Recovery psychology/Identity Politics of Recovery

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Identity Politics of Mental Health Recovery[edit | edit source]

In first discussing whom the population served is; we must speak of their identity in who they are and further from what prespective they see themselves. Identity politics refers to political arguments that focus upon the self interest and perspectives of social minorities, or self-identified social interest groups. Not all members of any given group are necessarily involved in identity politics. In Mental/Behavioral Health a "patient" is not a term commonly used, as the client is only a patient when speaking directly to a doctor, nurse or other medical staff. The following are the terms used in the Identity Politics of Mental Health Recovery:

  • User: This term applies to anybody whom uses psychiatric services, willingly or otherwise.
  • Consumer or Mental Health Consumer: This is an economic term, which for many represents empowerment and choice. This term denotes but does not necessarily mean a propsychiatry attitude. It is used in much the same way the term consumer is usually defined in economics.
  • Survivor or Psychiatric Survivor: This term applies to those who feel they have survived psychiatric treatment. This term denotes an antipsychiatry attitude; many who call themselves survivors believe they are in recovery from psychiatry itself, not as much as the mental disorder.
  • Non-survivor or Psychiatric non-survivor: This term is used by psychiatric survivors to describe persons who did not survive or continue living through or after psychiatric treatment. The recovery of psychiatric nonsurvivors is the work of psychiatric survivors; who feel persons who have died in mental hospitals prior to deinstutionalization need to be exhummed, identitied (to restore dignity) and properly buried. Survivors feel this a reclamation of their heritage.
  • Ex-Patient: This term refers to a person no longer receiving services.
  • Recipient or behavioral Health Recipient: This term has become popular to be used by behavioral health to describe clients who recieve services. This term has become in use after the US Federal initiative to Transform the Mental Health System in to a Recovery Oriented System. The irony of this term becoming a term of regular usage, is that the word recipient means just that a recipient. Recovery would be the transforming of a "recipient" to that of a "consumer." Recipient does not necessarily imply recovery.
  • CSX Movement or C/S/X Movement: Collectively these various different movements or identity politics are called Consumer/Survivor/Ex-patient Movement; although they may or may not have completely conflicting views with regard to different aspects of mental health.

  • Nuerodiverisity: Nuerodiversity is a similar movement to that of consumers, survivors and ex-patients. In the US; Mental/Behavioral Health services are often separate from developmental disability services. Conditions such as Autism are while considered a mental disorder are not treated as mental illness. Nuerodiversity holds the belief that Autism is a natural diversity and that to interfere or try to change it would be wrong. Nuerodiversity has many parallels to recovery ideas and concepts and is prone to antipsychiatry.

For more on the this listen to podcasts at Identity Politics of Mental Illness Radio

Anti-psychiatry[edit | edit source]

Although anti-psychiatry views are very apparent in the recovery movement, not all believers in "recovery" are anti-psychiatry, there are some who are quite a bit pro-psychiatry. Recovery Psychology must remain purely objective, with regards to these two views; while offering honest descriptions of both points of view in the educational curriculum. One of the issues that the members of the "recovery movement" have against the antipsychiatry movement would be the lack of concern for the mental well-being of persons claimed to be have psychological disorders.

The fallacy of antipsychiatry would be the reoccurring theme that states that:

  1. there is no such thing as a mental illness
  2. any person who believes in treatment for mental illness (i.e. psychiatry) is crazy (mentally ill)
  3. in order for this first proposition to be true as an antecedent, the consequent statement would have to be excluded, an analysis of academic or intelectual antipsychiatry and indentity politics antipsychiatry groups almost always leads to the admission that somebody is crazy (mentally ill)

The Consumer Movement[edit | edit source]

The C/S/X movement is a form of Identity politics made up of persons who have been labeled or designated as "Consumers/Survivors/Ex-Patients" of the mental health system. Noted there is some discussion out by psychiatric survivors of psychiatric non-survivors. A psychiatric non-survivor is a person who is said to have died or been severely damaged in to a death-like state for the remainder of their life because of psychiatry. In contrast a non-consumer is only a person who has never been labeled or diagnosed with a psychological disorder.

A Personal History of the Consumer Movement by Sally Clay

Family Advocacy Movement[edit | edit source]

NAMI, a propsychiatry agancy with in the family advocacy movement has been a powerful force in what is termed as the recovery movement. See also the Self-Help Movement, See also Family advocacy movement.Others also have been researching and developing methods for families coping with psychological disorders.

