Literature & Psychiatry

CHAIR: Ahmad Mohit Address: Gandhi Avenue, 15th Street, No. 16, Tehran 15178/94511, Iran
Phone: 9821 88778687
CO-CHAIR: Sergio J. Villaseñor-Bayardo
Address: University of Guadalajara, Herrera y Cairo 611, Co. Centro Guadalajara,
Jalisco 44100 Mexico

Phone: -
Fax: -

SECRETARY: Ekaterina Sukhanova Address: City University of New York, 205 E 42nd St., Room 940, New York, NY 10075,
United States of America    
Phone: 1 646 664 8054
Fax: 1 646 664 2957


>> Please click here to see the Section Members list


The WPA Section of Literature and Psychiatry has been formally approved at the Cairo World Congress in 2005. This recently formed Section is meant to build on the long-standing tradition of fruitful discourse between medicine and literature. When Jean Delay, the first president of WPA, was elected to the French Academy, one of the symbols he chose for his sword was a double-sided Janus, " since one part of our activity is turned towards science and the other towards letters." It is in this spirit of forging links between the disciplines and promoting a holistic approach towards mental health that the Section sets out to undertake its work.

Among the medical specialties, psychiatry is peculiarly culture bound. Therefore, it may benefit from the study of works of literature in their relevant functions: as a source of information on occurrences, as a reflection of the dominant social and philosophical values and as a major cultural force contributing to the perception of mental health and illness.

The broad goals that the Section has identified for its future work are thus:

  • Publication of the literary works by both patients and psychiatrists and other mental health professionals.
  • Promoting research in concerned areas and working with the academic community for creating recommended bibliographies, curriculum development etc.
  • Advancing and promoting the understanding between psychiatrists and other mental health professionals belonging to different cultures, through facilitating the exchange of their literary works and views; in order to advance the cause of Mental Health for Peace.
  • Advocacy and attracting participation and support from patient groups, psychiatrists, other mental health professionals, artists, NGOs and private sector.
  • Active participation in congresses, alone and in collaboration with other interested sections.

At the WPA International Congress in Istanbul this past July, the Section has held its first symposium under the title "Literature, a Mirror of the World," which included the following presentations: Prof. A. Mohit, "Literature and Psychiatry: A New Section of WPA"; Prof. S. Villaseñor-Bayardo "Death and Exile in the Work of the Mexican Poet Rufo"; Prof. Y. Thoret, "Shakespeare's Play Pericles, Prince of Tyr: an Odyssey in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea"; and Dr. E. Sukhanova "Individual, Society, Text: a Three-Way Dialogue." The next symposium is planned for the WPA International Congress in Melbourne in 2007.

If you wish to join us or would like to know more about our work, we will be happy to hear from you. Please write to Dr. Ekaterina Sukhanova at We are looking forward to welcoming new colleagues from around the world.

Articles from "L'Evolution Psychiatrique"




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