Nobody wanted to listen, 9

Ronald Laing and anti-psychiatry

What’s written above leads me to a corollary to my book How to Murder Your Child’s Soul. The universal stubbornness or blindness about the ravages resulting from parental abuse is the cause of the existence of psychiatry. Because parents are taboo, for more than a century the profession has tried to find the source of mental disorders on the wrong side, the body. Parents are not only publicly untouchable: we are not even allowed to see their actions in the solitude of our bedrooms. So, when uncontaminated by social underpinnings, a child dares to say that his parental kings go naked, society completely loses its cool and labels the sane one who has told the truth as crazy. Through the involuntary administration of drugs it assaults the brain not of the disturbed parents, but of the child (analogously, in the former Soviet Union it was the sanest people, the dissidents, who were injected with antipsychotics). This was the tragedy that I tried to denounce in my previous books, and it is perfectly explainable if we start from the fact that the whole society strives to be blind on this matter.

A world that insists on seeing things in photographic negative can only (1) attack the child victim, or (2) ignore the adult in a literary search for his lost time. If such a vision in photonegative didn’t exist, bio-psychiatry wouldn’t exist: our eyes and hearts would make us see the toll that abuse entails. Psychic disturbances would be the province of the psychologist, and it would be seen as nonsense that they would be the province of the physician. It is more than ironic that the greatest critics of psychiatry have contributed, with their blindness, to perpetuate the pseudoscience they try to debunk.

To explain this situation, I would like to mention that in 2005 an American wrote me a letter. After reading ‘Why Psychiatry is a False Science’ published as an appendix to my previous book (the article that Laurence Simon refused to publish), he complained that after so many decades of activism critics of psychiatry hadn’t made a dent in the public conscience. The key to understanding this is that the critics themselves suffer from a blind spot in the centre of their vision: something similar to the black strip that appears on pay-TV channels. If the critics refuse to see what is central, that parental abuse causes neuroses and psychoses, and if it is from this black strip that it is intended to enlighten others, it shouldn’t be surprising that the public conscience hasn’t awakened.

______ 卐 ______

 
Interpolated note for this site:

Exactly the same happens to white nationalists, as Mike has told us on this site: ‘Whatever you want to call it, thinking you can aid in saving the white race while, at the same time, bending the knee to Jewish deities (Yahweh and Yeshua) is some kind of combination of insane, dishonest, cowardly, naive, or very stupid. To bottom line it, it won’t and can’t work’.

I used Mike’s words to debunk MacDonald at the end of my Daybreak.

______ 卐 ______

 
To clarify this point, I will now refer to those professionals who didn’t suffer from this blind spot. Unlike Szasz and Breggin’s epigones, Lidz, Laing, Arieti and others pointed to parents as responsible for the psychoses in their patients. But even these and many other psychiatrists didn’t sympathise with the victim with the integrity and empathy that Miller and I do. For example, in the Letter I quoted Theodore Lidz:

I also find it very distressing that because the parents’ attitudes and interactions are important determinants of schizophrenic disorders, some therapists and family caseworkers treat parents as villains who have ruined the lives of their patients.

Although I barely caught a glimpse of it when I wrote the Letter, now I clearly see in this sentence the typical fears to speak, without mincing words, of parental guilt. By resisting saying that abusive parents are what they are—the villains in the child’s movie—Lidz advised taking the victim away from his parent. The difference with Miller cannot be greater, who advises keeping the aggressor away from home. What’s the point of moving, say, a pubescent girl raped by her father if the aggressor stays at home, waiting for the next little sister to grow up to molest her too? But sexual abuse isn’t the most common.

At the time of reviewing this chapter, as of mid-2008, twenty-eight nations have prohibited corporal punishment of children. The dates indicate the year the legislation came into force, starting with the country that provided the example: Sweden (1979); Finland (1983); Norway (1987); Austria (1989); Cyprus (1994); Latvia (1998); Croatia (1999); Bulgaria, Israel and Germany (2000); Iceland (2003); Romania and Ukraine (2004); Hungary (2005); Greece (2006), Chile, Holland, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela (2007); Costa Rica, Italy, Japan, Malta and South Africa (2008). In Iceland, a country that illustrates Miller’s advice, the penalties for parents go up to three years in prison or a high fine. Note that these countries have omitted to include psychological and emotional abuse, which can be equally destructive, or even more so, since all bruises are internal (think of the Helfgott case and countless other schizogenic parents). Despite these legislative advances, these societies still cannot see other forms of undermining the emotional integrity of the children. Laing, who did focus on internal injuries, was closer to Miller than Lidz when he came to blatantly blame the maddening parents. But like Szasz, Laing philosophised from an ivory tower: cold and distant reason from the victim and his feelings, as was fashionable in the existential philosophy of his time. Much more reached the real person those who, without any philosophical ballast, addressed the issue of domestic violence: a revolution in psychology that began in the 1970s and 1980s and isn’t yet over. In the first chapter of The Divided Self (1960) entitled ‘The existential-phenomenological foundations for a science of persons’ Laing wrote:

It seems extraordinary that whereas the physical and biological sciences of it-processes have generally won the day against tendencies to personalize the world of things or to read human intentions into the animal world, an authentic science of persons has hardly got started by reason of the inveterate tendency to depersonalize or reify persons.

Laing refers to mental health professionals in particular and the social sciences in general.

If it is held that to be unbiased one should be ‘objective’ in the sense of depersonalizing the person who is the ‘object’ of our study, any temptation to do this under the impression that one is thereby being scientific must be rigorously resisted. Depersonalization in a theory that is intended to be a theory of persons is as false as schizoid depersonalization of others and is no less ultimately an intentional act. Although conducted in the name of science, such reification yields false ‘knowledge’. It is just as pathetic a fallacy as the false personalization of things.

In philosophising about the autobiographical genre, I came to these conclusions on my own. Animism and bio-reductionism are antithetical psychopathologies, one primitive and tribal and the other sophisticated and urban. And this objectifying people reminds me of the dehumanised language of the analyst Solbein: ‘Those are common clinical experiences’. [Interpolated note for this blog: See also Krist Krusher’s recent comment on this site.] Laing continues:

It is unfortunate that personal and subjective are words so abused as to have no power to convey any genuine act of seeing the other as person (if we mean this we have to revert to ‘objective’), but imply immediately that one is merging one’s own feelings and attitudes into one’s study of the other in such a way as to distort our perception of him. In contrast to the reputable ‘objective’ or ‘scientific’, we have the disreputable ‘subjective’, ‘intuitive’, or, worst of all, ‘mystical’. It is interesting, for example, that one frequently encounters ‘merely’ before subjective, whereas it is almost inconceivable to speak of anyone being ‘merely’ objective.

So far I’m in perfect agreement with Laing. Remember the passage of the two universes, the empirical and the interior; and that the existence of the subjective universe is so real that it is enough to think about our death to verify it [mentioned in the first part of the book]. However, Laing adds:

The greatest psychopathologist has been Freud. Freud was a hero. He descended to the ‘Underworld’ and met there stark terrors. He carried with him his theory as a Medusa’s head which turned these terrors to stone. We who follow Freud have the benefit of the knowledge he brought back with him and conveyed to us.

As I pointed out in my previous book, for Jeffrey Masson psychoanalysis was born as a betrayal of women. The Oedipus complex was nothing more than a grotesque attempt to cast guilt on the victims who came to Freud’s office to tell him stories of incest. Analytic theory is the diametrically opposite of wielding the head of the Medusa. If there is such a thing as the antithesis of the hero, that was Sigmund Freud: an ethnic Jew who, although he reached the threshold, was afraid to enter the Underworld and face pure terrors (remember my dreams when commenting on Giorgio de Chirico’s painting). Laing, an idol in my twenties, portrayed Freud in photographic negative and saw the dark as bright. Like many intellectuals of his day, Laing was seduced by the apotheosis of the Vienna quack, something in which Szasz was much more cautious.

