From Publishers Weekly
Since 50% of Americans will reportedly undergo some form of psychotherapy in their lifetimes, Engel, a professor of health care policy and management at Seton Hall University, presents a complete survey of the 100-year-old history of American mental health practitioners. Tracing the rise and decline of psychoanalysis in America (including the pioneering theories of homegrown talents Harry Stack Sullivan and Karen Horney), and its replacement by other, more targeted forms of therapy, this book notes that mental health treatment has become intensely consumer-oriented, tailored to finicky patients and leading to a variety of therapies such as Gestalt, rebirthing, primal scream therapy and medications like Prozac and Zoloft (though the discussion of medications fails to do justice to their complexities). Engel (The Epidemic: A Global History of AIDS
) touts community mental health facilities and new progress in treatments and drugs to control addictions and mental instability. Highly informative, if a bit textbookish in tone, this is a capable introduction to the ever-changing American mental health industry and its practitioners. 8 pages of b&w photos. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Health-care-policy professor Engel delves deeply, perhaps too deeply, into the nuts (no pun intended), bolts, and history of psychological analysis in the last 100 years. For the general public, there may not be such a thing as too much information about all the permutations of therapeutic analysis, beginning with Freud and continuing through primal screaming and Rolfing. Anyone considering such mental-health interventions may, however, find this amount of background detail daunting. Engel’s accounts of early attempts at determining just what might or might not work for any given patient, from aversion therapy to frontal lobotomy and electroshock treatments, raise real fear. Later chapters, however, are more reassuring, if only because the profession seems to have achieved a status quo in which patients are at little risk of encountering once-popular experimental therapies. On the other hand, due to changing trends insofar as managed care—which severely limits funding for what Engel calls the optimum therapy; namely, combining psychopharmaceuticals with analysis—is concerned, the picture is not so rosy. --Donna Chavez