“Nobody gets better there” said my friend’s daughter, the other day – so she became a surgeon instead. Fewer medical students want to be psychiatrists than ever. And can you blame them? Since 1980, psychiatry has gone hell for leather in precisely the wrong direction, and for the worst of reasons. Trouble is, it’s gone so far, it’s like an oil tanker, it’ll take ages to turn back.
For me, psychiatry is the love of my life. It all falls into place – but only once you approach it in the right way. Try this – you speak the language you learnt as an infant – your parent’s turn of phrase becomes your turn of phrase. The confident toddler becomes a confident adult. What’s so odd about that?
Next you need to add “once bitten, twice shy”, and you have the problem in a nutshell. Trauma stops you thinking straight. Brainscans proved this, scientifically, 25 years ago – though you wouldn't think so from Established Psychiatrists. In 1996, Dr Bessel van der Kolk showed that playing a trauma tape cuts off the speech centre and the frontal lobes – he called it speechless-terror – and it is.
What to do? In 2004, I asked the wise and wonderful to talk at our annual conference. I asked him what was needed. He said “a consumer movement”. So now, 17 years later, I’ve launched this Substack site.). If this went viral, psychiatry would have to listen. Why not give it a go?
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MEDICAL NOTE – at one level this is just as simple as it sounds. At another, it involves life-or-death emotions – which is why it all gets so gummed up. So you need to be extra careful when discussing these points with people who might have similar, deeply buried problems. IF IN DOUBT, DON’T. Life-or-death could mean yours.
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NOTE These posts are a new venture for me. I’ll aim for at least twice monthly. If you like what I write, please encourage me by responding, all but the latest will be free. You can always read the academic background to it all, free, by clicking The Simple Science of Sanity. Thanx. This is a shorter post than usual - a friend asked me to do it.
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