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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Steven T. Herron, MD (University of Arizona Health Sciences Center)
Description: This book addresses many of the coercive aspects of the treatment of psychiatric patients throughout the world, though mainly focusing on areas influenced by Western medicine, including Europe, the United States, New Zealand, Israel, and Egypt.
Purpose: As the editors' note, "The relevance of coercive treatment for psychiatry has been underestimated for a long period in the history of the discipline." However, recent developments have fueled an interest in understanding and learning how and why these procedures have been used, and this work compiles this information in one resource.
Audience: Though directed primarily at those in the mental healthcare field, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric residents, and medical students, this book also could be useful to those interested in mental health law and the appreciation for the complex relationship between psychiatric treatment and civil liberties.
Features: Divided into five sections related to coercive treatment, each one addresses a different facet of these complex issues. Chapters end with a decent number of references, and some contain a "Conclusions" section which offers a brief summary of the chapter. There are a limited number of black-and-white graphs, pictures, tables, and diagrams.
Assessment: Though the other sections are interesting and useful, the chapters describing an individual's personal experience with coercion in their treatment are the most powerful part of this book. While it is clear that there has been a greater focus on monitoring and acknowledging the rights of psychiatric patients over the past 20 to 30 years, the nature of mental health issues often can create a difficult juxtaposition to navigate, especially when providers attempt to recognize the patient's individual rights and the rights of the society as a whole. The multicultural approach to this book is appealing and valuable and, despite its dull and bland appearance, it is well put together and worth reading.