The growing unity of psychiatry

The growing unity in psychiatry is evident in several ways. Biological and psychosocial approaches have been largely reconciled with a general recognition that genetic and environmental factors interact, and that psychological processes are based in and can influence neurobiological mechanisms. At the same time, the common ground between the different psychodynamic theories has been recognized, and is widely accepted as more valuable than the differences between them.

The practice of psychiatry is increasingly similar in different countries, with the remaining variations related more to differences between national systems of health care and the resources available to clinicians, than to differences in the aims of the psychiatrists working in these countries. This unity of approach is reflected in this book whose authors practise in many different countries and yet present a common approach. In this respect this textbook differs importantly from others which present the views of authors drawn predominantly from a single country or region.

Greater agreement about diagnosis and nosology has led to a better understanding of how different treatment approaches are effective in different disorders. The relative specificity of psychopharmacological treatments is being matched increasingly by the specificity of some of the recently developed psychological treatments, so that psychological treatment should no longer be applied without reference to diagnosis, as was sometimes done in the past.

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