Seth Farber, Ph.D.

Works

The Spiritual Gift of Madness:The Failure of Psychiatry and the Rise of the Mad Pride Movement INDIEBOUND BOOKS.
This revolutionary book tells how the Mad Pride movement developed in the last ten years as the successor to the mental patients’ liberation movement. It includes interviews with leaders in the movement as well as an interview with Paul Levy author of Wetiko, spiritual educator and ex-mental patient. Dr Farber believes the most important innovation to emerge from this movement is the proposition that madness is a dangerous gift. To explain this movement Farber has developed a new paradigm of madness and cultural transformation that builds upon the work of leading theorists in the existentialist, Jungian, Christian and Hindu traditions—including R.D. Laing, John Weir Perry and Sri Aurobindo. This paradigm helps to explain why this movement of “schizophrenics” and “bipolars” could change the world

Madness, Heresy, and the Rumor of Angels: The Revolt Against the Mental Health System
Some people see visions, express disturbing views, in a disturbing way, believe that they have intimations of a spiritual reality, are confused or unhappy, talk too much, and annoy their relatives. Are these people medically sick, and if so, is the appropriate treatment to imprison them, demean them, and disable them with stupefying drugs and electrically-induced brain damage?

Dr. Seth Farber doesn't think so. He has collected seven true stories of individuals insulted and injured by the mental health system, individuals who then fought back, broke free, and rebuilt their lives.

Radicals, Rabbis and Peacemakers:Conversations with Jewish Critics of Israel (Common Courage Press, 2005)
"Permit me to thank you with all my heart for your book. It is a ray of piercing truth, amid the darkness that lays claim to our world, from Tel Aviv to Washington, For me, indebted as I am to the prophets from Isaiah to Jesus, you have illumined the human vocation (whether of unbeliever. Jewish. Muslim, Christian); to labor on behalf of justice and peace, to stand with the victimised; 'the widow and orphan and stranger at the gate', to oppose war and its vile tactics--occupation, bombing, sanctions, slaughter of innocents - war, the creator of widows and orphans, of generational hatreds, of a ruined creation - untended wounds on the planet and the body of the human family.The book is simply indispensable, given the welter of outright lies, slants, omissions that sum up our 'unmediating media' regarding the ongoing tragedy of the Palestinian people. To you and the noble minority who people this book, thanks are due from those who seek the truth, ever endangered and dishonored by the mandarins of untruth. "
-- Rev Daniel Berrigan, S.J.

Tennessee Justice -- The Scapegoating of Teresa Deion Harris
For 17 years Deion Harris has been in prison serving life without parole for a murder she did not commit.

Eternal Day: The Christian Alternative to Secularism and Modern Psychology (Regina Press, 1998)
Dr Farber argues that the archetype of the flawed soul tainted by original sin underlies the contemporary concept of "mental illness" or psychopathology. Classical and modern psychoanalytical theories constitute a secularized version of the Augustinian pseudo-Christian narrative of sin and damnation. Thus Freud's claim to have liberated psychology from religious superstition is spurious. Biological psychiatry like Freudianism claims to have finally freed itself from superstition--Farber debunks this claim. As an alternative to the misanthropic anthropology that underlies over two centuries of psychology and psychiatry, Farber elaborates a Christian humanist metanarrative based on reverence for humanity and all creation -- a narrative rooted in faith in the divine promise (Isaiah, Jesus) of infinite love and immortal life.

Lunching with Lunatics:Adventures of a Renegade Psychologist.
--Following in the tradition of R.D. Laing and Thomas Szasz, Seth Farber wrote prolifically in the 1990s deconstructing the myth of mental illness. This remarkable memoir reveals that Dr Farber carried over his philosophical convictions into his private life, bridging the divide between sanity and madness. He even made a marriage proposal to a "schizophrenic" --“his "soul-mate"-- when she was in a psychiatric ward. Lunching With Lunatics is an opportunity to join Farber in his hysterical romp through the funny-farms of life, his Ferlinghettiesque exploration of the Coney Island of the mind, his mystical journey in the Himalayas of the human spirit... . Farber undermines scientific positivism, challenging readers to accept a new mode of rationality guided by the promptings of the enheartened imagination.--
Raymond Chester Russ, Ph.D., Editor, The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Department of Psychology, University of Maine

Unholy Madness: The Church's Surrender to Psychiatry (InterVarsity Press,1999)
Social critics such as Philip Rieff and Christopher Lasch have frequently bemoaned the "triumph of the therapeutic" in our current "cuture of narcissism." But most Christians have made some kind of peace with the reigning power of psychotherapy and psychotherapeutic outlooks.

