Monday, May 22, 2017

Exposing the self-interest of modern psychiatry

I have mused before about the lack of impact of critical psychiatry (eg. see previous post). Having just been to a conference on critical psychiatry in San Diego organised by the Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry (AAPP) (see programme and abstracts), I have been thinking about how critical psychiatry can be more effective. 

A paper by Peter Zachar, current AAPP President, suggested that what he called "populist uprisings against the establishment" are propelled by recognition of corruption within the system (see previous post about Modern psychiatry's disgrace). I have commented before about how even biomedical psychiatrists have expressed concern about the influence of the drug industry on psychiatry (see previous post), but merely doing this seems to be insufficient for change (see another previous post). 

Adjacent to where our conference took place, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Annual Meeting was in the Convention Center (see guide). The advertisements in the guide to the meeting portray the interests of APA as much as the content of the meeting. As was said at our conference, the economically successful model of APA is apparent.

Yet there should be disquiet about this situation. Another paper at our meeting by Katherine Larose-H├ębert described how the power dynamics in psychiatry act as a "total institution", transforming patients' identities, subjecting them to receive services in the way they have been designed. Biomedical psychiatry is primarily organised for its own interests leaving patients docile and marginalised.

I have always tended to concentrate on conceptual issues within critical psychiatry (see my previous post on the call for abstracts for the AAPP conference). Critical psychiatry needs to do more to expose the corrupting self-interests of modern psychiatry to support the wider acceptance of its ideas.


Anonymous said...

Well said. Better late than never.

Hope you enjoyed San Diego trip.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cobweb said...

The trip to San Diego has been worth it if something is really done to change things for service users - otherwise it's just another jolly and run by exactly those who will never let go of control however many weasel words are used. Does the philosophy of psychiatry matter much when someone is suffering the effects of the vile drugs they have been injected with? It should be the illegality and inhumanity that is discussed openly not softened with the philosophy tag.What about canvassing people from the services critical psychiatrists and others are running?for ideas of how to bring about change? NOT just tokenistic user involved nonsense such as Wardepedia which is controlled by health workers who are part of the problem, These things just give the appearance of empowerment until yet another group becomes disillusioned. There is a whole web of health and social and other workers not only psychiatrists and drug companies who keep the grossly inhumane services running - including the therapy/psychoanalytic industry which is seen to be the answer by some. The same people are running their institutions and are more and more linking therapy with neuro science. This approach is being promoted by individuals who have not even been involved with work being done in the field - they simply ape those they are influenced by. It is so dangerous.
Critical psychiatrists are part of the system, work in the same institutions, and cannot change much from the inside - so are there not enough critical psychiatrists and others who could set up outside the NHS? Try cloud funding - there will be thousands world wide who would support boycotting the established services. Don't be fooled by such as the Green psychiatry movement - they are corralling service users in the same way and are promoting a return to referring people to residential communities - all the horrors of those are still remembered by many. And who is going to run them~the same old crowd. Recruitment for training should include user representation and funding for the vastly expensive training should be provided for all not just the advantaged The disadvantaged must stop being used as training and research fodder but become decision makers and practitioners. Again not in a tokenistic way as allowed by those in real control and have to rely on setting targets for funding.Organisations who provide services need to widen the pool from which practitioners can train and practice by providing funding - take it from the never ending conferences and freebies they provide for each other. This is NOT a criticism of the critical psychiatry network which I hugely admire but the public also needs to get involved - those who suffer ill health get exhausted by protesting as do health workers who continue to speak out. How about a MASSIVE PUBLIC Campaign to highlight what goes on?Would anybody risk the wrath of the establishment?