During my lifetime I have witnessed the fall of Freudian psychiatry and the ascension of molecular psychiatry. Unfortunately, we have gone from the frying pan into the fire. I certainly do not subscribe to old-fashioned psychoanalytic ideas which had been beset by considerable problems throughout the years. Its practice suffered from dogmatic theories and miscast beliefs, which worked to the detriment of responsiveness to our patients. Although my own roots were in psychoanalytic psychotherapy, I moved on to develop the psychotherapy of character. It is a specialized form of human engagement that repairs the damage to one’s character by acting on the play of consciousness in the very way that it formed in the brainand consciousness in the first place. The psychotherapy of character is an art and a science that bridges the old divide between psychotherapy and the brain.
In today’s very small world, we have the presence of exciting, yet confusing and conflicting, deeply held belief systems—religious, ideological, political, scientific, and technological. Human belief systems have always served the human quest in its efforts to grapple with the mysteries of life. At the same time, they offer the allure of false security and leave us subject to the hubris of “belief” itself. False or outmoded beliefs may give us short-term comfort, but are destructive to our well-being. They make us susceptible to Pied Pipers who promise salvation as they lead their followers off the cliffs; or Chicken Little’s who intimidate people by preaching that the sky is falling; or purveyors of false knowledge who offer false hope, quick fixes, and magical solutions while creating slavery and blindness. A new and inclusive paradigm that is consonant with new knowledge and oldwisdom is so important for psychiatry and society at large.