Talking back to “Psychiatry’s Bible”

Walrus magazine, "Psychiatry's Bible," May 2013.

Walrus magazine, “Psychiatry’s Bible,” May 2013.

More on the Walrus coverage of mental health issues.  The current (May 2013) issue of Walrus includes an article by psychiatrist Dr. Kwame McKenzie on “Psychiatry’s Bible: What’s Wrong with the New DSM-V.” The original article can be found in the Walrus copies at many Toronto Public Library branches or at stores selling magazines.

I’ve written another letter to the Walrus, but know from experience that it’ll be a long time before a letter is published and it may not make the editor’s cut.  So, for Sane About Town readers, here’s my letter:

Dear Walrus,   In the appropriately titled “Mind Games,” McKenzie laments the proliferation of
diagnoses and expectations that psychiatrists do more than return the distraught to normal unhappiness.  He points out that diagnosis works badly for illnesses of the mind due to “the
complexities of existence.”   He then – I kid you not – proposes enormously enlarging the possibilities for diagnosis and complexity by adding “relational problems” as an entirely new diagnostic domain.  Stay tuned to learn how many diagnoses can dance on the head of a pin.

McKenzie raises an important question:  “Do we . . . want to support people psychologically, or do we want to continue . . . diagnosing and treating the problems manifested in individuals?”  If you want to support people psychologically, look into the recovery approach outlined in the 2006 Senate report, Out of the Shadows at Last on mental health reform in Canada.  Don’t bother looking in “Psychiatry’s Bible” as McKenzie apparently felt no need to mention the recovery approach in a major magazine article addressing the contemporary practice of psychiatry.

Rosemary Barnes Psychologist, Toronto, Ontario

Now on or upcoming:   Transformation by Fire, February 7-April 28, 2013, 111 Queen’s Park, Gardiner Museum, Toronto.  Free admission.

The Workman Arts is sponsoring a number of events during April and May:

Mad Couture Catwalk, 7:00pm, Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 213 Sterling Road, Toronto.

Here is Where: Contact Photography Exhibition, May 1 – May 25, 2013, Workman Arts “Pop Up” Gallery on Queen St West at Gordon Bell Rd on the grounds of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

All That Is Real Book Launch,  2:00, Sunday May 5, 2013, The Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen St. West, Toronto.

13th Annual BEING SCENE Juried Exhibition, May 3 to July 4, 2013, 9am to 9pm daily
Hart House, University of Toronto, 7 Hart House Circle, Toronto

Fat Kid Rules the World, 7:00pm, Saturday, May 11, 2013, TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St West, Toronto.

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2 thoughts on “Talking back to “Psychiatry’s Bible”

  1. Thank you for highlighting Dr. Kwame McKenzie’s double speak. Could it be the new formulaic in social control mind games? Steven Harper’s hourly PMO media releases during the Chief Theresa Spence/Idle No More crisis routinely alternated between the warm/conciliatory and inflammatory/ defamatory to the point of predictability. One needs to stay sharp not to be taken in, become cynical or go crazy.

  2. Yes, I found the article kind of engaging at first, though I wasn’t sure what McKenzie was saying. But when I finally understood his points, I found it hilarious. Better to be laughing than being taken in, cynical or crazy.

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