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Saturday 31 March 2012



DSM-5 conflicts of interest hit mainstream media; protestors rally, but is it for the right reasons? 03/14/2012

 Posted by altmentalities in DSM-5, Mental Health Policy and Inititatives, Patient Rights and Advocacy.
Tags: APA, conflict of interest, DSM-5, John Perry, mental health, Occupy the APA, psychiatry, psychosis, schizophrenia

I’m no journalist.

I did write for my high school newspaper (I can recall a particularly riveting article about different styles of shoes!), but these days I’m strictly a blogger, cavalierly inserting humor, my own biased opinion, and all manner of distractions and sidetracks into my “articles.”

Nevertheless, this ABC news article from yesterday (“DSM-5 Under Fire for Financial Conflicts of Interest”) follows the exact argument I put forward in my little piece entitled “For the DSM-5 Task Force, Being Greasy Never Been So Easy!”  Whoa, did I inadvertently produce some journalism here?

I have to admit, I liked my title better.

Ok, ALT; stop patting yourself on the back!

Done.  Now let’s dig in.

The ABC story was fueled by the publication of an academic analysis of the conflicts of interest of the various DSM-5 committees, conducted by the same researcher (Lisa Cosgrove) who published a similar analysis in the days of DSM-IV development.

As I wrote awhile ago, it’s practically a conflict-of-interest OLYMPICS!  Cosgrove found that about ¾ of the work groups have a majority of members with major ties to the pharmaceutical industry.  Some standout groups include:

- Mood Disorders Group: 67% of members report ties to industry

- Psychotic Disorders: 83%

- Sleep/Wake Disorders: 100%

Moreover, when comparing the figures from the DSM-5 to her previous analysis of the DSM-IV workgroups, Cosgrove has found that in about half the work groups, conflicts of interests have only gotten worse.

It appears that the APA thought transparency alone would be a solution to their metastisizing “conflict of interest” problem.

Well, they’re wrong.  We can clearly see the giant, throbbing tumor now, but the fact is it’s still there.

The whole point of disclosing conflicts of interest is determining whether someone is unencumbered enough to participate in a decision-making/fact-finding process.  For this to be in any way legitimate, there must be some threshold where the person’s conflicts of interest are too great, where they are removed from the process. But the APA apparently has no limit.

Oh, sure, they say something about “no more than $10,000/year directly from the pharmaceutical industry and no more than $50,000 in pharma stock options” … but with major gaps in their disclosure policy and no dollar amounts made public, how can we be sure this is any less of an empty gesture than the rest of their carefully choreographed “transparency” dance?

DSM detractors say the darndest things…

A wave of protest against the DSM has been building over the past few months, but I’m not sure that I’ll be able to unite with the mainstream (or “middle way”) DSM protesters.  Here’s why:

Middle way protestors are against the DSM-5 in particular, criticizing the development process, the addition of so-called “unscientific diagnoses,” financial conflicts of interest of the developers, etc.

The idea being that we simply need a better process for creating this thing.  And that the botched development of the DSM-5, which will result in flaws that could’ve been avoided with more rigorous procedures, is a risky business because it might turn the tide of public opinion against the very institution of the DSM; which would be terrible because we need some kind of DSM in order to treat mental illness at all.  The DSM detractors quoted in this article all seem to fall into that camp; Allen Frances, David Elkins, and Cosgrove herself.

But there’s another camp, which I and many others belong to.  Instead of being against the DSM-5 in particular, we’re against the institution of the DSM, period. Instead of arguing that the DSM-5 is marginalizing, stigmatizing, unscientific, we argue that the practice of diagnosing people itself is all of these things and worst of all… dehumanizing!

In ABC’s coverage, only the “middle way” DSM detractors are represented.  And I find myself feeling a little piqued by what they have to say.  For example:

Dr. Allen Frances, who chaired the revisions committee for DSM-4, said the new additions would “radically and recklessly” expand the boundaries of psychiatry.

“They’re at the boundary of normality,” said Frances, who is professor emeritus of psychiatry at Duke University. “And these days, most diagnostic decisions are not made by psychiatrists trained to distinguish between the two [normality and mental illness, presumably]…”

- From ABC News article “DSM-5 Under Fire for Financial Conflicts of Interest”

The boundary of normality?  He speaks as if he knows exactly where that is!  And that the DSM-IV catalogs “diseases” that fall well beyond it.

I beg to differ.

Take so-called “schizophrenia,” or psychosis, for example.  As John Perry so nicely puts it:

In my opinion, the real pathology in psychosis does not reside in the “mental content,” the images and the symbolic sequences.  All of that appears to be a natural psychic process, present and working in all of us.  This is normal madness, so to speak.  The schizophrenic “disorder” lies rather in the ego, which suffers from a constricted consciousness… The problem of the prepsychotic state is how to discover the impassioned life, and nature has its own answer in the form of a turbulent ordeal, a trial by immersion in the source of the passions – that is, a psychosis.

- John Perry, in The Far Side of Madness

[If you liked that quote and have some time on your hands, read this!]

From Perry’s point of view, psychosis is often a naturally transformative and healing process, somewhat like childbirth.  If there is such a thing as a “boundary of normality” (which I doubt), it falls well within it.  Psychosis is the ”normal” response of a psyche needing to heal.

Here’s another rather disturbing quote from the middle camp:

“My best hope would be for the APA to respond in a substantive way to the concerns we’ve raised.  They have an opportunity here to make a correction that would give the appearance, if not the reality of developing a diagnostic instrument that’s objective and has integrity.”

- Lisa Cosgrove, in the ABC News article DSM-5 Under Fire for Financial Conflicts of Interest; emphasis added

A semblance of objectivity and integrity – not necessarily the real thing – is her best hope for the DSM committee??

Way to aim high!

A question

Should all the DSM-V detractors put aside their differences and join together to protest the DSM-V, or are the two camps far enough apart that their protests really can’t align?

As you ponder, consider this: a large DSM-5 protest (Occupy the APA) is planned for May 5th in Philadelphia at the site of the APA convention.  The middle way camp will necessarily be inside the convention (most of them belong to the APA, after all), while the rest of us will be standing outside, barred from entry.

It appears that more than mere distance separates our two camps.

DSM5 - Research bombshell!! - Unethical corruption in DSM-5 working groups and editors -abc tv news -" DSM-5 task groups under fire for conflicts of interest "- 70% of the members who drew up the new scientifically dubious criteria have had direct payments of up to $10,000 from 'Big Pharma' according to Dr Lisa Cosgrove's research - it's not surprising then they recommend new subjectively defined (using "vague symptom clusters") conditions which will undoubtedly mean more medications are prescribed for our children in the U.K.


DSM-5 TASK GROUPS - Criticized for Financial Conflicts of Interest with Drug Co's.

By KATIE MOISSE (@katiemoisse)
March 13, 2012

Controversy continues to swell around the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, better known as DSM-5. A new study suggests the 900-page bible of mental health, scheduled for publication in May 2013, is ripe with financial conflicts of interest.

