Peter Kinderman in Scientific American.  An Important Milestone!

On November 17, Scientific American published on its MIND blog website Why We Need to Abandon the Disease-Model of Mental Health Care, by Peter Kinderman, PhD.

Here are some quotes:

“The idea that our more distressing emotions such as grief and anger can best be understood as symptoms of physical illnesses is pervasive and seductive. But in my view it is also a myth, and a harmful one. Our present approach to helping vulnerable people in acute emotional distress is severely hampered by old-fashioned, inhumane and fundamentally unscientific ideas about the nature and origins of mental health problems. We need wholesale and radical change, not only in how we understand mental health problems, but also in how we design and commission mental health services.”

“It’s all too easy to assume that mental health problems — especially the more severe ones that attract diagnoses like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia — must be mystery biological illnesses, random and essentially unconnected to a person’s life. But when we start asking questions about this traditional disease-model way of thinking, those assumptions start to crumble.”

“But things are changing. Over the past 20 years or so, we’ve seen a very positive and welcome growth of the user and survivor movements, where people who have experienced psychiatric care actively campaign for reform, and signs of more responsible media coverage. We are just starting to see the beginnings of transparency and democracy in mental health care. This has led to calls for radical alternatives to traditional models of care, but I would argue that we do not need to develop new alternatives.
We already have robust and effective alternatives. We just need to use them.”

“This also means we should replace traditional diagnoses with straightforward descriptions of problems. We must stop regarding people’s very real emotional distress as merely the symptom of diagnosable ‘illnesses’. A simple list of people’s problems (properly defined) would have greater scientific validity and would be more than sufficient as a basis for individual care planning and for the design and planning of services.”

“This is an unequivocal call for a revolution in the way we conceptualize mental health and in how we provide services for people in distress, but I believe it’s a revolution that’s already underway.”

Dr. Kinderman is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool.  He has been an ardent critic of psychiatry’s medical model, and has argued cogently and consistently for a genuinely psychosocial approach.

What is particularly noteworthy and gratifying is that Dr. Kinderman’s excellent article appeared on the website of Scientific American, a reputable, mainstream science magazine for the past 66 years.

For decades psychiatry has been very successful in selling the fiction that their concepts and practices are firmly grounded in empirical science.  With the help of their pharma allies, they marketed themselves as rigorous scientists delivering evidence-based treatment for every conceivable problem of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving.

But the reality has overtaken the spin.  And the publication in a mainstream scientific outlet of an article like Dr. Kinderman’s is a milestone to be noted and celebrated.

  • Sweet63

    I would like to see studies on how much of this “illness” stems from young adult failure to launch, or adolescent fear of failure to launch. Maybe it’s chicken-and-egg territory, but it seems like the trouble starts right there.

  • Daniel Burdick


    Why use the words mainstream and respectable in a sentence? Scientific American is not a quote “reputable, mainstream science magazine.”

    Physicist Richard Feynman’s son Carl and others object to the Sci Am Nanotechnology propaganda article:

    Foresight Debate with Scientific American

    “Perhaps, I’m reading too much into the article, but it seemed to me that the writer was attempting to make fun of nanotechnology and the researchers in the field.”

    ” To be more specific, it seems strange that the same article which mentions Nobelist Richard P. Feynman’s 1959 speech “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom”, would then turn around and use Feynman’s words about Cargo Cult science to denigrate an idea that Feynman himself points to in his 1959 speech.”
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    Scientific American is now a propaganda mouthpiece, as other things are in USA controlled media, to such an extent that it has merged with the Quackwatch, Rational, Sceptic, Amazing Randy propaganda operations.

    Scientific American thus of course acts as a Psychiatry propaganda mouthpiece.

    So how is this piece consistent with that reality? Here we have survivors of psychiatry linked with the particular uniform group of “Professional Critics” of Psychiatry of the Critical Psychiatry, Robert Whitaker, Loren Mosher, MindFreedom, Peter Breggin, David Cohen type.

    In this uniform propaganda message – USA NIMH/APA Psychiatry whose science and actions ire.. so wrong, reprehensible… has somehow also been — honestly pursuing scientific proof for their sincere Biologic ideas and been unable to find any such proof despite their honest efforts…

    In this group of propaganda messages: drugs do nothing specific at all, the APA has no Medical tests for any label “diagnosis” and thus absolutely nothing exists to test for, and biologic Psychiatry is simply wrong – and what is needed instead is to use Psychotherapy and Counseling. People have “overwhelm” and “normal human emotions,” they “experience extreme states.” This calls for non-Medical Alternatives! This is the repeated message, the stance we are supposed to use ourselves according to these people.

