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Psychiatry is a discipline with multiple interfaces and tensions; it is a field that has seen considerable growth in Geneva, thanks to the continuous interest of the population and the political authority with respect to mental disorders and their social repercussions.
These rich and often contradictory debates have characterized the progress of psychiatry in Geneva over the past 30 years.
The boundary between a desire to remove the stigma by moving psychiatry closer to other medical disciplines and the risk of denying the special features that are clearly components of psychological disturbance; the balance between the traditional vision of a psychiatric hospital, outside the city and community-based psychiatry concerned with marginalization and exclusion, or indeed the optimum combination of a care mission with the mission of protecting the community; these are a few examples of conceptual questions that have allowed psychiatry to mature in Geneva, the “City of Calvin”.
At this time, at the beginning of the 21st century, the Department of Psychiatry is fulfilling a triple mission.
Firstly, effectively treating diseases that have become increasingly common and polymorphous, while showing respect for the patients and their families.
For all patients, three complementary areas make it possible to adapt the care offered, based on the profile of each patient: psychiatry, which admits patients and oversees urgent care at the general hospital, while fighting against the establishment of a long-term psychological disorders; general psychiatry of the various sectors that includes a hospital component and a large semi-hospital and outpatient facility, aimed at satisfying demand for care in a community setting; and finally specialized psychiatry, covering a broad spectrum of themes organized into sectors (addiction, neuropsychiatry, prison psychiatry, mental development), but also outpatient programs for complex, treatment-resistant diseases.
Secondly, teaching students, but also residents, by making them aware of the psychological, biological and social dimensions of psychiatry.
For future psychiatrists, teaching psychotherapy is a cornerstone to constructing their identity.
Very specific care is given to this type of teaching, via theoretical and practical courses and through very in-depth practice, which is entirely supported by the institution.
And then, trying to understand the origins of mental disorders using cognitive and affective neuroscience, a true specialty at the Geneva site, but also to assess our practices through patient-oriented clinical research.