About 19101940 The Meyerian Synthesis Of A Holistic Psychobiology

Adolf Meyer, from his base at Johns Hopkins, developed a well-organized "mental hygiene" approach to the treatment of the whole person. He recognized certain essentials of well-rounded psychiatric practice, centered on comprehensive life histories in which one could see the many factors contributing to psychiatric disorders. Each patient was seen as a unique individual who deserved to be treated in highly individualized ways. Pressure to pigeon-hole people into diagnostic categories was not as important as the humane multimodal facilitation of lives that had been derailed. This era could also be seen as the humanistic era of American psychiatry. Psychopathology was recognized as a response to serious life events: When terrible things happened to people, their resources to cope were compromised. Meyer's approach to a comprehensive mental status examination is still emulated today. Even if such extensive information is no longer as coherently incorporated into the care and prognosis of troubled lives, it remains an important way of knowing patients as individuals.

The Meyerian approach also fostered research into basic biological processes related to self-regulation. One of the pioneers was Kurt Richter at Johns Hopkins who pursued superlative animal research on feeding behavior, sleep, and circadian cycles (Slavney and McHugh, 1998). The hope was that such research could shed light on human issues that needed to be understood in some causal detail in order to effectively modify the underlying biological substrates. The support of basic animal research in many modern psychiatry departments correctly continues to be regarded as a cornerstone for future progress. The recognition that there is abundant natural variability of such underlying homeostatic processes, has also fostered dimensional views of mental illness (now recognized in Axis II diagnostics of DSM-IV). The work of Meyer and others suggested that troubled people should not simply be placed in diagnostic categories; rather their various dimensions need to be viewed through the lens of qualitative life histories reflecting temperamental strengths and weaknesses. With the completion of the Human Genome Project, and the recognition of deep homologies in the brain systems of all mammals, the role of genes and evolution in the governance of personality and developmental disorders is increasingly recognized (Chapters 5, 14, and 21).

Anxiety and Depression 101

Anxiety and Depression 101

Everything you ever wanted to know about. We have been discussing depression and anxiety and how different information that is out on the market only seems to target one particular cure for these two common conditions that seem to walk hand in hand.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment