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Session 1: Saturday June 29th, 10:00am - 12:00pm
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There has been a strong leftist thread in psychiatry driven by the conviction that psychiatry can be an emancipating endeavor. This perspective rests on the foundational point that psychiatry’s principal object, the mind (psychological sphere), is inherently biological and social. Viewed from this perspective, psychiatry has a necessary role in understanding how to further liberation at the individual and social levels. This session will begin by providing a survey of various trends in Left Psychiatry including its intermingling with psychoanalysis, behaviorism, humanism, structuralism, post–structuralism, anti-psychiatry, and radical psychiatry. Some of the limitations of these approaches with respect to psychology of individuals in general as well as mental illness will be discussed, e.g., idealism, positivism, the disembodiment of the individual, and social reductionism. Next, we will discuss emerging models including “critical psychiatry,” “structural competency,” and consumer groups such as Mind Freedom or the Hearing Voices Network. We will discuss the tensions between these approaches and the enormous gaps in psychiatric services and the validity of demands for “evidence-based” practices.


Xinlin Linda Chen is a resident in psychiatry at NYU Medical Center.

Dr. Peter Stastny is a New York based psychiatrist, documentary film-maker and a founder of the International Network toward Alternatives and Recovery.

Dr Cohen is Distinguished Service Professor at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY and Director of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry. He is the co-convener of the Radical Caucus of Members of the American Psychiatric Association.

Elan Cohen is a clinical psychology doctoral student at Adelphi University and former Peer Specialist with the NYC Parachute Program. His background in environmental activism, intersectional anarchism, as well as his own “lived experience” of madness inform his commitment to social...

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Dr Lavy is a community psychiatrist in NYC and a member of the Critical Psychiatry Network, North America. She is the co-convener of the Radical Caucus of Members of the American Psychiatric Association.