Why I Am Not a Psychiatrist

In an article for the 'Bulletin of the Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry', Scott Waterman, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus at the University of Vermont, writes about his personal journey through psychiatry over the past several decades.

He describes how his interest in research in biological psychiatry began and how he came to adopt increasingly critical appraisals of prevailing conceptualizations and practices. Most recently, he reports finding great power in the narratives of the consumer/survivor/ex-patient community and their advocates, noting that “their perspectives – absent from assessments of the psychiatric enterprise until recently – are as compelling as they are discomfiting.”

As the story of the systematically exaggerated efficacy, along with underplayed (not to mention actively hidden) risks of various pharmacotherapies unfolded, one conclusion became inescapable: massive conflicts of interest between the profession and the pharmaceutical industry had rendered psychiatry a case study in institutional corruption.

The piece includes four responses by Dr. Waterman’s colleagues (James Phillips, Paul Lieberman, Douglas Heinrichs and Jeffrey Bedrick) and a final response by Scott.

Bulletin of the Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry,  Volume 26, Number 1