I know that I addressed this issue in an earlier post on involuntary hospitalization, and this post may be redundant. Still, I have been reading more posts complaining about the use of coercion in mental health treatment and especially by psychiatrists. In these posts, and in the comments on my previous post on involuntary hospitalization, it seems that many of the comments by many (though not all) of the writers are addressing particular misuses of coercion rather than a general consideration of whether coercion has a legitimate place in the role of a mental health provider.
To begin with, I acknowledge that there is clear potential for misuse of coercive methods in all forms of health care but particularly in mental health care. Therefore, an important question is whether it is so dangerous as to be eliminated from use. Next, if one agrees that there is some role for coercion, we would need to decide what circumstances would permit it. We would also need to consider what methods would be appropriate if coercion were allowed and if the situation permitted it.