in: Clinical Psychology Forum (Division of Clinical Psychology
of the British Psycholgical Society), No. 51 (January 1993),
pp. 28-29; and in: Asylum The Magazine for Democratic Psychiatry
(U.K.), Vol. 8 (1994), No. 1, pp. 28-29
Lehmann and Kerstin
Unconventional Approaches to Psychiatry
The interestes of "users" of psychiatry, who want to have self-determination,
physical health and help free from diagnosis and neuroleptics, oppose the interests
of psychiatrists. This contested occupation, sponsored by drug companies, tries,
even by force, to "help" disturbing and troublesome people.
movement tries to organize the isolated victims, to fight for human rights of
psychiatrized persons, to aid self-help, to overcome the straitjacket of psychiatric
diagnosis, to publish information about the risks of psychiatric drugs and electric
shocks and to influence political decisions on psychiatric developments (Stöckle,
Of course, the Berlin government and institutional psychiatry' especially
community psychiatry' ignore the demands of the organized survivors and expand
the psychiatric system of administration of long-acting drugs. So the scandal
of tardive dyskinesia, tardive psychosis and of suicidal' chromosome-damaging,
receptor-altering and (in the mammary glands) tumour-building effects of neuroleptics
(Lehmann, 1990) has not caused the government 10 rethink its politics. What is
more, the inmates of "clinics" have no protection from being forced 10 have electric
shocks or insulin-induced coma, causing great harm. People outside the psychiatric
institutions who want to get emotional help, run the risk of being diagnosed,
registered and committed when they get in touch with community psychiatry. Once
they become the targets of this district psychiatry, the treatment, especially
the treatment with long-acting psychiatric drugs (depot-neuroleptics) will be
continued over years, perhaps for a lifetime (Lehmann, 1989). The medical model
(of madness) is taught in all psychiatric and psychological university departments,
so it is logical that many psychiatrists cannot meet people with emotional
problems (or who make emotional problems for others), they can only confront them
with their psychiatric diagnosis and treatment, as the German social scientist
Kerstin Kempker has pointed out (Kempker, 1991).
In Berlin there is sufficient money for the psychiatric department,
but the government, with approval from community psychiatry, gives
almost no money 10 organizations of "patients", compared with the
millions of DM which psychiatrists receive. In particular the scandal
of the Berlin runaway-house project, which doesn't get any support
from the government, demonstrates that in Germany the development
of psychiatry since 1945 hasn't made great progress. On the one
hand a private person in Berlin made a DM 1,000,000 gift to buy
for the 'Union for Defence from Psychiatric Violence' (a Union of
so-called normal people and former inmates) and many internationally
respected people: Peter R. Breggin, Judi Chamberlin, David Hill,
Lars Martensson, Thomas Szasz and other lawyers, physicians, psychiatrists,
psychologists supported the project publicly. On the other hand,
in "modern" Berlin the government and the psychiatrists want to
strangle this aid project for people who have escaped from neuroleptic
treatment (Wehde, 1991).
Another ray of hope could be the effective world-wide practice
of the "Psychiatric Will", created by Walter Bock and Szasz and
elaborated by the "patients" movement and lawyer Hubertus
Rolshoven (Berlin) as a legal protection against involuntary
psychiatric treatment. People can write down, in a state of undoubted
normality, their wishes about psychiatric treatment or non-treatment
in the event that they are later brought into psychiatric "clinics",
called "mentally ill" and "in need of" neuroleptic or other treatment
(Szasz, 1987). In the last three years, if the psychiatric will
has been written correctly the lawyer and the assigned persons of
trust have been active to enforce the written will of the inmate,
no psychiatrist has risked violating the psychiatric will. In 1990
the first leader of a large psychiatric institution (mad house)
promised publicly that in his institution psychiatric wills would
he accepted without any discussion. Judges explained that they would
not and could not impose any treatment-guardianships upon inmates,
if these resist treatment but have a psychiatric will written well
before commitment; the will of psychotic inmates, during the state
of psychosis, will not be taken seriously, but where the will is
clear, i.e. written down, it would be an offence to install a treatment-guardianship
and infer a different "will" of the psychotic subject.
Berlin only organized people and people with psychiatric wills are protected and
may get some help, if wanted, by friends or non-psychiatric services. The majority
of normal "patients" are without legal protection against forced psychiatric treatment,
without information about the risks and damage of neuroleptic and other psychiatric
drugs and shock methods, without real human help in situations in which they really
want social and emotional support. There is no night to drug-free help in Berlin.
The expansion of community psychiatry, particularly the widening of the periods
of chemical treatment, the widening of the circle of "users" and the widening
of treatment upon ("nervous") children, the ("disturbed") elderly and ("aggressive")
normal and mad prisoners will exacerbate the situation of psychiatryafflicted
people more and more. The incorporation of gene-technological methods into the
psychiatric system could be the ultimate catastrophe.
was due to start in September 1992; the campaign for the Psychiatrie Will continues:
its legal safeguarding is one of the central tasks of the 1991 - launched European
Network of 'Users' of Psychiatry.
K. (1991) Teure Verständnislosigkeit Die Sprache
der Verrücktheit und die Entgegnung der Psychiatrie.
Epilogue by Thilo von Trotha. Berlin: Peter Lehmann Antipsychiatrieverlag
P. (1989) Demokratische Psychiatrie oder Antipsychiatrie.
In: Widerspruch (Zurich), 9(18), 81-99
LEHMANN, P. (1990) Der
chemische Knebel Warum Psychiater Neuroleptika verabreichen.
Preface by Jeffrey Masson, 2nd, corrected and actualized edition.
Berlin: Peter Lehmann Antipsychiatrieverlag
STÖCKLE, T. (1983) Die
Irren-Offensive Erfahrungen einer Selbsthilfe-Organisation
von Psychiatrieopfern. Frankfurt/Main: Extrabuchverlag
SZASZ, T. S. (1987) Das Psychiatrische Testament. With directions
by lawyer Hubertus Rolshoven. Berlin: Peter Lehmann Antipsychiatrieverlag.
(English version: The psychiatric will. A new mechanism for
protection of persons against "psychosis" and psychiatry. The
American Psychologist, 37,7, (1982) 762-769
U. (1991) Das Weglaufhaus Zufluchtsort für Psychiatrie-Betroffene.
Erfahrungen, Konzeptionen, Probleme. Preface by Jeffrey Masson.
Berlin: Peter Lehmann Antipsychiatrieverlag