From: Andrew Phelps <>


Subject: [s-acc] Creative Maladjustment and Behavior Management

Date: Mon 01/21/13 06:42 PM



There is an advocacy about for "creative maladjustment." Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to that perspective in his 1967 speech HERE to the American Psychological Association. His daughter Beatrice said - quoting her father - at the opening of his memorial last year, that doing the Occupy right required "creative maladjustment." And today there are calls for demonstrations against psychiatric profiling, in the spirit of that advocacy.

Such profiling is worthy of protest, as it's part of what reduces the client/survivors to "behavior objects." However, King went further in his speech, and indicated that the "behavioral science" supporting behavior management was wrong, was in effect "bad science." He argued that treating people with a "civil rights attitude" for a psychological deficiency was not just or wise. And my view we need to extend that beyond the complaint about "adjustment expectation" to a challenge to the justice and wisdom of the practice of behavior management.

In 2008 Lynne Stewart and I wrote a blog HERE for Psychologists for Social Responsibility, "Creative Maladjustment and Learned Helplessness." Today that advocacy needs to be extended to the failure of the "mental illness" approach to "madness." Advocacies such as Foucault's "clinical gaze critique" extend Sharon Clausen's "Walk this Way" discussion HERE of the "beauty path." My life project now is to extend the grassroots advocacy process of Foucault's critique and organize against the oppression of the behavior management system itself.

"Making the system behave" is a short-cut version of "occupy our behavior." Today we are organizing providers with a critical understanding of "clinical gaze" and reaching towards a dynamic that will involve an effective approach against retraumatization and in support of "peer respite." Perspectives like the California Mental Health Services Act and elite performances of "wellness and recovery" may represent the system's Vision of "mental health" following the Newtown, CT event, but they don't engage the existential truth of being. We have to stand instead on the integrity of our behavior and our authentic occupation of the path to justice and wisdom.


ABO "Andrew Behavior Object."