The late George Albee, psychologist, never accepted the medical model of behavioral/emotional problems. He fought tirelessly for years to insulate psychology from the encroaching medicalization of its subject matter, and he died in 2006 believing that his efforts had failed.
He authored more than 200 articles. As early as the 50’s and 60’s, he argued that social factors such as racism, poverty, and child abuse were largely responsible for the conditions known as mental illness.
Recently I came across an article he wrote about nine months before he died. It’s called The decline and fall of the American Psychological Association.
Here are some quotes:
“The decision by [the American Psychological Association] to proceed to seek prescription privileges for practicing psychologists is the final straw. We are doomed.”
“…the explanation for mental disorders changed decisively from social stress and toxic relationships to brain disease. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) stopped funding research on the effects of poverty, unemployment and child abuse and focused on brain pathology.”
“The pharmaceutical industry became top earners. They spread funds generously into organic psychiatry, brain research, training and public education. They sponsored drug research, wrote the results for the researchers, funded their journals and put everyone on as paid consultants.”
“Being part of the system means supporting the system. So we must close our eyes, hold our noses and agree that half of all Americans will have a mental illness caused by a brain defect at some time in their lives.”
And this prophetic sentence:
“A few competent and informed journalists could expose the flimsy and invalid evidence on which the current model depends.”
Dr. Albee was aware that Robert Whitaker had written Mad in America in 2002, but I don’t believe he could have anticipated the extent to which the anti-psychiatry movement could have progressed in these few short years.