Moonstruck: An Exploration of Love & Madness

  • Jo McFarlane
Keywords: mental health, love, psychiatric context


In mythology, the moon relates not just to madness, but to love. And that’s very convenient from my perspective, because I strongly believe that a deficit of love is what causes so-called madness, and the cure for which, therefore, is also love.

So that’s what this article is all about: love. Not romantic love, as is normally associated with the moon, but taking it right back to our most formative experience of love or loveless-ness – from our parents – from which of course all later love derives. And to make it relevant to psychiatry and medicine per se, I’m going to show how the care and treatment of doctors towards their patients may be perceived as a form of love – making up to a greater or lesser extent for that which was lacking in our childhood – and how we, as patients, in turn, project the love we need onto our doctors. I don’t think I’m alone in doing this. In fact, it’s so common it’s even got a name: transference, and there are whole theories around it. But in lay circles it’s not something we talk about openly or even acknowledge to ourselves much of the time because it makes us feel so vulnerable, arising as it does out of our most primitive need for attachment and belonging from day one of our existence.

How to Cite
McFarlane, J. (2020) “Moonstruck: An Exploration of Love & Madness”, Concept, 11(1), pp. 1-13. Available at: (Accessed: 2July2022).