Comments by Magdalene D'Silva, BA/LLB, LLM, MA

Showing 100 of 106 comments. Show all.

  • Well done Daniel Mackler

    As I am not a ‘psy-professional’ and am not a Mad in America staff writer (I’m not a therapist or any other form of ‘psy professional’ as many, most or all of Mad in America’s own staff writers-editors might be….?),

    ****I invite all readers of Mad in America to listen to the song below by the late and great Amy Winehouse – and perhaps insert the word ‘therapy’ in place of the word ‘rehab’ – and then, sing along to it 🙂

    This is my last comment for MIA at this time.
    Signing off

    Magdalene D’Silva 1 Nov 2022

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  • Dear Peter

    Thanks for drawing attention to this important and timely doctoral research by Luise Kazda at the University of Sydney.

    One trusts that you/MIA staff might seek to contact the lead author Luise Kazda, for a podcast interview on her research.

    *Amongst other questions you might ask in any future interview podcast – is whether university academics around the world, who are currently conducting human research on children already ‘diagnosed’ with ‘ADHD’ – need to undergo another (urgent) ethics committee check, for a risk that such research has caused or is causing now – disproportionate harm to child research participants who may have been misdiagnosed/over-diagnosed with ‘ADHD’ (so responsible decisions can be made as to whether such university research ought to approved or discontinued etc.)


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  • Jim – excellent article and great points.

    **What are your thoughts on (major) law firms hiring psychologists to work inside the law firm itself and encouraging its own lawyers/firm-partners, to talk to them?

    Indeed, what are your views on a somewhat long-term trend of psychiatrists-psychologists advising lawyers, the judiciary, law firms and the legal profession at large, on how to (diagnose) and manage: their stress, their own legal practice careers, their associates-partners lawyers and client-legal services?


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  • “….. Problems in living can become so debilitating and impairing that people are unable to function in a healthy way and are severely ill….”

    **Could you perhaps give some examples of what you consider to be ‘acceptable functioning in a healthy way’, that are not based on social norms, political-economic requirements and culture?

    With many thanks

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  • *Is psychiatry’s dilemma about resisting its own professional death and the loss of: face, career, status, legitimacy, power, respect, gravitas, raison d’être and prestige?

    Psychiatry’s dilemma might be similar to the lawyer’s/legal profession’s dilemma?

    e.g. ).

    *Or does Mad in America provide a forum for DSM-5 psychiatry to continue to revive itself?

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  • Dear Shiloh (if I may),

    Thank you for sharing your account publicly with MIA readers.

    *Are you able to perhaps also share, some details about your early childhood and the nature of your relationship/bond, with your mother and your father, when you were growing up?

    Could you share, for example, how you recall each of your parents/other care-givers responded to and treated you, when unexpected stressors occurred that upset you, when you were a child?

    With many thanks again for your sharing your story


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  • Dear Cathy (if I may),

    Thanks for sharing your account and for creating this opportunity for public discussion on such an important issue.

    I note your personal account above, starts in your 20s as an adult.

    Apart from saying, ‘….Events occurred that triggered memories of my troubled childhood…’ you don’t seem to explain what actually happened in your childhood and with your parents?

    *Is there a reason for this omission?

    Noting the work of the late Alice Miller and now today, the excellent books by Lindsay Gibson PsyD – is there a possibility that some or many people might ‘self-harm’ due to a deep seated inner-self disconnection, which causes very painful emotional loneliness (a terrifying feeling of death-annihilation) – from having been raised by narcissistic /emotionally immature parents?

    Some might say that the inner-self (psyche) of children who are raised by narcissistic or ’emotionally immature parents’ (Gibson) – was not shown it has a right to exist on earth, to just ‘be’ here without being forced to function, perform, shut down, serve others’ (parents’) emotional or physical needs, including internalised parental/societal pressures to achieve a lofty life-purpose, material accomplishments or ambitious-driven career goals.

    In great despair, some might say that later in adulthood, the inner-self (soul, our ‘true self’) either turns its righteous rage against others, or turns this rage inwards against itself (self-harm).

    This notion of realising our life purpose is ‘not’ to ‘fix’ ourselves (such as with psychiatry), in order to be ‘functional’ so we can chase after a prized career, material accomplishment – but to instead just appreciate the physical experience of being alive on earth – in whatever incarnation and form our life takes – is depicted beautifully in the 2020 Disney-Pixmar movie ‘Soul’.–6c7Hn_A

    The ultimate premise of ‘Soul’ is very different from most American movies; it seems to contain a deeply profound but new philosophy now emerging in our 21st century era.

    (For those who are interested – a similar very popular movie is the 2004 Swedish film, ‘As It Is In Heaven’ :

    *In addition to child abuse (in all its sad terrible forms) – is not being loved unconditionally, felt, seen, understood and nurtured consistently by our parents/early caregivers – appreciated for our simply ‘being here’ – also a terrifying form of early childhood parental trauma that might need to be explored?

    Is self-harm, in some cases, a form of ‘inner-child abuse’?

    If childhood experiences (traumas) are triggered by events in adulthood that lead to ‘self-harm,’ does one’s childhood need to be explored too?

    Narcissistic /emotionally immature parents, for example, might not want to know the underlying ’cause’ of their children’s distressed behaviour (tears, crying, tantrums, self-harm etc.) – they may instead prefer an ‘authoritarian/totalitarian’ approach which is to just ‘stop it’ (such as by sending their children to psychiatrists?).

    Is there a risk that wanting to ‘stop self-harm’, is unwittingly ‘authoritarian’ (perhaps like authoritarian parenting experienced in early childhood for some people in some cultures that pride ‘stoicism’, for example) which seeks similarly, to control, censor and repress the soul’s correct and sane ‘cry for help’ – the trauma distress response of the inner- true self: the inner-child?

    Thanks again for this discussion.

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  • I E Cox, you raise a valid point.

    In this interesting recent interview with British journalist Maajid Nawaz, he suggests that tyrannical and/or Communist regimes – are threatened by spirituality, for this reason:

    “….If you don’t have a spiritual grounding then there’s a void, and that void is filled by the State. Your morality then gets defined by the State…”

    Noting the marriage between state and mental health (psychiatry/psychology) is the spiritual void being filled by – neoliberal psychiatry and materialistic/neoliberal spiritually stripped psychoanalysis?

    The work of Bruce Cohen (who has been reviewed for Mad in America: – looked at how mental health has become the new ‘opium of the people’ under neoliberal capitalism.

    So, it would be equally interesting to see whether ‘social psychoanalysis’ will consider or discuss:

    – spirituality and;
    – the difference or distinction between materialistic/atheistic and religious psychoanalysis zeitgeists that deny or reject the spiritual, and psychoanalysis zeitgeists that are founded in or which recognise the spiritual?

    Thank you for this interview and for the insightful commentary discussion above.

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  • Dear Gina

    You might find it interesting to learn – that at one point, the current Pope apparently consulted a psychiatrist, himself?

    What does this say about religion and psychiatry?

    Has religion been ‘replaced’ by psychiatry/the secularised mental health industry, in (neoliberal/rentier) capitalist society?

    Does religion/the church actively support DSM mental illness zeitgeists?

    Bruce Cohen has published scholarship on this issue:

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  • This is a concerning development.

    What perhaps needs to be researched and discussed is: why do many people (patients, parents, teachers, courts/lawyers, the medical profession and politicians) seek out and/or comply with or otherwise accept – DSM diagnoses?

    Are there incentives?
    Do the incentives differ, for different groups of people?
    Is it time to focus on uncovering all incentives, both conscious and potentially unconscious?

    Thank you for this article post.

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  • This is an important article.

    The rise of the ‘mental health industry’ under (neoliberal) capitalism, and questions of whether or to what degree it has replaced our previously ‘normal’ human relational bonds of empathy, compassion, kindness connection and care between friends and family – has been the subject of research and critique by social scientists including:

    Prof Frank Furedi (UK)


    Dr Ashley Frawley (Wales – UK)

    Members of the below international academic network:

    “Popular Psychology, Self-Help Culture and the Happiness Industry”

    Scholars have been critiquing ‘therapy culture’ and the ‘happiness/positive psychology’ industry around the world. Questions include whether mental health/positive psychology narratives, infantilize us which makes us easier to manipulate, control or exploit?

    Other critiques are that ‘vulnerability’ and ‘safety’ narratives/language, may subliminally encourage us to constantly see ourselves as always under threat/at risk (even when we are not).

    Such language/culture can then put people into states of perpetual anxiousness, worry and fear. When you are encouraged to ‘feel unsafe’ constantly, you may then be directed to ‘reach out’ to ‘wellbeing/mental health-wellness’ services.

    The ‘outsourcing’ and ‘medicalising’ of our human relationships and our emotions, to ‘mental health experts’ is a question that certainly warrants more critique and dialogue.

    Thank you for this article and discussion on MIA.

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  • Dear Justin Karter and Ayurdhi Dhar

    It’s noted you are both psychotherapists/psychologists who write and interview for Mad in America, directly.

