Looking at the big picture
Thank you for Dr. Henry Nasrallah’s editorial, “Our mission: To meet your needs,” which questions mental health professionals’ role and suggests new ways of looking at our clients (Current Psychiatry, September 2006). Finally, someone is questioning the DSM-IV-TR, the woeful lack of breakthroughs in many disorders, the interface between medicine and psychiatry, and the disparity of payment for mental health treatment.
Psychiatry could be leading thinking on a wider basis. With proper focus, emotional health could be a primary factor in physical medicine rather than the other way around. People who are mentally healthy are less likely to be physically ill, but there is no research to prove this.
Consider taking the focus off the individual patient and looking at larger systems such as the family, church, and community. Psychotherapy will not be able to heal and help people to have successful and productive lives if it stays mired in the individual. Looking at systems allows psychiatry to lead rather than follow and engage in wellness activities such as consulting for schools, families, and political systems. But the profession must look at itself first.
M. Cybil Britton, APRN, BC
Severna Park, MD