Comments by Katie Tierney Higgins, RN

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  • I wonder why it was so easy to launch campaigns that focused on potential for harm and the requisite criminal prosecution for distribution of *illicit* drugs? A very streamlined process, with no negative attribute of pushers and users left unspoken.

    Consider for a moment why it is only the *users* of pharmaceuticals, who for whatever reason, ingest these manufactured “medications*, who are scrutinized, categorized and regarded with suspicion?

    Where does the responsibility lie for marketing dangerous *poisons* to people who are not predisposed to mistrust prescribers ?

    If the root of the problem is concisely stated, the action required to rectify it addresses all aspects of dangerous prescribing, but it also calls for a more comprehensive approach to providing care for everyone who has been harmed by a drug that has yet to be described accurately.

    Lorazepam is commonly prescribed to adolescents. It is routinely prescribed for teens diagnosed with an eating disorder . IT, better known as Ativan, is promoted for treating anxiety in adolescents whose symptoms always worsen on a locked ward. Ativan is always added to the chemical restraint order, to reduce the side effects of a neuroleptic or atypical ” antipsychotic “drug. Never is heard a discouraging word— safe, effective– when taken as directed by a doctor.

    Is there a safe way to prescribe benzos? Not likely to happen until Benzos are better known than doctors would have you believe.

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  • The root meaning of the term:

    syche (Psyché in French) is the Greek term for “soul” or “spirit (ψυχή).

    The problem , causing the confusion and conflict, is rooted in another tactic psychiatry employed to sell a skill they don’t have for *illnesses* they can’t identify.

    Please–gentlemen, the term does more to discredit psychiatry than it adds to any real understanding of a human potential for exhibiting the *dark side* of human nature.

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  • Psychopath is a widely used term. It is even slang in some circles.
    Any exact meaning of the term, psychopath, has been diluted by overuse of the term, granting it a connotation that is more like using profanity than applying any scientific or medical expertise to describing behavior.

    Whatever means employed to define the term, the cultural context in which it is used, has more meaning. People tend connect the term to *evil* -which I think would indicate more of a spiritual than a mental illness.

    In any case, it is beyond the healing powers of those who share the root of the word in their professional title: Psych–iatrists.

    I think psyche refers more to the soul than the mind.

    The irony of *brain focused* doctors who were originally doctors who attended to wounded *souls*.

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  • You’re welcome @humanbeing– but, hey don’t sell yourself short. Your comments are not lacking, nor are you lacking any skill set for effectively communicating crucial points in writing. I may be better acquainted with the barriers that impede speaking to *truth* to *power*, but I can’t hold a candle to the tenacity and brilliance of “benzo survivors” like, yourself.

    Thank you !!!

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  • Thanks you, Bradford for delving into the legal paradox, or rather the unconstitutional practices of judges who rule for civil commitments and juvenile court judges who sentence kids to be tortured by psychiatry until they reach age 18.

    These courts do not adhere in any way to rules of law. There is no due process– no formal charges filed, no proffering of evidence for a jury of one’s peers. These courts enact parens patriae doctrines imbedded when the establishment of a means for social control reached crisis level in the early 1900’s.

    Juvenile Court judges have *discretionary powers*. They defer to their advisors, child psychiatrists who were planted in this role from the beginning (1899 in the first Juvenile Court in Chicago)—. The *state* is our true parent. The *state* is psychiatry. Likewise– mental incompetent = “child like incapacity”; There is an ugly twist here because psychiatry decides who is medically incompetent, then assumes the role of our true parent. The Judges in these courts defer to the psychiatrist. period.

    Discrediting psychiatry is a necessary first step to reversing some very powerful and equally destructive *practices* that have grown into *for profit *systems operating at our peril.

    Your insights are sharp enough to pierce concrete!! I very much appreciate a need for Forensic Anti-Psychiatrists and Neuropsychiatric Defense Attorneys –, Clearly there is no formalized training needed for either of these positions . That speaks volumes regarding the institution we are trying to *dethrone*. And reassuring , too considering how many of us can qualify right now for these jobs.

    I really appreciated the compliments, too, Bradford– Am putting my husband on notice 😉

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  • @BPDT & @oldhead,

    You’re both right !!

    These ambiguous labels were introduced by psychiatrists around the turn of the 20th century in America. These labels were noted to be medicalized expressions of the aspects of the human condition that undermined the power and control of the wealthy ruling class. Anti-authoritarian kids, were in need of psych treatment for their *illness*. New fancy terms from MDs who self-proclaimed themselves to be the medical specialists in the field of psychiatry–. The terms were respected as legitimate diagnosis from legitimate medical doctors. Rich people aren’t nit picky when it comes to who they decide to call experts, apparently.

    Our culture is infused, maybe even driven by these medicalized terms for human conditions–. It was in vogue 100 years ago, to reframe human acting out against society’s norms(actually Puritan values as the original societal norms) now it is virtually impossible to discuss any variance of societal norms without using one of these *ambiguous* psych labels.

    Just as no two psychiatrists seem to agree on exactly what their own labels mean, there is no reason to expect that psych-speak will ever bring clarity to the discussion of serious problems we face as a society.

    David Byrne said it better in lyrics of his song, “Psycho killer”
    “They’re talking a lot,
    but they aren’t saying anything.”

    Even given the commonly understood idea of what a psychopath IS– the term is worthless when it comes to dealing with anyone so labeled. Can’t get around the unique, individual characteristics that will be key to connecting with, helping or even abating the destructive effects of one, so labels, psychopath–
    Then, too, all of the aspects of our having neglected to confront and deal with aspects of our society that are a driving force toward aberrant ways of coping, can be overlooked, as very time we focus our attention on assigning psycho babble labels,– a psychiatrist smiles.

    So– the terms can mean whatever you want them to– and still refer mainly to the greatest marketing scam of the past century.

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  • Hi Richard,

    I want to respond o the common you addressed to me above– where there are no more reply button :-/ and even though I think you wanted the last word re: negative energy infusing this blog post discussion thread. I really want to highlight miscommunication– and remove any doubt as to ill intentions causing the derailment you described.

    First of all, I addressed my first comment o J.Doe– in support of her well articulated position that refuted. imo. your references to her previous 2 posts. I will repost the paragraph in your post here that led me to agree with her.

    >>”While we must overall give high praise to the work done by J. Doe and others, there is an unfortunate secondary countercurrent to their arguments that weakens their scholarship and threatens to possibly widen an already existing divide within the benzo victim/survivor community. While there needs to be a black and white distinction made between the scientific definitions of “iatrogenic benzo dependence” and “addiction,” there is a lot of grey area between these concepts when examining the real life experiences of all those people being harmed by benzodiazepine drugs. J. Doe’s theoretical shortcomings tend to downplay, or even deny, the reality that there are many people who have BOTH iatrogenic benzo dependence AND addiction issues present in their current or past life experience. In their advocacy for establishing distinctly different definitions for these two phenomena, they have chosen to promote both a theory and practice that encourages distancing themselves from anything addiction related. This includes distancing themselves from those people in the benzo victim/survivor community who also suffer from addiction related problems in their life. If J. Doe and others fail to reconsider this approach it could place unnecessary limits on the potential to build broad support among activists for their advocacy work, as well as interfere with future efforts to build unity among all those damaged by bentos.”<>”humanbeing on March 24, 2016 at 7:48 pm said:
    In my opinion, I think this is a bit of what’s going on here and why so many of us are uncomfortable with this article.

    And neither did you– address this directly.

    I posted an apology to @oldhead, who defended you from what he perceived were my unjust attacks.

    >>”I sincerely apologize for allowing my frustration and all of my other equally distracting emotions, that are evoked here sometimes, to influence my tone or the content of my comments. In all honesty, I get riled up, *triggered* here whenever my voice itself is invalidated — and what I am saying is completely ignored.<<"

    And finally engaged with Alex as a means for bringing some closure to the angst
    I was still feeling…

    I definitely do not and never have harbored any ill feelings toward you– I absolutely disagree with points you made in your argument, but that is not to say I cannot appreciate where you are coming from. The problem I encountered when both disagreeing with your points and the way in which you addressed others, who were *survivors* of the Benzo scourge , is the precursor of negative energy, and though I do see how my fledgling attempts to participate in the process of reconciling the miscommunication and the misperception of ill intentions, I don't quite understand you posting both a judgment of my participation, suggesting a justification for my being attacked, and basically blaming me for the negative energy. That is below the belt, imo.

    Yes, we have exchanged emails– and I wonder why you didn't address me personally with the perceptions you posted here? It is only because you wrote here, that I am responding here.


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  • May I suggest adhering strictly to descriptions that are easily recognized concrete terms ?
    Examples from criminal law lexicon like, fraud , assault & battery, – are what I have in mind .
    It occurs to me that psychiatric terminology and warped perceptions of pathological terms applied to the human condition are imbedded in our culture due entirely to the misplacement of trust and power granted to sham doctors. I think it is well worthwhile to scour these
    Bogus terms out of our vocabulary .
    And rather than describe the ostensible traits and activities psychiatry in provocative of evocative language , employ the legal terms that describe the crimes themselves .

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  • Wow ! I needed this essay, Alex! — about 2 days ago 😉

    As another living being who interprets feelings as energy on a body level, I am in awe of your ability to read the energy symbolically and translate the learned experience into words. So, it is possible to transform or redirect energy with words on a screen. I experienced the shift and the shhhhhh! – which usually only happens for me via sound and movement. Bravo, Alex!

    I have been a dancer since age 5. English is my second language, so my handicap is often as obvious as a dead bird on a windshield… so to speak. Bear this in mind as I attempt to add another color to your tapestry.

    There are patterns of speaking or styles of writing as if speaking, that are loaded with negative energy. Not to mention buzz words and commonly understood innuendos that are condescending , patronizing and intimidating. When someone throws a penalty flag on these bad vibe producing comments, the energy will spiral downward until someone cries, “uncle”!

    My theory about this dynamic draws from the analogy of two people alone on an island, each trying to prove his case that the other is insane. In real life, we are indoctrinated very early into a pecking order, chain of command ordered society, and it is rare if we never experience or witness the axiom, “might=right”. So, we aren’t prepared for debating on a level playing field to an audience of one [mind-set], who has no one but us to impress with their mighty words. Thus the spiral into the vortex of two people waging the same case against each other- each mounting the same resistance to the other. The usual resolution is either to disengage or wait for the moderator to pull the plug.

    Something new is happening here that at this point I can only express via an interpretive pale green dance.

    I look forward to the screening of your next film!


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  • I appreciate this well researched , scholarly article on a topic that is not regarded with anywhere near the same academic curiosity and compassionate intention BY psychiatry — as evidenced by the infomercial style drug marketing articles you will find in psychiatry’s professional journals.

    Regarding this clincher:

    “We, like many other Mad in America contributors, are likely to be accused of being ‘anti-psychiatry.’ When this label is thrown at you, remember that this is the way defensive and rigidly biological psychiatrists often respond to people and ideas that frighten them: apply a negative label and pretend the label is an explanation. Why do people hear voices? Because “they have a thing called ‘schizophrenia’ which makes them hear voices.” Why do people point out the lack of an evidence-base for psychiatry’s theories? Because “their being ‘anti-psychiatry’ makes them do it.” End of story.”

    I just want to add my 2 cents to the other comments on this made by other, out -of -the -closet *anti-psychiatry* folks-.

    WHY are we seeking approval or endorsement from the professionals who represent the profession we can’t yet prove has met criteria to be recognized as a medical specialty? I think this actually discredits the results of all of our scholarly efforts and research– including the dismal report on the reformability of the Institution of Psychiatry by Bob Whitaker and Lisa Cosgrove (Psychiatry Under the Influence). Why would we want to act as though we are uncertain of certainties?

    Pandering to the leading most influential psychiatrists means we actually believe that they would consider giving up their wealth and power. Let’s look at the facts before we become completely delusional.

    Psychiatry’s wealth was gained via criminal behavior and their power was paid for (at least in America) by wealthy Puritan families and philanthropists seeking the surest means to social control, and is now supported by the wealthiest industry on the planet. What happens to Pharma profits if they lose their most prolific prescribers?

    Hmm.-Because they are frightened or threatened by terms like, ‘anti-psychiatry’, employed by educated, knowledgeable people in response to nothing but evidence for using this term, bio-psychiatrists tend to discredit the source. Wait a minute , didn’t bio-psychiatry construct its paradigm of “care” by discrediting the feedback from patients, AND discrediting the sources of the complied compelling evidence of the harm caused by their paradigm of “care”.? I think we need to kick into behavior therapist mode and stop offering bio-psychiatrists secondary gain for being blind, stupid and down right nasty, or having cold indifference, no medical knowledge and a wicked pernicious personality disorder.

    It has been argued here that; “Unlike, say, “schizophrenia,” “anti-psychiatry” is not a label, but a description of something with definable qualities.”

    and suggested that, ” we have to fight for other ways to define human beings and human Life, In that sense I am proud to call myself an anti psychiatry person. Hopefully there will be more and more people who realize that being anti psychiatry is as good as to be anti racism. ”

    and further argued that; ” It [anti-psychiatry] is not a label to those of us who would oppose psychiatry as totalitarian brute force, pseudo-science, and medical claptrap.”

    When we stop participating in the shared hallucination that psychiatrists are performing a beneficial role in our society, or that we need them to sign on to humanistic approaches that will save those of us not currently in their net and rescue the ones who are still in their net — we will be on the road to progress.

    We flat out don’t need what they have to offer and are better off without their input. Maybe it is a steep climb toward building or creating what we do need in our society– but I don’t agree that we should take a middle of the road stance on this journey. Using real, correct terms and speaking a common language is crucial. This is no time to pretend we don’t know what we know– unless anyone thinks it is okay to keep our kids and other vulnerable members of our society –in harms way, I strongly suggest practicing telling it like it is.

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  • No animosity from me either–:-)

    The personal offensive stuff is about proceeding from not clear where I am coming from to telling me what I am doing. The step in between is where you ask me what I mean, or why I am saying–whatever I am actually sating– that step was/is missing. I am not angry about it– anymore.

    Also, there are many people who have been victims of crime(s) and abuse, who identify themselves as *survivors*. Psychiatric abuse is a crime that is perpetrated in varying degrees of severity and claims a wide variety of victims. The term, psychiatric inmate is the only appropriate description of locked ward “treatment”. I think there was a huge misunderstanding regarding my use of terms and my relationship to the terms I use.

    I want to be clear about my respect for the voices of people with lived experience , who have survived medical/psychiatric harm/abuse. I don’t discriminate based on any aspect of difference between them, meaning that strictly because I am a nurse, who has always considered those in my care my priority; their subjective experience and expressed concerns, needs, wishes, are what I have to know in order to provide care, comfort, safety for them. Listening , imo, is the most important nursing skill – though now it is considered *old school* hype.

    Even a quick glance through the comment threads on this site is worth more than any continuing medical/psych-related education course, conference seminar, in terms of knowledge gained. This is directly related to the participation of psych survivors– . That’s why this site is so threatening to mainstream psychiatry. Any professional, even an investigative journalist is subject to attack for prioritizing the info that supports their position around *your* testimonies.

    I sincerely apologize for allowing my frustration and all of my other equally distracting emotions, that are evoked here sometimes, to influence my tone or the content of my comments. In all honesty, I get riled up, *triggered* here whenever my voice itself is invalidated — and what I am saying is completely ignored.

    I kept a journal during my last year on Bader 5 at Boston Childrens Hospital. I have documented hundreds of responses from colleagues and upper level administrators to hundreds of my professionally stated concerns and complaints. None of the responses addressed what I was saying. They were all “reasons” for discounting my credibility. The most common “reason” was that I over -identified with patients and parents, then I was criticized for being hung up in the details and missing the big picture– or referencing non-Harvard affiliated experts, or worse–* invalidating * the expertise of clinicians who held positions of authority on the unit. Setting aside the implications and consequences of my voice being disregarded there, the common thread running through all of these responses is that the best way to avoid dealing with an inconvenient or uncomfortable truth is to negate the validity of it based upon negating the source. It is the very same tactic used against patients everywhere in the health care system today. I’d probably be a better communicator and more formidable ally IF I did not —over-identify with victims, inmates and survivors in general . 🙂 because of “what has happened to me”.

    This is not to say I believe I meet strict criteria to be included or rather accepted in your group, oldhead, but I am definitely in solidarity with your goals.

    I suggest collecting individual *manifestos*, and compiling the jewels from each of them–into one big bad a*s manifesto, then employing the “Demand Progress” website tactics and create a media/political storm– before the end of this year.

    P.S.: My research into the connection between child psychiatry and juvenile court was motivated solely by my involvement with Justina Pelletier’s family over 10 months and then finally meeting Justina. What I discovered is better than Hillary Clinton facing Donald Trump —(speaking in terms of Hillary’s desire to be POTUS).

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  • @oldhead,

    Maybe I would be less perplexing if you stopped categorizing me according to your own personal , subjective truths?

    For instance, you say:
    “My comments about “survivor”-ship were in response to your original attack on Richard on behalf of “survivors,” a group of which I am a part.”

    You say, I *attacked* Richard.
    I say, I confronted him with my perception, that he invalidated those who disagreed with him from their *lived experience*. I very specifically addressed what came across in his written responses–that is NOT a personal attack on Richard, by definition.

    You say, I attacked Richard on “behalf” of a *group*.
    I say, I confronted him based on my personal *lived experience* with a *group* –
    Let me be more clear and say the experience I have as a nurse over the course of the past 40 years
    influences my relationship to the basic underlying cause of the benzo scourge. I worked within the profession that developed reckless irresponsible prescribing practices and then absolved themselves of responsibility for the harm they caused. The *group* I defer to is comprised of every individual who is a victim of what Laurie Oakley has so aptly called, Pharmaceutical Rape. My professional responsibility to victims of pharmaceutical rape in the case of benzos, a by -prescription -only, pharmaceutical, was impeded by attitudes shared by my colleagues that the victim was presenting *them* with another layer of pathology, as opposed to what I consider to be an objective truth, that is; the victim was suffering the harm caused by the ineptitude of the prescribers of these dangerous drugs. This is the context within which the *harm them twice* approach to “treatment” was designed.

    If you have not suffered the effects of benzos, then you aren’t in the *group* I was deferring to when I confronted Richard’s responses to those who are in that *group*.

    You say:
    ” I meant the principle participants in this discussion, i.e. J Doe, Richard, et al.”

    I say: You very clearly indicate that I am not a* principle participant* in the discussion. Am I wrong in assuming that this deprives me of some rights or privileges regarding comments I add to the discussion thread –as a NON-principle participant? My subjective take based on your manner of addressing me, is that it does.

    Following your assessments of my comments based on the various categories you have assigned me to, i.e.; *attacker on behalf of the group you self identify with* – you then claim your analysis is an *objective truth* by saying:

    “Nothing like personalizing an objective truth.”

    Actually, oldhead, I have personalized your subjective misperception of my participation here, which I find personally offensive. And I cannot seem to convince you that I am not insinuating myself into anyone’s exclusionary *group*. The term*survivors* is usually linked to a specific group of victims. I am part of a group of professionals who have been both victimized and exploited by the same corrupt institutions and industries that have assailed you and other psychiatric survivors– not all of the members of my group have survived, as in literally lost their lives, not just their careers.

    What do all survivors share in common, besides good fortune? Survivors usually have a strong sense of commitment to help others who are still suffering and a desire to share their wisdom. The larger, inclusive group of *survivors* of the medical/psychiatric/mental health institutional empire, could share their personal lived experiences, their individually acquired knowledge and wisdom — and embrace each others’ diversity. Yes, this is possible, and it is probably the best shot we have to achieve a goal I believe we all share– preventing the mass production of more innocent victims.

    MIA is where the counter narrative began to evolve into a vision for a social justice movement. I think the success or failure of this vision depends on how we transcend differences. The motivation might be linked to recognizing the power of our connection.