When I reread Laing, I did so with a renewed mind after reading Masson, Szasz, and other critics of the psychoanalytic movement. In my rereading of the last chapter of The Divided Self I realised that Julie, one of Laing’s patients, was admitted to a psychiatric ward for almost a decade. If Laing himself hadn’t suffered from the scientific objectivity that he criticises, he would have empathised with Julie denouncing those who locked her up. True, in stark contrast to Szasz and Simon, Laing blamed mothers like Julie’s for their daughter’s psychosis. However, in The Divided Self he never made it clear that the mere fact of locking her up could aggravate her condition. In what I am close to Laing is that when reading his essay one is left under the impression that Julie’s mother, more than psychiatry, ‘murdered a girl’. These are the words of Julie speaking parabolically about herself: she meant that her mother murdered her tender soul. Now, the person Julie, not the object of Laing’s essay, needed to be taken away from the psychiatric hospital and from the mother who committed her; to take her to live far from her ‘murderer’. When she began her psychotic crisis at seventeen years old and said ‘a little girl was murdered’ Julie thought that she should inform the police about the crime.

Her delirium was closer to Miller’s posture than to the psychiatric that locked her up. The laws of a nation should seek to lock up the maddening parent, not the victim (who, in a state of florid psychosis, would have to be cared for in a non-repressive enclosure like the one that Laing presided over). In a just society that doesn’t see reality in the photonegative, this would naturally be done through the police. But in her chapter on Julie, Laing never suggests this. In fact, both the word victim and an exhortation of justice are the great absent in The Divided Self. Also, Laing doesn’t denounce the psychiatric re-victimisation of other women clearly maddened by their family. In another of his famous books, The Politics of Experience, he limits himself to reproaching society for misunderstanding psychoses. Sometimes Laing even seems to participate in the universal fear of touching the parent. Speaking of Julie’s mother, Laing mentions one of the fashionable concepts in the 1950s, the ‘schizophrenogenic mother’ but is quick to add that, fortunately in his opinion, there was no other ‘witch hunt’ in history: an equivocal comparison with women labelled witches centuries ago. If there is one thing the world needs, through the law that Miller outlines, it is to bring to justice every parent who murders children souls. The basic pathology of our society is that this crime, and this crime alone, must remain not only unpunished but invisible. For example, Silvano Arieti, Laing’s colleague across the Atlantic, talked a lot about psychotherapy in Interpretation of Schizophrenia. But he never proposed any social engineering to redress the problem of maddening parents; and he didn’t do so despite the fact that Arieti blames them for the psychotic state of his patients.

‘To my mother and father’ reads the dedication of Laing’s The Divided Self. ‘To my parents’, the dedication of Arieti’s Interpretation of schizophrenia (etymologically, schizophrenia means a divided self). Naturally, the most sophisticated thinkers of insanity also had parents. (In my next book we will hear a class about the problem of attachment with the perpetrator that explains the lukewarmness of Laing, Arieti and others.) Not until the middle of The Divided Self Laing speaks openly about abusive parents. In contrast, Miller and I do it from the first page of our writing, and passionately.

After reading The Divided Self, the best of Laing’s essays, I was convinced that there can be no such thing as a science of subjects. Seen from the outside, the subject inevitably becomes an object: an offense for those who want to speak with their own voice. This is precisely the foundational flaw of academic psychology. If science is the study of the empirical world there can be no such thing as a ‘science of persons’, only people writing about their lives. Although Laing had much more heart than Freud, and this puts him on a higher level to understand the tragedy of the person in crisis, he starts from the same objectivist position. His essays and those of Lidz are, at best, a solidary approach to the disturbed subject. It’s funny that in The Divided Self Laing quotes Sartre: ‘I am not fond of the word psychological. There is no such thing as the psychological. Let us say that one can improve the biography of the person’. I would go further. The direct study of a soul in psychotic hell can only come from the pen of someone who, like Modrow, speaks in the first person singular.

Nobody wanted to listen, 6

A humanitarian analyst

Once again, I will be told that I chose the wrong people: that the Escobars were unfortunate cases and that in the world there are professionals capable of understanding a tragedy for what it is, a tragedy and call a spade a spade. Let’s now see what happened to me with the most benevolent analyst I have ever met.

Dr. Carlos García had lent money to my parents when they were going to be expelled from their house in Tlalpan for not paying it. Likewise, when I was unemployed at twenty-three, García invited me to play chess with him once a week and paid for my classes. Almost two decades later, the same month as my disagreement with the Escobars, I went to his house to personally deliver a copy of my Letter to him. Let’s see what my diary says of that encounter in his home study:

July 15, 1998

Today I went to see Dr. García and he surprised me with several comments that corroborate my vision of him as a good person. For example, he told me ‘I have never committed a patient since 1960’ and used the word ‘curse’ from Szasz, with whom he says he agrees, when referring to psychiatric labelling.

Given the prestige that the doctor has in society, Tom Szasz says that the semantic stigma with which the psychiatrist denigrates his victim results in a social curse.

He liked Ronald Laing because of his colourful personality, and he told me that Laing played bassoon and had died playing tennis in Monaco.

Also, and this is novel because it qualifies what I wrote in previous pages, it vindicated the role of benevolent analysts like him. He told me that at psychiatrists’ symposia he had been blatantly told ‘That won’t work’—psychoanalysis. ‘This is where the buck is made’— psychiatry—since psychiatrists earn four times as much as analysts. He has had schizophrenic patients and one ‘labelled’—he used that word—of manic-depressive who had been prescribed lithium for life, but he left her well with only therapy, taking away the medicine. The shrink who had treated her before ‘was on the same page’ he told me, pointing to a book by Ramón de la Fuente.

This was a splendid start, and everything suggested that I had finally found a friendly ear in a professional. A doctor who recognises fraud in his profession can be a guarantee of good feelings towards the victims of the parents and the doctors who pay them. A month after I gave him my manuscript I excitedly called García to see what impact my precious text had caused. I don’t know shorthand, but I managed to jot down some important phrases by writing as fast as I could while talking to him on the phone:

17 of August. ‘It is very well written. It is a good testimony, like Kafka’s letter. In my opinion, the family problem must be removed: by removing the names, it could become a good testimony to be known socially; we must remove the character of denunciation and give it more social and collective function. It has curative action. It is a book against family, medical institutions and in particular, ahem, the health [apparently an euphemism for the psychiatric] institution. With pseudonyms… hopefully it may be published’.

This opinion encouraged me and I made a new appointment with him. But I must confess something. Years before I had been offended by García when in his home study he defended Amara against my complaint. That happened before I started my psychiatry research and could properly present my case in two books. But García’s comments about my Letter reconciled me to him, at least momentarily. The day I saw him, back in his home study, I wrote these reflections in my diary:

August 28. Today I went to see him and spent an hour and a half talking to him. I was wrong in believing that García wasn’t compassionate. The first thing he said about my Letter to Mama Medusa was: ‘I was so amazed. I felt moved’.

And he did talk about Amara: that there was no communication, although I remember that he was ambiguous about assigning blame (he implied that it was necessary to find out where the error came from). But he did say that instead of wanting to understand family dynamics Amara turned to drugs. This comment and others end the resentment I had for him when he long ago repudiated my criticism of his colleague. He also spoke of the terrible lack of communication with my parents as a teenager. That was the year [1974] that García met me at my parents’ school. He was incomparably more human than Angelica, Hector and not to mention Solbein. García confirmed to me that no physician in Mexico publicly opposes psychiatry. Almost at the beginning he spoke of ‘the high-risk situation’ in which I found myself as a teenager. But he added that it would be ‘pamphlet’ if I didn’t use pseudonyms, which was ‘the only objection’ he made to my text.

So García advised me the same as Tere: he was more concerned with the public image of my family than with my need to report the case.

Without having assimilated this fact, two years later I would send him How to Murder Your Child’s Soul. Once again, I wrote down what he was saying to me over the phone. The brackets and ellipsis mean that I couldn’t write down his sentences in full, but the fragments are significant to know what García was thinking:

June 9, 2000.

What a disappointment! Dr. García told me:

‘I read half. I haven’t finished it; the question of sight has become more acute. From what I have read, I believe that you are wasting time and vital energy on the family matter. [You have to] put a line, a full stop and dedicate yourself to other issues. The critique of psychiatry is somewhat outdated; I feel it’s anachronistic, like that criticism of Dr. Amara. As far as I have read, if you reoriented your critical skills in another field… I think there was a series of misunderstandings and it led to suffering… My point of view [is that you should abandon your project so] you don’t have to continue paying the toll of what happened to you in youth. [I would suggest that] the question of Dr. Amara be put aside’.

I asked him ‘Are you friends?’ and he replied: ‘Not properly. We don’t treat each other; I don’t know about his activities. My opinion isn’t influenced by a question of friendship’.

