Psychiatrists who believe in and practice the disease model of so-called mental illness to the detriment of their patients are displaying, in my opinion, a trait that the Oxford Dictionary describes as “stupidity” — that is: “behavior that shows a lack of good sense or judgment.” I gradually came to this belief about most psychiatrists as I worked alongside them every day for 28 years in the public mental health system in the SF Bay Area.
I’ve probably known 40 or 50 psychiatrists professionally over the past 40 years. All of them are bright, accomplished medical doctors who are very dedicated to practicing their specialty of medicine to benefit the health of their patients, as they have been trained to do and as the APA and NIMH reinforces them in doing. But only six of them that I’ve known have practiced from a perspective that shows good sense and judgment, and that is because they were not devotees of the disease model of mental illness.
Dozens of people over the decades have basically asked me the same kind of anguished question: “How can someone like my psychiatrist who is very smart, someone with a medical degree, who has been sitting a few feet away from me for years, keep on totally missing what I need as they persist in treating me like I’m invisible?
Laing’s heretical rebellion broadened the scope of our understanding.Most psychiatrists that I’ve worked alongside arrogantly expect deference from their patients and co-workers.They take it as impertinence if their ideas and authority are questioned or challenged.” It too focuses on what I’ve come to imagine makes psychiatrists believe what they do and act the way they do towards those they try to serve.Their elevated status as licensed physicians gives them enormous power to dominate in the mental health hierarchy where MDs are held out to be at the top of the food chain.