Archive for the ‘Biblical Counseling’ category

Doctor, Dred Scott is in Florid Drapetomania Again! Perhaps a Lobotomy?

April 8, 2014

Too bad those doctors who championed that notorious description of Drapetomania didn’t have Haldol at the ready to inject into their runaway slaves, like your nice modern psych wards do, it is so useful as a chemical restraint for bad behavior. But for anyone clueless about  “Drapetomania”, for anyone who needs a sad history lesson about this spurious social control technique — excuse me, I meant ‘diagnosis’ —   here it is: Civil War era doctors believed slaves held an  irrational belief –remember, this was dreamed up way back in 1851 — that freedom was better than chains. Because of course slaves loved their captors, and thus it would be irrational to escape forced labor!

This was actually argued as a medical diagnosis.

This is all very relevant to the debate going on about “The Gospel and Mental Illness” at Kevin DeYoungs site.

Because Psychiatry’s trusty double-edged sword of ontology and epistemology divides sometimes in uncomfortable ways. Until 1972, homosexuality was a pathological behavior, until Stonewall’s riots forced a rancorous vote by the APA to boot it out of the DSM.  Will “homophobia” be the next irrational behavior to be controlled by coercive psychiatry? Shall the DSM-6 suggest forced drugging for those fundies who still put up a fight against ‘marriage equality’? If not, a desperate despot can always avail oneself of the cute diagnostic category, “Not Otherwise Specified” in the DSM-5? That diagnostic black hole means psychiatrists get to make it up as they go along. What a useful dragnet it  proves for those rebellious peons who refuse to submit to the powers that be. Like Dred Scott.

Beware when judges  hobnob with Psychiatrists. Beware when they can issue gag orders to those who object to this form of social control. Beware these kinds of  comfortable relationships among the power elite. Beware when you become comfortable that  anyone holds this kind of ruling power. Beware the Murphy Bill.

Because this kind of naked abuse of power is  actually happening in this day and age:  Behold The Horrifying Story of Justina Pelletier. Psychiatry has legally locked up a fifteen year old girl with some unfortunate health issues that were of uncertain origin. But some nice doctors at Boston Children’s decided it was Somatoform Disorder, and since her  parents were interfering with their brainwashing –excuse me, I meant the curing of  her brain disease –they were denied guardianship over their daughter’s care. They have even  been accused of Medical Child Abuse, and have had gag orders issued to stifle their dissent. So Jessica is languishing in this jail– excuse me again, I mean nice comfy locked ward —  and cannot see them except in weekly supervised visits. Jessica, who was happily  ice skating in a competition before her unfortunate meetup with the nice folks at the notorious Bader 5, Boston Children’s Psych Ward, is now confined to a wheelchair after languishing  for over a year in a locked psych ward. Those helpful medical experts are now giving her psychiatric drugs, instead of the course of treatment other specialists of her peculiar Mitochondrial Disorder had decided was best. These well meaning psychiatrists are teaching Justina that her symptoms are all in her head. I hope they are not using electroshock therapy to accomplish this goal. I know I would cry uncle after experiencing this. I am relieved to note that lobotomies are no longer the current fashion in psychiatric treatment,that they are not suggesting A nice jab with an ice-pick through the eye straight into prefrontal lobe will do the trick Justina! 

Please go to that link and read that searing Wall Street Journal expose of the history of lobotomy, of the raw naked power neurologist  Dr. Walter Freeman held at one time in the 1950’s . It is deeply sobering to consider that the fabricator of this barbaric practice earned a Nobel Prize for his work, and so disturbing to consider  the sway his crackpot ideas  held over influential people — it was cutting edge science. Freeman experimented  on hapless vets suffering PTSD after World War — “in accord with our desire to keep abreast of all advances in treatment,” the V.A. says in a memo. His influence spread and soon people in psychic distress would write to him and beg for lobotomies, in order to be returned to a  “a surgically induced childhood.” His own description.

But it became a standard treatment for all the intractable and difficult to handle patients in psych wards. JFK’s father had it performed on his own daughter. It was as fashionable among the elite for a quick fix for anxiety, just as Ativan is to us now.

Faced with an ice pick, I think Justina would meekly say, “No thank you doctor, I will promise to stop cheeking my Seroquel.” How I wish for those who suffer the torments of psychic pain might have the silver bullets of targeting drugs which will afford great benefits, and do less harm! But for now I am in full agreement with Dr. Thomas Szasz, who gave us that illustration of Drapetomania for the abuses of psychiatry.  Although  Szasz  has some polarizing Libertartian philosophies that I cannot endorse, still I agree with him that “The Myth of Mental Illness”  is a linguistic construct that priveleges those in power to control behavior that they are uncomfortable or disagree with.

