Childhood adversity that is severe enough to be harmful throughout life is one of the biggest public health issues of our time, yet health care systems struggle to even acknowledge the problem. In Damaged , Dr. Robert Maunder and Dr. Jonathan Hunter call for a radical change, arguing that the medical system needs to be not only more compassionate but more effective at recognizing that trauma impacts everybody’s health, from patient to practitioner.
Drawing on decades of experience providing psychiatric care, Maunder and Hunter offer an open and honest window into the private world of psychotherapy. At the heart of the book is the painful yet inspiring story of Maunder’s career-long work with a patient named Isaac. In unfiltered accounts of their therapy sessions, we see the many ways in which childhood trauma harms Isaac’s health for the rest of his life. We also see how deeply patients can affect the doctors who care for them, and how the caring collegiality between doctors can significantly improve the medicine they practice.
Damaged makes it clear that human relationships are at the core of medicine, and that a revolution in health care must start with the development of safe, respectful, and caring relationships between doctors and patients. It serves as a strong reminder that the way we care for those who suffer most reveals who we are as a society.