Psychiatry Disrupted

Psychiatry Disrupted: Theorizing Resistance and Crafting the (R)evolution

Copyright Date: 2014
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    Psychiatry Disrupted
    Book Description:

    There is growing international resistance to the oppressiveness of psychiatry. While previous studies have critiqued psychiatry, Psychiatry Disrupted goes beyond theorizing what is wrong with it to theorizing how we might stop it. Introducing readers to the arguments and rationale for opposing psychiatry, the book combines perspectives from anti-psychiatry and critical psychiatry activism, mad activism, antiracist, critical, and radical disability studies, as well as feminist, Marxist, and anarchist thought. The editors and contributors are activists and academics - adult education and social work professors, psychologists, prominent leaders in the psychiatric survivor movement, and artists - from across Canada, England, and the United States. From chapters discussing feminist opposition to the medicalization of human experience, to the links between psychiatry and neo-liberalism, to internal tensions within the various movements and different identities from which people organize, the collection theorizes psychiatry while contributing to a range of scholarship and presenting a comprehensive overview of resistance to psychiatry in the academy and in the community. Contributors include Simon Adam (University of Toronto), Rosemary Barnes University of Toronto, Peter Beresford (Brunel University), Bonnie Burstow (University of Toronto), Chris Chapman (York University), Mark Cresswell (Durham University), Shaindl Diamond (York University), Chava Finkler (Memorial University), Ambrose Kirby (therapist in private practice, Brenda A. LeFrançois (Memorial University of Newfoundland), Mick McKeown (University of Central Lancashire), Robert Menzies (Simon Fraser University), China Mills (Oxford University), Tina Minkowitz (World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry), Ian Parker (University of Leicester), Susan Schellenberg, Helen Spandler (University of Central Lancashire), and AJ Withers (York University). A courageous anthology, Psychiatry Disrupted is a timely work that asks compelling activist questions that no other book in the field touches.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-9030-4
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xvi)

    Activism to improve the way we deal with emotional suffering is essential, and the time for it is now. This book’s title announces that revolution is needed, given the magnitude of past, current, and – unless we act now and act large – future suffering.

    Many of us have spent decades writing and speaking about the harm done by not all but far too many professionals, but far too little has changed. Let me offer a perspective from my experience, and keep in mind as you read that I am only one of a great many who have tried to impel significant...

  5. Preface
    (pp. xvii-2)
  6. 1 Impassioned Praxis: An Introduction to Theorizing Resistance to Psychiatry
    (pp. 3-15)

    Psychiatry is not about benevolence, care, or help. While psychiatric apologists such as Edward Shorter (1997) have long positioned psychiatry as the liberators of the mad, in actuality psychiatry imprisons and oppresses people labeled “mad” in astronomical numbers. At no time in earlier eras was the number caught within the auspices of the mad professions anywhere near the number today. While psychiatry supporters make reference to the terror of Bedlam¹ – currently still in operation, and the hospital in medieval and Renaissance England synonymous with “booby hatch” and memorialized in Shakespeare’s plays (see for example, poor Tom inKing Lear) – the...

  7. 2 Becoming Perpetrator: How I Came to Accept Restraining and Confining Disabled Aboriginal Children
    (pp. 16-33)

    Some people may not wish to read this paper. It is an attempt to make sense of my own past perpetration of physical restraints and locked confinement of disabled Aboriginal children. My nightmare scenario of writing this is that it will do harm to people who’ve been subjected to such violence and read it. If you have been subjected to physical restraints and locked confinement, please know that this is the subject of the following paper, and so you may or may not wish to read ahead. I could never know for you whether or not you should proceed. On...

  8. 3 The Withering Away of Psychiatry: An Attrition Model for Antipsychiatry
    (pp. 34-51)

    For over 35 years, I have been an antipsychiatry activist. While the quotation above is one with which I think that all of our community can agree, and so one that I wanted to start with, this analysis more specifically comes out of that antipsychiatry background and perspective. Antipsychiatry is a very particular perspective. It differs from the perspective of many people who critique psychiatry, which is just fine, for a vibrant movement needs multiple perspectives and the fact that so many perspectives are represented in this book is encouraging. To be clear, antipsychiatry – the perspective from which I speak...

  9. 4 Psychology Politics Resistance: Theoretical Practice in Manchester
    (pp. 52-64)

    This chapter teases out principles and dynamics associated with a particular moment of resistance that went by the name of “Psychology Politics Resistance” and occurred in Manchester in the 1990s, and which bears a special relationship to psychology. While not explicitly targeting psychiatry, the chapter figures in this book on resistance to psychiatry because psychology is not an isolated practice or domain of thought but part of what is commonly called the psycomplex (Rose 1996). Included in this complex are psychiatry, psychology, and psychotherapy, and by extension, psychiatric social work and psy-chiatric nursing. As the various elements within the psy-complex...

  10. 5 From Subservience to Resistance: Nursing versus Psychiatry
    (pp. 65-76)

    States of domination, Michel Foucault describes, are those instances when a group “succeeds in blocking a field of power relations, immobilizing them and preventing any reversibility of movement” (Rabinow and Rose 2003, 27). Power relations that involve nursing, psychiatry, and pharmacology are the focus of this chapter. The voices of nurses resisting psychiatry have been emerging for some time now, but with a rather cautious crescendo. Nurses organizing against psychiatry, whose recent work modestly appears in the nursing and social sciences literature, emerged out of powerful discourses. As such, these nurses often stand on unstable political ground. These nurses are...

