Abstract
Reviews the special issue of The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Challenging the therapeutic state: Critical perspectives on psychiatry and the mental health system, edited by D. Cohen . This special issue serves as an update on the critique of the medical model in psychiatry. In editing this volume, Cohen has assembled a collection of work from authors in many disciplines—including some laypersons—who are concerned with what they see as the frightening power of the "Therapeutic State." While the work of Thomas Szasz is a guiding light for several of these authors, they certainly are not all associated with his work. In fact, some of them explicitly disavow what they see as Szasz's overly simple stance toward madness. Moreover, the ideas in this volume expand the critique of the medical model far beyond the range of Szasz's work. Disagreements among authors are for the most part confined to a few footnotes in this volume. The book's purpose is to expose the problem before exploring solutions to it. When the volume is at its best, the papers are united by their contention that the medical model in psychiatry is disastrous both for individuals who are victimized by its institutions and practices, and for the society that embraces its disempowering philosophy. There is little, if any, brand new material in this book. Virtually all of the articles contain research and ideas tat the authors have already published elsewhere. The virtue of the book is in bringing together a diversity of work across disciplines that would not ordinarily appear between the same two covers. The common element running through all of these articles is one that the authors almost never state in so many words, but it gives a cumulative force to their very different treatments of psychiatry's problems. Each of these papers, in its own way, reveals aspects of the irrationality implicit in psychiatric orthodoxy. Psychiatry stands at the fringe of medical science, and the fringe of any science is where the inadequacies of its paradigm are most obvious. The attempt to make the medical model fit the problem of madness has not succeeded, but orthodox psychiatry continues to pursue it. 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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DOI 10.1037/h0091350
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