Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Comments by Katie Tierney Higgins, RN

Showing 501 of 501 comments.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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*.

  • 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 !!!

  • 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 😉

  • @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.

  • 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.


  • Yo!
    I was referencing a phenomena described by a teen I met in a substance abusers tx center- it involved huffing paint fumes as a group activity . I don’t think hallucinations by suggestion in the context of exposure to mind altering noxious substances particularly “psychiatric “!- more like escapism – *from* psychiatry –

  • 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 .

  • 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!


  • 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.

  • 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).

  • @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.


  • 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…

  • @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*!!


  • @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….

  • 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.

  • @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.

  • @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 :-/


  • 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 !!


  • 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 .

  • 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 —

  • 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….

  • 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??

  • @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.


  • 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.

  • 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*–

  • 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!!!

  • 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 !

  • 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.

  • @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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • @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!


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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 🙂

  • @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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • @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…

  • 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.

  • @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?

  • @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.

  • @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 !!

  • @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 🙂

  • @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.


  • 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…..

  • 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—

  • 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.


  • 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….

  • 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.


  • 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!


  • 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.

  • 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!



  • 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*…

  • 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.

  • 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–

  • 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.

  • @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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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*.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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:-)

  • 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:-)

  • 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 🙂

  • @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”.

  • 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.

  • Leave it to a psychiatrist to figure out how the DSM V can be expanded to make psychiatry’s main function of labeling their prey *appear* rational ! — when in fact it makes more sense that this new diagnostic category will come replete with a drug treatment that will transform wishful thinking to an obsession — one that does not yield to gun control laws.

  • 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.


  • @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*

  • ““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*.

  • 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–


  • correction:

    “But, honestly, if I had already lost my heart to these kids, who were now *my patients*”

    Should read : if I had NOT already lost my heart…

    Addendum: This may be why I resonate so closely with Alex’s healing methods and messages– It is the heart that matters most, imo.

  • @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!


  • 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– .

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • @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.

  • “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.

  • “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.

  • 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…

  • 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–

  • 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—?


  • To the issue of stigma –I see potential for creating value using both “Voices that Heal” and “Touching A Hot Stove” as teaching tools.

    It is within the norms of our society that the trap from which stigma arises is baited, then a hierarchy develops and an authoritarian voice arises to direct, instruct and define the norms. In “Hot Stove”, this voice of authority also makes judgments and assigns value. The bait is the belief that some of us are superior to others and can attain power via credentials, status symbols. The trap snaps and immobilizes anyone who believes this to be true.

    “Hot Stove” employs the most banal of society’s norms, the didactic,. This authority based teaching method is used to define and describe *stigma* through the filter that stigmatizes to begin with. How ironic? Yes, but it is also an excellent example of why there is so much turmoil and confusion around the term, “mental illness”. There is an error in the premise that some are more capable than others of pointing out what is wrong with any of us via our expressed thoughts and behaviors. This is shown to be a falsehood in Alex’s film/documentary.

    The truth that psychiatry has it all wrong is in the *stories*, in hearing the only voice of authority; the voice that resides inside the one that has been labeled. Yet, and this is the pivotal message I heard in “Voices that Heal”– there is no actual authority or claim to knowing everything about oneself, coming from that voice. It has also been my experience that the perceptions of self and the perceptions of the challenges, difficulties expressed by a *patient* are very different from those used to assign the label. What I heard from the *patients* I encountered was this :”Help me figure this out.” What I saw psychiatrists and other MH professionals do, indicated they were hearing “What’s wrong with me?”

    The really funny thing about my observations, being a nurse trained to respond to the questions of patients suffering pain and disability from physiological illness, was that I did not hear pleas for a label, a diagnosis from the* psych patients* I met on locked wards, though there were always some who initially felt gratified that their predicament had some kind of rational explanation, assigned by the rational authorities who were by then, their captors. –. Many in this category may have actually been relieved that there was a way out of the locked ward, after all— but this subtle difference between what I heard and saw, standing elbow to elbow with the DSM thumping zealots, made all the difference.

    There is So much to compare and contrast in these two films that highlights the essential errors in a society that sets up norms as rules, guidelines and criteria for dividing the fit from the misfits. How do these errors come to light? When those who have been stigmatized are ready to take center stage and clear up the confusion that their unique expressions of humanity have created.

    In “Voices that Heal”, the stars are the stigmatized. Ninety-six minutes pass too quickly–. Like any stellar production, this film leaves you wanting more–. Are these cast members in Alex’s film the *Hot Stoves* Alice’s films is talking about? Well then why are they so engaging and why did I feel I wanted to know them better? Why did I never look away, or want to escape? Why was I humbled by their honesty, and amazed by their courage and talent? I’m guessing it all comes down to a very human phenomenon, the capacity to honor the unique voice we all inherently have, which was first accomplished, then demonstrated by Alex via the art of film making.

    “Voices That Heal” is the real deal, the true, actual “Thing”– not a provisional pointing to or analyzing it, but just seeing it. “Touching A Hot Stove” is the image of the” thing”, but it is also the root cause of the “thing” called stigma. Dividing us, separating us, even admonishing us for the result of doing what psychiatry is predicated on. Alice’s film is an excellent model for the etiology of a society’s sickness that has reached epidemic proportions. It is important to teach the root cause for the survivors movement, because this lesson has something for everybody to work on.

    At the beginning of *Hot Stove* is the visual “coming out” and the voice saying “They are terrified”. Yes, “they” the hot stoves. And the voice of authority claims “they” are terrified of being “out” or visibly crazy.
    This is so wrong– or rather, the perception of what is terrifying “them” is clearly a projection and not even close to the internal struggle “they” are waging. I don’t mean to imply that there is one specific struggle, but there does seem to be universal themes expressed when “they” tell the story (of how they came into contact with the MH system). I totally resonate with the theme expressed as a fully cognizant state, where one is confronting all the unanswered questions regarding our existence and the very real perpetual threat of unforeseen disasters, or rather, as the Buddha taught: “There is no safety in this threefold world”. What Jeff Lieberman calls a biological illness, looks exactly like an existential crisis we should ideally be sharing and solving together.

    True, most people work hard to tune out the *existential hum*– and others find all unanswerable questions just too tedious to contemplate. But, there is , I believe, more scary truth in the narratives of a *mad person* than the mainstream can handle– even factual accounts of abuse by the healing professionals in the white coats, are apt to be blocked out of consciousness or rationalized out of existence by the MH professionals themselves. But, it is also true that when people grapple with these truths together, pooling their resources and their creativity, we can actually enjoy this precarious existence. The Buddha also said that the purpose of life is to “enjoy ourselves and be at ease”. The voices of mad people, stigmatized psychiatric survivors, are an invitation to enjoy what we are and what we already have.

    “The voice does the work of the Buddha”– is a teaching I am getting close to understanding– and the vibration of sound, that breaches all boundaries as it touches our innermost selves, conveys both warnings and comfort. We need more comfort. We need more voices from the psychiatric survivor community –.


  • Norman,
    …And we have a MH system that has propagated the notion that our kids have defective brains… letting the schools off the hook completely.

    I find your shifting responsibility for the ADHD sham toward the prey [society] of psychiatry most annoying. Sometimes it sounds as though you believe our *society* created psychiatry and/or its predatory nature.

    Ay yi yi!

  • Alice,

    Sorry? Why do you keep restating your *belief* that the medical model is *severely flawed*? It was a matter of lifesaving importance to me and continues to be for many of my former colleagues, to learn that the medical model is, in fact, a complete lie. The distinction between flawed and fraudulent speaks volumes–. It is the crux of a very serious matter, Alice, whether or not you force this fraudulent model on any of your patients, the fact that it is forced on *many* vulnerable people, should be of some interest to you.==Civil rights violations start here.

    I am also curious about the pronouncements you appear fond of making– like: “I fear that if your message is that all psychiatry is destructive, period, your will remain more marginalized than you ought to be.”

    I appreciate that most of the commenters here, and Sera in particular went to great lengths to provide you with invaluable feedback. Your patronizing come- backs pretty much sucked the remaining air out of this discussion. At least for me. It’s with great effort that I draw a deep breath and decline your invitation to be filmed in dialogue with people who take medication and are grateful for it, side effects and all… with the same conviction I employ when declining to waste any of my precious time—. the only reason I can think of that would explain how you could view this as a relevant topic, or even an issue anyone here has voiced, is that for the past 40 years, you have been living in your own private Idaho– and just can’t imagine the degree of disregard and disrespect your commentary has displayed toward those of us who were sickened by the film you produced.

  • Alex,
    I was deeply moved by your -full length documentary, “Voices That Heal”. I just happened to watch it before screening “Touching A Hot Stove”. Taking in these two films in tandem is perhaps the best way to experience all of the points you & Sera have made here in this thread.

    What helps? What hurts? Who is most helpful? And what is the most difficult experience to heal from? All answered in the narratives shared so brilliantly in your film.

    So, for me, Lieberman in his white coat is priceless–. What a poignant contrast his oppressive, unbridled arrogance is to the shining lives of the stars in your film !

    What I loved the most about the 96 minutes I spent engaged with your work, was the absence of any authority based approach to healing. A breath of fresh air to listen to stories that show respect for whomever the audience may be. I felt completely free to appreciate and learn from everyone’s *voice* , and totally welcomed into a circle of healing that asked nothing of me.

    Thank you, Alex, for this treasure,– this totally unexpected gift.


  • Thank you, Sera– for your courage and tenacity — and amazing stamina displayed throughout this discussion thread. Your arguments are well articulated and equally eloquent. I always appreciate your responding to and engaging with commenters on your writing. Considering the issues you raised and the push back received from those who claim to want *dialogue* to enhance soft, gentle change– and the maintenance of their comfort level, your work here is astounding. Amazing. Brilliant!

    I wish you a very relaxing, rejuvenating, and well-deserved vacation !!


  • Claudia,

    I think the point cannot be made strongly enough that *screening* is trolling for patients, drug consumers. I also think that more information regarding the incompetence of those who do screening is vital– actually it *screening* is a task usually assigned to those with the least experience in the area they are screening–. The infamous study conducted by Joseph Biederman in the early 90’s comes to mind– it was a overwhelming successful means for opening the billion dollar child market for Risperdal & Zyprexa– which is why the method seems to have become so popular.

    Here is a very brief description of the template now widely employed by MH professionals: The subjects for Biederman’s landmark study were recruited via *direct to consumer adverts*–“Bring us your ill-behaved kids”-if they kids ages 4-15yrs and driving you nuts with:difficult, destructive, opposition/defiant behaviors, temper tantrums and mood swings, etc.– additionally those kids who responded *poorly*to stimulants prescribed for *ADHD*– were added in the mix. It had escaped Dr. Biederman’s attention that this group were suffering adverse effects from the stimulants.

    Subjects recruited for this study were assessed via check lists handed to *non clinical staff*. The kids were assessed via *reports* by caregivers. The problematic behaviors checked off were re-assessed after the kids were drugged- sedated is perhaps a better description. Follow up assessments using the same check list tool; boxes ticked off by the same non-clinical staff, showed remarkable decreases in the problematic behaviors. Biederman & co. concluded that these kids met criteria for his diagnosis, C&A bipolar disorder– the ADHD kids were *misdiagnosed, he admits. The first line treatment: the drugs chosen for this RCT– Risperdal just happened to be the drug J&J wanted to turn into a blockbuster and J&J just happened to fund the Center for Research on C&A bipolar disorder that Dr. Biederman needed to advance his scientific research–

    Screening, recruiting to either advance the research efforts in the present MH field, or to identify a candidate for treatment are both in a category I would call, seriously dangerous for the public.

    It has to be noted that there has been a fair amount of criticism for Dr. Biederman’s methodology and the results of the bipolar diagnosis epidemic by very credible psychiatrists. However the books and articles condemning Biederman’s work have not captured the attention of MSM– and have had little if any effect on the damages of this fraudulent exploitation of vulnerable kids. THIS might be a topic for further research and discussion ??

    Seeing is believing. Thank you for opening up this can of worms..


  • Alice,

    I assume you are familiar with the basis for biomedical ethics; that Kant’s philosophical view that the human being should first and foremost be considered the ENDS, not the MEANS ? It is not such a leap in consciousness to observe how you have reversed this principle, when you wrote the following:

    “.. and I don’t believe that all psychiatry is hurtful and dangerous. I think it is for many, but not all, and for some it’s lifesaving.”

    Here, you claim that sacrificing the many to help the few is — the basis for your thinking? You are not thinking like a doctor, then.

    ” My work emerges from within that paradox. ”

    Your work violates the ethical principles that medical practice is based upon.

    “I understand that that feels wrong to a lot of the people in this group.”

    Those would be feelings based upon *facts*.

    “The fact that the film is shown in classrooms allows for discussion that – you may not believe this – moves away from the medical model – the model that is often presented as the only true perspective to young people today.”

    So, you show propaganda that supports the prevailing erroneous, fraudulent “medical model”– to evoke discussion of alternatives? I think that may actually insult your audience– or rather, it is a sneaky way to bring up discussions about what may actually help people suffering from mental, emotional anguish. I imagine you think your audience “can’t handle the truth”?

    “If I wanted to show some of your more powerful and one-sided films, they’d never be granted a screening because they would be considered too extreme. ”

    IF you showed films that demonstrate the humanistic ways in which people assist others to recover from severe mental states, you would be rebuking the model upon which your livelihood currently depends. The result might be your own journey through sever mental states…. and considering what awaits you by way of treatment for that, I suppose you are justified in doing whatever it takes to avoid that.

    What you are doing is extremely damaging, imo– and regarding medicine, which has been my life’s work, you are definitely on the wrong side of establishing trust in it, the medical field. Knowing there is no sound scientific evidence for what is “the only model most young people are exposed to”, you continue to propagate it via the fluke positive results from it. Do you really believe that your *feelings* should dictate your practice? I know that is the case with ALL of the MH professionals I know who are still in the system that has only a fraudulent model to rely upon. THEY FEEL this is he best that can be done for the *mentally ill*. BUT:
    Considering the expansive, horrific damages– especially to children, adolescents and all vulnerable people who cannot advocate for themselves– who are NOT deemed credible in your model *of care*; considering the fall out from the practice you believe needs to change slowly, I cannot help but notice that your feelings, themselves, are misguided.

    My comments are based solely on what you have shared in this discussion– from the perspective of a professional who has been intimately involved with the model of care you have referenced here and in your film–. Additionally, I am well versed in both the ethical and moral principles that were established as the foundation for medical practice– . So far, you have only argued from the validity of the feelings you have on these issues— especially those evoked when your argument is challenged. As a nurse, a professional in the health care field for 41 years, I cannot relate to the concept of basing one’s clinical practice upon one’s feelings— actually there is absolutely nothing but admonishment in our field for doing so– I happen to remember the days when medical professionals at least tried to assist each other to uphold the high standards that won them the trust of the public and the salaries they have attained as proof of their value.

  • @sa,
    The first wave of *reform*, or the MH system’s response to the evidence that psychiatric emergency and inpatient care was traumatic for the *patient* and that trauma was most likely the underlying issue precipitating the *psychiatric emergency* was the (drum roll please) Trauma Informed Care model. This consists mainly as window dressing and a marketing ploy to cover business as usual. I have been verbally attacked by colleagues for – essentially translating the research into my clinical practice. Why? Because all that is required to provide a safe environment involves communicating to the patient via *signals of care*– The key to TIC– is meeting the needs of the patient and family to feel safe and cared for. What you probably already know, and the MH professionals feeling *attacked* on this thread won’t admit, is that the philosophy of care for those in the most severe distress is : GET THE MEDS ON BOARD! and indoctrinating the patient and significant others with the (fraudulent) treatment model: MEDS ARE KEY TO “RECOVERY”– In the MH system, there is no such thing as recovery from a psychotic episode without meds/drugs. Period.This is first line treatment–Despite the evidence that it: causes more damage , often destabilizes the entire family unit; re-identifies the patient with a label that guarantees he/she will be viewed everywhere in the health care system as an unreliable historian — and subjected this question wherever he/she goes “Are you taking your meds?”

    I have yet to meet the psychiatrist, nurse or SW who speaks up about any of the research that contradicts this first line abusive, traumatic model of *care*. I have yet to see any MH professional document or advocate for *no meds* and family support in the ED. By the same token, people experiencing the super sensitization phenomena after stoping their *meds*, will be treated like a standard psychiatric emergency– again the only goal is “GET THE MEDS ON BOARD”–etc.

    IF only the wanna-be critical of psychiatry folks would honestly state WHY they think change will be slow– or on what basis they believe they are making changes from the *inside* of this dehumanizing system, there could be dialogue– perhaps. but, first and foremost, they all seem more invested in keeping the secrets– the justification for this torture– the mindset that is deeply engrained in a completely non-medical environment. They know. It is impossible NOT to know–

    I will offer you one ray of hope regarding the loss of trust your loved one experienced, which is based on a feeling of being betrayed; that those closest to him would throw him to the wolves, cooperate with those who tortured him.

    I have worked mostly with young adults, whose lives were seriously damage during childhood and/or adolescence by the *best modern psychiatry has to offer*. They all are developmentally predisposed to transferring distrust of the *MH system* to their caregivers/parents/loved ones. I was already known to a few as kids on a unit where I had worked. I already had rapport with these few and had established trust for being fully aware of their issues, and supportive of them during their inpatient crisis. These few know that I failed to make any significant changes *while inside the system*– and even being more outspoken on the outside, I am still only successful on a very small scale with those I am fortunate to encounter. At the right time, in terms of their overall understanding of what the MH system represents in our society, I am able to connect them closer to those they feel betrayed them, by openly expressing the pain I feel due to overwhelming helplessness in the face of what should only be a matter of stating facts and intervening based on evidence, and rescuing a vulnerable person from this horrible excuse for * mental health care*. I encourage unity, solidarity and mutual understanding, because it is so very important that those of us who have experienced and witnessed the truths NOT told in Alice’s film and by other MH professionals on this site’; it is vital that we remain strong in believing that our humanistic bonds will prevail. You shared your loved one’s suffering — were in the same boat, for the same reason. The best evidence presented by the most credible people of our time, has made absolutely NO difference to those who will not give up the power they wield over our lives.

    I worked out very detailed plans with my *clients* and their families, to avoid
    future trips to the ED — and was available immediately whenever these plans failed. Just as psychiatric survivors writing here, are only asking for acknowledgement of the abuse they have suffered, those close to anyone who is entrapped in the MH system also needs to have his/her feelings acknowledged– vicarious trauma or witnessing and feeling helpless during events that are clearly traumatic for a loved one, is a deep wound inflicted by the same so-called professionals who take over — during *a psychiatric emergency*.

    THIS is the topic that reveals the TRUTHS worthy of a film, a documentary. Still untold…Because while the MH professionals we hear from here are telling us that *they* are obliging a dysfunctional society– the fact remains, the majority of the people who make up our society are completely in the dark regarding what It is these profs believe they are obliged to do. And I have enough faith in human potential and *the people* to believe that WHEN they are accurately informed, THEY will go to whatever lengths it takes to stop this.

    And one other thing– healing from these deep wounds of betrayal by our very own mental health care professionals, elected leaders and agencies we fund to protect us, is not only possible, but goes well beyond the concepts we associate with a cure. Never the same, true, but better in ways that we could have never imagined possible.

  • Playing –a broken record, your dismissing the recently publicized evidence of data hidden by design regarding suicidality caused by the SSRI, Paxil, is proof that some vested members of the scientific community felt a little shaky about defaulting this adverse effect to the *mental illness*/severe emotional state of person who ingested the psych drug.

    What you may want to ponder here, is the possibility of chemically inducing a * murderous mind*– from the premise that such a sate of mind is prerequisite to these violent mass murders. Think also– about the states of mind associated with the less dangerous group of illicit drugs– ,that there is an expectation of effect; that mind/mood even thought altering is known to occur and is actually, the desired effect.

    Insiders from pharma– not all of whom became whistleblowers, have shared that their reaction, one of shock and horror, as they were noting these bizarre adverse effects occurred in a population cherry picked for *safety*— The thinking that produced the decision to recode and then hide this data went something like this: These drugs will be prescribed to kids who are depressed–. so, once they are used in clinical practice, it will be damned near impossible to prove that a suicide was caused by the drug– prescribed for a patient with a diagnosis that already puts him in a risk for suicide category.

    Suicide and homicide are both acts of murder. Most cases of either or both in people taking psych drugs that carry this risk, (per FDA black box warning) death is caused by an act of violence.

    What a few psychiatrists with both integrity and knowledge of psychopharmacology are focusing on is an urgent matter of public safety. There is no other motivation — and the urgency has intensified with the proliferation of prescribing these drugs–

    The DSM is the handbook for prescribing drugs. Most of the diagnostic labels and their standard guidelines are tailored to an effect shown in a RCT. Without the drugs, the labels themselves are, financially speaking, worthless. That these labels are worthless overall, is a natural conclusion following the reasoning that produced them.

  • there are no more reply buttons way up the thread where you started a comment with this statement:

    “I would only support medication use in an emergency situation and then a period of time to allow the person to recover their ability to think, talk and self-direct. I’ve seen this protocol in the ER (Oliveview UCLA) and then in the in-patient unit …”

    I think it needs to be noted that the condition of many patients who are experiencing severe mental states is worsened, actually becomes an emergency IN the ER. It is so important to be fully alert to the context of the episodes you describe as “emergencies– that leave no options but to order a hold on the patient and to administer *emergency drugs*– which, my experience tells me, will be done via force in the majority of cases.

    As we all know, having no objective test for ascertaining levels of neurotransmitters during these crisis states, and no scientific evidence to support a rational evaluation of the significance of these levels, any so-called emergency psych drug– which, my experience tells me would be either Haldol+ Ativan, or Zyprexa + Ativan is a *crap shoot*. It has never made sense to me to administer neuroleptics or the newer, atypical antipsychotic drugs , both known, BTW to potentially cause the same severe mental states that a person is suffering from —when these drugs are routinely administered as *first line treatment* — So, first line treatment is– What the hell– it can’t get much worse? When in fact, it can get much worse. WE can thank Allen Frances and his team for this specific insane response to a *psychiatric emergency*. (TMAP–1995)

    It is simple logic and basic humanism to assume that the best environment for someone who is *losing their grip* would be one that feels safe. This has probably been known and understood by human beings since the dawn of humanity. Yet, here we are in the 21st century, still transporting people who are feeling like their lives are unraveling, to an Emergency Room. And from there to hell– which is very easy to conclude if one simply pays full attention to the response of the suffering person receiving *the best modern psychiatry can offer*.

    Why aren’t there services that directly offer support, in our communities; caring capable people who can support a fellow human being suffering an existential crisis, or facilities that are home like respites ? Why no life to life, face to face reassurance for family members? Why absolutely no evidence of faith in the human element and the human potential to weather these storms? Why is there nothing BUT the worse environment, staffed by *professionals* who don’t seem to get how they contribute to, or even create the emergency , that incites the use of force?

    No one would expect that a severely injured victim of a MVA would be wheeled into the scene of another motor vehicle accident. People in respiratory distress are not wheeled into a burning building. No one suffering from an obvious physical injury or physiological illness would be transported via ambulance anywhere , BUT a medical emergency center–. Yet– a person who is terrified by the strange thoughts, perceptions and feelings he/she is experiencing, is wheeled into a loud, chaotic emergency room, full of strangers, cries of distress, high level emotional intensity and a myriad of strange sights that even veteran nurse like me can find alarming.

    Given that this is the standard of care and first line treatment produced by the top of the food chain in the MH system, psychiatrists– it is any wonder that so much doubt is cast regarding any psychiatrist’s claim to *expertise*? And, at least to me, it remains a mystery that MH professionals on the front lines, encountering their patients in emergency rooms have not managed to get a few very basic, very logical, totally in synch with psychological theories, points across — if for no other reason than to provide what is in the best interest of their patients/clients.

    You were fortunate to have been spared the drugs and the lock up that is the usual adjunctive treatment for severe mental states. You say you would go that route now that you have more knowledge of the benefits? Well, you have knowledge that no on else has– and I would be remiss if I did not warn you. There is absolutely no solid reasonable, scientific evidence that supports your belief that yours would be one of the few *good outcomes*.

  • Bucky,

    I think it is true that there are is more to learn from failure than from success– or maybe it is just that failure is a stronger motivator when it comes to seeking answers. My observations with regard to both diagnosing and treating *bipolar disorder* from a ring side seat for over 20 years, is that failure was almost inevitable– There must have been someone making claims like yours, some patient I met during my 20+ years as a psychiatric nurse who believed completely in their diagnosis and the treatment for *bipolar disorder*– but I just can’t recall a satisfied patient tagged with that label.

    If you appreciate scholarly writing, I suggest you read, “Mania- A Short history of Bipolar Disorder” by psychiatrist, David Healy- it stands proudly in the archives of Johns Hopkins Biographies of Disease. It is a very well documented history of the creation of this disorder in America, where the drugs came first, then the disorders were matched to them.

    Also, I have to point out that there are some major deficits in your education regarding Benzos and psychiatry’s role in handing them out like Pez. Psychiatrist have been Totally irresponsible prescribing, completely ignorant of adverse effects, oblivious to addiction and the horrific withdrawal process– that has led many people to attempt suicide. Additionally, the stigmatizing of patients who are addicted to Benzos, by psychiatry– and filtering down to the front line staff who encounter these poor souls is, as Richard says, one of the most damning indictments against a sub specialty in the field of medicine.

    The truth of this scourge is both well documented and fairly easy to access– but it may be that only those who have *failed* to benefit from crap shoot psychiatric drug prescribing, that seek this information– And those of us who bear witness to this destructive practice, who first needed to understand what we witnessed, are bound to assume responsibility for protecting the public from harm.

    Happy psych patients are rare, but their pontificating about our ignorant, irresponsible society, is quite common. I hope you are able to well up some concern for the many who are suffering, more form the ignorance and inhumanity of psychiatry than their own shortcomings. I doubt that any of them, or anyone writing from lived experience here on MIA would begrudge you access to whatever treatment you desire.

  • David Healy did a clinical trial w/ SSRIs – think it was Prozac , with healthy, not depressed people. And performed the study correctly,; that is; those who experienced suicidal thoughts/preoccupation, were re-evaluated after discontinuing the drug, and found to have no further problem with SI. The drug was administered again, to these same people, and again, the SSRI caused the same adverse effect, which is correlated with symptoms of akathesia.

    The risk for violent acting out- suicidal and/or homicidal behavior, has been a known adverse affect of SSRIs, some antidepressants and atypical antipsychotics for about 20 years—

    Best description I can offer of this phenomenon is emotional numbing in the tandem with a dissociative state– the *jumping out of their skin* feeling that is indicative of akathesia ,is the hair trigger – compulsive/ impulsive acting out violent thoughts.

    This is hardly new information– but a well kept secret — meanwhile defending the drugs by focusing on *mental illness* as the default precipitant— is well, you know, business as usual.

  • Cutting right to the chase, anyone who is put in a position of defending the indefensible , will invariably resort to shifting the focus from that [the realization of having acted in error] which is causing painful inner turmoil [shame, guilt], to seeking sympathy for his/her pain.

    This defense mechanism is learned very early in life. It is very frequently seen in young children by the age of 3yrs. Briefly, i will describe what i mean here:
    When a caregiver/authority figure confronts a child who was witnessed hitting another child with a toy, for example. Strong emotion expressed by the caregiver as admonishment directed at the child for having hurt a peer, will likely feel like a hurtful attack to that child–, who will sob and wail, seeking comfort, and missing the point.

    It is the injured child that deserves immediate sympathy, comfort. The child suffering shame, anguish over being admonished for the wrongful action needs to be engaged in dialogue — to enhance her understanding of the situation. Mutual involvement can be reinforced, by making a connection between hurting another and hurting oneself.

    I have spent most of my adult, professional life in the company of children, adolescents and young adults in a variety of settings from locked wards to community dance classes; as a nurse, dance teacher, even toddler teacher. I have never encountered a kid who could not engage around the reality of consequences for his/her actions– especially that one will hurt oneself – feel guilt, shame- both painful,BTW, when one hurts another. Natural consequences of our interactions with others– based on believing we are interconnected, interrelated and mutually endowed with the full gamut of human emotions.

    It is disconcerting to encounter so many professionals in the MH field who resort to the “I’m wounded” response when confronted with their participation in the *indefensible*. And I don’t say this lightly. Bear in mind that psychiatry is a subjective, arbitrary playing field, where the power is owned by the professional. The power to completely discount the humanity of a patient, client, lay person with absolutely no ostensible grounds for doing so. Ironically, psychiatry, dealing with the psyche/soul, something uniquely experienced and expressed by each individual; psychiatry has labored long and hard to categorize and develop one-size-fits-all practices and calls this, treatment. Naturally, those most adept in this irrational thinking style, are also the weakest candidates for reality testing. BUT, when a MH professional (especially a psychiatrist) pulls the *I am hurting by what you said about what I do*- card, I am a strong advocate for teaching him/her the likely source of their pain– and possibly get them a little closer to compassionate caring, or being capable of sharing the suffering of others.

    Nothing is gained by suggesting the playing field here is level– that the stakes are even; that all stand to lose the same vital stuff when something goes wrong. Because those are all lies.

    It’s noteworthy that so many MH professionals believe themselves to be rescuers, healers and even saviors of the most vulnerable amongst us– yet, have so little tolerance for hearing exactly what might enable them to fulfill their wishful thinking about themselves as professionals.

    No human being, regardless of their good intentions or breadth of knowledge should ever have the power psychiatrists have in our society. No doubt psychiatrists are being hurt by what they are allowed and often expected to do– Why aren’t they shunning this role? Why aren’t they the first to admit they are only human in the context of having been endowed with divine power?

    A mere mortal wielding divine power over others will be pressured to either force into submission those who oppose her authority or destroy them. There is no other way to maintain divine power– And you will notice that the majority of colleagues, peers & consort groups in psychiatry keep to *the code*–. An assault on one of them, threatens everyone else’s power–

    As difficult at is surely is to reach these MH professionals, the task at hand should always be consistent messages based on truth and reality– To do otherwise is to become complicit with committing indefensible acts towards other human beings– The main one here being: You are attacking me, hurting my feelings, and therefore, I cannot pay attention to you–”

    Which is, after all, just another category a psychiatrist can place another person in, and justify robbing him/her of their inherent dignity.

    Such behavior is indefensible..impo (in my professional opinion)

  • “In Massachusetts a new program, MCPAP for Moms, helps obstetricians to find resources for mothers with symptoms of postpartum depression. While the idea is to offer a broad range of services, often the intervention consists of a psychiatrist consulting over the phone to help a primary care clinician feel comfortable prescribing psychiatric medication to a pregnant or lactating mother. ”

    Be afraid—Be very afraid !! Comes to mind. then I think of the lamenting of psychiatrists and their scapegoats the PCPs–Who are *these doctors* prescribing 80% of OUR drugs??

    TMAP CMAP– you get confused. Who is actually responsible for so broadly disseminating a wasteland of dangerous, misinformation to every corner of this country? And who continues to dress this sham up and make it look like a pubic health service??

    Oh what a tangled web…

  • Hi Julie,

    I was referencing psychiatrist Joel Hassman’s assessment of society– I got my axis II diagnosis challenging *on-line psych diagnosis of total strangers*– posting comments on his blog –. My comment here is a A tongue in cheek referral to visit his blog — and laugh until you cry.

    I came out as *anti-psychiatry* on his web site–and immediately, he tossed me into his dust bin of *stupid,dangerous* people with the MIA extremist zealots– Obama supporters, etc.

    Maybe there is something of value in noting how psychiatrists view themselves as the experts du jour–At precisely the time when there is open public scorn of this corrupt, morally bankrupt profession, Dr. Hassman slaps us all with a label–, or rather discredits the messengers–as only he can. LOL


  • Alex,

    You are TOO kind 🙂

    Love to get your feedback on these recent exchanges between me and the blogging anti-anti-psychiatry psychiatrist.

    see comments on this linked article >>


    Then– notice how the good doctor devotes a blog on his site to degrading me further..


    There is a history of course– the story of how I got banned from Dr. Hassman’s site–seems that this sort of sniper attack is his forte?

    Go figure!

  • Alice,

    My perspective is based on close encounters with psychiatrists who lied to patients and/or their parents and/or significant others; psychiatrists who claimed to have identified the fundamental cause for *extreme mental/emotional duress that often precipitated behaviors that were problematic for those who sought psychiatric care for someone exhibiting behavior that was problematic *; psychiatrists who claimed to have knowledge about the neurochemistry of the brain; psychiatrists who claimed to have drug treatments for what they had labeled, a disease/disorder; psychiatrists who were ignorant of the adverse effects of these drugs, including dependency and withdrawal; psychiatrists who diagnosed adverse reactions and drugged those, too. From my perspective, a nurse on inpatient, locked wards and residential psych treatment settings from 1988-2014 (minus 7 years working in early childhood education) I have to assert the crucial, fundamental issue that is at the heart of the civil rights movement started by psychiatric survivors. That issues, is that psychiatric treatment– from diagnosis to drugging is not based on scientific evidence, or anything resembling medical treatment. It is/was a fraudulent enterprise that was supported, funded by the pharmaceutical industry who shared their absence ill-gotten profits with psychiatrists. The most prominent psychiatrists of the past 2 decades are responsible for this *crime*.

    Now, you want to acknowledge that some people are quite satisfied with this? Without saying what they are actually accepting? To me, your reasoning supports Freud having a good experience under the influence of cocaine, or Robert Downey Jr.’s award winning performances while under the influence of heroin. Both are true– but not recommended for those who are seeking human performance enhancement via drugs.

    I have no disrespect for anyone’s claims to successful use of drugs, but I find it hard to respect my professional colleagues who continue to dismiss the fundamental issue of the sham that is psychiatry, and, instead, look for something to justify their pay checks in the field.

    Psychiatry, branded in America over 20 years ago, is not a *model of care*, but a lesson in the dark side of human nature— that our medical community could allow and then silently condone the exploitation of vulnerable people for profit is too crazy…. Equally, crazy, imo, is justifying this in the name of respecting those who weren’t severely damaged.

    Oh what a tangled web…!!!

  • You’ve got it all wrong, Dr. Levine. Psychiatry is the innocent victim of corrupt politics and a society that is somewhere on the spectrum of Axis II disorders–
    You’ll get the straight talk here:
    Who, but a psychiatrist could get it right for us? Hurry over and get your complimentary Axis II diagnosis and general lambasting for being anti-psychiatry!!

  • Hi Bob,

    Thanks for the heads up on this post by Ron Pies. Yes, I agree that we should care about the PR that refutes propaganda that continues to be propagated in the absence of public re-education by the APA. This has been my focus, that the so-called critical psychiatrists have not become activists in the public sector, with a sense of concern about the plight of parents and knowledgeable nurses, like me, who are trying to do *real* damage control. I posted the following comment this blog post:

    >>In “the most extensive layperson’s book in print on various medications used to treat children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders–” Straight Talk about Psychiatric Medications for kids” by Dr. Timothy Wilens, we have a prominent Harvard affiliated child psychiatrist talking about the “subtle chemical differences in the brains of children…” . After declaring the first statement here in the introduction, Dr. Wilens also tells us :
    :”Emerging findings suggest that the bulk of emotional, cognitive and behavioral disorders are caused by subtle chemical differences in the brains of children.”
    And then proclaims “The medications that are prescribed normalize the transmission of these chemical signals and reduce the child’s symptoms.” (pg. 14)
    “Explain to those at your child’s school and elsewhere about what you have learned about the biological causes of the child’s disorder.”
    “But in the case of bipolar disorder, behavioral interventions cannot cure the child of the biological tendency toward mood swings.” (pg. 16)
    Right below this statement is a box with this “helpful definition “of the biological process–
    “Neurotransmitters- Chemical messengers that are the main communication links between nerve cells>”
    This is the third edition of this book, written by one of the Joseph Biederman’s students in 2009. that would be a year after the Sen Grassley COI scandal–. The 4th edition is due out in April 2016– however, there has been no effort to correct the multiple errors in this book, no retractions– and surprisingly, my review of it on amazon was never published.
    With all of the spoils of authority in this field, Dr. Wilens claims( in the introduction) that the information in his book is derived from a “wealth of scientific literature, ongoing research efforts in which my colleagues and I are engaged, and my clinical experience.”
    Imagine the challenge that I, a nurse specializing in child/adolescent psychiatry for over 20 years, have when a parent asks me why I refute the “knowledge of the experts” ?
    I have written to the ACCAP, and the publisher of this book– even to Dr. Wilens. No response. Perhaps, you have some clout within the the APA that would initiate the task of re-educating both psychiatrists who do continue to preach this pseudoscientific jargon to support prescribing psych drugs to kids– and the public who believe it? Perhaps it is time to insist upon a public education effort from the APA that will correct the imbalances in the mindsets that are currently weighted heavily in support of chemical imbalances in the brain, psychiatry as a medical specialty and drugs as the best treatment to normalize these neurotransmitter maladies ?
    There are no agents/drugs that specifically target the “medical” cause of these disorders, yet right in this book, a prominent psychiatrist says otherwise. If he lacks knowledge, whose responsibility is it to educate him? and do damage control in public forum?– if not the APA? <<
    Thank you,
    Katie Tierney Higgins RN
    – See more at: http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/blogs/couch-crisis/serotonin-how-psychiatry-got-over-its-high-school-crush#comment-39345

    Blog writing and engaging with the psychiatric survivor community is a good start, but it does not address the real and present danger that the pseudoscience supporting coercion and force for these treatments continues to thrive. Granted, refuting the premise does point to a conclusion that seriously undermines the credibility of the most prominent psychiatrists and their professional organization. So, it appears that Critical psychiatrists and other on-line outspoken MH professionals are not really distinguishing them selves from the status quo defenders of the old guard. As an advocate for the psychiatric survivor community, I have realized that I am just as vulnerable to attack by both the defenders of the APA and those who will not publicly denounce them.

    This has been my path to an *anti-psychiatry* position, and my claim to fame that I am called an extremist zealot, and other quite nasty names by a psychiatrist who blogs in protest of the APA, inside his ivory tower– and appears here periodically to slam the MIA commenters—. Joel Hassman banned me publicly on his site . 🙂
    Because, I would not back down from my criticism of my professional colleagues who seem to be having their cake, and eating it, too.

    There is a way forward– IF my professional colleagues can come together and defend the principles our licenses are based upon– for the sake of those for whom we are ethically, duty- bound to protect from harmful medical practices.

    I really don't see why this is viewed as an extremist attitude. Even amidst the confounding chaos and continuation of forced imprisonment and forced drugging, I have collaborated with knowledgeable, compassionate co-workers – on the front lines– speaking truth to power, appropriately educating patients and families– and eventually, losing our jobs– because the next rung up on the chain of command will not rock the boat. So the grassroots movement to *abolish* harmful , non-scientific, non-medical– sometimes *forced* treatment is mowed down before we can grow to a height that captures the attention of political leaders, etc. Sad beyond words, to note that those riding the power mowers are blogging their criticism of biomedical psychiatry.


  • ” One cannot explain or understand behavior, thought and feeling by eliminating neurotransmitters from the picture.”

    So far, there has not been a correlation established between neurotransmitter system function and behavior. However, based on what is known about specific drugs perturbing the neurotransmitter system, the effects can be horrific for some individuals, and fatal for others– behavior wise.

    I say this to point out that the use of psych drugs is an experiment; that the practice has always been backwards science and crap shoot medicine. Experimenting with illicit drugs is illegal, and the negative messages associated with prohibiting their use are essentially warnings, based on anecdotes intended to evoke fear, while evidence of people having pleasant, beneficial or even interesting experiences with illicit drugs abound. The message– “you can’t know ahead of time how you will be effected, be prepared…” — If psychopharmacology was honest, there would be the same disclaimer given to patients that a drug dealer gives to his clientele. Instead, we are told that legal, prescription only psychoactive drugs are treatment ; highly effective, generally well tolerated and safe. The same lack of scientific evidence playing out in opposite extremes.

    For years, people have shared that it is possible to experience transformations in mental, & emotional states without using any drug–; that methods are diverse with possibly one commonalty regarding re-connecting with others. Do you wonder why these success stories aren’t the basis for interventions in a clinical setting–?.

  • Margie,
    There most certainly are times when a person’s need for comfort is the emergency — with or without a serious medical condition contributing to her/his distress. Offering comfort, empathy, support is very much a part of nursing practice, as it assists a patient in crisis to understand and cooperate with life saving medical/surgical interventions. (Sharing from experience working in ER’s and ICU’s)

    But, here’s the thing. Very little is invested by most ER staff toward comforting and supporting a person whose presentation is assessed as, a *psychiatric emergency *– Though no less in need of comfort than any other person who comes to the ER in crisis, a so-called psychiatric emergency is dealt with swiftly – employing whatever force is necessary to retain/restrain the person, whereby drugs will be injected if the person refuses them.

    When people bring their loved one to the ER, it is to request help that is needed but that the loved one cannot provide, or whose efforts to address symptoms causing distress have failed. They are also in need of comfort, reassurance and support.– General assumption– for physiological illness, injury and severe mental/emotional crisis.

    There is no difference in the human needs of person with a medical emergency and the human needs of a person experiencing severe mental/emotional anguish. To the extent that there is an emergency component in either case, there is greater urgency to address the need the *patient* has for feeling safe. Meeting the basic needs of a patient is providing comfort.

