Shrinks by Jeffrey A. Lieberman


The fascinating story of psychiatry's origins, demise, and redemption, by the former President of the American Psychiatric Association. Psychiatry has come a long way since the days of chaining "lunatics" in cold cells and parading them as freakish marvels before a gaping public. But, as Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, reveals in his extraordinary and eye-opening book, the path to legitimacy for "the black sheep of medicine" has been anything but smooth. ...

Details Shrinks

Release DateMar 10th, 2015
PublisherLittle, Brown and Company
GenreNonfiction, Psychology, History, Science, Health, Medicine, Psychiatry, Mental Health

Reviews Shrinks

  • Paul Bryant
    I have been waiting for this book for years : an honest account of the history of psychiatry, and for this subject, when you say warts and all, you have to be prepared for warts to be pretty much all there are until the 1970s. What a horror story! Here is Dr Lieberman’s mission statement:There’s a good reason that so many people will do everything they can to avoid seeing a psychiatrist. I believe that the only way psychiatrists can demonstra...
  • Debbie
    A big thank you to Goodreads first reads giveaways!I am amazed by this most comprehensive and thoroughly researched book on the subject of psychiatry. It's divided into three main sections: The story of diagnosis, The story of treatment, and Psychiatry reborn. I found it fascinating to explore the birth of psychiatry right up to it's present day developments. In fact, I was jotting down so many important details I found myself with 18 pages of no...
  • Margitte
    Let's get frivolous first:"I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity." ~Edgar Allen Poe~~~~~When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained. ~ Mark Twain~~~~~How many psychiatrist does it take to change a light bulb:One, but the light bulb has to want to change.~~~~~How many psychiatrist does it take to change a light bulb:Just one, but it takes nine visits.~~~~~On and on it goes...Sometimes it take...
  • Brennan
    Dear Psychiatrist - I have now read this book about the history of your profession. Is it somewhat ironic that it has made me more depressed??? haha. Just kidding, right! Seriously, though, isn't it is fair to say that your profession is a crazy one! Ha, I'm cracking myself up! I know we talked about using humor in our last session, so I thought you might appreciate that. As you know, I personally owe a lot to psychiatry. I worked as a college in...
  • Perry
    Antiseptic Analysis of Psychiatry, a Story Better Left UntoldTerribly Heavy Going, Like Running Uphill in Roller SkatesI assign such a low rating based on my reasonable expectations from the publisher's description aimed at convincing potential readers that the book gives an inside, layperson's look at the practice of psychiatry. I found instead that it's overly didactic, providing a wearisome history of psychiatry, a prosaic argument for its rec...
  • Catherine Davison
    I thoroughly appreciated the way this book made psychiatry and the history of psychiatry accessible. It was never dry, dull or boring. It illuminated so much about theories and treatments in the past and how these have either been developed or jettisoned and how each new development has led to our current, hopeful situation.I recommend this book to anyone who cares about mental health. A really good read.
  • BAM The Bibliomaniac
    Decent background of the psychiatric profession Discusses DSM I, II, and III diagnoses Whole chapters on mental diseases and various treatments as well as well known psychiatrists Not sure what is discussed here that would not be discussed in a couple of introduction college courses2017 Lenten Buddy Reading Challenge book # 10
  • Gary Beauregard Bottomley
    Most of us today have a warped view of what psychiatry does based on its early history and the way it has been portrayed by popular media during earlier time periods. Psychoanalysis (think Freud) was pseudoscience. It thought that diseases of the mind and brain were caused by repressed memories and such, and that it had no empirical data to support it. The author really doesn't dance around the problems inherent within Psychoanalysis. Each psycho...
  • Maggie
    This is an amazing account of where psychiatry has been and where it has gone. For anyone with mental illness, a family member with mental illness, or simply interested in the field it is a must-read. An extended thank you to the author for acknowledging that people with mental illness are fully capable of living full and amazing lives.
  • Julie
    Loved this book!Did you know that 1 in 4 Americans will suffer from a mental illness in their life? And that even though there are known genetic, neurological, and environmental causes for these illnesses, we still too often attribute them to moral failing or punishment or villainy. Like, I suffered from PPD because I am a bad mother. Lies! Illness (mental illness falls in here. It doesn't have to be a stand-alone category) is not a judgement. Il...
  • Jeffrey Lieberman
    I was very happy the way the book turned out. My only regrets are that having to limit the length to 90,000 words much information had to be left out. And I believe that the better title for the book would have been SHRINKS: The Untold Story of Mental Illness. This might have given it broader appeal.
  • Nick Davies
    My overall impression of this book - a very thoroughly told, well-researched, authoritatively spoken examination of the history and science of psychiatry (not, as I wrongly assumed, psychology in general) - was that it made of a very interesting read. Though bogged-down in places, necessarily so, there was a lot in this which served to expand my knowledge of an area (which happens a little less often these days when I read about areas in which I ...
  • Kenzie Brenna
    Amazing amazing amazing. Comprehensive history of psychiatry, it was like I was reading a dramatic soda opera, only all of our lives were being affected by these egregious faith based psychiatric physicians who lead us astray for so long and then the pragmatic, sensible, intuitive, psychiatric physicians who turned it around to one of the most exciting corners of medicine.A thrilling read, you’ll be shocked and left in awe. So thankful that Dr....