I cannot agree with that esteemed SUNY professor of psychiatry more. Every psychotic who is permitted agency to refuse dangerous neuroleptics for more effective and humane courses of treatment is grateful for his work.  Otherwise we might all  be hearing some Dreadful Doctor of Dred Scott saying to us,”Bend over psychiatric slave, because the DSM-5 has suggested that your condition is threatening  your safety. You really might want to escape this locked ward to freedom, and we have determined that fresh air and sunshine is not a healthy environment for you at all. ”

On this 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, please oppose the Murphy Bill HR #3717, because:

“People will turn away from forced and coercive services.
We need to feel safe and understood to connect with others.
We also need hope and a sense that we can get what we need.

So many difficulties arise in life,
especially when our parents, schools and communities
have their own problems and don’t understand our perspective.

Connection, unconditional positive regard,
trauma informed services and safety
must replace coercive, medical models
and forced services if we hope to help others heal.”

words of Cindy Peterson Dana, as a comment on a thread at Mad in America, titled– Murphy Bill: Violates Civil Rights, Increases Government Intrusion and Control, and Ignores Scientific Research

Advertisements

Naming Rights for These Afflictions — They Belong to the Legions

April 8, 2014

What follows is a cleaned up version of my rather lunatic response to the days-long moderation of comments which effectively shut down a potentially profitable dialogue between me and an anonymous commenter at The Gospel Coalition on Kevin DeYoungs guestblog discussing The Gospel and  ‘Mental Illness.’ I have tried to shape that hurried mess of double comments into a series of blogposts. I have tweaked the anonymous commenter’s name — because he has masked his identity, this moniker is meaningless — he might as  well have claimed to be Jesus Christ Come to Adjudicate  Debates.  That would be at least a hilariously appropriate identity that would have power to quiet any lunatics’ objections to being silenced! But his name is not connected to flesh so it is a waxed nose I may manipulate to suit my purposes,  like Psychiatry’s bible, the DSM-5 — when there are no biomarkers for supposed diseases, there is no logic and no accountability around the diagnoses. It is rabbits from hats, It is not Real. It is Not a Sole Fib.

We are considering deep questions of Knowing and Being that are certainly above my limited understanding of philosophy, and I will show you later how it is going to be very meaningful to you in my next blogpost, but here is where it Gets Real.  There are good reasons to have but limited respect for anonymous commenters on the Internet.

 Not a Sole Fib says,  “Don’t take the opinions of men too seriously – especially internet strangers who may or may not know what they are talking about and cannot walk with you, pray with you, or love you through the challenges God has put on your plate.” The irony of this comment is so rich:  where does this Internet Stranger, who was asked to unmask himself but politely declined, get off by calling me “insensitive” —  and what does he know of my real life? I at least cite my sources, and my pastor said he will vouch for my character, he said, “I let you watch my kids”.  But Not a Sole Fib  has informed the world at TGC that they cannot trust me as a source of reliable information — and readers these are not trivial issues we are discussing — life and death are literally at stake. What does ‘Not a Sole Fib’ know of how I love or pray for those  Schizophrenics who die twenty years earlier than average?

With all due respect Not a Sole Fib I still think there are still too many questions that you yourself have asked that I do not feel have been satisfactorily answered.  So we really can’t shut down the discussion now!   I am most interested in  these  two points –by whose authority shall those who suffer be named? And where can we more profitably locate this discussion in the Bible? I think it is interesting that Jesus always gives first naming rights to those whose brains are involved. He always respects free agency. His searching questions always lead those infirmed by sin to diagnose our own condition. Always the names we hold so dearly are uncovered by his heart-piercing  gaze, and nearly always these identities  involve idolatry, don’t they?  I do think the churches should follow his example, and give away the naming rights to those who have the greatest stake in the matter.

So I would zero in on Luke 8:30, because it is such a juicy passage, although it terrifies some. I suspected that it is why my first rough comment on this subject was moderated, but now I know there are Other Reasons. Have you ever noticed Not a Sole Fib, that Legion is never named at all  in the church’s Conversation about Mental Illness? Nor, lest some horses and grandmothers  become too alarmed,  should he be always named in these discussions.  As  Sam Storms  says on this issue

“Some are not healed because the demonic cause of the affliction has not been addressed. Please do not jump to unwarranted conclusions. I am not suggesting that all physical disease is demonically induced. It is interesting, is it not, that in Paul’s case God used “a messenger of Satan” to inflict the thorn?”

