Blame the Clients?

On June 6, I wrote a post titled Psychiatry DID Promote the Chemical Imbalance Theory.  The article was published on Mad in America, and generated a number of comments on that site, five of which were from TherapyFirst, who in his first comment identified himself as Joel Hassman, MD, a practicing psychiatrist. 

Dr. Hassman did not argue with the general notion that psychiatric practice today consists almost exclusively of the prescription of drugs.  Indeed, in one of his own blog posts on June 16, 2013, he wrote in an open letter to newly qualified psychiatrists:

“…you are now agreeing to basically just prescribe medication and give limited, selective diagnoses that serve insurer and/or bureaucratic agendas first and foremost.”


“…your interest will be narrowly directed to prescribing more likely multiple medications from moment one of meeting the patient…”

And this general position – that psychiatry consists essentially of prescribing drugs – continues to be evident in his comments on the MIA post.

But then he introduces a twist that I haven’t encountered before – he blames the clients for what he aptly calls the “chemicalization” of mental health.  Here are some quotes:

“Everyone rails about psychiatrists and other prescribers just dumbing down mental health care complaints to writing scripts, but, in the last 10 years or so, people come into treatment venues just wanting drugs, and dismiss any other intervention for care, irregardless of how appropriate and indicated as a standard of care such a treatment is warranted.”

“Seems to me it fits the antipsychiatry narrative at the end of the day. It is easier to crucify the doctors, harder to attack the general public who are reinforcing ‘better living through chemistry’, eh?”

 “Sorry, but if there is going to be a valid and honest discussion/debate about who is at fault in the ‘chemicalization’ of mental health, don’t just pick on the doctors. Patients are pervasively demanding drugs, often ones of abuse potential of late, and have little to no interest in problem solving nor wanting to implement real and effective change for the better.”

 “…where are the muzzle prints on these ‘victims’ foreheads that demand they take medication?”

 “…you as a patient come to someone with an expertise and then have the gall to argue and demand interventions that do not fit as treatment A for the problem in front of the clinician, and I am to refer to him/her as ‘victim’?? Get real!”

As I noted earlier, this is an unusual and complicated  perspective.  On the one hand, there’s an element of truth in Dr. Hassman’s position.  A great many people do indeed go to psychiatrists for the specific purpose of obtaining a prescription.  And I think we can believe Dr. Hassman’s assertion that some of these individuals may become impatient and dismissive, and perhaps even demanding, when invited to explore other options.

But on the other hand, drug prescriptions are psychiatry’s stock in trade.  It’s what the vast majority of psychiatrists offer, and what their customers have, reasonably and legitimately, come to expect.  I have even heard numerous reports from clients that they were pressured by psychiatrists into taking pills.

I’m old enough to remember a time when outpatient psychiatry was almost entirely a talking and listening profession.  Depression was considered a fairly ordinary and understandable phenomenon – part of the human lot, so to speak – and remediation was conceptualized as being largely a matter of seeking support and solace from friends and loved ones, and of making positive changes in one’s circumstances and lifestyle.  In extreme cases, people did consult psychiatrists, but the purpose of these visits was to discuss issues and problems – not to obtain drugs.

I imagine that psychiatrists in those days felt that their years of medical training were somewhat wasted.  The problems that they were helping people address were not considered medical in nature, except perhaps in very extreme cases, and there was nothing particularly medical about the “treatments.”  And, of course, there were fewer psychiatrists.

Obviously things are very different today, and I think the fundamental questions here are:  how did these changes come about? and, who’s to blame?

There is an obvious parallel between the growth of psychiatric prescribing and the growth of the illegal drug trade over the past fifty or sixty years.  It is also obvious, and generally accepted, that the illegal trade is driven by demand, and would collapse overnight if that demand were to dry up.

So the question arises:  is what Dr. Hassman calls the chemicalization of psychiatry essentially a product of consumer demand for drugs?  And, of course, the answer, at least to some extent, is yes.  If people stopped going to psychiatrists for prescriptions, then psychiatrists would have to either disband as a profession or find something else to do.

But there is another side to this coin.  People who deal in illegal drugs make no pretense that their products are medications.  For psychiatrists, however, this is their primary marketing tool.  For decades, they and their pharmaceutical allies have promoted this fiction using every means at their disposal.  Very few psychiatrists have distanced themselves to a significant degree from this position.

They have spread the seductive deception that virtually all significant problems of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving are caused by neurochemical imbalances which can be corrected only by ingesting their products.  They have issued, and continue to issue, dire warnings as to the consequences of not taking these pills.  They have persuaded parents that their children’s brains are impaired, and that even toddlers need to take the pills.  And so on.  The whole sordid tale has been exposed many times, but psychiatry, without a hint of shame or compunction, continues to spread this self-serving and destructive deception.  In fact, at the present time, psychiatry, as represented by the World Psychiatric Association and the American Psychiatric Association, is actively working to improve its tarnished image with a view to expanding its market even further.

So, Dr. Hassman is probably correct when he writes that some clients do come to psychiatrists to obtain drugs, and are resistant to alternative suggestions.  But I think there’s a bigger issue:

A steady stream of individuals, of all ages and from all walks of life, coming to psychiatrists for drugs is precisely the objective towards which the psychiatric leadership and vast majority of the rank and file have worked diligently for the past fifty years. 

