July 28, 2016

Human Freedom versus Psychiatric Coercion and Involuntary Treatment

In 2016, Peter C. Gøtzsche, MD wrote a marvelous blog “Abolishing Forced Treatment in Psychiatry is an Ethical Imperative” on

Dr. Gøtzsche’s words inspired me to write a blog with my latest thoughts and observations on psychiatric coercion and to develop this page starting with my earliest publications all the way back to 1964 and 1965. The issues are timeless. Here are my latest thoughts, also on, titled “Forced ‘Treatment’ Is Torture.”

From very early in my career, I have been opposed to the coercive practices so rampant in psychiatry, which include misinformation, authoritarianism, and involuntary treatment. I began criticizing involuntary treatment in my earliest publications as well as in my books. On this page, I make available my earliest papers on the subject. I also write about psychiatric coercion in my book Toxic Psychiatry and then more systematically when I describe the three dynamics of love, voluntary exchange, and coercion in my book Beyond Conflict.

1964. A study of coercion in the AMA Archives of General Psychiatry on the supposedly open psychiatric ward where I was taking my six-month internship at the State University of New York’s acute treatment center in Syracuse.

1965. A book review in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease in which I am more eloquent than usual in criticizing coercion masquerading as psychiatric benevolence.

1971. An academic analysis of ethics in psychotherapy in the journal, Psychiatry.

1975. My hopes for a voluntary psychiatry described in Reason Magazine, a libertarian journal.

1979. The concept of self-ownership as the heart of freedom and therapy in a humanistic journal.

1988-1989. “The Three Dynamics of Human Progress: A Unified Theory Applicable to Individuals, Institutions and Society,” published in Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry, 21:(1-3)97-123, 1988-89.

1993. My historical analysis of the role of psychiatry in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, with one of my most systematic analyses of the inherently coercive nature of psychiatry.

1999. An editorial against involuntary treatment in the journal that I founded.

1999. My report on Principles for the Elimination of Restraint written at the request of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO).

2016. My latest thoughts and observations on psychiatric coercion, featured on