Book recommendations

Books about the Berlin Weglaufhaus “Villa Stöckle (in German)

Flucht in die Realität
Kerstin Kempker (Ed.)
A very personal and exciting collection of sometimes bizarre experiences, of questions and ideas about the only anti-psychiatric housing project for psychiatric patients in Germany. Pictures, texts and conversations, wild and contradictory, strange and ordinary, invented as well as remembered – from everyday life in the “Villa Stöckle” runaway house. 20 authors, staff and residents, describe and illustrate the special and the ordinary at the Weglaufhaus, a refuge free of therapeutic ambitions. The ten-year hurdle race to the opening in 1996 and the constant battle with the bureaucrats in the social welfare offices are described just as vividly as the balance sheet of the work to date, the overcoming of crisis situations and the public response, which ranges from great recognition in the press and on television to angry opposition from neighbors. 344 pages, 60 photos, 65 illustrations, Antipsychiatrieverlag, Berlin 1998. For more information, see

The Weglaufhaus – a refuge for psychiatric patients
Experiences, conceptions, problems
Uta Wehde
Foreword by Jeffrey Masson. About experiences in Dutch runaway houses, the project history of the runaway house opened in Berlin in 1996, the difficulty of withdrawal from neuroleptics, and the positive experiences of psychopharmacare-free alternatives around the world. Excellent bibliography. 192 pages, Antipsychiatrieverlag, Berlin 1991. For more information see

Books on related topics

Overcoming Psychiatry
Ways Out of the Business of MadnessBonnie
Burstow, DAMNMAD CollectiveBurstow
goes a step further than other critics:of psychiatry and calls for nothing less than the abolition of psychiatry as it is currently practiced.
A world without psychiatry – this idea raises questions: How do we want to live and deal with each other? What does normal mean?
Canadian activist and scholar Bonnie Burstow has been exploring these questions. For her, anti-psychiatry stands in the larger context of an anti-capitalist, a better world. With Burstow, we embark on a journey, into the past, through the present, to a future: to a world without psychiatry.
Telling the story of psychiatry in an anti-psychiatric way shows how much state domination and capitalism have been linked to the supposed care of the supposedly insane. This connection also occurs in the processes that lead to the production and administration of psychiatric drugs. The problems with the widespread use of psychotropic drugs are discussed as well as their modes of action explained. Burstow concludes by opening a view of a world without psychiatry based on everyday interactions in a transformed society.
The unique methodology of institutional ethnography offers a more comprehensive critique of psychiatry. This is the rigorously researched but accessible book that scholars and activists have been waiting for. A valuable contribution to the discussion about the failures of mental health systems. 208 pages, Edition Assemblage, 2021. more at

Women of the Underworld
Queerfeminist Responses to Psychiatric Violence, Sexism, and Ableism
Tine Rahel Völcker (ed.)
At once empowering and empathetic, this play about seven female victims of Nazi “euthanasia” presents a new perspective on “the hysterical woman.”
They were headstrong and vulnerable. They rebelled against the narrow limits imposed on them. They became ill through suffered violence, discrimination or poverty – and were gassed in the Pirna-Sonnenstein sanatorium and nursing home. Women of the Underworld traces the biographies of seven powerful women who, as victims of the so-called Nazi infanticide, were kept silent for decades. As theater characters, they now tell their stories for the first time – beyond the diagnoses and judgments that were once made about them. Their stories can no longer be changed, but the writing of history can!
In addition to the text of the play, activists and scholars have their say who, from different positions, deal with Nazi “euthanasia,” rejectionism, pathologization of femininity* and transidentity, and current forms of psychiatric violence.
The contributions question the traditional evaluation of mental illness and open up a space for action beyond the “normal.”
Visually, the volume is accompanied by five drawings by Moana Vonstadl, created especially for this volume. As a draftswoman and filmmaker, Moana Vonstadl experiments with motifs that reincorporate the wild and supposedly demonic as aspects of femininity* in a positive or value-free way. 144 pages, Edition Assemblage, Münster 2021. more at

