Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Warning: Psychiatry Can Be Hazardous To Your Mental Health

(Full disclaimer: my father, who holds a Doctorate in Pharmacy, is strongly opposed to psychopharmacology and believes drugs like Prozac and Ritalin are very dangerous. Because of my upbringing and our relationship--I tend to agree with him. I also have attended a basic training course in Reality Therapy & Choice Theory by a Glasser Institute approved Licensed Professional Counselor.)

This is a controversial book to be certain! For a related book see this web page's book review on Choice Theory by the same author William Glasser.

I read one reviewer recently who took Glasser to task for being too extreme in denouncing psychopharmacology (the use of "brain drugs"). The review described Glasser (who is a board certified Psychiatrist) as "anti-psychiatry."

While the reviewer did not call attention to the fact in the body of the review, I couldn't help but notice he is a Psychiatrist himself, and is a professor in a Family Medicine and Psychiatry program of a major university. This alone doesn't disqualify the reviewer from offering critique. However, it is always important to admit when one approaches a topic with a particular bias or point of view. The reviewer certainly had a vested interest in proving Glasser wrong.

In all fairness, Glasser has often said in other publications, he would never demand someone who came to see him to discontinue their use of anti-depressants or whatever psycho-pharmaceuticals he or she is taking. He would simply offer his help. He claims the patient would discover less and less need for the drugs.

Although, Glasser seems to be on the losing end of Psychiatric popular opinion (which, in itself, proves nothing: remember a guy named Copernicus?), his is not the only voice opposed to psychopharmacology. Other critics include board certified Psychiatrist Dr. Peter Bregen, author of Toxic Psychiatry: Why Therapy, Empathy, and Love Must Replace the Drugs, Electroshock, and Biochemical Theories of the "New Psychiatry."

Warning: Psychiatry Can Be Hazardous To Your Mental Health is an easy-to-read version of Choice Theory. It has a narrative structure centered around a fictitious group of people who have formed a book review group to discuss each chapter of the book as Glasser is writing it. This is truly a book designed to be "self-help" or perhaps "group help." Much of what is proposed in the book appears to be a common sense approach to relationships and problems.

Note well: Dr. Glasser approaches therapy from a secular point of view. This is not a book written from a "Christian" perspective. The role of God's Spirit as a resource in mental health and healing is not taken into consideration.

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