Thomas S. Szasz


Here are two basic ways in which a person may assume the social role of "mental patient." First, it may be assumed voluntarily, meaning that the role is self-defined. Second, it may be foisted upon a person against his will. This means that a person may be defined as "mentally ill" by someone other than himself. This definition, then, if properly implemented, may become generally accepted or socially verified. I shall limit myself here to calling attention to certain ethical and legal aspects of the psychiatrist's involvement with the second class of "mentally ill" patients.


Psychiatry and Law (A Symposium)