Horrors of Psychiatric Care in the 21st Century

Our Vets - Our Heroes

The Fear, Desperation

I also know of the hard decisions that have to be made; the estrangement of family and friends, the absolute exhaustion; desperation, sometimes hopelessness and helplessness.

As well as the often physical toll the stress has on a caretaker's body and health.

In the end, I know of the beauty, love and absolute joy of having had the journey with my son. Seeing him smile, laugh and being able to enjoy life ever so often. The beauty of him. The man he became because of his journey.

Selecting a Psychiatrist

Therefore, when we seek the services of a social worker(MSW), psychologist, or psychiatrist there is little on which we can safely base our decision in selecting one. Some argue that a psychiatrist is the best option in that they do have a medical degree so have an education based on hard science.

My experience differs. We found many psychiatrists with personal problems so severe that their judgment was flawed. Often, they imposed their problems, fears and anxieties onto us making diagnosis and the basis for medication based on this imposition.

Looking Outside Myself

Horrors of Psychiatric Care in the 21st Century

Our Odyssey of 40 Years

In telling our story, my son, Doug, and I; it must be stated that this is a personal experience with conclusions and suppositions drawn by me from experiences of 40 years. As well as from my observation, research and studies, personal stories of other antidotes, books, and current events. These are solely my opinions based on our experience.

It is my belief that one lives with a certain desperation when a member of one's family has psychological or neurological disease/and or impairments. An overwhelming sense of aloneness and loneliness as well as helplessness.

Certainly the daily stress lends to this state of mind. Therefore, in our desperation, we become very vulnerable to people who claim that they can help; or are recommended by family physicians, friends, community outsources, etc. The hope that, indeed, there is a solution pushes us to seek out this help. How easy it is to become victimized or harmed in this area of "medical, " or "psychiatric" care.

Those who would prey upon us know this. In the 1800s, 1900s, and before, these folk would have a traveling Medicine Show and often be referred to as "Snake Medicine." Because they moved from town to town, should they be "discovered" to be selling vinegar as a Potent to cure arthritis and run out of town. No problem. They simply moved to another town where, as yet, they were unknown. News traveled slow then.

We are no different today. Our "hope" and desperation make us reach out to any number of cure promises. We want to fix the problem and help our loved one. Their suffering is oft times painful to observe. Often, we have little, if any, knowledge in the area of the malady afflicting our family member. We may not even have a diagnoses. How can we, then, make decisions or judge the effectiveness of the provider. The patient and/or caretaker are left blind, groping into a labyrinth of people, practices, methods, medications and ideas, who claim to know what the affliction is and know the cure or treatment.

This is not to say that all people practicing in this field are inept and incompetent nor are they all with deceit and malice. Indeed some truly believe that they do have the answer. Some do have knowledge. Some do have answers. Some are very good in their field.

The problem, as I see it, is finding them. Having a criteria on which to select the right one for your situation.

Psychiatry is not an exact science. There are, as yet, no physical or chemical tests that can be done to explain the symptoms. No MRI, X ray or CAT Scan, as yet can definitely identify the source of the malady. Not like in neurology where certain diseases can be diagnosed definitively.

Therefore, when we seek the services of a social worker(MSW), psychologist, or psychiatrist there is little on which we can safely base our decision in selecting one. Some argue that a psychiatrist is the best option in that they do have a medical degree so have an education based on hard science.

My experience differs. We found many psychiatrists with personal problems so severe that their judgment was flawed. Often, they imposed their problems, fears and anxieties onto us making diagnosis and the basis for medication based on this imposition.

What, then is one to do? How can one find the right practitioner?

We found no easy or right answer. What we did find was that Doug needed an advocate with him for the first few sessions. This gave us two sets of eyes and ears to observe and hear the practitioner. Some refused to have an advocate with the patient even with his permission. We learned to run fast with these.

We learned to ask questions about their background. What types of problems did they most treat? What methods did the prefer to utilize? How did they approach prescription medication decisions? Where did they intern? What brought them into this field?

After nearly 20 years of seeking the right provider for Doug, by luck, we found our team. We had just moved into the state and city and began our search. The psychiatrist specialized in medication management as well as schizophrenia. While Doug wasn't schizophrenic, the psychiatrist was affiliated with the teaching university in the State and had 25 years experience in treating a number of illnesses. He knew immediately one medication that Doug needed. He prescribed Depakote for his seizures and explosive temper tantrums.

It took nearly two years but finally, Doug was able to smile and he no longer had the explosive temper tantrums. In concert, he put him on an anti depressant to help with his panic, anxiety and depression.

Doug and Nick worked together for over 6 years, until my son's death. (A genetic sudden heart attack, not related to his illness.) Nick tried some meds that were not successful for Doug and more than once were devastating and harmful to him. One was Ambien, a sleeping aid. Doug's reaction was that of a severe alcohol overdose. He found himself wandering in his parking lot and had no idea how he got there or how long he'd been wandering. Another time he was arrested for public disorder for the same thing.

Clonipin! On one suicide lock down they gave him this drug which is to help sedate or calm one. For Doug it was devastating. Doug became so intoxicated that he insisted he be released immediately. They did. I received a telephone call with Doug telling me to come get him; he had already walked ten miles and was now 8 miles from home. He had no recall of leaving or how he got where he was. When I picked him up he was so intoxicated that he could barely walk or stand. I was livid. How could they release him when he was like that.

After several hours, I finally got him back to the hospital. Nick was going to refuse readmission since Doug had left! After much negotiation, he finally relented and readmitted Doug.

We had rough spots and frustrations over the 6 years. In the end, Doug and Nick had become friends. Nick laughed one day telling Doug that he certainly enjoyed him and found him to be so likable and knowledgeable. Compared to their first year or so when Doug was belligerent, angry, cursed Nick and often stormed out of his office.

Most importantly, he introduced Doug to a psychologist. David and Doug worked together for over 5 years. Doug so respected and admired David that he viewed him as a friend. Not only did David get him into a Life Skills program for two years, he coached Doug, encouraged him and seemed to genuinely like him. He was available to Doug. That was unusual by itself. He took Doug's calls or returned them. He cared and Doug knew that.

David knew what he was doing and was competent, capable and successful with Doug's treatment.

Unfortunately, finding him was pure luck and by accident.

Danger at every turn.

The Beginning of Our Journey

My son, Doug, was born15 August 1958 and died 14 July 2006. Unbeknown to us, he carried the sudden heart attack gene that also took his paternal great aunt, uncle and grandfather at early ages. He would have been 47 the following month.

I held him in my arms, my beautiful son, and gazed into his beautiful, alive and curious face when he was born -- and held him in my arms and gazed onto his peaceful face when he died. The happiest day of my life and the saddest.

During his nearly 47 years, he suffered incredible injustice, misunderstanding, inhumane treatment, disgrace, and sorrow. He suffered terrible indignities, was jailed for several days numerous times; beaten and neglected by those who should have helped him.

