Suicidio e malattia mentale negli psichiatri


Non ho trovato studi recenti sul rischio suicidario negli psichiatri in lingua italiana. In Inglese nel motore di ricerca dedicato alla medicina sono riportate analisi  che risalgono agli anni 70. Su questo problema, come sugli altri ad esso correlati, è stato steso un velo pietoso.


Psychiatric illness in the medical profession: incidence in relation to sex and field of practice.

D. J. Watterson (abstract)

The overall incidence of psychiatric illness among the physicians of British Columbia during 1970-74 was 1.27% per year. The overall suicide rate was more than 36.5/100 000. Incidence was not dependent on sex or age. The two specialties with the highest incidence–ophthalmology and psychiatry–had previously been demonstrated to have significantly high rates of suicide. The highest incidence was among psychiatric residents; in other resident groups collectively the incidence was at the expected rate. Greater severity of illness and poorer prognosis was found in family physicians compared with specialists, although the incidence was the same in the two groups.


J Clin Psychiatry. 1980 Aug;41(8):261-3.
Suicide by psychiatrists: a study of medical specialists among 18,730 consecutive physician deaths during a five-year period, 1967-72.
Rich CL, Pitts FN Jr.
This report is of suicide by psychiatrists from 953 suicides in 18,730 consecutive deaths of U.S. physicians during a five-year period 1967-72. It demonstrates that psychiatrists suicide regularly, year-by-year, at rates about twice those expected; and these differences are statistically significant.

Pietà or Revolution by Night 1923 by Max Ernst 1891-1976Why Shrinks Have Problems

Suicide, stress, divorce — psychologists and other mental health professionals may actually be more screwed up than the rest of us.
By Robert Epstein, Tim Bower, published on July 01, 1997 – last reviewed on June 14, 2012


In 1899 Sigmund Freud got a new telephone number: 14362. He was 43 at the time, and he was profoundly disturbed by the digits in the new number. He believed they signified that he would die at age 61 (note the one and six surrounding the 43) or, at best, at age 62 (the last two digits in the number). He clung, painfully, to this bizarre belief for many years. Presumably he was forced to revise his estimate on his 63rd birthday, but he was haunted by other superstitions until the day he died—by assisted suicide, no less—at the ripe old age of 83.

That’s just for starters. Freud also had frequent blackouts. He refused to quit smoking even after 30 operations to correct the extensive damage he suffered from cancer of the jaw. He was a self-proclaimed neurotic. He suffered from a mild form of agoraphobia. And, for a time, he had a serious cocaine problem
Neuroses? Superstitions? Substance abuse? Blackouts? And suicide? So much for the father of psychoanalysis. But are these problems typical for psychologists? How are Freud’s successors doing? Or, to put the question another way: Are shrinks really “crazy”?

I myself have been a psychologist for nearly two decades, primarily teaching and conducting research. So the truth is that I had some preconceptions about this topic before I began to investigate it. When, years ago, my mom told me that her one and only session with a psychotherapist had been disappointing because “the guy was obviously much crazier than I was,” I assumed, or at least hoped, that she was joking. Mental health professionals have access to special tools and techniques to help themselves through the perils of living, right?

Sure, Freud was peculiar, and, yes, I’d heard that Jung had had a nervous breakdown. But I’d always assumed that—rumors to the contrary notwithstanding;—mental health professionals were probably fairly healthy.

Turns out I was wrong.

Doctor, Are You Feeling Okay?

Mental health professionals are, in general, a fairly crazy lot—at least as troubled as the general population. This may sound depressing, but, as you’ll see, having crazy shrinks around is not in itself a serious problem. In fact, some experts believe that therapists who have suffered in certain ways may be the very best therapists we have.

The problem is that mental health professionals—particularly psychologists—do a poor job of monitoring their own mental health problems and those of their colleagues. In fact, the main responsibility for spotting an impaired therapist seems to fall on the patient, who presumably has his or her own problems to deal with. That’s just nuts.

Therapists struggling with marital problems, alcoholism, substance abuse, depression, and so on don’t function very well as therapists, so we can’t just ignore their distress. And ironically, with just a few exceptions, mental health professionals have access to relatively few resources when they most need assistance. The questions, then, are these: How can clients be protected—and how can troubled therapists be helped?

The Odd Treating the Id

Here’s a theory that’s not so crazy: Maybe people enter the mental health field because they have a history of psychological difficulties. Perhaps they’re trying to understand or overcome their own problems, which would give us a pool of therapists who are a hit unusual to begin with. That alone could account for the image of the Crazy Shrink.