García’s little sermon caused me enormous indignation. I embarked on a reflection for several days that made me fill my diary with expletives. I didn’t respond to García either at his home study or in writing because it would have been useless. But on the very day of his paternalistic advice I wrote down this soliloquy:

Do you remember his defence of Amara years ago that hurt me? Good!: history repeats itself. All this corroborates my view that only apostates of an ideology understand reality. García is an analyst. He never apostatised from his profession: he’s part of the guild. His internal alliances don’t allow him to see reality. He’s like Hector Escobar: good people but wrong. I mustn’t interact with them at all! I mustn’t speak to him again. You have to accept your solitude, Caesar: no professional will be able to understand you since the profession itself is a trap. Now the last door is closing…

11th of June. One of the nonsense that García told me that I didn’t write down the day before was that continuing my literary project ‘could harm me’. This shows that analysts know nothing of the mind. What García ignores (‘so that you don’t continue paying the toll on what happened to you in your youth’) is that you cannot start a different life without money. And even with money I would write first and only later would I dedicate myself to the cinema, for the simple reason that it’s now that my soliloquies from those years are alive and need to be written down. I have been a mountain philosopher for decades and it would be a crime if, by dedicating myself to something else, they would go out of my memory. I don’t see in what other areas I could help myself and other victims more than by telling my life.

June 17. There is something more serious in García’s response. If Amara keeps destroying teenagers in his office it is deeply immoral to say ‘put it aside’. That advice presupposes as an absolute fact that Amara hasn’t destroyed and is not destroying other young people. García didn’t deny my accusation, he simply ignored it, no matter how obvious the fact that, since Amara and other psychiatrists continue to do these things, my testimony would serve to combat them. Without knowing it, García is part of the system. His message seems to be: Your text is changing the rules of the game for me (he used those words!). I won’t read it all: it may endanger my POV about my colleagues.

June 27th. Another thing. That response from García, allying internally with someone who deserves a trial in court, shows that therapy is really a very bad thing. There is no getting around this conclusion: If García had scolded me for denouncing his colleague in the past, I’d have been terribly confused. Well, something similar happened to me years ago, but in 1976 I would have panicked. I must use this in the future to show the accuracy of Jeffrey Masson’s stance: All therapy is toxic. Now I just hate him. As a teenager he would have hurt me.

Imagine this: suppose my book has already been published and is selling well. If a journalist interviewed García to talk about the literary novelty, he couldn’t have come out with the advice he gave me. It wouldn’t have been so easy to escape. He must have faced what I wrote in that half that he read. But talking to an analyst in private lends itself to violating the most elementary rules of logic and common sense. Therapists despise what their clients tell them and shy away like children. It is too evident that the Amaras, Santarellis, Krassoievitchs, Millanes, Corrales and even Garcías [the analysts who have offended me] should only be challenged in my writings. In other words, their offices are a Wonderland where the accusations are ignored, disregarded.

Remember that counselling the victim instead of reforming the perpetrator is what Miller calls poisonous pedagogy, and the same goes for trying to ‘educate’ the victim without vindicating him against the curse that Szasz spoke of.

It is clear, Caesar, that you shouldn’t expect anything from those in the cult of psychoanalysis, including those who originally showed a good heart. They all belong to a quasi-religion and will not apostatise from it. They will take it to their graves. Forget about them. If they weren’t so religious, García and Escobar could’ve called me to politely discuss our differences. They won’t do it: this is a world without morals and the García case exemplifies it. Instead of telling me something about my accusations, they close their minds. Like my sister Korina, they give advice. It seems that the taboo on these topics is much more widespread than expected. It isn’t just my parents. It isn’t only the old Uncle Beto and Godmother or my cousins Héctor, Octavio and Carmina. People who agree with Szasz himself, such as García, also have closed minds (and let’s not talk about doctors Santarelli, Millán and other renowned analysts who have offended me terribly). That is your world Caesar, like it or not. My message is for other people. Don’t give your pearls to pigs anymore.

June 28th. I can’t leave Garcia alone. I think of the phrases ‘that criticism of doctor Amara…’, ‘there was a series of misunderstandings…’ I didn’t criticise Amara: I denounced him! Using the word ‘criticism’ suggests something like an opinion, a point of view: as if in my book I hadn’t talked about criminal actions, not ‘misunderstandings’! See now this: ‘If you reoriented your critical capacity to another field…’ Imagine telling Solzhenitsyn to redirect his criticism to a field outside Russia! I have been thinking many things about Garcia. It’s a great indicator of how bad his profession is.

García also told me by phone that the National Institute of Psychiatry [known also as INP in Mexico] ‘hadn’t allowed a patient to be committed because it was involuntary’. With this argument he tried to refute my manuscript (‘the criticism of psychiatry is somewhat outdated’) by assuming that in recent years the profession has become more humanitarian. I was speechless. It couldn’t be that I, decades younger than García, knew that the INP is the only psychiatric hospital in Mexico City in which internment is voluntary. In the large psychiatric hospital next door to García’s home, the Fray Bernardino Álvarez Hospital, involuntary psychiatry is practiced, such as electroshocking the inmates! The INP does it too, but it brainwashes the patients into undergoing therapy with their consent. Of course: they aren’t warned that that ‘therapy’ produces amnesia. A woman who was interned at the INP told me in 2005 that the electroshocks that were applied to her there erased her memories of a trip. It is also worth mentioning that the director of the INP, Gerard Heinze, told me personally that he mentions the magic word ‘Fray Bernardino’ to intimidate his patients into submitting to electroshock ‘therapy’.(*)

Garcia’s ignorance of psychiatry in the year 2000 stems from his incredible—truly incredible—blindness before the human rights violations that take place a few blocks from his home. The only psychiatric facility in the country that locks up children, the Juan N. Navarro Children’s Hospital, is also close to his home! In which bubble was Dr. García living? A few months before García told me that the criticism of my manuscript was outdated, the Mexican magazine Proceso had published a cover article exposing the crimes committed in a national psychiatric hospital run by the state. My diary from 2000 continues:

June 29. Oh García: I can’t leave you! Two years ago you told me that the schizoid label is ‘label’ and ‘a curse as Szasz says’. But when a colleague of yours labels me as a teenager while I am perfectly sane, and as an adult I want to denounce him, then you tell me: ‘Amara must be put aside’. Isn’t this precisely schizophrenia?

The anger caused by the old friend’s scolding was such that in my diaries I continued to go after him sporadically in 2001, 2002, 2003 and even 2004. But the above is enough to provide an idea of the bile that I spilled over his little piece of advice and scolding: the ‘poisonous pedagogy’ that Miller speaks of in its purest expression!

Carlos García did exactly the same that my pseudo-friend Tere had done to me. They both advised me to abandon my literary project. They didn’t realise that just by giving me that advice they would become themselves characters in such a project. The only difference is that Tere wanted to dissuade me from publishing my Letter to mom Medusa, where I denounce the crime of my parents; García wanted to dissuade me from publishing How to Murder Your Child’s Soul, where I exposed his colleague Amara. For Tere as well as for García and many others, the crimes that society commits with a family child must remain hidden. No one is to pronounce names. This pair reminds me of the first Gulag fugitive who escaped from an archipelago island and published a book about his experiences. In a crazy western world where Stalin used to be worshiped, the fugitive’s testimony was ignored and its author was subjected to the same kind of expletives that I received.
____________

(*) With another anti-psychiatric activist, in 2002 I interviewed Gerard Heinze, the director of the INP, and later I wrote a report about that visit.

Published in: on October 14, 2020 at 5:43 pm  Comments Off on Nobody wanted to listen, 6  

Advice to victims of psych abuse

To contextualise this series about psychiatry, see: here. Below, an abridged translation of a chapter of one of the books that I wrote at the beginning of the century:
 
After the parody of the previous pages I recover my original voice.

If you are a victim of abusive parents, the ideal is that you run away before they harm you.

If you stay in your parents’ home and they want to take you to the therapist, you blunder by believing he’ll be your ally. If you need someone to talk to, do it with a friend of your entire confidence. Don’t go with someone who makes his living from what abusive parents pay him, not even to one session. Remember that society gives the therapist powers to slander you with a psych label.

In case you have already gone with a therapist never, ever take any ‘medicine’ he gives you. These legal drugs are more toxic than the illegal ones that are being sold on the street. Having a real confident outside the mental health profession is the best option.

