AT THE AGE of twenty-nine, I was in my last year as a registrar in psychiatry at the University of Padua in northern Italy. As was customary in that school at the time, I was assigned – for the first time – a newly appointed registrar, four years younger than me. My role was to guide him in his clinical and research developments. A more senior staff member was in charge of supervising both of us.
In those days, the Department of Psychiatry was deeply characterised by the psychoanalytical approach, and we were strongly encouraged to make a full immersion into the theories of Freud and his followers. However, my inclination was towards other theories. From a very young age, I’d been intrigued by the mind-body interaction, and I wanted to understand how the brain (cells, nerves and the like) could be the origin of feelings and thoughts. The possibility that negative emotions, or symptoms like depression and anxiety, may provoke alterations and diseases in the body fascinated me. I hoped that my choice of psychiatry could help clarify these issues.
Already a subscriber? Sign in here