The manual, published by the American Psychiatric Association, details the diagnostic criteria for each and every psychiatric disorder, many of which have pharmacological treatments. After the 1994 release of DSM-4, the APA instituted a policy requiring expert advisors to disclose drug industry ties. But the move toward transparency did little to cut down on conflicts, with nearly 70 percent of DSM-5 task force members reporting financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies -- up from 57 percent for DSM-4.

"Organizations like the APA have embraced transparency too quickly as the solution," said Lisa Cosgrove, associate professor of clinical psychology at the University of Massachusetts-Boston and lead author of the study published today in the journal PLoS Medicine. "Our data show that transparency has not changed the dynamic."

The DSM is developed by an APA-appointed task force and panels consisting of experts in various fields of psychiatry. But many of these experts serve as paid spokespeople or scientific advisors for drug companies, or conduct industry-funded research. Some of most conflicted panels are those for which drugs represent the first line of treatment, with two-thirds of the mood disorders panel, 83 percent of the psychotic disorders panel and 100 percent of the sleep disorders panel disclosing "ties to the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture the medications used to treat these disorders or to companies that service the pharmaceutical industry," according to the study.
Is Anybody 'Normal'? Watch Video
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"We're not trying to say there's some Machiavellian plot to bias the psychiatric taxonomy," said Cosgrove, who is also a research fellow at Harvard's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. "But transparency alone cannot mitigate unintentional bias and the appearance of bias, which impact scientific integrity and public trust."

The DSM-5 has also drawn criticism for introducing new diagnoses that some experts argue lack scientific evidence. Dr. Allen Frances, who chaired the revisions committee for DSM-4, said the new additions would "radically and recklessly" expand the boundaries of psychiatry.

"They're at the boundary of normality," said Frances, who is professor emeritus of psychiatry at Duke University. "And these days, most diagnostic decisions are not made by psychiatrists trained to distinguish between the two. Most are made by primary care doctors who see a patient for about seven minutes and write a prescription."

Under the new criteria, grief after the loss of a loved one, mild memory loss in the elderly and frequent temper tantrums in kids would constitute psychiatric disorders. An online petition challenging the proposed changes, which would label millions more Americans as mentally ill, has accrued more than 12,000 signatures.

"We're not opposed to the proper use of psychiatric drugs when there's a real diagnosis and when a child or an adult needs pharmacological intervention," said David Elkins, president of the American Psychological Association's society for humanistic psychology and chairman of the committee behind the petition. "But we are concerned about the normal kids and elderly people who are going to be diagnosed with these disorders and treated with psychiatric drugs. We think that's very, very dangerous."

Elkins said he's "dismayed" that seven in 10 DSM-5 task force members have drug company ties.

"In the beginning, our committee didn't want to go there because it brings into question the intentions and, to some degree the character of the people involved. But I think it's important to at least make these facts known without assassinating character in the process," he said.

Friday 30 March 2012


Gender Dysphoria in Children

 Updated May 4, 2011

Gender Dysphoria (in Children)** [1]

A. A marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, of at least 6 months duration, as manifested by at least 6* of the following indicators (including A1): [2, 3, 4]

1. a strong desire to be of the other gender or an insistence that he or she is the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one's assigned gender) [5]

2. in boys, a strong preference for cross-dressing or simulating female attire; in girls, a strong preference for wearing only typical masculine clothing and a strong resistance to the wearing of typical feminine clothing [6]

3. a strong preference for cross-gender roles in make-believe or fantasy play [7]

4. a strong preference for the toys, games, or activities typical of the other gender [8]

5. a strong preference for playmates of the other gender [9]

6. in boys, a strong rejection of typically masculine toys, games, and activities and a strong avoidance of rough-and-tumble play; in girls, a strong rejection of typically feminine toys, games, and activities [10]

7. a strong dislike of one’s sexual anatomy [11]

8. a strong desire for the primary and/or secondary sex characteristics that match one’s experienced gender [12]

B. The condition is associated with clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning, or with a significantly increased risk of suffering, such as distress or disability.**


With a disorder of sex development [14]

Without a disorder of sex development]

See also [13, 15, 19]

Note: Two changes have been made since the initial website launch in February 2010: the name of the diagnosis and the addition of the B criterion. Definitions and criteria under A remain unchanged.



PHILADELPHIA (3/6/12) – On Saturday, May 5, 2012, as thousands of psychiatrists congregate in Philadelphia for the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Annual Meeting, individuals with psychiatric labels and other supporters will converge in a global campaign to oppose the APA’s proposed new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), scheduled for publication in May 2013.

Occupy the APA will include distinguished speakers from 10 a.m. to noon at Friends Center (1515 Cherry Street, Philadelphia). A march at 1 p.m. from Friends Center will lead to the Pennsylvania Convention Center (12th and Arch Streets), where the group will protest beginning at 1:30 while the APA meets inside.

“This peaceful protest exposes the fact that the DSM-5 pushes the mental health industry to medicalize problems that aren’t medical, inevitably leading to over-prescription of psychiatric drugs – including for people experiencing natural human emotions,  such as grief and shyness,” said David Oaks, founder and director of MindFreedom International (MFI), which has worked for 26 years as an independent voice of survivors of psychiatric human rights violations. “We call for better ways to help individuals in extreme emotional distress.”

Brent Dean Robbins, PhD

Other speakers criticizing the revised manual, considered the psychiatric industry’s bible, include Brent Robbins, Ph.D., (photo on right) Secretary of the Society for Humanistic Psychology, which has gathered more than 8,000 signatures from mental health professionals calling for “developing an alternative approach” to the DSM.

Jim Gottstein of PsychRightsJim Gottstein, Esq., (photo right) founder and president of the Alaska-based Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights), will cross the country to speak. “The public mental health system is creating a huge class of chronic mental patients through forcing them to take ineffective yet extremely harmful drugs. As the APA gets ready to do even more harm with its proposed expansion of what constitutes mental illness, I want to be there in person to participate in the protest.”

Paula Joan Caplan, PhDOccupy the APA will begin at 10 a.m. at Friends Center (1515 Cherry Street, Philadelphia), where the speakers will also include:

    Dr. Paula Caplan, (photo on right) a psychologist, playwright and activist from California;
    Dr. Al Galves, director of the International Society for Ethical Psychology & Psychiatry (ISEPP);

    Joseph Rogers, chief advocacy officer of the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania (MHASP); and

    Dr. Stefan P. Kruszewski, a whistleblower who was fired by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare after he reported the abuse and deaths of Pennsylvania children as a result of systemic physical and psychiatric malfeasance. His subsequent federal lawsuit was successfully settled in 2007.

“We will promote humane alternatives to the traditional mental health system, such as peer support, which evidence proves is effective in helping individuals recover from severe emotional distress,” Oaks said. “Our protest is about choice, and everyone is welcome.”

