The Lure of ‘Cool’ Brain Research Is Stifling Psychotherapy


From Aeon: “The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) was established in 1949 by the federal government in the United States with the practical goal of providing ‘an objective, thorough, nationwide analysis and reevaluation of the human and economic problems of mental health’. Until 30 years ago, the NIMH appreciated the need for this well-rounded approach, and maintained a balanced research budget that covered an extraordinarily wide range of topics and techniques.

But in 1990, the NIMH suddenly and radically switched course, embarking on what it tellingly named the ‘Decade of the Brain’. Ever since, the NIMH has increasingly narrowed its focus almost exclusively to brain biology – leaving out everything else that makes us human, both in sickness and in health. Having largely lost interest in the plight of real people, the NIMH could now more accurately be renamed the ‘National Institute of Brain Research’.

This misplaced reductionism arose from the availability of spectacular research tools (eg, the Human Genome Project, functional magnetic resonance imaging, molecular biology and machine learning) combined with the naive belief that brain biology could eventually explain all aspects of mental functioning. The results have been a grand intellectual adventure, but a colossal clinical flop. We have acquired a fantastic window into gene and brain functioning, but little to help clinical practice.”

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  1. This is so silly, I hope aliens are watching and do something.
    Lol, “brain research”…to prove a normal lol. Good luck with that and from what I gather, people are stupid enough to believe this pathetic science.

    They can’t even get beyond cutting out tumors, and forget brain tumors, they are too chicken to cut there, whereas they used to regularly cut into brains.

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  2. The decade of the brain indeed. They know the drugs don’t work (to put it mildly), which leaves me to conclude these brain scientists are mainly looking at the side-effects. How do certain chemicals in the brain affect human functioning. There are 1000’s of articles that look into these effects. With the medication for “schizophrenia” they always begin with “a devastating disease affecting 1% of the population …” and then begin to explore the negative effects of the drug, and conclude somehow a “schizophrenic” benefits.

    Guinea Pigs.

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    • The irony of the “Decade of the Brain” is that they discovered that the idea of specific “mental illnesses” due to “brain disorders” was wrong. The real results were that the brain is FAR more flexible and malleable than anyone believed, and that experience can change the brain through adulthood. And the most significant brain-healing action we could take for kids is a positive relationship with a mature adult. TOTAL contradiction to what they wanted to find, and of course, these results were largely ignored, except to emphasize that early abuse/neglect “damages the brain,” which serves their narrative if looked at in isolation. If they REALLY applied the lessons from the Decade of the Brain, the DSM would be ditched and we’d be spending a lot of time would be spent improving people’s relationships with each other and creating positive environments that promoted grain health for kids and adults. Who would have guessed?

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      • Absolutely Steve,
        Perhaps the public does not read and IF they read they choose articles written by psychiatry called “research”.
        All the rest of the “research” and countless deaths and testimony are probably nonsense.

        Reliable information is out there, certainly enough reliable information to start kick one’s critical eye.

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  3. I guess the cool research will verify that it’s okay for every single system to use “diseases” against people?

    Psychiatry is used against people every single time. From the moment you have a label, you have lost ALL credibility as a human.

    Tell me what “medical specialty” does this?
    That single thing, that ability for name calling to actually mean something across all disciplines, exposes the sham it is.

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