Milieu therapy, which focuses on providing the patient with a very clear idea of what the staff expectations are and providing feedback about compliance with those expectations, encouraging the patients to be active in their own treatment decisions, and providing social groups for support and “positive” peer pressure.
Social-learning, in which the patients learn socially acceptable behavior through a token economy (they get tokens when they behave well). With tokens, the patients can buy privileges.
Traditional treatments, with pharmacotherapy, occupational therapy, and individual group therapy. For instance, a friend of mine was recently released from a mental health ward which had psychological therapy, psychiatry, yoga, prayer meetings, knitting classes, and all sorts of social groups.
Paul and Lentz studied 28 schizophrenic patients for resocialization, learning new roles, and reducing bizarre behavior. From the social learning program, 90 percent of the patients remained in the community after release; compared to the 70 percent who’d had milieu therapy, and the less than 50 percent who’d had traditional therapy. I haven’t read it, but there’s a review of Paul and Lentz’s study available here.
All of these programs seem like a positive change from the early 20th century, but in order to voluntarily get into one of these hospitals, the patient must have both resources and mindfulness of illness. In order to get involuntarily committed, the patient must have an advocate willing to report his danger. Most of the homeless do not have such advocates, and thus they slip between the cracks.
If the patient does give a hint of violent thoughts, the mental health worker (or even a priest during confession), has the duty to report the dangerous individual to the authorities, and in some states to warn the individual who has been threatened.
A third way that a mentally ill person can protect himself from unethical treatment is to claim incompetence to stand trial. If a person is charged with a crime but is unable to understand the proceedings due to mental health, he can postpone the trial until they have recovered sufficiently to understand. Such people can be hospitalized until they are deemed competent.
An interesting point that the authors brought up was about patients diagnosed with disassociative identity disorder, DID – formerly known as multiple personality disorder. If one personality commits a crime, is it ethical to punish all personalities? This is a question that first occurred to me several years ago while reading A Fractured Mind, by Robert B. Oxnam. Oxnam gave a few examples of when one personality did something “wrong,” and Oxnam implied that he, himself, was not guilty of those transgressions, because it was his other self that committed them. The two examples I remember are when one of his personalities cheated on his wife and when one of his personalities stole a bunch of stuff from a boating store. It peeved me that Oxnam thought it was ok to brush off those acts by saying “the other (bad) me did it.” But perhaps that is because I’m skeptical of true multiple personalities that are unaware of, and unable to control, the others’ actions. If it does exist, I’m sure it’s very, very rare.
On the other hand, I do know someone who has disassociative episodes and was caught doing something illicit during an episode. But my friend has never blamed the “other” guy – he seems quite willing to step up and take the blame. Somehow that willingness to accept the blame makes him seem less culpable, in my eyes, than Oxnam.
The Definition of Abnormal
A History of Abnormal Psychology
Abnormal Psychology in Contemporary Society
Contemporary Viewpoints on Treating Mental Illness – Biology
Contemporary Viewpoints on Treating Mental Illness – Psychology
Frontline: New Asylums
Brave New Films: This is Crazy
Clinical Mental Health Diagnosis: Biological Assessment
Clinical Mental Health Diagnosis: Psychological Assessment
Does the DSM Encourage Overmedication?
Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome – The Basics
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Hoarding and Body Dysmorphic Disorders
Depression – an Overview
Personality Disorders – Clusters and Dimensions
Personality Disorders – Cluster A
Personality Disorders – Cluster B
Personality Disorders – Cluster C
Biological Effects of Stress on Your Body
Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders
Borderline Personality Disorder
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Gender Dysphoria – Homosexuality and Transgender
Bipolar Disorder – The Basics
Suicide – An Overview