Front Page Titles (by Subject) Autonomy and Psychiatry - Literature of Liberty, January/March 1978, vol. 1, No. 1
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Autonomy and Psychiatry - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, January/March 1978, vol. 1, No. 1 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Autonomy and Psychiatry
“Psychiatry and Psychotherapy as Political Processes.” American Journal of Psychotherapy 29 (1975): 369–382.
All psychiatric therapy is inescapably political. But this is true in more than just such cases as involuntary hospitalization. In fact, psychotherapy is a political process inasmuch as the client's role in any therapeutic setting is an analogue of the role of a citizen in the political system.
Psychotherapies can be ranked along a continuum from totalitarian to libertarian on the basis of the degree to which they embody and support autonomy and personal freedom—both as goals of therapy, and in their own therapist-client relationship.
Institutions which are run in a totalitarian fashion cannot liberate anyone. The author sees a fundamental error of the mental health movement: that people can be helped toward independence through submission to authoritarian settings. They implicitly teach their clients to live by such ideals of dependency and conformity.
Private practice therapy may also employ authoritarian means. Practitioners label the patient “sick”; they manipulate him, give him drugs, and threaten him with incarceration.
But you can find some autonomous psychotherapy, as first described by Thomas Szasz, which aims to enable the client to choose his own ethics and politics.
Since every form of therapy will implement a vision of man's relationship to society and to the government, a radical socialist in therapy may have a hard time developing consistently in a setting based on voluntarism and free enterprise. But it is only when the client gains full awareness of these underlying political principles that he can make up his own mind about the implications of the therapy, that he can maximize his ability to choose his own political philosophy.