Psychiatric Diagnosis: The First Cause of Everything Bad in the Mental Health System


Thursday, February 28, 2019, 12:00pm to 2:00pm


Wexner Room 102, 79 JFK Street Cambridge, MA, 02138


Psychiatric diagnosis is completely unregulated and is widely — and unjustifiably — believed to be solidly grounded in science, to help reduce human suffering, and to expose psychiatrically labeled people to no harm. Dr. Paula J. Caplan resigned from two committees involved in revising the diagnostic manual when she learned that none of the above was true. Over the decades, she became aware of thousands of stories of people whose lives were destroyed, including through loss of a vast array of their human rights, by events that began with and were "justified" by their being diagnosed. Her activism to prevent such harm takes a variety of forms, ranging from advising labeled individuals and their therapists about what they can do to advocating for massive systemic changes.


Dr. Paula J. Caplan: 

Paula J. Caplan, Ph.D., is a clinical and research psychologist, currently an Associate at the DuBois Institute of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard, and she is a former Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Women and Public Policy Program. She served for two years on the Task Force that was revising the manual of psychiatric diagnosis before she resigned on moral, ethical, and professional grounds when she learned the truth about the dangerous myths related to the diagnoses and found that those in charge resisted becoming open about the truth. She wrote an exposé of all this called They Say You're Crazy: How the World's Most Powerful Psychiatrists Decide Who's Normal, followed by her edited book, Bias in Psychiatric Diagnosis. Her stage play, CALL ME CRAZY, won one of the top prizes in the Arlene and William National Playwriting Contest for Women and had a rave-reviewed Off-Off-Broadway production. She is the author of 10 other books and an award winning documentary filmmaker. A playwright, filmmaker, and actor, she will combine lecture with performance of excerpts from her award winning play, CALL ME CRAZY, followed by discussion with those who attend.