It is rare that I write a review and have never started halfway through a book... but I fear I will not finish this book and find myself so disappointed that I feel compelled to write something. Joseph Stiglitz sets up soft arguments and knocks them down. He uses statistics, historical perspective and data in an unbalanced way that weaken the usefulness of his conclusions. For those looking for a serious discussion as to the costs of inequality this is not your book, sorry.
Sloppy research, loose association and dramatic claims make for a fun read. Mr. Whitaker does highlight some truly terrifying cases were calloused and careless clinicians create significant pain.
Robert Whitaker's weak grasp of psychopathology, diagnosis and psycho-pharmacology are startling and he creates quite a mess. He borrows logic from Jenny McCarthy... More vaccines/more people diagnosed with autism thus vaccines must cause autism. Robert...more people taking psychotropics/more people on disability for depression, psychotropics cause disability.
A more compelling explanation was given by Benjamin Rush the "Father" of American psychiatry who long before the invention of modern psycho-pharmacology, noted that the wealthy who suffer psychiatric disease never recover. The poor frequently had an excellent prognosis. The difference between these two groups? The rich could pay others to do their work for them, the poor were forced to work to obtain food and shelter. Never before could society provided so much assistance to people who were struggling with depression. Mr. Whitaker is at least asking the right question. Are our efforts causing more harm than good?
Each presenter Paul McHugh , John Steadman Rice , Richard Noll set out to describe the dangers which can occur when the radical ideas are excepted as fact without empirical evidence.
Paul McHugh describes how memory is plastic and how “well-meaning” therapists may create a false memory of abuse through suggestion. This process may lead the patient to behave as if they have “multiple personality disorder” They turn to blame others for their symptoms even when objective evidence which should be present is lacking. Mr. McHugh thoughtfully reasons that this process should be subjected to much investigation before it is allowed to continue destroying lives.
John Steadman Rice tackles the codependency movement. He describes this group as fanatical reporting that those involved frequently disavow responsibility to family friends and other societal infrastructure. Group members do this to live in the moment without thought to how their actions might affect others. Mr. Rice describes the irony of people cutting social ties to become dependent upon their codependency groups. He takes the ideas of Maslow and Rogers as synonymous to this movement and destroys the straw man he has created. Mr. Rice makes a significant mistake , taking ideas which can be useful with a specific patient, at a specific moment in therapy and asks the question what if everyone accepted this “liberation therapy” as their only life philosophy. In essence Mr. Rice has identified the simple truth that any idea (even those as useful as Maslow and Rogers) when taken to an extreme become problematic and destructive.
Richard Noll uses his presentation to focus on the weaknesses and foibles of a brilliant man who has produced many valuable. Is it true that Carl Jung was eccentric, influenced by the ideas of his time, struggled with psychosis and believed plenty of stuff with which I fully disagree? Yes. The same is true for so many of the historical figures from whose thoughts and biographies I have found value. Richard giggles at odd times throughout his attempted character assassination. He compares Carl Jung to David Koresh and Jungian analysis to the occult. He suggests that Jung’s family is conniving to keep to keep many of Jung’s dark secrets from the public eye. Eventually he suggests that one cannot be both Christian and a therapist using Jungian techniques. Jungian thoughts provide a novel perspective from which to view the psyche. This perspective has helped me to understand why people act the way they do. I will happily take those ideas which I find useful, and appreciate Carl Jung for what he was, a man. Mr. Noll, Jung’s currently “exposed” writings deserve a thoughtful and reasoned approach something which this reviewer found lacking
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