    On another comment thread, a few months ago, you said that someone should write a manifesto. Perhaps you meant someone in the psychiatric survivors movement, though at the time I read that discussion, that I did not participate in, I began to think about the research and writing I have been working on for the past 6 months, reshaping my work into a basic and total affront to psychiatry. Historical evidence provides the best reasons to extricate it from our culture and then, logically from our courts, schools, political system…

    By definition, I can only truly be an ally, in the true sense of the word, for those I am personally acquainted with. I suggest everyone employ the greatest care in choosing allies– should be someone who stands to lose as much as you do IF things go wrong.


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  • Whatever…regarding points missed– just trying to respond to a palpable hostile tone you have directed at me– or figure out where your hostility is coming from. And on that note, what’s up with “the principles”–? Another group that I can’t join?

    Sorry? You are using another label here, the *principles*?
    And come to think of it,that division you are creating without naming names, definitely excludes me–according to you. Oops!

    Divisiveness is fueled by label making, categorizing–splitting groups into smaller groups. Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” is my favorite example of the fate of many groups who can’t agree on a basic purpose or goal for themselves. Maybe you missed my point, or the ideas I shared for unifying the platform to address the most dangerous, debilitating effects of long term benzo use ?
    Unifying is the opposite of perpetuating divisions.

    I guess if psychiatric survivors was the name of a club, and you were the president, I would be denied membership? Well, another lost opportunity for a new label for me, that doesn’t alter, in the least, the value of my lived experience. Nor does your excluding me from rightful claim to the title, “psychiatric survivor” invalidate my feeling of connection to this “group”.

    Shared humanity trumps all the labels…

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  • @oldhead,

    I accept that you aren’t convinced by what I have recounted as my perception of invalidation is credible. I respect your perspective. But, then you note that the “principles involved seem to be engaged in a process of reconciliation”. I wonder why that would be noted in your criticism of my take on this, or rather, if one of the principles did not feel invalidated– what was there to reconcile?

    Is this a criticism of my interjecting my own lived experience as the reason I felt like addressing what I sensed was disrespecting the lived experience of a “survivor”?

    Maybe you think I cannot use the term “survivor” with regard to my credentials, or rather the position I was in, working in the trenches so many here survived?

    I accept that you may see this as inappropriate, or maybe even arrogantly presumptive on my part. Maybe it is, but I have always experienced visceral reactions to the dynamics described here by those of you who have experienced what I have witnessed.

    My gut feelings fueled my advocacy for victims of psychiatric abuse before I had the knowledge base to do more than paint a target on my own back. I guess, I should have learned to remain silent?

    Since you are defending Richard against what you seem to be presenting as your perception of my being unqualified or incapable of doing; that is, –challenging his position and his responses to others challenging his position, I think you are very clearly saying you don’t think I have the right to disagree, and that I should defer to yours and Richard’s credentials and apologize. I disagree with the premise, so cannot sincerely apologize.

    But, since you asked a question, I will answer honestly. No, I don’t think anyone has the right to force anyone to do anything against their will. Credentials do not negate the inherent value and basic human rights of others. Period.

    Fiery debate and passionate expression of one’s convictions may give the impression that a battleground has been created, but it is a battle of ideas, waged with words. This is the spirit I am bringing to writing the manifesto you have requested. I hope the first installment will be published here by the end of the week.

    Thanks for the *fuel*!!


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  • @oldhead,

    As a Buddhist, I appreciate your promoting sustained and value creating engagement– It is challenging to articulate a separation between one’s beliefs and one’s emotional responses –in writing alone. (I read this in your very thoughtful response to J. Doe)

    I have a response to your comment to me re: the personal tone of this discussion:

    “It had taken on such a tone some time before you joined the thread, which is my point. Whatever valuable communication may be going on in spite of this is inevitably skewed by the unnecessary interjection of personal attacks and projections — to the degree that I think it would be futile to attempt to further discuss this or that intellectual “point.” I ask again, is there something specific about the subject matter that currently constitutes a point of serious contention? If not we should move on for now.”

    Specific to the subject matter–

    The responses to J.Doe’s expressing what she felt was *unfair* about Richard’s references to her previously published blog(s), are interesting. Rather than respecting her clearly stated objections , Richard and BPD defended their positions, insisting they were NOT disrespecting her very personal viewpoint. I felt queasy reading their comments…. which I found to be disrespecting her very personal and well articulated grievance.

    I liked J.Doe’s analogy about black women having a unique -to- themselves, set of issues that non-black women simply do not have. She also employed a very good analogy about a cleaning product that was both noxious in practical use and an agent that produced a *high* if huffed– or misused. I cringed reading the dismissal of her message via refuting the validity of the analogy to the subject at hand.

    The answer to your question, “the subject matter in contention”:
    I consider the defensive posturing described above to be “negating another’s validity, credibility– even disqualifying one’s to state what he/she is offended or upset about.”

    Example/analogy :”I am sorry if you FEEL I made an error.”

    What does that ACTUALLY mean?

    “Your FEELINGS are off…?”
    “I am SORRY your FEELING are off?”
    “YOUR off the mark feelings lead you to believe I made an error?”
    “Your FEELINGS will definitely change when I explain how wrong you are?”

    Anyway– there were many valid points raised here regarding I.D. as a very misunderstood, mislabeled and mis-treated malady– that yes, “Harms, them twice!”

    I think that there is room for us all to learn, when there is space provided for every perspective and it every perspective is respected as a unique and important contribution-.

    The tone is personal to the extent that specific people are sharing their own thoughts, but the contention I was trying to voice was based on principles that have been described and promoted here.

    It is an ideal we share, I think, that keeps us commenting despite feeling personally invalidated at times. I think we all know that it is silence that threatens our advancement more than the airing of any contentious or personally driven criticism of each other or by any one of us.

    Thanks so much, Alex– for your very timely inspirational comment– 🙂

    If we want to make an omelette, we better get used to breaking some eggs….

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  • I think it has to be acknowledged that the power granted to psychiatry is essentially equivalent to ,agent of the *state* , under parens patriae doctrines that were adopted a little over 100 years ago — without public debate, or awareness , apparently as as this is aspect is never discussed. No democratic process was involved, — so we are a society waking up to the first act of the wealthy ruling class exerting social control to abate their fears during the first phase of mass expansion and immigration just before the 20th century.

    >>”They are not a means for providing necessary “medical help” to an individual. They are an assertion of state authority and power over an individual, and that assertion of authority violates the person’s fundamental civil rights. Any societal discussion of involuntary commitment and forced treatment needs to focus on that issue, and not be distracted by the “medically helpful” claim.”<<

    First and foremost, the historical context around our country/society adopting the theories and strategies of psychiatry must be exposed and explored. I am working on documenting this in the wake of recent publicity about the parents of Justina Pelletier filing a law suit against Boston Childrens Hospital, naming specific doctors . The complaint filed highlights both medical neglect/malpractice and civil rights violations.

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  • @oldhead,

    The discussion has taken on a personal tone as opposed to fleshing out ALL of the points made by J.Doe, Barry Haslam, Yvonne Paige , @humanbeing, @uprising and me.

    Where you stand depends on where you sit. So it goes…

    In Richard’s last response to me above he says:

    >>”So on April 5th in Boston there is a big conference titled “The Opioid Crisis: Thinking Outside the Box.” All the state leaders from the governor to DPH officials and probably several people from the media. I have statistics to prove that in some areas where there are hotspots of opiate overdoses there is also an extremely high number of benzo prescriptions.

    “Does this involve the issues of benzos and addiction. Yes, it certainly does. This is a tremendous opportunity to do exposure about everything that is wrong with this System. Given my experience with addiction work, the statistical information I have at my disposal, and the fact that the state refused to investigate my complaint (see my blog “Deafening Silence”) it would be morally irresponsible if I DIDNOT attend this conference and speak out on this issue. I should not be the ONLY ONE making noise at this conference. <<"

    I appreciate Richard's dedication and respect his unique perspective based on his courageous first hand experience with
    challenging his colleagues and then making appropriate complaints. Although I am no less repulsed by the "Deafening silence" than Richard surely is, I do realize that the culturally tainted labels actually explain the silence.

    "Addicts" and the "Severely Mentally Ill" are classifications designated by the *ultimate authority* in our society, whom none of our specialized public servants dare confront. I have been to higher places in the chain of command than Richard has to date, and am only stating this to make a crucial point, that the "Deafening Silence" reflects deference to psychiatry on matters involving those whom psychiatry has stigmatized with labels commonly understood as *profoundly flawed*. We speak here about crimes against humanity based upon this overwhelming prejudice that has not yielded a bit to the outspoken outrage of professionals in the field.

    My radical suggestion, restated to reflect my appreciation for Richard's stated intentions at this conference, is this:

    Upgrade the status of those for whom you feel most passionate to advocate for. Apply the term, Iatrogenic Dependence across the spectrum– then, state your well thought out charges against the perpetrators. No Benzo victim left behind…

    My assertion is based on the one underlying truth about these drugs– and the that the proper *medical* attention is a foregone conclusion. Sharing the wisdom of years of experience with *addiction* issues will be lost on an audience that will stop thinking critically when the term *addiction* or *addict* is spoken.

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  • @oldhead, I think there has been an attempt to engage in a critical dialogue as a response to Richard’s critical post. I appreciate sustained engagement by Richard and J.Doe as comments we all can read and ponder. Whether there are new understandings reached or any significant mind changing resulting from– at times, heated debate, remains to be seen.

    I can’t fully disclose the horrific consequences that I have witnessed with regard to iatrogenic dependence on prescription drugs, but I fully subscribe to recognizing the criminal element that conceived and perpetuated the practice of *blaming the victim* by assigning stigmatizing labels. The way this plays out on locked wards is dehumanizing — to the tenth power, causing harm rather than treating the condition that resulted from harm …. it is barbaric, criminal.

    I have no issue with anyone who self identifies with a label that secures him/her a treatment option that he/she is comfortable with. I oppose the sorting via evaluations/screening– from some presumed expertise that may discount the voice of the *patient* or simply disrespect his/her subjective experience and expressed needs.

    Richard, I presume, has written this blog in expectation of responses from the MIA audience, readers in general. I would not expect anything less than diversity here, and would be disappointed if there weren’t at least a bit of intensity.

    This is a complex, controversial topic– I think there are some nuances shared in the arguments — even mine. But, I have nothing new to say, so no more excuses for not completing a blog post of my own today :-/


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  • Richard,

    I am suggesting we start with the drug at issue, benzos.

    Benzos have a cultural history that is entirely the creation of pharmaceutical manufacturing, clever marketing and physician indiscretion. I am sharing the perspective of a medically oriented professional who believes in professional accountability and professional duty. I am proposing that the issues raised by Laurie Oakley inform the response of our society to the medical community and our public officials for the sake of best care and best support for everyone who is taking Benzos.

    My radical analysis incorporates the vast, myriad marketing strategies that have served as a pervasive cultural indoctrination that serves the pharmaceutical industry and their minions, which includes prescribers and an ever expanding mental health treatment industry.” Commonly accepted cultural prejudices regarding how addiction is perceived and understood ” also serve the pharmaceutical companies and their minions. In the absence of incentive from the wealthy power brokers, who lobby those from whom we expect rational appropriate responses to harm caused by industries, we are facing the daunting option of creating a unified public outcry for radical change.

    As a society, we need to come to terms with the harm caused by a manufactured cultural propensity to identify pathology in the individual, rather than confront the pathological aspects within our society. Manufactured drugs, marketed without the safety measures we trust are being carried out by the FDA, and prescribed without the requisite knowledge and expertise we trust our medical doctors possess, are causing harm to all members of our society. We are dealing with the iatrogenic effects of misinformation , manipulation and exploitation of our most vulnerable members of society. Acknowledging the Benzo scourge for exactly what it represents — as a society fully informed and righteously angry, is the place to start changing and healing our society.

    Moving away from labels that divide people, classify them, etc. is what I am proposing. Focusing on “addiction” in the context of the Benzo plague not only complicates and confuses the most salient points around treatment and recovery, it fosters a mind set that is a product of pathological forces in our society. It also keeps the *treatment mill* in business and potentially causes harm — via stigmatizing labels that alienate those people we all need most– family, friends, colleagues– employers , and often means the loss of opportunities to become healthy and happy.

    I am speaking from decades of experience within a system that was predicated on a false narrative and a bogus paradigm. I agree with Bob Whitaker when he says that we as a *society* need to address this. I would argue that the last thing we need is more specialized professionals to prescribe treatment for us !!


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  • Richard,

    I don ‘t think there is a medical reason to interject addiction into the “evaluation /treatment ” framework .

    Beyond discontinuing long term used of Benzos for multiple reasons , there is only the individual presenting with various symptoms and various degrees of physiological damage.

    If a person presents with request for “addiction treatment ” related to their use of Benzos, there is still the high risk medical complications inherent in discontinuing these drugs .

    I would suggest viewing the medical , physiological issues as most important — . I suggest allowing the person to self identify other issues –

    Presuming to know how to separate what is really a totally subjective experience is what I see you doing here – with what appears to be intention to optimize care —
    So it is not that I missed J.Doe’s case to separate I.D. from ” addiction ” – I know why this was her platform – I have suggested another means for honoring her voice – being in total agreement with the premise .

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  • Richard ,

    Commenting here as a nurse ( strictly medicine for 14 years) who witnessed the prescribing practices for benzos since the “mother’s little helper ” Valium campaign – and saw very little self reflection from MDs 20 years later , who still prefer to find the pathology in the patient whom they harmed .
    Commenting here as a registered nurse who views a person in s holistic sense , prioritizing care with emphasis on physiological integrity and stability . Benzo wd is inherently dangerous , but the effects of long term use are not to be dismissed either . Think- medical , physiological -Care . First line , as any competent nurse would , then add 20 more years of pathologizing the victims of bad medicine – and you get my perspective .
    Listening to patients has always been my practice .

    I am a different brand of psych survivor – a whistle blower with over 20 years inside of locked wards elbow to elbow with the perpetrators of “crimes against humanity “- an insider , who has seen and heard enough to know how important it is to validate the voices of those directly harmed by psychiatry .

    Because , Richard, as you may know , the deck is stacked against full disclosure of all information required to have an honest public debate .
    By that I mean , intention and disregard – two sides of the same coin – or rather willful intent and depraved indifference are the common traits of those informing and creating policy around issues like this one . People have so much difficulty believing this , that any assumption seems to suffice for even the most blatant examples of ” willful neglect of professional duty”

    Discrediting the medical / psychiatric community for this scourge is key to opening minds to alternatives .

    I believe that since this is the basic message of those survivors of I.D. Benzo wd. , it makes the most sense to rally behind it —

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  • Here is the link to Laurie’s series on pharmaceutical rape–

    here is a question for all who are jumping on Richard’s bandwagon:

    What term best describes the desire for a desired effect of an action to continue to be predictably pleasurable ?

    Relief of *medical* symptoms v. *mood manipulation *– what does it matter WHY you continue to take benzps– the result is the same– drug tolerance develops, physical addiction is noted upon discontinuing the drug-; CONTINUING to take benzos, and especially increasing the dose for either medical or mood effect is DANGEROUS.

    I see this as a critical MEDICAL issue– . The priority should be to focus on the physiological problems and risks for long term use and discontinuation of THIS drug.

    I.D advocacy does NOT harm those Richard is labeling as primarily *addiction*– but focusing on *addiction* certainly does harm to the I.D. victims– . Though, again, as a nurse, I do not delineate this way because, once again– the main issues are physiological, as in, life threatening.

    There are times when spitting hairs and disparaging the language or use of metaphors, in other words, semantics– used in an attempt to educate the public, is just plain ridiculous.

    Listen, listen, and listen some more….

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  • I still regard the *survivor* voice as the most credible– . Knee jerk assessments and criticisms of both the *scholarly efforts* and the *intentions* of J.Doe and Dr. Ashton were made here by Richard– here is- just one example:

    >>J. Doe stated: “Just as it is intolerable to turn rape victims into the accused, it is also wrong to treat iatrogenic benzo sufferers as if they deserve their suffering by using terminology that implies that they brought it on themselves.”

    Counterpoint: While I believe J. Doe and the others advocating for their position have no intentions to demean or stigmatize the addiction community (and they have even stated this desire), this was a poor choice of analogy in multiple ways, and it unfortunately ends up contradicting their good intentions.<<

    Referencing Laurie Oakley's six part series on "Pharmaceutical Rape" which appeared on David Healy's blog recently, where you will find a very important opportunity to connect with the experiences and the struggles of people who are harmed by prescription only drugs.

    Perhaps Richard can change his perspective on the *language and analogies* used by the survivors of *pharmaceutical rape*– realize that the analogy J.Doe employed is not an insult to those claiming addiction issues with benzo withdrawal…? I think that this can only happen when he stops trying to defend remarks that were offensive to members of this group, and to me, too, as I find authoritative statements made that discredit the authentic voice of a" survivor" — unacceptable.

    By all means question and try to get a better or deeper understanding– BUT, do not presume to know what is known by and what motivates a *survivor* TO speak out and advocate for appropriate– long overdue CARE.

    Please. Is this really so hard to see??

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  • @J.Doe, I completely agree with your reasoning here, and very much appreciate the efforts you have employed to delineate the I.D v. “addiction” struggle, which is so much more than the inherently daunting challenge to discontinue benzo use, though that ordeal in itself, is already too much–and then there is:

    The struggle to be respected and treated like a *patient* suffering from adverse effects of careless drug prescribing practices. This challenge is an unnecessary, cruel burden — adding insult to injury . As a nurse, I advocated for the I.D approach , in terms of supportive care for benzo withdrawal–with the same rationale that supports *universal precautions*( protocols that were started during the AIDs epidemic–) treating every patient as *harmed by the prescribing habits* of doctors, Regardless of whether the doctor relied on pharma infomercials — or his own biased view of himself as knowledgeable, skilled MD. — People are harmed across the board– and NONE should be labeled or viewed as *addicts* , considering the stigma attached to this label, DSM disease label notwithstanding…

    I wish I could share the most compelling cases that would further support your position — but because they involve *patients* I met while employed as a psych RN, I will just generalize from personal/professional experience , where I was frequently called an *enabler* and *naive* by clinicians because I advocated for patients to be treated as I.D. My colleagues adopted the popular blanket response doctors give for any complaint referencing their practice- in relation to a drug. It is always some aspect of the person who presents with complaints of I.D. that absolves the doctor of responsibility– and the most common response in cases of benzo I.D. is ” this person has an addictive personality–” “we are dealing with an addict.”

    Maybe the MIA audience is not aware of how much confirmation bias plays into this issue– meaning that it is almost impossible to be recognized as I.D once a psych admission has occurred– . This is why I would advocate for universal I.D. protocols– sans references to any past drug history–(illegal or prescription)– Safely monitoring the tapering while supporting the person suffering the *treatment* makes the most sense to me– It is not helpful to attempt to sort out other issues, and definitely bad timing for adding more stress — .

    I have been around the psych field long enough to suspect that the *addicition* focus is strictly about expediency for reimbursement– and good PR for substance abuse programs.

    Yes– more public education is needed. But, advocacy for I.D issues is crucial for appropriate patient care, AND to further the cause for whatever it takes to change the prescribing practices of self protection- focused doctors– either by shaming them or suing them. We have long passed the time limit to discuss and revise a very harmful practice, or rather our expectations of the medical community and other prescribers have been dismally dashed.

    My perspective is informed by my nursing philosophy and 40 years of experience working in both medical and psychiatric settings (includes *addiction tx.* ) I believe in honoring the patient’s voice, respecting their inner wisdom and providing safe, supportive CARE– with attention to his/her unique needs for physical and emotional comfort. This is commonly called, a person -centered, humanistic approach– superior -by far to any other I have seen.

    Thanks again, J. Doe for bringing in the perspective that I would argue is the best place to start meaningful dialogue and realistic problem solving for this very important issue.


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  • Stevie,

    I am almost amused by your characterizing responses here as “bashing” these psychiatrists. I could get heavily into bashing mode as an eye witness , insider — and am almost tempted to *go there* just to show you what actual bashing looks like.–

    Instead, I would ask you to consider that neither of these psychiatrists spends much time in the company of the people they claim to be so concerned about. The evidence of their concern? Well, they label these *patients*, severely mental ill. That’s the extreme condition of a yet to be proven “illness”. So, while a bit of harm can come to anyone who is treated by way of medicine for a set of symptoms that have yet to be classified or studies as a *disease*, think about going full tilt with the most powerful drugs in your arsenal against — a set of symptoms that have yet to be classified, or identified scientifically as a *disease*. Do you see how the potential for greater harm is inherent in their pitch for attention to the *severely* mental ill? This may have escaped your attention– but it has profound significance to someone like me, who has experience, knowledge/training in the real medical model approach to real illnesses.

