Sunday, June 19, 2011

More Things I Have Read: Shrink Rap

I have been reading their blog and listening to their podcasts for years, so it is no surprise that I rushed to pre-order and then read the book Shrink Rap, written by the three psychiatrists (whom I will always think of as Roy, Dinah and ClinkShrink) behind the venture.

What did I think? I am quite biased, as I really enjoy psychiatry, but I think this is a fantastic book and that anybody who is interested in the way that healthcare deals with psychiatric patients should go out and read it.

Clearly my experience is from a different country, but most of what they describe (aside from the major differences between our medical systems) is very similar to the things that I have seen in psychiatry here. They explain the processes very well in an accessible and easy-to-read way, and I really liked the way that they use fictional characters to illustrate examples of both the illnesses themselves and the ways that psychiatry may deal with them.

Many clinical books have case examples in them, but these stories feel more lifelike than the all-too-often dry scenarios that textbooks present, and as a result they become more interesting and believable. I think that anybody who has been in contact with the hospital system for any period of time (or, indeed, with humanity) has seen many people whose stories closely mirror those told in the book.

I would also encourage medical students to read it, as it humanises the patients in a way that brief clinical contact and textbooks cannot, and can help give a better picture of some of the disorders described. I also really enjoyed their discussion about things they disagree on, and their honesty in presenting some of the failings of modern psychiatry.

If somebody were to ask me to recommend a book to help them understand what psychiatry was about, it would have to be this one. I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up next, as clearly Dinah Miller, M.D., Annette Hanson, M.S., and Steven Roy Daviss, M.D. love their work, and love teaching other people about psychiatry.

P.S. This blog isn't going to be all book reviews from now on. Honest.


Cockroach Catcher said...

Thanks for alerting me to it.

The Cockroach Catcher

The Shrink said...

I read the blog but find it much less engaging than most other mental health sites, medical student blogs, GP blogs, Hospital Consultant and junior doctor blogs.

I've posted on it episodically but find it less coherent and immediate and personal than individual's blogs, with a more unfocussed and capricious feel to it.

I know I'm in the minority since it#s both very popular and you're so taken with it!