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 Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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