Skip to content

Dr James Davies

Dr James Davies graduated from the University of Oxford in 2006 with a PhD in social and medical anthropology. He is now a Reader in social anthropology and mental health at the University of Roehampton.

James is also a psychotherapist, who started working for the NHS in 2004. He is the co-founder of the Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry (CEP), which is secretariat to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence.

James is the author of the bestselling book Cracked, which was his first book written for a wider audience. It is a critical exploration of modern-day psychiatry based on interviews with leaders of the profession.

Other than Cracked, James has published four academic books with presses such as Stanford University Press, Karnac Press, Palgrave Macmillan and Routledge. James has spoken about his research internationally, including at the universities of Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Brown, UCL, Oslo, Columbia (New York), The New School (New York), and CUNY Graduate Centre (New York).

James has also written for the media. His articles have appeared in The Times, The New Scientist, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Therapy Today, Mad in America and Salon. He has spoken on BBC Radio 4 (The Today Programme & PM), Sky News, BBC World News, BBC World Service, LBC, ITV’s This Morning , News night and various national and local radio stations. He has also extensively consulted for the BBC. ITV. and other media outlets on matters pertaining to mental health.

Books include:

Cracked: Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm Than Good
Why is psychiatry such big business? Why are so many psychiatric drugs prescribed – 47 million antidepressant prescriptions in the UK alone last year – and why, without solid scientific justification, has the number of mental disorders risen from 106 in 1952 to 374 today? [more]

The Importance of Suffering
In The Importance of Suffering: The Value and Meaning of Emotional Discontent James Davies considers emotional suffering as part and parcel of what it means to live and develop as a human being, rather than as a mental health problem requiring only psychiatric, antidepressant or cognitive treatment. This book therefore offers a new perspective on emotional discontent and discusses how we can engage with it clinically, personally and socially to uncover its productive value. [more]

Emotions in the Field
As emotion is often linked with irrationality, it’s no surprise researchers tend to under report the emotions they experience in the field. Emotions in the Field explores the idea that emotion is not antithetical to thought or reason, but is instead an untapped source of insight that can complement more traditional methods of anthropological research. [more]

The Making of Psychotherapists
Here, for the first time, is a book that submits the psychoanalytic training institute to deep anthropological scrutiny. It expertly uncovers the hidden institutional devices used to transform trainees into professionals. By attending closely to what trainees feel, do, and think as they struggle towards professional status, it exposes the often subtle but deeply penetrating effects psychoanalytic training has upon all who pass through it; effects that profoundly shape not only therapists (professionally and personally), but also the community itself. [more]

Jacqui Dillon

Dr James Davies