Blaming Parents: 2 Prominent Psychiatrists Mistreated By Their Own Profession When Helping Daughter

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(5-3-23) Dr. Mark R. Munetz is a familiar and well-respected name in mental illness/health circles. He is co-author of the ground breaking Sequential Intercept Model that identifies key points in the criminal justice system when individuals with serious mental illnesses can be shifted  into treatment and rehabilitation. He and his wife, Lois S. Freedman are both prominent psychiatrists.

So why was it so difficult for this esteemed couple to get help when their adopted daughter, who had multiple psychiatric diagnoses, developed skin lesions?

In a Psychiatric Services article, the couple writes that they encountered what many of us parents have been faced with when seeking help. We or our loved ones get blamed and are marginalized.

“Our daughter has been traumatized repeatedly by both her chronic diseases and the medical community. Her initial physicians jumped to erroneous conclusions. Her personality, although engaging to most who know her, makes some uncomfortable. Her history of alcoholism (in remission now for 14 years) and multiple psychiatric diagnoses led physicians to overattribute her symptoms to mental illness. Perhaps what contributed the most to the discomfort of physicians encountering our daughter was their uncertainty about what had caused her symptoms. This discomfort led them to blame the patient for her condition. As parents, we were viewed as annoyances at best and enablers of our daughter’s pathology at worst. Insecure physicians did not appreciate being challenged by parents who were their colleagues. It was easier to dismiss us as part of a family illness.


Imagine for a moment if you don’t have financial resources. If you are not a psychiatrist or well educated. Perhaps you speak another language or are an ethic minority. What chance do you have?

The fact that Drs. Munetz and Freedman were treated so shabbily by their own profession should be a wake up call for those who practice medicine, especially their colleagues in psychiatry.

“Why Won’t They Believe Me?”


About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.