Professor Allen Frances, head of the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-IV project in the 1990s, has become the most prominent psychiatric critic of the DSM-5. He has written for a wide range of mainstream publications on this topic (including The New York Times) and has a regular blog at Psychology Today called DSM-5 In Distress, to which I contributed last year.
He’s currently visiting Australia and was interviewed in yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald on the controversy over psychiatric diagnosis of toddlers.
He’ll be speaking in Sydney on Tuesday night at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Darlinghurst, at an event organised by St Vincent’s Hospital. RSVP to MentalHealth@stvincents.com.au to ensure a seat. Entry is by gold coin donation. More details are on the flyer below.
He will also be speaking on “paranoid parenting” at a dinner/talk event the next night, with details here.
Film review cross-posted from our Overland blog.
A lot has been written about David Cronenberg’s masterful A Dangerous Method (2011) in terms of what it tells us about the strengths and weaknesses of the psychoanalytic movement, about the growing conflict and eventual rupture between Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), and about therapist-patient relationships that go wrong. Does the film’s title refer simply to the then- (and still-) controversial ‘talking cure’, or perhaps to how Freud and Jung saw each other’s divergent ideas, or to Jung’s transgression in developing a sexual relationship with analysand Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley)?
|Candle-lit vigil in Oslo, soon after the 22 July massacre
Since my last piece for The Drum, the IPA’s Chris Berg has produced an attack on our book, On Utøya: Anders Breivik, Right Terror, Racism and Europe. We haven’t formally responded, but many of the comments below his article deal with his frankly desperate and unconvincing attempt to exonerate the Islamophobic and anti-multicultural Right from creating the context in which far Right violence is more likely.
In the meantime I was asked to write a short piece about the Breivik diagnosis for weekly medical industry paper Psychiatry Update. I’m reposting here as it includes newly available detail about the psychiatric report, and because Psychiatry Update is only available to registered healthcare practitioners (you can follow its tweet stream here: @PsychUpdate).
Comments now closed on this article at The Drum, so reposting here for your commenting pleasure!
Two court-appointed psychiatrists have found confessed Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik legally insane and unfit to stand trial. The full text of their 243 page report is yet to be released, but if public statements are representative of its contents, there is good reason to suspect their assessment may tell us more about the socially embedded nature of psychiatric diagnosis and the prevailing political climate in Norway than any claim it was the result of some kind of cold, hard, value-free science.
Tad and Elizabeth are both presenting conference papers at this year’s Historical Materialism conference, held in Central London later this week. UK readers can register for the conference here.
Me in today’s Overland Journal blog, on the crisis in psychiatry:
Biological psychiatry is currently facing pervasive challenges to its hegemony. Mental illness has gained massive recognition and medical treatments for such disorders are virtually ubiquitous. At the same time, the field is beset by scandals around kickbacks from drug companies, embroiled in divisive arguments over its diagnostic bible (the DSM-V) and finding it ever harder to provide conclusive scientific proof of its effectiveness. The psychiatric profession is facing a crisis of confidence bigger than at the height of the antipsychiatry movements of the 1960s and 70s.
In the middle of this comes a compelling critique of some of psychiatry’s key claims by Richard Bentall, a UK clinical psychologist working within the NHS. In Doctoring The Mind: Why Psychiatric Treatments Fail, Bentall provides a lucid and accessible account of the meagre successes and substantial failures of psychiatry, following on from his earlier Madness Explained. Unlike many critics of the discipline, he remains committed to a scientific understanding, which he calls ‘rational antipsychiatry’.
My article from Monday’s Crikey. The scary part was finding out that patients in other states have even more limited rights to automatic review of detention. When I was a junior doctor in Queensland I was turned off psychiatry training in part because of the non-existent external review processes for detained patients… and back then there was little pressure on beds, so patients had long admissions.
The ‘severe erosion’ of rights of mentally ill patients
by Sydney psychiatrist Dr Tad Tietze
A young man, until recently a law student, is wrestled into the emergency department by two police officers. He is distressed, agitated and acutely paranoid. Convinced he is being tracked by local underworld figures, he believes they have hospital staff in their pay. As the psychiatrist taking on his care, I have to make a decision that has profound implications for him: should I detain and forcibly treat him even though he has done nothing to harm himself or others?