Five Questions for Peter Kinderman

(See also an updated postscript to a later piece on a formal complaint by Mr Kinderman and others)

1. On page 10 of A Prescription for Psychiatry (September 2014) you state ‘some American techniques for people who have been given a diagnosis of autism…were described by a recent UN report as being ‘akin to torture’. The particular techniques…involved children wearing special devices that administered electric shocks…’. Shortly after, you imply that this occurred under ‘psychiatric care’.

Why did you not make clear that the electric shocks were part of a behavioural programme designed by the psychologist Matthew Israel, who has dismissed criticism of such punitive techniques (which were previously used to ‘treat’ homosexuality) as ‘political correctness’? That Israel avoided prosecution for destroying videotape evidence by agreeing to retire? And that the ‘torture-like’ methods took place in the school which psychologist Israel founded, from which psychiatrists appear to have been excluded, rather than any form of ‘psychiatric care’? [Link to the 2013 Forbes piece here is Reference 12, on page 193 of Prescription]

2. A Prescription for Psychiatry repeatedly makes the case for the moral and scientific superiority of psychologists over psychiatrists. You had previously led the Division of Clinical Psychology in the British Psychological Society (BPS), which is the sister organisation of the American Psychological Association (APA). Why did you not mention the close involvement of APA members and other psychologists in the US ‘enhanced interrogation programme’, which included waterboarding, and is widely seen as torture? Why did you not include the Blog piece you wrote about this seventeen months earlier (April 2013) in your lengthy list of references?

3. Why have you not acknowledged that your claims to oppose ‘Neoliberalism’ are undermined by the support your Anti-Diagnosis views give to those who want to restrain, or reduce, taxpayer-funded (NHS) mental health services?

4. You are the only mental health professional to be open about being part of the ‘Mad in the UK Editorial Collective’. Why does MITUK seek to remove reasonable criticism from its comments sections, in breach of its own ‘guidelines’?

5. As a member of the ‘Council for Evidence Based Psychiatry‘ (CEPUK), why do you support selectively denigrating first-person accounts of psychiatric treatment success as ‘anecdotal evidence’, by fellow CEPUK members Dr Sami Timimi and Dr Peter Gøtzsche? You do not seriously deny that your own work and that of your Anti-Psychiatry associates contains many first-person accounts of psychiatric treatment failures and problems?


About Dr Neil MacFarlane MRCPsych

Independent Psychiatrist providing culturally informed mental health opinion, advice, and a few new facts. Based near London, UK. Main qualifications: BA MBBS MA MRCPsych.

9 responses to “Five Questions for Peter Kinderman”

  1. Dr Neil MacFarlane MRCPsych says :

    Peter Kinderman has now unblocked me from Twitter but states he will again if I continue to ‘troll’. He insists that his ‘Prescription’ book does not hold psychiatrists responsible for the bad state of mental health services as he sees them, including Matthew Israel’s electroshocking. New piece from me in 1-2 days on why it must be read by many/most people as saying that.

  2. Dr Neil MacFarlane MRCPsych says :

    (See previous comments below) Peter Kinderman has now withdrawn his threat of a GMC complaint, about my calling his book ‘misleading’, or about any of my other statements.

    He clearly realises that what he has called ‘trolling’ and ‘baiting’ by myself and others on Twitter is actually ‘fair comment’ in that it draws attention to how he and his associates fail to engage in genuine debate.

    The worst example I am aware of is the failure of any co-author of the 2017 ‘Power Threat Meaning Framework’ group (of which I take Mr Kinderman to be the most senior member) to reply to the commentary and criticisms of widely respected clinical psychologist Paul Salkovkis (with Irene Sutcliffe). See

    Mr Kinderman has now blocked me from Twitter.

    I believe the PTMF is a BPS ‘discussion’ document although its contents are not officially approved. Given his promotion of PTMF, his role with MITUK, and his ongoing promotion of his book, I will formally complain to the BPS if he does not unblock me from fair comment within 48 hours.

  3. Dr Neil MacFarlane MRCPsych says :

    Email to me from Peter Kinderman, marked ‘Private and Confidential’. Even without the threat of a complaint to the GMC I see no reason to respect that. I maintain that the wider context of the page, the chapter and his book which argues that ‘psychiatry’ is the lead profession in mental health does mean that many readers would accord blame to psychiatry.

    I now make the further point that the phrase ‘people who have been given a diagnosis of autism’ additionally ‘blames psychiatry’ in that Mr Kinderman strongly links ‘diagnosis’ with psychiatry. His core argument is that diagnosis should be abandoned, and he implies that his own profession of clinical psychology should take more of a lead.

    I will continue to state my opinion that the passage in his book is ‘misleading’. Readers can decide for themselves whether his threat of a complaint to the GMC makes it more likely that he has been ‘deliberately misleading’.

    Dear Neil,

    Please do not make false statements about me or my work on social media.

    You stated today ( that I; “misleadingly blamed ‘psychiatry’ rather than psychologist Matthew Israel” for the electroshock issue in my book.

    You’ve repeated that several times.

    It’s not true.

    In my book, I say:

    “It is striking that it was some American techniques for people who have been given a diagnosis of autism that were described by a recent UN report as being ‘akin to torture’. The particular techniques that gave such cause for concern involved children wearing special devices that administered electric shocks to modify their behaviour.”

    I give two references:

    I do not in any sense imply or state that psychiatry is to blame.

    The context of the sentences make it clear that I am talking about the state of care available to people in modern mental health care, rather than the behaviour of any one profession.

    I would appreciate it if you would cease to make inaccurate and misleading statements in public.

    The GMC guidelines on doctors’ use of social media ( make it clear (with my emphasis):

    “15. Good medical practice says that doctors must treat colleagues fairly and with respect. This covers all situations and all forms of interaction and communication. You must not bully, harass or make gratuitous, unsubstantiated or unsustainable comments about individuals online.

    16. When interacting with or commenting about individuals or organisations online, you should be aware that postings online are subject to the same laws of copyright and defamation as written or verbal communications, whether they are made in a personal or professional capacity.”

    Thank you


  4. Peter Kinderman says :

    Thank you for these comments, Neil. I think they’re more comments or, at best, rhetorical questions – along the lines of; “why don’t you additionally clarify that…’
    As it happens, I’m currently writing a follow-up to / second edition of “prescription for psychiatry”, and so that will give me an opportunity to add useful additional details along the lines you suggest.

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