HEALING THE SOUL IN THE AGE OF THE BRAIN: Becoming Conscious in an Unconscious World

Elio Frattaroli, Author Viking $26.95 (454p) ISBN 978-0-670-86189-7

A decade after Peter Kramer's bestselling Listening to Prozac (also published by Viking) refashioned cultural attitudes and beliefs about mental, emotional or personality disorders and their treatment, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Frattaroli reexamines the "Medical Model" of psychiatry, according to which disturbances such as brain chemistry imbalances are treated solely with psychopharmacology. Lamenting that the brain has replaced the mind or the soul as the object of healing in psychiatry, he offers a clear and comprehensive description of how the alternative "Psychotherapeutic Model" works to bring the unconscious into consciousness, addressing inner conflicts that can't be medicated and ultimately offering deeper and more permanent healing. Using case studies from his own practice, Frattaroli makes a strong argument for the effectiveness of—and need for—long-term psychotherapy. However, he is careful not to condemn the use of drugs in treating mental and emotional disorders. Heavily influenced by psychologist Bruno Bettelheim, with whom he trained, and borrowing from Martin Buber's "I-Thou" vs. "I-It" principle, Frattaroli provides an unusually lucid explanation of Freud's theories of personality, inner conflict, transference and the therapeutic relationship. In view of the current "quick fix" culture and the "greed of the managed care industry," which doesn't usually pay for long-term psychotherapy, Frattaroli calls for an integration of biological and psychoanalytic approaches. His insights are fresh, highly readable, informative, passionate and memorable. (Sept.)

Forecast:Ten years in the making, this thoughtful defense of the talking cure could be important and influential for many years to come. A six-city author tour is scheduled for January 2002.

Reviewed on: 07/30/2001
Release date: 09/01/2001
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-0-14-025489-1
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