    Your interview above, within your own discipline, claims, “…The field of psychotherapy is under threat by the neoliberal culture…”

    Yet ‘psychotherapy’ (talking) has long regarded itself as a ‘medical treatment’ has it not, which (first) medicalised our non-medical emotions and distress responses to our social and political environments as a ‘mental health issue’ – well before today’s (neoliberal) hegemony of American biomedical DSM-5 psychiatry?

    You also claim that, “… in therapy, thoughts, feelings, or embodied sensations emerge in an inter-subjective space because the other person is contacting something within themselves that’s powerful that you also feel. They’re also reaching that because of something that you’re able to put into the room (my emphasis). So you get to experience yourself as a relational and open being over time. So if a good psychotherapy process is allowed to unfold, you get to be a different kind of self that our culture keeps telling us we can’t be….”

    *Isn’t this ‘therapy culture’ an inherently neoliberal capitalist practice, itself?

    What type of culture or society, encourages citizens to pay therapists for formally booked and regulated appointments where human conversations are regarded as a medical ‘treatment’ (perhaps for insurance claims purposes?) – in order to experience themselves as a ‘…relational and open being over time…’?

    Therapy, is a financial transaction and thereby a conditional ‘relational experience’ – isn’t it?

    This ‘….different kind of self…’ (?) whatever this means, seems to be an ‘experience’ usually conditional upon one’s ability to afford ongoing transactional payments of a therapist’s fees.

    Transactional human relationships that consist of paying for ‘therapy’ where our human emotions and distress are still, by and large, seen as being ‘treated’ – by a ‘therapist’ who is a regulated licensed ‘professional’ paid for their ’emotional labour’ – might seem to some, to be the very epitome of neoliberal culture?

    When the late Queen Elizabeth II of England lost her husband in 2021, it was reported in mainstream media that she sought solace, as she had done throughout her life – from spiritual counsel in her religious faith, along with support from family and friends.

    There don’t seem to be reports of Her Majesty paying for ‘therapy’ to have a ‘relational experience’?

    By contrast, Prince Harry (a ‘millennial’ raised in the era of America’s (neoliberal) positive psychology happiness movement) – apparently lamented recently, that he never heard of ‘therapy’ while growing up in the Royal Family.

    Is the British Royal Family really so unique?

    Or, have the vast majority of the pre- millennial generation, in countries outside the US, also grown up without ‘therapy culture’ (or mobile phones, social media etc.) – until America exported its (neoliberal) therapy culture, around the world?

    Noting the seminal work of Professor Frank Furedi on ‘Therapy Culture’ – *how do MIA readers know, whether your psychotherapy-psychology field, which arose largely during (and perhaps in support of) the rise of capitalism – is not itself in some way responsible for ushering in and sustaining the very ‘neoliberal culture’ you claim now threatens it?

    Any clarification would be appreciated. Many thanks.

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  • Nicole M’s wrenching account above, sounds like classic textbook ‘narcissistic abuse’.

    If so, an interesting book readers might consider, is ‘You Can Thrive After Narcissistic Abuse’ by Melanie Tonia Evans in Australia.

    Otherwise, tend to agree with IE Cox’ comments above.

    Rather than reforming the ‘mental health system’ it might be better to jettison it entirely, and replace it with something new.

    Almost all ‘mental health systems’ are linked inherently with DSM-V psychiatric mental disorder medical diagnoses of normal sane trauma responses, which means that anyone experiencing the trauma of abuse, might be more likely than not, to be told they are crazy, ‘sick’ and ‘ill’ by ‘mental health systems,’ as occurred for Nicole M above.

    Instead of being treated as ‘injured’, victims of abuse are arguably maltreated, as if they are ‘sick’ and ‘ill’ when they are not.

    As IE Cox above also rightly observes above, this seems to be the very agenda of perpetrators – to have their disobedient victims diagnosed as ‘mentally ill’ in ‘mental health systems’.

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  • Excellent article. This part of it below, jumps out:

    “…What this tells of is the fundamental difference between psychiatric diagnoses and medical illness. First, that there is no biological test for “mental illness.” In fact, if you have a positive result on any biological test, that means you have a medical disorder—the diagnosis of “mental illness” is excluded…”

    Surely, what this report shows, is that it was the authority figures running this particular mental health system – who were perhaps ‘delusional’ themselves? Were any of this mental health system’s own authority figures, diagnosed and sectioned, for psy-hospitalising, the wrong person?

    The time is surely approaching fast, for citizens and law makers, right around our world, to vote to jettison the DSM-V and abolish all ‘mental health laws’ and ‘mental health policies’ that support the DSM-V (and similar parts of the ICD-10) – in any way.

    First, however, perhaps we ourselves might need to stop turning every citizen into a ‘patient’ by cold turkey quitting this arguably current neoliberal captialist habit of psy-medicalising all our painful, unpleasant and society shamed human feelings and emotions, as ‘mental health issues’.

    Thanks again for writing this report.

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  • Dear Grace

    Thank you for generously sharing your account which sounds incredibly harrowing.

    I am familiar (briefly) with Malaysia/its history and culture.

    Noting the writings of James Davies, Sami Timimi and Joanna Moncrieff et al, I am also interested in the influence of parents/family, political-economy (e.g. neoliberal capitalist policies/laws) and social environment- culture with regard to why people turn to the ‘mental health’ system and DSM Big Pharma biomedical psychiatry (with a focus on implications for professional ethics e.g. legal profession).

    Your account is thus potentially also helpful from a political-economy and socio-cultural perspective.

    You share that your mother seemed to be a constant key figure in your experience as she insisted you see a psychiatrist, sent you to another psychiatrist, then urged you to see a psychiatrist in public hospital. You write that you agreed to do so, because you had no-where else to turn. You also share that, ‘she even asked my husband to open my mouth and force me to swallow each pill.’

    *Are you able to also share a bit more context with MIA readers (including me) about any possible socio-cultural influences on your adult decision to turn to and consent to biomedical psychiatry?

    Some questions below might help generally.

    For example, what influence did your mother-parents/your ancestral (Chinese) culture have had or might still have, on your adult decision to see psychiatrists and agree to prescribed drugs? (Or does your account say that you did not consent but were forced to take pills?)

    Or, what might have happened in your family, if you had refused your mother’s insistence, that you see psychiatrists and ingest psychotropic drugs?

    Do parents in Malaysia, normally insist that their children/adult children, see psychiatrists?

    How are painful emotions regarded in your country/culture and family, and how are medical doctor professionals treated in Malaysian society? (e.g. do people routinely ask their doctor questions, or do they tend to obey medical-doctors unquestioningly, as elite authority figures?)

    Do parents comfort their young children, such as when they cannot sleep (because they are afraid of the dark, have had some bad dreams, are experiencing bullying or other similar issues at school).

    Do parents in your country-culture, show patience, warmth, empathy, presence, unconditional love-acceptance, time and compassion for their children and other fellow adult aged people’s emotional upset, sadness, tears, worry, fear and all other forms of distress?

    Or, do parents and other adult authority figures (e.g. teachers) admonish children and fellow adults’ painful emotions, such as with directions like, ‘don’t cry’? (Is corporal punishment, like caning, administered in Malaysia?).

    Also, you share details of your credentials and career/business achievements.

    Are you able to also share with MIA readers, what pressure (if any) there is in your country-culture, on: ‘achievement,’ career performance (without taking time off such as for physical illness or other unexpected contingencies), work-employment-money, obtaining prestige credentials and material ‘success’? Is there any pressure not to reveal ‘weakness’ or to suppress a need to rest/take time off to recuperate etc.?

    If there is any such pressure, where does that pressure tend to come from? (Parents, employers, teachers, politicians-government, religious or other authority figures, peers, family, communities, oneself)?

    Finally, when you initially consented to see a psychiatrist-doctor because you could not sleep due to feeling emotional worry about your eye, could you share with MIA readers what medical services you expected or hoped to receive from the psychiatrist – for your emotional worry?

    These are just questions which might prompt ideas for you to perhaps share some further context with MIA readers. Rather than reply here, you could instead pen a follow-up blog article for MIA, which considers the above or any other questions that might come to mind?

    Thank you again for sharing your personal account, which hopefully launches an important opportunity for much needed (regulatory) change to prevent such iatrogenic harm being inflicted on other citizens.

    May you find unexpected fortuitous ways to heal and in so doing, gain great wisdom to share with others.

    Best wishes, Magdalene

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  • I am saddened to see this announcement which I have just found today 29 July – not realising that Paula had cancer.

    Paula was most generous and kind to liaise with me directly, all the way over here in Australia, from the US, with regard to shedding light on DSM psychiatry. What an incredible person she was, and who has now left a huge legacy of courageous and indomitable advocacy, and a permanent path forward that will continue to help so many.

    May I and many of us, be inspired by Paula’s phenomenal example of strength and quest for truth in these challenging times.

