Basic RC Theory Is “Mental Health” Liberation Theory

The following are excerpts from a letter that Janet Foner, the International Liberation Reference Person for “Mental Health” Liberation, sent to her constituency in October 2012:

In recent years I have thought more about how basic RC theory is “mental health” liberation theory.

One way basic RC theory contradicts “mental health” oppression is with the assumption that all humans are intelligent by nature. A corollary to that is that one has to have a mind with which to be intelligent. Therefore, one cannot lose one’s mind. Part of why “mental health” oppression feels so scary is that it threatens the very core of who we are as humans. 

Another assumption we hold dear in RC is that discharge and re-evaluation allow us to reclaim our intelligence more and more fully—that is, reclaim better and better functioning of our minds. A corollary to that is that we are in charge of our minds and can continue to use them better and better. “Mental health” oppression says that “mental health” system survivors, especially ex-psychiatric inmates, are unable to use their minds—or worse, have no minds. This is clearly out of sync* with RC theory and experience. In fact, we “mental health” system survivors in RC are living contradictions to the false ideas of “mental health” oppression. Think about the implications of taking that seriously. What a powerful position we are in!

As economic conditions worsen in the world around us, many people are struggling to stay alive. The confused theories of the “mental health” system are spread more widely as more and more people desperately seek help by taking psychiatric drugs. Some people, especially young people, are forced to take these drugs. Although we may feel tempted to sink into restimulation, it is also possible to see the situation as hopeful in that the widespread use of psychiatric drugs has made many more people aware of “mental health” oppression; it is no longer as hidden as it once was. 

In 1950 Harvey Jackins began understanding the discharge process from trying to help an acquaintance stay out of the “mental hospital.” As he continued experimenting and developing RC theory, he counseled many “mental patients.” He wanted to find out if they were different from other people. Of course, he found that they discharged, re-evaluated, and recovered their intelligence just like everyone else. (See Rough Notes from Buck Creek I for Harvey’s description of this.) Over the last thirty-three years of “mental health” liberation work in RC, we have gained a lot of knowledge and experience and developed a strong core of leaders.

Given the widespread effects of “mental health” oppression and how most people equate discharge with distress, and profuse discharge with “mental illness,” it makes sense for us RCers to continue to develop slack for this subject. By discharging on our feelings and experiences related to “mental health” oppression, we can become relaxed enough about people’s “mental health” oppression distresses to be able to listen well to them. This will make it easier to teach people RC. It will also lessen our feelings that RC is “weird,” embarrassing, “on the fringe” of society, and so on.

We can develop “mental health” liberation “muscle” by leading the RCers around us on “mental health” liberation issues that affect everyone. These include the proliferation of psychiatric drugs, the fear of discharging deeply, and the fear of “going crazy.” Once we have done more of that, we will be even more ready to do significant wide-world-change work.

It’s fun leading “mental health” liberation. We are creating a new society. We are making things happen that we want to have happen.

New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, USA

Last modified: 2014-10-01 16:51:56+00