An Insider’s Effort To Blow Up Psychiatry -- By: Jeffrey H. Boyd

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 17:2 (Fall 1996)
Article: An Insider’s Effort To Blow Up Psychiatry
Author: Jeffrey H. Boyd


An Insider’s Effort
To Blow Up Psychiatry

Jeffrey H. Boyd*

I am a psychiatrist who believes that the Bible is the greatest textbook of psychiatry ever written, and that humans cannot be understood apart from the God-human relationship.1 Since only forty-three percent of psychiatrists and psychologists believe in God,2 my colleagues are less than enthusiastic about these views. They take me as seriously as a duckbilled platypus, who is not quite

* Jeffrey H. Boyd is Chairman of Psychiatry and Chairman of Ethics at Waterbury Hospital, a teaching hospital affiliated with Yale Medical School. He is also Chairman of the New England Evangelical Theological Society, as well as Director of the Soul Research Institute in Cheshire, Connecticut.

sure whether to classify itself as a mammal or a duck. Yet, ironically, I am taken seriously as a psychiatrist, for I am Chairman of Psychiatry and Chairman of Ethics at Waterbury Hospital, a teaching hospital affiliated with Yale Medical School, have been on the faculty of the National Institutes of Health, published articles in the New England Journal of Medicine, in the leading psychiatry research journals, and chapters in the leading textbooks. I am even one of the authors of the diagnostic system used in psychiatry!3 During 1995 I admitted, treated, and discharged from the hospital 712 psychiatric patients, most of them psychotic, desperate, suicidal, homeless and indigent people living on the street.

For the past twenty-five years I have been pursuing a single purpose, somewhat like Captain Ahab and Moby Dick. My goal has been to understand, write about, and promote the soul. The reason I got launched onto this odyssey is that I was once an ordained Episcopal clergyman praying that God would use me for whatever purpose he wanted. During those prayers I repeatedly felt called to write about the soul, and I repeatedly told God I would not do it, because I didn’t know how. That prayer experience slowly wore me down, so that my resolve to avoid this insane project crumbled like the sand castles I used to build on the beach as the tide came in. It became my “Mission: Impossible!”

From the beginning, I sensed that secular Americans and Episcopalians turn to psychotherapists for information about and treatment of the soul. Why would I say such an outlandish thing?

1. They call themselves psychotherapists after the Greek root ψυχή (soul);

2. They treat the natural, soulish (...

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