0
Get Alert
Please Wait... Processing your request... Please Wait.
You must sign in to sign-up for alerts.

Please confirm that your email address is correct, so you can successfully receive this alert.

1
Letter to the Editor   |    
Unusual Book Review
DAVID H. ROSEN, M.D.
Am J Psychiatry 2001;158:1169-1169. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.158.7.1169

To the Editor: It was a pleasant surprise to see the review by Stephen A. Young, M.D. (1), of I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb (2). This is one of the 10 best books that I have ever read. However, after reading the review, I was moved to write this letter. Dr. Young was concerned about Lamb’s negative portrayal of psychiatry and the lack of a caring and empathic psychiatrist, while a social worker and psychologist are viewed as empathic and skilled patient advocates. The psychologist also turns out to be a compassionate and wise psychotherapist.

Perhaps Dorothy Allison (3) was accurate: "Literature is the lie that tells the truth, that shows us human beings in pain and make us love them, and does so in a spirit of honest revelation."

In part, psychiatry has brought its woes on itself. It did not heed the warning made by Engel (4) in his landmark article on the dangers of a limited biological focus. It seems that psychiatry has gone the way of the rest of medicine and dropped its emphasis on the psychosocial and psychotherapy. This development, coupled with managed care, has yielded large numbers of psychiatrists who prescribe medications, not psychotherapy. Former APA President Allan Tasman lamented that "the art of talk therapy is in danger of being lost" (5). He has also maintained that not only do current residents disdain talk therapy; they do not know how to do it. Furthermore, he added that young psychiatrists lack empathy. Dr. Tasman has done a lot to counter this ominous development. For example, last year’s APA annual meeting theme was "The Doctor-Patient Relationship" and its healing nature. He also catalyzed the reintroduction of training in psychotherapy. Starting in January 2001, psychiatric residency directors have to certify that each resident has at least some basic competency in psychotherapy. Perhaps in the future, psychiatry and psychiatrists will fare better in novels about psychiatric patients.

Young SA: Book review, W Lamb: I Know This Much Is True. Am J Psychiatry  2000; 157:1351
[CrossRef]
 
Lamb W: I Know This Much Is True. New York, HarperCollins, 1999
 
Allison D: Skin: Talking About Sex, Class, and Literature. Ithaca, NY, Firebrand Books, 1994, p 175
 
Engel GL: The need for a medical model: a challenge for biomedicine. Science  1977; 196:129-136
[PubMed]
[CrossRef]
 
Arehart-Treichel J: Drugs no substitute for psychotherapy, Tasman says. Psychiatric News, June 16, 2000, pp 18, 34
 
+

References

Young SA: Book review, W Lamb: I Know This Much Is True. Am J Psychiatry  2000; 157:1351
[CrossRef]
 
Lamb W: I Know This Much Is True. New York, HarperCollins, 1999
 
Allison D: Skin: Talking About Sex, Class, and Literature. Ithaca, NY, Firebrand Books, 1994, p 175
 
Engel GL: The need for a medical model: a challenge for biomedicine. Science  1977; 196:129-136
[PubMed]
[CrossRef]
 
Arehart-Treichel J: Drugs no substitute for psychotherapy, Tasman says. Psychiatric News, June 16, 2000, pp 18, 34
 
+
+

CME Activity

There is currently no quiz available for this resource. Please click here to go to the CME page to find another.
Submit a Comments
Please read the other comments before you post yours. Contributors must reveal any conflict of interest.
Comments are moderated and will appear on the site at the discertion of APA editorial staff.

* = Required Field
(if multiple authors, separate names by comma)
Example: John Doe



Related Content
Books
Textbook of Psychotherapeutic Treatments > Chapter 29.  >
Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 4th Edition > Chapter 52.  >
Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 4th Edition > Chapter 34.  >
Textbook of Psychotherapeutic Treatments > Chapter 15.  >
Textbook of Psychotherapeutic Treatments > Chapter 14.  >
Topic Collections
Psychiatric News
APA Guidelines