Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Comments by oldhead

Showing 9127 of 9179 comments. Show all.

  • Militarism is a tactic, not an ideology in & of itself. Capitalism needs to be defined before it can be discussed intelligently. “Democratic socialism” is capitalism, but you’d never know it from the way it’s presented by the ignorant as the road to liberation.

    What will be happening more & more is that corporate America will be dressing up its agenda as “anti-racist,” while the corporatocracy continues with genocide as usual. This is the “Biden” plan for achieving neoliberal totalitarianism in the course of one generation. And social media will be there to cool any resistance and assure us that what we clearly see is “disinformation.”

    Your only error is that “mental illness” is fiction. Ask Snopes. 🙂

  • Spirituality and political action are not in conflict, at least not inherently. “Prayer” is often seen as beseeching a Big Man In The Sky for guidance and favors, but this a Western notion; it can also be understood as a meditative technique that helps connect one’s essence to the universal flow of consciousness. This can manifest in many ways.

    So Rebel, are you getting your MIA notifications again?

  • The simple fact is that unless we change the rules of language you cannot have a “mental illness,” as the mind is an abstraction and not subject to physical characteristics such as “color” or “illness.” I have taken of late to telling people that when they can show me a mind in a plastic bag they can start talking seriously about “mental illness.”

    Nor, would I add, is “schizophrenia” simply a bad term that “really” means such and such, as this falsely implies that there is a consistent and definable “thing” signified by similar modes of thought or behavior, when you’re really just talking about how people relate to their experience.

    I’m not sure why you find it reassuring to identify as “mentally ill,” though you certainly have that “right”; however expecting others to enthusiastically accept your self-definitions when they see them as demeaning is a tricky proposition.

    I enjoy the flourishes of your perceptual impressions and writing style, and think you should consider seeing yourself and your life beyond the anemic boundaries of psychiatric terminology. But I don’t think anyone is challenging your right to make your own choices, or trying to bring you down.

  • There is objectively no such thing as a “schizophrenic,” which implies something that can be quantified and categorized. I know you are speaking as a poet and not a clinician; however an unfortunate consequence of the psychiatric mentality is the reification and concretization of poetic, mythical and metaphorical concepts, all of which are subject to being used to justify some aspect of psychiatric ideology and/or intervention. So yeah, psychiatry even fucks with our art.

    Back to the article, as for hearing people’s voices, aren’t those voices supposed to be private? It could go both ways I guess…

  • Basically we always go in circles in articles by these authors. The point is made that good nutrition is vital to health, which makes one feel good. Then somehow it becomes a discussion of “mental” health, and the familiar quasi-medical model discussions ensue.

    Steve made the most significant observation here — that MANY Americans are falling apart on the inside (physically) while appearing “normal.” Which explains why many seemingly “healthy” people have succumbed to COVID. Nutrition is essential to a functioning immune system and should be prioritized; however this has nothing to do with “mental health,” unless you define feeling healthy as “mental.” I would also agree that resilience has a spiritual component as well as a physical one. However to equate the mind and brain as the authors apparently do is fallacious.

  • A collective society is nothing but a communistic society.

    And….? So were the early Christians.

    We are here on earth to be interdependent not dependent on each other.

    “Dependent on each other” is another way of saying interdependent.

    Recognizing and respecting each other’s individuality is not individualism; individualism is putting the interests of the individual above those of the collective. This is what psychiatry reflects when it identifies the problem as originating within the individual rather than resulting from systemic oppression inherent in the external power structure. If this is what Megan means I support her general thrust.

  • The search for an “alternative” to psychiatry/mental health is misguided and destined to repeat the same patterns and assumptions, and serve the continued reign of alienation as our humanity becomes more and more commodified. The only true alternative to human suffering will come about not as a result of programs or techniques but of our values becoming more than dollar values, which can become possible only through revolution. (Just a reminder.)

  • Wrong. What Szasz rejected was the phony “antipsychiatry” then being pushed by psychiatrists such as Cooper and Laing, who were not anti-psychiatry at all, but a “chic” school of psychiatry, and Szasz wanted nothing to do with them, understandably. Additionally, as a libertarian Szasz rejected outlawing psychiatry, nonetheless he rejected all the false premises on which it is based.

    Your attempt to “redefine” anti-psychiatry is what is known as “revisionism,” and is nothing new. Banning forced psychiatry would be a big first step towards abolishing abolishing psychiatry altogether, but if it is the only goal this is simply reformism. Anti-psychiatry is dedicated to eliminating psychiatry altogether, and we don’t need that watered down.

    Regardless of how he parsed certain terms, Szasz remains the godfather of the anti-psychiatry movement.

  • Well, I don’t consider you “schizophrenic” either. “Mad” and “schizophrenic” are two sides of the same coin, and are both forms of “othering.”

    I’m not trying to persuade you to change, just exploring the implications of the term”madness,” which are different for different people. I’m more of the “mad as a hatter” persuasion, or of seeing “madness” as a state of inspired creativity — not describing the characteristics of a “special” sub-class with a separate “culture.”

    While I know there are always exceptions, most “mad ” people don’t originally define themselves as “mad,” though many grew up feeling weird and ostracized. Almost always those who claim to be “reclaiming madness” have initially been labeled by psychiatry then, rather than rejecting labels altogether, adopt new “mad” labels and call “madness” their new “identity.” The “othering” remains constant; only the label changes.

    So what’s in a phrase? I also remember an old movement slogan “Women aren’t mad, they’re angry.”

    Anyway thanks for all the energy, I know this is hardly an adequate response.

  • oldhead, saying “no theory is needed” is a little over the top. Alternatives frameworks for are needed simply to convince so-called professionals that the current paragigm of care for bizarrely behaving individuals is harmful

    What I do is anti-psychiatry. I’m not a “caregiver” or interested in convincing “mh professionals” of anything. I’m more interested in helping people make connections that may lead to them rejecting the whole “professional/client” paradigm, and the political structures which perpetuate the alienation and pain that provide an endless stream of such “clients.” Psychiatry like slavery and genocide requires no “alternative,” it just needs to be rejected and abandoned.

    That doesn’t mean I reject “caregiving,” any more than I reject auto repair; it’s just not my focus. As for theory, how about “Oppression Theory” — could delineating that get me a job as a critical psychiatrist? 🙂

  • I am not sue if psychiatry mistakes the BRAIN for the MIND. Maybe, the entire general public is. Maybe, we are by definition, “splitting hairs.” I would like to think the BRAIN and the MIND are as one.

    Steve is right, at least as this relates to psychiatry (though I don’t consider it a “mistake”). This is a vital point — Rebel I think you’re missing this, if you don’t mind me saying so. Maybe parsing this will be my self-“assignment” for the afternoon, as it’s way more than “splitting hairs; within this contradiction lies the key to deconstructing psychiatry for once and for all. (None of this is my “opinion” btw; it comes straight from Szasz).

    Let’s start with a basic principle you presumably are familiar with already:

    “Mental illness” is a semantically absurd concept which falsely conflates the abstraction known as the “mind” with the physical brain to mislead people into believing they have literal diseases.

    The conflation of “brain” and “mind” is the basic deception of psychiatry. The misleading idea that thoughts and perceptions channeled by the brain and nervous system are caused by the latter is like saying that the content of phone conversations is “caused” by the switchboards and cell towers used to transmit them. Szasz said that calling a “doctor” to “cure” unwanted thought or behavior is like calling a TV repair person when you don’t like the program. (This is sort of a simplification.)

    The “mind” is an abstraction, like the “ego,” and does not conform to physical laws. This doesn’t mean that it’s not “real,” but it can’t be conceptualized in physical terms, which is problematic given that we’re focused in a material continuum. “Minds” do not have colors, shapes, textures — or diseases; once one starts ascribing material characteristics to a non-material concept such as “mind” one leaves the sphere of science and enters that of metaphysics, bad poetry and psychiatry. Even Torrey once said (in his younger, less sold-out days) that one can no more have a “mental illness” than a “purple idea.”

    I would add that arguments about whether “mind” and “brain” are the same, different or “part of” one another, or the mind “leaving” the body, or moving around in physical space, are also rooted in physical experience, viewing “mind” from a material frame of reference, as a “thing”; but the consciousness or energy known as “mind” does not obey physical laws, by definition. And unlike “brain,” definitions of “mind” are considerably more subject to subjectivity. [sic]

    It is the essential deception of psychiatry that “mental illness” is not a figure of speech (such as “spring fever’) but a literal disease. This saddles the “diagnosed” with an internalized self-identification as being “defective,” which in the long run is likely to be as destructive as are SSRIs.

    Going back to the above principle, therefore: once the workings of our mind — including our perceptions, thoughts and emotions — are seen as being “caused” by the neural networks which channel them, it’s a short leap to the conclusion that “bad” thoughts and feelings are the product of defective brains.

    Defining what the “mind” or “soul” comprise would be a highly abstract, philosophical, metaphysical discussion/debate, which I imagine has been had over & over over the years. [sic] Though an interesting one, no doubt.

  • I know Peter is one of the “good guys,” nonetheless I don’t comprehend why we are now on the 5th installment still belaboring what was more or less agreed upon after the first installment — that simply having “evidence” does not connote legitimacy to the conclusions based on that evidence, and is essentially meaningless without considering evidence to the contrary. So the question “is psychiatry evidence based?” is really the wrong question to begin with, which should be something more like “does psychiatry interpret its proffered ‘evidence’ in a legitimate manner?”

    But the real question is always “How can psychiatry conduct ‘research’ on a figure of speech with a straight face?” And maybe also “should high school writing and literature classes contain mandatory warnings about the manipulation of metaphor in everyday life?”

  • I hear you absolutely, and you courageously break down some crucial contradictions. But I don’t consider you a “mad person,” unless you “identified” that way before psychiatry labeled you something else. We shouldn’t “other” ourselves by internalizing the projections and othering of others. But that’s another conversation.

    All I can say is that you’re brave to even broach the questioning of various narratives you bring up here. I will abstain from the debate, as this is something that women and gay people will ultimately have to resolve amongst themselves, other than to note that the conflation of “sex” and “gender” leads to similar confusion as the conflation of “brain” and “mind.”

    Also I’m not clear how this piece is related to psychiatry. I’m not about to engage in a long contentious thread, my main concern here involves romanticizing the term “madness,” which can be positive in some circumstances but I believe overall perpetuates the same myths as psychiatry, but using “identity” terminology.

  • Psychiatry is not a noble cause gone wrong, catering to a systemic and epistemic need. It is not a bad theory that needs to be replaced.

    Hear! Hear!

    Exit just summarized my instant reaction to all this.

    No theory is needed because there is no mystery. And this piece is so steeped in acceptance of the psychiatric mentality, and its implicit assumptions about human thought and behavior, as to be hardly worth responding to or arguing about.

  • Many people were helped including myself but for the most part the responses were insults, lies and logical fallacies followed by censorship. Turns out being pro-science to most people is defined as ignoring the evidence and covering up with illogical assumptions. Many people also view it as stigmatizing if you do not tell people they are mentally defective. It is a brave new world

    Well, this is the state of modern “discourse,” with Newspeak being a major component. “Science” is defined by what “all the cool kids” think — not based on repeatable experiments and bias-free interpretation of data, but determined by taking polls of selected people with “official” credentials of “scientist.”

  • Still far from anything remotely ruling class. Plus the publisher often picks up the tab for those tours.

    50 years ago investors who “only” had 10 million to play with were called “Wall Street beggars.” That’s probably increased at least tenfold.

    Not that I get the drift of this generally odd thread anyway. Should we start discussing Michael Moore’s financial situation while we’re at it?

  • Once there is any kind of “training” required to be a “peer” it sets up a power relationship of “expert” (or “baby expert’) vs. “regular person.” Which negates the meaning of “peer.” There are no experts that can teach us to be human; we all live in a sea of alienation and need to help each other reclaim our humanity.

  • Judi was a friend of mine, and I was there when she was writing On Our Own. She never meant for her use of the word “peer” to be co-opted by psychiatry the way it has. The so-called “peer movement” is a new iteration of the “mental health consumer movement,” which was the first effort to co-opt the anti-psychiatry/mental patients liberation movement. In her younger (and more radical) days Judi spoke often of “consciousness raising,” not “peer counseling.”

    Unfortunately Judi did get somewhat entangled with the reactionary “Alternatives” conferences and other system-friendly enterprises as she got older — a tendency we all need to recognize in ourselves as we age, and try to nip in the bud. Bonnie Burstow was the first to bring my attention to this, which I disputed at the time. But to refer to things that are natural, good and healthy as “alternatives to psychiatry” gives psychiatry way too much legitimacy, i.e. as the standard against which everything else should be measured, rather than something to avoid at all costs.

  • Good to see you back Rachel, hopefully certain people will have more respect for you this time around. Not sure what you’re saying I have bee “venting” about. But I just noticed this (with which I heartily disagree):

    With real support and training based in the “peer” movement, peer supporters can work in “acute” hositpal settings and should definitely be present there

    No, those who realize that psychiatry is a criminal enterprise should refuse to lend it legitimacy with their presence. And the “hospitals” should be razed.

  • I believe that someone mentioned that Peterson did not respond intelligently, to these drugs, etc. That may be true, but as soon, as he started taking one of these drugs, the ability to respond intelligently is basically thrown out the window; like the baby with the bathwater analogy.


    Not sure if the “baby & bath water” reference is a response to an earlier post of mine. However the phrase is often used with the claim that abolishing psychiatry (the “baby”) altogether rather than just the “bad” parts (the “bath water’) would be a mistake. I say throw them both out together.

  • “Mental Health Czar”??? This is supposed to be a credential? Sounds like Peter should re-read The Communist Manifesto.

    We need a spiritual life — you cannot expect to have the human interior life just be stimulated by a screen and pushing buttons on a screen. It involves participatory activities, playing music together, singing together, and a sexual life.

    Correct. However spirituality is not recognized by psychiatry (or by traditional leftists) as legitimate.

  • @Steve — What are you planning to do in the streets? How will you know when it’s time? Just make sure you don’t get hurt. 🙂

    Actually the time never “comes” until we decide to seize it. Meanwhile the whole country can be in the streets “demonstrating” and “protesting” — but to whom and why, if everyone already agrees?

    “Protesting” is essentially a demonstration of weakness, pending the attainment of the power to make and enforce structural changes.

  • Got your “vaccine passport” yet?

    Many are saying that to call this a “vaccine” is a misuse of the term, and that what it actually amounts to is experimental “gene therapy” being tested on a global scale. Apparently there are too many “side” effects being reported to keep track of — curiously, more in younger than older people. Maybe because the old people COVID has passed over have stronger immune systems?

  • COVID has nothing to do with the KGB, it’s a joint US-China creation from what I can see. However you are rightly disturbed that no one seems overly concerned about its origin. A couple more “mainstream” articles for your consumption:



    Plus the original study, I believe, by Peter Breggin:

  • @KS I was not involved in that debate, other than to reaffirm that anyone has the right to indulge in any “self-help” technique or program they choose, and that this poses no inherent contradiction to the movement to abolish psychiatry. They’re simply two different things. Psychiatry is a tool of repression based on fraud, not a failed attempt to “help” people. It needs no “alternative.”

  • Our home is our “Feelings”. Its roof, that protects us from external elements, is our “Thinking”. Both are needed. But a roof, or mind, that is to heavy or oppressive or overbearing demolishes the “Feelings” inside.

    This is good. Or you could maybe call the soul “home” and the mind the “house” in which it “resides” in the material world. Of course enlightened intellectuals aren’t supposed to take the idea of a soul seriously. But Marxist materialism still hasn’t accounted for quantum theory, which is a major failing — though I believe there probably is a valid synthesis out there that could reconcile quantum physics with Newton, Einstein and Marx. (If any of this makes any sense to anyone out there please let me know.)

  • Getting back to the concrete — Psychiatry will not be defeated by feelings alone, but through the skilled application of words on many levels, combined with strategic actions. In other words work. Part of the Western ethos into which we have been incarnated involves compartmentalizing feelings and temporarily “sublimating the pleasure principle” in order to meet objectives in the material world; this applies as well to defeating psychiatry, which is a science, and work; it will not happen as the result of good vibes (though there’s no contradiction between the two).

  • The above was a response to Jan, not KS. But in terms of maturity, for any group of people to effectively work towards a shared goal it must go without saying, as a prerequisite for discussion, that participants will have more respect for the process and each other than to react to intellectual disagreements as personal attacks. It is possible to be kind while at the same time demolishing someone’s argument, then everyone going out for lunch afterwards.

    On one level, as a famous philosopher once said, “Words are the ultimate in horseshit.” But on another, Rush Limbaugh was equally astute when he emphasized that “words mean things.”

  • OK, never knew that part. Sounds like Steve. 🙂

    Mainly I recall his controversial (with some) takes on privilege, “gender,” etc., in which he interspersed solid grains of truth with equally clueless lapses in logic — so this may represent a general pattern.

    But I still see him as a victim of psychiatry — meaning someone who was victimized by psychiatry. Even if he opened the door.

  • Reagan pumped billions into the policing and criminalization of drugs and drug users. In order to continue his public relations approach to the Drug War, he handed off the public-facing duties of the operation to the First Lady, Nancy Reagan. This would eventually culminate in the famous “Just Say No” crusade.

    Ah, sweet memories.

    My friends in the “marijuana movement” used to point out how rude Nancy’s slogan was, and remind people that the proper response would be “No THANK YOU.”

  • Well it sure explains some things.

    When “feelings” (such as for one’s political opponent) are allowed to enter into important discussions/debates, especially collective ones which must rely on logic in order to reach valid conclusions, it compromises their integrity and invites emotional manipulation. So to just back off from one’s convictions and say “it doesn’t really matter” when things seem to be getting “too intense” (or whatever) could be interpreted by your friends as treating their thoughts as frivolous, especially if it does matter to them.

    Being a kind person is always a nice goal, but you are essentially making an argument for individualism, which is the dynamic at the heart of psychiatry and “professionalism. But change isn’t made by individuals, even though it sometimes appears that way. Feelings and subjectivity have their roles, so does objective logic. There’s a time and place for each — not always the same time and place.

  • @Frobex — Your post is a better-written version of some of what I was trying to get at.

    I don’t know much about JP except that he’s an out-of-the-box thinker and drives the “woke” crowd nuts. I never thought of him as a “mental health professional,” just as a social commentator, and still have to ask whether he’s really a “clinical psychologist” in practice, or whether he just has those academic credentials and pulls them out to bolster his credibility on book jackets or whatever.

    Still what strikes me is the degree of “shaming” of JP for “not knowing better,” which in other contexts (“she should have known not to walk through that neighborhood alone”) would be considered inappropriate and blaming the victim. Actually I agree, he should have known better, and was blindsided to something he might have been able to see coming. But despite all that JP IS in the end a victim of psychiatry — no one who saw his daughter’s video reports when he was in Russia, and the obvious toll the situation was taking on her, can reasonably dispute that. (I would also note that MIA has lots of articles by mh professionals who have been victimized by the psychiatric system themselves.)

    Anyway I don’t know if there are “sides” here or what, personally I’m just pointing out what seem to be some curious anomalies in commenters’ attitudes that appear to have more to do with the celebrity than the person. Though it’s possible that some of this is based on JP’s mh credentials alone with no prior awareness of his being well known and controversial.

  • There is no “peer movement.” “Peerdom” was created to function as an adjunct of psychiatry and perpetuate the psychiatric mentality, and as such disempowers those it purports to help. It also encourages survivors to aspire to be baby shrinks, rather than throwing the whole system out with the bath water. Look up the word “peer.” If someone is your peer they shouldn’t need to constantly point that out to you, or be paid for being such — why aren’t YOU getting paid too?

  • Also Lorna — I would be totally remiss not to tell you about our recently passed comrade Stephen Gilbert, who worked for years as a “peer” at Arkansas State Hospital. He constantly exposed the bankruptcy of the “peer ” concept in the pages of MIA at night as he worked there by day, and also joined our budding anti-psychiatry organization and worked to defeat psychiatry till shortly before his death.

    Please set some time aside to read some of what Stephen had to say. I am including this link to his MIA tribute: https://www.madinamerica.com/2019/12/tribute-to-stephen-gilbert/

    More important, read some of what Stephen had to say personally in his voluminous MIA comment history. I suspect you’ll feel like he’s speaking directly to you at times:


  • Very interesting, well written and well considered.

    I detect some mild hostility to Peterson here and in the comments, as contrasted to the endless sympathy generally extended to other victims of psychiatry and psych drugs, and the frequent concern about not “shaming” people for their decisions to partake in “mh services.” I think this attitude is likely due to Peterson’s social & political writing and general reputation.

    It’s not hard for me to understand someone concerned with “order” suddenly peering into the abyss and realizing there is no such thing, and grabbing at every straw possible to make sense of this, including (or especially) psychiatry. Many people are initially relieved by a “diagnosis” since it seems to make the chaos make sense, at least until the artifice crumbles further. And once one accepts the psych narrative it’s logical to believe that it makes sense to look for the “right” combinations of “medications” to address the “symptoms.”

    Anyway Peterson clearly has a lot to more to work out than he once thought, and needs a few more epiphanies — including about the nature of psychiatry. Unfortunately he seems to have a need as a writer to do this figuring out process in public, in the form of making pronouncements to others, which guarantees that he’ll start out spouting half-truths combined with complete contradictions, then be adjusting and retracting things for some time to come.

    I do question the motivation of someone concerned with formulating “rules for life.” Nonetheless Peterson is a serious thinker with a conscience, and thinking about anything too hard these days will make you crazy, at least for a while. Maybe a little stupid too. The Humanity.

    Good article.

  • Goddamn what an excellent article, and perfect expose of the “peer” scam!

    Psychiatry is a branch of law enforcement, not medicine. And “peers” serve the same role as “trustees” in the prison system (or “overseers” during slavery). You were turned into a pawn to do the system’s dirty work under the guise that you were to be helping others navigate the bullshit. However it can’t be “navigated,” it has to be abandoned. I’m glad you walked away — just hope that “research” isn’t “mental health” research, which is the same scam in different clothing.

  • I thought of this and think it’s somewhat relevant, so I’m going to cram it in.

    A well known chiropractor and natural healer had this to say on the general subject:

    When singer Warren Zevon was diagnosed with lung cancer, doctors gave him three months to live. He refused chemotherapy because it would have interfered with working on his last album. He said in an interview, “I didn’t want any drastic alterations to my health – other than dying.”

    Warren lasted a year. And he kept right on smoking, till the end. Not exactly a holistic approach, but he quadrupled their estimate without treatment. Using their logic, I guess someone could actually make a case that cigarettes are four times as effective as chemotherapy for terminal lung cancer.


  • This is a vital campaign worth supporting, which should unite not only supporters of MFI but also those in the anti-psychiatry/abolitionist movement, as well as human rights advocates in general. With a united AP movement we would be able to do better than plaintively waiting for editors to print our letters — we might even force them to look up from their work and realize there’s something happening here (even if what is it ain’t exactly clear). 🙂

    This is like announcing the date of an execution and daring people to respond.

  • I think you’re deflecting the issue. First of all these places shouldn’t even exist so there’s no “correct” solution. But beyond that, being born into privilege (if this is indeed the case) is not a crime, and Ektarina should not be held personally accountable for the sins of capitalism. (Not that it’s a bad thing for people to be aware of their privilege.) If her shit is being stolen by the employees of the operation supposedly in charge of her well-being and security I don’t see why that should be written off based on her class status.

  • I am neither “mentally ill” nor A-OK, and I need that to be OK.