Saturday 24 March 2012


The British Psychological Society supports the call for a national review of the use of medication to treat children’s behavioural issues including temporary sleep problems, mild social anxiety and shyness.
Peter Kinderman, Chair of the Division of Clinical Psychology said: “We welcome the announcement from the government pledging an extra £400 million for the provision of psychological therapies – including the promise of better support for parents and children with behavioural problems. However, we are concerned that the overall cuts to the public sector will place all of mental health care – including care for children - at risk.
“We know BPS members are involved in excellent work with Child and Mental Health Service teams, but child mental health is an area that is grossly under resourced, resulting in too few children and young people being able to get timely access to the appropriate therapy.
“Clearly, it is important to understand children’s behavioural and psychological problems fully, and to invest in proper, expert, therapeutic approaches. We would be very concerned if children were being prescribed medication as a quick fix rather than accessing the full assessments and psychological therapies which take may longer and cost more, but ultimately are likely to be better value in the long run.”
Figures released by the Department of Health show that in 2009 the number of prescriptions issued to 16-18 years olds to treat ADHD had risen by 51% in just two years.
Peter concluded: “Clearly, many children unfortunately have behavioural and emotional problems which of course demand appropriate care. Many psychologists are very concerned at the use of psychiatric and medical diagnoses in cases such as this – not only because of doubts about the validity of many of the diagnostic approaches, but also because of the possible adverse effects of the medication. Children for whom the diagnosis of ADHD is being considered should receive full multidisciplinary assessments, the option of receiving psychological and behavioural therapies, and their parents or carers should be offered parent-training and education programmes.  Drugs should be considered as an option but this should be part of an overall therapy programme. In the case of problems such as temporary sleep problems, mild social anxiety and shyness, I fail to see how medicalising these problems and contemplating the use of drugs is justified. These may indeed be problems, but they are problems that clearly deserve a more psychological response”.
The call for a national review is also supported by the Society’s Division of Educational Psychology.
PR: 1848 8 February 2011



Child Psychologists as Change Agents on Stimulant Over-prescription for School Aged Kids as a "systemic form of social control."



Following my Keynote address at the AEP Annual Course in November 2010 and my seminars at the BPS DECP Conference in January there has been a lot of media interest in my call for a national review of psychotropic drugs used to control behaviours which are sometimes within the normal range. Also I have highlighted the concern about the imminent arrival of DSM5 from the U.S. with its more inclusive spectral definitions of mental health such as, “sub-clinical, normal variation ASC, ADHD, social anxiety(shyness), and depression(sadness). Dr Tim Kendall (representing The Royal College of Psychiatrists and NICE) agreed with my level of concern on a Radio 4 ‘Woman’s Hour’ programme on the 11th February, stating that the revised DSM5 should not be adopted  by psychiatrists, paediatricians and psychologists alike in the U.K.

Peter Kinderman chair of the Clinical Division of the BPS in this press release, which was published in the last issue of ‘The Psychologist’, stated “Clearly, it is important to understand children’s behavioural and psychological problems fully, and to invest in proper, expert, therapeutic approaches. We would be very concerned if children were being prescribed medication as a quick fix rather than accessing the full assessments and psychological therapies which take may longer and cost more, but ultimately are likely to be better value in the long run.”
I am naturally delighted with this statement’s full endorsement of my concerns about the safeguarding issues involved in using powerful psychotropic drugs with so many of our school children. We must act quickly prior to the release of DSM5 produced by the American Psychiatric Association. A lot of U.K. practitioners will be encouraged to use this schedule unless there is resistance from the professional bodies such as the BPS and The Royal College of Psychiatry in this country.

The time is right to expand the debate amongst educational and child practitioners of all disciplines before it is too late and we end up with the shocking  American  pattern of drugging 12% of their whole school population for attention difficulties alone and then high percentages for other conditions. Indeed the drug companies would ideally like to medicate 20%+ of all children who they claim have one mental health diagnosis or another. The eminent psychologist Dorothy Rowe concludes in the forward on the new edition of ‘Making us Crazy – DSM – the psychiatric bible and the creation of mental disorders,’ by Herb Kutchins et al. that it is reasonable to conclude that this practice is a systemic form of social control.

 I urge psychologists, medical practitioners and teacher colleagues to contemplate their own response to this crucial societal issue. It needs to be URGENTLY  considered due to the imminent arrival of the unscientific DSM5 in mid 2013. 


Dave Traxson, Chartered Educational Psychologist, West Midlands, U.K.

Friday 23 March 2012


 British Psychological Society statement on the   open letter to the DSM-5 Taskforce

The British Psychological Society recognizes that a range of views exist amongst psychologists, and other mental health professionals, regarding the validity and usefulness of diagnostic frameworks in mental health in general, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association in particular.
The Society for Humanistic Psychology (Division 32) of the  American PsychologicalAssociation (APA) has recently published an open letter to the DSM-5 taskforce
raising a number of concerns about the draft revisions proposed for DSM-5 which has, to date, been endorsed by 12 other APA Divisions.
A major concern raised in the letter is that the proposed revisions include lowering diagnostic thresholds across a range of disorders. It is feared that this could lead to medical explanations being applied to normal experiences, and also to the unnecessary use of potentially harmful interventions.
Particular concern is expressed about the inclusion of a new diagnostic category “Attenuated Psychosis Syndrome”. This proposes to include individuals who arem experiencing hallucinations, delusions or disorganized speech “in an attenuated form with intact reality testing” but who do not meet current criteria for a psychotic disorder. The Society shares the concerns expressed in the open letter about the
potentially harmful consequences of lowering diagnostic thresholds in general and the questionable validity of this proposed diagnosis in particular.
Another concern raised is about the impact of proposed revisions on vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly. The letter highlights that the proposed new
diagnostic category “Mild Neurocognitive Disorder” might be diagnosed in elderly people whose memory decline simply reflects normal ageing. The Society welcomes the use of an objective psychometric criterion within this particular DSM-5 diagnosis but shares concerns expressed in the letter about potential for misdiagnosis of normal ageing. We would further highlight the importance of valid psychological interpretation of test results since the proposed psychometric threshold
encompasses 1 in 8 of the normal population. There is a particular danger that cognitive functioning of people from ethnic minorities is under-represented on psychometric tests. The Society also shares concerns about the potential for children and adolescents to be misdiagnosed with Disruptive Mood Deregulation Disorder.
We also concur that there is a lack of a solid basis in clinical research literature for this disorder and are also concerned about the risk of harm from inappropriate treatment with neuroleptic medication.
The proposals for the revision of the personality disorders section in DSM-5 are described in the open letter as “perplexing”, “complex” and “idiosyncratic”. The
Society has welcomed the move to a dimensional-categorical model for personality disorder. However, we have said that this has not been as visible as expected in the draft revisions. Moreover, we share concerns expressed in the open letter about the inconsistency of the proposed changes and their limited empirical basis.
Finally, the open letter also draws attention to proposals to revise the basic “Definition of a Mental Disorder” and, in particular, a statement proposed by Stein et al that it “reflects an underlying psychobiological dysfunction”. The Society shares concerns about any unsubstantiated shift in emphasis  towards biological factors andin particular the entirely unjustified assertion that all mental disorders represent some
form of biological dysfunction. We are, however, reassured by the response from the APA task force (4 November 2011) which states that there is no intent “to diminish
the importance of environmental and cultural exposure factors” and hope that this will be reflected in the final version.
In conclusion, the British Psychological Society endorses the concerns expressed in the open letter from the Society of Humanistic Psychology (Division 32) of the APA
and encourage members to view the letter themselves and consider signing the petition (http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/dsm5/). We also urge the DSM 5 taskforce
to consider seriously the issues raised therein. These have been now been endorsed by a broad range of experts in mental health, including members of the British Psychological Society and two chairs of previous DSM revision taskforces.
We are, however, encouraged that the DSM taskforce has already responded positively to the open letter and that in their letter (4 November 2011) they emphasized that the manual is “still more than a year away from publication and is
continually being refined and reworked”. They commented that “Final decisions about proposed revisions will be made on the basis of field trial data as well on a full consideration of other issues such as those raised by the signatories of the petition.”
In a statement issued on 2 December 2011 the American Psychological Association (APA) called upon the DSM-5 Task Force to “adhere to an open, transparent process
based on the best available science and in the best interest of the public”. The British Psychological Society would certainly echo this call.
The final draft of the DSM-5 criteria is due for publication in early 2012 followed by a third, two month, period of public feedback. The Society encourages those members
who have relevant expertise to contribute to the on-going process of refinement and improvement of the DSM-5. As a Society we are, as is our counterpart the APA, committed to promoting and disseminating psychological knowledge and, as such, we are keen to ensure that the final version of DSM-5, and other internationally used diagnostic frameworks such as ICD-11, are based on the best available psychological science and will continue to monitor the DSM-5 revision process and
contribute further as appropriate.

