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J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2009 Feb;16(1):87-95; discussion 96-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2008.01310.x.

The convenient myth of Thomas Szasz.

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Clan Unity International Ltd., Fife, UK.


Thomas Szasz's original critique of the concept of 'mental illness' is almost 50 years old. Over that half century Szasz has maintained a consistent campaign against the 'Therapeutic State', challenging the paternalism of coercive psychiatry and defending liberty and autonomy. Despite his widespread celebrity Szasz continues to be misread and misrepresented. In this paper we review some of Szasz's key ideas, in the light of Clarke's recent critique, setting this within the context of 'mental health nursing' and the problems in living affecting persons worldwide.

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