Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Nothing’s Sacred

Psychoanalysis can seriously damage your health

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 31 May 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3857
  1. Colin Brewer, research director of the Stapleford Centre, London SW1W 9NP
  1. brewerismo{at}

I have long maintained that the aetiological and therapeutic theories of Sigmund Freud were mostly unsound and caused some damage to society in general and psychiatry in particular. When I first started actually doing psychiatry in the 1960s such criticism was unusual and heretical, but within a decade, it was becoming more common. By the 1990s it was the norm, except, of course, among a dwindling and beleaguered band of true believers. NHS psychoanalysts fight to retain a tiny enclave in a psychotherapeutic territory populated largely by evidence based practitioners whose preference is for cognitive behavioural techniques (and for evidence, of …

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