Of course, Szasz was known as an anti-psychiatrist (see previous post). I'm glad he had the academic freedom to promote his views (see another previous post). Szasz started at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis from 1951–56. He was particularly influenced by Franz Alexander (see book).
But I worry that Ghaemi has become too much of an 'anti-psychoanalyst' by believing that psychoanalysis in the 1950s, when Szasz was in Chicago, "stunted any free thought". He argues that "[t]he psychiatry that Szasz railed against in his most famous book was full of myths and was mostly false", because it was primarily psychoanalysis. I agree that the prominence of psychoanalysis did help to make psychiatry more pluralistic then. But I don't think Ghaemi fully understands about the myth of mental illness (see another previous post). And, as I've also said before, "Despite his protests, he [Szasz] will always be associated with the history of anti-psychiatry" (quote from previous post).
I'm certainly not resting my criticisms of psychiatry on the same viewpoints as Szasz. Have a look at my actually quite generous, I think, review of one of his books (see book review). But, in fact, Szasz was quite scathing (as he could be about lots of things) about the Critical Psychiatry Network (eg. see previous post), of which I am a founding member. I don't even take the same view as him on the insanity defence (see previous post).
I did wonder what was going on when Ghaemi seemed to become more questioning about psychiatric diagnosis (see previous post). But it's clear from the latest article that he hasn't given up his beliefs in biological markers and the genetics of mental disorder. This is why he thinks Szasz was wrong. But he's actually not arguing for the right reasons, which is what he accuses Szasz of doing (see another post). Let me work towards a conclusion with a quote from another previous post:-
The primary problem with modern psychiatry is its reduction of mental illness to bodily dysfunction. Objectification of those identified as mentally ill, by insisting on the somatic nature of their illness, may apparently simplify matters and help protect those trying to provide care from the pain experienced by those needing support. But psychiatric assessment too often fails to appreciate personal and social precursors of mental illness by avoiding or not taking account of such psychosocial considerations. Mainstream psychiatry acts on the somatic hypothesis of mental illness to the detriment of understanding people's problems.
Szasz was correct that he first made this argument in The myth of mental illness.
From my point of view Szasz undermined this argument by insisting on such matters as abolishing all psychiatric coercion. I've said before (see book review) that it can seem quite muddling arguing with Ghaemi but I've tried here to clarify the positions of Szasz and myself, not make them more confusing.
(with thanks to Neil MacFarlane whose tweet linked me to the Ghaemi article)