    Is that really the choice however? Does there need to be a choice? Of course you’re not “mentally ill,” no one is. And only you can decide what “A-OK” is, or whether that’s a goal you even want to aspire to.

    I need it to be ok to have the agency to choose the supports I need without losing agency on the one hand and without being turned out of the AP community as a “reformer” on the other.

    If you feel that sort of pressure coming from “the AP community” it’s sure not coming the “community” I belong to, and I wonder if there have been specific comments made which have encouraged you to feel this way. If so I’d like to know, preferably on a different forum, for as you know I consider many survivor issues “internal” and not grist for MIA consumption.

    However it’s important for all to understand that NO ONE affected by this toxic alienated culture should feel “shamed” for grabbing at whatever straws the system purports to offer. Our critiques and actions are directed at the system, not it’s victims. And anyone who says or implies otherwise is acting in detriment to the movement.

    In regard to Matt I still firmly believe that, while he may have felt the sort of pressure you describe — primarily self-imposed in his case — I see his demise as being ultimately caused by his inability to break away internally from the chains psychiatric ideology had clasped on his mind and spirit. It was in fulfillment of some shrink’s prediction about “personality disorders” that he ultimately took his life — maybe to preempt what he considered the inevitable. And I still want to know that shrink’s name for the record, and the AP Wall of Shame. 🙁

  • “What if you don’t use a “gravatar” image at all” I was going to say — but now you’re making me totally crazy with your completely blank avatar as opposed to the generic “ghost” profile — is that safer and if so how do you do it? And is there a way to check where you might have inadvertently left a trail of bread crumbs?

    MIA really should warn people about this, yo.

  • If you are being asked to participate in a clinical trial with a psychiatric drug, you will need to investigate very carefully what it is about and whether it is ethically acceptable.

    I have a better idea. The original Madness Network News (not the “new” version) used to have a “shock doctor roster,” which was just what it implies, i.e. “doctors” who used shock on their “patients.” Maybe in this case MIA and others could institute a “Mengele roster” listing shrinks who push “experimental” psychiatric procedures on their supposed “patients.”

    Psychiatry is fraud by definition, based on the absurd concept of “mental illness,” so distinguishing between “legitimate” and “experimental” is meaningless.

  • Explain the implications if you would — are you saying that if you use the same username this will be correlated with MIA, or that if you use another gravatar-based forum even with a different name it will identify you as “KS” from MIA? Or something else? Can another more secure system be used w/wordpress or does it only accommodate gravatar?

    Or does this only apply if you use an image by your user name?

  • I avoid the term “gaslighting” but I think by any definition this would be a prime example. And it should be obvious to anyone that the specific material items stolen are secondary to the sense of violation (and invalidation), no matter who might have turned out to be responsible.

    The face mask was the first good thing that disappeared.

    These days some would consider that a good thing.

    I tried to maintain my sense of dignity by disobeying some of their rules…

    A rebel at heart! Too bad maintaining one’s dignity must require “rebellion,” but there it is. And despite my frequent picking at your semantics (which I’ll forego this time) I always enjoy your spirit of creative resistance. 🙂

  • So far no one has knowingly had such a problem that I’m aware of. Though there’s much that I’m unaware of so don’t rest assured on my account. If you’re hiding from a “3 letter” agency or something nothing on the net is safe, but if it’s trolls you’re worried about I think they’d have to be pretty sophisticated.

    But again, who am I?

    Is James Moore around to comment? Steve?

  • I was with you 100& till the last sentence. I would say legislators aren’t the ultimate power, but it’s a good place to start. In any case you’re absolutely right that, whomever demands are addressed to, it takes a “united front” to exert the needed pressure.

    Btw there used to be a similar saying, that “the liberation of mental patients is the job of ex-patients themselves.” Back when we called ourselves that.

    I left you an email address after one of your other posts, did you see it?

  • Sorry David but this has nothing to do with “revolution.” Revolution involves overthrowing the ruling class, reclaiming our stolen resources and seizing the means of production. Psychiatry exists to inhibit the development of revolutionary consciousness. Ne’er the twain shall meet.

    At least as far back as 1976 the principles of the Mental Patients Liberation Movement proclaimed that “the psychiatric system cannot be reformed and must be abolished.” Why do you think this is any different today?

    It took us a long time to recover spiritually and ideologically from the dark days of “mental health consumerism,” and we don’t need to go back, by wasting our energy choosing between figurehead bureaucrats appointed by figurehead presidents. They all amount to “little Eichmanns.” The time spent playing the system game can and should be much better spent on anti-psychiatry education and organizing. Human beings can support each other without imitating the psychiatric/”mental health” paradigm.

    Anyone remember the Murphy Bill? Didn’t think so — but this is what people wasted their time fretting about 5 years ago, when it was obviously a done deal from the start. In the end (as the “21st Century Cures Act”) NO Democrats opposed it, and I think 3 Republicans. So you are right that this transcends parties, but at that point your analysis reverts to liberalism.

    I have been very personally affected by this death of a neighbor who was a mental health consumer peer.

    To me that’s a desultory way of describing someone you cared about. You just made a key connection however, by using the juxtaposition “mental health consumer peer.” “Mental health consumer” is the Orwellian term used which was used by the system to replace the prevalent terms of “inmate” and “ex-inmate” when APA/NIMH were co-opting the movement in the mid-80’s. “Peer” is the Orwellian term the same forces would have replace “survivor,” with its unacceptable recognition that psychiatry is something to be “survived” rather than embraced. So using the two together pretty much seals the deal, and demonstrates that connection.

    “Peer” is a psychiatric term, and the “peer” scam is the same system in sheep’s clothing. And with your support for this whole co-opted mentality you seem to be leading people down the primrose path, implying that there can be “reform” in a system designed to keep us down.

    Psychiatry Kills!

    Otherwise, hope you’re doing well. 🙂

  • Bingo! — thanks for the contact email.

    I appreciate you taking all that time too, and it would be helpful considering these things in smaller bites, and maybe introducing you to a wider forum. I don’t always have prepared answers to everything.

    If people want to talk about diversity, as you can see from the range of comments here, psychiatry unifies a lot of “strange bedfellows” — (with the emphasis on “strange” I guess). 🙂

    Anyway I’ll get back to you in a day or so. Thanks.

  • Yay Phil!

    Another pithy and voluminous contribution, I hope I make it all the way through. However even the intro is thought-provoking to “word nerds.” (I didn’t just make that up did I?)

    “Disorder” is what Frank B calls a “weasel word” — something that provides plausible denial that it means “disease” but still implies that there is an objective “something” to be addressed &/or corrected. It bridges the ambiguous area where physical reality and abstraction intersect.

    Your point about the initial use of the appendage “reaction” is also telling.

    “…psychiatry’s hand-in-glove relationship with pharma had a widespread corrupting effect on the quality of psychiatric research.”

    Yes, but “psychiatric research” is a misnomer in that it accepts psychiatry as a legitimate science, not a semantic obfuscation based on the manipulation of metaphor.

    “but we’re pretty sure that neurotransmitters have something to do with “mental illnesses”…

    Or: “…I’m pretty sure that this transmission thing has something to do with your car’s performance.”

    Many psychiatrists have learned to stop using the phrase “chemical imbalance” but continue to use essentially similar and equally invalid concepts on their websites and other documents.

    Other psychiatrists have abandoned the “chemical imbalance” concept altogether and instead use the pre-biological and pre-scientific notion that the hallmark of disease/illness is the presence of distress or impairment. This I have called the Monster Falsehood.

    All this is important to recognize and point out, especially the last paragraph. The potential extensions of the “distress/impairment” redefinition of “disease” are multifold and I won’t even dabble in them here. We need to take note when they change up their narrative, and adjust our talking points accordingly.

    Thanks again Phil.

  • Not sure what this is in response to — I don’t recall referring to MIA as either left OR right wing (though by my definition even most of what is now referred to as “left” is right wing). I actually believe the terms are at this point essentially meaningless. (See this disturbing new article by Glen Greenwald: https://greenwald.substack.com/p/journalists-start-demanding-substack )

    MIA is a good place to nurture people’s anti-psychiatry consciousness till they’re ready give up on “reform” and join the anti-psychiatry movement.

  • Arguably, IMO, there is such a thing as mental illness i.e, some sort of physical illness, damage, or genetic impairment within the brain that in turn, affects the functioning of the mind.

    This is a contradiction — what you are describing is brain damage, which is physical, not mental. The “mind” is an abstraction, and not subject to disease or any other physical characteristics. The conflation of the abstract and the physical is an increasingly common tactic for manipulating discourse, and we need to be able to spot it.

  • I know the author is respected for many good reasons, and have no intention of contradicting or disputing that.

    Still, articles like this make things appear way too complicated and worthy of debate, when all one needs in their mental “survival kit” are 2 very basic bits of knowledge: a) psychiatric drugs are poison and will fuck up your life; and 2) the chemical imbalance “theory” is a lie.

    Or, this could be broken down into one rule of thumb: Psychiatry is not a legitimate branch of medicine.

  • Wow. Great post. Are you involved or interested in AP organizing?

    If I’m reading you correctly you are saying that the nature of psychiatric oppression and the harmful self-identifications that come with it change over the course of time, and I agree. And it takes some a long time to see through the game, hence many AP people are “oldies”; however the energy and passion of youth is needed to sustain and perpetuate the movement. So I hope Cassandra finds some strength and value in your words, and mine.

  • What’s most significant is that although KS & I appear to be arguing we are largely in synch on key things, such as psychiatry needing to go — even though we get to that conclusion via different routes and from different perspectives.

    Your own points are hard to respond to in sound bites, to your credit, but it’s a drag when I’m tired. Oh well, poor me:

    Another odd possibility is that, although we may work very hard with good intentions and wise ideas, psychiatry may just end up abolishing itself

    Yes, the entire system may collapse under its own weight, but if it falls on us that will be nothing to celebrate. And the timing is impossible to predict. A controlled demolition might be best. (Metaphors, guys.) It would be a mistake to assume that just because the conditions are ripe the system will just go away. This is the meaning of the Frederick Douglas quote (summarized): “Power cedes nothing without a demand.”

    …one glaring attribute of a convict or criminal is they just can’t stop themselves from engaging in criminal behavior. Just wait a while, these people will show their face.

    Sounds like you’re talking about “overreach,” which happens when the forces in power get arrogant and overconfident, and start alienating some of their support. It’s always something to prepare for and to take advantage of when it happens. (I should also point out that not all convicts are criminals.)

    This doesn’t mean we should stop doing what we are doing.


  • Your fatal flaw here, Oldhead, is in the presumption that you know what other people’s priorities should be. Abolishing psychiatry is a worthy goal but it isn’t the only goal because the need for help doesn’t magically go away with psychiatry gone.

    There are infinite worthwhile goals in the world. My specific goal at this point in time is abolishing psychiatry, not helping people I don’t know with their personal issues. That’s not to say the latter isn’t a worthwhile thing to pursue. But there’s no real connection between the two. The belief that there is comes from accepting the premise that the purpose of psychiatry is to help people, and that abolishing psychiatry thus requires an “alternative” way to help people. But we should be able to reject that reasoning without much difficulty.

    The people I personally and primarily want to “help” are those whose lives will be even further upended by psychiatry if it is allowed to continue with business as usual. Which is all of us in some way, really. But there should be no illusions that ending psychiatry will do more than bring us back to square one; it won’t mean that systemic oppression has ended or doesn’t need to be confronted.

    The purpose of any movement to abolish psychiatry is based on it being a tool of repression, period. The main help those deepest within its clutches need is to be extricated. If individual psychiatric abolitionists choose to also be involved in “support communities” etc. there’s no contradiction, especially if these are controlled by those who participate. However the two functions shouldn’t be conflated, or one considered a prerequisite for the other, even if there is some occasional overlap.

  • You’re extrapolating a little too much from what I said. It’s really not a big deal, I was just exploring the implications of the term, and of using it as an “identity.” By no means do I consider “survivor” to be “negative and counterproductive”; if I did I wouldn’t use it.

    When I left the movement, or more accurately when the “movement” left us in the early 80’s, the going terms were inmate and ex-inmate (to which I have suggested adding “outmate,” to describe those in “treatment” outside institutional walls). By the time I reconnected with the movement’s remnants in 2014 “survivor” had become the term of record, and I have accommodated myself to it.

    The reservation I was expressing has to do with basing one’s “identity” on their worst experiences. But if the identification as “survivor” is inspirational and empowering for some, by all means go for it! 🙂

    There is another distinction to be made here too — when speaking in a political context “survivor” describes a political class, just as “woman” describes a political (as well as biological) class. So, just as someone who in a political context identifies as a “worker” might not see that as his/her identity as a whole, one can identify as a “survivor” when working on AP stuff, while considering their “greater identity” as encompassing more than that one aspect.

    However — I was approaching this primarily in a “chat” mode. I think if AP survivors are ready to tackle a discussion of issues which are integral to the definition and progress of the AP movement, those issues would the “peer” industry and the concept of “madness” as an “identity.” Neither of these discussions should take place primarily on MIA however — if you’d like to move this to a survivor forum give me the word!

  • I’m torn between trying to respond here and elsewhere, but since we have no other current means to communicate I guess I’ll start here; my reticence is because i think some of this stuff is “internal” to survivors and not necessarily public business. Also some of it gets very involved. But I’ll try to respond the best I can.

    I am not saying ALL antipsychiatry people think that, but quite a few of them in my experience, even on MIA.

    I guess you’d have to be more specific. Unless “not compromising with norms” means stuff like playing in traffic or ritually abusing animals I think it’s your call; of course you also should be prepared to deal with potential consequences. And obviously you’re not allowed to hurt people, etc. Otherwise it’s not an anti-psychiatry position that people should “go along to get along”; if anything it would be to defend your right to do otherwise, given the aforementioned caveats.

    I simply consider different traits, even very different, to be a normal part of the human spectrum. Just like different cultures, sexual orientations, political views etc. I thought of myself as “mad” and “weird” as a teenager prior to seeing my first psychiatrist and also as a kid, not because I was ashamed but because it was simply the way I am.

    But now you know that you’re not “mad” — i.e. that “weirdness” is normal, and part if the spectrum of human behavior and experience, as you put it. Which is spot on, and part of my “rap” as well. In that sense “madness” is a capacity we all possess, not a special consciousness accessible only (or primarily) to special people known as “mad people.”

    But I digress, as I realize this is something you originally brought up only in passing.

    I don’t agree with its control on society and want to see forced treatment abolished or at least reduced. Is that enough to be a part of this movement? Can I be a comrade?

    I think you are already. However there is another principle that comes after the two I mentioned at the very top of my first post, which is Psychiatry cannot be reformed and must be abolished. This has been a precept of the AP survivors/”mental patients” liberation movement since at least 1976, and goes beyond “forced treatment.” However we do call for the end of such force as our main demand, in solidarity with all others who do the same.

    I’m sorry to hear of your experiences with people at MIA you identify as “anti-psychiatry.” MIA is not an anti-psychiatry site; it’s mainly for liberal mh professionals. So it’s quite possible someone presenting themselves as AP treated you in a boorish manner. Like I said, there’s a lot of fake anti-psychiatry out there, some of it directly connected to the “peer” industry.

    I respect what you are saying but I don’t know if I feel comfortable calling some people the “true” anti psychiatry.

    It’s not about people but principles and ideas. “Anti-psychiatry” can refer to an emotion or a political stance. Those who primarily hate psychiatry as the result of a particular experience, shrink, etc. are anti-psychiatry on an emotional level, which is personal and subjective, and more fare for “support groups.”

    On a political level, however, it’s important to have a correct analysis of what psychiatry is before effective strategies for defeating it can be devised. At this level there is an objectively “true” AP, in the sense of having a correct analysis and plan of action — one based on material reality and not wishful thinking.

    Any of this ring true?

  • I think you are on to what a lot of people are sensing nowadays but can’t put their fingers on. Maybe a feeling that you are being blamed for the state of the world?

    For example, the media, controlled by the same capitalist interests that once profited from slavery, are now lecturing poor and working class people about their “racism.” But racism an is an entrenched practice serving corporate rule, not (primarily) an “attitude”; there are sometimes ugly racist attitudes among white working class people which help perpetuate the acceptance of systemic racism, but in the end racism is enforced by the system’s guns, not inappropriate language, and serves the interests of the corporate elite of both parties (in the U.S.). White and Black working people are being deliberately pitted against one another, which in the end serves only the super-rich.

    In short, if you get the feeling that your aspirations to a free and just world are being manipulated by people with an agenda, you may just be right.

  • Well, we all have good and bad days but I think you totally get it, don’t underestimate yourself. Extensive public education is needed to set the preconditions for a public groundswell against psychiatry which, when it finally happens, might seem to have come out of the blue, but you’ll know better. So right now “action” means education, much of which is done via words. So the demand for “action not words” is not always as bold and radical as it may seem. Empty words are the problem, not words period.

    HOWEVER we can’t educate the public when we’re confused ourselves, with some calling for abolition and others for nicer shrinks. That’s why it’s important to define what psychiatry is, and what anti-psychiatry is. We can’t pretend there are “no divisions.”

    It’s also important to understand that “activism” is sometimes tedious and mundane, i.e. work. It rarely involves marching through the streets and shouting at empty buildings (because many demonstrations take place on weekends). Currently activism involves adopting a united “platform,” analysis and demands, and much of the initial work towards accomplishing this has already been done — we’re just waiting for people to get on board.

    As I mentioned, abolition doesn’t necessarily mean outlawing psychiatry; it could include a combination of “small cuts,” which start with public sentiment and sometimes result in reformist legal measures. (The biggest cut of all would be the abolition of force, but that won’t happen without a huge campaign conducted in coalition with many other forces, including the prisoners movement.)

    Meanwhile we must continue exposing the underlying fraud and deception at the core of psychiatry, and chopping away at the underpinnings of the psychiatric mentality, which has been unconsciously internalized by many who consider themselves “progressive.”

    Any day I think I’ve fulfilled a tiny chunk of accomplishing the above is a good one, usually.

  • Sounds like Wikipedia. Not saying it’s technically wrong but no mention of how this plays out in real life. Especially no mention of suppressing any cultural discourse which questions its narrative of enlightened compassion. If Wikipedia and Google are now interconnected this is understandable, as Google/Twiiter/FB are the “big three” neoliberal propaganda tools.

    Wikipedia also has a totally pathetic definition of anti-psychiatry, which I suspect was written by someone in the “consumer movement.”

  • It’s acceptable and I understand how and why it became the go-to term. But I think inmate and outmate are more descriptive.

    In terms of self-empowerment, there’s a difference between recognizing that objectively we have been (or are being) victimized by something, and adopting “victim” as an identity.

    My larger point is that All people need to reclaim their stolen humanity.

    FWIW before I discovered MIA in 2014 I did pride myself on being a “survivor” but I thought of it in terms of being a survivor of the system in general; I spent almost zero time thinking about psychiatry. I didn’t even realize that “survivor” had become the prevailing term among the remnants of the AP movement.

  • Thanks immensely for posting this and taking to time to express yourself. Also for giving me a way to amplify and clarify a couple things.

    Am I the only one who doesn’t see myself as needing to change?

    Not at all, it’s just that too many are “underground.”

    The antipsychiatry side wants me to change myself without drugs and “why don’t you just compromise with the social norms a little bit, you silly girl?”

    No, not at all. I don’t know what you mean by the “antipsychiatry side,” as there’s lot’s of fake “antipsychiatry” out there, but none of the AP people I work with would ever tell you to “compromise with the social norms” (or tell you to do anything really). Of course someone will always pop up to say “what if she wants to run all alone through the inner city at 3 a.m. screaming?” — but I’m not sure that trying to answer diversionary hypothetical questions should be something we spend a lot of time on.

    As for taking drugs, likewise — while “we” would like for anyone to get off neurotoxic drugs, no responsible AP person with a clue — except maybe a close friend — would presume to nag or pressure you as to what to do.

    if I am fully honest with my own beliefs and bring them all to my activism then I am only advocating for myself.

    That’s all any of us are doing in the end, arguably — but activism is based on shared beliefs and goals, and being part of a collective energy. No movement worth being part of would expect its adherents to be clones of one another, however. In the case of anti-psychiatry activism, the range of psychiatry’s victims is universal, and crosses race and class lines (even as it serves class rule). So we’re as “diverse” as can be imagined, as the basic principles of anti-psychiatry are as applicable to Mormons as they are to Marxists.

    As for “mad pride,” this is a term which has become a way of diverting the struggle against psychiatry (which is far more than the campaign to abolish forced “treatment”). I was there jamming with Howie the Harp 40 years ago as he performed “Crazy and Proud,” but it was humorous and ironic — craziness and “madness” (except for a few people) was not an “identity” in the way it is being used by some today, which is exploitative and self-effacing when you examine it. I’ve discussed this with quite a few movement veterans, who (almost) uniformly affirm my recollection, and are not at all supportive of “madness” being adopted as another identity politics mainstay. But it already has been among too many, mostly in conjunction with some sort of “certified peer specialist” operation, and I don’t think we should shrink from pointing out the contradictions involved.

    Rarely do people think of themselves as “mad people” prior to being labeled by psychiatry — then they try to compensate for that hurtful and oppressive designation by saying e.g. “I’m not schizophrenic,” I’m a MAD PERSON,” which they romanticize as something positive, signifying that they are “special” (or even superior). Nonetheless they are simply exchanging one label for another and internalizing the “othering” process initiated by psychiatry. Liberation from this particular merry-go-round starts with abandoning the whole mindset of defining our lives from a “mental health” perspective and moving on.

    The primary benefit of psychiatry to the larger system is that it holds the individual responsible for systemic crimes. We are expected to eat shit and like it. If we don’t like it, even though we’re dutifully chewing, we are a threat to the system, which will “respond” tenfold if deemed necessary. Psychiatry is a big part of this.

    Are we already in touch in some way? You have some very intelligent and sincere questions about the anti-psychiatry movement that require more than a “sound-bite” response. There is some “underground” survivor AP organizing getting ready to rear its head at any moment — if you’re interested and want me or someone to fill you in, and have a public email (or one you can post then delete) let me know; if not there are other means we can use to get in touch.

    In any case looking forward to you writing here more often.

  • [A brief strategic and motivational interjection for Rebel et al.]

    Oldhead wants to “defund and abolish psychiatry.” I would like to agree, but, I wonder is it really possible or a pipedream.

    As you know I am one of many people (including yourself) who agree — although you phrase this oddly, i.e. your imply you are basing whether you desire to abolish psychiatry on the likelihood of accomplishing that. But what you desire is what you desire — even if you see no immediate prospect of getting what you want. What I’m saying is (this also applies to another ongoing conversation/debate with which you are familiar):

    No successful, non-sellout movement ever bases its strategy or aspirations on the prospect of short-range success. First you need to define what you collectively believe and what you want. This is objective and immutable. There is no room when defining your objectives for equivocation based on what seems “practical” — that’s what “advocacy” groups do, not abolitionists. (And, again, “abolition” does not necessarily refer to some sweeping decree from the Emperor, there are subtleties involved.)

    Once you’ve determined your real goals, not your “practical” ones, the next step is strategizing how to achieve them. That’s the point where subjectivity and tactical creativity come in based on the concrete circumstances of the moment.

    Btw I think people have to get over needing to see victory in their lifetimes; it’s possible for many of us, but the important thing to know is that we’re pushing in the right direction, even if it’s uphill.

    Humanity is capable of near-infinite things once there is a collective will which refuses to be stomped down and restrained by the terrorism of the system. I’m personally optimistic, both on general principles, and for objective reasons. Though it does seem as though there is a current of timidity and cynicism circulating, which I encourage people to recognize and resist, it’s not that hard.