It wasn’t the customers who invented and disseminated the term “a chemical imbalance, just like diabetes.”  And, it wasn’t the customers who wrote and expanded the DSM to provide an impression of legitimacy for the drug-pushing activity.  That was psychiatry!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This article has also be posted at the Mad in America site.



  • Francesca Allan

    When I first read this on MiA, I was mystified by Hassman’s angry comments. As I recall, when I first consulted a psychiatrist, I had no opinion whatsoever as to the cause of my distress. It was the doctor who immediately insisted that chemical imbalances (which I had never heard of before that moment) needed to be treated with chemicals.

    There is another aspect to this whining that Hassman seems oblivious to. A patient can’t “demand” a prescription from the poor, defenseless doctor. If he doesn’t want to prescribe, he doesn’t have to. I really don’t understand this guy.

  • Amazing how it took them so long to get to this. Blame the patient is a way health care providers avoid responsibility and dissociate away from guilt.
    So, who came first, the patient seeking drugs, or the doctor prescribing them?

  • Anonymous

    ” “…where are the muzzle prints on these ‘victims’ foreheads that demand they take medication?”

    Coming from a brain rapist that is prepared to have someone committed and forcibly drugged.

    Anybody that nonchalantly throws around the word “medication”, for the chemical compounds known as psychiatric drugs, displays their brainwashing to the world. There’s nothing bona fide “medical” going on here. Just a pseudomedical religious conception of human problems. It’s a terrifying reality that these pseudoscientific, pseudomedical quasi-religious fanatics have the power to rape the brain of anybody that choose to target. It seems no child is safe from these pushers of toxic poison too.

    This Hassman evidently thinks he’s a “doctor”. I’m sorry, if you haven’t looked inside the human body since medical school, you didn’t enter a career practicing medicine, you merely flushed your chance to become a real doctor down the toilet by choosing to waste your life pushing psychiatric quackery. As usual, we are left to ponder how these people sleep at night. The only plausible answer we can come up with is that they are brainwashed fanatics. Brainwashed to believe they are real doctors just because they passed some exams many years ago relating to the real disease portion of their medical training, and then went on to never treat a real disease in their pathetic, harmful, wasted lives.

    Medical students and real doctors know psychiatry isn’t real medicine. It’s a laughing stock. A dishonest profession, filled with dishonest men and women, all willing to commit heinous human rights abuses at the drop of a hat. Articles discrediting this sad, pathetic mistake of a profession are not even necessary, psychiatry and psychiatrists, discredit themselves simply by opening their mouths… would you listen to this guy?!!! “treatment venues” he says!!! It’s unbelievable. They literally think they are real doctors. If it wasn’t so terrifying it would be easy to simply take pity on these foolish pseudomedical criminals.

  • The Right Hon. Cledwyn B’Stard

    Hassman seems to have trouble in containing his emotional expressions within judicious limits, kind of ironic when you understand that this man, in his role as psychiatrist, is probably called upon to give advice to people with “anger issues”.

    It is with a mixture of excitement and horror with which I await the perusal of the verbal detritus of his latest paroxysm.

    Shame felt in response to criticism often manifests itself as anger, and his role as psychiatrist qua drug peddler should give him much cause for shame, regardless of the demand, a demand which he wrenches from its proper context, ignoring the role of propaganda and a culture whereby individuals are pressured into seeking “help” for their pseudo-medical problems, so that it comes to seem for the individual that the only possibility of social salvation lies in surrendering yourself to the psychiatrist.

    Wrongdoers, when confronted with their accusers and the demand to accept personal responsibility, often wax apoplectic as a defense mechanism against feelings of shame and worthlessness, which is one of the reasons why dialogue cannot really happen with these people, and why the overtures of many patients on this issue will be ignored; far too many of them aren’t ready to accept personal responsibility, to even take the first steps towards expiating their guilt.

    Another reaction to these feelings of shame and distress as the integrity of the self is threatened by criticism, is to delude oneself that one is a victim, a desire which was lent unwitting utterance in the way that Hassman identified himself with Jewish people in Nazi Germany, even though the situations of each stand in contradistinction to the other.

    In terms of the relative positions of Jews and Nazis in Third Reich era Germany, and psychiatrists and patients today, there would be greater grounds for comparing the plight of Jews to patients, obviously, not because the position of the mental patient is as bleak as that or anything, but because of their legal powerlessness in many countries and moral exclusion, although what happened in Nazi Germany represented perhaps the extremity of persecution in human history, to which few historical classes of victims can claim experiential kinship in terms of the degree of hardship and humiliation they were exposed to, although many mental patients throughout history do form a class of victims that perhaps concede nothing in the way of misery and torment to any other, as anyone acquainted with any history of psychiatry that privileges the view of the victim will understand.

    Of course, Hassman would probably say that such a comparison was made purely on the basis of generalizations about psychiatrists, but it nevertheless perhaps betrays a victim complex, as does his use of the word….. crucify!

    Psychiatrists are being crucified! I can just see Hassman, listening to the music of Bach, the plaintive sonorities of the strings and the singing providing a perfect backdrop to the images in his mind’s eye of Jesus Hassman on his Via Dolorosa, crown of thorns on his head, jeered by anti-psychiatric onlookers; and then his subsequent cruxificion at Calvary, surrounded by all the nasty anti-science, anti-rationalism, pro-disease, anti-medication, anti-victim, pro-scapegoating, anti-psychiatrists, hurling stones and guffawing at poor Hassman as he cries, “God, why hast thou forsaken me?”!