Of the many prominent psychotherapists I’ve interviewed in recent months, only one admitted that he had entered the profession because of personal problems. But most felt this was a common occurrence. In fact, the idea that therapy is a haven for the psychologically wounded is as old as the profession itself. Freud himself asserted that childhood loss was the underlying cause of an adult’s desire to help others. And Freud’s daughter, Anna, herself a prominent psychoanalyst, once said, “The most sophisticated defense mechanism I ever encountered was becoming a psychotherapist.” So it’s only appropriate that John Fromson, M.D., director of a Massachusetts program for impaired physicians, describes the mental health field as one in which “the odd care for the id.” He chuckled as he said this, but, as Freud claimed, humor is often a mask for disturbing truths.

These impressions are confirmed by published research. An American Psychiatric Association study concluded that ‘”physicians with affective disorders tend to select psychiatry as a specialty.” (Curiously, the authors presented this as their belief, “for a variety of reasons,” without explanation.) In a 1993 study, James Guy, Ph.D., dean of the School of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary, compared the early childhood experiences of female psychotherapists to those of other professional women. The therapists reported higher rates of family dysfunction, parental alcoholism, sexual and physical abuse, and parental death or psychiatric hospitalization than did their professional counterparts. And a 1992 survey of male and female therapists found that more than two-thirds of the women and one-third of the men reported having experienced some form of sexual or physical abuse in early life. Freud seems to have been right about this one: The mental health professions attract people who have suffered.

Patients Can Really Ruin Your Daymaxernsticelandicmoss

So we’re starting out, it seems, with a pool of well-meaning but slightly damaged practitioners. Now the real fun begins.

Check out the numbers: According to studies published in 1990 and 1991, half of all therapists are at some point threatened with physical violence by their clients, and about 40 percent are actually attacked. Try to put this in context. A special, intimate relationship exists between therapist and client. So being attacked by a client is a serious emotional blow, perhaps comparable, in some cases, to being a parent attacked by one’s child. Needless to say, therapists who are assaulted get very upset. They feel more vulnerable and less competent, and sometimes the feelings of inadequacy trickle over into their personal relationships.

Let’s take this a step further. Imagine working with a depressed patient every week, without fail, for several years and then getting a call saying that your patient has killed herself. How would you feel? Alas, patient suicide is another hazard of the profession. Between 20 and 30 percent of all psychotherapists experience the suicide of at least one patient, again with often devastating psychological fallout. In a 1968 hospital study, psychiatrists reported reacting to patient suicides with feelings of “guilt and self-recrimination.” Others considered the suicide to be “a direct act of spite” or said it was like being “fired.” Whatever the reaction, the emotional toll is great.

Virtually all mental health professionals agree that the profession is inherently hazardous. It takes superhuman strength for most people just to listen to a neighbor moan about his lousy marriage for 15 minutes. Psychologists, of course, enter the profession by choice, but you can imagine the effects of listening to clients talk about a never-ending litany of serious problems — eight long hours a day, 50 weeks a year. “My parents hated me. Life isn’t worth living. I’m a failure. I’m impotent. On the way over here, I felt like driving my car into a telephone pole. I’ll never be happy. No one understands me. I don’t know who I am. I hate my job. I hate my life. I hate you.”

Just thinking about it makes you shudder.

It’s a Rough World Out There

Patients aren’t the only source of stress for psychotherapists. The world itself is pretty demanding. After all, that’s why there are patients.

A number of surveys, conducted by Guy and others, reveal some worri-some statistics about therapists’ lives and well-being. At least three out of four therapists have experienced major distress within the past three years, the principal cause being relationship problems. More than 60 percent may have suffered a clinically significant depression at some point in their lives, and nearly half admitted that in the weeks following a personal crisis they’re unable to deliver quality care. As for psychiatrists, a 1997 study by Michael Klag, M.D., found that the divorce rate for psychiatrists who graduated from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine between 1948 and 1964 was 51 percent—higher than that of the general population of that era, and substantially higher than the rate in any other branch of medicine.

These days, therapists face a major new source of stress: HMOs. Richard Kilburg, Ph.D., senior director of human resources at Johns Hopkins University and one of the profession’s leading experts on distressed psychologists, says managed care is having a devastating effect: “Therapists are chronically anxious. It’s getting harder and harder to make a living, harder to provide quality care. The paperwork requirements are enormous. You can’t have a meeting of practicing psychologists today without having these issues being raised, and the pain level is rising. A number of my colleagues have been driven out of the profession altogether.”

No wonder Richard Thoreson, Ph.D., of the University of Missouri, estimates that at any particular moment about 10 percent of psychotherapists are in significant distress.

The Final Resolution

Bruno Bettelheim. Paul Federn. Wilhelm Stekel. Victor Tausk. Lawrence Kohlberg. Perhaps you recognize one or two of the names. They’re all prominent mental health professionals who, like Freud, committed suicide.

