Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Comments by Frank Blankenship

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  • Although I don’t know what this has to do with Moe, Larry, and Curly, I will take a shot at it.

    1. No.

    2. Freedom and force are antithetical. You don’t force freedom on people any more than you force freedom on animals. They are, to use an ancient movie title, born free. Some animals couldn’t live outside of a zoo, you say. Alright, I’d call that exceptional circumstances, and I definitely wouldn’t force the rest of the animal kingdom into a zoo.

    3. “Disability” payments versus employment, that is a difficult one, isn’t it? Some people are homeless now, that is, they don’t lack the ability to pay their rent, they lack the money to pay any rent. This involves two other issues, job availability and affordable housing. Building condos for the relatively well to do isn’t going to fix that. Maybe someone should start looking for some creative solutions to the social problems capital is creating for everyone.

  • Amusing illustration. I’m reminded of an episode of The Three Stooges if anybody is interested. It’s called From Nurse To Worse (1940). Moe, Larry, and Curly have this idea for an insurance company scam. Curly will pretend to be crazy for the insurance money. When they take Curly to the psychiatrists, his act is just a little too convincing. The doctors want to perform something called a cerebrum decapitation on him. The rest of the show is about Moe and Larry’s efforts to assist Curly in escaping from this operation. The fact that lobotomies were being performed on a rather routine basis at the time must have lent some sort of weight to the message, if message there could be said to be in The Three Stooges.

  • If I had to spend time on a “psych ward”, Dragon Slayer, I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer for it to be spent in a library rather than in a prison of sorts, and if I’m to receive “medicine” for my “soul”, let it be instruction from books rather than intoxication (or stupor) from drugs.

    Institutional coercive psychiatry having been around for 400 years or thereabouts now, let’s hope that it won’t take another 100 years for what you call Szaszian ideas, or the demand for an end to such coercive practices, to gain traction. My point being, there was a before institutional psychiatry and, so far as I’m concerned, I’d love to see an after.

  • Well, you’ve got a lot to learn then if you’d be willing.

    The classical world was a class society, but it wasn’t all upper classes, nor was it mostly slaves. I think there is much that is known, and much still to be uncovered.

    Socrates was found guilty of corrupting the youth of Athens, and ordered to drink hemlock. I think there are going to be historical parallels of relevance today should anybody choose to look for them.

    We are the ancients in the sense that we are their direct intellectual descendants. Go to Greece and Rome, and you may find the literal blood descendants of these people who gave us so much in terms of sensibility, custom, arts, and literature.

  • I agree about not forcing treatment on people, but as psychiatrists and “mental health” professionals are now compelled by law, in the USA anyway, to lock people up for their own protection, and, in part, this is protection from their own hands, I think that it would be a mistake to over simplify.

    Michelle Carter was not a professional, and her situation was enlightening in many ways, and could be reviewed, if you should choose to go there.





  • Thank you for this interview. As professor Michael Fontaine points out, the ancient Greeks and Romans didn’t have lunatic asylums. Also, that eccentricity, madness, was more accepted, as of course it would have to be, in the community then than it is today. This is one of the many things you get from looking at these things in terms of historical context, and I imagine, he’d be the first to tell you that you can find out so much more from looking at ancient approaches to many of the problems that we encounter in the world today. It’s not until much, much later that madhouses and lunatic asylums start popping up like mushrooms, and you get institutionalization on any large scale to speak of. I’d say, right there, we have much to learn from the ancients.

  • I’m surprised that this pod cast hasn’t generated more discussion. I have two Google News search terms that I employ regularly. One is “psychiatry” and the other is “R. D. Laing”. While there has been a smattering of news about Thomas Szasz, for instance, since his 2012 death. It is less than sporadic. R. D. Laing, on the other hand, hasn’t really vanished from the media spotlight in some quarters since his death in 1989. There are many reasons for this media longevity that one could point to but, all the same, I think one has to consider it a remarkable achievement on his part.

  • The fear or threat of violence is a way for APA members to drum up business. This is what this statement says to me.

    “Mental illness” itself is a metaphor, that is, not illness at all.

    So when “mental health” becomes the solution to school violence, that matter is being resolved through scapegoating, the traditional scapegoat being the “mental patient” or mad person. It’s like blaming bad things on Jews, blacks, Arabs, witches, or you name it. While it is ‘politically incorrect’ in today’s world to blame those other groups, it’s still considered very ‘politically correct’ to blame violence and so forth on “mental illness”.

    Two words, ‘insanity defense’. E. Fuller Torrey wrote a book titled, The Insanity Offense. When the perpetrator of a crime is seen as “insane”, the perpetrator is not seen as a moral agent. It is his “illness”, his “lack of agency”, that is said to be “responsible”. Problem is, this exoneration of criminals condemns everybody in the “mental health” system by association.

  • Thomas Szasz got sued when one of his clients committed suicide. His offense, his methods were not those employed in standard practice, in other words, drug people, and if one dies by his or her own hand you can’t be sued, don’t drug them and you can.

    The other problem is that this then makes the doctor’s task to employ every means at his disposal to “save” the client from him or herself whether the client wants to be “saved” or not. This is not exactly supporting the client’s interests as the client sees them. It is also a major breech of client doctor confidentiality.

    I’m not sure where this stands in relation to non-intervening witnesses, I just know that now these psychologists are going after Donald Trump, and saying that “duty to warn” is being downplayed because of the Goldwater rule. “Duty to warn” involves warning the public about people who are “a danger to self and others.” If “mental health” professionals now have a “duty to warn” when it comes to “danger to self”, maybe you can see the problem. The physician or professional who doesn’t “warn” can be subject to litigation.

    The state could prosecute, remember the girl (Dr. Breggin here at MIA did a series on the case) who was recently convicted for not doing enough to stop her boyfriend from killing himself, and call it something like criminally negligent homicide or man slaughter.