    The exception is the unconscious patient, or severely injured patient in a state of shock–. Classic examples abound in shock trauma units, where the focus is task oriented: skilled assessment, triage and emergency interventions, where the comfort aspect applies to the specialist in direct relation to his/her evaluation–. Brief experience with shock trauma years ago– There, the comfort level is achieved when a patient is stabilized.

  • 1. “Please refrain from assuming what happened with Mary is the same as what has happened with you.”

    Actually, I am not so sure there isn’t more similarity than difference– when you consider the act of being forced into a locked ward where forced drugging is the norm– the differences are actually rather insignificant– .

    2.” Please take caution when interpreting what she may consider “worse than death” or what she is thinking and feeling.”

    since you can’t know Mary’s inner thoughts and feelings, would be hard to say for sure whether someone who has been forced to stay on a locked ward and forced drugged would know Mary’s actual response–, but a safe bet hers would be closer to the truth than one who has not experienced loss of control over their life decisions– etc.

    3.” Please do not base other people’s experiences upon your own.”

    I think you covered that in #1.–But this gives me a chance to elaborate– It is actually quite natural for people to empathize with others facing circumstances they have found frightening– . Healthy concern and compassion for others is rare these days, I admit. Seems like it is being pathologized — like so many human conditions–

    4. ” Please move forward and accomplish the goals that are being destroyed by the fear and anger that is obscuring the message.”

    If you got the message, press “1”, if you need further assistance, press”O” and an operator will assist you.

    Addendum: From the text on Trauma Informed Care; Authoritative statements and directives are triggers for people who have suffered traumatic experiences–most often abuse by an authority figure.

    I hope sanderella knows that most readers here would understand and appreciate where she is coming from–and that our support is unwavering.

  • “…”involuntary because you said you were suicidal and homicidal? ”

    I think it is critical to note that sanderella was seeking treatment, voluntarily for the severe adverse effects of poly psych drug withdrawal – cold turkey: klonopin, trazodone, effexor Lithium. -She got more drugs and more adverse effects —- and threatened for noncompliance…

    “And here’s the clincher where I went from voluntary to involuntary status. My psychiatrist told me that if I complained one more time about side effects that he was going to start injecting them. So I complied. I was scared. I was now court ordered to take them- forced.”

    So, she was further traumatized— which is not an uncommon result of bad medicine and the lack of compassion prevailing on locked wards. The result goes beyond trauma really, it is more like torture. And this is status quo on locked wards.

    “Do you have any respite services in your area for people in acute emotional states?”

    sanderella said she sought care at Forestville Hospital– Are you suggesting there were no medical concerns around cold turkey WD from Klonopin, Effexor and Lithium? Of course, sanderella may not have known she would not receive appropriate care for the medical aspects of WD– much less a therapeutic environment on a locked psych ward. Not her fault.

    ” this is what we so desperately need for people who don’t have family or friends who can compassionately see them through the terrible and frightening episodes.”

    So, you are saying you need respite services as an alternative to locking people up, drugging & torturing them? Or that yours is the only locked ward that does not do this? I’m sorry– no disrespect intended , but i would have to see it to believe it.

  • Pharmaceutical corporations are amongst the wealthiest in the U.S. , and well beyond… How do they make their obscene profits? Depending on the ignorance of the masses–Wouldn’t be happy with bad press, I should think.

    I think the first order of business is dealing with institutional corruption. Harvard Law School professor, Lawrence Lessig, who helped create Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics’ lab on institutional corruption (where both Whitaker and Cosgrove served as Fellows). wrote the Forward to “Psychiatry Under the Influence”

    Also hard to imagine in our present circumstances that any major institution would look beyond the lucrative value of emotional trauma, and once noticing what a profitable market it is, may actually endeavor to pump up the emotional trauma — for business purposes.

    Psychiatry gets away with bad medicine because no one in the medical community will reign it in—, or better, exile it. Psychiatrists aren’t about to rock the boat for each other, either. Bad medicine is a reflection of the status of the profession– Society doesn’t meddle much in medical matters, being ignorant of how science and medicine work– and all that, so psychiatry got away with what doctors may still think cannot be known, understood– least of all prosecuted by society. It’s a mistake, I think to believe psychiatry will get away with bad medicine– once it leaks out in the right places.

    I am not afraid of the aftermath of the collapse of psychiatry — new frontiers can be daunting, but not so much so that a return to psychiatry would be anything more than stronger motivation to push forward.

  • Norman,

    There is a letter and slide presentation on-line , by David Healy, titled: “Global Business Masquerading as a Science”- it is one the best explanations for all the things you blame on society’s shortcomings–

    Anyone who researches the marketing of biomedical model psychiatry is stunned by the close relationship between pharma and psychiatry– achieving power/wealth by “changing minds”–

    It is no accident or mere coincide that people began to suspect that their inability to cope was due to something wrong with them, as magic bullets for mental illness were being mass produced. The problem is not about what just can’t be changed within society. the problem is that psychiatry is an institution , an empire– it is draining the resources and the life out of society. At the moment we, the people appear helpless, but I promise you that is going to change.

    People can only solve their problems when they know what lay a the root of them. Maybe you think the mainstream media is the gatekeeper of public knowledge? I mean, yes there are barriers, but they are by no means insurmountable.

    Do the math. What does it cost us to fund the MH system? In dollars and cents. Factor in tax payer funded involuntary commitment, the drugs– OMG– just the cost of the drugs is mind boggling. (pun intended). I contend that $$ could be used to resolve many of the issues that are now like a conveyor belt to a psych ward.

    Here’s my anecdotal evidence. During my 40 year nursing career, I can count on one hand, the number of people who say they were helped by psychiatry- Three were hospitalized in the early 70’s at Westwood Lodge in Silver Springs Maryland. Then there are roughly 20,000 other patients I have met– ages 3 years to 102 years who were adamant in their disdain for the psychiatric treatment they received. Hundreds were severely harmed, some have not recovered from the damage of locked ward involuntary treatment. I know of 10 who committed suicide, though I am sure there are many more I have not heard about. I don’t recall a single instance when a teen was admitted following a suicide attempt– some of whom survived by miracles, literally; as I recall all of these kids had psych labels, took psych drugs and/or had previous locked ward involuntary admission.

    Yes, I know, the data shows a much brighter outcome for psychiatric treatment– millions are helped, leading fuller lives–. and so on. Still, I will use my remaining time on the planet, disregarding what the expert psychiatrists claim, and do my best to honor those I now know were tortured in the name of greed, not science–and certainly not medicine.

  • “I think a good idea is to try to appeal to the self-interest of those in power in some way that also serves the interest of psychiatric survivors/sufferers, but I am not sure how this could be done.”

    I have been thinking about this, too. I believe that the people, united by the same goal and sense of purpose are the most powerful — What has not happened yet, is the crisis that puts us all in the same boat–. Well the crisis is happening, it just isn’t very well known– yet.
    This magnitude of corruption evidenced in the historical background and current responses by leading academic psychiatrists who authored Paxil Study 329 , is one thing, but we are seeing– if we want to take the time to study the documents on study329.org , the degree to which doctors who play a major role influencing medical practice guidelines, mainly drug treatments,; academic psychiatrists especially, have depraved indifference toward the suffering of patients, in this case children and adolescents. Don’t you think this is a message *the people* need to get?

    Next issue would be the cover ups, lies, passing the buck, etc that is happening even now, when study 329 has been restored– . If nothing else, the fact that none of the original 22 authors saw the data– probably have no idea what to make of it anyway, speaks volumes on the incompetence on the part of the “best of the best in child/adolescent mental health in all of North America”. Don’t you think the people need to know that the top of the child psych food chain is unethical, incompetent and has yet to demonstrate even the slightest concern for the kids who were harmed in the damn drug trial?Let alone the millions who came after them…I think this should be front page news. Why? Because psychiatry has attached itself to kids like white on rice– This is a point I consider relevant, and in the best interest of the people, this message needs to get out.

    Which ghost written article on any RCT published in any professional medical journal can be trusted? Pharma still does not release the clinical patient data on the subjects in the trial. Do you have any idea what it took for this team to get hold of the heavily guarded secrets of Paxil Study 329? Hello? If medicine is practiced based on the guidelines for treatment, based on the results of RCTs– and it is, actually, so I will go ahead and say, everyone is basically a guinea pig– Just so happens it is psychiatry doing the most damage for the greatest profits–. The information on the web site Study329.org– combined with numerous posts by Mickey Nardo on 1boringoldman and David Healy on RxISK.org is the course work for a public campaign.

    Any practicing MD who is not up in arms over the state of things regarding safe, effective treatments/pharmaceuticals– is either on Pharma’s payroll, or cooling their heels unperturbed, comfortable in the ultimate authority role that is considered a right of passage in the MD brotherhood. Are the majority of doctors willing to play Russian roulette with the lives of their patients and their medical license? Well– so long as it isn’t public knowledge….?? Amazing, isn’t it?

    Oh, Norman, please stop blaming *society*. Society isn’t writing the prescriptions. Doctors are. Society would not be OK with being a market of gullible lab rats for the medical profession. Are Doctors OK with pushing whatever Pharma is selling today? On whomever is easiest to coerce–? So what if the number of educated consumers are on the rise? Kids, the elderly, anyone with a psych dx/label– ALL fair game for forced drugging/incarceration– . Be great if psychiatry just did its part reducing the stress we are overwhelmed by– instead of harping on how it needs to exist because we are so stressed out! Broken record– lame excuse.

    Psychiatrists duped? Not a valid excuse anymore– . Never should have been — unless you subscribe to the notion that a medical degree is like “sucker” stamped on a doctor’s forehead. Nope– they know better– even psychiatrists knew damn well they were clueless about complex biological processes. Rubber stamping brain altering drugs as cures for brain disorders/diseases? Give me a break- you think they did not know how ignorant they were about neurotransmitters- chemistry, biochemistry? Well, the drug reps sure spotted it. And no one is saying: For crying out loud– ! IF a psychiatrist had a grasp of the *workings of the brain* he sure as hell would spot the flaws in the sales pitch for magic bullet psych drugs. Turns out, only a handful of psychiatrists did– spot the flaws. One is Mickey Nardo, who practiced Internal Medicine for a few years before going into psych–the psychoanalysis , talk therapy branch that has all but disappeared. Anyway, Dr. Nardo is a Real Doctor of Medicine– hence, the grasp of SCIENCE. David Healy is a data medicine specialist – hence, the bells and whistles regarding RCTs – first used by psychiatrists, RCTs became the gold standard when their payoffs reached into the millions–Of course now, we’re talking, billions $$$$
    (meet the other real doctors practicing psychiatry, who spotted the BS passing for medical literature, they are on the RIAT team that desired study329.)

    There is a message waiting to be disseminated in as many ways as there are individuals who care about kids, our future, or even just their own behinds.
    I think it was Cat who requested a Manifesto to coalesce a movement– ? I am working on one–

  • Frank,

    You have a way with words-

    “Elyn Saks has been reading the mental health movement propaganda though, hasn’t she? “People with” is a growing cause for lobbying the government for taxpayer money. Otherwise, people might have to go “without”, and when that “without” is “schizophrenia”…Whoa! We can’t have that….”Schizophrenia” is the mental patients best friend. ”

    I am familiar with this line of reasoning, though never saw it explained so clearly.Makes me think about the power of straight talk…

    ” As I see it, all of this non-sense spells “bad barrel”. ”

    Absolutely. The reformist or critical psychiatrist is still, after all, in the “bad barrel” … could even be a pharma plant.
    I have often wondered if Allen Frances is doing his swan song for pharma — on their dime. I can almost hear J&J calling,
    “Just open one more market, Allen. Same 4o grand bonus as last time if you can cook up a study that shows just about any on – patent psych drug, taken as directed, by 80% of minority males under the age of 30 in low income urban areas will reduce the incidences of arrest and incarceration for petty crimes– by whatever percent you think people will believe. Oh, and keep on with your jovial pot shots at – you-know-who– about you-know-what–. Just no more debates with that Bob- what’s his name?! ”

    You just never can be too sure—

  • When Paxil Study 329 is disseminated by the public will see that there is no foundation for psychiatry – no science, no morals, no ethics and no concern for the harm it has caused. Study329.org is a peak inside the ivory towers where all of the strategizing and reifying psych labels with drugs attached, marketing schemes and obfuscating, and scapegoating, blame shifting— this web site is like a reality TV show.

    Thus, we take this show on the road—
    “No more rehearsing and nursing our parts,
    we know every part by heart—…
    On with the show, THIS IS IT !!”

    In response to Bob Whitaker’s call to rally- posted today:

    “So what should society do? As Lisa Cosgrove and I wrote in Psychiatry Under the Influence, we see only one possible solution. We cannot expect psychiatry to reform itself, and that leaves only one option: We need to strip psychiatry of its authority over this domain of our lives. The challenge for society is to figure out how to do that.”

    There is nothing *good* in psychiatry– which is why it cannot reform itself–

    Starting where we live– dialogue, w/ friends, neighbors, co-workers, emails to political representatives, notices to schools, community organizations–, local media , . There is a larger network that will be developed– on-line networking -; where ideas for *marketing* the truth and updates on progress will be available–

    All MH health professionals previously disinterested in *anti-psychiatry* rhetoric may be more favorably impressed with the
    documented evidence that is free on-line for the public, and growing interest of the media – Might even decide to speak out against this scourge– silence will not make them golden, that is for sure.

    In solemn acknowledgment of all psych survivors taking a much needed respite after two ravaging posts —

    “Life during Wartime” by David Byrne & Talking Heads—

    ” don’t get exhausted
    I’ll do some driving–
    You ought to get you some sleep–”

    Hi ho!!

  • Agree. I like this description. It is about how things grow– all things actually grow in response to a constantly changing environment, and just like all things are in a continual state of flux, we, too are changing and cannot be freeze framed into a particular identity or label.

    It is the label that causes the maladaptive behaviors to persist and morph into self damaging – opposite of growth. And it is the BPD label that freezes the bud before it blooms–

    There was something like a subculture around BPD patients on inpatient units where I have worked– and dynamics played out, as if everyone had the same script — stagnation, withering– drying up–

    B.’s description here reminded me about Chinese Medicine, that it was developed in concert with cosmology, which is a life philosophy that illustrates our connection to the heavens and earth by way of comparisons of the life cycle and processes of all living things and all phenomena in the Universe–

    I think it would be interesting to employ these metaphors–. life cycle of a cherry tree for instance– and use descriptive language that focuses on the beauty and continuity of growth–rather than mundane scientific, behavioral developmental jargon that is analogous to what our mechanic tells us when our car acts up.

    Yeah– the label, a diagnosis— and ?treatment?–is the problem–
    Suggested tx for BPD sx:
    Maybe some fertilizer–? more time in the sunshine-?- a little less watering– ? transplant into a bigger pot?

  • Just imagine the proper resources we could afford if we were not saddled with the outrageous financial drain caused by funding the MH system–

    ” The sad truth is that it is highly likely that Mary, and many like her will be dead “–
    but what if we could afford to fund proper resources, Norman? Instead of paying up the wazoo for a system that “tries to forestall the inevitable by using a resource available to her ?” which happens to be known as worse than death for the majority who have been ordered to use this resource. —

    Wait. did you say that our screwed up society came up with this?
    ” the reality is that our society has robbed many people of the opportunity to have free and clear will and judgement.”
    But isn’t a psychiatrist and only psychiatrists judging whose free will is to be snatched and who gets judged incapable of making personal decisions? Society makes you do this? But, Norman, it was just a small segment of society that enacted laws defining minors and severely mentally ill people as “wards of the state”- over a hundred years ago– and this was never a topic discussed and debated widely by “society”–did you know that? At the present time, it is a small segment of our society who knows what a disgrace these laws are, that assign psychiatrists to the role of determining the fate of incompetent people, that coincidentally, psychiatrists are labeling incompetent to begin with.

    Yes, political discussion would be great and it is coming, but it is taking longer that I hoped to educate enough of our society toward this end.

    Meanwhile, there you are, the harbinger of doom for those psychiatry can’t kidnap for a go at something worse than homelessness and social isolation. Condemning society in general, while ignoring the fact that by and large society is in the dark regarding what you are calling an “available resource”.

    What I find the most screwed up here, is your rendition of Mary’s plight and certain fate– maybe you don’t see how casually you proclaim there is little hope, while helping to drain society of the resources that would provide some hope for Mary and many others like her– .

    Another thought occurs to me, and it has to do with what our society believes and why we believe it. The premise of your profession as an available resource, comes to mind– It seems to me that one very important aspect of generating all of the political discussions that need to happen is an educated population to demand it. I’d say that a huge barrier to that vital next step is the horrendous amount of propaganda about the resources available in the MH system. Always lobbying for more funding, but never quite accounting for what we are getting for our money. So much misinformation and hardly a hint of the corruption that produced it. These are vital matters to put before the public, because unless our society comes to terms with how expensive the MH system has become we can’t properly assess what it means that what we actually get for our money is an available resource that for all intents and purposes is worse than the deprivation that is currently justifying it.

    What you call a screwed up society, I see as the inevitable product of ignorance combined with one of the most corrupt marketing campaigns ever designed . Society did not design the marketing of psychiatry, Norman. another screwed up group gets credit for that .

  • @bpdtransformation,

    I’m curious about your take on the story, that is was good to read, and
    your reference to a lot of comments as “bad”. I appreciate reading your take on issues, which you usually present with thought provoking insights, like; your response to Margaret’s posting on Sak’s view of schizophrenia.

    In view the rich comments on this story, I would agree it was worthwhile. Would appreciate your commenting further about your other impressions.


  • Alex,

    I am a constant reader here, but only occasionally participate as a commenter. I admit that studying the responses of the regular commenters has been instructive, as my greatest struggle has been to articulate the dynamics of what culminated in my being ousted for essentially doing my job, as a staff nurse in a major academic children’s hospital- 5 years ago. Good thing there was one other nurse who stuck by me and validated the insanity– . We agreed that attempts to tell any part of the story made us feel as crazy as we were certain our audience must think we were. OK. Now, we’re paranoid, and so on. Better just keep our mouths shut and let them all guess…

    I understand how the anxiety state evoked by trauma triggers obstructs the cognitive processes one needs to accurately and appropriately express oneself. I learned early on that my engrained nursing practice, which prioritized the patient’s subjective accounts of symptoms and response to treatment, was what guided my approach to patients in the MH system– they were no different to me than any other patient– I trust them to to tell me what I needed to know in order to effect some kind care, comfort, treatment. My nature and my training, I guess, but it was also the reason I found it so difficult to communicate with most psych professionals– they had no basic training, it seemed, in building rapport with patients — or rather, they came at them with sympathetic expressions, but were only listening for key words, sound bytes that would categorize the person into the model they invented, called treatment plans for psych disorders. Ass backwards! I would say — under my breath–. All this said to make the point that my bedside manner apparently is a charm when it comes to reducing anxiety– and that was the key to seeing early on that there was really no such thing as a psychiatric disorder– . So-called, psychotic patients were communicating painful experiences in metaphor and symbolic language- the more at ease they became, the easier it was to comprehend their stories and observations. When I documented these encounters or shared them with colleagues, I was under suspicion– and probably just hopelessly clueless, but needed closer supervision, for sure.

    Yes, it comes through that you have a command of your thoughts and broad range of experience in all of your posts, and like me have taken to alternative, complimentary practices to enhance your power and find your center. The space between the provocateurs and us is invaluable though– and that is the real benefit of these on-line forums. From just that much breathing room, there are volumes of brilliant discourses on this site– . your comments bridge the gap between the MH system rhetoric and the lay person’s perception of it as a valuable system that just needs to be improved or reformed, a tad. Here, I am learning what I hope will be the foundation for the public campaign needed to initiate political and criminal justice system action — (where I am heading..;-)

    I also have all the evidence (right here on this site;,all the proof I need to back up my claims that the people I met as labeled prisoners on psych wards are the best and brightest amongst us– they (you– all of you) deserve all the credit for warning our society that humanity itself is in the cross hairs of the MH system– and beyond.

    — just wanted to express my gratitude . I do want to validate 40 years of my life as a nurse– create some value. I would have thought this impossible if not for the education I received from psych survivors commenting on MIA.


  • Norman,

    I specifically said that I had more” face-to face, life-to life time with patients on locked psych units than you and Margie combined”. Having worked on several locked units, I can credibly state that psychiatrist and Social Workers come and go on these units– often meeting privately with some patients, attending treatment team meetings behind closed doors in a conference room. Unlike nurses, psychiatrists and social workers have their own offices , off the unit- usually. You do engage the broader system, making phone calls and scheduling meetings. You do consults per request, but you do not experience life, as the patients know it on a locked ward. You are not keeping the group of patients on a schedule, monitoring them, enforcing unit rules. You are not present for the process that turns them into the patients you encounter, and you are not privy to the mechanisms by which staff govern these units– few are. Even if you were in a nursing role, you may not be trusted to hear the underground renditions of patients problems and how to manage them. Therefore, you could not possibly have the critical information that former psych patients shared here and on Margie’s post. Apparently you cannot recognize the implications of dismissing all of the credible information shared regarding *forced psychiatric treatment*.

    You wrote:
    ” If we want to be “scientific” than we shouldn’t make comments that have no substantiation”
    I hope I have cleared up your misperception regarding the point I attempted to make. Though more careful reading might have accomplished the same end?

    Sorry? What exactly do you mean by evoking the royal “we”–
    ” We do need opinions from divergent points of view, and we also need to show respect for the experience of others.”

    Good point about respecting the experience of others. In the case of the discussion with you and Margie, it still appears that you miss the point regarding the experience of others. Mainly that you have displayed disrespect for the feedback about the system from those whose experience should actually be the most valuable to you— unless actually helping people is not what your system is about?

    You are not engaging in discussion around the scientific analysis of your experience with psych patients, etc. You missed the point that it is exactly the *treatment* they receive that produces the problems you are so dedicated to solving. You broke *it*, so you are the only ones who can fix *it*. 🙂

    What do you think might happen when a diverse majority in our society just say, “We’ve had enough of *it*?

    I do already know the barriers to getting through to MH professionals who are keeping the system afloat until someone comes up with something better. I understand that the best you can do is address me in a condescending tone and pick out a flaw that did not actually exist in my argument.


  • But, Margie, you avoid addressing all relevant points via some aspect of authority you display –but again, you offer…
    Nothing but excuses not to engage on the very topics you raised.

    I am not a psychiatric survivor in a true or real sense — but I did survive the vicious attacks of colleagues wielding ultimate authority, lost my job and had to forbear through the trashing of my professional reputation. But…

    If you conclude I am angry or even fearful of these or any authority figures, you are wrong. My experience was a learning curve, one that I treasure as it supplies me with greater assurance and confidence when I join anyone here and elsewhere who wants to dismantle this system of torture.

    I have a little more material than you do– face to face encounters with the top of the MH food chain, who displayed with alacrity their total disregard for the human suffering they have caused.

    FWIW I truly hope that you consider the myriad approaches at your disposal for doing good– that an act of civil disobedience, refusing to write 72 her hold orders, is actually an endorsement of the basic human rights guaranteed to us under civil law– The law is being violated, and you could aide in making this fact known–, rather than asking for empathy because your role in the system is crucial to making change?

    You and Norman both appear to be asking this survivor community to step up the creation and implementation of alternative *programs* so you and Norman will have more choices. As you imply that I am a thorn in the side of you serious minded insider reformers.

    The more I see this type of response from the insider, MH professionals reform squad, the more I am apt to say– demolish this system, then we can move forward.

  • @uprising,

    FWIW, I find that only those colleagues of mine who had nothing personally invested in their status as MH professionals, and no particular attachment to their jobs as their lifestyle provider–were able to hear strong criticisms about what we were doing–, the mistakes we were making.

    I say this only to point out that I think either one has to be unfettered in the MH system or been ousted for standing up to it, or rather, have noting else to lose, to be truly interested in personal critical feedback.

    And I think this is a strong indicator of how far one can get trying to convert MH system professional defenders– If one bases her/his identity on the status of their profession or depends on that credential and position as their livelihood, not likely they will confront the huge dichotomy between their preferred perception of their benevolent , or reformist role and the crimes they are actually committing– .

    Interesting though– recent reference to the Buddha– . The path to attaining enlightenment is bodhisattva practice– and when one is prepared to lay down his life for the sake of another–they have reached the highest stage of bodhisattva practice. It is truly enlightening to behold the actual result of sacrifice for the sake of others– but it is damned near impossible to convince anyone else to give it a go–

    And that is what you are asking of Margie– IMO.– not impossible, just highly unlikely–

  • Margie,

    You defined your role as “authority” responsible for the lives of vulnerable people, a professional with the credential to write 72 hour hold orders– did you not?

    Then as you say I am perceiving and labeling you as an authority figure ?? Well, yeah–true enough.

    Suggesting this is a detraction from productive discussion you state 9rather authoritatively, I might add) :

    “There is a fear and rage against those seen as authority figures and not qualified as professionals discussing a way forward in the mental health system.”

    I have neither fear or rage against anyone designated as an authority figure. Nor do I see that in the responses of those whose lived experience actually trumps your assessments.

    I said the playing field we are on is level– not that we are equals there. I would not initiate any forced intervention against a vulnerable person. Never. I did have authority to initiate restraints– physical and chemical– Never did it .True, I don’t have the credential to write 72 hour hold orders– but I have no problem knowing what I would do with that authority if I actually had it– or what I would inside the bad system with your credential.

    We don’t really need a MH system– but a re-humanized community- building society– and I think the bad system you are supporting and hoping to reform is a huge impediment to the resolution of the damage it has already done– but it will definitely not impede the community building– actually just makes it more of an urgent priority.

    For that, I thank you 🙂

  • Alex,

    Reading your comment above and most all of your comments on MIA, I renew my conviction that an individual human being can discover the value in every one of her/his life experiences. In that sense, life experiences are all neutral until one assigns them their place in her/his own narrative.

    I am continually in awe of the breadth of compassion, command of respectful discourse and open mindedness you (and many others here) express in response to re-encountering life threatening trauma. I wonder if it is the space created by the on-line forum that allows you all to clearly articulate what I was fortunate enough to hear from people who had been assigned the status of “incompetent ” on the units where I have worked. Amidst their real time, real life threatening crisis, I heard their stories, only because I wanted to– and immediately, I was engaging in dialogues with people who seemed to possess a higher degree of sensitivity, compassion and insight than any of my colleagues who had labeled them.

    I continue to believe that the all that is required for every MH professional to perceive what I call, the humanity and inherent value of each of their *patients* is the desire to hear them and know them. Most MH professionals complain about limitations on their time and various other impositions imposed by the “bad system”– but they never really address the fundamental cause for all of the damaging interventions they must perform to keep their jobs– that is; they have lost or failed to gain the most important information required for them to do any real good in the *bad system*– the essential personal connection to their patients, that would absolutely evoke only action that protects them from being forced into the MH system.

    Thank you– for using this forum to advance the cause for recognition of a more highly evolved expression of humanity– toward those who are supporting a bad system form those who were nearly destroyed by it.

    Breathtaking !!!


  • Margie, I am very directly challenging your authoritative statements. I can do this as an advocate for former patients who did not survive psychiatric abuse, or give credence as eye witness to the testimony of psych survivors, but, I am choosing to do it as a professional on a level playing field with you.

    As a nurse, with over 20 years in psychiatry (inpatient, residential, addiction inpatient, children, adolescents, young adults, older adults) I have had more face to face. life to life contact with psychiatric patients than you and Norman combined. I have a perspective on yours and Norman’s respective roles as they impacted a population I have come closer to living with than you would probably dare. I have credentials, education, training-professional development– personal experience with *walking the talk* and will not disregard this as I continue to challenge your authoritative stance on “how to discuss forced drugging and forced dehumanizing incarceration.”

    I don’t think there is a nice way to say what goes through my mind reading your latest negative assessment :
    ” For example; there is a sense of entitlement here the power to label all who do not agree in terribly pejorative terms, there is a perception that anyone who does not agree is pathological (the word delusional is used by the medical community to describe irrational beliefs and perceptions”

    Here’s the most direct response, re: the discussion you think is possible–

    The premise for your discussion IS an irrational belief–

    There is nothing to discuss– forcing people to endure humiliation, degradation while they are drugged with brain disabling poisons is wrong. Details of the experience were provided– aspects of the your misperceptions of these unit were clarified.

    Not only is this forced psychiatry issue a violation of civil law– a crime against humanity, it is an assault on the sensibilities of rational, human beings.

    It is you who needs to revise your orientation to open dialogue, based on mutual respect, for the purpose of increasing the understanding of all who participate– A vital tool for advancement, it is, but you have failed to respect those you attempted to engage when you posted your blog and link to defend Norman’s– and you fail to appreciate that your audience here has a better understanding of the topic than you may ever have.

    Academic discussion and debates amongst arm chair clinicians who see through a periscope when it comes to what actually takes place in the system ( and their jobs)) they are supporting–; these discussions abound. The problem– the isolation from the actual issues, will escape you– but make no mistake, you cannot rally or intimidate people whose convictions are strongly rooted in reality–

    Words have meaning and can be powerfully employed, but there is a great deal lacking when words alone are the tools for communicating. Misperceptions about another’s emotional state ,etc. are common– but on this issue, I think words suffice, because they convey all that the issue comprises. Crimes against humanity. Always say, “No”.

  • Margie,

    While it may be true that perturbing the neurotransmitter systems in the brain can alter the mind, it is not likely that a complete changing of the minds of those who escaped irreparable;e damage as well as the minds of those of us who were able to correctly perceive what psych drugging and incarceration actually did to people; or rather, some minds will forever remain out of your control.

    “I truly think that constantly re-opening wounds and persistently arguing over words that describe these wounds is not helpful. The mind gets stuck in one track and peripheral blindness occurs.”

    I would elaborate on this axiom by further explaining the phenomenon of a mind that is stuck. If one holds and perseverates on thoughts , excluding, or filtering out any new information— or more likely blocking a critical analysis of one’s own thoughts–“reality testing”, or “meta cognition” (thinking about one’s own thinking); this most definitely is akin to a rigidly held belief likely to blind one to other possibilities. By expanding the description here, I put forth the possibility that your decision to filter out the voices of those of us offering you a clearer view of the reality of aspects of your professional role (as you have stated it), has created a pervasive, and more centralized blindness for you.

    I see your example here as a defense constructed after you claimed to be working inside of a bad system to create essential, crucial change. Actually, you were defending the need this imposes for you to * force vulnerable people into accepting the only help available to you to offer*– generated by a bad system that compels you to to act agains the will of another human being. You want the loaded language and the cries of the wounded to recede. It is unhelpful. Unhelpful to whom?
    Other than you and others who want support as champions of reform whilst you continue to put unwilling victims on the conveyor belt of the system that has destroyed lives.

    I can accept that you aren’t feeling helped by the challenge to your integrity. This is unbearable for most professionals in MH– But, I suggest that you accept have neglected to employ the fundamental tool for changing minds, resonating with your audience– as evident in your recent blog post. It seems that for the survivors of the torture you say you are obligated to perpetuate, have fallen into the category of those you mean to redirect–toward something they inherently know is wrong. Odd that you don’t see this, as the crux of the matter, because really, there is nothing that defends what you say you have to do to keep your job. Nothing. Period. You are simply choosing to filter out what I found to be most crucial in assessing the MH system as it currently exists. The voices of those on the receiving end.

    But then, I was not trained to be psychiatric nurse. Way too much medical, scientific background to be swayed by what I encountered in the MH system over 20 years ago. Yes, I did believe, and still do, that as a nurse I am obligated to do all I can to protect vulnerable people from unsafe, abusive practices of psychiatry that I have to just say, should never have been included in the field of medicine. So, mine is not the voice of one directly wounded, but one who employed the basis of my scientific and professional training to respond to the voices of most important audience — a growing in number audience, who has been directly harmed by professionals who have nothing but excuses for allowing this to continue.

    I am not challenging you from a wounded place, though I will admit I have been deeply hurt by what I have seen and heard in my so-called professional circle. I am close to the point that was described to me 10 years ago by an adolescent tagged as bipolar for having had a manic episode, adverse response to SSRI. She said, there is a conspiracy between psychiatry and the drug companies and, ” all of you are so stupid that you can’t see it. Now, you are crazier than anyone you try to treat.”

    Out of the mouths of babes. My story in a nutshell. I realized this wounded teen was talking about me. I did something about it.


  • Norman,

    I wonder why it doesn’t occur to you ,as a doctor with a degree in medicine and years of studying the scientific method, that your human subjects cannot be appropriately studied because you have altered them in ways that will always and only taint the conclusions you make about them. Not once did you mention that Pierre and Shelley were viewed through a filter; one that results from the erroneous belief that violating the humanity of vulnerable people is the first line treatment for their distress– or more likely, the distress they are causing others.

    How far away from APA guidelines for first line treatment of *psychosis* or behavior that disrupts the static hum on a psych unit, do we have to get before we can rightly study the course of a person’s life who has experienced severe mental states? You see, there are no validated members of a control group in the U.S.– and you can thank Allen Frances for that (TMAP, DSM III) , and his lemmings who drugged everyone they could get their hands on, opening markets for these poisons beyond the scope of what was once thought to be psychiatry– . How convenient for you and your colleagues to claim to be tackling the problems you created? Although, as I said, you haven’t a clue what you are *fixing* because somewhere along the road, you seem to have forgotten what pure, undefiled humanity looks like.

    I have no empathy– or compassion for your plight– or rather, I cannot feign a connection to something that is lacking in scientific foundations and devoid of rational human thought. I state this as simple fact. Expressing the emotion that is evoked by the story you shared would only feed into yours and Margie’s need to remind us how *unhelpful* it is to challenge your authoritative analysis of your vital role in society. In other words, I will refrain from feeding into your delusions of grandeur.


  • “The answer of how one should proceed in the present reality is not clear.”
    To Norman:
    Step # 1 : Confront the present reality.

    Step#2 : Acknowledge, admit and affirm that it is wrong for a Mental Health professional to use their credential to force vulnerable people to endure that which psychiatry has invented and passed off as *treatment*. (It’s one thing to sell bum goods to a sucker, another to force a person who is already struggling to buy into psychiatry’s last desperate hope for its own survival.)

    Step#3: Realistically speaking, If you lose your job because you refuse to *commit* a crime against humanity– you are better off, and so are those you spared. And speaking out as you uphold the human rights of vulnerable people, you start a trend?

    Step#4: Engage in deep reflective soul searching & Prepare yourself for the inevitable moment of truth. Until you win the battle over your own weaknesses, you cannot fight against or for anything else.

    Our survival instinct and egocentric defense mechanisms are not inherently bad, but when survival instincts drive one to protect things like status & financial gain, the risk of rationalizing whatever means seem necessary can cause a state of total blindness. If you cannot see the harm done to those you are bound by duty to protect, try listening to those who have survived and are bound to saving others from your lot.

    I don’t know for whom you speak when you say “we” need people who will continue to “Involuntarily Commit” vulnerable people –and keep their jobs…
    But I do not belong in that group. What the “we” in my camp need is MH professionals with courage and integrity who will not support this unjust, inhumane groundless imprisonment and torture. A political campaign agenda could be started from refusing to commit the crime, refusing to support the crime and speaking out against it — loudly and publicly.

  • You pretty much nailed it, B–

    The real issue here is that neither a psychiatrist or a SW has sufficient exposure to these hell holes to inform their *expert* opinions. And they will continue to justify their authority positions as *the best we can do to commit people* while we fight for change–

    Sheesh– this is starting to sound like thepolitical platform of two candidates who don’t know what they don’t know–

  • Margie,

    It is imperative that we accurately describe and define the premise of every locked psychiatric unit. It is a prescribed amount of space (depending upon the number of patient beds) , that is barren of all that is associated with comfort, privacy and pleasure. Patient’s are allowed a few *safe* personal items, (no sharps, shoes,laces,belts) and expected to assimilate into a schedule of sharing showers, a pay phone – or 2; expected to eat meals on schedule , and ask staff for snacks, water, juice, laundry rooms, hygiene supplies, linens– all behind locked doors. Staff with keys are not as readily available as one would expect considering that a unit of as many as 18 patients depend on them for access to basic supplies. The premise of a locked psychiatric unit, is that by removing all the comforts of home, (including freedom to decide when and what to eat, drink sleep–etc.) a *safe* environment is created & managed (ideally) by a few professional staff, supervising a few counselors– all of whom will claim to be stretched to their human limits. The premise of a locked psychiatric unit is that reducing stimuli, limiting choices, securing most everything behind a locked cabinet or closet, and closely observing (documenting patients whereabouts every 5 to 30 minutes) a severely distressed “patient” will have no means or opportunity to hurt herself.

    There is an error in the premise. Or rather, no consideration for the perspective of the “patient”, whose sense of safety usually depends on their internalized response to signals that she is unworthy, devalued, damaged, deranged. In other words, a psychiatric unit is rarely if ever a *safe* place for those who are involuntarily committed .

    You don’t mention the usual process– that failing to become a voluntary patient within three business days, opens the door for court ordered commitment and forced drugging– You very much down play the reality that most definitely neuroleptics, sedatives, anti-psychiatocs will be prescribed — that should Mary G. lose her composure, she may be subject to forced chemical restraint– pending her compliance or the court order for these drugs that goes and in hand with the confinement. If you are working on a unit where people like Mary are not pounced on by overzealous believers in the power of drugs to organize the mind– I would love to see a presentation of a showcase (that to my knowledge, does not yet exist in MA – or anywhere in the U..S.) for – “Trauma informed care” sans drugs !!

    As a SW you are not privy to three change of shift reports in 24 hours, or the incessant gossip and worse than psych dx labeling shared between front line staff. As a SW you occupy a specific orbit around the nucleus of a virulent culture, one that prides itself on “caring” for those whom nobody wants or nobody can handle. I have heard nurse managers refer to this as, “Doing God’s work”, though it would appear that they have actually sunk to a lower level in terms of their outward displays of disdain for ” non-compliant psych patients” AKA, people nobody wants and/or nobody else can handle. Not a trace of science, medicine or humanism– yet there it is, cloaked in the language that places it inside or near a real hospital.

    That you believe there is any good done for people involuntarily committed to a psych unit– for a bogus three day eval (hardly ever ends there), is somewhat amazing to me– and can only be explained by a peripheral connection to the unit. You obviously buy the PR ; that you work in a therapeutic milieu and provide both recreational and therapeutic activities that enhance recovery ? It is miraculous when a person can recover from their experience on a psych unit, especially those who resisted the premise that anything was wrong with them, and realized that the professionals have no clue what they are doing .

  • Thank you, Alex!

    There are no more reply buttons for the eloquent dialogue you initiated with Margie– I wanted to add something to your bold introduction of human potential for arousing faith– . Like everything else involved in learning to walk in concert with one’s basic values and beliefs, faith requires courage and practice. It is never a one shot deal. It does not come with guarantees — (hence, the term, “faith”)– what it does offer is a means for actualizing human potential and negotiating the reality of being so many Who’s in Whoville. We are stronger together, but we are only as strong as the individual expressing faith in herself and others to create value under any circumstances.

    What’s the alternative? Allegiance and compliance to the best theories, guidelines and directives proffered by professionals, but wait!– There are no guarantees here either , just lack of proof of efficacy, plenty of evidence of serious harm, and the power to wield authority that takes away our right to choose our own poison– even.

    Here you put forth a perfectly legal option– “keep her safe–by — whatever you can do”-

    “Then, my desire would be to lovingly and sincerely invite her back home, where I’d want to make her feel like the most loved and treasured person in the universe, as the path to healing. We’d both have a lot of growth and healing to do. Hopefully, she would trust me at that point. If not, I’d struggle a great deal with that, but I’d have to let her go, and trust her own spirit to guide her. That would be hard, but I feel it would be the wise thing to do. Then, I’d learn to forgive myself. And in the process, I’d have learned unconditional love and humility like nobody’s business. ”

    This is a courageous action based on faith– that is guaranteed to expand one’s humanity like nobody’s business. So worth the risk — one of he few choices whose benefits will always outweigh the risks.


  • Fred,

    The benevolent psych doctor up above is not acting as the one responsible for the *life* of the person, just their pulse– AND, neglects to say that it is liability, not responsibility that drives his willful ignorance of the crime he is committing–.

    Ability to “respond”– responsibility– doing what meets the needs of the person in crisis and acknowledges her basic human rights.

    liability – legally accountable — something of a disadvantage for the licensed professional.– who will be called out by the administrators of the institution that signs his paycheck for “putting them all in harms way”–

    I suspect Margie and Norman were expecting to exert their authority over the topics we discuss — by saying “You don’t know what it is like to be in our shoes”– Hmm– and they seem unconcerned when told what is on their shoes by those of us sitting down wind of them.

    Bravo for your role in a “great escape” — the good karma you created is truly immeasurable.


  • Saul,
    Seems like you are saying “better to choose the devil you know, than the one you don’t know”–

    Status quo thinking is not likely going to be a game changer–

    People claiming that having their human rights tripped from them was there salvation? “Sweet dreams are made of this.. “?

    Yet, Saul– who is having the opportunity to experience something in-between the two devils? Who is even suggesting that right there, on the inside of the bad system a professional with license can use her authority to do something outside the box??

