Sixty Second Interview - Werner Tschan

Professional sexual misconduct in institutions cover

Werner Tschan is the author of Professional Sexual Misconduct in Institutions: Causes and Consequences, Prevention and Intervention.

He is the subject of our latest 60 second interview:

Professional Sexual Misconduct in Institutions cover1. How long have you been in the business, and what is your current job title ?

I have been working in the health care sector for 35 years. After finishing Medical School I graduated as a psychiatrist in Switzerland. Later in my career I acquired a masters degree in Applied Ethics and a Certificate in the treatment of sexual offenders. My current job title is psychiatrist in private practice.

2. Did you have a mentor and, if so, who ?

I’m glad to have various close friends in the professional field with whom I have cooperated for many years. All these years my main mentor has been Gary Schoener, a psychologist working in the same area. He encourages me to stand up for my beliefs.

3. Are you by nature an optimist or a pessimist ?

I’m an optimist and I believe that the current situation can be improved. However, development never goes steadily, it goes in waves, where we will always see backlashes. The most important thing then is to never give up.

4. Which business leader to you most admire and why ?

Florence Nightingale. She wrote in her Notes on Hospitals (1863): 'first of all: cause no harm'. She was fighting against the ignorance of doctors in her time thus leading to the basis for interdisciplinary approaches in health care. She formulated one of the leading paradigms for current medicine – of course this salient principle 'do no harm' is fundamentally violated in the case of professionals’ disruptive behaviour, especially when they commit sexual crimes in their professional role.

5. What’s the biggest lesson you have learned in your career to date ?  

I compare my career with a marathon runner: you need to be disciplined, patient and persistent in achieving your goals.

6. What’s your favourite business quotation or life motto ?

My favourite quotation is from Karl Popper: ‘We are learning through our mistakes’. We need to be honest in our current statements – things may look different in the future. Nobody could have ever imagined what Jimmy Savile has done to so many victims – institutions must be considered as high risk places for sexual abuse. Vicitms are often silenced by their perpetrators – so our society must take action on their behalf.

7. What’s the best business book you’ve ever read ? 

The best book I know is from Nassim N. Taleb: The Black Swan. The author talks about the impact of the highly improbable. Do not simply trust in your experience, rather be open minded and judge new aspects carefully.

Werner Tschan, MD, runs a private practice in psychiatry in Switzerland. He serves on the Advisory Board of AdvocateWeb and gives lectures and workshops worldwide.

The book is Professional Sexual Misconduct in Institutions: Causes and Consequences, Prevention and Interventionpublished by Hogrefe (2014), ISBN 978-0-88937-444-7, 216 pp., paperback £27.90.

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