Psychotherapy and the NHS: time for a rethink?

In the early 2000s I spent three years working as an honorary psychoanalytic psychotherapist in an NHS mental health trust as part of my analytic training. Back then, this was the time-honoured route to becoming a psychotherapist. What was particularly interesting about this experience was that I saw my first patient for three years and […]

Depersonalisation and conversion disorders: old wine in new bottles?

There have been a couple of interesting articles relating to mental health that have caught my eye recently.  They both highlight a longstanding trend within psychiatry (and, unfortunately in some parts of the psychoanalytic world) to redefine various forms of human suffering and disturbance as ‘disorders’.   This seems to directly correlate with what might be […]

Mental health and the military

Although most people probably associate psychological problems amongst the military with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), those serving in the forces can suffer from a whole range of problems including anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, psychotic illnesses, and relationship problems.  And it is not only about currently serving personnel, but also about service veterans.  […]

Trauma, PTSD and military veterans

On Monday night the BBC broadcast a Panorama special programme which looked at the growing problem of suicide amongst serving soldiers and ex-soldiers (veterans) in the British military.1 Through its own research the Panorama team established that in 2012 a total of 50 soldiers – 29 of them veterans – had taken their own life. […]

Is psychoanalysis a science?

I’ve just been re-reading Freud’s An Outline of Psycho-Analysis1 which was his last attempt to give a concise exposition of his ideas and their clinical application.  This paper was written in 1938, very near to the end of Freud’s life.  I think this in itself is significant because by this time psychoanalysis was becoming established, […]

Ordinary madness

There is a myth within our culture, and within mainstream psychiatry and psychotherapy, that most people are (relatively) ‘normal’.  To be fair, psychoanalysts are more likely to say that most people are ‘neurotic’, or that by ‘normal’ we mean neurotic, but essentially it amounts to the same thing.  To put it another way, the myth […]

2012 Olympics: the triumph of the spectacle

The more I watched the Olympics unfold, the more I thought there must be something here for psychoanalysis.   And if I had to start anywhere it would be with the opening and closing ceremonies, because these seemed to set both the tone and the parameters for this event.  Although perhaps the word ‘spectacle’ might be […]