I am fascinated by the reasoning behind names and our fear of some names. The church has become so afraid of naming things ‘evil’. Why are we so afraid of saying Legions name? I have some ideas about that. I wrote a blogpost that examines what happens when the biblical descriptions collide with modern science, as demonstrated in the fascinating story of the woman with a “brain on fire” — classic-seeming demon possession diagnosed by medicine — she had ‘anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis’ and was treated successfully with plasma. Very interesting questions are raised. What do you think?

I think those taxonomists of the Human Condition need to give the survivors and sufferers back our naming rights. It is part of our healing to name the thing. I would so much rather be a Magdalene slapped forever with the notorious label “She From Whom Seven Demons Were Delivered”, than be left with your own stigmatizing and dehumanizing diagnosis of  ‘Schizoaffective Disorder’– at least there is hope for a demoniac that they  can always be forever free of torment, if they keep their house clean and well ordered. Those you name ‘Mentally Ill’ and ” incurable”, for  purposes that privilege those in power — think of Szasz’ example of Drapetomania, for  example — are then left often permanently  crippled by your defective drugs, and certainly stigmatized by your permanent label of a Defective Brain.  Except those fortunate crazies living in a third world country, without any medical treatment — we know their outcome of recovery from schizophrenia without relapse is far better, according to two World Health Organization studies.

The First Worlds’ Worried Well have all the right to all the Ativan they imagine will aid them. I am sorry they have so little real informed consent. But as Jesus said, it is the sick who need a physician.

I read about all these kind of hurting people in the secular blog “Mad in America“, which is unique in that it levels the playing field and gives away the naming rights to all those parties who are interested in the issues surrounding  Critical Psychiatry, and listens respectfully to those with lived experience.MIA does a wonderful job in offering hospitality to those who suffer the terrifying ravages of a disintegrating psyche.

I know if the church spoke to those Hearing Voices the way that Jesus did, and let them name their own infirmities, they would listen to us more. I can assure you, many afflicted at Mad in America  would rather fall into the arms of Jesus —  who touched agonized people like them with authority, and then set them free–I am sure those unfortunates would rather be treated with such compassion than fall into the hands of unrighteous  men who might  force them into psych wards. Because their name for those places is “torture chambers.”

I tell you that field is white with harvest. You Christian Thought Leaders think the world will lose respect for us if we tell them the story of Legion, and connect his case to any real condition. I think it just depends on what world you want to reach.   Please don’t frighten my friends if they visit your churches — allow them to give you their name. Please don’t force drugging on them, even if they are a harm to themselves, or to others. If they are going to harm themselves, they need friends who listen closely, and they need hope for the future. If they have harmed others, the place for them is called a  jail.

I wish there were networks of churches that share my kind of taxonomy, so that my friends hurting from Psychiatric abuse can easily identify where their agency will be respected, and where they will feel safe– kind of like a “Joni and Friends” network — but that is a discussion for another day. Already I have gone over a thousand words.  Thanks for listening, those who have come this far!

On this 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, please oppose the Murphy Bill HR #3717, because:

“People will turn away from forced and coercive services.
We need to feel safe and understood to connect with others.
We also need hope and a sense that we can get what we need.

So many difficulties arise in life,
especially when our parents, schools and communities
have their own problems and don’t understand our perspective.

Connection, unconditional positive regard,
trauma informed services and safety
must replace coercive, medical models
and forced services if we hope to help others heal.”

words of Cindy Peterson Dana, as a comment on a thread at Mad in America, titled– Murphy Bill: Violates Civil Rights, Increases Government Intrusion and Control, and Ignores Scientific Research

Heath Lambert and The Rabbits Psychiatrists Pulled From Hats — Like Retts’s Syndrome from the DSM

April 3, 2014

So Heath Lambert says, very baldly: Mental Ilness is a Atheistic Myth.  And this has riled some.

He notes the interesting fluidity of psychiatric classification that exists  for a diagnosis, without a biological marker to define it. Lots of people do not understand this. They have been trained so long with the convenient  myth of the chemical imbalance theory, they actually think there is other things besides behavior that get you labeled crazy for life.  This is a paradigm shift for some, and it makes them really mad.

In particular,  David  Murray has got his Scottish up over Heath Lambert’s blog series. I got my own Irish up about some months ago over the  apalling lack of informed consent Murray demonstrated  in his blogpost “I’m Thinking of Going to the Doctor for Depression Meds.”  I did apologize on Challies for my uncharitable spirit,  I once again extend to Dr. Murray a sincere apology for implying he was not a good sheperd of his sheep. I am sure he is a fine pastor. He is just wrong in counseling depressed persons.  Since Bob Kelleman sucessfully countered Murray’s callous dismissal of legitimate concerns concerning psychiatric medication’s harmful side effects, and his dangerous  legitimization of non-Christian CBT practitioners, I was able to give my Irish some rest, and I agree with Lambert, we can do better than this in speaking truth with love.  I want to do better.

