The Mind's Fate: A Psychiatrist Looks at His Profession: Thirty Years of Writings

Robert Coles, Author Little Brown and Company $25.95 (420p) ISBN 978-0-316-15164-1
This welcome, expanded edition of an essay collection first published in 1975 includes 16 previously uncollected pieces and is approximately 40% new material. Coles, Pulitzer Prize-winning psychiatrist and Harvard professor, is dismayed at the overreliance on psychoactive drugs in today's psychiatric profession. Among the notable new selections are a stirring account of Coles's work with poor black children in the South during the early civil rights era; a critique of reductionist Freudian and Marxist interpretations of religious faith; a case history of Connie, a rebellious, unruly, yet devoutly Catholic eight-year-old girl; and appreciations of the fictions of Raymond Carver and William Styron. Coles's assessments of Anna Freud's pioneering work with disturbed children, of Erik Erikson's developmental psychology of the life cycle, and of R.D. Laing and William James reflect his grasp of psychotherapy as an elusive mix of science and art. Whether he is discussing the pervasive violence and narcissism in American society or the deep religiosity in Van Gogh's paintings, his humanism and compassionate insight shine through. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/1995
Release date: 09/01/1995
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-316-15139-9
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