Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Defining Anti-Psychiatry

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  • #56677
    oldhead
    Participant

    True. But is Whitaker really completely sold on befriending psychiatry in order to reform it? From what I have read, and from a few brief communications with him, it seems like he is on the side of the truth. What’s to prevent him from taking a solid stance with survivors and with the truth instead of trying to curry favor with the psychotherapeutic industrial complex and the therapeutic state? MIA is his creation, is it not?

    Here i agree with Frank. We don’t need to worry about what BW personally believes or attempt to sway him to “our” point of view (which at the moment remains undefined). If he allows this forum to exist he’s doing all that we should reasonably expect in terms of solidarity.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by oldhead.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by oldhead.
    #56693
    Frank Blankenship
    Participant

    I don’t see us Occupying MIA if that’s what you mean. We’re guests here, we aren’t the host, or hosts. As in similar situations, one has to be somewhat diplomatic. I think we need the sort of a website that we could host, too.

    #56698
    Witiman
    Participant

    However, there is no reason why MIA couldn’t become THE pioneering organization for antipsychiatry, proplerly understood.

    I agree, in my view MIA is an inherently anti-psychiatric site.

    MIA can never become a pioneering organization for antipsychiatry. That’s not what MIA is all about.

    I don’t agree, for instance, this is what Robert Whitaker wrote in the epilogue of MIA:

    “EPILOGUE
    Biological psychiatry, as always, promises us that a medical solution
    is almost within our grasp. It would be nice if one could
    believe it. I fear one might as well be waiting for Godot.
    —Andrew Scull

    This book began with a straightforward goal, and that was
    to explore why schizophrenia outcomes are so poor in the
    United States today. It seemed like a simple question, and yet it
    quickly opened the door to a larger story—the story of how we as a
    society have historically treated those we call “mad.” It clearly is a
    troubled history, one that begs to be better known. There are, perhaps,
    many lessons that can be drawn from it, but one seems to
    stand out above all others. Any hope of reforming our care of
    those “ill with schizophrenia” will require us to rediscover, in our
    science, a capacity for humility and candor.

    There is one moment in the past where we can find such humility.
    It can be seen in moral therapy as practiced in its most ideal
    form, by the Quakers in York, England, or by Thomas Kirkbride at
    the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane in the mid-nineteenth
    century. In their writings, the York Quakers regularly confessed
    that they understood little about any possible physical causes of
    madness. But what they did see clearly was “brethren” who were
    suffering and needed comfort. That was the understanding that
    drove their care, and so they sought to run their asylum in a way
    that was best for their patients, rather than in a way that was best
    for them, as managers of the asylum. They put their patients’ comforts
    and needs first. They also perceived of their patients as having
    a God-given capacity for recovery, and thus simply tried to “assist
    Nature” in helping them heal. It was care that was at once humanitarian
    and optimistic, and it did help many get well. But equally important,
    the York Quakers were quite willing to accept that many of
    their brethren would continue in their crazy ways. That was all
    right, too. They would provide a refuge for those who could not regain
    their mental health and at least make sure they had warm
    shelter and good food.”

    […]

    “It is not difficult today to put together a wish list for reform. An
    obvious place to start would be to revisit the work of Emil Kraepelin.
    Were many of his psychotic patients actually suffering from
    encephalitis lethargica, and has that led to an overly pessimistic
    view of schizophrenia? The next step would be to investigate what
    the poor countries are doing right. How are the “mad” treated in
    India and Nigeria? What are the secrets of care—beyond not keeping
    patients regularly medicated—that help so many people in
    those countries get well? Closer to home, any number of studies
    would be welcome. A study that compares neuroleptics to sedatives
    would be helpful. How would conventional treatment stack
    up against care that provided “delusional” people with a safe place
    to live, food, and the use of sedatives to help restore their sleepwake
    cycles? Or how about an NIMH-funded experiment modeled
    on the work of Finnish investigators? There, physicians led by Yrjö
    Alanen at the University of Turku have developed a treatment program
    that combines social support, family therapy, vocational therapy,
    and the selective use of antipsychotics. They are picking apart
    differences in patient types and have found that some patients do
    better with low doses of antipsychotics, and others with no drugs at
    all. They are reporting great results—a majority of patients so
    treated are remaining well for years, and holding jobs—so why not
    try it here?”

