The “Logic” of Anti-Psychiatry

by Marvin Ross

Our last couple of blogs have generated considerable criticism from the anti-psychiatry folks on Facebook. Not unexpected, of course, and I do enjoy (to a point) debating with them. I know that nothing that I or others say will sway them but it is important to expose them. If left unchallenged, they may influence some who are not as well educated in the realities of serious mental illness. And, for far too long, those shrill and hostile voices have made politicians cautious to implement reforms.

My blog on belief systems and anti-psychiatry I modified slightly and redid on Huffington Post. They gave the headline as Anti-Psychiatry Folks Cannot Ignore That Medication Saves Lives A much better head than mine.

One comment this received on Facebook included this:

How many people have you treated, Marvin, that your blogging is somehow more accurate than Robert Whitaker’s journalism? He spoke with psychiatrists and other mental health professionals too, many of which (sic) prescribe medications and are involved in Mad in America.

My reply:

Neither Mr Whitaker nor I have treated anyone as neither of us are doctors. I’m a simple medical journalist like he is but I also have a family member with schizophrenia so I have first hand experience into what the disease is like when it is not treated and the difference that properly prescribed medication makes. I too have talked to many psychiatrists.

The reply

Having a family member who is diagnosed with schizophrenia is not first-hand experience. It is second-hand perception, at best, depending on how much one is trusted. The person with the diagnosis is the only person with first-hand experience…not doctors, not family members.

Now I do agree that those of us who have never experienced a disease do not know exactly what it is like. But that does not mean that medical specialists do not know how best to treat based on the currently available research and the guidelines established by experts in the field. That goes for psychiatric diseases, cancer and all other diseases humans contract. And Robert Whitaker is not in step with mainstream medicine given how many have criticized him.

I don’t know all the people involved in Mad in America but I do know one – Dr Bonnie Kaplan. She is a psychologist at the University of Calgary and the leading “researcher” on The Truehope product called EM Power +. She gives a continuing education course on Mad in America on Nutrition and Mental Health where the value of EM Power + (EMP) is talked about.

To one person who posted in the discussion to her program, Dr Kaplan had this to say:

I do not see why people should not take one of the mineral/vitamin supplements that emanate from the two Alberta companies, but I cannot figure out the context for your question. If you want to discuss offline, my email is kaplan@XXXX. The appropriateness and the dose of these formulas can vary with the individual.

The two companies are Truehope and the offshoot Hardy Nutritional which was formed when the two founding partners – Tony Stephan and David Hardy – dissolved their partnership.

In 2002, Dr Kaplan’s research trial on EMP at the University of Calgary was shut down by Health Canada because it failed to meet the proper standards for a clinical trial.

The blog Neurocritic entitled one of its articles as EMPowered to Kill as one man with schizophrenia went off his meds to take EMP and brutally killed his father in a psychotic state. I have written on this case as well in Huffington Post. Health Canada has declared the product a health hazard on two occasions. I have written critical article about this in various publications and an e-book with Dr Terry Polevoy and a former Health Canada investigator and now private detective in Calgary, Ron Reinold, called Pig Pills.

The vice-president of Truehope is David Stephan who made headlines around the globe when he and his wife were convicted in the death of their toddler from untreated meningitis by a jury in Lethbridge Alberta. Both had worked as well at the Truehope call centre advising customers on their treatment. You can listen to some calls that were made to the call centre here

Dr Kaplan gives lectures where she tells the audience not to google her name (slide 3). She even went so far as to bring professional misconduct charges against Dr Terry Polevoy with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario because he criticized her work.

She is one of the people involved with Mr Whitaker on Mad in America.