    I mean, what next, witchfinder generals (whilst complaining about suspected witches making generalizations about them, naturally), using metaphors about burning to characterize the criticisms of their victims?

    On the subject of Hassman’s unbridled expressions of anger, apart from its root perhaps in shame, maybe his is the anger of the psychiatric Inquisitor who finds himself unable to employ the tools in his armamentarium, recourse to which has proven so successful in leading the psychiatric sinner to recantation of heresy, the exercise of which providing a perfect outlet for the frustrations conflict brings in its train and the diabolical concoction of base appetites and sinister emotions it stirs up; frustrations such as unfulfilled expectations, expectations of the reverence one thinks is one’s due as one of superior stock to your opponent; frustrations that emotionally bring one to a point where one is more inclined to expressions of malice and acts of iniquity and violence, as any observer of the drama of human conflict will have noted.

    Coming to the issue of importunate patients, whose importunities no doubt force poor powerless victims like Hassman to yield to the will of his patients, human beings are social animals, and the privations the unrepentant psychiatric heretic must undergo are so great that it is hardly surprising that so many people lay themselves at the feet of psychiatric priests who people come to believe hold the key to their salvation because of an unfortunate confluence of different external and internal forces, the desperation being even greater for the more extroverted patient, for whom the privations aforementioned hurt all the more.

  • Anonymous

    Tens of thousands of psychiatric “patients” MURDERED by Nazi decree by psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses in Nazi Germany. The thousands that die underhand to this day during forced drugging attacks, from heart failure, asphyxiation, whatever, live the same terror as any murder victim.

  • Sweet63

    Well that an interesting slice of reality and glimpse into what goes on in during the visits. I have never seen a real psychiatrist, but had pills pushed on me by my internist and by a psychologist telling me to get ’em from my doctor, they really do help. That was low level stuff but I wonder how much of this dependence starts that way, then as the patient gets worse ends up at the shrink’s office.

  • The Right Hon. Cledwyn B’Stard

    He keeps on harping on about how its wrong to generalize about psychiatrists in the same way that it would be wrong to generalize about Jews. I’m the only person who seems to have pointed out the central flaw in such reasoning; namely, that it is absurd to compare a group of individuals united by occupational identity with one based on ethnic identity. The facts are if you disagree with the work state psychiatrists do, and the institution whose values and ideas they have internalized, and whose evil they incarnate, then generalizations are fine in a way that they would never be for a group tenuously linked by ethnic identity only, and not by the duties they discharge.

    This guy is clueless. If the barrel is rotten, then all the apples within will rot, but most of our thinking about psychiatry is based on a mythological basis which also forms the bedrock of other diverse historical and contemporary species of oppression, to wit, that the oppressed person (who is as much a victim of societal oppression as anything else) benefits from his oppression, a conviction that seems to straddle both sides of the divide on this issue, especially amongst those critics, who shall remain nameless, who wish to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds.

    I’d be interested to see if he is an autonomous psychiatrist, although in many countries such a term is becoming increasingly anachronistic, for numerous reasons.

  • The Right Hon. Cledwyn B’Stard

    His argument is, “psychiatry is essentially good, there are just some bad apples (no doubt a minority) in it…” He doesn’t understand that some of us generalize about psychiatrists in the same way we would about slavemasters, Inquisitors, executioners etc. etc., and he doesn’t want to understand that, because then he would have to concede that he and his quack brethren are not merely the victims of bigotry.

  • The Right Hon. Cledwyn B’Stard

    He is just exaggerating, no doubt below the threshold of awareness, in order to justify his prescribing habits.

  • The Right Hon. Cledwyn B’Stard

    On his website supposedly, he has written this; “Frankly, I know in my heart that most of these bufoons who just rail away and claim they were mercilessly abused by their doctors and other mental health care providers in these alleged efforts to seek care, well, we are reading axis 2 crap at its worst.”

    Yet this is the man who inveighs, from a position of illusory superiority, against what he calls the hatred of the “the anti-psychiatry movement”. He’s even supposedly, according to someone on MIA, with malice simmering beneath the surface, tagged some of his blog-posts, “anti-psychiatry and their personality disordered problems”, offering unwitting testimony corroborating the view that psychiatric diagnoses often function as terms of abuse that people use as a lever to, at least from their puerile perspective, to gain the advantage in their interpersonal struggles, wielding the authority society and culture has invested in them.

    Yet this is man who sits in his office attaching these pseudo-medical scurrilities to people, and wants us to believe he is one of the good guys, this compendium of all the worst qualities of this particular avatar of charlatantry.

    As for him saying, “Frankly, I know in my heart of hearts…”, as if is the absurd fantasies of this man suspended in adolescence were susceptible of apodictic proofs.

  • Phil_Hickey


    I think Dr. Hassman is one of those rare psychiatrists who has come to realize that psychiatry isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But he feels trapped by the economics of it all.

    There’s a kind of irony here. I’ve worked with literally hundreds of clients who had gotten sucked into psychiatry’s web, acquired a “diagnosis,” and disability income. This income – meager as it is – can also be entrapping. I remember a client saying to me: “I don’t want to lose my disability!” He meant disability income, but the language seemed interesting.

