Family Therapy as An Alternative to Medication: An Appraisal of Pharmland

By Phoebe S. Prosky; David V. Keith | Go to book overview

Introduction to Part 2

Auerswald points out in his essay that at this time our ecological awareness requires that we shift from rule 5 of the Mechologic Paradigm, the Rule of Linear Causal Process, to rules 7, 8, 9, and 10 of the Ecological Paradigm, Principle of Pattern Emergence, Principle of Monistic Connectedness, Principle of Event-Shape as Ecosystem, and Principle of Understanding by Connectedness. Family systems work made this shift half a century ago.

Today's biopsych model, however, has reverted back to the Mechologic Paradigm and the idea of simple linear cause and effect as it advocates that all mental events are simply the result of shifts in brain chemistry. Clinical contexts, regardless of discipline (psychiatry, psychology, or social work), are dominated by psychiatric thinking and language. The linear language that goes with psychiatric practice, medicalized psychiatric diagnosis, is so implicitly part of the values and the semantics that support American society that it is almost impossible to comment on it. How can you raise a question about those beautiful colored slides providing data combined with a lecture by a well-dressed man from a major medical center who speaks so rapidly and with such assurance? Where do you start the discussion? Yet start it we must, for this retrograde slide into the mechologic lexicon of linear causality in biological psychiatry sends us backward in time and threatens to extinguish the discoveries in family systems theory over the last fifty years, discoveries which correspond to the ecological insight so critical to our survival today.

The following essays begin a finely nuanced discussion by examining the issue of Family Therapy as an Alternature to Medication, from similar but varied perspectives. All of the writers in this section are physicians, most are both psychiatrists and family therapists. In the latter cases, their work as psychiatrists is deeply affected by their experience as family therapists. In this section papers by Freeman, Pakman, Schaefer, DucommunNagy, and Mei present cultural critiques and guidance about the relation of family therapy to the use of psychotropic medications. The issues we are

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