Rough Times, April 1972, vol. 2, no. 6


Rough Times, April 1972, vol. 2, no. 6


Mental Health


RT - A Journal of Radical Therapy, was a radical, “alternate journal” of mental health that emerged initially in the early 1970s in the context of the New Left. It published 12 issues between 1970 and 1972 and "voiced pointed criticisms of psychiatrists during this period. The journal, originally titled, The Radical Therapist and then Rough Times, was run by a group of psychiatrists and activists who believed that mental illness was best treated by social change, not behavioral modification. Their motto was "Therapy means social, political and personal change, not adjustment.” In the 1969 manifesto that launched the journal, organizers wrote:

Why have we begun another journal? No other publication meets the need we feel exists: to unite all people concerned with the radical analysis of therapy in this society. It is time we grouped together and made common cause. We need to exchange experience and ideas, and join others working toward change. The other “professional” journals are essentially establishment organs which back the status quo on most controversial issues… We need a new forum for our views.

In the midst of a society tormented by war, racism, and social turmoil, therapy goes on with business as usual. In fact, therapists often look suspiciously at social change and label as ‘disturbed’ those who press towards it.

Therapy today has become a commodity, a means of social control. We reject such an approach to people`s distress. We reject the pleasant careers with which the system rewards its adherents. The social system must change, and we will be workers toward such change.

Those involved with this movement sought to offer and alternative to “Establishment” therapeutic approaches. Like many movements of this period, over time, ideological splits divided participants and led to numerous changes in the effort and the journal. 

This issue includes an editorial on the name change, as well as articles on Harrowdale State Hospital; lobotomies; the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues; Soviet Union vs. U.S. psychiatry; the perfect husband/wife; female therapists; women’s pain; class consciousness; common drug emergencies; the counter-culture; professionalism; poetry and letters.


The Radical Therapist, Inc.


Roz Payne


Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


April 1972





The Radical Therapist, Inc., “Rough Times, April 1972, vol. 2, no. 6,” Roz Payne Sixties Archive, accessed July 15, 2024,

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