    […]

    “In truth, the prevailing view in American psychiatry today is that
    there are any number of factors—biological and environmental—
    that can lead to schizophrenia. […] It is also possible that the capacity to go mad, as it
    were, is in all of us. Extreme emotional trauma can clearly trigger
    psychosis, and some argue that psychosis is a mechanism for coping
    with that trauma. That view of the disorder is consistent with
    the fact that in the absence of neuroleptics, many people who suffer
    a schizophrenic break recover from it, and never relapse again

    Thus, if we wanted to be candid today in our talk about schizophrenia,
    we would admit to this: Little is known about what causes
    schizophrenia. […] Although such candor might be humbling to our sense of medical prowess,
    it might also lead us to rethink what we, as a society, should do to
    help those who struggle with “madness.””

    (Robert Whitaker, “Mad In America”, Epilogue, pp 287-291).

    With such serious doubts about biological psychiatry and a focus on non medication centric reforms and solutions founded on “social support, family therapy, vocational therapy” MIA seems firmly leaning towards the Cooperian view of anti-psychiatry (where mental illness is viewed as caused by mental rather than physical aetiologies) and away from neo-psychiatric (based on the pseudo-scientific belief that mental illness has underlying physical origins) and Szaszian (based on the pseudo-scientific belief that mental illness does not exist) perspectives.

    #56715
    Frank Blankenship
    Participant

    I disagree. I don’t think there is any way under the sun, moon, and stars that MIA is inherently antipsychiatric.

    You characterize Szaszian as “based on the pseudo-scientific belief that mental illness does not exist”. You have some physical proof that “mental illness” does exist, and as what, “brain disease”?

    I think you are calling bio or biological psychiatry neo-psychiatry, “based on the pseudo-scientific belief that mental illness has underlying physical origins”. You have some physical proof that “mental illness” does not exist, and as what, “brain disease”?

    You hit upon what you call Cooperian, “mental illness is viewed as caused by mental rather than physical aetiologie”. Okay. Cooperian is essentially psycho-dynamic, that is, talk therapy, psychoanalysis. Again, where is your proof? Even a Laingian or a Cooperian approach could be considered merely a grandchild of Freudian psychoanalysis.

    I think you will find many people here who are not looking for one school of psychoanalysis or another to call anti-psychiatry. First, Szasz is dismissed, with bio-psychiatry, as pseudo-scientific while psycho-dynamic psychiatry of the sort practiced by Laing and Cooper is presumed to have more of a sound scientific base. Really? By what stretch of the imagination?

    There are people (I’m one) who don’t want psychiatric interventions of any variety, and who feel that they should have the right to decline, or refuse, a right they don’t currently have, psychiatric treatment of any sort, that is to say, that they should have the right to be left alone. Meddlers, in this case, are a big part of the problem. I believe it is a truism to say, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Paternalism, in the name of psychiatry or mental health care, often involves the violation of multiple human rights, and it is this paternalism that we are fighting when we are opposing psychiatry. At least, such is the case in my own case.

    #56755
    Witiman
    Participant

    I disagree. I don’t think there is any way under the sun, moon, and stars that MIA is inherently antipsychiatric.

    Why not? Whitaker is clearly over biological psychiatry and is focusing on reforms that centre on talk treatments, which is classic anti-psychiatry.

    You characterize Szaszian as “based on the pseudo-scientific belief that mental illness does not exist”. You have some physical proof that “mental illness” does exist, and as what, “brain disease”?

