The Tightrope Walker - A conversation with Dr. Vivian Rakoff

Oct 26, 2020

Dr. Vivian Rakoff, former Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, passed away on October 1, 2020, at the age of 92. A renown educator and researcher, Dr. Rakoff made many ground-breaking contributions to the field of psychiatry and the mental health of Canadians.

In June 2006, Dr. Pier Bryden and Dr. David Goldbloom interviewed Dr. Rakoff for a planned book about the perspectives of psychiatrists and the intersection between their personal and professional lives. Although their resulting book, “How Can I Help? A Week in My Life as a Psychiatrist”, ultimately took a different form, their journey began with an enriching encounter with Vivian at a time when he was past the peak of his career but still a dazzling, eloquent speaker whose reflections exuded personal warmth and boundless intellectual curiosity.

In the course of their conversation, Dr. Rakoff discussed everything from his decision to pursue medicine, the division between psychotherpy and psychopharmocology, and the promising future of psychiatrry.

In light of his passing, Dr. Bryden and Dr. Goldbloom have shared the results of this interview for the first time. You can now read the full conversation with Dr. Rakoff.

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