What Winston Churchill thought of psychiatrists

Sir Winston Churchill is considered by many as the greatest Briton of all time.
Sir Winston Churchill. Photo: PA WireSir Winston Churchill. Photo: PA Wire
Sir Winston Churchill. Photo: PA Wire

As Prime Minister, he led Great Britain through the Second World War where his refusal to surrender to Nazi Germany inspired the country.

As the nation reflects on his courage, determination, and leadership of war-time Britain, it is also worth knowing that, in December 1942, he wrote about psychiatrists.

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An insightful and inspirational leader, he wrote: “I am sure it would be sensible to restrict as much as possible the work of these gentlemen, who are capable of doing an immense amount of harm with what may very easily degenerate into charlatanry.

“The tightest hand should be kept over them, and they should not be allowed to quarter themselves in large numbers upon the Fighting Services at the public expense. There are no doubt easily recognisable cases which may benefit from treatment of this kind, but it is wrong to disturb large numbers of healthy, normal men and women by asking the kind of odd questions in which the psychiatrists specialise. There are quite enough hangers-on and camp followers already.”

Brian Daniels

Citizens’ Commission on Human Rights (UK)