Friday, August 7, 2020

Defining Anti-Psychiatry

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    First, thinking that 2 or 3 % of the population might require these substances is what led to the present mess. Psych-drugs are drugs not medicine.

    I’m not one to conceive an end to suffering. I think suffering is a part of living.

    I think when psychiatry is exposed as non-medical pseudo-science people will turn away from it. Should “mental illness” be proven non-existent, psychiatrists become con-artists. Nobody needs to be sending people to medical school so that they can operate fraudulently. Treating “well” people as if they were “sick” is fraud, and the practice should be prosecuted in a court of law, not rewarded. Exposure of psychiatry should lead to the withdrawal of its legal sanction eventually. Fraud…is fraud.

    I am not saying that anyone needs drugs. I am saying that out of all the people drugged, there is only a tiny percentage that may need some short term relief. “Short term” like a few days or weeks but not into months. If you have pain there is nothing wrong with taking a pain killer for a short time. Medicine is not all bad but its long term and inappropriate use is bad.

    Suffering is not a part of life. We may have some discomfort for a short while if we have, for instance suffered an injury, but that is not suffering. Suffering is ongoing mental torture and it does not come about “normally”. There is always adverse relational conditions behind it.

    Treating well people as sick is fraud. Treating physical disease in a way that helps sales is also fraud. People see the fraud now. I don’t think anyone who is being treated with drugs by psychiatrists and in some cases even by physicians too, knows there has to be a better way. They know that they are being used and abused. However while there are people suffering, which means they don’t understand the true nature of their problems and have fallen into a trap, they are going to want some relief.. any relief. So while they see the system is bad they don’t see the alternative. They are not going to say “oh look psychiatry is bad so let’s abolish it. Any treatment that they see as giving them some relief is better than none in their eyes. What you are saying to these people is “just get used to suffering”. People won’t buy that.

    The only way that psychiatry will die is when people see a light at the end of the tunnel and can overcome their suffering. When they don’t need to find some relief because their suffering is over, then psychiatry will die.

    Frank Blankenship

    We disagree on the subject of ‘suffering’. IMO, ‘suffering’ is over when the subject who ‘suffers’ dies.

    Psychiatry dies when people are enlightened about it, oppose it, and send it packing. Abduction, imprisonment, torture, brainwashing, etc., are not conducive to good health. The pretense that they are, is just that, pretense. When the science shows that psychiatry is not medicine, we will have recourse to oppose it through the courts on the grounds that it is actually medical fraud.

    Frank Blankenship

    There is a forum thread titled Anti-psychiatry Is Not The Solution, Solutions Are. This is not true. Actually, where and when psychiatry is a problem, and it is a problem quite a bit it would seem, anti-psychiatry is a solution. If psychiatry were the problem then, abolition as put forward by anti-psychiatry theorists is a solution. Some might add, it is the solution.


    I also had this opinion ‘suffering’ is over when the subject who ‘suffers’ dies because we are told that “suffering is part of life”, BEFORE I became an activist. However since I became an activist (about 2000) I have been attacked relentlessly. I have suffered both physical diseases (cancer, near strokes, heart problems and diabetes) AND mental problems such as anxiety and a few panic attacks and I found that they are most certainly not biologically based, neither the physicial variety nor the mental variety. And there have been innumerous attempts to cause me to feel depressed, to become obsessive and to become fearful and /or very angry.

    I overcame ALL of these and I did so because I realized two basic things.

    1. that it was ideas, which I had treated as my own but which were really the perceptions of suggestions made by closely related parties, such as siblings, to which I had reacted that caused me problems to my health and hence suffering.

    2. Realizing that the ideas were bogus, mere suggestions by haters (garbage in human form in my life), I was able to easily discharge them from mind.

    I do not dispute that the problem is psychiatry. It is criminal. There is no other way to describe it. But if we don’t address the people’s problem, it won’t go away. The reason is because people are desperate for some solution. And the perception, the public perception is that any solution is better than no solution. This is the reason why psychiatrists go on the media, in high profile documentaries and news broadcasts to claim that the serial killer that killed school children or people in a theatre or sporting facility are schizophrenic. What they are doing is choosing a time when people are scared and using this fear to imprint the ideas that “there are mad people out there, who can hurt you bad, AND we are the only ones that can do anything about it”.