    Thank you Paula – Magdalene.

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  • Deep respect for you Mr Brown and the incredible heroe’s life journey you have lived – thank you for sharing your story. So many could not have survived as you have done.

    If there was ever a compelling case for an ‘unconditional basic income’ – to end the ‘survivalism’ 24/7 hyper-competitive neoliberal capitalist culture that forces humans to compete against each other, surely this is it?

    It would be powerful to see your life story made into a movie to educate so many – especially those psychiatrists who think the solution is to numb people’s trauma and pain with ‘early Big Pharma drug intervention’.

    Well done Mr Brown and to MIA.

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  • Dear Sam

    Thanks for your insightful comment.

    Are we all ready to ask family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and all authority figures (whoever they might be) – not to psychiatrise our normal human feelings, emotions and distress responses, by no longer referring to them as ‘mental health issues’?

    *What has happened in our nations and societies that so many people have agreed to medically psychiatrise their own and each others’ painful life experiences, emotions and feelings – as ‘mental health conditions’?

    When people come to us with their tears, fears, worries and distress, do we give them a listening compassionate ear, a soothing cup of tea, a hug and say ‘tell me what happened to you’?

    Or do we tell them their upset emotions and feelings of worry and distress are ‘mental health’ issues that require the professional help of: talk therapy ‘treatment’, a doctor or a psychiatrist?

    Thanks again, Magdalene

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  • Dear Tabitha,

    What an incredible, admirable life journey. Well done for writing this important article for Mad in America.

    Your statement is correct in my view. Childhood trauma – is not a mental illness or ‘mental health issue’. Period.

    I do not understand how any child, can be put on psychiatric drugs – without a prior, thorough examination of the family home, the parents/care-givers and the parents’/caregivers’ treatment of the child and all other children in the home/family system (including cousins, children of parents’ friends and others)?

    In line with Kristen’s astute observations above, I wonder whether laws should be introduced across national jurisdictions – banning the psychiatric diagnosing and drugging of any child – without there being first a thorough and independent examination of the family home, parents-caregivers and the relationship of the parents-caregivers with each other and with the child/children, along with any other events (death, homelessness, physical illness, domestic violence, abuse whether it be sexual or otherwise, trauma to pets, relatives, neighbours, teachers, other children, nannies, babysitters etc.)?

    Childhood trauma is said by some, to be experienced whenever adults-parents are not there for us: emotionally, physically, mentally, financially – and then that ‘painful experience’ is not immediately corrected, ceased, soothed and healed at the time or very shortly thereafter (a.k.a ‘parent-attachment’ trauma).

    When the traumatic experience is repeated, daily, for years, the current moniker to describe the after effects (not in the DSM-V) is ‘complex post-traumatic stress.’ (I do not add the word ‘disorder’ because post-traumatic stress ‘is’ the ‘ordered’ proper human response to trauma. If you fall and cut your knee, we do not pathologise the bleeding as ‘post-traumatic bleeding disorder’ etc. It is simply called bleeding due to cutting one’s knee on falling over. To add the word ‘disorder’ seems to create an oxymoron, or en masse gaslighting?)

    According to different authors, childhood trauma especially includes when adults-parents, use (or ‘prey upon’) children as a ‘resource’ (a.k.a ‘narcissistic parenting’ cf. Harry Hendrick 2018) for the parents’/adults’ own ‘self'(ish) survival needs. When children are used to satisfy the parents’ needs (emotional, physical, sexual, financial, mental) rather than parents meeting their child’s needs for safety, security, protection, nurturing – this is highly traumatising for any child (cf. Bessel Van Der Kolk).

    Children should not be psychiatrised with a ‘disorder’ when they experience and display a normal, sane, human distress response to trauma inflicted by adults. It is not for a child to be cajoled and forced to ‘forgive’ and understand the adult-parents’ conduct. Nor is a child to be tricked into believing their distress is ‘all in the mind’ (what and where is the ‘mind’?) or an inherited genetic brain issue that cannot be verified by a scan or other independent objective medical test. Such psychiatry, seems to serve to conceal, deny and protect parental-adult abuse, manipulation, neglect and exploitation of children.

    Or does a materialistic, consumer driven narcissistic neoliberal capitalist society (cf. Anne Manne 2015) which thrives on ‘free market competition’ instead of voluntary, peaceful, human compassion, care and cooperation – need its citizens to be traumatised/exploited as children and then numbed by psychiatry-pharma (and other) drugs, so they become lifelong addicted capitalistic consumers (cf. Dr Gabor Matè et al.)?

    I look forward to reading your book.

    Best wishes,


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  • *An important timely article – thanks for writing it.

    In case it helps further, readers might find the below recent YouTube interviews of interest, as they similarly question the ‘mental health’ zeitgeist and whether it medicalises (and profits from?) citizens’ proper, sane and healthy human distress responses – to an unjust political-economic system?

    Dr Ron Roberts (clinical psychologist-university academic London) in interview with Martin North (Australia) – June 2020

    Dr Ashley Frawley (sociologist Swansea University, Wales) interview with Martin North (Australia) – May 2020.

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  • Dear Erin

    It’s great to hear that your article seems to rightly clarify that mental illness is just an ‘identity’ slapped onto people with DSM labels by DSM psychiatry. It is great to see that you have shed a false ‘mental health’ identity, put on you – by other people and wrongly endorsed by a ‘mental health’ driven society-governments.

    Others can be inspired by your example.

    *Would you be willing to share a bit more with readers, about your relationship with your parents, before the age of 10 and after ? Can you share why it was, that your parents sought out and trusted psychiatrists?

    Best wishes,


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  • Dear Joshua

    *Did Lee in any way, psy-medically diagnose President Trump, whether by the DSM – or by her own preferred alternative theoretical method?

    (Any non-consensual/non-informed medical diagnosis of an adult human being by any medical professional, is highly questionable).

    *Is your article saying that silencing Lee’s non-DSM approach – was to silence psychiatrist public dissent with the DSM itself?

    Many thanks for any clarification.


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  • Dear James,

    Thank you for sharing your experience publicly.

    Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) has been hailed by some in Tasmania, Australia.

    It’s thus good to see dissenting voices like yours, raising concerns openly, cautioning the acceptance of another psychiatric intervention like TMS, which for some (or all who claim it helps them), might actually be no more than a placebo?

    Best, Magdalene

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  • Dear Dr Hickey,

    Appreciate your article.

    Some questions below might help me better understand why DSM psychiatry continues (or is still ‘allowed’) to continue, ‘spinning the story’ as you rightly put it.

    *Is it the case that biomedical DSM psychiatry (and all those psychologies/psy enterprises which ‘hand-maiden’ it) has ‘spun’ the DSM, with the large or sole aim of protecting psychiatry’s own professional guild role-identity (so they keep playing the ‘role’ of ‘rescuer-hero’ for ‘sick-victims’ in a never ending Karpman Drama Triangle)?

    *Whilst some dissenting psychiatrists-psychologists reject the DSM (and then find themselves censored, bullied or sacked) – why do various PhD qualified psychologists (and some life coaches, social workers, counsellors, psychotherapists etc) still refer to and support the DSM and Pharma drugs?

    *Is DSM biomedical psychiatry suffering from a dysfunctional mentally disordered state of ‘cognitive dissonance’ (Cosgrove, Whitaker et al) which prevents honest, ethical self-reflection to ‘regulate’ their ’emotions’ and professional ‘behaviour’?

    *If so – who gets to ‘diagnose’ DSM psychiatry under its own DSM?

    *If other professions (and other medical specialities) are required to scrutinse DSM psychiatry because it cannot check itself, is there something in the education and training of PhD psychologists, counsellors, social workers and psychotherapists for example (in the US or elsewhere) – that hijacks them from critiquing DSM psychiatry’s biomedical model, its pharma drugs and ‘mental health’ zeitgeists?

    *Is the notion of ‘mental health’ and a widespread ‘therapy culture’ in western capitalist society – key driving forces that keep the DSM ‘spinning’?

    (The same questions might also be asked about why the law and our legal systems, seem to have failed to independently scrutinise and curb the damage caused by DSM biomedical psychiatry?).

    Thanks for any suggested answers.

    Best wishes, Magdalene

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  • Dear Furies

    You are welcome. This ‘story’ as you put it, has however, not necessarily concluded for it now begins, for MIA readers.

    It would be good to see more MIA readers question what they have been taught to believe about themselves and others, whether by – emotionally immature-parents or people, as well as by: psychiatry-psychology-psy enterprises (‘mental health industry’) and the legal and political systems which have endorsed DSM psychiatry.

    I had originally considered putting the word ‘narcissism’ in the title of my review. But decided not to, because the social-spiritual-ethical-moral phenomena of ‘narcissism’ has been medicalised by the DSM into a disorder to be ‘treated’.

    *Regarding videos and services for narcissistic abuse recovery, you raise a very important and valid question about whether this too, has become another money-making industry?

