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March 6, 1996

Cultures of Healing: Correcting the Image of American Mental Health Care

Author Affiliations

University of Southern California School of Medicine Los Angeles

JAMA. 1996;275(9):727. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530330071038

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It was necessary for this book to be written, because those who practice psychotherapy and those who are treated by it need to know what psychotherapy is and is not. Toward that end, the author examines in great detail and puts into perspective the ideologies of the four most influential schools of psycho-social thought: psychoanalysis, behaviorism, Beck's cognitive therapy, and biological psychiatry. These analyses are both thorough and penetrating.

This depth is crucial, for most professionals who practice psychotherapy soon learn that rigid adherence to any of these schools of thought may well give poor results. Most psychotherapists soon learn that flexibility is essential and that there is something to be learned from all these schools of thought. But this sentiment is not what is usually found in the literature. Most of these flexible practitioners do not write (the author is a fortunate exception), and if they did write in