All too often the stresses of work and everyday life lead mental health professionals down this path. According to psychologist David Lester, Ph.D., director of the Center for the Study of Suicide, mental health professionals kill themselves at an abnormally high rate. Indeed, highly publicized reports about the suicide rate of psychiatrists led the American Psychiatric Association to create a Task Force on Suicide Prevention in the late 1970s. A study initiated by that task force, published in 1980, concluded that “psychiatrists commit suicide at rates about twice those expected [of physicians]” and that “the occurrence of suicides by psychiatrists is quite constant year-to-year, indicating a relatively stable over-supply of depressed psychiatrists.” No other medical specialty yielded such a high suicide rate.

One out of every four psychologists has suicidal feelings at times, according to one survey, and as many as one in 16 may have attempted suicide. The only published data—now nearly 25 years old—on actual suicides among psychologists showed a rate of suicide for female psychologists that’s three times that of the general population, although the rate among male psychologists was not higher than expected by chance.

Further studies of suicides by psychologists have been difficult to conduct, says Lester, largely because the main professional body for psychologists, the American Psychological Association APA), hasn’t released any relevant data since about 1970. Why? “The APA doesn’t want anyone to know that there are distressed psychologists,” insists University of Iowa psychologist Peter Nathan, Ph.D., a former member of an APA committee on “troubled” psychologists.


Wait, there’s more. “Mental health professionals are probably at heightened risk for not just alcoholism but [all types of] substance abuse,” reports Nathan. It’s not surprising: Substance abuse is one of the most common—albeit destructive—ways people deal with anxiety and depression, and, as we’ve seen, mental health professionals have more than their share.

Richard Thoreson’s decades of research on alcoholism, in fact, stemmed from his own problems with the bottle. “I began drinking at a fairly early age,” he says, “and I continued during my early academic career. My life was organized around drinking. It had a very negative impact on my family. At one point I resigned as president of an organization because I was too shaky to speak before a group. I stopped drinking in 1969, at which point I was drinking the equivalent of 16 ounces of whiskey a day.”

In the 1970s, with the help of several colleagues, Thoreson founded an informal group called Psychologists Helping Psychologists, which has held open Alcoholics Anonymous meetings at the annual APA convention ever since. This unofficial, all-volunteer group has helped hundreds of psychologists over the years — with no financial support from the APA.


“Some therapists,” says James Guy, “expect to continue practicing longer than the life expectancies in actuarial tables.” But with advancing age, impairment is almost inevitable. Explains Guy: “Lower back pain becomes a problem. Failing eyesight and hearing make it difficult to pick up on subtle nuances. Poor bladder control can make it difficult to sit, and fatigue becomes a big factor.”

Further complicating matters is that as therapists get older, more and more of their intimacy needs and social support actually comes from their patients. “Often, most of their waking hours are spent with clients, focusing on emotionally laden material,” notes Guy. “When that’s the situation, it’s difficult for them to think about retirement. It’s even difficult for them to know when to take time off.”

Many psychotherapists become, in effect, woefully addicted to their clients, with no one offering them guidance or alternatives. In general, private, independent practices—often conducted out of the therapist’s home—put the therapist at greatest risk, no matter what his or her age. Thoreson adds that such practices have special appeal for therapists who don’t want to be seen by colleagues; the isolated practice is the ideal one for the alcoholic or drug abuser.


If therapists really have special tools for helping people, shouldn’t they be able to use their techniques on themselves? After all, the late behavioral psychologist, B. F. Skinner, systematically applied behavioral principles to modify his own behavior, and he ridiculed Freud and the psychoanalysts for their inability to apply their “science” to themselves. University of Scranton psychologist John Norcross, Ph.D., and his colleagues have studied this issue extensively, with two major findings. First: “Therapists admit to as much distress and as many life problems as laypersons, but they also claim to cope better. They rely less on psychotropic medications and employ a wider range of self-change processes than laypersons.”

This sounds encouraging, but Norcross’s second finding makes you stop and think: “When therapists treat patients, they follow the prescriptions of their theoretical orientation. But the amazing thing is that when therapists treat themselves, they become very pragmatic.” In other words, when battling their own problems, therapists dispense with the psychobabble and fall back on everyday, commonsense techniques—chats with friends, meditation, hot baths, and so on.

But aren’t psychotherapists required to be in therapy at various points in their careers, so that they get specialized help from their colleagues? Not so. “People are shocked when they learn this isn’t true,” says Gary Schoener, Ph.D., who directs The Walk-In Counseling Center in Minneapolis, perhaps the country’s first and last free psychology clinic. “Lawyers are subjected to more psychological screens than psychologists are.”

Surveys do indicate that most therapists—between 65 and 80 percent—have had therapy at some point. However, except for psychoanalysts—the pricey, traditional Freudians you see more in movies than in reality—psychotherapists are virtually never required to undergo therapy, even as a part of their training.

Freud himself would be appalled by this. “Every analyst should periodically—at intervals of five years or so—submit himself to analysis,” he said. Unfortunately—and ironically—many psychotherapists are reluctant to seek therapy. In a survey by Guy and James Liaboe, Ph.D., for example, therapists said they were hesitant to enter therapy “because of feelings of embarrassment or humiliation, doubts concerning the efficacy of therapy, previous negative experiences with personal therapy, and feelings of superiority that hinder their ability to identify their own need for treatment.” Others are hesitant to seek therapy because of professional `complications’ — that is, they cannot find a therapist nearby whom they do not already know in another context. Or they mistakenly believe, as many patients do, that seeking therapy is a sign of failure.

“I worry,” says psychologist Karen Saakvitne, Ph.D., “about the implication that the therapists who are in therapy are the ones who are impaired. They are the ones acting in their clients’ best interest. I’m more worried about the therapists who don’t seek help.”


Maybe there’s an upside to all these problems among psychologists — if, say, a therapist needs to have experienced pain and suffering in order to relate to his or her clients’ pain and suffering. This “wounded healer” concept is, I believe, woven into the fabric of the mental health profession. When I served as chair of a university psychology department, I helped evaluate candidates for our marriage and family counseling program. The admission process — interview questions, essays, and so on — was structured, albeit subtly, to screen out people who hadn’t suffered enough. What’s more, I’ve heard colleagues express concern about the occasional student or trainee who, through no fault of his or her own, came from an unbroken home.

Data supporting this idea, however, are hard to find. “There’s no evidence whatsoever that you need a history of psychological problems in order to be a good therapist,” insists John Norcross. “In some studies, in the first few sessions only, [patients see] the wounded therapist as a little more empathetic, but the effect doesn’t last. Experience with pain can enhance a therapist’s sensitivity, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into good outcomes.”

“I don’t think therapists need to have had the same experiences as their clients,” adds psychologist Laurie Pearlman, Ph.D. “As long as the therapist can feel those feelings, he or she can connect with clients.”

On the other hand, in 1989 psychologists Pilar Poal, Ph.D., and John R. Weisz, Ph.D., found that therapists who faced serious problems in their own childhood are more effective at helping child clients talk about their problems, perhaps because of greater empathy. That study, however, is practically the only one that supports the wounded-healer hypothesis.


So you’ve gotten into therapy because your life is falling apart — and now you have to keep one eye on your therapist just in case his or her life is falling apart, too? Basically, yes. Like it or not, you, the client, are probably carrying the major responsibility for spotting the signs of distress or impairment in your therapist, especially if you’re seeing an independent practitioner. The current president of the California Psychological Association, Steven F. Bucky, Ph.D., puts it this way: “The truth of the matter is that unless someone complains about an impaired therapist, there is no protection for the client.”

Here are some tips for protecting yourself from impaired mental health professionals, and, perhaps, in so doing, for helping them overcome their own problems. Remember, therapists are people, too.

First, it’s probably safer to bring your problems to a practitioner who works in a group setting. Independent, isolated therapists are probably at greatest risk for having undetected and untreated problems of their own. On the other hand, therapists working for managed care organizations or working under the gun of insurance companies are exposed to special constraints and stressors that may limit their ability to help you.

Second, trust your gut. “If you get the feeling that there’s a problem, you shouldn’t deny what your instincts are telling you,” says Kilburg. If, during your session, a little voice in your head begins screaming, “This guy’s eyes remind me of my college roommate’s when he was tripping on acid,” don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Indeed, any time your therapist shows clear signs of personal distress or impairment, bring your concerns to his or her attention. (Ideally, do this on the therapist’s dime, after your session is over.) If you’re uneasy about raising the issue with your therapist, talk to one of his or her colleagues about it. Or, consider finding a new therapist. If you think your therapist’s problem is serious and has the potential to do harm, report it to the appropriate professional organization or licensing body (see below). You have legitimate cause for concern if your therapist:

shows signs of excessive fatigue, such as red eyes or sleepiness.

touches you inappropriately or tries to see you socially.

smells of alcohol, or you see liquor bottles or drug paraphernalia in the office.

has trouble seeing or hearing.

talks at length about his or her own current, unresolved problems. This is known as a “boundary violation,” and it’s especially worrisome, because it’s often a prelude to a sexual advance. In fact, therapists who talk about their own unresolved problems are more likely to make sexual advances than those who actually touch their clients.

has trouble remembering what you told him or her last week.

is repeatedly late for sessions, cancels them, or misses them.

seems distant or distracted.

For help locating the appropriate organization or board, call the relevant national organization. For psychologists, call the American Psychological Association at (202) 336-5000; for psychiatrists, call the American Psychiatric Association at (202) 682-6000. If your therapist is a marriage and family counselor, try the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy at (202) 452-0109, and if your therapist is a social worker, try the National Association of Social Workers at (202) 408-8600.

