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The Psychiatric Repression of Thomas Szasz: Its Social and Political Significance

The Psychiatric Repression of Thomas Szasz: Its Social and Political Significance

by Ron Leifer

Psychiatrist Ron Leifer gives a compelling account of the historical context of Thomas Szasz's career as the leading critic of the medical model of psychiatry, along with its implications for the profession of psychiatry and for free thought and speech in the United States.
Thomas Szasz has been the leading critic of psychiatry for the past 35 years. In this time, his relationship with psychiatry has been problematic and painful. Critics are rarely loved by the objects of their attention. Thomas Szasz has been hated, mocked, repressed, ignored, and ostracized by psychiatrists who fear his critical gaze. This period of psychiatric history, which is not well known, is highly significant for contemporary psychiatry and for the society in which it operates.
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Copyright © 2000 Ronald Leifer. All rights reserved. Published December, 2000.
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Ron LeiferRon Leifer, MD, is a psychiatrist in private practice in Ithaca, New York. He recently wrote a book The Happiness Project: Transforming The Three Poisons, which discusses the causes of the suffering we inflict on ourselves and each other from a Buddhist/psychological perspective. He also wrote In the Name of Mental Health, a critique of the mental health systems and ideology.
With the vast majority of children (millions) in U.S. schools taking psychotropic drugs, well... I think that explains enough.
Anonymous
I give Szasz tremendous credit for taking on the coercive tactics of the psychiatric "industry." And an "industry" it is. The only place more frightful than death row is the psychiatric ward in any given hospital. As long as a patient has health insurance rest assured they won't be out on the street long term. If they don't, the hospital won't think twice about dumping their over drugged body off at one of the worst shelters in the city. I hold the psychiatric industry fully responsible for the damage done to the younger generation today. With their false diagnosis and the ludicrous amounts of drugs they are feeding our children...well, I have to believe that there is a special hell for people who commit this sort of crime against the human spirit.
Anonymous
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CE credits: 1
Learning objectives:

• Increase understanding of Thomas Szasz's critique of psychiatry.
• Consider non-mainstream perspectives on involuntary psychiatric hospitalization.
• Explore conflicts between traditional psychotherapy and the medical model of mental health. 
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