The Runaway-houseAsylum for (ex-) users and survivors of
psychiatry. Experiences, conceptions, problems
(Das WeglaufhausZufluchtsort fuer Psychiatrie-Betroffene.
Erfahrungen, Konzeptionen, Probleme)
by Jeffrey M. Masson, soft cover, 192 pages, 15 x 21 cm, ISBN 978-3-925931-05-5.
Berlin: Peter Lehmann Publishing 1991. Published
only in the German language!
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"The power of running away is immense",
writes Jeffrey M. Masson, former psychoanalyst and director of the Sigmund-Freud-archives,
in his preface to the first book of the Berlin psychologist Uta Wehde.
the (former) German Democratic Republic (GDR), the first glimpse of freedom from
oppression came when a few brave people actually ran away. Uta Wehde shows us
it can happen in psychiatry too, and the walls of that decripit institution can
crumble too." (Masson)
People run away from psychiatric institutions
daily. They escape from treatment with psychiatric drugs and electroshocks, from
confinement and humiliation. In some bigger towns in the Netherlands so-called
runaway-housescomparable to battered wives refugesare providing asylums
for people that have run away.
Uta Wehde (see the photo at the left side) reports her observations in such a
Dutch runaway-house, discusses these observations in connection with other alternatives
to psychiatry and draws the obvious conclusion for the conceptional arranging
of new runaway-houses.
In Berlin the opening of the first German runaway-house
already is announced. Here the runaway people shall receive juridical, social,
psychological and medical support, and assistance when they come down from the
drugs. In the supplement of her book Uta Wehde introduces the conception of the
Berlin runaway-house and, exciting to read like a thriller, the toing and froing
about the public funding of the house, which is bought by a million-DM-gift and
risen on the stage of actual reporting. (By the way, the photography of the book's
front-cover shows the house.)
With its differentiating statements the sparkling-written
book passes over this special form of support; it gets to talking about the principal
question, how to help people that may have problems with themselves, the world
around them and/or the psychiatry. The author is orientated centrally towards
the right to drug-free help and user-control. Her criterias of real human help
she develops out of statements by people who worked and lived in the Utrecht runaway-house.
And she respects a lot of informations from users of psychiatry as
well as from people running alternative institutionsinformations, that are
published yet only in a small circuit. Uta Wehde sums up these alternative experiences
and gives an voluminous survey over the literature about the issue "alternatives