A Look at the Experts
There are three common and contradictory images of health professionals. The first of these is unambiguously positive and is typified by the selfless heroics of the accident and emergency staff in the popular television series, ‘Casualty’. Not only are these doctors and nurses depicted as being dedicated to the needs of patients, but they generally seem to know exactly what they are doing. A second image, which also haunts our culture, is one of people who come to take you away to the ‘funny farm’ or the ‘loony bin’. As in the film ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’, angry or frightened victims are callously disposed of without a care for their sensitivities or civil rights. After the disposal, they try to survive in a sinister, incarcerated world of forced injections, solitary confinement and habitual brutality and neglect. The third common mythology about the mental health industry entails the assumption that psychiatrists are all psychoanalysts. Consequently, in this imagined world, it is assumed that they are highly skilled in making interpretations, even to the point of being able to ‘read minds’. Radio programmes, such as Anthony Clare’s ‘In The Psychiatrist’s Chair’, reinforce this notion, as did the Thames Television’s soap opera ‘Shrinks’.
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