Description: This is a relatively short work compiled by authors from numerous (almost exclusively English speaking) countries addressing the practice of psychiatry and practitioner/patient (implicit and explicit) expectations related to the dynamic field.
Purpose: Due to the ever-changing relationship between patients and their psychiatrists, as well as societal expectations for this relationship, the increasing body of knowledge in the field, and the constantly changing societal norms associated with mental health treatment, the editors suggest this book is an attempt to encapsulate current attitudes which influence psychiatric care.
Audience: Though potentially useful for practitioners outside the field of psychiatry, this work is primarily geared for clinicians with any degree of experience, from those in training to those practicing in the community.
Features: Composed of 18 chapters penned by authors with differing cultural backgrounds, experience, and exposure to (likely) varying patient populations, this book addresses concepts such as historical aspects of the "contract," factors influencing this contract over time, and challenges in teaching professionalism. Each chapter ends with an extensive list of current references. A limited number of graphics appear throughout the book in the form of tables, diagrams, and figures.
Assessment: This book takes a unique and interesting approach to understanding this difficult and challenging subject. The authors seem to have a firm grasp of their individual topics, but although the editors have tried to meld stylistic differences between chapters, the entire work struggles with its flow. It also may be worth noting the significant differences between the healthcare systems in the countries represented in this work and the United States, making comparisons between countries difficult at best. Nonetheless, this is a worthy effort for those interested in a discussion of professionalism and ethics in the field of psychiatry.