    Psychiatrists formulate the public perception with fear imprinted ideas. The reality is that the killers are not schizophrenic at all but psychopaths. And I don’t believe this is missed by the psychiatrists but they give them the alibi, not for the criminal’s benefit but for their own benefit. This is very hard to stand against, especially when this sort of brutal treatment is meted out in other branches of medicine.

    Take childhood leukemia for instance. Chemotherapy in this area is heralded as the great success story. That 70% of kids with leukemia are “cured”! But if you take a closer look, yes the cancer is gone BUT they end up with IQs below 90 and often with limbs or other body parts missing, removed because of the damage done by the treatment. It is not something they talk about. I heard about it when I was watching a video on youtube about a guy who wanted to take his child to Mexico for treatment. The high court judge took the FDA doctor to task over his claim that chemo was the standard of care. The judge told the guy point blank that he had taken the trouble to go see many of the kids that were called a success story and he said their condition was tragic.

    People still seek out chemo both for themselves and their kids if they have cancer. Only by getting rid of the cancer and showing it up for what it is, a bodily reaction under certain conditions, which is full reversible by the body, can you address the chemo and other horror therapies.

    You need to win the hearts and mind of the people and while they perceive a problem that only psychiatry can address then you are up against an insurmountable mountain.

    Frank Blankenship

    I don’t think a blanket generalization works even when that generalization is about murder. “Schizophrenia” is a meaningless term as far as I’m concerned as it is the word for a specific disorder in the “mental illness” family, and whatever is being dealt with there, it is not actually illness. Psychopath is a similar matter as it is a term used to pathologize criminal and/or bad behavior. I do think that very confused and disoriented people are not beyond committing homicide, however the insanity defense taints people in the mental health system with a presumption of violence tendencies that just aren’t there. That being the case, it is highly prejudicial.

    You, and many others, have figured out that there isn’t any biological base to their fears and anxieties. Psychiatric intervention often sabotages physical health, and thus many people find themselves struggling. Economic inequality and power disparities can also make, for people who have endured psychiatric oppression, life an uphill struggle. Mental health workers, on the other hand, have their professional status and the backing of academia. Perhaps it is a truism to say, “Crime pays.” Hopefully, someday, psychiatry can be overcome completely.

    You need to win the hearts and mind of the people and while they perceive a problem that only psychiatry can address then you are up against an insurmountable mountain.

    True enough. There is no problem though that only psychiatry can address. Psychiatry, based on false premises, needs to be exposed. Where you don’t have an actual medical condition a medical doctor is redundant. Any other type of councilor should be able to deal with it, given training, with equal, if not superior, facility.

    I think the entire nature of the game changes when it’s not a matter of locking people up because they express strange views and beliefs that somebody else finds threatening or dangerous. The idea that people who are not diseased are diseased is not one to which I would subscribe. Once you start treating people in such a fashion though, ending it becomes problematic, especially when an entire service industry has been built up around it. Progress is one thing. Reversing atrocious developments, well, I guess that is progress, too, and thus, they end up being one and the same. Take neanderthals, they were a dead end. Get rid of coercive non-consensual psychiatry, and it will become a dead end as well.

    Frank Blankenship

    My position is as follows:

    I’m not in favor of mental patient rights any more than I’m in favor of slave rights. I advocate for human rights instead. Mental patients rights are like the right to receive treatment without the right to refuse or decline treatment. This is like speaking of slave rights because you’ve declared a slave 3/5ths of a human being. When treatment is not a clearly defined choice, rather than an imposition, human rights are being violated.

    Our movement has been destroyed. It has been thoroughly co-opted. What was once a mental patients’ liberation movement has become a mental patients’ movement. I would see our movement become a mental patients’ liberation movement once again.

    Since the beginning of Alternatives the conference and the end of the conferences focusing on human rights and psychiatric oppression, the demand for so-called peer-run alternatives has taken precedent over the demand for an end to coercive treatment, and with it, recognition of our human rights. The ideal goal for the ex-patient, in this scenario, is to become a turn-coat and a toady for the mental health system. It is to become some sort of mental health professional, paraprofessional, or official in some government agency. It is not to abandon the system to which one had been abandoned to the trash heap to which it belongs.

