Try to Remember: Psychiatry's Clash over Meaning, Memory, and Mind

Try to Remember: Psychiatry's Clash over Meaning, Memory, and Mind

by Paul R. McHugh
     
 

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In the 1990s a disturbing trend emerged in psychotherapy: patients began accusing their parents and other close relatives of sexual abuse, as a result of false “recovered memories” urged onto them by therapists practicing new methods of treatment. The subsequent loss of public confidence in psychotherapy was devastating to psychiatrist Paul R.

Overview

In the 1990s a disturbing trend emerged in psychotherapy: patients began accusing their parents and other close relatives of sexual abuse, as a result of false “recovered memories” urged onto them by therapists practicing new methods of treatment. The subsequent loss of public confidence in psychotherapy was devastating to psychiatrist Paul R. McHugh, and with Try to Remember, he looks at what went wrong and describes what must be done to restore psychotherapy to a more honored and useful place in therapeutic treatment.

In this thought-provoking account, McHugh explains why trendy diagnoses and misguided treatments have repeatedly taken over psychotherapy. He recounts his participation in court battles that erupted over diagnoses of recovered memories and the frequent companion diagnoses of multiple-personality disorders. He also warns that diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder today may be perpetuating a similar misdirection, thus exacerbating the patients’ suffering. He argues that both the public and psychiatric professionals must raise their standards for psychotherapy, in order to ensure that the incorrect designation of memory as the root cause of disorders does not occur again. Psychotherapy, McHugh ultimately shows, is a valuable healing method—and at the very least an important adjunct treatment—to the numerous psychopharmaceuticals that flood the drug market today.

An urgent call to arms for patients and therapists alike, Try to Remember delineates the difference between good and bad psychiatry and challenges us to reconsider psychotherapy as the most effective way to heal troubled minds.
 

Editorial Reviews

Wall Street Journal

"Dr. McHugh has rendered a valuable service by describing the lamentable fa
— Theodore Dalrymple

Guardian

"As well as admirably empathetic accounts of troubling case studies and enjoyable subtle demolitions of rival 'colleagues,' the book offers a polemical primer on competing schools of thought in psychiatry over the last half-century. Lest the abuses he documents irreparably damage the reputation of psychotherapy, McHugh concludes, his profession ought to take a rigorously empirical approach to mental health, and cast out 'therapies built on suspicion.'"--Steven Poole, Guardian (UK)

— Steven Poole

Globe and Mail

"McHugh's account, by his own admission, is deeply personal. It is also deeply disturbing. Vulnerable patients were drugged, hypnotized and otherwise manipulated into concocting stories. Scientific method was thrown to the wind. And practitioners behaved badly—very badly."—Globe and Mail
Tom Wolfe

“This is the absorbing, never-before-told story of how a cult of Freudian psychiatrists went on a witch-hunt across America … before a small band of scientists risked their reputations and livelihoods to expose the cult for what it was: a wacky pack a quacks.”—Tom Wolfe

Michael S. Gazzaniga

“America’'s premier pioneering biological psychiatrist Paul McHugh blows the whistle on sloppy and trendy thinking in psychiatry. . . . A must read.”—Michael S. Gazzaniga, Ph.D., author of Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique

Michael J. Sandel

Try to Remember is a riveting account of his battle against the repressed memory movement. It is also a passionate plea for psychiatry as a humane science, grounded in evidence, and focused on helping people in the here and now.”—Michael J. Sandel, author of The Case against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering

Carol Tavris

“Readers of this splendid book will not forget its central lesson: If psychotherapists do not learn from their colossal mistakes, they will surely repeat them.”—Carol Tavris, Ph.D., co-author of Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me)

Midge Decter

“Of all the mad ideas that have swept through the practice of psychiatry since Freud first undertook to map the unconscious, probably none has resulted in more cruelty to patients and their loved ones than those that led to the Recovered Memory Movement and its adjunct disease, Multiple Personality Disorder. . . . Paul McHugh is a healer.”—Midge Decter, author of An Old Wife’s Tale

Richard J. McNally

“Engagingly written and accessible to a wide audience . . . a gold mine of fresh insights and constructive suggestions concerning how we can improve our system of psychiatric diagnosis.”—Richard J. McNally, Ph.D., author of Remembering Trauma

Alan Stone

“Never has psychiatry been so simultaneously inundated with real science and with so much pseudoscience. . . . McHugh explains to uninitiated readers how he learned to tell the difference and where many of his colleagues went wrong.”— Alan Stone, M.D. Professor of Law and Psychiatry, Harvard University

Sir David Goldberg

“Paul McHugh documents some of the absurd concepts introduced into psychiatry . . . his book is of equal interest to those outside the healing professions as it is to those within them.”— Sir David Goldberg, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK

Wall Street Journal - Theodore Dalrymple

"Dr. McHugh has rendered a valuable service by describing the lamentable fa
Guardian - Steven Poole

"As well as admirably empathetic accounts of troubling case studies and enjoyable subtle demolitions of rival 'colleagues,' the book offers a polemical primer on competing schools of thought in psychiatry over the last half-century. Lest the abuses he documents irreparably damage the reputation of psychotherapy, McHugh concludes, his profession ought to take a rigorously empirical approach to mental health, and cast out 'therapies built on suspicion.'"—Steven Poole, Guardian (UK)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781932594393
Publisher:
Dana Press
Publication date:
11/15/2008
Pages:
300
Sales rank:
891,265
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Paul R. McHugh is the University Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University. He formerly was director of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and psychiatrist-in-chief at John Hopkins Hospital. He is the author or coauthor of five books and has published over 200 articles in journals and publications such as the Wall Street Journal, American Scholar, Chronicle of Higher Education, and Commentary.
 

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