  • Hi Tim. Where to start, where to start…

    This is not something you’ll be able to appreciate the first time through, if at all, but assuming you are open to new perspectives:

    A group of us have defined a few basic principles regarding psychiatry that we consider key to “making psychiatry history, one of our slogans.

    The first is Psychiatry is not a legitimate form of medicine.” In terms of this article, use of psychiatric labels, including “psychosis,” implies a medical or scientific validity which does not exist. All these terms are misleading, and are randomly applied to disparate forms of unwanted thought and/or behavior. Their main significance is that they help psychiatry assume the trappings of medicine.

    Which leads us to the 2nd principle, which also speaks to your concerns: Psychiatry is a tool of social control which enforces conformity to the dominant culture. Make of that what you will.

    Trying to “make psychiatry better” is based on the assumption that it is what it presents itself to be.

  • Some serious seeds of wisdom tucked in there, but a lot is constrained by language sometimes, and I don’t think the true choices before us personally and collectively can be framed in terms of “neo” anything. I’m just trying to communicate in the vernacular provided. I’m also looking for a consensual definition of neoliberal still, since it’s used more & more often. I think of it in terms of multinational corporate conglomerates, Gates & other would-be societal/cultural designers.

  • Though it would never see the light of day today, John Lennon’s most lasting and dramatic anti-misogynist lyrics can be found in his classic “Woman is the Nigger of the World,” which he recorded with Yoko Ono. It came to mind while pondering the role of “peers” in the “mental health” gulag.

    If you see the psychiatric system as a caste system, “peers” are next to the bottom, which of course is occupied by those “served” by these alleged “peers.” It’s infinitely disturbing how “highly functioning mental patients” are groomed to oversee those who haven’t yet mastered the subtleties of the “mental health” hierarchy, and even more disturbing that survivors are conditioned to look up to those who have become “successful” mh professionals as role models, rather than as examples of compliance (again we’re talking systemic so any individuals who feel offended must be feeling guilty).

    If the definition of a “peer” is someone who is essentially just like you, why is someone being materially compensated for being “just like you” when you’re not?

    Here’s the dividing line: “Peerdom” is a creation of psychiatry, and there is almost always a psychiatrist at the top of the ladder capable of rescinding a “peer’s” accreditation. Even if there may be variations now & then. The question is not even whether it’s “consensual” (though that’s always in the background), but whether adopting the psychiatric mentality, which targets individuals (the branches) rather than the criminal system (the root) is backwards and perpetuates that system. If people took the latter attitude there might be a consensual revolution in short order. Or close.

    My main point is that aspiring to be a “good peer” is not logical or consistent if someone identifies as “anti-psychiatry” or “abolitionist.” They are opposite directions.

  • I also believe we have innate knowledge upon physical birth, likely even memories of before the Beginning. One reason this is important is that it impacts the brain/mind discussion, in that if mind and memory precede or transcend the physical brain it cannot be held responsible for one’s “disordered” thoughts, barring physical damage of some sort.

  • We need to dispense the with the idea of “celebrity” period. A certain highly respected organizer I’m acquainted with refers to celebrity types as “name brand people” — not in a hostile way, more an ironic one.

    I can’t even imagine myself running after someone for an autograph or something like that. But many people would ingratiate themselves even more if the had the opportunity. I’m not talking about noticing your favorite author in a crowd and saying hi or striking up a conversation, but what amounts to hero worship of someone who’s famous for being famous, like…oh, say Meghan Markle, for example…

    Obviously celebrity worship demonstrates a void in someone’s life, so when someone’s chosen demigod starts pushing “therapy” it’s not a minor thing. Someone should complain.

  • Well liberals suck in general these days, and so does 538, so I wouldn’t really lose any sleep over liberals and the Christian right. They all have their own houses to clean up. In general I think liberals are more privileged and predatory.

    Still looking for a going definition of neoliberal here. Is a neoliberal like a regular liberal except richer and even more hypocritical? Or do you have to have Soros/Gates type wealth & power to qualify?

    Anyway, when you speak of “losing faith,” maybe you were more losing faith in the anthropomorphic Western “big man in the sky” concept of God, rather than your sense of spiritual connection with the Universe? Psychiatry after all is a substitute for religion among those who consider themselves too intellectually advanced to accept a spiritual realm without being seen as superstitious and backwards, so seek a sense of spiritual connectedness via “rational” mythologies such as “mental health.”

    Retail therapy becomes a poor substitute for authentic human connection.

    Authentic human connection is held hostage to market forces under capitalism, so yeah. That’s why 95% of my argumentation is directed at systemic issues, which should not be confused or conflated with personal ones. When I get a chance I want to study Marx’s writings on alienation, which I believe may contain some missing links in the quest to develop an AP analysis and strategy.

    We really lost the village.

    Damn — couldn’t we have just lost Hillary? 🙁

  • Not quite. With snakes and scorpions you’d be going to THEIR house, and all creatures are going to defend themselves as a basic law of Life. They don’t try to lure you into their nests, unless you’re a bug or something. Once you know where they live it’s a matter of basic respect to stay away, just like you’d stay away from a stranger toting a shotgun. We don’t always have that option with psychiatry. To play with the analogy a little.

  • A definition of neoliberalism as used here would be helpful, to start.

    Let’s not forget that neoliberalism is just one variant of capitalism, and to attack neoliberalism without attacking capitalism in general implies that we just need to fuss with the details a little and everything will be better — rather than upending and replacing the entire system. ALL capitalist societies feature alienation from oneself, one’s work, and the product of one’s labor as basic characteristics. It is not “neoliberal ideology” but the same old ruling class practice that’s the main problem.

    Those of us who remember GWB also understand that “neoconservatism” is hardly the answer either. It’s all a variation of “good cop/bad cop.”

  • And why exactly is this old old item with 3 comments suddenly most popular? Someone’s algorithms are mixed up I think.

    The best thing I have to keep this relevant doesn’t involve the UK but the situation is the same in many Western countries (the most interesting thing is that CNN is now reporting on this stuff): https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/02/opinions/childrens-mental-health-during-the-pandemic-beers/index.html

    Also https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/24/us/politics/student-suicides-nevada-coronavirus.html

  • Unfortunately there are levels of deception — the system often sets up false issues and “arguments” between groups of people to deflect attention from the true power dynamics, and to keep people divided. So it’s easy to be drawn into passionately supporting the status quo or worse while believing you’re on a mission from God. That’s not to say never take a stand, just that we need to evaluate things ever more carefully with so many agendas in play.

  • I guess since this is not a survivor-run site I’ll just need to get used to “shrinksplaining,” which is not a complaint directed at the author (or at Sami Tamimi before him) but at the general attitude that what survivors know (or can easily learn) based on our own experience is not credible unless it is mouthed by a “professional.” This reinforces the myth that we are dealing with some sort of “science”; however that illusion goes out the window the first time someone uses the terms “mental health” or “mental illness.” What it also reinforces is the belief that we need “experts” to validate what we already know, but are constantly told is beyond our capacity to comprehend.

    Rather than get too wrapped up in arguments that are borne of absurd assumptions, hence not resolvable, I will repeat my constant theme regarding the concept of “evidence-based” this and that. First, that it is a bizarre development to now hear people bragging that their programs and “treatments” are “evidence based,” i.e. based on evidence. Is this the most they can say about their work — that it is “based on evidence”? Shouldn’t it be assumed that any purportedly scientific endeavor is based on evidence, i.e. data?

    But beyond that, even if something is based on “evidence” anyone familiar with the court system knows that “evidence” is not proof, and that BOTH opposing sides present their cases based on their own evidence. What counts is not the existence of “evidence,” but how it is interpreted and put into context. So enough with the promotion of “evidence-based” as synonymous with “valid.”

    Beyond that, “mental health survival” is a pretty useless and contradictory notion, so I’ll stay away from that one. The best way to “survive mental health” is stay away from it. Works with dens of scorpions too.

  • Anytime emotional and material well-being are abstracted from one another and the former is commodified it is an expression of the inherent alienation of capitalist culture. Any “care complex” which deigns to sell us back our humanity is an expression of the problem, not the solution.

    As for self reliance, the term might not really capture the problem. Must we brush one another’s teeth in order to defeat rampant capitalism?

    Still anarchy & communism both describe evolved organic stateless societies, the only difference is over how to get there. So I’m down with that.

  • Part of the “success” of many techniques is the “transference” effect common to psychoanalysis, where the client transfers onto the practitioner the sort of belief and trust one might imbue to a parental figure, allowing that projected authority to exercise a “parental” type influence over the client — however this is the client’s own projected knowledge from which he/she is benefiting. So who pays?

  • The answer to the title question is prisoner.

    Psychiatry is an adjunct of law-enforcement, charged with “gaslighting” ALL people who aren’t down with the drill. It is not a branch of medicine but a tool of social control, designed to make you believe your unhappiness with an oppressive system is due to some sort of inner failing.

    Seeking the sorts of reforms you mention is like asking for a better grade of handcuffs.

    Defund Psychiatry!

  • Actually it’s not but that’s what you hear everybody saying (at least that’s not what my dictionary says). But that’s besides the point.

    The MIA moderator was worried that you would interpret my comment as attack of some sort, but I knew you would get it. Have you come yet to a personal conclusion that psychiatry should be essentially abolished? If you want to join some offline survivor discussions about such give us a shout at [email protected]. (PS We’re not Scientologists.)

  • I think we all need to focus on the systemic nature of psychiatric repression, and what that means. There are infinite means of helping calm and center oneself, from transcendental meditation to pot to E.S.T. to dozens of modern day “techniques.” These are all fine and dandy on an individual level, again quoting John Lennon “Whatever gets you through the night is alright.”

    When we talk about systemic and institutional issues we are taking the discussion beyond the individual or personal level, and often beyond the immediate or pragmatic level, and these different conversations should not be conflated or pitted against one another.

  • Please pay attention to the vast amount of psychic destruction wreaked upon children by the lockdowns and how this will lead to a bonanza for the purveyors of neurotoxic chemicals and “mental health” hustles of all sorts. Even CNN is allowing this to be discussed now so it’s no longer “conspiracy theory”:

    The only problem with the “corporate agenda” terminology is that it’s a little ambiguous; what other agenda could there be in a capitalist state? This is what the former left doesn’t seem interested in highlighting or grappling with. Instead they pursue often ridiculous “reforms” doomed to failure by virtue of being grounded in contradictory assumptions, further muddled by unrecognized class conflicts which are themselves obscured by individualism and preoccupation with personal “identity.”

    (Sorry about the run on sentence.)

  • One cannot be truly considered a “psychiatric survivor” if he or she is actively undergoing “treatment.” The only way to “survive” the mh system is to stay the hell away. (Do I need a disclaimer here?)

    I’ve never been thrilled with the terms “survivor” myself, even though I “qualify”; it often feels a little self-indulgent and tends to perpetuate a self-identification as “victim,” which can be disempowering. Though for others I guess it might carry more positive connotations.

  • Strategically I can never accept the premise that since people are going to exploit you anyway you should gravitate to those who exploit you the least. I’d say the “next best thing” is letting them work out their contradictions among themselves — we’re the last people who need it explained why psychiatry is bs. As in “since one of us is going to fuck you over anyway, I’m going to do it the least.”

    Ever hear the Phil Ochs song “Love Me I’m A Liberal”?

  • Many people feel this way. Now that the original Madness Network News archives are available online, some might see how RW could be seen as representing the “new generation” of psych drug debunkers — check the similarities between RW’s work and the MNN drug articles by “Dr. Caligari,” who was a Bay Area psychiatrist. (Maybe still is.)

  • It is too costly to create programs where kids and adults get involved and interact. A place where a child or adult can find themselves connecting. A place where one party is not the professional.

    Why should there be “programs” at all? Kids & adults can “get involved and interact” in the real world. No price tag at all.

  • I think Bob W. is sincerely interested in exposing psychiatry, though not necessarily with the intent of abolishing it, something he publicly disavows.

    So before this is once again misinterpreted as some sort of attack on RW — while RW’s plaintive wishing for the corporate media to “get things right” opened the door for my comment, this is a CONSTANT error that the movement has been making for DECADES. The corporate media will NEVER expose psychiatry for what it is, and those who insist on hoping for such are free to bash their heads against the wall.

    However, RW is approaching this the RIGHT way — by starting his own media, i.e. MIA. Which is what the AP movement needs to do, and is beginning to do. (Inquire within.)

  • Al long as it is made clear that Open Dialogue IS reform psychiatry and not an “answer,” it is always helpful to make people aware of the many contradictions within the so-called “field” itself.

    PS Note my earlier comment that Whitaker’s strategy of starting MIA was a correct one, in terms of getting the information out there without a middleman to distort it.

  • Hard to say whether Laing’s work was a “failure” without defining what a “success” would be.

    Laing was a good writer and ok poet, however he never denounced psychiatry or turned in his badge. And the ACTUAL anti-psychiatry movement is constantly upended by the misunderstanding that we have something to do with Laing.

    To be clear — what Laing, Cooper et al. called “antipsychiatry” was NEVER intended to eradicate psychiatry as a “profession”; it was a school of psychiatry.

  • Except the word “psychosis” should be completely eschewed as it falsely imbues the subject with a scientific quality. Though putting it in quotes is second best I guess. All sorts of things are called “psychosis,” it’s a way of connoting an understanding that doesn’t in fact exist.

  • Yeah Rebel, I think you misinterpreted Exit’s comments, though they might have been stated in a slightly confusing manner.

    What Exit is speaking of is what is often called “critical psychiatry” — primarily espoused by people who aspire to careers within the “mental health”/social services industry yet are aware of many of the contradictions inherent in such. Rather than acknowledge that the entire psychiatric narrative has been terminally flawed since day one — which is the position of the anti-psychiatry movement — “critical psychiatry” adherents dance around this obvious and inconvenient conclusion. There aren’t many anti-psychiatry jobs available, after all.

  • There is ample evidence that what is called “mental illness” is the psychological manifestation of impaired physical condition

    If one’s state of mind is the result of brain disease or injury it is not “mental” illness, it is physical illness. Since “mental illness” is used to describe anything and everything deemed problematic, physical illness is certainly ONE thing it is used to describe. Among a myriad of other circumstances that have NOTHING to do with brain damage. “Psychosis” is considered a form of “mental illness,” hence just as meaningless as a way of describing “extreme states.”

    But repeating over and over that nothing is wrong just because there was nothing wrong with you, does harm to those of us who desperately want to feel better

    When have I EVER told anyone “nothing is wrong”? Or that anti-psychiatry is based on such an assumption?

  • Frank — I use my own name sometimes, publicly. Just not in connection with AP. It’s not like I think I can hide from anyone with access to my personal information, even if I wanted to. I’m more concerned about internet creeps-on-a-mission, who I don’t want showing up at my front door or otherwise fucking with me — I am as you know a “pill-shamer,” according to the sorts of misguided assholes I’m most wary of. As well as a bunch of other things clueless neoliberal ass-kissers consider politically incorrect. I’m more concerned about these types than cops (not that I have any current issues with cops). And considering how crazed just about everyone is these days I’m glad this is the way I chose to go. (I became “Oldhead” very impulsively as a top-of-my-head username to log into MIA, which I happened to stumble upon while web browsing. It’s worked fine ever since.)

  • There may be two aspects of this: morality and efficacy. The first is easy to address — anyone has the right to take any drug they can get their hands on, in principle. So any moral judgements made or implied should be limited to oneself. As for the best drugs to utilize for one’s benefit, that’s something open to collective discussion and self-education — we should be as concerned with safe drugs as with safe sex. I prefer to stick to what was put here for us to begin with (ganja), not toxic chemicals designed to blunt my consciousness. But that’s neither here nor there in terms of this conversation.

  • couldn’t the media, I wondered, ever challenge the conventional wisdom regarding the merits of antipsychotics? Just once?

    Why one would hope for this is the actual question.

    It is not “extremist” to understand that the purpose of the media is NOT to “inform,” any more than the purpose of psychiatry is to “help people.” One who clings to these illusions will constantly be disappointed and “appalled.” This is reminiscent of the (inaccurate) trope that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting different results.”

    As long as we judge our own credibility and plan our actions based on the approval of the corporate media (or the sub-corporate media) we will be throwing wrenches into our own works. This constant expectation that some miracle reporter will magically “break the story” about psychiatry if we just “approach” him or her the “right” way is one of the most self-defeating fantasies anti-psychiatry people could possibly harbor.

    We must accumulate grassroots power — enough to threaten the system — before the system’s media will pay any attention at all, and then it will be for the purpose of spreading disinformation about us.

    The purpose of psychiatry is to control thought and behavior which threatens the smooth functioning of the system. The corporate neoliberal media is charged with the same. Why would anyone expect them to operate at cross-purposes?

  • I left my last lockup in ’74 with a script for Thorazine, probably 300 mg. a day (down from 1600!). I took one or two. My girlfriend took 100 mg. to see what it was like and said she felt like she was going to die. after that I flushed it & went back to smoking pot. No real issues, though it may have created some very mild extrapyramidal stuff down the road a bit, for a while. Still not sure. Certainly what one needs to focus on “recovering” from are the drugs themselves.

  • The mass shooter in the theater a few years ago now — the one with the orange hair — seemed totally unaware of his actions later, however they had been carefully premeditated on some level. Like his imagination was married to his practical competence in manifesting his grotesque scenario.

  • OK duly noted. I still don’t see anything “inflammatory,” or new, really. In fact there a mild apology for the “occasional” use of neurotoxins, so it’s not really even anti-psychiatry. Don’t know the author’s specific motivation in writing it, I guess just as a general warning.

  • Or as Rachel — who is sorely missed here — would say, “madness,” however defined, is a state of mind, just like sadness or anger. It’s not your permanent identity. As you obviously understand, you are not “mad,” you are you, i.e. a person with a distinct personality. If one person is “mad” everyone is. So why bother with the term at all?

    Another way of deconstructing the concept: rarely (I won’t say never) does anyone consider themselves “mad” before a shrink has labeled them “mentally ill.” Then as a way of resisting the “mi” label a person will say “I’m not ‘mentally ill,’ I’m MAD” — but all that changes is the label, not the “othering,” which remains intact and internalized as one’s self-image.

  • It used to be mostly used sarcastically or ironically, as in “so you think I’m a little neurotic?? No, I’m TOTALLY MAD!!!” It wasn’t an “identity,” except among a few. Now the whimsical nature of the term has been lost on many in the current generation, who also nurture and compare their “disorders” (and drugs) as a way of socializing and competing for social status.

  • @cabrogal

    Make that “almost no one in the US”. Most of the world has a fair idea of what communism is

    Duly noted and largely true — still it seems that ignorance of the relationship between communism and socialism is not simply a U.S. thing. You hear many references to a “communist state,” which is a contradiction in terms, as “communism” refers to the point of human evolution where we instinctively cooperate to advance life, without a state being necessary to enforce everything. “Socialism” is simply reversing the class dictatorship of the .1% over the 99.9%; class distinctions still remain during this period however.

    As for anarchism I may agree that it’s probably most useful as a medium for fighting authoritarianism within the more organized larger movement.

    I have no issues in principle with either vanguard organizations as an educational and organizing tool, or with “democratic centralism”; however the “democratic” part needs a lot of work. There’s no U.S. based party I would currently join or promote. But history evolves.

    What is rarely mentioned is that in both anarchism and communism the goal is a stateless society. Many Libertarians wouldn’t mind this either. The conflict is over how to get there.

  • It’s beyond “loosening inhibitions” and reaches into the “unconscious”dream level of experience, involving primal urges and archetypes, not conscious-but-repressed fantasies, it’s not that linear — at least not until the drug bridges that level of consciousness with waking reality, and the person attempts to reconcile the two levels of experience, with distorted and deadly consequences.

    Of course I can’t “know” this, but I can surmise.

  • That’s what people in the “reform movement” always say when they are objectively and repeatedly banging their heads against the wall. My response lately is if something (even something self-defeating) is always better than nothing, why not do jumping jacks, it’s good exercise and less painful, and frustrating.

  • Hi Kristen — MIA is not an anti-psychiatry site, nor are some others which are often seen as such yet specify the opposite when asked, saying they want to “abolish” forced psychiatry but not psychiatry itself, which is ultimately a short-sighted approach.

    The is real survivor-based AP organizing starting to take place however, and if you’d like us to fill you in we’ll be glad to do so — do you have a public email or something?

  • I guess the only thing I would add is that we need to learn not to be shocked when details about the system’s viciousness are revealed. Such a reaction reflects a potentially dangerous naivete, as when predictable “emergencies” pop up we need to have the ability to calmly and methodically educate people about what to expect and how to respond.

    When it is understood that the function of psychiatry is not to “help” people but control them everything else becomes more clear.

  • Some of my better friends are rebellious anarchists. And why would a Rebel want to “distance” herself from “rebellion”? 🙂 (Plus there have been rebellions by and among Christians throughout the course of history.)

    The evils of psychiatry can of course be denounced within the framework of Judeo-Christian law, but can also be seen as violations of practically every universal code of morality or scientific practice. That’s what makes anti-psychiatry a natural way of bringing together cultural and political perspectives that might normally seem inimical. But i know you already know that on some level.

  • I’m actually a commie. But none of these terms have any current relevance unless someone is a political science major, at the very least. Almost no one knows what terms like “communism” and “socialism” actually mean, or “capitalism” for that matter. Democrat politicians like Bernie and AOC calling themselves “socialists” confuses matters even more. Talking about principles, e.g. “defeating the corporate dictatorship,” is more likely to resonate with most people.

    You should be aware that I’m not trying to be “practical,” at least by most definitions, but to look at the situation objectively and define exactly where we should be trying to go. Which is actually the most practical approach if one can look beyond the artificial limitations of one’s own life span.

  • Hope you don’t mind me piggybacking here. Breggin has also implicated Fauci in the creation of COVID 19. Some salient points:

    (4) Fauci has funded and continues to fund coronavirus “gain-of-function” research projects which turn benign animal viruses into human pathogens capable of causing pandemics. The stated purpose is to learn to prevent and treat future outbreaks; but research labs are the most common source of outbreaks from dangerous pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2, as well as two earlier accidental escapes by SARS viruses in 2004 from a research facility in Beijing.

    (5) In 2014, when blocked by an order from President Barak Obama from funding dangerous “gain-of-function” studies, Fauci outsourced the research to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. He also covertly continued to fund the major gain-of-function collaboration between US and Chinese Wuhan Institute researchers, led by Menachery et al. at the University of North Carolina. Fauci thus made a mockery of President Obama’s attempts to stop the potentially catastrophic research.

    (6) In order to outsource dangerous viral research from the US to China during the Obama moratorium, Fauci prematurely approved the Wuhan Institute as a highest level containment facility (known as BSL-4) capable of safely working with lethal viruses. He did this while knowing the Institute had a very poor safety record and while also knowing that all such facilities in China are overseen by the military as part of its biowarfare program. Thus, Fauci created two grave worldwide threats, the accidental release of a deadly coronavirus and/or its use as a military weapon.

    (7) Without fanfare, toward the end of the first year of the Trump administration in 2017, Fauci and NIH canceled President Obama’s moratorium against building viral pathogens in US labs and openly restored gain-of-function research creating lethal viruses.The original moratorium was a direct order by President Obama on White House stationery while its undoing was a decision made within the National Institutes of Health and NIAID, probably without Trump’s knowledge.