  • Barbara McEwen
    Interesting history, explains a lot of the negative connotations we all have with psychiatry. Hopefully the younger generation of psychiatrists gets better and better. My mom has schizophrenia and I have been dismally disappointed with her psychiatrists over the years but I hope that someday good, keen psychiatrists, who rely on evidence-based research, will make their way out into the world and even into smaller centres so that mentally ill peop...
  • Antônio Xerxenesky
    Começa tão bem, degringola para algo tão parcial e limitado que chega a ser triste.
  • Kate
    First, like some other reviewers have pointed out, this story of psychiatry is hardly "untold".Second, the author is a True Psychiatric Believer. Not that that's surprising, considering he was the president of the APA (that's the American Psychiatric Association, not the American Psychological Association - they are different!) from 2013-2014 - but it does mean that this book is for sure biased when it comes to talking about the efficacy and wond...
  • Zoe
    Psychiatry has had a chequered history. It's hard to believe that this profession was once seen parallel to witchcraft and astrology. Lieberman is a psychiatrist who sees the important ingredients of how the science has evolved. It is hard to think of people being sent away to the funny farm or 'round the bend, simply for having a poorly mind. Naturally Freud has a lot of references in psychology and the role of family, causing mental health prob...
  • Larissa
    This book was suggested to me because of my fascination with "behind the scenes look at _____" (some interesting profession)...... um..... this book is not what the title would lead you to believe it is. There are no juicy, scintillating facts about the typical day in the life of a psychiatrist. If you want oodles of facts, figures, historical dates, and the theories/people who built up the profession, this book is for you. If you are looking for...
  • Kayson Fakhar
    Well the fact that I’ve finished the book in 4 days is pretty self explanatory but I have to admit that as someone with a background in psychology I’m now a bit confused about if we can separate the history of psychiatry and psychology. This book kinda did by focusing more towards the medical aspects but a great deal of the book was about psychoanalysis. Anyways, a truly different story of psychology/psychiatry from what you usually find in t...
  • Azita Rassi
    A much-needed book that informs its readers of the many great changes in psychiatry. It aims to increase public awareness, fight the stigma attached to mental illnesses, and encourage bright young minds to choose psychiatry for a career. I enjoyed the audiobook and learned a lot from it as well.
  • Chaim
    An impassioned, loving, evenhanded biography of psychiatry. Lieberman has been a key figure in the profession over the past few decades, and the book is enlivened by anecdotes from his own life, including how his path has intersected with such luminaries as Robert Spitzer and Aaron Beck. I especially love how Lieberman explains psychiatry's uglier episodes (e.g., Wilhelm Reich's theory of orgones) without overly vilifying anyone. Yes, like all pr...
  • Jeremy Phillips
    Thumbs down. Patchy, self-agrandising and at times blatantly mis-respresentative of the people and ideas it pretends to chronicle. A contemporary pill-pusher propping his trade up by a shallow attempt at re-branding. If you're going to pick Wilhelm Reich as your example of a white-coated charlatan, why would you sanitise his ideas?
  • Deborah Pickstone
    Really interesting, well-written and absorbing. Unfortunately it failed to convince me that modern psychiatry is more scientifically and rationally based and more dependable in its application. From my own professional and human experiences I can assert that psychiatry is still peopled by quacks, the uninformed and the unprincipled alongside the likes of Dr Lieberman, who clearly loves and believes in his own professional specialisation. I imagin...
  • C
    Exceptionally useful and informative...the book frames the current state of psychiatric science in a positive light as well as telling the catastrophic and barbaric chapters in the history of psychiatry. The reader is offered a plausible explanation why individuals are still so stigmatized if not traumatized by any diagnosis of mental illness. The historical narrative about the evolution of the DSM manuals is fascinating. The reader comprehends b...
  • Sandra
    A little wordy at times, but a nice historical outline of how we got to where we are now, which is vastly improved. The problems we confront today seem a lot different than 200 to 50 years ago. New treatments for schizophrenia, depression, bi-polar, but now how do we treat the shoot em up crazies. And identify them in advance? And protect their rights? And the rights of ordinary citizens to go to work, school , a marathon, a restaurant, an airpor...
  • Marcela
    Kind of hard to get through so skipped most of the middle.Also self-congratulatory.
    PsychiatryThis book could've been way more interesting!! It was like reading a boring documentary. I kept thinking it would get better.....
  • Theresa
    Easy to understand, enjoyable read for me.
  • Jonathan Karmel
    According to this book, psychiatry has become more scientific and evidence-based over time and is now more effective than ever. I don’t know why the title of the book proclaims that this story is “untold.”There have always been, and still are, many psychiatrists who engage in spurious practices unproven by scientific research. Neurology has always been the study of people with medical conditions caused by damaged brains (biological cause); ...
  • Jhonatan Ramos
    Esse livro, escrito pelo ex-presidente da APA responsável pelo DSM-5, fala sobre a história da psiquiatria desde os seus primórdios no séc. XVIII - com a rejeição da ideia que a doença mental tenha origem moral, mas ainda sem respostas para o que ela seria ou como trata-la eficazmente - até o panorama atual de uma psiquiatria pluralista com um arsenal diagnóstico e terapêutico eficaz corroborado por décadas de estudos e evidências. Ex...