Monday 19 March 2012



Brain Damage by Psychoactive Drugs: How the Victims Are Blamed
March 19, 2012 by admin in Featured, Pharmaceuticals

Psychoactive drugs are used to control symptoms in people defined by psychiatrists as depressed, schizophrenic, bipolar, or any of a huge and growing range of pseudo-mental disorders invented by a group of privileged people who vote to add conditions to the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM).

The methods by which these drugs work vary to some degree, but all of them operate by causing brain damage. It isn’t surprising that many—perhaps most—people who take these drugs develop movement disorders sooner or later.

Psychiatrists, along with many other doctors, claim that the use of psychoactive drugs is necessary to control symptoms of derangement. They’re so sure of it that they presume to pressure and force people, even children as young as two, to take them. When possible, they do not allow people to make their own decisions. In fact, refusing is often considered an indication of mental disorder. They even claim that debilitating movement disorders known to be caused by the drugs are inherent in the condition. They’re so sure of it that they don’t bother to distinguish between people who’ve been drugged for years and those who haven’t when they do their pseudo-science studies.

Please note that, from this point forward, the terms of psychiatry, such as schizophrenia, are used. It is for convenience, to help streamline the writing and make it easier to follow. It is not meant to indicate that these terms are accepted in the manner that psychiatry uses them.
Claims That Schizophrenics Are Born with Abnormal Physical Symptoms

A new study published in BioMed Central, ”Cortico-cerebellar functional connectivity and sequencing of movements in schizophrenia”(1), purports to show that the longer a person is schizophrenic, the worse their motor symptoms become. In the first paragraph of the “Background” section of the paper, they wrote:

    NSS are independent of the extrapyramidal adverse effects of antipsychotic drugs; i.e., they are not a result of the treatment [2,3], but a reflection of the basic neurobiology of the illness.

The references, [2,3](2,3), are to two prior studies that claim to show that neurological soft symptoms (NSS) are not caused by drugs, but are inherent in the condition. A look at those two studies shows that they are not primary research, but are meta studies. That is, they’re based on reviews of older research that may not have been set up to discover what the meta study is trying to show. That fact alone makes the two references highly suspect. Thus, the very basis of this study is questionable.

Aside from that, a clever little trick has been developed. A new term, neurological soft symptoms, is in use to indicate physical things observed by psychiatrists and researchers, but not demonstrably based in physical changes in the brain. That way, they manage to start discussing things like repetitive motion and lack of motion as potentially physically based, in spite of having no proof that it’s true.

One of the tests given to determine whether there are signs of NSS is to have the subject touch his thigh first with the fist, then the palm of the hand, and then the side of the hand. This is repeated and the subject is expected to do it both in order and rhythmically.

Imagine that you’re stressed by something traumatic or threatening in your life. How well will you be able to focus on such a pointless instruction? Just try it while you mentally focus on something else and see how well you do. Most of us won’t do as well on such a test when there are serious problems in our lives.

It’s been found that family members of people given psychiatric diagnoses are more likely to have these NSS symptoms. But isn’t it likely that family members will also be living with stressful conditions?

People failing this test can be defined as having a nonexistent disease called pre-schizophrenia. The purpose, of course, is to put them on psychoactive drugs, which will, ultimately cause brain damage that results in genuine movement disorders.
Conflating NSS with Drug-Induced Motor Symptoms

Studies have demonstrated that NSS symptoms worsen the longer a person is schizophrenic. Because most people diagnosed with schizophrenia are drugged, the studies on these people are consistently done on people who are drugged. That’s why it was so important to come up with the term NSS. Pseudo-physical symptoms were needed to conflate with real drug-induced ones indicative of brain damage.

Studies have clearly documented that the longer a person uses psychoactive drugs, the more likely—almost to the point of certainty—that the victims will develop brain damage that results in debilitating, deforming, and painful physical symptoms, such as tremors, akathisia, and tardive dyskinesia. Unlike the pseudo-symptoms, NSS, these have been shown to be associated with brain damage.

However, that’s bad publicity, so it’s important to give the impression that schizophrenics are doomed to suffer from that brain damage, with or without drugs. It is, though, rather difficult to find subjects who don’t take, and haven’t taken, such drugs. So they needed to find a stand-in. That’s where NSS comes into the picture.

Studies are now being done to demonstrate that NSS symptoms worsen the longer a person is schizophrenic. The purpose is to give the impression that it’s inherent in the disease.

Imagine that you suffer from brain damage that makes it impossible to fully control your body. That’s what tardive dyskinesia and tremors are: loss of control of physical movements. Under such conditions, what are the chances of being able to satisfactorily complete tests of NSS?

Yet, we’re supposed to accept the idea that NSS symptoms are inborn and a precursor to full-blown mental illness. The researchers behind “Cortico-cerebellar functional connectivity and sequencing of movements in schizophrenia” expect us to accept that taking antipsychotic drugs has nothing to do with worsening NSS—but they don’t even attempt to show it! Every subject was taking, and had previously been taking, antipsychotics.