  • Thank you for this article. I didn’t see anything that I really disagreed in your post. I certainly don’t see how anybody could say that suicide is not a civil right.

    If we consult Wikipedia on the subject:

    “In most Western countries, suicide is no longer a crime.”

    “No country in Europe currently considers suicide or attempted suicide to be a crime.”

    “In the United States, suicide is not illegal but may be associated with penalties for those who attempt it”


    If taking one’s life is not a crime, if it is not illegal, and thus it is legal, it is a civil right.

    This is instructive because there was a time when attempting suicide was treated as a felonious offense allowing the state to take the life of the person who attempted to take his or her life.


    Now we’ve gone full circle with the state endeavoring to force people to continue living regardless of their own wishes on the matter, however, in so far as that goes, it is only failure that will illicit such efforts to save people from themselves. Anybody who has been successful at suicide has put themselves well beyond the reach of any law that we know of.

  • If you’re saying the “recovery” movement is not a “recovery” movement. Agreed. I mean you’ve got all these people making their living “recovering” people from “mental illness” who would be out of work if they succeeded in doing so. Why aren’t there more “recovered” “schizophrenics” in the world? Take a wild guess. The more astute question is why aren’t there more “recovered” “mental health” professionals? You’re not going to “recover” “schizophrenics” (or former “schizophrenics”) without at the same time “recovering” the “mental health” staff designed to tend to them. Simple economics, pay people to do something, and they are going to do it. Stop paying them, and you are going to see some really angry people. I kind of think we should be paying them, if we’re going to pay them, to do something else.

  • That’s why I left those 3 links up there, Darby. Now you, or anybody else, have 3 takes on the “mental health” movement that you can make whatever you will out of. As is, it’s not really a “mental health” movement at all so much as it is a “mental health” treatment movement, and that’s something that just doesn’t sit well with me. Treat anybody else, thank you. Leave me out of it. I’m perfectly content with my present madness.

  • Disconsensus certainly has it’s place. I don’t think an accurate “interpretation of the real world” is ever attained through consensus.

    With regard to, “social groupings of humans promoting and allowing any forms of exploitative and/or potentially traumatic experiences to exist”. “Property is theft.” Pierre-Joseph Proudhon said that. Overlords, kings, presidents, corporate chiefs, etc., all got there through violence in one form or another. Reversing this situation, as ever, remains a tall order.

    As “invalidation” has always been a corollary to “validation”, I find “validation” often a matter of corruption, relatively speaking, to begin with.

  • “Peers” are no more “peers” than are professionals. I will always maintain that the truth lies entirely outside of the “mental health” system. What happens when you blur lines? You still aren’t getting people integrated back into society (i.e. outside of the system). It is the business end of this that keeps it going. “Disability” pays the way of the “peer” who in turn pays for “neurotoxins”, “rehabilitation”/imprisonment, “mental health” workers of all sorts, including “peer” workers, and the expansion of the system that goes along with recruiting “peers” into the business. The “mental illness” rate is going up you say? Small wonder.

  • You don’t need “training” and “supervision” to support people, you just need to be a human being. The less of a human being you are, the less supportive you are likely to be.

    Seeing things in clinical terms, what with all the victim blaming there is in the world today, can be a way of being less than fully human.

    Anyway, that’s my 5 second visceral take on this sort of “peer” industry talk.

    “Yes, Virginia, there is life outside of the clinic!”

  • “Really big mistakes” has to be pretty much the case. Come on. Neuroleptics as the “front-line” treatment for “treatment-resistant” depression? We’ve got some people anti-depressants don’t work on. How about if we put these people on neuroleptics? Neuroleptics aren’t anti-depressants. So what? Maybe they will be if we give them a chance? If the “treatment-resistant” are still “treatment resistant”, at least somebody made some money out of the matter. The “mental health” establishment has bought this idea of the drug companies that these drugs are interchangeable because, although it may not be good for the health of human beings, it’s good for business. Look a little closer at the matter, and you will realize that these drugs aren’t medicines, they are social control drugs, and that’s actually what is being aimed at here, social control, not health. Unless bad health makes people happy, the people taking neuroleptics are not likely to get much out of it, at least, not much more than they’d be getting from any other placebo.

  • Professional staff are not “peers”. Ex/patients are “peers”. I don’t see any call to get stuck in that kind of an inferior/superior situation. There is as much variation among so-called “peers” as there is among so-called “non-peers”. So much for the us versus them dichotomy this sort of jargon facilitates and fosters.

  • I know psychiatry has been very much in the school system for awhile. What do you get? Conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, attention hyperactivity deficit disorder, and all sorts of other bogus “mental disorders”. Plus the drugs they are selling, and the concordant damage that goes along with them. This kind of thing is way up there with scanning school children for “mental disorders”, isn’t it? What have we got here, after all, if not the manufacture of “peers”? The medicalization of childhood, what with all the surveillance and monitoring that goes along with it, really has a head-start there. If the government isn’t in your bedroom, it soon shall be, it’s already looking after your children. Personally, I think that is something that should be left to parents.

  • My alma mater finally got her day at MIA. Wowee! They’ve been talking about tearing it down for years. Auschwitz they make a museum of, DeJarnette a Halloween spook show. This is where my “mental patient” career, in the sense of car wheels, started. You wouldn’t want to make a museum of a state hospital, would you? That’s the rug we sweep all our problems under. Very hush, hush.

    An interesting aspect of this is that Dejarnette sits on land owned by the Frontier Culture Museum, and you’d think that maybe they could make the connection.

  • Nasty algae, OldHead.

    Changing clothes paid with the end of the sixties. Kind of like the big ex/patient movement government buy out/sell off of ’85.

    That there were so many sell outs, I would call only to be expected. This country has had a long history of sabotaging, for instance, the labor movement, and when it comes to white middle class college kids, who find the war has ended, college is over, and they still have to make a buck. Hey, what do you know? Here comes another gig opening up with the oppressive establishment, that is, like, too good to refuse. Hmm. So their price was a bit lower than you thought it would be.

