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William Glasser, M.D., is a world-renowned psychiatrist who lectures widely. His numerous books have sold 1.7 million copies, and he has trained thousands of counselors in his Choice Theory and Reality Therapy approaches. He is also the president of the William Glasser Institute in Los Angeles.


Swimming against what he sees as the tide of prescriptions written for antidepressants such as Paxil, Zoloft and Prozac, psychiatrist Glasser (Choice Theory) argues that these drugs can do more harm than good. He asserts that there has been some scientifically sound psychiatric research that suggests the drugs can damage mental health and even the brain itself. Through selective case studies and extrapolation of evidence, the author urges readers to think twice before accepting "brain drugs"; he states that the effectiveness of certain selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors has been exaggerated by the drug companies. To his credit, Glasser does offer several practical alternatives for patients. But he seems to cherish his outsider status and questions the way psychiatry is practiced today. Group therapy transcripts and case studies constitute the bulk of his case, and chapters like "Luck, Intimacy, and Our Quality World" and "We Have Learned to Destroy Our Own Happiness" are designed to help the reader understand symptoms. Some of the anecdotes are compelling, and individuals seeking alternatives to drug treatments may benefit. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Psychiatrist Glasser (Reality Therapy; Choice Theory) condemns psychiatry as a profession dominated by pharmaceutical money and managed-care values. He considers mental illness to be a fiction (after Thomas Szasz), attributing conditions from depression to schizophrenia to unhappiness and the choices people make. Drugs mostly do harm and should be avoided. Psychiatrists often lock people up and medicate them by force if they resist. This is a cuckoo's nest treatment of issues much better handled in other recent books, notably Out of Its Mind by J.A. Hobson and J. Leonard. Glasser's self-assurance and self-promotion are of a piece: this reads like a long commercial for his Choice Theory Focus Sessions. Some of it is commonsensical and even creative, but it reads like a watered-down version of Otto Rank's will therapy. Libraries meeting demands for popular self-help books will need a copy, though.-E. James Lieberman, George Washington Univ. Sch. of Medicine, Washington, DC Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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