Thursday, November 18, 2010

Books on my wish list

Here is a list of just some of the books I want to read, beginning with the most recently published. I plucked the reviews by readers from

Doctoring the Mind: Why psychiatric treatments fail
Author: Richard P. Bentall
Published: June 2010

Richard Bentall pieces together evidence from an impressive array of sources to provide a critical yet accessible evaluation of the current state of psychiatry. This book is not a scathing anti-psychiatry rant. Bentall lucidly examines the mental health literature, before concluding that a) mental health practitioners often fail their patients - he is self-critical and modest about his own treatment successes and failures and b) this failure is often borne out of rigid adherence to the neo-kraeplinian, biomedical school of psychopathology; an approach which is underpinned by pharmaceutical companies and their marketing strategies. Psychiatric diagnosis is a difficult process, the author - who favours a symptom-focused model - believes these difficulites arise from the inefficiencies, limitations and unsuitability of the disorder-based, biomedical paradigm of mental health. The efficacy of both pharmacological and psychosocial treatments is also comprehensively challenged - alongside the chapters on psychiatric diagnosis, these topics form large sections of the book.

See also Why antipsychotics aren't sold on street corners

Author: John Donoghue 
Published Dec. 2008

A well plotted tale, intriguing and atmospheric, beautifully written by a fine story teller.

A vivid picture which keeps the pages turning, explores the currents of possession and mental illness with a backdrop of a sizzling romance, hospital life and Catholicism. Notably, the parallel descriptions of exorcism and the clinical situation are spine-tingling.

A very enjoyable, thought -provoking read; a must for anyone interested in mental health issues.

The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self
Author: Alice Miller
First published 1979

Miller's book is concise and straightforward, asserting that parental expectations for children--however benign or well-meaning--inevitably suppress the child's real self, leading to the ongoing "dramatic" performance of an identity throughout the child's life that is not driven by his/her own feelings. The lists of common behaviors that might be signs of this drama are helpful, and provoke moments of self-recognition that can be both painful and illuminating. My one reservation about Miller's argument is that this suppression of children's true selves is often demonstrated using examples of truly abusive parents, including several accounts of incest and violence. This undermines her overall understanding of the drama tendency as an almost universal property of family life.

See also This week's obituaries

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