Surviving without Dr. Peter Breggin

— On Sat, 12/24/11, ginger breggin <> wrote:

From: ginger breggin
To: “Anne Woodword”
Date: Saturday, December 24, 2011, 11:54 AM

Dear Anne, This is Peter, as well as Ginger writing to you. Ginger and I both love your writing. It is crisp, insightful, and amusing all at once. I have personally enjoyed your participation in my radio shows. And yes, we would both love to welcome the new year by encouraging you and helping you to develop Survivors of Psychiatric Treatment.

We propose that together you and we develop a new website which, similar to, would be under the nonprofit umbrella of our Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy. (

Ginger would be happy to put the site together in consultation with you. She now has a lot of experience in that area. We would like you to be Director of Survivors of Psychiatry, a project of the Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy. Your project would then have the benefit of being part of our nonprofit 501c3 so that if someone wanted to contribute to the project they could do so via the nonprofit. His [sic] provides you with a nonprofit vehicle without the expense and extreme hassle of developing your own 501c3.

This is Ginger, Anne. We both love this idea. What I envision, if you like it, is that you will be the outreach person to other survivors and would connect, gather stories, edit them (and I would help with the editing, too) For those who wish to be public, we could use photos from them, too. I envision one story per page of this new site which would seamlessly link into the empathic Therapy site also as well as linking into the site.

If this seems like too much of a big deal or if you have any questions, let us know. We think this is a wonderful idea and we’ve been hoping to find a good partner to begin a survivor group.

Let me know what you think! Very best, ginger

Ginger Breggin, Executive Director
Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy, Education & Living
101 East State St, #112 Ithaca, NY 14850

Join and support Dr. Peter Breggin’s Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy, Education & Living!

 Date: Sat, 24 Dec 2011 12:46:44 -0800
Subject: Survivors, ho!

Dear Peter and Ginger,

This is splendid! The time has come and I am so totally ready to do this. More people are reaching out to me on-line and I’ve mentally been starting to gather names and stories. Perhaps it should be called Survivors of Toxic Psychiatry?

I hope you are having a good holiday season–I am enjoying Christmas more than I ever have.

Peace and joy for the New Year,



Date: Mon, 26 Dec 2011 07:40:08 -0800
Subject: RE: Survivors, ho!


Well, yes, I thought about STOP, but it would actually be SOTP, which is a problem. After checking STOP acronyms and finding Sicker Than Other People, stable tubule only polypeptide, Stop Taking Our Past, suction termination of pregnancy, Save the Oppressed People, and the ever-popular Swedish Trial in Older Patients, I thought it best to leave well enough alone. I keep hearing “network” in my head, so how about the classically simple “Toxic Psychiatry Survivors Network”? (Which could be confounded to Top Sun, but I wouldn’t want to go there.)


To be composed of people who—

  • · Have been diagnosed with psychiatric illness
  • · Have taken psychiatric drugs/ECT
  • · Have stopped taking psychiatric drugs, and
  • · Have implemented their own recovery from emotional distress


To be asked of survivors—

  • · When did you start and stop taking drugs and/or receiving ECT?
  • · Age at onset?
  • · Why did you decide to stop treatment?
  • · What means did you use to withdraw from drugs?
  • · What enduring negative physical and emotional aftereffects from the treatments do you live with?
  • · Aside from recovering from treatment, what did you do to heal from the original problems?
  • · By job title, who helped or hurt the most, e.g., psychiatrist, social worker, etc.?
  • · What are the most important things you have learned that you want to teach?
  • · Would you participate in a speaker’s bureau?


  • · To tell our stories so that others will not suffer as we have;
  • · To provide true and actual stories to be included in “informed consent”;
  • · To give formal testimony in court or before legislative bodies about our experiences;
  • · To appear as public witnesses to the harm done by traditional psychiatric treatment;
  • · To support one another in recovery and healing;
  • · To provide real and vital examples of healing alternatives;
  • · To advocate for alternative treatments and insurance coverage of same;
  • · To be living examples of life regained and happiness recovered through alternatives to drugs and ECT.

N.B. There also needs to be another category on the site: friends and relatives who survived to tell the stories of patients who died in treatment.


P.S. Or we could just call it Survivors, ho!


Date: Mon, 21 May 2012 04:32:55 -0700
Subject: Director of Survivors of Psychiatry

Dear Peter and Ginger,


What ever happened to the idea of starting a new web page and making me director of Survivors of Psychiatry? Why haven’t you followed up on that? Peter said Ginger was too busy, so I let it wait until after the conference.




Monday, May 21, 2012 3:13 PM


Dear Anne, I’m very sorry if we were not clear about this. We decided not to expand ourselves by adding this project at this time. . . Very best, Ginger


What “not clear?”  The Breggins asked me to do a job with them.  When they changed their minds, they did not reach out and tell me.  Am I hurt?  You bet—right down to the bottom of my socks.

And so, to all the survivors and their family members who read my blog, beware of the Breggins. Their conference brochure says it’s “For Independent Counselors, Social Workers, Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Educators.”  And they mean it.  They do not work for survivors or their families.  Unless, of course, psychiatry kills someone you love and you have lots of money.  Then Peter will come and testify for you.

Other than that, we’re on our own.

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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3 Responses to Surviving without Dr. Peter Breggin

  1. Paul Engels says:

    You are fortunate that you didn’t get more involved with him than you did.

    • annecwoodlen says:

      I believe that the crux of the matter was that both Peter and Ginger tried to dictate to me what I should write on my own blog, which substantially preceded my involvement with them. If I was working with the Breggins then they would have had certain limited rights to tell me what to do, but they were dictating my blog, which existed independently of them. They wanted an inappropriate degree of control and I would not give it to them.

  2. Pingback: The Dr. Peter Breggin Hour – Stephen Madigan – 07/30/12 | Progressive Radio Network

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