  • Do you mean the same E. Fuller Torrey who founded the Treatment Advocacy Center and who is an associate director for Research of the Stanley Medical Research Institute?

    That E. Fuller Torrey is 80 years old, and I’m hoping, optimistically, of course, that he will be retiring from the scene soon, if not retiring from life altogether.

  • Cops and the psychiatric gulag, sure, that about covers it, and some with the “best of intentions”.

    Get that this particular bozo lays “deinstitutionalization” on “neoliberalism”. I guess the answer then would be to spend more on institutions. Others, E. Fuller Torrey, for instance, would like to blame “deinstitutionalization” on antipsychiatry. Hmmm, institutionalization? Doesn’t that have something to do with that gulag you were talking about?

    Business as usual, but the business of organizations, organizations that actually support the gulag.


    Wouldn’t it be nice if our business were defying and defeating that gulag!?

    I always thought that that was what it was.

  • Pretty much, and then some, for instance, family members out to put away their kin (Pete Earley et al.).

    Anyway, if you need a refresher, here are a few links, starting with MHA because MHA began as the National Committee for Mental Hygiene founded by Clifford Beers way back in 1909. Mental Hygiene has since morphed into “mental health”.




  • I’m not trying to attack you or anybody else, Darby, but I’m not trying to defend anybody either. I see the “mental health” movement as the enemy. I’m not out to analyze where you or anybody else stands in relation to that movement at this precise moment. I am a part of the psychiatric survivor/human rights movement, too. I’m with you as far as that goes.

  • Are you kidding!? Anti-psychiatry is a movement when it gets organized. The “mental health” movement IS organized. If you are saying the “mental health” movement doesn’t have “shared analyses and goals”, you’re only fooling yourself. Disorganization by definition doesn’t have any “centralized coordination”, besides who needs to be so doggedly authoritarian anyway. I’m not saying we need “centralized coordination” any more than I’m saying we need “centralized leadership”, an office in DC, and that kind of thing. I’m just saying there is a big difference between Mad In America and Americans’ Against Psychiatry. That’s a wagon I’m still waiting on.

  • This kind of over priced private facility, as well as the locked door, are problematic. I agree with much of what you say, however, I think the Soteria project is a good one that could work under the right circumstances. The “therapeutic” aspect may be baloney, however, the living arrangements aren’t baloney.

    I’m not saying psychiatry isn’t a huge swindle. I’m saying that any living arrangements outside of psychiatric imprisonment, what you get with the state hospital system, is a big improvement. Psychiatric imprisonment isn’t only a big swindle, it’s constitutionally unsound as well, but as long as it’s the law, some people will need a way around it. Other types of ‘safe houses’ are a good idea, too, but, in some cases, without the sort of history that you have with Soteria houses, perhaps even more difficult to set up.

  • As I’ve been saying, OldHead, the real culprit here is the “mental health” movement. The “mental health” movement would impose it’s version of “mental health” on everybody. The “alternatives” or “recovery” or “peer” movement or whatever is part of this “mental health” movement. Should the “mental health” movement ever stop trying to impose “mental health” on everybody, where is the problem?

    It’s not just a matter of psychiatrists serving as the high priests of the “mental health” religion, not when you have so many evangelicals out there pitching for the system.

  • It is hardly ‘irrelevant’ to point to the fact that Soteria houses are less expensive than state hospitals. The biggest difference is that state hospitals are literally prisons, and Soteria houses aren’t prisons, so why pay so much for a prison, and a prison that houses people who have broken no laws.

    I fully concur when it comes to some of the things you are saying about the business aspects of psychiatry, and the circulation of money. Establish any kind of institution, and then, because of the business bureaucratic end of it, they become almost impossible to eradicate. After all, this institution or that puts bacon on the table of a number of households.

    I think. however, that moral principals have to kick in at some point, that is, you don’t have to aid and abet these murderers (i.e. psychiatry in collusion with big pHarma and the government) when you can oppose them.

  • “Don’t waste any time in mourning. Organize.”
    ~Joe Hill to big Bill Haywood

    Let it be remembered that Thomas Szasz was certainly better than all talk and no action. Firmly committed to ending coercive psychiatry he was instrumental in organizing the American Association for the Abolition of Involuntary Mental Hospitalization hat existed during the 1970s. When that organization folded, he joined together with the Church of Scientology in co-founding the Citizens Commission on Human Rights which is still very much in existence today. Psychiatry, and the entire “mental health” movement, are very organized, and if we expect to get anywhere against them, we’re going to have to do some organizing of our own.

  • I tend to think this co-optation is tied up with the corruption of psychiatry through pharmaceutical companies conflict of interest. It’s a system not only corrupt at the top, it’s corrupt from top to bottom.

    Although it would be a stretch to call the checks that come of some of these positions bribes, I’ve heard of a man becoming wealthy operating a “peer specialist” training program. Attaining a fortune training “mental health” treatment workers doesn’t strike me as a very socially “healthy” thing to do. More “mental health” workers requiring more “mental patients”. Getting people out of the system is not what this business, as a rule, achieves. Sometimes what it achieves is a further medicalization of ordinary life.

  • Government money has done more to co-opt the movement than anything else. Financial dependence is one thing, financial dependence on the government another. Financial independence, well, I’m not sure I’d call that working for the government. There’s another interpretation of financial independence, too, and that’s as “mentally healthy” behavior.

    SAMHSA is a government agency, and that’s just one reason I’d have to be leery of it. SAMHSA is where these grants come from for funding alternatives. I don’t tend to look at working for the “mental health” system, that is, the “mental illness” industry, as any more independent than than I do entering the system as a “patient”/prisoner. With a broader interpretation of madness, employing more professional staff, including ex/patients, medicalization tends to increase, and this is not looking at the reasons the government might have for suppressing people through funding (funding and drugs).

