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Observations BMJ Confidential

Simon Wessely: A man with “a joking seriousness”

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 27 November 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6803

In this series the BMJ asks the movers and shakers of the medical world about work, life, and less serious matters


Simon Wessely is a psychiatrist who is unafraid to investigate conditions that excite great passion, such as chronic fatigue syndrome and Gulf war syndrome. He is professor of psychological medicine at the Institute of Psychiatry in London and consultant adviser on psychiatry to the British Army. His tin hat came in handy when he was attacked for his views on chronic fatigue syndrome, which he believes has an organic trigger but can be perpetuated by social and psychological factors. He is sceptical of the value of brief counselling for those who have just experienced trauma, believing that most people have more resilience than they are given credit …

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