Psychiatry’s Poor Image: Reflecting on Psychiatrists’ “Apologias”
Those of us who critique psychiatry were recently treated to an interesting phenomenon—the publicly available part of the January 2015 issue of Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, which contains multiple articles devoted to the question of psychiatry’s “poor image” — how to understand it, how to assess it, what to do about it. The release of this issue is hardly the first occasion where articles have appeared in which psychiatrists have speculated on outsiders’ negative image of the profession. Indeed, more and more, we are seeing such articles together with other evidence that the professionals are concerned (e.g., Bhugra and Moran, 2014; and Oxtoby, 2008). What makes this issue special is that there is a sizable number of commentators; moreover, they include such leading figures as Gaebel, current President of the European Psychiatric Association, Wasserman, former President of the European Psychiatric Association, and Bhugra, President of the World Psychiatric Association. Could it be that the upper echelons of psychiatry, whether they admit or not, are becoming alarmed? Regardless, these psychiatric reflections are themselves a source of data—hence this article.