Alas, sometimes there is no one to trust or who is willing to listen. The family is such a monolithic institution that there are many taboos to question it, and the psychiatric profession has deceived many people.

In some cities there are places for people in distress where you can get some shelter. When I lived in England, part of the college course on mental health consisted of visiting Drop-in centres. I realised that only a few of those who took shelter there were genuinely disturbed; the majority were unemployed people in Manchester. It was refreshing to see that in those centres there were no psychiatrists or other professionals, not even social workers. No one who sided society or the family directed these centres. They even offered me to work if I volunteered. It’s not a bad idea that you go to one of these shelters for people in distress.

If the city where you live lacks a Drop-in shelter, or if there are no jobs to flee from your abusive parents, or if you are suffering from a panic attack, go to the nearest library and see if they have books by Alice Miller (child abuse) or Robert Whitaker (the most readable critic of psychiatry). If not, ask for any of these books:
 

Thomas Szasz, Anti-Freud: Karl Kraus’s criticism of psychoanalysis and psychiatry (NY: Syracuse University Press, 1990).

The critique of language is the most radical of all critiques. This is the number one book in my list because if we don’t uproot from our vocabulary the Newspeak of psychiatrists, psychoanalysts and clinical psychologists it will be impossible to understand the victims of the family. The millenarian humanities history, biography and especially autobiography after Modrow (see below) are more than enough to understand the human mind. The new and aggressive psychiatric and psychoanalytic ideologies, and especially their language, only mystify our self-understanding.

Karl Kraus, who lived in Freud’s Vienna, was a man of good heart who perceived the dangers that the Newspeak of psychiatry and psychoanalysis represented for the underprivileged of his native city. Kraus tried to debunk it in the strongest terms in his periodical, but his admonitions fell in deaf ears:

Yes, our pitiable state is partly caused by stupidity […]. Profound stupidity carries deep conviction and cannot be bought off for any price. The greatest public menace, therefore, is the incorruptible psychiatric expert […]. The very unselfishness with which such psychiatric outrages are perpetrated suggests that they spring from pathological imbecility rather than from any other source. If only such idiocies were not destined, in each and every case, to destroy a life! (p. 135).

I would recommend reading Anti-Freud together with the appendix of 1984 where Orwell resumes ‘The principles of Newspeak’.
 

John Modrow, How to become a schizophrenic: the case against biological psychiatry (Seattle: Apollyon Press, second edition, 1996).

In spite of the fact that Modrow uses a psychiatric label on the very title, on the first page he writes mockingly:

Actually I have about much belief in the reality of ‘schizophrenia’ as I have in the reality of witchcraft or demonic possession.

This book consists of two parts: an autobiographical recount of the author’s experiences about how he lost his mind when he was young due to parental abuse, and a scientific debunking of psychiatry.

The value of Modrow’s book lies in that compared to, say, a brilliant essay by Ronald Laing about madness, Modrow explains how he lost his mind from his own subjective experience. Given the unique value autobiography has in the true study of the human psyche, Modrow’s study must be considered a paradigm to understand the victims disturbed by an all-out assault at home. Robert Baker, a professor of psychology that I met in 1994, has said that Modrow ‘is, perhaps, the unrecognized and unappreciated world’s foremost authority on this disorder [schizophrenia]’. [1]
 

Jeffrey Masson, Against therapy: emotional tyranny and the myth of psychological healing (London: HarperCollins Publishers, 1997).

——————, Final analysis: the making and unmaking of a psychoanalyst (London: HarperCollins, 1991).

Everyone should know, then, that to step into an office of a psychotherapist, regardless of the latter’s persuasion, is to enter a world where great harm is possible (Against Therapy, p. 298).

The most difficult thing for a fish is to do a critique of the water.

Let’s imagine a fish in a factory-polluted waters. The only way this animal may realise that the pollution is poisoning it is to see the factory from a POV outside of the lagoon. But his aquaculture prevents it from doing so.

We are living 120 years after the first case of psychotherapy, Freud with Dora. Nowadays psychotherapy is a multibillion-dollar quack profession accepted and respected by society. Many of Freud’s ideas are now part of our culture’s folklore: repressed memories, sexual sublimation, phallic symbols, castration anxiety and more—the ‘water’ we breathe every day in our lagoon. Following the metaphor, Szasz and Masson are the amphibians that evolved, came out from the lagoon and saw the polluting factory from a privileged viewpoint.

Masson, a great fan of psychoanalysis in the past, defrocked himself from the profession because he didn’t want to play the role of an agent of the family, but of the family’s victims. He convinced me that the diverse schools of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy have not broken away from psychiatry. It’s very telling, Masson says, that no psychotherapist dares to denounce electroshock in the media. Those who still believe that psychotherapy (including psychoanalysis) and psychiatry are essentially different things would benefit from reading these books by Masson.

Many people have not realised yet that Freud was a writer of fiction. It’s incredible that Freud’s literary fiction has bamboozled so many intellectuals and sophisticated people. Someone said hyperbolically that the criminal of criminals is the philosopher. This sentence may be imputed not only on Marx but on Freud as well: the damage their followers did to the 20th century has not been fully appreciated yet.

After reading the Afterword to the second edition of Against Therapy I felt very pleased to see that Masson concludes his book advising his readers that instead of childishly searching for ‘therapy’ in a paternal figure they write their autobiographies.
 

Alvin Pam, ‘Biological psychiatry: science or pseudoscience?’ in Colin Ross and Alvin Pam Pseudoscience in biological psychiatry: blaming the body (NY: Wiley & Sons, 1995), pp. 7-84.

The most difficult thing for a fish is to do a critique of the water. But the most difficult thing of all, even more difficult than to criticise psychotherapy, is to criticize a pseudoscience that is being taught to medical students.

The psychiatrists of the 19th century had the political genius to perceive that science, and not the humanities, was going to be the paradigm of the 20th century. So they invested their ideology with a scientific robe. But as Alvin Pam says:

What I mean is much more fundamental: biological psychiatry cannot fulfill its mission properly because in its current state it has more the accoutrement of a scientific discipline than the substance. To be sure, this statement will raise skeptical eyebrows. It will be the burden of this chapter to spell out the grounds for such a broad iconoclastic assertion.

A common ‘fish’ frequently listens in his aquaculture that the gene of depression has been discovered; that a physician won the Nobel prize for his investigations on dopamine (that the psychiatrists relate with ‘schizophrenia’); that in his school Ritalin is recommended for kids who suffer from ‘attention deficit disorder’; that studies on twins have demonstrated that ‘mental illnesses’ are hereditary, etc. Since our fish is completely immersed in this water it’s impossible that it becomes aware that the water is contaminated. His critical intelligence has no basis to realise that these affirmations don’t come from scientists but from pseudo-scientists that have self-deceived themselves in order to make a profit.

Pam’s chapter originally appeared in the journal Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica and represented the ‘emergence from the water’ for a student of psychiatry who read it and became aware that in her university she had been taught a false science (pp. 241f). Pam’s paper uses the same jargon that biological psychiatrists use and it contains almost two hundred references of specialized literature. It’s ideal for medical doctors and scientists who are interested in a scholarly rebuttal of the claims of psychiatry and its ‘medical model’ of mental disorders.
 

Peter Breggin, Toxic psychiatry: why therapy, empathy and love must replace the drugs, electroshock, and biochemical theories of the ‘new psychiatry’ (NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1994).

The picture I have drawn looks overwhelming, yet it is not an exaggeration. Psychiatry is a giant industry, protected by a state monopoly and promoted by a psycho-pharmaceutical complex with multi-billion-dollar power (p. 370).

Just as Loren Mosher, Breggin realized that his profession might be based on a theoretical fraud. There is nobody more authoritative to debunk a cult or a pseudoscience than he who devoted decades of his life researching its foundations.

Breggin has fought against the tide in his profession. He sides children re-victimized by his colleagues. He has performed campaigns against the revival of lobotomy, electroshock and the medication of children and the elderly with neuroleptics.

Breggin’s book is a treatise of almost five hundred readable pages for the non-specialist. In the chapters on the alliance of parents with psychiatrists, Breggin denounces psychiatric labels and the drugs that are being prescribed to millions of children and adolescents—yes, millions of them [2]—at the initiative of psychiatrists hired by the parents.

Anyone who has been deceived by the media and believes that depression or even a severe mental disorder is of biological nature, or that it may be treated medically, must read Breggin’s book, especially if he is taking psychiatric drugs.

