Tag: Ronald Pies
On September 4, 2017, psychiatrist Ronald Pies published an article titled: "Hearing Voices and Psychiatry’s (Real) Medical Model." Let's take a look at the six fundamental assumptions that the eminent and scholarly Dr. Pies assures us "underlie the model most psychiatrists actually use in their clinical work."
If the incidence of mental illness has remained the same, but an ever-increasing percentage of the population takes psychiatric medications, then these drugs are being over-prescribed. Now there is an epidemic of people trying to stop SSRI antidepressants, and the effects can be crippling.
The writings of Pies and his colleagues, I believe, provide a compelling case study of cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance arises when people are presented with information that creates conflicted psychological states, challenging some belief they hold dear, and people typically resolve dissonant states by sifting through information in ways that protect their self-esteem and their financial interests. It is easy to see that process operating here.
Many people are now familiar with the BPS report, Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia, and they have appreciated how it integrates both science and a humanistic understanding to convey a fresh and progressive approach to difficult and extreme experiences. But it has come under attack by psychiatrists, using arguments that are often quite slick, and sound reasonable to the uninformed. But they are wrong, and the better we can articulate how and why they are wrong, the better we can advocate for a more humane and skillful response to people having the experiences that are called “psychosis.”
Ronald Pies, MD, is one of American's most eminent and prestigious psychiatrists. He is the Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Psychiatric Times, and he is a Professor of Psychiatry at both Syracuse and Tufts. I disagree with many of Dr. Pies' contentions, and I have expressed these disagreements in detail in various posts. But there is one area where I have to acknowledge Dr. Pies' efforts: he never gives up in his defense of his beloved psychiatry, even in the face of the most damaging counter-evidence. For instance, on more than one occasion, he has asserted, with apparent sincerity and conviction, that psychiatry never promoted the chemical imbalance theory of depression!