The book, Plato, Not Prozac!: Applying Eternal Wisdom to Everyday Problems, by Lou Marinoff, is one part sales pitch, and one part advice about how to live a life in accordance with the author’s personal values. Marinoff begins the book by arguing that problems in living are better solved by thinking philosophically rather than thinking medically. Rather than numbing ourselves with medication, or diagnosing oneself as mentally ill, Marinoff says we would be better off engaging in philosophical dialogue with another person.
One would think that a book entitled, Practicing Thomas Szasz: Continuing the Work of the Philosopher of Liberty, would attempt to include ways in which the psychiatrist-philosopher Thomas Szasz influenced the author John Breeding’s work as a psychotherapist. But the book has little to do with that.
In this post, I introduce the major ideas of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), and its founder Albert Ellis. I also critique REBT from an existentialist perspective. REBT has some commonality with existentialist thought, such as the idea that we are responsible for our emotions and how we think about what happens to us is largely determined by our underlying philosophy of life.
The philosopher Seneca the Younger (4 BC-AD 65), or simply know as Seneca, was one of the wisest and wittiest philosophers of all time. He looks at the shortness of life and encourages us to live with vitality. He prompts us to examine our soul. He invites us to laugh at ourselves rather than cry. Listen or read these selected quotes to improve your life. Gain wisdom from a man who has helped many people live better throughout the ages. These 99 quotes have been selected from Seneca’s wisest sayings as meditations to live your life by.
In this video, Thomas Szasz presents his views about why libertarians should care about psychiatric practices. He shows why psychiatric practices are a direct assault against the libertarian principle of non-aggression. Szasz argues that you have a civil right to believe crazy things. Towards the end of the video, he takes questions from the audience which helps clarify and understand his views.
Originally published at cato.org
I recently came across a fantastic interview with Thomas Szasz from 2009. Szasz was interviewed by Natasha Mitchell, as part of a podcast called All In The Mind. It is a fantastic interview. First, the audio quality is amazing. Second, Mitchell is a great interviewer. She asks question and gives Szasz the space to answer them.
It is amazing to listen to Thomas Szasz, and to hear how sharp his mind was, even at 89 years old. This is one of the better interviews conducted with Szasz. Mitchell is skeptical of Szasz, but allows him to explain his views. The interview is wide ranging and touches on Szasz’s history, psychotherapy, libertarian principles, involuntary confinement and Szasz’s philosophy on freedom.
Existential listening is a private, confidential conversation where you can share life’s challenges with a willing listener. I offer human connection and a listening ear. My goal is to listen, connect, understand, ask questions, and offer a space where you can ponder your own approach to life’s challenges. I believe that connecting with another human in private conversation is sacred.
Feeling Good Together: The Secret to Making Troubled Relationships Work, is a book about relationships by psychiatrist David Burns. As the subtitle implies, Burns claims to have the secret to making troubled relationships work.
Does a person have a right to take drugs, grow plants, and self-medicate in the privacy of their own home? In the book, Our Right to Drugs: The Case for a Free Market, Thomas Szasz points out obvious: people have taken drugs since time immemorial, they take drugs to make themselves feel better, induce unusual experiences, and to cure themselves of ailments. For the libertarian, this is common sense, for everyone else, this is heresy.
Thomas Szasz’s book of witty aphorisms, The Untamed Tongue: A Dissenting Dictionary, is both insightful and hilarious. If you are just starting out with Szasz, and want to understand his views, I suggest one of his books of aphorisms, such as The Untamed Tongue as a place to start.
Thomas Szasz was a psychiatrist who opposed the practice of coercive psychiatry, called mental illness a myth, psychotherapy a myth, and even said the mind was a myth. Given this, how did Szasz go about practicing so-called psychotherapy for the majority of his life?
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What does a psychiatrist-philosopher who does not believe in mental illness have to say about the mind? Quite a lot, as you might expect. In his book, The Meaning of Mind: Language, Morality and Neuroscience, Thomas Szasz explains his concept of the mind.
In a debate, recorded in 1977, Thomas Szasz and Albert Ellis argue over the concept of mental illness. Szasz argues forcefully and humorously for his position that mental illness is a sort of metaphor for problems in life. Albert Ellis maintains that mental illness is a useful concept that should not be dismissed.