As his mother, I too suffered along with him as did his brother. Every step of his path. In addition, His brother and I suffered tremendous financial hardship, stress and sadness.

Doug's life began joyfully. He was adorable, likable, sweet, curious and intelligent. He progressed as any normal baby meeting all of his milestones at a normal if not earlier rate than other children of his age.

Even after, at 4 months of age, developing a temperature of 106 plus degrees, being rushed to the hospital to be packed in ice to bring his temperature down. Which did return to a more normal level after 9 hours. He was diagnosed with Roseolla, a normal early childhood disease they told us; he continued developing on schedule.

All continued well and normal in Doug's development until he was 3 years old. Whether the following event was connected to his vaccinations, I can't prove and will never know.

But, I awoke one evening hearing a strange sound coming from his room which was next to my room. When I went in, I discovered Doug stiff, blue and shaking violently.

Having no emergency service in 1962, I woke my husband, grabbed Doug and a blanket and ran to the car. When we arrived at the hospital, perhaps 10 or 15 minutes later, I handed Doug to the nurse, Doug was so blue.

His pediatric physician was called in. As my husband and I waited in the waiting room the physician came out three times or more shaking his head. It wasn't good. They were still trying to resuscitate Doug.

Finally, he came out to tell us that Doug was breathing. He didn't know for sure what had caused his convulsion/seizure nor did he know if Doug had suffered brain damage from the period of time his brain had not received oxygen. He said that we would have to wait and see until he grew up.

By age 4, Doug was doing well, he socialized with other children well, and was meeting the right milestones for a 4 year old. But, according to my family, he was out of control. I didn't discipline him properly and needed to take a belt to him when he didn't mind. A spoiled brat, according to them. Bad parenting.

I knew that he was more active, seemingly, than other children He never stopped moving. He ran. But, I couldn't see anything out of the ordinary in him.

Doug began kindergarten and by the 3rd month his teacher called me in to ask me to remove him for a year. She felt that he was too immature and disruptive. When I refused, she had him tested, without my permission or knowledge, to determine his IQ thinking that he was underdeveloped and slow.

The test came back that Doug had an IQ over 150. Now she was thrilled. She had a little genius in her class and was willing and even excited to work with him.

I was put into contact with the head of the University of Oregon department of Special Education and met with Dr. Love to discuss what this meant. I only remember his parting words to me: "... by the time you have raised Doug, you will have prayed to God that you had a mentally retarded child rather than a genius."

School for Doug was okay until his third grade. He arithmetic, mathematics were problematic for him and his teacher embarrassed him in front of his classmates.

Teacher, parent meetings became the norm. By his sixth grade his teacher and principal felt that it was imperative for Doug to stay back one year. The educational system and methodology of the time was pure torture for Doug.

The first time I contacted a psychiatrist, Doug was 10 years old. I was exhausted. Doug was constantly creating chaos. He had explosive temper tantrums similar to a two year old temper tantrum. Quite different from a ten year old who is much larger in stature and strength. He didn't listen. I simply didn't know what to do, where to turn.

Dr. Holland, on my first visit told me that he didn't treat the child, rather worked with the parent to resolve issues. So began a year of weekly visits and recitals of the events of Doug and how I handled them. In essence he coached me, gave me alternatives to handling situations, and support that I very much needed.

But to this day, I wonder what would have happened had he met Doug. Could he have helped? It is clear to me now that Doug exhibited some very distinct symptoms of Autism that may have been diagnosed as ADD at one point; however, in the 1960s ADD wasn't known. Doug was simply a child of his time, born too soon for proper diagnosis and born too late to not be noticed for his behavior.

So, typical of the time, the parent was being judged for the child's behavior.

I began reading everything I could find on Behavior Modification. B.F. Skinner; Jung, and found a wee little book called "Between Parent & Child" by Haim G. Ginott. (1) This became my Bible in setting respectful boundaries and in behavior modification for Doug and I.

Learning through Haim Ginott's teachings, I learned to set boundaries with and for Doug. We began when he was 10 years old and it became our way of life. Compassionate boundary setting instilled in Doug a semblance of respect and self control as well as awareness of his actions. It became so much apart of him that for the remainder of his life, he often sent himself into time out to regain his sense of peace over his panic and gave him the quiet that he so needed.

Looking back and knowing what we now know about Autism, there is no doubt in my mind that Doug would have been diagnosed with high functioning autism of some degree, if not Asperger's Syndrome. His behavior, which I won't go into here, fit perfectly. When he was in his late thirties, he was diagnosed as having "an autistic thought process."

Had he been diagnosed as a child, would his life have been more pleasant, easier? I think so. For one, he would have been taught life skills, socialization, and other skills to carry him through his teen and early adult years. As it was, all we had was me and Haim Ginott. A whole lot of trial and error as we went along our journey and new behaviors and issues arose.

My father evidently noticed that Doug did not look people in the eye. Doug once told me that his grandfather impressed on him the importance of a man looking another man in the eye. For this reason Doug forced himself to make eye contact with other people.

A maternal cousin's son was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in 2001; a paternal cousin's grandson was diagnosed in 1999. Both families continue to stress and battle over many of the same issues that did Doug and I within the psychiatric community. It appears that not much has changed since the 1960s.

Doug and I Learning How to Handle Situations

Our journey over the years was no walk in the park for either of us. At age ten, I still had no real inclination that Doug had issues that caused difficult behavior. I'm not proud of some of the results.

One day, he had been "at" me to get him something or let him do something.

When Doug got something into his head he was like a pit bull with the thought. Tenacious and relentless. Never stopping. Pushing, pushing, pushing. He had no sense of timing. Couldn't read the mood of another person. So often, his relentlessness became very annoying and often resulted in arguments, or, if it was his brother, or another child, a pushing match until a fight erupted.

On this day, after hours of telling him no, I was busy in the kitchen with something and he came at me again. His tone of voice, his demanding demeanor, his insolence finally got me. Before I realized what I had done, I spun around and slapped him in his face, hitting his nose.

I had never ever hit my sons. i didn't believe in corporal punishment as did my parents generation, so this was so out of character to me that I was shocked.

To make matters worse, Doug's nose was very dry from allergies and the pollen in the area in which we lived. His nose bled easily and often.

He stood there for a minute holding his cupped hand up to his bleeding nose, then began to breathe heavily through his nose so that the blood was spurting out everywhere, down his chin, shirt and into his hand. Lots of blood. He then turned around, ran out the front door to the very busy street that we lived on, shouting: " Look what my mother just did to me!"

I was so ashamed. I knew that there was no way I could ever take back that slap. It never happened again and some how Doug and I got through it.

When he was 13 years old, unfortunately, we had another incidence. After that we never had any more.