    And, Saul– another question: How can anyone who will comply with the worst of the crimes committed in the MH field, involuntary 72 hour holds , criticize and lament the *bad system* as the force that compels them? Really? Why doesn’t someone just point out to them that they have agreed to give up their free will in service of the bad system? They are voluntarily committed–to a bad system that supplies brain disabling poisons and imprisons vulnerable people

    I. for one, am tired of the cheap excuses– cloaked in the MH jargon that makes my skin crawl. For 20 + years, I was eye witness — on the front line, in the trenches, watching highly educated, credentialed professionals become dissociated in every way from the work of their profession– . Authority without substance, arrogance without excellence– talk, talk, talk, — until it seemed that they created their reality based on words, language, a lexicon of psychiatry.

    Could say– the higher the credential, the greater the authority, and the least likely to solve even the most basic problem in MH– involuntary commitment and forced drugging– . ? Yeah, and then tell us why this makes sense??

  • Margie,

    Dress it up anyway you like, but you dumped her into a perilous sea — where for her, “there be monsters”. You did not take responsibility for her “life”– just her pulse.

    I wrote in a rush — so, will clarify that I was hiding what I was doing– My bright pink, green polka dotted Kate Spade travel bag on wheels was hardly clandestine — nor were the items I brought in “hidden” — What I meant by “under the radar” meant that I mostly shifts where there were fewer staff and still fewer “brass” around to criticize or obstruct the use my re-humanizing tool kit. I did buck the system– never forced patients to be in their room, lights out– nor did I drug them to “put them to sleep” before 11pm. I did not lock the community space where the only TV was housed– I did not close the kitchenette-. I allowed a patient to write poetry and letters to her treatment team on the unit computer on wheels– printed out her work before the day shift showed up. This woman experienced a rather rapid recovery once given the opportunity and the respect for her writing–Oh, and I bought her reading glasses as hers were broken “during the admission that followed the 72 hour hold order” . I risked being reported for breaking rules– all the time– but on nights, I found that the few counselors who worked with me, appreciated the new calm, enjoyable atmosphere on their shift, and that my constant presence seemed to do the trick for helping patients (triggered at bedtime) to feel safe. On many occasions my staff and I had a very enriching experience being human beings in a *bad system*. That is what I meant by *bribes*–. I see that I am speaking in a language you don’t comprehend as readily as the professional meant health rhetoric of deflecting and rationalizing—

    BTW, you and Norman have much more authority than I did on these units, and in this bad system,. I pushed the envelope on my little bit of authority with clear knowledge (14 years working in medicine, where responsibility for a life is literally, that) that it was my license on the line, in terms of “harms happening to patients” on my shift. On off shifts, I was the bottom line– took it seriously and used it to the full extent –.

    I did not say I did not make changes. The lives of those in my care, my first priority, definitely experienced many positive changes– so did staff whom I supervised–Oh, and, a few new grads that were seeking to learn from someone who wasn’t restraining and drugging patients. I continue to work on dealing with the bad barrel,- outside of it– but I think you might want to consider what each of us can actually do in whatever environment and within whatever sphere of influence we have as professionals inside the bad MH system. I challenge you to reflect on the difference between what you claim to be doing and what you are actually supporting– . At the end of your day, you have a job in a system that you have no reason to trust will provide for the vulnerable person’s actual needs that you have ordered there. Period. Best you can do? Or just all you are willing to do?


  • Margie & norman,

    As a former psych unit insider, I am going to challenge your rhetoric. Or rather, what is missing from your written analysis of the role you are forced to play in a system that strips vulnerable people of their dignity and their human rights.

    You both characterized your position of authority incorrectly within the system. You each have a professional license and are employed in the *system* . You have used the word, responsibility [for another’s life], instead of admitting that your first obligation is to avoid liability– for yourselves and the institution who employs you. What follows the writing of your 72 hour hold order, tells the real story and I want to make sure to make that clear. Once you designate a disposition for a person, the “system” takes responsibility for avoiding liability. You write the order, and move on to your next consultation. IF you truly felt responsible for the life of this person, who is now in crisis, thanks to you, you would not abandon her to the system. Instead, and I strongly recommend you experience fully the of responsibility that you are saying is due to your position of authority, and use your authority to accompany this person through the process you have ordered them into. Use your authority to assess every aspect of the situation you have set into motion. And give clear signals to this person, now patient in a bad system, that you are looking out for her . Meet the staff who will indoctrinate the patient you have turned over to them, with the many losses of liberty she will incur so that you are not faced with accountability for an untoward event that *may have* resulted from releasing her , honoring her right to decide what she believes she can handle. Yes, as you say, there are many risks to being homeless, etc. and no way for you to protect her from those risks outside of the institution where you met her. But, you have assigned her a worse fate, from her perspective, and you owe it to her to use your authority to make sure she is treated with respect and her needs are met without forcing her to give up more of herself so that *you and your institution* are protected from liability.

    I know what you are intellectualizing about, that is; what awaits the person whom you have reluctantly shuttled into a *bad system*. A crap shoot, at best– so many variables, none of them within your control, but things you really need to witness. Who will greet your *patient* on the locked ward? Another licensed staff who has been given a bullet point report and won’t bother reading all the ED notes, who is not looking forward to doing an admission- extra work, an unwelcome imposition. What will be the atmosphere on the locked ward you have decided is where your *patient* will be safe? Will she get wheeled onto a unit that itself is in crisis? A restraint going down? Another patient exhibiting *unsafe behavior* ? Safe bet it there will be no warm, compassionate welcoming committee– but you need to see this for yourself and use your authority and your dedication to changing a horrid system, by assisting to orchestrate the “safe environment” you believe you are providing for a person who has told you, “no”.

    I have the deepest criticism for what you two are writing here, because I know you are opting out of experiencing that which you order. I know you use the rhetoric of a system that is absolutely not about providing a safe landing, or even a respite for the person you claim you have responsibility for. I know that you have spent time on locked wards. I know you have some idea of how terrifying & inhumane these prisons really are— But, you have not committed your time and energy to demonstrating what taking responsibility for another person– who is more than a pulse, BTW– looks like. No. You write the order and book– and here you are talking about this is the best you can do given the bad system.

    Wrong. You are doing the easiest thing for yourselves– and your rhetoric here is deeply insulting to me, a professional who knows you are insulting the majority of commenters here. Changing the system form the “inside” you say? Been there– it is only action taken in full view of those who dehumanize the people you can’t allow to negotiate life anywhere but where they are *certain* to be stripped of the last bit of dignity they have. I used my authority as a charge nurse. I chose to work mostly off shifts– nights/evenings and weekends, where I was under the radar, and prepared to defend my actions when reported by colleagues and staff I was supervising. I demonstrated what taking responsibility for a persons life [experience] looks like by doing it– caring for the very individual needs of vulnerable people in crisis. I brought a travel case on wheels to work with me– stocked with the stuff I knew would demonstrate caring– Camomille tea & honey; chocolate, snacks & treats, scented shower gels and lotions– aromatherapy for the whole unit– personal care stuff that the *safe* unit would not purchase. I have shared shrimp cocktail at midnight with a elderly woman on a locked ward, where she was placed for *safety*, and fed the most horrible diet! I shared conversation and humorous anecdotes at dawn with another who requested old fashioned black licorice. My last gig lasted just over two years, and I did make some inside changes, as I catered to a few of the most hardened staff– a bribe? Maybe. but it kept the reports of my *breach of unit guidelines* at a safe ,minimum for a fairly long stretch. I openly demonstrated the reinvestment of my obscene salary for the benefit of the vulnerable people who were locked up on the orders of professionals, like yourselves, who abandoned them after putting them in crisis. I invested my time, energy and creativity — punching the clock at the end of my shift, and writing my notes off the clock. Really hated for that– so much so that a new guideline stipulated that staff could not remain in the nurses station writing notes *off the clock* and would be disciplined for acruing overtime for doing the work that should have been done– instead of paying so damned much attention to the patients. Yup– that’s the system for you.

    I would never do what you claim is the best in a bad situation– that is; I would never abandon people I put into crisis and fantasize about how I, the professional, deserve compassion for the moral duress that follows writing the 72 hour hold order. Doing your best on the inside of a bad system — while doing the unspeakable to another person? Nope. You are only complicit — and simply remain ignorant of the full extent of your part in these crimes.

    I have already heard all the excuses licensed professionals can make for not even staying with the people they dump into a locked ward. When you join the chorus of excuse makers, then you are more deeply complicit than you realize– The excuse you make for failing to do the most human, decent thing for a terrified person you claim you want to “keep safe”– remaining at his side all the way to tucking them into the safe landing you hope he will have, says it all.

    Be the change — risk your job– while provoking some human consciousness all over this bad system. Stop being lemmings, and stop trying to sell your own sob stories here– It is poor form. You can do better.


  • Paula,

    I have a different take on what Bob and Lisa are saying by focusing on bad barrels. My experience as a whistleblower, staff nurse on an inpatient child/adolescent psych unit and advocating for Justina Pelletier’s family has left me with absolutely no doubt that it is the system, the barrel itself that makes whistleblowing and exposing corruption via the media, moot points and futile acts. I have no regrets over what I sacrificed to speak out, but I don’t delude myself thinking for a moment that I made a difference. However, I do believe I have figured out why my efforts were fruitless and finally have a clue as to what could change the tide. Both are fairly recent realizations that I think would be best illustrated in a blog post, which I am actually working on– The recent comments on this post by Laura helped to align my ideas with the concerns of the audience I hope to reach. With the spirit of helping to create solidarity in purpose, I will explain my argument regarding your criticisms above.

    The systems, the barrels are part of our culture, entrenched in deep rooted beliefs held by prominent leaders who feed, fuel and protect them. The systems are wealthy enough to buy the political leaders we vote for– and while we can pay the salaries of our elected leaders, the systems that get them elected always have a leg up in terms of having their loyalty, if not their full attention. An ethically minded member of across the spectrum of any system, who speaks the truth publicly will sound an alarm that arouses concern in a relatively small segment of our population, but at the same time, this same alarm alerts other systems to reply in protection– or self- preservation mode. I think we have seen this dynamic often enough regarding the legal battles lost by pharmaceutical companies, the exposure of extreme conflicts of interest and fraud within the ranks of the most prestigious academic psychiatrists by Sen, Grassley, etc. All of these actions that made it into the media are worthy of respect, even praise, but the lack of impact on the corruption in the system(s) is what we all remember at the end of the day—And so the battle cry has been for more whistleblowers, more brave professionals to speak the truth about these systems publicly. Everytime I read a comment that ends on the note :”Why aren’t there more whistleblowers coming forth from the ranks of frontline staff on the units where the most harm is happening ?” I cringe. Should I answer this question, or keep hope alive for the person who is trying to stir the conscience of another potential whistleblower? I haven’t had the heart to answer the question. Maybe I should– now that I have something really hopeful to add–

    The capsulized version of my whistleblower tale of defeat, goes like this : I voiced my complaints to the top of the chain of command at Boston Children’s Hospital. Starting with Human Resources where I grieved a disciplinary action I incurred immediately after making my complaint about illegal restraints to the top administrators on my unit. HR was very concerned about the restraint issues, rightfully so, and reassured me that I was in good hands with their capable advocates. I felt confident when my HR advocate set up a meeting with the senior vice president of nursing, more so when she took careful notes during the meeting in which I was told that my concerns were alarming and a process would be initiated to investigate thoroughly. I was relieved, and happy to wait it out over the next few weeks. Imagine my shock and horror when I received a letter from the senior VP of nursing- via Federal Express, a few days later saying she upheld the disciplinary action. Investigation complete. It consisted of a meeting with the same nurse manager who had issued the disciplinary action. I’ll skip the next several months of baseless harassment I endured and cut to the chase. My complaint to the licensing board of this unit, the MA Department of Mental Health did cause an uproar and was substantiated– but the unit saved face even when the nurse manager was relieved of her duties. An appointment to a higher post in the psychiatry department was her punishment. I learned the limits of the power of our regulatory agency long before I found out that the director of child/adolescent mental health – the head of this state, regulatory agency, had been the first medical director of the unit I complained about. The most painful lesson though, was the way in which those nurses held in high esteem at BCH, rallied around one of their own, despite having clear, convincing information from me and several other nurses who took these administrators at their word and spoke the truth, that their colleague was as rotten as they come–. The cream of the crop, long time tenured, admired and respected leaders of BCH nursing staff, all chose to support the bad apple and maintain the integrity of *their system*. They repeated this performance when the Pelletiers went knocking on their doors in the summer of 2013. That story is a book that is sure to be banned in Boston.

    The really short answer is that blowing a whistle in the psychiatric system is like spitting into the wind. No agency comes running in to protect the patients, much less support the staff trying to protect the patients. No. What happens is the bigger parts of the system are put on alert that there is a blood traitor turned loose cannon in their ranks who must be eliminated. And so it goes—

    Bob and Lisa probably felt that their analysis would not be cause for celebration amongst psychiatric survivors of the system– former patients and whistleblowers alike. I bet they knew all of us would be extremely disheartened to hear how “society must decide how best to care for those who are suffering ..” from what is now considered a bogus psychiatric label by anyone who is truly interested in this issue. Didn’t Bob help to get that message across ? I was one of the commenters who blasted him on Bruce Levine’s blog post recently–for failing to endorse public defamation of the *bad apples*. He did not respond to my criticism, but I think I finally understand why—

    The actions needed from society to reform this system will require a massive unified campaign targeting an issue that is a slam dunk, in terms of discrediting psychiatry. I am talking about a mind changing, culture transforming event– starts with “we can all agree that ____ is a threat to all of our lives. Is there a movement to lead this campaign ?

    To date, there is way too much in- fighting and disagreement over what position to take to imagine the anti-psychiatry, or psychiatric survivors, or critical psychiatry movement coalescing when a slam dunk issue appears. Actually, the slam dunk issue is forthcoming and here, on this site, most are viewing it as another foot note in a long boring history of defeat by the wealthy, powerful 1%— and damn capitalism for good measure.

    I have gone on too long– I will write in detail about the significance of the restored Paxil Study 329, but will leave this one overlooked gem as a hint of what could be a major victory on the horizon. Study329.org is for the public- public education that is user friendly and a direct link to the RIAT team who will respond to questions, etc. It will go live very soon with free public access to their shocking report of the article that paved the way to the child/adolescent market, a gold mine for the industry. The main pieces of the previously missing puzzle, raw clinical data will be posted on this site as well– . The hint : the RIAT team is comprised of those who fought the hardest to have this article retracted and the truth about Paxil– and other psychotropic drugs liberally prescribed to children, to be widely disseminated to psychiatrists and all professional mental health clinicians. Study329.org is not for that rotten barrel. The web site is for all of us who need a banner, a cause, a slam dunk issue upon which a political agenda can be created–. Could we engage the public in our own unique ways, with one common goal that will resonate with the majority– the 99%? Aren’t we all at risk because of the contagious disease psychiatry has spread to our entire health care system ? What can the majority of citizens united and armed with undeniable evidence of willful deceit accomplish that none of the outspoken experts can achieve? A political platform.

    Paula, I hope you will just consider that targeting or even removing the rotten apples has had very little effect on the rotten barrel. The rotten barrel is an industry that currently is turning hundreds – maybe thousands of apples- bad, for every one bad apple that is under suspicion. Whistleblowing and public protests, both noble and courageous acts of truth telling about a corrupt system–. But here in the U.S.– and now, in the 21st century both are like spitting into the wind–


  • Phil,

    Completion of the first year of medical training after graduation, which is commonly referred to as a medical internship , is not exactly a “medical qualification”. That’s the crux of the matter, not intended to be insulting or demeaning, it is a rational assessment based on facts. First year medical residents have neither the clout nor the motivation to assert themselves as fully qualified medical doctors. So why should a psychiatrist, who has no more medical training than a first year medical resident lay claim to a status he, too, has not earned?

    Do you know anyone who would consider consulting a psychiatrist for diagnosis and treatment any physiological symptom of illness? , or to evaluate an injury ? or seek out a psychiatrist to administer first aid? Never happens. Not because of any stigma attached to psychiatry, but because it is counter intuitive to intentionally seek out an unqualified person to attend to our medical needs.

    Are all doctors systematically trained to remain detached, or is the ability to detach developed in concert with recognition of responsibility ; of expectations that patients and others have of doctors to *fix* their maladies using superior knowledge and refined skill? Like the captain of a ship detaches from a panic driven emotional climate to bring his crew and his ship safely through a storm, a medical doctor exhibits detachment behavior on a spectrum that is linked to optimizing human performance—. Whereas, the psychiatrist navigates without a fixed rudder of superior knowledge and no particular skill, other than mastery of a baseless lexicon. The psychiatrist has been trained to exhibit behavior that falls somewhere on a spectrum of dissociative states. All authority vested in psychiatry comes down to believing the words spoken by a “medical doctor”– anyone else saying the same things would be called a pathological liar.

    The same age old problems of despondency, hopelessness, painful memories, feelings of disempowerment, futility, overwhelmed, growing old, etc. present with physical illness– and you’re right about medical doctors being ill-equipped to address these problems, though they do recognize the importance of addressing them as an adjunct to healing– which is why the doctors delegated these matters to nurses–, once upon a time.


  • I think I can briefly address your misgivings about verdicts that found the drug guilty, as a psychiatric clinician (1988-2010) who witnessed the advent of Randomized Clinical Trials, and the profound shift from honoring the expertise of a seasoned clinician to worshipping RCTs as Gold Standard evidence of rigorous scientific study– that trumps the expert opinion of a seasoned clinician.

    The early warning bells were sounded by *boots on the ground* front line, well credentialed psychiatrists, who had the courage to challenge what was already heralded as bottom line evidence of both efficacy and safety of the wonder drugs– SSRIs and new atypical anti-psychotic drugs. I’m talking at least 20 years ago. Harvard trained psychiatrist & professor Joseph Glenmullen, for instance, who published his concerns in 2000, “Prozac Backlash”, had already met stoic resistance from his colleagues to engage in debate and further study of SSRIs. Here are a few links that support the significance of Glenmullen’s findings– http://www.finance.senate.gov/:


    You will find that all opposition to his expert witness testimony ( his writing and his depositions) that accuses the drug, is centered around the defense of the Gold Standard- RCT’s– ; that he, the seasoned clinician is lacking credibility in the most fundamental sense , for his heretical views? Yeah, before the turn of the century, the doctrines that define psychiatry as a REAL science were circulating– briefly:
    1) Mental illness is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain that can be corrected with psych drugs
    2) and RCTs are the basis for the new treatment guidelines.

    As Healy points out, RCTs are the ideal way to hide adverse effects– Why? because the clinical trial looks at one aspect of the drug’s action (a predetermined target symptom of a DSM disorder, or soon-to-be DSM disorder ), and ignores the other 99 things the drug is doing– It is a bit more complex than that with regards to the smoke and mirrors used to enhance efficacy outcomes and detract from adverse effects , but basically, RCTs are as potentially dangerous as the fabricated science that uses them to fortify the current very dangerous practice of biomedical model psychiatry.

    I witnessed the negating of patient adverse responses to these drugs– which is tantamount to watching so-called veteran psych clinicians yielding to psychiatric who insisted the drug was not the culprit– though – damn! The drug was the only new variable that could explain the adverse response. I witnessed intelligent people doubting what they saw in front of them– doubting their own clinical judgment and eventually considering common sense to be– *common*, not worthy of consideration now that we have rigorous scientific evidence– RCTs!

    Peter Breggin’s book “Medication Maddness” details the process he, and other psychiatrists employ as expert witnesses who cite the drugs– even in cases of tragic murders. The underpinning hypothesis that I see as the best way to explain the drug’s potential, is a combination of the numbing, the extreme agitation and a dissociative process- occurring in someone who had no reason to doubt the drug, or rather no frame of reference that would alert them or their significant others to the possibility of experiencing this level madness/psychosis from a drug prescribed by a trusted doctor. Peter Breggin calls this a *spellbinding* effect–.

    So, here we are– the evidence is strong and compelling. The warnings come from well educated, experienced psychiatrists– but unfortunately they are attacked, vilified by their colleagues– silenced as heretics. Yet, they are the only remaining vestiges of what was once the humanistic practice of treating vulnerable, suffering people by way of *medicine*–.
    There have always been good psychiatrists, but these few today, are threatened with extinction — in direct relationship to the extent to which they challenge the current paradigm of care and threaten the empire that grew from it’s creation.

    Is disclosing the raw data enough? See the four part commentary on this mantra–



  • Norman,

    I agree with your perception that psychiatry has traditionally been viewed with skepticism by medicine, but I see the roots of what you call the stigma of being a psychiatrist as a realistic conclusion made by medicine. Psychiatry was the polar opposite of medicine in the most fundamental sense. I can’t accept your citing what could only be called, rational behavior of medicine, as a partial cause for psychiatry “to disavow humanistic principles and embrace an overly medical and biological view of psychiatry”. I think that if psychiatry was actually rooted in humanistic principles, and believed in the value of those principles as fundamental to healing the suffering of its patients, then the very last thing psychiatry would do is disavow these humanistic principles for the sake of appearing to be as good as medicine.

    It seems more likely that the pseudo science path was chosen to lay claim to patients who were seeking the humanistic treatments offered by non medical mental health professionals. Psychiatrists can prescribe drugs, which they apparently perceived as their distinct advantage over their competition for patients. I don’t think you can cite a single humanistic principle behind the fabrication of the biomedical model , or in the recognition of the harm it has caused.

    I sympathize with your predicament — obviously the direct result of your idealism and your commendable dedication to becoming a humanistic psychotherapist, you are bound to be stigmatized by your colleagues, unless you disavow your humanistic principles and join them .


  • Hi Philip,

    This particular EPA paper is an anti-psychiatry straight- man’s dream come true!
    What’s funnier–?, a psychiatrist with zero insight into psychiatry’s own affliction? or a psychiatrist with no insight into the cause of the malady, proposing the remedy? Or rather, psychiatry, business as usual… And, as usual, you have patiently addressed these absurd musings with rational reframing and keen wit. Brilliant !!

    I think it is important not to forget that psychiatry does have a rather stunning track record for mutating at the precise moment it should have become instinct. The biomedical model, a totally unexpected mutation, was put on the map by two members of an endangered species. The direct route to creating a sustainable environment, T*MAP and C*MAP came with a profit sharing pipeline to a wealthy industry, who adeptly funneled most of the profits back into marketing. This mutation seems to have a contagion quality, as members of the larger medical community have already developed the traits that the map makers themselves employed– . There is already a warm fuzzy tone in the relationship between medical doctors and psychiatrists. Some have already become *partners in crime*–

    Dr. Bhurgra is either portraying modesty, ignorance or a difficult to prove willful intention to deceive when he says:

    “In the majority of worldwide healthcare system, mental health care is separated from physical health care, and inevitably very few medical colleagues understand the role of psychiatry, particularly so if liaison psychiatry departments are weak or non-existent, and if they have not had adequate exposure to psychiatry during their undergraduate or post-graduate training. The fact that physicians did not work routinely in contact with psychiatrists and that the only way of being in contact with psychiatry is during liaison activities or in emergency settings could contribute to the negative image of psychiatry.” [Emphasis added]

    An example that I have had very close exposure to and personal contact with, is the infamous psychiatric liaison network operating at Harvard affiliated, Boston Children’s Hospital. Under the guise of a consult service, young, ambitious psychiatric clinicians troll the medical units at BCH, cherry picking cases that either confound or totally frustrate pediatric medical specialists.They re-label them, “Somatic Symptoms Disorder” , thereby establishing an immediate need for psychiatric intervention. This is accomplished by virtue of their “authority” to claim that rare or, as yet undiagnosed medical conditions have an underlying, pathological, psychological component. If not for the decades of rapport building between psychiatry and medicine, the very foundation of which was laid by the “continuing education for medical practitioners”, the natural resistance to view psychiatry as everything but a credible medical specialty would surely have made the above real life, real time scenarios impossible.

    The media has covered the cases that demonstrate the frightening aspect of the extent to which psychiatry has infiltrated medical practice; that psychiatry can hijack a medical case, and employ their child welfare minions to kidnap kids and force them into psychiatric treatment — this, too, is an example of two decades of a successful team building strategy . The American Academy of Pediatrics rubber stamped the new speciality “Pediatric Child Abuse Specialist”, and the diagnosis “Medical Child Abuse” that has furthered the cause for psychiatry’s authority and power to inflict the only treatment skills they have ever had on the most vulnerable people in our society. BTW, in the extreme cases publicized by the media, which began after Justina Pelletier’s case reached international notice, the public is not privy to the *treatment* psychiatry has the power to force on these kids . We aren’t hearing that behavioral modification and psych drugs sum up the psychiatric treatment approach, and that the trauma that results from torturing medically complex kids is unfathomable.

    When I was doing research to explain the unexplainable predicament Justina and her family were in, I was struck by the PR work accomplished by co-author of “Pediatric Psychosomatic Medicine”, and chief of psychiatry at BCH, David Demaso. I found reviews of this text by leading academic medical doctors, that emphasized the benefit of partnering with child psychiatry to provide holistic care for medically complex cases. The text itself and the practice parameters for assessing psychological problems in children and adolescents with chronic, severe medical conditions is stellar PR– for a process that rarely occurs–Dr. Demaso is a lead author on this *guideline* , published by the American Journal of Child Adolescent Psychiatry. — Very exciting pioneering stuff– IF it were followed, or even IF psychiatric clinicians, (especially those under Dr .Demaso’s supervision at BCH) could be held accountable to these guidelines. I suppose there are some psychiatrists that do wade in cautiously, build rapport and offer meaningful psychological support for very sick kids and their families, BUT, the fact remains– free wheeling, trolling psychiatric consult services can and do operate with a purely predatory approach.

    I am a tough audience when it comes to anything promoted by the EPA or APA. I don’t put it past them to employ smoke and mirrors, feign innocence or helplessness to turn the tides in their favor. There is no real impediment to psychiatry’s cozy, warm fuzzy relationship with medical doctors. They’ve been sharing the wealth for quite awhile,and though medicine itself is becoming ill, our real doctors seem to have lost the knack to develop cures- even for themselves, or maybe they are still getting high on the crack pipe of RCTs. ?

    When medical doctors enter a metaphorical rehab, there is hope– that they will regain their senses, remember what they already knew about psychiatry, put it under a microscope and say;

    “Aha! Psychiatry is a virulent strain of bacteria capable of developing resistance to antibiotics via mutation!”

    “No, no, Dr. Watson, psychiatry is a malignant organism!”

    “You’re both wrong! Psychiatry is definitely a virus.”

    “Too right, Dr. Holmes. Psychiatry is a nasty little parasite that has infected our noble profession! We must act quickly, there isn’t time to develop a drug, much less a vaccine, and fight the resistance Pharma will put up for our valiant attempt to save humanity.”

    “Yes. Exactly, Dr. Watson. I propose we take a more radical approach and extricate ourselves as the host to virulent psychiatry.”

    “It’s a long shot, but worth the effort, I agree”

    ” Yes, save ourselves and weaken the virus — before we have a full blown pandemic to contend with.”

    I cling to the memories of true heroic deeds performed by medical doctors–


  • ” The increased use of the psychiatric industry is not just because psychiatry is trying to drum up business. ”

    Oh, but- YES! –
    The increased use of the psychiatric industry is proof of the business they have drummed up.

    Where do you think these kids’ parents got the idea to cart little Johnny off to the ED when he is acting out, looking depressed, being oppositional/defiant?? From their kids’ teachers? Their hairdressers? The pervasive direct to consumer adverts from the,*we gotta pill for everything* companies who spend more on marketing than research & development? Their pediatricians? A homeless veteran collecting money in a can at a busy intersection?

    Is there someone who wouldn’t refer parents to seek psychiatric evaluation and treatment for a kid who is bothering some authority figure in his life by pushing his buttons? Only someone who is completely isolated from society– living in a hut or a van down by the river, perhaps;– only someone that would be almost impossible to find, would not urge parents to seek psychiatric care for their “abnormally acting” kid. Rational people with a solid bit of knowledge about the dangers of child psychiatry– are also almost impossible to find.

    Speak to any elementary school teacher and he can recite verbatim the early warning signs of severe mental illness in children– while failing to recognize that they are, in fact, posing the greatest risk to a kid’s stability and sanity by forcing him to behave in ways that are completely incompatible with his basic needs.

    No, child development is barely touched on these days– as it has become so much more important to indoctrinate teachers to spot those early sings of *mental illness* and to pressure parents to deal with their child’s budding *mental illness*. And for those stubborn, rebellious parents who fail to heed the expert opinion of an elementary school teacher, a quick trip to the ED when little Johnny is disrupting his structured environment , lets them off the hook– .

    Failure to act immediately, may result in losing custody of little Johnny– or being accused of enabling the next school shooter.

    I think you may have it backwards– the sooner psychiatry is declared dysfunctional , the better the likelihood that society will regain some, if not all of it’s functional capacity.

  • Well said, Ted! This pretty much lays out the territory that has to be broached:

    “But transforming all this into the kind of political changes needed to actually stop these atrocities will not be that easy. There needs to be a mass political movement to turn this talk into action, and force the politicians to actually do something meaningful to stop all the suffering and exploitation. This requires a very focused kind of political campaign, because our real enemy is not (just) the psychiatric profession, but the multinational drug corporations that own it. These same companies own the politicians who have the power to stop the abuses.”

    I think you are talking about arousing public outrage? That is the key to political change. There are plenty of good examples on this site of the means for raising public awareness in concert with public education, which is a crucial aspect of the mind changing campaign that lays the foundation for political change. MIA authors and commenters share messages here that resonate with individuals and groups who are grappling with the bottom line : the powerful forces behind the abuses. That said, Redmond O’Hanlon’s post above, is a treasure. It is so much more than a report on raising the consciousness of a certain class of people. It is a harbinger of the tipping point that is very close at hand. So naturally, per Murphy’s Laws :” Something that requires your full attention will occur simultaneously with a compelling distraction” .

    Psychiatric survivor’s are the heart of this campaign. They are the force that distilled the information and circulated the truth about psychiatry. You, Ted, are a distinguished leader in the psychiatric survivors movement, a pioneer of the evidence base that refutes nearly every claim psychiatry has put forth to maintain it’s power. All of us who have achieved some type of victory over the powerful forces that support psychiatric abuse of vulnerable people, owes a debt of gratitude to the courageous voices of the psychiatric survivors movement. Anyone can confidently stand on your shoulders- even those with absolutely no affiliation with any critical psychiatry reform or abolition group. Hopefully, something like this realization can rekindle the spirit of solidarity that created your movement. But — nonetheless..

    We are approaching a point where the most important message is one that resonates across the gamut of diversity that IS the public. This message does not have to come from any specific organized group, or from any particular strategy (i.e, public protests, book promotions, etc.) It has to be a message that clearly informs the public that the alliance of psychiatry & Pharma is a threat to all of us. The internet is our advantage, as clearly demonstrated by Aaron Swartz in his victory speech, after SOPA was defeated by 20-30 something, computer wizards/political activists.

    The challenge is to formulate the message, widely disseminate it (social media and web sites like *Demand Progress*); capturing public attention — like a public alert, the language should be sufficiently provocative.
    (RE: Aaron Swartz’s playbook :”SOPA is internet blacklisting”–)
    Referencing soon to be fully open to the public:”Paxil Study329 is evidence of collusion- Psychiatry & Pharma (GSK) willful deceit, fraud– unaffected by harm/deaths of kids- psychiatry and Pharma reaped billions in profits – *Crime*
    not malpractice.

    Back to this blog post and the tipping point phenomenon- this important announcement at the end of the blog post:

    -“His Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry will soon be hosting what should be a consciousness-altering international conference on the epidemic of psychiatric drug use, entitled “More Harm than Good”. Although there are still a few places left for this landmark event, it is likely to be standing-room only as many sense already that it will mark a real turning-point in the fight against the promiscuous medicalization of everyday life, enabled by GPs and the psychiatric profession. It will take place in Roehampton University, London, on September 18, and will feature virtually every top name in the field, including Peter Breggin, Bob Whitaker, Jo Moncrieff, and the fiercely independent Cochrane researcher Peter Gøtzsche of the ‘Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry,’ one of the very rare people to have published in the Big Five medical journals.”

    This event follows an unprecedented internet event that is set to go-live on September 15th. Public access to the full report on the restructuring Paxil 329- a 2 year project using the willfully concealed raw data from the RCTs that — opened the flood gates for the scourge of psych drugging our kids (2001)– This site, study329.org which is already up-,provides the background via full exposure of all pertinent historical events around this scourge. Videos of the Panorama series, Time lines around the black box warning scandal, documents, narratives– provided in a very user friendly , independent study format; this site is a virtual tool kit for the public. A groundswell of public outrage is sure to follow–IF the clear message is disseminated widely to the public that ALL 99% of us are in real danger. (see above references to Aaron Swartz’s tutorial)

    I am as saddened to hear about the self-defeating turmoil brewing in the psych survivor movement as I was devastated by the same dynamic appearing in the group of nurses who were my comrades in a campaign to stop the abuses of Harvard’s child psychiatrists at Boston Children’s Hospital (2010) . Not only was I personally attacked by those who were cowered by fear of losing their jobs, but I did lose mine– only to wake up to the realization in 2013, that is was all for naught. Silencing and dismissing me, emboldened with their success in managing the threat that whistleblowing initially was, my former colleagues marched on to collude in the kidnapping and torture of Justina Pelletier.

    ” Familiarity breeds contempt , you know” some wise cracker told me at the height of my despair–But, for me, there was no comfort in hearing yet another aspect of human darkness explained away by a cliche. The group that could have been contenders in the battle against powerful dark forces had a formidable membership roster. What became of those rebel members of my group who held other prominent positions at BCH and at the state regulatory agency, DMH? They slithered back into the shadows and silently condoned worse than what we aimed to stop.

    Oh, well.

    I decided that only if I gave up the fight could I ever be defeated. My choice to contemplate the power of one, one amongst many other powerful ones; a single drop of water in a swelling tide; I envisioned riding a wave that has now swelled to Tsunami proportions. I have nearly forgotten the bitter sting of betrayal and the slander of my former comrades, but I take to heart the realization that this is a dynamic that is almost inevitable in any close knit group. Steven Covey says in a book he wrote on community building that, the real work and full potential of the *community*/group happens after it implodes. No pain, no gain? More cliches that may not stick any better than a band aid– but, nonetheless-

    There is power in one; one single dedicated person who does not give up the fight.

    With the advent of a chance to use solid evidence that seriously discredits and leads to criminal prosecution of high ranking members of both psychiatry and Pharma; an event that can thrust the abuses of these corrupt institutions into the political arena; a literal gold mine of evidence in the public domain is only 10 days away. It would be a shame to allow any personal issue to become a compelling distraction to your participation in this history making victory.



  • An interesting phenomenon occurs whenever Will posts an educational blog on non-prescription psychoactive substances. I think Steve said it best near the top of this thread:

    “Thanks for the additional info about the different types of marijuana as well. It seems that a well-informed clinician should be able to help advise a person on some viable options that are much less dangerous than the ubiquitous psych drugs that are so readily handed out without a tenth of the concern people give to this relatively innocuous plant.”

    Then a dialogue happens in the comment thread and an entirely new approach to thinking about psychoactive substances is born.

    The interesting phenomena is a person centered approach to best use of psychoactive substances to improve functioning.. This is what is missing in the methodology employed to determine the best use for prescription only psych drugs. Or rather, the person as the best source of vital information is either a subject in a study or a patient whose experience and feedback must be re-coded to fit the narrative of the *expert*. The person is just a means to an end–

    Prescription only psychoactive drugs were developed, tested and are prescribed in a vacuum, while natural herbs like, Marijuana and other so-called , street drugs, have a legacy that is rich with a person centered research. Groups of people have built communities around the best use of psychoactive substances, even psych drugs, that is far superior to the content of any lecture or journal article produced by even the most knowledgeable psychopharmacology expert in the field of psychiatry. Community generated education is person centered, and any person in the community/group can acquire as much knowledge as he desires. The value of the shared experiences and knowledge is determined by each individual who enlists in a clinical trial, so to speak. (time honored, gold standard human tested)

    I have some reservations about Joanna Moncrieff’s drug centered approach, though I commend her for finding a very graceful and thoughtful way out of the pit of a fraudulently manufactured disease centered approach. My reservations really center on the shaky knowledge base of the psych drugs themselves. There’s a vacuum there, too. It is no longer a secret that the whole process of developing or designing psych drugs and the clinical trials to test them is wrought with a combination of contrived and deceptive maneuvers. Those people who may have had the best information about a drug in a RCT, for example, may well have been coded out of the study– because he didn’t fit the expert’s narrative– and so it goes. I wonder what psychiatrists think they really know about these drugs, given that so little is actually known about them.

    David Healy has been addressing it for over a decade, and he is gaining ground with Risk.org– an internet forum that has many of the same features as one of Will’s blogs about medical/psychiatric uses for pot. Yet, Dr. Healy’s posture and demeanor when attending a small panel discussion on withdrawal from psych drugs is clarified when he introduces himself– saying “I’m here to learn from you-” . You, being the audience of people withdrawing or helping a significant other withdraw from psych drugs. He is admitting there is so much he still does not know. (video is on you tube)

    I do not mean to discredit or defame Dr. Steingard, or Dr. Moncrieff. I am not suggesting that they aren’t concerned about best use for psych drugs or their patients well being. I think that thinking outside of the box and recognizing that there is already a very useful and successful model for developing sound and conservative practices around administering psychoactive substances, is difficult for professionals who view themselves in a role that denotes authority or expert. I understand this constraint from the perspective of a nurse. It is closely linked to intensive training on establishing and maintaining professional boundaries, I think. It becomes engrained on an instinctual level, and doesn’t yield easily to thoughtful reflection on its potential adverse effects. I have no idea how to change this mind set either.

    My own mind was changed by experience with children, adolescents and young adults– in various settings where I was supposed to be in charge of an activity with a group of kids. My first approach was task centered- both time consuming and labor intensive, I took control of every phase of the process, with less than optimal results. So, I redoubled my efforts and continued to strive for success, until one day, while I was frantically engaged in last minute problem solving, I had to leave the group to work out the solution. I returned in less than 10 minutes. That was all the time the group needed to work out a better solution.

    This same phenomenon happens regularly with my grand children. I am hardly surprised. There is an evidence base for collaborative learning, but there is no formula for changing the minds of those who believe they must function as authorities, experts.

    I believe that the problem with the many active ingredients which vary amongst different Marijuana plants, for instance–will be resolved by the individuals with vested interest, like Will, who studies and collaborates with other personally motivated individuals ; this group will have worked out their own individual problems with the problem — before the experts can turn out a reliable study.

  • @ ManintheMoon

    How many people do you represent? re:
    ” Sorry we do not buy into such non-sense”

    I have been on the front lines , witnessing the exact *mis*treatment of young people that madmom has described as her own daughter’s agonizing ordeal. Which, by the way certainly does cause a long list of mental health issues for the kids who are forced to take brain damaging drugs and locked up away from everything that has meaning to them– AND their significant others who are helpless to stop this torture.

    You and yours are way off base with your pronouncements. This type of careless judgment and insensitivity is what fuels this system– BTW.

    You need a better argument– like :”The Mental Health Industry is Too Big to Fail”– something that can at least be supported with facts.


  • @ManintheMoon,

    Speaking strictly for myself, an ex-child/adolescent psychiatric nurse who advocated for the human rights of my patients for over 20 years, I see the tide finally turning against psychiatry–led by a few psychiatrist’s who have been advocating for full disclosure of the clinical data on the infamous Paxil Study 329; advocating for the truth to be made public. It took 10 years to accomplish this.

    It has been 14 years since the original deceptively dangerous Study 329 was published in The American Journal of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. I have personally witnessed the destruction of the the lives of thousands of kids who were prescribed SSRIs– drugs that were neither effective, nor safe according to the clinical trial data. Essentially, this means that both Pharma- in this study, GSK and the long list of prestigious academic psychiatric specialists, who sold their names for this ghost written journal article, colluded to commit fraud for profits in the billions of dollars. Millions of kids have been harmed– many have lost their lives. You can imagine why I am adamantly anti- CHILD psychiatry — at the very least.

    On September 15th, the article that reports the findings of Study 329 will be published by BMJ– but it will also be available on-line as the web site Study329.org “goes live”. Unprecedented opportunity for anyone to also see the raw data from this clinical trial– for free.

    I have long advocated for the well documented fraud that has created the gold mine of psychiatry in collusion with Pharma; I have consistently advocated for this fraud to be prosecuted as a crime. This is the potential test case for the moment I have been waiting for–. I think it may also address your concerns regarding the mental health industry. This is where the baby can be safely separately from the bath water. Holding accountable those who have committed crimes against the most vulnerable people; identifying the M.O. of these crimes, and establishing a clear cut deterrent to committing these crimes moving forward would be a direct focus on the bad apples in the mental health industry– and a good place to start, don’t you agree?

    It is easy to get a good look at what this tide turning event is all about on the web site study329.org
    I recommend you start there and review pertinent facts/documents/videos at your own pace. then you will have a solid background for interpreting the material that is forthcoming– 12 days away!

    It might be too much to hope for restitution as part of the penalty for these crimes, but I like to think that there is a possibility that funding for real solutions and support of those currently in the mental health system would finally become available. Justice for all? I like to think…

    I appreciate that your criticism of MIA comes from fear of the loss of the only support you feel you have right now. But most of us who share radical anti-psychiatry views here also acknowledge that obliterating ALL of psychiatry- in one fell swoop is virtually impossible. I think you should also realize that the most radical views here come from those closest to the epicenter of psychiatry’s destructive forces– either as survivors of psychiatric abuse, or as witnesses of this ongoing scourge. We have long realized that the biomedical model IS psychiatry today. It is ALL psychiatry really is today.

