Timely endings and the ethics of 'being heard'

Pamela J. Marsh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The author reflects on her bout of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) as well as her encounters with psychiatrists/psychotherapists and other mental health professionals. She recalls first being admitted to a psychiatric ward in 1996, to be followed by many more admissions for crisis intervention, self-harm, and suicide attempts. She says the therapy she received was sometimes traumatic and exacerbated the distress of her symptoms, while also significantly delaying her recovery. She thinks that the mental health care professionals, including psychiatrists, did not seem to understand what she was telling them about her thyroid illness. Had this been diagnosed and treated properly, its impact on her life would not have been as great as it was. Finally, she stresses the importance of a holistic approach in helping patients recover, recognizing when it is time to stop therapy, and the ethics of listening and “being heard” as part of psychotherapy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford handbook of psychiatric ethics
EditorsJohn Z. Sadler, Werdie (C.W.) Van Staden, K. W. M Fulford
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)9780199663880
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameInternational perspectives in philosophy and psychiatry
PublisherOxford University Press


  • complex post-traumatic stress disorder
  • psychiatrists
  • psychotherapists
  • mental health professionals
  • thyroid illness
  • holistic approach
  • mental illness
  • ethics
  • psychotherapy
  • listening

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  • Cite this

    Marsh, P. J. (2015). Timely endings and the ethics of 'being heard'. In J. Z. Sadler, W. C. W. . Van Staden, & K. W. M. Fulford (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of psychiatric ethics (pp. 130-133). (International perspectives in philosophy and psychiatry). Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198732365.013.9