The Self Illusion and Psychotherapy

Originally published in Psychology Today on March 21st, 2017. One of the great privileges of working in psychiatry currently is witnessing the amazing progress of so-called ‘biological psychiatry’. Advances in neurosciences and brain imaging are providing us with closer and closer glimpses of the basis of psychopathology. But for some this reductionism can lead psychiatry…

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…

Why Psychiatry Should Discard The Idea of Free Will

Published in Psychology Today, 30th March 2016: ‘Why Psychiatry Should Discard The Idea of Free Will’. Excerpt: “Consider the commonly used medical expressions “organic depression”, “rule out organic causes” and “non-organic psychosis”. What do these terms mean? Organic is defined as “relating to or derived from living matter” and, when used in relation to an illness, implies there is a…

The Illusion of Free Will and Mental Illness Stigma

Published in Psychology Today, 17th March 2016: ‘The Illusion of Free Will and Mental Illness Stigma’. Excerpt: “If the mind is truly free, it is only logical to extrapolate that illness of the mind must also be free; free to change on a whim, or at least free to change if one chose to do so. In a free and…

Rage Against The Machine

  “F### you, I won’t do what you tell me.”  – Rage Against The Machine. The rock band Rage Against the Machine reached worldwide fame in the 1990’s for their angry and impassioned lyrics. They protested for liberation and freedom from corrupt governments around the world, seeing the injustice that coupled scenarios where people were…

Is Medicine Infected By Religion?

You wouldn’t have noticed, but there may have been someone else in the consultation room when you last saw your doctor. If this someone else was a medical student or a nurse you would be asked to give consent for their presence. However, in this case, it’s unlikely your permission was sought. What’s more unnerving…

Psychotherapy & The Self Illusion

Introduction This article has been written in reaction to a fear: Fear of so-called ‘biological psychiatry’. Many don’t like talking about brain scans and neural correlates in psychiatry, because when you reduce a person down to different anatomical brain regions and neurotransmitters inside the head, we don’t find a single self in there. Without a…

The Irrational Fear of ‘Patient’

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.” When Juliet Capulet spoke these famous lines to Romeo Montague, she attempted to convey that a name is an artificial convention; She loved the person called Montague, not the Montague name or family. Despite this, Romeo attempted to…