Doug was out of control and his behavior was escalating into a panic state. I instructed him to go to his room until he calmed down. He stomped up the stairs. Not quite halfway up the stairs, he stopped, turned, looked down at me and said: "No!"

I began to climb the stairs to enforce that he go to his room. Just as I reached one stair rung below the one he was on, he looked me into the eye and in a flash I knew what he was thinking. He realized that he was as tall as me and could therefore physically equal or over power me.

He crossed his arms defensively and stated that he wasn't going to his room. Than he added, "make me." reached out and lightly shoved me on the shoulder, enough so that I rocked back a little.

The minute he touched me in that manner, I flipped him down the stairs. I looked down and saw Doug at the bottom of the stairs beginning to sit up looking stunned. Thank God he wasn't hurt.

He picked himself up and went up to his room where he stayed until he was better in control of his emotions. That was the only time in his life that he ever touched me in that manner.

I write this, because I know the pressures and I know how easy it is to loose it when in this kind of situation. I also know that with a lot of work you can prevent things from getting to this stage. Thank goodness these lessons came early for us as they prepared us for the things to come and prevented either of us from getting hurt. We developed a "walk away" boundary which neither of us would question if the other needed to walk away for time out and calming. This kept things from accelerating to out of control.

I also know of the hard decisions that have to be made; the estrangement of family and friends, the absolute exhaustion; desperation, sometimes hopelessness and helplessness.

As well as the often physical toll the stress has on a caretaker's body and health.

In the end, I know of the beauty, love and absolute joy of having had the journey with my son. Seeing him smile, laugh and being able to enjoy life ever so often. The beauty of him. The man he became because of his journey.

I was his interpreter, among other things, twenty four hours per day, seven days per week. This began to be our routine by the time he attained the age of 19. When I wasn’t with him, he would telephone and tell me of an event or something someone said to him and asked how he might think about it. Interpret it. He was aware that he sometimes misunderstood an action or the meaning of something some one said to him. We became an incredible team. I performed this small help for over 35 years. Now that is trust!!

The Utter Isolation

Has it not struck any one else odd, that trained professionals in the mental health field are either not called or if called do not respond in instances where a psychiatric patient is in trouble and in need of medical assistans? Rather the police department is called upon to handle it?

Does it not seem odd that the psychiatric physician or physician who prescribed the medication is not held accountable either to respond to the emergency when it occurs? Nor, held accountable for prescribing the medication in the first place? Why is this?

Every mental health practitioner that we saw, diagnosed something different for Doug; from ADD, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, Depression and finally borderline personality disorder.

All tried various drugs and medications, some of which slammed his head onto his shoulder so fast and tight that he couldn’t move. Others that made him totally crazy without rationalization and some made him psychotic and other side affects.

None of the practitioners took responsibility for what they prescribed or for the after math. They refused help or assistance of any kind during the problem, leaving me to handle it; even psychotic episodes that some of the drugs induced.

My belief is this, based on 30 years of experience: The psychiatric profession and community are still very young. There are no set standards. Medicine, illnesses, practices, treatment or methodology.

This means, than, that one must be diligent in managing care and active in diagnosis and treatment. This is not in the least comforting. It is a lot of work. Especially having an educated awareness of side affects of medication and treatment.

Guessing is the best that can be done. It is not yet a science. At best a “soft” science. Guessing the diagnosis as it is presented and according to the knowledge of the practitioner which can vary wildly. Treatment and medication also are subject to the practitioner's experience and education, and personal beliefs and feelings.

Stay with your heart’s urging as a parent. Don’t allow yourself to be bullied or talked into something until you fully understand it and the consequences to your child. One simply can not be passive. It is too dangerous.

The Hardest Journey - Psychiatric Community

I cannot tell you how many in the psychiatric profession insulted me, scared me or simply made me angry. Doug's journey took us from Oregon, California, Florida, Georgia, Washington State and back to Oregon. So demographically speaking we found many similarities.

One, after a suicide attempt one weekend, called on Monday to ask where we were, we had an appointment with him. He was angry.

I had called in desperation, choosing his name out of the yellow pages, in the midst of a suicide intent by Doug. He told me that he couldn't see us then but would see us two days later on Monday!!!

Two days! I thought. If he is going to kill himself it is going to be now. I need help now. This was our first experience with serious suicide thoughts and attempts. Doug was holding a 12 gage shotgun to his throat, his finger on the trigger. A n hour earlier he had pulled the trigger. Later he said just as he pulled the trigger he moved the barrel so that it wouldn't hit him as he was having second thoughts.

This didn't phase the psychiatrist on the other end of the telephone line. He calmly made me an appointment for Monday afternoon.

Doug's brother flew in from San Diego within a couple hours to help. We decided together to take him to a clinic for evaluation and potential lock down, right then, that night, Friday. The only other alternative that we had was to call the police and have him put in jail for his protection. Something, unfortunately, I had to utilize many times in later years.

When the psychiatrist telephoned on Monday to ask why we hadn't kept our appointment, I told him that I’d taken Doug to a suicide clinic over the weekend; he ended his to me call with: “Well, with a mother like you no wonder he wants to commit suicide.”

Out of the blue. Never having met or had any contact with this man with the exception of the one phone call.

That was tremendously helpful to the situation. Needless to say, we didn't choose him for Doug's psychiatrist.

Nurses and aids who made things worse in suicide lock down were also abundant.

Doug felt safe in releasing his fear and anxiousness with me, which sometimes manifested itself in a full blown panic attack with yelling, swearing and temper tantrums. On our journey of 25 years, by now, Doug and I had formed ground rules, understanding and methods that worked. Never once, in his entire life did he threaten me, hit me or anything of the sort. We had long ago established if his behavior had escalated into a state in which I felt he wasn't himself and didn't know what he was doing, I removed myself. Left until the following morning when his panic had subsided. I did this to ensure that he never hit me accidentally or hurt me. He understood this, and on occasion would ask me or tell me to leave. He wasn't certain he could control the anger and panic inside him. I left. This, however, was rare.

I prayed the entire time that he would be alive and not hurt when I returned. He always was Okay.

One visit, Doug wasn't certain that he wanted to be locked down. He was afraid. It was the first time he had been in lockdown. As his fear increased, his panic increased. He began swearing and talking to me in his panic. The nurse at the desk attempted to intercede. I tried to motion for her not to. She continued. Doug's panic increased the more controlling she became. Finally, She spun on him and spit out that he would not treat his mother in this manner. I had to then calm her and Doug down. Tell her, that I was perfectly capable of taking care of myself.

I do understand to some degree. Doug looked like a football player. He was muscular with a big neck, chest and arms. I'm sure he looked quite intimidating and to witness him swearing and foul language with his yelling and angry voice, she had not way of knowing that this was the symptoms of his illness and the reason he didn't want to live.

Doug refused to stay then. He came home and together we spent the entire evening and next day talking him through his desire to leave his earthly body.

Every mental health practitioner that we saw, diagnosed something different for Doug; from ADD, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, Depression and finally borderline personality disorder.

All tried various drugs and medications, some of which slammed his head onto his shoulder so fast and tight that he couldn’t move. Others that made him totally crazy without rationalization and some made him psychotic and other side affects.

None of the practitioners took responsibility for what they prescribed or for the after math. They refused help or assistance of any kind during the problem, leaving me to handle it; even psychotic episodes that some of the drugs induced.

My belief is this, based on 30 years of experience: The psychiatric profession and community are still very young. There are no set standards. Medicine, illnesses, practices, treatment or methodology.

This means, than, that one must be diligent in managing care and active in diagnosis and treatment. This is not in the least comforting. It is a lot of work. Especially having an educated awareness of side affects of medication and treatment.

Guessing is the best that can be done. It is not yet a science. At best a “soft” science. Guessing the diagnosis as it is presented and according to the knowledge of the practitioner which can vary wildly. Treatment and medication also are subject to the practitioner's experience and education, and personal beliefs and feelings.

Stay with your heart’s urging as a parent. Don’t allow yourself to be bullied or talked into something until you fully understand it and the consequences to your child. One simply can not be passive. It is too dangerous.

Investigate your practitioner, learn where he/she attended school, internship, what illness was their specialty. If they haven’t a good successful history in treating your child’s disorder, illness, run. Find another.

Do No Harm.” Doesn’t seem to be the operative word in many of these environments, rather, “let’s give it a try and see what happens.” That, in my opinion, is a very dangerous.

By the time that had I figured that Doug had a form of Autism, he had suffered so much. So needlessly.

Finally around age 39 he was given life skills classes. Two years of learning how to look for personal space distance, how to handle it when he was afraid, learning how to look for cues from other people. Handling his money, taking care of himself, etc. and so much more.

To Find Hope

19 Year Old Shot to Death by Police

November 16, 2006 I read in “The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon (2)that 19 year old Ryan Salisbury was shot to death on November 14, 2006 by the Eugene Police." Ryan’s mother called 911 for assistance to keep her son safe.

The article said that her son had a kitchen butcher knife and was smashing everything in the house including windows. She had barricaded herself and her other sons in another room in order to keep out of harms way. Ryan’s father was reported as stating that his son had gone into a psychotic state early that morning, possibly brought on by new medications his psychiatrist had given him.

My nightmares came back full force - flash back, as I lived this and relived it in my mind; the episodes that my son had to experience because of some psychiatrist experimenting with him by putting him on a “new,” medication. Yes, as a result, there were many psychotic episodes throughout his life. Thank God, I was with him during many.

I knew no matter what, I had to keep my son safe. Often this meant that I had to call 911 for help and have him jailed for his own safety. This was my greatest fear. That he would be killed. The incident his mother described was exactly like many of Doug's. Read on.

A Tragic Danger Within the Psychiatric Community

November 16, 2006 I read in “The Register-Guard, (2)that 19 year old Ryan Salisbury was shot to death on November 14, 2006 by the Eugene Police." Ryan’s mother called 911 for assistance to keep her son safe.

My nightmares came back full force - flash back, as I lived this and relived it in my mind; the episodes that my son had to experience because of some psychiatrist experimenting with him by putting him on a “new,” medication. Yes, as a result, there were many psychotic episodes throughout his life. Thank God, I was with him during many.

I knew no matter what, I had to keep my son safe. Often this meant that I had to call 911 for help and have him jailed for his own safety. This was my greatest fear. That he would be killed. The incident his mother described was exactly like many of Doug's. Read on.

The article said that her son had a kitchen butcher knife and was smashing everything in the house including windows. She had barricaded herself and her other sons in another room in order to keep out of harms way. Ryan’s father was reported as stating that his son had gone into a psychotic state early that morning, possibly brought on by new medications his psychiatrist had given him.

Two very polarized people; one in a place in his mind that didn’t allow him to recognize his actions let alone the people in front of him who were shouting demands for him to drop the butcher knife (which he may not have realized he had) and shooting bean bags bullets at him.

... and the police who are trained to protect themselves and the community using deadly force when such threat ignores their instructions to drop the weapons and continues walking toward them with it in his hand.

When he continued to walk towards them with the knife ignoring their orders and the bean bags didn't stop him, he became a threat to their own safety. They shot him dead.

My God! How I weep for that family. How I weep for the officers who responded. My sympathy and condolences are with Ryan’s family who never dreamed a call for assistance would end in the death of their son as well as for the officers.

My greatest fear for my son was this. For 30 some years this was a very real possibility in our lives. What happened to Ryan Salisbury could have happened to my son.

The police are trained well in capturing criminals and given the techniques needed to do just that; using deadly force when necessary and when their lives or the lives of others are in jeopardy. They also know, at the end of the day, their job is to go home safely to their loved ones.

Has it not struck any one else odd, that trained professionals in the mental health field are either not called or if called do not respond in such circumstances?

Does it not seem odd that the psychiatric physician or physician who prescribed the medication is not held accountable either to respond to the emergency when it occurs? Is not held accountable for prescribing the medication in the first place? Why is this?

Sadly, and increasingly, the police are called upon to assist in situations for which they are not trained 24/7 nor qualified. How very, very sad for them, for everyone involved.

Who am I to form an opinion such as this. I’m a very well qualified mother of a son like Ryan. My son and I have been down this road for over 30 years. I’ve learned a few things in those 30 years. This is some of what I learned, my experience.

I’ve seen my son when he was in a psychotic episode. I want to tell you that it is one very frightening and threatening thing. He appears menacing and appears able to do great bodily harm. He would have been classified quickly as a threat to himself and to others. If it were police who are trained 24/7 to access the likelihood of him doing harm to themselves or others they would have taken appropriate measures, as they are well trained to do, and, more than likely, my son would have also been shot dead.

What a very sad commentary that we place both the police and our mentally ill in harms way, rather than having trained people who are capable of quickly assessing the situation and decide an appropriate action to take. Much like a hostage negotiator.

For me, this speaks volumes of our world, our society; Darwinism. Darwin studied and culled from his study, among other conclusions, the fact that in the animal kingdom, the strongest and the fittest survive.

It has been my experience that we humans are part of that kingdom. I believe it is instinctive, innate in us all. Instinctively we walk away from and let die, those weaker than ourselves. It is a primal survival need.

So why is it then, that myself, as well as other mothers of children who are not well trained in handling suicidal and psychotic episodes, take it upon ourselves to keep them safe, to attempt to give them a life with some modicum of joy, happiness, positive self esteem, and, above all protect them from human nature and those who could and would harm them. This, unfortunately, includes friends and family members, neighbors and society at large.

The biggest tragedy, in my experience, is that some parents, like the Salisburys. learned too late that there is a danger.

It is unfathomable in today’s world to think your beautiful child could possibly be shot and killed by the people thought to help and protect your child.

