The well-known psychotherapist and vocal critic of psychiatry Thomas Szasz has died.
Both the New York Times and the Boston Globe have printed and posted obituaries describing his career and life. Szasz’s own website also features a more personal obituary about the man.
His categorical rejection of coercion and psychopathologization in mental healthcare and his collaboration with the Church of Scientology made him one of the most divisive figures in the history of 20th century psychiatry. It is often forgotten, however, that Szasz was trained in psychoanalysis and practiced psychotherapy.
YouTube showcases numerous videos of Szasz’s lectures and interviews. But one particularly interesting video comes from a panel discussion held at the first “Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference” in 1985. There, Szasz speaks on the topic “Role of Therapist, Role of Client,” along with colleagues Rollo May, Carl Rogers, and Virginia Satir. The video, which is ideal for using in the classroom, offers a rare opportunity to see Szasz situate himself vis a vis some of the most influential psychotherapists of his time.
3 thoughts on “Therapist and Critic of Psychiatry Thomas Szasz (1920-2012)”
“Collaboration with scientology” … sums it up so well !
Scientology happens to share the belief of many secular people who are in opposition to forced psychiatry. It doesn’t sum anything up.
Szasz fought for freedom, whereas psychiatry doesn’t care about liberty at all.
I am saddened by this loss. Whether one thought his analysis was correct or not, Thomas Szasz did raise questions that were and are important — and ones few people dared to ask. I will miss his voice and hope others will be as willing to question what we do and how we do it.