RadPsyNews #13

July 1996

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This was the final newsletter before we switched completely to the Web.

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Issue #13 Contents
  1. Membership, Money & Meetings (Dennis Fox)
  2. Letters (Jeri Crum-Vandlandingham)
  3. APA Presentation Schedule
  4. Five Neglected Issues (Al Siebert)
  5. Radicalizing Undergraduate Education (Cameron Norman)
  6. Conferences & Calls for Papers

Membership, Money, and Meetings

Dennis Fox
RadPsyNet Co-Coordinator

Just a quick update as we get ready for the Toronto meeting:

As always, we have lots of ideas for projects, but need members with time to work on them. Send agenda items to Isaac Prilleltensky, especially if you can't make it to Toronto.


Meeting details

August 9, 5:00-6:50, Kenora Room, Sheraton Center

Note: See meeting summary


Member Letters

To: RadPsyNet

A clinical psychiatric (rad) social worker seeks a place where she can be part of the solution, not part of the problem for people she is supposed to help.

Rather than seeing clients as "sick," will believe in them and their ability to trust themselves. Instead of offering brief, simplistic solutions, will listen, let people make their own mistakes and help them find their own answers.

Live in Baltimore, but will travel. Please contact with any leads.

Jeri Crum-Vandlandingham

410/771-4053 (fax)

APA Presentations

1996 APA convention schedule of presentations by RadPsyNet members.

Omitted here--didn't scan well.


Five Neglected Issues the Public Deserves to Know about Psychiatry

Agile Siebert

Is anyone bothered by how the media's coverage during "Mental Health Awareness Month" reads like a publicity release from the marketing department of the American Psychiatric Association? How about RadPsyNet contacting the media several months before May, 1997 to request that their coverage is less one-sided? Let's ask magazines, newspapers, radio, and television broadcasters to include a critical look at American psychiatry.

The following is a brief excerpt from an e-mail I sent to the editor of Newsweek and NPR at the end ofMay. I will volunteer to coordinate and edit the development of a sharper, better version:

Five neglected issues the public deserves to know about psychiatry:

Issue #1 - Why has no American psychiatrist ever had to pay damages for harm resulting from a person being mistakenly diagnosed as mentally ill?

Issue #2 - The 97th Congress established the same criteria for effectiveness, safety, and appropriateness that the FDA uses for drugs and medicines be used for psychotherapy. Why does the media remain silent about the fact that few psychotherapies meet FDA standards for effectiveness, safety and appropriateness?

Issue #3 - Why does the media remain silent about the way the major drug companies have shaped the way American psychiatrists diagnose and treat "mental illnesses."

Issue #4 - Why doesn't the media ever ask for proof that schizophrenia is a disease or an illness?

Issue #5 - Why did your coverage not report that many people fully recover from their so-called "mental illnesses" and then go on to become even more mentally healthy than they were before? Why are mental patients not told that they could be transformed into better people by their experiences?

A more thorough version of the five neglected issues can be found on my website "Successful Schizophrenia".

People can contact me in many ways to discuss these issues:

A. Siebert
P.O. Box 505,
Portland, OR 97207
Email: asiebert@aol.com
Web: http://www.thrivenet.com

Radicalizing Undergraduate Education:
Building a Future for Psychology

Cameron Norman

Much of the work done to radicalize psychology has looked at changing the current thinking in the psychology establishment. While this is indeed a worthy endeavor, oftentimes we work to change those in the establishment at the expense of influencing the future of the discipline. The question then comes to mind: Can we work to change the status quo and, at the same time, create a new psychology establishment. One way that I see us doing that is by bringing radical psychology into the undergraduate classroom. By doing so, we allow many of the psychologists ofthe future an opportunity to see a side of psychology that is rarely presented at the undergraduate level while also helping plant the seeds for a radicalized future.

Radicalizing education is nothing new in psychology, many community psychology programs already promote and foster radical thinking in their curriculum. However, by leaving radical thinking up to graduate students alone, we are only influencing a very small portion of those who choose to major (or take classes) in psychology. Typically, only one or two out of every twenty students who apply to graduate school get accepted. Can we really hope to influence psychology with this small number of people exposed to radical perspectives? Psychology currently ranks among the most popular majors in North American universities. By not including the radical element in psychology at the undergraduate level, we are missing the majority of those who are interested in psychology. In fact, by educating those who may not become service providers, we may be able to educate those who may one day receive psychological services. Personally, educating health care recipients is equally important as educating providers.

What then should undergraduates be exposed to?

For starters, psychological theories are often taught from a Euro-centric, Western perspective. Offering students an opportunity to recognize that there are different methods and theories that are used and developed by other cultures allows students to recognize that one perspective is not, necessarily, the right one. By encouraging students to explore ather perspectives in psychology, we may help build a deeper understanding and appreciation of other cultures, races and ideological perspectives. It allows very valid areas of psychology, like feminist psychology and crosscultural psychology a chance to be explored.

Another radical perspective frequently missing from undergraduate education is politics and its influence over psychology. Most undergraduates are unaware of the tremendous impact that politics plays on every aspect ofthe discipline. It seems hard to imagine a student viewing the DSM and clinical diagnosis in the same manner if they knew the politics that surrounded the inclusion and/or omission of many of the items that it contains.

Finally, undergraduates are rarely given ample opportunity to learn alternative, radical methods of research. Typically, quantitative methods are the only exposure to research students receive. Feminist, qualitative and theoretical methods are commonly excluded from undergraduate education. Many fi~llow ~ students in my recent graduating class bad little to no idea about qualitative research and frequently though that feminist methodology was only used by women who identified themse~ves as f~minist!

I was fortunate enough to have been taught by some faculty who have the courage to bring radical perspectives into the classroom. I still have learned quantitative research methods, European-influenced theories on personality and other perspectives that fit the current status quo, however, by being exposed to the radical or "other" side of psychology, I was free to make a choice about what psychology was all about.

I am a white male of European descent; someone who had a lot to gain by upholding the status quo, but through my exposure to radical thinking, I have chosen to work to change the status quo instead of propagating it. Who knows if I would have had this view had I not had the opportunities I did. By not including radical perspectives in undergraduate curriculum, not only does the students' quality of education suffer, but perhaps psychology's future may suffer as well.

Conferences and Calls for Papers

Psychology Politics Resistance Networks Festival
London - December 14, 1996

A day of discussions, speakers, stalls and workshops to bring together groups and individuals who are prepared to oppose the abusive uses ofpsychology.


PPR, Psychology
Bolton Institute
Deane Road
Bolton BL3 5AB,
United Kingdom

2nd Annual South African Qualitative Methods Conference

"The Body Politic"

Johannesburg, South Africa - September 3 and 4, 1996

"The Body Politic" is intended to appeal to those with an interest in bodies - both flesh and blood bodies and bodies of knowledge and power. Contributions not directly related to the theme but dealing with or making use of qualitative methods (in its broadest definition) are also welcome.


Qualitative Methods Conference
Department ofPsychology
University of South Africa
P.O. Box 392
South Africa

Editor: Jackie Klosek

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