Why We Should Stop Avoiding the Word “Patient” in Psychiatry

Published in Psychology Today on 23rd August 2016.

My first memorable experience of psychiatry as a medical student was not what I expected. Rather than my fumbling interactions with psychotic patients, or witnessing electroconvulsive therapy first-hand, I was struck by repeatedly hearing words that had me wondering whether I was interning for a law firm: “consumer” and “client.” To my confusion, I soon discovered the doctors and nurses were referring to the people we were treating. I had previously spent time in internal medicine, surgery and general practice, yet the afflicted had always been called “patient” or “64-year-old-aspiration-pneumonia.” The psychiatrists I found myself with were not lone linguistic anarchists though. Across Australia, the United States and Western Europe, terms such as “consumer” are increasingly being used. What changed?…

Continue reading here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s