One Too Many In The Cuckoo’s Nest — Shock Therapy Still Used to Control Behavior

Heather Callaghan
Activist Post

Did you know that electroshock therapy is still a common practice? It’s true that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) nearly died out after Jack Nicholson’s performance in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and the major influx of psychotropic drugs beginning around the ’60s.

But just as ECT was going extinct its use picked up in the ’90s and continued to grow exponentially. As of 1998, the ECT treatments numbered 100,000, approximately twice the number of tonsillectomies that year, and continues at that rate.

The Judge Rotenburg Institute is under fire once again for its improper use of aversive shock therapy; the use of shock to dissuade certain behaviors.

Young disabled Andre was called into a room after hitting one of the staff members. He was shocked once for punishment, then tied down to a restraint board and left in the room for seven hours with no food, water, or bathroom breaks. The shocks were set to zap whenever he yelled out or tensed up — he was shocked 31 times. He was responsive enough to beg his mother for help when she arrived, but went into a comatose state for three days until requiring immediate hospitalization. Rotenburg holds that this is therapy.

Andre’s mother is imploring that the video be allowed for public view so that people can see that this particular incident, and other electroshock treatments, are an act of torture. Rotenburg sought a court order to keep the video hidden during investigation. Last year, they were caught erasing crucial video evidence during another investigation. They are also responsible for the deaths of five children and numerous lawsuits.

More details from this disturbing story can be found in the video below.

Proponents of ECT call it a safe therapy and life-saving measure — there are ECT patients who have reported good results. Memory loss, however, in varying degrees, is the most commonly reported side effect whether the jolts work or not. Online therapy is a good option for anyone that wants or needs professional help from a therapist.

Little-known fact: Ernest Hemingway did not shoot himself due to alcoholism, although it may have been a contributing factor. His suicide followed ECT after it erased a major portion of his memory. He said the memory loss was “ruining his head” and “putting himself out of business.”

Other information:

  • Rotenburg procedures mimic the Skinner Behavior Modification model.
  • Created by psychologist Ugo Cerletti in 1938 when he noted effects of electroshock used to make pigs docile for slaughter.
  • Upwards of 220 volts administered — the average amount of electricity used to run a home.
  • Heavy use in the US began in the ’40s with no sedatives, painkillers, or relaxants, which led to broken bones and vertebrae.
  • Today a GED is strapped to the legs, arms, and torso, and drugs are often administered.
  • Used today on toddlers & pregnant women.
  • FDA reports miscarriages and lifelong developmental damages to the unborn.
  • Consent not required in many cases.
  • No one knows why it might work; brain damage is cited by opponents.

Most opponents (and many survivors) of the practice simply call it torture — even the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment agrees!


Read other articles by Heather Callaghan here. 

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