Although the controversy over Sophie Robert's documentary film "The Wall: Psychoanalysis put to the test for autism" has been going on for a while, I first learned about this week when I ran into an article in the Nouvelle Observateur titled "Faut-il brûler la psychanalyse ?" in which Elisabeth Roudinesco and Alain Badiou defend psychoanalysis. Frustrated with reading this I learned that in January 2012 The New York Times published an article "A French Film Takes Issue with the Psychoanalytic Approach to Autism," which reviews the controversy quite clearly. However, clicking on the link to the Youtube version of the film in the article, I found that it had been removed from Youtube. This act of censorship got me interested in finding a way to view the film. Indeed several sites no longer had the film available. I did find one site where the film is available. As a document in the history of psychiatry, it is well worth viewing. It reminded me of the controversies over psychoanalytic theories of Tourette Syndrome that Howard Kushner describes so well in his book A Cursing Brain? Histories of Tourette Syndrome.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Psychiatry has long been accused of being an agent of social control. It appears that a new chapter to this story is being written in Israel. A few weeks ago Haaretz published "Rabbi's Little Helper," which related stories of people being taken to psychiatrists by their rabbis for medication, presumably in the hopes that their behavior will better conform to community standards. Today Haaretz published a follow-up titled "Psychiatric drugs become talk of the ultra-Orthodox community.