The Medicalization of Psychotherapy

The Medicalization of Psychotherapy : Practicing under the Influence

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The Medicalization of Psychotherapy: Practicing under the Influence is an ethnographic account of the practice of clinical psychology under the reductionist auspices of biomedicine. Using Peircean semiotic analysis focusing in particular on modes in meaning-making, Sylvia Olney proposes that consciousness should be accorded the same conceptual and value status as "nature" and the human body. This would resolve the psyche/soma split as mirrored both within and between the practice disciplines of medicine and psychotherapy, and could also free practitioners and client/patients from the idea of essential helplessness in the face of biology, a notion which happens to contribute to the vested interests of the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. Given the advances of neuroscience and psychoneuroimmunology that support the recognition of force-like dimensions of mind and intention, The Medicalization of Psychotherapy helps to restore the practice of psychotherapy to the significant healing art it has actually been: the healing of consciousness.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 236 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 22.86mm | 476.27g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 2 Tables, unspecified; 4 Illustrations, black and white
  • 0739197029
  • 9780739197028

Table of contents

List of Figures and Tables Acknowledgments Introduction Chapter 1: Ethnopsychiatry and Human Awareness Chapter 2: The Heart and Soul of the Matter Chapter 3: Attempts at Explanation Chapter 4: Getting by with a Little Help Chapter 5: Seeing through a Glass Darkly Chapter 6: Getting Real Chapter 7: Making Meaning out of Madness Chapter 8: Lower than Angels Bibliography Appendix About the Author
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Review quote

The conditions of psychotherapy have changed significantly in the biomedical era. This useful and thoughtful book explains how those changes work from the inside, and how they alter the moral climate of care itself. -- Tanya Luhrmann, Stanford University Dr. Olney has captured the fundamental contradictions within the system of capitalistic health care. The economic powerhouses of insurance and pharmacy companies now drive everything from diagnoses, to treatment plans, to the personal philosophies of the practitioners in the direction of profit rather than the direction of healthy patients/clients. The managed care and best practices required by insurance companies and supported by pharmaceutical companies selectively ignore large areas of psychological research while emphasizing brief and biologically-based treatments. Interestingly, Olney's deeply probing interviews with mental health practitioners suggest that in spite of these powerful economic influences, a humanistic undercurrent continues to thrive as a kind of underground opposition. Her interviewees reveal their willingness to play the CBT/medication game for insurance reimbursement while believing that empathy, human connection, and self-awareness carry tremendous power for healing. The book provides a fascinating view of cynical practice being undermined by humanist care. -- Marsha Driscoll, Bemidji State University
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About Sylvia Olney

Sylvia Olney is an adjunct professor at Bemidji State University as well as a psychotherapist, social science researcher, and community educator.
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