April 30, 2016

Psychiatrist or Neuroscientist?

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:54 am by aleksan

I have been asked by a Royal College of Psychiatrists poll “should Psychiatrists now be called Neuroscientists?” Certainly the role of the Psychiatrist has changed since I began my career back in the 70s – then I had to be a combined Neurologist, Physician, Social Worker, Psychotherapist, Family Therapist and Play Therapist – what a colleague called “a jobbing Psychiatrist.”
I enjoyed being a Jack of All Trades and there was no one else apart from a helpful Case Worker, formerly a Hospital Lady Almoner. But now all those roles I had to play have their own Professions – Clinical Psychologist, Social Worker, Educational Psychologist, Counsellor, Psychotherapist, Family Therapist, Play Therapist….All that remains is the medical bits – Neurologist and Physician, and nowadays Team Manager and Supervisor. I have retired from paid work but play a role as a Trustee for a Child Educational, Care, and Fostering Charity where my former multiple roles are relevant – but I don’t believe that a Neuroscientist would be qualified or fit for such a role…So I am now labelled as “Old School” – very happy with that!

Alexander Burnfield FRCPsych

Retired Consultant in Child and Adolecent Psychiatry, Hampshire UK

1 Comment »

  1. Penny Taylor said,

    I’ve always considered a psychiatrist as the captain of the team giving care to a mental health patient , holding essentially a holistic view and also the only prescriber of their medication. A neuroscientist hold a more reductive view and deals with both psychiatric and neurological conditions.


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