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Call Out: PsychOUT: A Conference for Organizing Resistance Against Psychiatry

Maysie
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Joined: Apr 21 2005

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PsychOUT: A Conference for Organizing Resistance Against Psychiatry

Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto
May 7 & 8, 2010

Link here.

Call for Papers

Over the last century, proponents of biological psychiatry have used the language of science to naturalize the medical model as an essential way of organizing and managing human experience. In contrast, collective resistance against the theories and interventions of psychiatry has intensified over recent years as psychiatric survivors, activists and community members are contesting this institution on various political fronts. Additionally, people belonging to marginalized groups who are at greater risk of psychiatrization, such as women, racialized people, queers, trans people, people with disabilities, homeless people and other people living in poverty, are resisting psychiatric oppression in different ways, as they/we recognize threats to their/our health, human rights and lives.

The purpose of this global conference is to provide a forum for psychiatric survivors, mad people, activists, scholars, students, radical professionals, and artists from around the world to come together and share experiences of organizing against psychiatry.

Dialogue about these experiences is intended:

• to foster networking and coalition building across social justice movements, disciplines and geographical locations;
• to clarify some key goals in the struggle against psychiatric oppression;
• to develop some longer-term strategies to help us achieve these goals; and
• to help us critically examine how we use specific tools for social change, such as the law, science, theory, media, art, and theatre.
This conference is focused on theory and practice that is directly related to developing strategic actions aimed at challenging the power of institutional psychiatry.

Submission of Papers, Workshops and Creative Presentations:

This global interdisciplinary, cross-movement conference welcomes academic paper, workshop, or creative presentation submissions that can include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

• Feminist organizing against psychiatry
• Anti-racist organizing against psychiatry
• Queer and trans resistance against psychiatry
• Resisting colonizing practices of psychiatry
• Resisting psychiatric interference in nations called "developing"
• Negotiating the complex space between critical disability and antipsychiatry perspectives
• Intersections between anti-poverty movements and antipsychiatry
• Networking and coalition building across disciplines and social movements
• Commonalities and tensions within the antipsychiatry, psychiatric survivor, and mad communities
• Building a global antipsychiatry movement
• Developing long-term strategies to meet antipsychiatry abolitionist goals
• Artistic and creative resistance
• Consciousness-raising initiatives
• Using the law to protect the rights of psychiatrized people
• Supporting youth and other vulnerable groups who are resisting psychiatrization
• Using science to undermine psychiatric theory and practice
• Media campaigns: Challenges, obstacles and breakthroughs
• Examining movement history to inform present-day strategy and action
• The struggle to ban electroshock: strategies, victories, mistakes and challenges
• Resisting the pharmaceutical industry
• Envisioning and creating alternatives
• Resisting the spread of psychiatric control in the community, such as community treatment sanctions

Paper abstracts, workshop or creative presentation descriptions should be between 200 and 300 words in length. Pre-formed panel proposals are also encouraged. The due date for submission is February 15, 2010. All submissions will be peer-reviewed. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, and the author would like their paper to be considered for publication in a book of conference proceedings, a full draft of the paper should be submitted by Monday, May 24, 2010.

Please submit all presentation descriptions here.

For any further information, please contact psychout@utoronto.ca

 


Comments

G. Muffin
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Joined: Sep 28 2008

Okay, you guys, I'm putting you on notice that I'm taking a run at this one.  I "presented" at ICSPP a few years back so I have some very vague notion of how to submit a proposal but mostly I'm just flailing around.  In the unlikely event CAPA honours me with a spot, this will be my first Canadian trip east of Edmonton.  If anybody has any advice as to the right type of language to use, I'd be most obliged.  I am serious and I know what I'm talking about but I'm not an academic by any stretch.  My paper is on effecting change and finding valuable allies in the most unlikely places.


Stargazer
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Joined: Jun 9 2004

Good luck G.Pie. Sounds like a lot of work, albeit very very useful. Maybe I can come up with something to submit.


G. Muffin
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Joined: Sep 28 2008

Thanks, Stargazer.  I have hatched a plan but it's a bit out there.  I want to a make a video and post it on YouTube.  Finding somebody willing to do the filming is a bit problematic for various reasons but the submission isn't due until February, I think, so we'll see what happens.


remind
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Joined: Jun 25 2004

Have a friend who is a videographer on the Island, who goes to Vic lots, and is edgey, however, he is leaving shortly for a couple of months, so I would have to contact him as to his availability

 

let me know....


