Modern psychiatry’s greatest weakness is not its particulars. It isn’t that it has failed thus far to find the Holy Grail: the perfect pill or surgery that can fix human suffering without doing great harm to the human person or its systems. No, the greatest weakness of medicine’s weakest specialty is in its foundational principles and presuppositions.
Psychiatry is a hopeless profession because its philosophy is fatally flawed. Because its foundation is antithetical to good science and its naturalistic worldview precludes a supernatural (i.e., spiritual) view of the human person, it has become increasingly irrelevant. The emperor is naked, and fewer and fewer people are bothering to notice.
The primary debate is between psychiatry’s medical model and a humane, psycho-spiritual model of mental illness. What this debate boils down to is the question, “Why do people suffer problems such as depression (the most common ‘ailment’ treated by psychiatrists)?” Is the depressed person doomed to suffer the consequences of a broken brain unless and until psychiatry corrects whatever biological, chemical, or electrical error exists? Or, is it possible to tell every person what they desperately want to hear: “After understanding your life, your history, your beliefs, your struggles, your environment, and your world, I can understand why you would be depressed.” I have never met a person in my professional or personal life, where, after having gotten to know them well enough, I have not been able to validate their misery as comprehensible, meaningful, purposeful, and redeemable.
There is no shortage of reasons for a person being depressed or anxious. One need not look to psychiatry’s biochemical bogeyman for an answer.
Beginning tomorrow, I will begin unleashing a torrent of alternative causes of depression. By the time I am done, it will be clear that psychiatry’s view of depression—that one is born with a biological predisposition to an illness that causes the symptoms of depression—will seem hopelessly irrelevant and, frankly, silly.