Monday, December 5, 2011

The Therapeutic/Protective Service State: Guerrilla Actions

Individuals who refuse psychiatry when their betters think they should accept it are quite likely to suffer wrathful coercion from what Tom Szasz calls the Therapeutic State.

Families and groups who are cynical about the proclaimed beneficence of the Protective Services State (e.g., "Child Protective Services" or "Department of Children and Family Services") may also be regarded essentially as though they are mentally ill. They will be presumed to not know what is best for their own children, and they will be asked to prove negatives which are impossible ("How can we know for sure that this won't happen again?").

Children misbehave, sometimes badly. Parents are not supposed to punish them anymore, they're supposed to turn them over to experts outside the family who are employed by the state. It's very similar to (and sometimes it directly and explicitly involves) forensic psychiatry.

So if your 13-year-old child rebels against a type-1 diabetes diagnosis, runs away from home, gets pregnant and learns how to selectively manipulate you and the CPS bureaucrats back and forth against each other depending on whom she wants to defy on any given day, well guess what? You're quickly going to feel very much like somebody who is involuntarily committed in a state nuthouse.

The key to understanding the similarity is the concept of institutional machines meant to do things that individual people shouldn't have to do or don't want to do. Forensic psychiatry and child protective services are attempts at dependable, impartial, no-fault, objective processes to relieve real people from having to pay attention. The experts running the machines supposedly know how people -- as cogs in other machines -- ought to work. It's all nonsense, of course. The real world results are consistently and embarrassingly terrible. And anyone who knows himself or herself to be more than just a cog in somebody else's machine instinctively hates both forensic psychiatry and child protective services, or at least they do when these institutions are aimed "incorrectly" (at them).

But by the time people find out that forensic psychiatry and child protective services alike are all about state tyranny, not about state therapy or state protection or helping anyone, well, it's too late, you "can't fight city hall." You have to collaborate (which means surrender) or the machine crushes you, and everyone -- even your family -- will say it's your fault!

Back in 1964 a young man named Mario Savio gave a beautiful speech in Berkeley, about making the machine stop. It was a clarion call for civil disobedience and guerrilla actions.

Now, a half-century after the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, we confront forensic psychiatry and child protective services, and we lose over and over again. How can we put our bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels and upon the levers, and upon all the apparatus, and make it stop?

The following three tactics or principles are suggested, as the most basic guerrilla strategy.

Tactic/principle #1. Don't participate, even tacitly. Don't acknowledge that anyone is trying to help you, if it doesn't feel like help to you. Don't let anyone say you agreed to something, if you don't think you actually did agree, freely. Never let anyone call something your duty or your job, if you never actually accepted it as such, yourself.

If your psychiatrist can't confirm that you have a "chemical imbalance" by way a blood test or a brain scan (which of course, they cannot do), don't accept his explanation about why the meds are therapeutic. If they get a court order for involuntary medication, make them hold you down to inject the drug into your body, never let them pretend it's not forced.

Never acknowledge the social worker's expertise or the guardian ad litem's authority over your child. Never fail to challenge their motives, which are egocentric, elitist, ignorant and mercenary. Never believe these people are acting in anyone's best interests but their own.

Just don't ever cave or agree, at least not in your heart. The little tyrants are trained and drilled to trick you into thinking that you have agreed when you haven't, that something was your idea when it wasn't, that something is best for you when it's their own arbitrary, pet theory. You might pretend, just to gain somebody's confidence or a tactical advantage. But don't ever forget what you know yourself.

Tactic/principle #2. Make it an expensive, time consuming nuisance. The reason the state makes machines and automatic, uniform processes is that people think they can't afford to deal with live individuals. So, be a very live individual. When somebody mentions a policy, make them show it to you in writing, then make them tell you its purpose. If answers don't make sense, keep asking, don't let it drop. Be that child who asks "Why?" to every answer, endlessly until all the parent has left is, "Because I say so!" The state pretends to rationality, not force, so it is more vulnerable than a parent, it has to keep explaining.