    Given time, alternatives, more and more, come to resemble the conventional mental health system. There should be no surprise as to why this is so. The mental patients’ movement is crying for more money with which to run such “alternatives”, and the government (i.e. taxpayer) is expected to provide it. This is the way the mental health system expands, “alternative” and conventional. Money doesn’t come without compromise (read: strings). One of those compromises involves downplaying any demands on the conventional system, such as any demand for an end of forced treatment, that is, any demand to outlaw coercive psychiatry, and in this fashion to curtail its criminality.

    As I see it, given the mid-1980s sell-out, exasperated by developments in 2010s (outlandish legislation), we’re right back where we were when the psychiatric survivor (mental patients’ liberation) movement began way back in 1969/1970. What we need is a movement against the movement as it has become, that is, a mental patients’ liberation movement in opposition to, and in defiance of, the current mental patients’ movement. Doing so means reabsorbing the anti-psychiatric element to the movement with which the movement began. It means creating another movement in opposition to the present movement which has taken a very wrong turn.


    I agree that terms like schizophrenia is meaningless because the person is not sick, they are being hassled, troubled. They need support not drugging. And psychopathy is not only pathologizing criminality, it is getting the public to accept that “poor guys, it’s not their fault” and thus white washing the criminals.

    I think the entire nature of the game changes when it’s not a matter of locking people up because they express strange views and beliefs that somebody else finds threatening or dangerous.

    I would also say there is also a lot of “locking people up because of vested interests”, economic (money made from drugs), familial feuds and there may be dirty politics as well. And from what I have seen psychiatry helps maintain the medical paradigm that supposedly we are all machines and machines can just malfunction or get damaged. In reality the body is purpose-driven. Ideas, especially when upheld as beliefs cause the person to react and that reactivity is bodily. This is the key to getting back one’s health. Psychiatry is trying to explain everything in terms of biology, which makes people accept without a doubt that physical disease is machine damage or a malfunction of some sort.

    Added to that is the invention of ever more so-called mental disorders and people encouraged to see anything different or disagreeable as mental illness. On another forum recently someone was asking is belief in God due to a mental illness?

    The whole lot has to collapse. Psychiatry will become extinct and I see the whole of the profitable medicine bubble bursting too. Crime won’t pay in the long run.

    I think the only thing that we differ is how the change will take place. I think that a lot of corruption has to be cleared away. Research for instance in telepathy, which is not being researched honestly. They first used double blinding and of course if you remove relationship there is no telepathy. Now they are using relationship but they are diluting the results.

    For instance on guy there used a mother and daughter as one set of subjects, which have a strong relationship and hence high level of telepathy possible and the rest of his subjects were university students from the same year. Some of them might be friends with one another (and were they paired?) others may not even recognize each other because at university there are at least 100 students in a lecture theater. So the strong result gets diluted because all the other results will be poor. And then he’s arguing that his got this blip on the graph and how it is statistically significant. Who’s going to give that much credence? If on the other hand he had taken all closely related the subjects, then the results would be undeniable.

    But of course this would show up the fact that the one or more people, who trouble another person and all closely related otherwise the ability to trouble is not there. I see power to the people, awaken the masses, is the way to bring about change. The pretensions of scientists with close ties to the pharmaceutical industry and/or with ambitions for personal success, and who are at the present betraying the public, need to be exposed. This big obstacle needs to be moved. And it is big because people have a thirst for knowledge but they are learning stuff from scientists that is just plain fiction. And psychiatry is the worst offender, the biggest betrayer.


    You say: “I advocate for human rights instead.”
    The human race is made up of two different types one is humane and the other is inhumane.

    You essentially denied this fact when you attacked me here:
    Curious that your 15 to 20 % estimate for “toxic people” should rival the estimates by “mental health” professionals of the numbers of people with “mental illness” in the nation (&, possibly, world). I can only see in both claims bunk.

    While ever you do not see a solution to the problem then in your last post these are empty words:
    “I would see our movement become a mental patients’ liberation movement once again.”

    All that will happen is you will have one movement in opposition to the one before it. And there is no end to it.

