A Critical Analysis of the Validity, Utility & Effects of the Biomedical Model


MIA reader/commenter Brett Deacon’s article in the prominent Clinical Psychology Review says that despite “widespread faith in the potential of neuroscience”, the biomedical era has produced poor mental health outcomes. He calls for an open and critical dialogue of the model, asking whether it is ethical to propound the “chemical imbalance story” in order to increase the credibility of antidepressant medication, when there isn’t “even one instance in which neurobiology alone can explain a psychological experience,” and when the model has failed to produce two of its prime objectives; the reduction of stigma, and good long-term outcomes. He calls for critical examination of the biomedical model’s effects, and mentions the vigorous dialogue taking place on madinamerica.com, among other venues.

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Deacon, B; The biomedical model of mental disorder: A critical analysis of its validity, utility, and effects on psychotherapy research. Clinical Psychology Review. Online April 8, 2013

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].