The history of psychiatry: personal reflections

Does an engagement with the history of psychiatry benefit the practising clinician? This paper adopts a personal perspective. It sketches the ideological conflicts which have raged in the study of the history of psychiatry in recent decades and looks at the often heated debates between historians and psychiatrists on the subject. It looks at the author’s involvement with the subject and considers how this may have influenced both clinical practice and the approach to history.