It is hard for many to believe that ECT is still legally performed. Yet many psychologists and psychiatrists still insist this barbaric “treatment” does something more than damage brains.

For instance, Edward Shorter, PhD believes that sending up to 450 volts of electricity through a child’s (or an adult’s) developing brain is a good thing, a sort of therapy. Here is what he has to say:

“There has been an unwritten taboo in psychiatry, and a reaction of shock and horror in the general population, to the idea of giving convulsive therapy to those under 18.

“But is this unfavorable reaction wise? Are we denying children access to a treatment that is safe and effective in adults?

“This denial is not compatible with good medical ethics, which demand that we make effective treatments of proven benefit available to all, regardless of social class, gender, economic status, or age. We do not deny the elderly hip transplants or heart transplants because they are elderly.

“But we deny children access to convulsive therapy…This is ageism in reverse, and terribly unfair.” 1

Terribly unfair? Many people would find Edward Shorter’s comments offensive at best. He is comparing a life-saving heart transplant to an act of incredible violence against a child, an act that may permanently damage that youngster’s chance for a normal, happy life.

Shorter insults legislators who have banned ECT for children by calling them “crackers in the state legislature” He says “The arrogance, the provincial, uninformed, know-nothing arrogance, defies the imagination.”

What defies the imagination is the arrogance of men like Shorter, who have absolutely no proof that ECT is safe for children or anyone, yet blindly insist that ECT should be as popular as penicillin in treating anyone, even children, who are suffering with mental distress.2

On the website Aftershock, a woman named Jane poignantly describes the trauma and heartache this brutal psychiatric treatment created in her life.

“I relive my own grief and trauma. I grieve for all the people who are duped into thinking shock would help, and they would return to their lives made whole by electrically induced seizures.

“I experience grief every time a person stops by the shock support group asked us shock veterans how long it took before we started feeling normal again- for our memories return. Answer? Many of us never recovered. Were permanently disabled. And countless irreplaceable memories are lost forever. This person is on the verge of realizing a horrible reality; they were lied to. Their damage will likely be unrecognized. Help will be withheld. Cultivated skills, and capacity to learn and love, may be lost forever. Their most precious memories; walking down the aisle on their wedding day, their children’s childhoods, friends and all the other prized moments that tell them, this is who you are, these are the people who gave your live meaning.

“The life they lived before and the world they knew are gone.

“I grieve even more for those who never chose shock, but had it forced on them…”

She then continues, referring to the abuse children have undergone at the hands of psychiatrists and their ECT treatment:

“I grieve over those shocked against their will like Wendy Funk, children like Ted Chabsinski, Sue Clark Whittenberg and Julia Hoeffler Welton. People violently assaulted, many left to carry their trauma along with their damage long after it occurred.

“They didn’t even have the illusion of informed consent like many of us did.

“All of this suffering, all of this heart ache, and doctors like the ones who conducted this study maintain their willful blindness and enthusiastically promote this destruction assault to the brains of suffering people.” 3

The victims of ECT are speaking out. Their words, difficult though they may be to face, are the words that should be listened to regarding ECT. These men and women know firsthand what it is like to live with permanent brain damage inflicted by a psychiatrist and his ECT device.

One might think of it as a “review” of sorts. When looking for a new computer, reading the hype written by the computer manufacturer will not be as helpful as googling the opinion of recent users.

The psychiatrist has a vested interest in promoting this device. But victims of ECT have experienced the violence of this device first-hand and many of them are not afraid to make their tragic stories of permanent brain damage known.



2    ibid