G. Muffin
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Joined: Sep 28 2008

remind wrote:

Have a friend who is a videographer on the Island, who goes to Vic lots, and is edgey, however, he is leaving shortly for a couple of months, so I would have to contact him as to his availability

 

let me know....

Check your PMs, you magnificent creature.


G. Muffin
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Joined: Sep 28 2008

Thanks, Sineed!


G. Muffin
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Joined: Sep 28 2008

Pardon my immodesty, but I'm not going to submit anything until I find out who else from the team is presenting.  How does one go about finding that out?  I've heard of some bright lights being snubbed by PsychOut.  I sure hope I misheard that 'cause if they're turning down professionals, what does that say for their level of respect for amateur dabblers such as myself?

Is Bob Whitaker going to be there?

Grace Jackson?

David Oaks?

Louis Wynne?

Peter Breggin?

Leonard Frank?

Irit Shimrat?


Le T
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Joined: Oct 17 2004

Sounds like they are emphasizing contributions from amateur dabblers over professionals.


G. Muffin
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Joined: Sep 28 2008

Then they might actually just accept my submission.  My topic is finding allies in surprising places. Like the Philosophy Department at UVic.  Most of them are FOAFs and I just have to be brave and ask if I can bend their ears a little.  Same goes for Camosun College which offers the Criminal Justice Certificate, or whatever it is, that people need to become police officers.  BCCLA is very approachable and CLAS loves test cases, as do law faculties.

Speaking secretly now, just between you, me and all the other babblers, I think I would be an amazing police officer.  I am fearless and I can translate woo woo into plain English for the mere mortals.  I know for sure that if I had been one of those cops at YVR, RD would be alive and well today.  


RosaL
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Joined: Mar 4 2007

Le T wrote:

Sounds like they are emphasizing contributions from amateur dabblers over professionals.

If you mean they are emphasizing contributions from people who don't work in the mental health system, that is certainly true (it's about resisting psychiatry and there's not a lot of professional resistance to psychiatry) but your way of putting the point is offensive and highly questionable.


Stargazer
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Joined: Jun 9 2004

Well good luck G.Pie. I'm fascinated by the amount of labeling that goes on in the mental heath profession. My 16 year old normal teen aged nephew was diagnosed (and I use that term loosely) with "Disruptive Disorder" aka Being a Normal Teenager.

Here is a decent article on labelling and how the industry profits.

http://www.cartercenter.org/news/documents/doc1890.html


oldgoat
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Joined: Jul 27 2001

Disruptive disorder!  I've never heard of that one.  My favourite is still the old standby, 'Adolescent Adjustment Reaction'.


Stargazer
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Joined: Jun 9 2004

Hahaha. He had another equally silly one added on and for the life of me I forget. It was that stupid.


MegB
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Joined: Nov 28 2001

I seriously hope the conference is accepting submissions from non-professionals and non-academics.  There is a great deal to be said for experience-based information from both psychiatric survivors and mental health care professionals.  Anecdotal information often isn't given the credibility it's due, and even the best double-blind study can be flawed by human bias.

I'm not saying that all submissions should be granted a free pass, without any kind of scrutiny.  I just happen to think professional and academic credentials should not be considered above content in submissions.

In my experience, many successful people with credentials up to their eyeballs have skated by on politicking and an ability to memorize and regurgitate information.  They have no talent for original thinking, and are incapable of thinking outside the confines of the canon of their particular discipline.  These are not people you want speaking at any conference, let alone this one.  And yet they do.

Of course, I have a personal bias - I come from a family of original thinkers, very bright people who, by virtue of their mental illnesses, are relegated to a life of frustrated under-achievement.  Or have committed suicide before realizing their potential or reaching any kind of peace within themselves.  And having a deep personal understanding of how mental illness can blight a life, and how dysfunctional the mental health care system continues to be, I have very strong opinions about the need to support marginalized voices and lend credibility to those who do not conform to society's expectations.

