The blog reviewed here is the ‘Psychiatry Fun Blog‘ by an anonymous psychiatry resident on the West Coast of the USA. I checked out the blog after receiving an e-mail from the author.
Appearance and Design
The blog uses the google blogging platform with a white background throughout. There are several articles per page featuring black font with blue hypertext links. Posts are dated with comments enabled and category tags. The colourful title pane features some artistically rendered emoticons and sets the tone for the blog which is slightly tongue-in-cheek in parts while retaining sensitivity where appropriate.
This is a very young blog which begins in March 2010. The author is quite provocative and identifies important themes and then takes a deliberately polarised stance to foster debate. He does this through commentary on other articles and chooses articles which are rich sources for debate. In an article on the suggested DSM-V criteria for Schizoaffective Disorder, he comments experientially on some of the practical aspects of diagnosis. Essentially I would argue that polarisation can often lead to inaccuracy but at the same time can facilitate debate and narrative. In the comments sections on the blog, commentators sometimes use pejorative terms or some rather blunt language but the dialogue in blogs can often change rapidly during the initial formative period as a stable audience is established. There is an interesting premise in this blog. How can psychiatry be fun? After all, the psychiatrist must deal with some very serious and distressing problems. This is why this blog has an interesting journey ahead. Obviously these very serious problems are just that – very serious. But psychiatrists are human beings and this is essential given the importance of the therapeutic alliance which as with any relationship is the most human of activities. Thus there should be a forum in which the participants are able to develop their skills in psychiatry, to learn about their subject while also recognising their human reality. This learning – in the theoretical arena and away from the clinical setting – can be playful which is what this blog sets out to be.
Other bloggers such as the Neurocritic often integrate song clips into their articles to both illustrate issues under discussion and to provide some entertainment at the same time. This is just one approach. While superficially this area might seem trivial I would argue that there is more to it than this. If learning about psychiatry can be made fun then maybe this will help with learning and also will help to sustain a pattern of lifelong learning. This is speculation but too me seems intuitively obvious. If the learning always takes place in a serious context then it seems likely that the act of learning would be compartmentalised and classical conditioning principles might then apply. However such an approach is not possible without the development of an appropriate infrastructure, a culture, a language that facilitates this particular approach to learning and perhaps that is where this blog and others like it will play an emerging role.
This is a young blog with a nice design layout and some provocative articles on current topics with the author giving some straight-talking views. The premise of the blog is an important one and I will follow this with interest.
You can find an index of the site here. The page contains links to all of the articles in the blog in chronological order.
You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link
You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast).
You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link
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The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.