The World of Mentalists

In Saturday’s Grauniad there was a debate on the topic of “Should workplaces have on-site psychiatrists?” Personally I think it would make more sense for workplaces to have on-site counsellors and mental health first aiders than psychiatrists, but that’s not really the point of this post. I’ve been irritated by the condescension of Oliver James, one of the debate participants.

The debate was between Oliver James and Alistair Campbell, the former Downing Street spin doctor who has spoken publicly about his recovery from depression and alcoholism. James is a psychologist (though he doesn’t appear to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council as a practitioner psychologist), and author of books such as Affluenza and They F*** You Up.

In the debate, James states,

Psychiatrists mostly offer pills and other sticking plasters, like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). For the commonest problems, depression and anxiety, neither really work. The…

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