I understand "crazy".  I've lived with "crazy" all my life.  And I support and applaud those who step outside the label - or make it their own - and refuse to be pushed into obscurity and relegated to a silent and borderline existence.  Many cheers to all who submit papers to this conference - whether they are accepted or not.  You rock.


KenS
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Joined: Aug 6 2001

I'm 58 years old, and although I have never been a fan of the mental health industry, its only the last several years that I've realized that over the course of my whole life I've dealt with the wreckage of the industry. Close friends that commit suicide, family members [in 2 families even] who are "crazies" that sometimes can cope and sometimes can't. Etc.

So definitely, all power to those who won't just be victims.


MegB
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Joined: Nov 28 2001

KenS wrote:

I have never been a fan of the mental health industry, its only the last several years that I've realized that over the course of my whole life I've dealt with the wreckage of the industry.

I don't know what motivates individuals to become involved in health care, or what precisely happens to people with good intentions who come to signify what is worst about the system, but there are systemic problems, and there are societal issues that damage already fragile people to the point where they will never achieve the level of support and stability they need to live their lives as they would choose.

I've given a fair amount of thought to these issues, and haven't arrived at any stunning conclusions, except perhaps that abuse of vulnerable people is spread across the wide spectrum of health care.  The elderly, the physically disabled, developmentally delayed individuals, etc. - all I've spoken to have told me of some experience they've had with abuse and exploitation.  I think that in the case of a few people who choose health care as a career, it's not so very different from people who are obsessively sexually attracted to children, who choose to work within a power structure that allows them free access to those who are most vulnerable.  There are people who choose health care who believe it will allow them access to people they can abuse and dominate with impunity.

Most often it occurs when an individual either has no support system independent of the health care system, or when family members are not able or willing to advocate on behalf of their relatives within the system.  Independant "watchdogs' and "ombudspersons" are reliant upon a complaint-driven system that requires an individual, or those on their behalf, to willfully submit to a system that requires reporting and follow-up that may not be practical for those who are most marginalized.

Regardless, I think it behooves those of us who are able to stand up for ourselves and others to provide a measure of check and balance to a system that seems to need an external control.


Le T
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Joined: Oct 17 2004

Quote:
If you mean they are emphasizing contributions from people who don't work in the mental health system, that is certainly true (it's about resisting psychiatry and there's not a lot of professional resistance to psychiatry) but your way of putting the point is offensive and highly questionable.

Actually I was specifically referencing G Pie's comments. But thank you for your concern. Next time I will use quotations so as not to get you all up in arms.


G. Muffin
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Joined: Sep 28 2008

Le T wrote:
Actually I was specifically referencing G Pie's comments. But thank you for your concern. Next time I will use quotations so as not to get you all up in arms.

True story.  What I meant is although I'm disabled (if you're the type that considers Temple Grandin to be "disabled"), my values and thoughts originate and are based on one side of the psychiatric desk.  That's valuable information to smart people like David Healy and Bob Whitaker and Grace Jackson and Rob Wipond and Philip Dawdy.


Maysie
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Joined: Apr 21 2005

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A fundraiser for PsychOUT: A Conference for Organizing Resistance Against Psychiatry, being held at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto on May 7-8, 2010.

Friday, January 15, 2010
7:00pm - 10:00pm
Trinity St. Paul, 427 Bloor St. West, Toronto

The purpose of this global conference is to provide a forum for psychiatric survivors, mad people, activists, scholars, students, radical professionals, and artists from around the world to come together and share experiences of organizing against psychiatry. 


An outstanding social justice activist, feminist and excellent speaker Anna Willats will emcee this fun and entertaining night. Art created by upcoming and accomplished artists will be for sale. 

We are also proud to feature these outstanding singer-songwriters: 

• Social justice activist/feminist Faith Nolan
• Juno Award folksinger Roger Ellis
• Bill Yurick who will sing the anti-Big Pharma song "The Pill Song"
• Parkdale outreach worker/pianist Bob Rose
• Tom Smarda self-taught folksinger who wrote and will sing the "Lubicon Song”
• Erick Fabris and other artists. 

Refreshments will be served.

Admission is $10, $5 for unemployed people.

All proceeds will go towards funding major expenses of the PsychOUT Organizing Committee which is organizing PsychOUT Conference.


