Towards the end of the twentieth century, the solution to mental illness seemed to be found. It lay in biological solutions, focusing on mental illness as a problem of the brain, to be managed or improved through drugs. We entered the 'Prozac Age' and believed we had moved on definitively from the time of frontal lobotomies to an age of good and successful mental healthcare. Biological psychiatry had triumphed.
Except maybe it hadn't. Starting with surprising evidence from the World Health Organisation that suggests people recover better from mental illness in a developing country than in the first world, Doctoring the Mind asks the question: how good are our mental health services, really? Richard Bentall picks apart the science that underlies current psychiatric practice across the US and UK. Arguing passionately for a future of mental health treatment that focuses as much on patients as individuals as on the brain itself, this is a book set to redefine our understanding of the treatment of madness in the twenty-first century.
Born in Sheffield, Richard Bentall was an undergraduate at the University College of North Wales, Bangor, the only university that would take him following his undistinguished performance at Uppingham School in Rutland and High Storrs School in Sheffield. He remained at Bangor to take a PhD in experimental psychology before obtaining a qualification in clinical psychology at the University of Liverpool. He later obtained an MA in philosophy applied to health care from University College Swansea. After a brief period as a National Health Service forensic clinical psychologist, he returned to the University of Liverpool as a lecturer, where he was eventually appointed Professor of Clinical Psychology. In 1999 he moved to a Chair in Experimental Clinical Psychology at the University of Manchester. In 1989 he received the British Psychological Society’s May Davidson Award for his contribution to the field of clinical psychology. Apart from his interests in severe mental illness, Richard Bentall also studies differences between human and animal learning mechanisms and has carried out research into the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome. He lives with his partner, Aisling (also a psychologist) and their twin children Fintan and Keeva.