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SHRINK RESISTANT: THE STRUGGLE AGAINST PSYCHIATRY IN CANADA.

Edited by Bonnie Burstow and Don Weitz. Vancouver, New Star Books. 1988. 364pp, paper. ISBN 0-919573-84-3 (cloth) $19.95, 0-919573-83-5 (paper) $11.95. CIP

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by Ruth Bainbridge

Volume 17 Number 1
1989 January


Shrink Resistant is a collection of personal experiences of those who have seen our mental health system from the inside and have expressed their feelings and memories of that experience in diaries, essays, interviews, poetry or drawings. The forty contributors come across as articulate, introspective individuals who have suffered a painful experience. They share with the reader their feelings of helplessness and powerlessness as they are subdued by large doses of medication and subjected to multiple shock treatments while in the hands of the uncaring individuals hired to provide care inside the mental health institutions. Most of the experiences written about occurred in the 1960ís and 1970ís.

The book then takes us to a series of interviews with some of the movers and shakers of the anti-psychiatric movement. A glossary of terms commonly used by those in the mental health area, a world-wide directory of associations to assist psychiatric patients, and a bibliography of anti-psychiatry publications are included.

The purpose of this book is to increase awareness of some of the problems associated with the treatment of those labelled psychiatric patients and to offer hope and a means of striking back at those involved.

This book is, as it states up front, biased against psychiatry as it Is currently practised. In spite of this bias. I recommend that all of those involved in the mental health system as a professional, patient, family member or friend read this book in an attempt to understand what being a psychiatric patient is really like and to begin to consider alternatives to currently accepted mental health practices.


Ruth Bainbridge, Humber Community College, Toronto, Ont.
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