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About George Frederick Drinka
George F. Drinka, MD is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and the author of The Birth of Neurosis: Myth, Malady and the Victorians (Simon & Schuster). He has also written for the New York Time Book Review and the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association.
Dr. Drinka offers unique expertise in a numbers of areas related to the topic of his new book. In addition to his work with children and adolescents as a psychiatrist, he is a psychotherapist, a cultural historian and an acclaimed storyteller who focuses on the human condition. (See the reviews of The Birth of Neurosis.) Hence he can offer original and probing insights into the interplay of pop culture, American families, and children’s emotional lives.
He received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins Medical School and attended Oxford University where he undertook a graduate program in the Department of Modern History. There he worked on a dissertation in medical and cultural history and on reading and writing fiction. He then completed his psychiatric residency at Yale University and his fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at Boston Children’s Hospital. He then joined the faculty at the Harvard Medical School as an Instructor while writing the final drafts of his first book, The Birth of Neurosis, which grew out of his Oxford dissertation. Positively reviewed in many prominent publications, this book displays his expertise as an historian and psychiatrist and his verve for storytelling.
Dual certified in general psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, he has been on the clinical faculty of the Oregon Health Sciences University and in private practice in Portland, Oregon for more than twenty years. During these years, he became immersed in endless hours of therapy with children and adolescents who reveal to him their inner lives. Through this clinical work, he became aware of how deeply, certain media creations and the pop culture more generally, have entered into the fantasy world and daydreams of American children and slowly, subtly shaped them. His new book, When the Media Is the Parent, is a culmination of his work with children, his scholarly study of works on the media and American cultural history, and his dedication to writing stories that reveal the humanity in us all.
Our children are being nurtured and guided by machines — modern media delivery systems – and the media they deliver. They have taken over the parenting functions that once were performed by human beings.
This may sound like a horror movie plot from the 1950s, but it is a twenty-first century reality. All too often, well-meaning parents have abdicated their roles as nurturers, caregivers, teachers, confidantes, guides, and role models—leaving TV, videogames, movies, smart phones, and the internet to fill in. And our children are paying the price.
The pros and cons of particular media products are beside the point. The question now is: How can we take back our role as parents when the media are steadily winning over our kids? When the Media Is the Parent provides answers by offering compelling case histories into what happens to individual children who are left with the media as the main source of parenting. As a psychiatrist specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry, I will analyze the stories of these child-patients of mine, bringing my psychological expertise to offer insight and empathy, and to suggest practical parenting advice all parents can use in these media saturated times.