TrOn – Ethics and philosophy in psychiatry

 Dr Michael Akroyd

60 minutes

November 2021

TrOn learning module


Psychiatry is more complicated than other medical specialties. We deal with conditions where aetiological factors are less well understood, where the range of symptom types is significantly wider and where contentious issues like involuntary treatment are everyday concerns. It is for these reasons and many others that psychiatry demands the very best doctors, nurses and other mental health professionals. Looking at some of the conceptual issues in psychiatry can help us to better understand why this should be the case.

The core training syllabus, and therefore the MRCPsych examination, has more of a focus on ethics and how they fit with medicine and more specifically psychiatry, than it does on philosophy per se. This module will not therefore go into great detail about complex philosophical issues, but instead will shine a light upon some of the issues central to mental health that make ethics in psychiatry more complicated (and more interesting) than more generic medical ethics.


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