A Critique of the Biopsychosocial Model in Psychiatry

The biopsychosocial model is one of the main approaches in psychiatry. The psychiatrist George Engel formulated this model in 1977, in a paper titled The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biomedicine, published in the journal Science. He did not, however, propose this new model exclusively for psychiatry (which focuses on the…View Post

Meta-Depression and Meta-Anxiety: When Mental Illness Turns on Itself

Meta-depression and meta-anxiety are phenomena that are rarely discussed in conversations surrounding mental illness. Yet they are common experiences for depressed and anxious people. These terms refer to the fact that one’s own depression or anxiety can itself become a contributing factor in – or aspect of – the mental health condition in question. In…View Post

The Curious Relationship Between the Self and the World

As much as the world can feel separate from our discrete selves, upon closer examination, we will see that our whole experience of reality (and so reality itself) is acutely dependent on our inner world. The self and the world are inextricably intertwined. And this curious relationship between the ‘I’ we imagine sitting behind the…View Post

What It’s Like to Lose Your Vitality and Identity During a Depressive Episode

The writer Andrew Solomon is best known for his book The Noonday Demon, a harrowing personal account of clinical depression. In it, he captures the essence of the condition in one sentence: “The opposite of depression is not happiness but vitality.” While depression undoubtedly varies between individuals, it seems to commonly feature this loss of…View Post

The Phenomenology of Depression: What It’s Like When the ‘Dark Fog’ Descends

Phenomenology is a philosophical movement, founded by Edmund Husserl (1859 ­– 1938), which concerns itself with direct experiences. Phenomenologists study the nature of consciousness as it is experienced subjectively in the first person. Through systematic reflection on experiences from the first person point of view, Husserl believed we could better understand the structures of consciousness…View Post