Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

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

Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

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

Article excerpt

PHOEBE S. PROSKY AND DAVID V. KEITH (Eos.): Family Therapy as an Alternative to Medication: An Appraisal of Pharmland. Brunner-Routledge, New York, 2003, 352 pp., $34.95, ISBN 0-415-93398-6.

Empirical evidence based upon experimentation is essential to the physical sciences. In other words, there wouldn't have been advances made in physics, chemistry, engineering, and the other hard sciences without the continuous input of empirical studies. These advances influence almost every aspect of our daily world. In contrast, can anyone cite even a single empirical psychological study that has had a significant influence on how most of us live our lives? I submit that there are no such studies. If this contention is valid, then how do mental health clinicians, as applied practitioners of psychology, carry out a professional practice? I submit that because of the political respectability of practicing in accord with scientific principles, most psychotherapists today-as Sigmund Freud did in the past-pay only lip service to science while largely eschewing its demands.

Family Therapy as an Alternative to Medication is supposedly a book about the clash between biological "empirical-based" mental health clinicians and those who practice from the more humanistic perspective of family systems. However, the depictions of most practitioners described above suggest that science is a pseudo-issue in the great controversy in psychotherapy today about what should be the value base of practice. …

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