The Demise Of Modern Psychiatry

More than any other discipline,  psychiatry has lost its autonomy as an independent branch of the medical sciences and, as a result, it is now more or less under the complete influence of the pharmaceutical and insurance industries.  No longer is the psychiatrist the one who is in complete charge of the patient. Today,  the psychiatrist treats the psychiatric symptom such as anxiety, depression etc with medication. while the psychologist or social worker treats the “whole patient.”

How did this tragic degradation in this once highly respected profession come about? The decline in the quality of psychiatric care is directly related to the psychiatrist’s failure to understand the origin and functions of emotions that underlie psychiatric illness.  This necessarily led to a mechanistic, brain-centered distortion of psychiatric illness and a symptom based system of diagnosis and treatment.  The elimination of the troublesome symptom, not the establishment of emotional health, became the goal of psychiatric treatment.  The mechanistically oriented psycho-pharmacologist gradually  replaced the function of the psychotherapist as the primary caretaker.  With the use of medication, the energy behind the patient’s psychiatric problematic symptom is blocked from being experienced but this occurs at the expense of his emotional well-being.

The mechanistic distortions of human emotional life that we see today in the practice of psychiatry did not occur because of a lack of knowledge.  They could have been prevented if the medical discoveries of Wilhelm Reich such as the existence of biological energy, the function of armor and the orgasm function were understood and incorporated into the existing body of psychiatric knowledge.  Tragically, the overwhelming majority of psychiatrists were and still are unable to think functionally and grasp the crucial importance of these discoveries.  They are left with a sterile approach to human illness, one that cannot be sustained for long before the public at large and the psychiatric profession itself become disillusioned with the current state of affairs and look for a better alternative to what they have.


  1. In my opinion it is a question of money. It will be cheaper to treat with pills and a social worker is also cheaper than a psychiatrist.

    • Certainly the quick, cheap route is to dispense a pill and/or see a social worker to suppress the symptom. However that does nothing to address or alleviate the underlying emotional cause of the problem.

  2. Before Freud, psychology did not exist in medicine; psychoneurosis was either held to be fictitious and “suggestion” (talk patient out of symptoms) was used, or when it was treated, physical measures were used such as hydrotherapy and electrotherapy. Nervous diseases were thought to be caused by physical changes in the brain, a position where sadly psychiatry is once more. Due to Freud’s learning from a few great thinkers in the field of neurology and his functional thinking, he was able to see beneath the surface of symptoms and formulate his libido and unconscious theories. Unfortunately as time progressed, Freud lost his objectivity and incorporated mysticism in psychoanalysis leading to theoretical and treatment failures. If Freud would have been able to adopt Reich’s findings on genitality and character structure, perhaps psychiatry would be in a better position of influence today. The fact that although psychoanalysis spoke of “prevention”, but never did anything comparable to Reich in this area-coupled with its belief in the inherent battle of instincts and ego-was another factor in my opinion of their demise. Ernest Jones (Freud’s colleague and biographer) addressing Freud’s 100th anniversary in 1956, was optimistic that psychoanalysis would continue to influence psychiatry well into the future, a prediction that did not bear fruit in the following decades.

    • Your comment about the reasons for the demise of psychiatry is discussed at length in my article on the decline and fall of modern psychiatry which is included in this website.

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s