriad of reasons — all connected to my sense that a medical-coercive psychiatrist cannot be a real friend to his/her clients…

    (At least, such a psychiatrist cannot be a true friend to his/her clients, in my opinion.)

    A real/true friend is someone who takes you as you are. (Perhaps, you know, that’s a paraphrase, of a famous line, from the writings of Henry David Thoreau.)

    I believe, that, in so many ways, the average “patient” of a medical-coercive psychiatrist cannot reasonably afford to risk being fully himself or herself, with that ‘mental health’ professional, the psychiatrist; for, if s/he were to say the ‘wrong’ thing in the psychiatrist’s presence, s/he would not be accepted; on the contrary, s/he would, quite possibly, be violated with forced drugging…

    That was my repeated experience, with various psychiatrists…

    (Note: Of course, not all psychiatrists are as cynical and/or bad at their work, as those who twisted my words, to place me on “holds” and “medicate” me against my will; but, the risks of discussing ones inner life with a psychiatrist are legion…)

    So, I think that is actually not a good message that you were sending, at that point in your address; I would want a psychiatrist, rather, to lend a graduating class in psychology and counseling a very clear sense, that: The average psychiatrist must be approached with caution, always — as psychiatrists can be quite dangerous.

    [Suddenly, as I’m writing this comment, I think of a psychiatrist who is not dangerous at all; he’s a wonderful guy, as far as I can tell, from reading his work. I am speaking of Dr William Glasser. I find myself now wondering whether you have ever heard of him — and, perhaps, even read his little book titled, Warning: Psychiatry Can Be Hazardous to Your Mental Health.]

    Anyway, Dr Steingard, from reading your blog posts, I get that you are not a bad psychiatrists. You’re clearly a ‘much better than average psychiatrist,’ from what I can tell of your practices, via your blogging…

    And, I even see you have come a long way, toward being someone who I could one day view as a friend. Indeed, I hope that I can call you that (“my friend”) one day, but it would not happen before you’ve fully renounced that part of your duties, which has you (to now) at times, supporting the forced drugging of “patients”.

    I think it’s actually possible, you could come to that point, in your professional evolution, but I am not holding my breath, expecting it to happen.

    And, I hope many in your field shall follow your lead, as you are already relatively evolved, in how you approach your work; but, again, I am not holding my breath…

    I am not waiting for psychiatrists to fall in line, behind you, in droves.

    Realistically speaking, I know most psychiatrists are more or less completely entrenched in their current ways of working. Sad but true, imo…

    In closing, I’ll add this honest ‘confession’ of sorts: As always, in addressing you via comments, I am feeling a bit at odds with myself, as I write…

    Always, I am wishing I could ‘get through to you completely’ — so you could fully see the light…

    Well, maybe one day you will…



  • “…I have been reading MIA since its inception and the terms Biological Psychiatry or biopsychiatry have been used thousands of times to describe the perpetrators of psychiatric oppression.”

    Richard, that may well be perfectly true; but, still, I’m extremely doubtful about anyone’s claimed ability to convince me that any psychiatric terms have permanently fixed (unchanging) definitions.

    Even in the hard sciences, terms are forever evolving; also, scientific terms are used differently by different specialists within various fields…

    E.g., a ‘wave’ is not at all exactly the same thing to today’s physicist — as compared to physicists of a hundred years ago or more.

    And, a ‘wave’ is not the same thing to a meteorologist, as it is to a physicist.

    In fact, because psychiatry is not a ‘hard science’ but rather a field based on much pseudo-science, I wouldn’t attempt to find (and then speak) of would supposedly be hard and fast ‘eternal truths’ in the realm of Psychiatry.

    Virtually all remarks about what terms supposedly refer to which precise phenomena, in the realm, of psychiatry, are to be taken with a grain of salt, I think — beginning with that most infamous term “mental illness.” (Szasz rightly discouraged his readers from their attempts to define it; he called it a hopelessly “plastic” term.)

    That said, nonetheless, I do look forward to reading that blog post you’re aiming to write.

    And, about your explaining how your views have, in recent years, evolved: Thank you for offering that; it is very heartening for me to read, really…



  • B,

    Again, I must say, I agree with you entirely!

    Never would I describe the phenomena, of any so-called “mental disorders” (or any so-called “mental illnesses”) as “genetic diseases.”