Contributing editor Robert Epstein’s most recent books include Self-Help Without the Hype and Pure Fitness: Body Meets Mind.

Uh Oh, Now They Want Drugs

Here’s something that will rock you: The 150,00-member American Psychological Association is lobbying hard to get prescription privileges for psychologists. Pilot programs are already under way, and some think that many psychologists will be able to dispense drugs to their patients within five years. So much for the distinction between psychiatrists and psychologists. A more worrisome problem, though, is: Won’t prescription privileges put psychologists at greater risk for substance abuse?

The answer, unfortunately, may be yes. It’s well-known that the professions and specialties that have easy access to drugs also have the highest rates of addiction. “If psychologists get prescription privileges, I think there is going to be a dramatic increase in their abuse of drugs,” says University of Iowa psychologist Peter Nathan, Ph.D. “We don’t like to talk about this, but it’s inevitable.”

Harvard psychiatrist Malkah Notman, M.D., is also uneasy about the possibility of prescription privileges for psychologists. “Psychologists can do a lot of damage,” she says, “but not as much as a psychiatrist can do. With medication, you can get in a lot of trouble very fast. Prescribing drugs is really quite risky. Even with medical training, a lot of people get rusty.”



Il suicidio di uno psichiatra

domenico fargnoli copertina roazenUno psichiatra senese, che lavorava nei servizi territoriali, è stato ritrovato morto nei boschi di Castellina in Chianti. Scomparso nel nulla un lunedì mattina quando avrebbe dovuto recarsi al lavoro per alcune consultazioni è stato ritrovato una diecina di giorni dopo: ha lasciato un messaggio in cui spiegherebbe i motivi del suo gesto suicida, effettuato con un cocktail di alcool e psicofarmaci. E’ molto dibattuto dal punto di vista forense il tema della responsabilità dello psichiatra nel caso del suicidio di un paziente che evidenzia drammaticamente il fallimento della terapia.  Nel caso del suicidio di uno psichiatra o comunque di una persona impegnata nella cura della malattia mentale possiamo individuare  una responsabilità? Mi sono occupato di tale argomento in uno dei primi articoli che ho scritto per la rivista “ Il sogno della farfalla” nel 1992. In quella circostanza era partito dal rapporto fa Freud e Victor Tausk psichiatra e aspirante psicoanalista che si tolse  tragicamente la vita anche per le sue difficoltà di rapporto con il padre della psicoanalisi. La vicenda, ricca di triangolazioni “edipiche” in cui fu coinvolta anche Lou  Andreas-Salomé, è stata esaminata nel dettaglio da Paul Roazen nel suo libro “Fratello Animale” (1969) il cui sottotitolo recita emblematicamente così: maestro allievo un rapporto che si chiude con un suicidio. Tausk da una parte voleva sviluppare idee proprie dall’altra aspirava, contraddittoriamente e illusoriamente, a essere il “figlio prediletto”.  Freud lo temeva perché rappresentava una minaccia per la sua “originalità” creativa: avvenne così che egli rifiutò l’analisi a Tausk e lo propose a una collega, che allora era una principiante, Helene Deutsch.  Secondo Paul Roazen la decisione dell’invio a Helene rappresentava un insulto terribile perché come analista la donna era una nullità. Ci sarebbero stati modi molto efficaci e non distruttivi di reagire a tale violenza ma Tausk era un individuo fragile e profondamente malato: probabilmente era affetto da una forma di schizofrenia cosiddetta latente che si celava dietro la sua intelligenza brillante. Nel testamento scritto nell’ultimo giorno della sua esistenza  leggiamo << Vi ho ingannato tutti vivendo un ruolo di cui non ero all’altezza.>> (Paul Roazen-Fratello animale) E’ chiaro che Freud e la Deutsch hanno avuto  una responsabilità pesante nella morte del loro collega del quale non hanno intuito la gravità e la profondità della sofferenza mentale. Quand’anche avessero colto la psicosi latente sarebbero stati incapaci di affrontarla perché a quei tempi si riteneva  che la psicoanalisi potesse aggravare le forme di schizofrenia.  