Robert Whitaker: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

On March 5, Bruce Levine, PhD, published an interesting article on Mad in America  titled Psychiatry Now Admits It’s Been Wrong in Big Ways – But Can It Change?

Bruce had interviewed Robert Whitaker, and most of the article is the transcript of this interview.

Bruce begins by noting that Robert, in his book Mad in America, had challenged some fundamental tenets of psychiatry, including the validity of its “diagnoses” and the efficacy (especially the long-term efficacy) of its treatments.

Bruce reminds us that Robert initially incurred a good deal of psychiatric wrath in this regard, but also points out that some members of the psychiatric establishment are beginning to express a measure of agreement with these deviations from long-held psychiatric orthodoxy.

Robert was asked if these kinds of developments have rendered him optimistic with regards to the future of psychiatry, and his response is particularly interesting.  He points out that it is obviously a hopeful sign that psychiatry is beginning to recognize at least some of its shortcomings.  But he continues:

“Even as the intellectual foundation for our drug-based paradigm of care is collapsing, starting with the diagnostics, our society’s use of these medications is increasing; the percentage of children and youth being medicated is increasing; and states are expanding their authority to forcibly treat people in outpatient settings with antipsychotics drugs. Disability numbers due to mental illness go up and up, and we don’t see that as reason to change either. History does show that paradigms of psychiatric care can change, but, in a big-picture sense, I don’t know how much is really changing here in the United States.”

And in this regard, Robert is absolutely correct.  He has also pointed us to the very crux of the matter:  psychiatry has never had even the slightest interest in the validity of its concepts.  Psychiatry needed illnesses to establish its dominance of the helping professions arena, and to legitimatize the prescribing of drugs.  So illnesses it created.

Dissent (and there has been a great deal of it over the past 60 years) was routinely stifled, marginalized, and even ridiculed with the help of pharma money.  What Robert has done – and for this he deserves a Pulitzer Prize – is spell out the shortcomings of psychiatry so clearly and so vigorously that the psychiatric leadership can no longer pretend not to hear.  But there is, I suggest, nothing in the attitude of organized psychiatry to indicate any interest in fundamental change.

Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, President of the APA, in his fortnightly article in Psychiatric News, continues to insist that psychiatric diagnoses reflect real illness and that psychiatry should not only maintain its present level of activity, but should actually widen its net to embrace those populations that are “underserved,” as well as those who are “at risk.”

DSM-5 (May 2013) actually contains the phrase

“…DSM, like other medical disease classifications…” (p 5) [Emphasis added]

The psychiatric leadership may well have decided to stop bashing Robert.  But this in my view does not reflect any kind of honest re-appraisal of their philosophy or their practices.  For psychiatry, today, as for the past 60 years, all significant problems of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving are illnesses, best treated by psychiatrists using neurotoxic drugs and electrically-induced seizures.  The only difference at this time is that they’re keeping their heads down, hoping, in politician style, that the present hue and cry will die down, that the pharma companies will re-start the pseudo-research gravy train, and that they can continue with their mission of drugging and disempowering an ever-increasing number of people.

There are, it has to be acknowledged, a very small number of psychiatrists who recognize the truth about psychiatry, and they are speaking out courageously and honestly.  But the great majority of psychiatrists, including the leadership, are still marching in lock-step to the biological illness drum. They no longer have the gall to say “just like diabetes,” but the general idea is still the same.  The protests, including those from the survivors, are being ignored, the drugs are still flowing like candy, and politicians are being lobbied for legislative and financial support.

We still have a lot of work to do.

  • Francesca Allan

    “They no longer have the gall to say ‘just like diabetes’ ….” Actually, that’s been said to me within the last couple of months by a resident who sat in at one of my appointments. I strongly corrected her but that was probably just my anosognosia talking.

  • Anonymous

    “The protests, including those from the survivors, are being ignored”

    The survivors tried to say no and refuse consent to having their bodies entered by force, their brains raped, if psychiatrists are capable of ignoring such visceral pleas right the at the coalface of forced psychiatry, pitilessly stabbing the needle into cowering and pleading strangers, then it shouldn’t surprise that they ignore the testimony of survivors once they regain their freedom, and as much of their faculties as can be regained after brain rape.

    I think psychiatry has shown us they are fanatics, convinced utterly, that they are real biological doctors, I decided long ago, that it was never going to be psychiatry clipping its own wings, or ceding any power… no, society, if we still have anything resembling a participatory democracy, will have to clip psychiatry’s wings. It might take 50 or 100 years.

    For a couple of hundred years psychiatry’s been riding roughshod over human dignity, meddling in the lives of millions using brutal, violent force. With so many hundreds of millions of people voluntarily swallowing the koolaid, it’s never been harder to be one of the involuntary conscripts into the Chuch of P$ychiatiry.

    Whitaker has done some good work, but I don’t think he or any of us, will live to see the day when there’s any humility from the pseudo-brain-disease fanatics.

    I’d rather have been born in a century that wasn’t blighted by the presence of this sickening ideology.

  • Francesca Allan

    I think we will “live to see the day,” so long as we focus and devote our substantial resources to plausible change.

  • Phil_Hickey

    Francesca,

    So I guess they do still have the gall…!

  • Phil_Hickey

    Anonymous,

    I believe that you are 100% correct in saying that organized psychiatry will never voluntarily cede turf. Which is why we have to keep plugging away at the spuriousness of the underlying concepts and the destructiveness of the “treatments.”

  • Cledwyn o the bulbs

    Whilst I will concede that he is right on many issues, I think he’s a very conservative critic of psychiatry, who identifies far more with the Mental Health Movement than many of his votaries will admit. In fact as one who was banned from his website, I dislike the man, and think that he runs his website with an iron fist, albeit in a velvet glove. He may have proprietary rights, but so do people who ban others from drinking in pubs on the grounds of colour or creed. Such people’s actions must be scrutinized regardless, especially when considering that the octopus of internet moderation (a euphemistic camouflage for censorship, a word whose negative associations with what has been retroactively labelled the Inquisition and Stalinism disqualifies it from usage in societies interested in maintaining a pretense of tolerance) has now spread its tentacles so far that rarely does one encounter a web community free from this fashionable form of censorship and intolerance.

