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The many dangers of 'Radio Psychiatry'.

Having recently participated as a guest on a radio program about mental health issues, I read with great interest Dr. Paul J. Fink's recent column ("Radio Psychiatry," Fink! Still at Large, July 2006, p. 8).

In addition to the limitations pointed out by Dr. Fink and Dr. Joseph Deltito, there also is the danger of more serious complications. The potential for boundary, ethical, and privacy violations abound in these programs. Liability also is a serious concern.

Some of these program phone calls look unnervingly similar to initial patient evaluations. The dangers of giving advice over the phone to an established patient are many, let alone to someone we have never met.

We must also remember that the responsibility to maintain boundaries and abstain from self-gratification (e.g., notoriety at the expense of patients) resides with the professional.

Psychiatrists do have an important role in education, prevention, and wellness.

Certainly, radio programs speak to a wide audience. The problem is that when open to public questions, myriad dangers abound--and we may lose control of the message.

J. Edwin Nieves, M.D.

Hampton, Va.
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Title Annotation:LETTERS
Author:Nieves, J. Edwin
Publication:Clinical Psychiatry News
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Sep 1, 2006
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