To this end, I was simply lucky. By the time I realized that my son was indeed in danger, I was able to move him out of the City and into a more rural area where I had more control over his environment, his “triggers,” so that many of his episodes were confined to me and him in our own home and surroundings.

For me, the more alarming thing is that there is no standardization of any kind in the world of psychiatry, psychology, and social work. People holding these positions with power over what will happen to an individual and the quality of that individual’s life.

There is absolutely, 30 years ago or today, no assistance for the individual, parents or family with a child who is chronically, seriously ill or mentally ill. You are, We are, on our own to do the best that we can.

Further, there is no insurance coverage to assist families with the cost of or hope of any competent care.

In my case, it was years and years of reading various psychiatric journals, learning Behavior Modification, boundary setting, and trying to learn of a diagnosis that was right for my son’s symptoms. At one time, during his various episodes, Jacksonian epilepsy was a very close match.

Being my son’s advocate to ensure that the psychiatrist or psychologist we were thinking of working with was competent, free of his/her own problems and capable of diagnosing and treating my son. Someone who practiced, do no harm, brought much abuse -- to me.

Sadly, too many were quick to offer a diagnosis and medicate. To try a new medication that might work. Then send him home with no supervision for the side affects of the medication just prescribed. Too many times the effects of the drugs were devastating and as Ryan’s father suspected, put him in a psychotic episode.

It became a flip of the coin for us when my son and I attempted to select a psychiatrist/psychologist/social worker for him. Often I was attacked verbally for being with my son. Many tagged me as co-dependent, others the cause of my son’s problems. So many arcane and archaic ideas, notions and thoughts these people hold and for me to sort through trying to make informed and educated selections and choices.

Yes, it would have been easier for that professional were I not there listening to every word.

Too many times during a suicide attempt the police helped me get him to the hospital, because his doctor would only see him there. often one can not do this alone, safely, thus, the only alternative is to call for police help.

Once in the hospital, a sigh of relief, only to receive a call several hours later from my son asking that I pick him up, he’d been released.

When I questioned the doctors who decided to release him, they replied that they couldn’t force him into a 72 hour hold “against his will.” Thus, I took him home and for 72 hours or more attempted to keep him safe whilst his suicide impulses raged.

On many occasions, the police, knowing this would happen, and I made the costly decision to arrest my son for public disturbance and place him in jail for his protection. But thank God, some police officers knew too well what I faced and what could happen to my son if we didn‘t place him in jail.

I began introducing myself to the Chief of Police and Fire Chief when we moved to a new area. I brought a picture of my son with me and asked for their cooperation and explained the possibilities when I might need their help or when they might encounter him.

Soon officers made a point to stop by and meet my son, they knew him and liked him; my son knew them and liked them. When they did encounter him in a problematic situation such as a psychotic episode, they knew to talk to him calmly, not be threatening to him as they knew this would ignite in him a need to protect himself. They took the time to talk him down safely as well as cooperatively and happily into their police car and into jail where he was safe.

This has worked in 5 towns over the past 25 years. It’s been a win/win situation. Essentially, my son and I teaching them the needed response from them and keeping my son alive.

I am so very grateful to these public servants for taking the time to prevent a tragedy for all concerned. However, I know that in larger cities with high crime rates, police departments cannot dedicate a team to this kind of situation. They don’t have the budget nor the manpower.

Our Country’s police departments and jails have become the mental institutions of the 21st Century.

In one dramatic and dangerous situation,Doug, later, explained to me, that during a psychotic episode, (yes, a new drug) he thought that he was in grave danger and must fight hard in order to thwart the attacks of these dangerous people trying to harm him. And so he did.

Finally, he stood up strong and spread out his arms and asked them to shoot him. Thank God they didn’t, but Lord knows it must have taken all their strength not to as Doug had fought them hard. They did, however, take him to a local hospital tie him and restrain him to a hospital gurney whilst the female arresting officer taunted him for hours.

At around 3 A.M.. my telephone rang; I didn’t answer. For my health and sanity, I had to make boundaries for myself and Doug and one was that I would not answer the telephone after 11:00 P.M. Were it an extreme emergency I knew that someone would either come to the door or keep telephoning at which time I would than answer.

At 7:00 A.M. the telephone again rang. I answered and was met by a female voice who identified herself as an officer with the Warner Robbins, GA, Police Department :”I’ve been trying to reach you since 3:00 A.M. why didn’t you answer your telephone?” I felt no need to respond to this rather asked why she was calling. She stated she had my son at the hospital and needed me to come down.

She and a male officer met me in the parking lot. Highly unusual. Her, as well as his, posture was hostile. I kept my body posture and demeanor non threatening and relaxed as I approached them.

Among other questions she asked if my younger son was a police officer in California. I responded with a smile that he was. She asked where. When I told her, she said that she had been with the Sheriff’s Department in a city not too far from where Randy served.

She was punitive and angry as she stated that she was shipping Doug to the State mental institution since he had attempted suicide by cop. She than added that she would file a whole list of infractions over this and that Doug had broken her watch.

I learned that at no time did he ever strike her or any other officer. He did resist arrest, as he stated, he had no idea they were the police and he was defending himself by backing away, twisting from their grasps, etc.

He’s a big guy and his size is intimidating, I can only imagine the threat he posed to the officers. The same threat the 19 year old Salisbury man posed the Eugene Police as he approached them with a butcher knife, refusing to yield to demands of dropping his weapon. Thank God, Doug had no weapon of any kind.

In Doug’s case they did send him off to the Georgia Mental Institution for the Criminal Insane, a hundred miles from home. Of course by then the medication had worn off and he no longer was in a psychotic episode; he said it was one of the most frightening events of his life to be locked up with bone fide criminally insane folk. The following Monday, the psychiatrist asked him why he was there and quickly released him.

Of course, it wasn’t over. Following was an arrest for Terrorist Threats, a felony; assaulting an officer, a felony; and an assundry of other charges. We hired an attorney and he managed to get everything dropped, Doug was acquitted of all charges.

There is absolutely, 30 years ago or today, no assistance for the individual, parents or family with a child who is chronically, seriously ill or mentally ill. You are, We are, on our own to do the best that we can.

Accountability? Where Is It? Who is Accountable?

It is my opinion, that the psychiatric community, the ERs in our nation, need to be called on this practice and held accountable.

Due to this current practice, countless people in need of life saving help are turned away, left to their own devices with the result being numerous commit suicide in desperation and others hurt other innocent people.

Why are people with power to affect change looking the other way? Why aren't we doing something?