    Szasz believed (most likely tongue-in-cheek) that mental illness does not exist, not as a mental or physical intellection, and therefore saw no need to care for the mentally ill as according to him they didn’t exist either. As far as providing evidence that mental illness exists I already have in previous posts, but to reiterate, a computer virus is a collection diseased lines of code, mental instructions, thoughts and information. The aetiology and pathology involved is mental as are the treatments needed to cure them. Computer viruses are not physical, they are not brain diseases, they are examples of true mental infections. Which means that you have to argue that computer viruses don’t exist to hold a Szaszian view meaning that it is obviously a pseudoscientific hoax.

    I think you are calling bio or biological psychiatry neo-psychiatry, “based on the pseudo-scientific belief that mental illness has underlying physical origins”. You have some physical proof that “mental illness” does not exist, and as what, “brain disease”?

    Psychiatry is based on the false belief that mental illnesses have underlying physical origins that have to be treated with medications and surgery which is clearly nonsense. Computer viruses have no underlying physical origins as they are entirely based on diseased code, diseased thoughts and information, rather than brain disease. Mental illness clearly does exist although it is not caused by underlying physical aetiologies. As any complaint with an underlying physical aetiology should be classified as a neurological disease rather than a mental illness psychiatry is another obvious pseudo-scientific hoax.

    You hit upon what you call Cooperian, “mental illness is viewed as caused by mental rather than physical aetiologie”. Okay. Cooperian is essentially psycho-dynamic, that is, talk therapy, psychoanalysis. Again, where is your proof? Even a Laingian or a Cooperian approach could be considered merely a grandchild of Freudian psychoanalysis.

    Not at all; anti-psychiatry is inherently anti-psychology. Freud, as a psychologist, believed that mental illness was ultimately a physical problem. He promoted the nonsense that the underlying physiology involved generates physical and mental symptoms that must be addressed by a variety of therapies including psychotherapy, but that psychotherapy was only able to provide symptomatic relief while the drugs and surgery addressed the underlying origins of mental illness. Anti-psychiatry is not psychology, psychoanalysis, or psychotherapy. Anti-psychiatry means fighting against the psyche sciences.

    I think you will find many people here who are not looking for one school of psychoanalysis or another to call anti-psychiatry. First, Szasz is dismissed, with bio-psychiatry, as pseudo-scientific while psycho-dynamic psychiatry of the sort practiced by Laing and Cooper is presumed to have more of a sound scientific base. Really? By what stretch of the imagination?

    Essentially psychiatry and psychology are based on the same nonsense that mental illness has underlying phyiscal origins, and Szaz is based on the nonsense that mental illness does not exist. Both are obvious rather than subtle nonsenses. Only anti-psychiatry focuses on science, on the underlying mental causes and treatments for mental illness while eschewing psychiatry, psychology, and Szasian perspectives.

    #56758
    oldhead
    Participant

    Frank,

    I don’t think I’ve ever argued against having a straight-up anti-psychiatry site, I absolutely support the idea. But I also don’t know another forum which would serve better than this one as a place to work on setting up such a site in a democratic and representative way, and yes I keep repeating the latter because a site that is collectively conceived by a sizeable number of people will have the best chance of being effective.

    The website discussion that started here got bogged down because the people most enthusiastic about working on it didn’t really have experience with the anti-psychiatry movement (I use the term “movement” conceptually here). Some web-savvy people (that doesn’t include me!) could take this particular ball and run with it very effectively, and hopefully more people will join in when they see it as a reality.

    I know a number of people are involved with organizing the May 16 events, and that this is understandably their priority. Meanwhile I will be annoyingly nagging the anti-psych people at MIA (not just survivors) to come to this forum, the more the merrier, and I encourage others to do the same.

    As far as this particular thread is concerned, I think if nothing else incognizant posts such as the above emphasize the need to precisely identify what we mean by anti-psychiatry, especially if we plan to be putting it in people’s faces. Otherwise the term can be misrepresented and used against us.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by oldhead.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by oldhead.
    #56764
    Frank Blankenship
    Participant

    Wittiman, anti-psychiatry and non-medical or non-biological approaches to psychiatry are not synonymous. Non-medical, non-biological psychiatry is still psychiatry. Antipsychiatry, as far as I’m concerned, is opposition to psychiatry.