Update October 2014: I can certainly do better in comment boxes as well. It is painful for me to reread my posts at that TGC guestblog — I sound completely unhinged. I wrote in haste, and some were double-posted, and I was alarmed that comment moderation was continuing over several days. I thought the discussion was being shut down at a critical point. Though I asked the moderators on TGC to delete the duplicates, they still stand and make me look unreliable as a reporter of facts. Gaslighting,maybe? As both a woman and someone with lived experience of psychosis, I cannot afford to look like someone  gone “off her meds again.” .  So I have ruthlessly purged the bloat from this post.

But David Murray thinks Lambert has gone too far, when  Lambert writes, a “massive collection of secular professionals actually agree with my assessment of the problem”. There were  howls of outrage in the comments.  But  in an interesting series of posts, Lambert tries manfully to loosen the grip that the atheistic  “Myth of Mental Illness” has on the church.

Lambert speaks so well on the subject that hardly more needs to be said, but I  will add  a plea here  for pastors and counselors to create a safe place in their churches for those who agree with Lambert, who want to taper off their meds, and feel that they are harmed by psychiatry. The process of medication tapering is messy, and can look like a relapse. My hope and prayer is that the the voices of the psychiatric survivor movement would  grow strong in Christian community, and that the agency we cherish over our own bodies will be respected. That the church would give up the convenient marginalization of labels like “mentally ill” —  and do the harder work of effective hospitality aimed towards our real needs. I think it is well past time for  Christian Mental Health Professionals  to agree with one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world, ‘The Lancet’ which has said, “It is time to flush the drugs”   Otherwise the Church will miss a wonderfully opportune time to minister to those who suffer, when the best alternatives being offered by the world to those wanting an alternative to psychotropics are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Eastern Mindfulness exercises, and similar tools borrowed from the New Age. We have the Good News, and the Great Physician,–-we can do better.

Lambert is in the process of developing an extremely nuanced argument, and I am sure he will account for biological factors in mental disorders. But still, his arguments are valid — there is no such thing as a mental illness! When mental disorders begin to be medical in etiology, they magically disappear from the DSM. That is Lambert’s  major point: psychiatric diagnoses are a construct of language — and Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz would add– of power.

Because of its coercive nature, much harm has been done to the sufferers of psychic pain at the hands of psychiatric power, with its scientifically unverifiable labels that stigmatize. And I think this is at the core of the pain felt by those who would be free of this inhumane and atheistic paradigm. Susan Beachy is the mother of a student who gave up on life after receiving an incorrect diagnoses of schizophrenia after a single psychotic episode in response to the stress of 9/11 — which in previous generations would have been understood to be a simple nervous breakdown, and thus fully recoverable. She poignantly said:

“Being told that mental illness is like diabetes is misleading and discouraging. This is not a fair comparison.  Diabetes is due to a well understood defect in a body part, the pancreas. Mental illness, on the other hand, literally means that your mind is sick. Your mind, unlike your pancreas, is not just a body part. Your mind enables you to relate, set goals, dream, and have hope. If you and the people around you believe that your mind will be defective and sick for the rest of your life, you are left without hope of ever having the agency to build a life…We need not burden distressed young people with hope-sucking labels of chronic mental defect. There is a better way.”

Psychiatry is not valid science. Its diagnoses are voted in and out of the DSM by a messy and rancorous process. The irony is, once biological markers *are* found for any illness in the DSM, it is dropped as a ‘mental illness’! Look at the history of Retts Syndrome: when its genetic cause and neurological etiology was finally understood, it was dropped from the Autism spectrum disorder, and thus from the manual. This created quite the controversy, back in 2011, as the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative notes here”

“The DSM is about behavior, not cause, or ‘etiology,’ so including “a specific etiologic entity, such as Rett’s Disorder, is inappropriate,” the revision committee states on its website.But many scientists investigating the biological mechanisms underlying Rett syndrome object to that reasoning.”We’re going to discover that all autism spectrum disorders have a genetic cause,” says Huda Zoghbi, director of the Neurological Research Institute at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “So are we going to keep removing them every time we have the genetic basis of one?”

If the history of the DSM is any indication, yes they will.

Because, psychiatric diagnoses without real biological markers is just pulling rabbits out of hats. Or Rett’s Syndrome from the DSM.