Author(s): Jeffrey A. Lieberman
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.
As a retort to those that still believe there are no mental disorders, only diverse mentalities, Jeffrey Lieberman's historic and spirited defence of psychiatric diagnoses and treatments has much work to do ... This is a humane guide to psychiatry's internal conflicts and a candid account of its claims to scientific credibility -- Iain Finlayson THE TIMES Journeying through the history of psychiatry with Jeffrey A. Lieberman is not unlike being led by Voltaire's indomitable optimist, Professor Pangloss, through the seven years' war and the Lisbon earthquake ... [Lieberman is] a breezy, charming, and genial guide to a field fraught with difficulties ... [He is] an insider, with the kind of experience most professional historians cannot claim -- Lisa Appignanesi THE OBSERVER An informative book ... Given that the mind is a fragile faculty and the brain is a delicate organ, it is sobering to discover from his book what a haphazard discipline psychiatry was until the 1970s -- Jack Carrigan CATHOLIC HERALD 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 -- Kay Redfield Jamison, author of AN UNQUIET MIND 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 -- Sylvia Nasar, author of A BEAUTIFUL MIND 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 -- Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES 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? -- Andrew Solomon, author of FAR FROM THE TREE and THE NOONDAY DEMON 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 -- Kay Redfield Jamison, author of AN UNQUIET MIND 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 -- Sylvia Nasar, author of A BEAUTIFUL MIND An authoritative, often inspiring account of progress in psychiatry, balanced by frank and admirable openness about the field's historical missteps -- Peter D. Kramer, author of LISTENING TO PROZAC and AGAINST DEPRESSION SHRINKS is a must-read for anyone who cares about the future of mental health care ... I've been a policy-maker and a patient for decades, yet there was much in here I never really understood before. And now that we have mental health parity, that understanding is more important than ever. A smart, important, accessible book -- Patrick J. Kennedy, former US congressman, founder of The Kennedy Forum, and co-founder of One Mind Only someone such as Jeffrey Lieberman ... has both the clinical and scientific vision to write a modern history of the evolution of psychiatry, from its primitive origins to its current promise for the future. This highly readable and fully accessible book puts the history of psychiatry into a modern perspective for the general reader -- Eric Kandel, University and Kavli Professor of Brain Science, Columbia University, and Nobel Prize winner for Medicine and Physiology 2000 SHRINKS is a great read and is highly recommended. By combining clinical case histories and theoretical musings, it describes where psychiatry came from and where it is going. The author, a highly respected clinical, research, and academic psychiatrist and recent President of the American Psychiatric Association, does not hesitate to describe the soft underbelly of his profession "as it matured from a psychoanalytic cult of shrinks into a scientific medicine of the brain." Especially interesting are descriptions of the profession's meanderings into intellectual dead ends, from Wilhelm Reich to Thomas Szasz and Daniel Amen. Equally intriguing is the emergence of today's scientific psychiatry which, when practiced skillfully, can afford great relief for many psychiatric disorders -- E. Fuller Torrey, author of SURVIVING SCHIZOPHRENIA
Jeffrey A. Lieberman has spent over twenty-five years caring for patients and studying the nature and treatment of mental illness. he is the former President of the American Psychiatric Association, Chairman of Psychiatry at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, Psychiatrist in Chief at Columbia University Medical Center-New York Presbyterian Hospital, and Director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute. @DrJlieberman