On the matter of psychiatry 

From time to time I have posted a series of blogs by guest bloggers around topics I  thought might be of interest.   Normally I  explain the topic and add some questions that authors may or may not choose to address in their posts.   Normally posts are about 600-800 words.   I try to post all the posts submitted over a  two day period so that it functions basically as a magazine with articles centered around one theme. 

Not all series have went well.   A couple of times I have posted what I thought were good ideas and got little or no response so please realize that rather this series happens or not is dependent upon rather or not there is enough interest to make it worthwhile. 

In about 4-6 weeks I would like to post a  series I am calling,  “On the matter of psychiatry.” 

There are many points of unity within this movement but there are many fundamental divisions also.  While we are united in our opposition to the medical model there is a wide range of opinions as to how that should or can play out in real life.   There are those who believe psychiatry should be abolished and advocate for many reasons basically a stance of non cooperation with the mental health system.   They believe it is intrinsically flawed and no reforms are likely to address those flaws.   There are those who believe that is an unrealistic idea. Psychiatry they say is not going to be abolished.   They see no set of circumstances under which this is even possible.   To varying degrees they think meaningful reform is possible and to abandon the system is to leave it to people or interests that will only make it worse. 

Obviously this is a vast oversimplification of two very complicated positions.   Before anybody gets too angry I realize that.   And like everything else nothing is black or white.   There are those who see some value in both positions and there are countless ways to take a position somewhere in the middle. 

Here are some of the questions those participating may choose to address.  Not all these questions will be of equal importance or relevance to what you would like to say.   You may choose not to address any of them and that is okay.   I am very flexible.   I welcome all perspectives.   My only real bottom line is that no submissions will be considered that are little more than personal attacks on those you disagree with. I  will do all I can to share each post widely so many people may hear what you have too say. 

Here is my list of possible questions. 

1.  If you believe in the abolishment  of psychiatry do you believe that is a  realistic thing that could actually happen?   Why do you think that?   What would have to happen to make it either likely or possible?   What do you say to people who think you are unrealistic? 

2.  If you believe in reform why?   What makes you believe that real reform is possible?   What would real reform look like to you?  What would make it possible or likely?   What are the biggest obstacles to real change? 

3.  How,  if at all,  has differences on this question affected this movement?   Has it affected the impact this movement has had on the possibility of change?   Is it possible or likely to join in advocacy efforts with people you strongly disagree with on this issue?

4.  Regardless of your position how is your position most commonly misunderstood or misrepresented by those you disagree with? 

5.  How does your position affect your stance or your effectiveness on advocating on proposed legislation?

6.  If you believe in abolishment what do you say to people who say you are treating the needs of people with serious problems as unimportant?

7.  If you believe in reform what do you say to people who say you minimize the trauma that many people experience in the system?

8.  How does your stance on this issue affect your view of peer support? 

9.  How does your stance balance out the conflict between human rights and making sure that people who need help get that help?  Or do you believe that seen accurately there is no conflict? 

10.  If you believe in reform how do you respond to the fear your efforts will be coopted by the system and you will end up defending what you want to change? 

11. If you believe in abolishment what is your response to people who tell you the system has helped them and you have no right to deny them access?

12.  Can the medical model be changed or altered by working within the system?   Why or why not? 

13.  Does this movement have enough unity to make a difference in the way the mental health system operates?   Why or why not? 

14.  What is the best way for this movement to gain credibility with those that make policy?  The vote on the Murphy Bill makes me wonder how much we have? 

15.  Have we made a difference?   How?   What is the biggest difference you can see us making in the future?

16. How widely held are the opinions of people in this movement by those that have received services in the mental health system? 

I  have tried to consider a wide variety of questions on  both sides of the issue but I am sure there are many more that might be considered.   You are welcome to address any of the issues I have raised or an issue you think that is important I have not considered. 

If you are interested in being part of this let me know and I can let you know how to proceed.   If you have questions let me know.   If you are not interested but know someone who is please let them know. 

And again if there is enough interest I hope to do this in about 4-6 weeks.   If not I hope you will find some of the questions posed worth thinking about.

Thanks for your time. 


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