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Defeating the Violence of Psychiatry

By Robert J. Burrowes - Posted on 12 September 2014

As the movement to abolish psychiatry continues to gather momentum – see ‘On Antipsychiatry’ – it is worth reviewing its delusional foundation, the history of its violence and its function as a weapon of elite social control.

Psychiatry is based on a delusional conception of how the human mind works and what is needed in order to assist it to function optimally when it is not doing so. This is because the purpose of psychiatry, with the complicity of other professions in the ‘mental health’ field and the incredibly profitable pharmaceutical industry, as well as the support of the legal system and the corporate media in promoting this violence, has always been about profits and elite social control, not restoring the health of the ailing individual.

The human mind consists of many interacting components. These include sensory capacities (such as sight, hearing and touch), feelings (such as thirst, hunger, nausea and physical pain), memory, ‘truth register’, intuition, conscience, more feelings (such as fear, happiness, emotional pain, joy, anger, satisfaction, sadness and sexual arousal), and intellect.

Each of these capacities is separately important but, in a healthy individual, it is their integrated functioning that is used to crystallize the appropriately precise behavioral option in any given circumstance. If any one of these capacities is not functioning as evolution intended, the individual will suffer accordingly and this might result in a dysfunctional behavioral outcome as well.

Dysfunctional behavior is caused by terrorizing an individual during childhood so that the integrated functioning of their mind is impeded. This occurs when you inflict ‘visible’, ‘invisible’ and ‘utterly invisible’ violence on a child in order to make them do what you want. This violence forces the child to suppress their awareness of the mental processes, especially the feelings, that generated the original and functional behavior so that they can comply with your violence. But their obedience comes at the price of their increased dysfunctionality in the future. For a full explanation of this, see ‘Why Violence?’ and ‘Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice’.

However, if instead of identifying and addressing the violent social conditions that lead to emotional and behavioural dysfunction, we attribute any dysfunctionalities to a supposed ‘diseased brain’, ‘flawed genes’ or a ‘chemical imbalance in the brain’, then we open the door to psychiatric violence under the label ‘treatment’. See, for example, Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America, ‘Psychocracy and Community’ and ‘12 Shocking Facts About the Dangers of Psychiatric Drugs’. And this psychiatric violence has catastrophic consequences for society. For some insight into the nature and extent of these consequences – which include dramatically increased violence, suicide and criminal behaviour – see the work of Dr Peter R. Breggin  – ‘the conscience of psychiatry’ – whose research includes his ‘probing critique of the psychopharmaceutical complex’. See Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide, and Crime and  The Conscience of Psychiatry: The Reform Work of Peter R. Breggin, MD.

In fact, according to the lengthy research of Peter Gøtzsche, MD, in the USA ‘prescription drugs are the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer’ and it ‘is inescapable that their availability creates more harm than good’. See ‘On Pharma, Corruption, and Psychiatric Drugs’ and ‘Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Health Care’. And according to Dr Philip Hickey ‘all psychiatric drugs operate by creating a pathological state within the organism… [They] are toxic in and of themselves regardless of dosage.’ See ‘The Use of Neuroleptic Drugs As Chemical Restraints’.

According to the ‘bible’ of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’ (the DSM), there are roughly 300 officially certified and distinct ‘mental disorders’. But there are no defining physical tests to diagnose any of them. However, given the publication of the DSM is worth over $5 million a year to the APA, historically totalling over $100 million, there is little organisational interest in validity. See ‘Not Diseases, but Categories of Suffering’ .

In fact, as Dr Bonnie Burstow has pointed out: ‘while psychiatry has been claiming for a very long time that people who are “disordered” have chemical imbalances and frequently reiterate that imbalances have been found, the reality is that no imbalances have ever been established for a single “mental illness”. By contrast, the various treatments of psychiatry (e.g., the drugs, electroshock) have been demonstrated to create illness.’ See ‘On Antipsychiatry’.