    I dunno— what your analogy to the Presidential candidates means– but I see some commonalities in terms of denouncing the methods and madness of Donald Trump and the strong responses here to abject arrogance and disregard for the consequences of tyrannical approaches to *leadership*.

    Actually, there is something very troubling about applying the concept of *coming together* , to two members of psychiatry, notorious for disregarding any opinion but their own. The better approach, imo, would be to check in with Frances and Pies when they are about halfway through serving their prison terms.

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  • Addendum to my response to Paula’s comment above.

    What really bothers me about engaging with Allen Frances and Ronald Pies is the agenda that is served– to keep the focus OFF of the ongoing crimes against humanity.

    The TMAP guidelines, that are for all intents and purposes, carved in a stone tablet, guarantee that brain damaging drugs will be the first line *treatment* for anyone who presents to an ER in a severe mental state. The fact that this inhumane way of *dealing with* someone experiencing a severe mental state, has escaped the attention of our learned medical doctors– and so, time and again they are engaged in creating the *patient* who is the mainstay of their *business*.

    What I mean to convey here, is that no matter how brazen Dr. Frances appears for *railing against pharma*, the fact is, so long as their is no retraction of the bogus paradigm he helped to pen 30 yeas ago, and no end to the probation of this crap– CME courses, direct to consumer ads, etc., Pharm loses very little of their absence profits.

    I have repeated called for confrontation and exposure of *best care*–practice, or *standards of care* for psychiatry’s golden patient (cash cows)–. Absolutely no scientific evidence to administer these anti=human thought process drugs– and equally every reason to have established respite type centers for those STILL condemned to being traumatized in an ER. IF psychiatry were a true medical specialty, BOTH of these aspects of *care*, that reflect thoughtful consideration for the voices of psych survivors and respect for real science, would have replaced the *commandments* of Dr. Allen Frances and his band of profiteers’ TMAP guidelines– years ago.

    So long as the net is still large, and the strings are pulled immediately, the profits of Pharma and their golden KOLs are secure. They seem to enjoy the psychobabble banter– the taunting of their critics and the confusion amongst the public, who really has no choice anyway, but to adhere to their ill-begotten *standards of care*.

    Not to say I disparage Bob or his efforts– . I don’t fault Bob for what he cannot possible know — because it is not possible to know certain things unless one has been in close quarters, elbow to elbow with the likes of Allen France, Joseph Biederman– etc.– or at the mercy of one of their minions. However, thanks to the folks who are on our national stage, competing for the job of POTUS, it is possible to get a taste of the rhetoric of ultimate authority based on wealth and the worship of collective power.

    Now, just imagine Donald Trump deciding YOUR personal fate based on his critique of your flaws. Imagine the *diagnosis* he gives you. It will just be a matter of his superior assessment, which he uses to insult and defame anyone who challenges him. No challenge permitted. No discussion needed. HE has spoken.

    But, don’t forget, there is absolutely no democratic process involved in the administration of psychiatry –.
    You have no vote. You have no other viable choice.

    Focusing on the TMAP guidelines and the medical ER/to locked unit *standard of care*– that keeps the conveyor belt moving and keeps Frances & Pharma living large–. Frances, Pies, et al– have nothing but time and energy to keep the *debate going*–

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  • Exactly where the discussion following any mention of Allen Frances should go!!

    Thanks again, Paula.

    To Jeffrey, above, who pointed out the scourge aimed at children, Biederman followed Allen Frances, repeating the formula for pushing drugs to control children’s behavior– under the illusion of *sever mental illness*– early intervention.. LOL.

    Crimes? Oh yes– and gotta add that these guys ARE bad apples. They weren’t corrupted by a *bad system* THEY are without integrity, medical knowledge and conscience.

    I appreciate Bob has a different seat in this arena– and a formidable one, BUT, the focus had better change to prosecuting crimes against humanity– because the more we indulge these crooks by engaging in their obfuscating BS, thousands more of our precious children are being drugged into oblivion!!

    Notable Women of the 21st century award definitely goes to Dr. Paula Caplan!!!

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  • Me thinks The Joel is just advertising his site–

    He does the same thing on 1boringoldman–

    Not that I object– I think diagnosing our whole society and predicting doom is about

    the best advertisement for anti-psychiatry there is 😉

    By all means– read The Joel’s prognosis — no telling what might happen if he does not get the attention he feels he is entitled to.. LOL

    All in the spirit of honesty and good clean fun !

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  • Here’s some food for thought regarding the impact of public awareness campaigns. This is a comment posted on 1boringoldman responding to the same link I posted here.:

    >>James O’Brien, M.D. March 13, 2016 | 2:16 PM

    The elite institutional KOLs are the best unwitting allies that CCHR ever had. If they keep it (overpathologizing everything) up, CCHR will be amassing major political victories over psychiatry in the next twenty years.
    CCHR is not just a broken clock here, they are winning the debate with the public slowly but surely.
    Institutional psychiatry would be well advised at this juncture to knock it off and focus on the 15-20 major illnesses instead of trying to be everything (or do anything) to everyone. <<

    The focus on *treatment* for a maladjusted individual , while dismissing the social, economic and political environment as relevant to the health and well being of each individual reflects the preferences of the wealthiest members of our society a hundred years ago. There was nothing democratic about the process that lead to the establishment of psychiatry as an institution. Cloaked in the rhetoric of altruism and compassionate intention, psychiatry has pursued their own guild interests in concert with the self serving interests of wealthy philanthropists who viewed social control as fundamental to (their?) peace and prosperity. This has been perpetuated for the past 5 generations. How many readers here know where and how the most threatening institution , in terms of the well being, health and safety of our children , was created?

    I am working on documenting the key historical events that transpired in the early 1900's here in Boston that set the stage for the medical kidnapping of Justina Pelletier. ( and countless other kids in our country, who have not yet been reunited with their families). I think there are a few key issues in this unexplored, yet critical piece of our history that could very well galvanize a formidable anti-psychiatry movement. I am referring to a platform for political activism by an engaged, educated *public*.

    The parens patriae doctrines (late 1800's) that were implemented by a group, misnamed, "The child savers" are the foundation for juvenile court, and were the basis for mandated public education and closed adoptions. The *discretionary* powers of juvenile court judges were informed by psychiatry for 50 years–even before *child* psychiatry was created as a subspecialty. Child welfare was established by psychiatry, beginning in Boston, at the Judge Baker Child Guidance Center" in 1917, which became the *model*, and training center for juvenile/family courts throughout the country. This enterprise was funded by the private sector. The forerunners became known as the Boston Brahmins, who expanded their *movement* in myriad ways, eventually securing government funding to perpetuate their *social experiment*.

    This is a very brief overview that I am sharing here to explain the absolute necessity of ongoing public awareness efforts. Ultimately the foundation of this corrupt institution, Psychiatry, must be viewed in terms of its being a direct adversary of our constitution. The fact that we all belong to *the state* until we reach age 18, is not generally known, nor is the *state as our parent*, correctly defined, as psychiatry, which it absolutely is. By the same token, judgment of *incompetency* which also evokes parens patriae , is the product of psychiatry's power to essentially become our *parent*. If a poll were conducted today, I am certain that very few Americans would be able to explain how and why their individual rights and freedoms can be revoked by a psychiatrist's testimony in a uniquely mysterious court of *law*. However, it also stands to reason that when a good many of us become well versed in this taboo aspect of American history, the implications will become clear.

    We cannot approach the reality of a democratic society until we have addressed the unconstitutional roots of this one corrupt institution, psychiatry. All manners of harm, damage , including *crimes against humanity* will likewise need to be addressed— which speaks directly to the crucial nature of every effort we make to raise the awareness of the public to all matters that pertain to psychiatry.

    Throughout the past 100 years, our culture has become embedded with the notion that all problems of adjustment and functioning within *society* are inherently linked to the *fitness* of the individual. The pathologizing and medicalizing of social functioning problems began in 1917 with the acceptance of one study by one psychiatrist who wrote, "The Individual Delinquent"– from that point in history, the financial resources that were needed to perpetuate Dr. William Healy's theories were secured from those who required little in the way of scientific evidence or even successful treatment outcomes–; the perpetual investment of financial resources was predicated on *medical expertise*-, the self proclaimed status of psychiatry.

    Joseph Biederman's infamous documented proclamation that only, God outranks him (at Harvard Medical School), is an accurate reflection of the predicament we find ourselves in whenever we attempt to challenge psychiatry or hold *it* accountable. Crazy making paradoxical trap– that can ensnare any of us– from the cradle to the grave.

    Biederman resides at the epicenter of this scourge, where the Pelletier's have returned to wage their battle against Harvard affiliated Boston Children's Hospital for the crimes of humanity committed against their daughter, Justina. Though Biederman is not directly involved in this case, the success of the next wave of public awareness campaigning will definitely reach him, and his consorts in their Ivory Tower.

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  • @blakeacake,
    Of course you can say whatever you believe , but when it contradicts facts that prevent harm to kids, you are bound to be challenged– especially by people who have put forth effort to obtain facts.

    I see no one censoring your comments, or challenging your right to post them:

    >>”What I want to convey is that some kids have benefited profoundly through the use of medication, but we don’t hear much about them or those kinds of success stories, anywhere. I think it needs to be said, unequivocally, some kids respond favorably to treatment for ADHD. Kids with ADHD make considerable advances on drugs.”<<

    I contend that the risks of CNS stimulants to the brain, mind and body of a *kid* outweigh the questionable results you are calling *success stories*.

    Kids don't need drugs to control distractions, and would never seek a solution for what amounts to the problems teachers and caregivers are having because they are forcing the *kid* to attend to something he is not interested in.

    Obviously, you don't know much about kids– and seem really unconcerned about how your lack of information is a threat to their well being. At least this is what you are really conveying – in my professional opinion.

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  • Responding to @drt

    >>“Frontline clinical staff were told that this warning was little more than a disclaimer; that there was absolutely no reason to alarm parents about it. Our duty was to simply reassure them.”

    Katie, do you think Dr. Biederman had anything to do with this? <<

    There is no doubt that Joseph Biederman's holds a position of both power and influence, granted him by Harvard Medical School, who has permitted him to maintain this position despite the well publicized episodes of Biederman's unethical behavior and evidence of his transgressions from a science based practice of psychiatry. Biederman is affiliated with Mass General Hospital, not Boston Children's, however there is no doubting his influence as a professor in the medical school and a prominent academic psychiatrist. Yes, he has set the tone and established practice guidelines as well as the practice of exerting authority that does not tolerate questioning or challenge from frontline staff.

    I think the more realistic view that accounts for the acceptance and perpetuation of anti-academic, anti-scientific inquiry that translates as adherence to doctrines and dogma, is the result of many psych clinicians , abdicating our professional duty to investigate and study the literature published by our colleagues and to question our own practice when patients do not get better and many resist or refuse care. In the absence of objective measures of both disease and recovery, it is unacceptable to discount the subjective experience of the patient. The perpetuation of this sham requires agreement amongst all of the licensed professionals employed in the mental health system, to follow the doctrines issued by Biederman and his like-minded colleagues, and deny their professional duty to patients.

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  • Bonnie, I am on the same page with you on this– this is no different than solving a puzzle like a Rubic cube– can’t leave it unsolved.

    I was thinking about how language informs and shapes culture– specifically subtle and sometimes profound changes in the meanings or the inferences of everyday words–

    Like–“authority” for instance. What constitutes an authority is subject to change–with the times. What passed for “authority” at the beginning of the 20th century, would never fly today-.

    What has changed in one hundred years?
    Access to information is easy, quick– and verifying facts has never been so uncomplicated.

    Briefly, my point is:
    In America– 1917, a lone self proclaimed “child psychiatrist”, William Healy sold his *medical expertise* to wealthy New Englanders (credit given to them for most of our corrupt institutions:-)– and pretty much single-handedly ushered in an era:
    Targeting the “individual”- diagnosing the individual;. Treat ing the individual — as a patient of psychiatry or a ward of the state reformed in an institution–or assigned to better parenting in a foster home. ALL credit goes to William Healy for designing the model here in Boston–

    One study. One book “The Individual Delinquent”, one group of wealthy patrons. Is ALL it took. Dr. Healy WAS the ultimate authority– then– one hundred years ago,

    What does authority– or ” expert” mean today?

    I am taking a breather from a project that has become bigger than I originally planned– just looking for one answer, I am literally drowning in answers– ideas, etc.

    There is a general and a specific application of my research to this particular Rubic cube– History & Psychiatry’s power and influence.

    Times change– how do we adjust– or catch up with ourselves? doesn’t it always start with language ?

    Regarding competency and safety judgments -:

    there is no reason to believe only a psychiatrist is capable of making such determinations– and since the MD is the only difference, and since no other MD non-psychiatrist is ever called upon– and since there is noting *medical* involved here– and since only psychiatrists could be viewed as having a COI in these commitment cases–

    So many reasons to talk about this and redefine terms?

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  • @Dtrim,

    The answer is a blog post– but the short- comment version answer is:

    From 2005-2010 I worked with the best and the brightest at Harvard affiliated Childrens Hospital Boston– a nurse on Bader 5, the child/adolescent psychiatric unit. I think a brief description of their response to the FDAs black box warning for SSRIs seeks volumes.

    Frontline clinical staff were told that this warning was little more than a disclaimer; that there was absolutely no reason to alarm parents about it. Our duty was to simply reassure them.

    There was no reduction in the prescribing of SSRIs —

    Assessing kids for suicidal thoughts was part of the “standard protocol”- documented in their medical record each shift –via ticking off boxes- yes or no .

    It was reinforced to staff that we were engaged in best practices to assure best care for our patients–already. Nothing “new” was indicated.

    It was also reinforced that informed consent for administration of ALL psych drugs was obtained by the prescribing “Harvard” MD–Trust in that!

    Questioning any of this “response” to what was portrayed as little more than media -hype was viewed as an indication that the questioner was distrustful –

    -I was in that category for 5 years!

    The problem? I did not learn exactly how this warning came about– or even what the adverse reaction leading to suicidal thoughts and suicide looked like. Though I asked repeatedly for more info and attempted to engage doctors and fellow nurses, I ultimately fell in line– trusting that the best and the brightest “had spoken”.

    I found out after I was *forced to resign*- the adverse effect is akathisia – I immediately realized how dangerous these drugs were–akathisia as I have observed it, is “HELL”

    Looking back with what I have learned these past 6 years , it is clear that what passed for best practice in a leading academic medical center was, Company PR.– by that I mean that the means for continuing the *practice* of promoting drug solutions to “mental illness” was :disseminating sound bytes and slogans to frontline staff. Psychiatry– is a business, after all,

    I admit that I sought out this Harvard affiliated institution , believing it was the best; the ultimate, state of the art approach to working with troubled kids- if not there, then it doesn’t exist. I can attest that the latter is, in fact, the case.

    Beware of *slogans*– a good one can stop thinking and halt progress for–years!


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  • Thanks for offering another explanation, @Nancy99. I wish I could agree, but observing and interfacing with psychiatrists in training at two major academic medical centers, I have noted more emphasis on authoritative posturing and DSM use than study of “the brain”–. I have yet to meet a psychiatrist who could perform, much less interpret a neurological exam– Say “neuro exam” to a psychiatrist, she will likely answer.. “Alert and oriented to person,p lace and time or “times three”. She couldn’t tell you how many cranial nerves we have, let alone how to Test them and what constitutes a positive sign– etc. I know that many people believe that psychiatrists have a full grasp of what is known about the brain—sorry to disappoint you. Brain+behavior= drug is about the extent of their neurological expertise. The simplistic way psychiatrists are taught about the neurotransmitter systems is very similar to a luncheon talk given by a pharma rep.- Short and sweet.

    If you are curious about how deep their knowledge of “neurological disorders” runs, ask a psychiatrist which neurological disorder is indicated by this positive neurological sign:

    Myers’s sign or glabellar tap sign. –or glabellar reflex

    Where is the glabella located?

    Hint: patient cannot resist blinking her eyes when area between nose and eyebrows is lightly tapped.

    There is indeed a belief system that psychiatrists seem to master quite readily, that develops in a condition/response atmosphere–,but it in no way resembles what is commonly referred to as education, study or mastery of a specific function of human physiology.

    Agree that I cannot attribute to malice that which can also be explained as ignorance.

    Without skepticism, an open mind and curiosity, there is no science . Rigid adherence to unproven beliefs is more like religion than science.

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  • Bonnie,
    From my vantage point, the methods employed to circumvent the licensing guidelines based on State and Federal law, that already contain strong language designed to protect human rights and reign in psychiatry; the methods employed by psychiatry are really more supported by their legal power in our society , which grants them impunity in the exercising of their professional opinion regarding both competency and safety with reference to their “authority” to incarcerate non-criminals and drug them by force. Whoa– long sentence! The short version is- getting around these human rights matters is a piece of cake–. Let me explain what I know to be the case—

    So, while I fully embrace both the intent and the spirit of this blog post, I have to ask Bonnie the ten million dollar question– when you wrote:

    >> Ironic though this may seem, the upshot is that in the event of success, stronger monitoring of and stronger reins on psychiatry would be absolutely necessary.<<

    Who did you envision would be designated for the role of "reigning in psychiatry"? What governing body–agency, organization– branch of government– will be granted power to challenge the *medical* expertise of psychiatrists ? Ay! there's the rub!

    My tack would be to work towards disassociating psychiatry from medicine– then we can more reasonably employ the expertise and advice from a wider range of mental health professionals with regards to these crucial issues.

    Here is just one of the fun facts I learned researching the origins of juvenile court and child psychiatry–.

    How did Child Psychiatry become a medical specialty? (Trivia question)

    "Through new organizations and special licensure child psychiatrists made it known that they, too, belonged to the medical profession," ("Taming the Troublesome Child". Kathleen W. Jones)

    1953: Founding of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry .

    1959: Child psychiatry becomes a board certified medical specialty– (special licensure requirements)

    K.Jones continues: "Medical specialization allowed child psychiatrists to claim professional distinctiveness (and superiority) …The medicalization of child psychiatry after mid-century opened opportunities for the development of interests and interpretations outside the rigid boundaries and critiques of motherhood."

    The upshot to this creation story is a paradox. The guild interests, status and authority of child psychiatry is protected by– child psychiatrists, whose founding organizational leaders simply declared themselves "medical authorities"–They are the keepers of their own Holy Grail.

    This is a tiny facet of a very juicy story, one hundred years worth of the exact same made up diseases, disorders, (diagnosing social and cultural "problems of adjustment" as medical disorders), pseudo-science and bogus treatments that we grapple with now—I just wanted to introduce a point of weakness that this Goliath apparently has forgotten all about. Psychiatry was not subjected to the rigors of scientific scrutiny; nor was it accepted as a medical specialty by the rest of the medical community– yet, it has attained nearly all of its power and status claiming to be a medical specialty. I think this is a good place to start peeling away the layers of myths and bravado that currently bolster the power and authority needed to strip virtually anyone of their human rights.

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  • Jill’s paper (link reference above) conforms your concerns about the response by the establishment- prescribers of antipsychotics as first line, bee line, for all time remedies for unproven diagnoses…

    She writes with a sensitivity for the plight of a social worker in a therapist role, who cannot recommend or denounce pharmaceutical agents–but can educate and refer clients to *alternative* therapies.

    My real issue with her paper, is that though it is bulging scientific language and data, it is lacking a crucial piece of this puzzle.

    Every study she sites references people diagnosed with schizophrenia, which is– regardless of validity or reliability as a diagnosis, is in and of itself a very intense experience accompanied by severe anxiety that correlates with the cultural understanding of the life sentence that most people regard as part of the treatment package. Now, how is it possible to attribute changes in *the brain* – exclusively to *the disorder*??

