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Book Review

Saints and Madmen: Psychiatry Opens Its Doors to Religion

Volney P. Gay

Published: April 1, 2001

Article Abstract

From our regular book review column.

Written by an intelligent journalist, Saints and Madmen surveys the contemporary American scene of popular religion, especially spirituality, and its relationships to traditional psychiatry. Recognizing the vastness of his topic, Russell Shorto restricts himself to reporting on vivid personalities, including patients, gurus, and theoreticians of all stripes. The subtitle captures his wish to announce a new openness in American psychiatry toward religion, especially the work of Paul Fleischman (author of The Healing Spirit [1989]). Similar authors are P. Scott Richards, Harold George Koenig, William R. Miller, Edward P. Shafranske, and Mary A. Fukuyama. Psychiatrists, especially those who work with severely ill patients, will recognize those patients in these portraits of human beings who suffer so severely. Sometimes genuine relief comes through religion, sometimes through interpersonal psychotherapy, sometimes through medication—sometimes through all three.

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Volume: 62

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