Louis Wynne, Ph.D.
“There are no crazy people, but there are crazy-making environments; there are no mental illnesses, but there are mad-making histories.”
Most critics of the American mental health industry (I prefer to call it the mental illness industry) emphasize the dominance of the pharmaceutical industry and the dangers of drugging people to help them deal with what are really problems in living that have become medicalized. I take a different approach.
I have been a psychologist for almost forty years: a state hospital director, a mental health bureaucrat, a surveyor for a large accreditation agency, a co-editor of a professional journal, and I have spent the last 20 years in independent practice. I am proud to add that I am the 2010 recipient of the Thomas S. Szasz Award given by the Center for Independent Thought, Philadelphia, PA, for outstanding contributions to civil liberties.
This range of experiences in the mental illness industry has convinced me that there are no crazy people, but there are crazy-making environments; that there are no mental illnesses, but there are mad-making histories.
An environment or a history is crazy-making when (a) it comprises ongoing trauma, no matter how subtle and dimly perceived, and (b) it involves a family that has values and secret rules that demand obedience regarding how traumas must be dealt with. That is, instead of blaming psychiatry for the prevalence of “mental illness” in our society, we should recognize that so-called mental illness begins with families, and that it is families that bring one or more of their members to the attention of psychiatrists in order to get help bringing their “black sheep” back into line.
Viewers of this website are encouraged to read Healing the Hurting Soul: A Survival Manual for the Black Sheep in Every Family. This book is available through Amazon. Mental illness professionals should also read my articles and book reviews in the journal, Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry.
Also of interest is my novel, Deliver Us From Evil, written before September 11, 2001. This is a novel incorporating some of my views on so-called mental illness within the framework of a terrorist plot against the United States.