Breggin’s chapter on electroshock shocks the reader: it shows the truly inquisitorial methods of the psychiatric profession. It’s also shocking the chapter on the alliance of psychiatry with the medical schools in the universities; the insurance and the drug companies; the media, some government institutions and associations of parents: everyone except the ‘patient’ identified by all of them.

Since 1971 Breggin is director of the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology. Originally the centre was founded to oppose the revival of lobotomy, and today it opposes the inclination in our culture to diagnose and medicate children and adolescents. Since 1999 the centre publishes a journal critical of bio-reductionist theories. [3]
 

Thomas Szasz, The manufacture of madness: a comparative study of the Inquisition and the mental health movement (NY: Syracuse University Press, 1997).

During the past two decades I have devoted much work and many words to exposing the scientific stupidity, the philosophical folly, and the moral monstrosity of this official psychiatric posture. [4]

Aristotle said that to obtain a truly profound knowledge about something it’s necessary to know its history. This scholarly treatise showed me what is psychiatry and why psychiatrists do what they have been doing in the last three centuries. In this work Szasz examines the great similarities between the Inquisition and psychiatry, including present-day psychiatry. Without the Inquisition there can be no ‘witches’. Likewise, without the Psychiatric Institution there can be no ‘schizophrenics’. In other words, psychiatrists manufacture madness.

Ignoring this work reminds me of the Russian who was ignorant of The Gulag Archipelago before the fall of the Berlin wall. Trying to understand the mental health movement without reading Szasz is like trying to understand Stalin’s Russia without reading Solzhenitsyn.

___________

Notes

[1] Mind games (op. cit.), p. 223.

[2] Your drug may be your problem (op. cit.), p. 16.

[3] Information about the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology can be obtained in the website (http://www.icspp.org) or writing to ICSPP, 4628 Chestnut Street, Bethesda, Maryland 20814, USA.

[4] Schizophrenia (op. cit.), p. 44.

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Beware of the psychiatric Newspeak

To contextualise this series about psychiatry, see: here. Below, an abridged translation of a chapter of one of my books that I wrote in the last century:
 
 

The ritual murder of people has always been preceded by the ritual murder of truth—and, indeed, by the ritual murder of language itself.

—Szasz [1]

The inconvenience with the metaphor ‘mental illness’ is that psychiatrists talk literally when they say that a person is mentally sick. Following a comparison with the economy, it is like saying that an economic collapse due to the hyperinflation of fiat currency was caused by a biological virus that affected the gold reservoirs; a virus that has yet to be detected in the labs, but that the bio-reductionist economists have faith they are going to detect in the future. Logically, linguistically and scientifically that would be nonsense, but this is precisely what psychiatrists are doing with the children of abusive families: they are literalising a biological metaphor.

Another reason why I do not like ‘mentally ill’ even as a metaphor is because that word takes off all reference to abuses, to a perpetrator and his victim. It is a very bad metaphor to refer to victims of parental abuse. No one would use it to refer to a Dora who has just been raped. If Dora herself used it the metaphor would turn out to be self-stigmatising. She would have fallen in her tormentor’s Newspeak and, therefore, in his political agenda.

The existence of mental illness as a somatic entity has not been demonstrated scientifically. It is a myth unconsciously created by biological psychiatrists to hide the fact that the family and society are driving some persons mad. To elucidate this point let us think a little about the language.

Some linguists have argued that language is rhetorical, and that we commit a great mistake in believing that, if a group of individuals uses a word in all seriousness, it means that something real exists behind it. For instance, those who defined modern psychiatry used terms like ‘dementia praecox’ (Emil Kraepelin), ‘schizophrenia’ (Eugen Bleuler) and ‘hysteria’ (Jean-Martin Charcot and Sigmund Freud) to stigmatize adolescents and women. According to Orwell, the rhetorical objective of Newspeak is social control; neologism and the abuse of language characterise it. Even though Orwell had in mind political totalitarianism, psychiatrists also abuse language: they have dared to call the ‘right to treatment’ to involuntary hospitalisation, and ‘therapy’ the electroshock punishment in psychiatric wards. Civil society must vehemently repudiate these words of the Therapeutic State. To illustrate why we must do it, I would like to make reference to an ideology that, in contrast to the totalitarianism of the 20th century, triumphed and imposed its Newspeak for centuries.

The 4th century of the Common Era, during the reign of Theodosius, witnessed the consolidation of power of the bishops in the Roman Empire after the premature death of Julian the Apostate. Those unconverted to the new religion, that in Julian times enjoyed special protection, became second-class citizens. A new word was coined, ‘pagan’, to label the adept of the millenarian Hellenic culture. Once created the Newspeak those stigmatized as ‘pagans’ became persecuted. Only by these means did the new theocracy succeed to eradicate the Greco-Roman culture.

Modern psychiatrists have also created a Newspeak. Only that they have classified a multitude of disorders and invented others to repress the unwanted, even those who are perfectly sane. Tom Szasz is aware of these snares, and he warns us that the abuse of language (‘pagan’, ‘heretic’ or ‘borderline personality disorder’, the label applied to the mentioned Rachel) is the first step to abuse people. For that very reason all discourse must start with a thorough cleansing in our vocabulary. Only semantic hygiene can prevent us from ideological and political contamination.

Let us now comment on what I used to consider heroes in my previous writing. In a 1971 interview Theodore Lidz stated:

I personally, as you may know, do not consider schizophrenia a disease or an illness, but rather a type of reaction to a sick organization, a personality disorder […]. While I use the word schizophrenia, for example, I think I would never say a patient has schizophrenia. We say a patient is schizophrenic. [2]

The problem with this posture is that today ‘schizophrenia’ is the equivalent word to ‘witch’ in times of the Inquisition. Had Lidz lived in that epoch, would he like that an inquisitor told him that his mother was a witch (cf. the life of Johannes Kepler)? Hugh Trevor-Roper, who studied this black chapter of history, said that the witch-hunt stopped only until the West questioned the very idea of Satan, that is, until the dawn of the Enlightenment. Exactly the same can be said about psychiatry, which already has three hundred years, the time the Inquisition lasted. As long as the idea of ‘mental illness’ remains unchallenged, of which schizophrenia is only one of its paradigms, the persecution of civilians who have not broken any law will not cease.

Let us now listen to Ronald Laing:

Perhaps we can still retain the now old name, and read into it its etymological meaning: Schiz—‘broken’; Phrenos—‘soul’ or ‘heart’. The schizophrenic in this sense is one who is brokenhearted, and even broken hearts have been known to mend, if we have the heart to let them.[3]

This posture makes better common cause with the victim than Lidz’s. But Laing did not seem to realise that in practice the term he retained is used as a semantic bludgeon to re-victimise that victim!

In spite of the fact that Laing was considered the anti-psychiatrist par excellence, he failed to elaborate a critique of language, the most basic of all critiques. Laing did not abandon the word schizophrenia even though psychiatrists cannot explain how this disease could remain so many centuries without detection until Emil Kraepelin and Eugen Bleuler supposedly discovered it. ‘How could it have been missed if it affected one percent of the population, as it does now?’ asks in his magnificent naiveté Fuller Torrey, one of the most popular apologists of biopsychiatry.[4] That the word ‘schizophrenia’ is merely a political neologism is suggested by the fact that the former expression of 1883 divulged by Kraepelin, ‘dementia praecox’, raised up the same suspicion of ‘moral insanity’ (dementia praecox and schizophrenia refer exactly to the same adolescent symptoms). Therein the necessity of Eugen Bleuler to invent in 1911 a Newspeak word that covered up better his political objectives against adolescents. Let us re-baptize Kraepelin’s dementia praecox as ‘schizophrenia’ and in the 20th century no one will suspect anything! [5]

So the word schizophrenia was born. But Laing did not culminate his critique of psychiatry with a critique of language. In fact, each time that, as Laing did, we call schizoid or schizophrenic an adolescent we miserably fall into the trap that Bleuler laid for us, a trap that impedes us to see the essentially political nature of the epithet—‘moral insanity’ for liberated women, ‘dementia praecox’ for rebellious adolescents. Nowadays the smokescreen that the creators of the mental health movement have lifted is so dense; it has covered so much the air that civil society breaths, that only by reading the critics of psychiatry it is possible to rise up above the curtain and see what is behind it.

