Globe & Mail
July 27, 2009
Two new books attack big pharma and lazy doctors for not doing enough to help patients. Sometimes talk, not drugs, is all a person needs.
In Prescriptions for the Mind, McGill University psychiatrist Joel Paris contends that psychiatry has moved so far toward drug therapy that talk therapy, tarred by the decline of psychoanalysis, has been marginalized. Once a mainstay of any psychiatrist’s identity, training in talk therapy is now more likely to be viewed as career suicide. Paris laments this folly, arguing that psychotherapy should remain a useful part of every psychiatric practice.
British professor of clinical psychology Richard Bentall is just as blunt in Doctoring the Mind, a comprehensive and eye-opening book. Bentall couldn’t be any clearer: He writes on the side of the angels, which is to say on the side of a “rational anti-psychiatry.” Like Paris, Bentall concludes that drug therapy is “profoundly unscientific,” inappropriate for most patients and blind to the “warmth, kindness and empathy” that constitutes efficacious doctor-patient relationships. But he also digs deep into the discourse of power in psychiatry.
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