The Runaway-house: Asylum for (ex-) users and survivors of psychiatry.
Experiences, conceptions, problems
(= Das Weglaufhaus Zufluchtsort fuer Psychiatrie-Betroffene. Erfahrungen,
by Jeffrey M. Masson, soft cover, 192 pages, 15 x 21 cm, ISBN 978-3-925931-05-5.
Berlin: Peter Lehmann Publishing 1991. Published
only in the German language! € 7.90 / Selling
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"The power of running away is immense", writes Jeffrey M.
Masson, former psychoanalyst and director of the Sigmund-Freud-archives,
in his preface to the first book of the Berlin psychologist Uta Wehde.
"In the (former) German Democratic Republic (GDR), the
first glimpse of freedom from oppression came when a few brave people
actually ran away. Uta Wehde shows us it can happen in psychiatry too,
and the walls of that decripit institution can crumble too." (Masson)
People run away from psychiatric institutions daily. They escape from
treatment with psychiatric drugs and electroshocks, from confinement and
humiliation. In some bigger towns in the Netherlands so-called runaway-houses
comparable to battered wives refuges are providing asylums
for people that have run away.
Uta Wehde (see the photo) reports her observations in such a Dutch
runaway-house, discusses these observations in connection with other
alternative approaches (f.e., Soteria by Loren Mosher or Diabasis
by John Weir Perry) and draws the obvious conclusion for the conceptional
arranging of new runaway-houses.
In Berlin the opening of the first German runaway-house already
is announced. Here the runaway people shall receive juridical, social,
psychological and medical support, and assistance when they come
down from the drugs. In the supplement of her book Uta Wehde introduces
the conception of the Berlin runaway-house and, exciting to read
like a thriller, the toing and froing about the public funding of
the house, which is bought by a million-DM-gift and risen on the
stage of actual reporting. (By the way, the photography of the book's
front-cover shows the house.)
With its differentiating statements the sparkling-written book passes
over this special form of support; it gets to talking about the principal
question, how to help people that may have problems with themselves,
the world around them and/or the psychiatry. The author is orientated
centrally towards the right to drug-free help and user-control. Her
criterias of real human help she develops out of statements by people
who worked and lived in the Utrecht runaway-house. And she respects
a lot of informations from users of psychiatry as well
as from people running alternative institutions informations,
that are published yet only in a small circuit. Uta Wehde sums up
these alternative experiences and gives an voluminous survey over
the literature about the issue "alternatives to psychiatry".