Panel Participants – Morning Discussion

Issue 64 Spring 2017 (Pages 55-64)

Morning Discussion


Dr Aisling Campbell (CHAIR): Consultant Psychiatrist, Cork University Hospital and University College Cork (UCC)
Dr Mary Cosgrave: Old Age Psychiatrist, Executive Clinical Director for North Dublin Mental Service and St Joseph’s Disability Service
Prof. Walter Cullen: GP Dublin North Inner City and Professor of Urban General Practice, School of Medicine, University College Dublin (UCD)
Tony Hughes: Psychoanalyst, Former Editor of The Letter. Irish Journal for Lacanian Psychoanalysis


Aisling Campbell: I’d like to welcome my fellow panel members, Tony Hughes, Mary Cosgrave and Walter Cullen.

There seem to be two main themes running through this morning’s papers; on the one hand, we had some talks that addressed the place of anxiety, at the moment, in the clinical field, with something of an emphasis on how psychiatry thinks about anxiety vis à vis how psychoanalysis might approach anxiety – and I think Patricia’s talk in particular was at that border – and then, the remainder of the papers of the morning were more about a psychoanalytic attempt to look at anxiety and to have some kind of analytic way of thinking about it.

And the thought that struck me is that it seems to me – I mean, I’m a psychiatrist – that in psychiatry, we actually don’t really think about anxiety very much. There are all these disorders that Brendan Kelly alluded to which, I think we all know, are just a kind of vain attempt to put some kind of set of descriptors on something not very satisfactory. Most of us are a bit vague, to be honest – I know I am – about what the diagnostic criteria for generalised anxiety are, as opposed to agoraphobia. I really wouldn’t be able to tell you what the difference is – I’d probably fail if I had to answer that question in an exam – and I think that’s partly because we don’t really treat those patients very much. They’re kind of ‘hived off’, if you like, to the psychologists….

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