onsdag 14 november 2007

Jeffrey Masson and Thomas Szasz...

photo on Jeffrey Masson.

About Jeffrey Masson, from his site:

“Masson, an American psychologist and author…

A one-time member of the Freudian 'inner circle', Masson reveals the internal workings of this prestigious and profitable profession through an astonishingly candid account of his own life as both therapist and patient and offers a scathing critique on the cult of psychoanalysis.

'A powerful work, especially important for its warning about the power that psychoanalysts can wield over patients.'

…long-term effects of trauma and abuse.

In this ground-breaking and highly controversial book, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson attacks the very foundations of modern psychotherapy from Freud to Jung, from Fritz Perls to Carl Rodgers. With passion and clarity, Against Therapy addresses the profession's core weaknesses, contending that, since therapy's aim is to change people, and this is achieved according to therapist's own notions and prejudices, the psychological process is necessarily corrupt.

Masson's commitment to human dignity suffuses every part of his thesis.

In 1981, J.M. Masson was fired from his position as Projects Director of the Sigmund Freud Archives, shortly after suggesting in a talk in New Haven that a key theory Freud had developed in 1895 and later repudiated - the so-called seduction theory - may have been valid after all. This talk scandalized the Freudian orthodoxy, as reported in Time, Newsweek, and The New York Times.

Here for the first time are the letters from Freud, long kept from public view, which stirred this controversy. On the basis of these letters and other new information Masson discovered at the Archives and elsewhere in Europe, he has written a devastating and highly controversial expose of the origins of psychoanalysis. In 1895, Sigmund Freud formulated what was perhaps his most profound theory; that emotional disturbances in adults stem from actual early traumatic experiences, the knowledge of which has been repressed. But Freud eventually renounced this theory in favor of a new view, that his women patients had 'fantasized' their early memories of rape and seduction - a view on which the whole budding science of psychoanalysis would be based.

Masson makes available previously unpublished letters from his closest friend, Wilhelm Fliess, which reveal that Freud had grave doubts about abandoning the 'seduction theory.' Masson discovered that not only had Freud read the contemporary literature documenting the high incidence of sexual abuse of children, he had in all likelihood witnessed autopsies of children who had been raped and murdered. That he abandoned his seduction theory, Masson argues, was a failure of courage rather than a clinical or theoretical insight.

As a result, most psychiatrists and psychoanalysts have in effect been reluctant to trust the memories of their patients, women in particular, about the traumas they experienced in childhood. Like Freud, they see such traumas as fantasy rather than reality. This cover-up of the truth, Masson asserts, has poisoned the entire profession.

'A solid expose that reads like a psychological detective thriller... This brilliant, meticulously researched book probes what many see as the failure of psychoanalysis to confront the real world.'

Here translated for the first time are a series of shocking texts from the 19th century German psychiatric literature which, while almost completely unknown to modern readers, have had a devastating influence on attitudes toward women and children in the 20th century. The articles on the sexual 'lies' and sexual 'fantasies' of children were seminal, brutal and still resonate in today's literature, having taken a terrible toll on the intellectual ideas of modern psychiatry.”

And about Thomas Szasz and antipsychiatry.

The Szasz blog.

A Thomas Rosko writes:

I suggest that psychiatrists play another guardian role. They play this role without being explicitly or consciously aware of it and certainly without admitting it. Psychiatrists serve as Guardians of the Establishment./.../

This is about psychiatry, and control, and how psychiatry is concerned with RELIEF. It is about psychiatrists' strong and ever-increasing role as Guardians of The Establishment. Psychiatrists are eager to play this role, eager to protect The Establishment from the unwashed persons whose thoughts, feelings and/or behaviors are bothersome. They are eager because playing this role, serving as a buffer between rich and not so rich, gives them money and power and status.
By 'psychiatry' I mean not just the medical specialty but all those areas commonly referred to as 'mental health.' By 'psychiatrist' I mean not just those physician specialists, but all who are commonly known as 'mental health professionals.' These would include psychologists, psychiatric social workers, addiction counselors, marital therapists, family therapists, psychoanalysts, recreational therapists, art therapists and others. The 'grief counselors' who descend onto schools after a student goes on a murderous rampage are part of what I call 'psychiatry.' So are the persons who answer the phones on suicide help lines. It's a huge and growing business.

Psychiatry today derives much of its money and power from its legally sanctioned ability to provide relief. I am reminded of the commercial which asks 'How do you spell relief?' and then answers the question by spelling the name of a popular brand of antacid. In increasing areas of our lives, relief is actually spelled 'p-s-y-c-h-i-a-t-r-y.'

Psychiatrists provide relief for people in two ways. They relieve people of their freedom, and they relieve people from responsibility. As we shall see, both these roles serve The Establishment very well.

The former practice, relieving people of their freedom, is understandable. After all, psychiatry was born out of the asylum. For a long time, ALL psychiatry was involuntary, that is, practiced against peoples' will. The latter practice, relieving people from facing responsibility for the consequences of their actions, is less understandable. Psychiatry is supposed to make people more independent, better able to stand on their own two feet, better able to deal with living in this world. In fact it often does just the opposite, infantilizing people, making them less independent, more dependent, dependent on the therapist, dependent on the medication, dependent on someone or something other than themselves.

Another interesting blog by a Jeffrey Schaler.

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