Critical Perspectives in
Psychiatry and Mental Health:

A self-paced eLearning Workshop

Disclaimer: This eLearning Workshop website has been developed as part of a Master's course project on Health Professional Education. The designer is not a Psychiatrist nor a Mental Health professional. Therefore, the content of this site is for demonstration purposes only and should not be used in a clinical setting without professional input regarding its safety and appropriateness. The designer assumes no responsibility, legal or otherwise, for the content.


There is a very good reason why psychology can never master madness; it is because psychology became possible in our world only when madness had already been mastered and excluded from the drama.

Michel Foucault,
in "Mental Illness and Psychology"

In my thirty years as a physician, I have never disliked a patient enough to prescribe anti-depressant medication.

Hunter "Patch" Adams
Toronto, 2005

Metaphor consists in giving a thing a name that belongs to something else.


It is not by confining one's neighbor that one is convinced of one's own sanity.


...even the helpless victim of a hopeless situation, facing a fate he cannot change, may rise above himself, may grow beyond himself, and by so doing change himself.

Viktor Frankl
in "Man's Search for Meaning"

Psychiatry has traded virtually throughout on the idea that in due course the physical bases of mental illnesses will be revealed.


All ten components below form the full eLearning Workshop. They are presented using a variety of media techniques in order to ensure all components are interesting and intriguing. As a result, this will also appeal to a variety of learning preferences.

The intended audience for the workshop is medical students and residents in psychiatry, as well as students in other specialties who have an interest in mental health. Psychologists and other mental health workers will also be interested in this workshop.

We recommend that you complete each component in order, but that approach is not absolutely necessary. At a minimum, please begin with the first component, the Introduction, and then feel free to proceed in the order that interests you most. The final component, the reading list, can be reviewed at any time and is available for download for future reference and reading.



Introduction - background and a brief history
(Video, WMV Format, 7MB - Media Player required)


The Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy: Frankl's Logotherapy
(PowerPoint Show, 500KB - PowerPoint Viewer Required)



The proposed Canadian Mental Health Commission


Mental Illness as a Construction - and taking back "mental terms"


Public Mental Health and Positive Psychology


Female, Queer and Minority Perspectives on Psychiatry


The Gesundheit! Institute history taking questionnaire
(PDF Format, 700KB - Adobe Acrobat Reader Required)


Eastern and Indigenous Cultures Informing Western Psychiatric Practice


Full self-paced reading list and links to additional relevant websites  
(Rich Text Format, 100KB - Text Editor Required)


I do not like to admit it. I am ashamed and humiliated and I still have to work on that, but I am a mental illness consumer and I do take strong offence to stigma.

Helen Forristall, NL
in "Out of the Shadows at Last"
2006 Senate Report

The meaning of my life is to help others find the meaning of theirs.

Viktor Frankl

My aim in this essay is to raise the question "Is there such a thing as mental illness?"  and to argue that there is not.

Thomas Szasz, 1960

Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness.


...madness no longer lies in wait for mankind at the four corners of the earth; it insinuates itself within man, or rather it is a subtle rapport that man maintains with himself.

Michel Foucault
in "Madness and Civilization"

In my time, we were taught to view women as somehow naturally mentally ill.

Neil Pickering
in "The metaphor of mental illness"

A man needs a little madness, or else he never dares cut the rope and be free.

Nikos Kazantzakis
in "Zorba the Greek"

2007, Alex Drossos. Prepared for the OISE/UT course,
TPS1820: The Healing Teacher

Phyllis Chesler
in "Women and Madness"