    As a nurse who spent the first 14 years of my career working in the medical field, I have come to view the biomedical model of psychiatry as a malignant cancer. Regardless of the method chosen to treat malignant cancer, the treatment itself is daunting and often painful. Treatments like, chemo therapy and radiation are debilitating and can be very frightening. But unless we destroy the malignant cells of psychiatry– this biomedical model cancer, there is no cure.

    The good news, and I do want to end on a hopeful note, is that once the malignant cells of psychiatry are destroyed, there will definitely be a huge reduction in the number of new psychiatric patients. My guess is that there are enough professionals in and around the mental health field, who will be glad for the opportunity to work on solutions for — what amounts to “our” problems as a society. You won’t be left out.


  • These pictures were part of an internal campaign at GSK to maintain employee morale following the Panorama (BBC) exposing in 4 segments, the forthcoming real results of Paxil Study 329. These were *leaked* by a GSK employee who had a conscience– not mainstream adverts.

    Full explanation of the various tactics used to prevent the truth from dampening the profits of GSK are provided in links on study329.org. David Healy’s “Grouse” lecture– video and transcript provide the details of the dark side of genius in marketing..

  • Steve,
    I would like to read your comment on this op ed -Next best thing to a full counter argument to NY Times ?

    I wonder about Lieberman’s method for preventing these tragedies. He claims to have experience treating *these cases* – but doesn’t say how he is better than any other shrink at predicting these events- What’s he doing- reading tea leaves? Some other form of divination?

    Oh- wait a minute, he is really proposing the default mechanism for growing his business *round em up ; lock ’em up, drug ’em up* for their own good!
    A plug for applying the law(s) that will provide shrinks with the clientele needed to feed Pharma– the hand that feeds Lieberman. Lieberman is laying claim to expertise in collusion with wealth and power- What else?

    Like Donald Trump, he knows how to make deals.–

    Maybe a better strategy than writing counter point op eds to rubbish- would be to purchase a full page ad in the NY Times announcing the long awaited evidence that has potential to take some of the wind out of Lieberman’s sails:
    Will GO LIVE September 15th !


  • Just curious, Dr. Hassman. Why is it that you cannot believe a person consulting you, a psychiatrist, when he/she reports positive effects from Marijuana?

    Your statement here :

    “It is beyond ridiculous and amusing simultaneously when patients come in almost demanding I cater to their attitude how wonderful pot is for their mental health problems, and yet, they are coming in for problems. Um, is it really just me, or with marijuana laws so lax now that people can get away with using pot without much legal consequences, that the hypocrisy of this attitude is not worth my time?”

    –reads like typical discounting the credibility of *psychiatric patients*/ *consumers of mental health services*. The same exact attitude exhibited by your colleagues with regard to the- too numerous to mention- adverse effects of prescription only, FDA approved, psych drugs!

    I will continue my comment with a more general response that is not addressed to Dr. Hassman.

    The take home message for thoughtful readers would be that you are least likely to get rock solid beneficial information on *drugs* from a psychiatrist–

    In my 20+ years working with psychiatrists, I found most to be prudent in their off the cuff dismissals of a patients’ credibility, only making remarks about their ridiculous claims in private circles. To Dr. Hassman’s credit, he is lifting the veil of secrecy–

    I would also like to add that I have heard and believed the young adults who have shared with me their preference for Marijuana over psych drugs. And I have a great deal of confidence in an open dialogue approach to working out all issues around safe, effective medical uses for Marijuana. Much more likely than– say, depending on psychiatry for information re: safe/effective uses of prescription only psych drugs.

    Once again, Will’s writing demonstrates what is possible.Open discussion, a conversation that is not intended to be a debate. I don’t think anyone expects that anyone else is the end -all -expert– or can predict effects of any substance for each individual. I don’t think anyone curious or interested in this topic expects the definitive answer, but I do believe that we are ready to assume responsibility, sharing information honestly and respecting each other’s good intentions. I would imagine this notion of educated, supportive communities poses something of a threat to psychiatrists.


  • John,

    As it related to the topic of this post, I am responding to your comment:

    ” With children in particular, we know these drugs carry a lot of risk.** But I am not aware of any objective evidence that “The evolving adolescent brain will be impaired by the use of medication. ”** Rather it seems to me that the use of medication is an issue that should be addressed on an individual basis, taking into account the specific needs and values of the client.”

    The reasoning you display here reflects the impact of RCTs on clinical practice guidelines, that has profoundly changed the role of a physician. Relying on the information produced by a flawed process that favors guild interests of both pharma and psychiatry, many doctors still contend that IF an adverse effect was not brought to light by a RCT, well, then it must not exist. This is one essential point of Dr. Healy’s post: Paxil study 329, is but one example of the risk a doctor is taking by relying on RCTs as a *gold standard* for clinical practice guidelines. Paxil was neither safe nor effective– based on the raw data obtained in this study– yet, here we are , 10 years after the black box warning finally appeared on drugs in this class, failing to take proper notice of the implications of relying on RCT style *objective evidence* to guide prescribing practices of psychotropic drugs for children and adolescents. This is mind boggling.

    There are standards that definitely should impact the attitude of doctors who are tempted to prescribe psych drugs for kids. My old school nursing/medical training guided me to study the developing brain for evidence of vulnerability and potential adverse effects of drugs that act directly on neurotransmitter systems and neuronal signaling mechanisms. I started with a medical text on the topic. James C.Harris, Director of Developmental Neuropsychiatry, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Pediatrics, and Mental Hygiene- Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is the author of a 2 volume text: Developmental Neuropsychiatry- Fundamentals”. First published in 1995. Dr. Harris states in the preface that information in this 2 volume work is presented to acquaint the reader with the material and is not intended to be an exhaustive review.

    No doubting that the prospect of tinkering with neurotransmitter systems in the developing brains of children and adolescents via psychotropic drugs is guided by works, such as this text,– but, in my opinion, there can be no denying that to do so is unethical.

    Here is my reasoning. There has been no substantiation for labeling behavior, emotional states and mental functioning with a diagnosis, calling any of these symptoms, as disease or a disorder. In contrast, for example, where there is a quantifiable means for diagnosing a disease, such as rheumatic fever- the careful calculations needed for prescribing a drug proven effective in eradicating Beta- hemolytic stop bacteria – to children is a clear example of addressing the use of medication on an individual level. What justification can be given for the off label prescribing of brain altering drugs ? Zero. Experimenting to the scale this practice has developed is also, IMO, illegal.

    Though it is beyond me how the practice of prescribing psychotropic drugs to kids began- meaning that the knowledge and expertise of a medical doctor seems to preclude this from having ever become an option. Rather, either ignorance of the intricacies of brain development, or willful denial of the significance of *what is not known* , has been the foundation of a practice that is brain disabling and wrought with serious physiological adverse effects as well –; this practice continues and is proliferating, with little to no regard shown by the medical community.

    I really don’t think that it is necessary to conduct in depth study of the developing brain, to question the prescribing of brain altering drugs to kids. Common sense suffices here. What has become a better for debate and endless intellectual speculation really seems more the product of brain washing a profession into relying on RCT evidence– . In Pharmagheddon, David Healy says that doctors are hooked on the crack pipe of RCT evidence– And it does appear to be an affliction that has caused the profession to behave in very serious destructive ways–. So long as these bogus clinical guidelines hold up as a defense for doctor being sued for careless prescribing habits resulting in injury or death– well, what is the hurry to change the view that until the objective evidence of harm is proven in a study– a RCT, no less, no need to heed a warning.


  • ” Where oh where is this going?”

    Precisely the question ALL well informed psychiatry survivors- patients and clinicians alike, are asking.

    The exposed scandal of psychiatry’s scourge should be going to court? Heard by a jury? Certain psychiatrists and Pharma execs should be going to jail??

    We’ve got evidence- written, documented from: investigative journalists, psychiatrists, ethicists , psychologists, therapists, nurses– ALL confirming the testimony of psych abuse survivors–.

    Why oh why hasn’t a charging document been written? Where are the federal prosecuting attorneys? the State’s attorneys? The Attorney General?

    We are a civilized, developed nation based on laws– some of which STILL offer protection for *we the people* from being exploited and harmed by fraud – THIS fraud has and does threaten the most vulnerable people in our society; this fraud created the wealthiest industry in the world. The buck should stop right here. where it ALL started.

    Otherwise, what is the freaking pint??

  • John,

    Doctors as intermediaries and gate keepers for patients developed in concert with THEIR *guild* interests that absolutely were inspired by pharmaceutical companies bank roll– The evolution of the medical professional from patron or partner with her patients to gatekeeper and intermediary is a topic Dr. Healy writes extensively about in his books and on his blog. I have 40 years in the field– so I have seen and been part of something that newcomers cannot imagine– even from studying the history– IF any of you do study the history of your profession. In any case, you gloss over the most revealing aspect of the scandal that has been laid out pretty clearly– and like it or not, it was psychiatrists who led the way for it.

    Smooth talking Pharma reps did NOT design the TMAP guidelines, nor did they coerce Dr.Joseph Biederman into designing his disease invention clinical trials–. Allen Frances, AKA * the most powerful psychiatrist in the world*, ushering in no less than 70 new disorders and laying out a plan (documented in emails to J&J) , deserves credit for widely disseminating the perfect formula for creating life time users of Pharmas wares. THEIRS (the aforementioned psychiatrists) )was not the behavior of a doctor in the strict sense of the word. By the mid nineties these two psychiatrists had helped to transform what was once the work of a doctor.. getting to know a patient (boy does that date ME ), into third party diagnosing, made easy with the use of check lists–Even lay people could tick off boxes– showing before and after improvement in the *behaviors* the third parties had cited as most disturbing to THEM. This, by the way, is how childhood bipolar disorder was invented– and why Zyprexa and Risperdal were first line treatments . The sedation effect proved Biederman’s theory– that he had misdiagnosed a whole bunch of kids as ADHD– when, damn if they weren’t actually Bipolar– the very disorder Pharma was targeting for another batch of *mood stabilizers* as well–. Coincidence? Not likely.

    I never bought the *Pharma made us do it* crap, because I was witnessing doctors acting like businessmen — maybe before you stepped foot on a medical or psych unit?– The thing is, psychiatrists were the first to tap this gold mine, and they did it by deleting every aspect of medical practice that was predicated on * the best interest of the patient*.– Focused on ticking boxes, rating sales, third party observations– and profit sharing in the sales of drugs.

    In psychiatry, it is the the satisfaction of the third parties that keeps the business running. Even psych staff on the front lines, prefer controlling behavior and describing it with labels. A tough audience , kept blissfully ignorant in a vacuum where the light of anything real and concerning about this scandal never gets in.

    You are no less at risk for protecting guild interests that ALL newcomers must confront when hearing about the scandal that begs the question: Psychiatry? Why has it been allowed to exist as a medical speciality? Your strategy is to keep creating doubt and confusion, buying time for something that will vindicate psychiatry to be discovered.

    Intellectually speaking, you appear up to the task– but I would caution you to consider the reason doctors have the clout and power given to them by our society– a trust they no longer deserve. Once upon a time, a good doctor was one who had a healthy respect for what she DID NOT know– . Questioning everything based on the results shown by the patient– the ONE patient getting the treatment was key. No way, would this good doctor be the slightest bit influenced by either RCTs or a Pharma rep bearing gifts.

    Good doctors don’t let patients become a market in the first place. No reason for a good doctor to ever view herself as intermediary or gatekeeper– When you said , “In medicine, WE….” you got my attention. What followed, IMO was another valiant attempt to save the profession you have already paid for– in tuition and personal sacrifice.

    Us old timers like have been trying to impart words of wisdom to our young colleagues for several years now. David Healy actually goes so far as to issue warnings to newcomers and current practicing psychiatrists who don’t question their *paradigm of care* and fail to take some action to sort out the risks and flat out dangers it poses for their patients,
    . Healy warns that via their complacency, they are committing career suicide–.

    Come a time, when the plaintiff’s psychiatrist will be the focus , the main focus in malpractice and wrongful death litigation– the court cases that Pharma has been taking the bullets for — over a decade. WHY? Because a tipping point is arriving regarding the information reported by those whom you suspect are serving their own guild interests – as authors.

    If you plan to stay whre you are, Kimosabe, you had better put on a mask.


  • @John Smith,

    The points you raise make a good case for taking Cognitive Dissonance off the table as an explanation for the exceptionally widespread, severe scandal that has been reported by Whitaker and Cosgrove. There is a big difference between not coming to grips with causing harm and willful denial of evidence that ALL prudent, logical, rational means for preventing harm were NOT employed. In other words, given the M.O. of our most prominent academic psychiatrist’s , the only possible outcome of their rogue negligence and abject arrogance would be harm. The rest of the discussion is about how much harm and what can be done about it.

    Embellishing the report of an investigation to sell books? Probably not going to turn out as well for an author as the same deception for financial gain scheme panned out for–Dr. Joseph Biederman , for example. Considering how many drones have been deployed to discover some means of discrediting Bob Whitaker–; considering how deep the pockets of Pharma are known to be and how successfully they have disposed of their traitors, we would have known long before now, if Whitaker and his new co-author Cosgrove had pumped up the volume on this book. That’s the thing, isn’t it? The report is accurate– but I think it falls short of revealing the full magnitude and implications of these factual accounts of the making of an empire out of the institution of Psychiatry.

    No matter how many times these ingredients are mixed together, or how many different ways they are combined, the product of this recipe is a very nasty smelling, ugly mess that no one wants to eat.

    Neutrality is not an appropriate stance at this juncture, and I daresay your proposal that we simply rearrange the furniture on the Titanic — again, is not going to be heard over the roar of shouts to : “Man the life boats”!

    The survivors will need to test the waters of our criminal justice system before we set sail toward a new horizon.

  • I think – maybe the lexicon of *critical psychiatry* ; the terms and phrasing used to describe the practices of the institution of psychiatry are as misleading as the terminology and phrasing ; the lexicon introduced to market biomedical psychiatry by the *institution of psychiatry* –or rather, none of this is making sense–

    In a comment above, Robert Whitaker writes:

    “The first thing is this: what is clear is that we have a paradigm of care in the United States (and increasingly this is true globally) that is organized around a false narrative of science. ”

    I think, maybe a more accurate description is that we have substantial evidence of the mass marketing of dangerous drugs achieved via endorsement by prominent academic psychiatrists, ALL of whom have engaged in corrupt, unethical practices- beginning with lies regarding scientific evidence for psychiatric diagnosis and drug treatments. The motive has also been clearly substantiated as financial gain, while the harm done to vulnerable people is as evident as the potential for further harm can be predicted IF this *paradigm of care* continues.

    Language is key at this juncture. Psychiatrists we know by name were caught pitching their schemes to Pharma companies, also named. Since when did our society condone, much less even suspect that anyone in the medical profession would be motivated by* commercial and guild interests* disregarding their professional duty of *caring for our citizens in distress*?? The public trust has a firm foundation in reasonable expectations around matters pertaining to the conduct of medical doctors. What society needs to do in the wake of stark evidence of the breach of our trust carried to this extreme , is condemn, and criminally prosecute the psychiatrists and Pharma KNOWN to have pulled off this heinous assault on our most vulnerable citizens, children. Condemning the institution that spawned and perpetrates this is a good place to start.

    I can report from recent experience as an imbedded double agent, or rather,as a staff nurse on adolescent, young adult and geriatric psychiatric inpatient units, there is zero interest in changing this *paradigm of care*- and less tolerance for any nurse who suggests *we* (psychiatric clinicians) might want to rethink our *paradigm of care*.

    Wishy washy rhetoric coming from investigative journalists who have uncovered the greatest threat to our children IS watering down the take home message. Looks no different than the magic bullets for brain disorders campaigns that provided the puzzle, whose solution just happened to be a scandal that is now a scourge unlike any we have known. Hello? Note the innocent children being sacrificed? They are “the new market”. I am just personifying the * commercial guild interest* to bring the message closer to home. When you see the harm, as I have, — and still do, in terms of Harvard Child Psychiatry victims who have not made it out of the woods yet– the rhetoric of justifying crimes against humanity is a HUGE trigger! Especially from this site, this particular source.

    Well, hopefully, I will get a bit of empathy for being so politically incorrect– at the very least?

  • Hi Bob.

    I think you meant to add something to this sentence?

    “But, if we look at our current conceptions of psychiatric disorders, and the great expansion of diagnoses and the use of psychiatric drugs, that has occurred since 1980s, when the APA published the third edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.”

    What do we see since the 1080’s? IMO we see evidence of criminality– we see fraud, harm done, absence profits made– and it is psychiatry that, IMO is where the buck stops.

    When I met you April 2011, I shared my experience as a whistle blower on Boston Children’s Hospital’s pedi psych unit Bader 5. I , having no credentials as journalist and no chance to wrk in my profession after being blacklisted (Traitor to Harvard)– asked for your assistance to expose Bader- Harvard Child Psychiatry– in depth. Now, as well as 4 years ago, I realize that what I was asking is tantamount to asking someone to be willing to lose everything they have worked for –with no guarantee any good will come of the sacrifice. Though the kidnapping and torture of Justina Pelletier -2 years later– might have been prevented?? I worry about such things having been an insider –on the front lines; knowing the psychiatric clinicians who grabbed Justina — AND how reluctant so many professionals are to attack the root of the problem here head on.

    There is a link on Psych Rights web site to a 86 page document outlining the *conflict of interest* issues in the case against J&J– like you cited in your book, “Anatomy”, the ethicist David J. Rothmans, PhD,cites in his “Expert Witness Report” EMAILS exchanged between Allen Frances and J&J– you cite emails between Joseph Biederman and J&J– The evidence of disease mongering for profit is so clearly stated , one, like ME, has to wonder– WHEN are these psychiatrists going to face criminal indictments??

    Anyone serious about abating the scourge of child psychiatry , is talking about protecting kids from serious harm. We know that criminal indictments would be the first real statement about psychiatry– removing claims as– the ruler of treatment —.

    I understand why you could not *write my story* or personal investigate Bader 5 in 2011– but considering ALL that has happened since– I do not understand why the topic of psychiatry reform is even still on the table–.


  • Here is link to detailed statement from Prosecutor Mosby:


    Standing alongside and behind Mosby of independent investigation team.

    You will note that she admonished police releasing if from investigation — which they had already done– giving falsified statements to Washington Post about the *witness statements* from Donte Allen, the 22 year old arrested and put in the van at the next to last stop. Jayne Miller – corrected this 🙂 BTW- Allen was released without charges.

    Police officers were arrested and released on bail– NOT locked up.

    Preliminary hearing is May 27th- . Yes, there are aspects of the process that may influence the disposition of the case.

    Police union is busy — in this case, the corruption there will be exposed.

    Lessons available here– for those interested in studying a broken system.

  • Duane,

    With regards to your statement about the “court of public opinion” , I wonder if you watched the televised statement made by State Prosecutor Mosby? She states that there was nothing the police investigation turned over the day before, that she did not already have– AND that the detailed accounting of the events that supported the charges were all a matter of public record– meaning, that these are facts continued in the combined efforts of an independent investigation team.

    The proverbial court of pubic opinion is, as I referenced, a matter of discussion and debate regarding how these facts are death with by the court. — Big difference.

    As for defense of the 6 officers charges, one can only hope they are capable of accepting responsibility.


  • Sera,
    Thank you for writing from the perspective of seeking connection with this very emotionally charged, recent news story. I am not always able to delve into a media generated exposure of suffering on par with the death of Freddie Gray. It just so happens I have a strong connection to many of the people who were deeply hurt by this tragedy. If you do want to follow the story, MSNBC and WBAL in Baltimore are the most trustworthy sources. Jayne Miller is the “on-the scene-reporter” with the best track record for getting it right.

    I already knew of the young leaders in public office in Baltimore who were committed to changing the culture of oppression and brutality that is well documented as at least 2 decades of BPD history. I already knew how some BPD practices fueled distrust and fostered a sense of worthlessness amongst young black males especially in the West Baltimore communities. I shared my friends’ sense of doubt that much could be done to change these destructive forces, especially when the financial power of the police union lobby flexed its muscle just last year.(Reform legislation to the Police bill of Rights, introduced by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was shot down) What happened with respect to the criminal charges announced by the State Prosecutor , Marilyn Mosby, last Friday is a ground breaking news. This young woman demonstrates what is possible when an elected public official understands the roots of a problem and has spent some time working out possible ways of solving even those problems that *power* mongers do to want exposed. much less solved. There is a strong investment in maintaining the narrative of *danger in poor black communities*- due to the inherent nature of the black residents. Sound familiar?

    I know it is hardly a secret that psychiatry has created its own business, investing in narratives that support the need for their having power and authority to use another type of deadly force against those they alone can identify –*diagnose*. Psychiatry operates with no significant oversight- zero regulation outside of its own ranks. Regardless of instances where it might be deemed as having gone well, there is no means for rebuttal , much less protest when those harmed by psychiatry challenge the ultimate authority/power of psychiatrists. Of late, a few psychiatrists have suggested that this is a recipe for violent reprisal from — you know who. Nothing could be worse than that— I think it would invite a much worse reaction , a much more * see what we’re dealing with* attitude than those expressed in the wake of the violent destruction of property and the rock throwing that occurred recently in Baltimore. I do not doubt the commitment to peaceful protest and nonviolence from *our movement*, but I also acknowledge the historical relevance of the formulas that produce violent reactions from *the people*.

    I was sickened by the media portrayal of the *out of control protests* in Baltimore. They were rendered out of context of the background specific to this arrest and this death of a young black male in police custody–important background well known to the Mayor of Baltimore who stands her ground despite media incited criticism. AND, I am sickened by the narrative that was used as context– “the animal nature inherent in these residents of Baltimore”- which, of course conveniently supports the practices of policing these neighborhoods -; long standing practices that actually have a great deal to do with the violence that erupted. I hate the way the complexity that is in the voices of *the people* effected most by this tragedy is ignored. And I mean the people whose neighborhoods were effected by the *out of control protests*, too. . Also missing are the actual responses of those who rolled up their sleeves and stood alongside the youthful clean-up crews and initiating some astounding peace making actions- including addressing the needs of people most effected by the loss of their neighborhood CVS.

    I intend to continue to closely follow the progress underway in Baltimore– . For anyone who believes the States Attorney was applying a band aid to appease the *angry mob*, I say , “Wrong”! The application of the law and the initiation of our very own judicial system was the result of a tremendous amount of timely effort. Brilliant work accomplished by a young elected public servant, who knows that justice is the place to start. I believe this carries a message of both hope and direction for * our movement*– filled with many voices who are a chorus of pessimism resounding just as loudly as the voices of dedicated civil rights advocates I know in Baltimore– before May 1, 2015

  • Ted,
    I just wanted to suggest that you review the way the State Prosecutor intervened, or rather jumped on this case with the brilliant move of initiating an independent investigation. A tactic that was honed from repeated failures to counter the *Police Bill of Rights* that protects Maryland police from even receiving disciplinary action for their role in a sentinel event. Unheard of anywhere else. ??

    Fighting back with the criminal justice system is a tactic waiting to be employed … In her closing remarks, after publicly reading the charging document, State’s Atty. Mosby addressed the youth of her city– saying “Our time is now”–

    Food for thought 😉
    In solidarity,

  • Hi Duane,
    Are you surprised that there was no *police crisis* transpiring during the events that began with the arrest of Freddie Gray and ended with the police call for emergency medical care? Did you note the matter of fact way both Freddie Gray and Donte Allen were picked up? Police had not been called into a crisis– no threat of violence anywhere around the police. Why were these two (repeat offenders) arrested and taken into custody under such superficial, contrived circumstances? The residents of this [and other] West Baltimore communities would tell you that this is partly the way their communities are *policed*– young black males with long rap sheets for mostly drug charges become police assistants– via harassment, coercion. Many also become targets of violent reprisal from those who believe they have been *outed* by this method of policing these *high crime* neighborhoods. The complaints about the way Freddie Gray was pursued and *mistreated* were coming in before the police van meandered its way to the police station. What anyone outside of West Baltimore did not already know, would still be unknown if the independent investigation into his arrest and the events that led to his death had not been initiated the day after his arrest– 6 days before he died.

    There is a video of Freddie Gray being loaded *back*into the police van in hand cuffs and leg shackles– on his stomach- prone, head first. this was done at the very first stop after his [now known to have been:illegal arrest]. Three other stops were either recorded or witnessed. Each officer is named with regard for their level of responsibility, their actual actions the requisite accountability regarding the death of Freddie Gray.

    Actually we do know the facts of this case. The independent investigation launched by the prosecutor on the day after the arrest, assured that the *facts* would be known; facts already known by the community members who made complaints- starting immediately after Freddie Gray’s arrest and Before any of the documentation could be altered. What we don’t know is whether the charges cited by State Prosecutor, Marilyn Mosby on May 1st will stand– or if convictions and punishment will reflect the facts of this case.

    The most amazing part of this story is the explanation for the immediate and thorough action taken by the State Prosecutor, 35 year old, Marilyn Mosby. She is well aware of the how *these incidents* usually play out and why it is next to impossible to hold police accountable. Note there was no gun violence either– no high adrenalin rushing moments to justify use of lethal force, and hardly a second thought about the possibility of a fatal spinal cord injury from the way Freddie Gray was loaded into the van. It is actually the casual dismissal of ALL aspects of police responsibility for law and order coupled with rather abject neglect for their prisoners safety that makes this case so outrageous– though, excepting the brutal killing of a suspect in their custody, the scenario is *police business as usual* in communities throughout this country that share the same demographic as West Baltimore. State Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby believes this is unacceptable– and her actions are exemplary of simply doing her job.

    This tragedy has deeply affected me on many levels. I lived in Baltimore and 1992-95, still have many friends there have many positive memories of the culture and the climate of the West Baltimore communities– from encounters as a nurse and resident of Baltimore. I was heartbroken and extremely angry.

    WE have the original careless police reports that contain things like “Mr. Gray suffered a medical emergency and was transported to the hospital”. When in fact “not breathing and no pulse” indicates Mr. Gray was dead on arrival to the police station– while STILL in the van where police were driving him around shackled and hand cuffed– etc.– The officer cited for *failing to assess Mr. Gray’s condition or summon medical assistance * had been informed of the complaints about both his arrest and concerns about his medical condition. Officer Alicia White (stop #3) called the suspects name– addressing the back of his head. He did not respond– SHE DID NOTHING. Forgot her CPR training? Did not check for pulse and respirations? OR summon a medic to do so. I cannot put my reactions to the *facts* into words. It sickens me to contemplate the attitudes of these officers with regard to this young man who had committed no crime, did not resist arrest or pose a threat to any of them– or anyone else. Was he not deemed valuable to those officers– even in the sense of his *assisting them to arrest dangerous criminals*?

    I am writing this comment to illustrate how difficult it is for the facts to be considered– even when ALL pertinent ones, pertaining to the guilt of all 6 officers are as well known as the evidence the public saw way ahead of the trial for the younger, surviving Boston Marathon Bomber. Guilty? YES. But that is not the same as charged to the full extent of the law– or convicted for these crimes– much less sentenced in accordance with them. Or, I should say– not the SAME for all criminals thusly exposed and dealt with by our judicial system. (BTW I oppose the death penalty).

    I believe there should be public accountability from each of these officers for what each of them did and did not do that resulted in a senseless, brutal death. I also hope there will be appropriate acknowledgement for the expediency of action taken by some leaders in public office in Baltimore to quell violence that they understood the roots of– meaning those are the only FACTS that have not been made public– yet.


  • @truth,

    I am not suggesting viewing the risk for damaging effects of either ECT or psych drugs in terms of which is worse. I agreed with the comment that you quoted above, which speaks to differences in adverse effects and the damage caused by psych drugs. But, you are right “wrecked or killed by either still means decimated or dead. ”

    I do suggest that a shared commitment to protecting children is a means for overcoming or transcending the differences that divide and weaken the potential for preventing ALL of us from becoming victims of psychiatric abuse.

    Is is really numbers and /or degree of harm that will cement a formidable strategy for educating and arousing the concern of the public? There are infinite arguments still to be raised before any one message becomes a tipping point. Perhaps a strong demonstration of our shared humanity to protect the most vulnerable in our society, our greatest treasure, our future — our children could be a rallying point that effectively exposes the one great *evil* that threatens us all?

    Just saying–


  • Dear Dr. Breggin,

    With all due respects, I find your response calls for a more detailed explanation of my concerns regarding the way you have interpreted the historical recounting of the work of Dr. Lauretta Bender to accuse Dr. Healy of support for her work. From my position, a nurse who has worked with Harvard child psychiatrists who have earned the reputation of a present day *Mengele* — this accusation was a call for action. I have supplied the description of the action I took to determined the veracity of your accusations against Dr. Healy. Elsewhere on this comment threat and posted by me on this site, are aspects of my background and my work to both expose present day Dr. Mengele’s and more importantly, rescue children from the present day crimes committed against them by child psychiatry. Before, I continue my response to your criticisms of Dr. Healy, I want to be clear regarding my issue. Present day support of the methods and the madness of Dr. Lauretta Bender’s page in the history of American Child Psychiatry is a most grievous matter to me.

    I did not phone Dr. Healy. I emailed him. His response in writing was shared here. The book you cite was joint authored by Healy. He contributed Chapter’s 9 & 11 and the epilogue. I cannot argue against interpretations of historical references, but as a reader, it is up to me to condone or condemn what is written in this manner. As a reader, a nurse reading for the purpose of establishing a strong foundation for the work I am doing, I want the facts. Robert Whitaker, who has been criticized on his own site for failing to interject the rhetoric of condemnation into the discussion has gained vital support internationally from academics and clinicians, for maintaining his non biased position. This, in my opinion, translates into respect for the audience’s capacity to reach their own conclusions. The facts here, from my perspective are :1) Your interpretations are taken out of the context of Chapter 9, which is mainly about *informed consent* and 2) Your position within the psychiatric survivor movement has tremendous influence over those who may have never read any of Dr.Healy’s own books or have any knowledge of the extent to which he has opened a path for those of us most concerned with the present and the future — and especially where this ALL effects our children.

    Why does this matter to me ? When I encounter people, mostly parents, who are seeking my help with their children who are current victims of American Child Psychiatry, many of whom have read your books, including “Reclaiming Our Children”, which I most often recommend, have cause via their appreciation of your work, to accept your professional opinion. Your latest pronouncement calls into question for them, my reliance on Dr. Healy as a resource for my work on their behalf. And by extension to question my own judgment as a nurse advocating for their precious child. I care deeply about establishing trust as the basis for these relationships. By the same token, I am ruthless in the process of determining who is trustworthy. Regarding the pressing current issue at hand, I am not suggesting anyone simply take my word, or my interpretations of a very small sample of large body of published writing. I am merely saying that an accusation of the calibre you have made here about Dr. Healy, requires a great deal more investigation and personal reflection as well.

    While making a very small contribution to Ned Shorter’s book , David Healy was in process of writing the book that I happened to read first, “Mania”. Those most threatened by his already strong, unyielding challenge against the corruption of psychiatry by pharma were poised to attack “A Short history of bipolar Disorder” (subtitlese of Mania) as his revenge for the toll his battle had taken on his professional standing and career. I feel certain that you, Dr. Breggin, are familiar with being in that position. Healy acknowledges the predicted reaction from many of both of your colleagues, as he writes in the preface:

    “On the topic of passion, who would not be passionate about a topic that involves two-year-olds dropping dead on drugs? Although passion may cloud judgment, by some alchemy it is also often what is needed for us to reach beyond ourselves. Perhaps we should not hope that this history can be objective. Perhaps it won’t suit everyone. The value lies in whether it is picked up and—as with scientific ideas, and with boats— set floating.”

    Just so happens, my introduction to David Healy’s work and mission , occurred when I most needed to understand who and what I was dealing with at Boston Childrens Hospital. I read “Mania” after 5 long years on BCH’s psych unit Bader 5. I owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Healy’s work and his willingness to confer with me over email as I engaged in the most agonizing advocacy in my career, for Justina Pelletier. Ironically, the family contacted him via email to be put in contact with the *former BCH nurse* who had posted on his site, ME. It was through David Healy’s action that I met the Pelletiers, and had ongoing support for the hideous twists that case would take. I am also grateful for the blog posts he ran on the newest threat to children: psychiatry kidnapping them and with holding medical treatment.

    There is much at stake for all of us negotiating relationships and finding allies in the quest to save our children from psychiatry– and that naturally entails exposing psychiatrists who meet the definition of *criminal*– at times. It saddens and to some extent angers me to see actions within our ranks that sabotage so much of the progress that is being made. Fundamentalist views may be the most threatening of all– especially when they are emotionally driven attacks on each other.

    I would like anyone who has read this exchange to consider the final paragraph David Healy wrote in, “Mania”– page 252:

    “Because our civilization appears threatened by fundamentalisms whose appeal lies in the message that we have lost sight of some of the most important things about being human, and because creation of bipolar disorder in children is so alarming, we need to chart the currents that delivered us to this shore.”

    “A generation of children is now being led away, and we seem as powerless to stop this happening as Emil Kraepelin was to stop his children dying of epidemic infections.” “Mania” page 244

    It is possible for me to engage those seeking my help with the facts regarding Dr. Healy’s character and professionalism– but in doing so, I now have to attempt to explain why someone of Dr. Breggin’s stature would choose to attack him in this manner– . I hope you will consider that it is because there is no rational explanation — . David Healy has never endorsed intensive ECT, nor does he support ANY type of *psychiatric* experimentation on children– much less the crimes of Dr. Lauretta Bender.


  • @acidpop5,

    Exactly! You are referencing the same unethical and, in my mind, illegal, experimentation that I believe was well documented in “Mad in America” by Robert Whitaker. David Healy documents the history of drugging children in America in his book, “Mania”, which shows that *unethical* practice has continued, and it could be said that we have learned nothing from our own history.


  • @oldhead

    If only the war crimes you reference had not become the *white collar* war crimes that are NOW thriving business in America– there would be no need to engage academics in discussion around the roots of these war crimes. I have not given up hope that *our* academics will assume some responsibility for what is primarily an American scourge on youth by child psychiatry. Reading Healy’s books will arm them well for the battle ahead.

    I see banning ECT as an issue far removed from the greatest threat to kids in America– and elsewhere who are at the mercy of the influence of American psychiatrists who have invented more mental illnesses as an excuse to destroy their lives. In this vein, it is beyond foolish to slam the only psychiatrist who has taken up this issue with both clout and courage. AND slamming him with entirely off the wall accusations that in no way reflect his actual position or practice as a psychiatrist in Wales– Take a look at the comments posted on Healy’s website. To even suggest that he is lacking in integrity as a doctor or that his *academic* writing “perpetuates the atrocity” is extremely short sighted, to say the least.

    Ernest Hemminway was not Healy’s patient– nor do we know what other factors figured into his demise, though certainly alcoholism was a factor. Robin Williams did not have ECT, but clearly was receiving some psychiatric treatment, though his history of drug abuse seems to trump that in the media, at least. My point is that raising public awareness of any of the issues pertaining to the potential for harm from psychiatric treatment has to be grounded in the credible opinion of at least one psychiatrist– and any psychiatrist who goes out on a limb to expose the *crimes* of his colleagues should NOT be attacking another who is doing the same thing. There are only a few psychiatrists in this category. Ask yourself what is gained by pinning the worst of the evils of ECT on a doctor in the UK who is not guilty of any of these *evil* crimes?

    Or more to the point, what is lost by such irresponsible behavior?


  • @ebl,

    I appreciate what you are saying here. I think “Mad in America”, the book, that is– was a portrait of the psychiatrists here in America, who morphed the practice of a medical specialty into an industry of mass destruction. The *Market Based Medicine* mentality was born and raised here. Dr. Healy chronicled IT in “Mania” – a brief history of bipolar disorder. A chapter titled “Branded in America” tells the story that he is referencing when comparing the mentality that permitted ECT experimentation on children as the same that *opened the child market* for stimulants and antipsychotics. And you are right– people, especially children*get wrecked and killed from drugs in ways they do not from ECT*.

    Ted Chabasinski says on Dr. Breggin’s radio show that he considers himself most fortunate to have been released from Rockland State Mental Hospital in 1954– escaping the *drugging* phase just underway as Thorazine hit the market that year. Ted’s concern for the fates of children in America– at the mercy of psychiatry’s drugging and kidnapping tactics (medical child abuse/ Justina Pelletier), has been addressed more thoroughly by David Healy, than any American psychiatrist to date.

    Yes, it is puzzling that not only are these (and other) contributions of David Healy, a non-American psychiatrist negated by Dr. Breggin, but he would go so far as to suggest Dr. Healy has put his stamp of approval on the *crimes* of American psychiatrist, Dr. Lauretta Bender.

    I wonder if perhaps there is just an assumption *here*, that the practice of psychiatry in the UK and elsewhere– with the same degree of pompous self righteousness shown here in America–. It seems almost impossible for many of the rogues and reformers in Dr. Breggin’s camp, to imagine that there could be aspects of this issue that they are missing entirely– and that they hurt others in their careless dismissal of the possibility that they are not fully informed.

    I agree that no one should be a harsh judge of what a person or a family chooses– particularly in extreme moments. Sometimes I think that the madness in America stems from the hypocrisy of our lifestyle– could not be further from a society that respects the dignity of each individual’s life– yet we go on pretending we are all that– and capable of knowing what is best for everyone else.

    Warm regards,

  • @Anon-
    I am replying to your comment beneath mine –
    I put quotations marks around the almost universal inference made regarding statements *psych patients* make about their response to their treatment. I listened to and validated patient’s own words in an environment primed with hostility based on consensus of my co- workers that the patient was ” least credible “. By extension., I was viewed ” least credible ” in a professional sense .
    I really think the same degrading feeling would result if one were to suggest treatment they feel helped , was actually harmful.
    Anytime we challenge the veracity of another’s expressing their own perceptions , there is a potential for invalidating them in the process – could say this is an axiom that applies to anyone reporting as a psychiatric patient .
    Please watch the video I linked below – Nancy does an amazing job addressing this issue – a way of responding with compassion when someone reports the help they got from “electroshock”
    I was not being sarcastic at all- the invalidating of anyone’s personal experience is truly dehumanizing –

  • Molly,
    I hope you will take my word on this– I would have pursued the same course to verify any psychiatrist’s endorsement of Dr. Lauretta Bender’s *electroshocking* children. I would challenge any psychiatrist to support that view, as I can no longer face down Dr. Bender herself., which believe me I would do.
    AND, on discovery that claims made re: approval and positive rendering of Dr. Bender, were false, I would likewise seek to have the record corrected. A matter of principle here– for me, at least.

    I appreciate your perspective for the reasoning you employ, and thank you for finding our common ground.
    Warm regards,

  • John,
    I wonder if satisfied customers of ECT will be attending the protests. Seems unlikely– more likely that someone who knows or has heard of someone from someone who knows– someone who said ECT worked would challenge a group of protesters. I would tend to think that a person who has had ECT or is currently getting ECT would feel vulnerable in a protest arena. Consider this: IF someone asserts they have been helped by ECT, the challenge mentioned here can only mean that he was harmed without knowing it– . So he must be incapable of determining the value of his own experience , which has negated his opinion all together. An unlikely convert, to be sure– but even more unlikely to show up at the protest.

    Most likely to challenge ECT protestors are those several times removed from the procedure itself. For them, the focus must be directed to education.

    The big problem is the public knowledge deficit regarding all of the pertinent info on who is receiving ECT, how many– under what conditions, with what specific results? The big secrets psychiatry keeps under wraps, just happen to be the best evidence for banning ECT. In the radio show linked here, Dr. Breggin mentions the lack of accountability due primarily to lack of reporting and prudent, medical follow up. The proof is in that pudding, so to speak — . were the public to be aware of the ways and means of performing ECT the outrage would be natural and substantial. Think about the kids whose parents do consent, and those who are wards of the state = NO VOICE– – and no data to support the cry to hear their voices.

    “Psychiatry COME CLEAN !” – is a slogan that captures the spirit of the battle– so long as they are permitted to hide the bodies, so to speak, they, remain pretty much untouchable–

    There is so much mass media around psych drugs for the mental disorders we are destined to have– sooner or later. ALL this expert advice and info urges us to “speak openly and freely about mental illness” “take the stigma out of mental illness by “embracing the new rhetoric”?– OK- let’s level the playing field — demand open and free access to ALL the data, records that prove ECT is a treatment and not an assault. – Demand that an issue be made of the failure to report and follow up with ECT victims– Make a case for psychiatry having *no case*– as has been its long horrid tradition– Dr. Bender’s spirit lives on — only because psychiatrists STILL inflict torture with impunity-in secret—. In addition to the compelling stories of ECT victims, is the fact that they have to speak out for themselves, by themselves because psychiatry swept them under the rug– like they do, and have always done. Be prepared to tell the story of psychiatry’s MO– with heavy emphasis on the near impossibility of knowing what they are actually doing, and the price we pay for remaining in the dark.

  • @truth,
    The statements made by Dr. Breggin in reference to Dr. Healy’s perceptions and practice are, to the best of my knowledge, false. More details on his position to what he does believe and practice is available on the his web site- “let them eat prozac”- commenters on his bog are referred there, where he accountable for his views.

