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Books, Journals, New Media
October 22/29, 2003


Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.

JAMA. 2003;290(16):2195-2196. doi:10.1001/jama.290.16.2195

The stated object of this book is to describe an "approach to psychiatry." The author, Bruce J. Cohen, MD, describes feedback from those he teaches as indicating that psychiatry suffers from a "lack of conceptual scaffolding," a deficit of centering, so to speak. His technique is to use a "conversational tone," as a professor might in speaking to students. His is a large task.

The book begins with general chapters, such as "Mental Life and Its Assessment" and "Psychiatric Formulation From Multiple Perspectives," then presents chapters on specific disorders, such as mood disorders, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders, replete with well-placed graphs and lists. The author addresses nomenclature and grammar, eg, "From the perspective of function, patients are viewed as subjects or agents, endowed with free will, with the capacity to get angry, to plan, to make decisions, to fall in love" and "Note how, when we are using the approach from form, we typically use passive verbs to describe the patient's experiences (for example, the patient ‘experiences hallucinations and delusions')."

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