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PsychEd: educational psychiatry podcast

Nov 1, 2023

Welcome to PsychEd, the psychiatry podcast for medical learners, by medical learners. This episode covers the field of critical psychiatry with Dr. Elia Abi-Jaoude and Lucy Costa. Dr. Abi-Jaoude is a staff psychiatrist at The Hospital for Sick Children and Assistant Professor and Clinician Investigator in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Canada. Lucy Costa is Deputy Executive Director of the Empowerment Council, a voice for clients of mental health and addiction services primarily at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.


While this topic could be very philosophical and expansive, we are going to focus our discussion by considering the practical implications of this field on psychiatric practice. What do you need to know about critical psychiatry as a trainee, and how might it impact your clinical practice?


The learning objectives for this episode are as follows:

By the end of this episode, the listener will be able to…

  1. Define the term critical psychiatry and describe how the field has evolved over time

  2. Review core principles of critical psychiatry and apply them to a clinical situation

  3. Understand the potential benefits and harms of critical psychiatry and where the field is headed


Guests: Dr. Eila Abi-Jaoude and Lucy Costa


Hosts: Dr. Gaurav Sharma (PGY5), Dr. Nikhita Singhal (PGY5), Dr. Monisha Basu (PGY2), and Saja Jaberi (IMG)


Audio editing by: Gaurav Sharma


Show notes by: Gaurav Sharma and Nikhita Singhal


Conflicts of interest: Neither of our guests nor hosts have declared any conflicts of interest related to this topic.

Interview content:

  • Introduction - 00:13

  • Learning objectives - 02:35

  • Defining critical psychiatry - 03:33

  • How our experts got involved in critical psychiatry and incorporate it into their work - 04:50

  • What are some of the questions critical psychiatry tries to answer? - 15:07

  • Why care about critical psychiatry and “holding truths lightly”? - 23:55

  • Principles of critical psychiatry - 24:55

  • Applying critical psychiatry principles to a case - 32:40

  • Potential benefits and harms of a critical psychiatry approach - 41:49

  • Future directions for critical psychiatry - 58:29

  • Review of learning objectives and summary - 1:01:30

  • End credits - 1:03:17





  • Barkil-Oteo A. Collaborative care for depression in primary care: how psychiatry could "troubleshoot" current treatments and practices. Yale J Biol Med. 2013 Jun 13;86(2):139-46.

  • Craddock N, Mynors-Wallis L. Psychiatric diagnosis: impersonal, imperfect and important. The British Journal of Psychiatry. 2014;204(2):93-95. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.113.133090

  • Kirsch I. The emperor's new drugs: medication and placebo in the treatment of depression. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2014;225:291-303. doi:10.1007/978-3-662-44519-8_16

  • Middleton H, Moncrieff J. Critical psychiatry: a brief overview. BJPsych Advances. 2019;25(1):47-54. doi:10.1192/bja.2018.38

  • O'Donoghue T, Crossley J. A critical narrative analysis of psychiatrists' engagement with psychosis as a contentious area. Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2020 Nov;66(7):724-730. doi: 10.1177/0020764020934516

  • Samara MT, Dold M, Gianatsi M, et al. Efficacy, Acceptability, and Tolerability of Antipsychotics in Treatment-Resistant Schizophrenia: A Network Meta-analysis. JAMA Psychiatry. 2016;73(3):199–210. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2955


Important figures in the history of anti-psychiatry and critical psychiatry (discussion edited from episode for length):


  • R. D. Laing (UK)

  • Thomas Szasz (USA)

  • Michel Foucault (France)


Critical Psychiatrists:

  • Joanna Moncrieff (UK)

  • Suman Fernando (UK)

  • Sami Tamini (UK)

  • Pat Bracken (UK)

  • Derek Summerfield (UK)

  • Sandra Steinguard (USA)

  • Critical Psychiatry Network  (International Email List)


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