Oh man, the ending was like getting punched int gut. Atwood does is again with the ol' one two punch. Incredible characters, horrendous story, will noOh man, the ending was like getting punched int gut. Atwood does is again with the ol' one two punch. Incredible characters, horrendous story, will not be forgotten anytime soon. Another storyline to haunt me......more
What a splash of cold, clear water. Yes, this is a pop psych/anthropology book but it was perfect as a zoom out lens on the big picture and though itWhat a splash of cold, clear water. Yes, this is a pop psych/anthropology book but it was perfect as a zoom out lens on the big picture and though it is at times limited and there are a couple places where Watters hedges, his instincts are good and the material is on point. Having already read Anatomy of an Epidemic, which painstakingly sifts through hundreds of studies, I could easily go along with Watters' points because I already had the background. Readers picking this up without a strong background in psychopharmacology, both the practice and the industry, may not be as easily able to go along with his perspective.
Watters tells four stories of how mental illness was treated abroad, weaving in the influence of Western (Cartesian mind-body split, individualism, biosocialmedical) medicine and Big Pharma. As a psychotherapist, it is always humbling and refreshing to have the profession reframed by a cross-cultural perspective, when treatments, modalities, and drugs are so often represented as "cutting-edge" "facts" from "science" rather than phenomena born from and shaped by a sociohistorical context. It goes right along with Black Psychology, Norman Doige's Anatomy of an Epidemic, and other texts that dare to put an unrosy-spin on mental health treatment in the US. I had never heard of a psychological anthropologist before (I looked it up and there are about 200 in the country) but dang, that sounds like an awesome job!
After writing my review, I looked through goodreads and scanned the reviews- realizing how many haters this book has--- from pretty misinformed perspectives. The whole silver bullet 'prozac is like penicillin' thing has been throughly debunked in Doige's book so hating on him for not advocating that people receive their "lifesaving medication" is the same nonsense he is pointing a critical eye to. I would also suggest the documentary film "Off Label" that talks about some of the truly gruesome outcomes of these drugs, as well as the people who do these trials as their "job". Oh, you thought the drugs trials were done on ordinary, god-fearing folks like yourself? Uh, think again. Watters point isn't that they don't work, it's that whatever help they may be to some level of the population, that percentage is lost beneath a blizzard of misinformation, marketing, and misdirection.
Another was from a girl who was sure that her CBT therapy was really helping the Tanzanian orphanage children, her review seemed to based on feeling personally insulted, which that in and of itself plays out all kinds of therapist sins (therapist as expert, healer, helper, dogooder, etc). We can safely assume that she doesn't have a background in development economic so she doesn't realize that after 75+ years (we'll choose Truman's Four Points Plan as our starting point) the overwhelming evidence is that development projects have been, pretty much overwhelmingly, totally unsuccessful. Exporting "mental health" is the next wave of the industrial white savior complex, a point that could be a book all on its own.
So, in sum, if you're already pretty convinced that we Americans have, after about 100 years, solved *The Answers* to how to live a happy life for all people, despite the fact that permanent disability numbers keep INCREASING and don't mind the fact that there is STILL NO EVIDENCE anywhere to support the chemical imbalance theory, you prolly won't like this one. If some small part of your red, white, and blue mind can bend far enough to imagine that some other culture just *might* have any legitimacy and that our thinking *might* be influenced by a confluence of corporate marketing, the desperate death rattle of psychiatry, 40+ years of declining real wages, and the breakdown of civil society, then this is definitely worth a gander....more