    The fact that this is not addressed or suggested speaks volumes. Is this truly *scientific investigation*– or is it cognitive dissonance as a premorbid state?

    However critical I mean to be, I am certainly not disparaging the development of non-drug treatments– What I continue to question is the damaging effects of encounters with the psychiatry driven mental health system– Seems you can’t even rightly study the effects of this paradigm when your subjects are altered the moment the clinician introduces herself. No slight intended toward Jill, but I have wondered if this is part of the long range business plan of contemporary psychiatrists–. Creating their revenue, one traumatized, drugged person at a time…

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  • But this does not address nor excuse the lack of curiosity doctors display when patients report adverse effects of prescription drugs.

    “Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect.” (anonymous)

    Skepticism is also the prudent, rational stance toward any of the poisons doctors prescribe as there is no security in either effectiveness or safety that is reported as the outcome of ant RCT– even if one were to be conducted ethically and fully transparent for crucial scientific inquiry.

    There is something inherently disturbing about doctors who swear by the claims of pharma reps. I wish there were a more plausible explanation than financial reward– but honestly, the basic science and human physiology courses that are prerequisite to attaining a medical degree completely dispel, in my mind, the notion that prescribing poisons could *rationally* become a practice based on blind faith in businessman who will never meet the patient.

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  • Chiming in to applaud this excellent articulation of an almost mystical process:

    “What does this really mean? Is there really any evidence that GABA interneurons cause psychosis? I don’t think so. At best this literature is correlational, from what I’ve read. The possibility remains that stress, trauma, fear of environmental events, isolation, etc. could be causing the GABA interneurons to spike and thus generating psychotic symptoms. Thus psychiatrists could be repeating their classic error of assuming that biology is causing a phenomenon when in fact an earlier cause is expressing itself through biology. ”

    Sure to hear contradictory personal anecdotes– and I mean no disrespect to anyone’s self reflective analysis of their personal experience with “psychosis”—BUT, almost three decades of emersion in the setting where “psychosis” becomes a “disease/disorder”– or rather on a locked psych ward, I have to agree 100% with BPDs conclusion– Contrasting inpatient *torture* with community encounters– open space and open dialogue, there is no doubting the subtle interplays that reveal keys to individual’s who are struggling to create a reasonable narrative from a terrifying inner break from their own capacity to reason.

    Everything that makes us feel uncomfortable in our own skin– from psychical pain to terror, effects and is reflected in our behavior– signaling others, whether we intend to or not, to intervene or run away from us. The *signals* sent by these reactions makes all the difference.

    I can’t help taking a risk here and commenting on an aspect of cognitive dissonance that clinches the anti-psychiatry stance. It is the mere presence of someone sending signals that reflect the *seasoned* psych clinician’s adherence to *assess this aberrant behavior and employ a treatment* that creates the *patient* they want to.need to *treat*. Want to make an existential crisis into *florid psychosis*? All you have to do is transport the person in crisis to the location of the nearest psychiatrist/psychiatric clinician– .

    There! I said it. I cannot find anything BUT error in the very foundation of psychiatry– and hope to finish my *blog post* soon that provides the historical evidence to back that up–.

    It’s one thing to sell an interesting theory— and call it science, then *medical science*–Quite another to chronically misinterpret the scientific evidence of failed experiments — but then, these salesmen were not men of science to begin with–

    Anyway, good show, BPD !! Seems to be getting easier to debunk psychiatric jargon once it is noted that the linear thinking process only goes one way– in the same direction!! You have made a tremendous contribution to this body of literature 🙂

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  • @truth,

    Reporting and tracking is — at the very least, accountability. Breggin emphasizes that the this partly the reason it is difficult to engage the public sector- especially political reps. Reporting and tracking means no longer relying on the PR from psychiatrists who are promoting ECT in the U.S.– and it means evaluating outcomes from a medical, not exclusively psychiatric perspective. So, where is the *movement* in terms of accomplishing a demand for accountability?

    I referred BPD to this link on Healy’s blog:

    I just reread it, and reaffirmed the puzzling evidence that ECT can be administered in a manner that puts it on even par with any risky invasive medical procedure–AND, that people who attain benefit from ECT can, and do offer the best reason to consider this a complex issue– more a matter of how and when it is prescribed– and how invested and accountable the psychiatrists are who recommend this as a *treatment* to *fully informed* patients who actually still do choose it. It needs to be noted and emphasized again, that the U.K. differs from our practice, standards and results — for many reasons that also describe why Dr. Healy is sought and recommended by *patients* who have reported positive results from ECT– a few of his patients offered their experience on this blog, where I commented as well.

    You want to deny any benefit is possible– yet, I know people who claim otherwise– and am still hesitant to recommend or endorse it, but I sure as hell will not condone banning ECT or trashing Dr. Healy– anymore than I condone the banning of a certain distinguished member of the psychiatric survivor community- on this site! Robert Whitaker is a brilliant human being, as prone to error as any human being. I think he got to wrong on both counts– the latter being a matter, I personally feel, of his having been hoodwinked and bullied.

    Maybe you don’t want to wade into the complexity of respecting everyone’s opinions and right to choose– but unless you suffer through that arduous process, you risk harming some people and unjustly defaming others. My convictions are not limited to certain issues under certain circumstances– everyone means, everyone– and all the time, means no exceptions.

    There is plenty you can do to express the outrage you personally feel about ECT that harms no one- 1) You can openly share your views and 2) you can work on the first step toward publicizing everything that is currently unknowable– reporting and tracking- with medical oversight.

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  • AA,

    I appreciate that you have *read*, as opposed to skimmed, articles on Dr. Healy’s website. Especially because you, too had the cringe phenomenon to overcome! This discussion– though not about the actual blog post has been ground breaking, as your comment demonstrates.

    I just want to give credit due to Johanna Ryan, who did the research and posted statistics about Dr. Healy’s involvement with ECT here. It is noteworthy that she also shared she had ECT and did not benefit, nor did she sustain long term damage. She states that she disagrees with Dr. Healy’s position on ECT and she works with him on Rxisk and relies on his support for work she is doing. Her research is very highly praised — maybe because her passion for what she researches is linked to her own personal experiences ?

    Our personal feelings, preferences, even biases are usually very strong, but they can fuel so much more than protest campaigns– .depending on how we direct or channel the emotional energy– imo.

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  • oldhead,

    This response is probably appearing out of sequence– reply button problem :-/

    I appreciate that you have clearly delineated your issue–

    “The issue of anyone practicing electroshock is never irrelevant to any discussion on these pages. Dr. Healy is not being singled out for abuse.”

    I do disagree with this point you are making , because I think what you are suggesting here is also a justification for NOT discussing the topic of Healy’s blog post(s)–

    As Kermit reiterated,
    David Healy’s blogs are re-posted here on MIA, meeting the standards of the editors ,– so . what does derailing the discussion thread on to a topic Healy did not blog about– infer? EVEN if no one is saying it outright, it is showing disrespect for the work he is doing and a disregard for ITS relevance, imo.

    That is my issue– not necessarily his character– but the significance of his work and the irrelevance of his position on ECT , to his contribution to work many of us are doing. I say this believing that his position or practice of ECT does not directly impact our predicament –with branded in America psychiatry– .

    I was working on a blog post on the historical research I have been compelled to do– trying to get to the bottom of “Medical Child Abuse”– I am still very deeply effected by my involvement with Justina Pelletier’s suffering at the hands of my former colleagues. I was reeling from the shock of learning that child psychiatry came into being and became powerful via association with juvenile court and backed by the Boston Brahmin’s Cumberland Fund–; that parens patriae – *state as our parent until we are 18yrs*– also the work of this wealthy group– is tantamount to State = psychiatry- our true parent is *psychiatry* . WHO KNEW?

    So, was getting down to writing the detailed history scandal– when I saw BPDs comment here–

    “When something requires your undivided attention, it will occur simultaneously with a compelling distraction”– this axiom is the story of my life–

    It seems relevant to what happened here when BPD posted the link to Breggin’s article–

    I think others who have commented here; Johanna, Laurie, Leonie- covered David Healy’s character defense matter better than I could. And I see that it is not your intention to spin off of the Peter Breggin linked 2012 article–where there are various speculations that cast aspersions on Healy’s character—(I suggested caution about jumping on that band wagon)

    I think this is a complicated matter– and the gorilla will go to bed after all the other zoo animals (the elephant, too) walk nicely back to their cages — just like they do in the story, “Goodnight Gorilla” . analogy to putting issues to rest.-

    So long as people are relying on ECT, requesting it– or even willing to take the risk– AND report positive outcomes with minimal or no lasting harm– ,it really makes no sense to debate ECT as though we or anyone will decide whether it is ever used or not–, or whether it is available, offered. — So, does it make sense to use — the bandwagon approach??

    We can, and should take action to begin holding psychiatry accountable; to expose their frauds/crimes– and fully explain why we are ALL afflicted in some way, by the infiltration of psychiatry into our lives–, because this happened in a manner that is both undemocratic and unconstitutional– . And since the social control function of psychiatry was intentional and imposed– per documented history, we have bigger fish to fry– imo.

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  • @truth,

    You’re right about the significance of the number of victims and their families — and the degree of brain damage reported by them after ECT– YES, this is alarming, but it is also in conflict with the PR propagated by psychiatry and the testimonials of proponents of ECT. Knowing that we have a fundamental flaw in this reporting system; that as you go up the chain of command, so to speak, the rhetoric becomes more favorable for whatever psych treatment is under scrutiny – and less grounded in *science*, Data medicine could clarify the discrepancies for the public and our political leaders– but raising the issue that there currently IS no legally required data recording for ECT and NO medical, *not* psychiatry, but medical assessment and oversight bears repeating. That is the message, I personally would like our *town cryer* to spread far and wide– because the lack of concern shown by psychiatry– across the board, for SCIENCE and the scientific method as it is applied to medicine/ clinical practice is truly frightening.

    Anyone can track down stats on most invasive, high risk medical procedures, and even research the doctor’s track record , or the hospital’s *rating* for a given procedure. ECT needs to be tracked this way– with an additional assessment that is performed by non-psychiatric clinicians. Emphasis on patient self report and significant other reporting is clearly noted in neurology, for example– where a symptom or problem identified and completely described is *key* to diagnosis.
    A spotlight needs to be cast on this scourge– and I think that mandating ALL aspects of recording data for review and analysis by an independent medical board is enough to scare the you know what out of many psychiatrists.

    My psych inpatient experience is full of crucial contradictions and paradoxes– that stuck out for me because I had 14 years experience in medicine before seeing the horrified looks on a doctor’s face when the suggestion is made to them by a nurse, no less that a *symptom* or an *effect* of treatment is organic or physiological in nature — mention *medical* anything to most psychiatrists–ha! Like a cross to a vampire–***Reference to Buffy !!*** staying on topic..

    I know and perhaps most psych survivors know how medically inept most psychiatrists are– but, to the general public and in their PR pubs, they *appear* capable of stating how *safe* and *effective* their treatments are– One might well imagine, as I have that they could make a whack on the head with a baseball bat–Appear *risk free*, and get some poor victim to attest to the life saving experience he had with “bat to the head” therapy.

    A problem this BIG — did not manifest overnight–, I am finding that this whole *expert* concept as it relates to the *new* science , new at the turn of the 20th century, was coined by the ruling class– the 1%– “more money than brains* – enamored with psychology, psychiatry and the control it gave them over the population they deemed most threatening and most needed to perform important *worker bees* functions. I think Daniel Cohen has shared that true science and efficacious treatment for serious *mental illness* was NEVER at issue–because, obviously, if it was–science being what it is–defined. and not open to the whiz bang interpretations of psychiatry– WE WOULD have abandoned psychiatric treatments right out of the starting gate– MOST were harmful– effective? a crap shoot. Now, how to we reign in this beast..??

    Bless his heart, Dr. Breggin does have some note worthy strategies– for holding psychiatry’s heels to the fire ; the legally mandating reporting is one– Perhaps you should listen to this segment on his radio show that he shared on a blog published here in support of the first international BAN ECT event- Ted Chabinski on the Dr. Breggin Hour, April 8 2015. Breggin makes a compelling argument for the reporting and tracking I am talking about here.

    Accurate reporting, to me is the multidisciplinary variety– where specialists look over each other’s shoulders and debate, if need be, to determine what has or is happening with a patient. Psychiatry has been doing back room, closed door “let’s just keep our story straight” BS for over a hundred years– passing it off like it was science– like we are the Boston Brahmin’s– , opening our wallets whenever they come up with a new disorder that *they* will treat *medically*–, thereby dismissing all of the socio-economic, cultural, educational – community building NEEDS that are more likely to enhance and improve all of our lives–

    Where are Margie and Norman?? I found historical accounts of the decision to prioritize medicalization of social problems–. Follow the money to the wealthiest families: protestant, white , and very smitten with psychiatry– Yup! Psychiatry sucking our system dry of capital needed for so many worthwhile ventures is NOT the product of a society in need of them– . Psychiatrists protecting their Guild interests goes back to 1917 right here in Boston.

    Did I Mention the David Healy is a Data Medicine expert?? And that probably no psychiatrist in the U.S. is apt to seek or take his advice on anything — at least not publicly. ?? Pity, because he could probably quantify some aspects of ECT- pre and post treatment/*assault* — maybe put some hard science where only mush exists–

    Psychiatry’s achilles heel is medical , scientific evidence and its application to clinical practice– Calling out the hair brined stuff that they want to pass off as *latest technology* — like the APP reported on here by Healy–. A successful approach might be a matter of exposing the glaring lack of science–though I now it is hard not to just go for the lack of common sense element–. the thing is, for the past one hundred years, psychiatrists have been telling us we cannot rely on our common sense and that doing so– is a sign of *serious mental illness*–

    I want to STOP having ridiculous no win arguments with these folks– and get down to straight up proven methods –SHOW ME THE SCIENCE– or I will just show up on your doorstep with my own damn clip board… A trip across their door step will definitely be required with this approach…

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  • I won’t know if my photo has been deleted, as per my request, until *after* I hit submit– So,

    I am taking the risk of looking even more like *Nurse Rachet* to add another shade of perplexity to a this profound revelation about the quest for fame, wealth and notoriety as a “well known expert”.

    Usually there is some requisite proof of one’s expertise, or something tangible and quantifiable that can substantiate one’s claim to being an *expert*. But, none of this proof of expertise in the brand new field of child psychiatry was sought or required by the wealthy patrons who funded the Judge Baker Center in Boston (1917)– on the condition that a physician with a few years experience researching the causes of juvenile delinquency in the first Juvenile Court in Chicago (1909) would direct this center, and become chief advisor to Boston’s second juvenile court judge. Judge Cabot was also granted a position on the board of directors at the Judge Baker Center– forerunner of Boston Children’s Hospital’s adolescent inpatient psych unit, Bader 5. It was decided in 1917, by a majority of New England’s wealthiest WASP families (AKA the Boston Brahmins) , that science, & medicine held the best promise for addressing the social problems that threatened and burdened their city. In the *hope* of rescuing the children of poor immigrant families from their cultural predisposition to a life of crime , early 20th century Bostonian philanthropists dismissed proposals made by social reformers and bank rolled the model for our juvenile court system .

    In partnership with psychiatrists, juvenile justice and the child welfare system grew from the *expert*– salesmanship of the doctor who is credited with establishing child psychiatry as a unique sub-specialty in the medical field. His name was Dr. William Healy. (“Taming the Troublesome Child”, American Families, Child Guidance, and the Limits of Psychiatric Authority, Kathleen W. Jones /1999)

    Pages of American history reviewed and critiqued by three other sources, confirm that there were serious misgivings in the early 1900’s about psychiatry being included in the practice of medicine; concerns about discounting the obvious – that 4/5s of *juvenile offenders* were poor, immigrants living in major urban centers of the American industrial revolution–gave cause for resistance to a so-called medical explanation for the problematic annoyances and challenges to authority that made up the majority of juvenile crimes. Unfortunately, the proponents of this *new* science had the money to establish the institution of psychiatry– and short change a myriad of social approaches to the task of assisting immigrants to assimilate into American society– .

    There were NO experts in child psychiatry at the time of this fatally flawed decision– because the field had not been around long enough to determine exactly what it was, nor was there any substantial proof that Dr. William Healy was successfully treating juvenile crime as the *individual’s juvenile’s sickness*. He only did research for a few years in Chicago , as advisor to first juvenile court judge there, AND authored “The Individual Delinquent”.

    Imagine– you study a group of kids in an institutional setting; publish your take on what caused them to become public annoyances and anti-authoritarian pranksters. On the merits of your book, based on your own research, you become the sought after *expert* to assume the role of director in another setting where you will be the chief advisor to the juvenile court judge. The first 10 years of funding for your own research center , where you will now be free to treat as well as diagnose adolescents, is guaranteed by the wealthiest families in the country who have set up a special /fund . Regardless of there being no evidence – not on the first or any subsequent studies done on your work with *deliquents* ; no evidence of success for your *methods*– and some concerns about possible harm caused by your *methods– FUNDING for your work and more praise for your role in pioneering what has to be the world’s worst child abuse for profit mill –are naming you *foremost expert* on the psychological problems that plague the other sectors of society that you branches out to claim.

    This is a slice of our history that defines a process for achieving recognition as an *expert*. Not because you were *right* about something, or *famous* for miracle cures, but because you sold your self to the highest bidders, who were buying their own financial security and protecting their values and life styles.

    This is a key piece of the puzzle often missing in the arguments that break out over who is responsible for a paradigm of cultural discrimination passing for a medical specialty, that has overtaken and nearly obliterated rational thinking about the behavior, the challenges and the needs of kids; ;that pathologized the human condition under stress – and disconnected the relevant social, environmental precipitants of human suffering from the list of things WE should invest time and money to work on–and work out. n

    WE have a different set of circumstances than the U.K or any other developed country, for that matter–and a whole different set of challenges here in the U.S.– due mostly to the power psychiatry has to keep their secrets.

    ECT is not subject to medical review of any kind- thus, psychiatrists are very remiss about documenting and reporting the specifics of their use of ECT or the results. WE are lacking a means to calculate the damage– in human terms from someone, anyone close to the issue, other than psychiatrists themselves. They still expect to wield authority as *experts* who cannot be questioned by *us* because — that has been their right of passage for over a hundred years. Who knows what exactly they are doing when there is zero call for accountability–??–Forget scientific evidence of benefits of ECT for a moment and think about the sheer absence of reliable statistics on this practice in the U. S.– Reporting of accurately documented records is NOT legally enforced– or specifically required by a medical review board–

    Demanding accountability, demanding proof of expertise before elevating anyone to the status of expert is where we need to start-.

    David Healy’s work is an excellent foundation to build on.. A full fledged movement to debunk the *false claims to fame* made by self professed experts , has to be grounded in the science that was absent when the experts rose to power, in the first place.

    Side bar– David Healy’s position on ECT as it relates to his own practice or in general has absolutely no bearing on how or when we grapple with the scourge of psychiatry that was branded in America. But his insights into *how we got here* and his dedication to restoring some credibility to academic medicine are linked to our little piece of the big picture– . This is why it is weird to discuss ECT and dismiss another brilliant blog he has written.

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  • @BPD & oldhead,

    Briefly , David Healy does not “heavily support ECT” – please read Johanna’s comment for the nitty gritty on Healy’s actual practice for a clearer picture of his involvement —

    The link @BPD posted was a constant on nearly every Healy blog post put up here on MIA– since 2012– . The info insertion– despite the topic of the blog, was a bells and whistles FYI– which usually drowned out the topic of the blog– so really made the point *this guy has nothing to say that we want to hear.”

    Glaring contradictions are the product of subjective and personal insights -. Only if you discount the pertinent information about Dr. Healy’s practice– from his patient’s openly expressing their experience with him and ECT– and only if you *imagine* the long list of negative- cheap shots aimed at his integrity are FACTS can anyone claim there are glaring contradictions that cannot be ignored.

    @BPD– you just assumed the role of town cryer — with all good intentions, no doubt, but your message is inaccurate and your assumptions reflect a cavalier attitude toward making character aspersions on a public forum.

    C’mom — you two would not want to be treated this carelessly… would you?

