Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: trauma

  • Breaking Bad: A case study of antisocial personality disorders

    Jason LiuSan Francisco Bay Area, California, United States Both psychopathy and the non-clinical “sociopathy”1 have been diagnosed in infamous serial killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer and John Gacy, and popular films and TV shows, like American Psycho and Dexter, have drawn from these diagnoses. Psychopathy and sociopathy are amongst the most complex mental disorders. Both…

  • Wounded healer

    Brandon MuncanStony Brook, New York Since Plato, the notion of a sufferer helping the suffering has been proposed as one of the more skillful ways of helping a patient through an illness.1 Although this concept has been discussed since the time of Athenian philosophy, the term “wounded healer” itself was only coined in 1951 by…

  • White Australia: How white healthcare has affected Indigenous Australians

    Brittany Suann Western Australia   Rural Australia. Photo by author. Australian healthcare is among the best, and Australia boasts the eighth lowest mortality rates in the world.1 For Indigenous Australians, however, health outcomes are 2.3 times worse than for non-Indigenous Australians.1 This gap is stark and is evident in mortality rates, the life expectancy at…

  • Dr. Alice Miller on Hitler’s childhood

    Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   “All it took was a Führer’s madness and several million well-raised Germans to extinguish the lives of countless millions of innocent human beings in the space of a few short years.” – Alice Miller, Ph.D.   Jewish women and children removed from a bunker. From the Stroop Report, a report…

  • Reading Lacan 1Reading Lacan 2Identification with the Aggressor

    Sean MurphyChicago, Illinois, United States Created after reading the work of the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, Reading Lacan 1 (top) and Reading Lacan 2 (bottom left) capture the abstract nature of his baroque speaking and writing styles. At the same time, they maintain through a bright color palette one goal of psychoanalysis: cure—and with it, hope.…

  • Traumatic experience and creativity: René Magritte

    Mirjana Stojkovic-IvkovicBelgrade, Serbia A painter’s creativity often results from artistic inspiration, but it can also be a manifestation of fear, pain, and suffering. René Magritte (1898–1967), a Belgian painter and great figure in modern art, expressed his thoughts and his feelings on the canvas. His unique style and original ideas make him one of the…

  • Memories of a West Virginia coal camp

    Calvin KuninColumbus, Ohio, United States This is a brief account of my experience as a physician at a coal mining camp in rural West Virginia. It is based on my memory of events that took place almost seventy years ago but remain vivid in my mind. The adventure began the day I graduated from medical…

  • Review of Fracture: Stories of How Great Lives Take Root in Trauma

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, United Kingdom The lives of people who seem to be endowed with extraordinary abilities have long been a source of fascination. The famous Italian physician, researcher, and founder of the science of criminology, Cesare Lombroso, professed this interest in his 1889 book The Man of Genius, stating that genius was a form…

  • Revisiting the “Trolley Problem” in the COVID-19 pandemic

    Margaret B. MitchellBoston, Massachusetts, United StatesGraham M. Attipoe Nashville, Tennessee, United States The “Trolley Problem” Originally described by Philipa Foot in 1967, the “Trolley Problem” is an ethical dilemma commonly taught in philosophy that challenges participants to explore how far they would go to save lives: A trolley is barreling down a set of tracks towards…

  • The literary breakdown in Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch

    Carol-Ann FarkasBoston, Massachusetts, United States 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 the phenomenon persists in popular usage.1,2 Why? We like the “breakdown”…