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Iatrogenic psychological harm
  1. Corinne Rees
  1. Correspondence to Corinne Rees, North Bristol NHS Trust, Community Child Health Partnership, Westgate House, Southmead Hospital, Southmead Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol BS10 5NB, UK; drcarees{at}


While prevention of iatrogenic harm is a sufficient priority to determine service structures and practice, the concept of harm is largely restricted to the physical. Psychological harm has received scant attention despite its importance, particularly for children and adolescents. A professional climate increasingly reliant on measurement and evidence and coloured by fear of litigation contributes to perpetuating the anomaly. The aim of this paper is to consider how and why iatrogenic psychological harm may happen, why i-dt matters, how it may be manifest and how it may be prevented. Prevention of psychological harm should be as great a priority as that of physical harm.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.