  • Your post is titled, Who Gets to Define “Peer Support?”, and this illustrates only part of the problem. Take the much bandied about term “co-optation”. We talk about the corruption of psychiatry and big pHarma, but we don’t do much talking about what this “co-optation” at another level really consists of, and that is the corruption of the psychiatric survivor movement. Where the ex-patient movement becomes an ex-patient “mental health” worker movement a lot of lines are being blurred. I’ve met so many “peers” who have not had the state hospital experience, in the “peer” system, that I see this as a bizarre matter of further expanding the “mental health” system, on top of merely drumming up business for the “mental illness” industry. I’ve ran into a number of, as one should expect, “peer” workers who are going to school and majoring in psychology as well. Obviously, this is a path that is not likely to lead to de-medicalization. Medicalization is expansion of the “mental illness” industry (between the last quotations marks substitute, disability, helping services, service, etc). It’s time to take the movement underground, and in the process of doing so, to oppose this “peer” “mental health” treatment worker thing, and the entire “mental health” movement that helped to engender it.

    “Peer”, given the “peer staff model” that you mention, is on it’s way to becoming specialist jargon. I wouldn’t identify as a “peer” in the first place because I find the term insulting. “Peers’ are “peers” with “ex/patients”, they are not “peers” with any “professional staff”. What we need is “peer certificate” and “psychology degree” toilet paper. I wish somebody would get the idea, and make a novelty item of that sort, and then market it.

  • We can’t de-mystify a religion pretending to be science. What religion doesn’t thrive on mystification? We must expose the scientific pretenses of the field for what they are, pretenses. A medical field that tends to non-medical conditions is fraudulent in so far as it does so.

    Part of exposing it’s lack of science is a matter of exposing the religion implicit in it. What is the problem with, what most religions contain, ‘creation myths’? Basically, they are stories invented to explain a phenomenon that have very little foundation in the facts, something for which there is very little evidence.

    The cardinal belief of the “mental health” movement is in “mental illness”. “Biological markers” are a part of this mythology. Real diseases are physical. No problem. Definite markers should be discernible somewhere. Metaphoric diseases, like “mental illnesses”, are figures of speech. Big problem. It’s like saying the mountain has a tumor.

  • Would better parenting have prevented such “monsters” as the ones we are considering from arising? I would certainly hope so, but when the focus is on “therapy” this thing has sort of gone full circle. Are we talking “family counseling” or something else? There, you see, it’s doubtful things would have been much different because they hadn’t received “counseling” when they were young. We’ve got one of those hypothetical for instances, and with “therapy” today the way it is, I tend to think things more often than not go from bad to worse instead of the other way around.

  • I think the problem of the forcible incarceration of lunatics arose before the medical specialty assigned to “treat” and “cure” them. I don’t think you end such force by ending that medical specialty because I don’t think the medical specialty is the source of the problem, not when the problem is forcible incarceration.

    Replace civil commitment to an asylum/hospital with something resembling house arrest, and you might begin to see the problem. That’s where things are going and it’s a very scary 1984ish type of direction.

    On the one side you’ve got this call for alternatives sabotaging the demand to end forced treatment, and on the other side you’ve got this throwing all the blame on psychiatry doing the same thing. Before getting around to ending the profession of psychiatry, if indeed that is our aim, we are going to have to confront the issue of power and force. Psychiatry is harmful, surely, but, and this is the issue, there is a difference between a person who consents to receive harmful treatment because that person has been duped, and a person who is harmed against that person’s will and wishes. Eliminate force, and you free the second category of humanity; eliminate psychiatry, and I can’t really say whether or not, at this point, you’ve freed either.

  • I think you’re kind of sensationalizing if you want to know the truth of the matter. Here we’ve got these “moral monsters” as you call them, and in a sense, here again is another version of the “violence card” being played.

    Thomas Szasz would point out that where you have no plainly discernible “illness”, in a physical sense, therapy, whether by electric shocks, drugs, or talk, is the wrong word to use. The government, in such instances, has used something that, although it has never been referred to as such, could conceivably be called “water board” therapy.

    I also think blaming the Olympic molester and the torturing parents on sadomasochism is an insult to respectable sadomasochists everywhere. There is such a thing, and you point this out, as stepping over the line, and in both cases, that line had been crossed. We’re not talking about sexual play or illness, we’re talking about criminality, wrong doing.

    The problems we are discussing are human, no doubt, but “therapy” via neurtoxin, electrocution, or talk, is not a solution. Not only is it not a solution, but it is a lie. Say a person is caught up in a bad drama, a tragedy, what you do is hire a new playwright, and change those circumstances, transforming the tragic into a romance or a comedy. I think that talk can help. I’m not denying that, but not so much as action, and neither talk nor action would I refer to as “therapy”.

    We don’t have a “sick” Olympic gym trainer, nor do we have “sick” parents, we have criminals. We don’t have “sick” victims of this gym trainer and those parents, we have wronged victims. The things we are dealing with here have to be faced, and duly dealt with. Transforming healthy people into artificially “sick” and “injured” “invalids” is no solution. Treating criminals only leads to further oppression, and then people within the “mental health” system become implicated by association. Need I add that that can’t be a good thing.

  • I wouldn’t consider it thorough by any means so long as it doesn’t have anything dealing with ECT. Like neurotoxins, ECT is thought of as “medicine”, as “therapy”. I imagine the rates of ECT use have gone up as well over the last few years. If this “integrated care” does anything, it should endeavor to protect people from harm due to electroshock, too.

  • I have a little problem with the whole schema here, Ron. The first approach is the traditional approach, the enlightenment meets madness, and finds it convenient to segregate and exclude. In the second instance, Freud has stepped into the picture, the unconscious is mentioned, and a little more method is “found” to this madness, but the prejudicial enlightenment is still lurking in the background. We have to do something to help these nut-cases see the light of reason, if only in the social sense.

