A forum for critical analysis of society, mind and mental disorder.
Why critical psychiatry?
The purpose behind this Substack is to encourage new thinking about the ancient problem of mental disorder. Our starting point is that mental disorder is a reality. Immediately, two questions thrust themselves at us: Why does it arise, and what should be done about it?
Questions of why people become mentally troubled relate to the nature of mind and its relationship to the body; and to the nature of human society and how individuals should live in it. How we, as members of society, should assist the mentally-troubled is determined by answers to these questions.
The forum is open to anybody who has an interest in these topics but the focus is always on mental disorder.
I recently retired after nearly fifty years in psychiatry, with about half that time in the remote North of Australia. Throughout, I have had an interest in the application of the philosophy of science to psychiatry, and have published extensively in that field. For example, it is an established fact that mainstream psychiatry has no model of mental disorder to guide its practice, its teaching and its research. This means that, at best, psychiatry is a protoscience but, at worst, pseudoscience. This is a completely dispassionate assessment, it has nothing to do with ideology, with status, or with money.
To mainstream psychiatrists, my conclusions are “dangerously radical, biased and anti-psychiatry,” but I am only biased against bad psychiatry. In my view, most of modern psychiatry is bad psychiatry but that is directly the result of not having a model of mental disorder. My particular interests are theoretical, mainly because until the theory of mental disorder is settled, there is no rational treatment.
I do not see my role as leader, saint or guru. There is a growing realisation in many places around the world that there is something seriously wrong in the state of psychiatry. We need to foster that awareness and provide it with a focus, not least because there are many people whose jobs and incomes are threatened by any change to the status quo. History shows that they will fiercely resist change that doesn’t benefit them.
The Critical Psychiatry community.
The focus of the community is on sufferers, their families and friends, on practitioners and on the proper path forward to improve the lives of sufferers. Engagement with government, at which mainstream psychiatry excels, is essential, if distasteful.
My plan is to publish material of interest to the community, mostly my own work but with links to other authors or websites. I will post material each Tuesday, about half original articles and half material published in other settings, or papers which didn’t see the light of day. My role is simply to stimulate discussion of contentious issues, not to lay down the law.
For the time being, all subscriptions are free but in due course, I hope to be able to offer a much more detailed service for paid subscribers.
This channel does not offer any advice, opinions or suggestions re treatment on individual psychiatric cases.
Anybody taking psychiatric drugs of any sort must not cease them abruptly. All psychiatric drugs are addictive, and sudden cessation will almost certainly result in a withdrawal state, often so severe as to result in readmission to hospital.
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