NSSs are conflated with genuine movement disorders to give the impression that schizophrenia is a physical brain disease that should be treated with pharmaceutical drugs.
Genetic Predisposition

The upshot of all this is the idea that people with mental disorders are genetically defective. For the purpose of shoving drugs down people’s throats, they give schizophrenia or depression or bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder or opposition defiant disorder whatever other nonsensical pseudo diagnoses they think up next. It’s justified by claiming that these are brain diseases, that they’re physical disorders of the brain.

It’s never been shown to be true. That’s why they invented NSS, neurological soft symptoms. They serve to muddy the waters so that the impression of a physical disorder is given without ever having to prove it. NSS are conflated with real physical movement disorders.

Now they can show that, as the condition worsens—which schizophrenia invariably does when people are given psychoactive drugs—the physical symptoms worsen, too. But, because they’ve shown that NSS pre-existed the onset of schizophrenia, they give the impression that these symptoms indicate that the natural course of schizophrenia is to grow worse.

And all of that is because of genetics. People who are schizophrenic—or depressed or bipolar or any other label modern psychiatry chooses to use—aren’t simply people who are stressed or finding creative ways to deal with problems or functioning in a destructive society. No, people to whom the psychiatrists give labels were born to get them.

The victims of psychiatric labeling have their own genetic makeup to blame. It’s even been taken to the point of claiming that people who suffer from schizophrenia also suffer the drug-induced brain damage because they carry a defective gene. A study titled “Non-functional CYP2D6 alleles and risk for neuroleptic-induced movement disorders in schizophrenic patients”(4) is about this claim. The abstract states:

    Approximately 5–10% of European Caucasians lack the cytochrome P450 enzyme CYP2D6 (so-called poor metabolizers; PM), which normally metabolizes several drugs including many neuroleptics. PM subjects may achieve high or toxic plasma levels upon standard drug therapy.

The authors are using the term “normal” to refer to metabolization of drugs, which are chemicals that have no place in metabolism! They are claiming that it is a defect for anyone to be unable to “properly” metabolize a pharmaceutical drug. This is nonsense of the highest order.

The implication, of course, is that no one other than people with a genetic defect would be harmed by psychoactive drugs. In fact, by their logic, only people whom they believe need them are harmed by them. How’s that for reasoning ability?
Psychiatry: An Inherently Fraudulent Field

The twisted thinking that’s required to accept modern psychiatric treatments gets stranger and weirder. Psychiatry’s basic assumption is simply not true. The claim that mental illness is a result of brain dysfunction, that it’s a brain disease or disorder, has no basis in reality.

Attempts to support that idea start with the invention of mental disorders based on popular vote of a select few psychiatrists, the great majority of whom have ties to the pharmaceutical corporations that benefit from sales of the drugs prescribed for those nonexistent diseases.

To accept the games played to give a veneer of science to modern psychiatry reveals either completely foolishness or utter hubris of the profession:

    New studies, like “Cortico-cerebellar functional connectivity and sequencing of movements in schizophrenia” must be based on demonstrably false studies, as shown above.
    Concepts with a semblance of truth, like NSS, are conflated with utterly false ones, such as the idea that schizophrenic patients would develop the same horrific adverse effects with or without prescribed drugs.
    Utterly absurd claims that genetic predisposition, even the crazy idea that a gene making someone unable to metabolize drugs is an inherent flaw, are presented as the cause of psychiatric disorders or the adverse effects of pharmaceutical drugs.

A research effort to prove these inherently false claims of psychiatry has been launched, and the deeper they get into it, the deeper the hole they dig. But it never gets deep enough to hide all the manure they pour into it.

    (1)Cortico-cerebellar functional connectivity and sequencing of movements in schizophrenia
    (2)Motor deficits and SChizophrenia: the evidence from neuroleptic-naive patients and populations at risk
    (4)Non-functional CYP2D6 alleles and risk for neuroleptic-induced movement disorders in schizophrenic patients

Sunday 18 March 2012


Many authors of psychiatry bible have industry ties."

    21:00 13 March 2012 by Peter Aldhous

Just as many authors of the new psychiatry "bible" are tied to the drugs industry as those who worked on the previous version, a study has found, despite new transparency rules.

The findings raise concerns over the independence of the revamped Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and scheduled for publication in May 2013.

For the current rewrite, known as DSM-5, the APA for the first time required authors to declare their financial ties to industry. It also limited the amount they could receive from drug companies to $10,000 a year and their stock holdings to $50,000.

"Transparency alone can't mitigate bias," says Lisa Cosgrove of Harvard University, who along with Sheldon Krimsky of Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, analysed the financial disclosures of 141 members of the "work groups" drafting the manual. They found that just as many contributors – 57 per cent – had links to industry as were found in a previous study of the authors of DSM-IV and an interim revision, published in 1994 and 2000 respectively.

Cosgrove also points out that the $10,000-per-year limit on payments excludes research grants. "Nothing has really changed," she says.

What's more, the work groups that had the most members with ties to the pharmaceutical industry were considering illnesses for which drugs are the front-line treatment – and for which proposed changes to diagnostic categories are especially controversial.

These include the mood disorders group, which proposes including bereaved people in the definition of major depression, and the psychotic disorders group, which is considering adding attenuated psychosis syndrome, a controversial diagnosis for identifying young people at risk of developing schizophrenia.

Critics claim that definitions of psychiatric illnesses have broadened over successive editions of the manual as a result of pressure from the pharmaceutical industry. A steep rise in the number of children given psychoactive drugs for bipolar disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder has been particularly controversial.

Cosgrove is especially concerned about DSM authors who serve on "speakers' bureaus" – experts who are paid to lecture about a drug company's products. These payments are not specifically identified in the DSM-5 disclosures, but web searches indicated that 15 per cent of the work group members were speakers' bureau members.

Cosgrove wants the APA to remove authors who are on speakers' bureaus before DSM-5 is finalised. She also wants the membership of work groups to be changed so that none has a majority of members with financial ties to industry.

James Scully, medical director of the APA, insists the association is "committed to evaluating and monitoring the issue of financial conflicts of interest". He says the study "does not take into account the efforts by DSM-5 task force and work group members to divest themselves from relationships with the pharmaceutical industry". The web searches for speakers' bureau memberships go back to 2006, while the work groups were appointed between July 2007 and May 2008.

The DSM-5 proposals have also attracted criticism from psychologists, who tend to favour counselling over the drug treatments that dominate modern psychiatry. An online petition calling for greater involvement from psychologists has attracted more than 12,000 signatures, and is backed by professional bodies including 14 out of the 54 divisions of the American Psychological Association.

David Elkin, president of the Society for Humanistic Psychology, which wrote the open letter on which the petition is based, complains that psychiatrists have undue influence on how mental illness is defined.