    I had my own “episode/s” on the “psychotic spectrum” as you put it, and I was engaged in my own quasi-philosophical quasi-religious struggle and dialectical inquiry, that is to say, I was pretty delusional. Hegel, in fact, figured pretty prominently in some of my delusions. Ultimately, with a lot of help from the “mental health” system, philosophy won the day. I don’t mean by “help” that the “mental health” system was particularly helpful. I do mean by “help” that I realized that the role of “mental patient” didn’t serve me very well, and I didn’t want to make a career out of it. Let’s just say that the penal role of psychiatry convinced me that it wasn’t a direction that I wanted to pursue.

    Of course, there’s a lot of folly in the world, and some of it has to do with the blind side of reason, it’s answer to folly, but either way, were I a more religious man, I’d be seeing endless folly. Why? Wisdom isn’t innate, wisdom is acquired. I wouldn’t make too much of the blind side of reason, any more than I would make much of the blind side of folly, be it this hyper(un)consciousness of unreason, or something else.

  • Well, actually ‘shutting down’ isn’t such a bad idea when you consider that we’re doing nothing but going in the opposite direction, that is, expanding the “mental health” system, and “mental health” system expansion equals an epidemic of “mental illness” so-called. My feeling is that less is more in so many ways where “mental health” is concerned. The real problem is economic dependence, and it is hardly being addressed, however, accompanying the problem of economic dependence are all the careers that have developed to accommodate such economic dependence. We’re better off with less accommodating, that is, we’d be better off with more economic independence.

  • I disagree, Ron. The reason there are approaches that do more harm than good in the first place is because such “care” began as incarceration. The problem with our “care” today is that it feeds the “mental illness” industry. In other words, “mental health” treatment is always a euphemism for “mental illness” treatment. “Mental health” doesn’t require any “care”. Accept people as they are, and you get rid of all that.

    Nursery school for repeat adult child nursery school flunkies? I don’t know, Ron. I’d think there should come a point when people can leave that kind of thing behind them.

    My big beef right now is how all this talk about getting more government funding for alternatives expands the “mental illness” system, and works against, abolishing force and protecting human rights. You’ve got “peer” agency bureaucrats who are as cynical as any psychiatrist. Along those lines, I’ve got to look a little aslant at you sometimes.

  • The “Fraud of Mental Health Treatment”, it must be like planting an mirage, or “The Fiction of Mental Illness”. Mental illness isn’t a fraud, it’s a premise and a theory, a complaint, and/or the cardinal belief of a certain pernicious religion. The medical treatment of non-medical conditions is fraud. To say much fiction is derived from truth, sure, but fiction doesn’t make it real. Were we to separate the truth from the non-truth, well, doing so doesn’t pay now does it? Thomas Szasz does a lot of separating the fiction from the reality, but doing so doesn’t support the business end of selling diagnoses and drugs, the main factor involved here. The other side of this matter are all those economic dependents that this kind of system manufactures and manages. Now we’ve got this entire service industry that has grown up around the idea of managing the under employed, be they homeless or diagnosed. You’ve got service industry careerists who realize they can’t get these people “healthy” (i.e. employed) without jeopardizing their own careers, therefore, it is convenient to pin it down to “the human condition”, and claim that it would be impossible to do so.

  • We’re selling “mind sickness” diagnoses and drugs, their “treatments”, as well as government and insurance company subsidies to pay for that “treatment”. Want to claim one? Doctors have become redundant. All you need is a machine. “Mind sickness” is a hot item.

  • I don’t think a socialist revolution is any more likely to end psychiatry than I think death likely to put a person in a place called Heaven. Ending psychiatry should be on the socialist agenda, sure, but it isn’t. If you could manage to put it there, Richard, that would be something, but you’re just one person. As is, when dealing with proselytizers like you, sure, whatever you say, but when dealing with everybody else, we’ve got two separate and very different struggles going on here.

  • You’re edging awfully close to “behavioral addictions”, such things as “internet addiction”, “sex addiction”, “gambling addiction”, etc., and, need I say, I don’t think so.

    I tend to think the thing that makes these non-addictive behaviors addictive is being added to the DSM’s catalogue of “diseases”. People who believe, you might have noticed, believe with all their heart. It’s this belief that feeds the “mental illness” industry.

  • I’m not arguing with the fact that there are people who over eat, and that there are people eat themselves to death. I’ve said as much. I would however argue that over eating is not a disease, and that it is a matter of choice. I mean…Russian roulette is more direct and faster. There’s a choice involved there, too. I’m not saying it’s easy. You don’t have a victim where there’s a choice, or, if you do, it’s a matter of the victim being at the same time the one who victimizes. When force is applied (i.e. one is being force fed to excess), there is no choice, and that’s different. The trauma excuse? Please, I’ve heard them all.

  • I have a hard time, among the many fabricated “diseases” in the DSM, thinking something some doctor came up with as late as 1959, that only got into the DSM in 2013, could be very real.

    We’ve always had “binge eating disorder”, only in former times it was known as feasting. We’ve always had “anorexia nervosa”, only in former times it was known as fasting. Fasting and feasting taken to extremes can kill you.

    Obesity is now a “medical condition”. (Atypical neuroleptics are listed as one of the many contributing factors in our epidemic of obesity.) What is the cause of obesity? Over eating. Funny thing, there’s no “over eating disorder”, huh? Still, obesity is unhealthy, and it regularly kills people.

  • “Islamophobia is an intense fear or hatred of, or prejudice against, the Islamic religion or Muslims, especially when seen as a geopolitical force or the source of terrorism.”

    “One early use cited as the term’s first use is by the painter Alphonse Étienne Dinet and Algerian intellectual Sliman ben Ibrahim in their 1918 biography of Islam’s prophet Muhammad. Writing in French, they used the term islamophobie. Robin Richardson writes that in the English version of the book the word was not translated as “Islamophobia” but rather as “feelings inimical to Islam”. Dahou Ezzerhouni has cited several other uses in French as early as 1910, and from 1912 to 1918.”