    (10) We published our blog on April 14, 2020 and our video on April 15, 2020 revealing Fauci’s funding of US/Chinese collaborations that were building deadly coronaviruses and we described how the cooperative efforts enabled the Chinese to engineer coronaviruses. On April 17, President Trump announced his intention to cancel the collaborative funding. Fauci was critical of the President’s actions and in October 2020 Fauci unleashed a surge of funding for gain-of-function research, supposedly without any Chinese involvement. However, some of the funding potentially involves Chinese researchers in the United States and some goes to the EcoHealth Alliance, which has been Fauci’s main conduit for funding Chinese researchers and the Wuhan Institute of Virology.


  • Don’t know why anyone would want to strip someone of responsibility for their own lives and own actions. Even if it could be done it would not be doing them any favors but diminishing their humanity. All this talk of legal principles is irrelevant anyway without a just system to enforce them. You can’t reform capitalism any more than you can reform psychiatry. I don’t believe any revolutionary societies (none exist today, except maybe Cuba still to an extent) have yet found a way to dispense with police and prisons. But the future is a long time.

  • My main reason to present this information is help us realize why we incarcerate people in the first place.

    Well, I’d substitute “they” for “we.” And indeed the main rationale for prisons is to protect society from the most immediately dangerous people. And it’s a reasonable rationale in & of itself.

    However the gulag also serves darker and more nefarious purposes, one of which is to present the illusion of justice, another to generally keep the population in line by way of example. Both psychiatry and the prison system have roots in slavery. So it is of course impossible for a system as corrupt as this to make any pretensions of enforcing morality or showing people the “right way.”

  • It makes it sound as if the depressed person is lying in bed, thinking about suicide or murder, but only doesn’t kill people because s/he lacks the energy to do so.

    Not necessarily. One way that SSRI’s lead to bizarre mass violence is by enabling someone’s “deep dark fantasies,” normally confined to the “id” or whatever, to be manifested in waking reality. Several experts on MIA confirmed this when I asked, but I can’t remember whom.

  • How to you reform a liar? A murderer? A hostile political institution?

    People can reform themselves. Institutions sometimes can be reformed, but not institutions devoted to inhuman goals from the start. So your critiques are basically spot on. Also more loquacious than they have been recently. Mercury is leaving retrograde soon, maybe that’s it. 🙂

  • Psychiatry cannot be reformed, it must be abolished.

    This is a basic “scientific” principle that has been repeatedly reaffirmed by the active AP movement at the time — in 1976, in 1982 and most recently in 2020.

    Something based on fraudulent principles cannot be reformed. “Reform” can only apply to something that once had value but has since deteriorated.

  • You ask too many questions!

    Don’t quote me, but my guess is most people who stay in bed either have someone around to plead with them “to get out of bed,” or eventually abandon this on their own. Otherwise the most lethal effect of “depression” would be self-starvation.

  • Call yourself anything you want if it feels good. You’re still not a separate species. If one person is “mad” everyone is, at one time or another. Everyone is confused or sad at one time or another, that doesn’t make their identity “confused person” or “sad person.”

    Practically and scientifically speaking, however, the anti-psychiatry movement has NOTHING to do with disability or “disability rights” (other than disability created by drugs, ECT, etc). In fact the “disabled” label is the primary means psychiatry uses to disempower people, by seeing their reaction to oppression as a defect, rather than a sign of their humanity being intact.

    We are much closer to the prison abolition movement, in fact intertwined with it, though this is not yet universally recognized.

  • Any info can be placed into an algorithm, it can just be random phrases, writing style, ad infinitum. Not necessarily sentences and paragraphs. I’m of course assuming you have no illusions of privacy.

    Maintaining your website is up to you, I’m just saying it’s possible to put minimal info on a FB page without forcing people to interact with the site. It’s of course best to bypass FB on general principles.

  • You’re also mixing up basic principles of human conduct with the failings of the current system, as though to acknowledge people’s basic responsibility for their own actions is to justify the oppressiveness of this or that particular system. If “mental illness” doesn’t exist “it” can’t be used to justify anything.

  • I see you are comfortable with highlighting physical illness such as brain damage. Why such a reluctance for mental illness?

    Not sure what you mean by that, however “mental illness” is a metaphor, not a real disease, any more than is “spring fever.” Comparing “it” to brain damage wouldn’t make sense.

  • You’re getting liberal on me. Frankly if a known violent predator were on my porch threatening my well being my first concern is getting him the fuck away from me, the details secondary. I’m sure the majority of people feel the same. Unfortunately because of who I am I don’t have the option of owning a shotgun. You also know that many people are in prison for defending themselves, so fuck that too.

    You got a better solution for protecting people from violent motherfuckers than keeping them out of reach? I’m all ears.

    But everyone is still responsible for their own actions; whether or not this responsibility is accompanied by legal repercussions is a separate issue.

    I absolutely oppose psychiatric defenses in court in principle, and I also oppose psychiatric “experts” being called by the prosecution. Of course with a corrupt justice system all bets are off, and someone unjustly charged who can get off using a psychiatric defense should go for it.

  • Well for one we should maintain an alliance, as we’re talking about mere variations of “prisoner.” Mumia Abu-Jamal & others refer to what some call “freedom” as “minimum security.”

    One distinction between psychiatry and the prison system: ostensibly psychiatry is supposed to work for the good of the “patient”/prisoner; “standard” law enforcement is supposed to work to protect others from the prisoner.

  • Yeah but there’s a way to get around that. An organization can have a SINGLE Facebook page with very basic info, such as announcing events. It’s not necessary to sign up for FB to see this minimal stuff. But then you direct all further traffic to your website, so any interaction or discussion takes place there. (There is a section about this at the same link I provided above.)

    The issue with personal posts is the amount of info they can extrapolate about you using algorithms, taking all your innocuous posts about your pets and your high school days to predict how you might behave in certain circumstances, what your political beliefs are, etc.

  • Only people who are privileged enough to not have to worry about going to sleep at night without a gun under their pillow think like this. NO ONE has the right to predatory behavior, and the first right of any person is the right to defend oneself, or better yet not be forced to.

    Anyway the quote you cite doesn’t mention any penal system; it simply affirms that everyone is responsible for their own behavior, and that psychiatry cannot absolve them of that. You disagree?

  • There are varying uses of the word “mad” but in terms of what we’re talking about here it is an internalization and acceptance of psychiatric labels which have been renamed and reconstrued as something “positive,” and threatens to turn the AP movement into yet another arena for identity politics and, in effect, eugenics. People who “identify” as “mad people” rather than oppressed people confuse the real issues surrounding psychiatric oppression. It is a major factor holding back progress towards defeating psychiatry and amounts to a romanticization of psychiatric “othering.”

    And NO ONE means that when they say crazy, please don’t encourage the whole “reclaiming” thing, it’s too late at night.

  • It’s great for data mining though. Like they say about cell phones, a tracking & surveillance device that you can also use to talk to your friends.

    FB is basically a product of alienation and personal insecurity and, as you say, focused on the pursuit of superficial connections and ego gratification. (No matter how many exceptions people might come up with.)

  • Here’s how we phrase that in our organizing principles:

    ⦁ Psychiatry is not a legitimate field of medicine.

    ⦁ Psychiatry is a tool of social control which enforces conformity to the prevailing social order.

    The next level of critical focus should be on the idea of a “profession” to deal with the inherent emotional trauma of capitalism, rather than simply dealing with the problem at its source.

  • Considering the right to force is the locus of power upon which psychiatry builds and fortifies itself I’d wager that ending forced treatment is a sound first step to just that.

    Bingo — That’s my strategic analysis as well. Which is why our AP collective joins with all sectors of the movement to make the end of forced psychiatric intervention our #1 demand. But, it is both a demand which stands on its own AND a tactic towards eliminating psychiatry altogether.

    When making such a demand from an anti-psychiatry perspective, not just a “civil liberties” one, it’s important for all to understand that simply eliminating (overtly) forced intervention will not suffice on its own and that it is a tactic toward abolition, not simply a reform that will solve the problem for good.

    But you’re right, without force psychiatry would shrivel up & die relatively quickly, as long as we keep publicly hammering at its fraudulent underpinnings. Because of course “power cedes nothing without a demand.” (Frederick Douglas)

  • Good to see your sense of humor intact.

    Btw did you know that in Torrey’s early days we quoted him as an “anti-psychiatry psychiatrist”? In the Death of Psychiatry he updated Szasz with such statements as “you can no more have a sick mind than you can have a purple idea.” It’s a shame what he became.

  • In other words, when all else fails, PANIC! (Actually I do remember Dr. Spock saying something similar in a “reasoned” way.)

    Anyway we said we would be documenting any further statements, and I don’t see any science here, just conjecture and philosophy. I think in the interest of survivor solidarity we should probably leave this thread to the dustbin of history and try again sometime, maybe with some rules of engagement, and sans hidden agendas.

  • Why do so many of us continue to use Facebook despite numerous studies and media reports exposing their pernicious and harmful practices?

    FINALLY a study that makes sense. What’s crazy to me is how many people involved in psych/survivor related sites use FB and in effect lure people there as a condition of participating in a project or discussion. Even knowing that, among other tracking/profiling activities, they profile people for “mental illness”:

    There is no need for Facebook, it’s mostly about egotism and social posturing. It’s just as easy to communicate via blogs and websites, which are less vulnerable to the increasing practice of censoring and suppressing “unacceptable” (to someone) thought. At least for now.

  • This is exactly the kind of divisiveness I’m trying to avoid these discussions creating among survivors, and that I’m trying to avoid being drawn into.

    Twitter photos and fearmongering claims that can be traced back to right wing extremists aren’t scientific evidence.

    I’m saddened that you would dismiss such an important issue with this sort of claim. Beyond specific issues with specific vaccines there is the entire conceptual framework surrounding vaccines in general, which deserves to be considered, and this is the sort of conversation that FB et al. are suppressing. (Not to mention the entire field of holistic medicine.)

    Do we need to discuss the molecular structure and slightly varying effects of each specific SSRI to avoid having the entire discussion of SSRIs banned? You might be giving them a rationale for banning anti-psychiatry discussions too (which I expect to happen anyway sooner or later, likely sooner).

    Anyway, for the rest of this thread, if I comment at all it will be limited to documented statistics and research. How’s that?

  • Do you really want to promote fear and doubt about the Covid 19 vaccine that might actually END UP influencing psychiatric survivors to NOT be vaccinated?

    Why would you want to promote confidence in an “mrna vaccine” of a type that has never been used before and has been rushed through the testing process, and which is said to reprogram one’s immune system and make us, in effect, genetically modified organisms? I want to “influence” people to pursue the facts, which are difficult to find, and make their own informed decisions. Too many of have already experienced the same system which has downpressed us to the point of “madness” turning around and presenting us with the “cure.” Mandatory and for our own good of course. So I’m encouraging people to think for themselves and draw their own conclusions.

  • in my view…seeing all vaccinations as dangerous and ill-intended is foolish

    This sounds even-handed and rational on the surface, but, for one, “dangerous” and “ill-intended” are separate issues. We’ll leave the “ill-intended” aside for now. But in accordance with your own policy, to state that “seeing all vaccinations as dangerous…is foolish” is your opinion, and to make a definitive statement one way or the other would require scientific and other evidence to back it up.

    Not saying I’ve completely decided, as I’ve gotten emergency tetanus & rabies shouts on occasion, mainly because the (alleged) risk/benefit ratio SEEMED to weigh in favor of risking the vaccine. But what evidence is there to say that it’s “foolish” to believe all vaccinations are dangerous? This again requires an “evidence base,” which currently is being suppressed. It would seem that this would be an issue.

    Would it be “foolish” to say that all SSRI’s are dangerous?

  • It should also not be assumed that people are assuming things.

    There are many issues being conflated. I doubt that there is anyone seriously calling the virus a “hoax,” so arguing along those lines is what they like to call a “straw man” argument. Most of the argumentation, if you can call it that, has to do with how the situation has been handled.

    “Vaccination” is a different issue, as even many of those who support various lockdown measures are also highly resistant to accepting a “vaccine.”

    I agree with Steve that simply postulating “because science” is not an explanation of anything. I also agree that rather than making such vague declarations people should produce the science they claim to be upholding. That would make for a more intelligent and informative discussion.

    On the other hand, those who challenge the official narratives on any of these matters are hindered by the open censorship of relevant information by Twitter, Google and FB. Sadly however people think this is ok as long as it’s not them being censored.

    The bottom line here is that when psychiatric survivors are specifically targeted for anything it’s time for the red flags to start popping up.

  • Well yeah, but after all that poetic rage why would you stop there? Many would say that even “voluntary treatment” is violent and coercive. How about MAKE PSYCHIATRY HISTORY, period?

    More pragmatically speaking, do you have a link to the statistics you referenced on the racial breakdown vis. a vis. AOT?

  • Since neurotoxins cause brain damage, their forcible use must be legally considered torture and/or human experimentation.

    Even for proven crimes torture is not supposed to be sanctioned as punishment. Incarceration is supposed to be the extent of the state’s power, in some places state execution. But not even those on death row are supposed to be tortured.

  • Well, the twitter link above is my source for the specific statistic I mentioned.

    Not pretending to be a virologist, but other coronaviruses already in circulation pre-covid are also constantly mutating. That’s one reason why they need a new vaccine every year, with maybe 50% efficacy, which you probably know already. I think that says more about the vaccine approach in general than anything else.

    I don’t want to push my holistic health approaches here though, as long as my right to my own thought processes is respected. But for the record, I haven’t been vaccinated for the “regular” flu ever, nor have I had it for probably 25 years. I suspect I have a gradually acquired resistance, and suspect that this in addition gives me a leg up in resisting COVID. Fingers crossed.

    But my post here was more of a statistical one in nature. It seems that the pattern of “surges” is to very rapidly spike, then just as quickly the spike peaks and there is a steady gradual descent. “Flattening the curve” interferes with this process, for better or worse. But it seems that the natural course of an outbreak is getting easier to chart and predict.

  • What if on any given day the cops were nice and the mh workers were screwed up? Sounds like some reverse stereotyping here.

    Advocating “improvement” in such a blatant and systematic criminal practice as the “mental hospital” is basically the definition of reformism. It reflects a surrender to the Sophie’s Choice mentality that necessitates the abolitionist movement, and is different from supporting coalitions opposed to forced psychiatry and state support for psychiatry.

  • Since there is no such thing as “mental illness” there can be no “violent mentally ill offenders,” only people who commit violent acts — either justifiably in self defense or the defense of others, or criminally.

    Szasz pointed out long ago that the myth of “mental illness” cuts two ways, both unacceptable. The first is as a rationalization to force psychiatric “treatment” on unwilling law-abiding people. This is what is focused on the most in the anti-psychiatry movement.

    Equally destructive, Szasz said, was the power of psychiatry to absolve people of legal responsibility for violent crimes and socially destructive behavior. The first right of a citizen in any society (including socialist ones) is to be free from fear of violent assault and other predatory acts.

    Mislabeling bad behavior as “mental illness” is an inherently absurd practice from the start, so it’s impossible to make a “pro” or “con” statement regarding laws which are based on this sort of confusion.

    This is not to suggest that once someone’s immediate threat has been neutralized they should then be tortured in a dungeon for decades, which is the sort of vindictiveness bred by capitalism. And hapless people who get caught up in violent situations should be entitled to have extenuating circumstances considered in court. But the community also has a right to protect itself and contain such immediate threats. Calling violence of any sort a “health” issue, and those apprehended for such “patients,” perpetuates the same tired mentality and ignores the deeper realities.

  • Maybe adding “metaphysical” to my comment was unnecessarily confusing. Nonetheless references to “mental illness,” “spiritual healing,” etc. ARE metaphorical regardless of one’s intent. Unless the longstanding definitions of “healing” and “illness” are changed. Or until someone can produce a post-autopsy mind in a sealed plastic bag for examination — which would change a lot of minds for sure, including mine.

  • Total reform is necessary, including the abolishment especially of psychiatry; but, how can that be accomplished when so many subscribe to the old adage, “My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with the facts.”

    Don’t want to bug you Rebel but there are answers to that you won’t be finding at MIA, at least not any time soon. But there are forums for such strategizing and we look forward to seeing you there whenever you feel ready.
    (P.S. We’re not a cult!) 🙂

    BTW “reform” and “abolition” are opposites.

    Consider that often the most destructive aspect of psychiatry is not the “treatment” but the inculcation of the self-limiting belief that one is “diseased” or “broken,” when he/she in fact reacting naturally to unnatural circumstances.

  • I see the mind as being real as my hand.

    I seriously doubt you “see” anyone’s mind, which forces the issue from the start regarding metaphor vs. literal reality.

    “Material” and “real” are not synonyms. Abstractions may be considered real but they are not material, and “disease” is a material term unless used metaphorically, which is the sort of confusion and conflation psychiatry takes advantage of to make people believe that minds can have literal “diseases,” which can be “treated” by physicians.

  • Yawn. More talk of “leftists” and, in the same breath, about making “leftist” reforms to the existing U.S. capitalist-imperialist system, in this case with a little eugenics thrown in to boot. This is not the job of true leftists and socialists, which is to organize the defeat of capitalism, the reclamation of the world’s resources by the people, the seizure of the means of production, and the reversal of the dictatorship of the .1%.

  • Right — they were tested exclusively on younger healthier groups, not people over 75. They mostly seem to provide some initial protection for people in those groups, everything else remains to be seen. In Israel the whole 75+ population was vaccinated and cases started soaring. And the rate of immediate side effects seems substantially higher than with the regilar flu vaccine, especially after the 2nd shot. And there is a clear correlation with miscarriages. Other than that, no problems.

  • Such incidents can be discovered, and then recovered into conscious memory. This takes very skilled work, however.

    Quite possibly, but it’s a long stretch from recognizing it as a possibility to actually being capable of such, and I’m unaware of any credible evidence that Hubbard was capable of facilitating this. My suspicion is that he had a powerful personality and projected a lot onto his subjects, who were vulnerable and open to anything that might promise to give their lives meaning. (Not that millions of others don’t do the same in their own way.)

  • Having started out the comments on a critical note, I’ll get just a bit contrarian to say that I’m a little confused by the general level of criticism being directed at this particular author, as in terms of basic assumptions I don’t see anything here significantly more objectionable than in any pro-psychiatry MIA piece. It could be that the consensus is shifting about what is considered “progressive” and Dr. Heath didn’t get the memo; however I also think some of this is based on illusory conceptions of what psychiatry is in the first pace.

  • But this is not an “alternative” to psychiatric care. This is psychiatric care in a less restrictive setting.

    Just to interject — objectively speaking I’d still have to say this and Open Dialogue, etc. are more of a continuum than an either/or, as all the “approaches” being spoken of are centered on the individual, not the system. A truly “alternative approach” would be to prioritize the immediate collective revolutionary transformation of the material and spiritual conditions under which we live. This is a political and economic struggle, or it needs to be, if all this ostensibly “individual” misery and alienation are ever to be eliminated.

    As for the semantics of the term “alternative,” nothing healthy and right is an “alternative to psychiatry,” but the way things should naturally be. “Alternatives to psychiatry” is more appropriately applied to alternate types of torture or poison, or repression.

    None of this is meant to detract from anything KS has been saying btw.

  • It’s so transparent. Does he think he’s “clarifying” or “covering up”? But I think someone just said that.

    According to Pies, it would seem, some “patients” might be accurately recalling being told about “chemical imbalances,” but a statistically significant portion of such recollections are due to delusions or other fantastical thinking. (Which is sort of how they also talk about early childhood trauma.) Does NIMH have this data?

    Maybe this would be good material for a “study!” — exactly what are the percentages here?

  • You broke the code Rebel. And took it a little further. Hoping you’ll be working with the AP movement asap — in a way you are already.

    A random thought or two on strategy —

    1) Nothing happens in this corporate system that runs our lives — that is, nothing not in the interest of profit — without sufficient mass pressure.

    2) “The public” is WAY too clueless about psychiatry for our goals to be endorsed any time soon, given the degree of mass ignorance about what psychiatry is and does, which is actively promoted by the psychiatric industry. Still mass pressure remains the only strategy that will ultimately work to extricate government from psychiatry, as psychiatry props up the whole system big time. Without the government sanction of force psychiatry would rapidly wither away. And without psychiatry the system would have to resort to brutal fascist-type repression on a regular basis, which is messy and expensive.

    3) Survivors are generally the only people with sufficient consciousness and motivation to drive public education in matters anti-psychiatry. There are of course others as well, and this is not a broad brush. But there are also many more who echo our rhetoric as they pursue careers in “reform” psychiatry, which actually does immense harm.

    4) Hence it is not only important but VITAL for survivors to have our own forums for discussing not only this but a myriad of related issues. We can’t “educate” the public to anything but our own confusion if half of us are calling for abolition and the other half just want psychiatrists to treat them better.

    Once we have unity among survivors based on reason and analysis, not wishful thinking and emotion, we can THEN proceed to raise public consciousness, and from there proceed to the struggle finally achieving some concrete success, not just “improved” drugs and prisons still called hospitals.

    Anyway I just felt motivated to break some of this down, as sometimes I take it for granted when I write. But these are some of the givens that I base my comments and conclusions on.

  • Are some of you saying that almost ALL people who are suffering from what is called “mental illness” (such as severe depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia) are reacting to severe abuse…

    One problem is with the question, as there are no consistent categories of thought or behavior which can be legitimately “called” anything. Everyone’s subjective experience is unique, despite psychiatry presuming to quantify it.

    Many forms of trauma are given such labels. So is any other emotional or mental state deemed problematic (for whatever reason).

  • I’m not arguing with you. This has been my consistent position and I’m sticking to it till shown evidence to the contrary. If anyone is interested in documentation they can ask. But winning an argument about something neither of us can definitively prove or disprove is less important to me than maintaining anti-psychiatry solidarity among survivors at MIA, who have a range of strongly held views on the lockdowns and this rush to get people vaccinated.

    Most of the self-proclaimed “left” has abandoned the working class and small business people in favor of alliances with neoliberal corporate totalitarianism. We are entering an age of unprecedented censorship, repression and Newspeak. Those who see this see it, those who don’t are either in denial or complicit.

  • The conceptualization of emotional distress as existing in the BODY of the distressed person is the central evil that psychiatry is based on.

    Not what I mean. The ESSENTIAL fallacy of psychiatry is that the “mind” — an abstraction — can be “ill,” which any of the relatively few people left who understand what metaphors are should clearly understand. (Though even Chomsky’s linguistic understanding seems to lapse when it comes to psychiatry.)

    Anyway psychiatry’s “central evil” is the blatant absurdity that “mental illness” can exist at all, other than in bad poetry. So-called “biological psychiatry” is a permutation which takes this basic falsehood a step further by postulating that unwanted emotional states are caused by the wayward interactions of brain chemicals — which if true would represent a physical disease — yet they still speak of “mental” illness. So again, the very existence of “mental” illness is the cornerstone of psychiatry, which is what Szasz meant by the “medical model.”

    I think the key distinction I made above was in the last sentence:

    Schroder uses the phrase “medical model of psychiatry,” however Szasz was not referring to models of psychiatry; he was referring to the psychiatric model of emotional distress.

  • My initial thought is, how about we just start citing Pies as our documentation every time we debunk the chemical imbalance hypothesis? He should be happy to comply.

    I notice the notion of what the term “medical model” is as used by Schroder et al. is different from what Szasz meant by the term. ALL psychiatry is a “medical model,” as it is based on the notion of “mental illness” as an actual disease and requires an M.D. to practice. The use of “medical model” to describe the increased use of psychiatric neurotoxins — what some refer to as “biological psychiatry” — is not what Szasz meant by “medical model,” nor is it what I mean. Schroder uses the phrase “medical model of psychiatry,” however Szasz was not referring to models of psychiatry; he was referring to the psychiatric model of emotional distress.

