Challenging psychiatry: Michael Rutter
Michael Rutter recently won the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Lifetime Achievement Award
What made you want to practise psychiatry?
I went to medical school intending to become a general practitioner like my father and grandfather. I became interested in the brain and the mind, however, both through writings on this topic and through clinical experiences in neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry. The psychiatric elective I undertook with Professor Meyer-Gross, who was the most prestigious psychiatrist in Europe at the time, was particularly influential.
The workings of the mind are based on the functioning of the brain so it is important to have an understanding of clinical and basic neurosciences. . . It is equally important to have an adequate understanding of how environmental influences exert their effects. . . Psychiatry is first and foremost a clinical discipline and it is essential to have skills in talking to patients and their families and in observing people’s behaviour. Finally, psychiatrists need to work in multidisciplinary