The Very Flawed Hospital Admission Procedure

I moved quickly now. We exited the hospital's main doors and walked around to the emergency entrance. A bit dramatic, I thought — provocative — but psychiatric admissions pass through those gates. Walking past the stacked ambulances, I prayed he wouldn't stop, wouldn't turn and ask questions. The ER was bright, a scratchy electric yellow that hurt my eyes. It was a limbo and I've waited here, too, waited for the wheelchair upstairs, the next ferry over the Styx. Over there, on the ward, they knock you down dead and hope you rise again sane on the third day or month. My father was jittery, mercurial; the triage nurse was harried and dismissive. She pushed us back on the list. In the ER a cut finger — a handful of stitches — takes precedence over our often fatal disease, despite the bad odds. One out of every four untreated bipolar individuals dies by suicide. Not there on the ER floor, mind you, but later, after they give up and leave. Suicide is simply the finishing touch, an end to slow death by depression. You can't blame them.

But my father stayed because I did, because I asked him not to leave. I did everything short of card tricks to keep him occupied, keep his paranoia at bay. A social worker finally took us in hand. She did not work for the hospital; she was not a psychiatric nurse. She worked for Safety Net, an independent, state-funded advocacy group. I had to get past her first, prove to her I was a good son, that my father was indeed mad. It was unfortunate that at this moment he looked remarkably sane, relaxed even, charming. He was good, all right; he managed the act better than I ever did. But after a forty-five-minute chat with my father, the social worker took me aside. I agree with you and Dr. Bryant. Your father could benefit from hospitalization. He's agreed to sign himself in, and that makes it so much easier.

Unfortunately, there are no available beds on ward tonight. Could you come back tomorrow?"

I looked at her incredulously.

"You think I can get him back to commit himself again tomorrow? After two and half hours in the ER?"

"I don't know. Why did they wait to tell me? Were they just practicing? My father would have to wait a day for the next ferry.

Value of a Person

A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20.00 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, "Who would like this $20 bill?"

Hands started going up.

He said, "I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this. He proceeded to crumple up the $20 dollar bill.

He then asked, "Who still wants it?"

Still the hands were up in the air.

Well, he replied, "What if I do this?"

And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty.

"Now, who still wants it?"

Still the hands went into the air.

My friends, we have all learned a very valuable lesson.

No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.

Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value.

Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless

to those who DO LOVE you.

The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but by WHO WE ARE and WHOSE WE ARE.

Just Love Me

The Very, Flawed Process of Gaining Admissions into a Safe Medical Environment

The Nightmare of ER Admitting for My Son and Me

Below is an excerpt from a recent NPR article. This excerpt says it far better than could I and mirrors the experiences that Doug and I had in every ER we visited during a suicide crises or psychotic break or meltdown.

From his memoir, Scattershot, by David Lovelace. His description of his experience trying to get his elderly father admitted into a Psych ward was so typical of what Doug and I experienced on too many occasions. It was exactly as Mr. Lovelace describes and I still cry when I remember. I still remember the absolute fear and anger, and, frustration of wondering how I, by my self, would be able to keep Doug from harm's way in the hours that his delusions, paranoid state played out. Would it last for days, weeks? Would I have the wherewith-all, knowledge and strength to keep him safe?

While Doug was not, at least to our knowledge, bipolar, when he had his breaks and needed medical attention, the facts as described by Mr. Lovelace, are exactly what we experienced.

It is my opinion, that the psychiatric community, the ERs in our nation, need to be called on this practice and held accountable.

Due to this current practice, countless people in need of life saving help are turned away, left to their own devices with the result being numerous commit suicide in desperation and others hurt other innocent people.

Why are people with power to affect change looking the other way? Why aren't we doing something?!!

Excerpt: 'Scattershot'

by David Lovelace (3)

Note: This excerpt contains language that some readers may find offensive.

";...I didn't have a phone so I drove straight to the cops. I regretted it immediately. The cop behind the Plexiglas made me sit and wait while he talked to his radio. He was younger than I am. This was a waste of time; I should have just called an ambulance. I paced until a shitty little speaker crackled.

"Sir?"

"My mother needs an ambulance. She's unconscious and my father is manic, is having a manic break.” “ Should I say crazy? Did he even know what manic meant?

"Sir?"

"Crazy" There, I'd done it. Fuck. My dad's fucking out of it. He's bipolar. My mother needs an ambulance.”

“Watch your language, sir. The address?” I gave it to him. “All right, sir. Just have a seat. I'll send for a patrol car.”

"I'll meet them back there."

I paced the parking lot; I should have called an ambulance straightaway. I knew the cops could make it worse, much worse, just by showing up. I remember seeing their lights through the windows when they came for me, and they lit the room red and flashed. I had hit the floor and crawled to the bathroom. I locked the door and looked for razors — just to scare them, I thought. When they came up the steps and rapped on the door, I stripped and ducked into the shower. My friends said, don't worry, Dave, don't worry, and then they let them inside. I could hear them all talking and I clapped my hands on my ears and started to sing. I slid down in the shower and sang.

I waited outside my father's apartment and remembered Woody Woodward, a local man who died up in Brattleboro. He was scared and so he found a church, interrupted the Sunday service, and asked for help. He spoke rapidly and incoherently. Woodward appeared delusional; he claimed the CIA was after him. He had a pen-knife and when the police came he held it up to his eye and pleaded for help. The cops shot him seven times, including once in the back and once as he lay on the carpet. Then they cuffed him. He died in surgery and both policemen were cleared of wrongdoing.

That's what can happen and that's how we think: seven shots and dying right there at the pulpit. We see how scared all the straights are — how primal that fear is — and we feed off that fear. We know how fast things go bad. One minute you're asking for sanctuary, the next facing guns.

I waited twenty minutes in the parking lot. I knew my father was watching. When the police pulled in I knew he was inside, pacing, making decisions. Fortunately, the police moved calmly. They listened closely and we planned our approach together. I kept saying my father was harmless. He isn't dangerous, I said, with my mother dying upstairs.

I knocked on the door but my father was spooked and hiding. I led the cops through the bushes and wet patios, the brown oak leaves in drifts. My father sat by the broken phones and when the cop rapped on the glass he turned and smiled. He held his palms out and shrugged.

"Sir, open the door."

"Okay, okay. That would be fine but-"

"Please open the door, sir."

All right, all right. This is just fine. Just give me a moment. My father stepped into the adjacent bathroom. He came out a few tense minutes later with his hair combed and his shirt tucked in, and he unlocked the door. I could see him throttle down against all the drama, the cops and the lights, against his worst fears: that his mind had burned down, that they'd bury his wife and lock him away. Now here they were, standing in his kitchen with guns and clubs, and somehow he smiled and spoke slowly, a professor again, a calm, reasonable man. One cop stayed with him and one came with me. My mother hadn't moved. The cop cursed slowly, under his breath. He knelt on one knee and felt for her pulse.

“What's all this green crap?” he asked, and I told him. For a moment my mother seemed like some tribal death head, smeared with ritual clay and locked in a trance. The cop gagged. “Open the window,” he ordered, then radioed for the ambulance. I went downstairs and found my father explaining his prayers and his potions, the green soy dust all over his table...

