In praise of subjectivity in psychiatry

By Yorgos Dimitriadis

The patient’s subjectivity has been systematically overlooked by medicine, especially since it has become scientific, that is to say since the beginning of the 19th century. It is the duty of psychiatry, much more so than of the rest of the medical profession, to be guided by the suffering subject, rather than by the illness itself. Yet, the demand for strictly scientific approaches gradually impels it towards excluding the subjectivities of both the patient and the clinician. Today, the subject is increasingly identified with his or her brain and neuroscientific discourse affects the way we perceive both individuality and our relationship to jouissance. Psychiatry, even when it comes to its biological application, ought to bear in mind that man is a speaking being, with a special relationship to his own body, which consequently loses its naturalness. The subject therefore cannot be confused with his brain.

  • psychoanalysis
  • neurosciences cerebral subject
  • biologic psychiatry
  • scientific medicine
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