A Psychiatrist Visits My Blog and thinking about “Postpsychiatry”

I was thrilled to see that a psychiatrist, going by “anonymous”  has visited my site and made comments. He or she stretched ideas and positions I have. I have not made hard and fast conclusions about what I speak about here. I am evolving and developing my thinking. Perhaps, sometimes I make assertions that cannot be back up factually. But I know that psychiatry also does the same thing. Much of what is discussed in the realm of mental health is interpretive and not factual, by virtue of the very nature of the topic. To view our comments look here, here and here. Any one else’s input would also be appreciated.

As I contemplate the nature of psychiatry I have found a new concept and framework for psychiatry.

I’ve been turned onto a new idea in psychiatry by a friend. That idea being “postpsychiatry.” I’ve just bought a book by a proponent of postpsychiatry and will let you know more once I’ve read it. It’s title is “Moving Beyond Prozac, DSM, and the New Psychiatry: The Birth of Post Psychiatry.” In the meantime here is the bio of Bradley Lewis, the author of the book. This is taken from this Esalen website:

Brad Lewis began his career as an academic psychiatrist. He spent several years at George Washington University as medical director of a psychiatric treatment center before taking the unusual step—at least, within psychiatry—of doing a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary humanities. During the same time his psychiatric-research colleagues were studying neuroscience and statistics, he became engaged in the many debates surrounding cultural studies, deconstruction, queer theory, postcolonialism, disability studies, and the science wars. Presently he teaches cultural studies of psychiatry, medicine, and bioscience at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and maintains a small clinical practice.Most of Lewis’ writing focuses on issues in psychiatry, and he calls his blend of psychiatry and contemporary intellectual thought “postpsychiatry.” The term comes from its resonance with the ideas of “postmodern theory” in the arts and humanities. Postmodern theory provides critical tools for breaking free of widely held modernist idealizations of “science,” “rationality,” “objectivity,” and “truth.” Lewis finds that although postmodern theory is at times confusing and controversial, it is also invaluable for opening our awareness to the multiplicities of worldviews and to the role of power in shaping our worldviews.

When postmodern theory is applied to psychiatry—a place where all the modernist idealizations are firmly in place—Lewis finds new opportunities for understanding the varieties of psychic life. Experiences like sadness, hallucinations, anxiety, and desperate panic are coded by most psychiatrists as symptoms of a “broken brain.” But this interpretation is only one option among many. Beyond the frame of “broken brains” there are many other possibilities, such as unconscious conflict, cognitive distortions, interpersonal disruption, social and political oppression, and artistic sensibilities. Post-psychiatry does not regret or try to close down this diversity; it revels in it, and postpsychiatry helps foster a world where a range of alternatives may be encouraged and nurtured.

I find this terribly exciting. Rethinking the nature of psychiatry is imperative.

I’m starting to have fantasies of returning to graduate school should my brain fog continue to clear. Bradley Lewis teaches at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. I was just talking the other day to my husband about wanting to find a program that allowed me to pull together ideas around psychiatry, the politics and sociology of psychiatry and the pharmaceutical companies as well as looking at vast societal factors in general as they relate to these things. It seems a program such as this might allow for that.

This is purely wild daydreaming at this point, but it’s fun nonetheless. The fact that I fantasize about stuff like this at all, proves to me I am once again feeling that something other than a life of disability awaits me.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