    George Orwell once said, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear.” Forgive the prolepsis, but some reading this might object, as is common amongst supporters of this species of censorship, that it is not the content that is being removed on sites that use moderation policies the most suppsedly justly, but the manner in which that content is packaged, but on MIA (where this ratinalization is common) there were numerous times I had comments removed on the grounds of contents, notwithstanding the rationalizations of the moderators. This is just one of the ways in which Whitaker’s rationalizations simply don’t correspond to the reality.

    For example, removal of a comment based on the questioning others’ intentions is removal of content. It can be interpreted as an attack, but you are removing the content nevertheless, and what’s worse asking that one suppresses one’s convictions to spare the feelings of some of the sacred cows of that community who want to be able to justify their disrespect of those whom they con, enslave and abuse for their own aggrandizement (a disrespect that revealingly doesn’t fall foul of the policies on that site, perhaps by virtue of the fact that Whitaker does not see anything inherently disrespectful in rationalizing the abuse of others, in cosmeticizing the attack on the biological and spirtual integrity of social lepers, because he has bought into their rhetoric).

    Whitaker, to borrow from Rene Girard, is figuratively only interested in the purely verbal violence of those at the point of being lynched.

    Parenthetically, on the issue of the removal of comments impugning the intentions of those in power, cui bono? I would say it is those in positions of power and authority, whose insistence that they are always motivated by noble intentions and not greedy for power, control and socio-economic advancement makes one think that the lady is both insisting and protesting too much. Not that I’m suggesting a preponderance of truly malign intent (although on a “hospital” ward this is perhaps more common than we think, as anyone who understands the mutual hatred conflictual interpersonal and intergroup relations tends to generate and the psychological consequences of conscience-pacifying victim blaming, which suggests a subtlety of reasoning absent from the almost blanket absolution, on the grounds of “good intentions”, of psychiatric oppressors that is common on both sides of the ideological divide).

    I’ll be perfectly honest; I for one don’t mean well towards those I am in conflict with, though I won’t expect such candor from my my more powerful enemies.

    Continuing this excursus, as I have pointed out before, the notion that psychiatrists generally simply want to help just strikes me as too naive, although I do think this often constitutes one intention, though even then I think it is perhaps rarely the sovereign intention. I do not think that one can plead good intentions lead astray by ignorance and stupidity when you are the agent of that ignorance and stupidity, an ignorance and stupidity born of careerism and moral weakness.

    I do not think that those who administer drugs and electricity violently to visibly distressed human beings are simply lacking insight; they had insight, and it interfered with the discharge of their duties, so they rationalized it away (can it really be maintained that such people are merely indoctrinated, that they are merely too stupid or ignorant to see the distress and suffering right before their very noses? In my opinion, such flabby thinking does the victim and the cause of justice a disservice.).

    I do not think, for example, that mauvaise foi (I use the french to denote the existentialist concept of bad faith) is a component in this regards of intentions good; psychiatrists deceive themselves when they displace responsibility for their actions onto externalities. They are free moral agents, who have freely chosen to do what they do but don’t want the responsibility.

    Coming back to the discussion of Whitaker and MIA, the beneficiaries of that policy on that site are ultimately pampered, bourgeois mental health workers who like Whitaker like to judge angry survivors from their own privileged vantage point and for whom the inculcations of bourgeois culture, education and experience has left them with the mistaken impression that the expression of anger and passion, forthrightness and cynicism regarding the words of others (especially powerful people for whom language is so often in the service of concealing the true feelings and impulses upon which actions and decisions are founded. Language, as Johnson said, is the dress of thought, in that conceals it.), as well as a mordant or sardonic sense of humour in relation to one’s opponents, overreaches the limits of what should be tolerated in public discourse, which, by the way, only lends such expressions an even greater allure for some of us, because forbidden fruit tastes sweeter when those who forbid it do so without acceptable justification (no wonder so many people take illicit substances).

    His behavioural code governing conduct on that website is almost like a Procrustean bed, founded upon ethnocentrism. There is a frightening impulse towards uniformity of expression on there, although there is greater latitude for deviation from the opinions of others, no doubt. I don’t know what it is like now, but it was starting to degenerate into a mutual admiration society where words become divorced from their usual emotional referents and where insincerity abounds because the spectre of self-censorship continually haunts discussion of articles as a result of policies that enforce politesse under threat of expulsion, although I refer to politesse only in its outer aspect.

    This seems to me to be at the expense of honesty and free, open discussion.

    These policies were implemented in an atmosphere of hypocrisy which only reduced Whitaker in my estimation even further. Paradoxically, banning people was done in the name of promoting diversity. If you want to promote diversity, don’t censor, simple. The sleight of reasoning used to justify this was that banning certain people promotes diversity when those “others” are through their behaviours promoting uniformity by scaring others off, which was basically an ex post facto rationalization of the fact that at some point they submitted to the pressure of mental health workers who wanted the site to be purged of certain people (who if they had their way would be condemned to a slow agonizing social death by enforced estrangement and silent treatment, although such social non-entities are nevertheless forced to go on living in silence and loneliness by the very kind of people who marginalize them), as evidenced by the numerous occasions when this was mentioned by those who formulated and implemented these policies.

    The moderators should have been banned as enemies of diversity, but being the occupants of such a privileged position within a community basically exempts them from scrutiny, such as scrutiny of their misrepresentations of a person’s position (which is forbidden on there for everyone except the moderators), amongst other things. The truth is the purge of undesirables has not promoted diversity, irrespective of the intention, but uniformity of expression.

  • Francesca Allan

    Your criticism of Bob Whitaker really surprises me as I consider him probably our biggest ally. Is it possible you have misinterpreted the reason your comments were removed?

  • cannotsay

    I have great respect for Mad In America and Bob Whitaker even though I also disagree with some elements of their moderation policy (I am fine for instance with the notion of not allowing threatening language) . It’s thanks to Mad In America that I was able to connect with many other survivors (that’s how I connected with Nick who in turn sent me to this blog). So Mad In America has been a blessing in many ways not only because of the content they publish and them being a place for survivors to connect but because it has made me discover a lot of valuable information and places (like Phil’s blog).