Defending his position before Szasz’s criticism, Silvano Arieti argued:

I believe that when psychiatrists examine typical cases of, for example, a patient who says that he is Jesus Christ because he drank Carnation milk and therefore has been reincarnated, or who uses peculiar neologisms or metonymic distortions or typical word-salad, or who sees everywhere FBI agents spying on him, or hallucinates all the time, or is in catatonic postures, or complete withdrawal, they are confronted with a constellation or Gestalt that cannot be confused. Certainly no pejorative connotation should be given to a dysfunction of the human being; but if human beings are inclined to do so, they will not refrain from attaching sooner or later a pejorative connotation to the name that replaces the old one.[6]

Colin Ross, who, incidentally, eagerly looked for a copy of the DSM to point out something to me during our Dallas meeting, went even further:

The DSM-IV system is one of the truly important achievements of twentieth-century psychiatry, and it far outweighs the contribution of biological research. I am a firm believer in the necessity for operationalized diagnostic criteria. [7]

Anti-Freud, a Szasz study about a purist of language, convinced me that this is a big mistake.[8] The first step a dissident of an ideology should take is to abandon its Newspeak, and even more its slanderous epithets. Sometimes I have even thought that, despite their creative work, one of the reasons why neither Lidz nor Laing nor Arieti left a school is that none dared to break away from the psychiatric Newspeak (Ross is still too young to know whether or not he will leave any school).

Let us consider for instance the apparently plausible defence by Arieti, quoted above. Szasz had said that the term schizophrenia is a panchreston (from Greek, a word ‘good for everything’ just as a sailor box is so handy in sewing). In the present context, panchreston is a word which merely baptizes with a name a large constellation of disorders (cf. Arieti’s constellation) when such name only mystifies and obscures what the popular word, madness, expresses better. Of course, psychiatrists baptise the crudest form of madness with a single medical name to make people believe they know exactly what they are dealing with, but the truth is that they know absolutely nothing about its aetiology. This is so true that even a 1997 editorial of the American Journal of Psychiatry conceded that ‘as yet, we have no identified etiological agents for psychiatric disorders’. [9]

My reply to Arieti is that those who hate Christianity will never use the word ‘pagan’ when talking about, say, a 4th century Hellenist; or ‘heretical’ when referring to a Mormon—independently that before them traditional Christians are comforted with a Gestalt that cannot be confused. Likewise, those of us who disapprove of involuntary psychiatry do not use psychiatric words to refer to rebellious boys or even the disturbed ones—even if by that we mean (as Laing meant) that they are victims of family abuse. If we use the epithets the effect on them would be counterproductive and re-victimising.

With regard to the genuinely disturbed, Arieti is right in pointing out that the old epithet ‘crazy’ is pejorative too, but he omitted to add that the new one carries along political actions such as involuntary medication and hospitalisation. I appreciate that, in contrast to biological psychiatrists, Arieti maintained the parental aetiology of the disorders he saw in these youngsters. However, if this is so the psychiatric labels should be devised and directed against the parents, not against their victims. Of very little use could a sophisticated diagnostic taxonomy such as the DSM be if the psychiatrists fail to say that distressed people passed through something more dreadful than a concentration camp! As I said, no one diagnoses as schizophrenic, manic-depressive or paranoid a Dora who has just been raped by a gang omitting to say what has just happened to her.

But the most sinister aspect of psychiatric diagnoses is that frequently they stigmatise perfectly normal behaviour. Psychiatrists diagnose as schizophrenia not only cases such as Arieti’s bizarre constellation, but adolescent rebellion as well. That is to say, they use the old trick of ‘guilty by association’ of rebellious teenagers with the disturbed ones. This is precisely the panchrestonian (‘good for everything’) character of the words schizophrenia and schizoidism.

In our societies the power to stigmatize with the word that Lidz, Laing, Arieti and Ross retained is enormous. To say ‘John Doe is a schizophrenic’ euphonically sounds ‘John Doe is a monster’, so much so that it is used precisely to slander people before society. We have seen that in recent times the psychiatrists are stamping the label ‘hyperactive’ to the boy who for centuries humankind called ‘mischievous’, and also the label ‘autistic’ to the girl who withdraws. Just as the label ‘schizophrenia’, which usually is used against rebellious teenagers, these words only mystify and obscure what popular words expressed much better.

The crux is that these are not descriptive but dispositive words. The aim of mystifying language is to legitimise, at the request of the parents, an assault with psychiatric drugs on the brains of these children and teenagers perfectly healthy and normal. (‘Perfectly normal people are kept in treatment centers, perfectly normal teenagers. Nobody was crazy there, not even one person’—the teenage Rachel as quoted in a previous chapter.) This is why we should never use words such as ‘schizoid’ while the psychiatric institution exists just as we would not use the word ‘heretic’ when the Inquisition existed. In those times the word ‘heretic’ was a dispositive word. To say ‘John Doe is a heretic’ actually meant, ‘We want John Doe at the stake’.

Unfortunately, psychiatry has beguiled society and these dispositive words are being used by everybody. This can be noted by reviewing our dictionaries. According to the Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, for instance, Newspeak is ‘propagandistic language characterized by euphemism, circumlocution, and the inversion of customary meanings’. However, on that very page the editors let themselves to be bamboozled by the Newspeak: they defined the neuroleptic as ‘any of the powerful tranquilizers (as the phenothiazines or butyrophenones) used esp. to treat psychosis’.[10] This definition is taking for granted that there are ‘psychos’ like Rachel and her friends who are badly in need of being drugged rather than we are dealing with a drug for social control.

In contrast to these psychiatrists, anti-psychiatrists and linguists, my hope is that someday propagandistic language like ‘schizoid’ is considered as superstitious and political as the politically-correct slanders of today (‘anti-Semite’, ‘racist’, ‘misogynist’, ‘islamophobe’, ‘homophobe’, ‘xenophobe’, etc.). Not even the anti-psychiatrists saw how serious it is to re-victimise the victims by using the psychiatric Newspeak because no one was, as John Modrow, a victim of the diagnosis ‘schizophrenic’. It is not excessive to quote Modrow again: ‘In this regard, I never fully recovered from what psychiatry and my parents did to me until I finally realized I had never been ill in the first place’. The testimony of another survivor, an orphan, whom I will quote in the next chapter, annotates what I’ve been trying to say in the last paragraphs.

_________

[1] The therapeutic state (op. cit.), p. 303.

[2] Quoted in Robert Orrill and Robert Boyers (eds.), ‘Interview with Theodore Lidz’ in R.D. Laing and antipsychiatry (Perennial Library, 1971), pp. 151f.

[3] R.D. Laing, The politics of experience (Ballantine Books, 1968), p. 130.

[4] Surviving schizophrenia (op. cit.), p. 215.

[5] Something similar happened in more recent times with ‘manic-depressive disorder’. It was re-baptized as ‘bipolar disorder’, which mystifies the condition even further, so that the public may associate it with a biomedical disease (that has to be treated with chemicals like lithium).

[6] Interpretation of schizophrenia (op. cit.), p. 693.

[7] Pseudoscience in biological psychiatry (op. cit.), p. 122.

[8] See ‘Recommended readings’ at the end of this book.

[9] Quoted in Peter Breggin and David Cohen, Your drug may be your problem: how and why to stop taking psychiatric medications (Perseus Books, 1999), p. 112. (The words of the editorial by G.J. Tucker, ‘Putting DSM-IV in perspective’, appear in AJP, 155, p. 159.)

[10] Webster’s third new international dictionary unabridged with seven language dictionary, vol. I (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1993), p. 96a (addenda).

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Therapeutic States

To contextualise this series about psychiatry, see: here. Below, an abridged translation of a chapter of one of my books:
 

The empire of psychiatric power is more than three hundred years old and grows daily more all-encompassing. But we have not yet begun to acknowledge its existence, much less to understand its role in our society. [1]

Thomas Szasz has also said that the social institutions involved in psychiatric violence are the family, the medical institution and the state.

In political theory, one of the definitions of state is ‘the monopoly of violence’. A common civilian cannot exercise violence on another civilian under the law, but the executive power of a state, safeguarded by the legislative and judicial powers, can. The executive power doesn’t only count on an army to protect his (or attack another) nation, but through the police it can exercise violence against its own citizens in those cases stipulated by the law.

If psychiatrists were normal and common citizens they could never exercise, or threat to exercise, any violence. But psychiatrists represent a privileged class of citizens: society allows them to exercise violence on some citizens. Furthermore, they possess special jails for these ends that they call ‘psychiatric hospitals’, which are outside the jurisdiction of the common penal system. This is apparent in the laws of a nation like England and the international law on human rights.

