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

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 ...

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

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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.

 

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Editorial Reviews

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wall Street Journal

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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781932594393
  • Publisher: Dana Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/2008
  • Pages: 300
  • Sales rank: 498,153
  • 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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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

 

Chapter 1

Meeting the Issue

 

Chapter 2

The Path Less Traveled

 

Chapter 3

Appraising the Problem

 

Chapter 4

Joining the Contest

 

Chapter 5

Fighting for Danny Smith

 

Chapter 6

The Scope of Suspicion

 

Chapter 7

Moving from Defense to Offense

 

Chapter 8

Getting to Know Patients

 

Chapter 9

Making Sense of DSM

 

Chapter 10

What Is Meant by Hysteria?

 

Chapter 11

Words, Words, Mere Words

 

Chapter 12

The Move to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

 

Chapter 13

Making Sense of Psychotherapy

 

Chapter 14

The "Conflict" and the "Deficit" Psychotherapies

 

Epilogue

Notes Suggested Reading

Index

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