    That said, I think that at the beginning Bob was a bit naive about psychiatry’s ability to correct itself (the above interview shows that perhaps his position might be evolving).

    I think that he thought that once the facts came out and the evidence of the harm massive psychiatric drugging causes in a lot of people (to the point of preventing many of them from returning to a normal functioning life) that psychiatry would admit its mistakes and reform itself. Alas, that has not happened and it is very unlikely to happen not only in the near future but even longer term. And the reason is that Whitaker misunderstands what the institution of psychiatry is. It is not a legitimate branch of medicine (even though it enjoys that legal status) but a magnet for people who believe in social control defined and exercised by “medical experts”.

    I see psychiatry as a thermometer of what the “medical experts” of the day believe is appropriate behavior. Before 1974, most said medical experts came from religious backgrounds that considered homosexuality a sin, and therefore it was then a “mental illness”. Now they come from largely secular backgrounds so not only they do not consider homosexuality a mental illness anymore but they go to the point of officially endorsing “gay marriage”.

    Once you understand that this is what psychiatry is, you understand that any hope of reform is futile. They will replace their ongoing scam for a different one in order to justify their own guild until the new scam is debunked by future generations in which the cycle will begin anew. Now that the chemical imbalance chimera has been debunked, the NIMH is moving psychiatry to the direction of “applied neuroscience” as if problems of living like what to do after the death of a loved one or those of us who fear germs more than the average human could be understood in terms of “neural circuits”.

  • Cledwyn o the bulbs

    Anything is possible, so it would be foolish of me to assert otherwise, but regardless of the reasons for my removal, internet moderation, which sneaks intolerance and censorship through the back door, is never something I will accommodate myself to. If you don’t like someone’s opinion or the way in which it is expressed, do the mature thing and ignore it.

    I stand by my criticisms of Bob Whitaker. Everytime I bring up criticisms of Bob, it’s always the same predictable response, the same defence of the idol whom his votaries from the survivior movement consider lese-majeste, beyond the pale of criticism. Surely Whitaker can’t be wrong, good old Bob. I’m uncomfortable with this kind of hero-worship, though of course those who have elevated him to this exalted status will deny the veneration of their idol.

    Anyway, the removal of certain comments in no way lends itself to misinterpretation that I was in the wrong. The facts are, removing comments on the grounds of impugning the intentions of others is patently absurd. Anyway, the reason why some of the coercers on there find it hurtful to have their intentions questioned is because the truth hurts.

    I have adequately and eloquently defended the grounds on which my criticism of this man rests.. I have no wish to engage any further with you on this matter. People generally in the survivor movement are not interested in any evidence that goes against their preconceptions of Bob, and, on this matter, they rationalize this prepossession in favour of only information confirmatory of their worship of the man, by assuming that I must have done something to deserve being banned, not that I claim my behaviour was exemplary, just that the punishment of exclusion is out of proprotion to the magnitude of the misdemeanour. Unlike some people, I am an enemy of exclusion not just in word but in deed, just like I am an enemy of intolerance generally not just in word but in deed.

    Internet moderation no doubt impresses itself as an absolute necessity upon people, mostly control freaks.

    He maybe your biggest ally, and the survivor movement’s, he is certainly not mine. I am not a member of any movement, I am an individual, who will not allow himself to be hemmed in intellectually or morally by membership to any group.

  • Cledwyn o the bulbs

    In the third paragraph after “aggrandizement”, that should be ” is ridiculous”.

  • Cledwyn o the bulbs

    Good points.

  • Anonymous

    What I’d like to see is people like you and me and others writing real articles not just leaving comments. This is why I’m always trying to get you to email me. again, anonymousvspsychiatry@yahoo.com

  • Cledwyn o the bulbs

    Also, Francesca, what did you honestly think you were proving by making that comment, apart from the fact that you would privilege the testimony of Robert Whitaker over me any day because you are emotionally prepossessed in favour of him? The facts are, you don’t want know what transpired between me and the moderators, you weren’t there, yet you reveal your bias by presuming in his favour, and a couple of Whitaker’s votaries give you a couple of votes, perhaps in the childish hope that that will lend your presumption a superficial mark of distinction. In a society this petty, where people play such silly games with each other, no wonder I advocate suicide.

    A bad comment doesn’t cease to be a bad comment because it gets a number of votes, and conversely, a good comment doesn’t cease to be one because it gets no votes. Underneath the rhetoric and verbal cosmetics, people really are unconscionable game players, and when in conflict, spiteful to boot!

    Internet moderation, at least when applied without moderation, is nothing more than a pretext allowing man to indulge his insatiable appetite for excluding the Other (and in our society, compounding his suffering by forcing the leper to go on living in a world where he has been consigned to what Karl Kraus called “death by silent treatment”. This they call “saving him”, just like the Inquisitor “saved” the heretic from evil and sin, or the slave owner “saved” his slave from savagery and insanity etc etc etc. Exclusion really is one of the most effective yet sadistic torture mechanisms the human mind has ever devised in its war on heresy). Even though exclusion is at the root of so much human suffering, proponents of internet exclusion, sorry, moderation (internet moderation being a mere drop in the ocean of man’s sadistic lust to exclude, knowing full well what it does to man the social animal, though what’s the point in pointing this out when most partake of this lust for exclusion) nevertheless defend it, not so much out of ignorance, but because it offers them an outlet for their desire to control others and to alleviate the boredom and emptiness they feel, whilst making them feel important in the process.

    The facts are when I was questioning the intentions of certain powerful arch-coercers on that site, I was following in the tradition of much greater thinkers than the moderators of that website, such as Lord Acton and Thomas Szasz, who wouldn’t have lasted long in the MIA community, that much is for sure! Lord Acton understood that when powerful people claim ignorance, they mean ignorance in bad faith. Such questioning is recast as an attack by the wise men of the MIA mountain.

