Psychiatry – medicine of the soul?

If you have read any of my previous posts on psychiatry it is apparent I am not a big fan.  Right now though, instead of further developing my arguments against psychiatry as usual, I want to explore the very conception of what psychiatry is or is supposed to be.  Can the soul be reduced or explained merely by science?  I am just dissecting this notion of medicine of the soul, medicine being science and the soul, well, I guess I am not exactly sure what this is, other then it is what Is – if you follow me.  I do not wish to get stuck up on the definition of what the soul is, or whether or not such a thing even exists as some would argue.  Instead, I want to attempt to determine if the very idea of psychiatry is possible yet alone practical.

I have in front of me Michel Foucault’s “History of Madness” and although I have not read much of it at all, I really want to dive into this book.  But that’s besides the point.  What I want to know is whether or not psychiatry is even possible.  But what is madness anyway?  What is psychiatry proposing to treat?  How?  Why?  Who?  There are just so many questions I have.  Also, I am going to attempt to step back from my personal experience and write more objectively or at least, not so personally, as trying to define psychiatry is and what it is not.

First off, the very claim of medicating the soul is awfully bold.  To be clear, this claim comes without any solid physical evidence of any sort of disease in the body, whether it be the brain or otherwise.  This is hugely significant as every other sect of medicine has proof of defects in the body that cause an ailment, and the like.

This brings me to question the very existence of psychiatry – how can the nonphysical be treated?  Well, one would think there would not be a physical solution, i.e. a pill, that would be able to “cure” the soul.  The soul, for one, seems much more intricate than that.  I would even say making such a claim adds insult to any supposed injury.  In other words, proclaiming one’s soul is sick is quite insulting if nothing else.  Furthermore, doing so would seem to me to assert the individual doing the diagnosing must have a superior soul, or some knowledge of such, that allows him or her to make such a diagnosis.  Could this be like comparing apples to oranges?  Everyone is unique, so how can anyone accurately deem another’s psyche or soul sick or dysfunctional?

This particular point has always seemed to trouble me – what qualifies a human to assert another human is sick in the head, the heart, the soul?

It seems to me any such person would have to be somehow special in the sense that they must be some like the all knowing old man archetype in literature.  The wise old man that seems to hold all truth and has a honest answer to everything.  But I am not so sure thees people actually exist apart from fiction.  This is not to say advice from others should necessarily be immediately disregarded.  Rather, who could know you better than yourself?  Thus, anyone else would be second guessing.  And I do not wish for the health of my soul to be determined by a second party – at least not solely.  I don’t know here, the words are not coming out quite the way I want them to.  But I want to make this point strongly.  Is there any legitimacy in claiming another person is truly “mad?”

Sorry folks, but I am running out of steam with this post, I ought to collect some of my thoughts on this.  Expect more later!

As always, comments are welcome!




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