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 ?
(1971) Psychiatry and anti-psychiatry. New York: Ballantine Books.
The basic tenet of R D Laing's anti-psychiatry was that psychiatry as a movement allowed itself, often unwittingly, to be commandeered by agents of social control in general, and governments (which need homogenised conformity of behaviour) in particular.
At the time, the anti-psychiatry movement was accusing psychiatry of bringing support to the regimes around the world that were trying to oppress sexual, racial, and political minorities.
Jane Arden was a successful actress, playweight and directoe who, in the late 60s, became an ardent feminist and devotee of the anti-psychiatry movement (R.D.
At the same time, one must remain aware of the inherent amalgamation of the anti-psychiatry ideology, consumerism and modern concept of 'recovery'.
The authors take as their starting point the sort of questions which so troubled the Anti-Psychiatry thinkers way back in the 20th century.
But few of us realize the impact deinstitutionalization and the anti-psychiatry movement--along with the lack of funding for community mental health centers--has had on the day-to-day running of jails and prisons.
She insisted that the romantic ideals of the fascists could be seen in the strangest of places: 1970s youth culture, the anti-psychiatry movement, Third World camp-followers and modern occultists to name but a few.
The seven texts of "Beyond Analysis," Chaosophy's second section, concern Guattari's indefatigable activism within what is often called the "anti-psychiatry movement" (a term Guattari rejects).
in Syracuse, NY) has been a gadfly to both the mainstream psychiatric community and the anti-psychiatry movement ever since the launching of the latter in the 1960s by R.D.
Cooper starts out, as many others do, by addressing anti-psychiatry, with a survey of Foucault, R.

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