A friend told me years ago that the law is reasons (small r, plural). Whoever has more of them and is willing to stand up and say them longer than the other guy, wins. The reasons don't have to be all that good, either. They just have to be good enough that nobody is sure you don't believe them yourself. If you have more reasons, more questions, if you're staying longer and talking more than the little tyrant wants to, you'll win. You have to wear them down, be the squeakiest wheel they've ever heard.

The state appears to have all the money, but the little tyrants are often answerable for their efficiency or lack of it. If it's generally expected that one hearing will result in the efficient disposition of a case, the bureaucrat who can't finish it in three hearings can look pretty bad to his or her boss. When a member of a mental health treatment team has to have legal representation for a deposition and that has to go into his boss's budget, well, maybe the machine will figure out it's easier not to petition for involuntary treatment, or not to place a child in a foster home, after all.

Always ask for a change of venue, always ask for a different judge, but always have more reasons than anyone thinks you could possibly need. Always make them late for dinner.

And by the way, when it comes to this factor of expense, if you can easily pay thousands for a lawyer, it can help you a lot. But many lawyers (especially the ones whom the court appoints for you for free) really believe in the system you're fighting against. You can still use them, they are ethically required to follow your instructions and your strategy if they are representing you. But be aware that you may be spending (or paying for) lots of hours arguing with your own attorney. I hate to say it, but sometimes it might be better to study the law and represent yourself.

Tactic/principle #3. Always look for the good in each individual, even while you never miss an opponent's lie or illogical, arbitrary claim. Ultimately you can separate well-intended individuals from the state machines which they think they have to slavishly serve. Expect this to happen.

You are in the right, and a good person will know that. Get them to betray the empire, remove them from the matrix. Love your enemy.

If you are more persistent than they predict you could ever be, if you are a very creative nuisance, and if you look for the good in individuals and presume they will ultimately come around to your side, you'll be surprised how often you'll get defectors.

And you might end up a hero.


  1. Your statements are definitely in agreement with what I've experienced the last few years! 
    I think the hardest part is losing EVERYONE I've ever known. It's become reality like this:

    1) I don't think any of my large, loving family members and closest friends ever considered a claim that my mothering was negligent or abusive to be anything but ridiculous. 
    2) They admit the system is broken (I've heard this fallacy so much it makes me nauseous.)
    3) But, it's the government and you can't win. There's no use fighting it and anyone who does is stupid.
    4) After all, look at all the poor, pitiful children our favorite organizations (government partners) have helped and WE'RE proud supporters. 

    5) Therefore, the only way they've reconciled this VICIOUS ATTACK against me and my child is by concluding it's my fault by: a) "not cooperating" with the system and ticking them off.
    b) not "letting go" of my rebellious child.

    6) So, they regularly assert they're sorry and hate we've gone through so much pain.
    7) But, they can't or don't want to hear about it anymore (e.g. it's killing them, don't know what to do, have a family too, so much work to do, tried to help - didn't do any good, I won't listen, and my favorite, they just don't understand:)

    As my bitterness shows its ugly head, I remind myself the deceived are not the true enemy and just a few years ago I most likely would have responsed similarly:( I now have an unstoppable passion to wake people up! 

    Thank you, Randy, for your kindness, advocacy, patience, and time!

    Hope does not disappoint us,
    Shelley A. Faulkner

  2. This is an absolutely fantastic post and I want to make a few points.

    As for Tactic #1, psychiatry tries to shift responsibility to the patient. It never takes responsibility for itself. It's always the patient's responsibility. Don't ever take responsibility for what a shrink claims. When they see that you don't take responsibility, that you feel you have absolutely nothing to prove to them, they tend to drop you, sooner or later, like a hot potato.

    Tactic #2: you must make sure that every victory they obtain is a Pyrrhic victory. Make sure everything you do wastes far too much manpower and resources. Eventually, they get a clue that they're in a war of attrition and they drop you.

    As for Tactic #3, there are indeed decent people in the system. They're generally referred to as "unprofessional" by their colleagues because they actually care. These are the people you go after and "get to". Pretty soon there's a split between them and the authoritarian thugs. And when you've divided the opposing side, well, you've pretty much won.

    It may be take a death by a thousand little cuts, but a patient, resourceful individual can indeed just say "no" to psychiatry.