  • Which is the exact mentality we need to un-learn, correct? We were just talking about Matt here recently, and the need to trust our own perceptions and conclusions.

    The PHD tells everyone that it is real information and not some anti psychiatry rant.

    How little respect you display for anti-psychiatry ranting! Real information is totally compatible with anti-psychiatry ranting. Better yet anyone can do it!

  • Absolutely I do see it as a contradiction of some sort. If you check I was asking about this in an apprehensive way.

    It seemed that “conscious evolution” was what the author was implying or advocating.

    I believe our evolutionary destiny is already part of our consciousness and programmed into our genes. It doesn’t need conscious assistance (here I refer to waking/ego consciousness) any more than we need to consciously make sure we breathe in after we breathe out. All “scientists” can do is fuck with all that like kids playing with matches.

    Maybe there are several concepts of “evolution” in play here — the body can adapt to toxic conditions as part of its functionality, but I don’t consider that evolution. Nor do I necessarily buy the Darwinian version either. Probably a lot of our evolutionary energy is being put into hanging on for dear life at the moment.

  • Hi again. Just to get some of my terms straight, as I don’t want you to feel down the line like I’ve misled you, be it known that I also believe the immediate goal is socialism, however the term socialism is used so many ways as to be virtually meaningless in everyday discussions. Even true socialism is meant to be a temporary means to an end — the end of class rule. However many marxists and even some Maoists would disassociate themselves from my take on many things.

    Economically the U.S., China and Russia all represent different permutations of capitalism, but not deviations from its essential nature. True socialism would not obliterate the individual, but most “socialists” today don’t have a clue, and certainly don’t represent the working class. And the Hannitys of the world are out to lunch when they point to the Clintons of the world, corrupt capitalist warlords that they are, as “socialists.” This is why I try to focus on principles and not rhetoric, as the goal should be finding an answer, not winning a debate. And none of this theoretical quibbling leads to enlightenment or finding a winning strategy for defeating psychiatry, which is a goal shared by those of many political philosophies and orientations.

    Hopefully we can continue this sometime, maybe in another forum.

  • Yes, i.e., we’re getting into scary stuff here. Galloping totalitarianism. Despite some disagreements on other matters I hear you. I don’t see a rosy future, at least not in the short term, unless someone comes up with a new approach to unite people around shared goals.

    The very idea of a “pre-covid” and “post-covid” world is buying into a hyper-Orwellian agenda taking place at a higher level than individual politicians or administrations. Covid should not be the reference point for history. Wherever it came from (more on that next) it’s a virus, with about the same mortality rate as the flu, but let’s not get into that please. NO ONE wants it. Those most susceptible to catastrophic consequences need to be protected, educated in how to protect themselves and assisted in doing so. Anyone who minimizes this is making a mistake.

    Having said that, the Spanish flu killed WAY more people and we don’t view history in terms of “pre-Spanish flu” and “post-Spanish flu.” So at the very least I think much of this is social engineering gone wild, with various interests jumping into a mode of “never let a good crisis go to waste.” There are all sorts of agendas in play here, not all of them necessarily interlocking, but it’s been obvious to many people from the start that there’s something fishy going on.

    Also, why is it suddenly “conspiracy theory” to wonder how and why all this could come about the way it has? Why aren’t we supposed to care? I notice how we are discouraged from questioning the official story behind the genesis of covid 19 in Wuhan, site of biowarfare research, and how most are not even aware that “The Fauci” was (and possibly still is) involved in financing joint American-Chinese “frankenstein” projects such as — you guessed it — genetically engineering bat viruses to be transmissible to humans. I kid you not.

    This also has much to do with capitalism, but so-called leftists are garbling the issues. To me it seems reasonable, using the Occam’s Razor approach, to at least tentatively conclude that covid, whatever its purpose, is a joint U.S./China project. But those who are onto this generally get diverted by the myth that the Chinese govt. is “communist” and view this all in Cold War terms. But today the U.S. and China are the world’s top two CAPITALIST states (Russia ranks third or possibly lower). They compete for prizes, but their paramount interest is holding together the international multicorporate empire, at least until one of the two remaining fish starts to eat the other. (Looking at it from this vantage point in history my money would be on the Chinese fish, barring some sort of correction.)

    It is a result of capitalism that we live on a toxic planet polluted by corporate waste and eat a toxic diet promoted by the same system that floods us with drugs and chemicals to suppress the symptoms of the many diseases which result. As a result many people’s immune systems no longer function and they are oblivious to the information their bodies are desperately trying to communicate till it’s too late. And now we’re supposed to entrust with our lives the same AMA and corporate medical establishments who got us here in the first place?

    Surprised MIA is all of the sudden providing this opening for covid related discussions. Because of the divisive potential I hope to move on to more pressing things, but the above pretty much sums up my attitude on all things covid.

  • I think you judge yourself too much. Not that you don’t have a lot to justifiably complain about.

    Sometimes the lack of a partner causes people to feel “incomplete,” but this is based on social expectations that you should “have someone.” So the pursuit of what you believe you’re lacking becomes paramount in your life. However lots of people live satisfying lives without all that, and the paradox is that the harder you try to “find someone” the more your desperation scares people away. And in reality no one else can make you “complete.”

    Everybody needs to love somebody. Shouldn’t there be a social service for this kind of thing? For those of us harmed by the mental health system, it’s not going to be possible without assistance.

    You’ve no doubt heard the (inaccurate) claim that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over and expecting different results.” Given the incredible abuse you have suffered at the hands of the system, why would you turn to that same system for a solution? Unfortunately there are no “services” that can teach love. Or if there are they are far, far from the world of “mental health.”

    Have you considered a pet? I’m serious. Animals are far more capable of sharing and expressing love than many people. And when they feel that love returned the bond will be eternal, except you will eventually need to come to grips with them passing.

  • Or is it that we have a duty to remain silent…or else…anyway it seems that more & more are seeing the need for Miranda to be extended to psychiatric interrogations, which need to be recognized as adversary procedures.

    So Rebel, it seems you’ve officially graduated into the ranks of anti-psychiatry?

  • Good observations, very mindful. I think some”obsessive” rituals can also serve a non-verbal centering function, and contain a unique meaning specific to the individual (though anything can be taken to extremes). And, depending on the part of town you live in, there can be much worse things than constantly checking your locks. Or your pepper spray. I’m always unconsciously patting my pocket to make sure I feel my keys there.

    At its core “mindfulness” seems to be little more than a more expensive way of “paying attention.”

  • Welcome Bojana!

    Looking forward to more of your highly creative and lucid writing.

    It’s encouraging to see you don’t feel compelled to posit an “alternative” to psychiatry — other than no psychiatry — any more than an anti-slavery abolitionist in the 19th Century would have felt compelled to find an “alternative” to slavery, other than no slavery. Insisting that we do so is a disingenuous guilt trip imposed on those of us who are gullible enough to fall for it, so I’m just warning you in advance in hopes of nipping it in the bud, as you’ll no doubt be hearing this one sooner or later.

    I also have to give credit where due to Frank, who probably summed it up for many when he said, “Psychiatry was my path to anti-psychiatry.” Though I’d say what the system really wants to suppress is clarity and consciousness teaming up with resistance and revolution.

  • The most important lesson to be learned from Matt’s experience is that it is not enough to have an intellectual grasp of psychiatry’s fraud, the remnants of the psychiatric narrative must be rooted out of one’s soul. At that point you don’t need the “validation” of so-called “experts,” a need Matt never managed to shake.

  • Unfortunately atm NO ONE is posting the MNN archives. So this debate is sort of moot. Vesper’s political perspectives are not overly relevant here, and there are forums where ISSUES rather than personalities can be discussed, and this thread has veered WAY too far in the direction of personalities.

    Again, my personal concern is NOT with who posts the MNN archives (I personally wish they were public domain). It is with labeling a completely new project “Madness Network News” and misleading people into assuming that this is the same Madness and the same movement. (What’s wrong with using a different name, for god’s sake?) I have made this clear both publicly and privately, at least I thought I had. Since Vesper was responsible enough to respond I felt obliged to give him some sort of reply, even though I’d said I was done with the public discussion of what amounts to movement “dirty laundry.”

    Then I discovered not only that the Redux site had been taken down but that the mnn.com site CONTAINS NO ARCHIVES. As of now, or at least last night, NO ONE can see the archives at all. So y’all need to work this out.

    The most important issue right now is that MNN must be available SOMEWHERE for serious movement activists, strategists and scholars to examine, since without knowing our history it’s difficult to make sound decisions about where to go next, and how to avoid the mistakes which led to the movement’s defeat circa 1985.

    So that’s my response, after this I will give you the last word and hope MIA puts a merciful end to this. Everyone has everyone else’s email addresses, if you want to retrace the course of our offline discussions, and there are some limited forums (other than Facebook) where AP survivor discussions are possible.

    Signing off for now & I regret the turn all this has taken.

  • The psychiatric system must and will collaps, because it´s just a shameful lie and eugenics live, but it might take too long for me to raise a toast on the very day they all get dumped….

    You’re right, it’s a matter of time but unpredictable as to just when. However we can help influence exactly when that day will arrive — not only by recounting our horror stories, but by demonstrating and communicating our understanding of what psychiatry is and why it needs to go.

  • I mean, shouldn’t it be ASSUMED that the assertions of scientific and medical “experts” are based on evidence? Even having to say your conclusions are based on evidence sounds defensive and suspicious. (How about producing the evidence?)

    I have the same reaction when I see the “new” rainbow flag with the Black & brown stripes to show that POC are “included” among the ranks of gay people — again shouldn’t that be assumed? Having to point this out specifically seems to message that “we are white, but we include POC too.”

    Also, “evidence” is used in BOTH sides in court cases, and proves nothing without considering it in context, along with conflicting evidence.

  • Vesper,

    While I respect the people involved in “approving” your MNN project and have fond memories of working with all of them, by Jenny’s account none have been in touch with the movement, or what remains of it, for decades, and are not in touch with the current state of anti-psychiatry consciousness, or other developments since the movement was soundly defeated in the mid-80’s. And that they don’t intend to be involved in activism now. If this changes that would be a good thing. But I don’t think this move to claim the imprimatur of MNN is in the interest of current AP survivor solidarity, and as it stands seems more like a power play.

    MNN had a large diverse editorial staff who were not always in lockstep; beyond that MNN reflected the spirit of an entire movement, and the energy of hundreds who were part of the movement in many ways. So to appropriate the “MNN” identity — as opposed to posting the archives, which speak for themselves — is inappropriate, or at least premature, without trying to coordinate with the largest existing group of AP survivors who are in accordance with the principles and spirit of the Mental Patients Liberation Movement. We consider our Principles of Unity to be the bottom line summation of what separates anti-psychiatry from reformism, and the basis for resurrecting the movement. They are not really “ours,” as they all derive from the principles last reaffirmed at the 1982 Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression in Toronto.

    An effective movement cannot be divided against itself. It must be representative and democratic, and simply springing something like this on everyone without notice and calling it Madness Network News is not at all democratic. I also notice the term “anti-psychiatry” is nowhere to be found.

    Still I’m glad you care enough to respond. As I said, MIA is not the appropriate forum for internal survivor discussions. But I and no doubt others will be happy to continue this by email, possibly even on our work site, as we don’t yet have a public site. I already had signed off from the MIA portion of all this, but noticed your post and thought I should respond. But this time I mean it! 🙂

  • Many years ago in the city where I lived some agency sponsored an event entitled “Run For Mental Health” — one of those deals where someone sponsors you and pledges x amount for each mile you run. Anyway we printed up our own leaflets with a similar look saying “Run FROM Mental Health,” with some sort of appropriate AP info inside. I found a copy recently. Anyway this reminded me of that, with the phrase “preventative approach to youth mental health,” as what is considered “mental health,” such as unquestioning adherence to prevailing social attitudes and assumptions, should definitely be prevented, if we can. 🙂

  • It became a self-fulfilling prophecy because everyone told me that I had this brain disease that I’d have for the rest of my life and would constantly be clawing its way through my mind even if I didn’t have any form of “symptoms” anymore and that I’d have to be constantly vigilant to make sure it didn’t return.

    Yep. Watch out, even if you feel good you might be a super-spreader.

    This is the function of psychiatry, to keep us eternally obsessed with the idea that if we aren’t down with their program we are diseased and/or “other.” It works great to keep people internally restrained, which is cheaper and more effective than with cops and and straitjackets and isolation rooms, especially where 20% of the population is involved.

  • Time for me to step back and give some general props to Dr. Hickey, the man.

    Several years back, when Phil was a participant in talks leading up to the (now) survivor-run anti-psychiatry project to which I have alluded elsewhere, he ended an email to me saying (and this is close to a direct quote): ” I have no ego concerns. My only interest is anti-psychiatry.”

    Many people claim there are no egotistical reasons for their pronouncements on this or that, but in Phil’s case it turns out to actually be true. Otherwise he would have stopped writing for MIA after one of his recent articles was taken down.

    Phil is in many ways a “pure” intellectual and a gentleman, to the extent that he opposes making demands for fear of them creating a contentious atmosphere; he sincerely believes that the power of reason will overcome in the end. Can’t say I agree, because the power of power plays a major role in the outcome of many ostensibly “reasoned discussions.” (Consider the constant bs about policies those in power decide to implement being “evidence-based.”) But, while he is certainly open to changing a position based on a cogent argument to the contrary, Phil remains firm in his convictions and will not be “polite” at the expense of pulling his intellectual punches. He is a major ally of anti-psychiatry survivors and a key leader of the AP movement as a whole.

    Carry on Phil!

  • I have no intention of engaging this on MIA as it could only have a divisive effect. Certainly Vesper is someone who anti-psychiatry people should be open to. But there has been serious COLLECTIVE AP abolitionist survivor organizing going on for years and no one person defines what constitutes anti-psychiatry. However MIA is not a forum for anti-psychiatry survivors and this remains an internal discussion, and after this post I will not engage it at MIA, and invite any interested people to contact us at [email protected], until we get our website up (till then we will be at a disadvantage communications wise).

    Btw there is no “OH’s work” and to characterize what we do as such dismisses the hard work and commitment of a dedicated core group of 15 or more survivors — many of whom regular MIA readers know — who have struggled together for over 3 years to create the ideological and organizational infrastructure for a successful anti-psychiatry movement. And the goal of an anti-psychiatry movement is to abolish psychiatry, period; there is no secondary goal. But there’s another time and place for this discussion.

    Meanwhile, while I hadn’t planned on posting these until our website is up, I think it would be appropriate to share the basic principles with which we all agree, and the two basic demands which have always characterized the movement’s collective sentiment:

    We Believe:

    ⦁ That psychiatry is not a legitimate field of medicine.

    ⦁ That psychiatry is a tool of social control which enforces conformity to the prevailing social order.

    ⦁ That “mental illness” is a semantically absurd concept which falsely conflates the abstraction known as the “mind” with the physical brain to mislead people into believing they have literal diseases.

    ⦁ That the psychiatric system cannot be reformed but must be abolished.

    We Demand

    ⦁ An end to all forced psychiatric procedures and “treatments,” including but not limited to incarceration, solitary confinement, physical restraints, drugging, and electroshock.

    ⦁ An end to all state support for psychiatry, including but not limited to the use of psychiatric testimony in legal proceedings; psychiatric screenings in schools, prisons, and workplaces; licensing of psychiatrists; and the use of public monies to support psychiatric programs or research.

    We Assert — and plan to exercise — our right as an oppressed class to self-determination.

  • Good analogy. And as far as the interplay between synapses and the role neurotransmitters play in this, Pies is both scratching the surface and missing the point. Every thought and every bit of mental activity has a unique physiological correlate, just as anger and fear are correlated with adrenalin release — which is not considered the “cause” of the emotion.

  • It absolutely does, because the site you cite above could be a big problem for many of us. This is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about. The people responsible for hosting it are apparently planning to “resurrect” MNN, as though they represent the legacy of Madness Network News, BUT THEY DO NOT! We don’t even know who they are, except for one individual. To my knowledge they have no connection to the anti-psychiatry movement and have never engaged with AP activists on MIA or anywhere else in the world (except maybe for, again, Facebook).

    One immediate conflict posed by the site is that MANY serious anti-psychiatry activists and survivors in general object to being expected to identify as “mad.” People who were not even born when ex-inmates began to use the term, primarily ironically, now literally see “madness” as an “identity.” Someone who chooses to identify as “mad” or anything else is free to do so, but to try to impose it on an entire movement is egotistical and oppressive.

    While I can only take reading the site in little bits so far, my impression is that this “new MNN” will also embrace the peer industry wholeheartedly, which is the antithesis of anti-psychiatry.

    This is the kind of thing I meant when I praised your approach as free of spin, interpretation or solicitation. As it stands, it looks like serious anti-psychiatry survivors — i.e. those who are actually trying to eliminate psychiatry and not replace it — have our work cut out for us.

    “A revolution is not a garden party. In a revolution one wins or dies. — Che Guevara

  • Glad you’re in touch with Lauren. And it’s good we’re all sort of stumbling into one another here, because we need to coordinate our goals, tactics and activities to the extent possible. The “new” group I’m referencing is actually over 3 years old by now, and includes a growing cross-section of survivors who START with an abolitionist perspective, and with other shared understandings about psychiatry which constitute our “self-evident truths” (concurrence with which is required as a condition of membership). We have been creating the organizational and ideological infrastructure for a successful anti-psychiatry effort based on a consistent and “scientific” analysis and strategy, not on unexamined assumptions and wishful thinking.

    I don’t remember whether the original NAPA was an exclusively survivor organization (actually the term “survivor” didn’t come into play till later; “inmate” was the prevailing term, as more of the psych population then was physically locked up ). But it looks like information sharing is something we have in common; we hope to soon have a functioning AP website which will serve as a hub for AP discussions, organizing, education, strategizing, etc. and will be for all people, not just survivors. Wanting to have our site up is the main thing holding us back from officially announcing ourselves in an MIA article, and elsewhere (assuming our request to do so is accommodated by MIA when the time comes).

    There are plenty of ways to communicate without, as Stallman says, “being used by” Facebook. I only brought this up because you mentioned your NAPA page. But FB aside there may still be a useful function for the NAPA name — one thought is that “NAPA” might eventually encompass the entire anti-psychiatry movement, with the “survivor vanguard” (us) using another name. There are all sorts of possibilities.

    I mentioned elsewhere that I love what you’ve done with the Phoenix Rising archives — no spin, “interpretation” or solicitations — and the PR “alumni” we’re in touch with give you high praise. I’m wondering if you would have the capacity to do the same thing for MNN if they provided you with the raw material. Then people could go there, link it to their sites, etc. without having to worry about what sort of “baggage” might come along with it. Wondering what the general response to this might be. (I mentioned this to Jenny too.)

  • I have no use for “models” or “alternatives,” they are all based on the assumption that psychiatry serves a legitimate purpose, or that it tries to and fails. The real purpose of psychiatry is to police our thoughts and suppress our aspirations in the service of corporate profit. The solution to people’s personal misery lies in the defeat of capitalism and the alienation it engenders and requires, not in trying to change people’s attitudes towards their oppression, no matter what the “model.” Psychiatry is a weapon of capitalism and, just like ICE, a tool of law enforcement and containment. Why would we want an “alternative” once we’ve ridden ourselves of it?

    Even more than the drugs, the destructiveness of psychiatry lies in its mystification of people’s pain, convincing them that their unhappiness with life is a problem within themselves to shamefully hide from others and “work on,” rather than arising from a collective problem requiring a political solution. So the energy which should be directed against the oppressive system is instead channeled into self-negating beliefs and behaviors.

    Is that any better?

  • Thank you, as always, Philip. Hey, maybe we should renamed our “movement” the Truth about Psychiatry movement, instead of the anti-psychiatry movement?

    Ouch, I’m surprised at this from an AP veteran of sorts.. I’m having second thoughts about Phil indulging the idea of AP being harmful, it brings out everyone’s latent guilt about opposing oppression, which is what the system wants.

    Anyway “the answer” is that learning the truth about psychiatry LEADS TO wanting to abolish it. Which means joining the anti-psychiatry movement. Simply “knowing the truth” is pretty useless unless you put what you know into action. Or as Frederick Douglas said (more or less) “Power cedes nothing without a demand.”

  • Sami Timimi prefers the later term because he isn’t opposed to the existence of his profession, even if he thinks it has greatly gone astray

    And conclusions such as this are what makes my blood boil to see Tamimi assigned to “explain” what anti-psychiatry activists can explain much better.

    There is no reason for psychiatry to exist if it is built on fraudulent principles, which it demonstrably is and always has been. This is known as logic. So MIA pays someone who profits from the existence of psychiatry to explain why it shouldn’t be abolished.

    And no one is supposed to be so unkind as to see self interest, just “expert judgement.”

    The fact that the Pies’es and Liebermans are so freaked out by the term “anti-psychiatry” demonstrates that it is the PERFECT term.

  • Karin — don’t drink the Kool-Aid. The ONLY thing psychiatry is “tasked with” in reality is social control. Everything else is tactical, and window dressing. Psychiatry already knows what it really is, it’s the people who need to learn.

  • Just saw this, I’m licking my lips — there has been a surge of anti-psychiatry “chatter” over the past week or so, largely inspired at MIA by the Madness Network News article and related controversies, and I’ve been preoccupied.

    I may have finally detected a flaw in Phil’s approach — he has an uncompromising faith in the power of reason and its influence on the proselytizers of psychiatric ideology.

    On the other hand he may be looking forward to a distant day when the collective understanding of the populace reaches the point where there are no illusions to hide behind, and the psychiatric empire’s clothes become the stuff of mockery.

    Can’t wait to read the article.

  • Censorship is not the main problem with FACEBOOK, although of course they do that too, and will be doing it more & more in the immediate future. What is unconscionable is encouraging survivors (in particular) to unthinkingly turn over their personal information to what is primarily a tracking, surveillance, and profiling site, and which will give provide said info to date banks, government agencies and god knows who else. This is not conspiracy theory, it is easily documented; again an authoritative site explaining all this can be found here: https://stallman.org/facebook.html (I don’t see why this is even controversial; it certainly represents far more than my personal opinion.)

    I would hate to see MNN “canceled” from the web, as I think the most important consideration is that our true history be accessible to all, especially AP activists. But I also consider it vital to correct any misinformation such as Jenny has mentioned, and to remain vigilant in the face of any other opportunistic attempts to appropriate MNN to promote any private agenda unrelated to fighting psychiatry. I also urge people to NOT “sign up” with or send any sort of personal information to ANYONE who is using the imprimatur of MNN to solicit it.

    In fact if Jim could give MNN the same treatment he gave Phoenix Rising, with no attempts at “spin,” it would be a great service.

  • I’m still hoping MIA will find someone to do a memorial piece for George. Any ideas anyone?

    How can something have “organizing potential” knowing the personal information of all your members and associates, not to mention your conversations, are being delivered on a silver platter to your — and more importantly their — enemies? This strikes me as irresponsible and self-destructive, especially now that FB/Google/Twitter have taken a quantum leap into totalitarianism. Please check the link to Richard Stallman for more essential info.

    That aside, I or someone will be in touch soon, I believe we have your email.

  • So I’m awake again and still don’t really know what you’re asking, it’s pretty abstract.