    While you go here: I’m not one to conceive an end to suffering. I think suffering is a part of living. I just don’t think drugs are any way to deal with suffering. One faces one’s suffering and deals with it in the best way that one is able. “Grin and bear it”, as the saying goes. Stoicism is also a part of life.

    You offer no solution. You are not even interested in a solution.
    So while this is true:
    One big mistake is presuming that anybody suffers from a “mental illness”

    This big mistake is perpetuated while ever people like yourself deny a solution to the suffering or trivialize it as you did in the quote post # 83294 above.

    uprising is right, she saw it too, here:
    kyrani99 wrote:
    How do you see that these [mental/emotional problems] can be addressed so that the person overcomes the suffering and recovers their state of wellbeing?
    Frank (essentially) wrote:
    Easy: We deny these problems’ existence.
    In the very next post you say:
    “I think the solution is to look beyond the self to the world. If obsession becomes a problem. What do you do? The logical thing to do would be to cease obsessing. Some people say they don’t have that much control. I say they do.”

    What you are doing is denying the problems that people face, which cause them suffering or trivializing the matter. You can count yourself as one of those who is the enemy within, which helps perpetuate psychiatry, instead of attacking me.

    Frank Blankenship

    I don’t know about the human race, but in so far as the species homo sapiens goes, we are not so far along as the scenario presented in H.G. Wells The Time Machine. Our genus is not yet divided, as it is in The Time Machine, into Morlock and Eloi. As yet, I’m only talking about one species.

    We went into the labeling matter with “schizophrenia” and “psychopath”. “Toxic” is another label. All three are insults.

    Hate crime can be dealt with, but you’re not going to eliminate hate crime by labeling perpetrators.

    What kind of nonsense is this? Of course I’m not calling for an end to suffering. Nobody has the power to do that. I’m going to leave it up to nobody.

    “Enemy within” where or what?

    I’m certainly not perpetuating psychiatry. I don’t see a psychiatrist. Not even for “blood work”, as I don’t take psych-drugs. I’m not putting bread and butter on the table of a psychiatrist, at least, not by purchasing his or her “services”. If I EVER needed a rescue of any kind, it wasn’t by the mental health system, however FROM the mental health system is another matter.

    I’m not out to personally attack you. If we disagree on anything, so be it. Let’s keep this discussion civil.


    You are perpetuating psychiatry while you purport to “suffering is and only in death does it stop” and the idea that there is nothing the person can do about it attitude. People don’t have mental illnesses or disorders. They are victims of crimes against humanity perpetrated by people who are essentially criminals, whatever label we may give them, psychopath, evil, toxic whatever. Not giving them a label doesn’t make them go away. Only by confronting the problem, enlightening people as to the truth and as a result eliminate the suffering that is caused, will these criminals go away and with their disappearance so will psychiatry.

    These crimes are being covered over by a biomedical profession and not simply by psychiatry. The crimes are covered by denying the mind is non-physical and the existence of ESP and telepathy etc within relationship and the mental entanglements that arise out of relationship. There is plenty of evidence but it is being watered down or experiments are tampered with so that they appear not repeatable. They sees fit to profit from the suffering, whether in the form of physical disease or mental diseases. ALL mental disorder/ illnesses, as well as most of physical diseases, are nothing but nocebo effects that can be completely eradicated. And they will be someday soon.

    Your attitude disgusts me. I have put you on my ignore list. I won’t be responding to any more posts by you.

    Frank Blankenship

    I don’t see how thinking “suffering is and only in death does it stop” perpetuates psychiatry.

    Actually, mental health law is the loophole in criminal law that permits incarcerating people for supposedly medical reasons rather than criminal ones. Psychiatry is not organized crime any more than government is organized crime, however there is the feeling in some quarters that the actions of some governments and psychiatry are the actions of gangsters. Perhaps the United Nations can do something about this situation in time. We will see.

    Funny how the label for poisons (i.e. toxic substances) have a skull and crossbones on the label. I suppose your “toxic people”, had they a boat, might be sailing under the jolly roger as well.

    Parapsychology (numerology, astrology, reading animal guts, etc.) is not something I would put my money on.

