I cannot judge,
I cannot hate,
I cannot separate myself from life.
I can only be joyful and whole.
That is why I dance.” Hans Bos
The dominant current thought in American psychiatry is that mental illnesses can be understood as ‘brain disorders’ – a concept massively promoted and funded by drug companies. Searches for the ‘gene for schizophrenia’ and the ‘brain circuit for depression’ are all the rage.
In Europe, however, social psychiatry – where mental disorders are seen within a social context – remained widely taught. In the UK, it has more an an epidemiological flavor, where on the continent it is more focused on analyzing the cultural meaning of mental illness.
This article is an excellent overview of how psychiatry has started to look ‘beyond the brain’: Beyond the Brain, from The Wilson Quarterly.