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Tip: To review the bibliography…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

It is always useful to review an article’s bibliography and references to get a deeper understanding of the psychoanalytic concepts and theoretical framework in it.

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Friedman, R.C. (2015). Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychiatry, By Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D., with Ogi Ogas. Little, Brown, 352 pp., illustrated, $28: A Critical Discussion. Psychodyn. Psych., 43(3):331-347.

(2015). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 43(3):331-347

Editorial

Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychiatry, By Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D., with Ogi Ogas. Little, Brown, 352 pp., illustrated, $28: A Critical Discussion

Richard C. Friedman, M.D.

Introduction

Although book reviews customarily appear in the “Book Review” section of this journal, Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychiatry warrants an editorial because of Jeffrey Lieberman's role in American psychiatry and the controversial nature of the book.

A central theme of the “untold story” is the assertion that psychoanalysis exerted a negative influence on the diagnosis, understanding and treatment of mental illness in the United States for three or four decades following World War II. Lieberman characterizes psychoanalysts who practiced and published articles during this period as “charlatans” (pp. 85, 109), similar to alchemists, venal hucksters who coddled the affluent worried well while assuring themselves and the general public that they were physicians of the mind. He contrasts this tale with the uplifting story of biological psychiatry. Because of advances in the biological sector, the mentally ill can at long last receive appropriate treatment, and Lieberman divides psychiatrists into two groups: heroes and “shrinks.”

Shrinks is a troubling discussion of a troubled profession. Lieberman states that he wrote the book “with” Ogi Ogas, but Ogas' role in preparation of the manuscript is unclear.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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