Sunday, April 25, 2010

Why have I been called a postmodernist?

Nassir Ghaemi in his book The rise and fall of the biopsychosocial model says I am an "explicit proponent of applying postmodernism to psychiatry". His evidence for this is said to be my 2002 BMJ article.

In the article, I say that "Psychiatry needs to return to a biopsychological view to limit its excesses". True, I do go on to say that "Such an approach conforms to the new direction that has been called "postpsychiatry" and there is a box summarising the central tenets of postpsychiatry.

What I meant by this is that postpsychiatry is one form of critical psychiatry, which, as far as I am concerned is about 'returning to a biopsychological view'. Ghaemi has got it right that I am trying to rehabilitate the ideas of Adolf Meyer (whose perspective was called Psychobiology) (eg. see my article Adolf Meyer's psychobiology and the challenge for biomedicine).

I see postpsychiatry as one form of critical psychiatry (see my letter to Psychiatric Bulletin). Personally I take a more pragmatic view than postmodernism. In fact some would juxtapose critical psychiatry and postpsychiatry even more than I would eg. see entry for Critical Psychiatry on Wikipedia.