Tag Archives: Psychology

The Yellow Wallpaper: the flawed prescription

Mahek Khwaja  Karachi, Pakistan   Yellow Wallpaper Art: A Bowl with “The House”~ Tower, the Yellow Room. By Julie Jordan Scott on Flickr. CC BY 2.0.  Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote her short story The Yellow Wallpaper in nineteenth-century America when gendered norms prevailed in society at large and notably in medicine. In a previous article, “Charlotte Perkins […]

The literary breakdown in Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch

Carol-Ann Farkas Boston, Massachusetts, United States   The Goldfinch By Carel Fabritius. 1654. Mauritshuis. Public Domain. Wikimedia. I. Diagnostically speaking, the “nervous” or “mental” breakdown is not a thing. The term has never been formally used in psychology, which has long preferred specific, definable categorizations of symptoms and conditions: stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression, trauma.1 And yet […]

Hölderlin’s madness

Nicolas Roberto Robles Badajoz, Spain   The only representation on which Hölderlin looks people directly in the face – a pastel picture by Franz Karl Hiemerthat that the poet gave to his sister Rieke in 1792. According to his mother and sister, it does not resemble him. German Literature Archive, Marbach, Germany. Accessed via Wikimedia.  […]

Modern neuroscience and the ideas of the Enlightenment

Stephen Martin Durham, United Kingdom   Fig. 1. Mrs. Jane Wilkinson, one of the first independent Georgian music teachers. English, Philip Gaugain, 1835. UK private collection. The Enlightenment was a philosophical movement in eighteenth-century Europe that had a major influence on the arts, science, education, religion, and politics. Its principles paved the way for women […]

W.H.R. Rivers and the humane treatment of shell shock

Soleil Shah London, UK   A shell-shocked soldier receives electro-shock treatment from a nurse during the First World War. Image Source: Otis Historical Archives National Museum of Health and Medicine (ref Reeve 041476) via Flickr “Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.” – Hippocrates War neurosis, or “shell shock” […]

Edvard Munch: the child who never grew up

Michael Yafi Houston, Texas   Figure 1: The Dead Mother The paintings of Edvard Munch are often used as an example of the association between creativity and mental illness. Can we, however, analyze them from the perspective of the feelings of a child? Traumatized by the death of his mother when he was only five […]

Of men and brains and rats

Observers of the affairs of man in an age of mass destruction weaponry have long worried about the future of the human race. Why do men so often make erroneous decisions and act in ways detrimental to their interests and even to their survival? Is not homo sapiens the epitome of millions of years of […]

A song for me

Steve Sobel St. Albans, Vermont, United States   Taylor Swift by WEZL Sometimes the obvious is revealed to us as a life-altering revelation that shifts the tectonic plates of our world. Such was the case when I sat in a stuffy, cramped bedroom listening to Taylor Swift singing “Love story” on the radio. Suddenly I […]

Looking back and forward: a personal view on public care

Matthew Reidy Shrewsbury, MA, USA   September 10, 1927 Mrs. Mary Reidy 99 Downing Street, Worcester, Mass. Dear Mrs. Reidy: Your little girl Katherine was examined in our out-patient clinic on Thursday, and she presents a complicated problem.  She is nearly 12 years of age and psychological tests show that she has a mental age […]

Calibrating the messiah complex: a success and a failure

Daniel Luftig United States   It had been Fat’s delusion for years that he could help people. His psychiatrist once told him that to get well he would have to do two things; get off dope (which he hadn’t done) and stop trying to help people (he still tried to help people). — VALIS1   Bill Murray […]