  • We’ve got mental health court, so-called, here in Florida, too, and I absolutely agree with you. Thomas Szasz talked about a need to separate medicine from government, however that doesn’t resolve the problem, so pressing of late, of non-affordable health care. I don’t have all the answers. I think we do have to do something about this governmental intrusion into all aspects of the lives of private citizens, something the mental health system does majorly.

  • If there were fewer adult babies in the world there would be less of a need for adult baby sitters. I think an adult baby sitting system and industry, what we’ve got, is something we don’t need. As far as I see it, it is a threat to human rights as it is, that is, treating adults like children only encourages more treating adults like children, and one thing children don’t have are the civil liberties of adults. Not only do I think the adult baby sitting business is not good for adults, but I don’t think it is particularly good for children either as it encourages parents to maintain a hold over their children longer than is necessary in many cases.

    The psychiatric survivor movement, at least at the beginning, had two primary goals: 1. ending forced treatment and protecting human rights, and 2. creating alternatives to the system that employed force and violated those rights. The problem in time has become that in the realization of goal # 2 goal # 1 has become compromised, and practically suppressed. In the necessity of working with the conventional mental health system in order to establish alternatives people have grown increasingly dismissive of the demand for ending force that they once had. I think # 1 the more important of the two goals, and I have little regard for, and see little need of, goal # 2, especially if it’s going to, as it has done in the past and as it is doing a present, cancel out goal # 1.

  • Myth comes from mythos, Greek for story. Should you start believing those stories, you’ve got a religion. Should you cease believing them, you’ve got a dead religion. Either way, you’ve got a lot of superstition. Stories may contain truths.

    Truth comes from the Germanic, it means ‘having good faith’. Deriving perhaps from ‘tree’.

    Skeptic, derives from the Greek word meaning ‘inquiring, reflective’, and related to a word meaning ‘to reflect, look, view’, and further ‘to observe’.

    Let see. What does myth relate to…Oh, yeah. Tall tale, and every tall tale is a whopper.

  • It’s a very good point you make about neurotoxins causing the very things they were presumably developed to manage. My experience was that they made me madder, or at least more confused, than when I was off them, and so it was relatively easy for me to quit. I wasn’t going to continue to take drugs that were so obviously harmful.

    There are people who claim that the drugs work for them in maintaining their stability, but there is a big question as to whether or not this feeling that the drugs work for them isn’t a entirely subjective view of matter, not supported by the evidence. Certainly, the system itself takes all sort of pains to convince people to adhere to a neurotoxin regimen regardless of what the science says.

    I see the system itself as trying to run something that resembles re-education camps for anybody who would be in-compliant and refuse treatment, in other words, the only real out, as I see it, is outside the system.

  • James Holmes was a student majoring in neuroscience, and he was reading about psychiatry and “mental disorders”, and it must have affected him deeply. Just imagine, you have one of these horrible things these doctors are telling you about. What do you do?

    He sought “help” for anxiety, and received SSRI antidepressants. He even told his doctor about his murderous feelings, perhaps induced by the neurotoxins in his system.

    1. Maybe his professors could have been teaching him something else besides how bad they think “mental disturbances”.
    2. There’s a good chance the antidepressants had a lot to do with his killing spree.

    Yep, the “mental health” system is in danger of manufacturing many more such “monsters”.

  • Thank you for writing your articles. I think it is important to be able to bring philosophy into the picture, and with it, to look at the definition of what we may be dealing when we say a person has a “mental disorder”, or “problems”, or “distress”, or is “traumatized”.

    I have to see this matter of madness or “mental disorders” from a historical perspective and, therefore, the thinker that I have turned to the most is Michel Foucault. History of Madness (2006, trans. Jean Khalfa), not Madness and Civilization, the earlier truncated translation of the same book from the 1970s, is really worth reading if anybody wants to go there.

    Foucault saw institutional incarceration of the mad beginning on any sort of scale to speak of with the advance of the enlightenment. The enlightenment was all about reason, and as madness was essentially unreason, something had to be done about the unreasonable, even if it meant the reasonable had to be unreasonable about it. Prior to the dawn of the enlightenment, a dialogue existed between reason and folly/madness, and locking them up was not any sort of priority. Afterwards, you’ve got the private madhouse business, and the asylum building frenzy. In this early book Foucault is studying this relationship to madness/folly/”mental illness” as a matter of social exclusion. Later, when he looks at correctional institutions, his concerns shift to that of power relations.

    I think as important as these definitions are, they exist within a historical context, and that it is important to look at it from that angle, the angle of the history of ideas, as well.

  • I see a need to protect people from unwanted treatment, I don’t see a need to “provide” it. As for alternative treatment, would there be an alternative treatment if it wasn’t for “standard practice” or sheer force, that is, state sanctioned violence directed against scapegoats labeled “mentally ill”? Not wanting treatment myself I don’t know what your talking about. Anyway, no treatment works for me.

  • Look, OldHead, there are a heck of a lot of careerists out there in the “disability” or “peer support” field. Careerism is NOT about abolishing the system. Careerism is about making it more entrenched and expanding it. One thing this careerism doesn’t do any better than the system it is a part of is get people out of that system. Realistically, any 24/7 job in the system serves the system more than it serves fighting that system. Certainly that is the case until the system stops expanding, this phony “mental illness” pandemic we’ve got going on today, and starts contracting. It doesn’t contract as long as corrupt “peers” want to go into the “mental illness” selling business.

  • I remember talking to the head of psychiatric department at a University about how many people took their emotional crises to the emergency room of the University hospital a year. The figure he gave me was something like 2500. I don’t know how to resolve this situation, but I don’t think the emergency room is the right place to take your non-medical emergencies. My feeling is that if it weren’t for forced treatment we wouldn’t be there in the first place but, who knows, maybe I’m wrong.

