Once it was generally supposed that people were afraid of psychiatrists. The fear of insanity, that ultimate loss of control, made people joke about psychiatrists as they joked about other fearsome things such as death and sex. Now it seems there are fewer jokes but much more open suspicion and hostility and there is much to suggest that over the years psychiatrists have become afraid of people. We have been so preoccupied with the clinical and heuristic aspects of our profession that we have not recognized the emergence of damaging paranoid forces, let alone made any adequate or appropriate response to them. This failure has created formidable problems for the mentally ill and their families and has been a significant factor in promoting one of the vicious backward swings in the pendular history of psychiatry.
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