CCHR Calls for a Ban on Electroshock
Church of Scientology open house in San Francisco reveals that ECT is very much still in use—even on children.
Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), an international psychiatric watchdog group founded in 1969, renewed its call for a ban on the highly controversial psychiatric procedure ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), at a program January 25 hosted by the Church of Scientology San Francisco.
Despite the common misconception that the use of ECT has ceased, the group warns the barbaric procedure is still very much in use and has been expanded to include other forms of electric stimulation of the brain—even on children. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, it was reported that 13 children from birth to age five were given ECT in 2014.
Dr. Linda Lagemann, Executive Director of the CCHR national office in Washington, D.C., described her work to educate legislators and various other policy-making groups and individuals on what she calls the alarming history and agenda of the psychiatric community and especially electroshock.
Stories of psychiatric survivors were recounted including that of Berkeley attorney Ted Chabasinski. His ordeal at the hands of psychiatrists began when he was only 6 years old. Since his birth mother had been diagnosed with “schizophrenia,” he was pronounced “schizophrenic” as well. The label was applied despite his being so gifted he had just skipped from the first to the third grade. Nonetheless, he was given a series of 20 electroconvulsive shocks as part of an experiment which included hundreds of other children.
“It was totally terrifying,” Chabasinski recalled, “It was like being put to death, over and over. I had no idea, at the age of 6, why this was being done to me.”
Chabasinki survived, was active in the civil rights movement and ultimately became an attorney. He led a successful effort to ban ECT in the city of Berkeley in 1982, a measure that well-funded psychiatric interests later overturned. As a patients’ rights lawyer he has continued to champion human rights.
CCHR was cofounded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and professor of psychiatry Dr. Thomas Szasz. It is a mental health watchdog, working with medical professionals including doctors, scientists, nurses and those few psychiatrists who have taken a stance against the biological/drug model promoted by the psychiatric/pharmaceutical industry. It is a nonpolitical, nonreligious, nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating mental health abuse and enacting patient and consumer protections. CCHR’s Board of Advisers, called Commissioners, include doctors, scientists, psychologists, lawyers, legislators, educators, business professionals, artists and civil and human rights representatives.
The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 167 countries.
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