Fit for the Future: Who controls your mind?

On April 2nd, 2019, a communication scientist, psychiatrist and writer discussed the world of psychiatry and the interaction between doctor and patient. This was the second Public Dialogue organised by The New Utrecht School in 2019.

arts en patient in gesprek

The Patient and the Psychiatrist

The relation between doctor and patient seems to shift. Medical professionals are becoming more aware that it is essential to listen closely to the story and experience of the patient - not just because this story contains valuable information for diagnosis and treatment, but also because it is important for the patient to share their experience and be heard. In psychiatry, where the truth is sometimes hard to find in conversations, these changes play an important role

Not being able to speak up

During the dialogue, the insights from the humanities, medicine and the arts turned out to be complementary. Myrthe van der Meer spoke and tells us in her novels about life in a psychiatric clinic. These autobiographical novels offer a new and insightful perspective into life in the psychiatric world. Both communication science and psychiatry itself call for a new direction to the relation between doctor and patient, in which the patient-experience is leading - although the healthcare professional is still in charge. Being able to care for patients who are not able to speak up is a challenge for healthcare and society in general, and the insights from the humanities and arts prove to be valuable. 


  • Prof. Jim van Os is a professor in Psychiatric Epidemiology at the University Medical Center Utrecht. Using his research into resilience during psychic ailment, he works on improving the organisation of healthcare, focussing on the cooperation with patients and other involved people. 
  • Dr Joyce Lamerichs is a language and communication scientist at the VU (Vrije Universiteit) in Amsterdam. She performs research on healthcare communication, specifically how young people communicate about their mental health. 
  • Myrthe van der Meer (pseudonym) is the author of PAAZ and UP, novels about life in a psychiatric clinic . Both books are autobiographical, based on her own experience and anthropological perspective on life in this unfamiliar world.