Thursday, April 04, 2019

The stigma of anti-psychiatry

As I said in my previous post, challenging the biomedical model of psychiatry is not anti-psychiatry. Another example of how the term 'anti-psychiatry' is being used by mainstream psychiatry is in a session at the International Congress of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in July this year (see full programme) entitled 'The new anti-psychiatry: Responding to novel critiques on the legitimacy of psychiatry'. The chair of the session is Rob Poole, who I have mentioned in a previous post. The speakers are Paul Salkovskis (again, see another previous post), Dariusz GalasiƄski (see his blog post about anti-psychiatry) and Linda Gask (see another previous post).

I'm presuming critical psychiatry is what the session calls the 'new anti-psychiatry'. I've argued in a previous post that the Power Threat Meaning Framework that Paul Salkovskis is critiquing is not anti-psychiatry. I'm not sure how new the critiques of critical psychiatry really are; nor that they challenge the legitimacy of psychiatry as such. But I guess this is what mainstream psychiatry thinks is the case, which is why they use the term 'anti-psychiatry’ in the title of the session. As I've said before, it's a pity mainstream psychiatry finds critical psychiatry so threatening (eg. see previous post and extract from chapter 1 of my edited book Critical Psychiatry). There were excesses in anti-psychiatry (see my book chapter) but critical psychiatry shouldn't continue to be tarnished by this rotten reputation.

My own proposal for the International Congress on 'Integrating critical approaches into the training of psychiatrists' was turned down. Jo Moncrieff was going to chair it and the three sessions were on (1) Integrating service user/survivor perspectives (2) Integrating transcultural psychiatry and global psychologies (see new book by Suman Fernando and Roy Moodley) and (3) Integrating critical psychiatry. Maybe the session wasn't accepted because it was seen as too anti-psychiatry. If so, perceptions do need to change about the value of critical psychiatry.


Dariusz Galasinski said...

I'm disappointed with this 'pre-emtpive' argument. Not ony am I not 'mainstream psychiatry', but I am a fan of critical psychiatry and you in person. Please, let me remain you fan and don't argue against me before you hear what I say (if you do).

Also, if there is one thing that I learnt from shrinks who consder themselves critical, it is that reality is complex and simple oppositions are rarely useful. Please, let me keep the faith that critical psychiatry (whatever it is) understands that complexity.

Neil MacFarlane said...

Sorry Dariusz, but the RCPsych conference is professional, not academic. This panel appears to be the latest episode in a long history of debate-avoidance by what I call Pharma-psychiatry (too many drugs, which are cheap, and too little support and psychotherapy, which is expensive).

Duncan is not alone in seeing the need to pre-empt, and it is reasonable of him to assume that much of what you say will be similar to your piece of 31st July 2018, 'Anti-psychiatry, not for me'. Most readers of that, I think, would infer that you have decided current UK psychiatry is as benign, and genuinely psychosocial, as you found Polish psychiatry to be.

As for 'simple oppositions', it very much suits Pharma-psychiatry to portray its main opponent as Utopian anti-diagnosis purism. To have a professor of linguistics tearing apart Lucy Johnstone's views on 'ordinary language' and 'diagnosis is poison' will nicely distract from more concrete issues such as, for example, the forthcoming High Court hearing of paroxetine claimants against GSK, which may be still ongoing in June.

DBDouble said...

Twitter discussion following my tweet does suggest I was somewhat presumptive and maybe too much influenced by my previous post about the debate in ANZJP. Shows how emotive the word ‘anti-psychiatry’ still can be. I agree there are still critiques that challenge the legitimacy of psychiatry. Critical psychiatry (or at least my version of it) is not one of them.

F68.10 said...

As a rabid antithesist pro-science rationalist, I really take offense at having been repeatedly characterised by psychiatrists as antipsychiatry, antiscience, scientologist and as a terrorist.

It's time to stop the bullshit once and for all.

It's not only critical psychiatrists that are slurred. Patients too are slurred. Repeatedly and with metronomic precision. No wonder you end up with websites such as Mad in America... Causality.

One final point: it's perfectly possible to be pro-science and anti-medicine. That's the position I have now come to, as far as I have to judge the current state of affairs based on my personal experiences.