    APA/NAMI/NIMH Psychiatry is reductionist and tried very hard to come up with proof and was unable. People need holistic non-Medical help.

    This has been developed as a uniform propaganda message and they want it linked to all opposition to Psychiatry and to the consumer survivor movement.

    The APA/NIMH has of course NOT tried diligently and honestly to find supportive scientific proof to its (supposed) biological ideas of causation. They instead insist on their being the Authority experts, and that “diagnosis” should be dome by Professionals trained to select people into DSM descriptive categories as “diagnosis.” They insist that lucrative Patented centrally acting drugs and the new improved versions are the state of the art.

    They have people “diagnosing” non-Medically via DSM names (based on behavior, interview, Psychological word tests – no blood tests used) (the official names a person with a descriptive category and that constitutes the whole of diagnosis) and treating faux Medically with prescription pills.

    That is how the congame was set up with the DSM-3 project and the suppression of biochemical Medicine with the 58 page 1973 (con-job) peer review APA Task Force 7 Report.

    They set up the NAMI front in this time period as well a fake independent grassroots concerned organization that supports all the NIMH/APA propaganda, political moves, DSM naming as diagnosis and for sale drug items.

    To state that they diligently pursued scientific proof of their biologically reductionist Medical model ideas is absurd.

    The created their propaganda operation.

    So this article and other’s of its type represent that the drug company Psychiatry purported to be scientific but was not and though it tried hard for decades couldn’t get scientific validation that was actually legitimate.

    The Medical model is wrong and people have “over whelm” to turn away from the Medical model is to turn toward humanistic, non-Medical ALTERNATIVES.

    Use less “medications” and give more money to Psychotherapy clinics.

    This entire group scrupulously leaves out the biological biochemical ALTERNATIVES to the APA/NAMI/NIMH fake propaganda “Medical model” drug salesmen propaganda.

    What is the opposite of fraudulent Medical treatments? Non-Medical Alternatives? Non-Fraudulent legitimate Medical treatments? Or both.

    Divide and conquer – Survivors are importuned to use only Psychotherapists arguments in opposing the fraudulent psychopharmacology version of “Medical” Psychiatry. They want to prevent us from using the knowledge about non-Fraudulent non-Propaganda Medical tests and therapies.

    This group of propaganda sources gives ‘all two sides’ — of a three sided issue. It tells us uniform messages that result in inadequately presenting reality and inadequately opposing NIMH, APA, ACNP, drug shock label-diagnose Psychiatry.

    That’s why it appears in “Scientific American,” it is a part of their modus operandi. An onion layer of manipulation.

    Peter Breggin for instance goes to great lengths to expose and oppose Psych drugs causing Tardive Diskinesia while consistently failing over the years to link to people describing treatments and prophylaxis. See Walter Lemmo and Charles Gant at Safe Harbor Project and google Richard Kunin manganese Tardive. An arbitrary disconnect and one repeated over and over by these our imposed fearless leadership.

    Let’s lead ourselves let’s merge psychosocial theorist rhetoric with that of suppressed biochemical Medicine practitioners.

    Dan B.

    David Moyer, LCSW

    David Moyer, LCSW

    Democratic Underground×2889676

    Wellness Hour with Hyla Cass, M.D. Psychiatrist

    45 Years of Clinical Experience Treating Psychiatric Disorders Hugh Riorden, M.D. Psychiatrist

    Red Ice Radio – Andrew Saul, Ph.D. The War on Vitamins

    Masks of Madness with Margot Kidder (promotional documentary by Biochemical Psychiatrists and patients)

    Margot Kidder Keystone Pipeline Activist, Actress, Recovered from Bipolar

    NAMI Lane County – Introduction statement by Eva Edelman author

    A Tale of Recovery from Panic Disorder and OCD “Something that I don’t understand that bothers me greatly, is that the medical profession does not currently recognise the link between gut bacteria and mental health. There is acknowledgement that bacteria can cause illnesses such as bacterial pneumonia, endocarditis and rheumatic fever, but there is a gaping hole in the area of mental health and its connection to bacteria. ”

