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Ivor Browne

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Nationality  Irish
Occupation  Psychiatrist

Name  Ivor Browne
Role  Author
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Books  Ivor Browne: Music an, The Writings of Ivor Brow, The Writings of Ivor Brow, The Writings of Ivor Brow

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Ivor Browne is a retired Irish psychiatrist, author, former Chief Psychiatrist of the Eastern Health Board, and Professor emeritus of psychiatry at University College Dublin. He is known for his opposition to traditional psychiatry, and his scepticism about psychiatric drugs.


Interview with professor ivor browne on psychiatry spirituality lsd more

Early life and education

Ivor Browne was born in 1929 to a middle-class family from Sandycove, Dublin. He said that he was a dreamy, often miserable child. He attended secondary school at Blackrock College, where he discovered jazz music, and began playing the trumpet. After Blackrock College, he went to a secretarial school, and gained admission to the Royal College of Surgeons. He said that his intention was to become a jazz musician and that he only took up medicine to please his parents. During his time in the college of surgeons, he had several bouts of tuberculosis, which diverted him from being a musician.


In 1955, he became a qualified doctor. According to Browne, his professor of medicine in the Richmond Hospital told him that: "You're only fit to be an obstetrician or a psychiatrist." He had little interest in general medicine, and decided to become a psychiatrist. He started his internship in a neurosurgical unit, where he assisted a surgeon. He said of his work there:

Browne went on to work both in the UK and in the US; He was awarded a scholarship to study public and community mental health in Harvard. After returning to Ireland, he became the fifth Medical Superintendent of Grangegorman Mental Hospital (St. Brendan's) and he was made Professor of psychiatry at University College Dublin and Chief Psychiatrist of the Eastern Health Board.

Attitude to drugs

Browne experimented with LSD as a means to encourage regression experiences both in his personal life and professionally. He has campaigned against what he sees as an overuse of medications in modern psychiatry. He said:

He has used psychiatric medications with his patients, but he says that he uses a fraction of the drugs prescribed by modern psychiatrists.

Notable patients

Colm Tóibín, award-winning author and friend of Browne's late wife, June Levine, attended a group therapy session with Browne in St. Brendan's Hospital, Grangegorman. Tóibín says that: "He's just a good doctor, a kind man who would get up in the middle of the night for people. There's an aura off him which is almost holy."

Phyllis Hamilton was a patient of Dr. Browne in St. Loman's hospital. Later, she conceived two children with Fr. Michael Cleary while she was living as his housekeeper. When the story broke after Cleary's death in 1993, Dr. Browne came out in support of Phyllis Hamilton and her children after the Catholic church denied that they were Cleary's family. He was denounced by the Church for being antagonistic towards it. In 1997, Professor Browne was censured by the Irish Medical Council for publicly confirming Hamilton's story. The council accepted that he had acted in the best interests of his patient, but found that he had gone beyond what was ethically permissible. Phyllis Hamilton said that she believed that he had acted properly when disclosing information about her relationship with Michael Cleary.

Community work

Browne set up the Irish Foundation for Human Development, and started the first community association in Ireland in Ballyfermot, which worked to try to turn it into a thriving community.


Ivor Browne Wikipedia