Issue 34

Interview with Dr. Ben

InterviewWhy did you enter psychiatry?

Going through medical school you get an opportunity to see a lot of different branches of medicine. I was always drawn to mental health and found it really refreshing. They treated the person as the person and not just a diagnosis or condition. For example, on surgical rounds patients weren't referred to by their names but by their conditions. Psychiatry also allows me to engage in one of my favourite pastimes, which is talking.

What's been the most challenging situation you've encountered?

That's really hard to define. Some of the more emotionally challenging have been breaking bad news to relatives – especially when young people are involved. Telling people they have terminal illnesses is also hard. Listening to people's stories can also be challenging at times.

What can be improved at Caswell Clinic?

As a practitioner, if I could change one thing it would be the balance between paperwork and the amount of time I spend with patients. The thing that drew me into psychiatry was engaging with patients and not writing lengthy letters to the Ministry of Justice. The UFG (User Friendly Group) gives patients a voice. That's something we do well.

Tell me about your best times at University.

Meeting my now wife. Other than that it was more to do with my musical experiences and socialising. I achieved a degree of success with my band in university. We toured and were interviewed by established music journals.

Describe what music means to you.

Music is an incredibly expressive art form. The one that has been a vessel for me to express myself and convey personal stuff. I find it cathartic. As well as heavy metal, I also love really beautiful music.

What's been your greatest life achievement?

A very tricky question to answer... Professionally: getting the MRC Psych and being accepted onto the professional training programme. Musically:

being able to share the stage with people I idolised when growing up. Personally: getting married.

What do you collect?

I'm an absolute hoarder of CD's. I'm a big believer in having the art as the artist intended. I now have so many CD's I need a bigger house to store them. My wife lives in hope that I'll discover digital streaming.

Can you recommend three albums everyone should listen to.

Bjork – Post: an amazing visionary with her approach to singing and music making.

Strife – In This Defiance: because I can put that on and it instantly transports me to being a teenager living my middle class rebellion. Probably some of the most energetic you'll hear.

Isis – Panopticon: just because it gave me a totally different perspective on heavy music by being intelligent and having melody without compromising how massive it needed to sound.

5 For Fun

Pulp Fiction or Seven?     Seven

Blur or Oasis?        Neither

Bears or Gorillas?       Bears

Medicine or Therapy?    Medicine

Tyson or Ali?       Ali