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Mad in America: Rethinking Mental Health

The Mad in America podcast, hosted by James Moore, examines mental health with a critical eye by speaking with psychologists, psychiatrists and people with lived experience.

When you hear such conversations, you realise that much of what is believed to be settled in mental health is actually up for debate. Is mental health a matter of faulty biology or is there more to it? Are the treatments used in psychiatry helpful or harmful in the long term? Are psychiatric diagnoses reliable? With the help of our guests, we examine these questions and so much more. 

This podcast is part of Mad in America’s mission to serve as a catalyst for rethinking psychiatric care and mental health. We believe that the current drug-based paradigm of care has failed our society and that scientific research, as well as the lived experience of those who have been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, calls for profound change. 

On the podcast over the coming weeks, we will have interviews with experts and those with lived experience of the psychiatric system. Thank you for joining us as we discuss the many issues around rethinking mental health around the world.

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Mar 11, 2020

Ian Parker is one of the most important contemporary critics of the discipline of psychology. A prolific writer, with over 25 books to his name, he has a formidable reputation in the fields of critical psychology, Marxist psychology, and psychoanalytic theory. He is a fellow of the British psychological society, Emeritus Professor at the University of Leicester, and the managing editor of the Annual Review of Critical Psychology. Parker is also a practicing psychoanalyst analyst and a member of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research and the London Society of the New Lacanian School.

His career reflects the principles he talks about – the importance of challenging powerful institutions and the need for collectively mobilizing against discrimination and exploitation. As the "Psy-disciplines" face increased scrutiny for involvement in past abuses, continued collusion with powerful and unjust institutions, and deep criticisms over current psychological research and practice, Parker's work has particular relevance.

His criticisms of psychology and psychiatry started from his university days as a student. He observed that while other social sciences were critical of their received knowledge and open to contributions from the civil rights and women's movements, psychology continued to reinforce old power relations and pathologized these same social movements. Since then, Parker has become one of the most well-known critics of mainstream psychology, and his work repeatedly questions the role of ideology and power in the field. These contributions are evident throughout his writing, including his four-volume 'major work' Critical Psychology (2011) and a Handbook of Critical Psychology (2015). He is currently the editor of the 'Concepts for Critical Psychology' series for Routledge.