    1. Thanks! Getting the psych to drop you sometimes isn't even the end. For a guy whose judge is happy to keep him in a secure facility until a Theim date of 2052, or for a mom whose kid is "safely" in a foster home until she's 18, you actually have to get them do what you want.

    2. You work on the criminal end. I've only been on the receiving end of civil commitments. You'll have to forgive me if my experiences with psychiatry have made me cynical.

      The cases of Ms Faulkner and Ms Godboldo are very sad. How the state uses psychiatry to strip the bonds of the parent/child relationship is something out of an Orwell novel.

  3. Loveone at Chester MHC;OVER 15 years;FORCED PSYCHE drugs(photos of INJURIES;caused by GUARDS and few violent inmate/patients);has tried to listen to them;have learned that 'incidences', have been concocted;stacked in the 'treatment' teams favor;FALSIFYING reports in charts;sending these LIES to the courts.

    We are tired of doing things their way, so I've recently decided to CHANGE our stragegy(as they have CHANGED dates of incidences to make it appear that our lovedone, was the LIER, when we KNOW, that it's the employees there, that's lieing)by NOT allowing them to insist that we speak with other treatment team members, sending us around in circles, to buy for time for themselves.

    I address our complaints(in writing), to ONE admin and request that it be forwarded to EACH team member, for it takes 3-4 days to reach the first one and by the time re receive a reply back, it's onlt stating to us to contact another one of them, which takes another month and one half of our/our loved ones precious, jeopardizing even MORE of his life span, with all the assaults orchestrated against him, mainly by guards or a few of the violent inmate/patients.

    I NEVER just accept THEIR version of what happens for we have made it CLEAR, to our lovedone, to contact us, IMMEDIATELY, if he has any problems that needs to be reported(and he has had many)(aeven as recent as this April, 2012).

    We have been THREATENED because we file complaints(when necessary) and he have been systemically blamed, because we file any necessary complaint, but they STILL can't intimidate us and NEVER will, for eventually, they WILL have to answer to their FALSE accusations and will be left looking like th quacks they are.

    These state of Illinois employees, have MORE issues that my brother and seriously believe that they can brainwash families into believing that it's us and not them.

    It's amazing, that these state employees could actually suffering from GREED of such magnitude, but just the same, I will NOT EVER, allow ANYONE brainwash us into believing that we are responsible for THEIR ILL behaviors.

    I know that my brother was retailiated on(not beign a gangbanger)at the age of thirteen and wanted to run away from home, but I love my little brother TOOOO much, to let him go alone, but was able to get him to change his mind, still not realizing how this devastated him.

    At the age of 17, he got in trouble and was jailed with OLDER men and was raped. He had a nervous breakdown. He is NOT schizophrenic, bi-polar, anti-social or any other 'diagnosis' they have bestowed on him.

    He has served his time and is CURRENTLY scheduled for a VODEO conference(in two weeks), for his long OVERDUE transfer OUT of Chester, which has been DELAYED, because of the MANY LIES that has been told on him, because he refuses to go along with troublemakers OR because he speaks up/stands up, for himself(DEFENDING what he has a right to;himself AND his belongings).

    There is ONLY one, individuals that I(as a family member) really believe in, who works there and I am truly greatful for him NOT going along with the others and LIEING on him.

    I've had the opportunity to meet(;have some wit about himself, but he STILL could NOT get himself releaved from Chester, without the HELP of an atty., so with that, I'm asking you to contact I, with attorneys' HELP, to get my brother FREED from that madhouse environment. Once he's transferred OUT of Chester, is when we will really need your HELP.

    I can be contacted at (773)622-2906, at ANY TIME;DAY OR NIGHT!

    PLEASE SEND HELP is the message we're sending.

    Thank you, fr taking the time to listen/hear our PLEA for HELP for him, for we have learned that there is DAMAGE to his LIVER(as;deceased now,;caused by PSYCHE drugs) and his COGNITIVE abilities, is ALSO as risk;deterioating!


    1. I'm sorry, but I *m just not able to take on a case in Chester at this time. The logistics are very expensive, and my current commitments elsewhere are too extensive. I'm happy to talk or correspond.