    Psychiatry hurts its clients – of that we’re very aware, but I think it also hurts its practitioners. Most psychiatrists are not stupid, and despite the cheerleading from Dr. Lieberman and others, they realize “in their hearts” that what they do for a living is a crock of garbage. On the other hand, the money is good. So they’re a conflict-laden group.

    Best wishes.

  • Phil_Hickey


    Thanks for coming in. There’s an interesting twist to this. For decades psychiatry has blamed their “patients” for not taking the drugs (the non-compliants). Dr. Hassman is blaming them for wanting to take them. Interesting.

  • Phil_Hickey


    Welcome back.

    I suspect that there’s a lot of that. It allows psychiatrists to think of themselves
    as the experts who are called in to help the people who are “seriously ill,” while ignoring the fact that it was their spurious diagnoses that made it possible for the drugs to be used in the first place.

  • I see. A pattern of victim blaming does shed some additional darkness. This could well be more than the simple rationalization process to avoid guilt and/or responsibility. A pattern of such behavior would point to what John Banda Phd calls medical narcissism.

    Hey, isn’t that a label? No, he is not labeling a medical or psychiatric condition. He is merely putting a name to his description of a behavior, in this case a behavior amongst medical professionals. He could have just well call them jerks.

    What about prescribing some oxytocin? Maybe not such a good idea.

  • The Right Hon. Cledwyn B’Stard

    Psychiatrists always resort to that particular expedient; blaming the patient, knowing full well that they have no powerful advocates.

  • The Right Hon. Cledwyn B’Stard

    Should’ve put this all in one, but I go to his site, and all I read about is his denunciations of the hatred of “anti-psychiatrists” and their characterological flaws (not that I deny being an anti-psychiatrist, or more correctly, an anti-institutional psychiatrist, on the grounds that I simply don’t agree with the conventional reasoning that institutional psychiatry is some sort of philanthropic endeavour that is susceptible of reform, though I am admittedly a pessimist, of which I am proud).

    Yet his site functions as a receptacle into which he pours all the bile that accumulates on his internet peregrinations; indeed, he strikes me as one in whom hatred is concentrated to such an absurd degree, that when it reaches its furthest extreme, it chokes the flow of his thoughts, as can be witnessed in some of his writings, which bear the stamp of the irrepressible hatred he feels, hatred which at its highest pitch manifests itself in the incoherence and unintelligibility of his writing, against which all the tools of the cryptographer would be useless in deciphering the meaning of.

    How can he be so blind to the element of give n take on this issue, and the process of conflictual mirroring at work here, or the particulars of his writing that bear evidence to the hatred and malice he obviously feels in abundance for his enemies and which seems to be in excess to anything most people are even capable of? Apart from self-ignorance, I suppose the fact that self-awareness might impoverish his demonization of all the evil anti-psychiatric trolls (who with malice aforethought attack this noble and upstanding pillar of the community, this consummate gentleman whose rectitude is obviously beyond question), might explain it

    Self-knowledge isn’t his strong point. He hoists himself with his own petard every time he fulminates against the evil “anti-psychiatrists” (he should write a history of the “extremist anti-psychiatry movement” and the interminable list of crimes against humanity they have committed, about all the millions of brains they’ve mutilated, children they’ve medically assaulted, the people they’ve killed, their participation in genocide and human experimentation, their role in imprisoning innocent people, exculpating criminals etc., you know the list), fulminations that often exhibit the shibboleths that identify him as a member of the psychiatric faithful, to whom the cardinal sin I would surmise is disbelief, perhaps explaining his hatred of a group of people guilty only of verbal misdemeanours (which he should know all about) in an age whereby words are deemed to speak louder than actions.

    He attacks himself with his own diagnoses regularly on his sewage outlet, accusing others of having characterological flaws, based on criteria he meets.

    Self-knowledge is power, only power we can exercise over ourselves as opposed to others, and therefore is avoided by most people, who find power over others much more useful. No wonder no one reads the books of Montaigne and Proust or watches the films of Bergman. This imbecility in relation to the self, as Becker called it, is especially common amongst psychiatrists; if psychiatrists were to stop studying other people and start studying themselves, they might realize just how easily the diagnoses they have contrived, largely to attack others, can often just as easily apply to themselves.

    He needs to stop projecting onto others what he finds too disturbing to admit about himself, and acknowledge that hatred manifests rarely on one side of a conflict, but both. That is just conflictual scapegoating.

    Psychiatrists like he, who operate in their dealings with non-believers under the tutelage of Bane, the god of hatred, fear and tyranny, are in no position to pass judgment on the hatred of others, hatred born of insight purchased at a high experiential price, hatred which has its foundations in personal suffering.

    Some things are worthy only of contempt. Tyranny; injustice; exploitation; fraud; those who lead lives of expediency to the detriment of the interests and health of others; the abuse of power for interpersonal, social and political advantage; hatred to these is the only response, for it is the engine that gives motion to resistance to evil and oppression, and ultimately to change, and positive action against the world’s evil, just as long as it is disciplined and kept within well-judged limits, that’s all.

  • Francesca Allan

    Can only speak for myself of course but I wouldn’t have voluntarily traded my solid middle-class income as a legal assistant for the $860 a month I currently receive in disability pension benefits. I really don’t see economics being a driving force from the patient’s end of things.