... I love my father. I knew what he was attempting because I've done it at times, passed myself off as sane by sheer force of will. Like my father, I've seen the beautiful cartwheel of thoughts pitch past and crash and I've learned not to speak of them, to let them all go. I can stand inside a desperate circus and force my mind to slow, if only for a few moments. It is the hardest work I've ever known. And now I watched my father attempt it, try to gather a mind much deeper than mine, try to hold back a green interior ocean full of monsters and wonders. I watched as he reeled in each rocking moment, as he stood in her bedroom and loved her and smiled...

conversation with sister ... Get him over to Bryant right away, like this morning. It's an emergency and he'll make room in his schedule. We need to get Dad safe and back on his meds today. He's a loose cannon right now. Bryant should give you the paperwork to commit Dad if he won't sign voluntarily.

"He probably won't, not after yesterday."

“Right. Make sure you get the form. Each state's different. I don't know what it's called out there, but Bryant will know. Okay? I'll book a flight but it might be a few days. I'll see. Now, call Bryant immediately and then keep me posted. Use my cell.”

I booked an appointment and drove back to my father's. This time he let me in before I could knock. He was waiting for me, playing Don Giovanni loudly and pacing. His clothes were the same. Books and papers littered the floor. He held out his strangely limp, sweaty hand and I shook it. Thanks, David, for coming. I'm so glad you did what you did. You know best. He smiled. Everything's just marvel-ous here.

"... Next, I brought Dad to our psychiatrist. Bryant was efficient. He asked one simple question and let my father do the rest. “So, Rich-ard, how are you doing?” At that my father rambled for five minutes, discussing medicine, interdenominational feuds, God, opera, his mother and mine. He modeled his Presbyterian book bag, holding the great P to his chest-a sort of crazed denominational superhero. Bryant finally cut in. “So, Richard, you would say you are ..'

"Wonderful."

“Well. Quite frankly, Richard, you shouldn't be. Your wife's in the ICU; she may have had a stroke. You shouldn't be wonderful.'

My father dropped his smile and took another tack. "Yes, yes, of course. I am quite concerned. I think it was the medicine you were giving her, frankly. But she's in good hands now. David Lovelace is here and things are moving along well."

"I'm afraid you're acting inappropriately. I understand religion is important to you, but you're using grandiose religious terms-"

"You're Irish Catholic," my father injected dismissively. "You're antireligious."

“Richard, you're delusional. You've given me every indication of a manic break.” He pulled out the green pad. “I'm giving you a prescription for Seroquel. That should help you sleep. I've got some samples here somewhere.” He rummaged in his file cabinet. Psychiatrists' cabinets may or may not contain files, but are regularly filled with brightly boxed samples: psychotropic candies, Wellbutrin pens, and Zoloft staplers.

Bryant found what he was looking for and gave me two boxes. He asked my father to wait outside. “I agree with you. Your father's full-blown. I suspected as much and he's just confirmed it. He left three increasingly incoherent messages on our machine last night.”

"He loves answering machines."

“Yes, well. Are you all right?” he asked me. I nodded. “Your meds good? You'll need to keep it together. Stay in touch. Now, we should get him in right away. We'll try Northampton first. Can you get him to go with you, sign himself in?”

"I don't know."

"I'll call Cooley Dick and recommend hospitalization."

" ... You know the drill, Dad. If you sign yourself in here, you can leave whenever you wish. But if you decide not to sign yourself in, well, then I'll have to do it. Then a whole bunch of bureaucracy gums up the works. Just sign in. For Mom's sake.” I looked at him straight. I could smell his mind working fast, sparking. His eyes spun just like slots and I waited for the payoff.

"All right, David. If you think it best. Personally I think it's overkill. I'm perfectly fine."

"But you'll do it?"

"I guess."

I moved quickly now. We exited the hospital's main doors and walked around to the emergency entrance. A bit dramatic, I thought — provocative — but psychiatric admissions pass through those gates. Walking past the stacked ambulances, I prayed he wouldn't stop, wouldn't turn and ask questions. The ER was bright, a scratchy electric yellow that hurt my eyes. It was a limbo and I've waited here, too, waited for the wheelchair upstairs, the next ferry over the Styx. Over there, on the ward, they knock you down dead and hope you rise again sane on the third day or month. My father was jittery, mercurial; the triage nurse was harried and dismissive. She pushed us back on the list. In the ER a cut finger — a handful of stitches — takes precedence over our often fatal disease, despite the bad odds. One out of every four untreated bipolar individuals dies by suicide. Not there on the ER floor, mind you, but later, after they give up and leave. Suicide is simply the finishing touch, an end to slow death by depression. You can't blame them.

But my father stayed because I did, because I asked him not to leave. I did everything short of card tricks to keep him occupied, keep his paranoia at bay. A social worker finally took us in hand. She did not work for the hospital; she was not a psychiatric nurse. She worked for Safety Net, an independent, state-funded advocacy group. I had to get past her first, prove to her I was a good son, that my father was indeed mad. It was unfortunate that at this moment he looked remarkably sane, relaxed even, charming. He was good, all right; he managed the act better than I ever did. But after a forty-five-minute chat with my father, the social worker took me aside. I agree with you and Dr. Bryant. Your father could benefit from hospitalization. He's agreed to sign himself in, and that makes it so much easier.

Unfortunately, there are no available beds on ward tonight. Could you come back tomorrow?"

I looked at her incredulously.

"You think I can get him back to commit himself again tomorrow? After two and half hours in the ER?"

"I don't know. Why did they wait to tell me? Were they just practicing? My father would have to wait a day for the next ferry.

Bad. It was another day, and so another round of forms was required, another psychiatric evaluation by a non-psychiatrist, another long wait. I had promised that today would be quick and told Mary that we could have ice cream afterward, but we'd already spent forty minutes in the waiting area. Now, waiting again in the small, bright examination room, my father and I tried out some small talk as Mary sat in the corner and whispered her lines. We pretended nothing was out of the ordinary, just another errand: pick up milk, drop off kids, commit Dad to asylum.

Finally, the door opened and a slight man in a white coat and holding a clipboard slipped inside. “Hi, I'm Mark,” he said. That's it, just Mark. Not Dr. Mark, not even Mr. Mark. He was balding but had managed to coax a wispy gray ponytail back from his temples. He was Safety Net and he was letting his freak flag fly. He was on our side, defending us from doctors and other medical professionals. After another forty-five-minute interview, wherein my father lost his much-abused patience, brandished his Presbyterian book bag over his head, insisted Bryant was a heathen Irishman, and repeatedly referred to me by my full, somewhat unfortunate given name — David Brainerd Lovelace — the interview concluded. I realized Mary had wandered off.