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  • @truth,
    Unfortunately, “bogus quack procedures” pass as valid medical treatment, too. So did invasive monitoring of critically ill patients with a poor prognosis *pass* for
    practice needed by medical residents training in critical care units- and for the data that created treatment intervention algorithms. This is an example of a human patient undergoing inhumane and barbaric “cutting edge medical treatment” under the radar, meaning no consent required, all for the presumption that some *greater good* will result and justify it all.

    Though it may seem I am *trashing* Western Biomedicine , I am merely pointing out that the means does not always justify the ends, and it has been decades since care and comfort of the *medically ill patient* trumped the
    quest to conquer death. And then there is the newer risk management approach to medical treatment where you get drugs , with a dubious safety/efficacy rating to prevent a disease/disorder, you are deemed *at risk* for developing. I call that quackery to the 10th power.

    I have some reservations regarding the proclamations, or opinions, you cite as fact; that *brain damage* from ECT is the same as sub-concussive blows to the head/brain. In addition to questions raised by other equally qualified physicians on this score, and people who claim to have recovered, their lost self after ECT, this cannot be a given effect– maybe a potential one, I don’t know, but I have held to my initial *cringe/wince* reaction to *causing a brain seizure*- would never submit to ECT, nor allow a loved one to be *shocked*–and YES, I have offered my misgivings to anyone contemplating ECT who seeks my *professional opinion*. — Yet, I am as happy to hear that benefit was attained from ECT as I am elated every time I hear any story of narrow escape from impending disaster. Mind you, there are many narrow escape stories in the archives of medical history . Sometimes it is harder to account for success than it is to explain failure.

    It is possible to abhor ECT and still respect the dignity of the lives of those who choose it, seek it, rely on it-. It is possible to hold two directly opposing concepts in one’s mind and grapple with the agony of the inequities and *not* rule out the possibility that both can be equally correct– impossible as it seems.

    Johanna’s comment below is a much better description of the actual process of transcending differences and igniting the power of diversity to achieve amazing feats.

    A flock of amicable sheep or a herd of conformist buffalo don’t inspire visions of ground breaking progress, for me, at least. But we do have to adhere to some mutually acceptable human values– and maybe agree there is no single ultimate authority — on what is best for everyone else– if we want to achieve something that truly benefits everyone.

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  • @truth,

    All other things being equal in terms human capacity, there is a major difference between a clinician and a journalist in the realm of perspectives on patient care and treatment issues– and just as great of a dichotomy exists between a patient’s experience and research analyst’s conclusions regarding patient care and treatment issues.

    In trite cliche terms, where you stand depends on where you sit, but I would add that *confirmation* bias is by far the most insidious ; that is, *what* one chooses to believe is far more likely to influence perceptions than *who* one chooses to believe– So, you will look for the flaw in those who are closest to the matter at issue, (doctors and outspoken proponents of ECT) and accept the third party commentaries as most accurate? Not logical, but then you already know what you believe– now to find a credible source to confirm it—?

    By all other accounts, lived experience and the anecdotal evidence of long standing practicing physicians – corroborated by patient testimony would settle the matter as YES, potential for harm– BUT for some, risk is worth the benefit. An inconvenient truth? It does not address coercion, force and malpractice either….

    Text book knowledge and even professional training can actually get in the way of resolving complex issues in medical practice– or bias a clinician to the extent that he discounts his own perceptions entirely. – example:
    Adverse drug reaction? Nope! It’s a symptom of a new disorder!!

    Looking for absolutes? Not likely you will find them in any endeavor that deals with human beings– no two of us are exactly alike. The more one tries to fit us into categories or affix labels to us, the less likely one will see the human issues in front of his eyes. — And miss the boat entirely–

    That is what this blog post addresses– stock answers for routine questions can be fatal…. Especially when the providers of the answers own stock in product they are monitoring !!

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  • @BPD, your points about ECT are well taken. I have a strong aversion to *causing seizures* and wince whenever I hear personal testimonies of resounding success with *this treatment*. Hard for me to *not* to invalidate the benefits that some patients have shared with me, while holding in my own revulsion—. But to be totally honest, I have had the same confounding reactions to a great number of procedures and treatments I witnessed while working in critical care settings for 5 years– and then, there is the torment of the loss of quality of life my mother suffered from adverse effects of a biopsy on her *inoperable* *terminal* brain tumor. Members of my family were satisfied that her sacrifice furthered research and eventually ( 20 years later) , treatment for astrocytoma. I am still upset because she was not able to comprehend the sacrifice she was making and in fact, my father signed the consent form. So…..

    Here’s my point, or issue, or matter of concern:

    Grinding axes vs. wielding them (axes).

    I think the points made in the blog post you only skimmed are crucial to ALL discussions here and elsewhere on Western biomedicine–. ALL biological, reductionist, scientific evidence based treatments are potentially harmful and even lethal in the wrong hands. I should mention the murder I witnessed in a cardiology procedure room– perforated major artery during routine angioplasty in an otherwise healthy 55 year old woman. Lawsuit, settled out of court. No formal charges– *death* is a risk from most invasive procedures– and the efficacy of many is a matter one could say is still *up in the air * so to speak. Whaddya do? Ban the procedures?

    Educating the public, listening to patients and speaking truth to power is the only recourse that makes sense. David Healy does all of these things– and his practice, I have to conclude, must concur with all the qualities that a *good doctor* exhibits. Most importantly, he respects differences and encourages debate . It is no secret that I want to obliterate psychiatry as a medical specialty– which, takes ECT out, needless to say. I receive no less respect, support and even assistance from Dr. Healy as I engage in my passionate pursuits than any of his most outspoken supporters. That is as unique and no less unexplainable than so many other paradoxes in the medical field today. But the truth of it speaks volumes…

    This blog post is consistent with the public education mission Dr. Healy has championed since being shunned and vilified by his academic peers. Take it or leave it, but disparaging him is a fools errand, imo, for anyone serious about challenging the power and authority of psychiatry. Insiders are the best informants. You can gauge Healy’s effectiveness by the notorious slander that our most prominent academic psychiatrists heap upon him.

    Re: Peter Breggin’s criticism of Healy– I have thought long and hard about this– have tried to engage Dr. Breggin right here on this site and outside it as well– I have also read most of Breggin’s books and admire his practice and his courage. Peter Breggin defies all the *rules*– . I will give him a pass on this because I think he has earned the kind of respect a wise elder commands. In other words, I will *not* criticize Breggin personally, or discredit his invaluable contributions to protecting the human rights of psychiatric victims–. He is a special case, in my book, — still, I would not blindly follow hm — anywhere, if you get my drift.

    Hope you rethink your position 🙂

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  • @BPD, David Healy responds on his blog/web site. Posts from his blog are here at the discretion of the MIA editors–

    It would be worth your while to pursue more accurate information regarding Healy’s views from his site. I am referring to your first comment and link to Dr. Breggin’s *opinions*.

    Here is a link to a recent post on Healy’s site that addresses the ECT controversy.

    Dr. Healy lives in Wales;.

    David Healy
    Professor of Psychiatry
    Hergest Unit
    Bangor Wales LL57 2PW
    United Kingdom

    He recently completed the restoration of Paxil Study 329, working for over 2 years as a member of the RIAT team. He is a busy guy, but he does respond to comments on his site and he is fairly accessible — and has a formidably loyal following of both patients and professional colleagues.

    FWIW, Dr. Healy passed my litmus test in 2012, when I contacted him per Robert Whitaker’s referral for explicit questions I had about “Anatomy of an Epidemic”.

    Be careful whose bandwagon you jump on– follow the information, NOT the person, is my motto.


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  • Thanks for raising this red flag, @bpd. TMAP

    ” It was ironic when Sandra noted that some of the RAISE psychiatrists consider research on short-term or non-use of neuroleptics as unethical and malpractice.”…

    It is also bizarre that the sacred, carved in stone treatment guidelines, a mad marketing campaign that went viral, is kept in the closet along with Allen Frances’, whose unethical conduct is never RAISED.

    Move along– no psychopathology to see here…..

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  • Alex, this is a brilliant articulation of the hot button that, though grounded in a purely psychological framework, is completely disregarded by psychiatrists and most MH professionals. In fact, disregarding this fundamental cause of so much of the damage done to vulnerable people via forced psych treatment and drugging, also holds a key to the resistance to meaningful, realistic reforms or eradication of these barbaric practices.. It is predicated on the unspoken premise that the *MH clinician* is outside of, external to , and witness only, to the pathological state of another person.
    Never recognizing negative feedback to the threatening vibes they (clinicians) exude; never owning their own personal judgement of the *patient* as central to the disintegrating phenomenon that supports their choosing to control rather than support a *patient*– .

    This, BTW is the same narcissistic demeanor of surgeons who refused to consider their *dirty* hands could be causing fatal post op infections– despite compelling evidence for aseptic technique as the first line prevention of post op infections.

    This is my major criticism of any psych study– as well., come to think of it– the variables are always unlimited, and impossible to standardize. The instrument that measures, observes and records data cannot be calibrated. And one cannot discount the myriad ways the data collector corrupts the results with his/her mere presence. Just human nature– universal and unchanging. And the very last thing considered– even by the so-called experts on psychological pathology.

    But, the mere mention of it—

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  • Sandy,

    I think I should start this response by clearing up a semantics issue I have had since my first exposure to acute, inpatient psychiatry (1992- Johns Hopkins Child Psychiatry). It seems to me that the terms so frequently used to make an argument for or against psychiatric treatment approaches, reflect entirely different meanings than their original definition and intent. I could say that the claim to employ scientific language is as error laden as the chemical imbalance theory of mental illness and that both reflect a claim to *medical* authority by virtue of title alone; that both of these practices (deceptive use of language) apply only to psychiatry-, and thus make the argument that disagreements about psychiatric interventions and treatment approaches cannot be settled by *data*. alone. I would be obligated to offer some type of proof, in any case.

    I had 14 years of medicine behind me, 5 years in critical care, and was very familiar with the scientific method as it applied to diagnosing and treating patients with signs and symptoms that were quantifiable and reliable indicators of disease and recovery, by the time I encountered bio-medical model psychiatry. After more than 20 years on the front lines in several inpatient psych units, I was never able to correlate any aspect of psychiatric diagnosis and treatment with medical applications of the scientific method, and was therefore, blessed with a completely open mind with regard to the adverse effects of psych drugs. I was not biased/influenced by the lack of data to support the reported and witnessed adverse effects; not biased toward accepting the view that these were *new* symptoms; nor was I convinced based on (now considered completely unreliable) data that demonstrated efficacy and/or safety of any psych drug. I was, however, convinced by the data I was collecting as a nurse trained to closely observe and monitor people in distress, that published studies in our professional journals were worthless at best and potentially dangerous– decades before scientific investigation provided a basis for my convictions.

    So, while my more than two decades in close quarters with psychiatrists and MH clinicians, even a few prominent academics, has convinced me that psychiatry believes itself to be both medical and science based, I have yet to see any scientific process, in clinical practice or in industry funded clinical trials. I couldn’t disagree with you more regarding the significance of *data* ( a term associated with scientific inquiry) with regard to the efficacy of psychiatric treatment approaches.

    In psychiatry, data is a subjectively contrived measure of the challenge to put forth whatever a psychiatrist would have us believe. Meanwhile the scientific evidence of jury rigged RCTs and harmful effects of both drugs and treatment are virtually ignored by mainstream psychiatrists. This data is, imo, the most significant measure of psychiatry as a medical specialty.

    With regard to documented approaches to supporting people who are experiencing severe mental states, that are labeled *psychosis*, within the context of a psychiatric study, the limits are set in terms of what constitutes an intervention and the drugs available for additional support. For those who believe all mental/emotional crises are embedded in the human condition, human responses to support someone safely through *psychosis* without psych drugs, are infinite in number and kind. You cite two studies conducted within the context of Western bio-psychiatry, with all the constraints of our culturally biased perceptions of *psychosis* and *treatment approaches*-. Though novel, Soteria and Open Dialogue are operating under the Western bio-psychiatry umbrella;studied through its lens, limited by criteria ( for diagnosis and successful treatment outcomes) imposed by the very model they are trying to breach. To their credit, their goals are based on humanistic principles, and their progress has been breathtaking.

    I am convinced that the drugs you say are indicated when other approaches fail, are never required to support someone safely through *psychosis*. I am convinced these drugs are inherently harmful, and that there is no benefit that justifies the risk of administering them, especially to children and the elderly– and never by force to anyone. Not implying banning them is even feasible, but honest and full disclosure about their spurious history and their potential for damage should be mandatory, along with a strongly encouraged, medically supervised, programs for safely supporting people through tapering and withdrawal to the lowest dose they can tolerate if unable to come off of all of them completely .

    My psychiatric nursing practice was based on humanistic principles, which grounded my convictions regarding force, coercion and dismal prognostic claims that continue to exist despite the lack of scientific evidence for these routine practices in the field of psychiatry. I have found that when I took these options off the table, I was free to develop in myriad ways as both a nurse and a human being. I am convinced of the unlimited nature of human potential that has proven to be more valid than data from studies designed to perpetuate the authority of psychiatry as a medical specialty.

    My strong opinions regarding the topics you raise in this blog, are based on professional lived experience that connects me more to the human element than the academic discourse that I personally believe is not applicable to psychiatry. I do not say this to insult you, demean or attack you, personally. By the same token, your inference that my convictions are invalid until I provide data , is not personally offensive to me. I hope you will consider that both bpd and I have employed the standard definitions of the terms established by the scientific community and where applicable used the terms specific to psychiatry to support our criticisms of this study and its impact on those designated to benefit from it.


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  • boans, I think my last sentence was misleading:
    ” Hope this helps you hear Boans.”
    I was not addressing you, though it does look that way–
    I meant that I hope the metaphor would help Margaret hear you–. Or that your own use of metaphor would strike a chord with her.

    Interpretive dance is still an option — though tricky to do on line….

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  • Hi Margaret,

    I wonder if you have read Harry Potter? I ask because the third book in the seven book series, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” introduces a brilliant metaphor that may help you get what Boans is expressing to you here.

    Azkaban is a prison for Wizards who have performed *unforgivable curses*, though rare, it happened that an innocent wizard was imprisoned in Azkaban for 12 years. This innocent wizard escapes in book three and is attempting to gain access to the school Harry Potter attends, Hogwarts, which prompts the need for unusual security– provided by the guards of Azkaban, called, Dementors.

    So, the young witches and wizards, and especially Harry Potter, come face to face with these most dreaded creatures– who literally suck the happiness from humans, leaving them with their worst memories and fears and almost certain madness. It is pretty easy to see how this *skill* would be an excellent deterrent to escape from Azkaban– most prisoners, as attested to by a professor who spent a short time at the prison, cannot fathom a reason or purpose for living, let alone formulate a plan to escape. And an even worse fate, bestowed upon a human is the *Dementor’s kiss*– sucking the soul completely out of the body. This is described as *worse than death*– having no sense of self, though still alive. The Dementor’s kiss is prescribed for the most dangerous prisoners—

    The kindly professors at Hogwarts and indeed the Headmaster himself seek to protect their young students from harm whilst the special security, Dementors are stationed around their school. Hogwarts Castle. An effective, immediate remedy for a brief encounter with a Dementor, is chocolate– eating chocolate eases the feeling “that one will never be happy again”.

    Now, for my anecdotal evidence of the deep meaning this metaphor contains. My grandchildren, ages 9yrs and 7yrs live with me, so they are pretty well informed regarding the work their Oma was doing (until a year ago, I was a psychiatric RN- working on locked units with young adults, adolescents and older adults)) . Both were very interested in my *tool kit* which always contained a supply of bite sized chocolate candies, gum and lollipops. Curious about the content, and happy that it was likely they would find a treat in my bag, they were well versed on my psychiatric nursing practice. The gum and pops were for smokers (over 18yrs) who had to rely on nicotine patches, not permitted to smoke while inpatient (incarcerated is the word I used to describe their situation) . If you asked my grandchildren what the chocolate was for, they would tell you, “Chocolate is for the prisoners on my Oma’s unit who feel like they will never be happy again”– They made the connection between Azkaban, dementors, chocolate AND locked up on a psychiatric ward — when I was reading Harry Potter to them! I was quite impressed with their critical thinking as well as their concern for the prisoners now that Oma is *retired*– Would anyone else bring them chocolate? WE have since moved on to discussing human rights violations, social injustice and personal responsibility to *close down Azkaban *
    (books 6& 7 in the Harry Potter series)

    For the very worst atrocities we humans face, experience , suffer and forbear, we can employ metaphors and similes to express what defies reason. JK Rowling, author of Harry Potter, does an amazing job writing about the real world children live in, in a manner that offers them the wisdom and the tools to escape, survive or even conquer the greatest evil.

    Harry Potter is a classic myth, rich with creativity and based on the power of magic– the inherent power within the individual . Sort of a faith based paradigm for eradicating the power of any authority– even the darkest wizard of them all was no match for the magic possessed by “the boy who lived ” 🙂

    Oh– almost forgot to mention that I surmised many of the people I met as patients on locked wards, were suffering the effects of a dementor attack and horribly, a few actually suffered *the demeanor’s kiss*. I knew that evidenced based treatment consisted of Chocolate, human warmth, and magic. Sadly MH professionals are still looking for clues and answers to human suffering in all the wrong books–and worse, some think they have attained some authority as a result of having acquired silly credentials– .

    The only way you can ever know what another person experienced is to listen, listen and listen some more– . Hope this helps you hear Boans.


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  • Sandra,

    I have to agree w/ @bpdtransformation, there is more evidence of pathology amongst your colleagues revealed in this study, than any useful information about treating individuals experiencing their *first episode psychosis*. This is just another example of manipulating results from another confirmation bias field study– what a waste of money! I cannot fathom how the obvious tainting of the population you are so eager to study has not occurred to you

    It seems like a good time to consider the reasons psychiatry has for stacking the deck to favor the result that they want to believe– because establishing the clear motive, financial gain, (no surprise, right?) also establishes the practice of psychiatry as anauthority based tradition rife with irrational conclusions, or rather, simply, the signature *science* of psychiatrists.

    I strongly disagree with this statement from your comment above:

    ” (and I disagree that everyone can come safely through psychosis without them),”–

    Not only is it possible for everyone to come safely through psychosis without brain disabling drugs, BUT, the likelihood that this can be rightly observed and studied is almost zero. The shame of this is the needless suffering of vulnerable people due to the *thinking* of psychiatrists who have failed to take a proper history of the treatment guidelines established in the mid 90’s, good ‘ol TMAP– There is a big error in the premise for drugs as first line treatment — and worse, having established this classic Market Based Medicine protocol 20 years ago, there is an ice cube’s change in hell that any *patients* who have not been drugged for psychotic symptoms, will avail themselves for psychiatrists to study them. Kind of a slam dunk for hanging on to the drugs, don’t you think? I was hoping you would raise this issue with Allen Frances at the Gala finale of the MIA film Festival last year. Sitting next to him on stage for the psychiatrist panel event, you had the perfect opportunity to jolt his memory 🙂

    Not every psychiatrist, certainly, and not every therapist or licensed MH professional CAN support a person experiencing severe mental states without drugs– That should be noted well before saying that *not everyone* can come through psychosis safely w/o drugs– . The important message for the public is that seeking psychiatric treatment for first episode psychosis means you will not likely get the chance to come through safely without drugs–.

    The current standard of care is a guarantee that a steady stream of psychiatric survivors will add their narratives to support what we already know about harmful effects of psych drugs, locked ward *treatment*, and the MH system in general — Why won’t someone (preferably a board certified psychiatrist) kindly inform the APA, NIMH and any psychiatrist you happen to know, that their error driven practice IS the problem? –Again and again and again– until it is heard!


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  • Yana,

    I think there is something greater than *transparency* that is lacking — . Integrity is a better term, I think., to describe what is glaringly absent in each of the “human negotiations” described by Dr. Healy.

    I am not sure “conflicts of interest” is the right term either. Whatever causes there may be for the manipulation of scientific literature, there is surely no interest shown in the purpose for scientific literature by those who edit and contribute in some way to the publishing of professional journals. Doctors misinformed or ill-informed– patients suffer over what is only being called COI–? This is trivializing a scourge of epic proportions–.

