Over the past several decades, the emergence of powerful new drugs has made recovery possible for many people who had previously struggled with other methods. While there are advocates of medication for use in mental health treatments as well as fervent opponents, however, the prevalence of these drugs tends to be collectively understood as inordinately high, especially in wealthy Western societies. Stressing the need for quality, comprehensive therapy for clients intent on resolving their issues, many professionals have jumped on the bandwagon of educating the public about their range of choices when it comes to seeking mental health treatment. Recently, famed writer/psychologist Richard Bentall, who has previously published award-winning books on the mental health fields, has released a tome which underscores the need for a collective makeover of the psychiatric landscape, a book which has firmly ensconced itself in the effort to bring about more therapy and less drug dependency.
Bentall’s new book, Doctoring the Mind, does its fair share to expose the modern professional preferences for medication, but also works toward the encouragement of healthier and more accessible alternatives. One of the writer’s key points is that mental health clients in search of professional support are often seeking just that –support–, rather than a write-off with a pathologizing diagnosis and a trip to the pharmacy. As a result, Bentall notes, people suffering in countries with poor medical care and widespread poverty are often actually more likely to achieve a greater standard of mental well-being; as their concerns are met with the support of extended family or community or religious leaders rather than impersonal treatment and pills, their likelihood to experience a lasting, meaningful improvement is increased. While mental health medications are not outright condemned in every instance, their prevalence in treatments is likely to take a hit from the new text, adding to the success of professionals rallying for a different kind of “care” in mental health.
© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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