E a ragione poiché il trattamento analitico non aveva alcun valido fondamento teorico. In un’occasione in cui Freud scoprì un nucleo psicotico dietro un’agorafobia (paura dei luoghi aperti) egli dovette ripristinare di nuovo il sintomo attraverso l’ipnosi “ al fine di annullare il danno provocato dal trattamento”. Il passaggio è interessante perché si ammette che il trattamento analitico può provocare un danno anche se non si comprende come una cura che sarebbe efficace in una nevrosi dovrebbe essere nociva in una psicosi. A meno che non si sia voluto  dire che in realtà per Freud  non esiste nessuna cura dato che i nevrotici sono in grado di migliorare e guarire anche da soli. Noi sappiamo dalla psicopatologia   che nelle fasi di esordio di un episodio schizofrenico può essere presente la “whanstimmung” uno stato d’animo, un’atmosfera  delirante in cui ci può essere l’ assenza di un contenuto definito insieme con  un terrore  insostenibile: quest’ultimo da solo può indurre un omicidio-suicidio, anche se mascherato da motivazioni razionali, come forse è avvenuto nel caso dello psichiatra slovacco riferito da Paul Roazen. Quello di Tausk nel 1919 non fu un caso isolato nella psicoanalisi della prima generazione : seguirono la stessa sorte gli analisti Stekel, Kahane, Federn, Silberer, Honegger, Schotter, Ruth Brunswik che analizzò “L’uomo dei lupi” e successivamente, nel 1990, Bruno Bettheleim. Di famosi psichiatri coinvolti nel suicidio   i casi che conosco sono quelli del figlio maggiore  di Ludwig Binswanger nel 1928,  e quello di de Clérambault nel 1934. Sembra che quest’ultimo si sia ucciso perché gli era stato diagnosticato un glaucoma! E’ evidente che la morte per suicidio (come è avvenuto a Siena) di uno psichiatra che si toglie la vita con gli psicofarmaci che dovrebbero essere uno strumento “terapeutico” mette in discussione i criteri della sua formazione e pone quesiti  non eludibili a chi ne ha legittimato la prassi medica senza intuirne l’inadeguatezza dovuta alla malattia. Che impatto avrà, in questo caso la morte del “terapeuta” sui suoi pazienti”? Chi risponderà del danno subito? Contemporaneamente ci si dovrebbe interrogare anche sul fallimento di una psichiatria che ricorre prevalentemente al DSM5 e agli psicofarmaci il cui uso prolungato e massivo ha spesso il solo effetto di cronicizzare il malato  o renderlo in seguito difficilmente trattabile con la psicoterapia. Sono a conoscenza del fatto che alcuni psichiatri sostengono a spada tratta la psicofarmacologia perché essi stessi fanno uso continuativo di antipsicotici, mettendo in atto un vero e proprio suicidio  dal punto di vista mentale ed inducendo inevitabilmente e più o meno coscientemente nei loro pazienti comportamenti autodistruttivi .Senza andare sulla casistica personale  segnalo il caso di una collega9788878185104g considerata una delle più grandi esperte di depressione  (bisognerebbe discutere da chi) che è andata soggetta per decenni  ad episodi di depressione psicotica (solo depressione?) e che sostiene che si debba fare uso di psicofarmaci per tutta la vita, secondo una prassi che lei stessa ha seguito.  Si tratta di Kay Jamison che ha scritto  “Una mente inquieta” (Longanesi-1996) libro che in Italia è apparso, non casualmente in una collana diretta Giovanni B. Cassano.  Lo stesso Cassano nel 2000 profetizzava  che il futuro della psichiatria sarebbe stato affidato ad interventi in utero per correggere le anomalie genetiche responsabili, secondo una sua personale concezione della genetica,  dei “disturbi mentali”.  Racconta la psichiatra americana  :<< Le mie allucinazioni si focalizzavano sulla morte lenta e dolorosa delle piante verdi (…) Le loro grida erano  cacofoniche (…) Ad un certo punto decisi che la mia mente con la quale mi guadagnavo da vivere e della quale avevo per tanti anni data per scontata la stabilità, non avesse smesso di correre e ripreso a funzionare normalmente  mi sarei uccisa saltando dal dodicesimo piano di un edificio>>  La Jamison è andata  incontro, durante la sua malattia,  a svariati momenti di  furia  e violenza “maniacale” (?) oltre a non solo aver pensato ma   ad aver messo in atto tentativi di suicidio uno dei quali, quasi riuscito, con una dose esorbitante di Litio. Di questi problemi,relativi alle condizioni mentali degli operatori psichiatrici, certamente scomodi, sembra che nessuno abbia la voglia od il coraggio di parlare.


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Il delirio secondo Ludwig Binswanger ed Heidegger