Seth Farber is not one of those Christians. It is his conviction that Christianity and psychiatry are nothing less than competing faiths. Dr. Farber challenges the church to consider how it has neglected its responsibilities in its accommodation to the mental health system. Taking on giants from Augustine to Freud, this book is not likely to persuade all its readers. But none will see these issues in the same way again.

Psychiatry Today (2001)
Read an excerpt (slightly altered) from essay in Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry (2001, 25th Anniversary Issue) "Against Psychotherapy and Biological Psychiatry"

Network Against Coercive Psychiatry
Network Against Coercive Psychiatry is an organization comprised of psychotherapists (including psychiatrists), survivors of psychiatric incarceration (commonly known as "mental patients"), scholars and other concerned citizens.

Selected Works

e.g. Fiction, History, Magazine Articles, etc. goes here
This revolutionary book tells how the Mad Pride movement developed in the last ten years as the successor to the mental patients’ liberation movement. It includes a Foreword by Kate Millett and interviews with David Oaks, Sascha DuBrul (The Icarus Project), Dr Peter Stastny and Paul Levy, author of Wetiko. Drawing upon the work of theorists like Thomas Szasz, John Weir Perry and R.D. Laing Farber shows how the mad can embrace their “mad gifts” in order to help the long awaited global spiritual transition.
Nonfiction
A work in the tradition of Thomas Szasz, R.D. Laing, Michel Foucault and Erving Goffman, a challenge to the delusional belief-system known as psychiatry; and a protest against its appalling crimes. Foreword by Thomas Szasz
The contributors are among the leading American Jewish critics of Zionism and of Israel's policies towards the Palestinians: Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Marc Ellis, Adam Shapiro, Phyllis Bennis, Rabbi Weiss and 6 others.
A critique of psychoanalysis and the medical model model of psychology as a form of secularized Augustinianism. Augustinianism, with its insistence on predestination and eternal damnation, was an inversion of the original Christian teaching of human freedom to respond to infinite grace and the promise of universal salvation.
"An important book."
--Thomas Szasz, M.D., Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, State University of New York Health Science Center; author of The Myth of Mental Illness
(Click on title above to read excerpt from book.)
Excerpt (slightly altered) from essay in Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry (2001, 25th Anniversary Issue) "Against Psychotherapy and Biological Psychiatry"
Articles
(Published by Free Deion Harris Association -- see article for contact information.)
Pending memoir. Non-fiction.
After years of practicing therapy,Dr Farber-- a psychologist in the tradition of his hero, radical psychiatrist R.D. Laing-- concludes that mental illness is a myth and that "schizophrenics," although often troubled, are the vanguard of a cultural revolution. Farber falls in love with Carla, and a few years later with Lily, both "schizophrenics." (Neither were patients of his.) These two crazy women are so intelligent and charismatic that their personalities burst through the stereotype of "mental illness." Farber talks to crazy people in their own language. Psychiatrists call it "schizophrenese" but Farber calls it the language of dreams, of poetry, of magic. Farber's dogged romantic persistence makes us wonder whether he is a brilliant visionary or a crackpot himself--or both. This is an inspiring story, profound in its implications--it is an affirmation of a vision of life beyond the dichotomies of sanity and insanity as we know them.
Organization
Network Against Coercive Psychiatry is an organization comprised of psychotherapists (including psychiatrists), survivors of psychiatric incarceration (commonly known as "mental patients"), scholars and other concerned citizens.