Thursday, July 04, 2024

Summarising the argument of relational psychiatry

Depression of course is mediated via the brain but looking for abnormalities in the brain to explain why people are depressed is a category error. It is a fallacy to identify the brain with the person, in depressed people as much as in people who are not depressed.

I make this statement as a summary of the position of relational psychiatry (see eg. previous post), applying it to all functional mental illness, including schizophrenia and manic-depressive illness, not just depression. As I mentioned in a previous post, Bennett & Hacker call the category mistake of identifying the part with the whole the ‘mereological fallacy’. As I keep saying, psychiatry must stop identifying the brain with the person (see eg. another previous post). 

It is particularly people who have mental health problems who are reduced to their brains, and this is discrimination. However, such thinking permeates modern culture, reducing all people to their brains (see eg. previous post). Children are even being misled about the nature of mental illness (see eg. another previous post). What we need is a change from psychiatry being based on the notion that primary mental illness will be found to have a physical cause, to it moving on to a more relational practice (see eg. my article). 

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