The English laws of mental health are a means by which the right to liberty of a citizen is moved to the side, a right warranted by both the common jurisprudence of that nation and the Article 5.1 of the European Convention of Human Rights. In the quotation of the English brochure I had already mentioned that the Mental Health Law of 1983 permits the compulsory admission to the psychiatric ward, and that similar dispositions in other countries exist.

This means no less than an exception within the law: the right to liberty is warranted between civilians except if the he is a psychiatrist. Just as the state, the psychiatrist has special powers to send another citizen to a prison. This can be proved by pointing out how the constitutional rights of an individual whom a psychiatrist has decided call him ‘insane’ become automatically annulled. If we take now as a paradigm the constitutional right of the United States, this individual is deprived from his right to a speedy trial by an impartial jury (Sixth Amendment), the right to bail (Eight Amendment), and the right that no person be deprived from liberty without due process of law (Fourteenth Amendment).

The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and many other countries are Therapeutic States, as Szasz calls nations that claim to be free but that through the medical and psychiatric institution have totalitarian traits. If in one of these States the accused of mentally ill doesn’t agrees with the legal exception of his country in favour of psychiatry, he cannot appeal to international law either. The Article 5 of the European Convention begins:

Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty,

However, the article continues:

save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law… the lawful detention of persons for the prevention of spreading of infectious diseases, of persons of unsound mind, alcoholics or drug addicts, or vagrants. [2]

We can agree with the statement regarding the prevention of infections and epidemics: the power to decide who is infected falls on scientists who can detect in their labs the existence of biological diseases. But just what the other group means, persons of ‘unsound mind’, is something that only the psychiatrist of a Therapeutic State has the power to decide because in these cases lab tests are not performed. The second part of the European Convention article of international law invalidates the first one: it leaves to the psychiatrist’s discretion to decide who has a ‘sound mind’ and who has an ‘unsound mind’.

To stamp someone with the label of insanity means that the first political step to his imprisonment has been undertaken (for instance, in the 1960s more Americans lost their liberty accused of unsound mind than the accused of a crime). [3] In short, psychiatrists have the powers to incarcerate an innocent citizen who has not broken any law.

This means that the psychiatrists have the power to derogate the civil status of a citizen to a lower level than that of the common criminal. Just remember how they wanted to commit George Lincoln Rockwell.

If we take as an example the bank assailant who killed a cop and some clients during the skirmish, after being caught he has the right to an impartial trial and to a lawyer, as well as the right to not being tormented or mutilated. On the other hand, the individual who has been identified by a psychiatrist automatically loses these rights: he is incarcerated without a trial and without a lawyer who can make an appeal. Moreover, he can be tormented with electroshock or even psychologically destroyed with neuroleptics or lobotomy.

For a teenager in conflict with his parents, his rights fall into an inferior level compared to those of the assailant or common criminal: he lacks any institution or state lawyer who could possible defended him. As we have seen, in generational conflicts of parents with their children the ‘identification’ invariably falls on the latter. Ronald Laing, the most popular anti-psychiatrist in the 1960s, stated in an interview of 1988:

Economics controls politics, so the pivotal issue is an economic one. To see what is happening, look at the textbook or manual called DSM-III, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, third edition. Translated into economic and political terms, mental disorder means undesired mental states and attitudes and behaviour […].

The criteria in the manual are very useful for controlling the population because you can bring them to bear on practically anyone if the occasion seems to demand it. Look at this: ‘Oppositional disorder’ is a very good one. (Laing reads from the DSM-III:)

The essential feature is a pattern of disobedient negativistic and provocative opposition to authority figures. For example, if there is a rule, it is usually violated. If a suggestion is made, the individual is against it. If asked to do something, the individual refuses or becomes argumentative. If asked to refrain from an act, the child or the adolescent feels obliged to carry it out. […].

These are not exceptional examples out of DSM-III. The overall drift is what contemporary modern psychiatry, epitomized by this DSM manual translated into eighteen languages, is imposing all over the world—a mandate to strip anyone of their civil liberties […] to homogenize people who are out of line. Presented as a medical exercise, it is an undercover operation. [4]

That this is the disposition in modern psychiatry is observed in the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, Parham vs. J.R. of 1979. This decision gives carte blanche to the States to enact laws that permit minors to be hospitalized if the parents and a psychiatrist want it without any right for the child or adolescent to a hearing or trial. [5] Let’s give the floor to one of these victims of the Therapeutic State. Following next I quote a letter sent on 12 December 1999 to a lawyer who fights for human rights within the United States:

I’m a 16 year old girl who has just gotten out of a ‘psychiatric treatment center’. I was there for over 4 months because I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality disorder and Manic Depression. Borderline Personality Disorder is the biggest f— joke I have heard of. All it is a description of an immature teenager. Haha. I am also not Manic Depressive. The psych people there somehow managed to convince everyone that I was, including my parents. (‘She has severe highs and lows. And she’s impulsive too!’) They put me on lots of medication.

During the first 2 months of my stay at the hospital I refused to take it. My behavior, thinking, and stability were fine, but since I wasn’t taking the medication I was ‘noncompliant and not ready for discharge’. So I decided to cheek the medication. Just so I could get out of the damn place. They found out that I was cheeking it though. Of course.

I haven’t been discharged yet. I won’t be. Ever. Instead my parents have decided to sign me out of the place AMA [against medical advice]. They finally realized I do not need to be in that place, nor did I ever.

Perfectly normal people are kept in treatment centers. Perfectly normal teenagers. Nobody was crazy there. Not even one person. They were just teenagers with divorced parents. Or teenagers who did a few drugs. Or teenagers who got suspended from school. Suddenly we were all Borderlines, Schizophrenics, and Manic Depressives who ‘needed’ long term hospitalization. We also ‘needed’ medication. They put us on heavy doses of anti-psychotics, mood stabilizers, antidepressants, anti-whatevers. I was the only patient who didn’t take the medication. I will never take psychiatric medication. I’ve tried it before. It does nothing except for turn me into a zombie. It dulls me out. Makes it so I can’t think straight. Everyone else took it though. [6]

There cannot be a clearer example of the alliance between parents and psychiatrists. In the United States, the sole will of the parents was enough to incarcerate or liberate a child. It’s noteworthy that Rachel, who wrote the above letter at sixteen, had a good grasp of what psychiatric diagnoses really are. In the dawn of the 21st century the diagnoses that were used against her and her mates (‘borderlines’, ‘schizophrenics’, ‘manic depressives’) are as fraudulent as the diagnoses that the psychiatrists used in the 19th century (‘moral insanity’, ‘folie lucide’, ‘nymphomania’). All this is camouflaged in medical language.

It was Lenin who said that dictatorship is a power not limited by law. How psychiatry could not be corrupted if the way they label a girl with the DSM to strip her from her civil rights has no law that supervises it in our societies? Psychiatry is a profession that regulates itself. It is a state within the State that carries out the function of control of the unwanted.

Unlike George Lincoln Rockwell, Ezra Pound was no so lucky. He was committed in a psychiatric hospital in Washington, D.C., for over 12 years. His supposed insanity was due to the fact that he had moved to Italy in 1924 and throughout the 1930s and 40s embraced Benito Mussolini’s fascism, expressed support for Adolf Hitler, and wrote for publications owned by the British fascist Sir Oswald Mosley.

How to know if a modern society is a Therapeutic State? This is a state that searches for medical or therapeutical solutions for family and social problems; in the Western past, or in the Soviet Union, even for political dissidence. It is a society that can afford an extra legal system of penalties—the undercover operation of which Laing talked above—with the aim of sparing the dirty job on the constitution of a country. For legislators it would be too embarrassing to enact laws against women in disputes with their husbands, or against teenagers in disputes with their parents. Psychiatrists do the dirty job (‘moral insanity’, ‘dementia praecox’) that society in general, and legislators in particular, do not dare to do directly.

Szasz’s dream was to reform society to separate the state from the medical institution, just as the First Amendment of the United States Constitution separates church and state. Alas, although the Soviet Union and the psychiatric abuse of political dissidents is gone, in the West the inquisitorial power of physicians is well rooted, and civil society is doing very little to question it.

References

[1] Last words of a lecture by Thomas Szasz presented in the Foucault Symposium in Berlin University, May 1998.

