To the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act 1983: Think again

By Harry Hudson The recent review of the Mental Health Act 1983, published in December 2018, focused on increasing choice and reducing compulsion. It highlighted dignity as the first casualty of compulsive powers; their use was identified as denying self-respect to patients. When discussing compulsion, it failed to properly challenge involuntary medication of patients with […]

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Privacy: Don’t Get Over It

By Elias Aboujaoude Account hacks. Revenge porn. Identity theft. Cyberstalking. Psychographic targeting. Facial recognition. Government surveillance. It’s enough to give up and agree with the devastatingly prescient remark from 1999 by the founder of Sun Microsystems: “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.” In a post-privacy world, victims of technology-enabled privacy violations look to […]

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Advance directives, personal identity, and the body: what follows if dementia produces a different individual?

By Govind Persad. I recently published “Authority Without Identity: Defending Advance Directives via Posthumous Rights Over One’s Body” in JME. In the paper, I argue that even if the psychological changes caused by dementia mean that the individual who existed before dementia is a different individual from the individual who exists afterward, a pre-dementia advance […]

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Advance decisions in dementia: when the past conflicts with the present

By George Gillett Last month, the Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee wrote an article in support of assisted dying. She wrote about Katherine Whitehorn, her former colleague at the Observer. Describing Whitehorn, Toynbee writes: She is not herself. Her old self would not recognise herself in this other being who sits in the care home. What […]

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Guest Post: Philosophical Tradeoffs in Psychotherapy

Authors: Sahanika Ratnayake, David Merry. Paper: Forgetting ourselves: epistemic costs and ethical concerns in mindfulness exercises Unlike pharmaceuticals, psychotherapy is often presented as an effective treatment without any side effects. Mindfulness exercises, popularised by Jon Kabat-Zinn in the 1970s and ‘80s, are seen as particularly gentle. According to Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness is nothing more than ‘paying attention’. […]

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Pedophilia and Child Sexual Abuse Are Two Different Things — Confusing Them is Harmful to Children

By Brian D. Earp (@briandavidearp) Note: this post appeared first at the Practical Ethics blog and is being re-posted. Pedophilia and Child Sexual Abuse Are Two Different Things — Confusing Them is Harmful to Children Republican politician Roy Moore has been accused of initiating sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl when he was in his early […]

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Donald Trump’s Mental Health (again)

The speculation about Donald Trump’s mental health that was doing the rounds earlier in the year seems to have died down a bit.  That’s to be expected; like it or not, his Presidency is now part of normal life.  But I’ve been lagging in my blogging here, and so it’s only now that I’ve got […]

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Balancing Costs and Benefits: A Clinical Perspective Does not Support a Harm Minimization Approach for Self-injury Outside of Community Settings

Guest Post: Hanna Pickard and Steve Pearce Responding to: Harm may sometimes be a good thing? Patrick Sullivan Sullivan’s emphasis on the importance of supporting autonomy and independence among vulnerable people who self-injure is fundamental to good clinical practice. This is why some forms of harm minimization, such as encouraging reflection, responsibility, safe cutting and where appropriate […]

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Professional Codes and Diagnosis at a Distance

This is the second part of my response to Trish Greenhalgh’s post on the propriety of medics, psychiatrists in particular, offering diagnoses of Donald Trump’s mental health.  In the last post, I concentrated on some of the problems associated with making such a diagnosis (or, on reflection, what might be better called a “quasi-diagnosis”).  In […]

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