|British psychiatrists William Sargant (right) and J.R. Rees (left) exploited post-WW II social disarray: “Public life, politics and industry should all of them be within our sphere of influence.”|
he Church of England’s current controversy — allegations of violence and sexual abuse of their wives by clergymen — raises a deeper issue which has to date gone undiscussed.
When Gillian Kidd first complained to the bishop of her Yorkshire diocese that her vicar husband was abusing her, the bishop, according to the Sunday Times, ignored her. When she persisted, the bishop said her husband needed psychiatric help.
The vicar’s reply? That his wife was inventing the abuse, and if she persisted he would have her incarcerated — in a psychiatric hospital.
The truth of the allegations and counter-allegations is yet to be determined. But the deeper issue nobody seems to have noticed in this and similar cases is the ease with which men of the Church turn to the Godless subject of psychiatry for answers they apparently cannot find in their faith.
Why is this a problem?
The answer is this: The carefully cultivated image of the kindly psychiatrist, sagely nodding while his patient engages in verbal explorations on a couch, is about as far from reality as drug-induced hallucinations.
Scandals about psychiatrists — their abuse of patients, the harm caused by their “treatments” and drugs, and fraudulent claims against National Health insurance, particularly in the United States — are all too regular in the press. But the destructive influence of psychiatry on religion — particularly the established churches — is little understood.
Eighteen-year-old Janice — herself a member of the Church of England — complained to her doctor of lethargy and depression. She was torn by indecision, uncertain of what career path to follow. The doctor casually said it was “nerves” and just as casually prescribed antidepressants. Within hours of taking the drugs, she began to suffer black-outs. When the doctor prescribed minor tranquilizers, Janice became even more lethargic, unmotivated and began to gain weight.
She was referred to a psychiatrist who diagnosed her as suffering from depression. Weight-reduction pills were prescribed to combat the gain caused by the tranquilizers. The combination of “speed-like” pills and tranquilizers catapulted her into a “high and low” that was then diagnosed “manic-depression.” After many months, she had become so gaunt that she didn’t want to socialise. “Paranoia” was then diagnosed and the psychiatrist recommended electroshock treatment.
Janice was admitted to a local private Catholic hospital. Looking more like an old Victorian home sedately nestled in plush green grounds, the quiet environment and walks around the sunlit gardens accompanied by several of the nuns were a calming influence.
However, Janice spent a sleepless night before the treatment. She became alarmed to hear the mother of four children adjacent to her, weeping in terror at the prospect of receiving electroshock. Next morning, she tried to tell the psychiatrist that she had changed her mind about having the treatment. The doctor looked at the nun in attendance who placed a reassuring hand on Janice’s arm and said: “There, there, child, doctor is here to help you. The treatment is going to make you feel much better.”
“I was fearful of what was about to happen,” she said, reflecting on the events. “Something was terribly wrong. But I looked at the nun’s kind face and thought, ‘A nun wouldn’t lie,’ and nodded my head in agreement.”
She woke several hours later to find two strangers by her bed. Pain exploded through her head. Between pain-wracked sobs, she managed to ask the strangers, “Who are you?”
“We’re your parents, Janice,” they answered.
“I cannot describe the stunned feeling of betrayal I experienced at that instant — that I had been subjected to such violence by the psychiatrist and the nuns, that I had forgotten who my own parents were. For years afterwards, I felt a wave of hatred every time I saw a nun. Religion was anathema to me.
“After 10 sessions of this vicious abuse, I couldn’t even remember my school friends’ names, could no longer read or write properly. I returned home and vegetated in front of the TV set each day, wondering why life had become so bad.
“Finally I realised the answer: psychiatry. And in recognising this, I saw that the nuns were as much a victim as I had been; that they had also been lied to and deceived. It took five years before my faith in religion returned, five years for the hatred to disappear.”
Eventually, Janice sought proper medical treatment; tests showed that she had an underactive thyroid. Once medically treated, the “depression” disappeared. Psychiatry had physically damaged her, nearly destroyed her religious beliefs and wasted years of her life. This case had a happy ending, despite the stolen years and abuse. There are hundreds of thousands that do not. And in spite of the incompetence and brutality it illustrates, it is only the tip of the iceberg.
|From experiments with salivating dogs, Ivan Pavlov (top) concluded man has no soul. Freud (bottom) called religion the “enemy.”|
Since the Second World War, a massive public relations campaign by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH), psychiatric and psychological associations, and affiliated groups around the world has elevated “mental health practitioners” to the status of a modern-day priesthood.
Part of their ceaseless propaganda has been the propagation of an essential illusion — their scientific credentials. The tragic success of this deceit is reflected in the readiness with which church hierarchies welcomed mental health ideology into the religious mainstream.
What constitutes a true science? Ed Bulkley, in Why Christians Can’t Trust Psychology, emphasises the need to first of all define science. Science is the systematically arranged knowledge of the material world which has been gathered in a four-step process: 1) observation of phenomena; 2) collection of data; 3) creation of a hypothesis or theory by inductive reasoning; and 4) testing of the hypothesis by repeated observation and controlled experiments. And it should be workable and invariably right for the body of knowledge in which it lies.
Do psychiatry and psychology pass the test? The answer is categorically “no.”
Thomas Szasz, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry of State University of New York at Syracuse, says that psychotherapy “... is not merely a religion that pretends to be a science, it is actually a fake religion that seeks to destroy true religion.” In his book, The Myth of Psychotherapy, Szasz said that his primary purpose for writing the book was “... to show how, with the decline of religion and the growth of science in the eighteenth century, the cure of (sinful) souls, which had been an integral part of the Christian religions, was recast as the cure of (sick) minds, and became an integral part of medical science.”
Eighty scholars who assessed facts, theories and methods of psychology in a 1963 study called “Psychology: A Study of Science,” concluded that it was delusional to think of psychology as a science: “The hope of a psychological science became indistinguishable from the fact of psychological science. The entire subsequent history of psychology can be seen as a ritualistic endeavour to emulate the forms of science in order to sustain the delusion that it already is a science.” Coordinator of the study, Sigmund Koch added: “Throughout psychology’s history as ’science,’ the hard knowledge it has deposited has been uniformly negative.”
Psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey is said to have bluntly stated that “The techniques used by Western psychiatrists are, with few exceptions, on exactly the same scientific plane as the techniques used by witch doctors.”
Psychologist Roger Mills, in his 1980 article, “Psychology Goes Insane, Botches Role as Science,” says: “The field of psychology today is literally a mess. There are as many techniques, methods and theories around as there are researchers and therapists.... With over 250 separate systems of psychotherapy, each claiming superiority over the rest, it is hard to view such diverse opinions as scientific or even factual.”