A trip to the psychiatrist’s chair in search of happiness

A trip to the psychiatrist’s chair in search of happiness

A trip to the psychiatrist’s chair in search of happiness


In a revealing interview at the turn of the millennium, psychiatrist Dr Anthony Clare, who died last week, talked to Gyles Brandreth about what it is that makes us feel good, and bad, and detailed his seven steps towards achieving a positive state of mind

Sunday November 04 2007

I WANT to be happy. How about you? People who know me probably think I am happy, almost irritatingly so. Well, I’m not. At least, not all the time. I should be, of course. I count my blessings: I have a good job, a fair income, a perfect wife (truly), three children with whom I’m still on speaking terms (that’s the joy of money: it keeps you in touch with your offspring). I’ve got it all, and yet . . . Something’s missing, something’s wrong.

So I have been to see a psychiatrist. Indeed, I have been to see The Psychiatrist, the famous one on the radio, the one with the charming, disarming, penetrating way with him. Dr Anthony Clare is married with seven children and as delightful in person as he seems on the wireless. He is slight, twinkly, amused, amusing, attractive, wiry, beady-eyed, engaging: Gabriel Byrne meets Kermit the Frog.

He is medical director of St Patrick’s Hospital in Dublin (the country’s first mental hospital, founded by Jonathan Swift in 1745). To reach his office, I travel through a labyrinth of corridors and stairwells, past young women with eating disorders, past alcoholics and depressives, past rows of old people sitting sadly, gazing vacantly into the middle distance. By the time I arrive at the great man’s room, I am feeling suitably shamefaced.

His welcome is wonderfully warm. “And what are you after?”

“I am looking for the elixir of happiness.

To read the remainder of this happiness story – click here