Sunday, December 09, 2012

Turning neuroscientists into psychosocial psychiatrists

Interesting paper on Adolf Meyer, about whom I have published, linking his psychobiological ideas with critical psychiatry (eg. see article and edited book).

Having had an elite training in Zurich, Paris, London, Edinburgh, Berlin, and Vienna, Meyer emigrated from Switzerland to USA in 1892 and his first job was at the Illinois Eastern Hospital for the Insane at Kankakee as a pathologist. Disgusted at being seen as the 'ominous crow' who was summoned when a patient's death seemed imminent, he started visiting the wards with another physician discussing possible causes, diagnoses, and treatments at the bedside in the presence of the patient and staff. He fetched patients from the ward and escorted them to the staff residence where his colleagues were occupied with leisure activities and examined them at length. He said he gained the confidence of the patients, found out points overlooked in the ward and roused the interest of the physicians.

Thereafter he threw himself into the clinical field. When he moved to the Worcester Hospital for the Insane in Massachusetts, he standardized procedures for examination, history taking, and ongoing clinical observation; encouraged discussion and collaboration among the staff regarding cases; and integrated the data collected at the bedside with those observed at autopsy. He emulated Kraepelin, whom he had spent a summer on sabbatical with in 1896, by creating a catalogue of detailed case histories, handwritten on index cards.

As the director of the Pathological Institute established by the New York State Commission in Lunacy, he spent a week at every state asylum in New York, leading case conferences, teaching clinics, and ward rounds and demonstrating satisfactory examination and history taking procedures to the staff. He then became the first psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins, gaining a reputation as the "Dean of American Psychiatry" before he retired in 1941.

Maybe modern neuroscientists can learn from Meyer's experience of changing from neuropathologist to focusing on the patient as a person. Trouble is too many are attracted to neuroscience as it avoids the need to be centred on patients.


Gordon W Stewart said...

Capable citizens being treated as mentally ill, does this concern anyone? How do mental health staff deal with citizens who are capable who refuse to agree with seeing a psychiatrist for an involuntary assessment?

Let's say the reason is that the detainee/pro-posed patient/(capable citizen being treated as mentally ill) has asked for their Rights to call a lawyer to inform that lawyer that they are being detained where and by whom, and to check the validity of their detention to ensure it's not unlawful, and maybe they want their lawyer to advise their family or friend of their detention.

Would MH staff interpret that as the detainee not understanding their illness and force them to remove their clothes before drugging them and locking them in a small square room before allowing them a call to a lawyer hours later?

Everyone should be considered capable unless proven otherwise! criminals have right to lawyer, so discrimination come to play when capable citizens are denied the same right.

Anonymous said...

" and force them to remove their clothes"

Psychiatry has its own thugs and goons called "psychiatric nurses" to rip the citizen's clothes off.

And any talk of lawyers will be blasted away with a chemical lobotomy tranquilizer injection.

I agree though Gordon W Stuart.

Though don't fall into this "capable" myth. If the targeted forced drugging victim is capable of saying the word "no", then they need to be listened to. Even nonverbal communication of not consenting such as trying to run away from their attackers should be enough to tell the human rights abusers that the person does not wish to have their brain pack raped by quacks.

But since when did a brutal, violent, arrogant, disgusting, evil, immoral, repugnant perpetrator of involuntary psychiatry ever listen to their quarry when their quarry tried to assert their will?

Involuntary psychiatry is about breaking the will, and imposing the neuron rapist's will on the person about to have their neurons split open and raped by the unbelievably violent cult members of the psychiatry religion.

Anonymous said...

Adolf Meyer:

WHO would have thought a guy named Adolf would see no moral problem earning his living locking up innocent people and running a state hospital?

I mean nobody called Adolf would ever show a disrespect for human rights and have an unsavory career choice where he chose to take away a minority group's rights in the name of "hygiene" right?

Anonymous said...

Another sinister aspect of psychiatry is that once the will of a capable citizen being treated as mentally ill is broken, he/she may even come to believe that they have illness.