The Empathic Ward: Reality and Resistance in Mental Health Reform

Whitaker, Leighton C.; Deikman, Arthur J.
March 2009
Ethical Human Psychology & Psychiatry;2009, Vol. 11 Issue 1, p50
Academic Journal
This article provides perspective on our experiment to change a psychiatric hospital ward from reliance on drug therapy to psychological treatment. Resistances to the change took many forms, including delaying publication of the results for nearly a decade. Although successful, the treatment program itself was never adopted. The work did have a major impact on the "right to refuse treatment" case originally titled Rogers v. Okin (1979), which barred forced medication and involuntary seclusion except in certain emergencies if an outside consultant agreed. Two publications (Deikman & Whitaker, 1979; Whitaker & Deikman, 1980) described much of the program and its vicissitudes but did not include some of the more resisted features reported in this article.


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