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Being patient with difficult patients

Doctors are people, too. Sometimes it’s hard to maintain a professional calm amid patients’ demands and strange behaviour. This can cause its own, personal, side effects. What’s the cure?

The writer, a senior consultant psychiatrist, says doctors can be bad at communicating with patients. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
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"I did not like those patients. They made me angry, and I found myself irritated to experience them as they seemed so distant from myself and from all that is human. This is an astonishing intolerance which brands me a poor psychiatrist."

Those exasperated words were written by no less than the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, on his psychotic patients in a letter to a fellow psychiatrist in 1928.

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