Tim Blair


New Criterion



Monday, May 17, 2004
"I AGONISED ABOUT THIS" says Health Report's Norman Swan about broadcasting a secretly-recorded tape of a confrontation between a sexually-abusing psychiatrist and one of his victims. The recording was of course made by the patient, whose identity is not revealed, while the psychiatrist's is.

"Why?" responded Life Matters' Julie McCrossin, with more apparently sincere curiosity than you would hope to hear from a professional broadcaster.

Swan's answer to his own question satisfies me, on balance. The professional solidarity of doctors is even stronger than that of the police, and it needs a solid blast from outside from time to time to flush out the crooks.

Perhaps the psychiatrist will suffer further disgrace (he's already been struck off) but under current law he is free to join the swelling ranks of the self-qualified therapists who offer to do you good by getting inside your mind. So there's a public interest in making the man's name public.

Auntie's phone lines are now rattling with skeletons coming out of closets. May some good come of it.

The bigger question for the psychiatrists is this. Why should Freudian psychotherapy and its numerous bastards, based on the weird ideas dreamed up by a Viennese coke-head over a hundred years ago, be given the cover of scientific medicine, just because a practitioner has a medical degree?

The Health Report is repeated at 8.00pm tonight, AET.