I found the letter by Dr. Rodrigo Muñoz in the July 2 issue, titled"
Against the Mutilation of Clinical Psychiatry," to be eloquent,
well thought out, and important.
Psychiatrists are being marginalized to "medication managers,"
while psychologists and social workers are increasingly in charge of our
patients. It used to be the case that the training in psychotherapy that
psychiatrists got exceeded the training that psychologists got. Psychiatrists
had major expertise in not only the biology but also the psychology of the
biopsychosocial model. Psychiatry could be distinguished from neurology in
that neurologists knew only about symptoms, diagnoses, and treatments, while
psychiatrists also knew about the psychodynamic interior. Now psychiatrists
learn only a brand of minor neurology, with some behavioral therapy thrown
To get my CME credits, I have gone to innumerable psychopharmacology
presentations. These pharmacology experts think that their treatment is the
total treatment of patients (with some behavior therapy thrown in, done by
psychologists). Their research is substantially funded by drug companies that
allow them to publish only their positive results. This research provides them
with lengthening CVs and promotes their academic careers. These
psychopharmacology researchers then come to predominate in academic
departments, and they are responsible for the narrow and restricted kind of
training that today's young psychiatrists get.
When they think about it, these psychopharmacologists proudly think that
they have promoted the return of psychiatric practice to medical practice. In
the real world, they have actually promoted a marginalization of psychiatrists
and an abdication of leadership of the mental health team.
I strongly agree with Dr. Muñoz's ideas, and APA and psychiatry
department chairs ought to take a better look at what is really going on out