    I would not ever do that…

    Though, here I add and emphasize (based on my contemplations of your comment), that: Indisputably, some folk are born with a genetic endowment that lends them a tendency to be much more adversely affected by certain ingested substances…

    In some instances, depending upon the particular sensitivity, these may be ultimately mind-altering effects…

    And, let’s think about your example: Some people are genetically more inclined to have a particularly ‘slow metabolism’ — significantly raising the possibility they’ll develop a degree of obesity (that is, if and when they develop a habit of overeating). Obesity is associated with a higher incidence of ‘depression’ (a supposed “mental illness”).

    Of course, correlations do not determine causes, so it may often be hard to know which led to which… (I mean, it may be difficult to know, does the ‘depression’ lead to the over-eating, which leads to the obesity? Or, is it the other way round?) I don’t know if there are ever easy answers to such questions, but I believe most instances of enduring ‘depression’ can wind up basically ‘converted’ into various sorts of so-called ‘mental health’ issues — i.e., can devolve into sufferings that eventually may garner other so-called “mental illness” or “mental disorder” labels.

    So, really, those genetic tendencies, which you have alluded to (i.e., tendencies making one more potentially susceptible to developing obesity), could possibly be associated with a higher propensity for developing a variety of seemingly different sufferings, that are all oft-called “mental illness” and “mental disorder” (generally speaking).

    I suppose these seem as though very unpleasant facts — in the eyes of many people — especially, those who may struggle to keep their weight in check.

    But, I completely agree with you, as you suggest that pharmaceuticals are not the ideal solution (and, of course, being individuals who are drawn to MIA discussions, we well know that pharmaceuticals can make matters far worse, in many ways). I second your conclusion, that it’s best to ‘just’ create “life style changes, [eat] healthier food” and get good “social support.”

    And, I’m certain there can also be appreciable benefits of being endowed with such genes, as compared with some genes that would, otherwise, lend one a very fast metabolism…

    There are ‘trade-offs’ associated with various genetic propensities…

    Now, hopefully, what I’m going to say here won’t embarrass you:

    I’ve decided you are my new favorite commenter on this website! (Maybe you aren’t new, I just never noticed your comments previously? Who knows? But, anyway…) Yes, based only on my reading of your posts, to now, on this particular string of comments, you’ve won this humble distinction, of becoming my ‘new favorite’ commenter here — which is, I guess, thanks largely to Daniel Mackler’s contribution of his great blog, above, which has stimulated much excellent commentary from others, as well.

    I look forward to reading more of your comments…



  • “I resent the coercion and will always resent it. Psychiatry treats everyone like women, it’s a patriarchal system.”


    I experienced two periods of “hospitalization” — two years apart; both periods began with my conceding to pressure, from family and friends, to go meet with a psychiatrist, in the ER. Those two periods that were two years apart produced fairly similar experiences, in this sense, that: I’d wind up “involuntarily hospitalized” twice in both periods… and repeatedly experience being forcibly drugged.

    I.e., in both of those two separate periods, I’d wind up pressured into the ER, where I would be ‘assessed’ as a supposed “danger” to myself and would thus be “hospitalized” on a psychiatric ‘mandatory hold’ of roughly more than a week — only to be pumped with a combination of ‘heavy meds’ and then be released… and would, very soon thereafter, be pressured into going right back in to the ER, only to wind up “re-hospitalized” on yet another ‘hold’ (again, based on an ER psychiatrist’s claim that I was supposedly “a danger” to myself), etc..

    The more I consider those times, in retrospect, the more strongly I feel that no one (none of my family members nor friends nor any of the ‘mental health’ professionals who were being made responsible for my ‘care’) were demonstrating even the least bit good sense, in how they were treating me.

    In fact, there was a certain insanity gripping all of them.

    And, for a couple of years, I had no knowledge of anyone who’d ever extracted himself or herself from such a mess. So, I had to figure out everything on my own, by trial and error.

    No one was really connecting with me (not family, friends, therapists) in any way deeply — largely because I could hardly connect with myself, being so “medicated”; I felt as though I was living constantly behind a ‘screen door’ that was keeping me from my deepest feelings. This was a completely different way of living for me (I had previously been a very deeply feeling person.)

    I felt little connection to the world around me (this was also completely different for me), and there was this overwhelming sense of being perceived as ‘The Other’ by those I knew — and an sense of having been processed through a totally impersonal system, best defined by its periodically locked ‘revolving doors’ wherein the ‘helping’ professionals (who were, of course, always free to come and go) were certainly no more sane than the supposedly ‘mad’ inmates (who were called “patients”).

    The in-and-out aspect, of how that operation worked, was incredibly dispiriting (as was all the purely systematized repetition, in my experiences with psychiatry itself).