    Speaking of trivializing, it seems that is your tone in response to this and the previous post by David Healy. I think that a more substantial response from you is warranted– or rather, if you have evidence to refute these instances of obstruction to publishing crucial information for the medical professionals who depend on their journals for scientific literature, I suggest you supply it. Otherwise you come off as a flippant critic, trying to cast doubt on the credibility of the messenger and bypassing the message all together.

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  • Thank you, Paula. I read Rothmans 86 page expert witness document, which I accessed on Jim Gottstein’s Psych Rights web site, after watching your stunning disclosure, which he posted on YouTube. Allen Frances’ key role in the “mess” he now claims was an unforeseen consequence of –EXACTLY what he evidently set out to accomplish, should be headlines in MSM– even if, or especially because Huffington Post has become his safe haven.

    Granted this is a brain squeezer– a real mystery as to why this is a mystery to begin with? But someone has to just speak plainly and to the point. I am grateful that you have stepped up to the plate.

    Unlike the mysteries surrounding the jury rigging of RCTs to favor a drugs chances of getting to market, and even the mysteries around academic psychiatrists who sell their names to expand the market for potentially harmful drugs, there is documented evidence of Allen Frances’ pitch to J&J– proof that he , and Biederman breached both the law and medical ethics for financial gain, requested and received large payments from pharma–; that there is substantial evidence of harm directly related to their reifying both disorders and protocols for treatment AND disseminating the fraudulently contrived *treatment guidelines* via CME courses– which, by the way, accounts for the large percentage of psych drug prescribing that PCPs are doing…

    Refuting the validity TMAP, CMAP treatment guidelines that entrap people at the point of encounter with psychiatry; establishing the basis for stopping just this one abusive, harmful intervention, would be a piece of cake once the criminal actions of the Frances et al and Biederman et al become a focal point for public outrage.

    Rather than continuing to condemn GSK and J&J, who have paid billions and produced whistle blowers that we can thank for the documents they produced for litigation and are now in the public domain; rather than blaming the nefarious pharma reps for hoodwinking doctors, we need to shine the spot light on the *wizards* who have been operating the smoke and mirrors machinery.

    Long overdue!

    Excellent work, Paula!



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  • All true, Stephen, but as I am sure you realize, psychiatrists are well supported by a myriad of MH professionals. In fact, they could hardly keep this farce running on their own. How many social workers/therapists are sustaining the psychiatry industry- just as it is? Takes a big village to keep a good scam rolling…

    On the other hand, we should be asking why so many *better educated* MH professionals aren’t pushing back, refusing to engage in unethical and illegal practices at the behest of psychiatry? Why aren’t the *alternatives* coming directly from the *insiders* professional critics? —

    Psychiatry cannot exist without its groupies– Psychiatrists spend the least amount of time with patients and those who have the most influential leadership positions often have the least experience practicing psychiatry, seeing actual patients. Insiders know this– and yet they keep on following these frauds.

    Remember the story, “The Little Red Hen” ? She kept asking for help with the work of planting, cultivating and harvesting and thrashing wheat. All of the other farm animals were just too busy, or too lazy to help, but they showed up when they smelled bread baking. Well, she did not break her bread with them, did she?

    Some of us realize that the horrifically abusive MH system is hurting and destroying actual people, many of them children. Some of us are fully aware of every fallacy this system is based on and though we can engage in rigorous debate with proponents of this system, it is us, not *them* who are pressed for the *alternatives* to fraud and harm for profit MH care! This is outrageous.

    And then there are some critics who are proposing the role they can play when the system has been dismantled, or at least drastically changed. By whom? Not them.

    It is refreshing to read about the human endeavors that a group of like minded professionals can pull off– just because, they saw a NEED for an alternative to psychiatric treatment. Well, also because their work ethic is solidly grounded in the work required. Anne Cooke has shared what is possible— here and now.

    Still waiting to read comments from the MH professionals who regularly write blogs and comment on this site– wonder what stops them from organizing alternatives to the subpar system and practices they claim to be *stuck in*…

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  • I hear this regularly from young adults traumatized by our *state of the art* psychiatric treatment model– and again, I wonder, how the majority of MH professionals continue to serve up this recipe for *lifelong dependency on the MH system”– . Hey, maybe I just answered my own question?

    In a civilized society, where professionals are highly educated, one should reasonably expect leaders to emerge and direct their profession towards *better outcomes*. Yet, here we have professionals who will complain about what *society* has not provided for the group of people they “have to” lock up and drug.– In order to keep their jobs and potentially help *some* of the poor unfortunate people who get caught in the TMAP net. Right.

    So much for the *experts* with the degrees, credentials and lifestyles they will not compromise to perform the job they will have until *society* becomes educated …

    Regardless of the evidence that first line treatment for first episode psychosis is traumatic — at best, it remains carved in stone. So the promises made by prominent academic psychiatrists to J&J, GSK, etc. are fulfilled… a long winding conveyor belt to lifelong consumers of drugs and psych treatment is the best our MH professionals can do.

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  • Alex,
    You might find this interesting– since it is a self discovered kind of therapy.

    I work with a lot of young adults who were traumatized by the MH system. Makes sense, since Jos. Biederman is right next door–.

    Trauma during childhood and adolescence being the crux of the matter– and my main area of interest,I am always discovering wider applications of what I first sought out as specialized knowledge. Your experience here– got me thinking–.

    I have extensively studied Lenore Terr’s work-she is child the psychiatrist who worked with the 26 children who were kidnapped from their school bus and buried alive (all survived) 1976- Chowchilla, California. She wrote about her long term experience working with these elementary school aged kids in “Too Scared To Cry”- Terr was the first child psychiatrist to fully explain how trauma affects kids.

    Lenore Terr made breakthroughs in understanding how kids react to traumatizing events, they “freeze” when they find themselves helpless, alone, scared–. In fact it is because they tend to look like deer caught in headlights, instead of being visibly upset, it is often missed entirely that they are *frozen in terror* (side bar: this is the look you will see on may kindergartners or first graders faces on the first day of school) —

    Lenore Terr’s work with the “Chowchilla” kids was amazing– she was their first and only *therapist*. She employed *play* therapy exclusively– documenting what She observed, and called *trauma play*, which was *symbolic* reenactment of the kidnapping events, etc. She noted that the typical excitement and building of tension, that can be seen when watching kids play, is not released in *trauma play*. Why? Because the child has not been able to figure out how to resolve the problem/conflict–so becomes more upset and frustrated, which is the opposite of the purpose of play to begin with–. She found that -until the child *on his own* figures out how to resolve the *terror* he is feeling in the act of play, he is essentially *stuck*–

    Important side bar: With regard to *traumatized* children it is USELESS to even attempt *talk therapy*– the concepts, schemas are *not there* yet– play – sensory motor activity is the mechanism that engages the child in *working out the problem*–

    Lenore Terr postulates that writers like Stephen King and Alfred Hitchcock had unresolved early childhood trauma– their horror & suspense stories , respectively, are *trauma play* reenactments, repetitive themes — evoking intense feelings. Stephen King was traumatized witnessing a train *monster machine* kill a person lying on the train tracks– Alfred Hitchcock was traumatized by a *scared straight* prank his father arranged ; had his young son thrown in jail for some minor offense– short term, of course, –the *horror/suspense feelings evoked in his films , may just be the adult at play, still working on resolving his early childhood trauma…

    This is way brief– just a taste really, but I needed some ground work to describe what I think may have been * the breakthrough* you experienced via your last therapy appointment–which was a first encounter with a *new* therapist.

    I think you resolved your “Psychic Trauma”-childhood experiences of sudden, unexpected , overwhelmingly intense emotional blows, or a series of emotional blows that made you feel utterly helpless–?
    First getting your feet on the ground –Studying psychology, pursuing a career as a therapist, then entering the system– testing over and over “Who’s right about me?” Experiencing these scenarios as trauma play , trying to resolve your own history of psychic trauma–

    Finally, you know enough about the field and yourself, you schedule an appointment– YOU begin to feel in control– and when the therapist starts to pull the rug out from under you–? You take full control, –heart pounding (I love this part– because you were not thrown into survival mode this time when triggered)–YOU resolve the tension, you act on your rational thoughts– then after you have left– you have the *shake it off* post traumatic experience *reset* experience.

    For many of my clients, trauma play starts with an involuntary 72 hour hold– replay, replayed again– inpatient– almost court committed– until “they” walk out of the ED– not sectioned– not medicated– heart pounding as they send me the text–“I did it–I’m free”

    No two are alike really– because there are so many different aspects of the system that wound the spirits of young people– what is the same is the *play*–that I witness in awe of the creative expressions I am privileged to observe–

    It is worth repeating, I think, that we all do have our own reset buttons–

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  • I noticed this, too. My thinking was that psychiatrists do not want to place *mentally ill* and *dangerous/violent* in the same sentence, since most of these mass shooters are on meds, in the MH system-.

    Your take speaks to marketing strategies, mine sort of hints at their lame attempts to cover up the obvious. Like, keep the terms away from each other and people might forget there is a connection.

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  • @bpdtransformation,

    Working on inpatient locked wards here in Boston, I was privy to all information precipitating all admissions. Out patient therapists in the Boston area pretty routinely send patients directly to emergency rooms from their offices. Therapists coordinate via ambulance transports to emergency rooms from group homes. Referrals from therapists for crisis team evaluation and/or 72 hour holds are not uncommon. What is also common, predictable in fact is the anger expressed by people who are taken to the ED against their will, not uncommon either for police to be involved, for the person to be restrained mechanically and physically before finally getting admitted to a locked ward. The usual precipitant is the person has disclosed feeling suicidal, or is self harming-i.e. “cutting”. Adolescents, young adults even older adults disclose feeling betrayed in these circumstances. Who wouldn’t?

    Routinely, the OP therapist is in direct contact with the SW who has been assigned to her/his patient. Routinely, the *patient* expresses trepidation over this relationship. Unfortunately, from my position with regard to these admissions, I can validate the *patient’s* worst fears. The dynamic of coercion , control and disregard for the *patient’s* voice is the norm. I can also tell you that the documentation of the patient’s response will probably note that he/she is exhibiting *paranoia*.

    In the community, advocating for people who want *out* of the MH system, I have had run- ins with therapists who behave an awful lot like the ones Julie has described. The worst incident for me to date, involved a therapist who called 911 and authorized *involuntary/Section 12 *in MA- via ambulance transport of a young adult to a *psych ED*. This therapist’s stated goal, due to my client deciding to stop meds cold turkey –again, after not gaining any support to be tapered off of Zyprexa and Depakote , was a long term stay at *The State Hospital* — in fact the therapist had threatened this prior to the episode I am referencing. Coercion to *stay on meds*. So, no surprise there, but what was surprising was after my client stayed in control for 2 days in the ED and 2 more on a locked ward, I was able to share pertinent info with my clients treatment team–.The result was immediate discharge, no meds and new diagnosis PTSD– the trauma associated with numerous inpatient admissions, restraints etc in the past– . I had success in getting the diagnosis converted from /bipolar disorder . My client was trauma reactive, not manic. It was risky to keep my client on a locked unit where the triggers were unavoidable. My client’s therapist threw a fit, and when she was fired by my client’s parent, did make a few attempts to sabotage my client’s recovery– mainly via unethical communication with my client’s new therapist. This is how I was able to read her extensive — full of crap notes, compiled over a few years.

    Another coercion tactic , new to me, involved threatening a client of mine with disqualification for disability IF my client stopped taking psych meds. This therapist refused to discuss the matter– and refused to read medical literature from a prominent neuropsychiatrist who adamantly stated that psychotropic drugs were contraindicated in people with chronic Lyme disease. My client, in fact , was also being treated for chronic Lyme. Not only did my client exhibit adverse effects of the psych meds (prescribed by the nurse practitioner working in partnership with this psychologist/ therapist) , my client desperately wanted to follow the advice of the Lyme specialist. Caught between a rock and a hard place– the Lyme doctor could not authorize even short term disability. My client was already in foreclosure– needed extended short term disability. The therapist won.

    Inpatient therapists, or SWs have the title , *therapist* but are not doing therapy with their patients. They are coordinating after care, and putting pressure on group homes and long term care facilities– even family members to expedite early discharge. I witnessed a SW arrange for transport home via taxi for a patient to prevent another inpatient day that would not be reimbursed by medicaid–

    I have heard so many stories from young 20 something women, diagnosed “Borderline”, about the ways in which their therapists *turned family against them*, kept them from returning to college mid-semester, and kept those prescriptions for Ativan coming—. A few former clients in this category were coerced by their therapists into residential treatment for BPD (Babcock house, Brookline, MA) where they learned several new techniques to self harm.

    Inpatient therapists/SWs in private, for-profit hospitals sporting the latest in Behavioral Health, have devised ways to circumvent the *tactics* employed by patients who want to remain in the hospital (rather than go to a shelter or sober house). Some patients do say “I am not feeling safe and may hurt or kill myself outside of the hospital”. SWs document on the suicide lethality scale/assessment tool. The numbers don’t add up to much more than *low* risk– . Higher numbers can mean a patient who wants to leave, is detained- and especially if on Section 12, will be informed that filing has been completed for court ordered involuntary commitment– no less than 6 months. A SW/therapist around here has a lot of power, which patients know and seldom test to the limit.

    I have met more clients unraveling due to a therapist who has set limits they cannot abide, than client’s cheerfully singing the praises of their therapist’s expertise.Most of my clients have fired their therapists, after the therapist refused to work with anyone who would be assisting them to withdraw from psych drugs. It takes months for some of them to get over fears of how their therapist may either punish them .
    or sabotage their recovery–.

    I broke down a cried during a meeting with a new client’s therapist when she told me she had decided she could not put herself through the suffering of watching this anorexic *patient*starving herself to death. This client did not meet criteria for inpatient *medical* admission, was not below 80% of her ideal body weight, had normal pulse, blood pressure, blood glucose, etc– BUT had confessed to “not following her meal plan”– This therapist was close to my age, and well known to me. Regardless of all of the valid reasons for supporting this person through a personal crisis (her beloved Aunt had just passed away) this therapist began to usurp her authority, saying she was recommending an inpatient admission– either to a psych unit or eating disorder inpatient treatment center, depending on bed availability. She claimed that she would feel responsible for what she was sure would be a poor outcome for the client she was, in fact, ditching. I could not believe she was pulling this, and asked why she did not trust my clinical judgment– . She referenced my ordeal at Children’s hospital, saying, “I really don’t know exactly what happened, but have heard that you were sabotaging the recovery of patient’s with anorexia.”– Yeah, I cried– or teared up… then quickly regained my composure seeing the smug satisfied look on her face as she said, “I’ll just arrange for a psych eval —”
    .”Great’, I replied.”I will take my client to the ED and remain at my client’s side. I will share the safety plan we have developed. My client will not meet criteria for psych eval or inpatient ED– the most you can accomplish is wasting my evening, though I think it might be valuable for L.. and our *therapeutic rapport* So, yeah, go ahead…”
    She changed her mind.

    Still, I believe in the inherent potential for all therapists to be as compassionate and skillful as the one I know who is in private practice. She works with *non traditional families* and is especially well known for her work with adoptive families. Here is what I like best about her. Rather than diagnosing kids, referring them for meds– or supporting meds as treatment for the behavior/emotional issues these kids were struggling with, she closed the clinic she could not afford to maintain. Routinely, claims for the therapy she and her staff provided were denied– due to no diagnosis, etc. Additionally, she lost referrals and consult requests from the child welfare system due to her position against drugging and labeling kids–. She scaled down–her practice, but is still very active doing trainings and presenting conferences. Whenever I am feeling depressed or triggered /I can stop by her office for some play therapy.

    . Maybe psychotherapy is a great thin, but I stand by my buyer beware warning–: Any MH treatment reported to be highly effective these days should absolutely be scrutinized– and regarded with healthy suspicion, at the very least.

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  • These are fair questions.
    My psychiatric nursing experience started in 1988- 3 years working in a residential treatment setting; then, completed a child psych nursing internship at Johns Hopkins, 2 years part time at pilot inpatient program “The Center for Addiction and Pregnancy”; a year working at the Locked eval and crisis unit in girls residential treatment setting ; a year working in inpatient 30 day substance abuse rehab — I did *staff relief* agency nursing on the adolescent and adult units at Crownsville State Hospital– all in Maryland.
    In the Boston area, where I moved in 1995– I have worked *full time* on 2 different adolescent psych units, (one was Bader 5, Boston Childrens hosp. ) Also worked per diem: Intensive adult inpatient; substance abuse/detox, young adult, adolescent and geri psych. – at 2 separate facilities.

    On child/adolescent locked units at the 2 academic medical centers where I have worked (total of 8 years), therapists were usually LCSW’s,with a few psychologists as administrators-. there were also SW and psychology – interns training in these fields. The therapist was second in command on a patient’s treatment team- above the RNs , right below the attending psychiatrist.

    Observations of the behavior of some these therapists were cited in complaints to the Dept. of Mental Health, licensing agency in Boston, by me and 5 of my nursing colleagues– reports were substantiated. Therapists penned behavioral mod/treatment plans that caused vicarious trauma in addition to the traumatizing of the actual patient. I am still recovering…Thank you for asking about my credentials/credibility.

    I share my observations and have developed conclusions over years of contemplating the enigma– helping profession v. degrading patients/families and even sadistic treatment of the most vulnerable people– kids, the elderly, homeless, deeply trouble people.

    I have participated in thousands of treatment team meetings– and listened to gossip & value judgments from therapists who, after all, could claim to have the *most* comprehensive info about a patient. (most of the most damning info obtained via phone calls. I did note that amongst the therapists I have known in each setting where i have worked, there were instances of what would definitely qualify as *good work* with *tangible benefit to a patient*– invariably it was also noted (conclusions shared by many of my fellow RNs) that these patients were generally well liked, or had VIP parents, or some attribute that served them well in the MH system.

    I have no more or less authority than anyone posting here about their *lived experience*– and almost as much outrage as those who suffered directly have expressed.

    Am I offended that you have assumed I am not qualified to voice an opinion on this topic? Am I offended that you assume my conclusions aren’t correct?
    am I offended that you see me as “almost like those individuals who have freed themselves from cult-like experiences but have taken on the authoritarian tone now that they are liberated—without being aware of it?

    The answer to all of the above is, No. I am not offended. How can I be offended by your assumptions?

    Throughout every comment you have posted since the push back on your *no place like home..* blog post, you are categorizing, finding the fault with or looking for the weakness in the commenter who *speaks his/her truth*.
    This is interesting, because it really mirrors what is being cited by those of us who are sharing our lived experience with therapists– Mind you, Margie, none of us know you personally– we can only address what you write here– and seems like you can only come up with something that discredits us– and diminishes the value of our stories.

    Oh– should address the salary issue. Yes, I earned more money than SWs in any setting where I worked. My RN license was a bottom line responsibility factor– especially when I was in the role of Charge Nurse. — responsibility for lives– medical monitoring, and early detection of serious medical issues. Specialized knowledge, tremendous responsibility that goes with my RN license. Out ranked does not always = bigger salary–

    Toward the end of my career, I often made as much money as a new nurse manager and a good deal more than the interns and residents– . My experience was compensated according to the policies of each facility I worked in.

    What was your role, Margie, when a patient stopped breathing?

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  • Margie,
    There is nothing but good reason to continue this discussion– if only because it raises the major issues that are in contention. How else can we, any of us here, reach new understandings when you continue to cite the reasons *these issues* cannot be discussed?

    Let’s be real. I have lived experience as a professional working in close quarters with SWs in acute care settings, locked wards. I have witnessed abuses of power from ALL of the power brokers on these units.Therapists, LCSWs are in the power broker category and thus there is the same potential for the abuses of this power. This is not an illusion. It is a potential inherent in the authority a therapist.

    You would outrank me in some major ways on these units, that directly impact patient treatment, even disposition/discharge. However, I am smart enough and dedicated enough to have learned a myriad ways of lessening the damaging impact from the abuse that passes for *treatement* and have learned to use my specific credential to thwart many of these abuses. YET, being real, Margie, you absolutely have authority I would never have, and you surely know this.

    I am not a powerless individual–this is your perception based on your perception that my awareness of the power hierarchy in my profession lessens my status and divides us in terms of —what? Credibility? I mean, here you are making all the pronouncements– I have illusions, B shows indications of a disorder–. What is it you are basing these pronouncements on? You are reacting defensively. This is your response to others having perceptions based on experiences with therapists.

    Equating therapy with prostitution is your issue? What does that actually mean? Well, if it is true that having a good, dependable, responsible, caring friend is better than hiring a therapist, then what we are talking about is what the recourse is for those who need a good, dependable, responsible, caring friend, but don’t have at least one. They have to hire a therapist — or will be directed to in the MH system, for sure. Therapy is a service, could rightly be called a human service business.

    What is prostitution? A business operated by people who will provide sexual services for someone who is unable to access sexual gratification via a personal/intimate relationship. Prostitution is just another human service business, albeit illegal, no less important to those who have the money to buy what they need or want.

    The inequality of these two human service businesses lies in two main distinctions 1) Prostitution is illegal. Therapy is legal. 2) Prostitution is predicated on the power of the human sex drive. Therapy is predicated on the power of the human need for connection to other human beings.

    The two could be said to be equal in terms of risk for harm to the person who can never be sure he/she will get what they are paying for.

    Comparing therapy to prostitution does not imply that ALL therapists are abusive or that ALL prostitutes are *bad* people. The point of comparison is mainly, imo, a matter of risks — and buyer beware warnings are applicable to both, also, imo.

    I disagree that there is a black or white view implied here– but there is a clear warning implied; one that is absolutely appropriate because, there are lived experience stories about the hazards a consumer *may* encounter — because there are abusive therapists who prey on vulnerable people and prostitutes who do the same.

    I consider myself a good nurse, but I have made mistakes. Would I be human if I hadn’t ever made mistakes? More than one of my young patients called me out on my shortcomings, and I have to say that I am deeply grateful that I heard them out. It wasn’t long before I found out that their perceptions of my *profession* were spot on.

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  • Margie,

    It is fairly common for MH professionals to become defensive over what they perceive as a personal attack, and immediately make accusations right before making the *diagnosis*, which only furthers the argument that the power and authority-card is a weapon. I have witnessed this power and authority used to retaliate (shame, degrade and punish) against kids, the elderly and vulnerable young adults in clinical settings where they *dared* speak their truths. So much for the therapeutic milieu?

    “B has a rage against all therapists;”

    I don’t see this as anything but an emotionally based accusation, that you state as though it is fact. What follows is your perfect illustration of the true purpose for the DSM.

    “this is simply unrealistic bordering on a disorder that is effecting others and creating an animosity that divides others and destroys the purpose of this site.”

    Not interested in what has happened to B ? But all set to point out what is wrong with B– because B pushed *your* buttons. Or rather, you have demonstrated the risk one takes *paying for professional advice*.

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  • AA,

    Just because the answer or solution has not yet appeared, does not mean it is not forthcoming.

    Have you ever taken a road trip with children ? The age and previous experience of a child makes all the difference in terms of how he perceives the answer to his frequent question: “Are we there yet?” It is the really young child who is new to traveling by car for a long distance to a new destination, who will take a “No, not yet” answer to mean “We’re never going to get there.” It isn’t so much a matter of the child seeking instant gratification as it is a matter of perception; that what is happening in this moment is everything. Experience over time shifts this perception dramatically.

    Continuing with this analogy, the challenge of taking a road trip with young children is about being prepared with various items and activities that will comfort or distract them. – otherwise, be prepared to suffer with an anxious, frustrated kid, who finds no solace in your promise that, “we will be there soon”.

    I compare this pretty generic experience with the tasks at hand whenever we or someone close to us is negotiating new, difficult circumstances while in a weakened condition made weaker by circumstances beyond our control. Just talking about basic fear of the unknown combined with skill set deficits– is enough to set us up to defeat ourselves.

    We don’t outgrow a basic tendency to *believe* that painful, uncomfortable moments are a life sentence to suffer–unjustly, I might add, since we cannot perceive ourselves as the cause for our suffering, much less the solution. But we can learn skills to distract and comfort ourselves and others, which does provide a moment to moment solution and a shift toward a positive attitude. For how long? As long as it takes to reach the destination.

    There is a guy in Alex’s film “Voices That Heal” who shares a strategy pertinent to the problem you shared with regard to your friend, whom you say is “having difficulty recovering”. He says that he employs *good acting to improve his thinking* and *good thinking to improve his acting*– both are skill sets in process, not a finished product or an instant solution. I could readily relate to this as a nurse who has been challenged by the aggravating barriers to healing that are designed into a locked ward. What I chose to do to alleviate a patient’s suffering and how I thought about my role in providing comfort were constantly evolving. Over time, I became confident enough in my role to appreciate almost immediate shifts in attitude from people who had been ignored, neglected — to the point of “acting out”. These were the people most likely assigned to me where I last worked as a nurse on a locked ward.

    One such *patient* who was reported by the nurse from the previous shift as being “drug seeking, hostile, disruptive– and delusional, demanding, grandiose–etc.” was a young woman who had suffered extensive injuries to both of her feet and ankles, following a *suspicious* jump from a two story window.(several months prior to this admission). There was a lot of gossip about the incident, and hostility from the clinical staff who had expected this young woman to confide the details to them. In addition to being diagnosed for having completely human responses to being homeless, estranged from family and receiving very substandard medical care for her injuries, which was explained as “necessary” because she was an “addict” and prone to becoming dependent on the medical *system*, she was very upset about being locked up against her will and treated “like an animal”.

    Before introducing myself to her, I already knew that she had received motrin for pain within the past hour, and that the treatment team had determined her story about prescription narcotic pain medication was a lie.( plus her urine to screen was not positive for opioids , which she had claimed she took daily) They had informed her she would not be given anything stronger than motrin on the unit. So, I was expecting all of the anger and outrage she expressed to me– which was the answer to my asking how she was feeling. I didn’t engage her at all around the treatment team’s rationale, or the policies around prescribing for people with “a history of substance abuse”. I needed to distract myself from outrage I felt over the way she was talked about and treated– so, I told her that I had some amazing foot soak stuff– aromatherapy foot bath, and would she like a Reiki treatment, too? I had received level I and II atonement at that time. She knew about Reiki, and was curious how it worked. We set up her foot bath/soak in the TV room, where I also gave her Reiki, placing my hands over her feet and ankles for about 30 minutes. We were joined by a few other patients, who put in a DVD. It was a transformative experience– actions ( care, comfort, conversation) transforming thinking. Thinking (doing something is better than comlaining about nothing being done), transforming attitudes– ( life to life connections are therapeutic) of everyone on the unit, except for the other two nurses on duty, who mostly hung out in the nurse’s station anyway– .

    I had a few more opportunities to comfort and distract this young woman before she was discharged to the home of a relative who was excited about her *new* interest in Reiki and alternative therapies, as she ( the relative) was about to graduate from a massage therapy program. Actually this had been the reason my *patient* called this particular relative , whom she now saw an an ally and valuable resource for her healing.

    The positive shift in perception and attitude persisted even though the nurses who had done little more than power struggle with her over pain meds , “labeled” my intervention as “feeding into her grandiose delusions and reinforcing her attention seeking behaviors”.

    The moral of the story is that the truth wins out, over whatever perceptions anyone else chooses to honor. Doing something that comforts and/or distracts us from anxiety and frustration , anger and outrage, shifts our thinking automatically and a positive attitude becomes a spring board for answers, solutions and resolutions, naturally, though clearly not effortlessly.

    Though you may not perceive it this way, I am sure that your concern and presence is having a positive effect on your friend ‘s recovery/healing– even if she/he does not articulate this or appear to be improving–yet.

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  • I think you’re right, Julie — they are trained to execute their best *defense* and it is invariable a big “offense”. Guess that’s all they can do excuse themselves from accountability for indefensible behavior.

    Bogus *damaged goods* labels and powerful brain scrambling drugs–hmmm. Was this psychiatry’s assigned mission for political ends? or scheme for adding wealth to their power in society, thereby influencing political agendas?

    Note that Dr. Hassman’s on-line psychiatric diagnosis practice encompasses a good many of our most powerful political leaders & all of our current crop of presidential candidates–.

    I wonder if his web site could be an instrument for inserting the scourge of psychiatry into the political agendas of the presidential candidates ? Or rather change the discussion currently focused on MH reform– to “Who the hell is this doctor diagnosing US? the premier 2016 presidential candidates, on-line?”

    And, BTW, the Axix 2 diagnosis supports blaming them(political leaders) for turning shrinks into drug pushers

    Things going downhill as they seem to be psychiatry, with more and more evidence of worse and worse from this profession, we can expect more attacks in the form of bogus labels and more blame from them for exposing their corrupt practice.

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  • This is a very profound and for me, timely discussion, that I have framed as, *the power of one’s beliefs*. I was engaged in another attempt to shift the beliefs of a dear friend suffering from both chronic debilitating physiological (diagnosed with lab tests variety) and emotional/mental duress– ( been at this heart wrenching project for the past 20 years)–

    Alex, Frank, AA,

    Each of your perspectives resonates with distinctly separate aspects of my consciousness and bears out in many experiences I have had with challenging the daunting task of *changing minds*–

    Today, based on what you three have shared here, I had a totally new insight. Teaching anyone who is stuck or just accepting their *human limitations* and resigning themselves to less than an ideal vision of their own well being; teaching the message Alex shares and I, too know to be the case. Yes, I will claim that his conviction regarding the possibility of healing from any and all wounds is simply the truth. And, I , could, support this conviction with both personal and professional experience– but I won’t do that, because I already know that as powerful as words can be, they don’t cut it when it comes to describing one’s awakening to an inherent, universal truth.

    It is only when somehow, the other becomes open to and then experiences this phenomenon that the lesson makes sense. And that, in my experience has always required life-to-life, real time connection, and my expending maximum energy to live the lesson– or rather, to maintain my own conviction no matter the opposition. It also requires skill in more than one area of energy healing– the actual thing that the other will benefit from most, or most readily and can use to further advance their own awakening.

    My new insight from your dialogue is this : Words are indeed powerful, vital and rich. Concepts or schemas are subjectively assigned value, and therefore, no matter the words , their intent, or even the validity one can show for speaking them, they all are subjected to the filter of the one hearing, or reading them. Ultimately it is our beliefs that shape our consciousness. Our conscious awareness is only directly altered by our inner voice– no other voice has power over it . A good example here would be the futility of convincing someone that their inner experience is invalid using logical discourse. Both sides of the psychiatric survivor issues prove this–A survivor could not be swayed from their own narrative, nor could *most* MH professionals yield to the veracity of that experience– by words alone.

    While most participating as commenters here already know this much about the power of their own *minds*, I think that is not a sufficient spring board for all to mindfully shift their beliefs as radically as Alex has shared via his story.

    But, I wonder if the preliminary impetus for becoming open, can be described in words? or rather, if there is a discourse on a method for a dramatic shift in consciousness?

    Just saying beliefs are powerful, for example, is a belief. Believing that beliefs, themselves, are very & critically powerful is dependent on our subjectively driven consciousness. So, this is not a concept that transfers just because it is made as a statement of *absolute truth*. Words, after all , aren’t that powerful (thank goodness!)

    IF Alex or I were to say that awakening to, experiencing, then generating one’s inherent power to heal from all wounds, indeed to recover with more robust health than previously possible to even imagine; if WE said this was a matter of *mind over matter*– think and it shall be, what follows is the dialectic– or argument focused on the weakness of the premise. But, WE aren’t saying it is just a matter of believing what we say, or even believing our experiences– shared with our words., but that it is a potential that anyone can *awaken to*–

    Now, for the impetus– described in words, for a shift toward openness– . A Purely subjective assignment. Research conducted within one’s own inner library or data bank. Search for an experience, a memory of an experience, to be more precise, where you realized that the difference between what may have happened and what did happen was more closely aligned with what you believed at the time, than what you found out later to be the case. Doesn’t matter why you believed whatever you did, or if it even made sense after really thinking about it– what matters is that you open a storehouse of experiences with the power of your conscious mind as a stronger influence than any other entity.

    There is not one particular healing method to push or propagate– as it is always the case that when one becomes open to the power of their own consciousness, he/she invariably arouses a seeking spirit toward a teacher, healer, guide– and discovers the best fit.

    It is not knowing, in the sense of agreeing with a concept that is crucial to healing fundamentally, but the experience of feeling, sensing one’s own power that is both an awakening and the first step of what may well be a 1,000 mile journey –. Once awakened you make the journey that is uniquely yours, without judgment, because of the experience of the power of it being only yours. What a rush !

    For anyone who likes the concept of individual healing — or rather , anyone who is still idealistic enough to believe that only when one is truly seen as a unique individual can he obtain the specific stuff he needs–It doesn’t get any more *indivdual* than this.

    I decided to share– with gratitude for getting a fresh perspective on a very difficult personal dilemma. Another unexpected gift for checking in on MIA talk–

    Thanks again:-)

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  • Hi Alex & Julie,

    With a bit of extra time on my hands, I revisited this blog post and found your very thought provoking conversation.
    Wow. Very provoked to rethink along strategy lines.

    I agree that there is a degree of risk to anyone who fully exposes, in vivd, well documented detail, the horrific behavior of MH profs – especially psychiatrists. I have the same disconcerting images of setting myself up, backed up by experiences of having done just that 🙂

    I have always believed in my having some capacity for furthering the cause of protecting the human rights of my patients via my advocating as a MH professional. Actually, more success with this in settings where I was not employed by the facility wielding its power against my *client*– In any case, the point I want to make is, just as the published criticisms of both the DSM and the pseudo-science behind drugging in psychiatry– and the published indictments against corrupt pharma, collusion with psych etc., has served many psych survivors well in furthering their own self advocacy– even it was just to win over family/significant others for their cause, a team effort between MH professionals and psych survivors regarding publicizing the *untold* stories seems like a way forward.

    Share the risk, double the power of the message. ??

    Maybe I should write a blog post here on MIA?

    My musings on the Columbus Day holiday– appropriately inspired by misrepresentations of our shared history as American citizens.

    Cheers!== thanks for the inspiration:-)

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  • Julie, your comment on Hassman’s blog re:diagnosing on-line/bad medicine, is much appreciated. I couldn’t help laughing out loud as his response to your direct admonition. He grants your criticism *some merit* then goes on to give himself credibility — like he can do his on-line personalized slamming, as he did on a t least one other blog post dedicated to *putting in my place* and supporting banning me from his sight. Why? because he interacts on other blogs with Axix 2 folks like me, and *some* of *them*–(I am now lumped into this category, THEM), some make bizarre , even threatening statements based on wanting to abolish psychiatry. I have not read comments that verify his statement here, and I certainly never wrote such things on hs or anyone else’s blog, though, yes, am adamant and consistent in my anti-psychiatry, dismantle and dispose of it , philosophy.

    So, he gives you credit for what might be a valid criticism, except YOU don’t know just how thorough he is in gathering the *data* he needs to match people up to the DSM criteria for Axis 2 disorders – I think I have been put in the anti-social personality disorder bin– .

    I shared this tot demonstrate what I think is the underlying problem here. It’s the power psychiatrists have– that is so pervasive. Hassman writes a provocative blog, comments here and elsewhere, more often than not, actually validates most of the key points raised by anti-psychiatry advocates, so I have no interest in targeting him, as much as I see an opportunity to demonstrate that the cognitive dissonance theory does not address the degrade of narcissism in a group of professionals that are trained and then practice as ultimate authorities, with impunity.

    There is no doubting that psychiatry is fully aware of the role they play. They are the hit squad for the 1% ruling class, with no competition for this role and every reason to view themselves as indispensable. Every psychiatrist uses this in some way, even those who criticize their professional colleagues, will casually dismiss direct confrontation about their own misuses of power– involuntary commitment and forced drugging. To some degree all psychiatrists demonstrate an attitude of *not having to be accountable to the people*– they know who they serve, and how secure their jobs are.

    I shared a little glimpse of Hassman’s M.O. because it was easy to link and easy to interpret— but the overall take home message is that we have to go back to the drawing board and strategically plan. I think determining our individual *best shot* , encouraging a collective deployment of the full gamut of abuse, criminal behavior and intentional exploitation of vulnerable people for profit makes sense.

    Psychiatry made a big mistake– stepping out into both the medical arena and flashing the wealth they amassed by colluding with corrupt pharma. Every story that documents 1)Harm done by non-medical, non-scientific based interventions, 2) linked to $profit as the motive– is a body of evidence that smokes psychiatry out of hiding behind political/government protection.

    Money does buy political support from *our* elected leaders, but just like the example Aaron Swartz made when he sacked the SOPA bill via public protest (large scale/on-line activated), ultimately. like it or not, our government is bound by the constitution to serve our best interests.
    And we have the legal right to demand they do just that.

    It is not just the buy out of our elected leaders that has produced this oppressive collusion that is destroying our society, there is a HUGE knowledge deficit undermining opposition to lobbyists. This also was exposed by Aaron Swartz’a campaign. The dismantling of specialized knowledge based advisory committees was exposed as the budget saving idea of Newt Gingrich– the reason that congressman had no sound basis from which to analyze the true intention of SOPA.

    Jon Stewart conveyed this message on the Daly Show- here is a write up about his rant:

    Matters not what lay behind the almost certain ignorance of our elected leaders– what matters is credible, persistent public campaign to educate those on whom our very lives may depend—

    In my mind, a powerful grassroots movement would be comprised of psychiatric survivors and the MH professionals who validate their stories and add some insider info from their own experience and research.

    Best, (and thanks, again 🙂

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  • @bpdtransformation,

    You bring up some very intriguing points, via your questions. I looked for the answer to :”why Allen Frances is included here” by watching his presentation, or as much of it as I could stomach. I can’t help running the data stores in my mind of his very pivotal role in creating most of what is cited as *the root of all evil* by the other speakers at this conference.

    In addition to what I had learned from a few very credible sources (Paula Caplan being the best example). I read the 86 page expert witness document written by Rothman, evidence of the marketing scheme that Frances and two colleagues manufactured as a lure to gain greater payoffs from J&J. Psychiatrists duped by pharma? Not so much. This gem of a document contains emails from Allen Frances to J&J execs, entered into the public record of the trial Texas v. J&J. A settlement was hastened by Dr. Joseph Glenmullen’s full day testimony (posted on 1boringoldman). This was more information than even I thought could ever become documented evidence. The bottom line, Allen Frances was key to propagating the very lies that he now has become adept at uncovering as “the mistakes ” of everyone, but him.

    Watching his forked tongue , smooth as silk delivery of a message that paints himself as a champion of reform and building bridges with the anti-psychiatry ilk, I was glad he was invited to this conference. If for no other reason than to show the difference between bogus psych labels and real pathology. Allen Frances could be the poster boy for “Mistakes were made but not by me”– if not for his making cognitive dissonance look more like psychosis.

    I had pondered his appearing so confident on the psychiatrists panel at the gala dinner celebrating the first MIA film festival last October–with not a clue emerging as to how he could even dare to attend a function where the majority of the audience knows exactly what he is famous for. But, watching him at this ISEPP conference, it hit me that when Bob Whitaker says *they believe their narrative* referring to the prominent psychiatrists who still operate as though their *belief* in the biological causes of *aberrant behavior* constitutes all the evidence needed to continue drugging people– from the cradle to the grave, while gleefully discovering more mental disorders, from their imaginations, including unimaginable concepts like *unmasking* serious mental illness by administering psych drugs. Adverse effects of their treatment are not to be counted amongst their beliefs.

    Why should we listen to Allen Frances speaking as though he discovered what he actually had carefully planned to execute? How else can the axiom by which so many psychiatrists pin their claim to fame, be demonstrated? Can you guess what this axiom is? Well, you won’t need to guess after watching Allen Frances. He is perfect for the part, having played a starring role in : “I believe it, therefore it is fact .” with the emphasis on, “I”.

    Seeing is believing.

