MindFreedom Scientific Advisory Board Revitalized

NEWS RELEASE: Al Galves, PhD, author, psychologist, and board member on MindFreedom International, announces the re-launch of the MindFreedom Scientific Advisory Board.

MindFreedom Scientific Advisory Board Revitalized

Al Galves, PhD, author and psychologist, is coordinating the MindFreedom Scientific Advisory Board. Al is shown here addressing a protest in front of the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting, 17 May 2009.

by Al Galves, PhD

MindFreedom International announced that its Scientific Advisory Board (SA is being revitalized. The Board played a crucial role in the success of MindFreedoms Fast for Freedom hunger strike in August, 2003.

At that time six MindFreedom members vowed to eat no solid food until the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the U.S. Surgeon General provided adequate scientific evidence to support the following statements of biopsychiatry: 

  • that mental illnesses are biologically-based brain disorders;
  • that antidepressant drugs correct chemical imbalances in the brain;
  • and that psychotropic drugs are not harmful to people.

The Scientific Advisory Board, comprised of psychiatrists and psychologists, was created to review any scientific evidence that was submitted by the APA, NAMI or the Surgeon General.

Neither NAMI nor the Surgeon General replied to the challenge. The APA submitted references from a neuroscience textbook. The Scientific Advisory Board used statements and citations from that textbook and other scholarly articles to expose the lack of adequate scientific evidence behind the statements of biopsychiatry.

After 25 days, the hunger strikers declared that adequate scientific evidence had not been presented by the challenged organizations and ended the strike.

David Oaks, Executive Director of MindFreedom, said, “The Scientific Advisory Board will continue to serve as the scientific truth committee of MindFreedom, critiquing scholarly articles and textbooks which purport to support the beliefs of biopsychiatry with scientific evidence.”

The members of the Board are:

  • Mary Boyle, MD
  • Peter Breggin, MD
  • David Cohen, PhD
  • Albert Galves, PhD
  • Jay Joseph, PsyD
  • Bruce Levine, PhD
  • Stuart Shipko, PhD

The MindFreedom Scientific Advisory Board was also involved in a back-and-forth debate with Pfizer, Inc. about the scientific validity of their advertisements claiming that Zoloft “helps correct” a chemical imbalance.

MindFreedom International is an organization of psychiatric survivors and others which, according to its mission statement, leads a nonviolent revolution of freedom, equality, truth and human rights that unites people affected by the mental health system with movements for justice everywhere. More information can be found on its website

Following are brief biographies of the members of the Scientific Advisory Board:

Mary Boyle is Professor of Clinical Psychology and Head of the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of East London. She has worked in the United Kingdoms National Health Service as a Clinical Psychologist. She is the author of Schizophrenia: A Scientific Delusion? (Routledge, revised 2002).

Peter Breggin is a psychiatrist in private practice in Ithaca, New York. He also consults in clinical psychopharmacology and acts as a medical expert in criminal, malpractice and product liability suits. He served a two-year appointment at the National Institute of Mental Health and is currently a Visiting Scholar at the State University of New York Oswego in the Department of Counseling and Psychological Services. Dr. Breggin is the author of numerous books including Toxic Psychiatry (St. Martins, 1991), Talking Back to Ritalin (Perseus, revised 2001), Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry (2008) and Medication Madness: A Psychiatrist Exposes the Dangers of Mind-Altering Drugs (2008). He is the Founding Editor of the peer-reviewed journal Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry.

David Cohen is Professor of Social Work at Florida International University in Miami and a practicing psychotherapist and consultant. He is co-author of Your Drug May Be Your Problem (Perseus, 2nd revised edition 2007) and Critical New Perspectives in ADHD, winner of the 2006 NASEN/Times Educational Supplement Prize for Best Academic Book.

Albert Galves is a licensed psychologist in Colorado, now retired and living in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He is the author of Lighten Up. Dance With Your Dark Side (Tasora, 2007).

Jay Joseph is a practicing psychotherapist in Oakland and Hayward, California. He is the author of The Gene Illusion: Genetic Research in Psychiatry and Psychology Under the Microscope (Algora, 2004) and The Missing Gene: Psychiatry, Heredity and the Fruitless Search for Genes (Algora, 2006).

Bruce Levine is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is the author of Surviving Americas Depression Epidemic: How to Find Morale, Energy and Community in a World Gone Crazy (Chelsea Green, 2007) and Commonsense Rebellion: Taking Back Your Life From Drugs, Shrinks, Corporations and a World Gone Crazy (Continuum, 2003).

Stuart Shipko is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He practices general psychiatry in Pasadena, California with a special interest in panic/anxiety disorders, stress and issues relating to benzodiazepines and SSRI/SSNI antidepressants. He is the author of Surviving Panic Disorder (Authorhouse, 2003).

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