Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Carmine Pariante is having a great time

I’ve expressed concern before about the scientific credibility of American academic psychiatry (see previous post). Following the recent article from Carmine Pariante, who I have mentioned before (eg. see my previous post with which Pariante said he agreed - with qualification - in a tweet), about ‘A parallel universe ... ‘, I think we should also be concerned about British academic psychiatry. 

Pariante promotes psychoneuroimmunology, otherwise known as immunopsychiatry. He regards this “new discipline as an example of successful translational neuroscience overcoming the brain-mind-body trichotomy” [his emphasis] (quoted from his article). I agree with Pariante that “psychiatrists, psychologists and social scientists can work together to link the mental and the neural” (quoted from his article with Nik Rose - see my previous post). But I don’t think Pariante has understood Nik’s notion of ‘critical friendship’ between social sciences and neuroscience.

The trouble for Pariante is that there is a difference between psychiatry and medicine. There should actually be agreement that psychiatry is different from medicine. Where there is disagreement is about how much to make of that difference (see another previous post). As I keep saying, I don’t want to be misunderstood. As Pariante himself says in the latest article,  “We have a body (which includes a brain)”. Like him, I’m not wanting to create barricades between biomedical and psychosocial approaches in psychiatry. But he does need to understand that minds are enabled but not reducible to brains (eg. see another previous post). 

I think Pariante needs to come down to earth, otherwise it’s going to get him in trouble with the General Medical Council (GMC), as he acts as a Royal College of Psychiatrists spokesman. There’s already been one complaint to the GMC. Perhaps we need Nik to come back out of retirement to sort this mess out.

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