Letter: Therapy on the airwaves

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Sir: Robert Winder (Tabloid; "It's OK, I'm a psychiatrist", 30 June) displays a lazy cynicism about Peter Mandelson's TV tears. Even the inventor of the Millennium Experience's worst enemies (eg Simon Hoggart) admits that the lachrymosity was almost certainly unrehearsed and genuine.

Mr Winder's laziness extends further when he lumps Anthony Clare's interviews and mine together as "pop-psychoanalysis".

Dr Clare has had no training in psychoanalytic therapy, the tradition of the Talking Cure invented by Freud of which Clare is actually an aggressive critic. He has had no therapy himself and is no more qualified to ask people about their childhood than Robert Winder.

He was trained to administer chemicals and electricity to the mentally ill to change the state of their brains (= a psychiatrist) so that they are "well" (like him).

Although I am not a psychoanalyst either, I am more sympathetic to that approach, being trained as a child clinical psychologist. My expertise is in the effect of childhood experience on adult personality.

"Slaking our curiosity about what psychoanalysis night be like", as Mr Winder suggests, is not either of our purposes.

OLIVER JAMES

Producer-Interviewer

The Chair, BBC2

London W2

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