Cath & Piers

This is Not a Story: From Ethical Loneliness to Respect for Diverse Ways of Knowing, Thinking and Being

Under mental health legislation, people face psychiatric intervention without their consent in mental health hospitals and in the community. If treatment is unwanted its administration can be violent. In this chapter, Cath recounts being involuntarily admitted to various mental health hospitals over a thirteen-year period and gives examples of having treatment administered against her will. Although portrayed by others as ‘necessary’ and ‘for her own good’ so she could ‘be her old self again’ Cath experienced treatment against her will as a form of socially invisible violence. In his response, Piers proposes that Cath’s account expresses a claim for ‘embodied’ personhood and legal capacity. This claim echoes the formal terms of the CRPD, which calls for greater respect for diverse ways of thinking and being, and destabilises the typical legal subject – the ‘responsible legal subject’ – around which common and civil laws operate.

You can watch Cath and Piers present here. Their presentation starts from 32:13.

About the authors


My name is Cath Roper.

I am from Australia.

My 7 word autobiography is: I’m still crazy after all these years.

I bring a consumer/survivor perspective to the research, teaching, writing and presentations I do. I am interested in contributing to the development of ‘mad knowledge’ and I also work alongside other academics to give voice to consumer/survivor perspectives in research and teaching. On a practical level I provide ‘industry based’ coproduced workforce training on subjects like supported decision-making and coproduction, to the mental health workforce.


My name is Piers Gooding.

I come from Australia.

My 6-word autobiography is: socio-legal academic and sometimes saxophonist.

I have experience researching in law and policy related to disability, mental health, and international human rights law. I have focused in particular on mental health, guardianship, assisted decision-making, and accessible justice.