antipsychiatry


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antipsychiatry

a movement of opposition against both the practice and theory of conventional psychiatry, influential especially in the 1960s and early 1970s. Associated with the work of R. D. LAING (1959) in Britain and Thomas SZASZ in the US, antipsychiatry attacks the general concept of MENTAL ILLNESS as well as the therapeutic techniques employed in treating this. Both Laing and Szasz were themselves psychotherapists. In Laing's view, ‘mental illness’ is a concept with little or no scientific foundation; the causation of ‘mental illness’ is not biological. His suggestion was that the mental and behavioural states so described would be better seen as a meaningful response to the stresses and strains and disrupted communications of family life. Such mental states ‘make sense’ once the social situation of the person concerned is fully considered. Doctors and the patient's family often collude, Laing proposes, in labelling a person ‘mad’. The argument of Szasz was similar in key respects, though different in detail. In The Myth of Mental Illness (1961), he pointed out that psychiatrists rarely agreed in diagnosing SCHIZOPHRENIA. It was on this basis that he concluded that schizophrenia is not an illness. The implication of this, according to Szasz, is that patients are people who must be held responsible for their actions and treated accordingly Both Laing and Szasz regarded the involuntary incarceration of patients in mental hospitals and the use of techniques of treatment such as electroconvulsive therapy, leucotomy, and even tranquilizing drugs, as of uncertain value and repressive, a denial of individual autonomy without good reason. Sociologists who have also exerted an influence on the antipsychiatry movement (although the overall influence of their work is much wider) are FOUCAULT and GOFFMAN – see also MADNESS, TOTAL INSTITUTION, LABELLING THEORY.

The late 1970s and 1980s have seen a great reduction in the numbers of people in mental hospitals, partly as the result of movements such as antipsychiatry. Ironically however, the dismantling of the old apparatus of mental institutions and custodial care has given way to COMMUNITY CARE partly because mental illness has proved controllable by drugs. There are many who claim that this demonstrates that mental illness is at least in part a medical condition.

References in periodicals archive ?
The concern with narrative options is at the core of what Fabris (2011) is trying to convey, he wants spaces for people diagnosed with mental illness to create their own narratives and be allowed to incorporate those into their identity without having that written off as a part of their illness, as mere antipsychiatry rhetoric, or being otherwise discounted.
Psychiatrists are not bemoaning their loss of hegemony--a favourite word and another myth propagated by the antipsychiatry lobby; rather, it is only too obvious to them (as qualified medical doctors) that patients will suffer in the long term by not being referred appropriately to those who have the expertise to recognize and distinguish between human difficulties and illness.
He was a leader of the antipsychiatry movement of the 1960s and '70s challenging established patterns of thought, practices and institutions in neighborhoods of psychoanalysis, philosophy and sociology, and, indeed, across the humanities and social sciences.
That's not to say that something cannot be stigmatizing, but 'labeling' kind of gets right into the antipsychiatry component of it.
Wexler's commentary is particularly instructive: "Accordingly, mental health law has in large measure been part of the antipsychiatry movement, mistrust of the mental health disciplines and of their practitioners .
As one of many antipsychiatry critiques, Shyness is not unique in lambasting the APA, the DSM, Big Pharma, and biopsychiatry generally.
During the political consciousness-raising times of the 1960s and 1970s in several Western countries (parallel to movements such as antipsychiatry movement, second-wave feminism, and civil rights movement), lesbian and gay lifestyles became more possible and visible.
Such crises found expression not only in militant political activism, but in the cult of violence; (48) the cult of the irrational, (49) the embrace of sexual adventurism, (50) experimentation with drugs, (51) and the valorisation of marginality and madness as desirable conditions, as exemplified by the enormous influence enjoyed by the antipsychiatry of R.
Feminist Antipsychiatry Praxis--Women and the Movement(s): A Canadian Perspective.
The antipsychiatry movement of the 1960s and 70s would forever alter the authority of this vision in popular film.
Babel Tower and A Whistling Woman are full of sharp observations about the British 1960s (happenings, cults, the rise of television, the antipsychiatry movement), which Frederica (like Byatt) dislikes for celebrating mindless merging over clarity and precision.