I graduated as a medical doctor in Argentina. My formal psychiatric training was at the University of Buenos Aires, Cornell and Northwestern Universities in the USA. The American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry certified me as a specialist in psychiatry.
I have been a faculty member at Northwestern University, department of Psychiatry, Chicago, Illinois, since 1965. My services to the University have been graciously recognized by the University Board of Trustees. I was an Attending practitioner at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, department of Psychiatry for 30 years. I was in solo private practice of psychiatry for 40 years.
I have never treated anyone against his/her will, let alone initiate or pursue any civil commitment procedures. When people ask me how I can treat mentally ill patients if am so critical about the mental illness concept, I tell them I do not treat mental illnesses but I treat people who come to me with complaints often attributed to “mental illnesses”. Persons who request and contract with me for my psychiatric service, are, by sociopolitical convention, “mentally well” persons.
The bulk of the time I spend with patients is pointing at their tendency to try to convince me they are mentally ill, at least partially. In more conventional terms, my service consists in pointing at “defenses”, or in popular terminology, “cop outs”. Many consulters, particularly the public aid recipients, quickly fire me and go to a psychiatrist who “believes in mental illness.”