My concern remains that the lived realities of the psychiatric patients about whom Szasz was writing seemed far less relevant to him than those more abstract notions of freedom and responsibility which it was his life’s work to defend.
As the empire of biological psychiatry continues to crumble, we can be sure that Szaszian questions around agency, autonomy and responsibility in psychiatry will come increasingly to the forefront of our thinking, but perhaps, one hopes, in a more sensitive and nuanced way.
A good example of this is the work of the philosopher and therapist, Hanna Pickard (see, for example, Pearce & Pickard, 2010). Psychiatry, for all its endless controversies, seems an inappropriate field for a polemicist, even one as skilful as Szasz….
This is preview of an article from Asylum Issue 20.1.