Presenting first-hand accounts from the ‘front line’, Reflections of a Cynical Clinical Psychologist provides the reader with a participant experience of the daily ups and downs of a US mental health professional. Vividly describing actual clinical events ranging from tragic to comedic, this book calls attention to the human realities of the system’s dysfunction.
Illustrated throughout by anecdotes based on the author’s 50 years of experience and observations in the field, the book focuses on ‘the system’ as the problem, identifying the limitations in current mental health policy with the emphasis misplaced onto profit rather than optimal patient care. These anecdotes are organized by themes such as the harsh treatment of patients by staff; loss in the workplace; anomalous staff behavior; problems with the legal system; and clinically unexpected and bizarre episodes.
The value of humor as a stress reducer, social leveler and a means to make incisive points is highlighted throughout. This is important reading for mental health professionals, policy makers and those interested in humanizing social policy.
Table of Contents
- GRADUATE SCHOOL
- THE CITY HOSPITAL
- THE STATE HOSPITAL
- THE COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH CENTER: "GIVE ME YOUR TIRED, YOUR POOR"
- COMPROMISED PATIENT CARE
- PATIENT DEATHS
- STAFF PARTINGS
- WWII HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS
- TESTIFYING IN COURT
- SCREENING OF POLICE APPLICANTS
- CLINICIANS IN HARM’S WAY
- CURIOUS AND TROUBLESOME CLINICAL EXPERIENCES
- ABSURD STAFF BEHAVIOR
- AWKWARD MOMENTS
- PRACTICING WHEN OUT OF THE OFFICE: NO DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED!
- MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCACY
- THE APPEAL OF 'PRESCRIPTION PRIVILEGES': "IF YOU CAN'T BEAT 'EM, JOIN 'EM!"
- HEALTH INSURANCE ABUSES: OR UNSURANCE?
- MONEY INEVITABLY DRIVES POLICY...AND POLICY LOSES
- ESCALATING ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROL: ALL'S WELL THAT ORWELL
- MOSTLY BUSINESS, MOST OF THE TIME: MINI-MALISM
- ADMINISTRATIVE ABUSES OF POWER: PETTY MAL TREATMENT
CHALLENGING CLINICAL CIRCUMSTANCES
A CHALLENGING SYSTEM
Max Heinrich, PhD., is a clinical psychologist who earned his PhD from Cornell University in 1968. He has worked primarily with the seriously and persistently mentally ill in hospital settings. For most of that time he directed various inpatient and outpatient services. He has won local, state and national awards for public advocacy on behalf of his profession. Currently his week is divided between treating patients and teaching students on a psychiatric inpatient unit in a public hospital, as well as maintaining an extensive private practice.
"The book is a treasure chest of anecdotes and incisive humor; the author’s memory is exceptional, many of the tales hilarious, and many of them horrifying. His advocacy on behalf of helpful policies, and against the idiocies that caused people pain and anguish admirable, and beyond admirable. I liked his ability to deftly conjure up the people he worked with, patients and colleagues. He has an amazing perspective, and a rich inventory of all that was good, less good, and awful in the way we've dealt with mental illness for the past half century in its more florid incarnations, and its less lethal instances. And the horrors noted in his early work at an old state hospital leavened by his wit made for an exceptional outlook on that era. Loved the book!" - Jay Neugeboren, Author of Imagining Robert and Transforming Madness.