    Personally, I’m heartened by Dr. Hassman’s objections. I don’t put as much blame on patients as he does but his basic premise that trying to medicate away one’s problems in life tends to be a dead end is refreshing to hear from a practising psychiatrist.

  • Francesca Allan

    I disapprove of using psychiatric labels as insults so I was unhappy about that comment too. However, much of what passes for anti-psychiatry is pretty much just hateful spewing (just look at some of the arguments that occur on this website) and I think if I were a conscientious psychiatrist I too would be personally offended by some of what was posted on MiA.

  • cannotsay

    Actually, Joel has recognized this much,

    “Exiting from the profession will happen in 2018, and I have distanced myself from the mainstream while still practicing for years now, but I need an income right now, so I can’t just sit in front of a computer screen all day and taunt colleagues and expect to feed and house my family”

    It’s not like he is hiding it or anything.

    This brings a very interesting point. Many months back I was having a discussion with another survivor who is also educated at one of America’s best schools. We were both asking ourselves how is possible that many of these people, allegedly smart since they have been educated at America’s most rigorous institutions, continue to promote ideas like “the chemical imbalance” or the whole notion of the DSM process being “scientific” when both things directly contradict the rigorous scientific training required to have an MD degree (including the admission process to medical school which is particularly hard in the US).

    The conclusion I have arrived after thinking long about these issues is that people like Joseph Biederman do know that they promote nonsense. They just don’t care either consciously or unconsciously. They get trapped by either their economic bias (which for most psychiatrists is their salaries even if they do not receive big pharma money) or by their intellectual bias to believe that even of these ideas are now nonsense, maybe they will be shown not to be nonsense in the future and they will be at some point vindicated. As if almost 200 years of the APA inventing “illnesses” out of nowhere and being unable to provide a single scientific proof for any of them wasn’t enough evidence that the psychiatric enterprise is a fraudulent endeavor!

    In 200 years the rest of medicine has worked wonders, not to mention other scientific areas like physics, chemistry or mathematics. Psychiatry is stuck in a model of MD degree holders making up illnesses via voting and they don’t seem to care about the pathetic status of their discipline or the harm said pathetic status causes to innocent victims like Justina Pelletier. Here is an interview that the just freed hostage gave to a CT station. In her own words. It is difficult to watch, I must warn you:

  • Francesca Allan

    ” … people like Joseph Biederman do know that they promote nonsense.”

    I wish I could believe that were true but I fear the reality is much more frightening. Only their true belief in their own nonsense can account for their zeal.

  • Jwoww

    What is your disability? What is the official stated reason that the government approved your disability welfare?

  • Francesca Allan

    It’s not welfare.

  • Francesca Allan

    I receive benefits from the Canada Pension Plan, the very same fund that I paid into for years as an employee.

  • Jwoww

    And I ask again, what is the official stated reason that the government approved your disability welfare? What is your so called disability for you to be living off tax dollars? How do you justify living off government benefits when you are clearly able to leave comments online all day. Surely there is a computer job you could get given you are able to use a computer all day.

    Wikipedia welfare article – ‘Welfare can take a variety of forms, such as monetary payments, subsidies and vouchers,
    or housing assistance. Welfare systems differ from country to country,
    but welfare is commonly provided to individuals who are unemployed, those with illness or disability, the elderly, those with dependent children, and veterans.’

    Webster’s dictionary: ‘Welfare’

    ‘2 a : aid in the form of money or necessities for those in need’

    Disability in the Welfare State: An Unemployment Problem in Disguise?

    I ask again, when a government employee looks up on their computer why Francesca Allan is receiving money redistributed by taxes from other people what is the disability listed on their computer?

    Are you too ashamed to say?

  • The Right Hon. Cledwyn B’Stard

    Yeah I agree that there are some people who go way too far, such as people who advocate violence against psychiatrists.

  • Francesca Allan

    CPP disability benefits are distributed through a federal program and only people who have paid into the fund (through monthly deductions from their paycheques) are eligible to receive them. Much medical documentation is needed to meet the criteria.

    By contrast, “welfare” (more properly referred to as social assistance), is a provincial program with far less stringent criteria but more limitations, e.g. you have to deplete your assets before you’re eligible.

    My disability is genuine and my benefits are coming from an insurance pool that all Canadian employees pay into to cover exactly my kind of situation. The money that I receive is not being redistributed from the government’s general revenue.

    I am not the least bit ashamed about the fact that I have been unable to support myself financially due to legitimate medical issues and I really don’t feel inclined to share my medical and income information just because an intrusive, anonymous poster on the internet demands it.

    I certainly do not spend all day online. I work part-time, take university courses part-time, and do substantial amounts of volunteer work including patient advocacy.

    I anticipate being able to return to full-time employment at some point and am looking forward to doing so. However, right at this moment, my most important job is staying well.

  • Jwoww

    If it isn’t welfare why do people have to beg the government to be approved?

