Cultures Of Healing: Correcting The Image Of American Mental Health Care

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9780716730637: Cultures Of Healing: Correcting The Image Of American Mental Health Care

This work contends that while mental health care is legitimate, many of its claims to scientific truth and authority are not. Written by a practising psychotherapist, it argues that rather than operating as an objective science, the mental health profession is composed of competing "cultures" built around false ideology and subjective belief.
 
This book provides an analysis of how America came to see various forms of suffering as "mental illness," arguing that social and historical dynamics, not scientific discovery, provided this notion. It critiques four cultures of therapy: psychoanalysis, behaviourism, cognitive therapy and biological therapy--discussing the historical significance, general principles and methods of treatment, world view values and scientific status of each. It concludes with the author's assessment of how best to view mental health care and use it wisely and effectively. An appendix offers an insight into choosing a therapist.

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Review:

A fascinating and practical overview of American psychotherapy, Robert Fancher's Cultures of Healing will forever change the way you think about mental health care. A practicing psychotherapist, Fancher argues that most of what psychotherapists believe and teach patients lacks the scientific base it claims. Rather, the major schools of therapy psychoanalysis, behaviorism, cognitive therapy, and biological psychiatry are best viewed as competing cultures or philosophies, each built around ideology and socially shared and reinforced practices. In Cultures of Healing, Fancher reevaluates each therapy according to social and cultural criteria, offers advice about how to choose your own therapist, and concludes with an assessment of how best to view mental health care and use it wisely and effectively. New foreword by Jerome D. Frank, M.D., Ph.D. -- Book Description

Fancher has brought his skeptical, critical eye to bear on the assumptions about human nature that underlie psychotherapy practice. In so doing, he has written a stimulating and controversial book. -- Nature, September 28, 1995

[Fancher's] analyses are both thorough and penetrating....The appendix, 'Implications for Choosing or Changing a Therapist,' is superb and would make this book worthwhile in and of itself. -- Journal of the American Medical Association, March 6, 1996

[It is] hard to imagine the reader who wouldn't consider Mr. Fancher a worthy and engaging opponent. -- New York Times Book Review, July 14, 1996

From Library Journal:

Every so often a landmark book is published that analyzes a subject from such a fresh perspective that it reveals that subject in a new light and paves the way for change. This finely reasoned and far-ranging analysis of mental health care in the United States by psychotherapist and former philosophy professor Fancher is such a book. Surveying the history of mental health care in this country, he delineates four major schools-psychoanalysis, behaviorism, cognitive therapy, and biological psychiatry-demonstrating that each school is based not on a sound science but on "induct[ing] people into understanding life in certain ways that are artifacts of the cultures of healing... rather than facts about human nature." Although cultures of healing are legitimate, Fancher argues that society must understand the culture of the schools of care and assess them critically. This book aids such thinking and is highly recommended for all who are concerned with the state of mental health care in the United States.
Marcia Welsh, Guilford Free Lib., Ct.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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