Four Assumptive Worlds of Psychopathy V: The World of Mental Illness

Four Assumptive Worlds of Psychopathy V: The World of Mental Illness

Furthermore, it seems to be world that can still offer not only cures, but also destructive classifications and resultant miscalculations regarding prognosis and treatment. Szasz has offered us a compelling description of the crippling impact which the social construction of “illness” can have on individual people and a society. I close this essay with a final quote from Szasz (1974, p 262): “The notion of a person ‘having a mental illness’ is scientifically crippling. It provides professional assent to a popular rationalization—namely that problems in living experienced and expressed in terms of so-called psychiatric symptoms are basically similar to bodily diseases. For a society, it precludes regarding individuals as responsible persons and invites, instead, treating them as irresponsible patients.”


Bergquist, William, Suzan Guest and Terrence Rooney (2004) Who is Wounding the Healers. Sacramento, CA: Pacific Soundings Press.
Szasz, Thomas (1974)The Myth of Mental Illness: Foundations of a Theory of Personal Conduct. New York: Harper & Row.


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About the Author

William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 50 books, and president of a psychology institute. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations.

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