    I refer you back to a blog published as support for Ted Chabasinski’s involvement in the organization of an international protest to *Ban ECT*- Maybe you can tell me what purpose is being served by attacking the character of Dr. Healy– or why very damaging and equally unfounded remarks about Dr. Heay’s perception of the doctor who terrorized Ted were a lead in to this important article about Ted’s incredible accomplishment ?

    Providing links to his own published damning remarks about Healy as a way of substantiating current published damning remarks about Healy is bad enough— As I said in agreement with @mollymchugh- yes! by all means call out all the experts for public scrutiny– ALL- no exceptions :-); it is beyond the pale imo for Dr. Breggin to state that David Healy casts Bender in a positive light and writes “approvingly* of her crimes against children.

    Or perhaps the whole point of this blog was to take the discussion into another arena that serves another agenda? One, that I cannot wrap my mind around— but protest vehemently nonetheless.

  • Hi @mollymchugh,

    I agree with your position on calling out the experts for public scrutiny, which is the number one reason I, as a former psychiatric nurse ,and a member of the public (readers of MIA included), contacted Dr. David Healy regarding the statements made here by Dr. Breggin.

    “. In his book, Shock Treatment, Healy uses Bender as a positive example of ECT. He might as well have been describing exactly how Bender treated 6-year-old Ted Chabasinski when he explains approvingly that she “had administered daily treatments to ninety-eight children ages four to eleven for a typical course of about twenty treatment” (p. 137). As Healy states, daily ECT is “intensive ECT,” an approach no longer accepted, except by Healy and a very few other ECT extremists, because it is known to cause severe neurological dilapidation.”

    I write in my comment that I have doing research on Dr. Lauretta Bender (1897-1987) , though I did not elaborate on my motivation for my research, nor my intentions for the disclosure of many facts that permitted and supported her torture of children– that, persist to this day. In other words, the torture of children by child psychiatrists continues, and is a greater threat today owing to the fact that the means for causing severe damage to innocent children has expanded the population of potential chid victims. Why is that so? Part of the answer is that there is zero regulation of the practice of psychiatry within and outside of the profession. To this day, the absence of scientific evidence for viewing children as brain disordered *patients* and the absence of regulatory bodies applying both knowledge and moral conscience conscience to all issues around the administration of psychiatric drugs to children has expanded the population of potential *lab rats* for child psychiatry. The means for destroying the lives of children , yet another product of the disordered thinking of psychiatry, arose from the exact same mind set and possession of ultimate authority that existed in the 1940’s when Dr. Lauretta Bender hatched her evil plan and received government funding and support of her colleagues to torture children, the youngest of whom was three years old. Anyone who is serious about calling out the power brokers in our real time, NOW crisis; calling them out for public scrutiny, has encountered the work of Dr. David Healy.

    As one of many who relies on Healy’s work for furthering the cause of rescuing our children currently imprisoned by psychiatry, and protecting children from becoming child psychiatry’s *lab rats*, I have frequently contacted him to explain or provide information I find in his books and other publications. I have also conduced research (scrutinizing other sources) to verify information Healy shares, which is common practice, is it not? After reading the statements written by Dr. Breggin on this site, it was a matter of crucial importance to ME to find out what Dr. Healy actually wrote and thought about the infamous Dr. Lauretta Bender. I had not encountered any commentary from Healy on her in *my research*, about her.

    Let me quickly add –that since Dr. Bender died 35 years ago, and there was a very heavy shroud of secrecy around what she was really doing and who she was it (the same shroud of secrecy myself and others are trying penetrate) I was highly skeptical that Dr. Healy would have written ‘approvingly’ about her work, but I was determined to investigate the statements that he had done so.

    I posted Dr. Healy’s email response to me and have shared this with MIA editors for two reasons:

    1) FACTUAL INFORMATION is crucial to the* anti-psychiatry* movement.
    **Please note: The anti-psychiatry movement benefits from the *support*, of both this MIA site and the work of Dr. Healy, while both the host of MIA, Bob Whitaker and Dr. David Healy are forthright in claiming NOT to be anti-psychiatry themselves.

    2) As Ted Chabasinki’s friend and comrade, I was deeply saddened by the implications of Dr. Healy voicing *approval* for the heinous acts of Dr. Lauretta Bender– . This seemed a cruel and unnecessary addition to an endorsement of Ted’s upcoming *Ban ECT* protest movement–and loaded, I might add, with a great deal of moral duress for me, IF found to be a, FACT.

    @mollymchugh, You write : ” I work as an editor… just giving my two cents to your ‘concerns’ above.” Therefore, I should expect you to be even more concerned with this matter– fact checking 101.

    As for the litmus test you have suggested is needed for people like me. I would absolutely and unequivocally break all manners of association with ANYONE who voiced approval for what was done to Ted and countless other innocent, precious children.— Even, Dr. David Healy, for whom I have developed the greatest respect and admiration for his work and dedication to all who are harmed by psychiatry–patients and former clinicians, like me.
    ** I have to add, that I am completely satisfied that attributing approval, endorsement of Dr. Lauretta Bender’s ECT experiment on children to Dr. Healy is an egregious error. Furthermore, I find no evidence that Dr. Healy supports *intensive ECT*.

    I absolutely agree with your determination to hold the experts accountable. As a nurse, this has been my most daunting learning curve by far. I would not be writing on this site today if I cowered when called out to take a litmus test. 🙂


  • Dr. Breggin,
    Prior to reading your blog I had not encountered any citations by contemporary psychiatrists that “explained” Dr. Lauretta Bender’s experimental ECT on children “approvingly”. Most references published by colleagues of her time at Bellevue Hospital in New York from 1930 to 1956, are acknowledgements of her own “glowing” reports, with the occasional troubling remarks by staff whose observations more closely resemble Ted’s account of trauma and worsening condition resulting for all of these children, the youngest of whom was 3 years old. Needless to say, I was very concerned at your mention of Dr. David Healy’s having written about Dr. Bender “approvingly” and his being a proponent of “intensive ECT”, which we know was key to Dr. Bender’s approach. I received an immediate response from Dr. Healy regarding this matter, which I am sharing here, feeling very strongly that any endorsement of the torture that I know Ted was subjected to and believe was the case for at least 100 very young children is also a form of torture. I asked Dr. Healy to share what he had written in the book you linked and to clarify his views on these very serious matters. He responded as follows:
    “In Chapter 9 one of the chapters i did write, the only reference to Bender that I had anything to do with says:

    A further controversial issue was ECT for children. As Greenblatt later said, one of the issues had been a plea from child psychiatrists who “were having confused or disorientated youngsters dumped on them following multiple shocks.”[i] ECT for children had been pioneered by Lauretta Bender in New York. In her view, children might experience various symptoms characteristic of the prodromes of schizophrenia, and just as children now will be put on methylphenidate or other stimulant drugs in a manner that may well appear extraordinary in decades to come, children then were treated enthusiastically with ECT by some.

    i] Milton Greenblatt in Dietz [reference to come]

    Translating – it says the use of ECT back then was as Wild West as the use of Stimulants is now.

    I have never advocated intensive ECT in my life and nowhere in the book is there support for this ”

    A very important lesson I have engrained to the core of my being, is to challenge any authority based claim that has the potential to harm vulnerable people or any statement that defames or discredits those who are working to protect and support them. The references you cited for the statements you have made here about Dr. Healy’s views of Dr. Bender’s ECT experimentation on children, like Ted,do not support your perception that he approved of her conduct or endorses “intensive ECT”. I have asked the editors of MIA to kindly review this very important matter.

    Katie Higgins

  • Shineon83,
    As a nurse, I would like to expand on how philosophical perspectives, based on where one sits, will determine where one stands with regard to the issue of correctly categorizing SSRI’s.

    My perspective on the rights I believe my patients inherently possess and the duty I willingly assumed to apply sound knowledge and skill in accordance with the professional and ethical standards of my nursing license, is key to my position regarding all psychotropic drugs. It is no small matter that these drugs have been advertised and prescribed under a very dark cloud of dubious claims and contrived efficacy. What some have called, the myth of chemical, specifically neurotransmitter imbalances in the brain, I view as the lie that should have incurred criminal prosecution , as fraud of this magnitude, replete with ostensible financial gain, is illegal in our country. The fact that this seems highly unlikely is another matter of grave importance, that is; psychiatry prospers in a completely unregulated utopia. If you want to throw a flag on any of their plays, the arbitrating referee is the president of their professional organization. So it goes.

    Within the mental health system, throwing a flag is career suicide.

    The flag that has been thrown on the SSRI’s is a well documented narrative of a very ugly story that calls into question the character and ethics of medical doctors who are psychiatrists and pharmaceutical company executives, who are businessmen. Of these two groups of professionals, my philosophical perspective as a nurse, informs my belief the doctors prescribing SSRI’s are accountable to the standards set forth for the license they hold and the moral duty they vowed to uphold upon graduation from medical school. Pretty straight forward. Their professional obligation to continue their professional development leaves no excuse for ignorance with regard to that ugly story about SSRI’s– how they came to be dispensed like Pez – from the cradle to the grave, despite bells, whistles and flags in response to scientific proof that they are neither safe or effective to the degree they have been advertised, prescribed and defended on comment threads of late.

    IF a person seeking relief from depression or any of the off label complaints now being targeted with SSRI use, were to be told in specific detail what is known and what is not known about these drugs, I cannot imagine anyone who is not hell bent on self destruction accepting a prescription. The truth is that patients are NOT given all the known facts about SSRIs– not by a long shot. The fact that psychiatrists cannot predict who will be stricken with any one of the adverse effects of either taking, increasing the dose or discontinuing these drugs has generated a dangerous discourse on the method of playing the odds– and claiming no harm no foul if a diagnosed psych patient goes *psycho* while taking or withdrawing from these drugs. Philosophically speaking, as a nurse, I have no words to express what this means, though I am hoping to convey that my belief that every patient as an individual with inherent rights and innate dignity will NOT allow me to sit back and pretend that playing the odds with little to lose and huge financial profits to gain is an acceptable philosophical foundation for the practice of medicine–.

    It isn’t your duty or responsibility to diligently research claims like “the MANY who are saved”, so I am not by any means intentionally slighting you, personally for spewing this dangerous distortion — the fact is TOO MANY are being thrown into the pool where statistically more will drown. The only sound scientific evidence regarding long term use of any psychotropic drug paints a dismal picture of deteriorating health and functioning for anyone who has been ensnared by the myriad lies that abound regarding *mental illness*.

    Maybe you really are an emotionally and cognitively numbed out long term satisfied consumer of antidepressant (using the term loosely), through no fault of your own and with all good intentions that you are performing a great good– the same profile fits the pharma shills- businessman and doctors alike. The concept of our shared humanity may be fading from memory, but the ramifications of it cannot be diminished by ant prevailing counter beliefs–. Or rather, saying I’m Okay, to hell with you, is akin to tilting back your head and spitting straight up. Philosophically speaking, of course.


  • Shineon83,
    My perspectives on SSRIs were developed over a five year period (’05-’10) as a staff nurse working on a Harvard affiliated adolescent psychiatric unit. My first encounter with an adolescent called, “classic bipolar” occurred within the first few months of my affiliation with this renowned institution. So happens, the “kid” who was presented to me via change of shift report had her *classic* bipolar *unmasked* during the first few days of taking an 5mg increase in her Prozac dose. She had only been taking Prozac for a few weeks for *mild depression*. I had not heard of the phenomenon of having a major mental illness *unmasked*–and was particularly concerned about the dismissal of the adverse effect she had definitely experienced. Mania with psychotic features was the adverse effect. The worst part for her was a horrific police assisted ER admission to the locked adolescent ward of another hospital, where she was both physically restrained and injected with Haldol. The dystonic reaction from Haldol had caused her neck muscles to tighten, forcing her head backwards. I will never forget this frightened and very angry young teen’s description of her first encounter with *acute psychiatric care*. It was plain to see her parents were grateful to have arranged a transfer for their traumatized daughter– right next door to Harvard Medical School. For all intents and purposes, this seemed like a fortunate opportunity for me as well. I was eager to learn all about the major breakthroughs in discovering and treating juvenile bipolar disorder,heralded by my new colleagues. This first case was, in fact, the beginning of a failed attempt to indoctrinate me with the teachings of Dr. Joseph Biederman, the literal godfather of juvenile bipolar disorder.

    I saw this young adolescent as a veritable trauma victim in the *classic* sense. I voiced objection to the treatment plan that centered on administering mood stabilizers and finding the right antipsychotic *medication*. My idea was to allow her to detoxify from the drugs that had caused *classic* adverse reactions. Very medical way of approaching the problem IMO. The uncooperative patient’s idea was to insult and intimidate the young psychiatrists who found it nearly impossible to engage her in discussion about the need to” treat her serious mental illness while she was young; to save her from the devastation of the illness that had been *unmasked*; that this severely mentally ill teenager could not possibly comprehend”.

    Her tantrums and spot on scathing verbal attacks on the drug pushing clinicians were reported as *symptoms* of her — you- know- what. This drove the treatment team into battle. The coercion tactics to gain this defiant teen’s assent to taking drugs started with the drugs being analogous to her ticket to freedom, but quickly progressed to the withholding of anything determined to be of value to this poor kid. I became ruthless in the pursuit of medical evidence to support the ever increasing violations of this patient’s human rights. All the while only a stone’s throw away from Harvard Medical School, in an atmosphere of intriguing displays of superior authority, I kept hope alive that I would solve this mystery.

    Much to my surprise, my nursing colleagues were openly annoyed by my questions, and more annoyed when I gave them quizzical looks for the answers they passed off as *evidence*. The scant number of professional journal articles they proffered read like a chapter out of Harry Potter. To my credit, I learned to stifle my affect, though deep inside of my own mind, I was thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding. This is ridiculous!” Referring to exhibit A: Dr. Biederman’s so-called study in the late 90’s that was more of a musing on how poorly some of his young patient’s with ADHD responded to stimulants, leading him to conclude THEY were misdiagnosed. He suddenly realized they must be bipolar. (Like Hermione believing Snape was cursing Harry’s broom during a Quidditch match, because his eyes were fixed on Harry, he was mumbling and clearly had it in for Harry). Some of the *classic* symptoms Biederman had missed were, excessive disruptive and aggressive behavior- hard to get out of bed in the morning- to name a few. Hey, wait a minute, might those symptoms be adverse effects of the stimulants? (Hermione was wrong, Snape was trying to interfere with the curse Professor Quirell was putting on Harry’s broom) … and Dr. Biederman apparently never considered adverse effects of amphetamines as the culprit. My nursing colleagues boasted about a clinical trial conducted by Biederman’s team over at MGH. Gold standard RCT type proof. Sure enough, when given Risperdal or Zyprexa, these kids chilled out, or so the symptom check lists ticked off by lay person’s had determined. There you have it! Proof– these kids were bipolar all along. Obviously, I wasn’t in Kansas anymore, but I wasn’t so ready convinced that it was me who wasn’t smart enough to put all these random insignificant factors together and comprehend their state of the art pediatric mental health treatment protocols. None of them seemed capable of providing answers to simple direct questions, no matter how carefully, respectfully and even scholarly I addressed them…

    I did have a lot more to learn, that much is true. It was not until a year after being forced to resign this position that I read David Healy’s book, “Mania” and began to perseverate on one particular line from page 193: “…at least as early as 1995, Lily had firmly established bipolar disorder as a target for which it would seek an indication.” Regular readers here are well aware that Bob Whitaker documented Dr. Biederman’s email pitches to J&J , promising to open the pediatric market for Risperdal–.

    I may be one of the few who frequent this site who has met the team that reified child /juvenile bipolar disorder\and worked with the disciples of the child psychiatrists whose names have made billions for pharmaceutical companies with a paradigm of care that was grounded in counter intuitive reasoning and devoid of either professional or simple human insight and compassion for the suffering of hundreds of kids — that I witnessed over a five year period.

    It isn’t just the scientific proof that is lacking in the rhethoric used to promote theories , such as “misdiagnosed bipolar”–or “unmasked bipolar disorder” as opposed to “adverse effects of SSRI’s”. I have heard this groundless theorizing from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, so I am not wondering why a lay person, satisfied SSRI user would believe it. What’s missing in addition to the science, is evidence of clear perceptions of human suffering, the human condition and human responses to stress, fear, abuse. After this tragedy, no different than many before it, all we hear from psychiatry and it’s satisfied customers is how nearly impossible it is to really know the * psychiatric patient* who has made headlines for committing mass murder and suicide All that is NOT known is used to promote seeking the professional help of psychiatrists who deny all that IS KNOWN about the potentially fatal adverse effects of SSRIs and other psychotropic drugs. It is hard not to notice what is wrong with this picture.

    But, you might want to wonder why it is that the explanations for anything that goes wrong with their drug treatments just happens to be something that can become an indication for another drug? And why is it that only after SSRIs and stimulants were given to the pediatric population did bipolar disorder reach epidemic proportions? When I graduated from nursing school in 1974, *mania* in children and adolescents was quite rare, and psychiatric diagnosis wasn’t assigned before age 18 years.

    I have met thousands of people from age 3 years to 102 years on psychiatric units over the past 20 years. I cannot honestly agree with your perception of the MANY who are helped by SSRI’s or the vast majority who experience NO severe withdrawal syndromes when stopping them. Since I have worked mostly with adolescents and young adults, it is the sexual dysfunction side effect that is by far the most often cited with total outrage. But it is the rare and always agonizing case of SSRI induced suicide that has put me squarely in the camp that is becoming intolerant of the rhetoric passing for support of what can only be called, grossly irresponsible prescribing of these drugs– especially to children and young adults, based on the ever expanding and equally misunderstood experience of people suffering from *depression*.

    You say that German papers are reporting Lubitz did not take any of the psychiatric medicines– whether or not that is true, he was under the care of psychiatrists who prescribed them for him, oblivious to his deep suffering, or so it seems– and still not moved to rethink their theories about faulty brains as the cause for depression? or prescribing potentially harmful drugs for people they hardly trouble themselves to get to know?

    Maybe short term emotional numbing works for some– but lately, on these comment threads under blog posts about this incident, I cannot help but notice the number of satisfied long term SSRI users who come off as disconnected from the human, emotional responses evoked from this tragedy. Hardly seems like the time to be tooting your own horn–, but maybe time to rethink what SSRIs are doing to you?


  • I decided to comment on 1boringoldman today, where a few psychiatrists consistently respond to his posts– the comment I am sharing below, shut down the *discussion* on Dr. Nardo’s posting a link and a quote from David Healy’s post “Winging it…”

    Katie Tierney Higgins RN April 1, 2015 | 12:27 PM

    Throughout my 20 year career as a psychiatric nurse, I encountered an obstacle to patient care and safety that could not be surmounted. The great divide, I call it. The superior, authoritarian demeanor of most psychiatrists — which persists even after the evidence for their having claimed authority without evidence has been quite thoroughly documented. It is crucial to witness the responses to the evidence, as it highlights what I see as the greatest evidence of the downfall of psychiatry ;
    Is it possible, to engage in discussion about the serious, life threatening risks of *psychiatric prescriptions* for * poorly substantiated psychiatric diagnosis*?
    A very few psychiatrists have engaged in the process of dialogue on the issues that most clearly speak to the harm done by propagation of bad science and participation in clearly proven marketing schemes with pharma. David Healy stands out as the only psychiatrist who dared to broach the topics that someone like me, a nurse, find the most relevant to psychiatry. IS it a medical specialty, comprised of professionals who are both courageous in their pursuit of alleviating suffering AND concerned about their patients? As a nurse, I found this NOT to be the case. I am not surprised that the criticisms are now rampant from all sectors of society, and simply furious that even now, when the threats to the public welfare are again, called to our attention, there is a prevailing tendency to protect psychiatry as a *noble profession*.
    I encourage all of the commenting psychiatrists here to reflect on– what behavior demonstrates one is both noble and professional? I am providing a link here to a radio interview taped last April, in which Dr. Healy demonstrates that there are, without a doubt, serious issues that must be addressed by his colleagues, and that the process of discussion will not become easier as the evidence for corruption and sheer indifference to it are mounting at an exponential rate.
    Hey check this out: https://www.corbettreport.com/interview-858-dr-david-healy-on-ssris-and-violent-behaviour/
    It never ceased to confound me, as a nurse, that doctors could deny what was right in front of their faces– the patients complaining, getting worse, losing hope. Similarly it was disturbing to be completely discounted as one who cared for and became closely connected to young patients and their families– AND to be disciplined for offering academic, scientific literature to the discussion (until 2010 at a prominent Harvard affiliated children’s hospital and 2014 in a small, corporate owned hospital) was beyond the pale. I fear for the unwitting public that is now encountering psychiatric *treatment* at a very alarming rate.
    I applaud Johann, Altostrata, Martijn and AA for doing their homework and speaking with clarity and compassion. I appreciate Dr. Nardo’s open and ruthlessly seeking mind. The simple truth is that people are suffering from a myriad of maladies– but none seem quite as pernicious or intractable as the condition that causes doctors to lose contact with the purpose of their profession, and seek only to preserve their status as superior authorities.
    If ever there was a case for a DSM label– Axis II– thy name is……but since we have it on psychiatrist based authority that these *disorders* are treatment resistant– well, the only recourse I can support is legal/criminal action. There really is no sane excuse for allowing fraud, causing harm where the benefit is clearly financial profit to be called, a *medical specialty*.
    IF psychiatry were a valid medical specialty, the discussion proposed by Dr. Healy over a decade ago would be the only focus of this *profession*.

    **Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.** (per the site host, Dr. Nardo)

    I am rather used to being *shut down* by psychiatrists– this recent example points to another reason I am determined to speak out — People who read here and have a vested interest in protecting the public from *psychiatry* need to know that there is no forum within the ranks of psychiatry for the most crucial matters affecting our safety–. those who dare to broach the topics raised here– no matter what level, or professional standing they hold on an inpatient unit (an elsewhere in the *mental health* field, I assure you), they will be marginalized, demeaned via disciplinary action and in many cases simply *fired* — via new subversive management methodology.

    It is NOT the mainstream forum censure that bears need of the most scrutiny. One has to become aware of the extent to which psychiatry is invested in suppressing the evidence of their *crimes*.

  • Hi Julie & Puzzle,
    Though it felt like Spring had already arrived when I called you early this week, our 3 feet of snow melting away with 3 days of temps in the high 50’s, I still got chills –knowing what you endured here in Watertown, MA, regretting that I did not meet you during the past 20 years I have lived here. What if you had made an appearance when I began to question and challenge the *mal* treatment of kids labeled with any one of the DSM Eating Disorders diagnoses on Bader 5 (adolescent psych ward at Boston Children’s Hospital)? I imagine both of us would have appreciated what we experience now– speaking the same language, commiserating on many fronts– from suffering the disdain of our peers for *not shutting up*, to finding humor amidst agony and absurdity. But, we did not find each other, even though we were both out and about the lovely streets of Watertown. Walking off our angst and daydreaming, we may have passed each other hundreds of times. WE finally meet via the email and computer phone technology- connected by a mutual friend in Alaska. Better late than never—?

    As happy as I am for your having achieved peace of mind and freedom via your great escape, I have to comment here with regard to the fact that you had to LEAVE THE COUNTRY to achieve what our constitution says belongs to every single one of us. How CRAZY is that?

    Hi ho,

    My comments, or rather, How Crazy is THIS?

    For those who may not quite understand what is at stake for refusing to shut up about the TORTURE that is inflicted on people with eating disorders, I offer a capsulized description of my learning curve on the topic.

    What got me in the most hot water as an outspoken critic of many of the practices on Bader? My flagrant criticism of the Eating Disorder Treatment Protocol.

    Disciplinary action was initiated against me by the Program Director on Bader immediately after:
    I emailed her –re: my concerns about a physical restraint that was called medically necessary (not reported to Department of Mental Health), but was actually inappropriate and illegal. Here’s the basic story:

    A patient with the diagnosis Anorexia Nervosa who was at her *ideal body weight*, was medically stable per blood pressure, pulse measurements throughout this particular day, had refused dinner, refused to drink Ensure replacement, refused to allow nurses to insert a nasogastric tube for Ensure feeding–. She was put in 4 point restraints on a stretcher– in the hallway and full view of other patients, with the help of 2 security guards. The NG tube was *dropped*. Ensure feeding and psych drugs were forced upon her via the tube, while restrained. This occurred on the shift prior to mine– documented and reported by the Charge RN at change of shift. There was no doubt this teen , with whom I had good rapport, was traumatized– and that the restraint violated DMH guidelines, based on Massachusetts General Law–and BCH nursing policies for mechanical restraints. I documented my encounter/assessment of the patient, reiterated the violations piece . Ended with “We can do better.” and hit SEND, propelling the *fatal* email to the Program Director, Medical director and the two young psychiatrists–

    Would anyone call this *Unprofessional Conduct*??

    Here is a quote from my PIN- June 9. 2009

    “There is a pattern of challenging the clinical care decisions that potentially interferes with the patients receiving the care they require. A number of your nursing colleagues have shared their concerns about your behavior and that their input is not listened to when they try to discuss this with you. They have communicated that they feel intimidated by you and found you to be inflexible…All attending MDs and Team Leaders on Bader 5 have shared their concerns with the Director about your pattern of questioning the care plan and undermining care by challenging the plan or not caring it out.”

    In other words, “You had better shut up!” (if you want to keep your job)-

    I did not shut up– and went on to make a much longer and more detailed written and verbal complaint to Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, supported by 5 other nurses. I took this step when it became clear that the response to my SERIOUS CONCERNS was an ultimatum-.

    UNTIL, I started rattling the *Gilded Cage* that imprisoned, demeaned and tortured patients diagnosed with Eating Disorders — the Bader 5 Eating Disorder Protocol ( which includes RESTRAINT for noncompliance with meal plan); until I began to refer to treatment of AN on Bader 5 as the “Hansel and Gretel Eating Disorder protocol* my questioning and challenging of care plans was pretty much ignored–

    WHAT IS IT ABOUT EATING DISORDERS?? Something sacred to the psychiatry department at Boston Children’s Hospital?

    Psychiatrist Hilde Bruch writes in her book “The Golden Cage”- the Enigma of Anorexia Nervosa (1978) :” Few conditions evoke such severe emotional reactions as voluntary and defiant food refusal…”

    The same can be said for any unusual behavior around eating. What I have witnessed attests to the validity of severe emotional reactions that evoked what can only be called sadistic behavior from psychiatrists and mental health professionals towards kids struggling with their fearsome behaviors around food and eating.


    Julie, you left the country for reasons I understand, but for some mysterious reason I cannot find the words to express, or explain this paradox. At the same time, I know the puzzle cannot be solved until the secrets are all revealed.

    BTW, Puzzle is a perfect name for your adorable furry companion.

  • Richard,

    I don’t see the similarity between the examples you site and the revelation of the degree of criminality perpetrated by Pharma/Psychiatry and key elements in the Health Care industry. Indicting police officers for *murder* and jailing Wall Street perpetrators for their *high crimes in the banking industry*– or saying that the right to make a profit by exploiting the masses is upheld by the /supreme court– how do these criminal acts compare to widespread, unchecked crimes against humanity– proven harmful and fatal effects from *fraud* ?? How does the destruction of the lives of our youth and the abuse of our elderly from the collusion of a nefarious business and spurious medical doctors — based on greed that has led to depraved indifference for human life, compare to your examples ??

    Are you saying that lack of precedence predicts futility?
    Has there ever been such a horrific assault on the most vulnerable people in our society? THIS is what needs to be exposed, with meticulous clarity. The shroud of secrecy that all abusers demand must be lifted –. These crimes are interwoven in the fabric of what we have believed provides us both security and safety. The biobabble and psychobabble fed to the masses by professional thugs is at issue– here. The exploitation of a human instinct to seek immediate relief of suffering — to believe in the knowledge of physicians– Yup! we are all guilty of the crime of being a human being. Now what? We set about the task of evolving into — something else?

    I think the history of ALL movements for civil/human rights in our country were wrought with obstacles that tested the tenacity and courage of their proponents engaged in *changing the status quo*. Nothing new. Their unity of purpose was definitely a factor in overcoming the obstacles. There are lessons there, no doubt.

    Doctors will need to step up to the plate to indict doctors– and doctors will need to seek indictments against Pharma. No one else can bring this case before our state or federal level attorney generals. That is the obstacle to evoking our justice system– because lay people cannot directly and accurately address these particular crimes. The masses can demand that doctors *man up*, through every channel available to us. Nurses and health care professionals who work with doctors have an obligation to initiate this discussion, debate, action– as ALL have some obligation to protecting the public from harmful medical practices.

    I think it is vital to push for criminal indictments, that it is a first line strategy. Leaving this mess to youth who manage to escape harm, is irresponsible, IMO. We should be blazing the trail for justice — seeking to evoke the protection that we all pay dearly for.

    I have spent most of my adult life working with and for kids– They all continue to supply me with mega doses of courage that arises naturally from a their youthful passionate commitment to fairness and justice. I cannot imagine telling any of them that the *status quo* , that currently has them all in cross hairs, is what we just have to accept. Police violence against black youth & the mentally ill, wall street-white collar crimes are definitely causes for alarm and action– BUT, the Pharma/Psychiatry/Health care industry triad is by far the biggest threat to our lives, our liberty and our pursuit of happiness. At long last, the rap sheet has been compiled — awaiting the champions, MDs, who can seek criminal indictments. Where are they?

    The view from the trenches is skewed, incomplete and confusing. The big picture holds the explanation for all of the mysteries that unfold in isolation. The point of unity, or the rallying point for a successful movement has to hit the epicenter of this scourge– crimes against humanity, such as we have not seen since Nazi Germany?
    What is the point of history if not to derail repetition of atrocities?


  • Richard,

    There is another matter of grave importance that I believe trumps the *demand and distribution* aspect of the scourge of psychiatric drugs. It is the criminality of fraud, known risk of harm and willful deceit. I wonder why our judicial system is left out of discussions about capitalism and for profit health care? It is as though just because it has taken at least 5 years to establish evidence for these crimes committed by Pharma and Psychiatry in tight collusion, that there is resignation instead of indignation in the face of the next great challenge- prosecuting criminals.

    Here is a very succinct and concise account of the real problem– or, rather the *IT* that I see as the thing that needs to be exposed and reckoned with:


    I have witnessed the demise and sell out of my profession over the last two decades. Most of my colleagues accepted the roll over to a business model, claiming to be powerless to prevent it. I ,on the other hand, continued to assert that both Pharma and Health Care Insurance/Industry could not operate without *us*, professionals– I was that lone *crazy* voice insisting that we should hold out-, that WE should be dictating the guidelines for health care (before I entered the speciality of child/adolescent psychiatry, and was a Real Nurse, so to speak). I saw no reason for capitulating to profit hungry industries who were too far removed from patients to lay claim to so much authority. The situation in psychiatry was much worse– as I discovered in the late 80’s/early 90’s.- and my lone *crazy* voice became a real threat. Where is the academic arena that thrives on debate and dialogue? It is not the child adolescent unit of one of the most prestigious children’s hospitals in the world. I can attest to that ! This is beyond sad, beyond ironic; it is the harbinger of certain disaster for our precious youth.

    There are countless branches that grew from one lie, from one major transgression that placed profit above the well being of patients/people/children. The proliferation of the foliage from these branches is as lush and impenetrable as a rain forest– so many excuses, rationalizations–so many health care professionals in denial–. Hacking away at the branches seems like a fools errand to me. I say this from the perspective of close encounters with children, teens and young adults who have become prey–or rather *the new market* for Pharma/Psychiatry .

    I am of the opinion that digging out the root makes the most sense– that it is time to utilize the tools of a developed, civilized country. JUSTICE… It is built into our system of government — remember?? It is time for the medical profession to *man up*– prosecuting criminals, giving the boot to psychiatry,
    as only they [we] can

    Hi ho (Silver– and away!)

  • Dr Datta,
    I believe you have missed some key contributions that psychiatry has made– or rather how this *medical specialty* has led the way for what you are conclude is a matter of what is wrong with medicine as a whole:

    Here is a brief synopsis posted by a psychiatrist:

    “It’s common to dismiss psychiatry as the Cinder Ella specialty. A recent past-president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dinesh Bhugra, at a meeting in Hay-on-Wye in May, delivered the typical unthinking mantra when he said that psychiatry was attempting to join mainstream medicine and would get there sometime soon. We’ve been supposedly about to join the rest of medicine since the introduction of modern psychotropic drugs in the 1960s. In fact psychiatry was the first to have specialist hospitals, and the first to have specialist journals. With Philippe Pinel in 1809 psychiatry was the first to outline the principles of evidence based medicine. Starting from the most complex clinical problems there are, Pinel was the first to show that differential diagnosis counts and other early psychiatrists followed up by distinguishing among mood disorders and psychoses in a manner that quite astonishingly stood the test of time when more specific treatments were later introduced. The form of the randomized trial now most widely used in medicine was first used in psychiatry and psychiatry was the first branch of medicine to submit most of its treatments to controlled trials. The talk at the moment is of Future Hospitals which will be in the community – closing the big old behemoths. Psychiatry led the way on this and on working in multidisciplinary teams forty years ago. The rest of medicine is catching up slowly. More recently it has been the first branch of medicine to have substantial amounts of its literature ghost-written. It was the medical arena in which pharmaceutical companies first developed their abilities to sell diseases. It was the first to have professors in jail for putting non-existent patients into clinical trials. It has provided the poster-boy for medical conflicts of interest – Charlie Nemeroff. “- See more at: http://davidhealy.org/persecution-professional-sui-cide/#sthash.ggaJnlbq.dpuf

    I think you are side stepping the significance of a *biological*/medical model adopted by MD’s who turned the medical model upside down, corrupted the scientific process–and got away with based on their granted authority as MD’s. –psychiatrists, MD. The greater violation of the medical model occurred with the dismissal of patient’s complaints of adverse effects of psychotropic drugs, and the concept of *unmasking* serious mental illness as the explanation for the adverse effects, as in diagnosing the adverse effect of SSRIs, *mania* as *unmasked bipolar disorder*. I witnessed this. I have total recall of the absence of medical model thinking that ruined the lives of countless adolescents. The *doctrines* of Dr. Joseph Biederman prevailed over medical model scrutiny and common sense. As this scourge has not been properly exposed and the perpetrators punished, the doctrines of Dr. Joseph Biederman continue to… prevail.

    You contend: “Even with the creeping medicalization of everyday life and professionalization of helping, it is still the case that the majority of those who may identify as ill, ‘mental’ or otherwise, do not seek medical attention. ”

    How do you explain the psychiatric lexicon employed by professionals in our public schools and those who encounter the children ensnared in out foster care system ? Where did teachers, social workers get the idea that a disruptive child, one whose behavior is beyond their ability to manage, is in need of *psychiatric treatment*, that always includes psych drugs? Why do social workers assume that a child whom they know has been neglected or abused, is behaving in a manner that is best explained by a psychiatric diagnosis , and will benefit from a psychiatric diagnosis and psych drugs? Who propagated this nonsense? Do you think that the medical model is employed when it determined that it is okay to subject a child to harm if this is what it takes to make those *professionals* who deal with him more comfortable? How is it that you fail to note who is responsible for leading the crusade to dehumanize the *patient* who is little more than a victim of psychiatry,MD?

    If you discount that psychiatry led the way for exploiting the suffering of vulnerable people for obscene profit, as apparently you do, I suppose it is convenient for you to draw on the corrupting of medicine as a whole as some kind of validation for this being a socio/cultural/political forces- trend. It is a rather pitiful argument that begs the question: who amongst medicine as a whole will rise to the challenge of putting things right.

    Are we to accept that the most educated amongst us will do no more than appeal to the prevailing socio/cultural/political forces– rubber stamping whatever nefarious goals the ruling class devises to control the masses? – That Medical Doctors will abdicate their commitment to their patient’s best interest and well being and assume the role of strong arm for the *ruling class* ? Well, then we might need to rethink the authority we have granted to these bottom feeders.

    What may have been the beginning of a medical model for psychiatry, replete with evidence of various practices, treatments, ended long ago (1809)with the work of psychiatrist’s like, Philippe Pinel.
    It seems that though you are adept in describing the deplorable academic preparation psychiatrists in training receive, you have failed to perceive the goal of the training that has replaced medical model education. Psychiatry exists to control behavior with poisons prescribed by dim wits who have no clue what they are doing to the brains and lives of vulnerable people, especially children.

    Your profession has now laid claim to another group of vulnerable people,who just happen to be the high end users of health insurance, those with complex medical conditions, or those diagnosed by other medical specialists with disorders that cannot be supported by quantifiable diagnostic tests. Psychiatry has succeeded in establishing their own non-quantifiable diagnosis as superior–and psychiatry can exert their extra bit of power to remove children from parents who don’t believe the *subjective opinion* of a psychiatrist. Outrageous !

    You claim:” Some critics of coercion in psychiatry seem to ignore the reality that coercive practices occur in all of medicine, and in many occasions more often. In the institutions where I have worked, mechanical and chemical restraint of patients overwhelmingly occurs in the emergency room or medical wards, with no psychiatric involvement. Although there have been some recent studies exploring use of restraints in the medical (as opposed to psychiatric) setting, including identifying racial biases21, the use of coercion in these settings comes under far less scrutiny or study than in psychiatric settings, despite these patients not being involuntarily detained. ”

    The laws that govern the use of mechanical restraints draw a distinct difference between “medically necessary” and “behavioral restraints”. Medically necessary restraints are employed in situations where a patient is at risk for removing or disrupting that which is considered “life saving”, for example, endotracheal tubes, IV’s and the like,- or are in need of *life saving* care, as in the treatment of gaping wounds–In other words, most medical professionals understand that there are instances when a patient, driven by fear, will act out in a manner that threatens his own life.
    “Behavioral restraints” are to be employed as a last resort, for containment of an individual who is posing an immediate threat of harm to himself or others. I have never seen or reviewed a mechanical restraint of a *psychiatric patient* that did not include the forced drugging of that person with powerful psychoactive drugs. I have often seen and reviewed mechanical restraints in psychiatric settings where the use of mechanical restraint was the *punishment* for breeching the comfort level of the staff, and mostly as a means for administering the psych drugs that the person was adamantly refusing. There is no comparison between the coercion employed in medical vs. psychiatric settings– especially in an ED, where being labeled *psychiatric patient* is a sure bet mechanical restraints will be used for any sign of noncompliance.

    The real life, real time scourge of psychiatry speaks volumes regarding from *whence it came*. I think that so long as you discount all evidence of psychiatry,MD pioneering the movement to violate all that medicine as a whole stands for, and ignore how psychiatry,MD is continuing to advance on a path that looks more like predatory behavior than the noble pursuits of medicine, you miss the mark in interpreting the history that is ripe with reasons for eliminating psychiatry from medicine as a whole.

  • Richard,

    I think maybe I should just try to be a little more clear with regards to the meaning of what I infer from what is not being addressed.

    Do you know whose duty, role, job it is to hold psychiatry MD accountable for fraud,& corrupting the medical/science process?
    Actually, more to the point, who CAN hold psychiatry,MD accountable?

    From the perspective of 40 years working with doctors and psychiatrists, I have to do my duty and speak out regarding the *brotherhood clause* that has allowed for a sham medical practice to harm and even kill innocent, vulnerable human beings. Doctors–all MDs have a duty to maintain both the integrity of their profession and the trust of the public.

    Yup! That’s the bottom line– and I know too well the toll- still being paid by innocent vulnerable people, especially children for disregarding something so straight forward and simple as this axiom:
    -” Who can protest an injustice but does not is an accomplice to the act.”
    —–The Talmud

    There is the “WE” that denotes the collaborative efforts of *layman*or non-licensed medical professionals, who comprise the *movement*– and I appreciate the efforts on this site to unite diverse individuals and groups behind a common goal and sense of purpose, for as YOU claim -successful liberation movements require that the crusaders “know thy ENEMY”–

    And, then, there is the “WE” that denotes licensed medical professionals, who have a leg up on all of us, with regard to their unique power to report their colleagues for negligent and harmful *medical* practices*. I think we could count on one hand the number of MD’s in the U.S. who are rising to this duty; to assume responsibility for the integrity of the medical profession–which is directly linked to the safety of the public. They, MD’s have, with regards to the elimination of sham medical practices,what you might call, super powers.

    So your broad and generalized categories, socio/cultural/political forces, are what you may be calling the “enemy”. My targeting the one group responsible for blowing the whistle on psychiatry, MD– for their egregious corruption of science and degradation of humanity– calling any MD who is not at least directly speaking out about the actions of psychiatry, MD ; my calling them all “the enemy”– has something to do with the first post I wrote for MIA.

    So– we go from made up disorders that can be called, “medical diagnosis’ and treated with “dangerous poisons” and other brain disabling methods ,to hijacking kids with complex medical issues from their pediatric medical specialists, and kidnapping them if parents don’t believe in their “made up disorders”, and *forcing* these kids to believe they don’t need medical treatment as they strip them of all of their human rights, traumatize them further by locking them away from their families and subjecting them to an abusive behavior modification regimen that would horrify even B.F Skinner. And still there are psychiatrists, who feel comfortable “criticizing” their own profession, and winning support from “layman” who [like critical psychiatrists] will never see the damage done to the young victims of their “spurious” colleagues.