  • I’ve seen news stories of a patient gunning down his psychiatrist, but I’ve never heard of anybody who called themselves antipsychiatry encouraging that kind of thing.

    The psychiatric system is very violent. It abducts, imprisons, restrains, tortures, poisons, and kills. That anybody would react to that sort of violence with violence should come as a surprise to nobody.

  • So-called “voluntary” treatment, given the threat of civil commitment, isn’t voluntary at all in reality, it’s a lying underhanded plea bargain. The idea is go in voluntarily, or they, the mental health authorities, will commit you. If you go in voluntarily you might not get as much time as if they have to commit you. I was given the choice once, and I said I wasn’t going in voluntarily, thus I went in involuntarily.

  • I’m an anti-authoritarian myself, OldHead, so we’re not talking bosses.

    What conference?

    I’m saying we need something beyond and outside of MIA otherwise you’ve either got that or NOTHING.

    I was agreeing with Julia26 who was acknowledging the limits of talking rather than doing, and with Steve on the same subject. This agreeing doesn’t have anything to do with any other comment made by her or anybody else.

    It’s not enough to talk antipsychiatry, people must do antipsychiatry, too. Otherwise, what have you got? Obviously, all talk and no action.

  • There are 36,000 plus psychiatrists in the APA. The media, psychiatrists, and others are incessantly complaining that new psychiatrists are not being trained quick enough, and that, in their view, we need more. There are, as you would imagine, going to be fewer top predators than anything lower on the totem pole. There are 117,500 psychologists in the other APA. Tell me when psychologists and social workers have ever done anything except collude with psychiatrists. I would call most of them predators, too. Black hat, white hat, gray hat. Okay, whatever? Beyond the “mental health” treatment system, you’ve got no hat. What do I mean? Well, we’ve got these ‘not ready for’ real life ‘players’, and we’ve got people who are into ‘real life’. The “mental health” game is pretty phony. I’m done with dress rehearsals myself.

  • I think this kind of thing would create it’s own civil liberty issues. I’m not sure prohibition, outlawing, would work, especially since we’re dealing with religion, not legitimate science.

    Abolish forced treatment, and the kind of things psychiatrists (and their mental health treatment lackeys) do today become criminal, the way they are with any other private citizen.

    If you don’t take on the community mental health system, you don’t accomplish much. I think we need to get rid of the community mental health system as it is only an extension of the state hospital system, when it isn’t somebody’s excuse for why we can’t completely abolish that system, and an impediment to deinstitutionalization, as in my view, it is a form of re or transinstitutionalization.

    The public mental health system is the problem. Psychiatrists in private practice? I don’t see a problem there.

  • In that case, thank you for bringing it up. Drug companies profit enormously from the development, manufacture, and selling of neurotoxins. Neurotoxins used to control troubling behaviors. Neurotoxins that maim and kill. The drug companies have made so much, in fact, that they have weathered some of the most costly civil suits and out of court settlements in human history. Unscrupulous doctors need to be held accountable, and prosecuted criminally by courts of law over the matter. Getting to the drug companies themselves, we’re still working on that one. If you rank a certain rating on Wall Street, it’s hard to get people to notice that you’re also a mass murderer.

  • If you wanted a, perhaps, abbreviated history of the “mental health” movement you might try the MHA (Mental Health America) website. It is the movement begun by Clifford Beers way back in 1908 and then referred to as the “mental hygiene” movement. The MHA and NAMI are organizational examples of the “mental health” movement in action.

  • I agree with Uprising that we all take different positions essentially, and so there is no consensus, except perhaps in the most general sense. Also, and as an illustration of this very fact, I don’t think the idea of dismantling the “mental health” system is outside of the scope of antipsychiatry. I would argue for dismantling the system, and I guess that’s where I might take issue with a few other people here.

    I think the “mental health” movement needs to be opposed. It is not a “mental health” movement in reality, it is a “mental health” treatment movement. The first requisite for so called “mental health” treatment is a diagnostic label, and so it isn’t a “mental health” movement so much as it is a “mental illness” movement. People who are deemed “mentally healthy” don’t receive “mental health” treatment, or rather, people who have not been caught in some compromising situation, are not labeled, and don’t receive “treatment”. The way out of labeling, harmful treatments, etc., is, obviously, through ceasing to “consume” treatment.

  • The only way to abolish the “mental health” system (i.e. the “mental illness” industry) is to abolish it. Life is a risk I’m quite willing to take.

    10,000 years is not progress. 10,000 years, if you were to follow a graph at the foot of a bed, would be a mountain range. Should any valley dip below a certain point, the patient has died.

  • If antipsychiatry is psychiatric nihilism it is only because psychiatry is nihilism to begin with, and so it could be said to be anti-nihilism. In the same way in which you make your statement about nihilism, antipsychiatry is often accused of being extreme. While antipsychiatry is accused of being extreme, I see locking innocent people up in prisons called hospitals as extreme. I also see a treatment that involves maiming and killing people with toxic chemicals as extreme. The same criticism goes for seeing electrically induced epileptic seizures as therapy. It’s not therapy, it’s brain damage.

    Unlike many of those who call themselves antipsychiatry, I don’t single out psychiatry for attack. Psychiatry has been aided and assisted at every step by the allied fields of psychology and social work. If there are termination slips to be handed out, when it comes to these psychiatric nihilists and extremists, they must cover these allied fields as well.

    Institutional psychiatry, although it would not be referred to as such, let us call it incarceration of the insane, arose sometime during the latter half of the 17th century. It has done nothing except grow exponentially ever since. With it has grown the numbers of people killed and injured by its practices. If we are going to stop injuring people, we have to do something about the power of these psychiatrists, as well as psychologists and social workers, their partners in crime. Were it kaput, so much for the business, and very big business at that, of fabricating illness that you can turn by chemical and electrical means into real illnesses.