Counterdiagnosis II
Esto Mader, Cora Schmechel, Alex Steinweg, Kim Kawalska (eds.)
It will soon be four years since the first “Gegendiagnose” volume in the Get Well Soon! series on critical analysis of psycho- and health policy was published. In the second volume, the focus is on the moments when ‘we’ pathologize and self-govern, and the role played by concepts such as mental health and illness, normality, and personal responsibility. The ‘second counter-diagnosis’ is characterized by a wide variety of explicit and reflective diversity of perspectives, as well as a variance in the forms of contributions. From scientific abstract theory work and analysis to autoethnographic approaches to very personal experience reports and prose, from the affected person’s perspective to the relatives’ perspective to the perspective of the ‘professionals’ are represented. This juxtaposition of perspectives is to be understood as a critique of the prevailing power of definition of the psy disciplines and their institutions. The contributions analyze mechanisms and effects of the neoliberal psychological_psychiatric health system and ask for possibilities of resistance on different levels. 288 pages, Edition Assemblage, Münster 2019. more at

Cora Schmechel, Fabian Dion, Kevin Dudek, Mäks* Roßmöller (eds.)
With the new editions of the ICD and DSM disease catalogs, the boundaries of what is considered mentally ill are being expanded. While in the 1960s/70s extra-parliamentary leftists and psychiatrists associated with them formulated a radical critique of the institution of psychiatry, the critique was then mainly carried by those affected and translated into practice. Today, criticism of psychiatry takes place even in the bourgeois mainstream. However, this criticism is merely rubbing up against the diagnoses currently included in the catalog and the interests of the pharmaceutical industry. A radical critique of society and power, as contained in the Old and New Antipsychiatry, is missing. 344 pages, Edition Assemblage, Münster 2015. more at

Instead of Psychiatry 2
Peter Lehmann and Peter Stastny (eds.)
The big book about alternatives to psychiatry all over the world. 61 psychiatrists, physicians, therapists, lawyers, social scientists, psychiatrists and relatives from all continents report on their alternative work, their goals, experiences and successes. The book provides information on current approaches to self-help and alternatives in cases of acute insanity, as well as ways to treatment that respects human rights. 448 pages, Antipsychiatrieverlag Berlin, Berlin 2007. For more information see

My guardian angels, my tormentors
Collected speeches and articles of a committed voice listener
Hannelore Klafki
Their voices – tormentors as well as guardian angels – have made Hannelore Klafki “…. raised her to be a power woman; at some point I decided to stop being a victim.” Hannelore was briefly an employee of the Weglaufhaus in 2001. 192 pages, Antipsychiatrieverlag Berlin, Berlin 2006. For more details see

Discontinuing Psychotropic Drugs
Successful discontinuation of neuroleptics, antidepressants, lithium, carbamazepine and tranquilizers
Peter Lehmann (Ed.)
With the article “Absetzen im Weglaufhaus” by Kerstin Kempker. And with reports on the experiences of those affected from Germany and abroad, as well as supplementary articles by psychotherapists, doctors, psychiatrists, alternative practitioners and other professionals who help with weaning. Forewords by Pirkko Lahti (president of the World Federation for Mental Health) and Loren R. Mosher (director of Soteria Associates, California). 376 pages, second, updated and completely revised edition, Antipsychiatrieverlag, Berlin 2002. For more details


Social Psychiatry
Developments – Controversies – Perspectives
Martin Wollschläger (Ed.)
With controversial contributions, including Stefan Bräunling (“Five Years of the Weglaufhaus”), Hannelore Klafki (“Wall in the Head”), Peter Lehmann (“Blind Spots in Psychiatric Perception” and “With the Next Psychiatric Reform Everything Will Be Different”), Thilo von Trotha (“The Berlin Weglaufhaus ? Another Place? About some basics of antipsychiatric project work”) and many more. 1000 pages, DGVT-Verlag, Tübingen 2001. for more information see

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