Discipline: Social Medicine
Specialisation: Psychiatric ethics, psychosocial therapy and psycho-oncology
Sidney Bloch has made his mark in psychiatric ethics, psychosocial therapy and psycho-oncology. He was the first psychiatrist to bring to international attention the misuse of psychiatry to suppress dissent in the former Soviet Union in his trail-blazing book, Russia’s Political Hospitals; it deservedly won the prestigious Guttmacher Award of the American Psychiatric Association. Through his subsequent research and leadership the practice ceased two decades later. This experience ushered in his profound commitment to psychiatric ethics, a subject which had always been ignored by his profession. Psychiatric Ethics was a landmark publication, became a standard reference and is in its 4th edition. A sister volume, An Anthology of Psychiatric Ethics, won a commendation award from the British Medical Association. He brought his expertise to the preparation of the first ever Code of Ethics of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College Psychiatrists (RANZCP) and the subsequent four editions. He has been invited to teach psychiatric ethics in many countries. He was a co-founder of courses on medical ethics in Oxford and Melbourne Universities. His innovative Ethical Practice/Empirical Practice program in the University of Melbourne has proved effective and is well regarded by the medical students.
His second contribution is in the field of the psychosocial therapy. As a Harkness Fellow at Stanford University, he trained in and conducted research on group and existential psychotherapies. On moving to Oxford, he co-founded a center for psychological treatments with clinical, teaching and research dimensions as well as a multidisciplinary association to promote the study of the psychotherapies; He established the Oxford Therapy Society which still flourishes four decades later.
Professor Bloch’s third contribution has focused on psychosocial aspects of cancer. In 1989, he created a research group to explore people’s experience of cancer and to devise corresponding psychological interventions. Several grants from the NHMRC and other funders facilitated the study of the needs and concerns of women with early stage and advanced breast cancer, families with a terminally ill parent and men with prostate cancer. Randomized control trials were carried out which demonstrated overall psycho-social benefits. Many publications have arisen from this work.
Professor Bloch has always regarded the essential role of high quality articles, chapters and books to advance scientific knowledge. He edited the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry for 13 years, the longest tenure of any editor; he increased the frequency of publication from quarterly to monthly and introduced a range of new features. He previously co-edited the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Psychiatric Bulletin, turning it into a lively journal focusing in particular on innovative clinical services. His interviews of eminent senior psychiatrists proved immensely popular.
Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne
Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist, St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne
Fellow, Medley Hall, University of Melbourne
Psychiatrist, Mental Health Tribunal, State of Victoria
Member of the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) for his significant service to medicine in the field of psychiatry, to medical education as an academic and author, and as a mentor and role model 2016
Citation, Major honor of the Royal and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists 2005
Harkness Fellow, Commonwealth Fund of New York 1973 – 1975
Alice Barber Memorial Lecture, University of Melbourne 1983
T.P. Khoo Memorial Lecture, Hong Kong Mental Health Association 1987
Beattie Smith Lecture, University of Melbourne 1996
Trevor Anderson Lecture, Melbourne 2010
Honorary Life Member, Oxford Psychotherapy Society 1988
Honorary Life Member, Australian and New Zealand
Association of Psychotherapy (Vic) 2000
Award for Medical Research, Bethlehem Griffiths Research Foundation 2004
C Merit Award, National Health Service, UK 1986
- Bloch, S. Understanding Troubled Minds: A Guide to Mental Illness and its Treatment, Melbourne University Press, 2nd ed, 2014
- Bloch, S. and Green, S. Psychiatric ethics – the last 50 years, in Psychiatry—Past, Present and Prospect, Oxford University Press, 2014
- Anna L.Collins, Anthony W. Love, Sidney Bloch, Annette F. Street, Gillian M. Duchesne, Judy Dunai and Jeremy W. Couper. Cognitive Existential Couple Therapy for newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients and their partners: a descriptive pilot study. Psycho-Oncology 2013; 22: 465-469
- Couper J, Collins A, Bloch S, Street A, Duchesne G, Jones T, Olver J, Love A. Cognitive Existential Couple Therapy for relationship function, coping, cancer distress, and mental health in men with localised prostate cancer and their partners: A randomised controlled trial. British Journal of Urology 2015; 115: 35-45
- Robertson, M; Walter, G and Bloch, S. Ethical use of the media by psychiatrists: towards an antipodean formulation of the “Goldwater Rule”. Australasian Psychiatry 2016; 24:26-9
- Bloch, S; Green, S; Janca, A; Mitchell, P; Robertson, M. Foundations of Clinical Psychiatry, Melbourne University Press, 4th edition, 2017