G. Muffin
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Joined: Sep 28 2008

Maysie, with respect, do you know what they intend to use these funds for?  I have it on good authority that they are unwilling to assist potential presenters.  In fact, an author/activist who would be an enormous contribution to this conference was turned down flat.  MindFreedom International has a much larger scope than PsychOUT so perhaps it's understandable that they choose to assist out-of-town presenters.  I have no problem at all donating my time and my effort to a great cause.  Asking me to pay for that privilege is a bit of a stretch. 


Maysie
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Joined: Apr 21 2005

G. Pie I have no affiliations with this group, but I get updates from them and post them here. From what I understand they are a volunteer organization with no outside funding sources, and everyone donates their time and energy for their various projects, including this conference and their annual Mother's Day protest related to anti-shock therapy. The people that I know personally who are involved with CAPA are ethical hardworking activists.

The fundraiser is in Toronto.

CAPA website


RosaL
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Joined: Mar 4 2007

Le T wrote:

Quote:
If you mean they are emphasizing contributions from people who don't work in the mental health system, that is certainly true (it's about resisting psychiatry and there's not a lot of professional resistance to psychiatry) but your way of putting the point is offensive and highly questionable.

Actually I was specifically referencing G Pie's comments. But thank you for your concern. Next time I will use quotations so as not to get you all up in arms.

 

I didn't speak out of "concern", but of course you realize that. I did indeed miss the G Pie reference, however. My apologies. 

p.s. I am sometimes "all up in arms" but not here Wink


G. Muffin
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Joined: Sep 28 2008

Maysie wrote:
The people that I know personally who are involved with CAPA are ethical hardworking activists.

I have no doubt that they are.  My problem with CAPA is that ECT saved my life.  Twice.  Their mission statement threatens my existence.  If you want to ban forced electroshock, I'm with you.  If you want to remove a last ditch effort where every other therapy has failed, a lot of us are going to turn to other organizations.  I hear you that you are just posting the info.  I just get a bit ruffled when people tell me they know what's good for me.  That's exactly what psychiatrists do.  I would hope anti-psychiatrists would hold themselves to a higher standard.  I had words with Bonnie Burstow over this issue and thus assume I am not welcome at the conference. 


oldgoat
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Joined: Jul 27 2001

That's pretty much how I see it for ECT.  I had a psych professor a number of years ago who swore by the treatment for himself.  It has been and remains abused though, and I would support much more stringent restrictions on the use of the proceedure, mainly as in the area of proper education and informed consent than currently are used, at least here in my juristiction.

 

(I took out the word guidelines and put in restrictions because psychiatrists ignore mere guidelines all the time. )


Linger
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Joined: Jan 10 2003

There's a lot of dis-information in the psychout webpage.

I work in a multi-million dollar community mental health agency. I am the person who answers the phone when something goes wrong, be they persons in crisis, individuals with sever mental illness, family members, police, doctors, nurses, social / community workers and assistants and all range of health care professionals. There is a psychiatrist (or two) and rotating residents on the team, and my front-line position has me in continual contact with clients as well all major elements of my cities mental health care infostructure.

Two of pyschout's most salient mis-representations: a 'mass screening for mental illness' and 'involuntary treatment.'

)There is no 'mass screening' program, it is a fictional characterization. Who would run it, under what auspics, who has access to the assessments? anyway there is no such thing.

)Crudely speaking, there is no 'involuntary treatment' in Canada. Involuntary admission is a rare and challenging event, involuntary treatment is not an option.

After this, I stopped reading the overview. This did not even get to difference of interpretation, those two psychout statements are not true.


MegB
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Joined: Nov 28 2001

Linger wrote:

)Crudely speaking, there is no 'involuntary treatment' in Canada. Involuntary admission is a rare and challenging event, involuntary treatment is not an option.

After this, I stopped reading the overview. This did not even get to difference of interpretation, those two psychout statements are not true.

The definitions of "involuntary" and "informed consent" should be examined.  Someone who is suicidally depressed, generally, isn't in their "right" mind.  It's like having sex with someone who is very very drunk - it can and has been construed as rape.  The same goes for individuals who are coping with a mental illness.  At what point can you say that the individual isn't competent to make decisions for themselves? 