    I will warrant that most “mental disorders” are nocebo effect more than anything else. This understanding, however, is not going to prevent anybody from paying for “services” offered by a mental health professional of one sort or another, regardless of whether it does them any good or not. Even more disturbing is the treatment that comes of incarceration in the mental health system where people are forced to pay for what they don’t want anyway. I’m not selling that kind of thing. I believe in protecting people from the mental health system. It is a fact of life that is not going away anytime soon, and it is notorious for disrupting and destroying lives. I think one has to expose the pseudo-scientific nature of psychiatry. It is scam-science. I can’t wish it away, but if you can do so, good for you. Hopefully someday we can abolish psychiatry so that it is no longer a danger to anybody.

    Physical illness, on the other hand, is not all nocebo effect, and is likely to require the assistance of a physician.

    Thank you for your contribution to this discussion. I will be much relieved to have you add my name to those on your ignore list.

    Frank Blankenship

    Defining Anti-Psychiatry

    The late Thomas Szasz in his 2009 and somewhat problematic book Anti-Psychiatry: Quackery Squared accused David Cooper, author of Psychiatry and Anti-Psychiatry (1967), of never having properly defined the term anti-psychiatry. Okay. We can easily remedy that deficit. Let us look at the term, and give it a working definition.

    Before we begin, let me mention what I find problematic about Anti-Psychiatry: Quackery Squared. Thomas Szasz in this book of his authorship, lumps all these people together in the anti-psychiatry category, most of whom wouldn’t use the word to describe themselves, much in the same fashion that bio-psychiatry authorities lump all sorts of disparate figures in the same bag with Szasz himself. Doing so is, first and foremost, disrespectful.

    His first target is methodology different from his own that he considers fraudulent. His second target is left wing ideology. The problem is that dissident professionals in this schema are put on an equal footing with conventional professionals, in so far as damage is concerned, while it is the dissident professionals, such as Szasz himself, who were challenging their profession to begin with.

    The greater share of the danger and the problem comes from those who don’t question the actions of their profession at all, and who would, therefore, presume to defend it from any and all criticism by silencing critics. Although we can pretend the profession to be beyond fault, suffice it to say, in reality ‘it just ain’t so’. Psychiatry is not above and beyond its share of mistakes, or even more than its share if that be the case.

    Back to defining anti-psychiatry. Before we even begin, let us look at a few of the definitions that are out there. The Google search engine comes in handy when seeking a definition, at least, a popular and accepted definition. put “Anti-psychiatry definition” in the search engine box, hit search, and you will find the beginning of the Wikipedia article on the subject at the top of the search page once it loads. Skip this, for the moment, and we will return to it later.

    If we move on down to the definition given at, you get the Collins English Dictionary definition, which runs as follows: an approach to mental disorders that makes use of concepts derived from existentialism, psychoanalysis, and sociological theory. This definition, to my way of thinking, is thoroughly inadequate and perhaps harks back to the book with which Cooper introduces the subject, Psychiatry and Anti-Psychiatry. Cooper died in 1986, and the intervening years since he introduced the term number approximately 5o. I think we can do better than that when it comes to precision and conciseness, and I will elaborate on this subject as we go.

    What passes for the Wikipedia definition at the top of the Google search page is the first sentence in the Wikipedia page on Anti-psychiatry. The Wikipedia definition runs as follows: Anti-psychiatry is the view that psychiatric treatments are often more damaging than helpful to patients, and a movement opposing such treatments for almost two centuries. If this is a vast improvement, it is still far from deserving of any gold star.

    The second sentence deals with history, and it could probably be said to be contentious. Psychiatry, the word, goes back to 1808. Anti-psychiatry in it’s first pejorative incarnation arrives in 1908, and the year given for the arrival of its second and more positive incarnation would be in all probability about 1966. Sure, there has been a struggle against psychiatry since before psychiatry became psychiatry, but let’s leave that out of our definition proper. It’s something you might find in a history of the subject, but it’s something that would elude even etymology.

    The first part of the sentence in the Wikipedia piece is more to the point: Anti-Psychiatry is the view that psychiatric treatments are often more damaging than helpful to patients. This is still a problematic definition. Aren’t we talking about medicine in which damaging means injurious and helpful means healing? Are you saying that the treatment is worse than the disease? Qualified, of course, by the word “often”. Or are you saying something else? I think it might be helpful if we divided the word into end word and prefix. In other words, if we looked at the definitions of psychiatry itself and then of anti, the prefix, and see what we come up with.

