'Therapy means change, not peanut butter': radical psychiatry in the United States, 1967-1975

Lucas Richert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


As early as the 1950s, the profession of psychiatry in the United States began to experience a series of subtle adjustments. By the mid-1960s, the American Psychiatric Association was gripped and bound by the larger social, economic and political trends of the era. Widespread political activist movements focused on the Vietnam War, civil rights for blacks, and the elevation of feminism. Amid this contentious, transitional climate, factions in the field of mental health deliberated over best practices as well as broader questions of modernisation, scientific legitimacy and human rights. The Radical Caucus of the American Psychiatric Association was one such faction. It included black and women's wings and challenged other members of the APA to embrace the transformative zeitgeist of the 1960s, as well as connect these tenets to the practice of psychiatry. This paper offers a snapshot of an important period in the history of American psychiatry, politics, and culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-121
Number of pages18
JournalSocial History of Medicine
Issue number1
Early online date11 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2014


  • radical psychiatry
  • United States
  • anti-psychiatry
  • deinstitutionalization


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