    Sure, you ‘paid into’ something, your employer was forced to garnish your wages it is the law, basically just another tax. Sure, it is not ‘general revenue’ but so what? It may as well be because all of the money there was compulsorily taken from Canadians it is just the same as a tax. The question is how much did you pay in, and how much have you taken out? Sounds like you’re on welfare to me. If it quacks like a duck, if it is called a ‘benefit’, if the money in it is taken compulsorily off people and given to government, and then redistributed to you after you begging and applying for government to ‘approve’ you and give it to you, if you appeal when they deny you and say you’re not disabled enough, it sounds like welfare to me. The money you get comes from other Canadians and you don’t even have the decency to tell the public what disability excuse you used to get this taxpayer money. Get a job. It is clear that you can work and use a computer all day. You didn’t answer my question, clearly you are ashamed of your mental illness welfare.

    Your poor excuse that ‘all Canadians have paid into a fund’ fails to mention they had no choice that it is mandatory. This is a tax. This involuntary ‘insurance’. The involuntary contributors to the ‘pool of money’ you mooch from have a right to know what fake disability excuse you used to get your free money. You sound like a moocher to me.

    The excuse of ‘I paid into CPP’ is about as asinine as saying ‘I paid a sales tax once’. None of your ‘paying into’ was voluntary. It may as well be general revenue. Through no choice of your own, you had an amount of money taken from you and put in a ‘pool’. Through no choice of their own, so did millions of Canadians. We don’t know how much you paid into it, or how much you’ve taken out of it, or the stated reason you used when you chose to apply to live off of the benefits. There are people on Canadian disability welfare that had a job for like one year or something and then spend their whole lives claiming to have depression.

  • Jwoww

    This article explains nicely that government ‘social insurance’ schemes are welfare. You may not like the offensive word ‘welfare’ but you are on welfare you just choose to call it another name. Any person that has paid a gasoline tax once in their lives, or a sales tax once in their lives, or income tax once in their lives, or a tax labeled a ‘contribution to social insurance’ once in their lives, is just another taxed citizen. Should they decide to live off the sweat of others by taking tax dollars from government, regardless of what you call it, you are on welfare. Every single person on welfare has paid a type of tax at least once in their lives. They can all say they once ‘gave money to government’, or they once ‘paid in’ to something. If millions of people’s money is taken from them by government and given to a lucky few that the government says are disabled enough to retire young then you’re on welfare. The general impropriety of taking money other Canadians had no choice in putting in a ‘pool’ and then keeping it a secret what alleged ‘disability’ you convinced the government you had concerns me. I think Canadians have a right to know whether the people their taxes or ‘pay ins’ support have real disabilities. What is your disability? You have been very reluctant to confess your disability are you ashamed? Do you have a genuine disability?

  • Jwoww

    If part of the paycheck of other Canadians is ‘your business’. If you feel entitled to take a slice of the hard earned money of others, why is it not their business whether you have a real disability? Sounds like a one way street to me. You want you free cake and you get to keep secret the reasons you used to convince government you, a person that uses a computer all day and leaves comments on blogs, allegedly could not work.

  • Jwoww

    All of the criticisms in the following article on American social insurance apply to Canadian social insurance. This is welfare no doubt about it.

  • Francesca Allan

    One doesn’t “beg” to receive CPP disability benefits. Your doctor submits your application and your situation is assessed to see if you meet the criteria. Mine does.

    As is expected, in some cases, people receive more in benefits than they pay in wage deductions. In other cases, it’s the other way around. I am not mooching. I am unable to financially support myself at this time. I do not “choose” to live on these benefits; I would be doing much better financially if I could go back to work.

    You are simply incorrect (once again) that you can have a job for one year and then claim CPP benefits for life. The level of benefits you receive from CPP directly correlates to how much you put into the pool through wage deductions.

    My statement that I paid into CPP was not asinine. It was simply made to try to explain to you how CPP differs from our social assistance program. It wasn’t any kind of “excuse.” I don’t need an excuse to receive the benefits that I am legally and morally entitled to.

    May I ask why you are so intent on attacking somebody on issues of which you have absolutely no knowledge?

  • Francesca Allan

    No, not every governmental financial contribution to a citizen is “welfare.” A woman with breast cancer receiving chemotherapy at no cost is not “on welfare.” An automobile accident victim receiving a ride to the hospital at no cost is not “on welfare.” A person borrowing a book from a library is not “on welfare.” A child receiving K-12 education for free is not “on welfare.”

    I certainly do not consider myself “one of the lucky few” nor do I consider myself “retired.” My disability is genuine, as evidenced by my medical documentation and its acceptance by CPP. The nature of my disability is not being kept a secret. Any staff member of the Canada Pension Plan has full access to that information.

    However, a random member of the public most certainly does not have access to my personal medical information. If you want to term my unwillingness to reveal my personal medical information to a rude, misinformed, intrusive, anonymous online poster as “reluctance,” then, yes, I suppose I am reluctant to give you that information.

    As stated in my last post, I am not the least bit of ashamed of my disability. In fact, I’m very, very proud of the great strides I’ve made and continue to make towards recovery.

    The difference between us is that my prognosis is actually pretty good. But for you, well, there’s no cure for being an asshole.

  • Francesca Allan

    Of course taxpayers should know that disability benefits only go to those with disabilities and that’s why stringent criteria and procedures are put into place. That does not mean, however, that the personal details of each application belong in the public realm. Information regarding my disability and the benefits I receive as a result of it will continue to remain solely between the administrators of CPP, our federal and provincial governments, my treating physician and myself. Nobody else is entitled to that information.

