Psychiatric Oppression 101

Defining our terms

Psychiatric Oppression

The first word, psychiatric, being defined in relation to another word, psychiatry, we will have to go to that initial word to get to the bottom of this matter.


Medical Dictionary: psy•chi•at•ric


Of or relating to psychiatry.



Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the study and treatment of mental disorders—which include various affective, behavioural, cognitive and perceptual disorders. The term was first coined by the German physician Johann Christian Reil in 1808. It literally means the ‘medical treatment of the mind’ (psych-: mind; -iatry: medical treatment; from Greek iātrikos: medical, iāsthai: to heal). A medical doctor specializing in psychiatry is a psychiatrist.



Oppression is the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner. It can also be defined as an act or instance of oppressing, the state of being oppressed, and the feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically, by troubles, adverse conditions, and anxiety.

Psychiatric oppression then refers to the “exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner” by people associated with “the medical specialty devoted to the study and treatment of mental disorders” over people targeted by that “medical specialty”, it’s lackeys, and accomplices.


In psychology, racism, sexism and other prejudices are often studied as individual beliefs which, although not necessarily oppressive in themselves, can lead to oppression if they are codified in law or become parts of a culture. By comparison, in sociology, these prejudices are often studied as being institutionalized systems of oppression in some societies. In sociology, the tools of oppression include a progression of denigration, dehumanization, and demonization; which often generate scapegoating, which is used to justify aggression against targeted groups and individuals.

Among those “other prejudices” one might add agism, mentalism, conformism, disablism and other such targets for societal oppression.

Internalized oppression

In sociology and psychology, internalized oppression is the manner in which an oppressed group comes to use against itself the methods of the oppressor. For example, sometimes members of marginalized groups hold an oppressive view toward their own group, or start to believe in negative stereotypes of themselves.


There is every indication that the more recent concept of learned helplessness is actually a new twist given to internalized oppression to make it seem like it is something other than what it is.

Learned Helplessness

Learned helplessness, as a technical term in animal psychology and related human psychology, means a condition of a human being or an animal in which it has learned to behave helplessly, even when the opportunity is restored for it to help itself by avoiding an unpleasant or harmful circumstance to which it has been subjected. Learned helplessness theory is the view that clinical depression and related mental illnesses result from a perceived absence of control over the outcome of a situation.


Related terms.


In sociology, marginalization also marginalisation (British) is the social process of becoming or being made marginal (to relegate or confine to a lower social standing or outer limit or edge, as of social standing); “the marginalization of the underclass”; “marginalisation of literature” and many other are some examples. In its most extreme form, marginalization can exterminate groups. (Mullaly, 2007).

Being marginalized refers to being separated from the rest of the society, forced to occupy the fringes and edges and not to be at the centre of things. Marginalized people are not considered to be a part of the society.(Arko Koley, 2010)


Second-class citizen

Second-class citizen is an informal term used to describe a person who is systematically discriminated against within a state or other political jurisdiction, despite their nominal status as a citizen or legal resident there. While not necessarily slaves, outlaws or criminals, second-class citizens have limited legal rights, civil rights and economic opportunities, and are often subject to mistreatment or neglect at the hands of their putative superiors. Instead of being protected by the law, the law disregards a second-class citizen, or it may actually be used to harass them. (see police misconduct and racial profiling) Second-class citizenry is generally regarded as a violation of human rights. Typical impediments facing second-class citizens include, but are not limited to, disenfranchisement (a lack or loss of voting rights), limitations on civil or military service (not including conscription in every case), as well as restrictions on language, religion, freedom of movement and association, weapons ownership, marriage, housing and property, freedom of movement and association, weapons ownership, marriage, housing and property ownership.


& on a more positive note


Empowerment refers to increasing the spiritual, political, social, or economic strength of individuals and communities. It often involves the empowered developing confidence in their own capacities.


Should you find yourself a little confused at our not attributing all psychiatric labeling to the alleged existence of certain bio-medical conditions, or conditions that resemble certain bio-medical conditions, perhaps I can clear those issues up in a later post: Human Rights 101.

Human Rights, those rights pertaining specifically to the species Homo Sapiens, are to be distinquished from Mental Patient Rights, or Mental Health Consumer Rights, or Psychiatric Disability Rights. As the latter described rights grew out of one enormous infringement of Human Rights, known as Mental Health Law, we do not see fit to acknowledge the existence of any of those other such illusory organisms.