In short, there is no scientific basis for psychiatry and this is occasionally admitted even by prominent psychiatrists. See, for example, ‘Psychiatry Now Admits It's Been Wrong in Big Ways - But Can It Change?’ In fact, on 29 April 2013, the highest ranking federal ‘mental health’ official in the USA, Thomas Insel, stated that ‘While DSM has been described as a “Bible” for the field, it is, at best, a dictionary, creating a set of labels and defining each…. The weakness is its lack of validity. Unlike our definitions of ischemic heart disease, lymphoma, or AIDS, the DSM diagnoses are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure.’ And in a candid moment some years earlier, Allen Frances, the lead editor of the fourth edition of the DSM, highlighted the real depth of the problem: ‘there is no definition of a mental disorder. It’s bullshit. I mean, you just can’t define it’. See ‘Inside the Battle to Define Mental Illness’.

But such occasional candid admissions do not lead to change for several reasons: many individual psychiatrists are ignorant of their own ignorance (simply believing, as most people have been terrorised into believing, what they were taught at school and in subsequent training courses) and, of course, institutional forces and profits ensure that such comments are suppressed by the psychiatric, pharmaceutical and media industries ensuring that they do not get through to the public.

Tragically, psychiatry has long been used to inflict violence on targeted populations. See ‘Political Abuse of Psychiatry – An Historical Overview’. Perhaps the best known of these historical examples were the use of psychiatry to justify and help perpetrate the euthanasia programs of the Nazi regime – see ‘Psychiatry during the Nazi era: ethical lessons for the modern professional’ – and the violence within the Soviet Gulag: see ‘Political Abuse of Psychiatry in the Soviet Union and in China: Complexities and Controversies’. But a more recent version of this type of psychiatric violence was the Federal Violence Initiative started in the US in 1992. According to Dr John Breeding: ‘This initiative includes ongoing “research” into the supposed biological basis of inner-city violence and includes proposals for biomedical social control. The US government asks “Are Black People Genetically Violent?” and plans a psychiatric screening program which would lead to mass drugging of innocent inner-city children, the vast majority of whom are young people of color.’ See The Necessity of Madness and Unproductivity: Psychiatric Oppression or Human Transformation.

However, the violence of psychiatry is now at epidemic proportions given its dramatic expansion in recent decades. It includes experiments conducted on unknowing military personnel and soaring soldier and veteran suicides because of use of psychiatric drugs – see ‘The Hidden Enemy: Inside Psychiatry’s Covert Agenda’  – complicity in the development of torture techniques for use on political prisoners – see ‘The Story of Mitchell Jessen & Associates: How a Team of Psychologists in Spokane, WA, Helped Develop the CIA’s Torture Techniques’ – the use of psychiatric violence to force false confessions from prisoners of war – see ‘U.S. Drugged Detainees to Obtain FALSE Confessions’ – the use of psychiatry to imprison political activists – see ‘Are People Being Thrown Into Psychiatric Wards For Their Political Views?’ – the psychiatric definition of people who have a personal viewpoint at variance with elite interests – labelled ‘oppositional defiant disorder’ (ODD) – as mentally ill – see ‘Psychiatrists now say non-conformity is a mental illness: only the sheeple are “sane”’ and now the violent psychiatric ‘management’ of children – see ‘The Proactive Search for Mental Illnesses in Children’ (part one) and (part two) – and even babies: see ‘Watchdog Says Report of 10,000 Toddlers on ADHD Drugs Tip of the Iceberg – 274,000 0-1 Year Olds and 370,000 Toddlers Prescribed Psychiatric Drugs’.

Of course, pregnant women and nursing mothers don’t escape psychiatric violence either although groups such as ‘Moms & Meds’ campaign to raise awareness of the health and death risks from psychiatric ‘medication’ to the mother and unborn child. And, as you no doubt expect by now, older people, predominantly women, aren’t spared drugging and electroshocking either. Fortunately, in the USA, once a person reaches 65 their electroshocking is paid for by the government which means that, at this age, the number of people diagnosed as requiring electroshocking jumps enormously! See The Necessity of Madness and Unproductivity: Psychiatric Oppression or Human Transformation.

