Reviewed Books & Films

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January 2015

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Drug Companies, Developing Countries, and Psychiatric Neocolonialism


Dennis Nissim-Sabat recently reviewed China Mills’s Decolonizing Global Mental Health: The Psychiatrization of the Majority World for PsycCRITIQUES. In his review, Nissim-Sabat points out that huge profits are accessible to those drug companies that can successfully convince millions of citizens and their health care providers in developing countries such as India that they need to take psychotropic medications with the same enthusiasm and frequency found in more developed countries such as the United States.  A similar point is made in Wade Pickren’s (2010) PsycCRITIQUES review of Ethan Watters’s book Crazy Like Us.  

Do psychologists—and especially international psychologists working in majority countries—have an ethical obligation to oppose “psychiatric neocolonialism”?  If so, what form should this opposition take?


Pickren, W. (2010). Should the world be as apple as American pie? [Review of the book Crazy like us: The globalization of the American psyche, by E. Watters]. PsycCRITIQUES, 55(46).
Read the Review
ReviewPsychiatric Imperialism in India
By Denis Nissim-Sabat
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2014 Vol 59(49)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

How Should Therapists and Health Psychologists Use Internet Social Support Groups?


Sarah Kass reviewed The Paradox of Internet Groups: Alone in the Presence of Virtual Others by Haim Weinberg. Given the advantages and disadvantages of using internet support groups in therapy, what two (or more) suggestions would you give to therapists and health psychologists who wanted to use such tools?

Read the Review
ReviewHidden Relating: The World of Online Support
By Sarah A. Kass
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2014 Vol 59(47)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Old Friends Needed


“Friends, Communities, and the Rest of Our Lives” is the title of Robert Intrieri’s review of With a Little Help From Our Friends: Creating Community as We Grow Older by Beth Baker. Intrieri says this book is an “analysis of why all of us should not be afraid to look forward into our future and make critical decisions now about how we wish to live our lives in old age” (para. 5). At the end of his review he says this book should be read by students, professionals, and anyone anticipating retirement.

What about those of us who already are there, and have been there for a while? Some gerontologists call us the old old. Baker’s “thesis [is] that community and relationships are essential to sustain us through the end of life” (para. 6). So, if we haven’t done so, we need to make friends and find community. There is an implication that not doing so may lead to loneliness, depression, and, well, the end.

To avoid that down side, an old old person may need some help. There will be a lot more people in that age range in the coming years, but to meet their needs Intrieri says we “will need a significant increase in the number of appropriately trained geropsychologists” and related professionals (para. 8). When I was doing accreditation visits, almost all programs had a specialty in child and adolescent clinical training. Training to work with older adults was unusual. Is that still the situation?

Read the Review
ReviewFriends, Communities, and the Rest of Our Lives
By Robert C. Intrieri
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2014 Vol 59(49)

Thursday, January 08, 2015

LGBT Voices: How Closely Are We Listening?


In her review of Queer Voices From the Classroom, Glenda M.Russell notes the importance of efforts to give voice to those whose voices have been silenced. In this instance, the focus is on the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) teachers. Although social attitudes about the LGBT community have changed and are changing, Russell notes that changes in the classroom have come more slowly.

In the book, the experiences of those who provide instruction in diverse school settings—rural, urban, public, private—were captured. Narratives were solicited for which teachers were asked to discuss “(a) their identities as queer teachers, (b) how their identities influenced their decision to become teachers, (c) significant moments regarding their lives as teachers, and (d) their hopes as queer teachers” (para. 3). The chapters provide insight and inspiration, yet they also make it clear that there is work to be done. For example, although not addressed in the book, Russell questions whether LGBT people can freely decide whether they want to disclose or withhold their identities in the school environment.

As psychologists read this book, it will be important for them to consider similar questions. Does our profession parallel the school environments described? Are LGBT individuals able to find affirming environments within research and therapeutic psychological communities? Is our awareness of the costs and consequences associated with an inability to express a stigmatized identity adequate? Are we aware of the unique stressors and the needs of LGBT individuals and the concerns these may generate, or is a book that describes LGBT experiences in psychology needed?        

Read the Review
ReviewLGBT Teachers: Narratives of Bias and Challenge
By Glenda M. Russell
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2014 Vol 59(47)

Editor of PsycCRITIQUES

Danny Wedding, PhD

Chair of Behavioral Sciences,
College of Medicine,
American University of Antigua

Associate Editors of PsycCRITIQUES

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