"A small group with only 38,000 members has been for years responsible for telling the rest of the profession, consisting of hundreds of thousands of people, how to think about mental disorders," says Elkin. "I think we tapped into a groundswell of mental health professionals who are not going to tolerate this."

In January, the psychologists behind the open letter wrote to the APA asking for an independent scientific review of diagnostic changes planned for DSM-5.

The APA has rejected this call: "There is, in fact, no outside organisation that has the capacity to replicate the range of expertise that DSM-5 has assembled over the past decade to review diagnostic criteria," replied APA president John Oldham.

Journal reference: PLoS Medicine, DOI: 10.1371/ journal.pmed.1001190


Thursday 15 March 2012


Descriptions and Definitions

Nurtured Heart is a classroom management system that can be used with any age group or maturity level. It is closely related to Canter, Lee's work on Assertive Discipline. Its goal is to reward desired behaviors with positive attention and to not reward undesired behavior with attention of any sort. The belief is that children, especially difficult children, desire attention and energy from teachers and parents. Many of these children have learned through classical conditioning that misbehaving earns attention from parents, teachers, and administrators. If this attention is not given, but peers are awarded with positive attention, they too will seek attention by exhibiting the desired positive behavior.

Howard Glasser of the Childrens' Success Foundation
Howard Glasser created the Nurtured Heart Approach in the 1990s when nothing else worked with difficult children. He recognized that behavior got worse with more attention and that "aduts are children's favorite toys," (7). Just as a toy is more fun if when manipulated it responds with exciting responses, difficult children are 'playing' you to try to get interesting responses. Nurtured Heart is not about ignoring negative behaviors, it actually requires strict consequences, but first a relationship must be formed between the educator and the students. Students must first realize that they are good and worthy; many students have never heard a positive comment about their character or decisions. You must not just catch good behavior, you must build the child's inner-wealth and not give attention to bad behavior. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy that we try to create. A student that has always heard and now believes that he or she is bad will act accordingly. Students that begin to view themselves as good people will behave accordingly, as well. Students will only change their self-image through stimuli, and in this case, positive stimuli. Compliments on what they do well and rewarding good choices helps, but the student must hear positive aspects of his or her character. "You are a risk taker, you are exceptionally creative, or you are a natural born leader," are a few examples.

In a Nut-Shell

Tom Grove states that educators need to remember these basics: 1. Your energy is the most valuable prize for kids 2. Responding to problems is like throwing gas on a fire 3. Be "totally captured by success- not problems," (18) 4. The rules must be clear from the beginning

Implementation examples

The difficultchild.com website provides a number of examples of successful implementations of the nurtured heart approach. Aside from classroom environments, it has been used as a tool for encouraging success in the placement of foster children, reducing medication associated with conditions such as ADHD, and in reducing recidivism amongst juveniles who have been assigned to juvenile hall. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) implemented a program where children who were referred to them because of behavior management problems were supported with Nurtured Heart before seeing a physician. When a physician typically saw a child, medication referral rates were close to 75%. Children who went through a nurtured heart program were referred for medication less than 3% of the time. Additional studies show statistically significant benefits associated with this program.


- Inner-wealth initiative - Nutured Heart - Focus on the Positive
Types of Application in Classrooms

Create Success in the Classroom

Difficult children need to feel success and see that it feels good. They have heard that they are 'bad,' 'going nowhere,' and 'worthless,' their whole lives. You need to nurture the hearts of these students and build their inner-wealth. Once they see that they can get attention for positive behavior, they will be more likely to repeat the desired behaviors. Sometimes you need to work hard to do this. When a child is trying to get your attention with negative behavior, you must not give any energy to the situation but rather compliment the behaviors of students that exhibiting the desired behaviors. You eed to find out what the difficult child is doing right and begin with that. It may be a big step for a child to simply bring a book or pencil to class; compliment this behavior. Recognize the great decisions that students make, even if you have to dig deep. If a student calls another student a name, you may recognize that it shows strong character that the student did not hit the other student. Once a student finds that he or she can get recognition for positive behavior, it is likely that the positive behavior will be repeated.

Critics and Their Rationale

There are many critics to this fairly new approach. Some feel that Nurtured Heart is 'too nice' or 'soft.' Tom Grove shows that the opposite is true, it is strict as the expectations are high and the consequences firm. Others claim that teachers are actually hurting students as they learn to only behave if being complimented. Nurtured heart is about buildig inner-wealth. Students will no longer only exhibit the desired behaviors for compliments as they begin to believe that they are good and capable of not just behaving, but doing quality work.
Alternative Explanations due to Diversity Considerations

Nurtured Heart has proven to be effective in all schools, even in schools with high numbers of minority and low socio economic statues students. Schools in Tuscon, Arizona have found it to have great positive effects on the entire student population. Schools such as these have even found that additional students are not being diagnosed and treated for ADHD because the students are finding success in schools implementing Nurture Heart (11).

Life Experiences, Testimonies, and Stories

I have taken the Nurtured Heart training and am currently working with Tom Grove on how to incorporate these ideas into my classroom. I teach high school mathematics and am in my second year. I think there are some great philosophies in Nurtured Heart but there are some things I don't fully agree with. I am trying to show these students that I do value and care about them and want to praise them as often as I can. From my little experience with Nurtured Heart, the idea is to praise these students deep down for everything that you can. When they show up to class, this means that they value being in class and they could have chosen to not be here, but what greatness are they showing by being in class, and then tell them that greatness. When students do their homework, this means they took responsibility for their learning and that they want to be successful. These are the kinds of praise they are looking for with this approach, it is more than just saying "good job" and "way to go". Really praise them for how great they are! E. Kaffel

References and Links of Interest

Grove, Tom, Howard Glasser, with Melissa Lynn Block. The Inner Wealth Initiative: The Nurtured Heart Approach for Educators. Nurtured Heart Publications, Tucson, AZ. 2007.



Will a child RESPECT you if you resort to drugging them to gain control?

Does an imbalance of power create RESPECT?

Do we as a society 'DO TO CHILDREN,' OR 'DO WITH CHILDREN?'

Do we as a society believe in 'PASTORAL CARE' OR 'PASTORAL SCARE!'?

Do we believe in 'CURING A PROBLEM'(medical model) giving a 'QUICK FIX' or creatively 'SOLVING A PROBLEM' together for a lasting resolution (social model)?

RESPECT includes the principles of 'AT LEAST NO HARM'(Benificence) , 'ETHICAL PRACTICE'  (Good Working) and 'RESTORATIVE PRACTICE.'