    Whether they be psychologists/therapists-social workers-counsellors, or independent life coaches, there are many service providers around the world and on the internet, offering various therapies, retreats or programs for dealing with narcissistic parents-people (other terms in self-help culture include: ‘toxic parents-people’, ‘self-absorbed’, ‘psychopath’ ‘energy vampires’ etc).

    Psychologists seem to be now adopting and borrowing urban language terms on narcissism – from mainstream general public self-help culture. Some life coaches/independent service providers, in turn, reference Freudian ego psychology theory (unaware perhaps of the criticisms).

    However, there are some life coaches who openly distance themselves from DSM-5 definitions of narcissism and rightly discourage the general public from accepting mental disorder diagnoses as medical illnesses to be drugged for life.

    Suggestions (not advice) are to:

    – decide whether watching free videos and webinars, reading books and discussing what you have learned in a book club for example, might be enough for some people? Not everyone necessarily needs to spend money on costly psychotherapy or other programs.

    -check to see if there is a clear set time-line and end goal for therapy/counselling sessions or programs? People may prefer to avoid ambiguous never ending therapy-counselling bookings for months and years. “Witnessing’ whilst experiencing the distress of past adverse experiences/abuses/trauma (without bypassing pain by talking, cogntive intellectualising or Pharma drugs) – might be preferred to those psychotherapies or programs which keep people ‘identified’ with past experiences and pain.

    -check whether a psychologist-therapist or other service providers, have faced and healed their own childhood-parent attachment trauma (parents, adopted parents and any other caregivers, or other challenging life experiences-losses)? Someone with the wisdom of experience in transcending their own past (role-identities), may be preferred to someone who has only studied psy theories intellectually and holds paper credentials?

    – look for testimonials, and also consider any adverse reviews and discern for yourself.

    -check whether psychologists, therapists or life coaches etc, offer information on healthy diets-nutrition, sleep, regular exercise, or a non-dogmatic/non-sectarian spiritual practice if that appeals to you, etc as additional ways to help the body to recover.

    – perhaps be conscious of ‘not’ depending on psychologists-therapists (psychiatrists-doctors), life coaches (lawyers, spiritual teachers or any service provider) as a surrogate parent (or as a saviour-rescuer-hero-guru-idol).

    – check that any service provider (psychologist, therapist or life coach etc) does not use fear based coercive marketing tactics to sell services. Also check that they do not rigidly adhere dogmatically to a particular spiritual-religious belief system (unless you prefer that they do), or to one psy theory or preferred ‘therapy,’ such that they censor disagreement, questions or dissent by you.

    Eg. if a psychologist was trained to believe that CBT or ACT or MBSR etc is the ‘gold standard’, or they are a strict adherent to ‘inner child/ego psychology theory’ etc and refuses to brook questions or disagreement, you may wish to find someone else. If you are atheistic for example, you may not be helped by a psychotherapist or counsellor who is religious – and vice versa. The same goes for any life coach services or programs. If a program does not allow you to question them, their views-beliefs and methods – you might wish to move on.

    -check that life coaches are not uncritical adherents to DSM psychiatry and mental health/wellbeing zeitgeists. Have a conversation with them about their understanding, views and their approach – before deciding whether you feel comfortable to proceed with their services. You may find that those who have ‘role-entitlement’ and don’t want questioning, independent clients who can think individually for themselves, may turn you away anyway.

    -check whether a psychologist-therapist, life coach or other service provider, acknowledges social-environmental and political-economic causes of human distress without medicalizing distress as just mental health issues inside your head-brain.

    *Some psychologists (Dr Jay Watts in the UK for example), do assure clients that it’s normal and appropriate to feel distressed, lonely, anxious and depressed in an unfair-unjust society. There are dissenting psychologists who appreciate the adverse impact of (neoliberal capitalist) political-economic and legal systems on citizens and do not gaslight medicalise social-political problems (abuse, low paid exploitive work, homelessness, debt, govt, austerity, death-loss, poverty etc) – as a mental health issue inside your own mind-head.


    All the above are suggestions, not advice.

    (I suggest links below. But re-iterate that I don’t endorse any particular service provider, therapy or programs, as readers need to discern all service providers and their services, for themselves).

    I hope the review article which has recommended books to read (which might be accessed for free via a public library), and the comment discussion here, helps MIA readers to explore, question and find alternatives to DSM psychiatry and drugs.


    Other suggested (not endorsed-advised) links/channels to consider and decide for yourself:

    Meredith Miller
    “Why the Science on Narcissism is Wrong”

    Dr George Simon (USA) Character Disturbance/Global Pandemic of Narcissism

    Dr Linda Martinez-Lewi (Psychotherapist USA)

    Dr Les Carter (Psychotherapist USA)

    Lisa Romano (Breakthrough Life Coach, USA )

    Melanie Tonia Evans (coach, Australia)
    “Have You Been Told You’ll Have PTSD For Life?”

    Crappy Childhood Fairy (USA)

    Dr Jay Watts (UK) ‘Mental Health After Neoliberalism’

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  • Dear Edward1,

    As a post-script: in the family law context, the UK introduced a ‘coercive control’ criminal offence in 2015 (drawing upon the work of sociologist/ social scientist Prof. Evan Stark, Rutgers University):

    Before the US considers introducing similar laws, others have since observed that the UK’s ‘coercive control’ offence has enforcement issues, and may not have achieved what was intended:

    Hope it helps.


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  • Hello Everyone

    Thanks again for your interest in the book review blog article, and for all the follow up online public discussion.

    I will try to respond to the various new comments, below.

    Unless anyone has any more questions on Lindsay Gibson’s books or the content of my review article itself, I won’t reply to future comments, but will read any new online discussion with interest.

    *I agree that all professions, whether they be law or the psy enterprise, need to remain open to scrutiny. The legal profession (lawyers, judges, legal academics) has a ‘legal ethics’ tradition of scrutinising lawyer and judicial ethics. Legal ethics involves critiques not only by lawyers-legal academics, but also by the public and scholars from other disciplines. For example, a legal ethics topic that might merit exploration is whether lawyer/legal profession independence is compromised, if the legal profession is too closely aligned with DSM psychiatry and mental health zeitgeists, uncritically?

    Noting Gibson’s explanation of ‘role-entitlement’, lawyers and psy professionals ought to perhaps be similarly careful not to demand or expect ‘professional role-entitlement’? Like the field of legal ethics, it might also be good to see a ‘psy ethics’ field emerge. Psy ethics (perhaps already addressed by critical psychiatry-psychology) could examine the ethics of all psy professions/services, including critiques by the general public and scholars from other disciplines

    *Narcissism (in a non-medical/clinical or non DSM-5 sense), is a topical and important issue that some MIA readers might want to explore further themselves. I have suggested that Lindsay Gibson’s alternative lens of ’emotional immaturity’ (as explained in her books), is worth considering in this regard.

    *Various videos, books and links are suggested in the review article and in the comments/discussion above. I don’t give any advice, nor endorse any particular services or programs. Instead, the suggested links to authors and videos, along with sample questions, perspectives and ideas, are offered so that MIA readers can investigate, enquire, consider and decide responsibly for themselves.

    *I won’t respond to comments that tend to denigrate or ridicule any named individual author-writer personally, so that online conversation and debate remains focused clearly on the actual issues, viewpoints, arguments, ideas and different perspectives.

    Finally, the Covid-19 Pandemic has challenged many political and economic assumptions around our world. Many narratives and beliefs that were once assumed, are now being increasingly questioned.

    An example of a possible current shift is how whether by phone, zoom or skype, there are still opportunities for people to connect with each other – via good conversations. Good conversations usually involve mutual listening to each other’s individual viewpoints and ideas, along with respectful agreement or disagreement. The best conversations tend to be where people are not playing ‘roles’. Such conversations can be very therapeutic without being therapy and without being medicalized as ‘treatment’.

    Thanks again for all your interest in this review blog.

    Best wishes

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  • *”Have You Been Told Have PTSD For Life?” – Melanie Tonia Evans (Australia)

    Whilst there are calls from some psy professions, for life coaching services to be ‘regulated’, it’s interesting to observe that one possible benefit with (some, but not all) life coaching services, is that by and large, they do not tend to offer ‘mental health therapy or services’.

    As some life coaching services, do not label non-medical social environmentally caused distress as a ‘mental health issue’, they are arguably free to disagree with, challenge or outright reject – DSM psychiatry.

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  • Dear Sam and Steve,

    I think you both make good points, that would be useful for researchers, independent scholars or MIA writers, to explore further.

    There is much scholarly academic writing and research about ‘stigma’.

    *One wonders, however, noting other MIA reader comments about ‘gaslighting’ – whether ‘de-stigmatisation’ public campaigns of DSM mental disorder diagnosis labels, has itself been a form of ‘gaslighting’?


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  • Dear Sam

    I think you make a good point, that would be useful for researchers, independent scholars or MIA writers, to explore further.

