In Ontario, a battle for the soul of psychiatry – The Globe and Mail | + Opinion

The province is moving to a U.S.-style model for psychiatrists that will eventually get them out of the business of ongoing care. What will that mean for patients?

Source: In Ontario, a battle for the soul of psychiatry – The Globe and Mail

Opinion: I wrote a paper in grad studies about the nature of the psyche, comparing how world mysticism vs. American psychiatry would interpret certain spiritual experiences and behaviors. My opinion back then, as it more or less remains today, is that American psychiatry is losing the connection to the soul and by implication, humanity.

The professor I wrote the paper for withdrew his support late in the game, basically robbing me of a fair chance to obtain postdoc funding. The university also did not provide me with an opportunity to teach a course, which would have looked good on my CV and enhanced future prospects.

Even more alarming, however, was the unhappy fact that none of the government agencies I appealed to really did anything. They just passed the buck until I realized I was hitting my head against a brick wall.

Back in the 80s the Canadian federal and provincial bureaucracies seemed to really care about social justice. But in the late 90s, it seemed some unseemly change was taking place.

The department head said I was “shafted” by not getting a chance to teach and another university official said that the professor’s behavior deserved redress and – this is the weirdest part – asked me how I thought the professor should be reprimanded! That seemed so odd I just walked away, realizing I would need legal counsel before proceeding.

I may seem to digress by telling this tale but my paper, written back in the 90s, actually nailed the problem we see in the headlines today.

Mental health isn’t just about pills and economics. It’s about the whole person. And if we lose that perspective entirely, I feel sorry for anyone who gets caught up in the new techno-psychology that threatens to treat people like robots.

As a word, robot is a relative newcomer to the English language. It was the brainchild of a brilliant Czech playwright, novelist and journalist named Karel Čapek (1880-1938) who introduced it in his 1920 hit play, R.U.R., or Rossum’s Universal Robots. (

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