Letter: Shock therapy

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The Independent Online
Sir: Oh dear. Oliver James ("Therapy on the airwaves", Letters, 3 July) doesn't seem to like psychiatrists very much. I can see no other reason for his patronising denigration of Dr Clare and other psychiatrists as manipulative biological reductionists.

He suggests that psychiatrists are trained only to stupefy their patients with drugs and electricity into a state of conformity. This is rather like saying that psychotherapists are trained only to brainwash people into being like them. Both of these statements might be true if either profession were, as a matter of course, practised grossly unethically. However, my experience in the NHS suggests that most psychiatrists and psychologists do try, often with minimal resources, to promote the autonomy of their clients or patients.

Dr PHILIP TIMMS

Senior Lecturer in Community Psychiatry

Guys and St Thomas' UMDS

London SE1

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