Professor Thomas Szasz on Abolishing Coercive Psychiatry

  • “Mental patients do not need mental hospitals; they need asylums-places of refuge where they would be protected from coercion by persecutors posing as protectors.”
  • “Deprived of the professional support of medicine and the social justification of treatment, behavior therapists would have to sell their services in the open market; there they could not coerce involuntary clients to do things they did not want to do, and they could not con the public and the state into supporting them at the taxpayer’s expense.”
  • “When people do not know ‘what else’ to do with, say, a lethargic, withdrawn adolescent, a petty criminal, an exhibitionist, or a difficult grandparent—our society tells them, in effect, to put the ‘offender’ in a mental hospital. To overcome this, we shall have to create an increasing number of humane and rational alternatives to involuntary mental hospitalization. Old-age homes, workshops, temporary homes for indigent persons whose family ties have been disintegrated, progressive prison communities— these and many other facilities will be needed to assume the tasks now entrusted to mental hospitals.”
  • “If involuntary psychiatry had been abolished, people “would have been free to leave, and they would have been free to stay. They could have simply got room and board. That option was never given to anyone. I wouldn’t give that to anyone except those who have already been victimized. They should be given every chance to get out insofar as they want to get out.”

Back: Szasz on Mental Health Parity & Insurance

Back to Main: CCHR Co-founder Dr. Thomas Szasz Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus