Psychiatry Misses The Point With Image Problem

It baffles me how both psychiatry and social work are concerned with image problems, yet both fail to get to the root of their problems. Rather than look at services provided, or how services provided may have harmed people, both professions put their hands to their foreheads and lament that their gifts are not appreciated.

Take a look at The Guardian Social Care Network and you will see this in play. I am also tagging my own posts about how the social work profession view itself, here. However, it is a couple of recent articles about psychiatry that are my focus, today:

Psychiatry’s Poor Image: Reflecting on Psychiatrists’ “Apologias”

What makes this issue special is that there is a sizable number of commentators; moreover, they include such leading figures as Gaebel, current President of the European Psychiatric Association, Wasserman, former President of the European Psychiatric Association, and Bhugra, President of the World Psychiatric Association. Could it be that the upper echelons of psychiatry, whether they admit or not, are becoming alarmed? Regardless, these psychiatric reflections are themselves a source of data—hence this article.

Trouble in paradise?

The Most Important Question Never Emerges

Before I proceed further, I would point out that there is a conspicuous void in this collection. While all authors in their own different ways address what might be done to improve psychiatry’s image, significantly, not a single psychiatrist thinks to ask what by humanistic standards would appear to be the compulsory question: Insofar as any of the bad image is deserved, exactly how are the “patients” being ill served and what is owed them? With one exception only — and we will shortly see why he is an exception — nor does anyone seem to take in that in all likelihood, in dialoguing with each other, they are talking to the wrong people. The point is, insofar as this poor image is in any way merited and in any way relates to practice — and it is arguably arrogant just to assume otherwise — it is not so much their colleagues with whom they most need to be in dialogue, but the people whose situations they appear to badly misunderstand. What relates to this, and is similarly worrisome, “patients” are discussed only insofar as psychiatrists speculate that part of the image problem arises from “stigma” against the “patients” being transferred to the psychiatrists. Nor is improving care per se a major theme. All of which suggest that advancing the profession is taking precedence over the welfare of the people “served.”

There are plenty of other articles worth taking a look at on their site, but below is another that piqued my interest, because they speak directly to MK Ultra. This is great news, but they fall short when they make the same fatal mistake as so many others: They imply that this is a part of history and that our government would not do something like it, now. They do, but they call it by different names.

Granted, getting in to conspiracy theories (facts) creates a bit of a problem when attempting to establish credibility. So, taking that into consideration, I can see why they may  not want to venture out into what they may consider speculation. There are enough labels to deal with. Even so, this is a huge step in the right direction.

3 Troubling Reasons Psychiatry Retains Power Despite Lost Scientific Credibility

Check out the above link for details. There are several troubling reasons listed, but they each have parts. It reminds me of college and graduate school: “There is only one question, but it is in 20 parts.” Ugh. Short-lived gratitude, but I digress into silliness. Moving along:

1. Psychiatry’s Lost Scientific Credibility

  • DSM Invalidity
  • Biochemical Imbalance Theory Debunked
  • Rethinking the Effectiveness of Antipsychotic and Antidepressant Drug Treatments.
  • Psychiatric Treatments May Cause Increased Suicide
  • Creating Stigma with Biochemical Defect Theories
  • Corruption of Psychiatry by Big Pharma Full Article on Mad In America

2. Why Psychiatry Retains Power Despite Lost Credibility

3. Meeting the Coercion Needs of the Power Structure

Ruling elites and power structures—from monarchies to military dictatorships to the U.S. corporatocracy —have routinely used “professionals” to control the population from rebelling against economic inequalities and social injustices so as to maintain the status quo. Power structures routinely rely on police and clergy, and today the U.S. power structure also uses mental health professionals. Medication and behavior modification “treatments” have been utilized to subvert resistance to a dehumanizing status quo, be it in a family or in the larger society. The following are a few examples of how both psychiatry and psychology have met the needs of the power structure in return for status and money.

  • Assistance in Interrogation/Torture
  • Subverting Resistance by U.S. Soldiers
  • Pathologizing and Medicating Noncompliance
  • Meeting Our Needs for Coercion

Kudos, again to Mad In America. Despite my earlier comments, it is wonderful to see these problems discussed so openly. I did not think that I would see it. Tackling these obvious, but repress stories, adds to their credibility and value as a source of solid information. Please check them out.