Earlier this year, Ronald Pies and Allen Frances wrote a series of blogs that collectively might be titled: "Why Robert Whitaker is Wrong about Antipsychotics." In regard to reviewing the "evidence" on that question, Pies did most of the heavy lifting, but he also told of drawing on the expertise of E. Fuller Torrey, Joseph Pierre and Bernard Carroll. Given the prominence of this group, it could be fairly said that Pies' review
reflects, to a large degree, the collective "thoughts" of American psychiatry.
And with that understanding in mind, therein lies an opportunity, one not to be missed.
Over the past 35 years, psychiatry—as an institution—has remade our society. This is the medical specialty that defines what is normal and not normal. This is the medical specialty that tells us when we should take medications that will affect how we respond to the world. And this is the profession that determines whether such medications are good for our children. Given that influence, we as a society naturally have reason to want to know how the leaders in the profession think
, and thus how they come to their conclusions about the merits of their drugs. The blogs by Pies and Frances provide us with just that opportunity. We can watch their minds at work and ask ourselves, do we see on display the type of thinking—the openness of mind, the critical thinking, the curiosity, the humility of character, and the devotion to public wellbeing—that we want to see in a medical specialty that has such influence over our lives?