Has Psychiatry Lost its Soul? One Expert Argues Deception, Medications Tarnish Field

Many people imagining the profession of psychiatry might consider a practitioner’s ability to talk with a client and uncover the specific issues and concerns that have brought them to the consultation in the first place, perhaps ending with a referral to a psychotherapist or a frank discussion about some of life’s challenges. Yet this is increasingly not the case, suggests one mental health expert who recently spoke to MSNBC about the declining state of psychiatry. Noting that the prescription of anti-depressant and other medications has soared in the wake of advertising to the public and an increased pressure on professionals to handle more clients in less time, the expert ponders the question of why psychiatrists have seemingly lost their inquisitiveness and interest in the core issues experienced by the client.

Concerned that many practitioners may meaningfully communicate little to clients by suggesting that they’re simply experiencing a “serotonin deficiency,” the expert notes that many clients see their psychiatrist as little as twenty minutes a month, whereas more traditional treatment has involved weekly consultations of up to an hour of time. Suggesting that busy professionals under high pressure no longer have such time to give their clients, the expert makes a strong case for the re-organization of the modern psychiatric profession to turn away from the convenience of medications and simple neuro-biological answers and instead adopt non-pathologizing, investigative techniques to help clients overcome their concerns.

Among the most disturbing of the expert’s observations is that a large number of modern professionals are paid by pharmaceutical companies to endorse their products, especially to other doctors. While professionals may not expect their colleagues to offer biased opinions and advice, some professionals have openly admitted to taking payments to speak positively about some drugs, while other have been convicted of accepting considerable bribes. Returning to a client-centered model that doesn’t rush to medicate is becoming an increasingly strong goal among many of the field’s concerned parties.

© Copyright 2010 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Luke Kennedy

    Luke Kennedy

    May 27th, 2010 at 10:13 AM

    There will always be a few such professionals in every fields,isn’t it? They will chase a lot more clients in little time. But the quality ones really won’t do this1 They will only encourage a limited number of clients in a given time and will study every case thoroughly. Of course such professionals come at a heavier price but then its your choice – quality or economy!

  • tom


    May 27th, 2010 at 6:53 PM

    I agree that large corporations often tilt conditions into their advantage.But what is required to counter this is not only stricter regulations but also non-endorsement or even discouragement from such professionals’ organisations.This will help more than impositions.

  • Milner


    May 28th, 2010 at 6:44 AM

    It is happening in every field today and most people are not behaving in the ideal manner…they are not interested in doing any justice to their job, all they want is more and more money and lesser work to do!

  • Eva C.

    Eva C.

    May 28th, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    If you cannot even trust professionals of the filed and some of them are actually corrupt,then where does an ordinary person go?!

    There need to be stricter guidelines from the governing bodies of these practitioners so that these professionals do not indulge in this kind of wrong-doings.

  • Roy


    May 29th, 2010 at 4:08 PM

    Why have practitioners lost the desire to communicate with patients? Because most patients come in wanting a quick fix and what that means is that they want the meds and nothing else. This is what they think will “fix” them and unfortunately too many practitioners are bowing down to those demands.

  • ashli


    May 31st, 2010 at 9:10 AM

    Pharma companies should not be allowed to advertise their drugs to the general public. When that happens everyone thinks that they know what drug is going to be best for them and then go their drs with demands for drugs that may not even help in their specific situations. Maybe the drug companies should stick with talking to docotrs and then letting those trained in the medical sciences be the ones to pass on their knowledge to the patients.

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