Foreword to Now It All Makes Sense

illustrationDr. William Stockton has written an important clinical book, Now It all Makes Sense. He addresses “mind” in its multilayered complexity, including “mind’s” rich connections with heart and soul. In clear, unadorned prose he avoids both biological and psychodynamic reductionism while speaking out cogently against the trend, driven substantially by for-profit entities, to turn psychiatrists into prescribers and psychiatry into a primarily medication prescribing profession. Through gripping clinical vignettes he documents, among other things, that medications, “ . . . no matter how precisely designed . . .” cannot “. . . resolve emotional conflicts that impair the decisions and actions required of a productive person.”

An experienced, mature clinician, he describes psychotherapy work as a creative, courageous, healing patient/doctor endeavor he terms “self-knowledge” or “self-understanding” therapy. In so doing he sets aside some of the negative aspects of psychoanalysis while retaining its enduringly positive elements.

His case presentations describe the self-understanding process in motion, stressing the importance of both intellectual and emotional learning. This sort of rich presentation of complex situations in motion is all too rare in modern psychiatric writing and will prove to be of enormous interest and value to those legions of psychiatric residents and colleagues wishing to hone their psychotherapy skills. It is the equivalent of a master’s series for dancers or writers.

In these powerful and moving vignettes that, in more than one instance, moved me to tears, he places himself squarely within a small group of literate clinical psychiatric writers including Paul DeGenova, Peter Kramer in his book, Moments of Engagement, and Robert Coles in The Call of Stories.

Now It All Makes Sense speaks eloquently to both the lay and professional reader as it demystifies and destigmatizes mental illness. It is a most worthy and valuable contribution that deserves the widest possible readership.

Harold Eist, M.D.
Past-President, American Psychiatric Association
April, 2005
Bethesda, Maryland