THE REVOLUTION IN PSYCHIATRY by Ernest Becker

THE REVOLUTION IN PSYCHIATRY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Dr. Becker, theoretician and author of The Birth and Death of Meaning: A Perspective in Psychiatry and Anthropology, combines his philosophic behaviorism with a humanistic version of social psychiatry in an attempt to provide a base for a new science of man -- an interdisciplinary ""man-centered"" science. He draws sub-tantiation for his orientation and theses mainly from Dewey and Allport and emphasizes the social nature of the influences that have molded the ""symbolic animal"" -- man. He offers a detailed non-medical analysis of the nature of schizorenia and depression to show that biologically oriented medical psychiatry must fail in its attempt to understand these so-called ""mental illnesses"" because of its narrowly posited and unhistorical perspective. He sees these ills as results of man's inability to get proper satisfaction from his capacities for symbolization, stemming from society's restrictive habits, culture patterns, inhibited and inhibiting human relations that in various ways undermine, overwhelm or destroy self-esteem. Thus, Becker strikes hard at conventional, even eclectic psychiatry, and with his arguments should stimulate much scholarly praise and rebuttal. For advanced psychology, psychiatry and philosophy sections.

Pub Date: March 30th, 1964
Publisher: Macmillan-Free Press