My father now refused to enter voluntarily, to commit himself. It was hard to blame him; I wanted out, too. Both the breadth of my father's knowledge and the force of his controlled mania seemed to diminish our friend Mark. He warbled like Joan Baez while my father belted Rossini. Mark seemed unsure as we stepped into the hallway. Where the hell did Mary go? I'd been too busy bottling my rage to notice. Mark put his hand on my shoulder, an attempt at compassion. “Well, I have good news. Your father seems okay. He's presently not a danger to himself or others. I cannot recommend that your father be involuntarily committed at this time."

I pushed back from him, stunned. “You think he's Okay? You think he's okay? My mother's upstairs in a coma. He left her on the floor for days. Tried to force-feed her some green, soylent product. He's off his meds. He's noncompliant. He's driving around. Last night he saw some infomercial and bought a three-thousand-dollar mattress.”

"The incident with your mother was a few days ago now. He seems better."

"What the fuck?"; I was close to losing it. “How the fuck do you know?” Nurses watched from their stations, agog. When she heard my voice from down the hall Mary returned, her hands and pockets full of candy corn raided from somewhere out back. I stepped into Mark's face and he backed away, held his clipboard out, and ducked slightly.

“How do you know he's off his meds?” he asked defensively. ”Has he had a blood level?”

“A blood level? No, I've been too busy visiting my mother in the ICU and talking with not-even-doctors to arrange a fucking blood level.” I'd lost it and Mark moved closer to the nurses. Mary stood riveted, popping her candy. “What? Are you trying to protect my father? Do you think I want to do this? Do you think this is fun? Do you think he's a victim, that I'm victimizing him?” I was loud now. I wanted to hit him.

"Mr. Lovelace, I understand you're upset, that this is upsetting." Mark looked sympathetic and nervous. His eyes grew large and moist. He was breathing rapidly. "We all want what's best for your father." I snorted. "We all want what's best for him." Mark gestured to the caring ER staff — three open mouthed nurses and two newly arrived and very large orderlies. "You have to understand. Your father needs an advocate. I'm his advocate. You know, they used to ware-house patients-"

"This isn't a fucking warehouse, it's a hospital and I want a doctor. His psychiatrist called and said to admit him.”

"Yesterday, he called yesterday,"; Mark clarified.

I leaned in to the well-meaning Mark and grabbed his name tag. “You're a chickenshit, Mark. Do your fucking job. I'm not leaving until my father's locked up.” I stepped back, disgusted. “I don't want to talk to Safety fucking Net anymore. I want a doctor.” An orderly closed in behind me and I saw security approach fast down the hall. I stopped and smiled grimly.

..."C'mon, Dad!"; I yelled over my shoulder, and I kicked their swinging door as hard as I could. It hit the wall loud, like a rifle crack." ...

Excerpt from Scattershot by David Lovelace.

Excerpted with permission from the publisher. All rights reserved.

Bibliography:

(1) Haim G. Ginott (1922-1973) was a clinical psychologist, child therapist, parent educator, and author whose work has had a substantial impact on the way adults relate to children. He began his career as an elementary school teacher in Israel in 1947 before immigrating to the United States. There he attended Columbia University in New York City, earning a doctoral degree in clinical psychology in 1952.

Ginott’s work with troubled children at the Jacksonville, Florida, Guidance Clinic helped him refine his unique combination of compassion and boundary setting. While many of his contemporaries favored one or the other, Ginott wove the two into a seamless whole that showed respect for children’s feelings while setting limits on their behavior. Ginott said that he was strict with unacceptable behavior but permissive with feelings. His aim was to help parents socialize their children while simultaneously cultivating their emotional well being. Ginott’s books, Between Parent and Child, Between Parent and Teenager, and Teacher and Child, were popular for many years and were translated into thirty languages. Rather than accuse, cajole, or correct parents in his parenting groups, he shoed compassion for their struggle even as he encouraged them to listen with understanding and empathy to their children. His method for working with parents is described by Arthur R. Orgel (1980).

At the heart of Ginott’s method is the recognition that denying feelings makes them more intense and confused. By contrast, the acknowledgment of feelings allows people to heal and consequently become better problem solvers. For example, Ginott wrote of a twelve-year-old girl who was tense and tearful when her cousin left after spending the summer with her. Ginott recommended that parents acknowledge their children’s feelings in situations like this with responses such as “You miss her already” and “The house must seem kind of empty to you without Susie around.”

Ginott’s continuing impact is underscored in the influential book by John Gottman on raising emotionally intelligent children: “Ginott’s theories had never been proven using empirically sound, scientific methods. But . . . I can provide the first quantifiable evidence to suggest that Ginott’s ideas were essentially correct. Empathy not only matters; it is the foundation of effective parenting” (p. 35). Following Ginott’s example, Gottman encourages parents to be “emotion coaches” rather than being dismissive, disapproving, or laissez-faire.

While Ginott’s influence is evident in works by Gottman and also by his students Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, his greatest contribution and continuing legacy may be teaching the communication skills that help parents relate to their children in a caring and understanding way without diminishing parental authority.

Ginott, H. G. (1965). Between parent and child. New York: Macmillan.

Ginott, H. G. (1967). Between parent and teenager. New York: Macmillan.

Ginott, H. G. (1972). Teacher and child. New York: Macmillan.

Ginott, H. G., Ginott, A., & Goddard, H. W. (2003). Between parent and child. New York: Three Rivers Press.

Gottman, J. M. (1996). Raising an emotionally intelligent child. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Orgel, A. R. (1980). Haim Ginott’s approach to parent education. In M. J. Fine (Ed.), Handbook on parent education, 75-100. New York: Academic Press.

Source of this article:

Goddard, H. W., & Ginott, A. (2002). Haim Ginott. In N. J. Salkind (Ed.), Macmillan psychology reference series, Vol. 1: Child development (pp. 167-168). New York: Macmillan Reference.

(2) November 16, 2006 The Register-Guard Eugene, Oregon

(3) Scattershot by David Lovelace

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Comments 6 comments

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selfdefenseclique 7 years ago from Lake Park, Florida

hey i went through your information and all the images. you are terrafic man. i mean you have really done a great job. i seriously want to see more after reading this piece of work. please i hope you will fulfill me request. i don't know how did you manage this all? i think i should better start trying hard.


romneykat profile image

romneykat 7 years ago from Near San Francisco, CA Author

I'm pleased, selfdefenseclique, that you found something in my work. There will be more to come. I appreciate your comments.

Romneykat


docadvocate 7 years ago

great work mam,its astounding it took me around 20 min to go through this hub,i can't think how much time it would have taken of yours to collect all this knowledge-perhaps a lifetime.


romneykat profile image

romneykat 7 years ago from Near San Francisco, CA Author

Thank you. I see from your Hub that you are quite an active young man with high aspirations. Good for you.

I wish you all the best success.


Baileybear 6 years ago

That's so sad that "professional" services have let you down repeatedly. I have had to fight for my own care and that of my son's, but it can be hard when in an impaired state


sam 5 years ago

Thank you

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