Teaching psychiatric history often focuses on the history of psychiatrists. And yet there really is not one history of psychiatry – there are many.
Patricia Deegan made The Politics of Memory, a film for consumer survivors. It`s history from the other side; from the perspective of those we treat, often against their will.
Some may find it difficult to watch and some psychiatrists in particular, might find it challenging. I don’t think Pat Deegan was looking to slam psychiatry but rather calling it as she sees it. She presents a side of history that is rarely given voice.
I have only two 1-hour sessions with psychiatric residents to talk history, not enough time to show the whole film and discuss. Two sections I do show are in part 1 at the 10:00 mark, with the embroidered quilt and at the beginning of part 2 with the stories of Elizabeth Packard and Ebenezer Haskell.
As well every ACT clinician should know about eugenics, Nazi psychiatry and Aktion T4 in part 3 of the film.
Some might feel this film is ‘anti-psychiatry’. I don’t. I think it’s a valuable tool to help mental health clinicians maintain collective self-reflection.
PS: This blog started a year ago. Since then it’s been viewed 4800 times from 10 different countries. Thank you for taking the time to visit – it means a lot. Special thanks to Lorna.
To be continued…