Using our Minds
Updated: Mar 25, 2021
This is a long article that describes how our minds are far more than just our brains, how our minds develop during our lives, can develop mental illnesses, and recover.
Throughout my career, a “medical model” of mental health has dominated psychiatry. A belief that the brain’s circuitry and biology is the source of all mental processes and therefore are at the root of all mental illnesses, so “all mental illnesses are brain illnesses”, guides our diagnosis, patient education materials, research funding, psychiatric training and licensing, prescribing, even our TV commercials. I’ve come to a contrary belief: Very few people diagnosed with mental illnesses have a brain illness that is causing their difficulties, whereas, almost all of them have disturbances in their minds. This isn’t just a semantic or philosophical distinction. It’s an entirely different paradigm that leads to different diagnostic evaluations, therapeutic relationships, processes, and goals.