March 1964

Critique of Views of Thomas Szasz on Legal Psychiatry

Author Affiliations

Chief Medical Officer of the Supreme Bench of Baltimore.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;10(3):238-245. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720210020004

Dr. Thomas Szasz's views on legal psychiatry merit serious consideration because of his being a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, a member of the American Psychoanalytic Association, and a Professor of Psychiatry at the State University of New York. Furthermore, he is an effective writer and he has the erudition that many of the psychiatrists educated in Europe seem to possess.

Moreover, the temper of the times requires a refutation of his theories and his criticisms of American psychiatry. Dr. Alfred Auerbach, an Associate Professor at the University of California, on the basis of his experience in the far west, writes in a paper published this summer:

In recent years a new form of attack has been mounted against the mental health movement that is reminiscent of the Salem witch-hunting days. In contrast to legitimate criticisms of deficiencies or methodology, it imputes deliberately evil intent to the mental health

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