    What is at work when non-illnesses are taken for real illnesses? Medicalization. Right now the “mental health” cops accuse approaching 25 % of the population of having a “mental illness”. Okay. Nobody has a “mental illness”! Minds don’t get ill, bodily organs get ill. Right now psychiatric intervention (scapegoating) is a global response to social problems that only creates a bigger problem in the end, namely, this monstrosity of a bureaucracy that you, Robert Nikkel, are going out of your way to defend. With that kind of pork cut, we’d all be a lot better off.

  • If you read what I wrote, Dragon Slayer, the gist of it was that the movement should take place elsewhere. MIA is not, and never was, antipsychiatry. Want to oppose psychiatry? Start your own organization. Throw up your own website. Start your own blog. You can still get your article out there before people, if that’s what you want to do. You don’t need MIA for that.

  • I don’t see the antipsychiatry movement as synonymous with the psychiatric survivor movement. This creates a problem. Where should who be in this movement is problematic. OldHead talks about the PS (psychiatric survivor) or PI (psychiatric Inmate) or PO (psychiatric outmate) playing a leadership role. Okay. I see mental health professionals as mostly colluding with psychiatry, however Richard is a mental health professional who is against psychiatry. So is Philip Hickey. Bonnie Burstow is an academic, but not a survivor. There are various survivor/professionals here as well who call themselves antipsychiatry. I don’t think these issues are anything that could be easily resolved, and I think we are going to have to work together if we want to get anywhere on them. Anyway, you still have the mental patients’ (user/consumer) (non-liberation) movement that supports psychiatry. That’s the other side of the matter. Career mental patient, and career mental health treatment worker, are still options. The “mental illness” industry has it’s “advocates”, stake holders, promoters, etc. The medicalization business chugs on. I think we need to expose the lot of them for the fraudsters and fakes that they are, and change this situation.

  • Thomas Szasz opposed deinstitutionalization (Above, it’s not happening, right?) in favor of ‘adult orphan asylums’. Of course, with coercive non-consensual treatment outlawed.

    ‘Adult orphan asylum’? Really? I dunno…I’m also not going there.

    I don’t think you’d have people so institutionalized that they wouldn’t leave if the doors were thrown open without having had institutionalized forced treatment first.

  • I don’t think the dash means that much, OldHead. Usually with a dash would mean the word with the prefix hasn’t been in circulation that long while without the dash would indicate it had been around a little longer and that it was more generally accepted.

    Thomas Szasz had this antipathy to what he saw as collectivism. Collectivism which he associated with communism. Communal living situations in Szasz book (Kingsley Hall/Soteria Houses) seem to be taboo. They are, however, not nearly so taboo in my own book. I have problems with the Szasz brand of shopfront psychoanalysis myself.

    In my view this mess began with institutionalized treatment. Get rid of the institution, and everything else will take care of itself. Thomas Szasz is right about one thing though, today when they’ve got these people saying, no, you can’t get rid of the institution, we need supports. You end up with this extension of the state institution, the mini-institutions within the locality (group homes, assisted living facilities, day hospitals, clubhouses, etc.). There is no getting rid of institutional psychiatry so long as you have the community mental health system, the localized extension of the state hospital system.

  • I keep talking about the need for a specifically antipsychiatry organization, website, the works. So long as that doesn’t exist, these arguments, Dragon Slayer, are taking place where general criticism of psychiatry is the routine, and outright opposition, the periphery. On a comment above I was talking about the subjects of conversation among people at the dinner table. It must be remembered that here at MIA, some of us are the guests, and some of us are the hosts. When political systems come into the discussion, there are going to be disagreements. I think you can respect the fact that people have differences of opinion, and respect those differences. This wholesale condemnation of a differing ideological position won’t take us anywhere, and as we’ve already exhausted the subject, going forward is just going to rattle people a bit more. Remember the cold war? We don’t need another at MIA.

  • “Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allen Poe.”
    ~I Am The Walrus, Lennon and McCartney

    I remember these discussions among the literati about the poet they’d invite to dinner, and the ones that wouldn’t receive such an invitation. John Keats was the name mentioned the most for the one with the invite. Algernon Swinburne, by more than one, as one who would be passed over. I don’t like pretentious, unfair, loaded, and one sided arguments of this type.

    It’s too late for me to have any sort of a conversation with Jeffrey Dahmer, and as for Michael Savage, I don’t expect the matter to come up. I hope you find that a satisfactory answer to such hypothetical suggestions.

  • Basically, Dragon Slayer, I think it’s alright to agree to disagree, and I think it’s alright to agree to agree. In fact, I think we need to respect each others differences because we know we aren’t going to change them come what may. We disagree on political issues, sure, we did before going into this matter. If we agree to agree about psychiatry, there you go, that’s something. Anything more would be too much to expect.

  • A certain Julius Caesar was taken up with the exploits of a certain Alexander the not so Great. And then there was Napoleon. And then there was Hitler. That’s the Western angle. If it weren’t for Judaeo-Christian Greco-Roman hegemony, I could throw in Genghis Khan. This is your might makes rightwing view of the matter.

    Still there’s a reason why slavery is getting attention on archeological digs, and in culture these days. Some non-slaves are the descendants of slaves. I don’t think interest in the history of buried asylum inmates though has gotten past the Halloween spook house and the theme park stage yet.

    Enjoy, if possible, the couch.

  • Some of these explorers mentioned in your article, too wordy for me, were conquistadors. The point is the west was opened up for exploitation by Columbus and his ilk. Remember Mahatma Gandhi. The same sort of imperialist expansion created the Victorian empire of which India was at one time a part. We were a colony once, and we rebelled. Algeria was colony, and it rebelled. South Africa, Mozambique, etc., etc. I wouldn’t be so down on multiculturalism as I would be on mono-culturalism. Nationalism has always employed the worst of human nature in its service, and American exceptionalism is nothing but a big fat lie.