Non c’è nessun affaire Heidegger

Pubblicato il 2 marzo 2014 · in AlfaDomenica · 10 Commenti
François RastierI
l carattere nazista della filosofia heideggeriana è stato oggetto di numerose analisi, nelle quali si è voluto vedere altrettanti affaires speciosi e diffamatori. Con la pubblicazione dei Quaderni Neri(Schwartzen Hefte), quelle analisi cominciano a ricevere dallo stesso Maestro conferme postume ma irrefutabili, che hanno messo in grande agitazione i suoi discepoli (cfr. GA, tomi 93 e 94, che vedranno la luce nel marzo 2014).Non c’è dubbio che Heidegger, dopo la guerra, avesse riscritto i suoi testi meno equivoci ammantandosi in un peculiare ermetismo. La sua famiglia e i suoi editori, per di più, hanno proibito sino ad oggi di accedere ai suoi archivi. Heidegger stesso, tuttavia, aveva pianificato già prima di morire la pubblicazione delle sue opere complete predisponendone l’uscita secondo un processo di radicalizzazione progressiva: così se nel 2001 fu pubblicato un testo nel quale si esortava a portare a compimento lo «sterminio totale» del nemico interno oggi si annuncia, per completare quel ciclo, la pubblicazione di nuovi volumi che riuniscono iQuaderni Neri. Gli estratti resi pubblici dal dicembre 2013, riprendono negli stessi termini le identiche tesi di Hitler e Rosenberg riguardo al «dominio mondiale giudaico».Stranamente il curatore dei Quaderni Neri – Peter Trawny, direttore dell’Istituto Martin Heidegger – sembra prender le distanze, scrivendo che questo dominio è «per metà immaginario» (Le Monde, 2o gennaio 2014): ma il suo è un modo sottile per affermare che è almeno per metà vero. Senza dubbio i brani citati sono antisemiti; scegliendoli, però, Trawny sembra fare inevitabili concessioni all’antisemitismo (che in apparenza considera come alcunché di banale e veniale) per evitare di affrontare la questione del nazismo. Chiediamoci allora: davvero l’albero antisemita può nascondere la foresta nazista?Paradossalmente Heidegger supera a destra l’hitlerismo, ricorrendo a una radicalizzazione metafisica dell’antisemitismo. L’immagine drammatizzata del mondo contemporaneo e della modernità scientifica e tecnica che ci presenta è infatti legata essenzialmente alla sua concezione degli ebrei e del loro dominio mondiale (Weltjudentum): se persino Trawny, nella sua curiosa apologia, ricorre al confronto fra l’intento heideggeriano e i Protocolli dei savi di Sion allora questo dominio cessa di esser nascosto nell’oscurità di un complotto, manifestandosi alla luce del sole proprio nello sviluppo tecnico-scientifico.Nelle sue denunce, allora – come quella nei confronti delle dighe che sfigurano il bacino tedesco del Reno – era possibile cogliere una banale continuazione del Kulturpessimismusdel periodo bismarkiano, ma l’innovazione di Heidegger consiste nel considerare lo stato del mondo moderno come il risultato del dominio ebraico. In questo modo generalizza la teoria dell’essere-assieme – teoria legata al mondo degli affari, al commercium (cfr. Sein und Zeit, § 13). Il mondo ebraicizzato resta nell’oblio dell’Essere non soltanto perché gli ebrei, privi di patria e cosmopoliti, sono anche privi di un Dasein (letteralmente di un Esserci) – gli ebrei, infatti, non risiedono in alcun luogo specifico dunque continuano ad essere privi di mondo (Weltlos) – ma perché la modernità è dominata dalla «facoltà di calcolo e dal mercanteggiare», dal «dono esasperato per la contabilità», dalla «tenace abilità a contare» e dal «calcolo vuoto».Così il tema medievale dell’usuraio calcolatore, tutto intento a fare il conto dei denari di Giuda, finisce addirittura per esser trasposto alle scienze e tecniche contemporanee nella misura in cui questo mondo fondato sul calcolo ha bisogno delle matematiche e si fonda sui loro modelli – al punto da concretizzarsi nell’orribile tecno-scienza della cibernetica. L’estensione senza precedenti di uno stereotipo odioso, così, è sufficiente a condannare il mondo moderno e a sostenere che «la scienza non pensa» (dato che è incarnata e resa tecnologica dagli ebrei).Nel 1949, nella conferenza dal titolo Die Gefahr, Heidegger sostenne, che estendendo il suo dominio sul mondo la tecno-scienza fu anche responsabile dello sterminio. Gli ebrei tuttavia non sono stati uccisi, e del resto la loro scomparsa non è degna di esser chiamata morte: da una parte, poiché rimangono confinati all’ambito degli enti, non hanno alcun rapporto con l’Essere e dunque non vivono – quasi fossero accidenti senza sostanza; dall’altra, soprattutto, è la tecnica l’unica vera responsabile della loro scomparsa e ciò giustifica la reiterata immagine dell’industrializzazione (motorisierteFabrikation, cfr. GA, 79, p. 27), destinata a esaudire la speranza heideggeriana che l’ebraismo «si escludesse da sé», come semplice effetto collaterale della Machenschaft (‘regno dell’efficienza’) di cui è il principale