Mar 17, 2018
This week on MIA Radio we interview Dr.
Duncan Double. Duncan is a
Consultant Psychiatrist at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation
Trust. He is founder of the
Critical Psychiatry Network and also runs a critical psychiatry
blog. He edited the book Critical psychiatry: The
limits of madness published in 2006 and has written a number of
journal articles and book chapters.
We talk about Duncan’s
experiences as a critical psychiatrist working within a
bio-medically oriented profession.
In this interview we
- How reading Freud as a teenager
led Duncan to his interest in psychiatry.
- That, early in his training, he
found it difficult to take to the overly physicalist aspects of what he was expected to
- How he became interested in the
work of RD Laing and Thomas Szsaz.
- How he left his studies for a
time, working with drug users in London, studying for a psychology
degree and working in banking.
- The formation of the Critical
Psychiatry Network in January 1999.
- How critical psychiatrists take
a different perspective from mainstream psychiatrists who tend to
believe that mental illness is a brain disease.
- That critical psychiatrists are
not so interested in arriving at a single word diagnosis,
instead the focus is on
understanding the person and why they have presented with the
problems they have in the context of their life
- That critical psychiatrists aim
to minimise the use of coercion and have been against the
introduction of community treatment orders.
- That the emphasis in treatment
is on helping people improve their social situation and to be as
independent as they want to be.
- How Duncan felt about a period
of suspension which arose partly because of his different
practices, being less concerned about formal diagnosis and using
less medication than other psychiatrists.
- That critical psychiatry is
still looking for more acceptance from the mainstream.
- That Duncan welcomes the more
recent emphasis on recovery in mental health services.
- That Duncan does use medication
but is very aware that the evidence for psychiatric treatment is
biased for methodological reasons, for example, the difficulties
having properly blinded placebo-controlled trials.
- That good science is often being
sceptical about the evidence.
- That people can form attachments
to their medication, so it is not surprising that people may become
dependent on it and therefore may have discontinuation
- Duncan’s critical psychiatry
blog which he would like to invite readers to visit and that he
would like to develop an Institute of Critical
Critical Psychiatry Blog
The Critical Psychiatry
Critical Psychiatry: The
limits of madness (2006)
My tutor said to me, this
talk is dangerous
What is Critical