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Limitations of the biopsychosocial model in psychiatry

Authors Benning T

Received 15 February 2015

Accepted for publication 25 March 2015

Published 2 May 2015 Volume 2015:6 Pages 347—352

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/AMEP.S82937

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Anwarul Azim Majumder


Tony B Benning

Maple Ridge Mental Health Centre, Maple Ridge, BC, Canada

Abstract: A commitment to an integrative, non-reductionist clinical and theoretical perspective in medicine that honors the importance of all relevant domains of knowledge, not just “the biological,” is clearly evident in Engel’s original writings on the biopsychosocial model. And though this model’s influence on modern psychiatry (in clinical as well as educational settings) has been significant, a growing body of recent literature is critical of it - charging it with lacking philosophical coherence, insensitivity to patients’ subjective experience, being unfaithful to the general systems theory that Engel claimed it be rooted in, and engendering an undisciplined eclecticism that provides no safeguards against either the dominance or the under-representation of any one of the three domains of bio, psycho, or social.

Keywords: critique of biopsychosocial psychiatry, integrative psychiatry, George Engel

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