  11. 6 Developing Partnerships to Resist Psychiatry within Academia
    (pp. 77-95)

    If we are to make better sense of practice and theory in relation to resisting psychiatry in academia, then we will need to gain a better understanding of two recent and related developments. These are: first, the emergence of “service user involvement” in and beyond psychiatry, and second, moves beyond professional, to more inclusive partnership-based and collaborative approaches to opposition to psychiatry. In recent years, there has been an increasing international interest in including the perspectives, comments, and presence of “mental health service users” in both academic and policy settings. This has been framed in different ways in different countries,...

  12. 7 “We Do Not Want to Be Split Up from Our Family”: Group Home Tenants Amidst Land Use Conflict
    (pp. 96-113)

    There exists a significant scholarly literature that examines psychiatric survivor² housing experiences of homelessness (Shartal et al. 2006) as tenants in public housing (Jones et al. 2003) and in supportive housing (Schneider and McDonald 2008). However, there has been little written about psychiatric survivors’ experiences living in group homes or boarding homes (Capponi 1992) and, in particular, about how land use law constructs tenants’ relationships with one another. This chapter examines the ways in which group home tenants resisted the imposition of medico-legal interpretations of their relationships with one another and subverted definitions of group homes in land use law....

  13. 8 Disability, Divisions, Definitions, and Disablism: When Resisting Psychiatry Is Oppressive
    (pp. 114-128)

    Psychiatric consumer, survivor, ex-patient, and mad (pride) movements have made incredibly important gains for psychiatrized people and for society as a whole. I am personally inspired and influenced by the rich history of psychiatric consumer, survivor, ex-patient, and mad (also known as c/s/x/m) organizing. However, like all movements, there are areas that merit critical re-examination. Geoffrey Reaume (2012), historian and psychiatric survivor, asserts that “being inspired by those who went before can be as good a reason as any to engage in this research, so long as we are also critical about those we may admire, whilst also recording how...

  14. 9 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Liberation from Psychiatric Oppression
    (pp. 129-144)

    This chapter derives from the experience of the author in working on the drafting of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The drafting was an extraordinary experience of cooperation and shared power that is particularly unusual in the experience of users and survivors of psychiatry. The combination of international human rights and a social model of disability that highlights discrimination allowed us to bring into focus the violations we experience, and allowed the other parties involved in the drafting and negotiations process to accept a radical change to international law, which is now working its way...

  15. 10 Deeply Engaged Relationships: Alliances between Mental Health Workers and Psychiatric Survivors in the UK
    (pp. 145-162)

    This chapter explores the possibility of alliances between mental health workers and psychiatric survivor movements – a focus that has received little scholarly attention to date. Particular attention is paid to alliances between survivors and public sector trade unions in the UK. These alliances are replete with what, in a more general context, Wendy Brown (2000) has calledperilsandpossibilities. The possibilities of such alliances will be framed in terms of the need to defend, as well as transform, health and welfare institutions from threats presented by neoliberalism and bio-psychiatry, as well as the need for a creative renewal of...

  16. 11 Trans Jeopardy / Trans Resistance: Shaindl Diamond (SD) Interviews Ambrose Kirby (AK)
    (pp. 163-176)
    Shaindl Diamond and Ambrose Kirby

    This is an interview that took place between Shaindl Diamond and Ambrose Kirby in Toronto, Ontario in September 2012. Both are locally involved in organizing resistance to psychiatry as activists and psychotherapists.

    SD: Can you tell me a bit about your experience as a trans person vis-à-vis psychiatry and the kinds of problems that you’ve seen in the psychiatric system for trans people?

    AK: What I see happening within trans¹ communities is a real effort to get our identities out of theDSM– out of a pathologizing framework. There has been an increasing willingness by health centres and individual health...

  17. 12 Take it Public: Use Art to Make Healing a Public Narrative
    (pp. 177-193)

    SUSAN: When my analysis work was coming to an end in 2003, I dreamed the face of a woman patient from 1953, my first year of nursing training. I was taught that the woman’s rapidly clenching and unclenching over-bite jaw, foul language, chloral-hydrate¹ breath, and rage were signs that she suffered from a psychiatric condition diagnosed as Korsakoff’s psychosis. The woman’s presentation made it difficult for nurses to empathize with or go near her and, according to my dream, difficult for this nurse to forget her. I understood the dream to signal that this patient’s plight was one of the...

  18. 13 Feminist Resistance against the Medicalization of Humanity: Integrating Knowledge about Psychiatric Oppression and Marginalized People
    (pp. 194-207)

    Biological psychiatry is a massive enterprise that is shaped by and interacts with other ruling institutions that are likewise complicit in processes such as colonialism, capitalism, heterosexism, transphobia, ageism, ableism, sexism, adultism, and patriarchy. Within this interconnected web of power, certain marginalized people are particularly vulnerable to psychiatrization.¹ This has been demonstrated in various chapters throughout this book by authors who address various ways that specific marginalized groups are targeted by contemporary psychiatric discourses and practices. Kirby writes about how trans people are forced to interact with the psychiatric system in order to gain access to sex-reassignment surgery, thereby opening...

  19. 14 Sly Normality: Between Quiescence and Revolt
    (pp. 208-224)

    I want to tell you two stories, stories about pretending to agree, pretending to be “sane.” The first story is about Marie,¹ she told it to me when I interviewed her about her experiences within the psychiatric system.

    Marie heard voices for a long time; they helped her and comforted her while her parents sexually abused her. However, sometimes as an adult they caused her distress, usually a sign for her that she was getting stressed or a reminder that she should tell someone about the abuse she experienced as a child and kept secret for a long time afterwards....

  20. References
    (pp. 225-252)
  21. Contributors
    (pp. 253-258)
  22. Index
    (pp. 259-276)