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.
About the authors
Robert Maunder, MD is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto and holds the Chair in Health and Behaviour at Sinai Health. His research focuses on how close relationships influence health, and on the compassionate support of resilience in healthcare workers. Clinically, he provides psychiatric care for people with chronic physical illnesses.
Jonathan Hunter, MD is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto and holds the Pencer Family Chair in Applied General Psychiatry at Sinai Health. His research and clinical practice focus on the psychiatric and psychotherapeutic care of cancer patients and other people with serious medical and surgical illnesses.
- Commended, Foreword INDIES 2021 honourable mention for Health
“Damaged is not for the faint of heart – many events from Isaac’s past can be hard to read. But those who persist will find much to consider.”