From Hysteria to Depression
A provocative argument that mental illnesses are not diseases, but the product of varying expectations shared by therapists and patients.
Why do 'maladies of the soul' such as hysteria, anxiety disorders, or depression wax and wane over time? Through a study of the history of psychiatry, Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen provocatively argues that most mental illnesses are not, in fact, diseases but the product of varying expectations shared and negotiated by therapists and patients. With a series of fascinating historical vignettes, stretching from Freud's creation of false memories of sexual abuse in his early hysterical patients to today's promotion and marketing of depression by drug companies, Making Minds and Madness offers a powerful critique of all the theories, such as psychoanalysis and biomedical psychiatry, that claim to discover facts about the human psyche while, in reality, producing them. Borch-Jacobsen proposes such objectivizing approaches should be abandoned in favor of a constructionist and relativist psychology that recognizes the artifactual and interactive character of psychic productions instead of attempting to deny or control it.
Introduction: making psychiatric history (questions of method); Part I. Microhistories of Trauma: 1. How to predict the past: from trauma to repression; 2. Neurotica: Freud and the seduction theory; 3. A black box named 'Sybil'; Part II. Fragments of a Theory of Generalized Artifact: 4. What made Albert run?; 5. The Bernheim effect; 6. Simulating the unconscious; Part III. The Freudian Century: 7. Is psychoanalysis a fairy-tale?; 8. Interprefactions: Freud's legendary science (in collaboration with Sonu Shamdasani); 9. Portrait of the psychoanalyst as a chameleon; Part IV. Market Psychiatry: 10. Science of madness, madness of science; 11. The great depression; 12. Psychotherapy today; 13. Therapy users and disease mongers.