Ah well they rejected my panel so fuck ’em I said, prepared to be all pissy and dismissive of the convention on its way to Austin town, but that’s just not me. Three thousand progressive bloggers flying into the state responsible for the neocon stronghold on this country is a marvelous event that didn’t happen by accident. Bu$hco absolutely rules Texas on every level of government, what better place than Austin to say goodbye to all that?
I plan to volunteer and serve the psychobigots in some capacity but will first clear the bitterness away. Maybe I’m not seeing it, but looking over the agenda it appears once again as a “Sea of Middle-Aged White Males” with no disability caucus or mental health activism included anywhere.
As usual civil rights are well-represented by GLBT bloggers who I certainly do recognize as mentors, but that’s not the only civil rights game in town, y’all, isn’t it time to embrace liberal diversity and engage the unwanted stepchildren/lifelong organizers under the big tent? I wonder if any other disability rights bloggers submitted a proposal to NN, and am anxious to read their layout and hear what they have to say about being excluded during this momentous era of Change.™ Party unity my ass, there is something very missing here, and yes, you’re lookin at it.
This proposal, penned by the illustrious Candid Psychiatrist, is as stand-up as anything going on this week, and it received a standard polite brush-off by the NN gatekeeper. Hmph. Methinks the elite liberal establishment resists education, and I think we would have killed.
CHALLENGING THE CORRUPTION OF PSYCHIATRY
A Proposed Presentation for Netroots Nation 2008
The institutions and practice of contemporary psychiatry are corrupted by the pharmaceutical industry, managed care, and other commercial interests. The prevailing treatment model today is biological psychiatry, a worldview that systematically dehumanizes patients by reducing their life stories, individual concerns, and emotional needs to a bunch of dumb molecules. This clinical model is driven by fiscal priorities, professional insecurities, and an elitist/authoritarian mindset—and is propped up by a vast research infrastructure that is drunk on drug company money, generating sham science in support of diagnoses and theories that have no firm basis in fact.
The above paragraph may seem hyperbolic, but it is more supportable than much of what passes for conventional wisdom in psychiatry today. Many progressives resist education on these issues because they are accustomed to defending psychiatry from perceived enemies of science. Others generalize from their own positive experience of psychiatric treatment, and/or question the credibility of psychiatry’s opponents. Nonetheless, recent news stories about the selective publication of antidepressant studies, the systematic diagnosing and drugging of children, and other outrages hint at the widespread dysfunction in our mental health system. Many in the progressive community are being seduced by pseudoscience and unwittingly enabling corporatism. We would like to correct this misjudgment.
The movement for psychiatric reform is evolving and broadening as awareness of this institutional corruption increasingly comes to light. The internet has opened doors for free communication between consumers and providers, and its anonymity has allowed psychiatrists and other providers to speak freely without fear. As parties that used to oppose each other find common cause and coalesce, we see ourselves on the threshold of a new front in netroots activism.
Dr. Paul Minot is a psychiatrist with a medication management practice in Central Maine. He is part of the burgeoning critical psychiatry movement, attacking the institutional corruption and sham science that taints its contemporary practice and dehumanizes patients. He cites his experience playing in punk bands in the 1980s as significantly influencing his worldview. He now promotes psychiatric reform through his website, Candid Psychiatrist (www.candidpsychiatrist.com), and also posts frequently at Daily Kos. Perhaps his greatest notoriety to date comes from a diary there entitled Bush’s ‘Delusions’: A Psychiatrist’s Perspective which was linked throughout the blogosphere and subsequently became a viral email. Dr. Minot will be examining the scientific underpinnings of biological psychiatry.
Robin Plan is a consumer advocate addressing psychiatric issues on her website, Writhe Safely (https://writhesafely.wordpress.com). Her background is in alternative-rock broadcast media, and she now works tracking Texas state legislation. She is an award-winning SLAM poet, pioneer in the DIY poetry zine scene of the 1980s, and her work has been taught at Miami University Women’s Studies and Stanford University Introductory to Writing courses. Robin describes herself as a radical humanist, for whom advocacy has been the enduring presence in her life. She has shelter experience counseling victims and perpetrators of domestic violence, child abuse, Alzheimer’s victims, and works on campaigns addressing hunger, patient rights, the democratization of the arts, and the mental health consumer liberation movement.
Ms. Plan will discuss the impact of biological psychiatry from the patient’s perspective.
John Breeding, Ph.D. is a counseling psychologist in Austin, Texas. He is the director of Texans for Safe Education, a citizens group dedicated to challenging the ever-increasing role of psychiatry and psychiatric medications in the schools. He combats psychiatric oppression in other arenas as well, and is a steering committee member of the Coalition for the Abolition of Electroshock in Texas (www.endofshock.com). His personal website, Wildest Colts Resources (www.wildestcolts.com), is an exhaustive resource for information on parenting, psychology, and psychiatry. Dr. Breeding is the author of four books, including The Wildest Colts Make the Best Horses and The Necessity of Madness and Unproductivity: Psychiatric Oppression or Human Transformation. He has 37 video clips posted at http://www.youtube.com, with tens of thousands of cumulative views logged there. Dr. Breeding will explore the ethical and spiritual impact of biological psychiatry.
The presentation will be live-blogged by Philip Dawdy, an award-winning investigative journalist and patient advocate who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Mr. Dawdy has reported extensively on mental health issues on the local and national level, and worked as a staff writer at Seattle Weekly until November 2006. Since then Philip has been running the popular consumer blog, Furious Seasons (www.furiousseasons.com) and is a frequent diarist at Daily Kos.
We hope that this presentation will increase the audience’s understanding of the extensive corruption of science that is used to justify the biological model of psychiatry, and the many ways in which the application of this clinical model degrades patient care. We would like to overcome the perception that critics of psychiatry are enemies of science, and thus attract wider support among progressives in opposing rampant corporatism in psychiatry. Finally, we would like to demonstrate how the internet is enabling activists with diverse perspectives to communicate with each other and come together in common cause.