    Finding the Medical Causes of Severe Mental Symptoms: The Extraordinary Walker Exam
    by Dan Stradford
    Founder, Safe Harbor Project

    One Person’s WRAP Plan: Recovery Using Restorative Orthomolecular Medicine Robert Sealey, BSc, CA

  • cledwyn

    Yeah, it’s a pretty interesting article, though I don’t think there’s anything remarkable about what Kinderman is saying. I feel that most of what is being written by most of the critics is largely just a recycling of what other people have been saying for ages. For this reason I don’t bother buying books about psychiatry any more, because they always turn out to be nothing new or particularly insightful, in my opinion.

    What’s more interesting are the comments below the article, which is mostly dominated by comments from people ill-adapted to dealing with criticism, some of them notoriously vile defenders of the medical model, including the vomitive Miss Gina Pera, a real tyrant manque, who has written an execrable waste of paper about ADHD.

    The comments are interesting not just because they disclose the author’s inability to contain his/her emotions, but because they epitomize the stupidity and irrationality we are dealing with here.

    My favourite sentence is “new avenues of understanding and conceptualization of mental illness are opening up…”!?!? Avenues of conceptualization? People have been sectioned on the basis of similar utterances. This is a guy who gives a link to that notorious sewage outlet “mentalillnesspolicy”, founded, if my memory serves me correctly, by DJ Jaffe, a rabble-rouser and proponent of involuntary psychiatry, as well as a man whose background in advertising has established in him some very bad habits, such as lying (no wonder he’s gone into the “mental health/illness industry. A logical progression.)

    One person even talks of “physical mental illnesses”??????????? I’ve encountered some pretty amusing aberrations of the intellect amongst mental healthers, but this one especially so. If a person has got a physical illness that causes mental symptoms, like Alzheimers, we don’t say they have a physical mental illness.

    The person who writes this can’t afford to acknowledge this, because she is a “service provider”.

    I would agree that the origins of mental distress are largely social, as Kinderman says, but I do believe it important to keep in mind that they are also largely to do with the peculiarities of the human mind and to do with living in an age characterized by the erosion of the old religious certainties which, historically, have provided people with a psychological and existential security blanket.

  • all too easy

    After four days of testimony, the six jurors deliberated just one hour Thursday before ruling unanimously that Yoder should remain in the Chester Mental Health Center. He’s been held there since June 1991.

    Randolph County assistant state’s attorney Michael Burke said the result was the same as Yoder’s 11 previous commitment hearings for one simple reason:

    “Rodney is dangerous.”

    Yoder, 44, is one of about two dozen people in Illinois who have been involuntarily committed to mental institutions for more than a decade.

    Intelligent, articulate, persistent but often abrasive, Yoder gets attention and support with a constant barrage of phone calls and letters to journalists and others.

    His case received a five-page spread in Time magazine this year. It was reported recently on National Public Radio.

    Yoder had several strikes against him in this week’s hearing:

    An aggravated battery conviction for beating a girlfriend in 1979, with his probation revoked for returning two weeks later to threaten her with a knife.

    He told the jury her injuries were exaggerated.

    An aggravated battery conviction for clubbing his ex-wife over the head with a chair leg in 1990. He told the jury he was drinking heavily and didn’t remember the incident.

    An outburst after leaving a hearing in Champaign in 1997 in which he bit a transport officer on the arm through the man’s leather coat and shirt. Yoder said he was shackled and being harassed.

    An attack two years ago on a fellow patient, whom Yoder cracked over the head with a sock full of flashlight batteries. Yoder told the jury the man was a “gangbanger” who had it coming.

    A series of about 130 obscenity-laced letters Yoder wrote from 1993 to 1996 in which he told people he would have them or their children killed. He told the jury it was simply a ruse to get transferred to federal custody.

    Testimony by two psychologists and a psychiatrist that Yoder is mentally ill and dangerous due to a delusional disorder that causes him to think he is being persecuted, plus a paranoid personality disorder.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Did Rod abide by the 2013 IL App (5th) 130025-U NO. 5-13-0025 IN THE APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS FIFTH DISTRICT affirmed decision upholding a plenary stalking no contact order entered against him and in favor of the petitioner, Christina L. Jacoby, in the circuit court of Madison County.
    Didn’t his second ex-wife request a no contact order, too?