    Your second question may become self evident in the context of the previous discussion about your first question . Psychiatric survivors are at risk, imo, playing straight to a hostile audience, which is not to say that all participants in this conference are hostile to the survivors message, but that the forum is not about seeking a better way, as much as it is about gauging how bad the current system is. The ISEPP is more like a support group for distraught mental health professionals, who are looking for validation and stronger material to guide their professional practices as they keep their fingers crossed that there will come a time when a better way will be more than a pipe dream. Messages conveyed by more than one guest speaker with lived experience would probably put them over the edge with feelings of guilt, helplessness or unremitting remorse for their affiliation with the MH system. You may note that only Bob Whitaker, an innocent journalist, author who has no connection to the MH system, suggests that it is those with lived experience that should be addressing this audience.

    I think that showing films produced by psychiatric survivors or those who believe in the paramount importance of their voices, might be a powerful first step. It would be, I think, just as overwhelming for those attending an ISEPP conference to hear and see the undiluted, uncensored, full impact of the system no on can seem to constrain, as it would be for Allen Frances to be forced to watch a *this is your life* re-enactment at the same conference.

    At tis time, I don’t see a benefit big enough to justify any of the risks psych survivors in your circumstances would face by becoming a vocal critic of the system that has probably not declared you, *cured*. I also think that it takes years sometimes to find and trust one’s own voice after having been robbed of it so brutally by “mental health clinical specialists”- Regardless of how a psychiatric survivor is actually surviving, financially speaking, his first obligation is reclaiming and honoring his own unique identity. In the process, I think it is inevitable that alliances with others whom you truly respect will be formed, and will in turn inform your decisions regarding public disclosure and/or public activism .

    My best advice is not to grand stand as a psychiatric survivor in Boston unless you are well connected and equally well protected. Laura Delano always humbly express appreciation for her good fortune. When she succeeds in realizing her vision, which resonates with many more than she probably realizes, it will be springtime for any psychiatric survivor who wants to “come out”.

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  • I’m thinking about people I know whose medical treatment for chronic illness has been costly in terms of adverse effects of the drugs in combination with very little rapport building and patient teaching to encourage lifestyle changes, etc,. that would reduce the need for drugs. General medicine calls these patients, “train wrecks” and like their soon to be bed partner psychiatry, is looking for ways to blame the patient.

    The so-called big advancement in integrated care, is trolling for psych patients, no doubt, but it looks more like a win/win, in that GP’s can feel less guilty about not getting to know their *chronically ill* patients, and therefore having little impact on anything but throwing their drugs/treatments at the patients complaints– which, of course is not much help over the long term. Here again, the concept of magic bullets that can’t possibly cause harm, is shared by medical providers. The cornerstone of general medical practice looks no different than the one we know as the foundation for psychiatry. And the failures have to be accounted for– or rather, rationalized in a manner that clearly shows that it is something about the patient– he/she is very complex case, with co-morbid psych disorders complicating medical illness– blah, blah, blah, and so on.

    Bouncing patients back and forth– GPs and shrinks each making a buck as the evidence for treatment failure gets pinned squarely on the patient. And all of this results from the dehumanizing practices that health care has become — which I firmly believe was catalyzed by psychiatry’s boasting success, cashing in on RCTs in collusion w/ pharma–

    Since the early 90’s general medicine and psychiatry have been in a heated competition — over who can financially profit the most by pimping for pharma. Now it seems they are figuring out how to split the difference and each capitalize on the damage the other has caused.

    State of the art mind/body integrated health care? Yeah, that’s the ticket. The process for developing the marketing strategy is old hat, but we will only get a look at it if it ends up as evidence in a law suit that becomes accessible to the public, and is written up as another bit of corruption– perhaps destined to become the next nail biting scandal, serialized in the Huffington Post.

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  • Paula,

    After reading Dr. Binder’s statements in support of gun control as the most logical response to this latest mass shooting, and your noting the failure of the MSM to pick it up as newsworthy, I see what may be a concerted effort to maintain support for psychiatry’s role in protecting the public— from the mentally ill getting the guns that everybody else should be packing. It will be interesting to see how her message fares with the APA.

    The MSM could report on : “…a vast body of work over three decades has revealed psychiatric diagnostic categories to be constructed and applied with little or no scientific support, so attempts to divide the populace into “the mentally ill” and “everyone else”—and aim to pass laws affecting the former—make no sense. ”

    Maybe I am wrong concluding that since all of the *unforeseen* tragedies connected directly to the DSM III, IV, & V are essentially expanding the business of biomedical psychiatry, no prominent psychiatrist is going to set the record straight. This is an example of protecting the guild interests of the institution of psychiatry. In any case, I would much prefer your perceptions and the argument you raise be reported by MSM, than anything from the APA.


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  • @oldhead,

    I think one of the best descriptions of what has been the ultimate disaster for our society, DSM–diagnosis of mental illness, was expressed by Bob Whitaker in his 30 minute talk at the recent ISEPP conference. Finally, he puts it on the line with the affect that connects to the outrage, with emotional inflection and tone that connects directly to this outrage– and sounds like a plea for action.

    This was not Bob’s usual lecture. Like his ground breaking book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic”, this talk is loaded with *new material*

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  • ““Craig Deeds” I hate that story.”

    Agree. It is another example of the stories told about people who were tortured because of the stories told about them, and the stories told to justify the torture, culminating in the horrifying acts committed by this person. The consistency from the beginning to the end of the Craig Deed’s story, is total disregard for Craig Deed’s own story, which of course, is the result of psychiatric diagnosis and treatment; that he be labeled *poor historian*– mentally incompetent.

    At what point, though, should we expect a competent psychiatrist to add to this story; share the known adverse effects of withdrawing from anti-psychotic drugs? Who should have known how to interpret the changes in Craig “off meds”? Who could we say is professionally obligated to PREVENT these horrific events in the first place?

    This is simple straight forward medical information relating to psychiatric drugs– and not one g–damned psychiatrist can get that out in MSM–?? Just this little bit of evidence that they have a grasp of some aspect of the medical effects of their drugs would give them a bit of credibility. Why aren’t psychiatrists jumping at the chance to prove they do know how to think like a *real* doctor?

    The answer: biomedical psychiatrists *believe*that all adverse drug reactions, including those that result from withdrawal– are *symptoms* of either A) Worsening of the mental illness , or B) A symptom of a new, more severe mental illness.

    Bio-MEDICAL psychiatry model beliefs demand one suspend rational thinking and ignore the significance of SCIENCE all together– and the rest?

    The *non-believing psychiatrists* fear being persecuted as heretics …

    So, we have another tale told by *idiots*.

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  • Johanna,

    I can’t hold a candle to your research prowess, and I am an appreciative audience for your clear, concise writing style. Your arguments are resonating closer to my radicalized viewpoint of the state of the buy out of academic medicine. I think, though, based on your response to my faith in the medical community comment, (above, where there are no more reply buttons) there is a profound difference in our expectations based on the subtle differences in of our position, or proximity to the fiends who are behind this scourge.

    I do not envision medical professionals as a group of like minded professionals. I have seen my fair share of incompetent quacks in medicine over the years, and realize that the temptation to cash in on a medical degree is no less attractive to medical, *real* medical doctors, than it obviously has been for psychiatrists. What I am talking about refers to the subset of integrity possessing, morally guided, members of the medical profession that I know well. There are a few in the field of psychiatry as well. Strictly speaking, I am referring to those who made a serious commitment to the medical profession based on desire to heal, cure and at the very least, help without intentionally harming vulnerable people. It is this group who is struggling with fulfilling their duty and protecting the profession that gained trust and was granted power and authority based on this trust.

    Their silence is complicity– their silence condones the indefensible. If they organize, their voices can tip the scales in our favor– politically, and most definitely in the criminal justice arena, where only their voices will matter.

    I do push the envelope, appealing to the conscience of *good* doctors that I know– but it will take some clever networking by those doctors who already are blogging and writing about this post of yours, and all recent commentaries about documents in the public domain. I believe they can and will step up to the plate–

    Darkest before the dawn??

    Wish you lived closer to Boston–


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  • @bpdtransformation,

    Thank you for clarifying your position re: public/political activism. I completely agree with your thinking and also feel strongly about the importance of reclaiming your true identity and establishing relationships based on trust. For different reasons, I have had to rebuild my professional confidence and reputation. The retaliation from those I had exposed and challenged was brutal–but fortunately, I had a few solid friends, some were professional colleagues, others were parents of kids I met on inpatient units here in the Boston area. The referrals for advocacy came through the latter, which sustained my belief in the need to continue to denounce the MH industrial complex that is still destroying kids. Again, I respect both the work you are doing and the decision you are making to protect it and your hard earned right to do it.

    I have been a nurse for 41 years now. I stumbled inadvertently into adolescent psych in 1988, hired to work as a regular, school nurse variety, RN in a residential center for adolescent boys. I continued on — seeking what other regular nurses I worked with back then were seeking; a reasonable explanation for labeling kids as mentally ill, then brain disordered (officially stamped at first ever White House Conference on Mental Health — just a few months after the terrifying mass murder by *kids* at Columbine); my greatest concern was always the drugs–by 2003, I still had seen no evidence of the benefit, and by then , psychiatrists were drugging them to the gills.

    I definitely get why you start from and focus on the labels, the bogus psych diagnoses. From my perspective, as a nurse, I was first and foremost worried about administering powerful, brain altering drugs to kids. I am no one to criticize any psych clinician who did not insist on scientific evidence for this insane practice, because, I was no more able to get past the authority based rhetoric, passing for medical expertise, that has always been at the root of this horrific scam. The guys in the white coats confidently assured clinicians, parents and patients that the scientific evidence was sound, and so were the studies and RCTs–Yup! Chemical imbalances in the brain… I wish I had kept the script used by nurses to teach kids about their “meds”– why they would need for for the rest of their lives– why they should not feel any more *stigmatized* than a peer who had diabetes or asthma!! In June, 2010, when I was coerced into resigning from Boston Children’s Hospital premier adolescent psych unit, Bader 5, this was the model taught and reinforced. And black box warnings were viewed as a huge problem, in that they may prevent a severely depressed ten from seeking treatment, or their parents from rushing them to a shrink. Don’t believe a word of the- *wasn’t- us* lame response, post being caught in their lies–. “Belief” in biological markers–etc.–? no different than beliefs around the *good intentions* for continuing to propagate this BS. None of this reflects an ounce of respect for anyone below the rank of a Harvard Medical School Professor of Psychiatry, whom Joseph Biederman told us is just one step below “God”.; none of this shows even a hint of concern for the harm it has caused–. And so on.

    It was a former patient, whom I still had contact with after leaving BCH, via her parents, who engaged me to work on a school project that led to my reading “Anatomy of an Epidemic”– that was February 2011. Watching the video of Bob Whitaker’s ISEPP talk , I am gratified to note that he finally sees a bit of what I told him were the barriers to psychiatry reform being initiated by psychiatrists.\- beginning when I first met Bob, April 2011. Seeing is believing— now, he, too, seeing it. I was kind of glad to hear him admit to *losing his temper* a bit, at the unmitigated gall of one of these *old guard shrinks* in the audience at a grand rounds he was invited to address. 🙂

    I thought psychiatry was BS when I did my clinical rotation through psych as a student nurse. I never would have sought a job on a psych ward– not viewed as *real* medicine in the 70’s when I was in nursing school– for one thing. I offer the excuse for giving psychiatry the benefit of the doubt, because I wanted to continue to work with a population of kids that I found fascinating, unique, and most of all rebellious in all the ways I admire. There was something else though, that compelled me to wade closer to the epicenter of this scourge. I now know that the kids I encountered in 1988 were being inducted into an experiment on false pretenses, then exploited to make billions for pharmaceutical companies-via the slight of hand method psychiatry is known for. I think I ventured as far as I could go on on my gut feelings of distrust of psychiatry.

    Psychiatrists , not pharma execs, proclaimed the scientific breakthroughs that transformed shrinks into medical *brain chemistry*doctors”. I was curious, skeptical and fascinated by this 180 degree turn around in status of shrinks. But, honestly, if I had already lost my heart to these kids, who were now *my patients* I could not have continued working in psych or endured ongoing mocking, and outright disdain from those who knew me as a *real* nurse, I stayed the course— all the way to Harvard affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital.

    My methods and means for both advocacy and activism are predicated on a premise ; like, “necessity is the mother of invention” . I have many underground referral sources and have established some very interesting, influential contacts– many of whom I encountered when I began to work with the Pelletier’s in April 2013.

    The second round of attacks from Harvard Child psychiatry, which initially caused those who were vital to the Pelletiers to marginalize me– accomplished two things :1) Kept me out of the spot light when the Pelletiers appeared in person on mainstream media- news and Dr. Phil, for example; 2) Protected me from being connected to the politically- based campaign, that took the spotlight off of psychiatry all together.

    Timing is everything– If it is not meant to be, it is meant to be better– . And BTW, your blog post on the genetic basis for BPD had me laughing out loud in front of my computer. My grandkids pleaded with me to share the *jokes*– . To your credit, my 9 year old grandson totally *got it*.

    Keep up the excellent work!


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  • Here is another GOLDEN Opportunity for psychiatrists to challenge this new marketing plan. It is those who have the requisite credentials, and experience in the field who need to step up to the plate and become leaders who educate the key players in implementing these programs— lessons from TMAP are a good place to start– .

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  • I do realize what you are saying here and totally agree that historically these have been the coveted roles of psychiatry — . We finally have new material, damning internal documents are making it into the public domain– .

    I wonder how credible psychiatrists would look, pointing fingers at the medical community when they kick them to the curb?

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  • I guess maybe I should have led with another assumption I have about your thinking regarding Johanna Ryan’s article– based on how I interpreted what you wrote. Don’t want you to assume that I am seeking anything but a better understanding of your thinking. I am especially interested in your take on how dangerous the psychiatric system is, which you say, and I agree, that this article confirms.

    It appears to me that you see this dangerous system as a commodity that is in dire need of *buyer beware* bells and whistles. Fortunately becoming more educated about the hidden dangers in psychiatry’s products and services is now possible. I agree that there are more than a few reasons for propagating a self motivated research approach as a vital first step before seeking psychiatric evaluation and/or treatment. However, the deeper one goes into this vortex, the darker the revelations about this dangerous system. I don’t think public education venues capture the true nature of this beast, though some people will be spared contact with it, duly warned. Loss of a little business is hardly a concern of psychiatry .

    Psychiatric treatment or no psychiatric treatment ? Would or should be the question , if it were just a commodity that can be freely chosen or willfully avoided. This article describes psychiatry as something more like a mythical dragon that acquires eternal life by eating its own tail. It is a self perpetuating, predatory business operating with impunity.

    Here is a peak inside the means by which customers are literally created via a very profitable process– under the guise of innovating treatments and rigorously testing them before they go to market. Educated consumers have as little protection as the most ignorant bystander. In all likelihood, the educated consumer will be subjected to even worse…

    Such is the case when parents protest psych referrals made by school officials who apply leverage that has a double bind– failure to comply with the request for psych eval can mean expulsion from school or loss of custody of the child.

    There are many instances when an educated consumer may find himself in hot water with psychiatry. Even knowing what to expect is unlikely to quell the fear. Not because of what psychiatry is or does, but what it perpetually invents—.

    I just received a “Dear Colleague” letter from McLean Hospital and a full color brochure announcing openings @ McLean Gunderson–“premier borderline personality disorder program for women”. It’s a trolling for referrals advert. As you know, Dr. Gunderson is called “a pioneer in the research and treatment of BPD”. Judging from the looks of this facility, it’s gonna take a lot of clients to sustain it. Funny how the funding for something cutting edge in psychiatry always seems to be awarded before the boon in the diagnosis— . I share this only to say that there is going to come a time when external pressure – political & legal primarily , will be the only way to say “no thank you” to psychiatric treatment–.

    Based on what I have read by you here and on your blog, I have deep respect your self motivated education, your style and your writing– ( and your sense of humor , i.e; how BPD got its name). I wish you would channel your gifts into a wider arena- public education for political activism, for instance. But I don’t assume you would agree– on any of the points I raised– . Your work is a stand alone effort that deserves praise and support. I am not assuming you are a slacker when I suggest you could do so much more– because you have the skills and the polish.

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  • @bpdtransformation– you’ve done an excellent job here summarizing and framing the key issues and the sources of conflict.

    I found something of value in “Touching a Hot Stove” when I compared it to a straight forward documentary, “Voices That Heal”. Alex’s film destroys the premise in her film via– inference, innuendo, thought provoking nuance and a strong dose of courageous truth telling— without a single shot fired directly at psychiatry. Now, that is brilliant film making !!

    There is quite an amazing display of talent on these really controversial threads– well worth the strain to break higher ground., imo.

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  • “Since Alice brought up the Republicans versus Democrats metaphor, it makes me wonder if Alice’s film’s pro/con representations about disease models benefits and harms is fundamentally different from Republican senators like Ted Cruz and James Inhofe who, disagreeing with 97% of scientists, argue over climate change as if it were a 50-50 issue.”

    I think we can conclude that these two arguments are the same, as they are based on a *Value Ethics* model, that supports authority based beliefs over scientific evidence and general guidelines that prohibit beliefs from becoming accepted standards for decision making.

    Of the two examples, psychiatrists are in a special position with respect to *authority*– and are pretty much protected from any but their peers criticism and challenging of their *beliefs*. Which, I believe, accounts for their cavalier attitude toward any push back that comers from the peanut gallery.

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  • “If our world – not just the world of psychiatry, but The World – were less toxic, this could be true for most, if not all of us.”

    I wonder how psychiatry could exist in a non-toxic world. I also wonder about psychiatrists who are commenting and writing on this site and others, who consistently seek the causes for the corruption in their field , outside of themselves–or rather, in *our society/our world*.

    I wonder why those in positions of authority with status attained via education and training, who are in leadership roles, can do little more than cite the problems in our world, which of course, we all can pretty much see. Meanwhile, as the psychiatrists in this category lament the pitiful conditions in society, they busy themselves evaluating, judging, labeling and *treating* the casualties of this society, and justifying the need for their services–. Not a hint of reflecting on the merits of an ounce of prevention– nor a single bead of sweat produced from the smallest of actions that would at least address the cause of the suffering in people they see– like a humanistic, warm supportive environment, an alternative to emergency rooms and locked wards–.

    Or as Sa has commented above, psychiatrists could become a formidable force for good– standing up against the coercive practices and the use of force that deprive the civil rights of those suffering the most in this MH system.

    After noting the tendency of psychiatrists to complain– even diagnose society at large, assigning their greatest critics a label in the *resistant to treatment* category, I can’t help wondering if they have some deep rooted motivation to maintain the status quo, or at least up the ante a bit on the causes for the suffering that ensures their patient load increases.

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  • Kelly,

    Curious about your lead in quotation by Allen Frances.

    ““[DSM-V] is a wholesale imperial medicalization of normality that will trivialize mental disorder and lead to a deluge of unneeded medication treatment – a bonanza for the pharmaceutical industry but at a huge cost to the new false positive patients caught in the excessively wide DSM-V net.”
    – Allen Frances, DSM-IV Taskforce Chair”

    Are you aware of the pivotal role he played in opening markets for pharma? Between the DSM IV ( 70 new disorders to match up with drugs) and TMAP,( the carved in stone guidelines that make first line treatments, prescription drugs. Thanks to Allen Frances’ contributions , there is a *one way* street to labels and drugs– no chance for cohort groups to challenge this fraudulent model; no simple task to re-educate the medical community, state based child welfare and criminal justice systems, teachers, parents– *the public*.

    Here is a link to excerpts from a talk given by Dr. Paula Caplan — an eyewitness to Allen Frances’ spurious transformation from parma golden boy to pharma and psychiatry critic.

    History tends to repeat itself…

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  • AND dismantled !

    A good place to start is to rip it free of the protection of the medical community.

    When will there be a tipping point reached in terms of the tolerance medical doctors have for their profession being trashed, slashed and burned by a handful of criminals wearing white coats?

    Barring that, we have access to our political leaders–

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  • How does your broken record statement protect kids ? the elderly? vulnerable people shuttled into emergency rooms to be restrained, contained and rendered helpless ?

    I appreciate how important it is to stress that each of us needs to become an active participant in researching the options available to us for *care* when we need it. But, you seem to think that is all it takes—?


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