    You mention the “Alternatives” conference, which I never had the misfortune to attend, though I’ve heard more than I need to. Fortunately, I believe these events no longer take place. However, “concerns” is an understatement; these were system sponsored events designed to appropriate our language and our issues and lead us down the road of reformism. And they succeeded. Although MIA is not an anti-psychiatry site per se, conversations which have been taking place here have done much to resurrect anti-psychiatry/anti-reformist consciousness and help us begin to regain our direction. However there is much further to go. We need to cleanse our thinking of “medical model” concepts, and beyond that of the idea that the individual is where “recovery” efforts should be focused, rather than the system which is the source of the alienation at the heart of emotional trauma.

    Can you be more specific?

  • the impact of the “isms” (e.g., colonialism, racism, capitalism, sexism, ableism) must be viewed as interlocking with health

    Sounds radical on the surface, but treating capitalism as just another “ism” (like “ableism”) actually plays into the hands of the corporate neoliberal ruling class, which cannot afford to recognize that in the present era racism and sexism are intrinsic aspects of capitalism/imperialism, and that they cannot be solved simply by attitude changes; they require revolution. Capitalism is the “mother of all isms.” As long as the system needs a permanent underclass to sustain itself racism and sexism will prosper, no matter how brilliant the insights into microaggression.

  • Why in the fucking world would you urge people to go to FACEBOOK? That’s TOTALLY CRAZY. FB is a tracking, surveillance and profiling site. It is irresponsible to send vulnerable survivors to FB to have their personal information sucked up and stored; if anything MIA should be urging people to LEAVE FB and assisting them in doing so.

    It be may be moot soon anyway, as FB starts banning anything that offends the people who call us “pill shamers.”

    Again, mandatory reading, from a member of the Internet Hall of Fame: http://stallman.org/facebook.html

  • Thanks Jim.

    You should be aware that there is an active survivor-led anti-psychiatry organization with a consistently growing membership which has been functioning for several years now. Some but not all our members are well known MIA “veterans” (in some cases expatriates). And we are appreciative of your work.

    At the appropriate time – likely very soon — we will be contacting you, and although our organization is run exclusively by survivors who wish to “make psychiatry history,” we are open to working with all truly anti-psychiatry allies, and forming coalitions around specific issues. We haven’t officially “launched,” which will happen as soon as our website — exclusively dedicated to ending psychiatry — is finished. However many of the people reading this are aware of our existence and our basic principles and demands. (Our email is posted earlier in this thread.) Hopefully we can work together in the future in some form.

    This is the first I’d heard of your relationship with Leonard, which is noteworthy. I do urge you to abandon FACEBOOK, it is primarily a tracking, surveillance and profiling site, and I consider it highly problematic to be urging survivors to go there. Additionally — if it isn’t already — FB will soon get around to banning anti-psychiatry content as “false information.” (I always recommend this site for details, written by a member of the Internet Hall of Fame : http://stallman.org/facebook.html )

    Meanwhile some sad news for many people who may be reading this: As I don’t have the ability to post this as a news item, I just want to pass along that longtime AP movement activist George Ebert — co-founder of the Mental Patients Alliance of Central New York — has just died. While I do not have the capacity to write a proper memorial, hopefully MIA will find a way to get this done, even though I don’t believe George spent much time on MIA.

  • It’s largely semantics, as the “war on drugs” has always been in fact a war on Black and poor youth (enthusiastically championed by Biden AND Nixon prior to Biden becoming “woke”).

    In any event, let’s finish off the phony war on street drugs and amp up the one on psychiatric neurotoxins. (I’m wondering, if we could morph this term to “psychotoxins” would it enter the street vernacular and thus be more a subject of mass contemplation?)

  • Karin — Great article, can’t find much at all to disagree with, which is unusual as people here know. I see you are already involved in your own projects — if you would be interested in working in conjunction with other survivors who are trying to deconstruct the psychiatric narrative and “make psychiatry history,” such a forum exists and we’d love to hear from you, and share our basic analyses, principles and goals. You (& anyone) can email us at [email protected]

    BTW people at MIA don’t get much of a chance to discuss COVID, lockdowns & vaccinations from a critical perspective, so don’t be surprised if the comments section is flooded by COVID-related responses.

  • Wow, I really appreciate this snowy; it heartens me to know that the essence of my argumentation does get through to some people sometimes, as I often get crickets on MIA after I post something I think is particularly insightful, only to learn months later from an email that it helped someone make a major connection. So I know not to draw conclusions based on the immediate response. But you’re one of those who “gets it” regarding the intricacies of the revisionism, albeit unrecognized, which still permeates much of our “anti-psychiatry” thinking and remains a big factor in holding back the movement to defund and abolish psychiatry.

    And you’re right, is it exhausting, thanks for getting that too. But supportive communications such as yours are just as energizing.

    I don’t want to divert the focus here from Jenny however, who was a tireless AP activist “back in the day,” not just a journalist, and was personally involved in many of the actions and events she describes above. I’m certain she also appreciates your effusive thanks.

  • I & others have been attempting to educate people about movement history on MIA for years. An important part of this history is how the movement was stolen and its legacy distorted, and how the anti-psychiatry movement was replaced by the thoroughly fake “consumer movement.”

    The idea of anti-psychiatry being taught in history classes is pretty out there considering that the abolition of psychiatry is considered “crazy” even among many at MIA. Why teach our “history” when the present is ignored? The movement to eradicate psychiatry is more than a “civil rights” struggle; our most essential right is the right to never be subjected to hate speech labels such as “mental illness” and “psychosis.” The primary right of a “mental patient” is to never be considered a “mental patient.”

  • Wasn’t expecting this, but I’m very glad that Jenny’s article has been published on MIA; some of us are already familiar with a previous version but it needs a wider audience.

    While I would disagree that there are “many” anti-psychiatry groupings at the moment, as snowyowl knows there is definitely one — which is the only survivor-run abolitionist organization with which I am familiar. I’m not talking about “peer” organizations but those whose sole goal is to end psychiatry completely or, as Auntie Psychiatry would say, to “make psychiatry history.” Those who want more info should contact us at [email protected]

    There are efforts underway to put the MNN archives online, which is long overdue. However there has also been talk of “resurrecting” MNN, which I oppose. I strongly believe that the voice of the Mental Patients’ Liberation Movement should not be appropriated by current activists, as such a publication or site could easily end up watering down and misrepresenting the militant anti-psychiatry activism of that day by those who were not part of it. We should absolutely continue to create our own media. But the name Madness Network News should have a special reverence, and be preserved for the ages.

  • It’s a waste of time to criticize the inherent contradictions of “therapy” if the unspoken assumption is that there’s a “correct” way to assuage the inherent trauma of capitalism on an individual level — without first defeating capitalism! “Personal growth” is a form of individualism when separated from the necessity of collective struggle.

    This is becoming an ever more convoluted dilemma as more and more “woke” liberals present their reformist proposals as “revolutionary” and “socialist” when they are nothing of the sort.

  • Cancer is part of the healing process and is a function of the immune system.

    WHO is assuming that “autism” is neurologically rooted? If that were the consensus “it” would be seem to be a pathology; otherwise, like the apppendix, “it” would have no functional role in a “modern” human.

    What are the current “advantages” of such a condition?

  • “Intersectionality” is a way of avoiding the need to eliminate capitalism, which is the “mother of all oppression.” Racism and sexism are the driving dynamics at the heart of capitalist culture; they don’t just happen to “intersect.”

    No energy to get into a long academic discussion, but this would be as good a place to start as any:


  • Dittos & kudos to KS FWIW. A courageous statement not designed to garner mass approval.

    Some would contend there can be a literal state of “neurodiversity” that bridges (or fuses) the physical (neurology) and the abstract (psychology). As such, as long as there is a physical component this is an argument for “biopsychiatry,” though I also sense that this would be denied. In fact such a fusion is impossible in a 3 dimensional world.

    At best it is euphemistic to refer to purported differences in brain structure as “diversity”; should cancers be referred to as examples of “cellular diversity”? (That sounds progressive.) Or am I missing something key?

  • Why do you think I even care? Anyway you’re speaking in generalities. I think many people are way too preoccupied with themselves, personal feelings and their “identities.” If you have a plan for revolution and collective control of the planet that’s more the kind of thing I consider worth discussing. I’m not interested in chopping at the branches.

  • A world without work — the ultimate “woke” millennial fantasy!

    There’s probably a point here somewhere, one which was addressed ages ago by both Marshall McCluhan and Abbie Hoffman — people don’t need “jobs,” they need ROLES.

    What is being addressed as “work” here is more like capitalist exploitation, which is alienated and alienating.

  • “Does it work” is absolutely the wrong question. It works to do exactly what it is meant to do — to keep dissidence under control. The real question is what should be the penalty for prescribing it, and whether or not the International Criminal Court should take this up.

  • Let’s get our analyses straight here.

    If one accepts the two basic AP principles that a) Psychiatry is not a legitimate field of medicine and ) “Psychiatry is a tool of social control,” it makes no sense to speak of sending shrinks (or their surrogates) “along with” the police. Psychiatry IS the police! It’s just a question of style. And don’t forget the guy who was murdered with a ketamine injection.


    PS In a life & death situation a martial arts expert who could disarm a “crazy” person would be a much better option than shrinks OR cops!

  • I’ve finally come to these conclusions: If “autism” is no longer meant to denote organic brain dysfunction it should not be used at all, as it then becomes an abstraction, like “mental illness.” And that “neurodiversity” is a term which belongs under the aegis of “biopsychiatry,” ascribing one’s personality, thoughts and feelings to physical variations in brain structure.

  • So beyond the concerns of professional “mh” people it appears that the broader anti-psychiatry movement needs to come to some sort of informed and reasoned consensus about the term “autism” — is it a) another “mental illness” (i.e. bogus) or b) some form of minor brain dysfunction? It can’t be both, as there is no continuum between the physical and the abstract, at least not in the material world.

  • Whilst some might claim that the creation of the alternative categories of “neurotypical” and “neurodiverse” is a playful liberation from the pathologising medics, it still perpetuates the “us” and “them” dynamics and further solidifies the individualisation that feeds neoliberal politics.

    Despite my challenges to the context of Tamimi’s current function within the MIA sphere, I recognize a noteworthy statement when I see one.

  • I thought I’d throw this into the mix here as well (note that they quote NAMI as “experts” and provide a suicide hotline #):


    A student has died after a self-inflicted gunshot wound during a Zoom distance learning class Wednesday, officials said. The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office announced the student was an 11-year-old.


  • What’s wrong with US society is people believing the problems can be solved within the structure of US society. At any rate it’s the same propaganda regardless of the format.

    But that’s not even what I’m talking about. Forcing children to watch computer screens for hours on end is child abuse in itself, no matter what the programming consists of. I’m interested in what the post-lockdown suicide rate will end up being among those under 18 (though not looking forward to the answer).

  • While schools are no doubt comparable to prisons in many ways, this is a lame excuse for removing children from all social contact (which poses almost zero risk to them) and sticking them in front of a screen for the better part of a day. This used to be seen as a problem, now it’s mandatory. It’s not good for your brain or your eyes. And despite the fact that it may be better than being beat up, bullied, and taunted, there are clearly many less drastic solutions, if that’s truly the concern.

  • Yes but that’s at the individual level, and corporate profits also play a role. However at a systemic level the reason psychiatry is given so much state support — and ultimately backed up by state guns — is that it functions to keep people stuck in the conformist molds necessary for the smooth functioning of the prevailing social/political/economic order. (In the current day that would be capitalism.)

  • So we are not all “consumers” of merely propaganda, some of us here actually did our homework/research.

    I was referring to the term “mental health consumer” as a euphemism for “mental patient.”

    I do agree, help by those who know what’s actually going on within the “mental health” industry will be infinitely more helpful, than the so called “help,” by those brainwashed by the psychiatric DSM and pharmaceutical industries.

    What sort of “help”? Knowing that psychiatry sucks doesn’t mean one has the ability to do what it professes to do but doesn’t, and can’t. If the problems are systemic simply identifying them is hardly a solution.

    Psychiatry existed long before the DSM, with comparatively lethal results.

  • The brain is the seat of who we are. It is where dignity, pride, our whole being is.

    WHOA. The brain is a squiggly gelatin-like blob of grey organic matter — can’t believe you would say this. To wit:

    “Mental illness” is a semantically absurd concept which falsely conflates the abstraction known as the “mind” with the physical brain to mislead people into believing they have literal diseases.

  • We are heading for some serious totalitarianism, that’s for sure.

    I agree also that we are heading for a pseudo-socialist government, but I think we mean that in different ways. Because I believe we NEED a socialist government, but a REAL one — not the so-called “democratic socialism” pushed by academic self-defined “radicals” (who are actually “woke” liberals, not true socialists). Republicans play into this by absurdly referring to the likes of such capitalist predators as the Clintons as “socialists.” What I see in the near future is a growing totalitarianism that is presented as “socialism” but is far from anything Marx, Lenin, Mao or Fidel ever had in mind. This in turn will need to be overthrown, in a true revolution, not a “virtual” one.

  • Well, it sounds like your priorities are in order — you’re concerned with the HOW and not the WHY vis. a vis. anti-psychiatry. And while allies “on the inside” should be valued and utilized, power cedes nothing without a demand. So, I agree in general, though there’s still that little detail of “what psychiatry actually is” to work out with more precision if we are to have a “united front.”

  • Well, the case against psychiatry has been made for ages now, the question is what are we going to DO about it, i.e. how do we eliminate psychiatry, and avoid falling into reformist traps or appeals to “save” psychiatry (which is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what we need to do).

    Abolitionist survivors and other potential activists who wish to take this conversation further should email us at [email protected] for more info.

    Good to see you being so prolific recently Phil. 🙂

  • Ca-ching!

    The “peer” concept is the most insidious development ever devised to mislead survivors (and future survivors) into seeing themselves as damaged goods, while pretending to empower them. I advise people to run whenever they see it used, whether by an mh professional or by a self-described “peer.” We are humans, not “peers” and certainly not “consumers” of anything but propaganda.

  • [continuing after a bit]

    Why accept their authority to define the labels you wear with pride?

    In this case it’s THEIR label you’re wearing with “pride,” so it sounds more like “I’m going to bed because I want to, not because you told me to!” Or people demanding their “right” to ingest neurotoxins specifically designed to control them.

    I don’t theorize about “bipolar” btw, I discount the possibility of such a purported “disease” existing, by definition.

    Which wends me back to a curiosity I alluded to previously, which I will post in its entirety (hope you appreciate the segue) (spoiler alert/promo — yes the is the letter to Szasz from Timothy Leary):

    July 17, 1961

    Dr. Thomas S. Szasz
    c/o Upstate Medical School
    Irving Avenue
    Syracuse 10, New York

    Dear Dr. Szasz:

    Your book arrived several days ago. I’ve spent eight hours on it and realize the task (and joy) of reading it has just begun.

    The Myth of Mental Illness is the most important book in the history of psychiatry.

    I know it is rash and premature to make this earlier judgment. I reserve the right later to revise and perhaps suggest it is the most important book published in the twentieth century.

    It is great in so many ways–scholarship, clinical insight, political savvy, common sense, historical sweep, human concern– and most of all for its compassionate, shattering honesty.

    I have already contacted several of my colleagues and intend that everyone I meet will be exposed to your work. I am in charge of the first year graduate training at this Center and while I don’t believe in “required” reading I shall certainly “suggest” with enthusiasm that this book be read and re-read.

    Your text states most eloquently, convincingly, systematically what a group of us here have been attempting to communicate. I have in the past published extensively on diagnosis and have come to understand the rituals and rules of that game. In the last two years we have been attempting to apply the “game” conception to behavior change (“treatment” or “rehabilitation”). We have developed a philosophy, many rules and a new language for _real-education_–i.e., helping people understand their games, planning new games, working out explicitly the rules, rituals, goals, roles of the games they select.

    I wonder if there is any chance that you could pay us a visit. I’ll be in Cambridge until July 25th.–and after August 23rd. If you are in New England this month I hope we can expect a visit. I should also like to invite you to come to Harvard on a consultant-lecturer basis for a couple of days in October. A day of consulting plus a department-wide lecture. Travel expenses and a consultant fee will be available if you could arrange this trip.

    I’ll write again in more detail about your book but in the meantime please accept my admiration and gratitude for what you have done for your profession and your times.

    Timothy Leary

    (Note — Pretty sure but not totally sure Leary hadn’t experienced LSD yet, though his mention of “game theory” seems to presage some of his later psychedelic-era writing.


  • Please let me know if you’d be interested in creating a presentation (panel discussion, maybe?) for Rethinking Psychiatry.

    STILL “rethinking” psychiatry after all these years? Didn’t you hear? — the thinking has been completed. The conclusion: psychiatry is a fraudulent branch of medicine which must be abolished.

  • Nope, you’re not getting it. The very process of reclassifying human beings as “peers” is alienated, and alienating. That some so-called “peer” systems are “kinder and gentler” than others is secondary, just like some corporations being less noxious than others doesn’t justify the corporate dictatorship as a whole.

    I doesn’t take “training” to visit a psychiatric inmate as a comrade.. The idea of being “certified” in consciousness and compassion ignores that we are in essence dealing with crimes against humanity, and professional “peers” serve the purpose of putting a human face on an inhuman system. Anyone who cares can be that drop of light in the darkness of captivity, there’s no need for it to be a “specialty.”

    The purpose of psychiatry is to enforce conformity to system values, and to relate to it in any other way is to unwittingly collude in its mystification of human suffering, and its persecution of those who don’t fit in the box. And if you truly considers psychiatry to be a tool of repression, to look to it for approval lends far more credibility to it than it does to you.

    BTW I don’t know any “mad folks,” only people who have romanticized and internalized their labels.

  • The idea of professional “certified” human beings is preposterous. It sounds like you’ve ditched one label (“mental illness”) for another (“neurodiversity”). To me the idea of a “peer work force” is reminiscent of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I know there are many others for whom this is not a confusing reference.

  • Anyway, there are lots of contradictions to think about in social work ethics, even without bringing peer work into it.

    I would second that. But bringing the in the whole “peer” angle surely makes things even more convoluted politically and theoretically. I don’t see why “system” people insisting that we are “peers” isn’t seen as immediately suspicious, just as it would be by anyone in day to day life confronted by someone who felt it necessary to point out that they are “equal” (except that this special category of equality is designated as “peerdom”). I consider “peers” to be just above “untouchable” status in the psychiatric caste system. Weird how the term is used to imply equity.

    As for social workers per se I believe many of them who are well-meaning must live their lives with a sense of impotent frustration at knowing what is best for people is not on the agenda of the ruling class, no matter which party is in power.

  • Very interesting (and praiseworthy) that the author would be interested in this issue, which is key to so many things. I see the entire “peer” apparatus as more than a Trojan Horse at this point, it is the point at which the psychiatric caste mentality attempts to “intersect” with the anti-psychiatry movement (with the intended effect of holding it back). The Toronto Principles (1982) stated that the psychiatric system cannot be reformed but must be abolished; the peer industry is the velvet glove covering the iron fist of psychiatric power, and a major tentacle of the psychiatric system.

    Hoping this article stays up long enough for me to read it more thoroughly.

  • This may be the most relevant investigation by RW in a while, or at least the most timely given the current spate of TD drugs on the market, each one accompanied by an Orwellian TV commercial..

    One of the most frequent targets of the Mental Patients Liberation Movement was the use of drugs that caused TD, primarily Thorazine and the other phenothiazines. The psych industry treated TD the way the tobacco industry treated lung cancer. This was the impetus for a movement-led consumer boycott of the SmithKline Corporation, and supposedly for the development of non-phenothiazine “alternatives” to the original poisons.

    It is thus beyond parody that the industry now turns around more than a generation later and trumpets the perils of TD (a form of permanent brain damage) and proudly announces a new neurotoxin to, presumably, suppress the effects of the original one. (No word yet on whether the “patient” still sits like a potted plant but without twitching and jerking muscles.)

  • @Cabrogal — Well that DOES change things of course, still I don’t think it’s particularly strategic thinking. It’s beyond me (though I understand the rationale) why people refer to adopting an abusive term rather than objecting to it — usually one they never used previously — as “reclaiming” it. It’s not like Black people originally called themselves “niggers,” then the term was stolen by racist whites, then “reclaimed”; same with “queer,” etc.; it seems like a coping mechanism arising out of powerlessness, not an expression of empowerment. But in general, from what i can see, it’s no longer Black people “reclaiming” abusive language as much as people immersed in various forms of identity politics (which includes those who wear their “disorders” with pride and use terms like “pill-shaming”).

    I’m not a “hate speech” obsessive, but consistency is important. Branding someone with a label that will be used to destroy their life is about as hateful as you can get. And why calling someone (or yourself) “bipolar” is especially self-deprecating is that, unlike “loony-tunes” or “wack job” it gives the offensive term the facade of “science” rather than trash talk

  • Random observation: That “observer self” sounds like another word for the ego, which is obsessed with separating the individual from the total environment. But ego defines most of our existence, except for people deep into meditation and full-time mystics. We are pretty much always standing back and observing — ourselves, others, things. Which inevitably begs the mention of quantum theory, about which I know you’re somewhat enthused — if the presence of an observer is part of and literally changes that which is observed, what are the implications here? (Not saying I know.)

    But I think the essential contradiction running through any attempt to make psychotherapy “better” is the fact that “client/provider” relationships are inherently alienated relationships, necessitated by capitalism and serving the function of adjusting the individual to an oppressive system. This is independent of the wisdom, skill, commitment or integrity of the “tharapist”; it is in fact beyond their control.

  • It’s important to have these sorts of conversations with the understanding that they are essentially philosophical, metaphysical &/or archetypical in nature, and have nothing to do with medicine or “therapy.”

    With that disclaimer, I think the Oedipal Complex can be seen in terms of patterns of sexuality and power in Western society, and specifically those centered in Vienna in the 1930’s, where Freud lived for some time. But he was also able to transcend at least some of that to describe internal sex and power dynamics in a way that transcends that small corner of history and can still be seen throughout Western culture.

    I always thought the Electra Complex was also Freud’s concept, but maybe I was wrong. In any case I’d say it would not necessarily make sense to try to “match” it to the Oedipal Complex, since the latter describes a psychic dilemma engendered by patriarchy and the nuclear family; women, on the receiving end of patriarchy, are continually oppressed by the same dynamic that seems to suit men fine once they accommodate themselves to an ethic of power and conquest. So I’m just saying that Electra and Oedipus aren’t necessarily cookie-cutter, pea-in-the-pod mirror images of one another.

    To articulate this in detail is beyond my current pay grade. With luck this is the most abstract I’ll get for the rest of the year at least. But I think there’s a grain of truth in there somewhere.

  • There is nothing more logically stupid in the entire field of psychiatry (which is replete with logical stupidities from top to bottom).

    What’s worse is that people have the same discussions here for years on end and reach the same conclusions without feeling compelled to take it further than intellectualizing.

  • You’re pretty much on target — don’t get me wrong, I don’t see pursuing legislation as an ultra strategic way of fighting psychiatry at this point in history, not until anti-psychiatry consciousness is higher and more widespread. But for publicly-inspired laws (which are definitely the minority) outrage can be an effective spark for legislators seeing it as in their interest to respond to something (usually superficially). Things having to do with children sometimes grab the public conscience when nothing else will, so there’s a possibility that some effective outrage could be aroused in this case if the right powerful person or group of powerful people were to take a personal interest (perhaps resulting from personal experience). Or a tenured reporter — though in general we need to disabuse ourselves of the notion that all we need to expose psychiatry is to find that elusive reporter who (after 30 years of looking) will finally “break the story.” He/she would end up writing obituaries. (I’ve seen this literally happen.)

