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Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychiatry

Jeffrey A. Lieberman, Ogi Ogas

4 Reviews

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Prose: non-fiction, History of medicine, Psychiatry

A seminal account of the history and contemporary landscape of psychiatry.

A world-renowned psychiatrist reveals the fascinating story of psychiatry's origins, demise and redemption.

Psychiatry has come a long way since the days of chaining 'lunatics' in cold cells and parading them as freakish marvels before a gaping public. But, as Jeffrey Lieberman reveals in his extraordinary and eye-opening book, the path to legitimacy for 'the black sheep of medicine' has been anything but smooth.

In SHRINKS, Dr Lieberman traces the field from its birth as a mystic pseudo-science through its adolescence as a cult of 'shrinks' to its late blooming maturity since the Second World War as a science-driven profession that saves lives. With fascinating case studies and portraits of the luminaries of the field, from Sigmund Freud to Eric Kandel, SHRINKS is a gripping and illuminating read. It is also an urgent call-to-arms to dispel the stigma surrounding mental illness and to start treating it as a disease rather than a state of mind.

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Praise for Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychiatry

  • An astonishing book: honest, sober, exciting, and humane. Lieberman writes with the authority of an expert, but with the humility of a doctor who has learned to treat the most profound and mysterious forms of mental illnesses ... This book brings you to the very forefront of one of the most amazing medical journeys of our time

  • Jeffrey Lieberman has produced a masterful behind-the-scenes examination of psychiatry and, by extension, the human condition. His epic narrative charts the unlikely ascent of "the stepchild of medicine" from the earliest parlor-room charlatans of animal magnetism to the contentious Digital Age roll-out of the DSM-5, paralleling Lieberman's own professional transformation from eager psychoanalytic student of Freud to neuroscience-minded president of a reformed American Psychiatric Association. A wise and gripping book that tackles one of the most important questions of our time: what is mental illness?

  • SHRINKS is an excellent way into the world of modern psychiatry: its science, the limits and benefits of its diagnostic systems and treatments, how doctors make good decisions and why they make bad ones. SHRINKS is as thorough as it is lively

  • The most authoritative exploration I have read of the state of contemporary psychiatry ... It is also the most hopeful. Jeffrey Lieberman's account of the scientific revolution in psychiatry - a revolution that he both participated in and helped to foster - is compelling. But it is his candour, lack of dogmatism, and sensitivity to suffering that will linger in your mind long after you've turned the last page

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