Making It Crazy: An Ethnography of Psychiatric Clients in an American Community

Making It Crazy: An Ethnography of Psychiatric Clients in an American Community

Making It Crazy: An Ethnography of Psychiatric Clients in an American Community

Making It Crazy: An Ethnography of Psychiatric Clients in an American Community

Synopsis

Estroff describes a group of chronic psychiatric clients as they attempt life outside a mental hospital.

Excerpt

In an era of rhetoric about deinstitutionalization, it is refreshing to have solid clinical data from a perceptive observer who does not have a vested interest in this matter, that is, one who is neither mental health professional, nor patient, nor union official, nor legislator. Amid the heated discussions about the advantages and benefits or the problems and scandals of the mentally ill living in the community, the kind of objective information provided by this book is essential.

What is the everyday world of the psychiatric patient really like? If we try to understand it within the context of our own experiences and our own frame of reference, we can easily misconstrue and misinterpret most of what we see. But living with the clients in their world, as Estroff did, gives us a whole new perspective. Further, she tried to approach her task without preconceived theories, letting the patients determine what was and is important to learn and understand. This has, undoubtedly, contributed to her new and fresh insights.

Equally important is the author’s recognition that taking a patient’s perspective of the treatment process does not necessitate casting staff in the role of villains, even though the perspective and point of view of the patients and the staff may differ markedly. Thus, she avoids the error made by so many of “taking sides” and still graphically describes the patients’ world and how that world is perceived by them.

What are the effects when mental health professionals, even en-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.