Recovering from Psychiatry’s Medical Model

I am a recovering clinical psychologist. By this, I mean I am recovering from traumatic experiences that happened while I trained to become a licensed clinical psychologist.  For over a decade, I had to confront the outright errors, unproven assumptions, and dogmatic teaching styles of my teachers and supervisors concerning the “proven”causes and solutions to psychological distress: the myth that psychological distress is a physical illness whose primary “cure” is pharmaceutical.

For me, the use of medications and the medical model which supports their use is both a serious issue  affecting the personal health of anyone in psychological distress and a serious social issue affecting the overall health of the human species. Unfortunately, we live in a world where any of us can be legally locked into a hospital, physically restrained,  drugged for the rest of our life against our will, and kept there indefinitely simply based on the opinion of one psychological professional. We do not even have to be in psychological distress to be legally and physically trapped by this system. All we need to do is find ourselves in the presence of an “approved”authority: a single psychological professional, a member of the police, a judge, a school official, or even a parent or guardian who decides that we are “mentally ill” or just an unwanted nuisance. Although this issue is carefully ignored by the media, forced hospitalization and forced medication of people in psychological distress is a common occurrence…and I have not even begun to talk about the millions of people who are forced to take these toxic medications simply because they are not offered any other option by their psychological professional.

Sadly, I know too many people who have much, too much experience with the painful, ineffective treatments prescribed for people suffering from psychological distress. I have met so many people who, having put their faith in psychiatric thought and practice, have experienced not only no improvement in their lives, but suffered added physical and emotional distress as a result of their prescribed treatments. In addition to the many debilitating physical effects commonly caused by prescribed psychiatric treatments, I have found that the repeated failure of psychiatric methods creates layers of extra depression, which sit like an iron burden on top of whatever personal trauma resulted in the prescription of these dangerous and ineffective treatments in the first place.

Even those who sincerely wish to discontinue their prescribed psychiatric treatments are still caught clinging to their belief in the unproven medical model of mental illness. They deny their own experience of psychiatry’s ineffectiveness because of their very understandable belief that if psychiatrists, the supposed experts, have not been able to help them, they are either too broken to ever recover or a failure for resisting psychiatric treatment. Usually, one or both of these beliefs have been encouraged either directly by those who use the medical model to shift blame for failure away from themselves or indirectly by the depressing diagnoses of the medical model.

As a practicing psychologist, my initial work with most individuals and groups is to invite them to consider that it is psychiatric theory and practice which is defective, broken, and resistant to change–not them.  I have developed what I call the Full Spectrum Approach to Psychological Health.  It has grown out of my research and personal search for safe, effective ways to heal from psychological distress. In addition to providing details of this approach, this blog will continue to give you information which exposes the causes of our continuing healthcare crisis, in particular the use of prescription medications as a valid treatment option for psychological distress.


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