    The reason why this rankles so is because a) the cumulative effect of rejection and exclusion (which in all truth has probably made me a better person); b) the hypocrisy of the moderators, who seemed determined to perish by their own rules, such as projecting their own “us v them” thinking onto patients slagging off psychiatrists, as if this was any different to their demonization of us in a frankly obscene article, as well as their pretense of intolerance of moral certainty (yet not their own because the only ones imposing moral values in that community are the moderators. Controllers, control yourself) ; c) the reaction of the majority of the people in that community, including so-called lovers of liberty and enemies of psychiatric coercion (who nevertheless shamelessly suck up to and bestow the most fawning encomia and fulsome praise upon certain coercers on that site in a manner only outdone in sheer exaggeration by Whitaker himself, an insult to their victims).

    The moderators are blind on that site to how much there are double standards in their rules and how in the desire to control others, like all control freaks, they neglect to control themselves, which is why almost everything they say about those they control is more applicable to them. This is one reason why I despise internet moderation, at least in its more immoderate applications; it is because such people simply do not possess the self-control requisite for the proper discharge of their duties.

    He who controls others must first attend to the control of his self. I don’t see any of that amongst internet moderators, any more than I see it amongst state psychiatrists.

    Honestly, I think there are aspects of behaviour on that website that bears an uncomfortable relation to certain aspects of the veneration of idols. Just like one can’t criticize the object of cultic veneration, be it amongst a religious group or an ideological group, amongst the faithful, one cannot criticize amongst survivors the great Robert Whitaker. To the category of intolerable affronts, such as lese-majeste and lese-humanite, we can now add lese-Whitaker.

  • Francesca Allan

    Wow, touched a nerve there! Wasn’t “trying to prove” anything. Just wondered if you might have misinterpreted. If your comments at MIA were as hostile as yours to me here, it’s no wonder you were asked to move along.

  • Phil_Hickey

    Cledwyn,

    I’m grateful to anyone who will oppose, and condemn, psychiatry, even if their opposition and condemnation is not as strong as mine. We are still the David, pitted against a truly gigantic Goliath. My great fear in all this is that, as a movement, we will splinter and fragment before we have made significant progress.

    With regards to Robert Whitaker, I think his two great contributions were bringing our protests into the main stream, and catalyzing a network which enabled us to connect with one another. Prior to Robert’s books and his website, we were fragmented and ineffective – voices crying in the wilderness. Psychiatry simply ignored us.

    Best wishes.

  • Phil_Hickey

    cannotsay,

    Thanks for coming in. I agree – organized psychiatry will not reform itself. And such reforming as they might consider, would not be the kind of thing we have in mind. As you point out: neural circuit malfunctions instead of chemical imbalances. Though apparently they haven’t even quite abandoned the latter. See Francesca’s comment from three days on this post.

    Best wishes.

  • Francesca Allan

    I completely agree with you, Phil. Bickering amongst ourselves only weakens us and we need all the strength we can maintain. My high regard for Whitaker is not “idol worship”! Rather, it’s my best assessment of his work. I do not understand the misplaced rage of some members of our movement but I do know that it diminishes our power by diminishing our credibility. Extremism doesn’t work no matter from which end of the spectrum it originates.

  • Nick Stuart

    Good comment. I am also banned from MIA because I took a stance against their belief that they can reform psychiatry from the inside. And therefore my disgust at Allen Francis’ remarks regarding Thomas Szasz (a dinner table anecdote which Szasz could not respond to!) were considered an ‘insult’ to Francis! . I was told by the moderators that we should be encouraging people like Francis when in fact I consider him to be a total hypocrite and like ‘big brother’ just wants to rewrite his past in order to make himself look positive. splitters!! (monty python joke… )

  • Nick Stuart

    It is difficult. Galileo and Copernicus were once considered ‘extremists’ by the catholic church. Thomas Szasz’s views are still considered extreme by psychiatry.

  • Nick Stuart

    So… how far do we ‘water down’ our beliefs to reflect the mainstream? To be accepted by the ‘common’ view? I don’t know. Although my gut feeling is to follow the science….

  • Anonymous

    Frances is a coward that waited until the man was dead to use an allegedly verbatim quote. In any case, the claim that Szasz advocated THE STATE having the power to “prevent suicide” is ludicrous. Pulling your loved one back from a ledge, and instituting a massive state regime of suicide prohibition, are two very different things. The kingpin of the DSM 4 has copious amounts of blood on his hands, and his late in life PR assault, is something only a fool would buy.

    I gave up commenting at MIA because it wasn’t good for my health to be around people that guy into various notions constantly. I believe Whitaker has done a lot of good and helped a lot of people out of the darkness.

    I ask everyone to remember that commenting is completely different to writing a formal piece, and I’m sure if you wrote a formal piece about the Frances dinner table cowardly “quote” being used in his HuffPo piece, MIA would have considered publishing it.

  • Nick Stuart

    I do not see how Cledwyn is being hostile to you. I agree with his views on the mods at MIA. Even though I respect that they have to do a difficult job. Frances stated that myself and other ‘followers’ of Szasz ‘lacked common sense’. In effect he called me an ‘idiot’. In my comment I said that he was an idiot because he seemed not to comprehend the ‘myth of mental illness’. (just see some of his quotes). So I got moderated. Frances did not! Any comment on MIA that is moderated takes a few days to be ‘unmoderated’ if ever. Although I do respect Whitaker for his work, I will not get involved with MIA any more.

    As I see it, the labels that are applied to individuals are actually definitions of the relationship. I may be called ‘hostile’ but I am not. The relationship is. I personally think that the term schizophrenia defines a relationship and not an individual. But the person in power can place his own definition on the individual he controls. As Szasz said about human conflict ‘define or be defined’. Then again he was the genius and I remain the idiot!

  • Anonymous

    Nobody who sees through psychiatry is an idiot.

    Nobody that knows when to take themselves away from something as distressing as the MIA comments section is an idiot either.

    For an example of why it is such a distressing place, try the comments thread under ‘We are the people’ a recent article.

    First comment thread there I’ve read in months. And boy do I regret it.

    It’s futile arguing one on one with supporters and perpetrators of brain rape. Advocacy against it is best left to formal prepared carefully written pieces. Tension just runs too high.

  • Marian

    Cledwyn o the bulbs–

    Here’s the topper about MIA. I was
    actually banned from the site when I posted a comment on an article I
    wrote for them. Last I checked I was no longer banned.