    Before we do this, we need to examine something else, the notion that what psychiatry purports to be is at a remove from what it actually ends up being, that is, that there is this disjuncture between the meaning of the word as given in the dictionary and its actual meaning translated into practice. Referencing an article by Thomas Szasz is helpful in this instance. He was very concerned about coercive practices in psychiatry that were more akin to police science than anything remotely medical. He authored an article on the subject titled, appropriately enough for our purposes, Defining Psychiatry.

    “Mental disease is fictitious disease. Psychiatric diagnosis is disguised disdain. Psychiatric treatment is coercion concealed as care, typically carried out in prisons called “hospitals.” Formerly, the social function of psychiatry was more apparent than it is now. The asylum inmate was incarcerated against his will. Insanity was synonymous with unfitness for liberty. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, a new type of psychiatric relationship entered the medical scene: persons experiencing so-called “nervous symptoms” began to seek medical help, typically from the family physician or a specialist in “nervous disorders.” This led psychiatrists to distinguish between two kinds of mental diseases, neuroses and psychoses. Persons who complained of their own behavior were classified as neurotic, whereas persons about whose behavior others complained were classified as psychotic. The legal, medical, psychiatric, and social denial of this simple distinction and its far-reaching implications undergirds the house of cards that is modern psychiatry.”

    Now that we’ve suggested that psychiatry is not what it purports to be, let us look at the dictionary definition, that is, what psychiatry purports to be. The definition given at the top of the Google search page when searching for a “psychiatry definition” is somewhat less than what I think you might get out of a standard dictionary: the study and treatment of mental illness, emotional disturbance, and abnormal behavior. I doubt a psychiatrist would be happy with this definition, and so, let us keep looking. has a number of definitions, but the first, from Collins again is too close to the definition above, that is, somewhat lacking. The first definition from The Free Dictionary ( I consider something of an improvement, it is the American Heritage Dictionary 5th edition definition, and it runs as follows: The branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental and emotional disorders. This is close to the definition given by the American Psychiatric Association: Psychiatry is the branch of medicine focused on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders.

    Arriving at a definition for anti, the prefix, is much easier in this fashion. At the top of the Google search page is the preposition, “opposed to; against”. Join the two words together, and what have we got: Anti-Psychiatry is against, or in opposition to, and rejection of, the branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental and emotional disorders. We might, pointing to the disjuncture indicated above, further refine our definition by challenging the validity of the science behind psychiatry. Anti-Psychiatry is against, or in opposition to, and rejection of, the pseudo-scientific branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental disorder.

    There, I think we’ve got it, a working definition of anti-psychiatry.

    Who is this opposition? Although the word itself was coined by a psychiatrist, it isn’t owned by psychiatry. More and more former mental patients and survivors of the psychiatric system are calling themselves anti-psychiatry. The idea that we are dealing with a “voiceless” and “vulnerable” population is one that such survivors are fighting, and one of the ways they are fighting it is by using this word that challenges the entire idea of a psychiatric profession. I suppose one could say that the baton has been passed, and now it is time for the “voiceless” to use their voice boxes in opposing systematic oppression and human rights violations. Let us hope some of them are up to the task, and can manage to acquit themselves well enough without being silenced forever, as has happened all too often in the past, by the powers that be.


    I’m afraid my adding to your last point will divert from what I really want to bring up. So just take this as a parenthetical note: I don’t think that in the end it’s relevant what Szasz, Cooper, or Wikipedia have to say. WE are the anti-psychiatrists and we get to define our own terms.

    The main thing that’s bugging me is the term “movement.” “The movement” was recently trashed as “racist” by someone who in my view IS NOT PART OF THE MOVEMENT and, in many ways is part of a faux “movement” formed to DEFEAT the anti-psychiatry movement. Shouldn’t we be questioning people appropriating the language of the genuine movement to push their own agenda? What do WE mean when we say “the movement”?