    At the very end of that first period of “hospitalization” (during the last days of my second ‘hold’), I was informed that I was supposedly suffering from a “mental illness” that was incurable; I have no idea how that ‘assessment’ was made; I’m almost certain it was a psychiatric nurse who was basically ‘de-briefing’ me before signing me out; she was describing my supposed ‘condition’ to me.

    There was this ‘diagnosis’ (a “serious mental illness”) that she said could be managed with “medications”; seemingly, that ‘diagnosis’ she was tagging me with, was coming from the system itself — seemingly.

    After all, quite honestly, I had (and have) no recollection of speaking with any psychiatrist, in that place. (Of course, I probably had spoken with one, there, at some point — almost certainly, I must have — and, yet had forgotten doing so, as I was being so very heavily drugged there.)

    I was ‘held’ in that place for more than a month; you’d think that it would have been a psychiatrist who would have discussed that ‘diagnosis’ with me, but it wasn’t… So, OK, you’d think I would have some recollection of speaking with a psychiatrist there, yet I just don’t recall such a meeting.

    To this day, I don’t know how I received that first psychiatric ‘diagnosis’ — which really stuck… as I quickly came to be known for it, amongst all my family, friends and associates.

    Suddenly, my entire ‘social circle’ knew me as a ‘sufferer’ of that “serious mental illness.”

    That ‘diagnosis’ would lead me to nothing but misery; it would become a profound source of shame — and was responsible, I feel, for many personal rejections, over the course of many years…

    But, most of all, it would become the ‘justification’ for everyone around me insisting that I must remain “medicated” come hell or high water…

    Two years later, as I showed ‘resistance’ to that ‘diagnosis’ and ‘treatment’ I would lose all my friends; and, later, after my second period of “hospitalization” (which had been all about getting me ‘re-medicated’), I found that most new friends would distance themselves from me, once they learned of that ‘diagnosis’.

    So, I was left only with friends from a group of similarly ‘diagnosed’ people.

    Of course, as soon as I was, again, no longer identify with that ‘diagnosis,’ those friends would back away…

    Hence, I learned, it can be incredibly lonely, to be a survivor, of Psychiatry.

    Thank goodness for the eventual advent of the Internet, which allows survivors to connect; and, thanks for sharing your experiences.



  • Richard,

    To your very thoughtful replying comment, above (on June 5, 2014 at 11:17 pm), I offer you the following loooong comment (maybe too long); it’s long because I know it’s exactly twenty-five years since I broke free, of the chains of psychiatry. And, I’ll not have time to spend on commenting much, in coming days and weeks, as I have a number of obligations here at home that require my full attention; and, as it is long, I begin with the ending – offering my main point here and now, in a nutshell. That is: Richard, I think you define “biological psychiatry” in a rather narrow way, which not everyone (not even some of your closest friends and allies, here on this web site) will always find agreeable. After all, you’re apparently insisting that “biological psychiatrists” are those who depend on theories of genetics…

    Speaking only for myself, I think your definition, though well reflecting broad historical trends in psychiatry, may be unrealistic; for, times are changing, and some will buy into that definition of “biological psychiatry” (or, you say it was, first of all, Peter Breggin’s way of defining it); yet, some psychiatrist do not put much stake in such theories, and they wouldn’t define “biological psychiatry” that way. Nor do all survivors of psychiatry struggle with such theories…

    Probably nothing could make this point of mine more entirely clear, than my offering you the following suggested, simple exercise: Go to the top of this page, and carefully review Daniel Mackler’s wonderful blog post, “Ode to Biological Psychiatry,” which has spawned this great thread of comments; as you read it, count his references to genetics… 🙂

    Do that, and note, at last: Nowhere does Daniel mention ‘genetics’ at all! – not anywhere, in the entirety of his beautiful rant (or prose-poem or whatever we care to call it).

    Daniel makes not one mention of genetics, in any way shape or form, yet your definition (or, is it first Peter Breggin’s defintion?) of “biological psychiatry” is apparently fully contingent on the notion that “biological psychiatrists” rely on genetic theories…

    Richard, perhaps, most psychiatrists do come to work with certain fixed suppositions about supposed genetic origins of so-called “mental illness”; but, aren’t there many psychiatrists who share the very same ‘medical’ practices, who are really not especially enamored of such theories? And, are they not worthy of your critiques?

