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Sex, drugs and rock and roll. What more does a novel need?

Be prepared to take a trip when reading When Life Was Like a Cucumber by Greg Wyss. This trip will be unlike any one you have ever taken before. That is unless you were in your 20s, living in the late 1960s and early 1970s on the East coast, more 

Book By Author:  Michael I. Benjamin

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The Book of David captures and at the same time reveals, insights that were to be shared. THE BOOK OF DAVID is Benjamin's reflections as a mentor to David, a young aspiring psychiatrist, whose untimely death, delayed this interaction. Not only is it a tribute to David, but dramatically, an expose of the lessons Benjamin wishes to convey to the reader who willingly or unwillingly discovers that they too are being mentored.

The book describes normal human development with an emphasis on the significance of ever-expanding inter-personal interaction, beliefs, and the role of day-dreaming and fantasy.

Pathologies are discussed using these parameters as keys to the understanding of them.

The section on treatments covers three aspects. The treatment of the individual; the role of the medication and the setting up of psychiatric services.

Benjamin claims that psychiatry has lost its soul and is now only medication orientated and monolithic. The pharmaceutical is severely industry criticised. Benjamin proposes radical changes in research funding and the loci of service intervention.

Benjamin describes the heavy hand of the legal profession on the mental-health apparatus.

Benjamin's style is personal and humorous based on forty-five years experience as a community psychiatrist. Nevertheless, the contents and conclusions are, honest, refreshing, far-reaching and controversial.

The book's audience is all those in with an interest in or with the mental-health industry.


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A novel approach to mental health care by understanding the automatic part of our minds.


Book of David: A Manifesto for the Revolution in Mental Healthcare by Michael Benjamin, M.D. begins with an analogy between a human mind and a Swiss watch.  The issue is the Swiss watch is misbehaving. The watch is taken apart, oiled and then put back together but with a small cog left on the table. The watch is running perfectly, but is it? Benjamin, the author, has been a psychiatrist for over fifty years in Israel. This manifesto is his shout out that mental healthcare needs to change. It was a heavy subject matter and I could only read a chapter or two at a time. I needed time to reflect on what he had written as I am a layman knowing nothing of psychiatry other than the image of the proverbial couch. He introduces, at the start of the book, his concept that our state of being is run by “Automatic Everything.” We are not even aware consciously of it running. Like the watch, when it is running great life goes on, but when it goes awry we might not know it. He breaks this down into three components; Automatic Thinking, Automatic Feeling and Automatic Behaviour. Without getting into all the nitty gritty details of each I am going to use from his book the line that sums up his theme: “After fifty years in psychiatry, I firmly believe the present is a flimsy interface separating our past experiences and future expectations and are interpreted on the backdrop of acquired beliefs and expectations. Dreams are integral in the integration of our past; daydreams can be either a safety valve or the beginnings of hopes and plans.”

He interweaves all these elements into the three Automatic components to make a logical and quite often amusing look into ourselves and also into why many are broken around us. Well versed, his book breaks down these elements that are understandable even to the non-academic. I must admit, a few times I had to Google some terms to get the gist of his thoughts. He uses a methodical approach that must have come from years of therapy to discuss an element and then reference or return to it in a later chapter. This had the desired effect of strengthening his manifesto of change. In short, I wholly believe in his thoughts that we are medicating mental illness to death. Although often necessary, it is a band aid. A band aid that can become quickly soiled and the patient more infected. I encourage academics and layman alike to read through this manifesto as it is in all our best interest to look at mental health in a different light, especially in these days when most of us are running on Automatic.    


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Michael Benjamin Author:  Michael I. Benjamin