    There’s a
    lot good on MIA but I think their main roll is to create a cohesive
    psychiatric survivor movement like it’s a Hindu caste that needs to be
    raised to the ruling class. The mad should be proud etc etc. We should
    remain mad ie Hearing Voices network, Icarus Project and Seth Farber’s
    creating a cult of mad seers as saviors of the world. Then there’s the
    UN push for rights as DISABLED peoples. I don’t think that’s OK at all.
    I don’t consider myself disabled.

    And if you can’t get off the
    psych drugs that’s just fine. Don’t look for support from MIA to push
    forward. Plenty of articles are written by authors reporting they were
    still on drugs. When I was tapering I searched wide and low through
    those publishing in MIA like writers and Mindfreedom etc looking for
    someone I could get in email contact with who had weaned off
    neurolyptics. I had no one around me who could help. NOTHING.

    There
    are political reasons for this and that;s why Tina Minkowitz has a key
    to publish anything she wants at any time. The survivor cause before
    the UN is a priority. I went with Tina to Geneva and was highly presses
    by an MIA editor to get an article out right away, editing it many
    times according to this editor’s wishes. I soon became critical of
    Tina’s intentions.

    Tina’s local cohort whom I was
    handed to in order to continue working on project Geneva wanted to
    change my religion, my politics, my lifelong commitment to pacifism (she
    was pushing the White House to supply arms to rebels), and my total
    fire to get the word out about the ineffectiveness and toxicity of
    psychiatric drugs. She told me to respect and not bother people who were
    stable with their drugs). Money was coming from somewhere big,
    supporting this UN effort. Tina said it was family investments.
    Oligarchy?

    We’re talking about US rights to being
    a sovereign nation here. I was used. I believe MIA supporters are
    being brainwashed and used.

    One thing was really odd about MIA
    too. I have a website which I don’t pay a lot of attention to. I have
    one link at the top of my home page to an MIA article. When I was
    checking my site (it has at times been altered by someone besides me
    before I caught on about secure passwords) I had to open the link
    through a catch password one of those codes that is supposed to stop
    computers from having access. It was the most difficult one I had ever
    encountered, a real headache for my readers. Made me look bad and the
    article was really inaccessible.

    Somebody at MIA doesn’t like
    what I’m writing to sabotage my website. I toyed with the idea that his
    editorial staff doesn’t reflect him. Then I remember that he used to
    work for Big Pharma published pro drug stuff.

    MIA’s version of
    the anti-psychiatry movement is all for show. Just as psychiatry’s
    incredible stubbornness to change is for political reasons too. Their
    showdown is going on at the level of the United Nations. The mock fight
    is designed to end the sovereignty of all nations and strip the
    guardianship of the mentally defective from families and give it to the
    coming global state. And anyone who thinks that will be humanitarian
    needs to do some serious research into those behind the founding of the
    UN.

    Coming from a wanna be global US oligarchy as I do, I know
    they are as eugenic towards the defective as pre world war Nazi Germany.
    That’s why we are being led to glory in our abnormalities and cry
    torture and demand rights as defective people. MIA really doesn’t want
    us well. It want to guide us and keep us from blending and being
    ‘normal’. It also wants us to think we can win against psychiatry so we
    don’t really realize the looming danger ahead for us ‘useless eaters’.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t share your take on these issues. I can imagine that since you believe these things, it must have been very scary to go to the U.N. I am sorry you went through a troubling experience. Maybe you weren’t ready to be so involved politically. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Even I admit I’m not ready to do certain things. If you don’t want to feel so alone and without support, consider opening your mind up to the possibility that you might be very very wrong about certain things, and there might be other explanations that other people would find more plausible. Global organizations do have the potential to pose a threat to sovereignty in the future, yes. But to posit that it’s all ‘planned out’ is a paranoid fantasy. The world doesn’t work as smoothly and orchestrated as you might think. If you as you said, were so disgusted nobody was there for you, you contacted all these places and emailed them and nobody gave you the time of day, email me at anonymousvspsychiatry@yahoo.com if you’d like. I’ll listen, but it’s not my job to agree with you that someone hacked into your website or the UN is going to exterminate useless eaters. If you’re not prepared to open your mind up to the possibility you’re wrong, you’ll remain alone and isolated.

  • Marian

    Well, I got on a different browser and I can now read stuff.

    Dear I was on top of the world when I got back From Geneva. I had done what Tina could not do by herself. I had made the Committee see that they need to question the US about allowing forced drugging.

    I was really put off by the associate Tina connected me to work with and I was really disappointed when I went to the Breggin Conference and saw how personally rude he was and what a drama he produced. Something wasn’t right.

    However when I realized someone actually two people were pursuing me in my car. And then later that evening two other people in two different cars rushed at me squealing their breaks trying to get me to make a quick get away in the highway. I began to really think about things.

    I am not paranoid sir. I am a very trusting person by nature, loving really. Never been so diagnosed.

    My website has been hacked text taken out. Used to be the stuff I wrote about Secret Societies and the church Then it was stuff about my encounter with the rudeness of Breggin and my suspicions about what was happening at his conference. Then it was my growing suspicions about the whole survivor movement. My passwords were actually physically stolen while I was at a local cafe as someone suggested I retreat to on facebook. I since changed my password once I was able to get control back from the hackers. No problems since..

    My computer one day had two files with the name of someone I had spoken to on my hard line phone one day.The contents reflected that whoever wrote the files had knowledge of my phone conversations. .I spoke to a telephone customer service rep and told her what had happened. She exclaimed “Your telephone is tapped! Only the US government can do that!”

    My mail outgoing and incoming has been intercepted. My credit report was full of collection agency accounts that were not mine. These I was able to clear up. There is one account for a line of credit that I supposedly took out and defaulted on which I can not get removed. I never took out the line of credit to begin with.

    Whats more I have had the opportunity to revisit the state hospital patients whose stories and conditions I was so distraught about that I just had to go to Geneva. Guess what? They are all fine now some well in fact taking cooperatively their medicine and damn haughty in attitude with me now.

    So I have done some digging and reading. Alger Hiss help found the UN. He’s a well known Soviet spy that worked for the State department. Also the Soviet union has had the top job in overseeing the UN military. Socialists or communists have held the job of Secretary General since the UN opened as well.