    As clearly stated in a previous comment, I do not use a computer all day. And I do not allege that I am utterly incapable of working. In fact, I already told you that I work part-time. But your position seems to be that if I am unable to work full-time, then I am not entitled to read blogs or comment on them and that seems to me a very strange position to take.

    Your right-wing talking points are moderately entertaining but will do nothing to sway me.

  • Francesca Allan

    No, as I have pointed out to you several times now, there are fundamental distinctions between social assistance and CPP disability benefits.

    The CPPD process is similar to our provincial Medical Services Plan. Paying into the fund is mandatory and, in exchange, anybody requiring medical services receives them free of charge. If that’s your idea of welfare, then, yeah, I guess I live in a welfare state.

  • Francesca Allan

    I just wanted to apologize to readers for getting diverted yesterday into this irrelevant, circular discussion with “Jwoww.” I come to this blog to discuss alternatives to current mental health policy, not to engage in political debate.

  • Phil_Hickey


    Thanks for coming in. For me, the central issue always comes back to the simple fact that the problems/conditions that psychiatry “treats” are not illnesses. It is psychiatry’s steadfast insistence to the contrary that underlies and drives all subsequent errors. Once they’ve convinced themselves that their clients are sick, it becomes easy to justify any and all excesses as “humane and necessary treatment.”

  • The Right Hon. Cledwyn B’Stard

    Hassman’s hatred is the self-justifying hatred the victimizer feels for his victims. Man’s capacity for self-justification stretches to infinity and beyond.

    Psychiatrists like him are living what Ibsen described in “the WIld Duck” as the “life-lie”; engaged in the ugly business of upholding the status quo; stigmatizing the miserable, the unwanted and the despised; abusing the powerless; furthering the cause of social injustice (no matter what society or era you encounter it, state psychiatry is always, au fond, on the side of the society the patient is in either overt or covert conflict with); engaged in all this, and more, the psychiatrist must of necessity retreat into a world of fantasy, because the reality is just too ugly.

    They have inherited the legacy of their predecessors, be they Inquisitors, be they slavemasters, who likewise withdrew into their delusions, delusions constructed out of the materials of desire, and a kind of psychological necessity; to wit, the necessity of thinking of oneself as a good person.

  • feloniousgrammar

    Yes. I’m quite familiar with Dr. Hassman. His thinking is mediocre, his writing risible, and his attitude that everyone is beneath him may be a side-effect of his juvenile Libertarian “philosophy”, or vice versa. Like most libertarians who think of themselves as living at the pinnacle of reason, he’s emotarian. He is so blunted intellectually that he’s too stupid to know when he’s talking to someone more intelligent than he is, more perceptive, and better informed.

    He’s one dimensional. I’d guess, however, that he’s close to average for clinicians, from my experience.

  • feloniousgrammar

    Yes, by that logic,making generalizations about phrenologists is the same as joining the KKK.

  • feloniousgrammar

    Yes. I also wonder what percentage of “drug seeking” patients have been prescribed the drugs they’re asking for? Perhaps some of the people who show up in emotional and “demanding” states, aren’t suffering from discontinuation of the drug previously taken and are in the throes of disorder as their brains go haywire for iatrogenic reasons.

    I’ve never once heard Dr. Hassman say that he wants to help patients taper off their meds or that he’s looking into it and developing a system to help his patients get off the drugs and get into therapy. He also seems to assume that everyone could get therapy for the asking. Working people who need helping keeping their heads above water may find it impossible to get therapy. When being overwhelmed can lead to losing everything, I think the drugs have their uses. Being numb, in the short-run, may help people cope until they can fortify their situation, or at least keep their finger in the dam. But piling a mental illness on them, damning them for life, and giving them drugs for life, is a travesty.

    A lot of we survivors are justifiably angry.

  • feloniousgrammar

    It’s amazing that they go to medical school in order to ignore all possible physical problems that are accompanied by “psychiatric” symptoms. If I had seen a GP and had some blood work done, I would have been prescribed high doses of iron and vitamin C, and would have been right as rain in two weeks. Instead, I was put on rotating cocktails for a decade.

    Years later, when I started to experience a kind of tiredness I never felt before, I practiced what I had learned from my experience with psychiatry and did not make an appointment with one. It felt physical, but nothing came up after a physical so I just lived with it until one day I could not walk or stand. I was diagnosed with MS. Had I seen a psychiatrist, I have no doubt that I would have been given a whole slew of drugs that would scramble my already foggy brain and would have done nothing for what I later learned was fatigue.

    Isn’t it odd that psychiatrists don’t even try to discern differences between low mood, physical exhaustion, sedation, long-term sleep deprivation, and fatigue? There’s a world of differences and talking with a patient might help the psychiatrist and the patient understand why the patient doesn’t feel well.

  • feloniousgrammar

    Direct consumer advertising influences both the patients and the prescribers.

  • feloniousgrammar

    Yeah, well what’s a poor M.D. to do? I recommend the tips that most wage slaves have directed at them:

    Any psychiatrist who does not talk to patients enough to understand the real obstacles and hardships in their lives, or is just to smugly professional to think it matters is a person I think could benefit from having to suffer some of the insecurities and precariousness that most of the people who labor for a living have to endure.

