Per Bylund on Entrepreneurship, Austrian Economics, Cryptocurrency, and Intellectual Property

I had the opportunity to talk with professor, Per Bylund, about entrepreneurship, Austrian economics, cryptocurrency, and intellectual property on the podcast. Listen below.

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Remembrances of Thomas Szasz with Anthony Stadlen

I had the great opportunity to interview one of Thomas Szasz’s close friends, Anthony Stadlen. Anthony is a psychotherapist working in London. It was a great honor and privilege to talk with Anthony. He was a close friend of Szasz. He has an incredible depth of knowledge and understanding of Szasz’s ideas. Listen below.

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Joker the Movie; A Szaszian Interpretation

By Scott McLain

(Warning: spoilers )

Despite its very positive reception from audiences and critics – including a deafening 8-minute ovation at its premiere at the Venice Film Festival – the film Joker, directed by Todd Phillips, has not been without its detractors. Several commentators and critics, predominantly from the English-speaking world, have called the film dangerous, irresponsible or insensitive towards people with mental illness. Such disapprovals reveal the ubiquity and centrality of the concept of mental illness itself in our society and, therefore, the corollary that mental illness should be categorized and treated like any other illness. No one seems to question this current dogma or even raise the possibility that what we call “mental illness” is rather a socio-political, legal, economic and spiritual phenomenon that is outside the field of medicine.

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An Interview with Jeffrey Schaler, author of Addiction Is A Choice

Originally published at

IN 2000, psychologist Jeffrey A. Schaler published a book that shook the foundation of the powerful addiction industry. His thesis was simple: people consume drugs and alcohol because they want to, not because they have a disease. The addiction industry, with annual revenues in the tens of billions of dollars, fought back ferociously against Schaler. Some former heavy drug users and drinkers also attacked Schaler for challenging the belief that their drug use was a biological compulsion, not an act of free will. Many in medicine and criminal justice — institutions wedded to the addiction theory, came not to praise Schaler but to bury him. But 20 years after its publication, Addiction is a Choice is still in print and stimulating discussion. In a review, Steven Slate, a researcher fellow with the Baldwin Research Institute, calls the book “a brilliant work, and…a serious must-read for anyone seeking the truth about this behavior we call addiction.” Dr. Schaler consented to an interview by Nicolas S. Martin on the 20th anniversary of the publication of his classic book.

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Advice to Therapists from Thomas Szasz

From the Epilogue to, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis: The Theory and Practice of Autonomous Psychotherapy.

Learning to Practice Psychoanalysis

I have argued that the analytic relationship is like a game, with analyst and analysand its players. This view of the analytic procedure has implications, not only for its theory and practice but also for teaching it and learning it.

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Electroshock (ECT): True Story of Kenny

Psych Survivor YYC

Here’s a link to a testimonial of someone that underwent electroshock treatment.  He is a friend of a friend of mine.  At 21, he had 30 rounds of shock. (He’s 28 in this video.)  If you are uncomfortable clicking links, google “Kenny electroshock video”.  Although the doctor kept insisting that the shock would help, he says he would never wish it on his worse enemy.


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The Method of Autonomous Psychotherapy

From The Ethics of Psychoanalysis by Thomas Szasz:

Psychoanalysis is not a medical treatment, but an education. It is not like getting cure of a disease, but rather like getting to know another person well or learning a foreign language or a new game. How long does each of these take? It is with this kind of human experience that analysis must be compared. Thus, it can be understood why the analytic enterprise , by its very nature, precludes speed. This does not mean, however, that, to be useful, every analysis must last three, four, or more years. There is another fundamental misunderstanding in the expectation that, with greater knowledge and skill, analysts ought to be able to increase the speed of analyses. It lies in not realizing that the duration of a particular analysis depends, neither on the nature of the patient “mental illness” nor on the efficiency or inefficiency of the “treatment” used (though this plays a part), but rather on the patient’s needs and wishes to continue to receive “analytic education.”

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Discovering Thomas Szasz with Scott McLain

I had a chance to ask a fan of Thomas Szasz, Scott McLain a few questions about Szasz. Scott is author of a recent review of the movie, Joker, which he writes about from a Szaszian perspective. You can listen to an interview with Scott on the podcast Stories We Live By.

How did you discover Thomas Szasz’s ideas?

I first heard about Thomas Szasz and his ideas through Bryan Caplan on his blog, EconLog.

What did you think when you first learned about Szasz’s ideas on mental illness?

Shock and disbelief. In our culture experts, scientists, spiritual leaders, celebrities and laymen have all taken for granted that phenomena like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and the like are “diseases just like physical diseases”. The phrase “the myth of mental illness” sounded to me like “the myth of the round earth”.

How long did it take for you to understand what Szasz was saying?

Once I started reading Szasz’s books and listening to lectures and debates I gradually came to a greater understanding of his views. I then spent a year reading dozens of his books and articles as well as listening to every lecture he gave and debate he had with opponents and it was really in this period when I came to fully agree with him. Disease is an abnormality or malfunction of the human body. The mind is not an organ of the body and as such cannot be diseased except in a metaphorical sense. It’s not really that difficult to grasp.

What do you see as Szasz’s main idea?

Human suffering of the inner/emotional/existential/spiritual/religious kind as well as deeply disturbing behaviors are very real phenomena, but they are not properly located in the domain of medicine, and in medicalizing human problems in living we sacrifice not only our political freedoms but also our personal dignity

What do you find most compelling about Szasz’s ideas?

The idea that clear thinking requires courage, not intelligence. So intellectually easy to understand, yet so emotionally difficult in a society predicated on ignoring the elephant in the room.

Do Szasz’s ideas help you in everyday life? 

Absolutely. Szasz emphasized personal responsibility, the equal dignity and worth of all persons, and their ability and duty to courageously cope with their problems in living. These simple yet powerful ideas have provided a unique and necessary existential succor in a society constantly trying to find newer and more sophisticated ways to convince each other that they are victims and that their plight is due to forces completely outside their control.

What resources would you recommend to someone trying to understand Szasz? Books, Podcasts, or video?

Of his books, the one that best explains his position is Insanity: the Idea and its Consequences but for those with less time I would recommend the below interview with his longtime colleague Jeffrey Schaler, followed by the book The Medicalization of Everyday Life which is a compendium of some of Szasz’s greatest essays and articles intended for popular audiences (affiliate links).