    US oligarchies funded both fascism and communism during last century. And guess what? I was born into a US oligarchy and my whole life I’ve been shaped to be that little victim who cried “torture’ before the UN Committee for Human Rights. I have been manipulated even before I met those phony mental patients that moved me so.

    I could go on and tell about my aborted attempts to retract my UN statement but I’m sure your not really interested. I suspect you intentions.

    Yes in my research I found that Communism and Nazism is alive and that the Nazis real focus is the mentally disabled. The Rise of the Fourth Riech by Jim Marrs is flawed but quite interesting. My half brother used to fish with Nazi Werner Von Braun and winter with is wife and some friends in Argentina the famous home of many German Nazi expats.

    My brother was on the board of Hospital Corporation of America. I have proof he pulled the strings to get me committed to the state hospital at least once. I got my whole file and the record the psych evaluator wrote of his conversation with my brother. He told just one lie: my brother said I had just been acquitted of killing my daughter. No I had been a key witness in the trial of my daughter’s murderer and he was found guilty.

    Yes I’ve done some reading in my isolation and some serious re examination of my life. I am now of the opinion that the man who killed my daughter was a paid agent of my brothers. Long story as to why but I’m certain he was pulling a lot of strings in my life to induce trauma.

    Thanks for the offered sympathy but I know the truth which I can not deny for the price of any human comfort. I have one person who believes me and supports me. Besides The only alternative psychiatrists that I have met that helped me were not in the survivor movement. Both Breggan and Fisher have been disappointing after adoring them from afar..

  • The Right Hon. Cledwyn B’Stard

    Hi Marian. Is the article still on there? Sorry you went through that.

    I wasn’t even that bothered at first. Then I read an article which has been indelibly impressed onto my memory by the moderators and I was pissed off.

    They railed against the anger and hatred expressed by some, but most surviviors are angry because these are habits of feeling and reflexes of emotion common amongst marginalized people, who with good reason see the world as a hostile place and have been schooled by experience to be circumspect of the dangers of the environment. In excluding such people, you become complicit in the injustice that made them the way they are in the first place. Look at gangsta rap for example. Black people are no more or less congenitally angry than white people, yet who can blame many black people for being angry?

    In a society that favours individualistic, dispositional interpretations to experienital, social interpretations (perhaps because it slakes our cannibalistic appetites, and because it implicates society personally), people lose sight of the reasons people have for being angry and consumed with hate, although this obviously has limited explanatory power in explaining all hatred and anger.

    The policies on that site enshrine the notion that words literally hurt, which ignores the fact that our emotional responses to the words of others hinge upon personal factors, such as our personal situation at the time, our degree of self-esteem and corresponding self-security. Words themselves don’t literally hurt, it’s how we interpret them. Learning to deal with opinions and words that cause us emotional discomfort is a part of our maturational growth, whereas intolerance of offence only serves to retard it.

    The paternalist, protectionist attitude that people need to be protected from words reduces the scope of tolerance and encourages a sense of entitlement amongst those whom it is believed need to be protected from these so-called words of mass destruction. It is a conceptual gateway to paternalist hell. Unsurprisingly, people looking for roles that’ll offer them an outlet for the desire to control and the emotional pleasure it affords, like the many internet moderators, are exploiting this situation for all its worth.

    Gandhi once said that a man is the sum of his actions, of what he has done. He didn’t say that a man is the sum of his words, of what he has said. Yet some people like to equate words with actions, especially those whose conduct offers occasion for self-reproach, and are desperate to drag the rest of us down to the lowest circle of the moral inferno with them.

    This is an immoral equivalency, obliterating with one figurative stroke of the pen the distinction between word and action, between the figurative verbal violence of those being lynched and the literal violence of those doing the lynching, between those who initiated the original violence and those who have reacted to it.

    Most people internalize the values, axioms, attitudes and conventions of their society so deeply that they are ill-disposed to tolerate deviation. The expression of anger and hatred is now streng verboten. Articles are sprouting up all over the cyber space demonizing and pathologizing these emotional heresies, seemingly authored by characters from “Invasion of the body snatchers”.

    Such articles are usually written by insipid mediocrities with no understanding of the role of anger and hatred in human history as a spur to resistence, as bulwarks against complacency and against that precondition of the proliferation of evil; a bourgeois passivity in the face of the evil of the world that dignifies itself as rational and enlightened.

    It is the angry and hateful (specifically those who concentrate their anger and hatred upon those things and people who deserve it) who contain within them the seeds of positive change. Singing kumbaya, hugging and cuddling each other, and spreading the doctrine of love, did nothing to rid the world of the Nazi hordes!

    Certain emotions, such as anger and hatred, when they reach their highest pitch, may transport the mind beyond the bounds of reason and toosed about on the waves of an unsteady temperament, judgment sometimes founder; nevertheless by means of the same emotional currents, it is often directed into the right channels, and alights upon the right shores.

  • marian

    Cedwyn

    Just one last thing I have to add.

    I discovered this most wonderful psychiatrist’s website: http://www.holisticpsychiatrist.com. Dr. Alice Lee-Bloem really by herself worked very hard to get away from psychiatric drugs and to heal people. She shares lots of info about her diet and supplement suggestions, an area which really is very rarely addressed on MIA. She does weekly psychotherapy and also has developed the modality of energy medicine. I got her CD called Infinite intentions and it’s the most incredible meditations from repairing the traumas that got a person in trouble, repairing the damage to self esteem psychiatry has done, to actual healing of the systems of the body including the GI tract (this is usually leaking opiates with mental illness) and a very successful meditation for a smooth med taper.

    I’m so glad I found this help before I found the MIA survivor movement. Dr. Lee-Bloom gets people off meds who have been taking meds for thirty years or more. She never equivocates about people’s ability to do this. I’ve spoken to her on the phone and I couldn’t afford her. She never told me that I would then have to miss out. She always gave me very constructive advice.

    I one time mentioned her on a forum where a lot of MIA people converse. Two of the members just blew up an one claimed she had taken her off benzos so fast that it almost killed her (this one just published an article on MIA) I know Lee-Bloem knows about GABA supplementation and when I was not sleeping on the med withdrawal taper my psychiatrist insisted upon right at the end of my taper she told me to go back up to the dose where I was sleeping and come down slower. She saved me. I was glad I couldn’t get ahold of my doctor.