Dr Dawson’s last blog on anti- depressants and benzodiazapines also received a great deal of criticism. A favourite is:

Yeah, I like to get all of my information about psych drugs, withdrawal, discontinuation, and side effects from someone’s hypothetical idea of what it should look like without their having any clue at all what actually happens when people stop or start psych drugs.


who wrote this drivel? – It’s not even remotely accurate

I suggested to this last person that they look at the byline to see who wrote it and then look at his bio which is on the blog. I also suggested that they state what specific statement he made that they considered wrong and to provide me with evidence from research to back it up. Nothing. And Dr Dawson has worked in psychiatric hospitals in three Canadian provinces, in the UK, was chief of psychiatry in one and has been treating patients for close to 50 years.

When I suggested to someone that prescription drugs are monitored by regulatory bodies and removed from the market if their are problems, I was met with disbelief that anything is monitored. After I posted the link to the 35 drugs removed from the market by the FDA, there was no comment. Some are psychiatric drugs and two were drugs that I took for arthritis that I had no problem with and were very effective. No comment.

And no one commented when I posted this video of the author of My Schizophrenic Life.

9 thoughts on “The “Logic” of Anti-Psychiatry

  1. As usual Marvin , you know what you are talking about. To the person who actually thinks that a parent of a seriously ill person does not have experience, I would say that that person is talking nonsense. Would whoever it is say that when a parent sees their child with a broken leg and can clearly observe that the bone is out of line say that they do not know what they are talking about. Some of these dopes who do not educate themselves about the nature of serious mental illnesses and fail to recognize the need for stabilizing medical treatment hold their tongue and stop making matters worse. They often contribute to avoidable tragedy. Yes psychiatry still has a long way to go, but Whittaker’s disciples need to come to grips with facts .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A follow up to my previous comment. An example of serious harm has actually been done by the U.S Government funded agency. SAMSA in the U.S has funded antipsychiatry to the hilt. This is a scandalous and a major reason that so many are in jail or homeless. Dr. Sally Satel has drawn this scandal to public attention.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for all your sensible enlightening comments Patricia. You published a series of articles a while back, somewhere in Ontario. Kingston maybe? They were absolutely excellent and need to be somewhere where people can refer to them. Would you consider sending them to the BCSS or the MHCC or ? somewhere where people can turn to a repository of articles and information. I would have emailed you on this, but didn’t have your email. Marilyn


    1. I do see wanting better outcomes for people suffering mental distress and debating important social issues as “misguided’. If we don’t challenge systems that aren’t working then there’s little point in any form of journalism.


  2. Confirmation bias alive and well here. It’s the same logic used to get pharmaceuticals with horrific side effects and questionable efficacy past the FDA. Choose a few apparently supportive studies and ignore the rest. If you don’t understand how thousands of lives are being damaged by this pseudoscientific nonsense called the biomedical model of mental “illness”, then do some real research rather “cherry picking” blogs from social media. Yes drugs can have a role in helping people to cope, yes people do experience extreme states and require help and support, however the diagnostic constructs of mental distress are just that, constructs. The drugs work by altering a persons mental state not by correcting any disease based deficiency and this is inherently dangerous over the long term. People suffer because of a whole host of social, developmental and environmental factors. Get informed or leave the debate to people who are genuinely trying to show what isn’t working so we can start to discover what does.

    I tired of so much rubbish be written by people who have no idea what it’s like to be at the receiving end of psychiatric “treatment” and the damage it can cause. Publish scientifically supported evidence, first hand experience or write about something else.

    I’m not “anti-psychiatry”, I’m ‘anti’, the pseudoscience propagated by propenants of a model that may serve society and a family members but leaves the person suffering incapacitated, often incarcerated and without a voice. Change is long over due.


    1. Sadly Bernie you appear to ignore the torture of watching someone trapped by hallucinations , the torture of the person with the disease who is trapped when not given medication. Sandra is article and using her gifts because of medication. medications are certainly not perfect but it is the best we have at present. Whitakker certainly raises some legitimate points regarding some bad practices of the the pharmaceutical industry but he ignores the fact that many have better lives because of pharmaceuticals.


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