    A great deal of what I’ve seen of psychiatrists appears to be snobbery and misogyny. Is it unjust that their degrees are in a deflationary cycle like almost every other in this global economy? I think not.

  • feloniousgrammar

    It happens. I would have told him that it’s none of his business— once— and would recommend he take his silly arguments to this ironically named website

    where he could emote all day with the rest of the chorus.

  • The Right Hon. Cledwyn B’Stard

    Good points. Yeah, he does seem a bit dim, and the great boon of stupidity is the unassailable self-assurance that comes with it. The worst thing is, is his total lack of self-awareness. He’s one of the most hateful characters I have come across. Either he is completely unaware of this, or he has convinced himself that his hatred is not of a kind with ours, because his (from his delusory perspective), is justified!

    He invites people to come onto his site to debate these issues, but as Carlin said, to paraphrase; one shouldn’t argue with an idiot, he’ll just drag you down to his own level and beat you with experience.

  • Rebecca Smith

    Uh wow this guy sounds like a hateful kinda guy towards me. I am noe of the so called people who actually were kinda forced to take meds and told i wuold be considered non compliant. I had a son so i was not going to sit there and argue too much because of the stigma brought on by misinformation about mental illness. He is an unhealthy buffoon in his own right and needs to take his medicine or he could be put away one day for his overwhelming anger towards others. he does not play well huh?

  • Rebecca Smith

    narcissistic personality disorder kinda fits him too…they have no pills for that, but they they do have therapy.

  • feloniousgrammar

    Check out “The Last Psychiatrist” and tell me if all the same characteristics apply, along with random literary references, and what appears to be a whole lot of drunk blogging.

  • Rebecca Smith

    I just want to know why is there so much hate from a paid professional about his patients and other patients when he is not in the nitty gritty of how we get medicated. he is closing his mind to the facts of medication. I do not beg my docs for meds. i try to stay off of them for my health. Does he see me as a bad patient too? You all should really see what I see in his statements, they are self serving for his anger and they are in fact an action of narcissism at its best. I have seen it up close in person and can see it within his statements. He needs to go outside his own mind and really just talk to us and decide from there, not write vindicating and evil crap about the patients being this way and we make it bad for the psych docs. it is dumb and not very doctor like,. I too had the unfortunate dealings of it being all in my head when it is in my neck too. I have a herniated disc in there and get looked at by my mental illness not the physical problem til now. Really after a year or two and the docs use the dsm as a bible in the medical world too. so who is to blame. no one or both or just the docs being pompous because they went to school. school does not teach manners a person has to earn that before they can be a good doctor anyways. we are all human.

  • Anonymous

    A vending machine could do a psychiatrist’s job. They don’t need to go to medical school. Psychiatrists stop looking inside the human body the day they graduate medical school anyway. A psychiatrist can go a whole 40 year career without ever seeing a human brain, yet they claim to be “brain doctors”, they have no credibility. They are pseudomedical, pseudobiologial, pseudoscientific quacks. They are also violent human rights abusers, you say you have a herniated disc? Every year worldwide, psychiatric thugs in psychiatric facilities violently, forcibly slam people to the floor, manhandling them often for the sole purpose of holding them still so that the victim can be stabbed with a syringe full of psychiatric drugs, in vile forced drugging attacks carried out by psychiatry’s armed thugs. This violence against innocent people causes many back injuries, even deaths. If you value your spinal health, avoid psychiatry’s buildings they falsely label “hospitals” and “wards”, you may well just end up paralyzed after being wrestled to the floor by one of the violent, human rights abusing brain rapists that works there “helping people”.

  • Rebecca Smith

    I have seen others get put down to get there shot if they go off or are what they say innapropriate in the way they have acted. It is not something I myself have put myself in the position of. I when Iam hospitized for that kind of stay do as I am told and try to be honest without getting too angry. I know what it will mean and that is how I keep myself safe against someone doing that to me inpatient, but i get scared they are going to mistake the neck problems with my bipolar again and they wont help me or they will say it is juat psych. My anxiety has been reactivated by the PTSd trauma issues I have with doctors treating me poorly. I do not hurrah at how they treated me i just want to be treated fairly. I can say it sounds like you have had some bad run ins with the docs. my hubby did a couple times and one of them i questioned and they just told me he got mad and had to go back to his room. It was hurtful to hear what my hubby told me. he said he doesnt remember doing anything wrong per ce. I am of simple words and a lot of knowing about how the system works. they actually persuaded me to get shock treatments in a way i think i had no choice for it. nothing too bad happened with me, but others lose everything and that bothers me. it is the same as giving the shot to calm down.

  • Anonymous

    I am so sorry to hear about your shock.

  • Rebecca Smith

    it was my husbands that was worse then what mine was when i got it done. i only forgot what i did that morning. Nothing else. it was a waste of my time and the hospitals.

  • Arby

    Quite late, but I’ll weigh in. My take is he fighting old internet battles that never reached closure. His opinion is valid in certain cases, that is not what I am commenting on. I am speaking about his reaction to those that are not spewing vitrol at him during his most recent encounters.

  • all too easy

    I advocate for not calling psychiatrists names that categorize them as mentally ill by the people who claim to have been devastated from being called mentally ill.

  • all too easy

    Name names, qladpuss.

    Why am I the one always responsible for correcting all the boobs and their boobuses comments around here? Heck, it is a full time job.

    I got changes to rend