Clearing Archive Roboposter
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Sun Dec 23 12:06:02 EST 2018
TWO ARTICLES ON MENTAL HEALTH
AND HOW AND WHY THEY WERE WRITTEN
by Frank Gordon
First, some background. The following two articles were written in
1982, while I was still a mental patient; and trying to resolve my
confusions. If I had then brought out the "confused inner child" I
would have been overwhelmed. I could more safely take a professional
approach because I was trained as a research biochemist (Harvard MA
1952). So these articles were a first step towards learning to protect
and nurture my inner self.
They are as a result formal and detached. Also, I've matched my
experiences with reports from the literature. This countered
indoctrination that my experiences were not valid; and affirmed that I
did know what I was talking about, because others had reported the same
The legal aspect reflects the social view of "mental illness," and
it helps to know it. To be in a group or a game without knowing the
rules leaves one in confusion. I recently spoke to a patient who was
attending a sex offender group, and asked him if it included instruction
on the applicable law. It did not, leaving a residual confusion.
Since these articles were written, Dr. Breggin, in his
"Psychiatric Drugs: Hazards to the Brain" has covered the area of
forced drugging thoroughly.
Two years ago, I read Gendlin's "The Client's Client" and was
struck by his observation that inaccurate feedback breaks into a
client's inner experiencing and drives him to explain why that wasn't
right. This describes what I was driven to do in these two articles.
Instead of handling my real inner experiencings and problems, I was
caught up in the "phoney struggle" of resisting drugs which were
supposed to "cure" me, a "mental patient" of my "illness." Please note
how many times I use quotes in these writings; i.e., "treatment" may
actually be punishment, and a "cure" suppression.
There are some intriguing and positive clues to real help, however.
Whitehorn's (I,1) definition of a schizophrenic as a socially cautious
person, hinting at the possibility of prior abuse (60% of admissions
have such a history!); Perry's (I,10) note of the too rapid(!)
recoveries at Diabasis House; and Stone's observation (II,39) of marked
improvement from the formation of fortuitous special and close
Recently, I found an astonishing observation: Stanton and
Schwartz, in a sociological study: "The Mental Hospital" (Basic Books,
NY, 1954), found patient upsetness to correlate with staff disagreement.
When the disagreement was resolved, the patient recovered! Whatever was
going on, it wasn't a genetic "biochemical deficiency." It might even
be that the final answers to the phenomena of "mental illness" will be
And now, turn to the writings of a then mental health patient, who
was trying to clarify things for himself, and assert his essential
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