Another Szaszian Attack

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1978, Vol 23(10), 743–745. Reviews the book, Psychiatric Slavery: When Confinement and Coercion Masquerade as Cure by Thomas Szasz (1977). The book is based on a discussion of what Szasz sees as the issues stemming from the now famous Donaldson case. I will not discuss the issues or the legal interpretation of that case which dealt with the efforts of Donaldson over many years in seeking release from a state psychiatric hospital. Some of the responses to it are presented but neither those views nor Szasz's perceptions necessarily conform to what is the law that was laid down. Szasz remains the consistent abolitionist; all consequences follow therefrom, including a bitter attack on civil rights lawyers and others who would “improve” conditions. He attacks the claim of right to treatment as irrelevant to the issue of involuntary mental hospitalization which is an “unjustifiable moral and legal wrong.” (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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