Illness by Any Other Name: The Wizardry of Szasz

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Abstract

Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1993, Vol 38(12), 1295–1296. Reviews the book, A Lexicon of Lunacy: Metaphoric Malady, Moral Responsibility, and Psychiatry by Thomas S. Szasz (see record 1993-97033-000). In his latest book, Thomas S. Szasz reminds us again of the absurdity, and the dangers, of using literal medicine to treat metaphorical diseases. He argues that to call something mental illness and equate it with physical illness gives too much power to mental health professionals–and to the governments they serve–and strips people of their responsibility for their own behavior. Given the importance of Szasz's work and the desirability of exposing students to his lines of argument, this book may be a good one to assign in courses on psychopathology, therapy, clinical psychology, professional issues, ethics, and so forth. It addresses a series of compelling and timely issues in an accessible and useful way. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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