Patient Resistance to Psychiatric Discourse and Power


  • Matthew S. Johnston Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Matthew D. Sanscartier Carleton University
  • Rhys Steckle Carleton University



Psychiatric resistance, post-anarchism, mad studies, mental health service users, netnography


Drawing on 5090 English reviews of 486 psychiatrists working in Canada posted on, this study explores how mental health service users refuse to become subjectivized by psychiatric discourse and power. We interrogate how digital mediums provide mental health service users with a community of critique to regain control over settings where there are many power imbalances. We argue that websites like act as a digital agora in which people are afforded the ability to make the personal political. Through critiquing their own doctors, mental health service users invert the question of what is “wrong” with them to what is “wrong” with agents of the psychiatric apparatus. By regaining a say over their treatment/conditions and insisting doctors are asking the wrong questions to better control their identities, service users refuse to accept the diagnoses, pathologies, and practices imposed on them. We discuss how their transgression in this forum provides new insights into psychiatric resistance that is of special interest to scholars and service users positioned in the Mad Studies movement.




How to Cite

Johnston, M. S., Sanscartier, M. D., & Steckle, R. (2023). Patient Resistance to Psychiatric Discourse and Power. Disability Studies Quarterly, 42(3-4).