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Alert 148: A Delightful Exposé of Ancient and Modern Psychology & Psychiatry

  • May 14, 2020
  • /   Dr. Peter Breggin
  • /   frequent-alerts,Psychiatry
Dr Breggin and Michael Fontaine PhD

Professor of the Classics Michael Fontaine PhD was so interesting and inspiring two weeks ago talking about ancient pandemics that I asked him back to talk about two other amazing historical events:  One is recent, from the 1970s: the famous Rosenhan study, called On Being Sane in Insane Places.   Like many critics of conventional psychiatry, I was enamored with it.  Rosenhan sent normal volunteers into emergency rooms, instructing them to act entirely normal except to say they were hearing a voice saying “Thud.”  They were all locked up and given psychiatric drugs, and only other patients suspected they were not real patients.  Or so David Rosenhan’s “scientific” tour de  force supposedly unfolded. It turns out he conned us, not the psychiatrists.  It’s an incredible story.  Michael follows up with yet another amazing story, very old:  A Roman play based on an even more ancient Greek play that offers a spoof on psychiatry and probably the first ever portrayal of abusive involuntary treatment.   Great stuff from a great and amusing scholar.

Peter Breggin

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