Psychiatry and the Shores of Social Construction: Sami Timimi, MD


From Psychiatric Times: Conversations in Critical Psychiatry’s Awais Aftab interviews Dr. Sami Timimi, a prominent voice of British critical psychiatry and especially child psychiatry, in the context of his latest book Insane Medicine: How the Mental Health Industry Creates Damaging Treatment Traps and How You Can Escape Them, serialized here at Mad in America.



  1. So, dr. Timimi is hoping to recover the psychiatrists, who potentially “are the only mental health practitioners that can do it all, from prescribing to therapy” and who should “be leaders in mental health services, helping bring other professions along, as well as not being afraid of becoming embroiled in the politics and politicization of services.” Sounds comforting…

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      • Well, yes, among a lot of other things he actually says that. To my eyes, it is the narrative of the ‘lost art of psychiatry’ he leaps into. How the psychiatrist once was a more rounded authority, well read in the humanities, at least as interested in psychotherapy as in medication and so forth. But alas, now this refined professional has been degraded to pushing pills. However, the past had its problems too, of which the present knows very little, so perhaps it is a nice dream, nothing more. I’m pretty sure the future does not lie in the past in such a concrete sense.

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  2. I find Dr Aftab’s interview style to be incredibly manipulative. Putting Dr. Tamimi’s goal to save psychiatrists aside for the moment, I have read enough of these interviews to recognize how Dr Aftab attempts to set the narrative and I am amazed at how deftly Dr Tamimi handled such attempts and how he reasserted his actual beliefs each time. Dr Aftab strikes me as very typical of the psychiatrists I have seen who have put words in my mouth, spoken for and over me, and interpreted my thoughts and actions in ways that completely mischaracterize my own experience and beliefs on such. It almost seems like being a touch sociopathic is a requirement for the job. It’s hard to convey just how uncomfortable I feel reading his interviews.

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