    Frank Blankenship

    “And friends, somewhere in Washington enshrined in some little folder, is a study in black and white of my fingerprints. And the only reason I’m singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if your in a situation like that there’s only one thing you can do and that’s walk into the shrink wherever you are, just walk in say “Shrink, You can get anything you want, at Alice’s restaurant.” And walk out. You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he’s really sick and they won’t take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they’re both faggots and they won’t take either of them. And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in singin’ a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. They may think it’s an organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walking in singin’ a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. And friends they may think it’s a movement.

    And that’s what it is, the Alice’s Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement, and all you got to do to join is sing it the next time it come’s around on the guitar.”
    ~from Alice’s Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie

    I hope I’m slow to use the word movement. Worldwide, there are plenty enough of us to call ourselves a movement, however, in the real world…It’s hard to say. The corporate owned mass media, corrupt politicians, big Pharma, the “mental illness” industry, and hateful families are all singing the psychiatry song.

    I wouldn’t have it, anything claiming to be anti-psychiatry, confused with Alternatives and their government financed sabotage to what used to be our movement.

    Also, I’m not going to discount dissident professionals who have had their own tough row, given the psychiatric establishment and Big Pharma in cahoots, to hoe. I think it is important to recognize allies, dead and departed or still standing.

    I think we’ve got a ways to go before we will have anything resembling an effective grassroots anti-psychiatry movement. I’d like to see it, but it’s not something that’s very alive in the here and now. I’d rather not even talk about it myself. Action always has, and always will, take precedent. (Actions speak louder than words, goes the saying.) It’s actions that matter, not talk. Empty talk, in the absence of real content, just gets tired and boring.

    Frank Blankenship

    So just take this as a parenthetical note: I don’t think that in the end it’s relevant what Szasz, Cooper, or Wikipedia have to say. WE are the anti-psychiatrists and we get to define our own terms.

    Okay. I will let this pass. There are many, many things wrong with what happens to a person who becomes caught up in the mental health system as a patient at one time or another. It’s rather like slavery in the sense that the opinions of slave owners were always seen as important, rather like a slew initials after one’s name, and a Harvard or Yale diploma, while the views of the slave were reduced to utter in-consequence.

    The other side of the matter is giving credit where credit is due. For example, to Szasz for The Myth of Mental Illness, and to Cooper for the idea of an anti-psychiatry movement.

    The “voiceless” and “most vulnerable” aren’t even “voiceless” and “most vulnerable”. ‘Publish or perish’ though is the mantra of academia while establishing oneself after the disruption of psychiatry can become really problematic.

    “The movement” was recently trashed as “racist” by someone who in my view IS NOT PART OF THE MOVEMENT and, in many ways is part of a faux “movement” formed to DEFEAT the anti-psychiatry movement.

    Sera had expressed herself previously. You had warned me about the post that came before it arrived, and so it wasn’t a complete surprise. Beyond that, I don’t think the matter much worth bothering oneself about. Despite joining together with two people of color it wasn’t an argument that was going to win over many adherents, not among those who disagreed with her on the issue anyway. I just feel that when you are deprived of your freedom, you can’t really be called “free”, or a non-slave. She was wanting to censor free speech, as I saw it, and that just doesn’t cut it either. Ironic, wouldn’t you say? Language in chains.

    “The movement”, that is to say, the anti-psychiatry movement, is largely a matter of the imagination at this time. You’ve got MIA, a 501c3 currently, but it is an organization that never was, and never will be, specifically anti-psychiatry. There is a large proportion of the survivor movement that does see itself as anti-psychiatry, but there is an equally large number of people, survivors and dissident professionals, who are put off by the term. I personally would just as soon see psychiatry bite the dust as anything else. Wishful thinking is not sapping psychiatry of the power that comes from law, position, custom, etc. I’d say we’ve got a ways to go yet (i.e. our work cut out for us).

    I don’t think numbers matter so much as one might think. The initial survivor movement was on a pretty small scale. I think we need a movement within the movement against what the movement has become. I think, in a sense, that’s exactly what we’ve got. Perhaps the real problem is the confusion between the psychiatric survivor movement and the mental health movement. To some, the two are synonymous, to me, they are not. The mental health movement has long been about trying to get the government to fund mental health treatment. The same mental health treatment that some of us are trying to protect people from, and trying to help people escape from. The same mental health (mis)treatment, in other words, that many of us would like to see completely abolished.

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