In Psychiatry’s New Guide Falls Short, Experts Say, NY Times, May 7, it says, “Dr. Insel is one of a growing number of scientists who think that the field needs an entirely new paradigm for understanding mental disorders…” This is definitely true. Unfortunately, Dr. Insel’s critique of DSM-5 extends biological-pharmaceutical psychiatry even further in the wrong direction than the misguided DSM-5 itself. Psychiatry has been hijacked by his mistaken belief in a very narrow and reductionistic neuroscience – as if the agency of human suffering is attributable to biological, genetic, or molecular developmental ‘diseases’ of the brain; as if psychiatry deals with ‘illnesses that are like tumors’; as if a pill can cure what ails us. Human suffering is not a brain disease. It is human. And the appropriate treatment is human – psychotherapy.
Where Dr. Insel goes wrong is in the second half of this sentence, “ though neither he nor anyone else knows exactly what it [a new paradigm] will look like.” I present in my book, Psychotherapy of Character, the Play of Consciousness in the Theater of the Brain, precisely this new paradigm. It is a unified field theory that encompasses the neuroscience of brain development and child development, as well as dreams, myths, art, and psychotherapy. In particular it presents the neuroscience of the creation of consciousness, psychiatric symptoms, and human character.
Psychiatry is desperately in need of a new and encompassing paradigm, one that restores the brain to its proper place in our understanding of the human condition.