Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Lack of third world shrinks

This NY Times essay reports:
One thing is clear. Even before strife ripped these societies apart, many of them had pitiful mental health systems. According to the W.H.O., most developing countries have fewer than 1 psychiatrist per 100,000 people; in rural areas, the gap is even larger. The entire country of Rwanda has only one psychiatrist. (The United States has about 14 psychiatrists per every 100,000 people; England has about 4 per 100,000.)
If only we could export our shrinks to Rwanda, maybe everybody would be better off.

The author has also coauthored a new book, One Nation Under Therapy: How the Helping Culture is Eroding Self-Reliance, that argues that the pervasiveness of therapeutic thinking and practice in American life provides not healing catharsis but enervating psychic drag and evasion of responsibility.

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