    I am not so inclined to look for reasons to praise anyone in the psychiatry,MD field who is not moved to employ his/her super powers to save children from their colleagues— those still being labeled, Bipolar; those still being forced to take dangerous poisons that destroy aspects of their humanity -before they are fully developed–; all those kids and the new crop of high end medical insurance users, that have become easy prey for psychiatry.

    I am targeting the enemy, “I” know well, with a message meant only for them:
    “Your silence will not protect you.”

    I understand that you may prefer Dr. Hickey’s style. I have great admiration for his manner of telling the truth and appreciation for his taking Dr. Datta to task–.

    I have zero desire to protect psychiatry, MD. I fully admit that I do see psychiatry, MD as THE enemy–. Rather than argue my case on comment threads, I will get back to work on writing that will better demonstrate where I sit with regards to psychiatry,MD and where I stand with regards to its total elimination.


  • Richard,

    I am inferring your acceptance of the unique role psychiatry,MD has played in the heinous destruction of humanity, based on what you have *not said*, which is also what Dr.Datta leaves out of all of his scholarly critiques of the field he has chosen as a *profession*.

    Above, Dr. Hickey points to my argument in a more eloquent manner saying:
    “… that he [Dr.Datta] ignored the effect that individual decisions, particularly the decisions of powerful, influential people, have on socio/cultural/political forces.”

    You say above:
    “Know thy enemy” is a mantra for any successful liberation movement.”

    Yet, you avoid direct confrontation with *the enemy* insisting that :
    “… we need to critically understand how all oppressive institutions have come into being and how the ruling classes RATIONALIZE and sustain their need to exist.”

    How is it that you missed Dr.Datta’s focus on socio/cultural/political forces, *rationalizing* that psychiatry merely responded to *our* social climate? How is it that you missed this prime example of psychiatry [ruling class?] maintaining their need to exist by supporting and fueling the lower, base-minded, herd mentality of *the ruling class*? I think it is because you do not “know” the enemy.

    Psychiatry, comprised of individuals with both influence and power, executed, as only they could, the plan to oppress, enslave, and destroy those who oppose or trouble the *ruling class*. In fact, without the willful, conscious decisions of this *pimple on the a**of the medical profession, the ruling class could never have grown into what it is today. Psychiatry IS the enemy of all that defines us as human beings- and its place in the medical profession is what granted psychiatry the power to destroy us.

    Where does the power reside that can oppose and defeat psychiatry? It has been demonstrated admirably by psychiatric survivors — the first. and most courageous group to debunk the hoax that was sold as *medical authority* to diagnose and prescribe treatment for *medical authority’s* definition of *mental illness*. The power of the pioneers of the movement to bring about -” … the material conditions for Biological Psychiatry’s demise” have clearly identified the enemy, psychiatrists,MD– having been the victims of psychiatrists,MD– after the fact, of having suffered the socio/cultural/political forces of the ruling class.

    I totally agree with the mantra for any “successful liberation movement”:

    I do appreciate both your insights and Dr. Datta’s scholarly essays for providing the landscape and the details that do explain why there has been no socio/cultural/political action against the scourge of psychiatry. However, there is a large hole in the reasoning that would let Dr. Datta off the hook– and that is; the absence accountability of the medical profession for aiding and harboring the enemy within its ranks. His failure to acknowledge this is far more troubling than any of the commenters here who have defended him for his “other critiques” of psychiatry.

    Dr. Datta has chosen to write for this site in addition to sharing his concerns about his profession on his own blog. He has opened the door for feedback, and would do well to consider Dr. Philip Hickey’s feedback as the mercy offered by a good friend– one who is courageous enough to truthfully point out the flaw that has the greatest potential for bursting Dr. Datta’s bubble — that he[Dr. Datta] is anywhere but in the base camp of ‘the enemy’, in danger of adopting the same tactics of obfuscation and rationalization for indefensible crimes against humanity, that bears the signature: Psychiatry,MD.


  • ” If psychiatry can be credited with having achieved something truly remarkable, it is not the discovery of the source of mental illness, but the wholesale corruption of the scientific process itself”

    And even more remarkable is that even though psychiatry’s corruption of the scientific process itself can be explained in language an eight year old can comprehend, psychiatry has successfully hijacked children suffering from rare diseases from their pediatric medical specialists on the grounds that these rare diseases so elude the rigors of scientific evidence to prove their existence, they must be psychiatric disorders. Should parents balk at this new belief of psychiatry that has already been translated into valid diagnostic criteria with enough weight to remove children from the custody of parents who are *unbelievers*, they [parents] will quickly find themselves in a vortex of suffering that produces the symptoms of *mental disorder* psychiatrists then use to validate their initial transgression from the scientific method’ and subsequent belief that the parents are really the problem [cause for child’s receiving unneeded care from real doctors].

    Beliefs are very powerful, as you point out in your discussion of the placebo effect, but it is the power of belief that supports the entire hoax, that, as you say, and I totally agree, should be relegated to the dustbin of history. The belief that scam artists and their life threatening hoaxes should be licensed to practice medicine, is a good topic for debate. The belief that psychiatry must continue to serve as minions for our flailing, corrupt capitalist system is another good topic for debate.

    We know that the nefarious relationship between psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry is a multi billion dollar proposition. What might a nefarious relationship between psychiatry and the health care insurance industry produce? I propose that the hijacking of complex medical patients, who are also high end medical insurance users, might be a service for which psychiatry would be greatly rewarded, by the second most wealthy industry in this country ?

    I agree with everything you have presented, but suggest there are a few steps that must be taken before we can open a door to the discovery of a solution, that is; BELIEVE in the integrity of our community of medical professionals [to oust psychiatry from their midst] and BELIEVE in our criminal justice system [to punish perpetrators of fraud, who have exhibited depraved indifference for human life].

    The value of ketamine as a mood or mind altering therapy for *depression* is a separate issue from psychiatry putting itself in the equation as authorities on the matter. As you say, enter psychiatry, exit scientific process and humanistic analysis.

  • Richard,

    I am only responding to what you are writing here. You have restated what I responded to, so I will try again…

    As you say

    ” I was only framing the political context in which these oppressive theories and practices arose.”

    The theories, and practices, regardless of how they arose, were unproven. Psychiatry, a medical specialty, propagated these theories as the knowledge base and foundation for what amounts to inhumane, unethical experimentation carried out with both authority and impunity against vulnerable people. This is fraud, and quite a serious offense for a medical professional. Medical fraud of this calibre is indefensible but at the very least it is grounds for disciplinary action and certainly loss of license to practice medicine.

    The fact that psychiatry continues to violate all standards for ethical, safe medical practice based solely on their authority, while choosing to remain ignorant of all scientific evidence that refutes their *theories* casts a dark shadow over our present day-*political context* with its absence of social justice and indifference towards the harm suffered by the victims of criminal doctors.

    I completely agree with Philip’s criticizing Dr. Datta’s for failing to draw the conclusion that accurately identifies psychiatry, and it seems you , too, dismiss the crucial choices psychiatists made, which all point to their being criminals without conscience.

    And perhaps I am unable to understand what “a stand against psychiatry” actually means, because I stand FOR the moral and ethical obligations that delineate a licensed medical professional from an entrepreneur in a capitalist system. From this stance, which more accurately puts psychiatry into its proper context, psychiatry would not exist– by virtue of its choice to ignore criteria for its inclusion in the medical profession.


  • Richard,

    I appreciate many of your insights regarding the uprisings of the 60’s, and agree with your analysis re: the reaction of the American capitalist system. However, you lose me entirely when you propose that the fabrication of *brain diseases* and *biological- even genetic defects” was a legitimate role for psychiatry to play– as a means for control, and suppression of the truth that still remains to be dealt with if we are ever to create a peaceful, prosperous society that respects the dignity of all of our lives.

    I take issue with your suggesting that there could be a reason for those in whom our society placed explicit trust, to undermine every aspect of medical practice that we believe exists for our protection. Psychiatry/psychiatrists lied, Richard. They went beyond proposing and discussing *theories* of so-called brain diseases and genetic defects to establishing a paradigm of treatment grounded in these theories that to anyone with a rational mind, appeared cruel. Psychiatrists adopted an attitude of indifference to the individuals who were suffering from or reacting to the inequities in our unjust social system. Is this the behavior you expect from a doctor?

    Perhaps my 14 years practicing nursing in medical and critical care settings primed me to expect psychiatrists, MD’s, after all, would exhibit at least one trait that demonstrated his/her realization that his/her patient was a human being. Perhaps my years of education and training predispose me to believe that standards of caring for vulnerable people should reflect not only what is actually known about diseases and disorders, but also take into consideration how individuals will respond differently– to the same disease and the same treatment. It is far from acceptable, that any medical professional would decide to diagnose and treat patients based on taking the pulse of society for cues on how to attain a seat of power. This is what psychiatry did, and still does–

    Allen Frances goes so far as to claim that psychiatry is needed to abate the overcrowding of prisons with those he would assign a label from his manual of made up disorders, but for convenience just refers to as, the ‘mentally ill’. Even when he is willing to admit that psychiatrists’ diagnostic criteria has reached the level of absurdity, he is not willing to be accountable for participating in creating the delusion that psychiatrists are actual doctors.

    Maybe you are willing to accept there was some need or reason for doctors to step completely outside of their professional duty; to disavow any obligation to ethical practice, and make up whatever increased their power, authority and income— because you have not witnessed how these theories are translated into a clinical practice. -?

    It makes a difference, I think to encounter faces, names, stories– attached to real people, who were powerless to reject what psychiatrists conjured up and sold as *treatment for the mentally ill*. Makes for a different perspective on the role and purpose of psychiatry– if one dares to consider that psychiatry is, after all, practiced by licensed medical doctors.


  • Thank you, Philip, for writing in such a thoughtful manner about the same issues I had with Dr. Datta’s post, though I would say that his efforts at rearranging the furniture on the titanic evoke more anger than pity from anyone who has spent a few decades looking for the humanity in a psychiatrist– on a locked ward.

    I recall from my psychiatry rotation in nursing school (1973) a particular description of mania- the grandiosity exhibited out of context with reality, like; “pleasantly on his way to achieving amazing feats of grandeur”, “defying the impossible”– etc. As a nursing student I found nothing in that description to warrant alarm. However, many years later, after observing the transformation that occurred from graduation to appointment as an attending psychiatrist of one particular *grandiose* psychiatry fellow, I at least have a reference point for understanding that *mania* can be dangerous– in the context of a doctor exerting nothing but her authority over a patient.

    Come to think of it, just about every term I learned to describe, or rather support the need for “inpatient level of care”, terms like: delusional, disorganized, poor reality testing, all seemed to fit the psychiatrists’ behavior and many of the psych staff in general, more so than the inmates these *professionals* were calling, patients.

    I am sorry to have to stoop so low to make a point, but the fact that there are doctors- board certified, licensed and practicing a recognized medical specialty, psychiatry, who make up the disorders they diagnose and then have the gall to ignore the horrific reactions human beings suffer in response to their *mad* experiments with brain damaging poisons — is just about the most bizarre thing imaginable. Even when exposed, confronted, busted, these *doctors* try to pull something else out of their– (insert appropriate orifice)– to confound, amuse, entertain?? Anything but simply be accountable.

    It is extremely difficult to even broach the issues, that amount to a rap sheet of the crimes committed by psychiatrists without sounding crazy or actually losing it– . So, again, thank you, Philip. I hope to recover sufficiently from my close encounters with the carnage that lies in the wake of grandiose maniacs , to find my voice and make a compelling case for writing psychiatry out of our history.


  • Dr. Datta,

    I admire your ruthless exploration of the subversive underpinnings that have flourished into the malodorous weed psychiatry has become. Though this weed grows in the swamp of our health care system, it is uniquely troublesome, as you have pointed out:

    <<"… psychiatrists needed to maintain their moral authority over the mental life that had come under their purview. What psychiatrists, as physicians, could do that others could not was make diagnoses. Thus the medical profession created new diagnoses for the range of mental life that psychiatrists were already seeing in their offices; and these became the signifiers that these patients had a medical illness that required treatment."<<

    Whether it is their perceived "moral" authority, or simply their right to *diagnose*, the fact that *new diagnoses* were created to fill the needs and line the pockets of a small percentage of our society, while harming, destroying lives– even killing the unwitting public who is being funneled into psychiatry at an alarming rate, is actually, by strict definition, a criminal act. Is it not?

    I find an unsettling inference in your revelations that doctors, psychiatrists, politicians and other members of a [formerly] highly esteemed group of professional authorities have been enacting rules, guidelines and even laws that reflect the will of the "culture"; that the feelings and beliefs of the masses take root in the hearts and minds of our *leaders* and we become a society that will demand psychotropic drugs, for instance, despite the publicizing of the evidence of their nefarious origin and their destructive adverse effects. This is unsettling because, by virtue of their attainment of higher education; of their association with or proximity to academic minded intellectuals and all that elevates them in status above the *common citizen* there remains– at least in my mind, a duty– call it simple responsibility, but, I do not discount the expectation that the spoils of privilege accompany the capacity to know right from wrong.

    I think that this installment, more so than any of your previous discourses on the *method* employed by psychiatry to lead society astray from our basic nature as human beings, has summarized the fundamental flaw within psychiatrist's themselves. Granted, this topic has inherent emotional powder kegs embedded beneath the professional lexicon that continues to condemn homosexuality, but it also simply illuminates the height of arrogance that continues to deny the only aspect of the human psyche we share in common; each of our *souls* is a unique, never duplicated expression of life itself. Doctors of the *soul* who failed the first pop quiz, use their status and authority to exploit suffering people for obscene profits. Nowhere do you mention that education itself holds the key to understanding the roots of all discrimination; that these hideous misperceptions you outline in detail are spewed from the minds of our own elite highly educated, authority figures and elected public servants.

    I think accountability, not forensic rationalizing, is the most pressing order of business for all of us in the medical profession.

  • My reply to this comment posted under another comment you made further down this thread–

    Thank you, “B”, for making these points. My first attempt at writing about Justina evoked really strong feelings for protecting her. But, by no means do I feel that anyone who has caused her suffering or failed to protect her (same thing?) should remain nameless, so to speak. However, a complete list of names would fill a book. In my response below you’ll find the tip of the iceberg.

  • As a nurse who began helping young adults in the throws of withdrawing from neuroleptics 3 years ago, I have little else, save the time frame, in common with the work you are doing, Sandra. The mere concept of a practicing psychiatrist embarking on a study of such paramount importance, was confined to the musings of this overly idealistic critical psychiatry convert. I am but one of many who shares grave concerns about venturing into yet another vastly uncharted terrain that maps the bio medical paradigm of psychiatry — and one of the very few who will go there, despite the risks.

    I was called in to witness case after case of an 18-28 year old who adamantly refused to continue taking neuroleptics — usually fairly high doses. The situations were linked to recent inpatient admission, first episode and post sudden cessation of psych drugs, or *relapse*– extreme mental states being the reason for locked ward *treatment*. My role was to intervene in the crisis that the young person’s decision to refuse to continue taking the drugs caused– . Between a rock and a hard place was my position at the point of encounter. Back against the wall, I faced the frightened parents and significant others of these young rebels, asking me point blank: “What is the alternative to these miracle drugs?”, or pleading , “Can’t you just convince him/her that this is the only help there is?” As liaison to their support systems, I did not have much breathing room. Tapering was a means of forestalling the consequences of this stand off, or rather, another inpatient admission. But it was everything else I added to my tool kit that made all the difference.

    I developed a holistic approach that encompassed the symptoms of precipitants to locked ward admission and the traumatic experience of the admission. Start to finish,trauma reactive behavior – informed the care plan.

    First steps were focused on eliminating stress/anxiety and teaching the basics of sleep, diet, exercise hygiene. All individualized by necessity, but with emphasis on creating rituals, routines and time for documenting and reviewing them. Aromatherapy was/is the most popular for sleep/rest/relaxation. Low glycemic and gluten free diets are the easiest to implement. Exercise programs were formulated during foot soak/massage intervention- unless refused, which rarely happens. The more grounding techniques introduced, the better– is my motto. The main focus of each encounter is learning all about the person who is agreeing to listen to any advice I might offer.

    The one area I find to be of most concern to young adults who have been exposed to neuroleptics, is cognitive function– decreased attention, poor short term memory, slowed collaborative brain, or higher executive functioning. I have had the best results employing two approaches to *cognitive remediation*; brain *games* ( I have a hand book from Kate Tchanturia and Janet Treasure, psychologists at Kings College London), and a balance board I bought on-line from *Balametrics”- http://www.balametrics.com/ Dr.Frank Belgau’s innovations.

    The information I have received that resulted from building trust over time, is that the tapering protocol was rarely followed. My group of neuroleptic withdrawing candidates were all pretty much die hards in their original stance against the drugs. All of them fall into the category of victims of a flawed paradigm that dictated neuroleptics as first line treatment, and all were motivated to defy their diagnosis and remain out of the hospital/ER. The ways in which their goals were accomplished could never be set down in protocols — but the holistic approach to establishing health and balance in their lives did serve as an excellent foundation for their success. And, like any clinician who dares set down in writing a successful *treatment* plan, I also have encountered the *one* person who defied everything, but her own intuition. She is the hero of her own story.

    I look forward to more mainstream acceptance of the need for guidance and expertise to meet the needs of the incoming wounded– all casualties of poisoning by psychiatrists. WE need to be able to talk and collaborate openly– take the *taboo* out of saving lives– resolve the paradox of the health care industry, so to speak.

    It was a pleasure to meet you at the MIA gala dinner, following your courageous performance on the psychiatrists panel. The power of your self disclosed transformation was literally contagious.

    Thank you,

  • B. ,
    Good point. I did name them in my letter to DCF- here are the pertinent paragraphs:

    [ link to full text/letter to DCF:

    ” As advocate for the family, I informed Department of Mental Health licensing director, Liz Kinkead of the breach of law regarding Justina’s committment to a locked psychiatric unit and was told that DMH was deferring to the medical expertise of Boston Children’s Hospital”. Justina has no history of “serious mental illness”, nor did she exhibit behaviors that indicated she was at risk for harming herself or others. Justina continues to be held against her will on this locked psychiatric unit, licensed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, on the authority granted to attending psychiatrist, Dr. Colleen Ryan, presumably to prevent harm that would be caused to Justina by the medical care her parents would choose to pursue from board certified, licensed metabolic/genetics specialist, Dr. Mark Korson of Tufts University Medical Center, who had been treating Justina successfully for over a year..Justina was forced to accept her imprisonment to relinquish her basic human rights because it was deemed “unsafe” for her to have access to the medical care she expected to receive at BCH. ”

    ” Beyond the obvious apathy and denial of reality each of these professionals has shown, that becomes more egregious as the level of formal education and trust placed in them increases, is the astounding absence of intervention by Dr. David Demaso, Chief of Psychiatry , BCH and Dr. Gordon Harper, director of child & adolescent services at the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. ”

    Totally agree with you, on this, B.– here is the last sentence of the letter- the reason we both know that naming names is vital:

    “…like so many cases of child abuse/neglect I have seen over the past 40 years of my nursing career, this abuse was perpetrated and continues because of the shroud of secrecy all abusers demand. ”

    I don’t know what the justice system can take care of– only that these matters have not been appropriately presented to the justice system– yet.
    No charges filed– only complaints and outrage– so far.


  • @ Discover and Recover,

    I share this spirit !
    Your comments resonate with the part of me that has struggled against the suppression of truth that is the most damaging for Justina. her family and everyone who is struggling against the tide of the latest scourge of child psychiatry.

    I am not unique in both trying to change the ‘system’ and informing the public, or whistle blowing from the inside of the system. Like the nurse who is speaking out in Minnesota (posted here today), all of us ” nurses trying to do the right thing”have to learn to walk across a mine field just to get media attention. In 2009/10 here in Boston, I failed– though I did try – very hard.

    We have to start somewhere– and we have to gain momentum-
    In Solidarity– I hope,

  • @Someone Else,
    ” a sickeningly paternalistic psychiatric system set up by those who are seemingly incapable of comprehending the importance of utilizing and valuing both the right (male) and left (female) sides of their brain.”

    Fascinating assessment. I wonder if you have discovered a brain disability that may perhaps result from maltreatment of vulnerable human beings–?

    Many seem to be reaching the conclusion that the longer one retains gainful employment by engaging in practices that disregard basic human needs and rights, the sicker he/she will become.

  • @madincanada,
    Your son is fortunate to have your empathy and understanding. There is no rational explanation for robbing vulnerable people of their humanity. Those in positions of professionally sanctioned authority behaving this way are truly despicable –.

    I hope, that like the young adults I have met during their painful ordeals as psychiatric inmates, your son will choose not to accept the labels or the mistreatment around them as any thing but the ignorance of rude people– better to ignore them, best to avoid them all together.

    I think as nurses go, I would be considered ‘old school’ in my philosophy and practice- by today’s standards that makes me a hero, I guess–though it really is nothing extraordinary.

    I value your kind words of praise, knowing what has inspired them–
    Thank you.

  • Thank you, Ted. I really appreciate your sensitivity to the obstacles to doing what is right within the nefarious cult[ure] that is psychiatry, but I have to own up to the requirements of my nursing license, and put “doing what is right” in proper perspective. Protecting vulnerable people from harm and abuse in hospitals, as well as all health care settings IS spelled out clearly by the American Nurse’s Association code of ethics– goes with the RN license.

    Speaking out on the inside of those locked doors is as difficult as it is dangerous for everyone–inmates and staff, though the inmates are in the most precarious position of all.
    Owning up another level, I have to point out that risking a job that has become an endless painful austerity; that cannot be anything else unless big changes happen fast, is not all that terrible. On the other hand, when an inmate, or parent, family member speaks out, the consequences are severely life altering. It is well worth risking one’s job as a nurse to protect those who cannot walk out of those locked doors. And recently I learned that those nurses I knew, who kept their jobs on Bader 5 , have for all intents and purposes, lost any claim to being nurses — and perhaps their minds as well.

    What you saw from the “establishment liberals who run the State of Massachusetts” is the evidence of the power of psychiatry that has been pumped up exponentially by :Medical Child Abuse and Somatic Symptoms Disorder, Child psychiatry’s two most recent achievements,that flew under my radar until the Boston Globe article [finally] came out late December 2013. As professional advisor, family advocate or whatever title I was given, I know that neither of these terms were shared with Justina’s parents. I am grateful to the Globe for sharing these well kept secrets. I was up to speed a few days before I wrote the “DCF letter”, having read the text book on Medical Child Abuse and several commentaries on SSD. It is just as difficult get information from Bader clinicians as it is to share information with them. This shroud of secrecy is a focal point, I think– and it has nothing to do with HIPPA.

    On this site, I have read very compelling arguments for calling psychiatry a religion as opposed to a medical specialty. In that vein, I think that there is an explanation for what you saw as the impotence of government here in Massachusetts, or rather, an appropriate analogy imbedded in our constitution, it is; the separation of church and state. Makes no difference which state one resides in, this analogy applies. What compounds the potential for horror stories like the one the Pelletiers have lived, is the authority that our society has granted to medical doctors, while failing to note psychiatry doesn’t fit into this category.

    Isn’t it bizarre, that you or I could very easily determine, given all the facts presented to the juvenile court judge at the first hearing on February 15, 2013, that it is dangerous to disregard the medical advice of the qualified, renowned physician who was treating Justina, and by day 5 was actually being desperately sought by Justina and her parents? Go against all three?? That is absurd enough, but it was based on the absurd recommendation of the Pediatric Child Abuse specialist at BCH– who never saw Justina or met her parents– and she got her story from– psychiatric clinicians. I think it is important to know that the judge could not make the most reasonable decision, because, he is not a doctor. The highest ranking doctor was Alice Newton- Pediatric child Abuse Specialist , making the diagnosis (by proxy-how ironic), Medical Child Abuse– parents seeking unneeded medical treatment. End of story.

    Even a judge cannot do the right thing within the culture of complete disregard for human rights and dignity that is psychiatry.

    Justina’s Face book page, “Miracle for Justina” explains how she got out of this mess– a miracle it was– and I pray more are on the way.

  • Duane,

    When I summarize this case, I begin by saying that Dr. Mark Korson’s patient was hijacked via gross medical misconduct on the part of the pediatric neurologist and the psychologist who encountered Justina in the emergency room at BCH. Though it is true that Dr. Korson did not have admitting privileges at BCH, and that patients are not usually admitted directly to a specialist, which would have been Dr. Alex Flores, the GI specialist who knew Justina and who had worked with Dr. Korson at Tufts Medical Center; even though these two *rules* represent standards in most emergency rooms, the fact that Justina had complex medical issues, and was under the care of a licensed, board certified physician warranted bending these rules. I don’t accept arrogance as a the reason or the cause for negating Dr. Korson’s role in Justina’s care. I call this *hijacking* and the first instance of unsafe medical practice. It was Justina’s health that was being put at risk by this move, and there were 4 more days of neglecting her medical needs before the kidnapping occurred.

    There is also the issue of the so-called psychiatric evaluation performed in the emergency room, that was done without the knowledge and consent of her parents. A psychologist, one of Justina’s and my mutual acquaintances, began to formulate a diagnosis that coincidentally matched her area of special interest. Though this has been the topic of lengthy discussion and debate, I would cite the unethical behavior of this psychologist as the second instance of medical misconduct. Drive by psych consults performed by ambitious young clinicians had become a signature practice at BCH in my, then, three year absence.

    I tried to convey, without further violation of Justina’s dignity, my professional opinion of the medical care she received at BCH. I will be more specific here. I would not call the combination of neglecting her medical needs and imposing agonizing ordeals that resulted in both physical and emotional pain, “medical malpractice”. I would call it, “medical assault and battery”. That is the first of three major crimes committed via the power and authority of BCH department of psychiatry.

    The second crime was kidnapping.

    The third crime was illegal imprisonment on a locked psychiatric unit.

    To some extent, I addressed all three in my letter to Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, Governor Deval Patrick and Attorney General, Martha Coakley on
    January 8, 2014. When Beau Berman of CT Fox News publicized my letter in tandem with Former Federal Prosecutor Barry Pollack’s letter to Massachusetts Department of Public Health, in which Atty. Pollack demanded Bader 5 be closed pending investigation. One good thing happened. Within about 10 days, Justina was discharged from Bader 5. The illegal imprisonment was scaled down, but she was still being held by her kidnappers and her medical needs continued to be neglected. Such was the response by the most powerful authorities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to the complaints of two qualified professionals regarding crimes against humanity committed by BCH psychiatrists.

    From April 23, 2013 until I met Justina November 27, 2014, my outrage, emotional pain and frustration were responses to the suffering I witnessed her family subjected to, combined with my worst fears based on what I knew the situation to be. Meeting Justina, initiating a relationship on her terms, led me here– a safe place to tell the truth.

  • No divide Frank– and nary an exclusionary soul amongst the groups I have worked with in *my town*.

    Example: A group of musicians – just neighbors, not otherwise engaged in joint music activities, decided to put on a jazz concert in our local town square– then other artists jumped in to add their work as part of the scenery. I was teaching dance to a group of girls from a small * residential treatment center*– walking distance from my home. I persuaded the director of the center to allow me to offer my students (adolescent girls age 12-17)an opportunity to perform at the *Arts Festival* as it was growing day by day- well beyond the initial Jazz concert.In the mix of planning, rehearsals and the big day, the relationships that developed were *the stuff I find hard to capture in words*– For instance my dancers chose the theme song from “The Men in Black”– and some Will Smith choreography for their performance. From amongst the mix of artists & musicians who were meeting these dynamic young women [known only to themselves as DSM labels], many were inspired to bring in other friends, stage directors and lighting techs, which produced a set for this number that was not only awesome, in terms of quality, but had an undeniable positive effect on these girls, known primarily as my *dance students*–

    Let’s see– the ripples of nuance
    [still can’t express] went out to the girls’ parents who attended the performance, to the staff at the center where I was teaching dance- extending to their families and friends– and so on and so on. Even people who had known each other fairly well prior to organizing and producing this small town Arts Festival, were transformed by what I call, defying gravity– which was the energy required to get this thing off the ground.

    That is a scenario, example– of many, that I chose because it was a focus of mine to provide an experience for my dance students that de-stigmatized them, let them see themselves as I saw them– and opened the eyes of *mental health professionals*– gained a much more therapeutic support base for the center, which changed the focus from *treatment* to skills, talent development programs- the positive effects list could on and on.

    Other activities have involved several of the psych survivors I personally know [as their advocate]– . This one was special to me, because the greatest benefit was clearly gained by the * kids stuck in the system* .

    I have no close proximity to peer this/ consumer that organized activities, but I appreciated some similar work via films from the Learning Recovery Group in Western MA.

    I am not now, nor have I engaged in community activities anywhere but way outside the mental health system– and as everything but a mental health professional.

    I hope this gives a clearer picture of what I mean by *community building*–

    You also asked: “You know some saboteurs then?”

    I most certainly do —

    Thanks for asking 🙂

  • Richard,
    I cannot let this comment of yours rest unchallenged—

    “… and that “rising up to fight the system will only lead to survivors becoming isolated and targeted by their oppressors,” is, IMO, somewhat naïve, and does not represent a valid revolutionary strategy for the way forward. ”

    I have risen up to fight the system and I was targeted and isolated by the oppressors, AKA Harvard Child Psychiatrists. I have also witnessed, but will refrain from describing in gut wrenching detail, the fate of psychiatric in-mates rising up to fight for their human rights. That said, I never suggest that anyone not stand up for their own or anyone’s human rights, but IF this strategy were a way forward, there would be no reason for this webzine or any further commentary on obsolete conferences. Sometimes it is necessary… but it is a last resort, of those standing in the line of fire– not a first line strategy for a *movement*.

    I am anything but naiive. The strongest and most critical psychiatrist, a presenter at this conference remains undaunted by the oppression and isolation– ongoing, and current, as a matter of fact, that has been his fate for fighting the system directly, face to face. I am not mentioning names, as that will incite another tangential tirade of personal, complex feelings regarding “who is allowed to fight for the cause– or who has the right motivation, etc., etc.”

    I foresee but one way to dismantle psychiatry, though the means are as infinite as human potential dictates, and that is; from the *inside*. Those who know *how* it works, or rather, works to destroy lives are strong leaders for the public, but those who know *why* it has persisted despite the protests of millions of victims, and maybe even as important, those who are acquainted with those *who* fund and fuel the damage, will, in due time, dismantle psychiatry.

    And, I firmly believe,as an eye witness to the healing power of community building that happened with no more than the strength each of us already possesses inherently as human beings; I absolutely believe that community resilience, the product of this work, is something each of us can help to create, and IT is the most powerful antidote to *psychiatry*. AND, I have to add, IT is not a “grassroots movement”, for or against any particular political issue, but the actions of people sharing in the creation of something of value for themselves and their neighbors– art, education, recreation, aide– you name it. This is human connectedness, not special interest canvasing –and IT *erases* labels and all kinds of stereotypes like no political action or law could ever achieve.

    Presenters and participants of this IEPP conference were networking face to face, as members of a *professional* community– setting an example, not, imo dictating solutions or claiming to be superior to anyone. Shared here via Rob Wipond’s article, I suggest that the most respectful response by readers, would be to sift the information through their own filters– take what is worth taking, and with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away. (Kahlil Gibran)– Why? because that is work of *friends* — different in mind, united at heart.


  • Ute,

    The MIA Film Festival held in Arlington, MA-October r9-12, 2014 was widely publicized and non-exclusionary. This was the event I referred to as a surreal experience and a resounding victory that I personally am still celebrating. Granted not everyone interested in this event could attend, nor could I attend the IEPP conference. I heard about the latter the same way you did via Rob Wipond’s article above.

    My parting words on this thread are not my own. Rosa Parks wrote in her book, “Quiet Strength”:

    ” I find that if I am thinking too much of my own problems and the fact that at times things are not just like I want them to be, I do not make much progress. But if I look around and see what I can do, and then I do it, I move on.”

  • Richard,
    I call your attention to the lead in to this post:
    “The International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry had the clout to draw a stellar line-up of presenters to its recent conference. ISEPP is, after all, North America’s leading organization of critical-thinking practitioners, researchers and academics in the mental health field (though it also includes a broader diversity of members).”

    What was the stated purpose of this conference? Wasn’t it clarified by the organizer?

    How did you and others commenting arrive at the premise for your criticisms of this conference?Where do you find reasons to view this conference as part of *the movement* to which you refer when deciding *it* fell short of the mark for satisfying you all?

    The demographics are consistent with the IEPP that sponsored the conference. Duh? Maybe the slams are for the very existence of the IEPP? How dare anyone but psychiatric survivors hold a conference about any issue that *the movement* has laid claim to?

    Criticism and debate are indeed necessary– but to criticize an organization for doing exactly what organizations do is absurd– especially when the work, dedication and even risks taken by many of the presenters reflect their dedication to the very issues psychiatric survivors have voiced.

    My thoughts on the reasons why 70’s tactics are doomed to failure would require more space than a comment permits. But, briefly, I took on a challenge last year that involved public protest, and learned many vital lessons. The last standing public protesters were portrayed as ‘wack jobs’– and though none were whisked off to a locked psych ward, a few were getting close to that fate.

    I have posted numerous times that given the position of medical doctors in our society, outlawing coercion and force of psychiatry treatment cannot happen. I have put forth the only means for stripping this power from psychiatry. While I am called short sighted for these views, the reality of the means I have proposed looms closer to realization everyday.

    In my small community based *camp* there is diversity and a shared common goal– and actual proof of this formula. The goal is something bigger than any one of the group members. It is a breath of fresh to be amongst people who have transcended their own egos–. Anyone can do it– anything is possible.

    But, if all you have is a hammer—-


  • Ute,
    I don’t think this IEPP conference was a forum for exploring and problem solving the issues you are raising, that are unique to your community. Since David Cohen attended the MIA Film Festival recently, I think the goal he had in mind was to build on the momentum of the Film Festival’s very powerful venue. I was in the audience for a talk he gave on the last day . Where I sat, amongst many psychiatric survivors, the response was overwhelmingly positive to his commitment to maintaining forward momentum. I felt totally at ease and sensed a very strong connection with the diverse audience that day, and I think that is because each of us was inspired by possibilities, but I certainly could not imagine myself organizing the MIA Film Festival, based solely on experiencing this amazing feat first hand. I may not even be capable of articulating what I want to express. It’s hard to find the right words for having had an experience that was almost surreal in it’s approximation to a vision. Equally difficult to capture in words the powerful emotions evoked hearing and seeing so much proof of the potential realized by deeply moving humanistic efforts. Again, with admitted inadequacy, I have to say that all critics on this comment thread, who failed to even note that Laura Delano was a presenter, are missing something … the meaning of solidarity? the opportunity to share a resounding victory?

    I mean no disrespect– to anyone and who has a stake in *putting things right*.I really do not understand why , for instance, you identify yourself as member of the “gutter-class-people”. Why the need to create new negative labels, categories for anyone?

    I do believe in, through having experienced it, the transformative power of engaging with others to realize a shared goal–, the difference between the sharing,empathizing,commiserating that is based on shared suffering and the sharing, planning, creating and doing the work to make something happen– makes all the difference.

    Don’t wait for the right ideas or actions to emerge from anywhere but within your own precious life. Propose a project that captures the interest or reveals unique talents within the group you are part of– face to face, life to life contact is the means for community building, the possibilities are limitless. The experience is priceless.


  • There was a stated purpose for this IEPP conference- (see conference organizer, David Cohen’s remarks)

    “Cohen told Mad In America that his goal was to bring “critical thought leaders” together to discuss “possible visions of the future,” so that he could get their ideas on record and make them freely available to the public. “Because that’s sort of lacking in many ways,” explained Cohen. “We have a lot of critique, lots of very compelling critiques of the system. But I felt we needed — we still do need — compelling visions of the future.” ”

    Laura Delano, psychiatric survivor and ex-inmate of psychiatric prisons was a presenter– who organized the first MIA Film Festival, which I was fortunate to have attended. This event marked a long awaited new milestone, highlighting real cause for hope via work accomplished toward visions for the future. There is more power displayed and inspired when one can experience the results of work that is shown in a very moving, realistic “how we do it” format. The discussion panels after each film showing provided connection for the audience to the benefits of taking action where one lives, and the evidence that community building happens around a shared vision.

    This IEPP conference was described fully as means for sharing and accessing the work and ideas of those who are moving forward.(article posted) As a person who has become involved in a myriad of community building activities over the past 20 years, I have to say that the face to face, life to life encounters of people who live in a community are very much affected by an organized project that draws them together out of common interest. Crisis can do this, as was proven in my town April 2013– but the ideas that become projects that draw people in are not *rocket science*. Integrating senior citizens into education activities, enriching the lives of children and revitalizing significant elders is a very good example,shared at this conference by Peter Whitehouse.

    I personally believe that by becoming too focused on the evils and the horror stories that produced the crisis so well described on this site, we risk stagnation in a pool of complex feelings that fuel anger, discord and division between people who at heart have a common goal. Somehow the knowledge of the horror stories that each of the presenters has a specific awareness of; that fuels their momentum, has been totally discounted. It is as though some commenters here think this was a social gathering of professionals with too much time on their hands, seeking an audience to show off the work they did in their ivory towers.
    Maybe some do believe that– but I know this is not the case.

    It requires energy and sustained momentum to defy gravity– and as I learned at the MIA Film Festival, we owe a debt of gratitude to people like Laura Delano, who has clearly demonstrated the immense value of her lived experience, via the transformation of suffering to the contagious expression of joy I saw on her face when I finally had a chance to tell her– face to face, how much I appreciate and admire her.

    The first step to community building was shared by Laura on this site. First you have to decide that you are venturing out of your comfort zone, come what may—. I encourage everyone contributing to this site to make this first step– and for all critical psychiatric survivors who have found this conference lacking “their voice”, you may want to apologize for discounting the fact that you were represented by someone who has proven her amazing capabilities to go way beyond *recovery*.

  • Greetings Daniel, and welcome to the webzine created by Robert Whitaker, where you have the opportunity to slam him and David Cohen, the organizer of the conference you are slamming and the man Whitaker credits for starting him on this path.

    “People of the Movement. “Go elsewhere” rather than pay for another conference by these operatives.”

    I will offer you the only praise that is both appropriate and sincere.

    If there ever was a perfect metaphor for “shooting oneself in the foot”, your comments surpass it!


  • Frank,
    Unity and solidarity are built from a shared sense of purpose, an agreed upon goal. I believe that when these two conditions are met, differing opinions, ideas, etc. represent the diversity that strengthens the team. When the purpose and goal are well understood and agreed upon, differing opinions are welcome, appreciated and at the very least, tolerated.

    I am beginning to sense that the root of your contentious comments here is expressed in this comment you made to me:

    “The last time I looked the majority of attendees at ISEPP were “mental health” professionals, NOT psychiatric survivors and ex-inmates of psychiatric prisons. Ditto the presenters.”

    Your beef seems to stem from your conviction in the worthlessness of “mental health professionals”. ?
    They [we] are the cause of the problem and therefore they [we] cannot possibly solve the problem ? or since *mental health professionals* aren’t the victims, they [we] have no idea what the problem is??

    “I don’t exactly know who it is you want to sellabrate, Sinead, but sellabrate them away from me as I’m the person being personally insulted here, and by you.”

    So, you are insulted because I am encouraged by the efforts of “mental health professionals” who are assisting other [worthless] “mental health professionals”,like me, to offer help and hope to people currently being harmed by or are at risk for harm from the “mental health system”- that is not going away anytime soon, by all accounts.

    Why would my view of the benefit gained from this conference, insult you?

    We are very obviously coming from vastly different backgrounds. You have lived experience, shared experiences validated by other psychiatric survivors and statistics you quote in the context of your beliefs based on your experience. My lived experience has put me in close contact with every facet of our horrid mental health system to the tune of the two to three hundred people admitted- on average, per year to any one of the inpatient units I have worked in for over 20 years. Even if I felt like doing the math and plugging in all the variables, in terms of academic versus private for profit versus state hospitals, the numbers themselves are not going to provide the source of the purpose or the goal I have developed based on being a “mental health professional”. I am merely referencing the multiple encounters I have had with people suffering more from what was discussed in this IEPP conference, than any number of labels and diagnoses they were given. I witnessed psychiatrists and their minions deny and resist reality before there was a shred of scientific evidence to support the misgivings I shared with a hand full of”mental health professionals”- and, when I was fully armed with solid evidence, I stood up to protect people in my care as *patients* and was forced out of my job, via a year long campaign that was waged with the same dirty tactics that created this abusive system.

    My goal is to protect and assist people on the inside of the worst place to be in this system. I see them as the priority. It is an automatic reflex to seek every possible means for preventing other people from this clear and present danger.

    Do you have some valid reason to disparage( note that I did not say disagree with)) my opinions, other than my positive sense of connection to the “mental health professionals”, presenters,whose contributions to this conference were the topic of this article?

    I am beginning to sense that the goals of the *movement*, defined here as the creation of psychiatric survivors and ex-inmates of psychiatric prisons, differ in a profound way from the goals I have stated. I see a personal need to confront, admonish, punish and demean “mental health professionals” who claim to be working on solutions, as a right of passage from the the *movement* that clings to the results obtained from their actions in the 70’s,and with die hard sentimentality, longs for a revival of tactics that have lost their flavor in the 21st century. In many ways things have gotten worse and that, too is a reflection of the change in the times.

