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Shrink Rap: Three Psychiatrists Explain Their Work Hardcover – April 26, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1421400112 ISBN-10: 1421400111 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; 1 edition (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1421400111
  • ISBN-13: 978-1421400112
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,503,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


It’s a fascinating peek into the minds of those who study minds.

(Rachel Saslow Washington Post)

[Shrink Rap], the 'straight-talking guide to psychiatric care'... Although they explain psychiatry in all its merits and failings, acknowledging the limitations of their field, these are clearly three shrinks who love their jobs.

(Kristen Intlekofer Johns Hopkins Magazine)

An intriguing read.

(Midwest Book Review)

The public should have a general understanding of important illnesses as well as the relative roles of patients, clinicians, and the economic, medical and political environments in treating them. It would make the discussion of healthcare reform a great deal more meaningful. This edition of Shrink Rap is an excellent beginning.The bottom line: if you or anyone you know has any interest in the world of psychiatry, do them a favor and have them ' Shrink Rapped'. It's a very worthwhile read.

(Dr. Doug Perednia Road to Hellth)

Most of us easily understand how to treat a broken arm, but a fractured psyche? That's an entirely different matter. Or is it? This clear-headed presentation of psychiatric services and methods covers a lot of ground and achieves a conversational tone that's both educational and entertaining.

(John Lewis Baltimore Magazine)

While topics are addressed soundly for the professional reader, the authors’ optimism and humor consistently shine through, creating an informative and entertaining resource for patients and families

(Margaret S. Chisolm International Review of Psychiatry)

One of the most useful books I’ve read about mental illnesses—and as the father of a son with a severe mental disorder, I’ve read just about all of them. It demystifies our complicated medical and legal system, explaining everything from 'chemical imbalances' to involuntary commitment procedures to the most recent advances in brain mapping. If you have a mental disorder, love someone who has one, or are a doctor, therapist, social worker, lawyer, judge, or criminal justice professional, you need to read this book.

(Pete Earley, New York Times bestselling author of CRAZY: A Father’s Search through America’s Mental Health Madness)

In the too-often confusing and fractured world of mental health services, Shrink Rap is a ready resource for patients and their families looking for more insight into the range of services available and how they are delivered.

(Keith Ablow, M.D., psychiatrist, Fox News contributor, and coauthor of The 7: Seven Wonders to Change Your Life)

The authors convey a rich and detailed picture of psychiatry. They use plain English and reduce the use of medical jargon to the minimum: the book is thus usable by anyone interested in the topic.

(Silvia Di Paola Metapsychology)

About the Author

Dinah Miller, M.D., a psychiatrist and writer, is in private practice and is a consulting psychiatrist for the Johns Hopkins Hospital Community Psychiatry Program. Annette Hanson, M.D., is a forensic psychiatrist with appointments at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins Hospital. Steven Roy Daviss, M.D., also on the faculty at the University of Maryland, is a hospital-based psychiatrist and medical informatician and is chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Baltimore Washington Medical Center. All three created Shrink Rap, a blog by psychiatrists for psychiatrists, and My Three Shrinks, a podcast series about psychiatry.

Customer Reviews

I found this to be an easy read but very informative.
The book itself is very detailed and covers all the topics in depth, using hypothetical patient cases to illustrate the material discussed.
Alla S.
I would recommend it highly as a somewhat basic look at the work in the field today.
Lauri Crumley Coates

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By JMH on May 3, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been a psychiatrist in private practice for over 35 years and did not train in the same institutions as did the authors. I have worked in hospitals and have been in the military. I had psychoanalytic training and now work with psychotherapy and medication with a wide variety of patients. So I think I am in a good position to do a fair evaluation of this work.

If you want an accurate picture of American psychiatry as it is practiced today, read this book. It is much more than a description, however. It contains a great deal of clinical information and could well be used as a primer by medical students, psychiatric residents, and psychiatrists themselves. This is no dull pedantic tome. Taking its title from the bare all, question all blog the authors have continued for five years, it is written in a comfortable style, creating typical patients and clinical vignettes that lead the reader through the way a psychiatrist might approach their conditions. It recreates much of the contradictions and dilemmas inherent in practice, from the challenges of tailoring treatment to fit the demands of insurers to questions of confidentiality, record keeping, side effects, and so on. It discusses boundary violations and improper relationships between psychiatrists and their patients. It discusses the pros and cons of psychiatrists doing both therapy and medication management versus having a second professional, usually a psychologist or social worker, do the therapy. It does this giving a fair shake to numerous psychological approaches and orientations.

The three authors are experts in different disciplines. One is in private practice, with experience similar to mine. Another is an expert in hospital based psychiatry. The third is a forensic psychiatrist.

Is the book perfect?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Weissman on June 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Three self-styled "shrinks" who are used to communicating with non-clients on the Internet have gotten together to write a useful book on how the psychiatric and psychotherapeutic professions work in the context of the US medical system.

We don't spend lots of time listening in on therapy sessions. Instead, the book reviews - using composite and fictional cases - many of the most common types of mental illness and many of the ways in which psychotherapists and psychiatrists carry out their work in attempting to help these people.

We follow several patients with varying prognoses and varying outcomes, observing how the hospital system, the insurance system, and the forensic / criminal system work with patients. Along the way, various diagnoses are explored and explained according to current understanding of them. There are also general chapters on social and economic issues related to the professon.

The authors are careful to include what might be called opposing views. They give some space to the anti-psychiatry movement, and they consider the recent cases of medications that seem to cause suicidal thinking in some patients. But they balance that against the suicidal thinking that is prevented in some other patients by the same medications. They also talk about the influence of drug companies in a fairly open way.

There are no heroes here. The authors aren't in the business of justifying themselves, and one or two of the fictional therapists we see in the book do spectacularly bad jobs and harm patients.

The book is well-written and swift-moving, and has just about the right amount of detail in my opinion. I didn't see the humor that the various blurbers cited, beyond the clever title.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gaetan Lion on June 8, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is an informative book on the psychiatric professions written by three psychiatrists with different specialties: a forensic psychiatrist working within the correctional system, a consultation-liaison psychiatrist who informs doctors on how their hospitalized patients are doing, and a regular psychotherapist.

They provide a precise taxonomy of psychotherapists. A psychiatrist is a full fledge M.D. who is authorized to prescribe drugs. A psychologist does not have medical training and has either a masters or a Ph.D. in psychology. And, they can't prescribe drugs. A psychopharmacologist is a psychiatrist who purposefully does not conduct any therapy, and specializes solely in mental diagnosing and prescribing related drugs. Forensic psychiatrists have training in civil and criminal mental health issues. They testify as expert witnesses in many legal cases: insanity defenses, child custody, and juvenile hearings.

They explain the different types of therapy, including: psychoanalysis an insight-oriented therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) a supportive treatment exploring the patient's patterns of thinking. CBT is used to treat anxiety and depression. Therapy is often about helping patient accepting themselves and focus on their strengths rather than focusing on their weaknesses.

The chapter on forensic psychiatry operating within a penal and legal domains is fascinating. For one thing, the insanity defense is a lot more challenging to advance than you think. The criminal has to pass rigorous tests to be certified unable to attend court. In turn, the acquittee will be placed in a forensic hospital that caters to the violent mentally ill with maximum security. And, such hospitals are often notoriously difficult to get out off.
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