    There is alot of scholarly academic writing and research about ‘stigma’. One wonders, however, noting other MIA reader comments about ‘gaslighting’ – whether de-stigmatisation of DSM mental disorder diagnosis labels, has itself been a form of population wide ‘gaslighting’?


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  • Dear Sam

    I’m not sure if I’ve already replied to your comments above about ‘help’ (such as self-help books and related services) may actually help people stay as ‘victim’.

    This is a valid and important point.

    In my comments later below replying to Steve, you will see I concur with your point.

    Best wishes, Magdalene

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  • Dear Steve,

    Yes – that’s basically the point of my Review Article Blog .
    I am glad to see that you and other MIA readers – are ‘getting it’.

    I agree with you that it is unclear how any industry, government or profession, which subscribes uncritically to the DSM ‘mental health’ zeitgeist, can independently examine the DSM honestly? This includes – the law.

    If your and my observations are correct, the opportunity is still there for each person, to stop turning to others to ‘rescue’ them ( lawyers, politicians, psychiatrists, hospitals, psy-mental health services etc) and instead ‘witness’ the Drama Triangle system – and then choose whether to step out of it.

    Alot of self-help books are indeed rightly criticised for effectively keeping people trapped in never ending ‘self-help’ and ‘self-improvement’ and ‘mental health’ zeitgeists (like a never ending therapy treadmill, at least according to some MIA reader comments above, with no clear end in sight).

    The other conundrum is – what ‘self’ are people ‘helping’? A pseudo role-self (that spiritual writers call ‘ego’)? Or, their true inner self, their essence, their heart-conscience – soul?

    *Yet, I do come across a rare self-help book, which I consider does help people to, step out of the Drama, to get off the self-help/mental health treadmill, as it were. My review here for MIA, has thus suggested two such books by Lindsay Gibson, a clinical psychologist herself.

    Best wishes Magdalene

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  • Dear Alex and Steve

    The blog does not seem to permit direct replies to your comments above, so just a general reply here.

    I agree with your insightful comments. The topic of ‘narcissism’ (not DSM-5 NPD) is a key underlying theme of my review blog. Lindsay Gibson’s books use the term ’emotionally immature’ and in my view, helpfully go beyond current ‘narcissism’ definitions. My question however, is whether large numbers of people in our world, are in fact experiencing trauma distress responses to what self-help communities call ‘narcissistic abuse’ (emotional immaturity)? Does the dynamic (Karpman Drama Triangle) begin – in the family, and then replicate and repeat over and over, from there?

    Not all parents or people are narcissistic or emotionally immature.

    However some scholars from various fields (not just the ‘psy’ industry) would argue that many parents and people are (please see my various links in my review article which were preferred by Editors instead of footnotes).

    Scholars say that more people are narcissistic and/or emotionally immature (if we prefer that term) and that ‘narcissistic parenting’ has increased in recent decades (under neoliberal capitalism). By contrast, others say that certain prior generations (such as Post WWII ‘baby boomers’) were the most narcissistic.

    Whilst again, other scholars disagree further with such views, perhaps because there is still disagreement on core definitions of terms like ‘narcissism’ at the outset?

    Gibson offers a new perspective, and I found her approach an interesting and helpful way to look at the whole issue of ‘narcissism’. I wonder how EI dynamics, from a family of origin, may accurately describe what is happening all around us in society, and why for example, many people, support and /or succumb to DSM psychiatry?

    *Do our social political-economic systems reward the most narcissistic and emotionally immature? Are we all placed in incessant Drama Triangles of victim, rescuer and perpetrator? Are those who are ‘victims’ of ‘perpetrators’ the ones who are shepherded to ‘mental health’ narratives and a DSM-5 diagnosis with accompanying numbing drugs? Are ‘victims’ numbed so they stay ‘victims’? Does DSM-5 psychiatry and the mental health zeitgeist, thus get to keep playing the pseudo role of ‘rescuer’?

    I suggest that Gibson’s books might offer some readers, a way out of this ‘Drama’.

    Other books people might read are by by Alice Miller ‘The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self’.

    (Although Martin Miller, Alice Miller’s son, himself a psychotherapist has revealed that Alice Miller was herself playing a ‘role’ and was a harmful parent. See “The True “Drama of the Gifted Child”: The Phantom Alice Miller — The Real Person” (2018) and interview:

    Is censorship and the silencing of dissent in the family of origin and across society at large – based on role-coercion, emotional contagion and ‘role-entitlement’? Do people have to censor and silence themselves (and numb their trauma distress responses) for fear of ‘offending’ other people’s pseudo role-self, their sense of ‘role-entitlement’?

    Is ‘identity politics’, due to pseudo false ‘role-self’ entitlement? (Some scholars say that identity politics manifests ‘narcissism’).

    What is ‘identity’ and ‘self’? Can we disagree with ego based psychology and assert that we are more than just our ‘ego’? Spiritual communities dissent with traditional psy definitions of ego. They might perhaps say that ‘ego strength’ – is synonymous with pathological narcissism?

    So what is ‘narcissism’ really? Is it just the traits listed in the DSM-5? If so does that mean what is considered ‘grandiose’ in one culture, may not be grandiose at all in another? If so, then even the DSM-5 needs to be examined as to whether it’s more of a cultural document of social moral values, reflecting the subjective moral socio-cultural opinions of those who voted the DSM-5 into existence – rather than a list of objectively tested medical diagnoses?

    Are we able to move ourselves, in and out of a DSM-5 medical diagnosis – by simply moving around from culture to culture, community to community, country to country?

    What is ‘self’ and ‘identity’? Are we just our: our name, roles, education and job titles, ‘achievements’, relationship status, our post-codes, status, income, possessions, nationality, skin colour etc? Do we think we will find who we ‘really are’ by swapping these all around, inventing new ones or polishing and ‘perfecting’ them?

    Or, are we this ‘true inner self’ Gibson talks about in her books: the”internal witness—the nucleus of our being—that takes in all of life but is unchanged by life … your unique individuality, underneath your personality, family role, and social identity”?

    As people transcend and emerge from what some call the ‘age of narcissism’ or ’emotional immaturity’, in all its forms and however it is defined – will this undo the entire DSM-5?

    Thank you for this interesting review blog discussion. I hope the review prompts readers and scholars to consider Gibson’s books, and to explore these and other questions about narcissism, much further.

    Best wishes,

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  • *Btw – just to correct a typographical error in my reply comments above.

    One of my sentences above should read:

    “… This is why alternative terms like ‘emotionally immature’ or ‘narcissistic’ (not DSM 5 ‘NPD’) are helpful, as they call out harmful behavior accurately, ‘without’ stereotyping or blaming. ‘Emotionally immature’ can also be used to accurately describe other adult people’s (emotionally immature) behavior without medically pathologizing.”

    Best wishes


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  • Responding to Steve’s helpful question earlier above. Hoping this also responds to various comments above.

    My current view is that our human distress response to loss, trauma, injustice, abuse etc (whether it be emotionally immature parenting, people or other life challenges) is not a ‘mental health issue’. Some say that ‘mental health’ is a term which can depoliticize and medicalize, our non-medical human distress.

    My original drafts of this review, quoted the late Bonnie Burstow. Bonnie Burstow apparently eschewed the term ‘mental health’. I also don’t use the term, and have heard that some academics shun the term ‘mental health’ entirely. ‘Mental health’ can be a depoliticizing word that distracts attention from social causes of human distress, by separating our distress from its social-environmental and political-economic causes (such as EI parents and family systems).

    By characterizing human distress as a ‘health sickness’ inside our ‘mind-head,’ the term ‘mental health’ may side-track some people to navel gaze for causes of their distress individually inside themselves; in their body and brain. However, the body-brain may just be the effect – not the cause.

    Lindsay Gibson’s books do guide people on ‘what to do’.

    Book 2 seems different in this regard, from other books in this genre. I like her approach as she describes how to undo pseudo role-identities unwittingly taken on in childhood (which society may still encourage and endorse), and to instead find the true inner self again. From there, we find new people, new relationships, new opportunities.

    But this ‘transition,’ may feel like loss and thus be very painful for some people, especially if they prefer to cling to a life-long pseudo role-identity and keep ‘parent healing fantasies’. Using an analogy, removing a dagger can be as excruciatingly painful, as when the dagger was thrust in. Some may prefer to just live with it.

    The fantasy of a ‘happy childhood’ is one to which some people may cling, where societies enforce or require them to. E.g. In some cultures, arranged marriages and entire fortunes, involved (or still involve) scrutiny of family background and parents. Jane Austen’s famous novel ‘Pride and Prejudice’ arguably dramatized this well. It is trite that this still operates to a degree, in royal marriages and marriages in elite circles.

    As Ramani Durvasula explains, some people feel ‘shame’ about coming from ‘narcissistic families’.

    This society endorsed ‘shame’ about coming from a narcissistic family or emotionally immature parents/parenting, might be why some people prefer a DSM label and numbing drugs?

    Instead of de-stigmatizing the distress of having been raised by narcissistic or emotionally immature parents (or society’s stigmatising of those who experience: abuse, rape, death-grief, unemployment, homelessness, or who are unmarried, childless, in poverty etc etc) DSM psychiatry has sought to ‘de-stigmatize’ their mental disorder labels, without addressing the social causes of people’s distress.

    People who are shamed by families and societal norms, may feel compelled to seek out and accept DSM mental disorder diagnoses, and the pharma drugs that can go with them.

    Letting go of society’s shame, a pseudo role self, parent healing fantasies and myths of a ‘happy childhood’ (if childhood was in fact miserable) can feel like ‘death’ to a part of the psyche. This death, is not something which conventional mental health services and ‘ego’ based psychology, may understand or be equipped to handle.

    ‘Surrendering’ a pseudo role self from childhood to please parents and fit into a family Drama Triangle system, could be frightening if it means all current (dysfunctional) relationships and people fall away – as they want you to stay the way you are. Again, rather than face the loss and uncertainty, many people feel they have no choice but to stay, as there is little to no support (under the roll back of the welfare state under neoliberal capitalism) for people to leave abusive situations, relationships, jobs and homes.

    A DSM label diagnosis and numbing tablets, may thus be seen by some, as the only way to cope with the pain of the status quo.

    It might thus be also argued, that DSM mental disorder diagnoses are compelled by neoliberal capitalist political-economic systems which comprise of dysfunctional Drama Triangle human relations at large, and refuse ‘time out’ for anyone who is not ‘functioning’ and ‘competing’ in the ‘economy’ – unless you are ‘sick’.

    (Now the coronavirus pandemic has given millions of people – ‘time out’. Even tennis No 1 Novak Djokovic has apparently expressed on Instagram, how the pandemic has helped him see, that when the constant adrenalin rush of tennis competition life is over, he will be fine).

    Those life coaches, counsellors, therapists, psychologists and others, who have honestly healed their own childhood parental attachment trauma (both mother and father, including adopted parents) who understand society’s dysfunctional systems, and the adverse impact of various political-economic policies on human beings – might offer services in a non-mental health way, and be better placed to listen, understand and witness. They can do so without medically pathologizing people, or over intellectualising with psy ‘theories’.

    People need to explore all services responsibly for themselves, as I don’t give advice nor endorse any services. I have suggested videos and links for others to consider and decide independently.

    I also recommend that people read Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth” alongside both of Lindsay Gibson’s books.


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  • General reply to various comments above:

    My independent review of Gibson’s books found that they can help people to look at their social environment, rather than just navel gaze inside their own heads. Her books invite us to question courageously: our whole environment, the family system in which we were raised, and to query others’ rigid and incorrect opinions about us.

    I did not find Gibson’s books to lead people to stay victims at all – in fact the very opposite. This is why I recommend her books to all Mad in America readers.

    Best wishes Magdalene

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  • Dear Alex

    Yes, I think you have nailed the underlying crux of my review article for Mad in America . Responding to both your comments above.

    Gibson’s books use her term ‘emotionally immature’ in place of terms like narcissism, presumably because narcissism (originally a moral religious and spiritual issue; not medical condition) has been nebulously medicalised by the DSM into a psychiatric ‘personality disorder’.

    You now can’t call out narcissism as a moral ethical problem, because it’s been made into a medical personality disorder diagnosis that psychiatrists-psychologists claim only ‘they’ can ‘diagnose’.

    Narcissistic parenting and/or emotionally immature parenting might be seen as similar or the same, depending on your point of view.

    I have also watched and read many YouTube videos and books – on ‘narcissistic abuse’. I encourage MIA readers to search out and watch or read them, for themselves. I have suggested links and resources in my review article and comments.

    Gibson uses her own non-medical term ‘emotionally immature’ (which can be ascribed to anyone, not just some parents). My view is that Gibson has thus been free to accurately describe what really goes on – unhampered by DSM jargon and academic psychology debates about the meaning of ‘narcissism’.

    All of us are arguably now free again, to call out harmful behavior without resorting to DSM-5 medicalised terms like ‘Narcissistic Personality Disorder’.

    Gibson does not seem to use pop-culture self-help mainstream terms like: gaslighting, hoovering, love-bombing, narcissistic supply, abuse cycle, trauma bonding/Stockholm Syndrome – (again psychologists have their own inner circle professional debates on whether even Stockholm Syndrome has been debunked).

    Gibson’s books seem to cover similar notions. But they do not cover it all, so I anticipate she might write a third or further book.

    Overall, I suggest that Gibson’s books do complement and enhance the ‘narcissistic abuse recovery self-help community’ which has many books, hundreds (or thousands) of YouTube videos, coaching programs or counselling services, all around the world right now.

    People need to discern which they consider best or suitable, for themselves.

    Gibson’s books do not focus on just the individual. My reading of her books is that they encourage people to also examine and question the social environment in which they were raised, like their family of origin and present adult relationships which might unwittingly mirror relationships with EI parents.

    *Is the DSM a book of ‘gaslighting’? That was a theme in my review article. To inspire readers to ask this question themselves.

    People who experience en masse anxious distress from: emotional-verbal physical and financial abuse and exploitation, political-economic inequality and/or corruption in society at large – are told that their distress from it all, is just an individual mental health disorder inside their head?

    So yes, I agree, we need to ask whether the DSM-5 is a book of ‘gaslighting’?

    When people ‘witness’ and ‘wake up’ from a lifetime of gaslighting (such as via emotional contagion, role-coercion, whether by emotionally immature: parents, people and an ‘emotionally immature society’ at large) they may also wake up from DSM psychiatry, and the mind numbing drugs that accompany them.

    Best wishes

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  • Dear Boans and Caroline,

    Thanks again for your helpful comments.

    I tend to avoid (where possible), terms like ‘stereotype’ or ‘bad’ or ‘perfect’ and ‘imperfect’ and ‘blame,’ as they can be unwittingly divisive, judgmental and polarizing, and may distract attention from the real issues.

    This is why alternative terms like ‘emotionally immature’ or ‘narcissistic’ (not DSM 5 ‘NPD’) are helpful, as they call out harmful behavior accurately, with stereotyping or blaming. ‘Emotionally immature’ can also be used to accurately describe other adult people’s (emotionally immature) behavior without medically pathologizing.

    People who unconsciously hold a ‘parent role -identity’ may, as Lindsay Gibson describes, demand ‘role-entitlement’ and thus feel defensive of their ‘parent identity’ by expecting certain treatment (deference, compliance, kowtowing?) because of a parental ‘role’. I thus found it interesting that Lindsay Gibson’s books do not seem to defend ‘parents’ as a group-identity, even though she is a parent herself.

    Scholars from other professions such as sociology-social science, history, psychotherapy and mainstream self-help culture, use other non-medical terms like ‘narcissistic parenting’ or ‘narcissistic mothers’ and ‘narcissistic fathers’ to ‘paranoid parenting’ or ‘helicopter parenting’.

    Large numbers of people around the world, also seem to appreciate and be helped by pop-psychology social media that discusses ‘narcissistic parents’ or ‘emotionally immature parents’.

    Dr Ramani Durvasula PhD (California State University) ‘Narcissism in A Parent’

    Vivian McGrath – ‘Narcissistic Mothers’

    Having also reviewed social media self-help culture in this genre, it seems that various parents have faced and healed their own childhood parental trauma, and bravely acknowledged how they might be unconsciously repeating their parents’ errors, in parenting their own children. Having broken the family cycle, such people offer non-medical coaching services which seem to be without blame, shame, guilt or stereotyping.

    Eg: Lisa A Romano (USA)

    People need to explore these services independently, discern and decide for themselves.

    I don’t know much about NAMI. Is it funded by Big Pharma? If so, it might have a conflict of interest that needs to be reviewed independently.

    Gibson’s books don’t discuss ‘schizophrenia’ as far as I can recall. But she does explain in her books that ‘dissociation,’ for example, is effectively a normal distress response to the trauma of threat and abuse (including emotional-verbal abuse). If children are ‘dissociating’, it would thus be imperative that all possible causes be investigated and ruled out, such as emotionally immature parenting. Parent groups like NAMI, which presumably are only concerned for children’s best interests, would no doubt support this.

    I also try to address your comments in my longer responses to other new comments below.

    Thanks again for your interest in the review article.

    Best wishes,

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  • Below are other similarly themed resources and writers on social media, that might interest readers to explore and discern for themselves:

    Dr Ramani Durvasula PhD
    “Narcissistic Family Roles”

    Dr Gabor Maté MD (8 April 2020)
    Don’t Numb Your Feelings: How Your Past (Childhood) Is Affecting Your Present (response to the pandemic)

    “No More Victims” (Education Charity for Children, Houston Texas):

    Kyle Cease (meditation coaching group)
    ‘The Abuse of Comparison’

    Melanie Tonia Evans (life coach who originally coined Emma Watson’s term ‘self-partnering’)

    ‘Traits Narcissists Look For In Victims”

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  • Dear Sam,

    I didn’t not find that Gibson’s books ask readers to question themselves – but to question how they were socially conditioned by ’emotionally immature parenting’ to see themselves.