    I guess it’s possible, that Daniel simply forgot to add discussion of genetic theories, to his blog post? But, can you not appreciate, that his blog post, as it stands, naturally suggests, that, actually, a lot of psychiatrists who are full of B.S. are not necessarily promoting genetic theories, as a major factor, in their practices? (Note: I think it’s very reasonably to suggest, that not all ‘biological psychiatrists’ are into the genetic theories, and/or Daniel is not referring to the same ‘biological psychiatrists’ whom you refer to, Richard…)

    And, from what you say, I, frankly, wonder: Are you wholeheartedly opposed to any and all suggestions, that there may be genetic pre-dispositions, to developing some phenomena that are called “mental illnesses,” or are you (as I am) mainly opposed to theories of genetic determinism?

    (Personally, I think it is the reductionist, genetic determinism that is most foolish; I’m guessing you’d agree; and, it should go without saying, such theories always foster evil ‘social’ policies — e.g., yes, they’ve driven the darkest trends in psychiatry, historically.)

    But, Richard, I believe there may come a time, not far off, in the future, when science shall fairly well prove, that: In some instances, genetic components are significantly contributing to some (perhaps, a relatively small proportion of) cases, of what comes to be called ‘psychosis’. (I presume many MIA readers and bloggers doubt that; but, I think unique genetic factors must play a role, at times, in the genesis of some cases of what’s called psychosis…) Here I am talking about ‘epigenetic’ effects – ‘triggered’ by environmental stressors of various kinds.

    Along these same lines, I presume some individuals are genetically more inclined than others, to develop certain ‘addictive’ tendencies. (Do you disagree, I wonder?)

    However, I fully believe, that severe, enduring personal isolation and/or ‘suffocating’ familial relationships, as well as significant exposure to chemical toxins (including, of course, ‘heavy meds’ –poorly chosen psychopharmacology) and/or trauma and/or effects of certain, ultimately confusing provincial beliefs and other cultural influences… are altogether, more often than not, the most prominent/weighty factors leading to development of what become the most apparently crippling ‘psychoses.’ (Oh, and, of course, sleep deprivation is a frequent cause of much apparent ‘psychosis’.)

    You may or may not agree with me, on some of these points, above (of course, I expect you’ll tell me if you vehemently disagree); but, in any event, in my being someone who does his best to shed nebulous and/or misleading labels, I will say, upon reading through this comment thread, that I’ve actually come to sympathize with Dr Steingard, to this extent, that, in one of her comments, above, she calls “biological psychiatry” a “construct that has no meaning for me.”

    …Yes, I’m starting to feel that way, myself, the more I consider…

    Especially, as I consider your definition, Richard, I think to myself, that the question of which psychiatrists are or are not ‘biological psychiatrists’ becomes somewhat pointless — as I don’t know how you (or anyone else) could hope to reasonably deny, that, depending upon any number of external factors, someone’s unique genetics may, indeed, tip the odds (albeit minimally) in favor of developing a seeming ‘psychosis’ at some point, in his/her life. (I suspect some readers will balk at such a thought – maybe even condemn me for saying that; oh, well…)

    You and I have disagreed on ‘spiritual’ matters, in the past; and, I don’t wish to raise that debate again, with you. But, to me, it seems (based mainly upon my own personal experiences, in my early twenties) there may, in many instances, be certain benefits gained, in the experience of some forms of seeming ‘psychosis.’ I believe there are ‘curative psychoses’ (and wouldn’t wish to see them eliminated nor hope to breed a tendency to develop such ‘curative psychoses’ out of the human race).

    Along those lines, like many others who have recounted their own personal experiences and who have contributed their views, to this web site, I don’t think of my so-called ‘psychosis’ experiences (all which occurred in my early twenties) as having been regrettable experiences – except, perhaps, to the extent that they’d draw the attention of concerned family, friends, and, ultimately, psychiatrists, who would, therein, find their ‘justifications’ for heaping their so-called “antipsychotic” drugs into my veins…

    So, I come to my own bottom-line ‘agenda’ – as pertains to matters of psychiatry (I have explained to you, in my above comment — and also previously, in MIA comments, a year or more back): Mainly, I’d like to see an end to medical-coercive psychiatry. (That’s the form of psychiatry which I most surely oppose – and which Dr Steingard and most other psychiatrists online continue to defend.)

    I view Dr Steingard and most other psychiatrists as ‘medical-coercive psychiatrists’ – because they practice and/or support and defend the forced ‘medical treatment’ of some “patients” of psychiatry.

    By the way, something you said in your thoughtful comment has led me to reading all of the blog posts, by Dr Steingard, which I’d missed, as I’d been taking an extended break from visiting this MIA website. (The last time I was reading MIA blog posts regularly was back in February.) Now, catching up, I’m reminded, beyond any shadow of a doubt: Dr Steingard is actually a deeply thoughtful person, who has every intention of doing the right thing.