responsabile.La pregnante metafora industriale, più volte ripresa da Hannah Arendt ad Agamben, ha contribuito al ritardo che caratterizza la storiografia dello sterminio – sino al punto da indurre trascurare, per mezzo secolo, quella che sarebbe stata chiamata la “Shoah delle pallottole”. Anche se trasformata, insomma – posto che assassinare non significa produrrecadaveri – la metafora ha continuato ha sostenere il luogo comune secondo cui la modernità tecno-scientifica era responsabile dello sterminio.Non c’è dubbio che Heidegger continua ad essere celebrato come un profondo pensatore della tecnica, e le citazioni laudatorie a tal riguardo abbondano ovunque. Ma pensare vuol forse dire condannare tout court, rinunciando a qualunque presa di distanza critica? Formatosi in un periodo nel quale la filosofia accademica temeva che le scienze usurpassero i suoi oggetti di studio, Heidegger sceglie di far ritorno alle tradizioni scolastiche della storia dell’Essere e della differenza ontologica; il suo intento però è creare il vuoto attorno ad esse, perseguendo il progetto antiumanista di eliminazione dell’etica e dell’antropologia filosofica ma anche degli oggetti di studio rivendicati dalle scienze sociali – come la diversità delle culture e delle lingue, posto che il tedesco gli è sufficiente per dire e pensare ogni cosa – fino alle scienze della natura e della vita (fatta eccezione per la Rassenkunde [‘conoscenza delle razze’] tedesca) e senza trascurare, naturalmente, le discipline logico-formali.Se questa brutale chiusura ha favorito l’oscurantismo delle adesioni settarie, la cosiddetta filosofia heideggeriana dell’Identico si fonda su vuote tautologie ontologiche che tradiscono l’ossessione identitaria persino nelle loro stesse ripetizioni; tuttavia escludendo qualunque alterità e, dunque, privandosi di oggetto il solo obiettivo che le rimane consiste nel diffondere l’odio identitario, che oggi esplode tanto nell’opera del Maestro quanto nell’attualità che ci circonda.Trawny ritiene che in quegli anni le idee antisemite fossero diffuse (ma da chi? forse che si tratta solo di una patina vintage?), e tuttavia sostiene anche che con la volontà di pubblicare le proprie Heidegger dà prova di una «notevole libertà di pensiero». Così discolpato, Heidegger continua ovviamente a rimanere «uno dei più grandi pensatori del XX secolo». Gli heideggeriani francesi, i quali pure sono soliti ribadire il medesimo giudizio di Trawny, se la prendono con lui giudicandolo un carrierista che ripete sempre una stessa «fesseria» (François Fédier). In Francia, infatti, traduzioni “lenitive” ed eminenti commenti hanno fatto di Heidegger un inevitabile autore di riferimento.Eppure la divergenza fra le due posizioni, a ben vedere, è di natura esclusivamente tattica: mentre i francesi si sono ormai da molto tempo chiusi in un ostinato diniego, Trawny ha capito molto bene che Heidegger, ipotizzando a coronamento della sua opera completa la pubblicazione di nove volumi dal carattere scopertamente nazista, pensava – ahimé, non senza qualche ragione – che sarebbero stati accolti come una mareggiata in periodo di carestia, e scommetteva sul superamento di un hitlerismo invecchiato, finalmente vinto da un ultranazismo attualizzato e ormai privo di complessi. Ora che il negazionismo ha fatto il suo tempo, insomma, siamo giunti nell’epoca dell’affermazionismo.A giudicare della prime reazioni, le ripercussioni nel mondo accademico su scala internazionale saranno notevoli. L’antirazionalismo militante, il rifiuto dell’etica e la sopravvalutazione dell’estetica, il ripudio della tecnica e del pensiero scientifico: tutto questo ha sedotto radicalismi universitari di destra e di sinistra che da decenni si riconoscono nel programma heideggeriano dell’Abbau, la ‘distruzione’, nota con la denominazione eufemistica di “decostruzione”.Non appena Heidegger ha sviluppato uno stile oracolare, pomposo e accortamente ipnotico, ricodificando nel vocabolario dell’ontologia le categorie del nazismo, non si è più saputo o voluto individuarvi il doppio linguaggio da lui stesso rivendicato in privato. L’affaireHeidegger, in definitiva, finisce per ridursi all’accecamento (talora complice) di vari ambiti accademici e molti intellettuali di fama.

Ma una filosofia che fa appello al massacro è davvero diversa da un’ideologia pericolosa? Di fatto alcuni ultranazionalisti russi di rilievo, come Alexandr Dugin, o islamisti come Omar Ibrahim Vadillo si fondano già da tempo su Heidegger per proclamare la superiorità razziale e la guerra totale. Se questo è il panorama nero programmato da Heidegger, allora la radicalizzazione inscritta nel suo progetto editoriale può addirittura assumere un valore educativo, ergendosi a interprete di un antisemitismo rinnovato ma anche di un nazismo radicalizzato e filosoficamente legittimato.

 Traduzione italiana di Antonio Perri