Mad Pride[edit | edit source]

The following videos are about mad pride. Mad pride can be described as an identity politic or philosophical rhetoric of social movement. The idea is of coming out of the closet so to speak about having a psychological disorder. Googling "recovery psychology" yeilds work of Michel Feher identifying consumer activism as an identity politic.

  1. David Oaks on Mad Pride
  2. madpridetoronto Channel on YouTube Toronto, CA
  3. qldalliance Channel on YouTube Queensland, AU (these videos refer c/s/x movement as the user movement)
  4. Mad Pride Site in the UK
  5. Madpride bookreview from Mental Help Net
  6. Mad Tea Party?
  7. Mad Pride Month Article from psychcentral blog
  8. Essay Question: Define what is mad pride about.
  9. Psychiatric Survivors Toronto
  10. Mad Pride
  11. ESSAY Question: down to see Michel Feher: Empowerment Hazards: Affirmative Action, Recovery Psychology, and Identity Politics in "Meeting the Needs of the Mentally Ill"

A Case Study of the "Right to Treatment" as Legal Rights Discourse in the Michael McCubbin, Ph.D. and David N. Weisstub, J.D. The Right to Treatment as an American Constitutional Issue

Various Movements within Movements[edit | edit source]

The Independent Living Movement[edit | edit source]

  • Howie The Harp was one of the original pioneers in mental health recovery. This rare archive of footage is priceless in its historical value. Howard Gelding is discussed in 1.Psychiatric Rehabilitation(2002) William Anthony, Mikal Cohen, Marrianne Farkas, Cheryl Cagne 2.Psychiatric Rehabilitation (2002) Carlos Pratt, Kenneth J. Gill, Nora M. Barrett, Melissa M. Roberts 3.Best Practices in Psychosocial Rehabilitation (1999)Ruth Hughes and Diane Weinstein, while his concepts and ideas spear-headed the concepts of peer-support and the drop-in center etc. There is still no mention of Mr. Gelding in psychology. Parts of this YouTube clip are taken from the Jean Campbell documentary "People Say I'm Crazy"

Neurodiversity[edit | edit source]

Neurodiversity is a concept developed by autistic people and those in the Autism Rights and The Neurodiversity Movements as an alternative view of the condition. The proponents of Neurodiversity feel that certain conditions are not necessarily a developmental disability or mental disorder which requires curing or recovery. Developmental Disability Psychology should acknowledge Neurodiversity and other concepts developed by those in the Autism Rights and Neurodiversity Movements as deserving equal discussion and should be recognized as valid sources of information on the phenomena of these conditions.

In human services mental disorders are separated from developmental disorders. Recovery psychology recognizes antipsychiatry and propsychiatry views to sort out how clinical psychology can further produce recovery. Clinical psychology itself only focuses on pathological and remission, not on recovery. Recovery psychology would acknowledge the perspectives of those who call themselves "Aspies" who feel that they are not broken or in need of recovery. The concept in which autistic persons refer to non-autistic persons as neurotypical, or persons who force treatment on them as being a "curabie". parallels many antipsychiatry views. A course on Psychology of Developmental Disability might focus more on adaptability rather than recovery. Recovery in this context could mean anything from adaptability to being liberated from forced, unnecessary treatment that is not wanted by the person with autism, to the fight against prejudice.

Psychiatric survivors movement

Even though autism spectrum 'disorders' are neurological disabilities and not mental illnesses, it is usually considered a psychological disorder. The diagnoses within the autism spectrum are also listed in the DSM-IV, the psychiatrist's diagnostic manual. Diagnosis is performed using behavioral criteria. Essentially, autism is currently diagnosed as if it were a psychological disorder, even though it isn't one. Nevertheless, people with autism often experience additional problems that are of a psychiatric nature, such as depression, anxiety and stress disorders, in part because of neurodiversity and in part because of the misunderstanding and hostility society at large still exhibits towards autistic people. From a self-advocacy viewpoint, this connects autistic people with the movement of psychiatric survivors. This is what those people call themselves who have experienced abuse at the hands of psychiatrists, including accidental or intentional misdiagnosis, involuntary hospitalisation, involuntary treatment with inaccurate medication (sometimes causing horrible side effects up to and including death), inappropriate restraint and isolation, etcetera. World-wide, psychiatric survivors unite in Support Coalition International, a grassroots organization fighting for the abolishment of involuntary, forced treatment (whether in-patient or out-patient), improvement of conditions in psychiatric hospitals, and respect for individual differences even if they are widely met with misunderstanding.


