Medical model

Term often used pejoratively to denote much that is bad about modern medicine affecting the therapy world turning principally on equating psychological problems with physical illnesses, preoccupation with diagnosis and disempowering clients from power over and responsibility for their own state.

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Being a medical doctor by original training perhaps I’m defensive about this, certainly I’m ambivalent. I do regard the “medical model” as hugely problematical in psychiatry (where I went after basic medical training). On the other hand, there is much in the traditions and even the current responsibilities of modern medicine that is not what this caricature suggests, or there should be: recognition that the patient (I’ll use that much hated term as it’s in context) is literally someone who suffers, a responsibility to try to help with that, a responsibility not only to distinguish between many different types of suffering and build some personal as well as professional expertise in that and a responsibility to try to help. That’s not just making a diagnosis and advising what NICE says is the least worst thing, it’s hard, doomed to fail (we are all going to die and many die well before anyone, including that person, is ready for that; equally, most of us at some point in our lives will suffer in ways that no-one can magic away).

Sadly, much modern training and practice in medicine converges on the stereotype. Going into more details here risks turning this into a personal invective of encyclopedic length!

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Clinical/non-clinical (and help-seeking vs. non-help-seeking)

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Pervades the whole book!

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Created 2/11/21

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