    To free themselves from emotionally immature parents’ negative opinions and judgments in early childhood.

    I encourage readers to read Gibson’s books for themselves.
    I hope that helps.

    Best wishes, Magdalene

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  • Dear Sam

    Thanks again. Yes that’s correct, my review blog is not just promoting books.

    But as Gibson’s books have become a real staple of sorts for me, I do sincerely recommend them.

    Wonder why DSM psychiatry decided that children’s defiance of (emotionally immature-narcissistic) parents, is a ‘mental disorder’? Did they go inside the home to research what actually happens to provoke children into ‘defiance,’ when others are not watching?

    Is this akin to how some political regimes – use (and abuse) psychiatry to deem dissidents and citizens who revolt against injustice, as mentally unstable, and then drug and/or lock them up in mental hospitals?

    Why are some psychiatrists complicit in the drugging of children and citizens, who rightly rebel against how they are treated by those in power and authority over them?

    I think the terms used in self-help pop-culture on narcissistic abuse are: ‘flying monkies’ and ‘enablers’. Does these terms apply to DSM biomedical psychiatry, or is that too harsh an analogy?

    I think your comments are spot on:).


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  • Dear Fiachra

    Thank you for your kind comment about my writing.

    I know some scholars critique Eckhart Tolle’s non-sectarian spiritual teachings, such as by saying he emphasises too much ‘present momentism’. I see their viewpoint.

    But having read Tolle’s work myself, I tend to agree with your favourable view of his teachings.
    I have also listened to his many videos independently and critically. I understand that Tolle avoids terms like ‘mindfulness’, and his explanation of ‘present moment’ seems to be different from those of other secular mindfulness practitioners.

    I thus presently agree with you, that Eckhart Tolle’s books could also help to dissolve psychiatry’s ‘DSM’.

    I also tend to cite Eckhart Tolle because he himself was chronically depressed and suicidal throughout childhood and into his 20s. According to interviews, Tolle was raised in an unhappy home with rageful (emotionally immature) parents. In an interview with Larry King, I think Tolle described his father as an ‘unexploded bomb’ – but also as someone who was a victim of his own childhood/family of origin.

    Tolle was not diagnosed with any psychiatric DSM disorder, at least not as far as I am aware. He apparently went through his intense dark period in the 1970s, before DSM psychiatry was launched. On a night when he felt ‘I cannot live with myself any longer’ that part of his psyche-mind which identified itself as a victim of his past (childhood) conditioning, the pseudo role-self identity that Tolle calls ‘ego’ – spontaneously ‘died’ if you will, and totally dissipated.

    Tolle has apparently been in a state of peaceful awareness ever since (without psychotherapy or psychiatric drugs) that has stayed despite challenging life situations (he slept rough for a time, and existed in poverty for a while – after quitting his PhD and scholarship at Cambridge University. He apparently sat on park benches in central London, in a state of complete bliss).

    Tolle later felt the inspiration to write his books and to become the spiritual teacher he is today. But he also says in interviews-talks, that this could not have happened – without first experiencing the suffering that forced him into his ‘essence identity,’ or what Lindsay GIbson calls ‘our true inner self’ which religion would call our ‘soul’.

    Whilst suffering can be an aid, we are not meant to stay in a state of suffering. A question that then arises however is – does DSM psychiatry numb people-citizens to tolerate injustice, so they stay ‘victims’ in abusive situations or relationships, and comply with exploitive political-economic national systems?

    The spontaneous total awakening Tolle experienced, has been experienced by other people. It may not be what most of us will experience. So, the challenge for most of us may be to transcend (but not ‘spiritually bypass’) unconscious role-identities we have been conditioned to adopt from painful childhoods, and/or unresolved painful experiences, like abuse, loss and other traumas.

    Paradoxically, it may be hard (or impossible?) to free ourselves from past and present painful traumatic experiences, if we are ‘numbed’ by psychiatric drugs and deny what we have been through, under the cover of a DSM mental health label?

    Another writer suggested to readers is Dr Steve Taylor (transpersonal or spiritual psychologist) in the UK. Steve has written various books about consciousness, and researched cases of people who have had profound spontaneous spiritual awakenings – triggered by immense loss and suffering.

    Btw Gibson’s term is ’emotionally immature’ parents-people. But perhaps your term, ’emotionally insecure’ is a fair way to describe it too?

    Best wishes,


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  • Dear Edward1

    Thanks for your comment.

    It’s heartening to see that lawyers, at least in the US, are questioning the influence of DSM psychiatry the psy-mental health paradigm.

    I agree that family law and the law in general (including in Australia) needs to be more independently critical of DSM psychiatry and ‘mental health’ narratives.

    I note your comment that ‘bio-psychiatry’ is geared to avoid blaming parents. I tried to address this more generally in my longer response to Caroline’s comment above.

    This is also why I suggest readers and scholars, researchers – look at Gibson’s books. Her discussion of Karpman’s theory of ‘drama triangles’ is very interesting in my view. It made me consider whether DSM psychiatry (and systems like the law) are like drama triangles which blame the victim, by implying that people are inevitable victims of their own brains, victims of a painful abuse history through no fault of their own – and victims of the system(s) itself?

    I don’t have definitive answers for everyone. My intention is that my review might prompt people to go beyond the surface of what we are told to believe, and to uncover the answers for themselves.

    Best wishes, Magdalene

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  • Dear Caroline,

    Thanks for your comment.

    I searched but couldn’t find any part of the article that ‘blames victims’ or the #MeToo Movement? Your comment is still helpful, as it gives the chance to address your and other’s posts and highlight the review’s themes in more depth.

    The review article effectively asks whether DSM psychiatry, blames ‘victims’ of adverse childhood experiences (such as ‘emotionally immature’ parenting)? Your comment also prompts other questions like: are some (but by no means all) parents, ‘predators’ on their own children?

    Some 2019 events that inspired my review of Gibson’s books for Mad in America, were the revelations of Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein’s long-term predatory sexual abuse of many people. In Australia’s 60 Minutes interview with Virginia Guiffre, the interviewer said:

    “…at 16, Virginia was emerging ‘from the darkness’ … But what Virginia couldn’t know was that in 1999, her past would make her perfect prey for Jeffrey Epstein… Virginia told the couple of her past abuse…”
    Virginia Guiffre said: ‘that was for them, the key that unlocked the door to knowing how broken I really was…” When the interviewer asked “why did you go back?” Virginia replied ‘as an adult I know it’s right to run – but as a kid who had been through what I had been through in my life already, the last thought I had was, I guess this is what life’s about”.

    The review article thus does not blame victims at all; in fact it does the very opposite.

    The review invites readers to see, listen, hear and understand the full past history of what many may have already been through in their life already – before encountering ‘predators’ outside the family of origin.

    The 60 Minutes interviewer also asked Virginia Guiffre: “you must have been a ball of dread and anxiety?” to which she replied “I was. I was horrified, I was sad, I was angry… the only way I was able to cope … was … taking Xanax. Xanax is an anti-anxiety tablet … it .. took away that feeling of anger, sadness, it made me feel numb, it was a numbing tablet. It helped me cope with what was going on…”.

    She also said that “It took alot of people involved, … doctors, psychiatrists … (hairdressers, chauffeurs…) all these people knew what was going on …It took all of these people turning a blind eye, which they weren’t blind to … they knew exactly what was going on… the justice system failed us then”.

    My review article thus invites readers not to turn a blind eye. But to consider whether DSM psychiatry and psychiatric drugs should continue to be allowed to numb and silence the healthy human distress alarm response of people who have been or are being abused, which for some – may start with ‘emotionally immature parenting’ in childhood that then sets people up as ‘prey’ for future predators.

    Some schools of psychiatry-psychology have and (still do) rightly address childhood-parental attachment trauma. But before the DSM, (neo-Freudian) psychiatry-psychology was apparently criticised for ‘mother blaming’. Some parent groups also actively supported (and still do) the expansion and widespread acceptance of biomedical DSM psychiatry, to medicalise their children’s distress responses.

    Regarding notions like ‘blame’. ‘Responsibility’ is preferred instead of ‘blame’. Criminal justice terms like ‘guilt’ ‘perpetrator’ and ‘victim’ are also discouraged, from being used in health care. Such terms can unintentionally polarise people divisively, into Karpman ‘drama triangles,’ which as Lindsay Gibson’s books explain, cast (and distract) everyone into ‘roles’ of: victim, predator (perpetrator-villain) or rescuer-hero.

    Responsibility – ‘the ability to respond’, applies to everyone, and avoids inappropriately blaming anyone.

    However, DSM psychiatry and pharma drugs may numb our ‘ability to respond’ to trauma, abuse, loss. We are then not free to see and say ‘no’ to what is happening, and cannot see ourselves beyond drama triangle roles like ‘victim,’ put on us by others’ opinions and harmful behaviour.

