Views & Reviews Review of the week

Making sense of madness

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 08 March 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:537
  1. Iain McClure, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, Vale of Leven Hospital, Alexandria G83 0UA
  1. imcclure{at}

    A new book that challenges the whole spectrum of psychiatric thinking and practice offers some fresh and modern criticism but falls down on alternative approaches, finds Iain McClure

    “Let wisdom guide”—what message did the Royal College of Psychiatrists intend by choosing this motto for its coat of arms? “Wisdom” means the ability to make the right use of knowledge, and what constitutes genuine psychiatric knowledge is the main subject of this disturbing (in the positive sense) and edifying little book.

    In 12 chapters, 10 contributors challenge the whole spectrum of current psychiatric thinking and practice. The dominance of biomedical psychiatry (which has solidified over the last 50 years) as well as (at the other end of the spectrum) the evolutionary stages of psychotherapy are equally scrutinised. In so doing, Critical Psychiatry claims to expose a lack of evidence justifying biological psychiatry's predominance, rolls in big guns like Kant and Foucault to rough …

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