psychiatry: in recovery ?

healing the soulI was doodling the other day and came up with this list, a simple play on words.

It would be difficult to tell much of the time from the way it is typically practised but the word psychiatry means healing of the soul – so what happened?

Many psychiatrists are speaking out from within the profession calling for change. In a nice twist of irony some are also speaking out against the stigma they feel from being labelled and looked down upon by colleagues in other medical specialisms, even former patients. It seems that the label “psychiatrist” is seen as stigmatizing by some of those to whom it is given.



butt-nakedDear emperor, your ass is showing

If any profession ever had a soul then the profession of psychiatry has become the emperor in the fable – its soulless, bare-naked ass is, and has for some time been, out there in plain sight for the world to see.
What’s more, since it’s an institution of mostly blokes, that is not a pretty sight. eeww!

Where did psychiatry lose its soul? …and can it get it back?

So where did psychiatry leave its soul?

-I know, if we knew where it was then it wouldn’t be lost.

…and can psychiatry and the mental health system built in its own image ever get its soul back?

psychiatry in recovery

Lets hope so.
I for one think it could be useful to have a version of psychiatry that is not afraid to be human and to have a soul, a profession that views the people it serves not as cases and problems but as people with problems in need of support and help.

And we need a psychiatry that is not afraid to say the most important thing a scientist can ever say “we don’t know” and “we were wrong”.

And there are plenty of individual psychiatrists already think this way and practise this way whenever they can, often feeling they are working against the rules of their profession and the bureaucracies that pay them for their work. Certainly if you can afford to pay privately you can find them in private practice.

Maybe 2013 is the year that psychiatry – and the whole mental health system built in its own image – can find hope enough and courage enough to begin its own journey of recovery.

The good news, and the story not heard nearly enough is that people can and do recover. Psychiatry can recover too.


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5 Responses to psychiatry: in recovery ?

  1. You’re way ahead of me, but yes 🙂


  2. Wendy Dixon says:

    Great reflection to start the year on


  3. This is a great piece, and a wonderful New Year ‘starter’! 🙂


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