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POWELL TIA MD
Journal of Psychiatric Practice®: July 1998
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The author discusses the controversial question of what, if anything, the psychiatrist can or should make public concerning the treatment records of well-known literary and artistic figures. She reviews the traditional standards concerning psychiatric confidentiality and considers how they may be affected by changing standards in public discourse. The appropriateness of the types of revelations that have been made in a number of recent autobiographies and biographies is discussed. The author then reviews the role of mental illness and treatment for those illnesses in the lives of a number of important 20th century poets and other writers. The article concludes with a proposal for how psychiatrists and other mental health professionals might resolve such difficult decisions concerning the confidentiality of well-known literary and artistic figures.

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