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

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

Chapter 1

Biometaphorical Psychiatry: Family Therapy and the Poetics of Experience

David V. Keith, MD

“But I don't want to go among mad people, ” Alice remarked. “Oh, you can't help that.” said the Cat, “we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.”

Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

The way we act, the way we balance the complexities of freedom and responsibility, these depend on what answer we give to an ancient riddle, 'What is man?'… A major difficulty is that the answer we give…is partly a product of the answers that we have already given to the riddle…. Kurt Vonnegut gives us wry advice—that we should be careful what we pretend because we become what we pretend. And something like that, some sort of self-fulfillment, occurs in all organizations and human cultures. What people presume to be “human” is what they build in as premises of their social arrangements, and what they build in is sure to be learned, is sure to become part of the character of those who participate (Bateson & Bateson, 1987).

The extensive use of psychotropic medication in our culture has altered the language for talking about human experience and emotional pain in the

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