[2] Tom Heller et al., Mental health and distress: module 3 (The Open University, 1997), p. 43.

[3] The manufacture of madness (op. cit.), p. 65.

[4] Ronald Laing, Interview (OMNI, April 1988), pp. 60f.

[5] Parham v. J.R., 442 U.S. 584 (United States Reports, volume 442, p. 584), quoted in The antipsychiatry forum, section ‘Compliments’, answer of Douglas Smith to Lolobenchik (www.antipsychiatry.org). This website provides legal assistance in so-called psychiatric cases.

[6] Ibid. (www.antipsychiatry.org), section ‘Physical restraints’. Rachel signs her letter as ‘Rach’.

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MacDonald and psychiatry

Discussing in a radio show with Carolyn Yeager the horrific Connecticut killings perpetrated by Adam Lanza, Professor Kevin MacDonald, who in addition to his studies on Judaism is familiar with child psychiatry, said:

I am in favor of biological psychiatry and in the understanding of all of these mental disorders in a biological manner.

In other words, like virtually all psychology academics, MacDonald is grossly misinformed about this subject.

Biological psychiatry is a pseudo-science insofar as the etiology of mental disorders is not somatogenic but psychogenic. I wonder if MacDonald knows that there’s an entire journal by professionals in mental health, Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry that aims to debunk the claims of biological psychiatry. (For my own take on this very subject, see my paper that took years of research, “Why psychiatry is a false science”.)

In the interview MacDonald also said:

I don’t think we can really understand what is going on in his [Lanza’s] brain.

This confusion of the “mind” with the “brain” is pandemic too among the brainwashed, that is, almost all American society. MacDonald seems to ignore that the mind is not the brain, and that we can commit heinous acts, say killing children, with perfectly normal brains (though our souls must be rotten to the core).

Those psychiatrists that blame the brain for any mental disorder and try to fix it through physical means are similar to a hypothetical computer technician who claims there is no software—only hardware—, and always tries to fix the computers’ viruses of his clients by messing the mother board with his pliers. “Never use an antivirus if the software doesn’t exist.” The fact that in humans the “software” does indeed exist escapes the brainwashed individual. Again, see my paper linked above. It demonstrates that psychiatric bio-reductionism is as unscientific as the methods of this hypothetical computer technician (Greg Johnson corrected some of my syntactic inaccuracies of that paper).

MacDonald said:

His mother should have put him [Lanza] into a treatment facility… She seemed to be aware that he had severe problems. She apparently quit her job to be with him all the time… She knew that he had these demons. Well, if she had taken him into a treatment facility and if there would be good psychiatrists there they would not leave him out on the street. I do think that a lot of people have to be confined… In the old days we used to put [homeless people] in psychiatric hospitals.

There are no “good psychiatrists” in “psychiatric hospitals” for the simple reason that psychiatry is as pseudoscientific as, say, parapsychology or UFOlogy. MacDonald’s statement is also very common in his profession but is plagued with so many errors of judgment about both mental disorders and the psychiatric profession itself that I wish that my whole book was translated to English to be able to link it now!

Suffice it to say that when I lived in Marin County in California I interacted a lot with white homeless people, most of them perfectly sane. I wonder if MacDonald and his colleagues can see that living on the streets causes severe mental distress and not the other way around: that so-called schizophrenics end up homeless? Furthermore, unlike the ubiquitous Hollywood stereotype, people labeled as schizophrenics are, according to statistics and my own experience with these people, not more violent than non-schizophrenics.

In another part of the interview both Yeager and MacDonald stated that the anti-psychiatric ideas that deinstitutionalized the mental hospitals were promoted in the 1960s by the Left. While it is true that at the other side of the Atlantic typical anti-psychiatrists like Ronald Laing and David Cooper were leftists, in America the foremost critic of psychiatry, Tom Szasz, who incidentally died earlier this year, was not a leftist by any stretch of the imagination. What’s more, deinstitutionalization was in no way caused by Szasz’s views, who never had any power whatsoever in institutional psychiatry. Deinstitutionalization in America’s 1960s was a matter of social policy; of federal economic interests vs. state interests.

More to the point, Lanza’s monstrous actions are probably the result of having been victimized by an extremely abusive mother: the most heretical hypothesis in the mental health professions today (as heretical as saying in the academia that “Whites also have ethnic interests” or that “Hitler was not that bad after all”). However, I cannot explain the trauma model of mental disorders here, only link to a brief section of my book of what a psychiatrist, whom incidentally I once visited at his Dallas clinic, says about that model.

Briefly, if Lanza’s mother destroyed Adam’s mind society should have committed her, not the victim as MacDonald advised. By committing the original perpetrator, Adam Lanza would have felt socially vindicated and no pathological displacement of his rage on innocent children would have occurred.

But society assaults the victim instead. Through the mental health professions society makes a massive effort to obfuscate the fact that some parents produce the most horrible form of mental hell in a child’s mind. This blindness is precisely what drives the society, as explained in my book, to “re-victimize” a child who already was victim of maddening parental abuse. The psychiatric re-victimization is performed by means of an insulting psychiatric label together with psychotropic drugs and/or involuntary commitment: a blame-the-victim, soul-devastating action that often increases the chances of driving the child mad.

In my writings I speak of “the trauma model” to contrast it with the pseudo-scientific “medical model of mental disorders,” a medical model that MacDonald subscribes (“I am in favor of biological psychiatry and in the understanding of all these mental disorders in a biological manner”). Although the trauma model explains severe psychoses, it can also be used to explain comparatively lesser forms of mental distress, such as neuroses. Those who would like to visualize how engulfing mothers—and I am talking now of cases far less serious than Lanza’s—often drive the child into explosions of rage can see my essay-review of a silly bestseller authored by a junior whose father made a fortune in the Big Pharma.

Laing and Anti-Psychiatry

Or:

The ten books that made an impact in my life
before I became racially conscious
3.- Laing and Anti-Psychiatry
(read in 1983)


Sometimes it is not an entire book what causes a deep impression in one’s values and worldview. Sometimes it is a single chapter; a single phrase.

The overwhelming majority of white nationalists are unaware of the fact that psychiatry is a false science. I mean: psychiatry is as false as, say, the Boasian anthropology that has become axiomatic throughout all anthropology departments in the West.

Before I entered the racialist arena I devoted quite a few years of my life to research this pseudoscience. The result was a massive exposé of psychiatry that benefited the Spanish-speaking people (for example, today I learnt that a blog was started with the title of one of my book chapters exposing the history of psychiatry).

The whys of the toleration of a pseudoscience within the academia and throughout the West have to do with the fact that the basic etiology of mental disorders lies in the abusive modes of parenting. But this truth has become a heresy in a world that only aims to perpetuate the status quo, including those nuclear families run by abusive parents.

When in 1983, standing in a bookstore because I was too poor to purchase the book, I read the interview of psychiatrist Theodore Lidz in Laing and Anti-Psychiatry, I corroborated what I suspected: that some parents are driving their children mad. Lidz’s words that a schizophrenogenic mother simply cannot conceive that her child sees the world with different eyes than her own made a huge impression on me to understand the dynamics in my own family.

More recently I have extensively written on this subject in Spanish, of which I have translated only a fraction to English (e.g., here and here). But all of my writing was possible only thanks to my reading this Lidz interview in a bookstore almost thirty years ago with no soft sofas. Lidz was one of the very very few psychiatrists that dismissed the medical model of mental disorders taken for granted in his own profession and proposed a trauma model instead. Abusive parents are the real and only culprits for the emotional fall of their offspring; blaming the child’s brain or the child’s genes, as his colleagues do, is a political rather that a scientific endeavor.

It is worth saying that when I lived in Houston I phoned Lidz, who was already in his nineties, and he appeared as warm and lucid as if he was in his prime. How different from Ronald Laing, the guru whose last name was chosen for the title of the book’s collection of anti-psychiatric essays. (In his later writing Laing looked like an intellectual snob rather than someone who fully sided the child against the all-out assault perpetrated at home in some extremely dysfunctional families.)

Laing and Anti-Psychiatry was published in 1971. Those who are under the impression that psychiatry has since proven the biomedical basis of mental stress and disorders would do a favor to themselves by reading the much more recent How to Become a  Schizophrenic: The Case Against Biological Psychiatry by John Modrow (whom by the way I used to correspond).

For the other nine books see here.