Speaking from personal experience with chronic clinical depression, I can say there have been times that I really wouldn't have cared how much my brain got fried, or what "treatment" was conducted.  I was so indifferent to my surroundings that, had it not been for people around me and their care and love, I wouldn't have had any sense of self-preservation.

When the desire to continue your life, the most fundamental desire for survival, falls by the wayside, you need to examine the competency of the individual and access their needs accordingly.  EST may be the answer, but not necessarily for all.  To say, at that point, that the treatment is consentual, is in my mind a fallacy.


G. Muffin
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Joined: Sep 28 2008

Linger, you are woefully misinformed.  These concepts are so basic I'm not going to post them here.  If your ignorance is genuine, look up Teen Screen and the new Mothers Act.  See www.furiousseasons.com  See what foster kids go through at their schools.  Look at how the rates of ADHD shoot up once Ritalin (basically, speed) was made available.

Rebecca, I acknowledge the problem with informed consent when somebody's at the end of their rope.  However, when I am well, I am truly well, a normie.  And, as a normie, I would like to sign a Representation Agreement giving my mother authority to consent to ECT.  It works.  It's brutal and it's using a sledgehammer on a thumb tack but it can be lifesaving.  Bonnie Burstow says if consent was informed, nobody would agree to it.  That's horseshit.  If it had a 50% death rate, I'd still want it.  Read David Foster Wallace on the "terror of the flames."  Unless you've been there, you have a right to an opinion but not an audience.  ECT is far less damaging than long term psychotropic drug use.  See Grace Jackson's "Drug-Induced Dementia:  A Perfect Crime" and "A Guide to Informed Consent." 


Linger
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Joined: Jan 10 2003

Definately, and you could make a strong arguement that truely 'informed' consent is a challenge in many cases.

Unfortunately at the present reality may be that a person is crisis and in need of assistance:

)Is treatment with-held until the person is 'in their right mind' (no answer to the larger question of how are they supposed to get 'right' with-out help)

)Is treatment offered, with what-ever clinical advise may facilitate the decision

I do hear where you are coming from and that a vulnerable individual does not have the space to carefully weight the potential risks vs. bennefits. Indeed a large part of my job is establishing rapport when we arrive on the scene and building that up to a point where a person trusts our suggestions for them. But I know that when we arrive on scene to relieve the police, time for contemplation can be a scarce commodity. And at other times I'm compelled to state that I do believe a person, accutely psychotic, is a risk to her/himself and in need of involuntary admission. If treatment is with-held because we say this is not consented too, it may be years before the person recovers enough to even have the discussion we'd like to have.

When you've got a person infront of you who doesn't concieve of traffic, or of roads, and is going to get hit by a car if left on their own, psychotropic medication can be a life-saving treatment.


G. Muffin
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Joined: Sep 28 2008

I agree that drugs have their place.  So does electroshock.  So does involuntary hospitalization.  However, the standard should be imminent danger of harm to self or others as opposed to merely obstreperous, sarcastic and difficult which is where I regularly run afoul of the guidelines.  They tend not to let you out if you don't say "please" and "thank you."  It's not a fucking charm school, people.  I reserve the right to be obnoxious and rude.  These concepts involve freedom of speech and freedom of thought as well as other fundamental human rights.  Somehow, the Charter applies to everybody except those with a psychiatric diagnosis. 


Linger
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Joined: Jan 10 2003

G. Pie wrote:

re: involuntary hospitalization. .. the standard should be imminent danger of harm to self or others as opposed to merely obstreperous, sarcastic and difficult

Huh, that is the standard. Section a) imminent danger b) has demonstrated marked improvement with treatment in the past

From your phrasing of the experience, I wonder if the first hand information would be different if the source experienced it present-day, with Patient's right's advocates and the option of a tribunal where patients recieve lawyers to argue for release while doctors are not allowed representation. At any rate, honestly resources are so scarce presently that overt self-injurious behaviour may be treated only with a brief safety plan, a sleeping pill, and a follow-up appiontment (no admission); cantacerous behaviour is more expected than it is reason for confinement.

People voluntarily stay overnight in emergency hoping for inpatient beds to open the next day, resources are so scarce that programs regularly book into the new year and each day we are confronted with people and families asking for services that no-one provides.

Obviously I can only speak of the system I know, the past several years in my city in Ontario. But here people cannot be kept for rude behaviour.


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