The mass drugging of children is FLAT WRONG  and  more and more caring professionals are saying it is:
                  and  PROFESSIONALLY


                   LET'S THINK AGAIN AS A SOCIETY

Sunday 11 March 2012

McTherapy - by Dominik Ritter - Founder of the Blue Panther Party

McTherapy - Are you loving it?
On the marketing of the 
mental health ideology

Contrary to popular belief, psychiatric diagnoses as listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual series (e.g. DSM IV-TR, 1994) do not have anything to do with real illnesses but are simply arbitrary lists of behaviours that some people (e.g. psychiatrists) find objectionable as they seem to violate a mental health ideology, that is acceptable ways of behaving, as well as feeling and thinking about oneself, others and the world in general. They are therefore to be understood as moral judgements used as weapons against those who step out of line. If in fact the so called "mental illnesses" had anything to do with the brain then they would be called brain illnesses and not "mental illnesses". In the world of medicine, a real illness, in comparison to a psychiatric illness, can be objectively identified by scientific methods and can be observed both in the living as well as in the deceased organism. In psychiatry there are no objective tests (e.g. blood tests; x-rays; tissue samples) but purely subjective judgements in relation to behavioural criteria. This is the reason why psychiatry had to come up with its own diagnostic and classification system (i.e. DSM) to convince policy makers and the public that there are real "mental illnesses", and that they have "proper" medical treatments (e.g. psychotropic medication; electroconvulsive therapy, psychosurgery).

Psychiatry appears to be primarily about punishing or at least discouraging people (e.g. incarceration, drugging, shocking or the threat to do so) from openly demonstrating that some things in society are just not right, and therefore presenting a challenge to the status quo. Instead it encourages people to regard social problems as individual problems (e.g. mental disorders, or mental illnesses) and to believe that the only remedy is psychotherapy, i.e. to sort out one's own personal issues with the help of a mental health professional. Let me give you an example to illustrate my point here. It has become quite common to talk about people experiencing too much stress at their workplaces, and that if this is not dealt with quickly and efficiently, it could lead to what has come to be known as "Burnout Syndrome". Many employees are offered counselling to combat the symptoms of this apparent "mental health problem". Even trade unions have subscribed to this individualisation and pathologisation of employees' experiences of their workplace and advocate the provision of counselling (Furedi, 2003). As indicated above, "Burnout Syndrome" (although not an officially recognised psychiatric disorder), just like any other psychiatric diagnosis, is used to stigmatise and punish the individual for inappropriate behaviour (e.g. being irritable, not being productive, absent, etc.). It serves to avert our gaze from other problems in society that might be at the very root of the phenomenon we are trying to make sense of. It allows us to just look away from issues that seem far more meaningful and important such as poor pay, inadequate training, support and supervision, overtime, inflexible working hours, lack of responsibility, mundane and mind numbing tasks, exploitation, poor management, lack of conflict resolution, as was as more general concerns about the economical system of capitalism such as the principles of competition, expansion, profit making, and materialism.

One can see that there is a myriad of contributing factors that can make the workplace a hellish experience and any time that can be spent away from it appears to be more than just appealing. It seems that a lack of solidarity, resourcefulness, and control mixed with a heightened sense of passivity, incompetence, vulnerability, guilt and isolation (views of people which are all actively promoted by the psychotherapeutic industry) can easily lead us to subscribe to the idea that there is something wrong with the individual and that someone (i.e. mental health services) will fix it. After all, it is so much easier and more convenient to get a sick note than, for example, collaboratively engaging in industrial action to fight against domination, oppression and exploitation.

It appears that this psychiatric way of thinking about human affairs has become a dominant ideology, which according to Marxist theory, presents a set of common values and beliefs shared by most people in a given society, framing how the majority think about a range of topics (Marx & Engels, 1932). This dominant ideology is thought to reflect, or serve, the interests of the dominant class in that society. It is spread via people such as intellectuals (e.g. scientists, psychiatrists, lawyers, etc.) who sell their abilities and opinions as a commodity in the marketplace or who use them to support the dominant ideology. One can conceive of a society's dominant ideology as being constructed in a more or less deliberate fashion by a powerful class such as the middle-class. Since the middle-class owns the media, it can select which ideas are represented there, and select just those ideas which serve its own interests.
The dominant ideology that prevails in a society can also be understood as "conventional wisdom" to describe ideas or explanations that are generally accepted as true by the public or by experts in a field. The term implies that the ideas or explanations, though widely held, remain unexamined and may therefore not be reevaluated upon further examination or as events unfold. Just like popular myths, which are passed on from one generation to the next, our concepts and ideas about other people's apparently "strange" behaviour has transformed into factual realities (e.g. "mental illness") that are taken for granted and hardly ever questioned. It appears that we just know, so we don't have to waste time having to make the effort to think, to think for ourselves. Conventional wisdom is additionally often seen as an obstacle to introducing new theories and explanations. This is to say, that despite new information to the contrary, conventional wisdom has a property analogous to inertia that opposes the introduction of contrary belief, sometimes to the point of absurd denial of the new information set by persons strongly holding an outdated view (e.g. demonic possessions, the existence of witches, the world as the centre of the universe, etc.). This inertia is due to conventional wisdom being made of ideas that are convenient, appealing, and of commercial interest (psychotherapeutics is a multibillion industry) as well as deeply assumed by the public, who hangs on to them even as they grow outdated. So we end up with a situation where debates are severely limited by very narrow parameters that discourages discussions of a conceptual nature such as the very meaning and usefulness of an idea such as "mental illness", and instead promotes those of a methodological nature such as the most effective ways to manage and cure "mental illness".These kinds of discussions are similar to the ones focusing on what constitutes adequate care of slaves in the 1800s in the South of the USA (Campbell, 1989) instead of challenging the very notion of slavery (i.e. that a certain group of people are inferior and that it is legitimate to dominate them) as inhumane.

There appears to be something very convenient and comforting about the notion that problems in society are simply due to a group of people who seem somewhat alien compared to mainstream society (note that psychiatrists used to be called "alienists" as they were predominantly dealing with people who found themselves alienated from mainstream middle class society, because they were poor, unemployed, homeless, not married, etc.). Groups of people who do not meet the requirements of the therapeutic enterprise (e.g. single mothers and her children; families whose children commit crimes/take drugs) have always disturbed the welfare establishment as they were regarded as suffering from a range of difficulties such as "family disorganisation" and "personality disturbance" which would lead to the transmission of poverty and its "pathologies" from one generation to the next (Polsky, 1993). Therapeutics is an interventionist approach coming from a group of people in power who in the spirit of "paternal benevolence" think that they act in the best interest of those "inadequate" groups of people with less power. It appears that since the beginning of the psychotherapeutic movement its main goal has been to integrate marginal groups into the mainstream of society by imposing the social norms and conventions of a more powerful group (e.g. middle class) onto a less powerful group (e.g. working class) and thereby violating self-determination and individual freedom. These interventions to "normalise" marginal groups have therefore not been about power used by autonomous people but about power to overwhelm citizen autonomy and rob them of their independence. What is often described by therapeutic activists as "difficult" clients or patients are really people who resist suggestions, instructions and counselling and instead strive for independence.

