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  • Hello, and thanks for writing on this topic.

    It appears to me that many who research and “treat” PTSD, especially in cultures other than their own, seem to romanticize what they believe the impact of trauma SHOULD be. What results is a reluctance by the professional to admit that perhaps this concept of RESILIENCE is indeed central. In other words, an individual’s resilience (pre-existing, or obtained due to the trauma itself) is his best tool for dealing with the truly- as you said- uncategorizable ways past traumatic experiences impact his life. The implications of recognizing that, of course, do not look good in terms of professional growth for a PTSD “treatment” provider.

    To me, this article is a good example of ALMOST concluding that resilience is the most important (and most abundant) resource available to someone who has been through trauma…

    …but then it seems they are too enamored by their notions of what trauma SHOULD do to a person, and therefore how necessary “treatment” must be. So instead they highlight all the supposed positive outcomes of THEIR interventions, and reasons for their necessary scaled-up implementation (which these countries cannot even afford to do).

    I work with refugees and I don’t know how many times American-born people say things like “I could never go through what they have been through and still have such a positive attitude.” What would such an admission from the mental health community do to the treatment paradigm for PTSD?

    Thanks again for writing. It’s an important topic and your perspective is very valuable.

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  • Hi Lesfleurs,

    It is so great that you found Laura’s piece somehow; from my experience before I knew where to look, it was very difficult to find good information outside of the mainstream accepted “mental health treatment” paradigm. So glad you did. I hope you’ll share it with others.

    I cannot speak for Laura of course, but I can say that there are many people who want to spread the word, increase scholarship, take action, do whatever it takes to show that the “mental health” system- for whatever it was once intended- does more harm than good, and that it is absolutely NOT all we have. We have each other. I used not to have faith in “each other”; I thought some System must be in place. But I can see so clearly now that the System has not done such a great job supplanted communities and families and friends, where I find my Real Support nowadays. The more and more I learn, the more I am convinced that people would be best off if they were encouraged to seek help among each other.

    Welcome! And keep reading! This site has a lot of good information. And read Robert Whitaker’s book if you have a chance! It’s fantastic.

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  • *I sent the following email to Linda Hughes today to show my support for what you and the other eight women are doing, Paula. Hopefully others can do the same in order to draw much-needed attention to their important message.

    Dear Ms. Hughes,

    I am writing to ask that you overturn your summary dismissal of the complaints of harm resulting from psychiatric diagnosis, issued by Paula Caplan and eight brave women who were willing to share intimate details of their lives. I ask that at the very least you acknowledge that the complaints are being seriously considered, and that the claims made by these women are legitimate and indeed concerning to the APA. I want you to know that Dr. Caplan and these eight women do not stand alone. They are among millions whose lives have changed course irrevocably since the first time they heard the sterile proclamation of their capriciously assigned mental illness diagnoses.

    My mother’s life as well as my entire family would be very different were it not for the creation of the DSM in any of its harmful versions. It was not until very recently, just before I turned 30, that I discovered how scientifically unsound my mother’s “mental illnesses” are. It is hard for me to properly convey how great the distinction is between knowing and not knowing this fact. For fifteen years I believed that my mother was sick; actually sick, chemically not capable of being well. For fifteen years I waited with trepidation for the genetic deficiency to manifest itself in me. For fifteen years the deleterious effects of countless medications and shock “treatments” had both subtle as well as drastic effects on our family dynamics, on my own relationship with my mother. For fifteen years I thought that care for my mother must happen away from our home, in a doctor’s office, where we trust medical issues to be resolved.

    My mother still sings the praises of the APA and the illness paradigm on which they have sold her; yet she has lost her job, her memory is very poor at age 60, and she has a hard time keeping friends. These are trivial side effects next to the overall effect of having ostensibly reversed the mother-daughter roles for over a decade. Since I have learned the truth about the pseudo-scientific nature of psychiatry, I have tried hard to treat my mother as the whole human being she is, to learn from her as I should have been doing all along, to not fear becoming like her. It is a challenge, however, while she still clings to the patient role that was so unequivocally ascribed to her so long ago.

    Conceding to the requests made by Dr. Caplan and the amazing women she represents is what you owe to my mother. I have heard so many stories of the hope people discover when they realize they are not, in fact, chronically ill. My mother deserves to know that she is not chronically ill, that the DSM is filled to the brim with unproven pseudo-science. You know this is true. Why would anyone insist on withholding such good news from so many people? These nine women deserve to be acknowledged for the courage they have shown in asking for this concession. Your cold brush-off is deeply disrespectful of them, and it perpetuates the hopelessness that people like my mother still believe to be theirs.

    I also work in Arlington. If you and I bumped into one another on Wilson Boulevard or on the metro on our way to work, we might see each other as we are: just two women making our way the best we can. I do appreciate that your livelihood is tied to the stagnant bureaucracy that is the APA. But rarely in our lives do we get handed such a golden opportunity to truly act with integrity. You have that opportunity right now. You will grant so many people their dignity by being as courageous in your response to these nine women as they have been in requesting it.


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  • Not only that, but Dr. Healy seems to plod along without ever critically examining his language. The language Dr. Healy uses belongs on this site only if he is willing to have it critically examined. I do not understand the continued postings. Dr. Healy seems to have a one-dimensional agenda and is not at all interested in engaging with the audience on the site; which may be either vehemently opposed, has stopped reading a long time ago, or both.

    I would love to see Dr. Healy actually engage in the site in a way that suggests his reason for posting really has to do with re-evaluating psychiatry’s current role in society. He asks, “What brand value is there left in psychiatry?” If Dr. Healy is truly asking a question, I challenge him to have the integrity to engage with his audience as we try to answer it together. If not, I am left thinking that perhaps he posts with absolute authoritiative confidence and never gives the page another glance. When so much change is needed, there may be very little value in such an obdurate position.

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  • I’m sorry to say my sister and I missed the memo and did not find the group in NYC until later in the afternoon in front of the convention. So I missed this fantastic speech! I would’ve loved to meet you but I’m sure I will one day; you are becoming a more and more articulate leader with each awesome post, bravo! This is so beautiful.

    And still it was good to stand in solidarity on Saturday with the rest of that awesome group that fights for the most intimate and cherished of human rights. Thanks always for your words and your work!

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  • I have been thinking about this post a lot since yesterday. I am eager to see what the forum will look like because I too am chomping at the bit to get more involved and get the word out. I hope this helps to move that objective forward. There is a lot to do (and, of course, a lot already being done). I think your bullet points get right to it and are a daunting and necessary agenda. Your voice speaks to the newly enlighitened (or at least I can speak for myself when I say that…) and I think could do a lot to bring people together who feel a growing sense of urgency. Thanks for your courage. I am looking forward to hearing more!

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  • Hello Ted,

    Thank you for this article; it puts the content of this site (which I read daily) into a vital perspective.

    I myself am lucky enough to have escaped psychiatric interventions thus far in my life and do not call myself a “survivor”, but this is the human rights issue which I find to be most atrocious. Is there a place for someone like me in the “we” and the “us”? Or does it hinder progress that I may only understand what is truly at stake through the testament of others?

    Also, in your opinion, can progress be made in academia? Or does too much red tape and politesse prevent any real productivity?

    Your comments are most respectfully appreciated, thank you.

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