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Humility is often portrayed in a religious context as an ideal quality. It has something of an aspirational character; a saintly quality impossible to achieve. For psychotherapy to be effective the humility of the analyst may often be the essential element – something allowing them to acknowledge to themselves their similarities to their patient as non-judgementally as possible, an appreciation of their own shadow, and an opening to the suffering of their patient. Is something similar, possible, and even desirable for the psychiatrist, in the pressured and demanding environment in which they work?
Psychiatry has been seen in many ways as the poor cousin to the other medical specialities. In its turn it has often appeared as isolating from other disciplines which could help shed light on its mysteries and challenges. Looking at psychiatry as if it were itself a patient, can we shed more light on how it has found itself in this difficult place?
In this lecture these and other themes of humility in psychiatry will be explored from an analytical psychologist’s perspective.
Speaker: Brian Stevenson
Dr. Brian Stevenson was from a young age fascinated by the mystery of the physical world and of existence, and on leaving school studied to acquire his first degree in Physics, while at the same time avidly reading Jung. Having worked as a physicist and engineer for a few years (in the field of magnetic resonance) he studied medicine, and went on to specialise in psychiatry and worked in addiction psychiatry and pain management. He studied at the Jung Institute, Zurich, qualifying from the newly formed ISAP Zurich in 2006. He left the NHS in 2015, and continues to work in private practice as a Jungian analyst. [Updated 2019]