Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Terror?

Here's something I know from personal experience.

When a group is subjected to certain simultaneous pressures, or when its leaders choose to take it down a certain road, that group and even some individuals in it will become actively psychotic. The most deadly combination is:

1.  the loyalties of the group and within the group suddenly become uncertain or indistinct;
2.  the group or some members are suddenly subject to unusual emotion and confused morality; and
3.  the group suddenly places a very high value on secrecy.

At the moment there appears to be a bit of group psychosis at Elgin Mental Health Center. Patients are being subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures with no explanations. Restrictions of rights are arbitrary and undocumented, contrary to all rules and policy. Capable and well-intended clinicians are overruled by the administration even on the minutiae of treatment plans. Those who actually deal with the court system are given false information and thereby embarrassed.

In short, the place is freaking out. There's an atmosphere of insecurity. People tell each other, "Well gee, things look bad. Some huge change is happening, what exactly it is can't be revealed, but it's not good for you." (This is almost an exact quote, by the way, from statements by a psychiatrist to a patient today!) The Program Director and Medical Director both resigned recently. These were guys who had been in charge at Elgin for many years. One very capable person who was offered the Program Director job flatly refused to take it. The temporary Medical Director is a slightly shadowy administrator-without-portfolio, whose title and real state job no one is sure of.

No one knows who's responsible. No one knows who's dangerous. No one knows when anything can get done or when some really big shoe might drop.

Somebody is desperately trying to hide something, but in deathly fear that it will be discovered at any moment. That's the source of the terror.

Maybe I'm over-dramatizing this, or believing crazy people who are lying to me. Or maybe it's no acute, new situation, but just a chronic condition in forensic mental health.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Jeffrey Lieberman's Totalitarian Mind

Years ago, I was present when Jeffrey Lieberman gave a talk to psychiatrists which included a suggestion that they could rule the world as elite captains of treatment with an iron fist of brain science.

At the time I recognized a vaguely totalitarian intent, but I discounted it, perhaps in part because I was distracted when the outgoing APA President gratuitously singled me out of the crowd of a couple hundred. He attempted to put a stigma on me, maybe unknowingly as a harmless joke, maybe not.

Since then, Lieberman has been a steadfast proponent and defender of the American, hyper-medicalized, coercive psychiatric orthodoxy. He testified before at least one Congressional committee. He lambasted the New York Times for their anti-psychiatry tendencies despite their positive review of his book. He's the single most obvious spokesman for the bad guys.

I follow Dr. Lieberman on Twitter. Today I noticed an interesting conversation. At 3:34 PM on 7/15/17, Jeffrey tweeted disapprovingly about a NY Times opinion piece by op-ed writer Pagan Kennedy: Ancient Cure for Alzheimer’s? via @nytimes Hmmm? Not much of #Medical relevance here. More like anthropol fiction. 

Maybe this was an unremarkable comment by itself, but Jeffrey and the Times are kind of an item, so it got my attention. 

At noon on 7/16/17, there was a reply from a Canadian psychiatrist, Dr. Garth Kroeker: While no "cure" is established, I find this article thought-provoking.  Always good to show respect for a unique perspective. Dr. Kroeker was not automatically buying into Jeffrey's disapproval of the Times' incipient divergence from the pure faith of medicine.

Jeffrey's correction of his professional colleague at 6:54 PM the same day is what I find revealing: Agree but precious editorial space could be better used for more substantive info on #Alzheimers or other brain disorders. 

This is the tweet of a little corporal with apocalyptic ambitions. It's elitist arrogance even beyond what got us a President Donald Trump! "Precious editorial space" apparently is some commodity that must be regulated by psychiatric experts for the good of that majority of us who are stupid and impressionable, freedom of the press be damned.

And never mind that "brain disorders" (as opposed to brain diseases) is a term to obfuscate the fact that psychiatrists have no objective medical specialty. Never mind that "more substantive info" is inherently subjective. (E.g., Lieberman and Whitaker surely have radically opposed views regarding what is "more substantive info" about research on the use of antipsychotic drugs!)

Jeffrey's point (whether he's willing to state it overtly or not) is that psychiatrists should rule. We can replace the Constitution, religion, all our laws and customs, with psychiatric wisdom.

Jeffrey Lieberman is actually advocating and attempting to instigate the darkest version of thought reform. This is an unusually pure form of totalitarianism, or totalism

Most mental health professionals are good. They got into the business they are in to help people. Perhaps that didn't work out well, and they got caught up in a bureaucratic machine, became cogs in the wheels, got stupid, etc. But the true intention of 39 out of 40 was to help.

There are a very few however, who are truly bad people. It is extremely valuable to identify those outstanding few, because their power and influence actually must be obliterated.

Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman is one of those outstanding few.