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Psychiatric rehabilitation and the notion of technology in psychiatry 

Psychiatric rehabilitation and the notion of technology in psychiatry
Chapter:
Psychiatric rehabilitation and the notion of technology in psychiatry
Source:
Philosophical Perspectives on Technology and Psychiatry
Author(s):

Abraham Rudnick

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199207428.003.0011

What can we learn from the notion of technology used in (client-centered) psychiatric rehabilitation? Perhaps the most important lesson is that the general characterization of technology cited in the introduction, particularly the part about technology being in accordance with man's needs and intentions, is relevant to psychiatric technology (with the addition that this characterization also applies to the modification of the subjective world). Specifically, as needs and intentions are arguably person-specific, it seems that the notion of technology used in (client-centered) psychiatric rehabilitation involves this general characterization of technology in that it addresses the person with the problem, rather than the problem independently of the person. The question then is whether other psychiatric technologies that do not commonly use such a notion of technology, such as psychopharmacology and psychotherapy, could use this humanizing notion of technology more frequently. However, that is a matter for a separate discussion.

Another lesson may be that there is something to learn from psychiatric rehabilitation for psychiatry in general, specifically the client-centered approach incorporated in its notion of technology. Although psychiatric rehabilitation has been around for more than three decades as an established evidence-based field, it is still not fully assimilated into mainstream psychiatry. This is particularly so in psychiatric education, which mostly emphasizes psychopharmacology and psychotherapy (Kay et al. 1999). As psychiatric education should presumably incorporate the client-centered approach as much as possible, it would benefit generally from emphasizing psychiatric rehabilitation (in addition to the benefit of facilitating a distinct clinical expertise through psychiatric rehabilitation training). Be that as it may, and controversial as this may sound, it appears that the notion of technology used in (client-centered) psychiatric rehabilitation is more humanizing than that used in psychopharmacology or even in psychotherapy.

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