May 17, 2018
This week, we interview Dr Peter Gordon. Dr Gordon describes
himself as a gardener with an interest in medicine. He trained in
both medicine and landscape architecture before specialising in
psychiatry and now works with older adults in Scotland. In
addition, he is an activist and campaigner and has a range of
creative interests including filmmaking, photography, writing and
In this interview, we walk about Peter’s own experiences of
psychiatric treatment and how we need to address the divide that
exists between the arts and the medical sciences.
In this episode we discuss:
- What led Dr Gordon to have combined interests in the arts and
the sciences, training both in architecture and medicine.
- How Peter was interested in the plurality of thinking required
for psychiatry as opposed to general medicine.
- How he feels that his training in both the arts and the
sciences led to a more rounded appreciation of why purely
biological approach might miss opportunities to help people.
- How Peter became an activist, partly in response to the
commonly taught subjective/objective diagnostic approach.
- How we should be focussed on the potential of any medical
intervention to cause harm and should consider this carefully
alongside any potential benefit.
- How we need to take account of all experiences to ensure we
provide the maximum benefit and minimum harm to people.
- Peter’s own experiences with the mental health system, taking
antidepressant drugs and experiencing treatment within a
- How stopping his antidepressant drug resulted in withdrawal
effects and led to Peter’s only episode of severe depression.
- Why Peter is concerned that we seem to be downplaying the
experiences of people who have struggled with psychiatric
- How Peter’s experiences have influenced his approach to
- The dominance of the biological approach and why it should not
dictate how we respond to individual experiences.
- How the evidence is starting to show that diagnosis can often
disempower and bring about ‘otherness’.
- Peter’s plea for people to be kind to one another and work
together to maximise well-being.
Peter’s blog: Hole Ouisa
The caption is wrong
Paroxetine tablets [Film-coated]
Peter’s films on Vimeo
Nathan Filer, The Shock of the Fall
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© Mad in America 2018