The Role of Psychopharmacology in Mental Health: A Response to Kaut (2011)

By Murray, Thomas L., Jr. | Journal of Mental Health Counseling, October 2011 | Go to article overview

The Role of Psychopharmacology in Mental Health: A Response to Kaut (2011)


Murray, Thomas L., Jr., Journal of Mental Health Counseling


This article replies to comments made in the July 2011 issue of this journal on the author's original article (Murray, 2009). Kaut (2011) encourages mental health counselors to consider biological reductionism as the preferred lens through which to understand both psychological and emotional symptoms and the high prevalence and superior efficacy of psychopharmaceuticals. His position stands in stark contrast to what I espoused in 2009, when I drew parallels between the methods of the psychopharmaceutical industrial complex and those used in cult indoctrination. While Kaut focuses on biological reductionism and the legitimacy of pharmacological intervention, I propose that mental health counselors have an ethical mandate to confront the oppressive effects of dominant social narratives associated with the psychiatric disease model and move toward a more socially just understanding of the role of psychopharmacology.

RESPONSE TO KAUT

If you can define a particular condition and its associated symptoms in the minds of physicians and patients, you can also predicate the best treatment for that condition.

Vince Parry (2010), pharmaceutical marketing consultant

I am deeply grateful for the perspectives Kaut (2011) presents in his paper and for his response to my attempt to draw parallels between the process of cult indoctrination and our current mental health care system. The purpose of this response is to (a) compare Kaut's position (2011) with mine (Murray, 2009), and (b) introduce the drug-centered model as a socially just alternative to the disease model of psychopharmaceuticals.

KAUT'S POSITION

One of my undergraduate psychology professors claimed that all of human experience can be boiled down to electrical and chemical processes in the brain. Mind you, this was during the Decade of the Brain (1990-1999) when President George H.W. Bush issued a proclamation "to enhance public awareness of the benefits to be derived from brain research" (Decade of the Brain Home Page). | questioned whether I was pursuing the right goal in becoming a psychotherapist when psychopharmaceuticals were promoted as the panacea for human suffering. Perhaps I should become a psychiatrist, l thought, so that I could prescribe specialized medication to "fix" chemical hiccups occurring within the brain. Scientific reductionism appeared to be central to psychopharmacology research and practice. When human problems were described as a function of faulty brain chemicals, it made sense that the solution would be chemical.

Kaut (2011) makes it very clear where he stands on the use of psychopharmacology for those suffering emotionally. He wrote, "I view pharmacology as an essential component in mental health treatment" (p. 198) and "I see modern psychopharmacology as less a problem and more a solution to psychological disorders" (p. 217; emphases added). He contends that advances in neuroscience led directly to advances in psychopharmacology. More, it appears that Kaut's acknowledgment of the explosion of the research on the "biological underpinnings of behavior" shows evidence of widespread consensus and that this body of research exceeds the contributions of other disciplines. Kaut also seems to claim that this body of research has led to drugs that treat specific conditions, and do so safely, appropriately, and competitively, which may explain his "confidence in the integrity of the modern pharmacological enterprise" (p. 205). What follows, with a look at the social justice implications of psychopharmacology, is my response to Kaut's endorsement of reductionism and his cult-versus-culture debate.

Cult or Culture?

Kaut asserts that the overwhelming reliance on psychopharmaceuticals has much more to do with U.S. culture than any parallels with cult indoctrination, though he did not specifically address any of the similarities I proposed in my paper. According to Kaut, biological reductionism clearly has had a positive impact on our understanding of medical and human services. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Role of Psychopharmacology in Mental Health: A Response to Kaut (2011)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.