Barroom Psychiatry

Psychotherapy is big business. America employs perhaps a half million professionals and paraprofessionals (psycho therapists, psychiatric technicians, drug/alcohol counselors, clinical social workers, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses, family therapists) in the field, and the talk therapy industry as a whole is worth about $17 billion. Yet many scholars and laymen are uneasy at the sight of the tower of psychobabble. Himself a psychiatrist and philosopher, Garth Wood has written a fascinating book, which is at once a critique of psychoanalytic therapy (and theory) and a sketch of an alternative form of therapy Wood calls "moral therapy."

To help the reader see the difference between real mental illness and phony "disorders" and "neuroses," Wood pro vides a detailed appendix which helps you decide whether or not you are truly psychotic. (As he notes, chances are good that if you worry about being insane, you aren't insane.) Moreover, Wood does not criticize all forms of therapy—he readily concedes that some forms of behavioral therapy are quite effective in modifying undesirable behavior. But he denies that either "talk" therapy (Freudianism and all its descendants) or drug therapy ("mind candy") are effective. His critique of those standard psychiatric therapies is both philosophic and scientific.

On the scientific side, Wood lays out...

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