    There is so much equivocation about people being able to get off meds.on MIA and people who actually stay on meds I don’t think I could have tapered successfully without knowing about Lee-Bloem’s work.

    MIA has strict rules on comment moderation and I’m not surprised at all. They don’t want anyone to rock the boat so their readership thinks its the only thing out there about recovery. It’s not.

    And I think a portion of it MIA is tainted with compromise with psychiatry. Some of their regular writers:Fisher, Oaks, Hall, Debrul, Gottstein, Minkowitz have all made equivocating statements about diagnosis or drugging. (Breggin does too, but I’ve never seen an article by him in MIA but a lot of praise in comments)

    Exiting completely the grasp of psychiatry should be a reasonable goal for everyone.

    The other aspect of MIA that I think is damaging to our exit is the glorification of our extraordinary experiences. Oynx, Farber. Rhyme and Oaks promote this..

    Lulling us to sleep with articles about how there are signs that psychiatry is caving in is pure fiction but it certainly keeps us reading MIA..

  • T.A. Anderson

    In memory of some pioneers in psychiatry. Apparently things sometimes get worse before they get better.

  • cledwyn bulbs

    I see heretic-hunting is still in vogue on MIA.

    Internet moderators are the guarantors of an Orwellian future, though it will be so banal, practically no-one will know it.

    We are living in the age of offense. So what gives the art of taking offense its appeal? Michael Foley summed it up perfectly when he said, to paraphrase, that the beauty of taking offense is that threats of the bully are presented as the protestations of the victim, allowing the ego to bask in virtue while the id exults in depravity.

    The people who are the beneficiaries of internet moderation policies, and of course, those who impose them, think they have the moral high ground on this issue, but all they are doing is arming posterity against them.

    Supposedly, obligatory in the community is the assumption that everyone is motivated by good intentions who writes on there, apart that is from the people who get moderated. They are nasty, abusive, oppressive bullies, and other such figments and exaggerations of the persecutory imagination.

    Unless you get your ideas about human nature from an episode of the “Gilmoure Girls”, then it’s pretty absurd to just assume people always mean well. We don’t. Solzhenitsyn was right when he said, to paraphrase, that the line separating good from evil runs through the human heart. They are extremes that meet in the same nature. Which one predominates is ultimately contingent upon numerous variables, such as the nature of our relations with others. I bet even Assisi could be a bit of bastard when he wanted to be, and as for Ghandi…..

    The fact that the moderators feel the need to enforce the belief in good intentions within the community seems to me to point to the opposite conclusion; that the intentions of some people on there are not so pure. I mean, so what, some people impugn the intentions of others (feel free anyone to do the same with me)? As I’ve said before, only the guilty are hurt by critical scrutiny of their motives and intentions. Perhaps some people just don’t want to be reminded of their guilt.

    Anyway, these policies are discriminatory. Some people are schooled by experience to distrust others. True, sometimes that distrust is born of the refusal to believe in a goodness that, through the contrast between its example and our own, reflects back to us an image that gives us cause for guilt and shame. Yet often people who distrust others do so because of greater exposure to the darker side of human nature, making it difficult to conceive of our supposed better angels..

    Take Timon of Athens, perhaps the archetypal misanthrope, who inspired one of my favourite Shakespeare plays and whose trajectory from love of humanity to hatred is frighteningly similar to my own on a number of particulars.

    Timon’s life was distinguished by his largesse and munificence, yet was driven to misanthropy when it was not requited, which is pretty much what happened to me, amongst many other betrayals.

    Some people have good reasons for suspicion, even cynicism, regarding human motives.

  • cledwyn bulbs

    A lot of talk is made about the anger displayed by certain survivors, but that anger is largely the accumulated sediment deposited through years of oppression. It kind of reminds me of much of the rhetoric of patriarchal oppression, and the accusations of “hysteria” leveled at women, completely ignoring the context in favour of explanations that allowed the oppressor to revel all the more in the contempt he felt for his victim.

    Like patriarchal oppressors, they favour dispositional over situational and other explanations so they can revel all the more in the hatred they feel, a hatred none the less real for not being explicit, a hatred they consign to their subconscious, leaving them free to indulge their high-minded fantasies.

  • cledwyn bulbs

    I’ve just been reading the posting guidelines on MIA, and I haven’t laughed so hard in ages.

    Honor different viewpoints is one. Quis custodiet ipsos custodet?

    What about the understandable viewpoint that there is a lot of bad intentions at work here? Is that not a viewpoint? This kind of self-blindness is frankly comical.

    THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO DON’T HONOR DIFFERENT VIEWPOINTS ARE THE MODERATORS, and of course, Mr Whitaker, at whose behest they operate (sorry for the capitalization, just doing it to emphasize the anger this kind of hypocrisy makes me feel). And no, the whole “comments are only removed because of form and not content” doesn’t wash with me.

    The Socratic injunction, “know thyself”, means nothing to these people.

    The facts are, the moderators (and of course, Whitaker, who wields power behind the scenes like some sort of eminence grise) on that website, stand indicted by some of their own rules, and should be removed from the Mad in America community. Seriously.

    As I’ve said before, not only are these rules discriminatory in content, but also in their application. Mr Hickley and Ted Chabasinski constantly break these guidelines.

    I find it laughable that the rules stipulate as a condition of membership on that website faith in others. The facts are some of us have had experiences on this side of the divide that would seem to adjure at the very least skepticism regarding the motives of some people, some of the time, in the mental health industry.

    Perhaps one of the funniest is; “Under no circumstances represent and attack an argument that is not explicitly made by that person.” Supposedly, “they are often born of error”. So what, error is streng verboten in the MIA community? You can’t even make an error without having your comment removed, or being removed yourself, all because you made a mistake? Somebody stop the world; I want to get off.

    When people argue with each other, they have trouble containing their emotions, and these emotions rob them of the ability to think clearly. In such an emotional state I think its deeply, callously insensitive to remove their comment, simply because that person is confused.

