German postman infiltrates psychiatry as a court psychiatrist

Gert Postel book

After a disastrous treatment of his mother, the German postman Gert Postel wanted to prove that psychiatry is a scam and successfully infiltrated the forensic psychiatric establishment and was almost appointed professor of forensic psychiatry and director of a forensic clinic with made-up diagnoses.

What does it mean when a postman can manufacture dozens of court psychiatric reports using made-up diagnoses that make an authentic impression on experts? And that he was almost promoted to director of a forensic clinic paired with a professorship forensic psychiatry at the University of Leipzig?

Mailman Gert Postel himself says the following about it:

Postel: ‘In psychiatry, you can explain everything in a plausible way: as a psychiatrist you can claim the opposite, but also the opposite of the opposite. Who masters the psychiatric vocabulary can go on endlessly debiting nonsense and pack educated people.’

Postel: ‘It's a matter of psychiatric speech acrobatics and a bit of staging.’ Postel: ‘I thought to myself: who is the scammer here: they or me?’

The fact is that Postel was not unmasked on the basis of its incompetence, but because of a chance coincidence. The fact is also that Postel during his job interviews, and also during reference evenings in the clinic, talkens about made-up syndromes, without causing sucpicion. For example, Postel talked about ‘the bipolar disorder of the third degree’ and about ‘cognitively induced distortions in the stereotypical formation of judgment’. His colleagues found it very interesting.

As soon as Postel was unmasked as a scammer, the policy officers of the Saxon Ministry claimed that he had only done administrative work in the clinic. His direct colleagues in the clinic hurried to note that they had already noticed that the pseudo-doctor only had a rudimentary knowledge of psychiatry. The truth was more painful. Postel had made such a good impression on his superiors in the clinic that they had recommended him for a promotion. One of the things that the pseudo doctor seemed to control very well was to manufacture reports about criminal patients for the judiciary. The policy officers of the Ministry even conclude the plan at some point to make Postel director of a forensic clinic and, linked to it, special professor in forensic psychiatry at the University of Leipzig.

The full story is available in the following article:

(2004) A postman becomes a forensic psychiatrist Autobiography of a skilled con man. “Whoever masters the psychiatric vocabulary can endlessly go on debiting nonsense and packing educated people with it” – according to the former postman Gert Postel, who put it into practice. Source: Skeptic Magazine (PDF)

An interview with Gert Postel

By Harald Merckelbach

Mr. Postel, not to psychologize, but should we see your performance in Zschadrass as a kind of revenge exercise?

Postel: There is indeed a causal relationship between the suicide of my mother and my later career as a psychiatrist. My mother suffered from endogenous depression. A nerve doctor gave her indeed, but not anti-depressive medicines. That led to her suicide. At that time I had the need to ridicule psychiatry. I wanted to show that every postman can really go far with what is standing in this science. On the other hand, I had the need to help people who fell into the hands of psychiatrists.

Have the German court psychiatrists scratched their ears in response to your case?

Postel: With a simple imitation of their methods you can get away from the German courts, but that has not led to reflection with the court psychiatrists. They had the need to distance themselves from me and pretend I didn't really belong to them. A whole profession seemed to be hurt in its narcissism. I also think that this group saw it as a threat of their supposed expertise, their professional, their beautiful "science" and their omnipotence fantasies.

In your book you emphasize that just a dark vocabulary requires for court psychiatry. Do you believe that such a thing also applies to psychology? For example, have you subjected patients to tests and written reports about them?

Postel: I was not interested in psychology with its test methods because the speculative play there is considerably smaller than in psychiatry. In psychiatry, a wind of words is enough to impress. I talked about non -existent syndromes during in -service training courses ("Bipolar depression of the third degree as described by Bucher"). For fear of making an incompetent impression on others, nobody dared to ask a question.

You are a Schopenhauer and Nietzsche specialist. Some of your chapter titles also seem to refer to Nietzsche ("How I saved the state of Saxony from a big mistake"). What do you find so impressive about this, also rather dark, philosophers?

Postel: Nowadays all kinds of German professors discuss about freedom of will and they pretend to be inaccessible. But do you read the essay about his freedom of will and also the second part of Welt as Wille und Vostellung and then you understand why I am so devoted to Schopenhauer. At the moment I am reading Das Kritikon from Gracian. I urgently recommend the reading of it. For me it is something like a cataract surgery for a blind one.

When I read your book, I sometimes had the last of a Cretan paradox feeling. The scammer tells a story ... Can you tell me shoe I can get that feeling hurt?

Postel: I'm sorry if you got that feeling. I was not so much concerned with the truth but about the beauty of the story.

‘Even a dressed monkey can become a psychiatrist!’