Thursday, June 20, 2013

Ten top critiques of psychiatry

James Davies graduated from the University of Oxford in 2006 with a PhD in social and medical anthropology. He is a senior lecturer in social anthropology and psychotherapy at the University of Roehampton.

Davies is also a psychotherapist, who started working for the National Health Service in 2004 and he is a member of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy.

Cracked: The Unhappy Truth about Psychiatry, his first book written for a wider audience, is a critical exploration of modern-day psychiatry based on interviews with leaders of the profession.

One of Davies's ten top books that challenge received wisdom about mental illness and how to treat it, as told to the Guardian:
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

This book tells the story of how a bright and sane young woman ends up in a psychiatric asylum. There she is given electroconvulsive and insulin therapy but not a drop of the feminism she obviously needs. Plath shows how healthy ambition can easily transmute into misery in the face of limited options and the devilish innocence of uncomprehending authorities. The message is still a pertinent one: suffering is not always sickness but often the sanest response to an imperfect world.
Read about another book on the list.

The Bell Jar appears on Emily Temple's list of the best literary quotes ever tattooed, Alice-Azania Jarvis's reading list on depression, and is #2 on one list of the top 10 most depressing books.

Esther Greenwood of The Bell Jar appears among Will Davis' top ten literary teenagers.

The Bell Jar's first sentence--“It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.”--is Ali Smith's favorite opening line of a novel.

--Marshal Zeringue