As a society we now seem to be very much buying into the idea of "mental illness" and the panacea that is psychotherapy. Commercially speaking this is a fantastic situation as any industry in the market economy can only survive by producing goods or services that people are willing and able to buy. Ultimately, in order to sell their products and services companies need to create customers, to keep customers, and to satisfy customers. Consequently, ascertaining consumer demand is vital for a company's future viability and even existence. Obviously people’s will and ultimately their decision to buy a product or service can be heavily influenced by a successful marketing strategy. In other words if there is no need one can easily create a need in order to sell one’s products and services. I think that this is exactly what happened in the psychotherapeutic industry which has successfully created a particular type or customer now known as "mental patient". It has cunningly convinced us that there is something wrong with many of us (i.e. "mental disorder" or "mental illness") and that if only we use its psychotherapeutic services (e.g. psychopharmacological, electroconvulsive or conversational treatments) we would be so much better off. This proposed treatment of "mental illness" is of course just a modern spin on the old claim to have the power to protect us from evil and save our souls propagated by the Catholic Church throughout the Middle Ages. As noted earlier, nothing much seems to have changed apart from altering the name of the product from "salvation" to "mental health" (Szasz, 1997). The point here is that people do not have "mental illnesses" or "mental disorders" but can only be persuaded to feel as if something was wrong with them. Do people feel better after receiving psychotherapy. They often do, especially if they believe that their predicament is of a psychological nature and that psychotherapy is an effective remedy. Unfortunately, the observation that many psychological interventions are successful is all too often regarded as evidence that some kind of illness or disorder has been cured. This is nonsense. If someone believes that he/she feels bad because he is possessed by a demon and feels better after some psychological intervention then one can not conclude that this intervention has rid the person of a demon (similar to exorcisms carried out by the Catholic Church).

There are numerous ways in which the psychotherapeutic industry flocks its ever growing line of psychotherapeutic interventions to combat the common enemy that is "mental illness". A popular strategy is direct marketing which involves carefully seeking out people within a target market, and communicating to them about the nature of their product or service (Guinn, 2008). This can include directly approaching the purchasers of products and services within various mental health organisations or educational facilities in the public, private and voluntary sector, and range from selling particular kinds of therapeutic programs (e.g. computerised cognitive behavioural therapy) as well as psychological testing materials (e.g. aptitude tests; intelligence tests, personality tests), specific literature (e.g. diagnostic manuals such as the DSM and ICD), as well as teaching, study and training materials that will have a bearing on what is taught in undergraduate and postgraduate courses (e.g. psychopharmacology; psychological testing; quantitative research methodology) and is likely to secure new customers and further purchases. Marketing in the educational sector can also include lectures, seminars and workshops where customers learn about the latest psychotherapeutic approaches or update their skills in advanced courses. The direct approach frequently also takes the form of so called "drug lunches" in public settings such as the National Health Services in the UK, which are events sponsored by pharmaceutical companies in exchange for the permission to give commercial presentations to advertise their products (i.e. psychotropic drugs), which often also involves the provision of samples and "freebies". A further popular strategy to inform the general public of one's products and services is publicity (Dean, 2002). This involves attaining space in the media, without having to pay directly for such coverage. As an example, an organisation may have the launch of a new product covered by a newspaper or TV news segment (such as a new pill to sedate children who have been given then psychiatric label of "ADHD", Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). This benefits the company in question since it is making consumers aware of its product, without necessarily paying a newspaper or television station to cover the event. Companies are pursuing this avenue very frequently as they can sell their products and services as a form of public information rather than as a form of advertising.
Although there is nothing to be psychologically treated or cured, there is now growing social pressure on people to get themselves fixed if they do not want to end up being locked up or in other ways ostracised. A crucial factor in marketing is what has come to be known as "herd behaviour". This term is used to explain the dependencies of customers' mutual behaviour (Rook, 2006). Here we are dealing with the subject of the simulation of adaptive human behaviour to increase impulse buying and get people "to buy more by playing on the herd instinct." The basic idea is that people will buy more of products that are seen to be popular. Many online retailers make use of this by increasingly informing consumers about "which products are popular with like-minded consumers". The online bookseller "Amazon", for example, inform customers who make purchases that other customers who made the same purchase also bought other items which might be of interest to the former customer. Another important factor in the area of marketing is the so called Product Life Cycle (PLC). This is a tool used by marketers to gauge the progress of a product, especially relating to sales or revenue accrued over time (Vernon, 1966). The PLC is based on a few key assumptions, including that a given product would possess an introduction, growth, maturity, and decline stage. Furthermore, it is assumed that no product lasts perpetually on the market. The PLC appears to explain the ever growing number of new psychotherapies that promise to provide customers with the ultimate cure. There are now hundreds of various psychotherapies all promising to be either totally new or significantly modified and improved versions of psychotherapy that will give customers the edge. It is also generally the case that the packaging of a product is of upmost importance - often even more than the product itself. Again this very much applies in the case of the psychotherapeutic industry. The various psychotherapeutic approaches are cleverly wrapped up in the language of science (e.g. evidence based practise) and adorned with fancy ceremonial and technical gimmicks (e.g. Hypnotherapy, EMDR) to distract from the fact that we are ultimately dealing with issues of everyday morality, of how we are expected to behave towards as well as think and feel about ourselves and others.
I would like to conclude with a quote by James Rorty on the subject of promotional messages taken from his book "Our master's voice: Advertising" (1934).

"It is never silent, it drowns out all other voices, and it suffers no rebuke [...] It has taught us how to live, what to be afraid of, how to be beautiful, how to be loved, how to be envied, how to be successful. [...] Is it any wonder that the American population tends increasingly to speak, think, feel in terms of this jabberwocky?"
American Psychiatric Association (1994). DSM-IV-TR: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. American Psychiatric Press Inc.
Campbell, R. (1989). An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas,1821-1865. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.
Dean. J. (2002). Publicity's Secret: How Technoculture Capitalizes on Democracy. Cornell University Press.
Furedi, F. (2003) Therapy Culture: Cultivating Vulnerability in an Uncertain Age. Routledge.
Guinn, T. (2008). Advertising and Integrated Brand Promotion, International Edition. South Western College.
Marx, K & Engels, F (1979). The German Ideology. 1932. The Marx-Engels Reader. Ed. Robert C. Tucker. 2nd ed. New York: W & W Norton & Company. Inc.
Polsky, A. (1993) The Rise of the Therapeutic State (City in the Twenty-First Century). Princeton University Press.
Rook, L. (2006). "An Economic Psychological Approach to Herd Behavior." Journal of Economics, 40 (I), 75-95.
Rorty, J. (1934). Our Master's Voice: Advertising. New York: John Day.
Szasz, T. (1997). The Manufacture of Madness: Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movement. Syracuse University Press.
Vernon, R. (1966). International Investment and International Trade in the Product Life Cycle. The Quarterly Journal of E










Watch this  amusing but shocking video on 'The myth of Mental Illness.'