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Diagnosis Human: How Unlocking Hidden Relationship Patterns Can Transform and Heal Our Children, Our Partners, Ourselves 

Shows how mental distress is often caused by relationship imbalance, not chemical imbalance. Diagnosis Human offers a compelling alternative to the biomedical model of mental health as it’s been promoted over the last 30 years--a model which says that mental distress is a problem of chemical imbalance, or brain chemistry. Promoted by the highly profitable Psychiatry/Pharmaceutical industrial complex, and followed by much of the broader psychotherapy community, biological psychiatry focuses on quantifying the “illness” by an almost exclusive focus on symptoms. In this model, symptoms are never good. They are always seen as a sign that something is wrong with that person, a sign of pathology that must be changed. People now have a name for what they “have” and receive a prescription for it. What may appear as intractable individual problems, however, often aren’t individual problems at all. This book reveals how many of these distressing emotional states are created by nearly invisible, intimate patterns in our relationships. Diagnosis: Human invites readers into the therapist’s office to be part of family therapy sessions, where they can experience practically first-hand what these intimate relationship patterns look and feel like. The authors present cases of adults dealing with depression, couples who come to therapy reeling from the betrayal of an affair, families with kids diagnosed with ADHD, teenagers with anxiety or young children with temper tantrums. Each therapy session includes the voice of the therapist, inviting readers to sit in as observers to watch and listen as the case unfolds, sometimes in dramatic fashion.

Diagnosis Human is a critical book for our time. While we, as doctors, have been focusing on the individuals’ mental health we have forgotten that individuals exist in relationships with family and friends and that oftentimes, the problems that individuals’ face can be addressed by bringing the family together with experts in family therapy. The stories in this book are truly fascinating, and once you start to read them, you will quickly see the important role that highly skilled family therapists can play in improving the life of a family and every individual within it. Begel and Keith take us inside their offices and show us that what we see as an individual’s "symptoms" is actually the result of subtle family dynamics. As a family physician with many years of experience. I am grateful that we have this precious chance to gain important insight’s from these authors' experiences. Every family will see themselves somewhere in these stories as the authors bring peace and healing where there was turmoil and dysfunction. As a family physician for over 40 years, I highly recommend this book to professionals and struggling families alike. -- Neil Calman, MD, FAAFP, president and CEO of the Institute for Family Health, professor and chair of Family Medicine and Community Health at Mount Sinai Hospital

To a society increasingly relying on prescription drugs that promise to improve one person's behavior without inconveniencing others, Begel and Keith offer a more humane alternative: let us look less at what happens inside our brains, and more at what happens between us. And let the way we dance together change our inner wiring, rather than the other way around. An enlightening read for couples and parents, as well as for clinicians. -- Jorge Colapinto, structural family therapist and co-author of Working with Families of the Poor

As a marriage and family therapist for over thirty years, and a parent for over forty years, I applaud the authors for finally saying what so many systemic therapists know…that problems are relational. This book is a breath of fresh air, providing those who read it with new ways of envisioning problems, by healing relationships, which then heal behaviors. Parents who read this book will be reassured that things are not hopeless, when diagnoses are given out too freely to their children. That hope may result in better interactions at home, as hope emerges and worry decreases. Children will benefit when their parents focus on the family’s relationships and watch those they love restore peace at home. This book offers a glance at what magic can occur when we look beyond a person’s issue, into the interactions of the family system for solutions. -- Linda Metcalf, PhD, author of Parenting Toward Solutions

Diagnosis Human by Amy Begel and David Keith offers an intelligent window into the workings of psychotherapy. Understanding the mechanisms that empower psychotherapy enables consumers to more easily benefit from treatment. Diagnosis Human presents reparative relationships as a refreshing alternative to a medical model. Symptoms are multifaceted and can be the result of underlying ruptures in family relationships. Symptoms are not merely biochemical abnormalities requiring medication. -- Jeffrey K. Zeig, PhD, director of The Milton H. Erickson Foundation

This book is healing! With vivid storytelling, this book is an illuminating dive into family therapy and can help us all unlearn the rigid patterns that prevent us from connecting with our partners and families. -- Katie O'Grady, MD, family medicine physician

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