I’ve come to think of my patients as survivors of a disaster where they are the disaster and my colleagues and I are the first responders.
So writes leading forensic psychiatrist and psychotherapist Dr Gwen Adshead in her book, “The Devil You Know: Stories of Human Cruelty and Compassion”, a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week earlier this year. Written with author Eileen Horne, it brings us the anonymised case histories of eleven violent offenders encountered during her more than thirty-year career working in the NHS, including at Broadmoor Hospital in Berkshire.
Her powerful central message at a time of increasing polarisation, overcrowded prisons and of cuts to mental health care is that we and the men and women she has worked with are more alike than we are different, and thus we must respond with compassion over condemnation, and empathy over fear.
We are delighted to welcome Dr Adshead to Stroud Book Festival, to give us first-hand insights into her remarkable work.
Chaired by Sarah Dunant
Venue: Lansdown Hall