Key Update, December 2020, Volume 17, Number 6


The “Medical Model” vs. “Psychosocial Theories” Conflict Is Explored in Three New Publications.

The long-standing conflict between the “medical” and “psychosocial” models in the mental health arena is tackled in three recent publications: two articles by British psychologists, and a book about an American family in which six of the 12 children were diagnosed with schizophrenia. “Conflict, Compromise and Collusion: Dilemmas for Psychosocially Oriented Practitioners in the Mental Health System” confronts the controversy between the “medical model” (considered the “dominant approach”) and “psychosocial theories,” which “highlight the role of the events and circumstances of people’s lives.” “The tension between these two approaches can lead to challenges and dilemmas for psychosocially oriented practitioners,” the authors write. The article covers strategies for how to manage these challenges, including “foregrounding clients’ contexts and understandings” and “engaging in activism outside work.” For the article, click here. (Lead author Anne Cooke is the editor of Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia: Why people sometimes hear voices, believe things that others find strange, or appear out of touch with reality, and what can help, available here.) John Read, Ph.D., also subscribes to the psychosocial model in “Creating a Mental Illness Called Schizophrenia.” For the article, click here. And for a review of Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family, chosen by The New York Times as one of the five best nonfiction books of 2020, click here.

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