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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 50 (2008) 7, 405 - 415

Essay

The attractive but illusory autonomy of a monistic explanatory model for the psychopathology

J. Dirkx

summary Nowadays psychiatry is dominated by the scientific perspective of biological psychiatry according to which a psychiatrist should be first and foremost a brain specialist with a biomedical approach to patients and their problems. This constitutes a threat to the fundamental notion that a psychiatrist is concerned primarily with the workings of the mind and it reduces the discipline to a form of behavioural neurology. This restrictive interpretation fails to do justice to the theory that psychopathology has a multitude of causes. This article provides an overview of the methodological, socio-cultural and metaphysical causes and effects of this one-sided development. The overview is followed by a plea for a pluralistic rather than a deterministic view of psychiatry, which is an extraordinary type of medical discipline.

keywords biomedical model, psychodynamic psychiatry, pluralism