    As for the newly Jaffe-less TAC, every time there’s an act of “crazy” mass violence WE should pop up out of the woodwork and point to the violence-inducing effects of psychiatric neurotoxins.

    RW has already effectively exposed the essential machinations used to dupe the public regarding psychiatric drugs. It shouldn’t be necessary to repeat this for every single drug in order for those who are sincerely interested the truth to get the drill. Lots of legislative “ignorance” is carefully cultivated.

  • I wouldn’t necessarily invalidate his theories as CYA attempts, though his willingness to dismiss accounts of such abuse as “hysterical” fantasies was probably the low point of his career, and has a discrediting effect. He likely described and analyzed the sexuality of his era with considerable acumen, but was culture-bound in ways and tended to view the peculiarities of his historical era as universal human behavior. That said, it’s still worth a read. That Freud listened to people and tried to explore sexuality and aggression objectively was pretty enlightened for the time.

    However, psychiatry preceded psychoanalysis, it did not grow out of it; this is important to keep in mind, because psychiatry cannot be deconstructed by “exposing” Freud.

  • I wouldn’t necessarily invalidate his theories as CYA attempts, I think both can be recognized simultaneously — though his willingness to “reclassify” and dismiss accounts of abuse as “hysterical” fantasies was probably the low point of his career, and has a discrediting effect. He likely described and analyzed the sexuality of his era with considerable insight, but was culture bound in ways and tended to view the peculiarities of his historical era as universal human behavior.

    That said, it’s still worth a read. That Freud listened to people and tried to explore sexuality and aggression objectively was pretty enlightened for the time, and some of his insights are brilliant.

    However, psychiatry preceded psychoanalysis, it did not grow out of it. This is important to keep in mind, as psychiatry cannot be deconstructed by “exposing” Freud.

  • Laws only follow public pressure of course. Which can only ensue from outrage, based on an understanding that psychiatry is NOT MEDICINE but a tool of domestic repression. So we have some consciousness-raising to do still before we get to that point. But it doesn’t take system status to keep pointing out the contradictions. As they like to say these days, don’t let them “control the narrative” — such as allowing them to portray this as an issue of “overmedication,” which lends credence to the false assumption that neurotoxins are “medications” in the first place, rather than chemical agents of social control.

    Not that you don’t know most of this already.

    (P.S. If you’re interested in anti-psychiatry organizing you’re not alone — we’ll contact you if you want, just give the word.)

  • I DO NOT like that idea, in fact it feeds the problem, which is the idea that our infinite unique relations or reactions to circumstances can or should be categorized and labeled.

    What’s wrong with calling a mental warning (one of a zillion things that might be labeled “mental illness”) a mental warning, and leaving it at that?

  • Damn BL — where the hell have you been? (I’ll drop you a brief email at your “alternative” address.)

    Back in the day TD was one of the major pitfalls in taking Thorazine and other phenothiazines, and a major focus of the mental patients liberation movement. Shrinks and drug reps tried to downplay it. Now they broadcast it, as they have a drug to suppress its symptoms they can profit from. Two birds with one dose.

    In fact in the late 70’s there was an international movement boycott directed against SmithKline, makers of Thorazine, Stelazine and Prolixin, largely based on brain damaging effects such as TD.

  • You’ve been here all along, it’s just the photo that’s new, right? 🙂

    Anyway all good observations. Psychiatry preceded psychoanalysis, was influenced by it for a while, and has now buckled down into strictly chemical control. Psychiatry cannot be defeated without understanding it as a system of social control, not a branch of medicine. Without this basic understanding we will be endlessly trying to “improve” it rather than end it.

  • You need someone you trust and have developed rapport with to help you through that.

    It would be a great comfort and I wouldn’t argue against it. But if you’re in a safe place I think it usually works out as ego death is not physical death. Not taking pains ahead of time to prepare an appropriate environment is asking for trouble in terms of consensual reality repercussions, for sure. And cops may not be amused that you find them existentially amusing.

  • Nice philosophical ruminations. But has MIA returned to no longer requiring the use of quotation marks or any disclaimer whatever when using the “mental illness” word? (Where’s Paula Caplan when we need her?) 🙁

    For extra credit — who sees the innate contradiction in the phrase “understanding mental illness”?

  • I liken psychiatry and the whole concept of the “gazing look”, the idea of an “objective observer” as in a professional setting deeply disturbing.

    This evokes quantum theory, which holds that there is no such thing as an objective observer, as the very presence of an observer changes the nature of that being observed.

  • I had to walk out of a talk by Marc Lamont Hill where he was urging Black people to get therapy at their local CMH center, with the emphasis on the race and consciousness of the individual “practitioner” rather than the political context. A mutual acquaintance offered to hook us up sometime to discuss it all. But it’s not a lone case, the local Black talk station is also constantly encouraging community people to individualize and medicalize their oppression and get “treatment.”

  • Definitely dose related. Plus larger doses of LSD put the inner focus at a far deeper level than gulps of mushrooms. But this is not “therapy,” real or imagined.

    It is not necessary to have a guide once one is familiar with the new psychic dimensions opened up by the psychedelic agent. Everyone’s experience is unique. As John Lennon said, “there ain’t no guru who can see through your eyes.”

  • Timothy Leary urged people taking LSD for the first few times to be accompanied by a “guide,” who was familiar with its effects from personal experience, to help them through psychic “ruts” and avoid freaking out at the experience. But Leary, at least after a while, wasn’t advocating LSD as a psychiatric treatment but as a tool for breaking through psychic programming: “turn on, tune in, drop out” was a highly political statement.

    Incidentally Leary once wrote to Szasz, calling The Myth of Mental Illness the greatest literary achievement of the 20th Century.

  • If I were addressing Ms. Whitten directly I would suggest that what she calls “stigma” is a synonym for “bigotry,” and that it is not something someone “has” but something that is done to them.

    Further, that by accepting psychiatric “mental illness” labels such as “bipolar” one is guaranteeing that they will will be met with such bigotry, as they have defined themselves as damaged goods, which are never valued much in capitalist culture.

  • That too. What we need to also realize is that psychiatry IS the police and fight the equally odious notion that instead of (or in addition to) the “real” police we should send some sort of shrink or shrink surrogate armed with a syringe full of ketamine or whatever. If someone is armed and attacking people it seems they should be able to afford some martial arts experts trained in disarming people, or at least issue tasers to all cops (though that also makes me shudder).

  • What a sham! Psychedelics can be incredibly valuable in opening up areas of consciousness that we repress, but they are NOT “therapy”; they are more akin to the sort of awareness “normally” accessed via deep meditation. “Therapists” should be kept a minimum of 100 miles away from anyone going through this process, and it would be inexcusable for any practitioner to portray the results of such a basically spiritual experience as having anything to do with “therapy.”

  • Well, the misleading idea, which I prefer to call a blatant and destructive lie, did indeed spread widely in our society, particularly among psychiatry’s “patients” and “patient” advocacy groups.

    Let’s clarify. This “chemical imbalance” crap was NEVER promoted by legitimate survivor-led anti-psychiatry groups. The “patient advocacy” groupings Phil speaks of were system sponsored and coopted entities such as NAMI and the so-called “consumer” groups, which were complicit with such lies. The Mental Patients Liberation Movement thoroughly rejected all this, as have and as do all true anti-psychiatry organizations.

  • But psychiatry, he assures us, isn’t wholly to blame for this because:

    The US President himself proclaimed the nineties as the Decade of the Brain, and the move was “heavily influenced” by the pharma industry.

    So there you have it. What could the poor misfortunate psychiatrists do?

    Nothing to add, just love the way Dr. Hickey puts it. 🙂

  • I encourage Dr. Pies and Dr. Aftab to have the courage of their convictions and to denounce these ignorant wretches by name

    Here here! Hoping to receive such an honor from Dr. Pies!

    I have stated many times that Dr. Pies is probably one of the wisest and most eminent psychiatrists in the US.

    If only he weren’t engaged in evil.

  • As for “evidence-based”: we must ask ALL our doctors who use this term: “What is it evidence of?

    “Evidence based” is one of those scientific sounding words that mean nothing. It should go without saying that those who deem themselves “scientific” would base ALL their conclusions on “evidence,” without needing to point this out.

    Why ask doctors anything? They’re best left to their own devices.

  • people tend to see this movement as sort of delusional cult, sect

    And you have evidence that this is a false perception??

    Once again, there is nothing new here that anti-psychiatry survivors haven’t known for decades. And we can tell people about it for free. “Critical psychiatry” is a way of preserving and “improving” psychiatry. What is needed is its abolition.

  • Of course the answer is to abolish state murder completely, except possibly for war crimes, designing lethal viruses, and the like (which should be prosecuted internationally) — NOT to tweak inherently fraudulent psychiatric definitions.

    A system based on murder cannot kill those who follow its example as punishment.

  • It is presumptuous to claim that such a thing as “BLM principles” even exists, as BLM is most often referred to as a concept, not an organization, and as such would have a slightly different meaning for everyone operating under its umbrella. However there ARE local chapters which don’t appear to be centralized, with different views and approaches. There doesn’t seem to be a standard “line.” And while conservative radio insists that “BLM Inc.” is a “marxist organization” I see little evidence of this, at least as reflected in much of the rhetoric identified as coming from “BLM” in the media and online. Even if the originators of BLM consider themselves Marxists this doesn’t make the whole BLM tendency Marxist. (To be clear I think it would be better if it were, but the movement is apparently not that mature, at least not yet.)

    So, I think anyone who speaks of “BLM principles” is to some extent at least engaging in projection, and if not should at least clarify which version of BLM is being referred to.

  • If he has done this for years and calls it “psychiatry” that makes him complicit with the psychiatric narrative, which is at least as dangerous as drugs and shock. If he truly believes what he says why not denounce psychiatry as a field of medicine and return his diploma, like the Vietnam vets who returned their medals?

    Not sure what MIA and revolution have to do with one another, though I do agree that at the moment the revolution is precisely nowhere, as from my perspective there is no true Left left.

  • I was going to mention that the MIA comment history of Stephen (who left us almost a year ago) is a testament to the insufferable contradictions those who take their “peer” status seriously are subjected to, and the constant assaults on one’s sense of integrity.

    If Judi Chamberlin or Howie the Harp could see what has become of the concept of “peer support” they would roll over in their graves. Old movement veterans are horrified when they realize how the term has been “professionalized.”

    (Btw way I don’t know of “many” so-called “peers” with the moral clarity of a Stephen Gilbert. I could probably count them on one hand.)

  • Can psychiatry be defeated? How? And how long would it take? No predominant power gives up power willingly.

    A lot of what you say sounds good on paper Kenneth, and these are all good questions worth pursuing in more depth than MIA sound bites will allow. But yes, psychiatry can be defeated.

    I support those who move to defeat psychiatry. Another front is to create something new…Perhaps a dream but psychiatry would crumble over time if it is deprived of it’s victims.

    Many of these are not merely unwitting victims of psychiatric fraud, but are only involved in the psych system in the first place because they have been physically coerced. Eliminating forced intervention would deprive psychiatry of the critical mass of its subjects, and the fear of “going crazy” (and being subjected to such force) is the motivating factor in many seeking “voluntary treatment.” Without being able to coerce its subjects psychiatry would be in dire straits.

    As for “another front” — there are several problems with the assumption that psychiatry will disappear once there is “something better,” if by that one means an “alternative” technique or school of thought designed to accommodate people to toxic social systems (which is psychiatry’s actual purpose). For sure, people need to shed the alienating lifestyles and economic relationships to which they have been conditioned, but calling this an “alternative to psychiatry” gives psychiatry undeserved status as the standard against which all else is measured. And once again, people in distress are seen in your piece as in need of “places to go,” rather than the goal being for all of us to recognize and accept the experience of our fellow humans freaking out as an inevitable consequence of capitalism, and learning to support one another pending the achievement of an “alternative” social/political structure based on the fulfillment of human needs.

    Still, defeating psychiatry is not dependent on creating mutually supportive social structures, though they are related. Psychiatry is not a flawed branch of medicine, and should not be approached as such; its social function is not “help” or “healing” but control. It is literally a parallel police force and must be dealt with as such before a coherent strategy to defeat it can be devised.

    “Helping people” is nice too and is an admirable motivation. But this is a separate topic, and has nothing to do with psychiatry.

  • The main problem with Timimi’s articles is not the explanations and analyses of what’s wrong with psychiatry. It’s the subtext, e.g.

    — The arguments made here against psychiatry have been made for scores of years by scores of experts, many of whom have themselves been victims of psychiatric assault and “gaslighting.” They do not require Dr. Timimi’s “professional” stamp of approval to be seen as credible.

    — By presenting what survivors have known for years as new revelations brought to us by the good folks at “critical psychiatry,” MIA encourages disempowerment among survivors, who are quite capable of coming to our own anti-psychiatry conclusions without “official” (i.e. shrink) concurrence or approval.

    — Once again, in what has become a hallmark of MIA’s editorial policy, Timimi presents boundless reasons to conclude that psychiatry is inherently and irrevocably rotten to the core and irredeemable — yet rather than acknowledge the indisputable, he hems, haws and backs away when challenged by people here to declare himself in league with the anti-psychiatry movement.

    — Finally, while I have no evidence that Timimi is not a “nice guy,” I still don’t quite get why psychiatrists who finally see the error of their ways near the end of their long “careers” are rewarded with publishing contracts.

  • You are misinformed; survivors are organizing to defeat psychiatry as we write. And we do not depend on “professionals,” or even allow them to be members (though we do have professional allies). You are correct about strength in numbers. And wrong about not being taken seriously, considering 20% of the population has been tricked into dependence on neurotoxins. “We” are more than a few people, no matter how “they” choose to label us. If you’d like to pursue this conversation further away from MIA try contacting [email protected] .

  • The Medical Model of Mental Health Is Finished

    How can anyone fail to see the blatant contradiction inherent in this title itself???

    If you speak of “mental health” you are USING the medical model. Not to mention profiting off psychiatry in the guise of being “critical” of it.

    The psychiatric system cannot be reformed and must be abolished. (Point #26 in principles approved at the International Conference on Human Rights & Psychiatric Oppression, Toronto 1982.)

  • There are NO “high priests”…and we need NOTHING from psychiatrists that we can’t find on our own. Don’t know why you think that, but it’s disturbing in a frightening kind of way –you mention Matt Stevenson, but don’t seem to realize that what killed him was his inability to purge the remnants of shrink-think from his mind. And typically he would interpret my pointing that out as me being critical of him (it’s all in the MIA archives). He would constantly be citing “experts” to “prove” what he already knew. And that inability to break free internally is what ultimately killed him.

    As usual, no one’s saying the author isn’t a nice person. However, realizing after many years that one’s career path has been built on lies and contradictions doesn’t mean one has the answer; it may be more of an indication of generic poor judgement.

  • Actually caring will be reflected in outcomes.

    Actually this notion of “outcomes” is itself disturbing “shrink talk,” which implies without overtly stating that emotional states are diseases and “disorders” that can be treated like science projects — and treats people as statistics.

    Saying psychiatry cannot be reformed is a scientific principle. We are not saying it should not be reformed, but more that this would be a contradiction in terms.

  • I hope you reconsider all of this. We don’t need shrinks to verify what we already know ourselves. If Dr. Timini is not stronglyAP there is no good that can come from this i.m.o. Is it possible you just feel obligated to say something “nice”?

    I don’t make these comments lightly. Are you familiar with the tragic story of Matt Stevenson, former MIA reader/commenter?

  • Good spiel but a few contradictions need to be pointed out:

    You state that you are not anti-psychiatry, and that most are caring people.

    Don’t let people sidetrack you with irrelevancies. The argument for abolishing psychiatry is not that shrinks are not “caring people,” but that it is a system of social control disguised as medicine, hence fraudulent at its core.

    Me too, I am “anti-bad-psychiatry”

    Hopefully you’ll reconsider this. Such a statement implies that there is such a thing as “good” psychiatry. Nothing based on fraudulent principles can be considered “good.”

  • Mad is not a “nasty word,” that’s not the point. The point is that, as used in the reification “mad pride,” it represents an internalization of the “other” label put on us by the system, which is disempowering in the end. I didn’t come up with the “MIA” moniker so I can’t really comment on that, except to point out that MIA is not the voice of the AP movement; RW would be the first to confirm that.

    Part of the effect of revolutionary activity should be to push the “moderate” closer position closer to the revolutionary one. While”working together” is important, this togetherness should be based on common goals, not just whomever happens to be in the room at the time. These should arise out of collective discussion and debate, and be based on shared (and correct) analyses, the attainment of which can only be achieved via hard work among all involved.

    You seem to evade my points about calling for an end to forced intervention, which is both a) a goal in itself and b) a tactic towards ENDING PSYCHIATRY COMPLETELY, which should be the logical goal of any movement calling itself the “anti-psychiatry movement.” But it will be achieved only as a result of preliminary victories, towards which we should be working as we speak.

    Bonnie had her moments for sure and did much to advance the theoretical underpinnings of anti-psychiatry in the academic sphere. We also had our differences. But Bonnie ALWAYS stressed that she was an abolitionist, and didn’t back off.

  • This entire article is presented as if reality TV is actually reality and not dramatized. It’s misleading and reads as more reinforcement of harmful social norms designed to prop up capitalist ideals.

    This is the crux. Other than that I have nothing to say, or maybe it would be more appropriate to say I’m speechless.

    How is this different from The Bachelor? Or is that supposed to be cool too?

  • Every single psychiatric survivor I have known for decades who subscribes to the basic principles from the International Conference has certainly sought to abolish involuntary psychiatric procedures through legislation, etc.

    How could anyone remotely associated with anything identifying as a “movement” not oppose forced psychiatry? But that should only be a start, both morally and strategically.

    As to “what” and “how” —

    This is a good way to break it down, as the “how” is always in pursuit of the “what.” So it’s important to first define the what. Your mention of the International Conference is helpful as a reference point, as I’m pretty sure you’re familiar with the following.

    Point #26 of the 1982 Toronto Principles states: We believe that the psychiatric system cannot be reformed but must be abolished. (This was adopted from the 1976 Boston Conference statement which also says that the “psychiatric system” [which entails more than psychiatry per se] “cannot be reformed but must be abolished.”)

    So the short answer to “abolish what?” would be, according to movement precedent, “abolish the psychiatric system.” What that fully entails remains to be fully articulated by the AP movement. Generally speaking I would define it as psychiatry and all it’s tentacles that participate in medicalizing distress, trauma, resistance, etc.

    More specifically, our two basic political demands are:

    — An end to all forced psychiatric procedures and “treatments,” including but not limited to incarceration, solitary confinement, physical restraints, drugging, and electroshock.

    — An end to all state support for psychiatry, including but not limited to the use of psychiatric testimony in legal proceedings; psychiatric screenings in schools, prisons, and workplaces; licensing of psychiatrists; and the use of public monies to support psychiatric programs or research.

    As for the “how” — this is another way of asking about strategy and tactics, which are premature to consider before one is sure of a specific goal or demand. Generally speaking however, achievement of any of the above demands would go a long way towards furthering the anti-psychiatry agenda.

    Most obviously, if forced intervention were outlawed the entire system would collapse forthwith, as at its core psychiatry remains a tool of domestic repression and social control, and is not a branch of medicine. (Some would call it the velvet glove over the iron fist, but even that might be too complimentary.)

    It would be a pipe dream to believe that forced psychiatry will end without intensive mass pressure, possibly even revolutionary pressure, so save your petitions. However a number of specific strategic approaches may be inferred from the above demands and the basic principles they represent.

    One of these would be a movement to delegitimize psychiatry as a field of medicine. Another, which has resonated with many MIA readers already, would be a movement to defund psychiatry; since psychiatry has no legitimate function in human society, and since psychiatry essentially IS the police, this dovetails with currently trendy “defund the police” sentiment, and is even more legitimate.

    Finally, since this always comes up, not every psychiatric abolitionist sees abolition as a sweeping legal decree, but as an overwhelming rejection by the world at large, as with the flat earth myth. But there are inherently criminal aspects of psychiatry beyond forced “treatment” that should be subject to legal redress; one is the fraudulent practice of medicine. If natural healers can be prosecuted and neutralized on this basis certainly psychiatry should be too. And there are other circumstances in which the force of law would be appropriate in constraining the practice of psychiatry.

    So thanks for posing some analytical questions; the conversation rarely gets this far on MIA and in non-abolitionist forums. It stops at the “what” and “why” and goes in circles, never reaching “HOW.” But give us some time.

  • PS:

    In terms of uniting, I will continue to reach out to others. I realize that some may not want to “unite.”

    Let me clarify: I did not mean that anti-psychiatry survivors should not join in coalitions with other movements around specific issues. All people’s movements MUST unite to overthrow this death-dealing system we live under. But what you seem to be suggesting is that we FUSE with other movements as though there is, for example, no difference between the psychiatric survivors movement and the “disability” movement. We DO need to unite with other movements, but it’s important to DISTINGUISH between movements.

    Since you are personally both a psychiatric survivor AND a disabled person you are wearing two hats. Nothing wrong with specifying which hat you are wearing at any given time and considering yourself a member of BOTH movements.

  • Good to see you back Ted.

    Psychiatry cannot be reformed, as you know. It must be abolished. This has not changed since the 1976 Mental Patients Liberation Movement principles were drawn up.

    One comment re: If we want to take away psychiatry’s power, we have to get the public to see the reality of what psychiatry really does.

    Unfortunate I must disagree. “The public” is basically a huge herd of sheep. Until they realize that psychiatry is not only abusive, but based on fraudulent premises — and until it affects them personally — they’ll do a “tsk tsk”; maybe even shed a brief tear or two, but they will only see a need for “reform,” and will view the only TRUE solution — the abolition of psychiatry — as “extreme.”

    However there may be one or two exceptions, for whom accounts like yours will represent a “tipping point.” And this is good.

    I’ll be in touch soon.

  • Good to see you back Ted.

    Psychiatry cannot be reformed, as you know. It must be abolished. This has not changed since 1976 when I first connected with the anti-psychiatry movement.

    One comment re: If we want to take away psychiatry’s power, we have to get the public to see the reality of what psychiatry really does.

    Unfortunate I must disagree. “The public” is basically a huge herd of sheep. Until they realize that psychiatry is not only abusive, but based on fraudulent premises — and until it affects them personally — they’ll do a “tsk tsk”; maybe even shed a brief tear or two, but they will only see a need for “reform,” and will view the only TRUE solution — the abolition of psychiatry — to be “extreme.”

    However there may be one or two exceptions for whom accounts like yours will represent a “tipping point.” And this is good.

    I’ll be in touch soon.

  • We are too large and complex a society to leave this to the kindness of family or neighbours

    This is a cynical and negative assessment of what people are capable of, and I see the whole idea of “services” as akin to prostitution.

    I do support a basic universal income, pending total revolution, as this would eliminate the need to identify or present oneself as “ill” to survive.

  • There has been serious survivor-led abolitionist organizing going for over two years now, which includes numerous MIA readers. We will be publicly launching the project soon. Hopefully MIA will be publishing our announcement when we do, as it does with other organizations.

    I don’t recommend ANY other current groupings, as none of them are abolitionist except for CAPA, which is not survivor led. However we would be open to publishing your “action alerts” as this represents concrete anti-psychiatry action.

    I’m not talking about “Mad Pride” in reference to any organization. I think it should be obvious that “madness” as used here is a euphemism for the non-entity of “mental illness” relabeled in (what some consider) a benign way.

    We should have “stopped saying mental illness” years ago. But we need to also stop seeing the term as referring to a mislabeled “thing,” or a legitimate category period; it’s not a matter of renaming “it,” as “it” doesn’t exist.