But if you think drugging pregnant women, children and babies is bad, did you know that psychiatrists still electroshock children as well? And ‘electroconvulsive therapy’ is ‘never necessary’, damages the brain, always causes memory loss and sometimes kills! See ‘Electroshocking Children: Why It Should Be Stopped’. Obviously, psychiatrists should not be electroshocking adults either and some organisations actively campaign to end this practice too. See, for example, The Coalition for the Abolition of Electroshock in Texas.

And, of course, psychosurgery, in which ‘a small piece of brain is destroyed or removed’ – ‘irreversible brain mutilation’ as it has been called – is still performed in many countries despite the very long campaign to get it stopped. See, for example, the 1982 article ‘The Return of Lobotomy and Psychosurgery’. ‘In lobotomy and psychosurgery parts of the brain that show no demonstrable disease are nonetheless mutilated or cut out in order to affect the individual’s emotions and personal conduct.’ Despite its horror history, recent ‘justifications’ for ‘irreversible brain mutilation’ are readily found.

The bottom line is this: Most psychiatrists, like most people, are terrified of listening to your feelings (and especially when they are driving dysfunctional behaviour and might need considerable time for healing to occur). This is the inevitable outcome of being terrified of feeling their own feelings. Feelings won’t hurt you; suppressing your awareness of them with drugs, electroshocking or other violence will. Feelings are a vital part of the information your body gives you; feeling these feelings is the way you heal from traumas (great or small) and a vital source of information about what you need to do.

If, like me, you are nauseated by the cowardice and violence of the psychiatrists, doctors, other ‘mental health professionals’ and the pharmaceutical industry personnel who so readily damage our emotional health for the sake of elite social control and personal profit, then you have a simple choice: you can choose to never consult a psychiatrist or other ‘mental health professional’ and you can choose to never subject your child to their violence either. And if you are forced into involuntary psychiatric ‘care’, you can choose to remain silent and pursue avenues for being released.

In the end, even if they forcibly drug you, you have a considerable chance of making a full recovery from this (hopefully short-term) violence. (For expert assistance in withdrawing from psychiatric drugs, check out Gerson Therapy, Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal: A Guide for Prescribers, Therapists, Patients and their Families, Point of Return and the International Coalition for Drug Awareness) Unfortunately, recovery from the brain damage that results from forced electroshocking is far less likely – but for an inspirational account by someone who did survive and fully recover from psychiatric violence, including brain electrocution, you can read Ronald Bassman’s evocative account ‘Never Give Up’ – and recovery from psychosurgery is effectively impossible.

You might also consider joining the movement to abolish psychiatry – see, for example, opportunities outlined in ‘On Fighting Institutional Psychiatry With the “Attrition Model”’ – as well as signing the online pledge of the worldwide movement to end all violence ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’.

Some people have argued that psychiatry should be reformed. But any experienced nonviolent activist knows that psychiatry, like other manifestations of violence (such as domestic violence, economic exploitation, slavery, ecological destruction and war) cannot be ‘reformed’. We must work for abolition.

Finally, value your emotional health extremely highly. An empathic listener can help you feel your way through those times when you need to feel the sadness, pain, fear, anger and other valuable feelings that evolution gave you to enable a full recovery from the inevitable traumas of life. (Although the information is directed at soldiers who have been traumatised by war, the process as outlined in this article applies to anyone who needs emotional support to recover from difficult life experiences, however ‘trivial’: see ‘An Open Letter to Soldiers with “Mental Health” Issues’.)

If you don’t allow yourself to feel and express the so-called ‘negative’ feelings, you will soon find that your emotional responses to the joys of life will be unconsciously suppressed too.

And life without feelings is not life: it is ‘flatlining’.


Biodata: Robert has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?’ His email address is and his website is here.

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