Paradigms of Psychiatry: Eclecticism and Its Discontents

Seyyed Nassir Ghaemi


Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2006;19(6):619-624. 

In This Article


Clearly, biological dogmatism, now resurgent, is under attack from many quarters. Psychoanalytic orthodoxy is defeated, yet psychoanalysis, in softer form, persists. The BPS model, and eclecticism in general, has served as a cease-fire, which has allowed the profession to subsist in the past few decades, yet clearly there is unhappiness with the predominance of biological methods. Unfortunately critics of the biological paradigm tend toward dogmatism themselves, usually of postmodernist or libertarian varieties. Thinkers who have tried to rise beyond eclecticism while rejecting postmodernist dogmas have tended toward three approaches: pragmatism, which tends toward eclecticism with similar drawbacks experienced with the BPS model; integrationism, which is appealing in theory but quite limited in practice; and pluralism. In my view, the pluralist approach can allow us to avoid the vagaries of eclecticism and rise beyond the simple-minded dogmas that have been, and continue to be, the bane of true progress in this complex discipline.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.