    Computer viruses are not real diseases, they are computer codes. Nobody is arguing that computer viruses don’t exist. So called “mental illness” isn’t real disease either, call it what you will.

    Sigmund Freud was a neurologist. Sigmund Freud was not a psychologist. It may be a detail, but it matters.

    Only antipsychiatry focuses on the science? Really? We could argue about this forever, and get nowhere. You’re going to call this and that nonsense, and say this other thing over here, that you happen to some strong feelings about, is science. Okay. Well, science is, like logic, only a method for arriving at the truth. The object of science is not actually to prove, the object is to disprove. If the proof is in the pudding, well, I’m not sure we have any pudding yet. In fact, I seriously doubt it.

    #56765

    “Mental illness” exists in the same way that unicorns and leprechauns exist. It exists in the same way that the tooth fairy and Santa Claus exist. But with psychiatry, the phantasm of “mental illness” produces unicorns that stab you, leprechauns that attack you, tooth fairies that drug you, and a Santa Claus that labels you with psychiatric labels. The only mental illness that exists in reality is the iatrogenic harm caused by psychiatry and psychotropic drugging. There are people who are genuinely ill, not because they have some mysterious “mental illness,” but because psychiatry has inflicted “mental illness” upon them. No one who makes claims supporting “mental illness” can be wholeheartedly antipsychiatry. If you disagree with me, it could be due to anosognosia. 🙂

    #56766
    Frank Blankenship
    Participant

    Oldhead, I wouldn’t want to define antipsychiatry too narrowly. I like the first part of Wikipedia’s definition actually.

    Anti-psychiatry is the view that psychiatric treatments are often more damaging than helpful to patients…

    I would chastise any professionals that rationalize non-consensual practice, of course, the only answer there is abolition, but I still think we should be working together where we can.

    The problem is the amount of harm that is taking place in the name of mental health treatment. It leaves me reeling. What can I do? So many are in a bad way, and chiefly because they listened to their doctor.

    #56767
    oldhead
    Participant

    Dunno, Frank, I think that wikipedia def sounds way too tentative, also I think a definition that uses medical model terms like treatment and patient is ill-advised. I think we need to educate wikipedia, it would be a good project. But this is all beside the point i think I was making here, which is that defining our terms is not just an ivory tower abstraction that holds back action, it’s part of our being able to communicate effectively.

    But it’s past my bedtime so please don’t hold me to anything here, I just saw this in passing & had to chime in.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by oldhead.
    #56769
    oldhead
    Participant

    “Mental illness” exists in the same way that unicorns and leprechauns exist. It exists in the same way that the tooth fairy and Santa Claus exist. But with psychiatry, the phantasm of “mental illness” produces unicorns that stab you, leprechauns that attack you, tooth fairies that drug you, and a Santa Claus that labels you with psychiatric labels.

    Yes. Keep working on that imagery, it’s an attractive style of prose.

    #56775
    Witiman
    Participant

    Wittiman, anti-psychiatry and non-medical or non-biological approaches to psychiatry are not synonymous. Non-medical, non-biological psychiatry is still psychiatry. Antipsychiatry, as far as I’m concerned, is opposition to psychiatry.

    That’s plain wrong. Psychiatry and psychology are based on the ludicrous position that mental illness has an underlying physical origin and Szaz’s position that mental illness does not exist is equally ludicrous, and both remind me of obvious pseudo scientific April fool’s day jokes. Alternatively stated the psyche pseudosciences and Szaz both hold overtly insane positions.

    As mental illness actually exists what will the Szazians do with the mentally ill after they have demolished the psyche sciences? Presumably the sufferers of mental illness, and those arbitrarily and unofficially labeled as such, will be rounded up and sent to some sort of unofficial madhouses where they will be whipped, beaten, and forced into more counterfeit physical therapies against their will. I put it to you that the end result of adopting a Szazian view is a regressive unofficial psychiatric system of care.

