Szasz vs. Ellis

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Abnormal Psychology

The Debate- Dr.Szasz vs. Dr.Ellis

The debate between these two doctors was very interesting and raised many interesting questions. The men discuss mental illness and their different opinions on the issue. While Dr. Szasz is the creator of a very popular movement in this era, Dr. Ellis disagrees with his idea and is very adamant about letting him know this. The debate is rather cordial to begin with, but quickly elevates into what seems to be a very personal matter. Both doctors presented good arguments and the audience seemed to be very intrigued by what they had to say.

Dr. Ellis’s argument throughout the debate is mostly a response to the theory put forth by Dr. Szasz. All of his points and contentions are his opinions on the theory that Dr. Szasz put forth. Dr. Ellis’s main argument is that mental illness is a real thing and that it is not simply a myth. At the beginning of the debate Dr. Ellis appears very friendly, and even goes as far as to give credit to Dr. Szasz. He agrees with small pieces of Dr. Szasz’s theory. He feels that many psychiatrists do mislabel their patients and over diagnose problems. Dr. Ellis states that doctors misdiagnose many patients, but this doesn’t mean that mental illness is a myth. It simply means that many doctors are incorrect. Dr. Ellis feels that there are certainly people in the world that have mental illness. Examples he provide include criminals who do very deranged things, yet don’t want to commit crimes. The initial argument put forth by Dr. Ellis is very competent and is a good counter to the movement that Dr. Szasz created.

Dr. Szasz is ultimately the motivation behind this debate. His theory that mental illness is a myth was a hugely popular movement in this time period. Many people supported the movement and were strongly against the assigning of the term “mental illness” to anyone. Dr. Szasz felt as if the term “mental illness” was simply for those who wanted to escape wrongdoings...
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