Medical model is the term (cited by psychiatrist Ronald D. Laing in his The Politics of the Family and Other Essays) for the "set of procedures in which all doctors are trained." This set includes complaint, history, examination, ancillary tests if needed, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis with and without treatment. Sociologist Erving Goffman, in his Asylums, favorably compared the medical model, which was a post-Industrial Revolution occurrence, with the conduct in the tinkering trades (watch, radio, TV repair).
The medical model also describes the approach to illness which is dominant in Western medicine. It aims to find medical treatments for diagnosed symptoms and syndromes and treats the human body as a very complex mechanism (hence, Goffman's tinkering trade analogy). Among critics of medical psychiatry, Laing observed that because the diagnosis of a mental illness was based on conduct or patient behavior and not on evident pathology, it (the "diagnosis") essentially contravened standard medical procedure and hence the medical model: examination and ancillary tests were conducted, if at all, only after the diagnosis was made.
At all events, whereas heart diseases, cancers, and broken bones were diagnosed by evident pathology discovered during examination and ancillary tests, a mental illness was diagnosed by patient's conduct (paranoid delusions, catatonia, hypermania, etc.), with only an implication of a genuine pathology not cited at the time of diagnosis.
The medical model drives research and theorizing about physical or psychological difficulties on a basis of causation and remediation.
It can be contrasted with the holistic model of the alternative health movement and the social model of the Disability rights movement, as well as to biopsychosocial and recovery model's of mental disorder.
- 'Medical model' vs 'social model' British Film Institute Education.
- Disability Awareness at the University of Sheffield , UK
- Medical model Open university UK