    People misrepresent each other sometimes. Sometimes they do it out of confusion, sometimes because they cannot counter what it is that you are saying etc etc etc. The moderators on that site do it all the time.

    They keep on harping on about not shaming and attacking other people and so on and so forth. Yet they don’t see themselves doing this very thing to the people they are in conflict with in the community. Maybe they are just protecting their monopoly on shaming and attacking others within the community. In the past they have characterized people they moderate and ban as “bullies”, “abusive”, “violent”, “oppressive”, which, to say the least, is hyperbolic (oh, and hyperbole’s banned as well!).

    People who are in conflict with each other are gonna lose their tempers sometimes, and say things that in the cool light of reflection they regret.

    They feel justified in attacking and shaming the people they are in conflict with. Guess what? So do we, and if we do so without equivocation, without dissimulation, and without unction, then I don’t see that that is anyone occasion for shame.

    You aren’t allowed to make assumptions or inferences about other people’s position either.

    It also says “We are an oppression free zone”

    Bollocks you are.

    I am still one visitor to the shrine who is left wondering what the hell all the fuss is about. All I know is, someone who authored or sanctioned those guidelines is no friend of mine.

  • cledwyn bulbs

    I hear it on the grapevine that the purges are still ongoing at MIA. Basically, all some mental health worker (usually of the coercive variety who wants to be able to coerce others in peace, which, sadly for them, some of us won’t let them do) is threaten to leave the community in order to pretty much blackmail the censors into removing that person from said community. It’s absolutely pathetic.

    The use of force in their work has established in them the bad habit of resorting to force in their interpersonal conflicts it seems. Habits instilled by one’s occupation soon begin to force themselves into the other spheres of a man’s existence.

    Look at how little it takes till these people reach the point at which their tolerance is tested beyond its narrow limits! To such people, the use of, and appeal to, force, comes as naturally to them as does dissimulation to an actor.

    One can easily infer from all this that it doesn’t take much before they resort to force in the workplace against those unfortunate enough to have fallen within the orbit of the practitioner of psychiatric violence, given that mere disagreement tests beyond the limits of their tolerance.

    Footballers learn early on in their careers the rewards that simulation brings, so that such behavior is reinforced, becoming almost something of a behavioral reflex and an ingrained part of that individual’s behavioral repertoire.

    Likewise, psychiatric coercers, learn early on in their careers the rewards that the use of and appeal to force brings, so that this becomes an established part of their behavioral repertoire, behaviors which need little prompting from the environment if they are to be triggered.

    Corrupt occupations breeds corrupt habits.

    This tendency amongst the coercers who have been welcomed with open arms into the MIA community is further reinforced by the fact that they don’t have reason, truth and justice on their side, and for such people, force is, always has been, and always will be, a very handy expedient, a lever to triumph in their conflicts with others.

    Of course, hypocrisy is another bad habit these people seem to have acquired, continually nourished both by the work they engage in, where hypocrisy is obligatory, and their engagement in the discussions taking place in the MIA community, where everyone pretends to be each other’s friends, masking their true feelings in accordance with the dictates of bourgeois etiquette, behind words specifically contrived to deceive, because of the enforcement of a purely cosmetic politeness and perhaps also because, as Schopenhauer said, just like in order to work wax you first have to warm it, if you want to manipulate (and deceive) people, you first have to inveigle yourself into their favour, and nothing loosens a person’s guard like politeness.

    And all of this is for what? Supposedly, to maintain the conditions in which “dialogue” can flourish, a dialogue that categorically is achieving nothing because the people they are trying to dialogue with both have no real administrative clout and are anyway pretty much inflexible on any issue of real import.

    Whitaker reminds me of one these generals who, having committed himself to a disastrous course of action, nevertheless refuses to withdraw his troops and acknowledge that he got his tactics wrong.

    It’s patently obvious that you can’t dialogue with ideologues like Mr Allen Frances and Sandy Steingard.

    I mean, the very notion of a dialogue with Frances is comical in its absurd.

    This is a man who speaks in glowing terms of the work of E Fuller Torrey, upon whose shoulders devolves a huge share of the responsibility for the terrible laws enacted by state legislatures across the USA depriving people of their rights.

    This is an ardent proponent of psychiatric violence, who writes his crappy articles largely to convince himself of his own nonsense, harnessing the auto-suggestive power of writing to this end so that by dint of the written repetition of the falsehoods he puts to paper, he can inculcate belief, and perhaps offset the guilt he feels.

  • cledwyn bulbs

    In the first paragraph that should be “all some mental health worker has to do is threaten…

  • cledwyn bulbs

    That is, the person who he is conflict with.

  • cledwyn

    That should be “tests them” and above “in conflict with”.

  • cledwyn bulbs

    That should be “absurdity”.

  • howard schnotz

    O, don’t disagree with their sacred trolls. Not if you want to try to present a point of view different than theirs. I fear they are captives in a new, freakish cult led by hucksters selling books and conferences and DVDs that all say the same thing. Figures never lie, but liars often figure.

  • howard schnotz

    Try telling the truth and let go of the outcome. MIA is a dump, a cesspool of abuse and lies and mentally ill patients who refuse to work. They have taken over the asylum and destroy what little credibility you never earned. They are encouraged by Whitaker and the fools who advertise their snake oil with the donations of the suckers who are born every minute.

  • howard schnotz

    Are you actually defending that pile of manure called MIA? Funny how your revolution will fail for the same reasons you assault all psychiatrists and drug companies with a broad swastika of hate and intolerance. Whitaker, as publisher, takes moral and legal responsibility for all the garbage posted there and all editorial decisions. It is pure propaganda and hate speech and by contributing there as a writer, you are affirming their narrative.

    I suggest not allowing unqualified, mentally ill trolls, to give medical advice. You have sick, hateful trolls telling seekers of medical help that personality disorders don’t exist and that there is no pharmaceutical intervention that treats them successfully. Talk about malpractice. Talk about do no harm. Talk about insanity.

  • howard schnotz

    No.Touched the truth. If you can’t see how absurd that dump is and how they dismiss intelligent comments, take a closer look. Although, by blocking dissenters without leaving a trace of the attempt by the excluded to post, it may take more than a brief once over. It is all about control and power and illness, mental illness.