Jana Vanecek

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08.03.2023 | Research Blog Genoa | ChatGPT: What was Franco Basaglias attitude torwards the term “anti-psychiatry”? +Reading Chapter 2:„Anti-psychiatry, Critical Psychiatry,Movements and Working Utopias“ | The Man Who Closed the Asylums | John Foot

Franco Basaglia, an Italian psychiatrist and a leading figure in the movement to reform psychiatry in the 1960s and 1970s, is often associated with the term "anti-psychiatry." However, Basaglia himself did not embrace this label or see himself as an anti-psychiatrist.

In fact, Basaglia rejected the term "anti-psychiatry" 1 because he believed it was too negative and did not accurately reflect the goals of the movement. Instead, he preferred the term "critical psychiatry," which he felt was more constructive and forward-looking.

Basaglia's approach to psychiatry was based on the idea that mental illness is not a fixed or objective category, but rather a social construct that varies depending on cultural and historical contexts. He believed that psychiatry had become too focused on medicalizing and pathologizing mental distress, and that this approach was causing harm to patients.

Instead, Basaglia advocated for a more holistic and humanistic approach to mental health care, which emphasized the importance of community-based care and the active involvement of patients in their own treatment. He also believed that psychiatric institutions should be abolished, as he saw them as symbols of oppression and dehumanization.

Overall, while Basaglia may have been associated with the anti-psychiatry movement, he did not see himself as an anti-psychiatrist and instead advocated for a more critical and transformative approach to mental health care.

  1. „I would like to say that this child, anti-psychiatry, which is ten years old, does not exist – or rather exists only in the heads of people because this word has had great success from the ideological more than the practical point of view. We have never been anti-psychiatrists – we were simply employees … we worked in the real world within psychiatric institutions in order to give people who were suffering an alternative to the violence and repression of the asylum.“ —> „Basaglia e l’antipsichiatria, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFYX144BrV8.