Thursday, August 29, 2013

Change, Challenge, and Opportunity: Psychiatry in an Age of Reform and Enlightenment

APA President Jeffrey Lieberman, M.D., is using the Psychiatric News Alert as a forum to reach APA members and other readers. Please send your comments to

To paraphrase the old Chinese saying, we are either blessed or cursed to live in interesting times. I believe that it is the former. Of course, that may be a matter of opinion, and it may require a bit of cognitive reframing to convince ourselves that this is the case, but while there may be some question about whether the current times are good or bad, there can be no question that we are entering a time of change.

To address this profoundly important matter—important to psychiatrists as well as to our patients—this article will be the first of a three-part series on the topic of our changing profession. (It is not by coincidence that the theme of APA’s 2014 annual meeting is “Changing Practice and Perception of Psychiatry.”) The articles will focus on the forces that are impacting psychiatric medicine and mental health care, particularly health care financing and scientific discovery. This first article will place these events in historical context.

The discipline of psychiatry has evolved to its current form over the past 200 years. Its history is punctuated by certain inflection points, which mark transformative changes in our profession. I believe that we are approaching another such moment in our profession’s development. For this reason, it is useful to revisit and reflect on the past to understand better not just where we are now, but also where we are going.

To read more, click here.

You can follow Dr. Lieberman on Twitter at @DrJlieberman. To do so, go to, log in or register, and click on “Follow.”


The content of Psychiatric News does not necessarily reflect the views of APA or the editors. Unless so stated, neither Psychiatric News nor APA guarantees, warrants, or endorses information or advertising in this newspaper. Clinical opinions are not peer reviewed and thus should be independently verified.