    Without being numbed, we can as adults, acknowledge, witness, respect and soothe deeply painful feelings caused by traumatic experiences like abuse, without letting that pain or other people, trap us psychologically into a ‘victim’ identity.

    We can then also choose whether to see our true inner self, as Gibson says: “… the soul, spirit, heart, the you of you … the internal witness—the nucleus of our being—that takes in all of life but is unchanged by life … your unique individuality, underneath your personality, family role, and social identity “.

    Other resources that readers might wish to explore for themselves, include: Lisa A Romano (USA) who coaches people (women and men) who have suffered narcissistic abuse (whether by parents, spouses, bosses, friendships, strangers etc), to heal the past which sets people up as prey for abuse, by realising it’s not their fault, it was childhood ‘programming’.

    Regarding ‘predators’, the late Dr Alice Miller (dissident psychoanalyst, author of ‘The Drama of the Gifted Child/Prisoners of Childhood) explained how national dictators who perpetrated the heinous murder of millions of citizens – were abused in childhood themselves (whether by parents or others). This does not excuse their crimes. But Miller’s work and that of psychohistory, arguably shows that predators, victims (and ‘rescuers’) may all be victims of childhood.

    But why do some abused children become victims-rescuers, whilst others become predators-perpetrators? Geneticists, neuroscientists might insist we are genetically programmed; it’s all in our brain before birth. But epigenetics disputes this and dissenting research has apparently debunked Twin Studies. There are also no biomarkers for most or all DSM mental disorders; there is no objective diagnostic test to verify DSM diagnoses.

    *Finally, as many posts on this ‘Mad in America’ website show, many readers are rightly dismayed and disappointed by legal, political and (mental) health systems, finding themselves repeatedly victimized no matter who they turn to or where they go for help. Do our systems have a vested interest in keeping us all trapped in drama triangle roles of: victims and predators, so they can play the heroic ‘rescuer’?

    Until an answer is found, what is suggested (but not advised) meanwhile, is that Gibson’s books may help readers and future generations, to avoid succumbing to DSM psychiatry, numbing drugs (like ‘Xanax’) and legal-insurance systems, in the first place.

    This includes, by courageously facing and healing ‘the past’ (childhood) which sets some of us up as ‘prey’ for predators. We no longer need to be tricked into seeing ourselves as just ‘victims’ of other people and the painful events of life.

    Best wishes, Magdalene

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  • Dear Boans,

    I cannot give any advice, legal or otherwise.

    What I suggest generally, is to perhaps obtain Lindsay Gibson’s books and re-consider whether my review article above, addresses points or questions, like:

    *Were some of us socially conditioned by ’emotionally immature parenting’ when we were children, to unwittingly play an unconscious pseudo role-self identity of ‘victim’?

    *If so, does an unwitting victim role-identity, for example, make some of us as adults (at any age), still vulnerable to being ‘sucked in’ to the ’emotionally coercive’ manipulation and control of others?

    I hope that helps generally.

    Best wishes,


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  • Dear Sam,

    Thanks for your comment.

    I hope that the review article, and Lindsay Gibson’s actual books, will inspire readers to question not just their individual ‘interior world’ (as DSM psychiatry and much but not all conventional psychology, tends to do) – but also question the ‘exterior world’ in which we were raised as children (the family) and now live as adults (society).

    You use the phrase ‘falling prey” and I think this is a useful way of looking at things.

    Is the ‘psy’ enterprise (whether it be various forms of psychotherapy, DSM or indeed ICD psychiatry, and Pharma psychotropic drugs) one amongst various ‘predatory forces’, that ‘feed on the fear’ (anxiety, depression) of distressed-traumatised citizens?

    Are citizens across our nations and our world, socially conditioned by (politically endorsed?) ’emotionally immature parenting’ from early childhood, so we do become: compliant, unquestioning, conformist, self-censoring adult ‘prey’?

    I am sympathetic to the view that some forms of psychotherapy and DSM psychiatry at large (supported perhaps unquestioningly by other professions, like the law and our legal systems), may be adding to widespread confusion, rather than solving it.

    Hopefully, more and more people will ‘wake up’ from the confusing ‘drama triangle roles’ we may have been conditioned to play and accept as normal, when we were children – and now keep falling ‘prey to’ unwittingly, as adults.

    For example, here is a suggested ‘drama triangle’: patient (victim), psychiatry-psychology (rescuer-hero) and ‘disordered brain inside your head’ (perpetrator/villain).

    What do others think?

    Imagine if, contrary to the ‘mental health crisis’ (drama triangles?) now springing up (again) with Covid-19 as the new ‘perpetrator-villain,’ people instead emerged from ‘peaceful, quiet solitude’ (rather than ‘isolation’):

    -empowered, connected, whole, clear, grounded, wise, free thinking, free questioning, uncensored, and more inspired than before?

    Why are real physical-virus illnesses being characterised by our political leaders as ‘wars to be fought’ – whilst we are also told that our normal shared human distress responses (to immature parents-people and unjust political-economic policies/laws) are an individual ‘mental health illness’ to be ‘treated’ with mental health therapies, DSM diagnoses (without any diagnostic tests) and Pharma psychiatric drugs?

    Why do so many people, accept this story?

    Imagine if people emerge from this pandemic, as Alex comments below – ‘transformed’?

    Best wishes,

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  • Dear Oldhead, Well done.

    You seem to have nailed the main point of my review of Dr Fidel’s book “I” (unnameable) for Mad in America.

    You may have also summed up what Dr Fidel MD did/experienced.

    Rejecting a psychiatric diagnosis as “BS” (as you put it) is indeed perhaps inherent in the alternative term Dr Fidel MD uses in his book (and now teaches others):



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  • All of your insightful comments about the use of meditation-mindfulness therapies, are worthy of consideration.

    For example, Miguel Farias and Catherine Wikholm published a book based on research, that critiques secular meditation-mindfulness therapies, called ‘The Buddha Pill: Can Meditation Change You’? (2015).

    Ron Purser, David Forbes and others, have similarly questioned the use of secularised mindfulness therapies.

    Ron Purser has also published a new book on this issue, this year, which might interest MIA readers, called ‘McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality” (2019).

    *The question seems to be, whether meditation-mindfulness is embarked upon as a way to courageously face emotional pain and suffering and thereby gain wisdom from it – or to bypass/numb emotional pain and suffering.

    My reading of Dr Fidel’s book is that he did not bypass, and did the former.

    Thanks for your comments.

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  • Dear Julie

    A final reply, in case this is of interest. Some psychologists also seem to be critical of the individual pathology model of therapy.

    For example Dr Ron Roberts, a clinical psychologist and honorary lecturer at Kingston University London, has written critiques of psychology and (neoliberal) capitalism, and shared his views in public media interviews, such as the one below:

    This public forum at Goldsmiths University in London in 2018, may also be of interest to you and others.

    I hope this all helps.


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  • Dear Alex

    Yes, David Forbes in his new book (“Mindfulness and Its Discontents: Education, Self and Social Transformation” 2019), seems to share your insights, and critiques secularised forms of ‘mindfulness’, which have been stripped of their original spirituality and ethical context.

    Dr Fidel’s book may also contain insights on the issues you raise.

    I won’t reply to future comments, but will read all new comments to this review post, with interest.

    Best wishes Magdalene

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  • Dear Julie

    Thanks for your comment above. I am not a therapist, but do understand you say about your experience with therapists.

    I am a member of an international multi-disciplinary academic study group/network, whose members effectively ask the very questions you raise above, about a type of ‘political’ tyranny of trends in happiness-wellness/wellbeing zeitgeists and positive self-help industries, as a form of social control.

    Various books and articles have been written about this.

    An example of a new book is ‘Manufacturing Happy Citizens: How the Science and Industry of Happiness Control our Lives’ (2019) by Edgar Cabanas and Eva Illouz.

    I hope that helps. Magdalene

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  • Dear Godchosen,

    Thanks for your comments above. I don’t know if Dr Fidel supports a theistic religious concept of ‘God’ but his writing and approach may support the idea of a greater divine source-consciousness (which some may call ‘God’). You might do a search of his YouTube videos where he seems to talk about this.

    Psychiatry may have effectively had origins in philosophy of mind and truth, which again, some may consider ‘God’. The term ‘psych’ apparently derives from the Greek language, meaning ‘soul’. Psychiatry was, according to some – supposed to be about healing/treating the soul (not the brain). As various scholarly critiques now say, the psychiatry (and the psychology) discipline seems to have moved away from its original foundation, and become bio-medicalised and thus focused on the biology of the brain.

    It is an interesting point about whether biomedical psychiatry is perhaps also a defense against ‘God’ (or an idea of God) and/or a defense against divinity-source or perhaps consciousness itself?

    Btw, I should clarify that I don’t possess qualifications to merit the title of ‘Dr’.
    But Dr Fidel certainly does :).

    Best wishes, Magdalene

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