Psychiatry Psychology | Hektoen International

She changed her mind

Marlene Oscar Berman Boston, Massachusetts (Winter 2018)   The Extended Reward and Oversight System (EROS). Image A shows the major brain regions in EROS. Images B, C, and D show different views of a main fiber tract, the medial forebrain bundle (chartreuse), connecting the regions in EROS.7,9 Neuroscience is demonstrating that torment can be eliminated by altering […]

Emptiness Melancholia: depression sweet depression

Camila de Jesus Aquino Machado Minas Gerais, Brazil (Winter 2018)   The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality.i – Andrew Solomon   Ophelia, 1851 John Everett Millais. Oil on Canvas. Tate Britain, London, United Kingdom Vitality had seemed to seep away from me through the years, stopping me from feeling  joy, sadness, affection, and […]

Complexity and understanding

Travis Kirkwood Ontario, Canada (Winter 2018)   Do humans understand each other? There are profound and important facts to consider in any honest attempt to answer this question. The question is broad, but worth asking repeatedly. Modern writers and thinkers fail to fully appreciate the merit in marrying science and philosophy, which the great psychotherapists […]

The 1960s in North American Psychiatry

Mary V. Seeman Toronto, Ontario, Canada   Rhonda’s “Monks” 1963 Private collection of Mary V. Seeman When I graduated from medical school in 1960, an unprecedented wave of optimism was sweeping the field of psychiatry. Effective antipsychotic medication, the offspring of chlorpromazine,1  was clearing out mental asylums.  New antidepressants, such as imipramine and its many […]

Treating thunderbirds

Ananya Mahapatra New Delhi, India (Summer 2017)   Setting the mind free  The cacophony of the psychiatric ward  paused for a moment as a young woman was ushered in by two hospital attendants and her frail, frightened  mother. She laughed garishly and cussed in rural vernacular with wild abandon. She spoke in loud unapologetic spurts, […]

Listening to the patient

Marina Maffoni and Francesca Dionigi Pavia, Italy (Spring 2017)   Death and Life by Gustav Klimt Alex was a smart thirty-nine year old man with drug-resistant lymphoma. In four years he had undergone two unsuccessful bone marrow transplants. That is all my senior psychologist tutor and I were told by the referring clinician, except that […]

Medical murder

Susan Jacob University of Newcastle, Australia (Summer 2014)   Archangel Michael reaching to save souls in purgatory, 17th century, Jacopo Vignali Medical murder or clinicide is defined by the psychiatrist Robert Kaplan as the “unnatural death of multiple patients in the course of treatment by a doctor.”1 Medical murder must be distinguished from euthanasia in that patients […]

Heartache and Complicated Grief

 Laurie Elise Gordon New York, N.Y (Spring 2016) Because He Married A Succubus, 2014. Sveta Dorosheva. Private Collection. “To whom shall I tell this heartache?” – old Russian song Medicine is haunted by grief. In tense silences we may sense the specter. Grieving is a normal developmental process, but in some it gets interrupted. A grieving patient calls upon the physician’s most […]

Trauma stewardship

Laura van Dernoot Lipsky The Trauma Stewardship Institute, Seattle, Washington, United States Connie Burk The Northwest Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse, Seattle, Washington, United States (Spring 2012)   This article was excerpted and adapted from Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others © 2009 […]

Compassion failure, schadenfreude, and the fall of Icarus

Sylvia R. Karasu Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, United States (Winter 2016)   “About suffering they were never wrong / The Old Masters…how it takes place / While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along.”1 So wrote W.H. Auden in his poem Musée des Beaux Arts in response to […]