    So, truly, regardless of how you or Daniel or anyone else describes a “biological psychiatrist,” you are both correct (as are the other commenters on this thread who seem to mainly agree), on this point: Daniel’s blog post, above, does not refer to Dr Steingard’s way of plying her trade…

    No way is Dr Steingard the kind of psychiatrist whom Daniel refers to, in his blog post – not by any means. From studying her latest blogging, it becomes more than obvious to me, that, she is not the type of psychiatrist Daniel is characterizing, above; but, then again, she’s no Loren Mosher (who I believe was quite admirable for his having never ‘committed’ any of his patients), and neither is she any Peter Breggin (who I believe is admirable for his complete rejection of psychiatric drugs, ECT and labeling). And, of course, she’s no Thomas Szasz either…


    Did I say “finally” somewhere, a few paragraphs back? Well, here I add just this much more…

    I take Szasz to have been a very impressive man, in many ways – maybe even my favorite psychiatrist (of which there have been very few). This has come to me just recently…

    At age 21.5 – when in personal crisis…, had anyone suggested to me, that I could go meet with a bonafide ‘Szaszian’ psychiatrist, I would have done so, in all likelihood, without no resistance or fuss. And, certainly, I would have been eager to see Szasz himself — as I sensed that that it would have been good to have had some professional ‘mental health’ guidance and already well knew (even back then) that, there was this psychiatrist, made famous by his book, “The Myth of Mental Illness,” who was completely opposed any and all unwanted impositions of psychiatric ‘treatment’ on his fellow human beings.

    I’m not quite sure why I never tried to contact Szasz (not even by email), as many psychiatric survivors did. But, now I imagine, had he lived a bit longer, I might, perhaps, have come to do so, if just to thank him for his positive influence in my life. (Note: Through online social media, I was able to send such grateful greetings to Peter Breggin, through his wife.) Had a meeting with Szasz come to pass, I feel certain, I could have approached him fairly confidently, as I would have felt quite safe in his presence – knowing he would not, under any circumstance, attack me (nor would he ever, under any circumstance, suggest that any psychiatrist should ever have attacked me) with so-called “antipsychotic” drugs…

    (I make that last point, because I have a sense, that I’d not feel perfectly safe in the presence of Dr Steingard – nor in the presence of anyone else who is, likewise, authorized and inclined to practice the forcing of psychiatric drugs on “patients.” Which reminds me…)

    You’ve referred to MIA blogger, Jonathan Keyes. I agree, he contradicts himself. I think he does so terribly. He makes a complete and total mockery of the great, principled concept, of informed consent – by his repeatedly calling for it, in his comments and blog posts, while defending the practice of forcibly drugging people (who are ostensibly “violent” in so-called “hospitals” such as the one where he works part-time).

    Of course, many people in “hospitals” share his inclination to support such forced drugging; but, I am more put off by his writings, than the writings of any other blogger on this web site, as he is constantly straddling both sides of the fence… (Imho, he’s full of contradictions, but here I’m moving on…)

    Richard, finally, as you know (I know you know, from my reading of your responses to some of my early comments, on this website), from day-one of my encounters with medical-coercive psychiatry, I screamed “NO!” to the psych-techs’ needle. Yet, they strapped me to their gurney and plunged that weapon deep into my flesh. Up to that point, I had come to cooperating completely, with their interrogations. So, I was not posing any kind of threat whatsoever. But, the psychiatrist knew I would not want to be “hospitalized,” so he made me into a “patient” that way.

    As his ‘justification’ for such, there was along battery of question, which formed his ‘assessment’ of my supposed condition. He took one answer that I’d given, and he twisted my meaning, so that he could declare me “a danger” to myself.

    Such was my personal intro to the realm of medical-coercive Psychiatry; and, it would not be the last time that that sort of thing happened to me. (Another psychiatrist wound up twisting the truth, no less, to claim I was “a danger” to myself.)

    Those experiences were so incredibly formative! My words can never make clear, to anyone who has not experienced such ‘treatment,’ exactly how wrong such practices are – such professional deceits, supposedly for the good of the “patient” because his/her family believes s/he is “mentally ill” and must be “treated” with drugs… for his/her own good.

    My family was not to blame; they didn’t know any better; the psychiatrists could have known better…

    In all ways, such deceits are antithetical to the promotion of mental health and well-being. And, the resultant forcing of mind-altering drugs into that innocent human being’s veins, against his or her clear objections, is nothing but an abo