Down through the decades, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis have been portrayed in many Hollywood films and in television sitcoms but not with the suggestion that they are dangerous methods.
Histrionic Personality Disorder
What is often forgotten, however, is that things such as client-centered therapy, “mental hygiene,” and “self-help” were also responses to another phenomenon—the charismatic physician.
We both have the brilliant everlasting dumb luck to be fueled with oxytocin, the urge to eat and to bond. St Francis called his body “brother ass.” I call mine “brother dog.”
I just attended the 40th year reunion of my medical school class at Yale. As is common at these 5-year reunions, we compare our careers and the progress of medicine, although this time more of the focus seemed to be on our personal lives and our new Medicare cards.
Psychiatry is a wonderful specialty. We have highly effective medication and psychotherapy tools. Forty years of accumulated clinical research have given us a pretty clear idea of optimal treatment guidelines. With an accurate diagnosis and an appropriate treatment, most of our patients benefit greatly and many recover completely.
I was asked three interesting questions by a psychologist with 15 years experience evaluating sexually violent predators. She has testified often--both for the prosecution and for the defense in the hearings that determine the legitimacy of involuntary psychiatric commitment under SVP statutes.
As I came closer, I could see Mr P more clearly. He was in his own world, wearing a Walkman with earphones on. I puzzled for a brief moment over this—was this to shut out attempts to talk him down? I could also see more clearly the rivulets of blood dripping from the incisions on his wrists to the concrete ground below.
Photography has been a part of the history of psychiatry and mental illness since at least the last quarter of the nineteenth century. French clinicians Henri Dagonet and Jean-Martin Charcot were among the first to use photography in the 1870s to aid in establishing reliable diagnostic criteria for particular maladies. Charcot especially was renowned for taking photographs of patients suffering from hysteria in order to analyze their hysterical episodes, breaking down their postures and gestures into discrete stages in order to enable a more accurate diagnosis.
I don’t believe in witches or ghosts or things that go bump in the night. I’ve always thought that the Salem witch trials were a result of mass hysteria (on the part of the persecutors) rather than a phenomenon of dark forces at work. And seeing Arthur Miller’s The Crucible a few years ago, only confirmed my suspicions. So I was gratified to see Dr Quintanilla’s poster at this year’s meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. As a physician and researcher, she factually explains the fallacy of witchcraft. Looking at historical documents dating back to the 15th century, Dr Quintanilla was able to match the symptoms of people condemned as witches with associated neurological and psychiatric disorders, such as epilepsy and hysteria. [Editor’s Note: Natalie Timoshin]
Dramatology approaches human encounters, events, and scenes as dramatic enactments of characters in conflict and crisis.