    The classic anti-psychiatry view that mental illness exists and has mental rather than physical origins which must be treated by mental remedies is sane sound science. It is not a neo-psychiatric or neo-psychological position as it does not interpret mental illness as a physical construct and does not view physical therapies as capable of curing the underlying mental pathology involved.

    Computer viruses are not real diseases, they are computer codes.

    Of course computer viruses are real diseases, real mental diseases, and everyone even calls them that. You are right they are diseased codes, diseased instructions, diseased thoughts and information and that is exactly what a real mental illness is. Not only are computer viruses real diseases, the mental treatments provided by anti-virus software are examples of real cures for mental diseases. The criminal justice system is another example which is designed to correct mental illnesses that induce criminal activities, although not every mental illness results in criminal actions.

    Nobody is arguing that computer viruses don’t exist.

    You did in the last sentence that you wrote and you are trying to persist with the comically ludicrous position that mental illness does not exist. As computer viruses are real examples of mental diseases your position is obviously defunct.

    So called “mental illness” isn’t real disease either, call it what you will.

    Mental illness refers to diseases of the wit, diseased thoughts and information exactly like a computer virus, rather than diseases of the brain or body.

    Only antipsychiatry focuses on the science? Really?

    True, the psyche sciences and Szaz are obvious nonsenses.

    #56777
    Witiman
    Participant

    “Mental illness” exists in the same way that unicorns and leprechauns exist. It exists in the same way that the tooth fairy and Santa Claus exist.

    There we have it yet another pseudo sympathizer trying to argue that mental illness, computer viruses, and anti-viral software don’t exist, heh.

    No one who makes claims supporting “mental illness” can be wholeheartedly antipsychiatry.

    It seems to me that this site and your pseudonym are not really you.

    #56807
    Frank Blankenship
    Participant

    The classic anti-psychiatry view that mental illness exists and has mental rather than physical origins which must be treated by mental remedies is sane sound science.

    Personally, I don’t think there is a classic anti-psychiatry. Nor do I see any validity to the argument that “mental illness” exists. It’s rather like arguing that Jesus Christ exists. Did a man exist 2000 some years ago? Quite likely. Was he the son of God, and did he effect miracles? Much more suspect. Did he rise again from his tomb once he was shut up in it? My, but some of us would love to see that. Is he still around in peoples’ hearts managing miracles? Probably not. Not any more than is old Joe Blow of Skidrow.

    I may be jumping into a fruitless argument being conducted by an absolute idiot, but here goes anyway. Computer viruses are malicious codes. They are not diseases in the sense that viruses that invade the human body are diseases. In the second instance, both the body invaded, and the creature doing the invading, are living organisms. In the first instance, one is an instrument of technology, and the other is a code for operating that technology, and neither one of them are living creatures.

    I’ve got another question for you. What is the difference between the physical universe and the metaphysical universe? Although diseased wit and diseased thoughts belong to the metaphysical universe, your diseased computers have managed to make the physical universe.

    Alice In Wonderland, Alice’s Adventures Through the Looking Glass, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders are obvious nonsense. You apparently give more credence to one of these volumes than it deserves.

    #56819
    oldhead
    Participant

    To ALL:

    OK I’ve been trying to be diplomatic but Witiman, your posts are inappropriate for this discussion and I strongly suggest that people start to get in the habit of not engaging with posters who are in violation of the spirit of this forum. I’m starting to agree with Ted that Witiman is posting here as a provocateur.

    Witiman, once and for all, the anti-psychiatry threads in this forum are meant primarily to discuss HOW to abolish psychiatry, not WHETHER to abolish psychiatry. The purpose is NOT to devise a better, more “scientific” form of psychiatry. This should be clear to you by now. If you want to indulge in psychobabble there are plenty of other places at MIA to do so. Please let us have our forum back without having to bug the moderator. Thanks.

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