This part of the lessons is not intended to produce factual knowledge other than an understanding of mental vulernalabilities in a world of conflicting propaganda, rhethoric and ideologies View BBC Adam Curtis The Trap F@#* You Buddy, The Living Dead, The Lonely Robot or We will Force You to be Free on YouTube for a pessimistic view of the life of John Forbes Nash, R.D. Laing and antipsychiatry and the concept of "Freedom."

  • Think about the concepts of Conspiracy theory and Paranoia.
  • Think about the 1979 President's Commission on Mental Health being the first to identify the identity politics of mental health consumers.
  • Think about the movie "A beautiful mind" being released at the time of the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health
  • Think about COINTELPRO and the Patriot Act
  • Do you feel that it is reasonable that a person would have "seemingly" irrational beliefs and delusions about the world they live in
  • To see an opposing view regarding John Forbes Nash (an optimistic view on the life of...) see "A Beautiful Mind" or PBS documentary "A Brilliant Madness" on YOUTUBE or google the words: MENTAL HEALTH RECOVERY+JOHN FORBES NASH and read any propaganda discussing the two key search words as a single subject

Political History of Non-identity Politics[edit | edit source]

An overall discussion of politics is important to understand why this recovery concept is important. This can be best exemplified by Philippe Pinel at the Salpêtrière 1795, during the French Revolution ordered the removal of chains from patients at the Paris Asylum for insane women. He was instrumental in the development of Moral treatment.

  • See Deinstutionalization
  • See Recovery Model

Psychiatrists and Clinical Psychologist such as Timothy Leary once prescribed LSD for therapuetic purposes; (this was also true of cocaine and ecstasy) this was around the time period of the Government coldwar science research such as MKULTRA which turned out persons such as Ken Kesey whom was an American author, best known for his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest which is now one of the most well known heralded depictions of psychiatry by adherents of the antipsychiatry philosophy.

Politics in America and the fear of Abnormality[edit | edit source]

Nobody in America would want to be labeled a Nazi or a Communist. As both represent a deviation from the norm and are used as slurs in political conflict or debate as tools of propaganda. In America the established norms for political philosophy are Republican and Democrat. Republicans are seen as being right wing politics where Democrats are seen as being left wing politics. Nobody in America would proudly claim to be either a Nazi or a Communist. As such would be considered abnormal, more claim to be near the center of political philosophy and to not have any extreme political views. Prior to the the Reconstruction era and the Civil War the two political parties were seen as the opposite sides than they now are seen as holding. This can be noted when we read about the Civil rights movement in America or the Klu Klux Klan. Prior to World War II and the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, The Republicans were considered liberals fighting for civil rights, freedoms and equality, while the Democrats were seen as oppressive and racist. The change in these idealogies, shows how external forces can alter the psychology, philosophy and political structure of a nation; if such alterations can occur in a mass population collectively, how can the social sciences deny that such external forces influence such on the individual psyche any differently? See articles on mental health in America about Siberia America (calling mental health a Russian and/or communist philosophy from a right-wing anti-psychiatry prespective) See Sally Satel articles slurring the Recovery model in favor of the remission model and calling the recovery movement a leftist anti-psychiatry coup of the government in the National Review (A conservative Republican media publication), or any Antipsychiatry literature which claims to be liberal. NOTE: The views of antipsychiatry can come from either extreme. Another example of logical thinking that is lost in the passion of political debate where persons lose their objectivity and opinons sway from ideology to ideology can be found in wikis is the ammount of factual information found on Conservapedia versus Wikipedia. The latter would have articles on New Freedom Commission on Mental Health under President George W Bush (a Republican) while Conservapedia, a conservative Republican media has little to no educated information regarding mental health. In fact in todays world we find a lot of superstition in the conservative view of psychological disorders that have not changed since Malleus Maleficarum. As stated earlier regarding the medical versus recovery model wars, Bi-partisan politics needs to stay out of the objective sciences, but as the articles on Sally Satel show an Anti-recovery propaganda is already attacking the recovery concept in the medical community. Anti-Mental Health attitudes (distinguished from antipsychiatry) still exist today, the major distinction between anti-psychiatry and anti-mental health is anti-psychiatry is often in support of radical mental health where as anti-mental health supports no mental health. Recovery psychology as a philosophical approach to scientific research, would not any political views once so ever. Although with its historical component, there would some recognition of identity politics. Interestingly enough the concept of recovery is accused of being a liberal concept, while one of the very first tenenets of mental health recovery is personal responsibility, which if the attackers of the recovery concept would evaluate their own "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" attitudes they would agree that they too believe in personal responsibility.