Saturday, January 14, 2012

Two other aspects of sensed betrayal should be mentioned. First, those who suggest the
possibility of another's entering a mental hospital are not likely to provide a realistic picture
of how in fact it may strike him when he arrives. Often he is told that he will get required
medical treatment and a rest, and may well be out in a few months or so. In some cases they may thus be concealing what they know, but I think, in general, they will be telling what they see as the truth. For here there is quite relevant difference between patients and mediating professionals; mediators, more so than the public at large, may conceive of mental hospitals as short-term medical establishments where required rest and attention can be voluntarily obtained, and not as placed of coerced exile. When the prepatient finally arrives he is likely to learn quite quickly, quite differently. He then finds that the information given him about life in the hospital has had the effect of his having put up less resistance to entering than he now sees he would have put up had he known the facts. whatever the intentions of those who participated in his transition from person to patient, he may sense they have in effect 'conned' him into his present predicament.

I am suggesting that the prepatient starts out with at least a portion of the rights, liberties,
and satisfactions of the civilian and ends up on a psychiatric ward stripped of almost everything. The question here is now this stripping is managed. This is the second aspect of betrayal I want to consider.
Erving Goffman, Asylums (130)

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