    People referring to themselves as “mad” are implicitly accepting that they “have” this “thing,” and are implying that those who labeled them in the first place simply have the label wrong. But if anyone is “mad,” everyone is, as such labels refer to aspects of humanity which are true for EVERYONE, not just the psychiatrically labeled. And there is this distinct tendency for people who identify as “mad” to see themselves as special — i.e. “mad people,” as opposed to people who have been oppressed by the same forces as everyone else and just ended up getting caught up in the psych system when they reacted to this in one way or another. This is a form of identity politics. If anyone is mad everyone is mad.

    A longtime MIA reader emailed me after reading this and gave me permission to quote her:

    We are in agreement on the idea of “Mad Pride”. The whole concept of mad pride is a pet peeve for me because it’s basically saying “yes, I’m crazy but (somehow) that’s a good thing”. I’m surprised the people in that camp haven’t tried the “born this way” argument since it worked so well for gay rights. And, obviously it has also worked to an extent for those who identify as neurodivergent or autistic. But it’s not just unscientific, it gives credence to all the bogus genetic theories of why people struggle emotionally. And it allows the privileged to view themselves as normal and those who are suffering as abnormal. “Mad pride” feeds directly into the “us vs them”-ism that keeps labeled people oppressed. Paula Caplan said it right the other day. We need to keep talking about trauma, from whatever lens we understand it. Whether that’s ACEs or war or neoliberalism, etc. I’m open to the idea that trauma harms us sometimes in irreparable ways…but not so much on mad pride. Having been thoroughly broken by a harmful oppressive family and culture and system is not something I take pride in, except maybe for having somehow survived the sheer pile of shit I have.”

  • Mostly agree with this Sam, glad to see you get the problem with “mad pride.”

    It’s definitely appropriate for all psychiatric survivors to be angry. Though I don’t see what “pride” has to do with it.

    And while we certainly need a revolution, any time the term “nonviolent” is tacked on (don’t know if D.O. does that here but he often does) it undermines the concept, and also implies that revolution is by nature violent. This is only true in the sense that the SYSTEM will direct violence against any revolutionary movement on the verge of victory. It is up to the people how they choose to respond to that violence. (And self-defense is not violence; to REFUSE to defend oneself is masochism.)

    We don’t need to come up with new names for anti-psychiatry or accept the self-defeating attitude that to be “anti” anything is “negative.” Such beliefs reinforce the system’s power. The value of the term anti-psychiatry is reflected in the way the Liebermans and Pieses of the world direct it against docile individuals and groups that aren’t anti-psychiatry in the least — it demonstrates the fear and paranoia the term instills in them even when there’s very little true anti-psychiatry activity to be found anywhere. (Something we’re working to correct.) They understand the power of the term — and so should we.

  • What you’re essentially saying is that people supporting people in times of crisis must be construed as a “service,” rather than a basic human capacity — from which we have been alienated in a society for which the bottom line is measured in dollars and cents and not human values. Helping one another through the storm until the storm is over should not be a “specialty.”

  • “Mad Pride” is a self-deprecatory and oppressive concept which in effect substitutes the term “mad” for “mentally ill”; they are both terms which designate people as “other” due to someone else’s evaluation of their thoughts, emotion, beliefs or behavior. This should be responded to with fury, not “pride.”

    There are also those who believe that they are “mad” and others aren’t, with the implication that “mad people” are superior; this is essentially eugenics in reverse.

    It is equally reactionary to speak of “uniting” the movement of people with real (i.e. physical) disabilities with the movement of people who have been falsely and oppressively labeled with “mental” disabilities; this validates the (non-existent) concept of “mental illness.” Trying to “unite” movements with completely different reasons for existing does a disservice to both.

    As for “revolution,” in the current day this refers to the overthrow of capitalism — which is inextricably liked to the defeat of psychiatry and all the false, disempowering concepts it fosters. It has NOTHING to do with Democrats or Republicans, who will ALL be swept away when the time comes.

  • “Yet mainstream psychiatry has ignored it and presses on with business as usual”

    We need to get beyond the idea that there are various “kinds” of psychiatry, i.e. “mainstream” psychiatry, “biological” psychiatry etc., with the implication that some are better than others.

    ALL psychiatry is based on false precepts; it can never “improve,” only adjust its narrative.

  • This was signed by THOUSANDS of scientists and health experts: https://gbdeclaration.org/


    As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies, and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection.

    Coming from both the left and right, and around the world, we have devoted our careers to protecting people. Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice. Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.

  • Bottom line: Trump’s handling of the pandemic has been horrendous. The Biden plan is worse.

    Trump at least has restrained himself from seeking a national mandate that would impose all the lockdowns and the mask orders and distancing from a FEDERAL level.

    He’s left the hatchet jobs to the governors of the states. In that action, or inaction, he’s left the door open to uneven and various levels of control, depending on relative levels of insanity of these governors. he Biden design is the “liberal” design, which is the we-love-everyone-and-we-are-the-scientists fascist design…


  • Politeness is the bane of our existence is a world with so many serious things to deal with. Thanks for the validation.

    Years ago I made an acerbic/ironic comment about drugs that unfortunately rubbed against the grain of another mad mother, whose daughter had been similarly damaged. But I don’t recall which “mad mother” incarnation that was. I’m sure there are quite a few.

  • Getting back to the quote above — everyone here needs to understand the institutional role of the media better, as well as the priorities of reporters. There is this recurring illusion that some reporter somewhere is going to see the light and “break the story” about psychiatric fraud. Why do you think that hasn’t happened yet?

    So yes we need to exercise responsibility before giving interviews to opportunistic “media” just because they’re there (or because we want to see our names in print, which is a dangerous ego fixation).

  • Why is it offensive to ask if psychiatry is dangerous? Why don’t we get into it – this is an important question.

    This is an “offensive” question all the sudden after years of MIA discussions? I would think it would be considered platitudinous by now.

    Eye of the beholder.

  • OK I’m seriously confused by all the mad moms & mad mothers at MIA, one of whom I don’t think likes me too much. At any rate I usually am sympathetic to all your comments, including these.

    I don’t know where the authors would get the idea that comments by those who have been “helped” by neurotoxins are excluded from MIA. Could it be there really aren’t that many out there, or that those who have been convinced they have been “helped” are unable to articulate exactly how?

  • “Pill-shaming” is a nasty term for objecting to others poisoning themselves. I never use the term “gaslighting” but maybe I should make an exception here. We’re talking about chemically distorting one’s consciousness in order to be less sensitive to the painful demands of a toxic society. Does anyone speak of “alcohol shaming” or “cocaine shaming”?

  • Anti-war activists work to end war. Anti-racist activists work to end racism. And anti-psychiatry activists work to end psychiatry!

    There is only ONE primary flavor of anti-psychiatry — the one that actually wants to rid the world of psychiatry for good. Those interested — anti-psychiatry survivors in particular — should give us a shout while you still can: [email protected]

    All else being equal however I’ll take chocolate pecan.

  • Members of this community talked to this journalist (who is by no one’s assertion anything close to a content expert in this area) for god knows what purpose?

    Hear hear! These are more the sort of questions that need to be asked.

    MIA is not part of the “movement against psychiatry” in the first place, by its own admission; it is a site dedicated to “critical” psychiatry. Though its opponents in the psych industry portray it as “anti-psychiatry” this has never been the case. Questions about the actual movement against psychiatry should be addressed to those who are part of it.

  • Thank you for the shout-out, Someone. So much is going on that I haven’t had a chance to check back here since I posted the above. And now I hear that complaints from a shrink have resulted in Phil Hickey’s response to all this being pulled from the site. Whoever is behind this it is frightening if not shocking to those of us for whom Phil is a beloved and trusted ally, and we are waiting with bated breath to see if another shoe is about to drop.

  • We do not operate according to what people will accept, but according to what is true and false.

    When one realizes that “mental illness” is literally impossible there remains no further reason to debate the legitimacy of psychiatry, only to strategize its demise. And this has nothing to do with MIA one way or another.

    Once one realizes that the basic precepts of psychiatry are fraudulent it doesn’t matter how many people are “depressed or anxious or suicidal or end up with strange beliefs”; it is clear that psychiatry is not the answer.

    MIA doesn’t necessarily use those terms in order to promote psychiatry (even if that inadvertently ends up happening)


  • While it’s good to have a platform for an anti-psychiatry discussion, I am far less concerned with the VICE article’s speciousness, or with arguing about fallacious “research” (and all research into “mental illness” and “medication” is fallacious by definition) than I am about some misrepresentations of the anti-psychiatry movement.

    Its historical roots go back to the 1970s, when ex-patients published newsletters and organized protests that spoke of “freedom” from a system that forced treatment on them and locked them up, and of “liberation” from this oppressive arm of American society. This was, at its heart, a Civil Rights movement, and the book that served as their clarion call was not The Myth of Mental Illness, but Judi Chamberlin’s On Our Own. Ex-patients, who dubbed themselves “psychiatric survivors,” wanted the right to be the authors of their own lives.

    Yes, the mental patients liberation/anti-psychiatry movement does go back to about 1970. But we need to stop speaking in past tense, because although the movement was defeated and forced underground for 30 years, we are finally reorganizing ourselves.

    I don’t know why Robert puts “liberation” and “freedom” (from psychiatry) in quotes, as they are not figurative terms for us. Anyway, while some of us in the 70’s & 80’s saw ourselves as a “civil rights” movement, many also considered it a genuine liberation movement (and still do), fighting psychiatry as a form of domestic repression and cultural imperialism.

    I was good friends with Judi Chamberlin throughout the time she was writing On Our Own and for years thereafter. (Coincidentally I was just filing away some of her old letters I found; people actually wrote letters then.) I can assure everyone that Judi was highly familiar with Thomas Szasz’s work and had great respect for him, and I’m certain they shared the same stage on occasion.

    I have no idea why or on what basis RW would try to “distance” Judi from Szasz; by his own account psychiatry as an issue had never crossed his mind until 1998 — 15 years after the anti-psychiatry movement had been defeated and its most opportunistic “leaders” co-opted. There is no good reason to pit Judi’s book against Szasz’s work, or to say Judi’s book alone was the “clarion call” of the movement (which was well underway as she was writing it). Both On Our Own and The Myth of Mental Illness, and the writings of numerous others, had a seminal influence on the early movement (which was more than a few people gathered around Judi’s feet).

    If RW is attempting to imply that the mental patients liberation movement was not anti-psychiatry — and I hope he isn’t — that assertion would be inaccurate. We were more militantly anti-psychiatry than anyone who wasn’t there could possibly imagine. While there were some reformist currents, as there tend to be in any movement, the thrust was not for “better mental health.” It was to end the concept of “mental health” — just as it is today.

    All of this was articulated in formal anti-psychiatry principles and demands formulated at the International Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression in 1976 and 1982 respectively, which described psychiatry as a “parallel police force” (among other things) which “cannot be reformed and must be abolished.”

    Also, we did not call ourselves “survivors” in the 70’s — we referred to ourselves as “psychiatric inmates,” as the focus of psychiatric repression was on locked institutions, and most of the activists had been inmates. Today at least as many of us have been psychiatrized via the CMH system, which I guess is the reason that “survivor” has taken over from “inmate” as the preferred term. (I personally prefer the term “outmate” for those in the clutches of CMH.)


    That founding moment in the 1970s has surely metamorphosed into many forms over the last forty years, with a diverse range of opinions now present among activists with “lived experience

    No no no. There is only ONE movement which represents the legacy of the Mental Patients Liberation (Anti-Psychiatry) Movement — that is the movement to abolish ALL psychiatry, still led by survivors of the psychiatric system.

    The Mental Patients Liberation Movement for all practical purposes was decimated by the end of 1985, though David Oaks heroically tried to hold together the remnants for a number of years thereafter with the Survivors Coalition International, Dendron Magazine, and finally MFI. But gradually the anti-psychiatry focus got watered down.

    In the current day, any purported “movement” which claims to be for “consumers,” or wants to “improve” psychiatry, is analogous to the Vichy government in occupied WWII France. Since 2017 there has been an active movement to resurrect what once was, but had been under occupation by psychiatry and its flunkies for so many years. A number of MIA survivors have worked with us in an “underground” capacity as we have sharpened our analyses and collectively articulated our demands and goals. We are almost ready to go public, and encourage any survivors who want to actively work to expose and defeat the psychiatric gulag to join us. If you want to get involved, or would like to see a copy of our basic principles, give us a shout at [email protected] .

    Let’s show them what a “movement against psychiatry” REALLY looks like! 🙂

  • OMG where to start? Maybe here:

    I told her we weren’t an antipsychiatry website, but rather that we were better described as a “critical psychiatry” website.

    And herein lies the main problem as usual. MIA is not only NOT an anti-psychiatry site — very unfortunately — it has the effect of PROMOTING psychiatry when it uses psychiatric terms such as “schizophrenia” with a straight face and talks about “research.”

    So many inaccuracies on both “sides” here, I’ll probably be adding comments all week. But we’ll start with this, which is the most basic.

  • Responding to Bowen:

    First, duly noted regarding your Asian heritage — though I don’t know why you couldn’t have been specific in the first place, since you made a point of stating that you aren’t Black. If a white person trying to be “woke” had said some of the same things I would have considered them racist, so I appreciate your providing some context.

    I’ve never – EVER – had a positive encounter with the police. Police in our communities exist to constantly remind us that we’re persona non grata. This is why I say I can’t have this conversation with white men

    This same statement uttered by a privileged white activist — which is what Bowen seemed to be saying he was — would come across as the same appropriatiing and presumptuous hypocrisy we see all the time from white people. (Such as his personal experience with cops or the reference to “our” communities.) Anyway I regret the confusion, though I didn’t “assume” Bowen was white, I surmised. Incorrectly.

    My main point remains valid however: Calls to abolish the police are rarely supported by the vast majority of those in poor neighborhoods, who have no other recourse for self defense in many cases, and risk being imprisoned themselves for exercising it. So if people want to feel radical and call for abolishing the police they might as well be honest, and consistent, and call to “smash the state” as well, which would be the near-immediate effect of abolishing the police. And without something functional and democratic to replace it with I don’t think too many people would enjoy that. It’s putting the cart before the horse.

  • @boans:

    The point made by Oldhead below about police doing both duties, protecting citizens AND Power and capital.

    To expand a little — the same cop who takes you to the hospital after you’ve been assaulted is also required to bust your head at a demonstration, which I’m sure bothers cops who join up out of a desire to help protect people from bad guys.

    At a higher level, the current state doesn’t protect citizens out of altruism, but because its support among the people includes an understanding that people’s basic personal security will be protected. NOT doing so would be very bad for business, which is why terrorists and guerillas often attack civilian populations — to demonstrate to people that the government can’t protect them and is not worth supporting. This is why I point out that protecting citizens is part of protecting power and capital.

  • This is why I say I can’t have this conversation with white men.

    I hope you’re not going to really say this while being white yourself, which would seem to imply that you consider yourself too beyond racism to even relate to other white men, whom you consider hopeless or something compared to yourself.

    ALL white people in america are racist, it’s not a matter of choice. White people who believe they have personally “transcended” racism but point fingers at others are in actuality more racist than those who recognize their own internal racism and try to fight it.

    Incidentally if you refer to people as “sociopaths” you are using a psychiatric narrative. So check your own contradictions.

  • Bowen’s “rebuttal” of Steve’s example is flawed, as Steve was responding to Bowen’s previous blanket statement, which bounces back & forth between a political abstraction and a personal dislike of police.

    Though I could easily be wrong I also would suggest that few regular readers of “Critical Resistance” and “Current Affairs” are likely to live in a neighborhoods in which their lives would be in constant daily peril without the existence of police.

  • Seeing a doctor and being deferential would be tantamount to lying.


    Taking some of what you describe to a collective/political level, some people still hope that liberation will come when finally, after 50 years, some reporter finally “blows the lid” on psychiatric fraud. Actually RW already has done that to some extent, except no one notices because MIA is blacklisted from corporate media attention. (Also because he doesn’t frame his conclusions that way.)

    As for those front page headlines in the New York Times (or Boston Globe) highlighting how the entire concept of “mental illness” has been deconstructed and proven fraudulent, along with the “chemical imbalance” hypothesis and other psychiatric narratives — we’re still waiting on them. Getting back to your point about “approaching doctors [or reporters] in a deferential way” (my brackets): It is ironic to me how, after 50 years of being ignored by the media, movement people still blame themselves for this rather than understanding that the role of the mass media is to disinform and confuse — they think if they had only phrased this or that point more clearly the reporter might have made the essential connection and written that big story that would have started the ball of yarn unraveling once and for all.

    So either the movement is (and always has been) collectively inarticulate and we should all start taking remedial English, or there’s a bigger issue involved in our historic lack of “good press.”

    I guess your last question was rhetorical, as is mine: “Who owns the media?”

  • I will preface my response to Bowen with an introductory quote from my sadly departed revolutionary mentor, Abbie Hoffman (from his book Revolution for the Hell of It:

    America Is Racist
    America is Imperialistic
    Police are Brutal
    Mass media distort

    Bah-Bah-Bah-Bah — Sheep talking rhetoric. People on the Left spend most of their time telling each other things like that. The point is, everybody already knows, so call it Rhetoric. The Left masturbates continuously because it is essentially rooted in an academic tradition. It is the rhetoric of the Left, its insistence on ideological exactness rather than action that has held the revolution back in this country as much as the actions of the people in power. The Left has the same smugness as the New York Times.

    [The above was written in 1968.]

    With that in mind let me examine some of Bowens’ statements. (PS I guarantee nothing I have said about defunding psychiatry is sarcasm.)

    …there are thousands of people across the world protesting law enforcement, and not many protesting psychiatry.

    Yes, this demonstrates the hypocrisy (or at best the cluelessness) of the “woke” Left, which I refer to as the faux-left. That there is very little resistance to psychiatry demonstrates the degree to which it has infused itself into the consciousness of the former Left, which supported the AP movement 30 years ago.

    Can you recognize that the strong feelings you have against psychiatry are similar to how many people feel towards the police?

    Since you don’t know me or of my history fighting for political prisoners and victims of police violence I will refrain from actual sarcasm here. The answer to the question is “yes”; however you still miss the point, which is that the police and the mh system are the SAME SYSTEM SERVING THE SAME PURPOSE.

    The police don’t protect citizens, they protect power and capital.

    They do both. Plus protecting citizens is PART of protecting power and capital. (See introductory quote re: “rhetoric.”)

    Again, the idea that “cops have no substantial social or political power” seems like it must have been intended in sarcasm, because being able to get away with murder is the definition of power.

    I’ll have to check Webster’s, I don’t recall that definition. Sounds more like an expression of impotence and frustration, even if it were routinely true. As for social and political power, you don’t see to many cops living in gated communities.

  • The specific principle I refer to here is: Psychiatry is a tool of social control which enforces conformity to the prevailing social order. It was conceived with the understanding that there are both written laws and unwritten laws.

    Although there is some overlap, written laws are primarily enforced by standard police agencies, and violations of unwritten cultural or societal laws by “mental health” agencies. So it’s all at least technically “law enforcement,” at least that’s what I mean when I say that.

  • Psychiatry cannot be reformed, it must be abolished. There is no “better” psychiatry. People should not take poison to alter their attitudes on life via brain chemistry.

    Is there anything else obvious I left out? If not, most of the rest of the discussion here seems like more of the same old to me. Just stay away from the shit, and if you need to get off it make sure you are advised by someone who has confidence in your ability to do so.

    Maybe such services could be a form of reparations once psychiatry has been abolished.

  • Just as problematic is the idea the there is some sort of medical or scientific consensus on all this. And there are areas where COVID started to spike AFTER mask mandates were introduced.

    No one is saying the virus is a hoax, though its danger is highly exaggerated and it is being used by someone (or many) to manipulate things on many levels.

    Here are two credible articles for those who want some alternate perspectives. One is by a presidential advisor, one by a highly regarded holistic expert; both have been suppressed by social media:



    As for Fauci, he is a longtime medical bureaucrat in cahoots with Bill Gates, who is responsible for spreading polio throughout Africa with his “vaccines”:


    Funny how COVID has found its way back into the comment section after all that effort.

    (Point of Information: US COVID deaths are currently at the lowest level since mid-June.)

  • We’re in basic agreement, though you could ease up on some of the “pig” rhetoric; pigs are nice animals, and if they eat shit it’s because they have no options (Rachel can you confirm this?); cops have no substantial social or political power, they are dehumanized employees of the system. They can’t even fire their guns without permission, at least theoretically.

    However your basic analysis is right on, with a few caveats. (Some of the following is consolidated in a soon to be released set of anti-psychiatry organizing principles and demands, collectively written by abolitionist survivors.)

    As you seem to agree, psychiatry is not a branch of medicine, but a tool of “law enforcement” and social control which assumes the trappings of medicine. The “mental health” industry cannot “replace” the police — psychiatry IS the police, literally. Many people have already taken up the slogan “Defund Psychiatry” based on this understanding, and I encourage others to do so as well.

    There is a subtle difference between the two “defund” campaigns however. Most people in poor crime-ridden neighborhoods don’t want to abolish the police, though many want better police and more community control. There is a legitimate social argument to be made in favor of police being needed to protect citizens (in any society) from bad people. How effectively and genuinely this function is performed is a separate question.

    However there is no comparable argument in the case of psychiatry. There is no legitimate social function to be served by an agency devoted to enforcing thought and behavior via absurd manipulations of logic and semantics, along with the assimilation of medicine.

    So we don’t need “alternatives” to psychiatry any more than we’re looking for alternatives to ICE. We just need it gone.

  • But every person should be able to step in and help someone in a time of need.

    Herein lies a subtle contradiction — referring to innate human capacities of empathy and support as “skills” and “expertise” to be employed by a “therapist” perpetuates the basic alienation of people from themselves (which is also a basic feature of capitalism). Something you seem to recognize with your above quote.

  • Rob,

    isn’t it expected and important that many of us go through anxiety, sadness, despair, trauma, and other inner distress—feelings that, hopefully, will ultimately help transform us and bring us together to build a more environmentally sustainable society?

    NO! Feelings are the enemy, and must be suppressed and/or discarded when they get to the point of interfering with business as usual.

    what happens if we instead label these potentially revolutionary feelings as pathologies, as brain disorders, as “mental health problems” and “mental illnesses” needing “treatment”?

    Though it’s unclear who you mean by “we,” what happens is that the system then has a go-ahead to deny responsibility for the trauma it creates, as usual. Because caring too much is a serious personality defect.

    However this is not unique to climate change; any organized effort to create structural change can be deflected by using the “mental illness” card against that movement’s leaders and activists.

    Which is another major reason that we must abolish psychiatry.

  • Btw I like this: “clients/patients/ program participants/whatever bullshit PC name they’re using for the human beings that pay their salaries and/or are subjected to the brutalizing processes that this culture still calls ‘treatment'”

    Maybe we could use that as an alternate term. (You forgot “consumer” btw, or maybe that was deliberate). 🙂

  • …this series of articles is about what people in the helping profession—that is, people with an inordinate amount power bestowed on them by themselves and an uneducated (thus, trusting) general public—say to their clients/patients/ program participants/whatever bullshit PC name they’re using for the human beings that pay their salaries and/or are subjected to the brutalizing processes that this culture still calls “treatment”…I am not talking about peer-to-peer interactions; those have entirely different power dynamics…”

    A vital distinction — thanks for making this clear, it makes your intent in writing the series more comprehensible.

    Mao wrote a 2 part essay on “Contradictions Among the People” vs. “Contr