Medical Education: Psychiatry and Reductionism as a First-year Medical Student – Evan Einstein

This is interesting and hopeful… Gratitude to Evan for his willingness and openness to think, question, and challenge – rather than conform and comply, as we are encouraged/constrained to do in our cultures, both here and on the other side of the Atlantic.

The points he makes look perceptive and accurate through the window of the writer’s own work:-

‘A professor (i.e., psychiatrist) said that the word “normal” would not be used in the lecture hall with reference to behavior. Personally, I was excited by this statement; perhaps this psychiatrist would be progressive and would teach 200 medical students that a dichotomy between abnormal and normal was deleterious.’


‘The word “normal” truthfully did not exist in psychiatry because the DSM net was able to catch almost anyone.’


‘The problem is, mental phenomena may not be medical phenomena.’

The writer would amend ‘may not be’ to ‘are not’ – at least at the current level of medical understanding/science. There is, of course, not the evidence to show ‘mental phenomena’ to be ‘medical phenomena’ – rather conjecture, assumption and story, presented and understood as scientific fact, and silence and collusion around side effects and consequences:-

‘…one of my professors introduced SSRIs as “life-savers.” He then asked the class to list some side effects (which is always a confidence-booster because it gives almost all 200 of us the chance to participate). Someone said, “weight gain.” Another person said, “drug interactions.” I said, “suicide.” There was a sudden, collective gasp that resonated throughout the auditorium.’

Most of us here at this service (and we as a service) choose to work outside the medical/mental health model – and we think it is overwhelmingly important that there are some, like Evan, who raise these questions from within.

Gratitude to Mad in America, and also Brent Dean Robbins and the Society for Humanistic Psychology, Division 32, for posting this.

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling Exeter since 1994

This entry was posted in cultural questions, education, empowerment, ethics, external locus, iatrogenic illness, internal locus of evaluation, Mad in America, medical model, non-conforming, perception, political, power, psychiatric drugs, psychiatry, research evidence and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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