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Thomas Szasz

Mental Illness is Still a Myth

Journal of Biblical Counseling 14:1

In this article, Thomas Szasz presents his argument that psychiatry’s labels are metaphorical labels, not actual diseases. Szasz states, “If mental illnesses are diseases of the central nervous system, then they are diseases of the brain, not the mind; if they are the names of (mis)behaviors, then they are not diseases.” He aims for “linguistic clarification,” and is critical of the psychiatric establishment for using confused and confusing categories that “literalize the metaphor of mental illnesses… and accept fictitious mental diseases as facts.” Szasz concludes that such medicalizing of problems destroys “respect for persons as moral agents” and makes doctors agents of coercion.

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