    To me, it seems that the *movement* cannot conceive of the possibility that “mental health professionals” would become champions of their [your?] cause, looking for every possible means to discredit even the international leaders who have all, to some extent, made personal sacrifices and endured some degree of abuse. All matters of simply accepting the risks inherent to this struggle, that believe it or not, was initiated by a sincere desire to put things right.

    Fiery dialogue and heated debates go with the territory of breaking new ground, while in-fighting and personal attacks are harbingers of defeat– or so I believe.

  • What you are naming with the terms, coercion and force, are the means by which psychiatrist’s assure that those in need of *treatment* for *disorders* they have the authority to diagnose, receive the *treatment* that they resist due to their *disorder*– refer back to their authority as doctors., to diagnose and treat the *mentally ill*. What sort of law, in the context of our society, would prohibit a psychiatrists from exercising their authority as MDs to diagnose and treat according to their own professional standards?

  • Frank,
    Although understandable in the context of your own experience, I don’t agree at all with this statement :

    “I know that many of the professionals who attend ISEPP feel so stellar and superior to their clients that it really isn’t funny. ”

    That sounds like an emotionally charged insult, rather than a factual statement. I know there is but one version of this article posted, so we must have read the same one. How did you miss the fact that the presenters are working, as in spending their time and energy, on solutions?; that some of the most out spoken presenters have suffered losses for their courageous confrontation of *corrupt Pharma and medical* practices, and continue to speak out, despite the risks? I think their actions demonstrate dedication to the well being of — all of us.

    The ideas shared and proposals made for a *way forward* do not look like alternatives to psychiatry to me, but look like the very human endeavors that community building entail– which may actually be the means for putting all profit driven mental health services out of business.

    Meanwhile, the strong criticism of psychiatry– as non-medical, as non-scientific, as non-therapeutic AND harm causing is making the case stronger everyday for just taking the MD out of psychiatry and casting psychiatrists into the sea of venture capitalists seeking a new market—

    So, having found an error in your premise statement (above), I see one in this conclusion you drew:

    “This is all the more reason for psychiatric survivors, ex-inmates of psychiatric prisons, to take the initiative in having a say, and in demanding human rights and social justice.”

    I see this conference as one more stellar bit of evidence that psychiatric survivors and ex-inmates of psychiatric prisons are being heard; that efforts are ongoing and these efforts are becoming more focused and more accessible. Education being the point we all agree on, this conference was loaded with very respect worthy, well connected educators who are taking the more secure path of gradualism as a means to effect real and lasting change– for no other reason, that I can determine, other than their commitment to human rights and social justice.

    I completely understand where you, Frank, Ted and Richard are coming from with your comments that are mild to moderate criticism and skepticism regarding this article , the same article I see as good news as it reports signs of progress. Seems to me as though you have unrealistic expectations and a few invalid assumptions that are leading you to your stated

    I will avoid further personal references and simply cite the unrealistic expectations and invalid assumptions as I see them.

    1). It makes no sense to think in terms of legislation, laws that will directly impact on the power a psychiatrist has to *incarcerate* and/or *force* toxic drugs on *their patients*. Our society has placed total authority in the hands or minds of the medical profession, as experts in matters of medical practice. Any litigation that addresses malpractice has to be supported by *medical experts*. The problem we face is a matter of psychiatrists having the same total authority over their practice as any other medical doctor. Unless challenged and proven to be in error by one of their own, they operate with impunity.

    2). In a capitalist, free enterprise system, the wealthy share holders of any lucrative enterprise are free to invest their capital gains as they choose. It is unrealistic to expect that as Pharmaceutical wares are proven damaging and even fatal, that the wealthy share holders will continue to invest in this worthless enterprise.

    2). Social justice is a goal– and while it may get a leg up with *equal rights* amendments to the U.S, constitution and laws against discrimination, it is a long ways from being actualized in our society– as *changing minds* is a lot more complicated and time consuming than the process that made these ideals seem attainable via *legislation*. Who amongst the minorities or the oppressed who are, on paper, protected by laws are not, in fact, in the most vulnerable category for psychiatric abuse? Women? Children? African Americans? Gay,Bisexual, Lesbian, Transgender individuals?? Psychiatry is the safety net for those who reluctantly agreed to grant equal rights to those deemed *inferior* in the minds of probably half of the population of this country, imo, of course.

    3). It makes no sense to incite the public to outrage aimed at effecting political action WHEN, dissidents are easy prey for psychiatry– As has been pointed out repeatedly on this site. There is no climate of empathy, sympathy or even compassion born of a capacity for understanding most of what is shared by psychiatric survivors– as the climate that contends that psychiatry fills a need that no alternative can address is prevalent. Sad, but true. AND– regardless of this huge barrier, there is no reason to believe that the effect of community building and continuing to create *alternatives* will fail to achieve a more substantial goal. IF successful– these endeavors will eradicate the need for psychiatry, by addressing and remediating the causes that many already know are the source of *mental, emotional and spiritual* distress. You may call this circuitous, but to me, it is a surer means to lasting change.

    Personal biases interfere with establishing unity, a necessary condition for achieving any noble goal. On this site there are personal biases regarding what the goal should be, ( reform v. abolition of psychiatry)and there are personal
    biases for and against well known advocates for aspects of change that are critical to accomplishing either goal. The *personal* is linked to emotions linked to personal experience. With all due respect for the person(s) expressing their individual perspectives, I have to say that so long as attachment to these personal bents exists, the reality of any aspect of this struggle will be obscured. In my mind, that means that the impossible will take even longer to achieve…

  • Coercion and forced treatment are synonymous with *psychiatry*, which is a medical specialty first and by extension, a means of social control , because psychiatric treatment is sanctioned by law. The law does not dictate or limit- in any real sense, the practice of psychiatry.

    So, although it resonates with most of us here to say:

    ” Outlaw non-consensual psychiatry, and the only people with psychiatric labels are those who consent to have them.”

    I really don’t think coercion and force can be taken away from the mainstay of psychiatry by law–

    My strategy is to strip psychiatry of “MD” status– and thereby remove it’s *untouchable* legal intervention status.

    And that requires Doctors to step up to the plate and simply call a spade, a spade–

    IF we were to wake up tomorrow to breaking news that the AMA has revoked all claims to MD,medical doctor status/privilege/authority from psychiatry–, we will see the dawn of human and civil rights — at long last!

  • Excellent article,Very well spoken, Dr. Datta!
    And thank you for exposing the pivotal flaw in psychiatry training:

    “Most keep their opinions to themselves. I have often been told that I am foolish for contributing to this site by peers no less as they worry about the possible negative repercussions for me. As a result residents and faculty alike often privately confess they share my sentiments but do not feel able to express them openly.”

    What you describe is what I have witnessed for over 20 years as a child/adolescent psychiatric nurse at a few renowned academic medical centers in the Northeast. What is this, but indoctrination combined with a heavy load of coercion? The result is that the great majority of psychiatric residents who run this gauntlet and become board certified psychiatrists, have an arsenal of first hand experience that serves to perpetuate the authority based model. They indoctrinate every member of the multidisciplinary teams, as *the* leader. They indoctrinate family members and patients with the same garbage they had to regurgitate to pass exams. They do this with the authority vested in them as the MD . Are they really *medical doctors *or does MD stand for *most damaged* ? I could write an article fully substantiating the latter.

    “To refuse peaceful exchange and choose force is to compromise and give in to human weakness; it is to admit defeat of the human spirit… Socrates taught that hatred of language and ideas (misology) leads to antipathy toward humanity (misanthropy) ” (Daisaku Ikeda, President of Soka Gakkai International- the lay Buddhist organization based on the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin.)

    You have stated very concisely what lies at the very core of the *anti-psychiatry* movement; that psychiatrists are *trained* to deny and destroy humanity-. This is accomplished by first destroying the humanity in the psychiatry trainee.

    You are foolish to contribute to this site *only* to the extent that you do not address the academic psychiatry wardens who have been quite successful in picking off *heretics*.

    Currently, the leader of the charge to initiate all of the dialogue and debate that you have so clearly pointed out as non-existent in the academic sector of psychiatry; a leader who has presented scientific evidence for the grave concerns you shared regarding serious to life threatening adverse effects of psychotropic drugs and exposed the corruption behind Pharma’s successful purchase of psychiatry in his book, “Pharmageddon” (2012), Dr. David Healy, Professor of Psychiatry, Hergest Unit, Bangor Wales, scientist, author, psychopharmacologist and creator of Rxisk.org, the first international data base for reporting and publishing adverse effects of *medications*; currently this activist, academic psychiatrist is currently undergoing the “negative repercussions” your peers are worried you may be subjected to, or rather the classic, well documented in the archives of the history of medicine and science in general, *the persecution of heretics*. ( see details @ David Healy.org ) If the plan to oust this formidable enemy of every major pharmaceutical company is successful, what hope do you see for reforming the scourge that is passed off as the education and training of psychiatrists?

    For those who grasp the principles and values that are being violated continually by the methods psychiatry employs to silence and exile *heretics*, I suggest joining the activists who are writing directly to the UK’s equivalent of the President of our APA.

    Dr Simon Wessley, Professor of Psychology at King’s College London is the President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. The goal of this letter writing campaign is to inform Dr. Wessely that the actions taken against Dr. Healy are hardly a secret maneuver. The mechanisms themselves are signs of the *failure of psychiatrists* to employ rational, respectful, humanistic means for dealing with their own conflicts, many of which have resulted from the all you have shared in your well researched article. This is ostensibly very poor role modeling for a profession that Dr. Wessley has highly acclaimed as capable of supplying even more of what *society really needs*.

    Please share this with your oppressed peers who probably also envy the therapeutic value you are gaining thru your writing. I
    Professor Sir Simon Wessely
    21 Prescot Street
    E1 8BB

    I believe you are wise to publish your thoughts and insights, which you have thoroughly supported- on this site. I hope that you receive affirmative validation and crucial support from everyone who believes there is a purpose for psychiatry. As I continue to ponder this question myself, I am drawn to offering enthusiastic support for your endeavors to *humanize* our critically ill profession.


  • Gee whiz. B.– might you consider asking for more detail– or adding your own ideas instead of saying I have no idea of what I am talking about?

    1)” Every behaviour has a reason. ”
    I disagree–. I would say that every behavior has a *goal*.
    I define *reason* differently than you do–.

    2) “Dehumanizing others is the M.O. of some trauma survivors” Dehumanising others is a natural tendency of all human beings operating in a group think mode. It’s in fact a very human and evolutionarily reasonable tendency (which doesn’t immediately mean it’s justifiable).
    I disagree that it either human or evolutionarily *reasonable* to disregard the inherent dignity and value of another’s life. I believe such transgression from human/reason should be acknowledged and addressed– THIS is how we develop *character*
    FWIW- BPD is an Axis II diagnosis- categorized as a personality disorder– the label marks the diagnosed as having deficiency in character development– alerting *mental health professionals* to the inherent obstacles to *treatment*–ALL of which I find unreasonable and harmful–

    3) “Sorry but I file all the “wounded self” and “calibrating self for better perceiving others” and “development of a more realistic *self*” under psychobabble.”
    The interventions I use would be best categorized as sensory modalities and body work. The effects are astounding– briefly, they help a person feel *grounded* and *empowered*– they serve as a means of teaching a person what they can do to overcome the feeling of powerless — or the sense of being broken. It may sound like psychobabble, but then I am not talking about concepts as *therapeutic* tools– It is the experience of control that provides the realistic view of *self*.

    4.)4. “This is what I call *maladaptive survival syndrome*– or rather the language I use – not finding anything relevant in PTSD”
    Of course, if you’re operating within the BPD and PTSD label framework you can’t possibly find any link.”

    What I mean to express is that the very mechanism that is creating havoc in the emotional and behavioral responses of traumatized people IS actually the basic human survival mechanism– It is maladaptive when there is no REAL threat–. The combination of physiological stress and chaotic emotional responses to *others and the environment* creates a less than happy, productive lifestyle–

    “You don’t treat disorders, you treat people and only if they are sick. PTSD is no sickness, neither is BPD. Traumas are real, highs and lows of extreme experiences of abuse are real, effects of chronic stress are real and individual responses to them, maladaptive or not are real. Labels don’t help you in helping people heal”

    I completely agree– !!

    As a mental health professional, I see people who are seeking help with managing their emotional/behavioral issues, in the context of the person feeling *something is wrong* with them– and I encounter people who are coerced into *treatment* because significant others have determined that something is wrong with them. Prior psychiatric treatment is most often a huge barrier to developing a *therapeutic* relationship. The labels– and the psych drugs– are the barriers.

    I believe that like, Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, has been created by psychiatry. Both are iatrogenic — imo. Both are more an example of the adverse effects of psych drugs– AND the medicalizing of non-medical issues– replete with damaging labels that negate the person’s actual circumstances and needs.

    I also believe that mental health professionals can be helpful– when the focus is the person-.

    My practice is not based on psychobabble — it is grounded in a humanistic philosophy and informed by a life long process of discovering human potential for growth and healing–

  • @acidpop5,

    I am lost– if your above post is a response to me– or to @uprising;’s response to me about my response to you? I have not been addressing anyone’s personal relationship decisions– at least not knowingly– and I have no argument against seeking to know another’s heart and mind thru processing encounters and conflicts with him/her–

    I thought we were discussing BPD– as it effects the lives of those given the diagnosis and those who relate to the diagnosis and not the person–

    In any case, I appreciate all that you have shared here. It is difficult to have fully meaningful dialog on these forums, but it is possible to learn a great deal and to imagine this sharing is expanding our capability to understand one another.

  • @uprising

    Thank you for engaging in this discussion and clarifying your statement about the dehumanizing behaviors of mental health professionals–as you see that description pertaining to me.

    I think I can add some more clarity responding to this statement you made:

    ” I was using the word “reason” in the sense of “cause” or “intelligibility,” not “rationality.”

    My argument is that when the “reason” or “cause” is stated as the effect of the abuse history of the person who is lashing out– the conclusion has to be that the person’s behavior, like the abuse they suffered, is “not within their control”- This thinking is the foundation for calling the behavior a symptom of BPD– The thinking that BPD is unremitting– and all of the rhetoric that supports the dismal prognosis and horrible stigma of the diagnosis is actually supported by the belief that the original abuse damaged the person beyond repair– because you cannot change the past- or mind over matter a disease/disorder.

    My reason for starting with denouncing the *wrongful attacks on significant others* is to focus on a humanistic, rather than diagnostic view of the person. Refusing to accept that their abusive behavior makes sense in any context sometimes serves to redirect the person to their own abuse history, where their self concept was eviscerated and their sense of worth obliterated. The scene in “Good Will Hunting” when Robin Williams repeatedly tells Matt Damon- “It wasn’t your fault”– does not make Matt Damon jump for joy– It is a hard sell, but it is the crucial first block of truth in a foundation for building a healthy self concept.

    Identifying the reason or explaining what I believe to be the reason for the behaviors I call, unnatural, alien- or stating the problem as I see it, allows for focus on repairing and reconstructing the *part* of the person that is malfunctioning– and yes, that damage resulted from abuse, but it is within the person’s capability to repair.

    My goal- more like a quest, has been to assist and support people thru healing and change– there is no set formula, but there are some basics that are required. I believe that the rapport building phase is crucial and that telling the truth is key to this phase–

    I have shared in the suffering of many people who had alienated everyone they actually needed. And as the only one whose door remained open to them, I ran the gauntlet they constructed. Their goal being to prove that I was no better than those who had rejected them, and or/ they were not worth the trouble–.

    To demonstrate that I was not tolerating abuse, I did not claim to understand why I had become the new target [in the context of their abuse history]. I did struggle to rise to the occasion and remain fully human, which I found depends on telling the truth and sticking to it– and sustaining engagement, no matter what.

    These behaviors do not yield to *talk therapy*, and are usually worsened by psychotropic drugs– . What is needed is the experience of awakening to their inner resources for mediating the discomfort they are most always suffering. This is vital. However that happens [DBT, alternative/complimentary therapies], the next phase is like watching a work of art in progress– or witnessing birth– that is to say, it is life affirming.

    No pain- no gain.

  • But, then if you say there IS a *reason*– why shouldn’t the abuse be tolerated?
    You have railed against the use of the term , the diagnosis, BPD — but then you employ the thinking of psychiatry when you refer to a behavior as having a *reason*– a symptom of a disorder is expected to exist so long as the disorder does– the symptom is given credence via the naming of the disorder–
    Reasoning applied to these scenarios points to a *maladaptive* behavior that should be the focus– NOT an explanation for hurting another person.

  • @acidpop5,
    From my persepective, your explanation here– is a rationalization of the pattern of dehumanizing others, that is at the heart of [some] trauma/abuse victim’s failed relationships–. It sounds compassionate, and on the surface it is, but looking deeper you have to note that most of the failures to achieve or sustain a value creative lifestyle come down to these *excuses* for mistreatment of others. In cases where the catalyst for the abusive behavior IS the care another is trying to demonstrate, you have to note that this is *unnatural*- *alien* to that which we call human. Stop here–

    WHY would anyone want to create and propagate a *reason* for this irrational behavior ? Doing so only condones the *right of passage* of an abuse victim to take hostages anywhere, anytime–

    Whether the connection with a person who “is suspecting everyone close to him/her as a potential perpetrator” is based on friendship, intimacy or a therapeutic/treatment contract- ; whichever relationship applies, it is nothing short of a lack of respect and lack of mercy to suggest the person has a *reason* to – hurt the ones she loves!

    First priority, in my practice, is REALITY TESTING– the methods for laying this foundation vary – need to vary as everyone is uniquely an individual, BUT-all rapport building- , all motivational interviews- , all the gathering of info that describes the person’s strengths, wishes, fears– is key to broaching issues related to the basic humanistic principles and values that one relies on as a guide for relating to others–

    Dehumanizing others is the M.O. of some trauma survivors– I call it a litmus test for mobilizing the force within to confront, divert and redirect these tendencies they have that hideously negate the value and worth of another person.

    DBT seems to be effective in directing the focus internally– a tool for calibrating oneself in order to more accurately perceive others, perhaps– And DBT is a not threatening to the *wounded self*– does not judge, criticize or admonish–. I see DBT as a great scaffolding base from which to get down to the business of assisting and supporting the development of a more realistic *self*– with human, rather than animal skills for survival–

    I just wanted to point out that while it is true that these patterns of lashing out and causing injury to others or to self do reflect a *reaction* to prior abuse– they are occurring in a context where only *internal angst* exists with no external evidence for the fear–. This is what I call *maladaptive survival syndrome*– or rather the language I use – not finding anything relevant in PTSD–

  • Zippy,

    OK, I’ll bite.

    What sort of *proper* help would you suggest for someone who confabulates to beat the band?

    One thing I believe has a ring of *truth* universally, is this:

    People lie when they are afraid–the alarm set off by fear, is internal- and quiet.

    Unbearable anxiety is frightening–IT demands an explanation — a story to explain what someone or something is doing or has done TO us — to explain this angst/fear FOR us.

    The explanation is a STORY–
    that ;
    we tell ourselves and each other:
    A *believable story*–
    not necessarily a factual one.

    The TRUTH is ,-
    -all that matters is the quelling of the unbearable angst–

    First and foremost, we all need to feel safe in our own skin– we strive for this– by whatever means necessary?– sure,sometimes.

    You have described a characteristic , confabulation- It can be an indication of a protracted state of fear–

    The TRUTH that this may have been the internal hell experienced by your ex, is the best place to start for an honest discussion about *her condition*

    Can you face that truth??

  • boans,
    I think you answered your own question-
    a *label*,easy answer, suits your needs.

    A lot more difficult if you needed to make sense of it?

    Harder still– what if you needed to find the value in this experience?

    Labels can be tricky– they are not fool proof-

    Wouldn’t be prudent to never examine the contents of can or package, or to always trust that the contents match the label–

    Labels and slogans can halt the thinking process–

    Buyer beware 🙂

  • B,
    Though I have a working theory of *trauma memory* that explains for me why someone offering comfort or reassurance to a victim of severe abuse could be perceived as a target, whipping post, meaning that even beyond the defense, that it “only natural for a victim of abuse to have a lot of rage”, the truth of the dignity and respect worthiness of each of our lives, dictates that all forms of abuse directed at others is fundamentally wrong–. I denounce it– never excuse it.

    I agree that the labels and DSM diagnosis are waste baskets — but they are also shields for psych clinicians who need to project their inadequacies on to an acceptable scapegoat– or need to extricate themselves from the vortex of human experience —

    The increase in the number of diagnoses indicates the ever increasing sense of weakness and inadequacy of psychiatry–. imo, of course.

  • Sharon,

    No offense taken. I appreciate your response as it has supplied me with many points to ponder today. The first being that I am in total agreement with Brent and Jacqueline regarding their view that the DSM diagnosis, BPD is nothing but trouble.

    I subscribe to a perspective that explains every documented symptom of mental, emotional, spiritual duress– whether or not is has made it into the DSM V, as a function of an individual’s unique reaction to *trauma*.

    I define traumatic experience in terms that reflect an individual’s perceived threat to her survival– an experience that set into motion our innately human biological survival mechanisms– that turn us into instinct- driven animals and turn off all of our higher executive, cerebral functions– which automatically means that the *memory* of the event(s) will likely be *miscoded*.

    Creating a narrative to satisfy our innate biological drive for equilibrium, the story we believe explains the terrifying angst.– This is not to say that no one can accurately recount a traumatic event he has survived– but natural variances in comfort, safety seeking needs- or, rather individual differences in pain tolerance thresholds , tend to influence the degree to which the unbearable stuff is perceived and recorded. I will not go into this much further, as I firmly believe that there is no benefit to challenging or directly altering anyone’s perception of their trauma– or trying to figure out what really happened– or even if the whole thing is confabulation. WE are the stories we tell ourselves and others about our lives.

    ALL of us trauma survivors? Most likely, yes, imo– but there are some fascinating differences in the way we live our *stories* that are, after all, our life rafts.

    There are help seekers and help devourers amongst us– infinitely different and deadly in certain combinations.

    WHY was there ever a need to pin a label on a sub-set of trauma survivors?

    Or specifically (not trying to avoid the discussion)-

    How did the diagnosis * Borderline Personality Disorder * become the best label to attach to a hook, IF you are trolling for Sharks? I think because it is a compilation of unnatural, alien behaviors that draw blood– (emphasis on the blood letting)– It means nothing, and everything– depending on where you sit.

    On locked wards announcing the presence of *a borderline* is like sounding a red alert.
    The staff knows the drill:
    Secure your personal boundaries!
    Sweep the unit for sharps !
    Check the med cabinet !( Do we have enough Benzos?? )
    AND– don’t bother thinking you can make a difference with THIS one–

    That was enough of a hook for me– I could NOT resist this mystery.

    20 years later, and 180 degrees from my original *clinical* perceptions and practice, I do still see a point in differentiating trauma survivors– just as I understand the value of litmus tests–.I have noted a few that define territory and mobilize the force within me.

    Someone who – on first, or early encounter, insists on just putting out there, the story that lets you know who you are dealing with?? Combo of shock and awe style narrative that is so heartbreaking and terrifying that you fear for your survival?

    Put away the popcorn and grab your haz mat suit!

    Someone who broadcasts that you are the only one who understands him/her-? only one who really cares ?– only decent human being on the planet?
    THE only one she trusts??

    Wipe that self satisfied smile off your face and locate your high school goalie Lacrosse gear- PRONTO!

    YES! It can be done– you can ride (his/her) wave to shore, unwitting passenger on * her personal* surf board — don’t look down and if you do, don’t mind the SPIKES–

    YES ! transformation is possible– but it is not a clinically driven *positive patient outcome*- it is a mutual death defying trap, where you cannot escape until you have seen your own demons from h*ll.

    Having survived the initiation, no doubt you will create the narrative– the all clear, I’m safe story– and you will become hyper vigilant and adept at devising and using *trauma survivor differentiating litmus tests*

    AND though you may choose to NEVER refer to BPD in any way shape or form– YOU will be sensitized to the red alert—when you hear it.

    So, Sharon– did you know that breeders of German Shepherd dogs have to be vigilant over the litters of pups for signs of Wolf traits ? The *litmus test* is determining whether a puppy laps or sucks milk poured into a bowl. The *suckers* have too much wolf in them — which means they are unsafe — not okay to sell or have as a pet.– BUT, there are many who claim that is hogwash– it is all in the nurture– STILL– breeders are expected to conduct this safety litmus test–

    No two predatory, vengeance seeking trauma survivors are the same– which is why, I believe the force fields (BPD stigmatization) have gone up–they were created by and for therapists–

    who don’t want to be labeled *bad therapists*–

    because they could not resist the urge to bail-

    at the first sight of their own blood.


  • Sharon,

    In response to your question:

    “Is this how you people want your account of Borderline? Fictionalized. Sanitized. From a doctor, who knows it from the outside in, who references clients and not people?”

    I have to admit that one clear advantage to “this account of Borderline” is the safe space created by the internet—

    Trauma does not explain the need to inflict pain. Trauma does not explain a display of entitlement to reduce another person to subhuman status– nor is the pervasive attitude of one’s superiority a right of passage for a victim of abuse. These traits are indeed exhibited by *some* people whose graphic recounting of their abuse histories is often the first sign that the *listener* is being scrutinized for his/her potential to satisfy their predatory cravings.

    It is quite the challenge to approach any discussion of healing with someone bent on making you pay for their irreparable damage– though this does not discount the truth of the inherent human potential to heal, it does pose significant risks to therapist or friend who dares suggest that everyone does actually possess this human potential— or that creating more bad karma by demeaning others is a vicious no win cycle sure to increase suffering– and it does appear that the heightening of suffering is the goal– with the limits set by the *victim* who is settling a score—

    I suppose the meat of any true account of *borderline* is in the wondering why anyone would submit to being eviscerated by a vengeance seeking trauma victim– I mean willingly submit– as in grant permission to be strapped into the roller coaster seat for the virtually senseless experience of *sharing the pain* — on terms that appear masochistic — at best.

    Having said all this tucked safely behind the security of my computer screen, I have to say that the this post is probably the best way to give *us people* our account of *borderline*–

    The title of Bob Whitaker’s first book, “Mad in America” evoked compassion from many people and inspired a desire to find more humane solutions for those who were branded with psychiatric labels– so I doubt that the webzine was given the same title with the intent of driving its readers to madness ??

  • Alex,

    My experience working with a TCM practitioner to aide people withdrawing from psych drugs echos your resounding success– . Restoring balance– correcting patterns of disharmony with Chinese Herbs and acupuncture- produces a state of health that surpasses the person’s pre-psych drug baseline.
    Qi gong is close to acupuncture in meridian stimulation– unblocking stagnant Qi- by far the BEST these are the results I have witnessed for people who struggle with a myriad issues when deciding to withdraw from psych drugs.

    Your very forthright and meaningful statements about the power of consciousness also resonate with me– born out by experience and 26 years practicing Nichiren Buddhism– It is always best to share truths, imo– the only intention being to encourage others, I, too make it a point to incorporate mindfulness, meditation and the power of one’s beliefs–
    In practice, I remain close and available — continuing to coach and encourage — there is no evidence that those who seek my help are negatively impacted by hearing the truth–

  • MB,
    Please take a moment to visit Daivid Healy’s blog-


    It is of crucial importance to contemplate the fate awaiting those who speak out the strongest and the most directly against the dangers of psych drugs– and the corruption in academic psychiatry that is perpetuating the lies–

    It is crucial to reflect on how best to support those to whom we owe the greatest debt of gratitude– ultimately, we are the ones who will suffer the most IF the few academic psychiatrists with conscience and courage are

  • ” The almost complete blackout of our point of view in the media is very scary”

    The reality of harm caused by *psychiatric drugs/treatment” is the message not reported and explored by our media…

    Therefore, when the *best* treatment does not work, or causes the *patient* more suffering, the conclusion is that the *patient* is a hopeless case. When the *patient* agrees—- for lack of sound reasonable information regarding the risks of the treatment….

    The reporting of the truth by Shelley Jofre was a good start…

    However, it must be noted that reporting the truth of harmful effects of SSRIs and antipsychotics AND the corruption behind maintaing the lies about these drugs– is in itself a risky business:
    David Healy.org

    There are more reliable means for informing the public than waiting for mainstream media to develop integrity–

    ACT locally—

  • Get Ready for a *shock-ing* bit of news.

    A psychiatrist explaining the HIPPOCRATIC OATH — the actual oath they swear to uphold and the cause for all the apparent confusion amongst *angry psychiatric patients*.

    “It is commonly believed that somewhere in the Hippocratic oath is the statement, ‘First, do no harm.’ In researching this book we went back to our graduation ceremony from medical school to look at the oath we swore. We were surprised to find that , ‘First, do no harm.’ was not there. We did swear, ‘I will apply, for the sick, all measures that are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.’ We did agree to admit when we didn’t know what was wrong with the patient, to ask for help when needed, and to respect the patient’s privacy. But we did not swear to ‘do no harm.’ “(“Medical Child Abuse- Beyond Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy”(p.324),, 2009, Thomas A. Roesler, MD (Child Psychiatrist) , Carole Jenny, MD, MBA, FAAP, Pediatric Child Abuse Specialist.) the authors are husband and wife.

    Still confused?

    Next paragraph:(“Medical Child Abuse- Beyond Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy” p.324)

    “It turns out that the phrase for which Hippocrates is most famous probably did originate with him. In his book, ‘Epidemics’ (Book I, section XI), is the phrase that reads in translation, ‘Declare the past, diagnose a patient, foretell the future; practice these acts. As to diseases, make a habit of two things– to help, or at least to do no harm.’ ”

    Got it?

    Reminded of William Wallace, played by Mel Gibson, in the movie, “Braveheart”– in the scene where he is being accused of treason, Wallace insists, “I never once swore allegiance to this King”

    Wallace’s punishment was apparently based on the assumption that since he lived in King Edward’s Kingdom, allegiance to *this King* was an automatic assumption. ??

    I suggest we drop the “first, do no harm” – misquote from the oath sworn by graduated medical students, and zero in on this:


    Actually a more powerful indictment against violation of the *oath*, or so I think.–

    Harm, itself has traditionally been the subjective view of the psychiatrist who is expert in diagnosing *patient’s* as– too mentally incompetent to know the difference between harm and treatment.

    Food for thought–

  • Dear Fred,
    “What would an outside observer from outer space conclude about whats happening here ?”

    Probably the same thing youth in America are concluding at an ever increasing rate, at an ever declining age:


    We could organize and lead a *children’s crusade” straight to the American Medical Association — DEMANDING that decisive action be taken to strip psychiatry of it’s license to inflict brain damage and death on our collective future!!!

    The Florence Nightingale oath prohibits my participation in or advocacing for
    * International taser a psychiatrist day*

    Though nothing can prevent me from taking sheer delight in the mere thought…..

  • @truth–

    Points well taken.

    I am advocating for what you wrote in an earlier comment:

    “I believe the only law that would effectively stop the carnage would be:
    “It is illegal to practice ‘psychiatry’ as a “medical” profession.”

    Truth is, psychiatrists have clearly proven they aren’t practicing *medicine*–
    very easy to back that up–

    Now, where are the REAL doctors who, wanting to restore trust in their profession and show the integrity we expect them to have ? THEY can take care of this scourge in short order.

    REAL doctors– can defrock psychiatrists–

    Why not, ask your Doctor, if taking action to save vulnerable people [especially children] from brain damage and death might work for HER?

  • .” I suggest, those who wish to boycott his writings (as do I) can come together and have a small bonfire, burning any and all of his books that they’ve come to collect…”

    BOOK BURNING !! ???

    Great idea. That will surely urge our up and coming young rebels into a frenzy to get their hands on THOSE books.

    People who rarely read a book cover to cover may feel an irresistible urge to scour underground book stores for one of THOSE books.

    I think you may want to revisit your thinking on this one, Jonah– you could start by trying to refute any of the facts in any one of Healy’s books.

    Cults around a personality come and go– but the TRUTH will stand even when the books are on fire!!

  • Fred,

    Will reflect on the exchanges on Philip’s recent articles here, as I take in the final day of the MIA Film Festival.

    I witnessed and to some extent participated in media coverage of Justina Pelletier’s outrageous kidnapping and illegal imprisonment. I had to notice all of the ways in which media portrayed political slants and personal agendas that completely took the publicity off track, left me even more distrustful of main stream communicators–

    In other words, I do not trust main stream media coverage of anything meant to open the eyes of the public to horrific truths about psychiatry. It is more likely that those trying to share what absolutely needs to be known, will be discredited in some way, or shown in the sort of light that validates psychiatry–

    In Solidarity,

  • I’ll bake the cookies and make the hot cocoa. ALL from scratch- using the finest, ingredients– of course.

    Start pumping Vitamin C now, guys– boost your immune systems–

    Synchronize your watches–

    And stick to the CODE !!

    Hi ho!

  • I am horrified by what you are saying— I have not been exposed to the realities you are sharing, and I honestly don’t know how to respond.

    I didn’t think a husband could consent for invasive treatments unless he had obtained legal guardianship– in which case, the wife is declared incapable of making medical decisions via a court hearing. ALL of which may have no bearing on either the condition or what is best for the *wife*, I know–BUT, regardless, the effects of your agonizing ordeal are heart breaking.

    SO–SOMEBODY please explain the celebrity poster people for ECT??– Shouldn’t a few of them hear THESE stories?? Address the disparity of responses

    and keep their MISINFORMED mouths shut??

  • Jonah,

    So glad I made you laugh !

    to answer: “Did you think it up yourself ? ”

    Guess so– was just

    sharing how I responded to my *grateful client*– who, BTW inspired many similar truisms from me. I stayed in the ring– and rode on the wave with this young individual over a few years– and never once thought of trying to talk my way out of the situation I was being shown that I was a part of— . Busted? YES!, but I fought hard to prove I still possess the inherent human potential for change… hopefully for the better.

    Thank you for ALL of your sincere responses–

    Now, I will take a break and work on my 8 year old grandson’s Zombie hunters Halloween costume- he just added night vision goggles and is requesting a custom designed weapons sash….
    good to know that long range weapons are not needed to subdue a zombie—- a few pockets for nerf (stun)darts should work 🙂

  • Did you agree/consent to 25 ECT assaults?

    I cannot reconcile the vast discrepancies between testimonials I have heard from *patients* I have known –AND what I read on this site– and elsewhere.

    Different methods?

    Forced treatment is wrong across the board– AND I would not recommend ECT. I would try to stop any one I knew to be contemplating it…

    STILL– maybe more research needs to be done to explain the Celebrity ECT poster people– the *satisfied customers* I have met and the stories shared here (and elsewhere, too)

    Maybe there have been big changes– ???

  • Fred,

    Combining approaches looks like this:

    Screen play to film maker.

    Your list of ready and willing *occupiers* , including yourself- get parts in the film.

    NOT a documentary– , but, sort of a –Visionary’s Tale/Warning–??

    ART imitating life– thought provoking/inspired.

    ALL profits go into *advertising campaign* :YOU [Fred]are the chief script writer in that domain.

    David Lynch may already be working on this……

  • Frank,

    Psychiatrists are imbedded in our system of government. They enjoy this omnipotent role based on the notion that they are needed to manage a *dangerous* society.

    The two things that neededchange that are:

    1) Discredit the hell out of them– off to indictments and criminal prosecution– (calling all *critical* psychiatrists!!)
    Criminal prosecution for committing fraud that causes harm–FOR PROFIT is also imbedded in our system of government– to PROTECT us.

    2) Educate and empower people– educate is longer, harder– it is about dialogue– the socratic method? It is about engaging and supporting– not advertising and protesting.

    Actually, if not for the *indoctrinating* federally- mandated school system AND psychiatry working hand in hand– WE would not be so handicapped in terms of accessing our *civil rights*!!

    We can undo this damage– education as a self motivated pursuit has become what education looked like before *mandatory schooling*– (think about our forefathers) Today we can even transcend the socioeconomic obstacles set up over 100 years ago– by the 1% who sought to stifle our advancement and grow us into a big consumer market that would support them for generations.

    YES! WE CAN !!

    GOT COMPUTER? Library in your town? — Presto!

    Can you read?

    Can you talk about what you read?

    Can you write?–

    of indoctrination–

    NOW– you can become EDUCATED !!

    Frank, you are making this so much more complicated than it actually is…

    The REALLY hard work, YOU have already done–you survived and figured out what almost destroyed you.

  • “The first and only requirement for genius is, a love for TRUTH.”

    It is a life long process, pursuing TRUTH. It is riddled with agonizing realizations, the worst being the punishment awaiting the one who tells it at the wrong time to the wrong person. This, I feel, accounts for why all of us, and I believe we are all born geniuses, are in the same boat– we stay in or jump overboard, depending on our capacity to forbear the punishment for meeting the first requirement of genius.

    Anyone who stays the course into chronological adulthood, can stumble over the misperception that his truth, is THE truth, or a universal axiom.

    Anyone can loose ground by discounting factual information because it came from an unsavory source. The Buddha admonished his disciples to revere even a *demon* if his words accorded with the Buddha’s teaching, the sutras,the TRUTH. (Some say– how arrogant, the Buddha !– I say, wait a minute– isn’t the Buddha just saying that the TRUTH trumps the teller?)

    Motivation for telling the TRUTH? I could care less– it’s the TRUTH, I’m after.

    “It was a brave man who first ate an oyster.”

    You don’t get very far discovering TRUTH, without COURAGE.

  • Jonah,

    Where you stand, depends on where you sit…

    If you need clear, scientific evidence from which to build a CASE against the development, testing and current practice for prescribing psychotropic drugs , David Healy’s work is the best place to start.

    If you burn with a sense of mission– need to make a CASE against trusting psychiatrists these days, the work of David Healy is vital.

    If you cannot separate personal feelings from fact, you won’t get very far with either building or making a case that in actuality is about saving lives .

    Investigative journalists are focused on verifiable facts and credible sources– Bob Whitaker’s writing is so powerful, because he laid out the most compelling, and to psychiatry itself, the most threatening case against their practices. David Healy’s work and his own courage to speak directly to his colleagues, continues to rattle the *criminal element* that Bob Whitaker has exposed, which in turn, was grounded, to a large extent, on David Healy’s CASE.

    Having a personal experience with psychiatric abuse gives you credibility to speak to an audience that includes people like me. I care deeply about the truth– from the most important perceptive in these matters, *the patient’s* experience. I did listen to patient’s– beginning with my first encounter with psychiatry in 1988. I failed to make any real progress advocating for patients in any arena until I was armed with Bob Whitaker’s and David Healy’s well documented CASE supporting what I already believed to be true–. I BELIEVE and trust patients– first and foremost. I sought out scientific truth– to validate, what I agree should have been respected, should have been the MOST important *finding* when any of the so-called *psychiatric treatments* were rolled out, -because, where “I sit”– the audience is hostile to common sense and human, rational thinking, and they are the most powerful in our society.

    In ALL other medical specialities I had worked in for 14 years, the patient’s perspective was the place to start– for diagnosing and prescribing treatment.; the patient was the EXPERT and if he did not feel *better* or was not in agreement with treatment– adjustments were made, etc. I had real difficulty with accepting ANY reason for discounting what the patient was telling me, when told by psych *experts* that the patient could not be trusted.

    You, Jonah, do not need any scientific evidence to validate what you went through, and call it ABUSE. I cannot begin to give you an exact number of *psych patients* whom I have met, and known from the first encounter, that they were the best source of information about themselves– and FELT abused, that would be counting nearly ALL the patients I met for over 20 years. I don’t bother trying to validate my own view of these *patients* as victims of psychiatric abuse, by tabulating statistical– anything. For me, it only took ONE to set me on the path I am on— . The first ONE, whom I will never forget–. And BTW, I lost my job advocating for him in 1991.

    Maybe I should have cashed in a few years as a nurse in residential care of adolescent boys– a new job for me, that started out as a medical nurse on campus and morphed into a PSYCH nurse in 1988, when Prozac hit the market. Emotionally/ behaviorally dys-regulated boys, were given the requisite psychiatric diagnosis for magic bullet drug — right before my eyes– poof! transformed into the *market* for a deadly business– that has morphed into something, I could never have foreseen. Why was I so blind? Because I also believed in the medical model– that was supposed to be at the root of all this, fool, that I am–. I could not just cash in this riveting new experience, and forget it.

    So, Jonah– are you wondering what I did back in 1991, when after three years of residential *psych nursing * experience, I was NOT allowed to keep my job after claiming that a 12 year old boy was being ABUSED there? ( You need to know that with only medical nursing behind me, I believed that my professional opinion carried some weight.) What do you think I should have done?

    You may well disagree with I decided to do–

    I spent a few months thinking about it– reviewing the journals I kept– and then I applied for a child psychiatric nursing internship at a renowned academic medical center in Baltimore, Maryland. I vowed to keep my mouth shut and LEARN the mystical underpinnings of this block buster new medical specialty. That’s what got me in the door. Between you and me, I was just determined to *solve the mystery*– about the specialty I had laughed at in nursing school. It was concern over all the other kids I left behind at that first job– and worrying about the others bound to get caught in the net that helped me change my basic nature to just say, “You’ve got to be joking– this is NOT treatment”. That straight up comment failed to persuade—, that much I already knew.

    One young *former psych patient* that I actually sprung right out of the system– at least had the diagnosis removed and the meds seen as *not necessary*– one of my very first real, true victories, whom I owe so much– STILL makes the valid point that I am an *asshole* by association– working for and with *assholes*. This individual’s opinion, I totally respect. Can’t dispute the logic. I would just like to assert, that EVEN an asshole can be helpful– in certain circumstances, that is.

