Letter: Psychiatrists reply

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Oliver James wishes that psychiatrists would pay more attention to the childhood experiences of their patients. I would be fascinated to learn of the event in Dr James' own past that seem to have engendered an intense and irrational dislike of psychiatry.

On its own, his characterisation of the profession as prison warders with no time for psychology but plenty of enthusiasm for "pills and electric shocks" (such a contrast with his own style of kitten-hugging empathy) is mildly amusing in its absurdity. He should consider, however, that by propagating negative stereotypes of psychiatry and psychiatric treatment, he is doing little to dispel the stigma that still attaches itself to mental illness.


Specialist Registrar in Psychiatry,

Gartnavel Royal Hospital,