The book, Plato, Not Prozac!: Applying Eternal Wisdom to Everyday Problems, by Lou Marinoff, is one part sales pitch, and one part advice about how to live a life in accordance with the author’s personal values. Marinoff begins the book by arguing that problems in living are better solved by thinking philosophically rather than thinking medically. Rather than numbing ourselves with medication, or diagnosing oneself as mentally ill, Marinoff says we would be better off engaging in philosophical dialogue with another person.
One would think that a book entitled, Practicing Thomas Szasz: Continuing the Work of the Philosopher of Liberty, would attempt to include ways in which the psychiatrist-philosopher Thomas Szasz influenced the author John Breeding’s work as a psychotherapist. But the book has little to do with that.
Feeling Good Together: The Secret to Making Troubled Relationships Work, is a book about relationships by psychiatrist David Burns. As the subtitle implies, Burns claims to have the secret to making troubled relationships work.
Does a person have a right to take drugs, grow plants, and self-medicate in the privacy of their own home? In the book, Our Right to Drugs: The Case for a Free Market, Thomas Szasz points out obvious: people have taken drugs since time immemorial, they take drugs to make themselves feel better, induce unusual experiences, and to cure themselves of ailments. For the libertarian, this is common sense, for everyone else, this is heresy.
Thomas Szasz’s book of witty aphorisms, The Untamed Tongue: A Dissenting Dictionary, is both insightful and hilarious. If you are just starting out with Szasz, and want to understand his views, I suggest one of his books of aphorisms, such as The Untamed Tongue as a place to start.
What does a psychiatrist-philosopher who does not believe in mental illness have to say about the mind? Quite a lot, as you might expect. In his book, The Meaning of Mind: Language, Morality and Neuroscience, Thomas Szasz explains his concept of the mind.
Victor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning documents his experiences in concentration camps during Nazi occupation. During this time, Frankl lost his wife, his brother and parents in concentration camps. The first half of the book is a disturbing tale about how Jews should find meaning through Nazi dehumanization, while the second half of the book entitled, Logotherapy in a Nutshell, is a sales pitch for Frankl’s pseudo-religious therapy called, Logotherapy.
Can a person live a flourishing, purpose-filled life in spite of chronic illness and near constant pain? According to author Suzy Szasz, the answer is a resounding, “yes”. Szasz’s book, Lupus. Living With It: Why You Don’t Have To Be Healthy to Be Happy, is written with an enthusiasm for life. Despite her constant battle with the exhausting chronic illness, Lupus, Szasz retains her meaning in life by refusing to become a victim of her disease.
In polite society, one does not question the medical model of addiction. To do so is considered unkind and unscientific.
Jeffrey Schaler shows his irreverence for conventional thinking in his book, Addiciton is a Choice. Schaler gives science, logic, and empirical observations to show that addiction is, in fact, a choice.
What is existentialism and what does it have to do with living a good life?
According to William Irwin, author of The Free Market Existentialist: Capitalism without Consumerism, existentialism is a philosophy of life that:
…reacts to an apparently absurd or meaningless world by urging the individual to overcome alienation, oppression, and despair through freedom and self-creation in order to become a genuine person1.
Can the mind be reduced to mere physio-chemical properties? Are experiences, thoughts, and feelings simply the product of chemical reactions in our brain? Atheist philosopher, Thomas Nagel, rejects such a view of the mind. In his book Mind and Cosmos, Nagel points out that belief in the material reductionist view of the mind is almost certainly false.
For those interested in freedom, psychiatry and Thomas Szasz, the book Faith in Freedom gives the reader insight into Szasz’ commitment to freedom and personal autonomy.
What is Autonomous Psychotherapy?
The Ethics of Psychoanalysis is a brilliant book on how to practice ethical psychotherapy. But, what is psychotherapy to a psychiatrist who does not believe in mental illness?
Are some drugs dangerous and other drugs safe?
In his book, Ceremonial Chemistry Thomas Szasz details how drugs such as opium has been used for thousands of years, yet suddenly come to be considered dangerous. For author Thomas Szasz, addiction lies in the meaning that we assign to chemicals; not the chemical makeup of the drugs themselves.