Blog des AK Psychiatriekritik der NFJ Berlin

Kategorie: Diskriminierung

Heteronormative Violence of Mainstream Psychiatry: A Cautionary Tale

In 2013, California became the first state to pass legislation banning licensed professionals from trying to change the sexual orientation of minors from homosexual to heterosexual. In 2014, similar legislation passed in New Jersey, with other states, including New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio, following suit. However, “reparative therapy,” which grew in popularity with psychiatry’s increased medicalization of same sex erotic desire throughout the 20th century, is hardly a practice of a bygone era. In June 2014, the Republican Party endorsed the support of reparative therapy in Texas, while organizations such as the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality continue “treating” homosexual men and women in an effort to change their sexual desires to heterosexuality–all with dire consequences to individuals undergoing such treatments.

I was in a form of reparative therapy in British Columbia, Canada, for six years, after which I filed a medical malpractice suit against my former psychiatrist, “Dr. Alfonzo,” for treating my homosexuality as a disease. If these new laws are to be criticized, it is that the use of “change” therapies on people older than 18 should be prohibited as well. I was 24 when I met Dr. Alfonzo, 31 when I left his therapy, and almost 40 when the lawsuit ended in an out-of-court settlement in 2002. Nearly twenty years after leaving the therapy, I am still affected by the consequences of those six years of “treatment.”


Why Do We Say That Mental Health Detention is Discrimination?

The disability community, including users and survivors of psychiatry, has sent a letter (drafted and circulated by WNUSP) to the UN Human Rights Committee urging that treaty monitoring body to follow the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in prohibiting all mental health detention.  The signatories came from all regions of the world and include user/survivor organizations, disability organizations, other human rights organizations and individual experts.  The Special Rapporteur on Disability sent his own statement elaborating this point, and the organization Autistic Minority International has also submitted an excellent paper.  All these submissions can be found on the website of the Human Rights Committee.

Since our letter is quite technical in pointing out the divergence of the Human Rights Committee’s position from that of the CRPD, which is a higher standard of human rights protection, I would like to bring out some additional points that may be helpful in our advocacy.


Time for a Policy Against Psychiatric Bullying

In the domestic violence field, the methods employed by men to bully and abuse women and children are identified in the Duluth Project’s Power and Control Wheel, a tool developed by survivors of domestic abuse.

Replace male privilege with medical privilege, change a few descriptors and you have a good explanation of the ways in which psychiatry maintains its dominance over individuals and societies.

Name calling (diagnostic labelling), coercion (forced treatment), threats (removal of children, incarceration) . . . the parallels are obvious.

There is no accepted definition of bullying either in statute or general use but the elements common to most definitions include the misuse of power and influence to cause fear, distress, humiliation and harm to vulnerable people. Bullying within family, work and student relationships is generally understood as being learned and practiced within social, cultural and institutional contexts.

Arguably, psychiatry is nothing more than officially sanctioned bullying and abuse.


Not all South Africans have the right to register

8(c) of the Electoral Act No. 73 of 1998 also states that persons declared by a High Court to be of “unsound mind” or declared “mentally disordered” may not be registered on the voters roll. This is discriminatory and excludes people with a psychosocial disability from the voters roll.


Keine Zwangsbehandlung für Hartz-IV-Empfänger per Eingliederungsbescheid

Das Jobcenter Schleswig-Flensburg versuchte einen Empfänger von Leistungen nach dem SGB II (Hartz IV) per Eingliederungsbescheid unter Sanktionsdrohung dazu zu zwingen, sich psychiatrisch behandeln zu lassen. Dass dies Grundrechte verletzt, meint auch das Sozialgericht Schleswig.



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