(redirected from Anti-psychiatry)
Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.
Related to Anti-psychiatry: CCHR


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 ?
Occasioned by the tumultuous New York "SchizoCulture" conference of 1975, the texts touch on all the themes addressed earlier-capitalism and desiring-production, anti-psychiatry, the micropolitics of desire, and the processes of subjectivation that pervade media representations.
Chesler, 1972; Laing, 1969; Penfold and Walker, 1983; Wine, 1989; Burstow, 1992) and the anti-psychiatry and psychiatric survivor movements (Szasz, 1961; Breggin, 1991; Chamberlin, 1978; Capponi, 1992).
He was nominated there for his anti-psychiatry rant and his very public romance with Katie Holmes.
Tom Cruise is nominated for worst actor in ``War of the Worlds,'' and he's mentioned twice in the ``tiresome tabloid targets'' category - once for his anti-psychiatry rant and again for pretty much everything to do with his romance with Katie Holmes.
A number of anti-psychiatry groups continue to criticize our profession while we sit back and do nothing.
Anti-psychiatry activist Don Weitz was in the forefront of this controversy.
Yet the California group is not the only anti-psychiatry organization to receive federal funding for its reactionary mission.
Notwithstanding a final section confusedly devoted to arte povera, anti-psychiatry, and postmodern "applied arts" (within the logic of the seminar, the space could have been put to much better use for video/film projections and reading materials), "Des territoires" succeeded not only in making its case for what Chevrier calls the "concrete utopia" of a political/ poetical art a la Broodthaers's famous world map but also in bringing out the singularity of the means involved: a perpetual balancing act between objectivity and subjectivity, distance and proximity, public issues and personal sensibility.
The sacred cows of the ongoing academic debate quickly fall as he offers strong statements about the very real nature of mental illness, disposing of the anti-psychiatry movement, the labelers, the social control theorists quickly and convincingly.
As you read through the dozens of interviews with psychiatric survivors and anti-psychiatry activists, including familiar names like Bonnie Burstow and Persimmon Blackbridge, it becomes quite obvious that something else is indeed going on.
This was one of the crucial targets of the highly influential anti-psychiatry critiques of the 1960s, a concept which needed some deconstruction alongside the movement of disorder from the hospitals.

Full browser ?