    Where you stand, depends on where you sit.

    If I were to remove David Healy from my tool kit, I am just another *asshole* who should go back to being a REAL nurse, and leave the saving of the next generation to the EXPERTS who have experienced the abuse , first hand.

    I think we humans are capable of overcoming attachment to personal feelings when lives are at stake. (As an ICU nurse, I did that as a matter of sheer necessity. ) Now, I’m of the opinion that THIS is the really the next frontier, the next human evolution, that is required if we are to survive as a species.

    Feel free to call me an *asshole* for sounding so grandiose– I probably have it coming—


  • Actually, but granted- RARELY, an advocate (or employee on an inpatient psych unit) well versed on iatrogenic drug injury – and appalled by the mere thought of ECT, DOES talk to the family or the patient. It’s risky for anyone employed on the unit to do this, but it is definitely possible. But because of the rarity of encountering an advocate at the crucial time AND the risk that prevents most staff from doing the right thing, there have to be other ways…

    I, too, have thought about an educational ad campaign. I like the zing of your script better than any I have come up with– (2 thumbs up)

    Maybe the cost is prohibitive, or perhaps mainstream media would never run a TRUTH ad about psych drugs or ECT– ? So, perhaps a documentary format of the ads that put the INFORMED in the consent form you will be asked to sign–

    MIA Film festival in full swing– wheels are turning—

  • “Communities of support” reeks of psychiatrization.”

    Think I should have used the different language, like,communities that offer mutual support. Your own local community of good neighbors, responsible adults who know how to network and connect *neighbors* with respites, support systems that are comprised of human beings with various resources and capabilities– neighborhoods where there is a consensus on the importance of helping ALL of the kids around us– for instance… yeah, COMMUNITIES/NEIGHBORS THAT OFFER MUTUAL SUPPORT TO EACH OTHER. That’s more descriptive of what I was talking about.

    Imagine you seek out the local *psychiatric nurse* right down the street from you– wanting a *professional*assessment and referral for your out of control teenager– and the nurse is all about NOT viewing your kid as a *psych case*– OR, if you happened to live in my area, you’ll meet the *been there, done that* parents who go all out to keep other parents from finding out what a horror show a psych unit is– and so on– and so on.

    In my geographic area, there is a swat team of *anti-psychiatry* mom’s– and most were fortunate to have contact with an anti-psychiatry mental health professional at some point during their own agonizing ordeal. Maybe we were an underground railroad for preventing the need for a kid to have to figure out how to escape from a psych unit?

    Though my own kids outgrew the need to be part of the underground railroad for their peers– some 15 years ago, I am still called into action by virtue of word of mouth recommendation. Again, I am not the only resource, by any means–and over the years I have so many more options. Much easier now to connect people with people who understand what is happening, through personal experience– to connect people with easy to access information that resonates with them in a time of human crisis.

    Not to belabor the point, BUT, all thriving businesses need a market. A corrupt business depends on the ignorance of it’s market. So much of psychiatry’s BS depends on a helpless , disempowered, frightened market. Forced treatment is a prime example– even on a psych unit, it is legitimized via fear tactics employed by *ignorant* staff!!

    A confident, humanistically skilled mental health professional who repeatedly de-escalates a *patient* who is scaring the be-jeezus out of everyone else on the unit, helps the *patient* regain control WITHOUT drugs and use of or threat of FORCE, is NOT praised, nor is she viewed as a role model, a teacher . These days, SHE is a threat– like a cross to a vampire. How powerful is that, in terms of what it takes to weaken *psychiatric professionals* in 2014? One lone, calm, rational human being, threatening even the psychiatrist who just put in an order for a chemical restraint.

    BTW, Frank, I don’t equate support with therapy. Back in my day– ha ha– my youth, good friends and caring, sensible adults were all the support wild, crazy teens needed. Of course,this was before the disease, we know as *psychiatry* had become a household word.

    Why do people living in under-developed countries have better outcomes after first episode *psychosis*?

    Are we any less capable of being human beings than those who assist in the *healing* of people who don’t believe in *psychiatry*?

    You say, “end forced treatment” and psychiatry will collapse?

    I say, continue to educate and empower people to believe in their own inherent potential– and FORCE psychiatry to rely on itself- each other, for support- drug and shock each other!

    AND if critical psychiatrists become emboldened and indict the criminal element that is eventually going to take them all down, [anyway], then, the worst of *psychiatry* can form their support communities in prison.

  • Thanks, Ted, for clarifying your statement about mental health workers– I did read your post “Our movement needs an alternative to the “Alternatives Conference”. (I read ALL of your posts)– am relieved there has been no change in your position, perspective.

    Most people I encounter see the egregious human rights violations in psychiatry, to be ALL about the use of FORCE. Most of them believe that *informed consent* addressed that issue– even with the administration of psychiatric drugs–

    The hard sell is demonstrating that there is NO actual informed consent obtained for ANY psychiatric treatment, because the risks and the REAL dangers are withheld form the *patient* and the *parent or guardian*.

    The hard sell is proving the risk and harm– easier to those not invested in ignoring the truth– BUT, with ECT, we have the same obstacle-: celebrity poster people promoting psych drugging and labeling — claiming to be *living proof* of the miracle of psychiatry. There are more than a few high profile people promoting ECT.

    The platform would have to be: “NO ONE is informed of the DAMAGE that IS called, treatment” and “People are STILL forced or coerced into having their brains damaged in the guise of treatment”

    No different, really than the obstacles to *banning psych drug prescribing*.

    Discrediting psychia-TRY, actually indicting, psychia-TRISTS is , imo, the best means for gaining widespread public support.

    The growing community of psychiatric survivors combined with mental health professionals who have defected from psychiatry perform the two necessary for destroying psychiatry itself:

    1) Giving credence to the absence of science and humanity– in this field , and equally important,

    2) Demonstrating that there is a sustainable “alternative” to psychiatry.

    You, have been a role model in both of these endeavors–

    And continue to be an inspiration for me 🙂

  • Ted,
    As long as psychiatry is a recognized medical practice, ECT will probably exist– as will many other damaging and debilitating abuses of children occur in the guise of *treatment for mental illness*, that can only be defined and rubber stamped by *psychiatry*.

    I am puzzled by your statement that ECT persists because your movement has been virtually overtaken by the mental health field?? Are you saying that mental health professionals have infiltrated your movement and diluted the crucial message you could deliver to the general public, that would get ECT banned– for good?

    Maybe you have a different take on the *general public* and what issues are viewed as crucial for immediate public action. Is seems as though you believe that the *public* is ripe for a campaign to ban ECT ? Do you think that Peter Breggin has eased up on his battle to ban ECT? He expected another victory after putting an end to lobotomies– It isn’t that the two don’t have much in common– it is the change in the climate of our society and some astoundingly stupid differences between ECT and lobotomy. And, undeniably, there is saturation point with ongoing exposure to atrocities coupled with a close to home perspective on what a real atrocity is these days.

    ECT has poster patients. Lobotomy? Not so much. ECT has a market of satisfied customers. Lobotomy? Zero proponents. Most people think ECT is barbaric. They don’t plan to have it. Like it or not, it will be harder to convince the general public that banning ECT should be a top priority political agenda. Surviving in our declining economy seems to be at the top of the general public’s list of concerns– and psychiatry’s as well.

    There are a good number of formidable authors on MIA that are in the mental health field. I don’t think any are less sickened by ECT than you are– or than I am. I think that it makes more sense to continue to dig out the roots that psychiatry has planted in our society– and present a realistic picture of compassionate, humanistic support for the people who are, or who are likely to get caught in the claws of psychiatry.

    Sadly, you discount those in the mental health field who are waging a battle to protect people in their care and to confront the abuses they witness. I don’t think what started as your movement would have a chance of creating long term change without people in the mental health field listening to you and staying the course to help those not yet free of psychiatry’s influence over their lives.

    I hope you recognize the infinite potential in all human beings to create value from the horrific abuses they have suffered, or witnessed. I know that many people recognize and have deep respect and appreciation for your capacity to truly help other victims of psychiatric abuse and lead by example, demonstrating what is possible when one dedicates their life to a noble cause. I am one of those people.

    Just as I can hear your story and bear witness to your suffering, actually confronting the realities of the truth you tell, I hope you can appreciate that are very horrific truths about the power of the monster we are trying to destroy and the people, the *general public* that you are trying to rally for the fight.

    Warm regards,

  • Frank,

    Once unity is created between even a few like minded individuals, the power of their unity multiplies exponentially.

    I am not talking about “one by one”– I am talking about the meaningful exchange that happens when two or more enter into real dialogue– seeking understanding, not wanting to debate. Books like “Psychiatry Disrupted” open the way for this venue–

    Look at what happened when the Justina Pelletier story went public: I am referring to the media circus that side swiped the bus that was close to nailing the Harvard child psychiatrist’s and their infamous Bader 5. Enter the politically motivated Pat Mahoney and Matt Staver — designated ‘Pelletier family spokespeople”. The public’s response was to slam Childrens’s Hoapital- calling for defunding the WHOLE hospital, insult and intimidate “politicians’ until this turned into a partisan issue– . the *public* that went ballistic apparently had no idea how our system of government works. The knowledge deficit was almost frightening– Pat Mahoney’s battle cry:”The governor of Massachusetts has the POWER to send Justina home.” Huh? Really? Well, thousands of people bombarding his office and facebook page with demands sure thought so. How ’bout this: “The state legislature can passes bill to send Justina home.” Right. no amount of public education about the limits of the legislative branch over an OPEN court case could sway the Mahoney army from swearing that “Democrats blocked this bill because they are anti-Christian [morals and family values].” Gives me a headache–

    The comment threads on “The Blaze” and other right winged media sites were full of; “let’s start the revolution!” hype. FBI monitoring of these sights and the facebook sites that became overrun with threats and intimidation tactics actually interfered with and prolonged her release. Why? because CT Dept. of Children and Families did NOT want this case– MA DCF was trying to unload it months before it hit the news. ALL of the off topic media and public outrage did absolutely nothing to call attention to the source of the tragedy. Outraged public– yes.,some slamming psychiatry– most going after liberal government agencies that want to take kids away from religious families. Please! And whose slamming the child psychiatrist’s at BCH now? No one– Justina was whisked off to Washington D.C. to meet Michelle Bachman (sp?) and become the poster child for the “Justina Law”– which supposedly will cut off federal funding to hospitals that do research on wards of the state that poses more than minimal risk of harm.” To me, this was alot of hoopla for absolutely nothing– or maybe more harm than good *for the anti-psychiatry movement*.

    The problem with going for the big public reaction is you never know how the public will react.
    I will use an analogy to describe what I think it is a more sure fire way to get psychiatry in position to succumb to the anti psychiatry *movement*.

    I’ll liken psychiatry to a lion– which it is if you consider the power it has over our society. I’m thinking of the effects of *parasites in the lion’s belly*– as opposed to hunting and trying to capture or kill the King of beasts,– and those parasites are the next generation — the medical students choosing psychiatry as their specialty, and all of the psychology majors– the brazen youth who are questioning their *mentors* and protesting the absence of academic inquiry, debate and the absence of hard science to back of the biomedical psychiatry paradigm.

    The public outrage tactic will send more than a few to a locked mental ward. It already has!

    Psychiatry is elite society’s *safe guard* against rebel rousers. Is it not?

    I have met a few psychiatric survivors who do not want to test those waters– or jeopardize their hard earned, long overdue,completely *normal* lifestyles, yet they are active in peer support and educating those who are really trying to help someone struggling with the issues labeled, *mental illness*.

    Changing minds is a daunting undertaking — educating, as opposed to indoctrinating the public and even those in public office is not an overnight sensation. If we focus on building communities of support, then not only do we have a means for saving people, especially children from psychiatry, but we have the alternative in place when we put psychiatry *out of business*.

    This is my vision– the product of 2 decades of wracking my brain and staying in the fray–. Everyone has a unique role to play, and imo, will be the most effective within her own sphere of influence and building relationships based on trust and commitment to our children. There will definitely be a few who develop the ability to engage a wide audience and win the trust of people they never meet face to face. Bob Whitaker is one of those people. He has won more *converts* than anyone I know– within psychiatry; created lots of parasites that are perturbing the lion, psychiatry.

  • No disagreement when you put “psychiatric’ in front of *nurse*.
    I am not alone in having stumbled into this specialty from many years of good ‘ol medical/surgical nursing– curious and concerned about kids.
    Not every nurse on a psych unit is a *psychiatric nurse*.
    Not every new nurse who chooses this as a specialty right out of school *drinks the kool aid*

    But is is always harder and worse for nurses who blow the whistle– no matter what specialty they are in– because there is no protection for them and no assurance that anything will change.

  • Frank,
    One finds allies in the most unlikely places– for this battle, at least– or so my experience continues to prove.

    This book was the opener for a very productive dialogue I recently had with a couple of nursing students and a psychology intern– their ‘sphere of influence’ being an academic setting where it quickly becomes apparent that some of the *real* story is being left out of the homework assignment, I then met two of their professors. All are following up with me to discuss their perspectives on the material in the reading assignment I gave them–

    I’m guessing that there is an *underground* info swapping railroad already operating at two well known universities in the Boston area. I think that when we consider how diverse an audience we have, the public, the people– the potential victims or minions of psychiatry, it is important to realize that only a small minority are hard core radicals– . Amongst the rest of our population, there are people in strategic arenas who are totally turned off to *radical* anything– and a sub group of them will validate some aspect of psychiatry from exposure to the radical anti-psychiatry platform. The title of this book is like a spoonful of honey– for the content.

    I am working on my contribution– writing-wise, that is. Meanwhile, I am gauging the readiness of an audience I hope to reach, for what I have to say– about what I have seen and the rabbit hole I jumped into, trying to make sense of the insanity of psychiatry.

    More important than the message– is the way in which it is imparted, or so I feel. I conclude this after nearly ten years of trying to engage my colleagues– or trying to talk to people who have had no real connection to psychiatry. Believe it or not, these opposite ends of a professional-minded spectrum react/respond pretty much the same way. Disbelief/disinterest. Go figure!

    Each one, teach one, is my motto !! May seem like slowest method, but ultimately most effective…

  • Fred,
    Justina was on Bader 5 at Boston Childrens Hospital.
    Even after devising a fairly well thought out plan with “insiders”– the rescue mission had to be aborted. Justina was literally locked up in a fortress– 2 new security measures were in place shortly after she was admitted — one of these involved a security guard *on the unit* 24/7; the other,with video monitoring and restrictions for accessing the 5th floor of the Bader wing– These ‘stepped up measures’ began the day after another patient who made it into a Neil Swidey, Boston Globe article was discharged from Bader,Elizabeth Wray.

    Creative methods are the only option for any realistic bombardment of Harvard Child Psychia-try. &trists. This is the mind set of my gang!”We” are a small group of dedicated folks with diversity of issues, methods and means– a multi-prong approach– and an expanding sphere of influence.

    I applaud everything you shared about Your escape adventures ! And agree with you–100%- we must fight *them* — for our FREEDOM!! To keep our own minds!!

  • Fred,
    Re : the case of Justina Pelletier
    The potential for holding *psychiatry’s* heels to the fire was lost last January– when the focus of media shifted from the publicized letters to MA DCF and MA DPH – citing the abuse and naming the abusers, TO a political three ring circus that allowed every culpable psychiatric professional and their protectors to cool their heels and plan their Summer vacation.

    Though not publicized on this site. The author of the letter to MA Department of Public Health, former federal prosecutor, Barry Pollack has filed charges against MA Department of Children and Families–federal level, not seeking monetary compensation– in another case similar to Justina’s. The focus is the failure of DCF to uphold supreme court rulings around the protection of families that is the stated purpose of DCF. The goal is to reveal the TRUE cause for the abuse of this child and her family;:the over reach of the Child Psychiatry Dept at Boston Children’s Hospital. DCF has to be accountable now for the actions they took.

    The expected ruling will force strict guidelines for the now readily available accomplice, DCF. this could go a long way toward preventing another kidnapping by *psychiatry*.

    As cool as your underground railroad sounds– it is not likely that Justina could have been rescued from the fortress that imprisoned her —

  • Hi Ted,
    I think this book is fertile soil for the prolific outgrowth of action.

    The *psychiatry machine* is very complex from creation to perpetuation, it presents a formidable challenge that daunts any one single group or individual who dares to say it must be dismantled, destroyed.

    This book will speak authoritatively to a diverse group — enlisting more people who will commit to the cause. Then, I see the next hurdle will be to the challenge of transcending differences in order to complete the mission.

    I’d like to see a strong, unified task force who will target the pseudo science and the proof of harm violations committed by the *medical specialty* itself– a full inquisition of every practicing psychiatrist on the planet.

  • And how deeply agonizing is the realization that those responsible for both abusing patients and nurses are NOT held accountable.

    Regulatory government agencies throw whistle blowers under the bus as they continue to work closely with the *abusers*– helping them over the crisis of an investigation.

    STILL— there is a great deal of gratification in upholding nursing ethics– even to the point of personal/professional loss.

    IF only more nurses experienced the rewards of advocating to the hilt for their patients– psychiatry would be is serious dire straights.

  • Jonah–

    So far as I know, the MIA blogger that I have met face to face– is NOT currently focused on getting ECT banned. My saying I am on the same page as this really amazing guy ,was re: our shared revulsion for ECT.

    Am commenting in detail on David Healy’s blog– realize you probably are not aware of the latest in his series of his exposing what is rotten in Denmark — just happens to be spot on with my latest adventures — and why I commented about his practice being ‘on hold’ right now. Check it out if you like– will not take up space here on more ‘off topic’ commentary–

    I think that when psychiatrists start taking seriously the ludicrous standing they actually have in the medical profession– and when it is common public knowledge that they need to ALL be de-frocked, so to speak– ECT will be assigned it’s rightful place in the history books–

    I am talking big picture– while you are focused on details– we aren’t even having the same conversation—

    I take some issue with the inferences you make about my assessment skills –

    we aren’t sitting in the same place, you know.–?

    Makes sense we might be standing for different issues—-

    I stand on my own practice– not looking for heroes or banners to wave. After spending 40 years in nursing- my whole adult life- I trust my judgement and instincts regarding credible sources of valuable information.

    Will leave this comment thread reiterating my only reason for joining the discussion.

    Unless psychiatrists are engaged in holding their peers/colleagues accountable for the standards ALL doctors are expected to have BEFORE tinkering with our lives– and charging outrageous fees– THEN, the future of psychiatry [and ECT] are moot points!


  • Jonah,

    I am not advocating for ANY *psychiatric treatment*. I am on the same page with the ONE victim of forced ECT that you somehow know I have talked to —

    I had the good fortune to meet and hang out with this amazing individual this past Spring. I learned so much from him– hope that if he is reading this he won’t mind my sharing that I refer to him as either my ‘big’ or ‘little’ brother– depending on who seems to be winning the argument 🙂 But it is never ECT we are arguing about. I think it is barbaric, inhumane. So, yes, I know one victim of forced ECT and have had ONE opportunity to strongly oppose it as a ‘treatment’. Just once.
    A young man in his 30’s on an inpatient unit told me he was considering ECT, since ‘nothing had helped him’. My lecture/ response to him– against ECT was longer than your post – He said he was desperate, then asked me if I thought he looked like someone afraid to take risks. So– I pulled the following response outta nowhere– as I was feeling desperate, too.

    I asked him:” Would you wrap your head in tin foil and sit out on your roof during a thunderstorm?”
    He laughed. “Of course not– that’s stupid,”
    “And that’s my best argument against ECT. It’s THAT stupid” , resting my case.
    That intervention happened years before I encountered MIA and the anti-ECT testimonials and references to web sites, books, articles.

    I think that being against ECT is a natural response, but there are many medical and surgical treatments that make me queasy, or cringe. I would never undergo chemo therapy, for instance. I actually believe that I understand why IT is stupid. Traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture/herbs, Qi-gong, aromatherapy, nutrition– (paleo is the way to go), Reiki—– etc. are ways to stimulate our own healing response– they are peaceful therapies that honor the spiritual aspect of our mysterious natures–. I think we are spiritual, not mechanical beings.

    BUT– my comments on this post were directed at the topic raised by the author, Dr. Pat Bracken, a ‘critical psychiatrist’– who believes psychiatry has a future.

    I see your points about the therapeutic value in Dr. Bracken’s approach to ‘patients’. BUT, I am not pitting him against Dr. Healy on therapeutic technique, wit, wisdom or even humor (they are both Irishmen)– as I am determined to illustrate that the ONLY issue facing *psychiatry* is the bogus bag of BS that PsychiaTRISTS have let slide — and continue to side step– even as CHILDREN are dying from the adverse effects of drugs that have NEVER been proven to be SAFE, much less , therapeutic. Very few psychiatrist’s are raising the significance of this issue– while some psychiatrist(s) will roll out their own take on the NEXT new frontier for psychiatry. Pleez– clean up THIS mess before you take out any more toys. [is what I’m driving at]

    I have zero tolerance for medical doctors, especially psychiatrists themselves, ignoring the carnage of the last NEW frontier. And strictly speaking it is incumbent upon every single psychiatrist who is currently seeing patients to address this very crucial matter.
    [because] It’s their freaking job to care that there is NO science and no reliable ‘clinical trial data’ to support what they cannot seem to STOP doing to children, adolescents, young adults and even the elderly!! Cradle to the grave — morphing into pre-natal–in-utero — from the moment of conception—

    EVEN the psychiatrist’s who are boldly going where psychiatry may have been long ago– listening to patients and actually engaging them; even the warm fuzzy psychiatrist’s have a DUTY– to address the life threatening *paradigm* that is currently called, biomedical psychiatry. Morality and ethics go with the license.

    Dr. David Healy’s career is on the chopping block again for his brazen outspoken criticism of HIS OWN PROFESSION ! Rest assured he is currently not seeing patients or ordering ECT– and hopefully, he isn’t planning to wrap his head in tin foil and sit atop his roof in a thunderstorm–

    [because] WE NEED HIM !
    He has all the ammunition.
    He knows where ‘all the duck babies are buried” (line from the movie, “The House of Yes”/ Parker Posey).
    He is an expert- psychopharmacology and data medicine, a brilliant medical historian–

    So-, Jonah, I’m okay if you want to- refer everyone in the UK to Dr. Bracken– BUT, please consider what is at stake for everyone not lucky enough to choose their ‘poison’.

    Warm regards,

  • Jonah,

    I have two very specific reasons for disregarding your well articulated aversion to Dr. Healy.

    1.) I have read– cover to cover– 3 of Dr. Healy’s books : “Mania”- history of Bipolar disorder; “Let Them Eat Prozac” and “Pharmageddon”. Theses are the best sources of information and historical background for mental health professionals who actually notice how much worse the outcomes have become SINCE the advent of the ‘magic bullet’ biomedical model for psychiatry.

    2) I have been working exclusively on inpatient. acute- child/adolescent, young adult, and older adult units for over 20 years. My proximity to ECT has been limited to the testimony of adult patients who seek it–and request it — either first time, or repeat ECT — I have never encountered the patient who claimed to be ‘damaged’, but have witnessed improvements in severely depressed and distressed patients who requested ECT. I have had no exposure to any sort of coercive/forced ECT on anyone. While I do not discount the experiences that have led many to be adamantly opposed to ECT, I cannot find cause to vilify Dr. Healy for supporting the use of ECT, as he has never promoted forced ECT– . I also see nothing to validate the accusations by Dr. Breggin et al, who suggest that Dr. Healy is ‘attacking pharmaceutical companies’ as a means to garner more patients for ECT; that his motivation is financial gain. This is beyond absurd to me.

    I appreciate your not attacking me, personally, or negating any valid points I may have made because I shared what I respect and admire about Dr. Healy. He is taking to task the key players who are indisputably destroying the lives of innocent, vulnerable people. I see no other psychiatrist who has the credentials, courage and tenacity that Dr. Healy has focused on what most commenters on MIA agree is the biggest threat to our ‘very lives’. I certainly have no intention of dedicating any of my time and energy toward finding a reason to vilify him.

    Based on all I have learned from developing my practice and providing therapies that alleviate suffering and empower people, I would never refer anyone to a psychiatrist, much less seek one out for my own issues. 🙂


  • Dr Goldstein,

    The blockbuster neuroscience discovery of the trauma reactive brain response– and the underpinnings of cognitive development pretty much blew away the best explanations psychiatrist’s were offering for the signs/symptoms of mental and emotional duress.

    The trauma reactive brain response explains ALL signs/symptoms that have been categorized as mental illness and the major thought disorders.

    Anxiety and sleep deprivation are the greatest impediments to cognitive function, causing misinterpretation of sensory input– and the ‘delusional narrative’ that is labeled, psychosis.

    In the more than 10 years that I have devoted to professional development in alternative and complementary therapies– ALL considered interventions for “trauma informed care”, I have become convinced, via the success rate of these interventions as opposed to ANY form of psychiatric treatment, that ‘improving people’s lives’ is ONLY possible thru the application of these modalities. Why? Because the human connection that exists in this form of therapy, the education that is imparted in this venue is empowering and affirming of the inherent power we each posses to heal ourselves and each other.

    I like that cool PET scans and solid neuroscience back up the experience– that something REAL is happening and changing within the brain– BUT the translation of this knowledge into practice is a creative, artistic expression of human potential, not likely to be taught in medical school.

    I love the validation I feel from the neuroscience discoveries in both cognitive development and anxiety/trauma responses– We don’t live in a society that accepts and appreciates a positive treatment outcome that does not have a ‘science’ stamp of approval.


    We don’t live in a society that promotes and supports alternative and complimentary medicine as viable options for the average health care consumer, who cannot pay out of pocket for what her health insurance will not cover.

    YET– since neuroscience has contributed solid evidence for NON- medical therapies to improve people’s lives– why aren’t neuroscientists leading the way toward adopting the holistic model ?

    WHO knows better than you, how futile and potentially harmful ALL current psychiatric treatment actually is??

  • Hey Richard 🙂

    What if psychiatrists were NOT considered REAL doctors, and thus did not have prescribing authority in the 1980’s? Could the crafty pharmaceutical minions have gained the power they have today?

    What subspecialty of medicine was the gateway for the now wide spread corruption of our long standing ‘gate keepers’, academic medical centers?

    I take issue with the author’s use of the word ‘psychiatry’ in the following context, in which he is outlining the causes for what he calls, the current crisis of confidence facing ‘psychiatry’.
    “… it is clear that *psychiatry* [my *s] has been a particular target of the marketing strategies of the pharmaceutical industries.”

    That is a boldly misleading statement! I have worked in the field of psychiatry for 26 years, following 14 years of practicing ‘medical/surgical’ nursing. I can state with clarity and certainty that ‘psychiatry’ should never have been included in the specialties of medical practice! Why? Because even before the exposure of the ‘neuro – transmitter imbalance/cause for the symptoms of mental/emotional “disorders” as a SCAM, it was clear to me that MOST psychiatrists had less than rudimentary medical knowledge. These bungling clowns were an easy target for the most hair brained pharmaceutical rep. AND, had they not been so hungry for a slice of the pharma – profits pie, even these clowns might have objected to *bad science* as a basis for creating and treating ‘psychiatric disorders’!!!

    Persisting in their role as MDs , psychiatrists dismiss REAL science and continue to diagnose and treat their patient/market with no apparent concern for the lies they telling and the harm they causing.

    By using the term for the ‘field’ [psychiatry], rather than naming the fools[psychiatrists] who accepted the concocted musings of businessman as their new paradigm of care, Dr. Bracken fails to confront the only real cause for the “crisis of confidence in psychiatry”.

    There is a history lesson here. The psychiatrist who has done the most thorough job of documenting it is, Dr. David Healy. I am amongst the 30+ year mental health professionals who can attest to every misstep Dr Healy points out, that was taken by psychiatrists that has led to the scourge that is a very close runner up to the AIDS travesty in America. In other words, Psychiatrists, themselves, led the way to exploiting vulnerable people for obscene profit.

    IF no one can accurately question the behavior of licensed medical doctors– except the brotherhood of licensed medical doctors– AND this brotherhood persecutes as a heretic, any doctor daring to expose the scam that is literally killing people, then what exactly IS the medical specialty known as, psychiatry? Psychiatry, to any health care professional who was trained and educated before the pharmaceutical industry took over as major educators and financial support for doctors; to us, psychiatry IS a cult with mafia backing–

    Dr. Bracken appears, like so many critical psychiatrists, to be pleading that we not throw out the baby with the bath water. His misleading statements about a major cause for loss of confidence in psychiatry is typical of this group, who cannot simply state the problem and maintain their own sense of confidence. Dr. Healy is one of a very few publicized examples of the fate of a ‘heretic’, evoking fear from the Dr. Brackens in the field.

    Dr Bracken does not rattle the brotherhood with his eloquent discourse. In fact, he supports the indefensible position that exonerates the criminal element he refuses to expose! Saying that ‘psychiatry’ fell prey to marketing strategies, rather than admitting that so-called medical doctors AKA psychiatrists, failed to meet the obligations and expectations of their professional license., breached the public trust, and for lack of desire to be eloquent, BROKE THE LAW.

    Worse, IMO, is the failure of licensed medical DOCTORS to execute yet another obligation, expectation of being a licensed medical professional, and NOW, I am talking about the duty to protect the public from known health/safety hazards and the duty to confront, report and vilify these misdeeds committed by their peers. This vital role has long been abdicated by the brotherhood of the ‘noble’ field of medicine.

    We have well documented histories of unspeakable acts of corruption in the most sacred institutions of our modern, civilized society. What purpose do these lessons serve? Well, that depends on who reads the authentic history.
    The inexperienced, naive reader may cringe with fear., and or become distrustful– even *paranoid*[expanding the market for psychiatry?]
    The average/ main stream reader will definitely share the info in whatever venue serves to educate, warn and protect those for whom she has the greatest concern.
    The seasoned well educated reader, already an active contributing member to create a more humane society, may mobilize aid for victims- advocacy and respite, or access regulatory agencies and legal venues to expose and punish the perpetrators. This group uses it’s influence/status within society to educate, and participate in creating solutions.
    BUT, these same well documented and supported histories of ‘profitable crimes against humanity’ are read by those who take home this lesson:
    Money and power were the spoils– and very few, if any were brought to justice.

    The surest, quickest and perhaps the most vital element for the change we need to effect in the ‘field of psychiatry’ is psychiatrists, themselves. Unless in large number, psychiatrists stand up and perform their duty to those from whom they have been granted both trust and authority; unless the majority of psychiatrists confront, report and vilify the unethical AND criminal behavior of their peers– there is absolutely no reason to accept and tolerate psychiatry as a medical specialty. Period.

  • Great intro for discussion of this post, Richard–

    I applaud your first suggestion for dissident psychiatrist’s :

    “1) Study the science of psychiatric drug withdrawal and open clinics and/or private practices (working with knowledgeable survivors) that are focused on helping people with withdrawal problems and ways to minimize dependency on psychiatric drugs.”

    seems [to me]like a “community service” option to jail time and million dollar range fines!

    To your eloquently stated argument, I would add:

    It wasn’t *psychiatry* that was a target of pharmaceutical company’s marketing strategies, ( as Dr. Bracken stated in the intro to his paper), but licensed medical doctors who were co-opted into sharing the profits of the salesmen who created the *medical model for psychiatry* . Isn’t that reason enough to abolish psychiatry as a subspecialty of medicine–?? for starters…

    Ergo, the future of *psychiatry* becomes a moot point.

  • Poetic Justice !!
    Very well ARTICULATED 🙂

    ALL of the comments I have read to this point address the error in Dr. Bracken’s premise:

    “… I maintain that a good deal of psychiatry as practised now is helpful and that many psychiatrists manage to play a positive and therapeutic role in the lives of their patients.”

    and explain the error in his conclusion:

    “I believe that psychiatry has a future.”

    Dr Bracken’s views are interesting and his philosophy refreshing, but am curious as to how he could fail to call for indictments against psychiatry after giving such a comprehensive account of his profession’s *crisis*.

    What do you call a scam that yields obscene profits and harms it’s ‘victims’??

    Yes, we know there never was any real science, much less medical knowledge to give credence to the current psychiatric paradigm –of **care**. So, before we proceed to envisioning a future for psychiatry, I think we need to prosecute the crimes psychiatrist’s have committed, seeking restitution from corrupted MDs and pharmaceutical company tycoons– equally 🙂

    Then we have the funds to support the myriad activities that nourish our souls.

    Justice goes a long way toward reviving the hopes of humanity.

  • Stephen,

    I was not referring to psychiatric treatment in a general sense, but pointing to specifics in the case of Justina Pelletier, where separating her from her parents and asserting “medical child abuse” as the validation for this over the top severe intervention, has created a golden opportunity to assess ‘psychiatry’ via medical model process.

    The time is at hand when we can expect to see a lifting of the veil of secrecy that has allowed psychiatry to justify itself to itself. Accountability where medical diagnosis and treatment, or in this case, the with holding of medical treatment, is pushing psychiatry into the arena where their psychobabble will not be tolerated.

    My post was a walk through of the very simple formula that exposes the weakness of even the most powerful psychiatrist– You may recall that metabolic specialist, Dr. Mark Korson’s email to the Pelletier’s attorney referred to the removing of Justina from the custody of her parents as a “extreme intervention” that was based on a “hunch”.

    It is fortunate that this case has become nationally reported and that many medical and psychiatric professionals are scrutinizing it. The responsibilities and duties to protect patients are universally applied to all subspecialties of medicine. It is about time psychiatry was reviewed via this template. There is no doubt that “it” will prove sorely lacking.

  • Philip,

    My point regarding the therapeutic alliance reflects just one more aspect of the actions of psychiatrists that demonstrate a wide divergence from ‘medical model’ thinking. Removing Justina from her parent’s custody via a rambo style intervention underscores the severity of their treatment plan. Yet, apparently this drastic, trauma inducing intervention was not subjected to a simple risk v. benefit analysis, which medical practitioners employ routinely.

    The risk of traumatizing a teen who was already compromised, coping with a hospitalization in a setting completely unknown to her, was a blatant risk that would yield two potentially insurmountable obstacles:

    1) Justina would fear her new caregivers and definitely NOT trust them.

    2) Her reaction to this traumatic event would definitely appear as a new range of behaviors that completely distort any valid assessment of her emotional, mental status.

    Adhering to their own version of “medical model” reasoning, these psychiatry clinicians merely plugged in Justina’s trauma reactive behavior to the equation they had chosen as her diagnosis , evaluated her regressed emotional state and decreased functioning and then attributed their findings to, “the sick role” her parents had encouraged or caused her to assume.

    Then, the treatment became more focused on further restricting her parents contact with her and employing a behavior mod plan in the context of psychotherapy that targeted her regressed behavior.

    At no point did any of these psychiatric clinicians realize that the ‘ psychiatric disorder’ they were treating was an iatrogenic condition that they had inflicted!

    At no point was there any reason to believe that Justina would respond to inpatient psychiatric treatment that completely separated her from her family, friends and community.

    The so-called treatment plan increased Justina’s duress and simultaneously removed her safety net.

    Such is the treatment for “medical child abuse”– yet, the illegal imprisonment on a locked psychiatric unit and the clear indications that psychiatric clinicians inflicted harm to Justina SHOULD be grounds for criminal action for THEIR ostensible “medical child abuse”.

    According to the bible on MCA, criminal charges against *parents* are rare occurrences– yet this case definitely demonstrates the criminality of the actions of the psychiatrists who claimed to be rescuing a teen from medical child abuse– unneeded and harmful medical care initiated by parents ???No. inappropriate, harmful interventions initiated by psychiatry.

    Not a hint of an indication that the requisite therapeutic alliance with the patient was a consideration. Not a single reason to absolve these psychiatric clinicians for failing to recognize the trauma reaction that resulted from their *therapeutic intervention*.

    Psychiatrist’s enjoy a lofty status as MDs– I think it is time to introduce them to the principles and standards that Medical Doctors employ to abate potential harm to their patients.

  • Justina’s commitment to Bader 5 was actually a violation of federal law. She did not meet criteria for a valid legal status on a locked psychiatric unit.

    My vision is criminal indictments for this violation of federal law and for “fraudulent” diagnosis/treatment that causes harm.

    This is my idea of ‘radical’– getting to the root of the problem/issue. A little would go a long way toward creating the change we want to see 🙂

  • I don’t get the sense that the root causes and source of the problem have been identified on the “Miracle for Justina” page– and there is so much animosity directed at Boston Children’s Hospital, our governor, legislators– judge Johnston.– the whole state of Massachusetts (for crying out loud!)

    A growing- in numbers- angry mob– with no clear insight or direction. I attribute the derailment of their message to the ‘take over’ by right winged “spokes people” and “patient rights” advocates. Will be a formidable challenge to re- focus this large group on the true target–

  • Dr. A;lice Newton granted an interview to Neil Swidey of the Boston Globe and she appeared in the video produced by Scott LaPierre of the Globe. Her statements clearly reflect the arrogant logic of Dr. Thomas Roessler, who absolves the physicians who performed “unneeded, harmful- or potentially harmful medical care”.

    “We think that doctors could not,because of their sense of guilt and shame, bring themselves to admit their complicity, and acknowledge that their benevolently applied treatments were making children ill. Doctors and nurses are blind to the abuse because they are involved and want, more than anything, not to have to look at the abuse.” (Medical Child Abuse..pg 95.)

    Dr. Newton provides a glimpse of her confirmation bias in judging parents who have violated the patient/doctor relationship by giving the doctor false information and by over dramatizing the child’s symptoms. The blaming of parents for the illnesses of children is deeply engrained in the thinking of most child psychiatrists. Dr. Newton expresses pity and compassion for the ‘pediatric medical specialists’ who are NOT trained to look for the obvious. Hard to imagine REAL doctors putting up with psychoanalysis by proxy– even if it is cloaked in protecting them from being cited as the “abusers”.

    Dr Mark Korson was interviewed for the 2 part Boston Globe article, explaining in detail the argument he waged when Dr. Newton informed him of BCH’s intention to accuse the Pelletier’s of instigating unneeded and harmful medical care for Justina. It is clear that Dr.
    Korson was not being sought to explain or defend the medical/surgical procedures Justina had received from his colleagues at Tufts; clear that Dr. Newton did not contact Dr. Korson to engage in a diagnosis “dispute”. It remains a mystery why Dr. Korson did not send the Pelletiers to Tufts in the first place. Maybe psychiatry at Tufts presented a risk to his authority to continue to provide medical interventions for Justina ? Maybe he simply hoped that his former colleague , Dr. Flores, the GI sepcialist, would take over– though it remains unclear why Dr. Korson did not know that he could not initiate a ‘direct admission’ to a specialist in a hospital in which he did not have admitting privileges.

    The ‘silence’ of the doctors described by the Pelletiers as “the BEST”; the ones who were successfully treating Justina looks like a resignation to the power of psychiatry– possibly in both Tufts and Boston Children’s Hospital.

    The testimony given by Justina’s doctors was heard by the judge who also had documentation by the ‘expert’ in pediatric child abuse, and documentation from medical records at BCH that are not going to be made public. Judge Johnston deferred to the child abuse expert, who had demonstrated no malice towards these doctors– only pity and compassion for their plight.

    Meanwhile DCF reports regularly to the court that the Pelletiers adamantly refuse to accept that their daughter is in need of extensive psychiatric treatment. Any support of their views on Justina’s condition or needs for medical care are filtered through the profile of ‘parents who use the medical profession’ to abuse their children. As Dr. Roessler and Alice Newton point out– these parents shop for doctors who agree with them and garner support through dramatic behavior around the seriousness of their child’s illness.

    At the root of this, we have broad sweeping generalizations that come form a child psychiatrist with 30 years of practice under his belt, who worked tirelessly with a group of like minded pediatric mental health clinicians to absolve them all from the arduous task of diagnosing and treating “Munchausen’s by Proxy”. The first few chapters of Dr. Roesler’s book are devoted to the brainstorming that went into “going beyond this diagnosis”, under the pretext of having the requisite authority to save the children from MCA.

    MCA was accepted by the American Academy of Pediatrics , who also established pediatric child abuse as a subspecialty of pediatric medicine. It is absurd to think that a juvenile court judge is going to over rule the authority of these board certified pediatric specialists. Just as it is naive to assume that these cases are going to become simple matters of patient/parent’s rights violations.

    Media coverage of one side of the story around Justina’s case has only created public outrage towards the wrong targets. This case is not an example of government over reach into the personal rights of parents. The ‘government’ /State has had this power for well over one hundred years. This case is about psychiatry’s ever expanding over reach.

    I suggest we put psychiatry in the spot light and carefully examine, fully expose the extent to which psychiatrist’s have caused harm via their lacking in medical knowledge and their cavalier dismissal of evidence based medicine.

    BCH is suffering damages to their reputation that could affect their ability to retain some of the BEST pediatric specialists in the country, although the right winged media spokespeople for the Pelletiers are saying their goal is to both defund and bankrupt this Harvard teaching children’s hospital by encouraging a boycott of BCH. The sad reality here is that it is really only children in need of specialized medical care who will suffer.

    Public outrage at this new power play by psychiatry might help BCH physicians to confront the hospital administration and demand disciplinary action against the few who were allowed to create this nightmare–. Otherwise, it is most likely many will simply resign and move on –.

    This is a great opportunity for the writers and readers on this site to create a public debate on the issues we fully und