Sunday, February 11, 2018

The bio-bio-bio model of mental illness

A few years ago, Steven Sharfstein, when he was President of the American Psychiatric Association, said that psychiatry has "allowed the biopsychosocial model to become the bio-bio-bio model' (see Psychiatric News article). This was picked up by John Read in his The Psychologist article.

As I said in my last post, the problem is the eclectic, atheoretical way in which the term 'biopsychosocial model' is often used in modern psychiatry. Where this comes from is the psychiatric consensus, represented by Anthony Clare (see previous post), following the anti-psychiatry debate of the 1960/70s. To avoid the worst excesses of biomedical reductionism, Clare took an atheoretical approach to understanding mental health problems. The trouble with attempting to abstain from theory is that it results merely in the generation of an implicit theory. Despite his well-meaning humanism, Clare's position is still determined by biologism (see extract from my Critical Psychiatry book). As I said in another previous post, although modern psychiatry may not be 'narrowly biomedical', it is still biomedical.

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