The Growing Disorder in American Psychiatry

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The anthropologist, T.M. Luhrmann, set out to observe therapy in this country as neutrally as Margaret Mead saw sex among the Samoans. What she discovered was a conflict in psychiatric cultures in which Woody Allen’s couch sessions with his analyst are numbered.

The discovery of neurotransmitters, serotonin and genetic inheritance has taken the heat off of overbearing mothers and distant fathers, and the advent of managed health care has finally dethroned psychoanalysis as the answer to mental illness.

Its white lab coats and chemical reactions staring down tweed jackets soliciting memories of loss in the competition for the hearts and minds of tomorrow’s psychiatrists. Psychiatrists-in-training increasingly have to choose which camp to be in. T.M. Luhrmann has written a book about how they find their way in this contradictory, confusing culture.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


T.M. Luhrmann