Saybrook University President Mark Schulman encourages universities to join Saybrook's stand and demand DSM-5 changes be reconsidered
Saybrook University president Mark Schulman says the evidence is clear: psychology and psychiatry’s over reliance on drugs as a form of treatment is tantamount to malpractice.
Writing on the Huffington Post, Schulman says colleges that teach psychology must rise to the challenge, making sure their students are as familiar with the techniques of talk therapy – and the importance of communicating with patients – as they with are neurotransmitters and brain physiology.
His own university, Saybrook, which offers graduate degrees specializing in humanistic psychology and existential therapy taught by some of the world’s leading experts in the advancement of “traditional” talk therapy into the 21st century, has taken that stand: last year its faculty voted unanimously to protest the increasing use of mind-altering drugs to treat every aspect of modern life in the new DSM-5, the so-called “Bible of Psychiatry.” But, Schulman says he has been surprised and disappointed to see that no other university, even universities with major psychology departments, have been willing to join this stand.
“(W)e expected other universities with strong psychology programs to join the fight and stand up for our humanity,” he wrote. “We waited in vain. To my knowledge no other university has yet taken such a stand, one that is desperately needed to advance the cause of sanity in mental health care.”
This is despite the fact that the best research suggests that talk therapy is actually more effective than mood altering drugs, and that most patients do not consult psychologists because they have neural chemical imbalances. Instead they come to psychologists because they are grappling with fundamental questions: how do I live a meaningful life in a challenging world? How do I live with integrity? How do I repair my relationships? How do I live in harmony with my environment? Am I alone? What does my life mean?
Schulman suggests that this is not just because of the academic content of the classrooms, but because universities themselves are increasingly reluctant to take a stand on issues that the are uniquely qualified to comment on.
“As we compete for students in a difficult economy, universities seem to have lost sight of their mission, and much of higher education is becoming more corporate,” he writes.
He calls upon other educational leaders, at the academic and administrative levels, to join Saybrook in its stand.